Magic: The Gathering PC CD-ROM

Microprose, 1997, 1-2 players, ages 6 and up. This game is really a blast, and a Magic junkie's dream. If you're jonesing to play some Magic and there aren't any warm bodies around, playing against this game's AI isn't half bad. Yes, it does some dumb things and there are a few bugs in the game, but overall the AI provides some decent challenge. The base game comes with over 400 cards from 4th edition (and earlier) along with the "Astral" set (some new cards designed specifically for the PC game). The second release, Spells of Ancients, added more than 130 new cards from Arabian Nights, Antiquities and the core set. The third and final release, Duels of the Planeswalkers, added 80 more cards from Legends and The Dark. The game comes with literally dozens of preconstructed decks that you can play with (and against). There is also a deck generator that you can use to build your own decks to play with (and against). The later editions also came with a very nifty sealed deck tournament generator that allows you to pick which deck packs and boosters (from which sets) you want to include in your tournament. Then you get to build a deck with your cards and play in an actual tournament ladder. There is also the capability for network play, something that I've never bothered with (I'm sure Wizards of the Coast has something much more sophisticated these days anyway). Finally, there is some kind of wacky adventure land called "Shandalar" where you "play the part of an eager young wizard in your quest to banish all evil from the realm". Whatever - I have never bothered to investigate what that's all about.

The bad news is that these games have been out of print and unsupported for quite some time (they were designed for Windows 95 and stopped working circa Windows 98). And unfortunately, according to the manufacturer's website, there are no plans to update them or re-release them in editions that work with more modern operating systems. Just to keep playing this game I rescued an old PC from the basement at work and installed Windows 98 on it. And it's not just me - there still seems to be a fair amount of demand for the original discs, particularly the later releases. I picked up a copy of the main game for about $20 on eBay, but had to spend close to $50 each for SOTA and DOTP (and that was many years ago).

As for more recent editions of Windows (10, et al), the original disks may or may not work. However, the good news is that there are many different ports of the original software out there that supposedly do work. I won't post any specifics or links here (y'know, cuz that stuff changes constantly), so just use the google to see what's out there - IE, "microprose magic for windows X".

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