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Magic 1833: Spellslinger (Updated 4/20/14) March 24, 2014

Posted by James in : all, random, design , trackback

The history discussed here is made up by me and there is no evidence that it is based on reality. (See Magic 1393 for more information.)

The first mass produced collectible card game was developed in 1833 called Spellslinger. It was the first collectible card game to have colored costs, to have multiple types of spells, and to have lands. It has five different card types in all:

angel's grace

Interrupts are similar to the spell cards found in Spell Battle — they can be played at any time (such as during combat or during an opponent’s turn). However, Interrupts don’t use the stack and nothing can be done in response to an Interrupt.

meteor shower

Event cards are similar to Sorcery cards in Magic: The Gathering — they can only be played during your main phase when nothing else is on the stack.


Enchantments are spells that stay in play as permanents (just like in Magic: the Gathering).

earth troll

Character cards are basically creatures. Just like in Spell Battle, the numbers in the lower right corner correspond to the character’s strength and speed. The strength is how much damage the character deals and how much damage it takes to destroy it (like power and toughness). The speed tells you when it deals damage in combat. The higher the speed, the earlier it attacks (like first strike in Magic).


Terrain cards are like lands in Magic. They are turned sideways to pay the costs of cards. There are four main types of terrain cards, and any number of those terrains can be added to a deck: Plains, Mountains, Woods, and Coasts.


There are a couple different types of dual lands that can pay the costs with different colors.

The following rules card explains the different colors of costs (eyes for blue, ankhs for green, moons for red, suns for plains, and triskele for colorless).

costs symbols

Spellslinger also has a different theme for each color: yellow cards represent justice, piety, and the divine; green represents instinct and nature; red represents greed, jealousy, and the demonic; and blue represents intelligence and the supernatural.

Differences between Spellslinger and Magic

There are three main differences between Spellslinger and Magic:

  1. Spellslinger has no colorless cards.
  2. Spellslinger has no artifacts.
  3. The two numbers on the bottom right-hand side of the cards is not the card’s power and toughness. The first number is the card’s strength, and the second number is the speed. Strength is how much combat damage it deals and how much damage it takes to destroy it, and cards deal damage in order based on highest to lowest speed — characters with the highest speed rating deal damage first, then character with the lower speed, then with even lower speed, etc.

How would it be possible to mass produce cards in the late 1800’s? By 1837 a new way of mass producing multi-colored images became possible with the process of Chromolithography. There were colorful and detailed mass produced Trade Cards during the 1890’s.

Try Spellslinger Out

You can play Spellsinger for free. The images and rules can be found here


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