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The first book about Magic: the Gathering to focus on not the cards, but the people—and how they fit into today's wider gaming culture.
The first book about Magic: the Gathering to focus on not the cards, but the people—and how they fit into today's wider gaming culture. Available now online and in select stores.
The first book about Magic: the Gathering to focus on not the cards, but the people—and how they fit into today's wider gaming culture. Available now online and in select stores.
150 backers pledged $5,152 to help bring this project to life.

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A BRIEF HISTORY OF MAGIC CARDS

$5,152

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UPDATE (04/05/16): WE MADE IT / STRETCH GOALS ADDED!

We made it! In celebration of our victory and in the hopes of offering you all an even sweeter final product, we've added two STRETCH GOALS:

At $6,000 (or for a single pledge of $500), we will commission a FULL FOREWORD from a Magic celebrity, a writer, or a Magic-celebrity writer.

At $8,000 (or for a single pledge of $500), we will record an AUDIO VERSION OF THE BOOK and release it TO ALL SUPPORTERS.

Thanks again for your support!

A Brief History of Magic Cards is a tome detailing the real-life, human history of Magic cards—from its conception as the first collectible card game, its explosive growth and swinging workplace culture in the ‘90s, and its acquisition by corporate overlords and slump in the ‘00s, to its record-breaking sales, obsessive branding, and thriving, unhinged tournament culture in the ‘10s.

Within the chapbook's 50+ pages, the history of the game is paralleled with CML’s personal history as a Magic player, from the first pack of “cardboard crack” opened at age 9 to an addled tournament victory in May 2015. The book is filled with numerous sidebars, illustrations, glossaries, how-tos, interviews, and other ephemerata.

A Brief History of Magic Cards is not actually about the cards, but about the people who play Magic. Its battlefield features wizards like: 

—Peter Adkison, the CEO who brought Richard Garfield’s original vision to fruition, tried to change the world by making Wizards like King Arthur's court, then cashed out for $80 million;

—Mike, CML’s father and first-ever opponent; 

—Floyd, who owned the local card shop; and

— CML himself, who was flown out to Brussels to compete in—and document—the Magic: the Gathering Pro Tour.

CML’s perspective as a Magic player who plays other games and writes about other things makes A Brief History perfect for Wizards and Muggles alike. Know the game? Read the book and learn about how this came to be a part of your life. Don’t know the game? Read the book and get unprecedented insight into an authentic nerd culture—the forerunner of today’s massive conventions and stadiums packed with eSports fans.

The story within Magic cards is fantasy; the story of Magic couldn’t be further from it.

CML is a habitual Magic junkie who's been called an “earthy, crunchy intellectual” by Donnie Wahlberg. His work has been compared to “Popeye’s Chicken” by Andy Richter. He’s written for Gawker, Kotaku, The Daily Dot, The Seattle Weekly, and more. Within Magic, he has gained notoriety for his outspoken views and winning a big tournament in an altered state.

The book will be illustrated by Cassie Murphy, whose work has been on Animal Planet's CATS 101, the Critics’ Choice Awards, E! Online, BuzzFeed, Nerdist, and Tor.com, among other venues. Aside from being a fantastic artist with deep ties to Magic and to nerd culture in general, she is a likeness for one of its cards.

Alex Davis-Lawrence—filmmaker, creative producer, and co-founder of the Northwest literary journal Moss—will produce the book, including completing its editing, design, and layout, and ensuring that the release is of the highest quality. He recently published a print anthology for Moss through Kickstarter, which you can now buy online and at select Seattle bookstores.

A Brief History of Magic Cardsrich in design and detail, with high-quality production values, seemingly oriented towards a niche audience—is a tough sell to the world of traditional publishing. It is a perfect fit for the Internet, where Magic content is published every day and read by thousands. With the help of this community, we can bring to high-quality Magic writing what Magic cards offer players—a beautiful, collectible physical object.

