There is nothing more wicked than casting spells and pwning your friends with bullshit trickery. If you have never immersed yourself in Magic: The Gathering or heard someone cast magic missile then see this.
So yeah, I was prowling Steam as soon as I clocked the Duke and I needed medicine as well as a change of pace. How excited was I when I realised that Magic: The Gathering — Duels of the Planeswalkers 2012 was available right for download in 2011? Well, I started spinning in my chair chanting ‘everyday I’m shufflin’.
No I didn’t. I lied.
Planeswalkers 2012 is the card game for the PC. You can pick a deck from the 2012 core set and unlock more as you progress. These cards are like an exclusive preview for fans of the actual card game because these decks will be available for sale at places like Dungeon of Magic by mid July this year.
Maybe I’m biased because I’ve been playing with Kamigawa-era cards since high school, but the game isn’t too difficult to learn. Let’s not beat around the bush though, things can get complicated. I’ll try my best to torture that iddy-biddy brain of yours.
Planeswalkers 2012 plays a tad slow, which is good for people who are new to the rules.
Here’s a summary of how a typical game goes (after you’ve chosen your deck ((and shuffled your cards and determined the order of play if you’re holding dem plastic-paper things for reals)):
1) Draw seven cards, this is your hand. Look down and, assuming you have them, there are your feet.
2) Do you like your hand? If you are not happy with it you can call ‘shenanigans’ or ‘mulligan’, discard that hand and draw a new one (rules on how many cards you can pick up vary so ask your pals and accept the group consensus — if you’re frustrated and sobbing because you’ve severed your flesh hand at the wrist then this is not your game. Just leave. There’s an ambulance waiting for you. Chop chop. Ooooh, too soon?
3) You can play a land card (mana cards with pretty forests, phallic mountains etc) at the start of your turn from your hand. Note: you can only play one a turn unless you have a card that says otherwise.
4) If you have enough, you can tap a land and summon a creature from your hand from the battlefield. Your critter will have to wait a turn before it can attack because it’s suffering from summoning sickness. Awww.
5) Before you end your turn you can walk away, talk to your bud, make a drink and don’t tell anyone what you’re doing because that holds up the game. Seriously, don’t be a tool and tell people when your turn is over. Gawd!
6) And so the game goes back and forth. Shit gets more complicated when you cast instants (spells that can be played any time so long as you can pay the mana) and sorceries and yeah. Each player has 20 health (unless you’re playing with your own fancy rules) and we all laugh at the loser.
Confused? Cool. It’ll make sense when you play it. You don’t play Magic, Magic plays you. Muhahahhahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.
Back to Planeswalkers 2012.
There are lots of pretty visuals, plenty of challenges to test your patience and a very weak story to link the God-like beings that you challenge in the campaign. There are several game modes: 1-v-1, Free-for-all, 2-v-2 (where teams share 30 health) and 3-v-1 where three players fight an AI opponent who has 40 health (instead of the 20 by default) and deals ridiculous scheme cards to attempt some balance.
Multiplayer is a lot of fun too. And considering the PC game costs $10 (or it’s free if I gifted it to you) that’s a bargain. I would’ve been happy to pay $70 for one copy, considering I paid that much for DNF. 10 bucks is cheaper than purchasing the actual cards too. A pre-constructed 60-card deck is usually $20 and then there’s the booster packs to make the decks more awesome and they retail at $5-5.50 each.
Magic: The Gathering is a social experience. The PC equivalent offers fluid gameplay, but veterans of the franchise will quickly realise that you can’t customise your deck from scratch. You can unlock bonus cards but that’s a simple case of swapping cards out. Again, you can’t really complain when the computer game is so cheap. Don’t be fooled by its casual style. Like Civ, you’ll be telling your significant other ‘just one more turn’.