Friday, January 12, 2018

GDS3 Prep: Essay Question 5

5. Describe an experience that gave you some insight into what players get out of the game of Magic. Explain what you learned and its implications for Design.


  1. Teaching new players the game is always a learning experience. It's much easier to see how just the core set is still a complex and intimidating game, and why NWO is so important. It's also the best way to see which cards, mechanics, and rules are the least intuitive. I always feel awful teaching new players about the hand limit and spell fizzling. Thank goodness I don't have to teach mana burn anymore.

  2. I'll use a personal experience. I learned the game through my friends who had been building a cube for many many years. They introduced me to the cards and to cube drafting almost immediately (it's a wonder made it this far with that method of learning!) I remember the first card that made a lasting impression on me – Gelectrode. I loved everything about it, the abilities, the art, the two colored casting cost, the frame, the flavor text, the name. Everything about it totally sung to me. And it made my mind start going off in every direction on how best to use the card. Just seeing that card with two incredibly simple abilities made a very new and inexperienced player start devising his own strategies. I didn't even fully understand the rules of the game, but I got that this card excited me. To this day, Gelectrode is still one of my favorite cards and favorite designs.

    Looking back, I learned a lot from this experience. I can see how Magic can appeal to new players with little knowledge. The aesthetic feel of a card can be enough to totally hook someone into the game forever. Gelectrode doesn't look like it does much, because of the clean design, but that doesn't stop it from being exciting. The cohesiveness of the two abilities totally succeeded in pushing my beginner mind in the right direction. That had an impact of my idea of what makes a good design. Simple, cohesive, exciting without doing too much. A design should lead the player in the right direction and get them excited to use the card over everything else. In other words, a great design should be exciting and fun.

  3. In EMN pre release I had a Permeating Mass and my Opponent had an Odric. The board got so complicated that our attacks and blocks took up to 10 minutes to complete and he scooped after an attack not because he would die from the crackback, but because he couldnt understand what was going on.

    Board complexity is a real issue and keeping effects that make combat math hard out of common is important so limited games dont wind up like this often.

    Mtg should be hard to master but not hard to PLAY. In video game terms its the differnce between a challening boss battle and a system with a hard to use controller and a hard to read game screen.