A kind of ‘Magic’: One nerd’s quest to shake up video games and create a $1 billion market

Thunk—the dice land on the wooden table, and Zvi Mowshowitz cackles. A lucky roll has endowed two playing cards in his deck with special powers. He turns the plastic-coated slips of paper, illustrated with leaping superheroes, into a horizontal position indicating combat mode. The imaginary characters attack, dealing fatal blows to the overmatched defenses of his opponent. Victory!

The scene could take place in any basement or game shop in the country—anywhere nerds gather to send card-bound wizards, warriors, and Valkyries into battle. But this match is unusual. On this mid-April morning the setting is a luxury loft in Manhattan’s

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