Magic: The Gathering is a collectible card game published by Wizards of the Coast LLC, a United States company that is based in Renton, Washington. In order to play Magic: The Gathering, each player must have a deck of Magic cards, usually consisting of about 60 individual cards. There also are versions that can be played online or using computer programs. The game can be played by two or more players, and in order to win, a player must reduce his or her opponents' life points to zero.
The game is set in a fantasy world that is riddled with warfare between numerous factions. Each player represents a powerful wizard, with his or her deck representing that wizard's repertoire of magic spells, items and creatures that can be summoned. Each player begins with a hand of seven cards, and once enough mana, or magic energy, is accumulated, these cards can be brought into play.
In Magic: The Gathering, mana is generated by putting land cards into play. After a land card is in the playing field, its mana must be utilized to use cards. The cards are categorized into colors that represent different elemental varieties of magic. These colors are white, black, red, blue and green, with different types of land giving different color mana.
The storyline of Magic: The Gathering is told through inserts contained in expansion materials, "flavor text" featured at the bottom of some cards and officially licensed novels written by a variety of authors. Most of the storyline for Magic: The Gathering takes place in Dominaria, one of the primary planes of existence in the game. Some novels and expansion sets, however, take place in other planes of existence.
Magic: The Gathering was released in 1993 by Wizards of the Coast, a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc. Since its original release, there have been many expansions of the original rules. These generally occur with the release of new sets of cards, which always introduce new individual cards, occasionally recreate older cards and sometimes introduce new abilities for cards. Generally, Wizards of the Coast typically will release a new expansion set once every few months to a year.
There have been numerous awards for Magic: The Gathering. During its early years, it received awards for being a great collectible card game. Since then, it has received awards for the exceptional artwork that is featured on all cards. The creator of the game, Richard Garfield, a mathematics professor, has been inducted into the Origins Hall of Fame, which is for achievements in the game industry.
During its early years, Magic: The Gathering received criticism from many religious groups because certain cards referred to demonic creatures or power. Some cards showed depictions of pentagrams or human sacrifice. For some time, Wizards of the Coast removed all references to demons from the playing cards.