For 20 years, the card game has enabled fantastic duels between friends offline. Mark Purvis, Magic‘s brand director, and Aaron Forsythe, R&D director, explain the game’s power: It’s all in the cards.

Two wizards face off on a battlefield, summoning monsters, casting spells, wielding artifacts. The action isn’t on a screen; it’s mostly in the players’ minds. They try to outwit each other by tossing down cards that signify combinations of powers and strategies. And in most cases, nary an iPad, laptop, or mobile touchscreen is in sight.

For 20 years players of Magic: The Gathering have been collecting cards, building decks, and facing off in real time, person-to-person. Today, the game features almost 14,000 different cards. Every August, a new set hits shelves–Magic 2013 or Magic 2014, for example. Then a block of three related expansion sets follow–Theros launched in September; Born of the Gods is slated to come out in February 2014; and Journey Into Nyx is the set scheduled to complete the Greek mythology-themed block in May.

“One of the great things about Magic and one of the reasons it has endured for the last 20 years is its ability to evolve,” says Magic brand director Mark Purvis. “Every year, we present a new world to players. That’s one of the things that keeps the current game itself fresh.”

Read the full article at Fast Company.