Magic The Gathering: Duels of the PlainsWalker

I’ll admit this up front, I will never play Magic the Gathering before, and I went into Duels of the Planeswalkers a newb. The reason I am not playing the series before is not due to some aversion to the geeky stigmata, as I will not play card games before. So unlike a completely fresh faced player I understood how to ‘tap that’.

 

Duels of the PlainsWalker

Magic The Gathering: Personal Experience About Duels of the PlainsWalker

Stainless Games digital rendition of the famous Wizards of the Coast card game is quite simply a digital version of the card game. This isn’t some first person shooter based in the Magic universe. You can rendention of the game that has captured the hearts of thousands of people across the globe. So here is the games first problem, if you are not interested in Magic the Gathering in the first place. There is nothing here to change your mind on first glance. This is closer and further from the truth than you might think, a mix if you will.

As an avid fan of the Marvel TCG system, I discovered how much collecting and creating a deck for play can cost. Sure you can by the initial pack, but you will want to pick up boosters. To give yourself some variety and search for that ever illusive special card that gives you the edge. As Duels of the Plains walker is an entire package. The game presents all the cards you will ever need to make a tournament worthy deck from the off. Considering the game is £6.99 on steam the savings here from the real version are truly tangible. Admittedly there is already an expansion available with new decks and modes. It is only £3.99 and it isn’t 100% necessary to play. However you can access this content as and when they require.

If You Are Interested You Can Make A Try!

Sometimes you will be eager to play but you didn’t play the game before, allow me to explain how the system works. The game requires 2 players, each with their own deck. Each of these decks can be geared towards a certain style of play or a mix of all which is only recommended for absolute pros. Each player takes a turn, which involves placing cards, attacking and another placement.

In multiple stages players can use cards to add extra effects or deny their opponent a move. A large number of the creature cards come with special rules or powers that are activated under specific circumstances. The game revolves around knowing your deck and playing the game accordingly. Each player will only see a certain amount of their cards due to you only drawing one card a turn. Each player has 20 life to begin with which is decreasing through attacks and spells or boosted by effects. Once one player is reduced to 0 the game is over.

Unlike the physical card game, for DotP you will not require someone else to be playing with you, although the option is of course available. DotP comes with a fully realized campaign mode that allows you to test your skill (or luck) versus a number of Ai controlled characters, each with their own specific deck. Now if you’re like me you will want to play the tutorial before you start. After that you will want to check every card your opponent places down.

The game does anything but take it easy on you; it took me a total of 10 attempts before I could beat my first opponent. Using the first deck, you can see the advantages of the cards presented. When your opponent has direct damage spells and your left unaware. However the game goes smooth and quick. I don’t know exactly you have container in your first deck so that leaves you hindered from the off.

Second Battle

The second battle went just as well; you face a healer/defensive type with plenty of flying creatures. With your deck only having one creature that can actually defend against flying creatures your chance become quite slim. This is a real shame that the game didn’t account for people that are new to the game. You give them perhaps some preliminary opponents whose decks are not quite so powerful. It will leave you to win but learn the rules at the same time. After luring players in with a cheaper cost and the ability to hide the geeky shame of playing it in public, the developers really miss a beat.

The game isn’t helps by an infuriating interface. The main menu itself is full of options and can be a little frightening for first timers. The options proper are everything you would expect, but require you to shut down the program before any of the changes take effect, a very old school problem. The deck manager itself comes with no tutorial and for beginners that is an impossible task. Figuring out which cards you need and which you don’t without some sort of reference is suicidal. Perhaps even hints like ‘it is standard to take X number of Mana cards on average’, of course this won’t always be true, but is a nice guideline to start.

Conclusion

While the interface is poor the actual controls for the game are pretty good. With only your mouse required for play, the amount you can do is fantastic. The left click is used for pretty much every move, with the stages of battle displayed by a counter across the top of the screen. While there is a timer for stages, players can easily pause the counter to check their cards or just to have a think.. If you want a closer look at either one of your cards or one your opponent playing (no peaking at their hand!) a simple flick of the mouse wheel brings the card into focus.

From here any special rules you may wish to know about can be studied in the ‘More Info’ tab at the side of the card. This is strangely now your best way to learn the rules the tutorial failed to mention. If you don’t fancy learning the rules form here, the game will be sure to remind you what every card does. If you don’t dismiss the rule this way it will come up every time it’s used!

The real problem with the game, unless you’re new to the franchise. With most fans already owning decks if huge proportions and new boosters readily available with a host of players. It will have some little potential for stealing that market. Unlike the digital rendition of Blood bowl (Games workshop’s fantasy football). Magic is still alive and well, with a huge community, so the digital version is surplus to demand, no matter how well it is made. I can’t able to flaw the game for content other than it doesn’t appeal very well to any market.

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