Why do you go back to town after a couple fights? If you’re playing a roguelike, it’s probably because you ran out of food. If it’s D&D, it’s probably because you ran out of hit points. Fourth Edition offers a level playing field for most characters and monsters to play on, though it has its hiccups here and there.

I think I remember something about D&D coming from a desire to play an individual from out of a wargame, rather than a warband or an army. With all the cross-connections I’ve made to Magic, I’m surprised I’ve taken such a long time to take the miniatures off the board. Third Edition, with its map and minis, had me trapped.

Why is it important to know exactly where a character is on the battlefield? The simple answer is, “it isn’t.” You know a really easy way to handle abstract combat in D&D? Treat it like it’s Magic: the Gathering. “The monsters attack the party, who blocks?” It seems so simple as to almost be stupid. You want character roles? Here they are.

I’ve finished sorting my Magic collection by publication year, and I’ve divided the most recent ones into blocks: M12 + Innistrad, M11 + Zendikar, M10 + Shards of Alara, and so forth. The most recent sets have been pushing terms like “fights,” and “dies,” not to mention renaming “the Battlefield.” You know what’s next? Dungeons.

Maybe not this block, maybe not the next block, but watch for it. There were “trap” instants in the Zendikar block, and there was a “level up” mechanic. Not like I’m the first one to point this out, either. I’m just saying, Magic is borrowing from D&D, there’s no reason D&D can’t borrow right back from Magic. They’re still different.