Wednesday, October 31, 2012

103112 CCDD—Bare Troll & Friends

Cool Card Design of the Day
10/31/2012 -The random thought occurred to me that a fairly natural regeneration cost for a creature is its casting cost. Regeneration is a little like getting to recast a creature right after it dies, so what does it look like to make that metaphor more concrete?

The immediate concern when I mused about this on Twitter was "Bad gameplay- ties up way too much mana in future turns" which is fair—A card like Selesnya Sentry will rarely be regenerated because it costs so much to do. That said, who's to say the card is only good if it can be regenerated? Sentry is efficient enough to play without the regeneration ability. Can we make cards with matching costs that don't suck?

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Set Design: Round 2 Pitches!

Now that we have eight set ideas to work with, the next step is to flesh out some mechanical themes for these sets.  And it's up to you, dear readers, to pitch these sets in the second round!  You may submit a pitch for any set that you did NOT pitch in the first round.  (For example, anyone except Pasteur is welcome to pitch Athambia Academy.)  You are also welcome to pitch more than one set, if you have the time and energy.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Set Design: Pitches are Up!

The top eight pitches have been posted!
Let the discussions begin!  Please comment on each individual pitch's thread and start throwing around ideas to flesh out the sets.  The next challenge will be posted in a few days.

Thanks to everyone who submitted a pitch.  All of us at Goblin Artisans are very grateful for your work.  Of course, we couldn't pick all of them to promote, but I sincerely hope you'll all continue to apply your design talents to this project.

NB: The people who submitted these pitches are not eligible to submit the round two challenge for their own sets.  That means you -- yes, you! -- are the ones who should be figuring out what direction to take the sets in.

Set Design Pitch: Athambia Academy

HV: This set pitch is by Pasteur.  My comments are in blue.

What is the name of your set?
"Athambia Academy"

What is the core concept of your set?
Magical dueling academy: Top-down "Hogwarts" + "It's time to duel!"

Seven Commons:

Set Design Pitch: Ankh-Theb

HV: This set pitch is by fading shadows of a memory beloved.  My comments are in blue.

What is the name of your set?


What is the core concept of your set?

An egyptian plane (top down designs) has its 3 kingdoms fighting over the control of sacred areas. Whoever controls them can influence the set of planar rules that determine who gets to have a pleasant afterlife and who will be left to the dead-eating gods. The plain is crossed by a river like the Nile. There are 3 kingdoms (Low, middle and high, corresponding respectively to the end at the seaside, the rocky middle part of the river and the swampy sources of the river). The High kingdom is black (minor green) aligned, the middle kingdom is Red (minor green) and the low kingdom is White (minor blue). The priestly organization tries not to interfere, with the kathari (as seen in Shards of alara) gathering knowledge, while the river priests care for the fertility rites.

Submit seven designs for common cards which represent some of the basic mechanical themes of your set.  All five colors must be represented.  You may repeat colors and/or design colorless cards.

Set Design Pitch: Frontier

HV: This set pitch is by cfnlc.  My comments are in blue.

Set name: Frontier

Set theme: Top down western with hints towards an eldrazi invasion

Card designs:

Set Design Pitch: Sephorgia

HV: This set pitch is by Ben Nassau.  My comments are in blue.

Name: Sephorgia (the plane on which it takes place)

Core concept: The enchantment block. Finally.

Cards (all common):

Set Design Pitch: Muraganda

HV: This set pitch is by Devin Green.  My comments are in blue.

Muraganda: Time of the Dinosaurs

This is a set I've been tinkering with for some time. It began as a top-down attempt to bring Dinosaurs into Magic, and to pull slightly away from the relentless fantasy of each and every world Magic visits. Naturally no world visited by a Planeswalker could (or should) be completely devoid of mana and magic, but the magic of each world works differently. Muraganda is teeming with naturalistic magic, the magic of survival and fitness and adaptation. And, of course, Dinosaurs.

Set Design Pitch: Seas of Higaro

HV: This set pitch is by Jacob Munford.  My comments are in blue.

Set name: Seas of Higaro

Core concept: Top-down 'Brave New World' with Pirates, Conquistadors and Natives fighting over the resources of a recently discovered continent filled with dangerous monsters and treasure.

Seven Commons:

Set Design Pitch: Mondombre

HV: This set pitch is by Bradley Rose.  My comments are in blue.

What is the name of your set?


What is the core concept of your set?

Dungeons & Dragons-inspired dungeon-crawling

Submit seven designs for common cards which represent some of the basic mechanical themes of your set.  All five colors must be represented.  You may repeat colors and/or design colorless cards.

Set Design Pitch: Ekkremes

HV: This set pitch is by Jean-Sébastien Girard.  My comments are in blue.

What is the name of your set?

What is the core concept of your set?
"A world without mana rediscovers magic."
Basically, the mana of Ekkremes undergoes massive ebbs and flows, with millennia during which magic is barely possible at all and considered a myth by the populace, to times where it magic is as accessible and well-understood as on any normal plane. We are visiting right as the plane is on cusp of such a change.

