1994-10-05 - crypto game idea

Header Data

From: jim@bilbo (Jim Miller)
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Message Hash: c4ab4327d64baca94ee5791c19bb6663647d0d7e8a3d9e4a9e64a732ef3c8898
Message ID: <9410052026.AA21579@bilbo.suite.com>
Reply To: N/A
UTC Datetime: 1994-10-05 21:48:52 UTC
Raw Date: Wed, 5 Oct 94 14:48:52 PDT

Raw message

From: jim@bilbo (Jim Miller)
Date: Wed, 5 Oct 94 14:48:52 PDT
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Subject: crypto game idea
Message-ID: <9410052026.AA21579@bilbo.suite.com>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

Crypto-Magic: The Gathering

I was recently introduced to the card game Magic: The Gathering.  Today  
over lunch, I realized that this game could be transformed into an ideal  
networked crypto-game.  Why ideal?  Magic is a really popular game right  
now and a network version would require a lot of the crypto technology  
discussed on this list.  So, it's ideal for the purpose of getting crypto  
into popular use.

Brief description of game:  Magic is entirely based on cards.  There's no  
dice or board or game pieces.  Each card represents a creature, an  
artifact, a magical ability, or something else (like land).  Some cards a  
common, some uncommon, some very rare.  Players each have their own deck  
of cards which they assemble from a larger collection of cards before the  
start of the game.  They take turns drawing cards from their deck,  
revealing some (invoking their power), keeping others in their "hand"  
until later.  A player wins when they kill their opponent's "army" (or  
render it leader-less). 

Where's the crypto?

In my mind, the cards must be handled kind of like digital money.  You  
have to have a way of authenticating cards (can't have players forging new  
creatures) and you have to have a way of preventing players from  
duplicating powerful, rare cards.

These constraints imply there is some bank-like agency that creates and  
signs "official" game cards.  They could sell them for real digital cash,  
or Tacky Tokens, or whatever.  The "bank", or another third-party service,  
might have to participate in the play of a game to enforce the  

It's not really like digital money, of course, but it would require  
protocols at least as sophisticated.

I haven't thought about this beyond what I've just described, but it seems  
like a promising idea.  Somebody could probably make money at it, if they  
wanted to.  Too bad I'm to busy.