More Magic: The Gathering Strategy Board Game Info

Editor's Note: This post has been updated with more images from the floor of Essen, as well as an interview with James D'Aloisio by BoardGameGeek. See the end of the article for the full gallery.

The first details surrounding the Magic: The Gathering Strategy Board Game have emerged! Initially announced at Pro Tour: Khans of Tarkir, this game will allow you to assume the role of a powerful Planeswalker and battle others on the steppes of Shandalar!

Interlocking tiles "for customization" and miniatures of creatures and Planeswalkers are included.

Above we have our first look at the layout: Chandra Nalaar stands surrounded by her minions, which appear to be made of of Chandra's Phoenixes and Bogardan Firefiends. With terrain tiles, including vertical stacks, it appears that the mechanics will involve moving throughout the battlefield of Shandalar accompanied by your summoned army. The playing field looks to be somewhat mutable and these prototype figurines themselves look good.

Closeup of the apparent Chandra's Phoenix miniature.

Hasbro and Wizards of the Coast released a press FAQ regarding the game and its mechanics. Here are some key points of interest:

What is the Magic: The Gathering® Strategy Board Game?

  • The Magic: The Gathering® Strategy Board Game is a tactical miniatures game. Play as a Planeswalker—powerful beings from the Magic™ Multiverse—as you summon armies, cast game-changing spells, and outmaneuver your foes on the battlefield. Be the last Planeswalker standing to win!

What is the official name of the game?

  • The final name will be announced at a later date. Magic: The Gathering Strategy Board Game is a placeholder name.

Who is developing the game?

  • The Magic: The Gathering Strategy Board Game is being co-developed by Wizards of the Coast and the Hasbro Gaming team responsible for RISK LEGACY and HEROSCAPE.

When will the game be available?

  • The game will be globally available in Fall 2015.

How is the game played?

  • In the Magic: The Gathering Strategy Board Game, players customize the battlefield by designing the map then placing terrain and powerful glyphs. Then players choose one of five different Planeswalkers and move their figure and unique creature squads around the map in a race to out-maneuver opponents and gain tactical advantages! Cast devastating spells, summon powerful squads, and tap into your unique Planeswalker abilities to defeat your opponents. Be the last Planeswalker standing to win!

How many players can play the game?

  • 2-5 players.

Will the game include any collectible pieces?

  • Each game will include the same five highly detailed, fully painted Planeswalker mini-figures.

What are the five Magic Planeswalker characters who will be featured in the board game?

  • Chandra Nalaar®, Jace Beleren®, Nissa Revane®, Liliana Vess®. The final character will be revealed at later date.

Does the game work with the Magic TCG system?

  • No, the Magic: The Gathering Strategy Board Game is a stand-alone experience from the TCG. Many familiar concepts will be present, but streamlined for the board game.

Does the game use any mechanics from the Magic TCG?

  • Yes, the game utilizes several classic Magic mechanics, including deathtouch, flying, and first strike.

What plane will the game take place on?

  • The game will take place on the drifting, mana-rich world of Shandalar™.

Catch all that? There is a whole lot of awesome packed into this FAQ including some details about Magic's overarching storyline moving forward.

It appears that the design of this game tried to stay true to the customizable nature of the card game with the map being different for each game. This element is reminiscent of Heroscape, a game discontinued in 2010 that was previously produced by Wizards of the Coast which also used a customizable board. Heroscape was well known for its multiple expansion "waves" that brought new tiles, rules, and miniatures to the game. It would be easy to pull on Magic's rich span of lore and planes to add content to the board game in the future.

The storyline elements, however, are where we get to the succulent Vorthosian meat. First off we are back on Shandalar, the new generic setting ever since Dominaria experienced the events of Time Spiral block. The move to this diverse and mana rich plane makes sense for a game aimed at a larger market since it is far more flexible and accessible then some of the more nuanced planes (say Theros or Innistrad). It's also were Slivers were found again thanks to Magic 2014, a fan-favorite creature type for a long time.

More exciting is the roster of Planeswalkers. Only three of the "Lorywn Five" are confirmed to be in the set. The absence of Garruk Wildspeaker combined with the presence of Nissa Revane implies Garruk is continuing his Apex Predator ways for at least the near future. While the white Planeswalker will be revealed at a later date it's a mystery with several outcomes, the most exciting of which is either synced with the introduction of a new white-aligned Planeswalker or the return of Elspeth from the underworld of Theros.

This box mockup isn't final, but the design puts the iconic Magic: The Gathering logo on prominent display.

Keep a close eye on Gathering Magic as more news and details are made available.

Update: W. Eric Martin, news editor at BoardGameGeek, interviewed James D'Aloisio for even more details about the game:

Update: More images from the floor at Essen. Check out our full gallery of images on Facebook.

(Content Manager Adam Styborski contributed to writing this report.)

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