Richard Garfield

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Richard Garfield from Unhinged

Richard Channing Garfield, Jr.[1][2] (born 1966) is a mathematics professor and a game designer who created the card games Magic: The Gathering, Netrunner, BattleTech, Vampire: The Eternal Struggle (originally known as Jyhad), The Great Dalmuti, Star Wars Trading Card Game, and the board games RoboRally and King of Tokyo. Magic: The Gathering is his most successful game and its development is credited with creating the collectible card game genre. [3][4]

Biography[edit | edit source]

Early life[edit | edit source]

Garfield designed his first game as a teenager. He had a wide range of interests, including mathematics 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, Pennsylvania.

Magic: The Gathering[edit | edit source]

He began designing a game called Magic: The Gathering as a student in the late 1980s. An "East Coast" group of play-testers, comprising mostly 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 set-up and short games. [5]

Garfield studied under Herbert Wilf and earned a Ph.D. in combinatorial mathematics from Penn in 1993. His dissertation was entitled "On the Residue Classes of Combinatorial Families of Numbers." But Garfield 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 play-testers 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 academia to join Wizards of the Coast as a full-time game designer in June 1994. After the game took off, Richard Garfield moved to Kennewick, Washington. There he was known to play Magic: The Gathering with some friends and others from around there.

Garfield was also a primary play tester for the Dungeons & Dragons 3rd edition bookset.

He still sporadically contributes to Magic: The Gathering, for instance as part of the design team for the 2005 expansion Ravnica and the 2011 fall expansion, Innistrad.

Designing[edit | edit source]

Developing[edit | edit source]

  • Revised Edition
  • Fourth Edition

Personal life[edit | edit source]

Garfield has personally created four Magic cards celebrating events in his life: one for his first marriage proposal "Proposal", one for the birth of each of his two children Terry and Schuyler "Splendid Genesis" and Fraternal Exaltation (both professionally printed)[6] and "Phoenix Heart" to celebrate his second marriage. These cards were given out to friends and associates, and they are considered extreme rarities by collectors.[7]

His first wife was Lily Wu, who is alluded to by Wyluli Wolf.[8][9][10][11] On August 29, 2015, he married his fiancée Koni Kim in Kirkland, Washington. [12]

Magic references[edit | edit source]

There is a commonly-accepted rule among the fan-base of Magic: The Gathering that if Richard Garfield personally alters a Magic card by hand, the change is permanent for that particular card. This has spawned many urban legends.[fact? citation needed] The subject of Garfield possessing godlike powers within the Magic universe is immortalized in his eponymous card, Richard Garfield, Ph.D., from the joke Magic: The Gathering set Unhinged.

Garfield has also been immortalized in the card Phelddagrif, the name being an anagram of "Garfield, Ph.D.".

References[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]