This week we’re taking a break from our typical book, movie, and music recommendations to expose our blog readers to something a little different –  the trading card game Magic: The Gathering.  
Magic was originally released in 1993, and is the first trading card game (or TCG) to ever be produced.  Conceived by Richard Garfield, a doctoral candidate at University of Pennsylvania, the game was designed to fill up time in between rounds at other gaming conventions.  The game was an instant success and the player base grew rapidly. In 2015, Wizards of the Coast reported that Magic had approximately 20 million active players.  
Magic is typically played with 2 players, but can be played with more depending on the format or rule set.  The game is meant to simulate a fantasy duel between two wizards, with each player casting spells and summoning creatures (represented by the cards) to do battle on their behalf. Players typically use a deck of 60 cards known in the game as the player’s “library.”  The game is won by inflicting damage to your opponent, thus eliminating them from play.

Magic has been lauded as one of the greatest games of all time.  In 2004, it was inducted into Games Magazine’s hall of fame, alongside titles like Monopoly, Risk, Twister, and Trivial Pursuit.  It is often praised for its depth in strategy and consistently balanced competitive environment.  Each card produced is weighed by a team of designers who take into account the effects and interactions that a card might have on both the most recent sets and the older “legacy” cards.  
Magic may seem daunting to learn at first, but countless resources are available online and in stores across the country.  To get into Magic, I would recommend buying a starter deck and then coming into Bookmans to pick up some cheap assorted packs of cards.  The cards you get in the packs can be exchanged for the cards in a starter deck, opening up opportunities for new strategies and combos to play.  After a few quick games (an average game takes 20 – 30 minutes) you will pick up the basics and be well on your way to crafting your own deck and formulating your master plan for victory.