Help me play MTG my way after all these years!
April 19, 2010 3:09 PM   Subscribe

Magic the Gathering against the computer and online multiplayer: what are my best options for software?

I just discovered Wagic the Homebrew and am amazed that I can play almost every Magic card ever with the card art against the AI. Is this the best one for single player or is there a more popular one? (I've heard something about MTG Forge).
As for online multiplayer, I like the idea of just letting the players handle all of the rules enforcement but just getting back in to the game there are so many new rules so I don't mind the idea of multiplayer with rules enforcement that can be overruled or ignored etc. And of course, free and with the option of installing card art are big factors.
Also toss in your favorite message boards for these independent magic clients if you got em.
posted by dino terror to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (12 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I assume you mean "what are my best options for software besides the official, WOTC-supported game client?"
posted by halfguard at 4:54 PM on April 19, 2010

I've just started playing Magic: The Gathering - Duels of the Planeswalkers on Xbox 360 Live Arcade. It's generally a well thought of official WotC game. It greatly simplifies Magic by not letting you build your own deck; you're limited to a few pre-built decks. But the AI opponents are good, the user interface is good, and the game is easy to play. I'm enjoying it as a puzzle game; I've never really played any CCG before.
posted by Nelson at 4:56 PM on April 19, 2010

Response by poster: I assume you mean "what are my best options for software besides the official, WOTC-supported game client?"

Yes, you assume correctly. Not interested in paying through the nose for virtual cards or having a dumbed-down console version.
posted by dino terror at 5:06 PM on April 19, 2010

I'm not sure what MetaFilter's stance on abandonware is, but there was a Microprose game, made in '97 I think, that lets you roam around a virtual world battling various AI monsters and building decks as you find cards.

It's amazing, I just got a PC after over a year of Mac only living and it was the first game I installed. Bonus - although the game was previously hard to install and buggy on recent versions of Windows, some kind souls have taken it upon themselves to get a version together that works. They've also added a lot of the newer card art, which is an amazing touch.

Search your friendly neighbourhood torrent site for Microprose Magic 2010 and you'll find it.

On re-reading your question, I see you do already have a way to play against an AI. However, I'd at least check this one out, as it can be quite fun to travel the map seeking out the cards you need.
posted by yellowbinder at 5:24 PM on April 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

Every player I know who doesn't use the official online game runs Magic Workstation for online play. It's not free, but the cost is one-time.
posted by Dr.Enormous at 8:06 PM on April 19, 2010

For online play, with no rules enforcement, you want Magic Workstation. You'll need to find the card sets, interface themes, and card art from other sites. It's also pretty good for deck building and analysis.

It is not a very user friendly way to play online. It can be sketchy, you need to know the rules, and you need to know the game interface. If you are playing against random folks you find on the servers, you probably want to either create or join a game that advertises it is for someone new learning the rules. If you are wanting to use it to play with specific friends though, it's great. Fire up a voice chat, or use the in game text chat, and you can play all you like. It is a great way to learn how to play properly, in case you ever want to participate in a draft event or with a buddy who has a few decks.
posted by utsutsu at 8:22 PM on April 19, 2010

Response by poster: I've been having a look at Magic Workstation for online play. It is definitely in-depth, even a little intimidating. Is there a more user friendly alternative I can cut my teeth on?
posted by dino terror at 8:54 PM on April 19, 2010

How about Magic: The Gathering (PC) from Microprose, 1997? It is available on Home of the Underdogs.
posted by Glow Bucket at 12:57 AM on April 20, 2010

I definitely remember playing with a friend via Apprentice. Barebones UI in there, just vaguely detailing the various game phases, as well as the chat panel to facilitate. You did have to know the rules, and you had to keep updating the patch to get the latest sets, but that was the easiest way I got my Magic fix for no charge at all. Too bad about the card art, though, that was always hard to get in there.

That and Netdraft, and IRC to find drafters...

I'm old.
posted by FarOutFreak at 6:36 AM on April 20, 2010

Someone has been updating the Microprose game to work with more modern cards. I think that it only works using Manalink (the online head-to-head part of the game), but there's definitely a community out there who play it.

I think that there's a push to get some modern cards working in the single-player, but I haven't researched it in a while. I really enjoy playing the Shandalar (single player quest) part of the game, but I was playing when those cards & rules were modern, so YMMV. It's playable on Windows XP, but there's a lot of modern software that can cause it to break if you have it installed (newer versions of some core .dlls). I have a XP virtual machine setup just for playing that game.
posted by Four Flavors at 10:57 AM on April 20, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks for the help, it looks like is the community for independent magic clients. I'll get to researching there.
posted by dino terror at 2:02 PM on April 20, 2010

Response by poster: Well I've been mired in Magic addiction for a while now (be warned) and here's my take on the scene: the single player against the AI pretty much sucks. Magic is too complex to be challenged by the AI. Magic Workstation is cool if you want to play with any cards without paying for them but I eventually got around to trying out the official MTGO and I haven't looked back. There are always tons of people to play with, and it isn't necessarily the money sink that you might think. The Planeswalker format maxes out at $25 investment and has given me countless hours of entertainment. Now I am moving on to the Pauper format where only commons are legal. You can build a Pauper deck for cheap. I have about 2500 cards so far and I've only put 25 bucks into it. The fact that MTGO handles all of the rules enforcement is huge.
posted by dino terror at 10:22 AM on May 15, 2010

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