Common designs:

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Set Design: On Your Mark...

Readers, you delivered! We received more than twice as many pitches as we needed. Jay, Daniel, metaghost, Chah, and I have spent the last few days narrowing our pool to a selection of eight compelling pitches for sets. In doing so, we've had to pass up some great designs. Furthermore, some of our chosen sets have great premises, but the submitted cards haven't yet lived up to their potential. That's where you come in!

The chosen pitches will be posted soon. (Within 24 hours, most likely.) Once they're up, you can decide which pitches you're most excited about, and brainstorm cards and mechanics for them. After a few days of discussion, I'll post the round two challenge.

Anyone (except for the blog authors, since we'll be judging them) can submit a round two challenge. The only restriction is that you may not submit a round two challenge for a set that you designed in round one. That's right: everyone except the original designer is allowed to submit a round two challenge for that set. Of course, the original designer is welcome to comment on their own pitch, and they can also submit a round two challenge for somebody else's set.

Please remember: this is not a design competition. We did not pick the eight sets with the best existing cards, or the eight sets whose authors demonstrated the best design skill. We picked a combination of eight sets that we thought had the potential to get our readership as a whole interested in designing them. We wanted every reader to find some pitch genuinely exciting, which meant avoiding some safer choices and trying out ideas that have major unsolved problems. Some of these will crash and burn, and some will soar like eagles. Which is which? It's up to you.

Monday, October 22, 2012

CCDD 102212—Thrashing Crabat

Cool Card Design of the Day
10/22/2012 - I made this card in September before Ravnica was fully spoiled. At the time, it was a black-green mutant horror, based purely on the art. Before sharing it I thought I'd update it as if it were going to be in this block, in which case I wanted it to fit in the future multicolor-matters deck alongside Lobber Crew and Pyroconvergence.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Set Design: Last-Minute Inspiration

There are less than two days left to submit pitches!  If you haven't come up with a set idea yet, now is the time to do it.  For your entertainment and edification, here are some suggestions for generating ideas from nothing.  

NB: the raw material generated by these ideas may, in fact, be terrible.  That's fine.  The goal is to exile your inner editor long enough to start with something.  Once the wretched first draft is down on paper, you can begin the process of refinement.  Starting with something already brilliant is a much less realistic goal.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Set Design: Get Your Pitches Ready!

There are only two days left to submit pitches for the upcoming set design project!  Here are some bottom-up mechanical themes to get your creative juices flowing.  Feel free to post your own excess ideas, either top-down or bottom-up, in the comments.  The more pitches we get, the higher quality of the sets we'll be able to select from!

Nich Grayson's Avacyn Restored Cards (Pt 3/3)

This is the final part of the card designs by Nich Grayson, where he designed cards he wished to see in Avacyn Restored. (The first part is here. The second part is here.) I hope it can inspire ideas and discussion!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Set Design: Submit Your Pitches!

The results from the survey are in, and the new project is going to be a set design!  And you, dear readers, are going to design the core concept of that set.  But first, some details:

The set will be standalone.  Block design is a significant challenge that I don't want to add to the already massive task of creating a set.

It'll be a large set.  Balancing a small standalone set for fun gameplay is something R&D has never managed.

There will be no fixed design team.  Anyone is welcome to contribute.  If you have friends who are interested in being part of the creation of a new set, please invite them to join in!

We'll finish when we finish.  The goals of the exercise are twofold: learn as much as possible about design, and produce as good a final product as possible.  We'll set intermediate deadlines along the way to help things keep moving.  But there won't be any time where we say, "Well, this is still not quite working, but we need to move on."

The fundamental vision for the set will come from one of you.  We're going to have a three round selection process to make sure that our set has the best possible underlying concept.  The first round will involve eight set ideas, which will then be narrowed to five, then three.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Challenge #10: Critique

Jules Robins submitted the following card for critique, along with Narcomoeba from Future Sight:

Wailing Drake (Common)
Creature - Drake
Traumatic (This deals damage to players in the form of putting the top cards of their libraries into their graveyards.)

Friday, October 12, 2012

Return to Return to Ravnica

Flavor, focus, fun. Those are some of the initial questions that designers ask when setting out on their independent set design. What's the flavor of the set? What elements of the game are going to come into focus? What makes the set fun? One of the reasons to attempt to "pre-design" Gatecrash is that Wizards has already provided us with the guidance to those questions. But to see it, we'll have to Return to Return to Ravnica.

A Simic Keyword

Here's an idea for a Simic keyword:

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Challenge #10: Results

The challenge was to pick a timeshifted card from Future Sight and design a companion card for it that hinted at a new set they could be printed in.  Before I get into the top three, here are the statistics on which timeshifted cards people chose:

Lucent Liminid: 3

No surprises here!  Another enchantment block is a viable idea that R&D hasn't touched for ages.  I'm not a big fan of enchantment creatures myself, but they're undeniably popular, and that's what matters most.

