"Until recently I had primarily been cultivating Magic's tournament life, watching it and learning from it. Now that I am a bit more distant from that, I will probably be applying the learning I have accumulated in creating 'serious play' to other games. I am teaching a class at the University of Washington entitled 'Characteristics of Games.' This isn't using games to teach, but hopefully it will yield a contribution to the growing study of games, which could indirectly help legitimize games as intellectual sport and educational tools."

***

Many other designers of hit paper games have proven to be one-hit wonders. (Quick, name two other games by Gary Gygax.) But though they'll engrave "Magic" on his tombstone, Garfield's praiseworthy ludography includes the acclaimed RoboRally and Filthy Rich, an inventive game played with three-ring binders. Some of his other trading card games are excellent - Netrunner fans insist it's better than Magic - but Wizards ultimately orphaned them. Even had they succeeded, they would merely have cannibalized players from Magic.

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Garfield still designs actively, both independently and as a consultant for Wizards. He spends most of his time on computer games, "principally because there are so many computer games I want to see that just don't exist. Computer game design has been frustrating because it involves so many people and is so time-consuming and so often fruitless. I have had projects cancelled in many different ways, or mutate into something I didn't want to be a part of. But I am always optimistic; currently I am working on a game for Xbox 360 Arcade, which should come out this summer, and a game for Nintendo with a terrific mechanic and IP [intellectual property]. And some little games for Bella Sara, and a new version of Astral Tournament."

He's learning an authoring tool, Multimedia Fusion 2, in order to prototype his own computer game concepts, "since the established players have provided me with so little satisfaction in this regard.

"One of the areas that interests me most in computer games is the lack of luck. Almost all computer games are extremely skill-based, in the sense that the most skilled player will almost always win. In paper games, from Scrabble to backgammon and bridge to poker, there are many games where the less-skilled player can win from time to time. And, extraordinarily, all these games have an immense amount of skill as well! Someday I hope to have a collection of games that I can play on computer with dabblers and experts at the same time that is comparable to the immense collection of paper games I have which accomplish that.

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