Wednesday, May 11, 2011

CCDD 051111—Smarterer

Cool Card Design of the Day
5/11/2011 -Peek effects, like Gitaxian Probe, are not desperately in need of nerfing. (That's understatement, for you literalists out there.) Even so, I had been looking at a repeatable peek effect and was thinking about ways to mitigate the effects of such and stumbled upon the idea of having to show your hand in order to see your opponent's. And so Smarterer was born:

I originally made this as simple as possible in the form of a one-mana cantrip, but that was strictly worse than Peek, so this is the next step up: Divination with optional upside. I like that it helps you to get a hand larger than your opponent's so that you can keep one or two crucial secrets even while his or her resources are all laid bare.

You may notice this isn't actually a repeatable effect. Despite that being the original impetus, I prefer where this design led me. Even with restrictions like the 1:1 here, you still need to be very cautious about a repeatable peek effect taking all the surprise out of the game. More importantly, any design that comes to you on its own is almost sure to be better than the one you set out to find. That's no reason not to aim for certain goals, but it is a reason to know when to ignore them for something more wonderful.


  1. This is awesome. The two effects mesh with each other. I like the feeling of "I'm smarter than you." Blue players usually don't like revealing they're hands, but you've made the process of revealing into a kind of choice-making that spikey blue players would love.

  2. The "opponent reveals his/her hand" effect is so negligible in power level that I feel that splitting it and getting only a part of it feels wrong. It's like you owe some guy ten cents and he comes to you and says "hey it's okay, I only want nine cents back." It's ridiculous.

  3. I reveal the worst X cards in my hand, you reveal the worst X cards in your hand. Yawn. Hand reveals that don't reveal the whole thing aren't so great, since it lets your opponent hold back the card or cards that you really wanted to know about in the first place, or bluff that they may be there. If my opponent reveals three Islands and leaves one card hidden with mana for a Mana Leak open, I'm not in any better position other than knowing that they don't have two or more Mana Leaks.

    Hand reveals: all or nothing.

  4. Browsing the archives. I like this one, but Luminum Can is right. Perhaps:

    Each player reveals his or her hand.

    Draw 2 cards.