Play Magic: The gathering on your PC, for free and also with a free program.

It is no secret to anyone that I am a geek, and one with all the law (programmer, skinny, midget, with a penchant for role-playing games) and one of my vices is magic the gathering.

This is a card game (not Yu-Gi-Oh style, since this is older and would be the other way around) created by Wizards of The Coast, the creators of the famous Dungeons and Dragons. It is a complex game, with many cards (more than 13000 until today) and with a spectacular organization (card blocks, tournaments, rankings) and just to add insult to injury: it's addictive.

Now, everything has its bad side and that is that it is an expensive vice, very very expensive; I have come to spend in one sitting my savings of 6 months to leave a deck running and everything and then try it and realize that its game mechanics are disgusting and I have to invest like 60 US $ more to leave it as God intended . That, to be honest, is not good or healthy but ... How the hell can I play this without paying so much? Or, if you are like me and still want to play with cards, how the hell do I do to fully test a deck without spending a penny and be sure? Simple! The solution comes from Germany (the country of the VPS of FromLinux) and it's called Cockatrice.

Cockatrice is a desktop client written in C and C ++ that allows you to download ALL the letters existing until today of Magic and build as many decks as you want, in the format you want and totally free (and legal, of course, since it does not pirate content or profit from it).

In addition to being able to download a whole database with more than 13000 cards, it allows you to create an account (free of charge) and play on its public server and / or create your own server (local or remote) to play with whoever you want, whenever you want and , I go back and repeat, totally free and of course, just to get closer to perfection: it is OpenSource.


Well, to install it you must first choose the operating system; as usual there is the compiled package for Windows and also the MAC packages. But for Linux the thing is a little more complicated since there are no meta-packages to install and we must do it by compiling the code.

To install you have these options:

If you are in Arch:

yaourt -S cockatrice-git

En Ubuntu it's a bit more complicatedand ironic):

The first thing to do is install git:
sudo apt-get install git-core
Then (and in the folder you want to download the directory):
git clone git://
Then the dependencies (this step can be done together with the git installation):

sudo apt-get install build-essential git libqt4-dev qtmobility-dev libprotobuf-dev protobuf-compiler cmake

Now you have to compile:
cd Cockatrice
mkdir build
cd build cmake ..
# Si lo que quieres es crear un servidor, usa cmake -DWITH_SERVER=1 ..
# Si lo que quieres es crear el servidor, pero no el cliente: cmake DWITH_SERVER=1 -DWITHOUT_CLIENT=1 ..
make sudo make install

The steps in Fedora are almost the same, but with a few changes to the packages, a user and member of FromLinux (which is just as flawed as me with this) did a tutorial to install it here! and I recommend it.

Once this is done, if everything goes well (which it should) already have the client installed, it is time to download the database:

In the terminal:
You will get an image like this:

Then they just have to look in File> Download sets information and mark all the expansions and blocks that they want to download from the database. I downloaded all of them by marking them (mark all) because I make all kinds of decks, but that depends on each person.

Now all that remains is to register, which is done from the page by filling in a silly four-field form and start creating decks and playing.

I'm not going to get long with the instructions on how to create decks or how to connect because it is a long long matter for another article, although it is simple and safe you discover it by yourself xD.

Final impressions

I must admit that I am impressed, seriously, the game and the client are spectacularly well done, they have all the options you could wish for and it is not automated, so it allows you a real gaming experience, being you the one who sets or removes counters , life or mark the phases of each turn, in itself it is a game interface more than a game in itself, and it is really great, it is worth it both to learn to play and to be able to test decks and have fun from time to time.

The only thing against me is that the search engine is not what I would like and it becomes tedious to search for the letters when you do not know them by name and surname, but it is something that does not make your life impossible.

