Playing Magic (the Gathering) while not playing Magic
Fragments from imaginary dialogues
“I love Magic the Gathering. It’s been part of my life for 20 years now.“
“If so, how come you no longer play it?“
“I don’t… and I do.
I’ve deconstructed the game and identified what I love about it. I’ve distilled it to two principles: modularity and synergy.
Modularity: Magic is a modular game like Lego, made up of numerous interlocking pieces.
Synergy: Some pieces when combined are more powerful than the individual pieces (an instance of emergence); in Magic’s terminology, this is called a “combo”. The joy of the game for me is discovering hidden synergies.
In identifying the principles, I have transcended the game.
Language, for instance, is a modular structure, like Magic. Just like playing Magic, I love playing with language to discover hidden synergies.
I’m now playing Magic while not playing Magic.”