By Andrew Dodson on October 16, 2014 at 12:46pm
If you've been in a coma for the last 20 years, you may not be aware that there is an extremely popular collectible card game out there called: "Magic: The Gathering." In the game, you are a powerful wizard and your deck is essentially your book of spells, and the goal is to put enough mana (represented by land cards) into play so you can cast your spells and defeat the other players. pells come in many different forms such as summoning creatures, dealing direct damage, taking control of enemy cards, or healing yourself. There are over 13,000 unique Magic cards in existence with more coming into circulation every couple of months.
Even if you aren't a fan, "Magic: The Gathering," with its 12 million players worldwide and 21 years of existence has proven that it has significant staying power in the gaming community and has earned its seat atop the Throne of CCGs.
Considering this, it only makes sense for Wizards of the Coast to see if "Magic: The Gathering" is viable as a board game.
Announced at Spiel 2014, the "Magic The Gathering" board game will be a tactics-driven, tile-based game for two to five players (one player for each color, I assume). Each player will represent a different Planeswalker and have access to a unique squad of creatures with the main objective of the game being to eliminate all the other Planeswalkers. Helping you accomplish this goal, besides your summon creatures, will be a deck of special cards that you can draw from to cast spells to hurt your opponent or give your own units bonuses. There is also an element of the game that takes place at the very start that involves actually setting up the terrain of the battlefield (the tiles appear to be interlocking) and setting up "glyphs" which may provide bonuses to your team in certain areas or act as detrimental to the enemy when they enter your land. Depending on the number of players involved and their experience levels, the game should only take 25-45 minutes to play.
Currently, the Planeswalkers available to play as are: Chandra Nalaar® (representing red mana), Jace Beleren® (representing blue mana), Nissa Revane® (representing green mana), and Liliana Vess® (representing black mana). The final character will be dramatically revealed at later date. Given that all the other Planeswalkers chosen represent a different mana-type, we can fairly assume that the last reveal will be the long-awaited white-mana Planeswalker.
One of the cool things about this game that should attract an audience more diverse than just loyal MTG players is that this game does not require you to be familiar with the lore or rules of the card game; it is its own separate entity. That said, the game seems to want to introduce new people to the expansive world(s) of "Magic: The Gathering." The game itself takes place back on Shandalar, which is a return setting in the "MTG" universe and promises to be a more "friendly," mana-rich, diverse location that should appeal to people new to the lore. For old fans, Shandalar is also where (according to the "Magic 2014" cards) Slivers were found again, so we can hope that they'll eventually make an appearance in the game.
There are a lot of assumptions being made about this new board game, because really, there isn't a lot of information about it yet. Everything seems to still be in a prototype phase. The game doesn't even officially have a name yet - "Magic: The Gathering Strategy Board Game" is just a placeholder. We do know that Wizards of the Coast is making this game in cooperation with the team from Hasbro that brought us "Risk: Legacy" and "Heroscape," which are two extremely popular strategy games in their own right.
A big question that we have about the game is if a lot of the game's evolving strategy will involve dozens and dozens of smaller "booster" packs or sell random, sealed boosters. In the latter case, you won't know what you're buying. In those situations, it is so easy to drop buckets of money on a product and only hope that you get what you want. We feel like Fantasy Flight's living card game system has spoiled us in that regard, because when we buy a data pack for "Netrunner," we always have some idea of what we're getting.
"Magic: The Gathering Strategy Board Game" is due out Fall 2015. There is no price yet, but it is set for a wide release, so you'll probably be able to find it anywhere that you can find "MTG" cards.
"Magic: The Gathering Strategy Board Game" Press Release Game Snapshot Images from Imgur