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This is a review on Magic The Gathering, the collectable card game (CCG) from Wizards Of The Coast.
I am a long time fan of most table top and collectable card games and Magic The Gathering is no exception. The game has been running for quite some time now (many more years than the 7/8 years that I have been playing) and although it has seen troughs and peaks in popularity over the years, it has never lost its appeal with me.
Essentially it plays the same as any other CCG as in using 'attacking' cards, 'defensive' cards and mana which acts like money to pay for the use of the affor mentioned cards but to me it is much more than that.
Magic The Gathering threads much more meaning and indeed a story line through each of its sets of cards that as a player you get a real sense of who is ggod and who is bad with each character card and almost a sense of purpose for each set.
To begin with, Magic The Gathering (or just Magic for short) can seem complicated with so many types of cards and quite a few stages to each persons turn but take it from someone who learned sat outside a pub with half a deck of cards in about half an hour, it really isn't that complicated. The game really does fit into the cliche 'a minute to learn, a lifetime to master'.
Fortunately you never really feel out of your depth with the game no matter how new you were, with the right draw at the right time you can grab a victory over any seasoned player, though I would recommend steering clear of the competitions for a while as they will call upon a knowledge of many cards to 'create' your own deck of cards in a limited time period.
one of my favorite thing about this game is that you can be 12 or 82, you still see the wonder in the game and will play with anyone. I have seen 45 year old men sitting down with 15 year old boys and playing a game as though there was no age gap at all, now not many games can do that!
Another by product of Magic that I really enjoy is the art work. As sad and geeky as it sounds, some of the art work on the cards is outstanding and shows such fine detail, and each card is different in its art work which in itself is amazing seeing as I have over 600 cards alone, imagine the amount of cards that have been designed and made over the life of the game.
Magic The Gathering has also spooled off into the computer game industry with an interesting take on the game for the playstation where instead of cards you called upon real creatures etc and had to move them around the battle ground yourself and indiviually. Also, and more recently, I have come across a version on the XBOX 360 arcade marketplace where the game has been reverted back to a card game just played on the console.
If you are looking to take Magic The Gathering up, your first point of call will be to purchase your first deck of cards. These can generally be picked up now in most large chain bookstores like waterstones.
For the beginner you will be looking at a starter or core deck, what this is, is a premade set of cards designed specifically to work with one another and contains a handy sheet inside to help you get the best from your deck. Which one to choose is totally up to you but I usually recomend a deck using the green colour mana (There are five in total, green, blue, red, white and black) as green looks a bit more at defence and large end-of-the-game attacking creatures where red will often provide you with many small creatures and the odd large creature, blue works mainly on using spells to daze and confuse your opponent, white deals mainly on health regeneration and black will more than often punish you for everything you do, although it will decimate your opponent in the process.
Core decks are normally price at around £7.50 a deck, with booster packs containing 15 random cards are normally £2.50.
Magic The Gathering:
Being a bit of nerd, (I'm a nerd and proud of it too), I am a huge fan of Magic the Gathering. For those of you not in the know Magic the Gathering is a CCG, (a collectable card game like Pokemon), and one that I have been playing for about seven years.
Now for a beginner Magic the Gathering seems quite complicated to learn but actually I think it just seems that way. Most of the rules are actually written on the cards and the turns follow the same pattern each time so it isn't hard to pick up as you play as long as you play regularly and with nice people who don't take advantage of the fact that you are new to the game. I won't go into the rules and the ins and outs of the game or my review would be unbelievably long and tedious to read!
The basic premise is that you are a wizard engaged in battle with other wizards and your deck of cards, (your 'library'), is your Spellbook and your army. You must play cards which you draw face down from your library and the aim is to kill you're opponent, reducing them to zero life.
The complicated part is that there are literally thousands of different cards to choose from to build your deck from numerous editions. It definitely takes some experience to be able to narrow down the options to the standard sixty cards that a deck contains in a way that they work together and you will have a decent chance of winning. As they say though, practice makes perfect, you will get it eventually.
The rules often change and new abilities and effects are being created all the time which can be confusing but again it isn't really a big deal. I think people sometimes worry too much about remembering all the rules, if you are unsure what something means just make a judgement call, as long as everyone playing agrees it's fine, only read the rules, (there are pages and pages of rules on the website), if you simply can't agree. Like I said earlier most of the rules you need are actually printed on the cards!
Collecting cards can become addictive and very expense. You can buy pre-made 60 card decks for around £6.00 and 15 card booster packs for around £3.00 but the real expense comes in buying specific cards individually. Cards can range from 5p each up to literally thousands of pounds for very rare cards from the earliest sets. I have never paid more than £6.00 for a single card but even that was an extravagant expense. To keep costs down you can buy bulk lots of cards on eBay and that is how I have built up most of my collection. Buying from the states works out cheaper too even with international postage costs.
Game play in Magic is great fun and really relies on your tactics and planning. Building decks takes a lot of patience and forward planning as the cards are drawn blind from your deck after a good shuffle so it is important that no matter what cards come out there are good combos and it all works together. I think games like Magic the Gathering are a great way to exercise the brain and useful for children to develop a tactical way of thinking.
Each turn follows the same pattern; Un-tap, (basically 'resetting' any cards you used on the last turn), Up-keep, (some cards have actions to be preformed in this phase such as adding or removing counters, gaining or loosing life etc), Draw, (Drawing a card from your library), Main phase, (playing cards from your hand, activating abilities etc), Combat phase, (when you can attack with creatures) and then the second main phase, (as first main phase). It sounds complicated but after a few games it becomes second nature.
A word of warning to any would-be Magic player; this game can easily become the main focus of your life, I have seen many people who are just TOO into it. I have seen huge arguments over this game, ones which have destroyed friendships and even split up people. Some people spend all their money on Magic cards and end up in financial strife. This is just a game albeit a brilliant one. Be careful who you play with too, some take the game way too seriously and are annoying about it constantly quoting rules or talking endlessly about "this really cool combo" they have thought of.
I think if Magic isn't taken too seriously then it's a great way to while away the hours with some good friends especially when the weather is rubbish and there is nothing on the TV and it's a good mental work out too without being hard work. Recommended for anyone into table top games or fantasy in general.
You've got to be really careful about games like this. It's fun, it's easy and worst of all, it's infinitely expandable.... This is the game that started off the collectable card game revolution a few years ago. Games which have followed, such as the Star Trek & Star Wars games, Pokemon and the soon to be released Harry Potter game have all had their successes, but this is the big one. The game was originally created to portray wars between duelling wizards, each gathering mana-producing resources to cast bigger and better spells, including summoning spells and direct effect spells. These are deployed to try and run your opponents life points down from 20, and when they hit zero, you win. In play, cards are drawn from a customised deck. You may then play Mana (Land) cards, from which you draw your power, using these to cast spells such as Creature summoning (There are now hundreds of Creatures in print) and direct effect spells (Which can damage your opponent or his creatures, destroy land etc). The mix of cards is huge, and there are a lot of subtle strategies, one's that you generally only learn from playing. It's an easy concept, but with the release of each new expansion set more strategy has had to be deployed. New cards have new tricks, whilst some are simply new spins on old cards, so each player's custome built decks of cards will likely change as time goes by. It's an easy game to get into, you just have to learn when to say no. I spent a fortune on it during it's first year or so, then managed to reign myself in, but there arethose that don't manage that trick quite so well. There is a lot of solid support for the game, and there are a lot of competitions to take part in on many levels, local, national or international, but competition is hot. If you can keep it under control, this is a great fun game, just be warned, some people are HEAVILY into th
is, and if you're not careful, you could be too....