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.

Random card comments of the day - An homage to the original series by Aaron Forsythe.  Every day, I hit the "random" button on Gatherer, then discuss the card from the perspective of game design.

Crowdsourcing a set design - Much like the m13 project, but with an entirely new set.

Imaginary Great Designer Search - A mock Great Designer Search, for those of us who simply can't wait for GDS3.  Much like the design challenges I've been running, but larger scale, with more community collaboration, and a single finalist eliminated every two weeks.

Resuming "Reinventing Alpha" - A thought exercise about what Alpha would be like if we designed it today.  You can see the early work on this series here.

Other - I'm very interested in hearing your ideas on what this blog needs more of.  Let me have it in the comments!

What should HV work on?


  1. Some ideas:

    Cycles of cards analysis and completion.

    Removing all reprints from an expansion and trying to fill the holes, or selecting the cards with community rating <1 in expansions and filling the holes.

    Alernative designs: breaking down mechanics into categories, exploring the remaining space. I would gladly do that after I finish my phd, now that I think of it.

  2. What about redistributing the color pie - philosophically and mechanically - assuming that the game had N colors, where N != 5?

  3. Yay! New content!

    I'd like a GDS style "create a plane and block" challenge, with the caveat that any individual can compete and have a voice in judging. I love HavelockV's challenges, but the judging often feels subjective. With everyone getting to give a judging opinion we can better represent the community of designers. Also, I'd like to build cards based on art, tune keywords via community input, and not have eliminations until the design files are complete. That last part is important, because there are a lot of layers to design and getting kicked out of the competition early on wouldn't benefit anyone.

    1. Plus, it would be awesome to use Dropbox again for comment and creation of several simultaneous design entries.

    2. I'll have to give some thought to the idea of community judging. One of the things I liked best about the GDS competitions was the in-depth feedback from individual judges. My plan was to have 2-3 judges for each challenge so that it's not just "all HV, all the time", but I'm also in favor of giving people consistent and directed feedback, which I doubt our readership as a whole can do. (Especially given the extent to which we all consistently disagree on various designs!)

      I wasn't planning on any art-based challenges, because I don't think it's a skill that comes up in R&D terribly often.

      Not having eliminations is an intriguing idea. Do you think the community could sustain the effort to help all X contestants for the full Y weeks? (Also, can the judges spend that much time giving feedback?)

      In any case, if we do decide on the GDSi, I'll definitely solicit more feedback on these issues. Thank you for raising them.

    3. BTW, there's nothing wrong with your judging of the Challenges. When I said subjective I really just meant that they were passing through a single design philosophy.

      I feel that there are a lot of designers I'd love to see feedback from and I'd love to provide my own feedback.

    4. Yeah, I absolutely understand. I think the kind of feedback and interaction you're looking for are perhaps best suited to a different format; not a GDS-style competition, but some sort of group workshop where people take turns designing and judging. What do you think of that idea?

    5. Listening to MaRo's anecdotes of the many iterations he had to go through with sets like Zendikar before he found how the set would tick, it just seems impossible for us to look at a set premise in round 1 and decide, "that's a fruitful theme, pass" or "that will be a dead end, eliminate."

      It seems like a tradeoff between seeing how the sets can grow vs. the excitement that the elimination system generates.

      I'm kind of more interested in seeing the set themes develop rather than prematurely eliminate them. But then again, I'm not exactly sure how to gauge the workload this entails.

      I wonder if something like this is a good balance:
      1) Start with, say, 8 contestants.
      2) After the first 3 rounds, with plenty of time and steps for contestants to find tweaks and adjust direction for themes that don't seem to be working, judges and/or readers eliminate 3 people, with 5 remaining.
      3) After another 3 rounds, judges and/or readers eliminate 2 more people, with 3 remaining.
      4) Then after 3 more rounds, judges vote on some category like "Best Designer," while readers vote on "The Set I'd Like to Work on as a Collaborative Project on Goblin Artisans."
      5) The contest itself concludes, but the set that was voted for begins as an open-participation project on Goblin Artisans.

      Another idea is, there could be a loser's bracket, where eliminated people can keep working on their project in their online workspace like dropbox or google docs (and readers can keep supporting them by contributing ideas) and for the final challenge, one of the eliminated people is chosen to come back and face the remaining 2-3 people. That would give a reason for eliminated people to complete their set and for readers to keep contributing ideas to worlds they liked, while maintaining the excitement of elimination.

  4. I would love to see a sort of combination of Set Design and GDS. Anyone with a set submits a quick set goal overview and a "Booster" from their set. We vote a them and the top 3(or 4 or 5) proceed to further design. Everyone jumps on design teams and we design multiple sets in "competition" with each other similar to the GDS and hopefully even to completion.

    This allows for a lot of participation in a GDS style contest while maintaining a manageable amount of entries.

  5. Follow the exploits of me and my buddy who is returning to magic over at and write about how design can balance the needs of new (and returning) players with those of experienced players