I was introduced to Redemption in early June, 1998.  I was taking a night class (working toward a masters in education) and was spending the dinner break at the library, surfing the net at incredibly high speeds (university connections, you know).  I was searching for the Star Trek: TNG collectible card game for my brother-in-law, who is a Star-Trek fan, when a link for the Redemption homepage appeared on the search engine.  It immediately caught my attention, so I checked it out.

I wanted the game, so I mentioned to my wife I had seen it and was interested in it.  She is very thoughtful, and bought an unlimited edition Starter Deck for my son to give me for Father's Day.  That Father's Day I played against my brother, James.  I loved the game, but wasn't totally thrilled with the card arrangement, so we played with our heroes to the right of our draw piles.  To this day, I still have NEVER played a game with the recommended card arrangement found in the rulebook.  To see how we arrange our cards when we play, click here.

Later that summer I went to a local Lighthouse Christian Bookstore to purchase some booster packs.  I bought seven or so total packs: Limited Edition and Women.  I was excited to find a 10/10 Red Dragon, plus the oh-so-cool Jael's Nail.  That August, I played my brother-in-law on our extended-family camping trip at Lake Tahoe, CA.  I was so hooked that my (very loving and patient) wife and son and I drove 45 minutes to Carson City, Nevada, so that I could buy some more booster packs at a Christian bookstore there.  We drove near the capital building, but that wasn't nearly as exciting as opening my booster packs:  I got a Goliath!

That era of Redemption was vastly different than the current era.  Think about that era:  no Artifacts, no Silver Brigade, no by-the-numbers heroes, no Goshen, Kingdoms of the World, or Potter's Field, only one enhancement that converted evil characters, only two hero interrupt cards, no hero with offense or defense greater than 8, no more than three characters with a special ability in each brigade, no "earthly battle" distinction, no 3/4 multi-color enhancements, no way to enter battle with more than two heroes without playing a banding enhancement, no way to hide evil characters in sites, no Gold evil character with stats higher than 5/8 or 6/7, no Jamison art, no Doug Gray art, no ultra-rares, no send-in-the-wrappers deals, no Harvest Time, no evil characters with immune abilities, no heroes that could use enhancements of a different brigade, etc.  The Warriors and 2nd Edition Starter Decks together added over 200 new cards, and a lot of fun, to Redemption.  Then the Apostles did the same.  

Back to 1998:  That Christmas, I ordered some starters and boosters for my three brothers and two brothers-in-law.  Later that school year, I introduced some of my high school students to Redemption.  They loved it.  I also introduced it to several people at my church.  It was a hit.  Since then, the church has hosted a regular playgroup, and it is the location for all the major Redemption tournaments in California.

I have seen Redemption increase many people's interest in the Bible.  My own interest in the Bible, and thus knowledge of it, has increased greatly.  I have seen Redemption start many conversations: some deep, some lighthearted.  And Redemption has been great fun.  I hope that it will continue to do all of these things for many more people for the next three-plus years (and beyond, if the Lord so wills).