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!
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:
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.
Imgur album posted to /r/magicTCG by user wangthunder.
(Content Manager Adam Styborski contributed to writing this report.)