Magic the Gathering

I recently picked up Magic: The Gathering Duels of the Planeswalkers 2012 on Steam. My brother-in-law was playing the free trial that was available on PSN when we were visiting last month and it was fun. It has been a long time since I’ve played Magic, played in 6th and 7th grade, so I don’t remember much. The basic concepts I still remembered, but there are so many cards and rules now that it’s a learning experience.

This computer game is different than the regular TCG in that it comes with pre-built decks that you can only modify slightly. There is no deck building. That was a disappointment, as I assumed that the game with a set of cards and you would be able to build decks yourself from among those cards. I also purchased the complete package, rather than just the base game, thinking it would come with more cards to play with. Turns out, it just unlocks all the cards and decks that you are able to earn by playing the campaign. Though, it might come with more than that, hard to tell.

One of the things I enjoyed about the Star Wars Galaxies: TCG was the deck building. Being able to build multiple decks on the computer and use them whenever you want, was much nicer than the physical decks. With those, you had to tear apart decks to share cards. Not conducive to trying different play styles.

The game itself is a much nicer experience than playing it with real cards. At least with all of the counters and bonus cards and rules you need to keep track of. It is nice having all of that taken care of by the computer. Especially since I don’t understand most of the rules. There are a lot of intricacies about when things can occur that is not at all obvious.

In the campaign, there are several challenges of various difficulties. The easy ones were straight forward, learn about this card feature, play it, win. The hard ones were tricky, but just a matter of figuring out the only way to win from a bunch of different options. It took awhile, but I solved those. The medium ones, however, I never could figure out. They were all about knowing to play a card at a certain time to cause something else to happen. There was even one, where if you didn’t play a certain card immediately, you would lose the challenge in like 10 seconds. That one was particularly annoying.

Aside from the lack of deck building, the set decks do make for a nice balanced game experience. I’m able to beat the decks in the challenges if I play right, but I never dominate or get dominated, aside from just the bad luck of getting a terrible draw hand. Each deck has a unique feel to it so provides a different set of game play. Some decks are about building up creatures, others about doing damage directly to the enemy, some about healing and stealing creatures, etc.

It’s a fun game, and makes me wish that the SWG:TCG weren’t going away. When I sold my account, I lost access to the game. And Fantasy Flight sounds like they are putting out a new SW:TCG, but as a physical card game. The problem with a physical card game, aside from the deck building and rule tracking, is needing someone else to play with. Now, that is a fun part of the game, but it’s hard to meet up and play with people as an adult with a kid on the way. The computer allows for a quick game, against a person or the computer, whenever you want with no set up. So here’s hoping Fantasy Flights game gets a computer version.

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