Magic: The Gathering Jumpstart Review

12 April 2021
If you’re brand new it’s the best place to dip your toe in the water

The struggles of getting people into a game as storied, complex and frankly, old, as Magic: The Gathering is always going to be a little Sisyphean. But here’s another attempt from Wizards, with Jumpstart. Jumpstart takes a stab at removing one of the most daunting parts of Magic by slicing away the deck building element. Instead, players can smash together two booster packs and get a totally playable, and dare we say, good, deck. Get four booster packs and you and a friend are away. Pleasing names occur when these decks are put together, for example, ‘Smashing’ and ‘Rainbow’ gives you a multicoloured deck that aims to wallop the opposition. The smart part is that you don’t lose any of the fun in choosing the character of your deck, even if you’re not choosing the individual cards. 

The downside is that you’re still going to have to watch a video or read the rules online, even if you remember half of it as we did. The cards have been chosen for simplicity, with only basic keywords included, so the amount of looking up is limited. It may have also helped to have useful ‘token’ cards as are sometimes included in standard boosters (cards with a number of +1/+1 tokens in them, or token minions) that fit the theme. While we were happy enough to rip up some scrap paper to make tokens, it might have been confusing for some.

So, while it doesn’t teach you Magic it does get you into actually playing the game quicker than nearly any other attempt while maintaining a little bit of authorship for the player. If you’re coming back to the game, this is a great way to start converting others in your group. If you’re brand new it’s the best place to dip your toe in the water. 

Christopher John Eggett

Play it? Yes

Designer: Richard Garfield

Publisher: Wizards of the Coast

Time: 20 Minutes

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Players: 2

Age: 13+

Price: £6

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This review originally appeared in Issue 49 of Tabletop Gaming. Pick up the latest issue of the UK's fastest-growing gaming magazine in print or digital here or subscribe to make sure you never miss another issue.

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