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Digital Subscriptions > Tabletop Gaming > Issue Eight – Feb/Mar '17 > MAGIC: THE GATHERING

MAGIC: THE GATHERING

The first trading card game created remains the biggest and best entry in the genre, more than 20 years later. But if you’re a newcomer, how can you break into a title with more than 15,000 cards and decades of history?
Dozens of expansions have been released for Magic over the years, including the cosmic horror-themed Eldritch Moon. (Wizards of the Coast)

There’s a reason that a standard deck of 52 playing cards remains perhaps the most ubiquitous tabletop accessory. It’s easy to carry, flexible enough to play an unlimited number of different games with, simple enough for anyone to grasp the mechanics of and just downright fun – few sensations beat the feeling of drawing a winning card from the deck, or slamming said clincher from your hand onto the table.

It’s little surprise, then, that taking the base pleasures of playing cards and combining them with powerful spell-wielding wizards, fearsome creatures and fantastical lands has proven to be an incomparable hit in Magic: The Gathering.

Devised by Richard Garfield in the early 1990s initially as a portable way of filling downtime while attending conventions, the game went on to pioneer the collectible card game system, where cards are obtained in random booster packs as well as fixed starter and expansion decks. In the 24 years since it first appeared, Magic has ballooned to encompass more than 15,000 unique cards and is now regularly played by more than 20 million people around the world.

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