By Dr. Marciene Mattleman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – While most college scholarship winners credit a teacher or mentor for academic success, Douglas Johnson thanks Glissa, the Traitor, a zombie elf, for his scholarship. Looking for financial help, he learned about grants awarded by Gamers Helping Gamers, a non-profit organization founded by successful 30 year-old New Yorkers, who play Magic: the Gathering, weekly.

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It’s a strategy game, introduced 20 years ago, now with 12 million players globally, a “cousin” to Dungeons and Dragons for youngsters. It pits two players in skillful combat, armed with colorful cards representing creatures, spells and magical lands, that are traded to customize decks.

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One gamer noticed Douglas in tournaments and realized that kids who play aren’t extroverted, involved in extra-curricular activities, and may need scholarship opportunities. Douglas’s essay about playing Magic in his small town high school cafeteria where Glissa was his favorite card and his double college major, psychology/public justice, helped him win $5,000.

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Read more in The New York Times.