Saturday, October 16, 2021

Weekend Design Challenge 101621 - Blood Lust

Hey Artisans! Click through to see this weekend's design challenge. Your mission is to design a custom Magic card that follows the guidelines. Over the course of the weekend, give feedback to your fellow designers on their designs and incorporate their feedback to iterate on your own. I'll try to offer some feedback of my own starting on Monday.

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

MOXTOBER - Thirteen: Luck and Solitaire Games

Wobbles the Goose

#wotcsafe

It’s #MTGMoxtober! A month of design prompts for the Magic creatively inclined. Today is October Thirteenth, which means fittingly that the prompt for today is 13.

For today’s prompt, I’ve created a solo puzzle game based on Triskaidekaphobia. The goal is to lose to Triskaidekaphobia while using a 13 card deck before losing to damage or running out of cards. Sounds easy enough! You can use the solo play mode on manastack to give it a try here: https://manastack.com/deck/triskai-deck

Or you can build the deck using this list:

1 Swamp
1 Godless Shrine
1 Orzhov Basilica
1 Scoured Barrens
1 Dross Harvester
1 Cloistered Youth
1 Tavern Swindler
1 Death Grasp
1 Sign in Blood
1 Renewed Faith
1 Fountain of Youth
1 Mana Crypt
1 Triskaidekaphobia

 

I was a big fan of Maro’s Magic the Puzzling book back in the day, so this is an attempt to combine that with the recent trend of Button Shy’s solo microgames. With only 13 cards to work with, the goal is to create enough variance where a player still has agency to make interesting decisions, while not becoming deterministic or too easy. More play testing is needed to see if this particular build strikes the right balance. Will the use of coin flip cards and mana variance be fun or do they leave players feeling unsatisfied and unlucky when they lose to a coin flip? Give it a playtest and let me know how it goes! Do you have any custom designs that would be a good fit? Any luck with other solo Magic variants?

 You can find me on Twitter @wobbles 
Or in the Beacon of Creation discord https://t.co/WXoiKIC1qf?amp=1
Or on my Tumblr where I post other small and cheap game design ideas: brokeboardgames.tumblr.com

Honk! Honk!


Tuesday, October 12, 2021

MOXTOBER - Bones: A Google Sheet Template for Set Skeletons!

Wobbles the Goose

#wotcsafe

It’s #MTGMoxtober! A month of design prompts for the Magic creatively inclined. Today is October Twelfth, which means the prompt for today is Bones


What do people think about when they think of Bones? Skeletons! And what is the scariest kind of Skeleton? Set Skeletons! 

Today, instead of designing a new Skeleton card, I’ve created a new tool for looking at and designing your own set skeletons in a Google Doc: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1G5E_Klct4tyHn2eKvgU_5zoCfzWpyaNWpCkkq_cSRKE/

The previous top link for “Set Skeleton Google Sheet” pointed at this template from Flying__Penguin, which this is based on. It’s really useful! However, that template was made 6 years ago for 150 card sets. The updated version reflects the feedback from Maro’s Nuts and Bolts article from last year and the larger size of modern sets, which is far more detailed that the previous version. You can copy this template to use for your own sets

I’ve also included at additional tab that uses Cube April’s brilliant Scryfall google sheets plug in to (more or less) automatically populate a set skeleton that you can view along side the skeleton template provided in the article. This helps you to see where recent sets have deviated from the skeleton in creative ways! 

This document is certainly a work in process, so please let me know how else I can improve the design or how you’re tweaking it to be more useful!

You can find me on Twitter @wobbles

or in the Beacon of Creation discord https://t.co/WXoiKIC1qf?amp=1

Or on my Tumblr where I post other small and cheap game design ideas: brokeboardgames.tumblr.com

Honk! Honk!

Saturday, October 9, 2021

Weekend Design Challenge 100921 - Night // Day

Hey Artisans! Click through to see this weekend's design challenge. Your mission is to design a custom Magic card that follows the guidelines. Over the course of the weekend, give feedback to your fellow designers on their designs and incorporate their feedback to iterate on your own. I'll try to offer some feedback of my own starting on Monday.

Friday, October 8, 2021

Five Design Challenges for GDS4

Starting November 1st, I'm joining Wizards of the Coast as a designer. As a parting gift to the wonderful Goblin Artisans community, I'm leaving five design practice challenges to help you develop your skills on GDS4.

