What is Magic: The Gathering?
There seems to be a thriving demand for more and more outlandish, and sometimes violent, video games. Does this mean that traditional games are going by the wayside? This observer doesn’t think so. Board games like Monopoly and Trivial Pursuit are still coming out with newer versions of their classic games. This leads me to believe that some things will never fall out of favor. One of my personal favorite games to play is Magic: The Gathering.
My boyfriend taught me this game several years ago and ever since I’ve been hooked. There are a number of misconceptions about people who play this game but it’s been my experience that Magic: The Gathering players are as diverse as any other group of people who play games, electronic or otherwise. It is estimated that there are around 6 million participants of Magic: The Gathering worldwide, in up to 70 different countries. Since 1994 Magic: The Gathering has held world championships, offering to the winner a cash prize of $45,000. Originally it was open to all competitors, but now is by invitation-only. There are also regular regional tournaments held approximately every three months when new sets of cards are released for sale.
In short, Magic: The Gathering is a collectible (and customizable) trading card game. A more in-depth description would be a game using specially designed sets of playing cards used in strategic game play, where a card’s capabilities affect other cards in play. Every player starts a game with 20 “life points” – a term video game players may be familiar with. Additionally, each player starts a game with 7 cards in hand and typically cannot have more than 7 cards in hand during game play. With each turn, a card is drawn from the “library”, a stack of cards turned face down, and then a card (or multiple cards) can be played from the hand. The purpose of the game is to win by eliminating opponents.
How Did Magic: The Gathering Begin?
Magic: The Gathering was released in 1993 by game publisher Wizards of the Coast, and created by Richard Garfield, PhD, a game designer and professor of mathematics at Whitman College in Washington State. He was a great fan of the game Dungeons and Dragons, which may explain the fantasy elements of Magic: The Gathering. When Magic: The Gathering was first released, it was unknown how much demand there would be and so a limited number of cards were printed. Now, those first few cards that were printed way back when are in such high demand that the cost to purchase the original set of cards has risen into the thousands of dollars. They are, no doubt, collectors items. In the late 90s, the Hasbro toy company bought Wizards of the Coast.
Why Should I Play Magic: The Gathering When I Can Play Video Games?
Video games can be great fun, there’s no doubt. You can get lost in the lifelike graphics and amazing stories. However, even though there are a number of multi-player games to be played on-line, video games can be very isolating. Many of them even require a Player’s Guide to help you along the difficult levels. Not to mention that the use of a player’s imagination is limited to what the game designers want you to see and do. When you play Magic: The Gathering, first and foremost you need other people to play with (at least one opponent). Yes, there are on-line versions of this game as well but they are very limiting. Putting together a deck of cards (that work with each other, mind you) takes thought and creativity. It’s as unpredictable as Poker, but has the spirit of a fantasy world, full of dragons, trolls, and other assorted characters. People who play this game don’t play to be left alone. They get together with friends, family and sometimes even strangers at their local gaming shop to have some creative and imaginative fun. Magic: The Gathering can help turn strangers into friends.
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