Is the U.S. Tax Code more complicated than Magic: The Gathering? The answer may surprise you!


Some games are notorious for having extremely complex rulesets. For example, the card game Magic: The Gathering has pages and pages of additional rules, commentary, and clarification.

An actual example: 8/1/2005 Goblin King now has the Goblin creature type and its ability has been reworded to affect *other* Goblins. This means that if two Goblin Kings are on the battlefield, each gives the other a bonus.”

Is this errata more complicated than the U.S. Tax Code? Probably not. But it might be close!


Fig 1: An example card from a hypothetical U.S.-tax-code-based version of Magic: The Gathering. Card designs were generated using the site .


It might be possible to create a solitaire-style card game out of the tax code—causing a player to be tricked into doing their own taxes while playing the game!

At various points in the game, the player would need to input certain pieces of tax information (e.g. W2 forms, any 1099s, stock purchase and sale receipts) to a web site. These numbers would then be used to affect the game somehow, for example:

  • W2: Input box #2 into this form. Now add that many Molten Lava Swamp Fiend tokens to your deck.
  • 1099-INT: Input box #4 into this form. Add that many Barrier of Woeful Rueing cards to your Fiefdom pile.
  • Clean air car deduction: If you purchased a qualified electric vehicle this year, place a Slithering Chariot card face-down on the Coastal Fortification board. This token is unaffected by HOV lane restrictions.

Fig 2: Here are a few more representative cards. With strategic play, you can have fun AND reduce your tax liability at the same time!

PROS: Makes taxes fun an accessible, which reduces procrastination. May increase your chance of getting a huge refund!

CONS: If you file your taxes this way, you will definitely go to prison.