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Magic the Gathering


What is
"Magic the Gathering"

Magic Started out in 1993 as a new card game from professor Richard Garfield.
It was well balanced, with very good replay value, it was also collectable, with new possibilities in every card and finally it is very addictive.

Magic the Gathering: In the begining.
So I was introduced to Magic the Gathering by a friend in 1994. We were big Dungeons and Dragons players and when he showed me this game it looked like fun and was much quicker to play that a full on Dungeons and Dragons adventure.
Little did I know just how amazing a game this would prove to be.

So right now many of you are saying, ok Ruben, you are a professional geek, but why would I like this game.
Well hold on and keep reading as this is more than a game of UNO, this game is soo deep and has so many facets, if you keep reading I am almost sure you will find an aspect of this game that intrigues you.
First let's talk a little about the game itself:
Now I will not go into mechanics or rules, if you are interested in that check out the Wikipedia article.

Here is the short version:
You make a deck of 60 or more cards from a pool of thousands (yes, I said thousands, and each card effects the game differently! )
There are 5 colors to choose from (White, Blue, Black, Red, and Green). Each color has strengths and weaknesses. You may chose as many colors as you like to build your deck.
Once you have built your deck, you and at least one other player, compete to see who can best the other players using the resources from their respective decks.

So the first challenge of this game is deck building. This is an art unto itself.
Many people enjoy the creation of a deck as much as playing it. You can choose a theme (Fairies, squirrels, Goblins etc...) or exploit a certain key cards ability to control the game in some way. You can win by brute force or subtle creative means.
Each color represents a fundamental attitude. Red, for example is classic brute force. It tries to win by dealing out more damage than it receives. Red is quick and powerful, but lacks skill and can easily be "shut down" by a more advanced deck. In contrast to this attitude is White, this color works well at preserving it's resources and protecting itself. White is difficult to overpower, but requires time and considerable resources to execute, which can be it's downfall.

So if you are reading carefully, you have probably already noticed that a considerable amount of strategy is involved. This is where the game really begins to shine. The strategy is very deep and I believe even rivals such games as chess in this regard. Like chess, you must learn to plan several moves ahead, and have contingencies for what your opponent will try and do. But unlike chess, the game of Magic will evolve on a random note through the cards you will draw during the game. It would be easy to try and plan for every contingency, but you will get your cards at random, one per turn, and you must use only those cards you have now to deal with the situations at hand and be careful to conserve your resources of the cards you have now and hope that those you will draw in subsequent turns will help you deal with he problems at hand and provide an opportunity to move toward victory.
This is where even those not inclined to fantasy see potential. The incredible strategy potential comes from an understanding of the environment and your opposing players, failure to grasp either of those and you are almost certain to loose.

Finally, there is a collectable aspect. There is a "Core" set that is produced continually. But the majority of the cards are released in "expansion" sets that are produced and then canceled. After which, if you want one of the cards from any of the out of print sets, you will have to buy or trade for it from another player. Cards can become wildly valuable, currently (4/2008) there is a listing for a single card (the much sought after "Black Lotus") on ebay for $1,000 ! and prices can get even higher for pristine unplayed cards.

Ok, well if you are not intrigued by the fantasy game setting, or the art (Some of the art is simply fantastic and worthy of framing in any home). Or the incredibly deep strategy, or the opportunity to use creativity to design a clever deck, or the challenge of playing against one or more opponents, with or without another player on your side, well then I guess I just don't understand you, and I suppose you are just not a game player.
Because just about every reason to play a game is in this game. The thrill of the unknown, victory, defeat, and the ever changing and evolving game world. Not to mention, the chance to show off your individual talents in deck creation, and best of all the chance to play an always exciting game with friends.

I have been playing Magic for almost 15 years now, I have played in tournaments both locally as well as traveling to other cities just to play, I have seen the creation of a "Pro Tour" that pays out $40,000 to winners (Awarded as a scholarship for participants under 18). I have seen great expansions, I have seen monumental trades and I have personally sold cards for more than $300. I have played countless games (Never the same game twice). I own thousand of cards and have nearly a dozen decks ready to go, some of which I have been fine tuning for years. I just introduced my daughter to Magic, and even at the age of 7 she sees the enjoyment and asks to play all the time.

I fully intend to play magic for the rest of my life, maybe not everyday, maybe not even every year.
But when I am in the mood to play a great game, that I know will be challenging and enjoyable, I know I need look no further that the box of cards in the game room. Now and in the future I look forward to my next game of Magic the Gathering.

Ruben G.


This site was last updated 04/27/08