After being a reallife enthusiast that lost it's faith in the new magic, this is a nostalgia trip worth remembering!
I started about 10 years ago, with 4th edition and Ice Age block for the connoisseurs, when it wasn't that really big of a game as it is now. The amount of cards wasn't that terrible huge, game mechanics were easily taught to beginners because there weren't a gazillion special card mechanics, they were semi-affordable and it was cool to be one of the lucky few who could play back then.
The game changed a lot over the years, and to my humble opinion, not for the betterment of the game!
Once they realised this was a solid gaming and money-making bomb, they started pouring out expansion sets with fewer time in between, adding ever increasing amount of new abilities and game mechanics, grossly overpowered or total crap cards, a design overhaul that made me quit buying, etc etc.
The landmark was when they started putting in these so called "foil" cards, which were rarer than rare, mimicking the Anime japanese based cardgames rarity pool of common, uncommon, rare, super-rare, ultra-rare, mega-ultra-rare, once in a lifetime-rare and ....... shall I continue?
Then they did the ultimate move: online!
Now you could play Magic online against opponents from across the globe.
Hey, it's something this game needed, some we should applaud that move, right? Right?
For they made this decision that you had to pay real-life money, as much as it does cost in real-life to own the cards virtually!
To me they changed in money-hungry monsters, those Wizards of the Coast alltogether.
But let's stop this ranting, and return our focus to this game.
I was in the midst of my Magic career when I stumbled upon this game, and boy was I a happy camper!
Finally I could combine to of my most precious gaming hobbies, cards and computers.
Even better when I installed this game en checked the cards available, this game was even more old-school than I am, for it contained the Holy Grail of Magic: The Power Nine!
The Power Nine were a set of cards from the very first printing which were amazingly good, and a bit broken.
They could kill an opponent by turn three.
I was even more excited to notice that this game contained cards from 4th edition to below.
With such power at hand, my hands turned sweaty.
Now, this game has two modes.
The standard duel mode were you battle against a computer opponent, and an adventure mode, were you are a magic warlock trying to free the lands of Shandalar from the 5 archwizards and the Ultimate Evil, if I recall correctly, Azarkon.
The Duel mode is just like real-life. Just laying cards to beat your opponent.
That alone was a welcome addition to computer gaming.
But the adventure mode was interesting too.
When you started you had to pick your skill level, and what colour of deck you wanted. There are five colours of magic: white, green, red, blue, and black. White magic is that of healing and light, green represents the forces of nature, red signifies chaos and fire, blue is the colour of water and thought, and black embodies death and decay.
Each colour had its archwizard whom you had to defeat, in order to weaken Azarkon. However, the lands of Shandalar were bursting with monsters and henchmen you could duel, each pledging allegiance to their respective coloured masters, and they roamed in the colours chosen landmass: swamps, forests, mountains, plains and islands.
By defeating the minions you also weakened the wizards.
All across the lands there are villages whom need your help. They want you to defeat a wandering monster, give something to another village or give you clues to dungeons holding powerfull cards to add to your collection and deck. They also sell cards according to the lands they are in.
However, this is not an easy task. You start with a crude basic deck, which you can expand by dueling monsters and taking cards as prizes, buying it from the villages or exploring a dungeon to get a hold of the treasures within or stumbled upon a stash or monsters lair.
Little by little you can develop a good library to choose from and assemble a few decks to conquer the lands.
You'll need it, for there's no 1 deck to rule them all, you'll need a few decks so you can change tactics according to the type of decks your facing.
The controls of the adventuring parts are sometimes a bit quirky, not reacting to well, monsters can be way to powerful for you sometimes, and the wizards have an unfair advantage over you. You start with 10 life, they have 30!
Later on you can acquire more life, and you'll need it.
This game, and even more its successors and expansions add a lot of pleasure to it. Later expansions add even more cards, necessary tweaks and sealed deck tournaments and multiplayer (which is obsolete by now, too bad).
Occasionally I install it on my computer to indulge in the duelling part, for it is ever so entertaining, and a dream to have such a cardpool to choose from without paying for them!