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Magic 1393: Battle Using Playing Cards March 12, 2013

Posted by James in : all, random , trackback

I am inventing the history about how Magic: The Gathering evolved from various card games starting back in 1393, around the time that Europe got playing cards, which was pretty much exactly what the standard international deck of playing cards is now. This is my first entry into that history. Keep in mind that there are no historical records to prove that I’m right about the history of Magic. I am making it up out of nowhere.

There were various card games that had characteristics of Magic starting in 1393. Various elements were added, changed, or removed until it became Magic: the Gathering. Each rule was analyzed. If a rule or card type made the game more fun, then it was added. If it doesn’t, then it was removed.

The original combat-oriented card game was called “Battle.” The rules to Battle is are the following:

Every card in the entire deck is a soldier, and how powerful cards are is determined by how powerful they typically are in combat games (except the Ace is counted as a one). The Joker is the weakest soldier, then the Ace, then the Two, etc. The King is the most powerful soldier. Each soldier is essentially a 1/1 creature and the power level of each card determines what order each creature deals damage. The King deals damage first, then the Queen etc.

All cards have a zero casting cost, but only one face card or special ability can be played each turn (and not both). Also, the court cards (face cards) and special abilities can’t be played unless you control another soldier of the same suit.

The Ace, Joker, Two, and Three all have special abilities. They can be played (and discarded) for the special ability instead of as soldiers. The special abilities are the following:

  1. Joker — An opponent gives you a soldier he or she controls of his or her choice.
  2. Ace — Draw 2 cards.
  3. Two — An opponent destroys two characters he or she controls of his or her choice.
  4. Three — Destroy a soldier.

Turn order is simpler than in Magic:

  1. Draw a card. (The first draw step of a two player game is skipped.)
  2. Declare attacks.
  3. Play cards.

Attacking is a little different than in Magic. Soldiers can attack in groups. If a group is blocked, then all the soldiers of the group are blocked at the same time. All the attacking soldiers of the group enter combat against all the soldiers blocking them.Each player basically has 5 life. A player loses the game the fifth time a soldier attacks that player and is unblocked. The last player to remain in the game wins.

15th century playing cards

A comparison of Battle to Magic:

  1. Battle is the first game with sorceries and creatures.
  2. Battle has a cumulative first strike ability.
  3. Battle lacks damage, it lacks power, it lacks toughness, and nothing ever taps. (All creatures could be thought to have vigilance for that reason.)
  4. There’s only one main phase after combat, so no creatures have haste.

You can download the comprehensive rules for Battle here as a PDF (updated 4/8/13): Download.

The following rules cards give an abridged version of the rules for Battle (click to enlarge):

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