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Magic The Gathering: A New Classic? (The Meta Game #2)
The Meta game
Updated: Friday, Feb 12, 2016
Hello, I’m Chaz Marler from Pair Of Dice Paradise, and welcome to the second installment of “The Meta Game”, a series where we’ll not only be talking about board games, but we’ll be talking about talking about board games as well. In this episode, I’ll present an idea in a live segment, and then we’ll get the viewers involved with a short Q&A afterwards about the topic, and then anything else that comes up.

Today, if you’d like to submit a question or comment for the discussion portion of the show, post it in the YouTube chat area along with the hashtag #TheMetaGame. When we start the Q&A portion of the show, I’m going to try using my browser’s search tool to highlight those hashtags, to hopefully help those questions and comments stand out and get responded to quicker. Of course, it won’t be possible to respond to every comment, but still, I’m glad you’re here. And now, let’s get to today’s topic: The New Classics.

On a recent visit to my friendly, local game shop, I encountered a crowd clamboring at the counter for a new game. Curious, I cautiously crept closer to get a glimpse of what it could be. To my surprise, it was the latest expansion for Magic: The Gathering. Player were scooping it up in anticipation of building decks for Friday Night Magic.

It got me thinking about how this game, which is closing in quickly on its 25th anniversary, and how it’s still selling strong enough to be the primary income stream for many retailers. There’s three main game stores in the town I live in: one focuses on hobby board games, one on tabletop miniature wargames like Warhammer 40K, and one on Magic: The Gathering. In fact, the one focusing on Magic is not only staying afloat, but appears to be growing. It recently absorbed the business next door and expanded its open gaming area into it. So it Magic: The Gathering seems to not merely still exist, but to be thriving.

It’s made me wonder if Magic: The Gathering will embellish its place in history as a classic; comparable to the ancient classics like Go, Chess and Backgammon; modern classics like Monopoly, Scrabble, and Trivial Pursuit; or the potential New Classics, like Settlers Of Catan, Ticket To Ride.

Is this a game that people will still be talking about and playing in a hundred years from now? A thousand years from now? And, if so, what is that gives this game - or any game- such longevity? In regards to Magic, is it Its level of accessibility? Is it because it came around at the right time? Was it introduced to audiences who hadn't seen something like that before?

Or, maybe each classic game, new and ancient, becomes a classic for different reasons. Maybe it’s just blind luck, like how certain things become fads, or how certain memes and videos go viral. But I don’t think so. Even if there’s not a specific formula that it can be distilled down to, there’s got to be more to it than just luck. But what that specific thing is… well, if I knew for sure, I’d stop what I’m doing and start publishing hit board games.

So, what do you think? First, what gives a game the potential to endure through the ages, becoming a classic. And, what games have we seen in the last 25 years that have the potential to become a New Classic, earning its place in gaming history for years, decades, and centuries to come?

To discuss that further, let’s turn to the comments.

Thanks for joining me on this episode of The Meta Game. And for more board game news, reviews and commentary, be sure to check out and subscribe to Pair Of Dice Paradise and The Dice Tower, and follow us on Twitter and Facebook as well. Until next time, I’ve been Chaz Marler, and together with the comments section, we’ve been playing The Meta Game.
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