I want to tell the world about Magic, and Magic about the world. Through Kickstarter, I can reach out to my audience directly, without mediation.

I think Magic has something to teach us all, and I believe that a book about the humans of Magic can reach a broader, more diverse audience. All the 'inside' media about Magic is about the cards; all the 'outside' media about Magic paints the game in too broad of strokes. A Brief History will combine the insider detail of Magic media with the broader interest of outside media about Magic—it will be something new, and different, and there's no better platform for that sort of work than Kickstarter.

Of course, we’ve made sure your contribution will be worth its while. The book itself is the perfect conversation starter, equally at home on a bookshelf stocked with tomes, or one with DVDs. In addition to the main story, numerous sidebars, and an extensive glossary, the print object will feature six of Cassie’s acclaimed illustrations, as well as her fabulous cover.

We’ve also put together some dope creative rewards for those interested in giving more support, including a poster of a fantasy map of Seattle, stickers, custom art, deck and manuscript consults, and even the real deck of cards CML played to his last tournament victory.

UPDATE (04/03/16): FANTASY MAP OF SEATTLE ART PREVIEW!

We're excited to share updated art from the latest version of the Fantasy Map of Seattle. A high-quality printing of Cassie's beautiful, hand-drawn poster is available to donors at the $100 and above - if you already backed at a different level but decide that you want the poster, remember that you can always up your pledge! Check out the preview below:

New preview of the 'Fantasy Map of Seattle' poster reward! Art is not yet final.
New preview of the 'Fantasy Map of Seattle' poster reward! Art is not yet final.

Legal note: A Brief History of Magic Cards is a work of journalism, critical analysis, and personal history. Neither this project nor its creators are affiliated with Wizards of the Coast. Magic: The Gathering® is a registered trademark of Wizards of the Coast, Inc. 

Risks and challenges

The manuscript is very close to completion. Between Alex's experience with various types of design and production, and Cassie's experience creating detailed, high-quality art in short timeframes, we are well-equipped to turn the manuscript into a salable book, on time and on budget. However! There's always the chance of unexpected delays. If anything should happen, we are committed to staying active and communicative both on Kickstarter and through our mailing list. You will always know exactly what's going on with the book and your rewards.

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Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    GIANT GROWTH

    A digital copy of A BRIEF HISTORY OF MAGIC CARDS!

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    DIVINE OFFERING

    A print copy of the book, a special thanks in the book, a digital copy of the book, and a set of 4 limited-edition ABHOMC pins (two character pins plus two colors of 'Magic')!

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    ALMS BEAST

    A print copy of the book, a special thanks in the book, a digital copy of the book, a set of 4 limited-edition ABHOMC pins (two character pins plus two colors of 'Magic'), two ABHOMC stickers drawn by Cassie, and a fantasy map of Seattle tote bag.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    GIFT OF THE GARGANTUAN

    ALL of the rewards from the $50 level, plus a poster of Cassie's fantasy map of Seattle!

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    VILLAINOUS WEALTH

    All of the rewards from the $100 level, plus one of three additional rewards:

    - a Magic deck-building consultation by CML (any format, any constraint).
    - a custom portrait by Cassie.
    - an edit and consultation on an article or short story by Alex or CML.

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    ULTIMATE PRICE

    All of the rewards from the $100 level, plus one of two additional rewards:

    - dinner with the team (CML, CLM, and ADL) in the Seattle area.
    - Friday Night Magic with CML (including entry and beverages) at any shop in the Seattle area.

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    UTOPIA MYCON: THE MAGIC MUSHROOM

    All of the rewards from the $100 level, plus the actual deck CML used to win his infamous tournament!

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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    FINAL STRETCH

    All of the rewards from the $100 level, plus unlock (for every backer!) one of two stretch goals:

    - A new foreword, commissioned from a Magic celebrity, a writer, or a Magic-celebrity writer
    - An audio version of the book

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Funding period

- (30 days)