Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Eternal Analysis 014—ambush and fast spells


Eternal avoided making Magic's mistake of taxonomically dividing sorceries and instants: They're all spells, but some are fast and some aren't. Then they dropped the ball.

Friday, January 4, 2019

The Emperor's New Clothes & Activity Analysis

Years ago, just as KickStarter was realizing its potential in the board games market, a concept game full of blank components funded and I thought it was all a big joke. At XOXO 2018, I got to play it with its author, Jonathan H. Liu, a gamer so generous and trusting he lent out his game collection for the hundreds of strangers at the conference to borrow and play, unsupervised. Jonathan reviews game at GeekDad and, I now understand, is brilliant. As is the delightful Emperor's New Clothes.

The game comes with a scoring marker for each player and a score track, 10 cubes for each of the three resource types (dignity, gold, and gullibility), 13 role cards, a deck of action cards, three normal resource dice, and a fourth special resource die. Except they're all completely blank.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

What I've Learned from Guilds of Ravnica's Mechanics (Part 5)

Please enjoy the third in a series of five guest posts from Larcent about the mechanics of Guilds of Ravnica. —Jay Treat

Lesson Five: Undergrowth and identity vs. gameplay

Green and black decks are doing quite well in Standard right now and are even seeing high-end competitive Magic play. This makes it all the more interesting that the undergrowth mechanic landed with such a thud with players. There's very little of it to be found in these decks. There are cards from Guilds of Ravnica in these successful decks, though, and there's a lot to learn about why those made the cut and cards with undergrowth did not.

Monday, December 31, 2018

What I've Learned from Guilds of Ravnica's Mechanics (Part 4)

Please enjoy the third in a series of five guest posts from Larcent about the mechanics of Guilds of Ravnica. —Jay Treat

Lesson Four: Surveil and liberating the jank

Mark Rosewater and other Magic designers are pretty open about the challenges of designing for blue and black together. They've been allied colors from the start, but the relationship between the blue and black is thematic and not mechanical.

Friday, December 28, 2018

What I've Learned from Guilds of Ravnica's Mechanics (Part 3)

Please enjoy the third in a series of five guest posts from Larcent about the mechanics of Guilds of Ravnica. —Jay Treat

Lesson Three: Mentor and simple complexity

I have to start by confessing that I have a hard time designing for the red and white color identity, and Boros is the guild I have the least connection with as a player. I'm a lover of weird and crazy combos, and the Boros Legion has no time for the shenanigans of Johnnies and Jennies. They're too busy busting the skulls of miscreants.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

What I've Learned from Guilds of Ravnica's Mechanics (Part 2)

Please enjoy the second in a series of five guest posts from Larcent about the mechanics of Guilds of Ravnica. —Jay Treat

Lesson Two: Jump-start and making "spells matter" matter

In draft and sealed formats, where players have 40-card rather than 60-card decks, creatures are highly prioritized and other spells tend to be limited. Non-creature spells tend to be focused primarily on impactful cards that help swing the game in your favor. A limited deck may have only a handful of non-creature spells, often removal and combat tricks.

Monday, December 24, 2018

What I've Learned from Guilds of Ravnica's Mechanics (Part I)

Please enjoy the first in a series of five guest posts from Larcent about the mechanics of Guilds of Ravnica. —Jay Treat

Lesson One: Convoke as comfort food.

Anecdotal experience tells me that we amateur Magic designers tend toward the Jenny/Johnny play style and are very interested in seeing mechanics and sets that do new and different things. That's certainly my Magic identity.