Essays on Magic: The Gathering

deadline for submissions: 
February 15, 2020
full name / name of organization: 
Shelly Jones, PhD

Essays on Magic: The Gathering

This peer reviewed edited collection will be a part of McFarland & Company, Inc.’s Studies in Gaming series.

In November of 2019 the Strong Museum of Play inducted Magic: The Gathering into their Toy Hall of Fame, noting that this particular game gave rise to the entire CCG (collectible card game) genre (  One of the key elements of this particular style of game is the combination of player agency in developing a “winning” deck along with the randomness of when the cards are drawn. Moreover, this game not only relies upon the unique mechanics of the cards, but each play-through emphasizes a synthesis of mechanics and narrative, of game play and lore. 

While other books dedicated to Magic: The Gathering explore the history of the system or offer guides on how to create a winning deck, this collection will explore Richard Garfield’s ground-breaking game from a variety of scholarly viewpoints. This edited collection will critically examine how Magic: The Gathering has changed and challenged how we view analog gaming, particularly as the advent of e-sports has begun to blur the line between analog and digital.  Some possible concepts that might be explored in these chapters include: a look at the rise of analog gaming within the e-sports arena through tournament style play of Magic; issues of diversity in representation within the cards; an exploration of the transmedial narrative elements (e.g. a look at the cards as well as the official novelizations based on the game’s underlying lore); an examination of the interconnections between the mechanics/ludology and the narrative; an analysis of the narratological connections between Wizards of the Coast’s two hit products: Magic: The Gathering and Dungeons and Dragons (e.g. the setting, campaign, and stories of Ravnica, etc.). In short, this essay collection aims to critically examine both the inner workings of Magic as a game as well as how Magic has influenced the larger world of gaming.

This collection is open to articles from a variety of disciplines including, but not limited to, game studies, digital humanities, gender studies, diversity, communication studies, pop culture studies, performance studies, fan studies, sociology, psychology, economics, statistics, etc.  


 Possible Chapter Topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Discussions of how Magic: The Gathering has influenced the hobby of analog gaming overall 

  • Intersections between Magic: The Gathering and other CCGs

  • The economies of Magic: The Gathering  

  • Sociological/ethnographic studies of Magic: The Gathering players and communities of play

  • Representations of diversity in the card art, marketing, etc.

  • Examinations of diversity among Magic players  

  • Accessibility and disability studies and Magic

  • Fan practices and Magic: The Gathering 

  • Transmedia storytelling, adaptation, and Magic (e.g. cards, novels, other media)   

  • Digital versus analog gameplay and effects of flow

  • Interplay of narratology and ludology in Magic 

  • Explorations of casual versus professional play of Magic: The Gathering

  • Effect of audience and/or social media on play/flow and Magic: The Gathering

  • Applications and/or approaches to Magic: The Gathering and teaching/pedagogy

  • Literacy practices and Magic: The Gathering  

This list is far from exhaustive. We welcome any academic discussion of Magic: The Gathering for possible consideration.   

Please submit a 300 word abstract including title and keywords to: Please also include a short bio with your abstract submission.


Book Project Timeline: 

Submit Proposals by: February 15, 2020
Acceptance Notifications by: March 1, 2020
Chapters Due: August 1, 2020
Revision Feedback by: September 1, 2020
Revisions Due by December 1, 2020