Since 1993, Magic: The Gathering has spawned literally thousands of cards and countless playing methods. An estimated 20 million people play MTG around the world, making it one of the most widely-played trading card games of all time.
It’s also a cultural tour de force, the first collectible card game. Everything from the Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh! trading card games, to digital card games like Hearthstone have their roots in MTG’s innovative collectible booster packs and simple-but-deep duelling gameplay.
And that’s no wonder, because Magic: The Gathering is an excellent game. It marries social gaming, the themes and artwork of a fantastical multiverse, and the tactics and hardline strategy of something closer to chess.
Even better, publisher Wizards of the Coast has ensured that it’s easy to play socially all across the world, with most local tabletop shops holding Friday Night Magic events weekly for newcomers and veterans alike, as well as playing online via its digital incarnation Magic: The Gathering Arena.
That said, the series has collected so many products over its 25 year history – including more than 15,000 different cards – that it can be near-impossible to work out exactly how to start if you’re a beginner.
Here, we’ll be outlining the basics of how Magic: The Gathering works, what to buy to get started and where to move onto once you’ve grasped the basics.
So whether you want to play online or off, as a pair or in a group, here is how to get playing the Magic: The Gathering card game.