Play your cards right

Play your cards right
Screenshot of the Magic game, one of the card games that is getting a new lease of life on the iPad.

Magic 2014, Free to play

($12.98 to unlock all cards in the main game, $5.98 for expansion, $3.98 for each of the three add-on Deck Packs)

Celebrating its 21st birthday in August, Magic The Gathering has long been the king of strategy card games.

In Magic, two players face off like in a chess game, but instead of pawns and queens, each player has a deck of cards which he has put together with cunning and strategy.

The cards contain lands, creatures and spells which players can put into play on the tabletop. The aim is simple: reduce your opponent's hit points to zero before he does the same to you.

In 2009, an "arcade" version of the game was launched for the Xbox 360 and was named Magic The Gathering - Duels Of The Planeswalkers, to differentiate it from the main game.

Unlike the physical card version, which allows the rich to amass an overpowered deck, the digital "lite" version offers all players access to the same set, levelling the playing field.

Which explains why I have bought every edition and expansion since the series was launched.

The fourth version, launched last year, is now simply called Magic 2014. In addition to the PC and consoles, the game is also available now on the Apple iPad and on Android tablets.

Magic 2014 on the iPad is free to play but lets you unlock only three of the possible 21 decks. Fans like me will happily fork out extra to unlock all the cards.

To play spells and creature cards from your hand, you need mana. There are five different colours of mana - red, green, blue, white and black - which you gain only from having land cards of the corresponding colour.

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