The standard Magic
card back. Its design is meant to represent the cover of a Spell Book
You are a planeswalker...Magic: The Gathering
is a Collectible Card Game
, produced in 1993 by Wizards of the Coast
(eventually the owners of that other great geek game, Dungeons & Dragons
). It was the first true Collectible Card Gamenote
, the Genre Popularizer
, and even today
it is one of the most popular card games in the world.
At the core of each deck is a duel between god-like wizards - the players themselves, who are described in game parlance as "planeswalkers." These planeswalkers deploy a wide array of spells, creatures, artifacts, and enchantments (all represented by cards) as they vie to dominate entire realms ("planes")
—or, if you prefer
, to reduce the opponent's life total
to zero. Notable gameplay elements include:
- The "Color Pie": The game features Color Coded Magic in five different elements: White, Blue, Black, Red, and Green. Each represents a different philosophy or ideology with their own strengths and weaknesses, and there are complex interrelations between them. (For more on the colors, see our Useful Notes and Analysis pages.)
- The Mana system: To play their cards, players need the correct amount and color of mana, gained from land cards. At a stroke, this builds Awesome but Impractical (more-powerful spells cost lots of mana) and Limited Move Arsenal (decks with too many colors risk drawing the wrong lands and being unable to play any of their cards) straight into the game.
- It's "collectible": You assemble decks out of your personal collection of cards. This gives you a chance to create a deck that no one else on earth has. (And of course, it encourages you to buy more cards.)
For a more complete analysis of gameplay (which is, of course, the heart of any game), we wrote a Useful Notes page
for your enjoyment.
The game spawned several Video Game
adaptations. Some of the more prominent ones:
- Magic: The Gathering: A 1997 Card Battle Game by MicroProse. It contained both a free-dueling mode, allowing you to build decks and battle them against AI opponents, and a campaign mode, where you could travel across the land of Shandalar exploring, dueling enemies, collecting cards, and eventually battling a Big Bad.
- Duels Of The Planeswalkers: A more modern adaptation available on The Playstation Store, Xbox Live Arcade and Steam, originally released in 2009. It has received Numbered Sequels in summer of each succeeding year, coinciding with new Core Set releases, and Wizards are deliberately positioning it as their Gateway Series to new players.
- Magic The Gathering Tactics: A 2011 Turn-Based Strategy for PC and PlayStation 3 inspired by Magic. The gameplay bears little to no resemblance to the original card game, but the flavor of it is retained.
- Magic The Gathering Online: The official program for playing the game online.
- ...And more.
The official Magic
website can be found here
Due to length, the trope list for this work has been split across several pages: