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MAGIC the GATHERING 2014 Online. Duels of the Planeswalkers.
Wizards of the Coast. Stainless Steel Games. Alien Wave. Available for STEAM on the PC.

Let me begin by saying that this has everything that a game of MtG played face-to-face has, except the visible opposition.
The virtual cards look and play like the actual cards you can hold and as they are briefly animated - there are sparkles and
connection power lines, for example, but no fireworks, explosions or over elaborated graphic animations like some games
have included in the past. This is a game that covers the challenge of deck building and the skill (and luck) of playing the
cards as they are dealt. If you are a Magic the Gathering player and you want to hone your skills or you cannot find enough
players local to you then you need look no further than MAGIC 2014 online.

There are two main options when the game first opens - Single or Multiplayer. From these rthere are other options and lists
to select from. Campaign allows you to build as you go, winning sealed booster packs to augment (possibly) your current
deck, while Sealed Play gives you a number of unopened Boosters and requires that you make up a deck of at least 40 cards
including Lands. You can make a deck of one colour or multi-colours but as with the real card game, the bigger the deck you
make the more Lands you need - if I remember correctly the ratio should be something like 20 Lands in a 50 card deck, but
then again I never used to win at MtG so don't take my word for it.

The Decks:
To begin with you have very little choice of Decks to use, but as you progress through winning games more options open up.
Examples of Locked Decks: Enter the Dracomancer. Deadwalkers. Chant of the Mul Daya. Guardians of Light.

Then there are Challenges, Custom Game, Free For All or Two-Headed Giant. The Games Difficulty levels are given the
names Mage (easy) Archmage (normal) and PLaneswalker (Hard).

Winning certain games allows you to select an opponent from a given number whom if you defeat you gain a reward (usually
an unopened Booster pack).

There are some extras which you can visit - the Card Gallery and the Video Gallery as examples, plus there are some possibilities
for Promotional add-ons to your online or physical decks.*

COMMAND the DEAD: You have a Grave Titan and an army of Black cards.

GIRD for WAR: The deck you use has powerful equipment and your opponent a powerful defence.

BATTLE TACTICS: Angelic Heart is badly hurting you, you must defeat it before your life is drained away.

BLOOD is LIFE: Repel or Defend the attacks against you then swiftly and deadly counter-attack.

DEFEAT the TROLL: A Cudgel Troll is the last and toughest bastion of your opponents defence - defeat it.

* I had a code to gain a physical card by visiting the Wizards website but despite answering all the questions and leaving my details
as requested I could find no way to print the coupon which is required for you to take to your local MtG store.

In all aspects of play this is an extremely good likeness to the physical game. Of course you don't quite live the tension of guessing
or bluffing your opponent(s) but as a challenging TCG it cannot be faulted. Of course there is always the tendency to claim that the
computer's AI cheats when your opponent gets an early run of Land followed by a run of the most useful and usable creature cards.

My only problem with the game may be able to be fixed within my own PC or monitor but I cannot find out how to. The game screen
on which one plays is set off to the left (as viewed) of the screen and thus part of the Action Buttons are cut off and the text on them
cannot be read. The screen needs centring but I have no way to do it and as far as I know there is no grab and move the screen ability.
Examples of these orders/actions are: No Attack  Continue or Stop the Timer but all I can see of these are ttack, tinue and Timer .
This is quite frustrating but as I said it may be down to my monitor which has only controls for brightness, volume etc as far as I can


© Chris Baylis 2011-2015