|Originally posted by George Smiley |
How do you play it (have always wondered like)
Is it anything like the Pokemon card game?
I don't know the Pokemon card game, but have been told that it's MTG for younglings. The comprehensive rulebook for MTG is 80+ pages, so I can only give a brief summary:
Basically, you build a deck by choosing at least 60 cards from your collection and then no more than 15 others to serve as your sideboard. A game starts with you and your opponent having 20 lifepoints and drawing seven cards from your decks. It then continues by you and your opponent taking turns playing. A turn consists of drawing a card and then playing your hand.
Each card is either a land or a spell. You can put a maximum of one land into play each turn, and they serve as the provider of your main resource (apart from your hand): Mana. The more lands you've got the more mana you have each turn. Mana comes in six different varieties and you can use it to play your spells. Spells either are one-shot effects (e.g. opponent loses 5 life points, you get to draw some extra cards etc.) or they become permanents that lie on the table in front of you for the rest of the game. These can then be used to attack your opponent (if they're creatures), be used for triggering spell-like effects, or change the rules of the game (e.g. when this card is on the table your opponent is not allowed to attack you with his creatures).
When you reach 0 lifepoints you have lost the game. Both you and your opponent are now allowed to exchange cards in your deck for cards in your sideboard, and you play another game, and possibly a third one, until one of you have won two games. That person is then the overall winner.
So the attraction of the game is some mixture of the following:
- collecting/trading cards and, unlike stamps to a philatelist, actually using your collector's trophies to have fun
- building a deck (a very creative process), which is my favourite part of the game,
- tuning your deck as you gain experience through playing it,
- learning to swap in cards from your sideboard, and when not to,
- managing an overview throughout a game can be an extreme mental challenge (two fixed 60-card decks allow for much more game states than a game of chess, and there's more than 60 to the power of 5000 playable decks with the current pool of cards), and it takes lots of practice before you're able to play your deck without making mistakes during play,
- you can drink beers while playing,
- people making mistakes while playing is fun when you drink beers at the same time