One of the most popular collectible card games in the world today is Magic: The Gathering. And now, thanks to computer technology you can play this enjoyable card game online with thousands of players from around the world for free or by paying a small fee. Let’s take a look at the origins of this game and see if it appeals to you!
First, let’s take a look at what Magic: The Gathering is and how it works. Designed over a decade ago this game was the first collectible card game, creating a whole new genre of gaming that has developed into a huge multi-million dollar industry. Indeed, every other collectible card game has attempted to recreate the success of Magic in one way or another, but none have captured the public’s imagination in the same way or with as much enthusiasm as Magic: The Gathering.
Magic puts the player in the role of a wizard, battling for his or her existence against another player or players with only his or her spells for defense. Starting off with only thirty life points you must cast spells to not only defend yourself but to attack the other wizard and break through his or her defenses.
But you can’t cast spells without the right resources. In Magic: The Gathering the player has to access the sacred power of the land to create mana, the power needed to summon creatures and to cast enchantments or spells. There are five types of mana in Magic – Mountains, Plains, Islands, Swamps and Forests. These represent the five types of mana available to the player, as well as the spell types. You can mix or match the types of mana in your playing deck to enable you to cast your spells that are also based on what mana is available. After accessing your mana you can summon creatures or cast spells to deal with your opponent.
That’s the basics of the game – but how can you start playing online when it’s a card game? Simply by going to the website and downloading the free software!
Yes, that’s right. Wizards of The Coast, the company that owns Magic: The Gathering decided years ago that this collectible card game could be transferred from being played face-to-face to being played online. The software is available for a free download or by purchasing it on a CD from a software store for a small fee. Depending on your Internet connection you may find either option works for you.
Let’s assume that you’ve got a good, fast Internet connection and that you’ve decided to download the software for free from the Wizards of The Coast website. It may take a few hours but this program will easily install on most computers and allow you to access the online servers for free. So let’s get going!
The first thing you’ll need to do is install the program, whether you’ve downloaded it from the website or purchased the disk. After you have it installed you need to start the program and allow it to load on your screen.
After a few minutes you’ll find yourself at the first screen, asking for a password for your personal account. Of course right now you’re not interested in creating an account and paying for your gameplay, so let’s just click on the “Free Trial” offer sitting just below the spaces asking for your password and ID.
Since Magic: The Gathering has been around for so long certain types of card decks have been created in order to introduce new players to the game without getting too complicated. Much like chess, there are many levels to the game that can intimidate the new player at first glance and put him or her off the game.
Magic: The Gathering has translated this online by allowing a free trial with the player taking preconstructed decks of a single color into a virtual room and playing either the computer or another new player. The benefit for the new player is easy – you can experiment with different strategies and gameplay without being trounced by experienced players or being intimidated by the other player using cards that may be beyond your skill level and those of your free deck.
So now that we’ve connected, let’s head for the tutorial and see what’s there. If you’ve played Magic: The Gathering before you may want to skip this area but it’s a great reminder as to how the game works as well as seeing how the game mechanics translate into online play.
The tutorial consists of you and the virtual teacher going through a simple game of Magic Online with prompts and explanation available at every turn, offering you an easy way to discover this fast-paced collectible card game at your own pace and learning. You can replay the tutorial at any tme, even if you choose to purchase the full access package at a future point.
Now that you’ve got the basics down let’s venture into the next virtual room and play another virtual visitor. You can access preconstructed decks here for your gameplay, each of a different color and highlighting the best that each color has to offer. These other players are under the same restrictions, so don’t be afraid to ask for a game or to click on an open table to get into a game.
The interface here is welcoming and friendly as well – virtual tables in a large room with people or creatures representing other players sitting at their tables. If you see an empty seat, click on it to join the other player in a game. For those of us not well versed in the ways of the computer this is a great and easy way to depict the virtual world of Magic Online.
Wizards of The Coast understands that having live help is a must for any online game and has followed this through with Magic Online – trained volunteers and paid employees are available online at any time for help for the new and experienced player. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from these people, easily identified on the page by the small “eye” next to their names, showing them to be Adepts and authorized by Wizards to help new players learn the game.
One of the best things about Magic Online is that the computer knows all the rules and won’t let you make an illegal move. Too often in the paper card game you may make an illegal action not out of any malice or an urge to cheat, but simple ignorance and the failure of the other player to realise your mistake until much later on the game, if at all. But with Magic Online the sequencing of each move is exact and the actions/reactions of the creatures and spells on the board are set out exactly as in the rules, making them impossible to change or forget. Having a virtual judge online makes the gameplay a lot easier for both new and old players.
You have the option, of course, to move up to the next level in Magic Online and to create an account for yourself and begin to purchase virtual cards and create your own personalized decks. There is no monthly fee for playing this virtual collectible card game – only the cost of buying the virtual cards needed to play. But you gain a lot by moving up to this level, including the option to enter into tournaments and win prizes as well as expanding your horizons in the Magic: The Gathering virtual and real world.
One of the best things about Magic Online is the ability to allow the new player to enter this virtual collectible card game world without paying a cent. Tutorials and preconstructed card decks allow the visitor to get into this popular card game easily and effortlessly, finding out if this translation of the popular card game Magic: The Gathering offers an new and unique way of entertainment. The software is extremely user-friendly and generous in the way of graphics and artwork, recreating the card game almost flawlessly in a virtual environment. For older Magic: The Gathering players it offers a great way to play anytime, anywhere with literally thousands of virtual players out there waiting for you. For the new player it can be an entry into the world of collectible card games, a multi-million dollar industry. Why not check out this free game for yourself and see if it appeals to you?