Magic: The Gathering is a strategy card game which lets players take the role of dueling wizards, who are Planeswalkers according to the lore of the game (basically the multi-world theory combined with the players being demi-gods) and can summon creatures to fight for them, as well as a multitude of other things, though attacking with creatures is the most common way to "win". One defeats his opponent by reducing his life points down to zero, forcing an opponent to draw a card when there are none left in his library, accumulating ten poison counters, forfeiture of the opponent, or in rare circumstances, casting conditional cards that outright say "you win the game" if the criteria on the card are met.
The game consists of numerous elements from various fantasy worlds, including magic, elves, dwarves, dragons, mana, orcs, and so forth. One of the reasons for keeping the game limited to the size of a small deck of cards was so that it could be easily taken along to, and played at, gaming conventions.
Its creator is Richard Garfield and the game is owned by Wizards of the Coast, a subsidiary of Hasbro, the same firm that publishes Dungeons and Dragons. The full name of the game uses a subtitle, i.e., Magic: The Gathering. This is for legal reasons; Garfield quickly discovered that the word Magic is public domain and cannot be copyrighted.
Magic cards come in five colors, representing the different aspects of magic: red (destruction, chaos, fire and mountains), blue (deceit, gaining knowledge, countermagic, water, islands), white (Order, yet sometimes confused for good- see also the blasphemous card named Wrath of God; light, plains), green (nature, animals and forests), and black (dark ambition, usually evil but occasionally representing ambition at any cost; death, decay, swamps). Additionally, there are colorless cards (artifacts) which are associated with no color and multicolored cards which are associated with two or more colors of magic.
Some cards represent creatures, which are summoned to attack and defend. Other spells can be used to attack other players, bolster ones own creatures, and a multitude of other effects.
Color alliances are colors that pair together to achieve a compromised agreement. The five are on the back of every Magic card, and are White/Blue, Blue/Black, Black/Red, Red/Green, and Green/White.
White/Blue: this alliance believes that knowledge leads to righteousness, which is mostly reflected in the cards as accurate but occasionally perverted.
Blue/Black: this alliance believes that knowledge can contribute to personal gain, and harm to one's enemies to that end. The deceit of blue is mostly shown in this alliance. It illustrates how knowledge can be weaponized.
Black/Red: the most wicked of alliances. Personal gain, chaos, and downright evil pervade this alliance. A common theme is the suffering of oneself or all for an overall advantage to the player.
Red/Green: this alliance mostly focuses on the raw emotion of beasts combined with the power they gain from it. Beating an opponent to death via raw primal and natural forces is the main way this alliance wins.
Green/White: this alliance combines natural and good forces, i.e. channeling nature in a moral manner. When played expertly, this alliance has the greatest chance of winning games.
The card game very quickly came under scrutiny for its inclusion of dark magic elements, such as demons. It was only after strong criticism from concerned families that these elements were scaled back. However, in recent years demons have been returning to Magic.
Pastor David Brown has identified four key problems with the game:
- The primary focus on the occult
- The violent nature of the game
- The addictive nature of the game
- The identification of the players with evil characters.
To demonstrate the abundance of occult themes in the game there are 67 demon, 95 vampire, 17 witch(in name only, there is no witch creature type) 285 zombie, 137 horror, and 15 devil cards out of 12978 cards total(not including basic lands).
Additionally, a number of cards feature unrealistic and unusually sexy depictions of both male and female characters.
Some scientists have expressed concerns over the addictive qualities of the game; allegedly psychologists are involved in the creation of game products.
Even the game's fans will agree that MTG products are very expensive, especially for Vintage decks, which can easily run into the thousands of dollars for one deck. There are over a thousand cards released a year, many of which can be priced quite high in the secondary market.
- The Coming CCG Storm: 1993-1995 "A Brief History of Game" (2006) RPGnet Accessed 31 December 2007.
- Learn to play magic - YouTube video