It's a kind of Magic..
The world's oldest trading card game celebrates it's latest expansion as Magic 2015 hits the shelves. But what is it, why should you care, and how can you play? We give you the lowdown on Magic: The Gathering!
Stumbling into the realm of collectible card games can be a bit bewildering - especially one like Magic where there are a myriad of formats and thousands of cards to collect and over 20 million players worldwide. But Wizards of the Coast, the brains behind Magic, provide a number of ways for new or lapsed players to jump on board - luckily Magic 2015 is one of them!
Magic 2015 is a 'core set' with standard game mechanics allowing for new players to grasp the rules in a friendly environment whilst allowing existing players to augment their card pool. There are 269 different cards to collect in this set.
Games typically take the form of battles between Planeswalkers (effectively wizards) who can summon creatures, spells and enchantments to deplete their opponent's life total. Each player starts off with a deck of sixty cards and twenty 'life' points. Each player draws a hand of seven cards and in order to cast the creatures and spells, they need to play land cards. You can only play one land per turn, and lands have to be 'tapped' in order to cast spells.
Herein lies some of the challenge with Magic - there are five different types of lands that are colour coded: Plains (white), Mountains (red), Swamps (black), Islands (blue) and Forests (green). Each colour of land has their own special abilities. For example, red coloured spells and creatures that are cast by Mountains typically have abilities that burn players, black coloured spells can often have a deadly touch, or force other players to sacrifice cards and creatures.
These colours influence the types of deck players wish to create meaning that no two games of Magic are ever the same. Additionally, cards come in different rarities as well making powerful cards desirable and collectible.
Obviously we've greatly simplified the concept of Magic, but the flexibility and collectability of the game has ensured that it has lasted for 20 years and is still going strong!
For Magic 2015, there are several jumping on points to join the Magic community:
Intro Packs - a complete 60 card deck complete with two rares - including one premium foil rare. Ideally suited to newer players, they include 2 15-card booster packs to augment your deck or collection
Deckbuilder's Toolkit - everything you need to get started in the world of Magic. 100 land cards and 125 semi-randomized cards suitable for building several different Magic decks all housed in a handy storage box. Also includes 4 booster packs from the most recent Magic sets to take your decks further!
Clash Pack - new for Magic 2015 - this clash pack features two 60-card decks designed to be pitted against each other in a duel to the death! Also includes 6 premium foil alternate art cards
Duels of the Planeswalkers - download Magic digitally for your PC, Xbox, PlayStation or tablet! Play with the newest cards in this digital bestseller
Wizards of the Coast have further information for new players here
Keep your eyes peeled on Geek:Life here at The Digital Fix for more on Magic in coming weeks...!