Miscellany: Bringing Back "Magic: The Gathering"
I was a wee lad in middle school when I first played "Magic: The Gathering," a groundbreaking card game designed by Richard Garfield. "Magic" was and still is incredibly popular, since it effectively combines complicated strategy with the same collection impulse that drives people to pick up old stamps and coins. The flip side of this is that the best cards (both in terms of rarity and game power) are hard to track down, meaning that you'll have to spend a lot of cash in order to be able to play competitively.
The mechanics of Magic are ubiquitous now - literally dozens and dozens of games use the CCG (collectible card game) mechanic, from the physical copycats like Pokemon to electronic games like "Eye of Judgment." And while turn-based strategy on the PC is on the decline, CCG style games continue to be very popular. None of these successors, though, has quite the presence of the granddaddy of the genre, Magic.
I've managed to unearth my old Magic card collection, which fills up two whole shoeboxes - thousands of cards. Many are pretty worthless now, but I do have some old school classics like "Kismet" and "Jester's Mask." Thankfully, the game has wonderful continuity - since Wizards of the Coast has never changed the design of the back of the card, the newest cards from 2008 can be played right alongside the first cards from Alpha. I hope I can get a few games with my friends together soon.
One of the neatest parts of "Magic" is finding ways to combine cards and their effects in interesting ways. Here's a couple videos that show some of the absurd outcomes that can result: