These podcasts are a monologue by Mark as he drives to work. The new Magic website describes the podcasts as follows:
Magic: The Gathering Head Designer Mark Rosewater shares stories, insights, and more while driving to work. Listen in and learn more about Magic!
Designing to Work
So why should you listen to a podcast about Magic design?
Well, if you are a fan of Magic then these podcasts are bursting with trivia and insight into the design process.
If you are not a fan, then you should still give them a try. Most of the episodes revolve around the history of a particular set of cards. These would not be a good place to start for the non-Magic player.
Instead, you should track down some of Mark’s more general episodes. These are usually crammed full of good design advice. Yes, there is a strong bias towards Magic; The Gathering, but this is Mark’s speciality. However, the lessons are broad enough to apply to any game designer.
Whatever you may think of Magic as a game, you cannot deny how successful it has been. This game spawned the whole CCG industry, and thus has to be acknowledged as a good design. Thus, the pillars of good Magic design are just as applicable to all game design. Any GM who tinkers with the rules of their chosen RPG is being a game designer. Mark has some good advice for you.
A good place to start is with the Episodes 60-62. This trio deals with Comfort, Surprise and Completion, crucial elements for good design and storytelling.
Mark is an engaging conversationalist with a lot to say about broad design topics. Improve your game design skills by listening to Drive To Work.
The Listening Around series of posts are my suggestions of podcasts to which you ought to be listening.