A beginners guide to Magic: The Gathering

magic the gathering

When Richard Garfield created Magic: The Gathering, the deck-building game, in 1993, he probably never dreamed it would end up with over 20 million players, evolve to 16 000 possible cards in a deck and have over 20 billion cards printed. These vast numbers testify to the popularity of the game. What is it that makes the game so popular?

The game is based on five elemental pillars featuring cards of five colours associated with the pillars. Attack or defend using the creatures on the cards to beat opponents. Cards types such as Artifacts and the Planeswalker can be utilised for varied outcomes.

The fantastical creatures and their powers, combined with the use of spells to influence the results of battles, are appealing. As players advance in their skills, they can use sophisticated tactics to outwit competitors and reach the game goal of reducing the other players' life spans from 20 down to zero.

Strategic and critical thinking required

The game involves strategy and critical thinking skills, both attributes which are beneficial in daily life. According to a spokesperson from the CIA, the US Intelligence agency uses board games with trainees. The CIA's version of the game is used to help agents solve complex problems involving national security matters.

At what age should children start playing Magic: The Gathering?

The age to begin playing is up to the parents and, of course, the child. Because sorcery and magic are involved, and some of the representations of creatures could be scary for younger players, it is usual for kids aged around 9 to start playing, but it depends on the child. It is believed that playing Magic: The Gathering develops critical thinking, math, and reading.

It is also interesting to note that children who grow up playing the game tend to develop vivid imaginations. The creators of Stranger Things, Matt and Ross Duffer say they grew up playing Magic: The Gathering, although the show is based on Dungeons & Dragons.

Getting together to play the game at a games room down at their local game store encourages children to be engaged and helps with socialisation, particularly for those who find the usual sports activities offered at school, not to their liking. It also allows for an outlet for their writing and artistic abilities. For example, playing the game influences many pre-teen and teen drawings as youngsters attempt to replicate the artwork on the cards and form online groups to compare their work.

How popular is Magic: The Gathering?

Magic: The Gathering has more active players than Pokémon. Pokémon has more card sales, but this is because it has become a craze to collect the cards rather than actively playing. In 2021 the company that created Magic: The Gathering, Wizards of the Coast, revealed that the game had brought in over US $1 billion in one year. For four years, the company has been outstripping the projected sales. Most sales have come from the tabletop game rather than digital products.

Increased socialisation

There has been a turnaround, possibly fuelled by the forced isolation of the recent pandemic when people realised it wasn't so cool to be shut up at home for months on end. Meeting up in a safe space to play games is the thing to do in 2022 going forward.

Book our space to play the tabletop version of Magic: The Gathering for a party or a smaller group.


We have full-size tables of 8 x 4 feet or half-size tables of 4 x 4 feet to suit the number of players. Our friendly staff are here to help you with everything from the latest card sets to whatever else you may need to have fun playing at the tables. The premises are air-conditioned and have all the appropriate equipment to make the experience enjoyable.

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