For now that's it, I will probably continue with this in a new article and I'm sure I want to set up a server for FromLinux, as long as it's light xD

I leave you a couple of images of how it looks, you can customize the interface a lot, but it gives me laziness, I just want to play xD


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  1.   proper said

    Organize home runs we must. xD

    1.    dwarf said

      These types of games are called "Dragons" and each player is a head of the dragon ... You can play dragons with up to 5 heads per team, but the games are titanically long, it is more a test of resistance than of intellect ... I am not going to lie, on a friday night we went crazy, we played a 5-headed dragon and went out at 3 am… and started the game at 7 pm xD

    2.    proper said

      I was referring to home runs such as football, 4 players and a league or brackets, for what you say I would have said "Organize a 2vs2 we must" xDDD

      1.    proper said

        or a "free for all"

  2.   makubex uchiha said

    excellent game xD right now I install it on my manjaro: 3 it's been a long time since I play a game of this style xD

  3.   makubex uchiha said

    ah for arch and derivatives yaourt -S cockatrice-git is used because it is only found in git ._. and if you put it as you mentioned it will tell you that it is not found so you just have to add the -git to download it and install it without problems xD

    1.    dwarf said

      Ready, repaired

  4.   dwarf said

    For everyone interested, I made a forum topic for various things related to the topic, such as sharing decks and learning to use the interface.

  5.   Patofet said

    There is also another one that is very good called Magic Assistant, the only thing that it needs is to be able to test the deck in a game but everything else has it.
    Linc project:

  6.   neomyth said

    Excellent I will prove that it is on the pc, since before I played it with real cards: D.

    And by the way with the arrival of steam, imagine playing this game or its name is Continent of Ninth and this character is the witchblade. The game is free if you want to pay you do it to have more armor better items blah blah blah…. oh by the way it is online multiplayer.

    Here is the very popular dota 2 game and of course valve has it

    Well I say goodbye to the game that keeps me in windows is that I am a gamer and I like games like this I hope they port it for Linux: D.


    1.    dwarf said

      They look good, but I don't think they will carry them, only Dota2 is known to be ported because it belongs to Valve and Valve assured that it would carry their games.

      Others like Aion, I doubt it.

  7.   eleefece said

    Very good post and the program really looks interesting… I'm just going to get nerdy and say that Dungeons & Dragons was invented by TSR in 1974 and even after 1997 it was bought by Wizards of the Coast

    1.    dwarf said

      Oh shit, well I'm not that old either and since I've played D&D I remember it was owned by Wizards.

  8.   Bethania said

    Hi, I want to use this program but it doesn't work for me: ((((, when I write this: cmake -DWITH_SERVER = 1 .. it says there is an error = (. Help plis

    1.    dwarf said

      If what you want is to play cockatrice on your pc, you should not use that line, which is the one used for server installations.

  9.   Hache said

    In Sabayon it is in repositories:
    sudo equo install cockatrice 😉

  10.   Luis said

    Good morning, I had downloaded this program before, but I have a problem. after 1000 laps to be able to install it on Ubuntu 12.04, when I play it, I can't do more than 3 shifts. At some point in those 3 turns he gets stuck in a phase (usually end of turn) of the pc or mine. Has it happened to someone or do you know how to fix it? the game looks very good

  11.   will said

    It did not last long ... the project has already received a threat of lawsuit D =

  12.   shini kire said

    project died: ((

  13.   nahuel said

    Hello, can you give me the links to download everything I need to install it on my pc .. my email is

  14.   Guest said

    I am trying to install it in Manjaro but something does not work, after saying in the terminal
    yaourt -S cockatrice-git
    appears the next message:

    When I answer "No", after installing many other things, the installation fails anyway, which was not successful because ... If I answer Y, it waits for an instruction from me that I don't know what it will be. Anyway, does anyone know? Thanks in advance

  15.   Guest said

    Miscellaneous Notes.
    Reading other comments: Just as it is true that the original creator of Cockatrice received a lawsuit (for which he expects some donations from volunteers for legal expenses on the page ), it is also true that the project did not die, it changed hands. Is in charge of other people in To register there, put your avatar and play. BTW: Wizard (Hasbro) has an egg if it intends to combat these efforts from free software to be able to play Magic, it is a quite expensive game because they want to put it through the roof, and what these alternatives do is a lot of publicity free, they shorten distances, promote game development, in many ways also incentivize the actual purchase of cards.

    For now I have been able to run Cockatrice on the unbeatable CrunchBang - #! - with a tutorial that may require updating (I'm not sure) by the new Cockactrice client, codename Summer Magic, but this tutorial that I followed as it works perfectly,

    There was even another very promising software called XMage,

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