Research Paper
Magic: The Gathering
"You can always get the lands untapped, so just let them accumulate counters
until you know you need them, then use the Druid to untap them. You can also use the
Druid to keep counters from accumulating on your opponent\'s storage lands. . ."

(Wylie 47).

The confusing series of exchanges above are from a simple strategy-combination
of a card game. This card game, though only a little more than two years old, is not
only taking our nation by storm, but also all over the world. The card game is Magic:
The Gathering. Magic, a collectible card game manufactured by Wizards of the Coast,
is a fun and challenging game that involves two or more players (depicted as planes
walker-wizards) dueling each other out with many different types of these such cards
(which represent the many colorful magical spells). Magic: The Gathering is truly
the first of its kind, and its success has everyone, even the designer, greatly surprised.

Magic: The Gathering was developed by a mathematician named Richard
Garfield. Garfield was always fascinated by games in general, and in the stages of
developing Magic, he derived Magic from many other games. Since this collectible-

card game genre was the first of its kind, Wizards of the Coast and Garfield had to take
lots of risks designing it. After months of designing and play-testing the game,
Wizards of the Coast finally created the Alpha version of Magic, and released it to the
public in 1993. When it was first released, however, it didn\'t get quite the reputation it
deserved. Unfavorable opinions ranged from, "Big Deal. I didn\'t know how to display
them [display boxes of Magic cards] in the store. So I threw them on the back shelf"

(Binder 44), to "They were begging people to take their stuff [Magic cards] during
conventions" (Kardon 34). However, after a few months, Magic card sales started to
skyrocket. Thus, Wizards of the Coast had to make more and more revised editions of
different sets of Magic cards to satisfy the demand for these cards. Crazed Magic
consumers often might have paid as much as $200 for a Black Lotus card (argued
as the best card for Magic), and also other single cards, topping off around $100!

People started to say "Do I [get] gas or do I get Magic Cards?" (Binder 44). With all
the popularity Magic had obtained, Wizards of the Coast decided to name their world
of Magic--Dominia, and it has expanded at an incredible rate ever since.

A game of Magic places two (or more) players against each other. Each of the
players starts out with 20 life points. The main objective of this game is to be the first
person to reduce his opponent\'s life points to zero or less, thus "killing" him. There are
a number of ways to accomplish this. One can summon creatures to help the players
do battle against each other, cast other damaging spells to destroy the creatures or one\'s
opponent, or cast other spells that can help the caster in the outcome of the battle.

Although the basic rules sounded simple enough, the strategies of how to defeat one\'s
opponent are almost impossible to master. Since there are many pools of cards
available, "to beat your opponent with your carefully constructed cards," (Baxter 7)
becomes a quest for every Magic player. With its infinite possibilities in each duel,
"Magic continues to grow and is quickly becoming recognized as one of the most
elaborate strategy games in history" (Baxter 5).

There are five colors in Magic from which to choose in order to build one\'s
playing deck. They are as follows: Black, White, Green, Red, and Blue. Each of
these colors have their own unique advantages and disadvantages in their usage. These
colors are the backbone of every Magic playing deck. Let\'s start with black. Black is
mainly centered on evil necromancy magicks and dealings with the evil and the
demonic. Black cards are also closely tied in with the undead, such as skeletons
zombies, ghouls, and vampires. Magic players often depict black spells as: ". . . The
nights in Dominia are full of power, as shadows and black magic traverse their way
across the fetid swampsand bogs" (Baxter 30). Black\'s primary enemy, white,
represents the holy side in the world of Dominia. White harnesses powers of healing
and holy creatures such as Angels, Paladins, and noble soldiers and knights. The
spells and creatures of white tends to "[Preserve] life and work their magic to heal and
protect the weak and the helpless" (Baxter