Saturday, January 8, 2011

Decked Builder for Mac OS X, iOS

Decked Builder, from developer TJ Soft, is a Magic: The Gathering deck building application for Mac OS X, iPhone and iPod touch, and coming soon to the iPad.

Magic: The Gathering (M:TG), is a collectible trading card game from Wizards of the Coast.  I've tried other M:TG "helper apps" for the iPhone before, but I never really like them.  Decked Builder is the first that I've fallen in love with.  This app looks good and works well.  I've tested the Lite version of Decked Builder on my Mac.

The desktop version of Decked Builder has three windows: Search, View Card, and Deck.  You use the Search window to find a card you are looking for.  Decked Builder has a complete offline database of the over 17,000 cards that have been printed during Magic's 15+ years.  Search engine is fast and the database is compact.  To keep the footprint on your computer, iPhone, or iPod touch down, card images are downloaded in the background in standard resolution.  If you want, you can turn on hi-res card scans.

 
Decked Builder also gives players all the tools they would need to quickly find the card(s) they are looking for.  You can sort find results by rarity, card type, mana cost, mana color, or core and expansion set.  The Lite versions only provide you access to the most recent Magic expansion sets, meaning that you will have to buy the full version of Decked Builder ($3.99 iPhone/iPod touch, $14.99 Mac OS X) to get access to the full database of all the Magic cards ever printed.  (We're not kidding.  TJ Soft has built a database of all of the Magic cards to date.)

[Editor's Note: TJ Soft has reduced the price of Decked Builder for Mac OS X to a very reasonable $5.99.  Decked Builder for Mac OS X is available now in the Mac App Store with the new price.]

The Deck window is where players will spend a lot of time.  You use this window to view the 60 cards that you have added to your deck and 15 cards in your sideboard.  The Stats view quickly shows you a break down of the type of cards in your deck, their mana type, and a summary how many cards of a particular mana cost you have in your deck.  You can also sort the cards in your deck by name, type, and cost to play.

Speaking about costs, the View Card window has a nice feature that tells you the high, mean, and low price of the card.  If you want to buy the card for your collection, the Store button links you over to the TCGPlayer.com website page for the card.  I can also see players using this feature on their iPhone or iPod touch while at a game store and playing the game.  They will easily be able to see if it is cheaper to buy the card at the store, right then and there, or order it online.

Over all, collectors and players of Wizards of the Coasts Magic: The Gathering will really like using Decked Builder.  It stands out head and shoulders above the other M:TG helper apps on the market today.  The app is well designed and looks great.

Decked Builder is available now for both Mac OS X and the iPhone/iPod touch. TJ Soft is working on a version of Decked Builder for the iPad and an update to the iPhone/iPod touch edition that supports Retina Display on those models.  A Lite version exists of both so you can try before you buy.  You can purchase and download either version from the Mac App Store or the iOS App Store today.
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