Magic The Gathering is something that becomes much more interesting the more you look into it. Not just a game about duelling wizards throwing spells at each, Magic The Gathering is a commercial game with championships on par with the likes of Poker and E-sports. Richard Garfield’s simple to learn and impossible to master collectible card invented an entire new genre of gaming and created an industry. Titus Chalk’s latest book, Generation Decks, takes the reader into a world that most of us know nothing about. Magic is an incredibly geeky little game, but behind it is a rich history filled with hopes, dreams, betrayal, loss and discovery.
This is a compelling story that gets into the real nitty gritty of the history of the game. From its humble origins as a simple, off the cuff idea to a multi-million dollar, world spanning tournament game, it’s a compelling read. Titus Chalk relates the history of the 24-year-old game in a very personal way. Chalk not only tells the story of the game itself, but also his own personal relationship with the collectible cards. We learn that Chalk picked up the game as a teen, following a move to New Zealand, and how his growing fascination with the cards gave him the strength to make friends.
Chalk uses the back-drop of his own story to relate the history of MTG to the reader in a friendly, chatty and ultimately compelling style. Titus tells real tales in a highly compelling and entertaining way; you get the feeling that he could make any topic interesting.
However, the tale behind Magic really is a fascinating one. We learn that as the game grew, the creators and investors had to grow up quickly. Lurching from one near disaster to another, it was only the dedication of the creators and an awful lot of quick thinking that prevented this gaming mainstay from early disaster. We get a glimpse into the lives the game irrevocably altered, from the humble janitor who put her life savings into its early development to the game’s early tournament heroes who couldn’t quite cope with the fame and fell apart under the pressure.
At its heart, Generation Decks is the tale of a business start-up and the people who made it happen. However, given the unusual subject matter, those stories are little bit special. If you’ve ever wondered what the fuss was about (or even how Pokemon became a card game), then give this lovely little book a read.
GENERATION DECKS: THE UNOFFICIAL HISTORY OF GAMING PHENOMENON MAGIC THE GATHERING / AUTHOR: TITUS CHALK / PUBLISHER: SOLARIS / RELEASE DATE: 6TH APRIL