Chilling With Some Card Games: Magic: the Gathering

By: Jason Jarusinsky, collectible card game editor

Today we are focusing on a game I have been playing for the last eighteen years: Magic: The Gathering (M:TG). It is one of the biggest collectible card games on the market, so we wanted to provide an overview of the game, and what you can expect if you and your children start to play.

History of the game

M:TG was released in 1993 by Wizards of the Coast with the first set called Alpha. When the game first released in order to help spread the word about the game the developers and publishers literally gave away product to players in order to get them started. It did not take long for that to happen. With subsequent releases aptly named Beta and Unlimited and the first expansion set called Arabian Nights the game caught on and caught on big. It has changed over time, but it has always revolved around the idea of an ever expanding game based on the release of expansion sets.

Sets are released in what are known as “blocks”. A block consists of three sets that are released over a period of a year. This has been tweaked here and there, but it is always more or less the same. In addition, there is a “Core set” that is released each summer. This set is comprised of basic cards that give players a solid starting point to learn the game each year.

What is this game all about?

As you sit down to play you take on the roll of a powerful wizard called a “Planeswalker” standing on a hill facing your enemy. Your deck of cards represents the creatures you will summon, the spells you will cast, and the mana you will use to do battle. This battle is represented by each player taking turns playing cards from their hand and attempting to take their opponents life total from twenty to zero.

Why is this game so great?

First, the game is deep. There are always interesting decisions to be made. The process of building a deck using all of the cards available is a meta-game in itself.

Second, the designers do a fantastic job of creating new and exciting cards to keep players enthralled with the game year after year. This is one of the main reasons I feel the game has remained so popular, and even has a Pro Tour for the most skilled players to compete in.

This is a very high level overview, but I hope you have found it useful.We’re going to talk about Magic: the Gathering a lot as time goes on so come on back to learn more.

If you have any questions at all please feel free to reach me at CCG@engagedfamilygaming.com. In future articles I will delve deeper into the formats of play, and what to expect at your first tournament if you so inclined that is the right gaming level for you!

Stay Frosty Friends,

Jason

 

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