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Magic : The Gathering (Shandalar)

07.02.2018 | Gaming/Vintage

While in midst of a week long statistic exam I was beginning to miss some recreation. I do not game much, still one of my all time favorite games is MicroProse's Magic : The gathering - Shandalar. I haven't played that game for 20 years, or so, so why not recreate with that, I thought:

Welcome screen of Magic : The Gathering, Shandalar

After applying every conceivable update to the game I managed to get it to run in Windows XP under a virtual machine. It actually works pretty well this way. The game is as I remember it, it's a mix of an open world role playing game/actual magic card game. I like this mix a lot, you walk around gradually winning better and better cards thus evolving in the world of the game.

Me walking up against some very tall white wizard

There are some odd restrictions on the deck you play in the game. You can only have 3 of each non-basic-land card. I think you can buy your way into more cards later, but I haven't found one such offer yet.

The 3 card maximum also applies to Black Lotus

The cardbase is from somewhere around 1995. Back then Juzam Djinn was considered the best creature in the game because it can't be destroyed by terror, it is a 5/5 for four mana with a minor draw back, what's not to love. However I only start with 9 life points, so it actually penalizes me quite a bit.

I go first with enough land
Prodigal sorcerer seems pretty good against those lions
Juzam Djinn hits the table
Before it's my turn, I might want to shoot ya

The computer (the playing algorithms of that time) isn't always very reasonable and especially isn't always a very well playing opponent. The creators of the game have tried to balance this fact out by giving more life to the opponent and less than the standard 20 points to me. This is ok, I think, you can have bad draws and lose. Some otherwise week cards like Nafs Asp becomes great against you, and the game sort of reflect the errors you make as a player since the opponent just plays mindlessly.

Pretty reasonable start
OK. You are behind one Mahamoti Djinn and one Ghost Ship. Think that's it

As mentioned you ante when playing. Most commonly you win more than just the anted card off the opponent. Sometimes you get something even more intriguing like amulets or most excitingly a duplicate of a card you own. That's how I managed to get 3 Black Lotus. Your opponent rank from elves, elders and blue elephants to fierce dragons.

A dragon anteing an Ornithopter. I sure can't use that card
I think this match is mine!
That Carrion Ants actually could have stroke me for 7 had I not been able to block with a factory

If you want the power cards, you most likely have to crawl down a dungeon. Down there the creatures have cards on board as the games begin. You can so when finding the right dices. Some adds cards from your deck, others add life. The dungeon is a maze where monsters has to be slayed for you to pass. Sometimes you can answer a question instead which is quite easy given access to the internet and

I might be able to answer that
I must slay that blue thing to get the treasure
He starts with a crusade and I start with a Water Elemental
And the treasure is

The overall goal of the game is to eradicate each of 5 castles representing a color of red, white, black, green or blue. The castle lord (king/queen) has 37 life points making the battle quite difficult.

A destroyed blue castle

And so on went my journey until at some point this happened


Of course I had saved on top of the same entrance, so I might have to start over at the next statistics exam.

Anyway, the game gave me a thirst for playing magic again, so I have decided to buy in on some new cards and join some tournaments. I am creating a dedicated place on this website for mtg - so stay tuned.

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