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Magic 1493: Combat Using Playing Cards March 17, 2013

Posted by James in : all, random , trackback

The history discussed here is made up by me and there is no evidence that it is based on reality.

The first major combat-oriented card game was “Battle.” It used playing cards and it was invented in 1393.

The second major combat-oriented card game was “Combat.” It also used playing cards, but it was invented in 1493.

These two games paved to way for other combat-oriented card games, such as Magic: the Gathering, and they each introduced various concepts that were used in fantasy card games later on.

Combat was the first combat-oriented card game to have damage, tapping, resources, costs, and life totals.

How to play

To play combat, players start with 7 cards in hand and 20 life. Players take turns untapping their cards (turning them right-side-up), drawing a card, attacking, and playing cards — in that order. All cards can be played for free except for court cards (face cards), and they have a speed rating equal to the number on them. (Aces have 1 speed.) Court cards have 10 speed and a cost/strength depending on the card’s power level. (Jacks have 1 cost and 2 strength, Queens have 2 cost and 3 strength, and Kings have 3 cost and 4 strength.

Some cards can be played as a special ability for 2 cost and are then put into the discard pile. The Ace can be used to draw 2, the Two can be used to force an opponent to destroy two of their own soldiers, the Three can be used to destroy any soldier, and the Joker can be used to steal a soldier from an opponent of that player’s choice.

Any one card can be played during a player’s turn as a farm (resource). Farms can be tapped (turned sideways) to pay the cost of a card. A number of farms must be tapped to pay the cost of a card or ability.

15th century playing cards

Comprehensive rulebook

A PDF of the comprehensive rules can be found here. (This file was updated on 6/8/13)

Rules cards

The following rules cards give a quick reference to the main rules:

Comparison to Magic: the Gathering

Combat can be compared to Magic in the following way: