Thursday, June 12, 2014

Collaboration Draft

Collaboration Draft
What I love most about drafting Magic is the interaction between myself, the players on either side of me, and the rest of the table. Game like SolForge and Hearthstone that allow you to "draft" without players lack that interaction entirely, which got me thinking about ways to enhance it.

What if your rank at the end of a draft was based not just on your own results, but those of the players next to you? Not necessarily L+C+R, maybe L+2C+R or so, but the formula's not the point. The point is that you now have a very real incentive to coordinate as well as you can with the players you're passing directly to.

It's a bit like Team Draft, except that you can run it with any size draft pod, and your two teammates care about you but not each other. Monty rightly pointed out that players would have an incentive to "forget" not to let the people next to them see their own picks, and he's right. That would be hard to enforce, so what if we just change that rule so that you can show your picks to your neighbors? It'll slow things down, and reduces some of the mystery, but should increase the collaboration. I'm not sure about that yet, but it's a possibility.

Another natural concern is the disadvantage of being seated next to a weaker player. If your draft group is of roughly even skill level (all strong, all weak, or whatever), then you've got nothing to worry about. If your group has a wide distribution of skill levels, then the weaker players gain a mentor to learn from, and the stronger players shouldn't be in shark mode anyhow. Seriously. If you love the game, don't bully the folks who are going to keep it alive, teach them why you love it.

Any other concerns?

I'm going to try this out and report back on it when I do, but it won't be soon because I won't to draft mono-Conspiracy as long as I can, and that formats weird enough I don't need to mess with it.


  1. I have a hard enough time remembering one person's picks!

  2. Very interesting idea! I'd love to hear how it goes.

    I still think keeping draft picks secret is the better idea, but playtesting it being shared knowledge would certainly be interesting.

  3. I'm certainly interested to hear how it goes. I imagine mileage will vary significantly from one playgroup to the next. I certainly know plenty of groups where it's unlikely to make that much of a difference because the players are already trying their hardest to be in different colors from their neighbors because allowing them to have good decks that way gives you the greatest chance of ending up with the best deck you can. On the other hand, in a group where hate-drafting is prevalent, this would be a complete game changer.

  4. This sounds a lot like Star Drafting:

    Specifically, that's set up for 5 players, but it obviously seems like the best way to do a conspiracy draft.

    1. I would happily combine this idea with a star draft. And while I have no problems with conspiracy as-is, I would certainly consider star drafting that too.