Magic the Gathering: Battlegrounds
is more like dodge ball than the original Magic card game. Each avatar stays on their side of the battlefield and casts spells. These spells come in the forms of enchantments, sorceries, and creatures. Enchantments affect the general playing field, usually hindering your opponent or aiding you based on a broad rule. Sorceries are more focused forms of enchantments, and creatures are the physical way of getting your message across. In Battlegrounds
though, you have to worry where you place your creature, whereas in the card game you didn't. Once cast, your creature will move across the line of demarcation and try to attack your opponent. If it meets an opposing creature before it gets there, they do battle and the winner remains while the loser is returned to their creator's deck of spells.
Mana, like in the card game, also plays a large role in Battlegrounds. Instead of accumulating mana through how much land you control, you actually run your avatar over mana crystals lying on the ground. Things like dead creatures leave mana, and in some levels it spawns there at given intervals. You can cast any spell in your deck once you have enough mana to do it, but you have to work through a very choppy interface. Even though you're limited to 10 spells, trying to find the right one takes too long and usually results in a costly delay.
Magic: Battlegrounds is definitely one of the better computer versions of Magic, but it still doesn't come off as smoothly as the card game does. Fans will definitely find the real time aspect a thrill, and newcomers will easily be able to pick the game up. A bad interface and a boring Single Player mode hurt the game badly, but there is plenty of fun to be had online if you stick with it.