Magic Turing Machine: Who and Why?

Overview - The Cards - How It Works - Difficulties - Older Versions - Future Directions - About

Who came up with this?

I'm Alex Churchill. I'm a Christian computer programmer from Cambridge, England.

Why create a Turing machine in Magic?

I've been playing Magic: the Gathering since 1998, and the complexity of the game has always delighted me. In 2010, a question was asked on the M:tG Q&A website, "Is Magic Turing-complete?" I decided the answer must be yes, and that it ought to be possible to demonstrate this concretely by assembling a Turing machine in Magic.

As you can see from the list of previous versions, it's been through several revisions as I find ways to smooth out fiddly bits and remove required actions by the players.

What other Magic-related oddities have you created?

Several years ago I created a random Magic card generator. I haven't been keeping it up-to-date with recent abilities and terminology, but it's still capable of producing some amusingly silly or amusingly plausible cards, generated completely at random.

More recently, I created Multiverse, which is a web database for people interested in creating their own Magic: the Gathering custom cardsets sets of 100 or more related home-made Magic cards designed to be played with and against each other.

Can I link to this website?

By all means! I'd love for knowledge of the Magic Turing machine to spread far and wide.

Can I contact you?

Of course. You can email me at