ichard Garfield knows a thing or two about games. In other news, water is wet, the sun is hot, and Tarmogoyf is pretty good, I hear.
No, you don't need to be a genius to see that the man who created Magic—and, in the process, the concept of the trading card game—probably is. But it's my guess that relatively few magicthegathering.com readers have any direct experience with his thoughts on games and game design.
Once upon a time, Dr. Garfield had a (mostly) monthly column called Lost in the Shuffle in The Duelist magazine, the spiritual precursor to magicthegathering.com. Each installment was short, just one or two pages, but always packed with ideas about how and why people play games, and how that affects game design. It always seemed to me like a sort of game design journal—a quick thousand words on whatever topic in gaming had caught the good doctor's attention. Being so brief, it was neither possible nor intended for Lost in the Shuffle to tackle any one subject in full depth. Rather, it was a springboard, a jumping-off point to get readers thinking about game-related topics.
Richard Garfield's single online installment of Lost in the Shuffle (Removing Busywork, which he wrote for The Past Returns Week in 2006) is representative of the column in length, tone, and subject matter—a brief but information-packed meditation on a single gaming-related topic. Reading it got me searching back through my old issues of The Duelist for more, and I wasn't disappointed.
Of course, not everyone has old issues of The Duelist handy, so I decided it would be fun to give you the chance to do what I did and check out some of those old Lost in the Shuffle columns for yourselves. Below are ten installments selected from the archives, not because they're exceptional examples—the column was quite consistent—but because they are representative. Read, reread, consider, and enjoy.