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

MOXTOBER - Plot: Uncovering Caverns



Wobbles the Goose

It’s #MTGMoxtober! A month of design prompts for the Magic creatively inclined. Today is October Sixth, which means the prompt for today is Plot


For a long time, Steamflogger Boss was the go to example of a White Whale of Magic design. A bit of trinket text that was alluring because it was so impossible. But Joke Problems require Joke Solutions, and Unstable provided a way to solve the issue while avoiding any rules unpleasantness. While this was an elegant solution, it had the unfortunate side effect of resolving the most tantalizing design hooks that WotC had provided casual designers. So it was quite nice of them to include a new one when they released Mystery Boosters 

Now, plot boosters still need to answer the same questions that Ari posed about Contraptions:

  1. Does it create fun gameplay?
  2. Does it work within the rules?
  3. Is it comprehensible and intuitive?
  4. Does it have sufficient design space, especially at common?
  5. Does it mesh well with the other themes of the set?
  6. Does it have resonance with the world's flavor?
  7. Does it appeal to many different kinds of players?
  8. Can it be templated with a sufficiently small word count?
  9. Is it novel?
Fortunately, the Mechanics at the disposal of both WotC and casual designers look a lot different than they did back in 2013. Plot boosters don’t need to show up in a standard legal, black bordered set. They can be their own product, they could be in Universes Beyond, they could be digital. Even if they were to show up in a standard legal set, they could involve sideboards or external components to an extent that that sets 10 years ago weren’t really trying. The wording of the card is most reminiscent of opening story packs in games like Risk Legacy or Gloomhaven. Trying to figure out how to make a card like Planequake work in a game mode like that is too ambitious for me right now, so instead my take will focus on a Jumpstart like setting where a player might have a deck with Planequake and an included Uncovered Cavern plot booster included. 

My mechanic would work like this:

When you open a Plot Booster, remove the first card and shuffle the rest face down. Perform the actions of the first card, then uncover the next card and perform its ability. Then you may either empty your mana pool and retreat, or uncover the next card and activate its ability. You may only activate plot abilities and mana abilities during the resolution of the plot.

This steals a tried and true push your luck mechanic from games like Incan Gold or Mark Rosewater’s own game of scantily clad miners Gold Digger. Here’s what I’m picturing for the first card of Uncovered Canyon

From there, exploration of the pack is random. That means that while you could use a sealed pack for the mechanic, you could also replay it using those cards because the order would be different. For this implementation, the packs would be the start card, 4 commons, two uncommons and a rare. A common could look like:



The common effects would provide effects for off color costs or 2 generic. The design of Planequake ensures that you’re probably not entering the cavern with a bunch of extra mana, so these plot cards can force hard choices about where to spend the initial mana you get from the first card

Uncommons might look like this:




Higher risk!

A rare could be:



Big impact, high price, high cost of failure. If this is the first card you flip, it’s a big upside, but if not, you’ll need to withhold a lot of potential payouts to dig deep to find it.

This doesn’t seem like an implementation that would work easily in a standard legal set, but in a dedicated supplemental like Jumpstart that could include a sealed pack of these it seems like a lot of fun!

So that’s my pitch for Plot Boosters. What are your thoughts? Will we see an actual implementation of Plot Boosters? What other themes could be interesting for Plots or cards that launch them? Let me know!

You can find me on Twitter @wobbles

or in the Beacon of Creation discord https://t.co/WXoiKIC1qf?amp=1

Or on my Tumblr where I post other small and cheap game design ideas: brokeboardgames.tumblr.com

Honk! Honk!

Sunday, October 3, 2021

MOXTOBER - Pawn: Changing Game Pieces


Wobbles the Goose

It’s #MTGMoxtober! A month of design prompts for the Magic creatively inclined. Today is October Third, which means the prompt for today is Pawn .


Nich designed around the idea of pawning as in Rishadan Pawnshop, but I was thinking more along the lines of Pawns as game components in Chess:

Lots of tiny text there: 

If there 0 or 1 pawns on the board, place a pawn on each colored square when a player becomes the Monarch.

The Monarch may move any Pawn diagonally at the end of their turn.

When you move a Pawn to an occupied square, remove a pawn there and claim the reward.

And the rewards are:

  • Create three 1/1 white soldier tokens
  • Draw two cards
  • Destroy a creature
  • Fetch a basic land
  • Deal 4 damage to each opponent
The idea is that for the right environment, you could use Monarch Chess as an alternative for the typical monarch rules. Homebrew rules are an easy way to spice up casual game play without needing to design new cards for your casual format. And, as recent Magic sets have relied on more and more external cards like Contraptions, Dungeons, or Lessons, the easier its become to create alternatives to what those rules mean. 

For example, what if for your next AFR draft, every time you’d venture into the dungeon you set in motion a random Scheme instead? 

Maybe you build a Strixhaven Cube with the alternate rule that every time you’d learn a lesson, you get to Booster Tutor from your Vintage Cube instead? 

In my Un-set battle box, we use a Steamflogger Boss as a monarch token that replaces the card draw with assembling a contraption. 

These rule tweaks can be a fun way to change up an existing play experience or significantly shift a format as play continues. Who knows, a fun homebrew rules tweak might even become a standard part of the game! That was the case for Commander and, in keeping with today’s theme, the invention of en passant captures for Pawns in chess.

Do you have fun homebrew rules variants that you use in casual games? Let us know in the comments!

You can find me on Twitter @wobbles

or in the Beacon of Creation discord https://t.co/WXoiKIC1qf?amp=1

Or on my Tumblr where I post other small and cheap game design ideas: brokeboardgames.tumblr.com

Honk! Honk!