It’s pos­si­ble to build a Tur­ing machine with­in Mag­ic: The Gathering

It may be a high­ly unlike­ly sce­nario, but a recent paper post­ed on the physics arX­iv proves that it’s pos­si­ble in prin­ci­ple to build a sim­ple com­put­er with­in this mas­sive­ly pop­u­lar table­top game using just the right com­bi­na­tion of Mag­ic cards. While the inputs must be pre-pro­grammed, “Lit­er­al­ly any func­tion that can be com­put­ed by any com­put­er can be com­put­ed with­in a game of Mag­ic,” said co-author Alex Churchill, a long­time Mag­ic fan who has been work­ing on the prob­lem for sev­er­al years.