Patrician's Scorn: 2

I found this one a bit more unexpected.  Color-changing seems like a rather small corner of design space to use for a major set theme, particularly because of the memory issues involved.

Steamflogger Boss: 2

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Announcing Fakecrash

Set Name Fakecrash
Block Set 2 of 3 in the Return to Ravnica block
Number of Cards 249
Guilds Orzhov, Dimir, Gruul, Boros, Simic
DeadlineJanuary 1, 2013
Design TeamMe (co-lead)
You? (co-lead)
Twitter Hashtag#fakecrash

CCDD 101112—Mutant Cloudray & Wings of the Cloudray

Cool Card Design of the Day
10/11/2012 -This isn't so much a proposal for the Simic keyword (as there is no keyword), but it is a card inspired by Bradley's Lurk mechanic mentioned in this line of comments.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

CCDD 100912—Mutate

Cool Card Design of the Day
10/9/2012 - Wobbles has been polling Twitter for interesting ideas about possible keywords for Gatecrash. It sounds like he's actually designing his own version of the set, Fakecrash, and we're looking forward to him writing about it here on Goblin Artisans. In the meantime, I wanted to share an idea he inspired me to generate for the Simic keyword.

I originally proposed Mutate, an action keyword you could put in attack or ETB triggers, or even on an activated ability. Here's it's reminder text: Draw a card. You may put an aura with converted mana cost less than or equal to CARDNAME's onto the battlefield attached to it. What I wanted was Cascade for Auras, but that's madness so I went with Explore for Auras. Auras do a good job of showing a change in something so I was proposing that the Simic guild would have a bunch of mutation-themed auras as well as creature with this ability to put them on.

That sucked.

Nich Grayson's Avacyn Restored Cards (Pt 2/3)

This is a continuation of card designs by Nich Grayson, where he discusses cards he wished to see in Avacyn Restored. (The first part is here.) He originally posted it on his facebook page, but by reposting it here I hope it can inspire more cards or spark off some discussion.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Designs for Red in the Late Game

This is a sequel to my earlier article on cards that make a slower style of play more viable for red, particularly in multiplayer formats.  You might want to read that one first.  Here's one example from each category in the previous article: a fast sweeper, a reset button, a persistent threat, an ETB value fatty, and a boiling pot.

CCDD 100512—Sage Elminster

Cool Card Design of the Day
10/5/2012 - It's been a busy week, but I'd like to post at least one official CCDD, so here's a quicky.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Poll: What's next?

Goblin Artisans has always been a labor of love for us, but having the energy to keep it active is not always easy.  By a quirk of fate, however, I happen to have some extra time to work on this blog in the near future.  However, I haven't decided exactly how to spend this time.  And who better to help with this decision than you, our regular readers and commenters?  Here are some of the options I've come up with.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Is R&D Pushing Two-Color Decks in Return to Ravnica?

Wobbles commented on Jay's earlier article on Return to Ravnica, saying something I found particularly insightful:
"Vassal Soul couldn't have been 2W/U because they are pushing 2 colored decks much more heavily this time through Ravnica. Hybrid mana allows for a ton of flexibility, and it's a flavor fail not to really have any benefit for being in a dedicated Azorius deck."
To which Jay responded:
"I'd agree that the soul's 1HH cost makes it more likely Azorius players will get it instead of W/!U and U/!W players, though I'm curious about this statement: "They are pushing 2 colored decks…" What makes you say that? What have they done differently from the original where three-color decks were the norm?"
I said a few things in reply, but then realized that Jay's question deserved a more thorough treatment.  So, here we are, and I claim that Wobbles is quite correct: they are making a deliberate effort to push two-colored play in Return to Ravnica.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Return to Ravnica - Tournament Report & Second Impressions

Tournament Report
What an awesome Prerelease weekend, amiright? The guild boxes really made the event feel special and choosing your guild created a real sense of camaraderie that only the Mirrodin Besieged event came close to. The die and the sticker were a nice touch. I'm not complaining, but the die made me think how prerelease boxes could be even better next time. Include everything you expect that player to need. Selesnya players would get extra tokens (at least the 8/8 their foil can produce); Rakdos and Golgari would get +1/+1 counters (possibly S&M- / autopsy-themed); Azorius would get detain markers; and Izzet would get, uh, safety goggles!

Prereleases are far and away my favorite event because I get to meet and play with new people and explore a brand new game (which is basically my favorite activity ever). It's also a huge boost to my ego because adapting to new environments is my strongest suit in competitive play and I always do very well. Oh and then there's Two-Headed Giant.

Challenge #10: Back to the Future

Happy World Vegetarian Day, designers!  This week's challenge is inspired by the strangest of non-silver-bordered sets: Future Sight.  It featured a whopping 81 timeshifted cards from... the future!  Some of these cards, like Mistmeadow Skulk and Boldwyr Intimidator, have found homes in more recent sets.  But most of them are still waiting for their chance.  Can you give it to them?