Free Association

Posted in Making Magic on February 5, 2004

By Mark Rosewater

Working in R&D since '95, Mark became Magic head designer in '03. His hobbies: spending time with family, writing about Magic in all mediums, and creating short bios.

Change is the lifeblood of Magic. What sets Magic (and the entire trading card genre) apart from other games is that it's fluid. Every aspect of the game, from the rules down to the look and feel, is constantly changing. Magic does not fall into the rut of many older games because it never settles down into a predictable pattern. Strategies that worked last month might not work today.

The great irony is that Magic is growing older and is crossing over from the “hot new thing” to an established game with a ten-year history. As such, the game has a following that has become attached to many aspects of the game. So how does a game that is defined by constant change keep any sense of continuity? That is one of the great challenges of my job.

To reference my sitcom days, how do you make the network happy with a show that is new and different yet old and familiar? The answer is by finding ways to weave the past into the future. Sets need to have a sense of old with a touch of new. Sound difficult? It is, but as always I and the rest of R&D are up to the challenge.

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