Magic 2013 doubles down

Spoiler alert! Sorry, it’s a card game. No matter how cool the graphics. And you don’t even get to trade. Oh, and it’s really $10. But as far as card games go, this is one of the best digital renditions I’ve seen. Four Stars.


Yes, I’m of a generation of card players who thinks cards aren’t cards if they don’t include an Ace of Spades. You could make any game with them: Bridge, Poker, Spades, Hearts, Crazy Eights and Fish, Screw Your Neighbor (a ruthless version of Crazy Eights), Spoon and my favorite of all favorites, Bull Shit, in which you have to lie, cheat and pass hidden cards until you’re out.

My son would be the generation that likes Magic 2013. He grew up thinking you had to buy a special deck for Spades and call it Uno.

Uno, by the way, along with Rook was created for Baptists, who thought playing cards were evil. Rook and Uno didn’t use the cards you used for Poker and other evil gambling games. They used special decks that cost four times as much as a deck of Bicycles.

I was raised Baptist Preacher’s Kid (BPK) and we didn’t play cards, we played dominos. Cards, it was explained to me, were really evolved from the Tarot which were used for fortune telling, which made them even more evil. Ironically, dominos were evolved from bones which were also used for fortune telling.

Magic 2013 follows a long line of game/trading cards my son used to love. These games made bidding Blackwood, Gerber and Jacoby Transfers look like child’s play. After playing a few rounds of Magic 2013 I think I got the hang of it.

You start with seven cards. On your turn you can play a land card and draw another from the deck. The land card gives you x mojo, which is marked on the card. Once you play a card you can attack your opponent’s cards or cast a spell, provided you have enough mojo. If you attack or cast a spell and your card value exceeds the value of his defending card, and he doesn’t have any special trump, healing or counter-spell cards, you win the round and his card goes to the graveyard because it is dead until he resurrects it.

The object of the game is to pit your cards against your opponent’s to give you the maximum advantage. When your opponent runs out of power or cards to play, it’s game over.

Sounds simple, right? You start out with a small deck and can play the computer or other players online. As you progress you unlock more features and decks. Of course, the real object of the game is to buy the full version and then additional decks. The full version is $10 and additional decks $1 apiece. It isn’t clear whether the full version unlocks every additional deck, but I imagine more will be coming if enough players buy in.

So why would you play this game instead of buying real decks and trading with your friends? For one thing, the cards don’t bend, get lost, get trashed and your mother never accidentally throws them away. But the real reason is the spectacular graphics.

Apple loves to pick games with extraordinary graphics as their games of the week, and Magic 2013 certainly fills the bill. When, I say this, you shouldn’t expect anything to compare to the best 3D simulation games. But the color palette is perfect for the game, the cards interact with each other and the illustrations are first rate.

The animated interactions between the cards complement the game, rather than seeming like excess graphic baggage as they can be in so many games. They make it clear what cards are acting together or against each other.

If you don’t like dueling card games in the real world, you probably won’t warm up to them here. But if you are a fan, Magic 2013 is probably one of the best digital executions of the genre I’ve seen.

Jenny Manytoes rates Magic 2013

Jenny Manytoes would purr next to Magic 2013. The target audience is limited, and it is moderately expensive for an iPad game. But fans of face-to-face card show downs will appreciate the complexity and the dynamic interface.

The Jenny Manytoes Rating System


Jenny Manytoes, our polydactyl cat
  • When Jenny makes biscuits on a product she thinks she’s in heaven.
  • When Jenny purrs over a product she’s very happy.
  • When Jenny naps next to a product it’s okay with her.
  • When Jenny bunches her tail she can live with a product, but she has higher expectations.
  • When Jenny leaves it in the litter box….I don’t think I need to explain this one.

About Phillip T Stephens

Phillip T. Stephens disappeared into the Bermuda Triangle twenty years before he was born, creating a time travel paradox so confusing it remains unspoken between physicists and sci-fi writers to this day.
This entry was posted in 4 Stars - Purr, Entertainment, Games and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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