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Richard Garfield

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Richard Garfield
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Richard Garfield

Richard Garfield (born 1966) is a game designer who created the card games Magic: The Gathering, Netrunner, BattleTech, Vampire: The Eternal Struggle (originally known as Jyhad), The Great Dalmuti and the board game RoboRally. Magic: The Gathering is his most successful game and its development is credited with creating the collectible card game genre.

Biography

Garfield designed his first game as a teenager. He had a wide range of interests, including math and language. In 1985, he received a bachelor of science degree in computer mathematics. He joined Bell Laboratories and worked there for a couple of years, but then decided to continue his education by attending the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

He began designing a game called Magic as a student in the late 1980s. An "East Coast" group of playtesters, comprised mostly of fellow Penn students, formed around the developing game. While searching for a publisher for RoboRally, he found Peter Adkison of newly founded Wizards of the Coast. Adkison agreed to publish his board game and expressed an interest in a game like Magic that would have little setup and short games.

Garfield studied under Herbert Wilf and earned a Ph.D. in combinatorial mathematics from Penn in 1993. Richard believed that game design would not offer a steady living and became a professor of mathematics at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington. He had previously been in contact with Magic playtesters from the west coast and his move brought him closer to them and Wizards of the Coast.

Magic: The Gathering became incredibly popular after its commercial launch in 1993. Garfield left academics to join Wizards of the Coast as a full-time game designer in June 1994.

"Richard Garfield, Ph.D." is also the name of a card from the joke Magic: The Gathering set Unhinged. This theme had been previously explored with the card "Phelddagrif", the name being an anagram of "Garfield, Ph.D.".

He was also on the design team of the Magic: The Gathering 2005 stand-alone expansion, Ravnica.

References

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