(Metagame Archive) A Letter From Iraq

By Brandon Soares
A few weeks ago, one of our writers was contacted by Brandon Soares, who plays Vs. with his fellow soldiers in Iraq and reads Metagame.com. I immediately got in touch to send some free cards to his unit, and I asked him to share his experiences. Here’s hoping the shipment makes the gaming over there more exciting, and I encourage our readers to drop Brandon a line from back home at brandon_knoxville@hotmail.com.
 
Toby Wachter
Managing Editor, Metagame.com
 

Sorry it’s taken me a while to get back to you. I wanted to make sure I had the time to sit down and type this out—usually I only have about five or ten minutes, then I need to go. I’m going to be using some army language, and I’m going to give a brief history of what we do.

 

It’s not always easy for the U.S. soldiers here in the 597 QM CO in FOB Dogwood Iraq to put together a game of cards. I’m in a Quartermaster unit. Our MOS (Military Occupational Skill) is 92S (don’t ask me what that stands for—even my sergeants don’t know), which means Laundry Textile Specialist. I’m an army laundry man. In my defense, I was only seventeen when I joined, and my recruiter told me that’s all they had. I’ve tried to switch to something else and the army won’t let me. So here we are in Iraq doing laundry, but since it’s kind of low-key, we also get to volunteer for missions, raids, searches, and other things. I’ve also worked in an insurgent prison camp, and for about a good four months I would do night patrols, which was an on-and-off gig. After doing all of that, it’s kind of hard to sit down and dedicate a good day to cards.

 

However, sometimes on Sundays we get the whole day off, and then we can really get into the cards. We’ve gone almost a full day of playing Vs., breaking only to shower, eat, and go to the bathroom. We use my room for cards, since we have to play where we can set up a table, and we cover the table with a crummy green blanket that’s probably older than me. We do run into some difficulties—since I’m the one who taught everyone here how to play, I get a lot of questions, and sometimes I don’t know the answers, since the last time I played Vs. was DC Origins. I didn’t get back into the game until a few months after Green Lantern Corps debuted. But we do have some interesting decks here, from an Anti-Matter/Underworld deck that the user calls “Amu” to a League of Assassins and Sinister Syndicate deck.

 

Our card options were pretty limited until we started ordering boxes online. When those cards come, you should see our faces. We get excited and put off whatever we can, just so we can open our new boxes of cards and start hashing out deck ideas. We just got our Avengers boxes in, which really motivated us to get through the day. It may sound sad, but there’s hardly anything out here. I got really excited when I received a new, unused blanket. Have you ever seen a nineteen-year-old beaming like a school girl because he just got a new blanket?

 

Vs. System has made some very enjoyable days and evenings for us, has given us a nice distraction from all the terrible stuff that happens right outside our perimeter, and gives us something to talk about the next day. I thank everyone who supports this game and keeps it going.

 

Your fan in Iraq,

Brandon

 

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