Archive for the ‘Game Design’ Category

Magic Designers on 2010 Rules Changes

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

For an interesting perspective on the rule changes in Magic 2010 and Duels of the Planeswalker, you might want to check out this podcast with 2 of the original designers of Magic, Richard Garfield and Skaff Elias, and another game designer, Tyler Bielman. None of them are as heavily involved with Magic nowadays, having seemed to mostly move on, but it’s interesting to hear the difference between the original intent and design of the game and what’s happened to the game and its rules since. is a legit blog with both posts and podcasts, so you might want to get a feed or monitor it if you’re interested in game design in general.

Functional Reprints in M2010

Saturday, June 27th, 2009

Of course, warning for spoilers about cards in Magic 2010, so read no further if you don’t want to know yet.

MTGSalvation does a great job getting spoilers on new sets, which they post here. There’s a mix of new and old cards, exciting and boring, believable and shocking. What I’ve been most surprised by is the number of functional reprints in this set. Compare:

And more that I’m too lazy to go through right now. MaRo wrote an article about reprints relatively recently, where he explains why they do do reprints. That becomes a lot more interesting now that we see the contents of 2010 and perhaps gives some justification for why this is happening. Naturally, it is not the way of magic players to immediately react to change by embracing. Instead, we panic (I’m generalizing from myself, of course). Functional reprints of grizzly bears, terror, and remove soul are seen as:

– A way to suck money out of us. Instead of letting us use our cards from the past, they’re forcing us to buy new cards for no reason than because the card has a new name. One of the things wizards mentioned was that they wanted to make the core sets something that both new and expert players would buy, and this is how they force that.

– A way for players to play 8 copies of a card in some decks. With extended and bigger formats, players will have access to both 2010 cards and older cards, so doing functional reprints allows a player to have 8 copies of goblin lords (goblin king and goblin chieftain)

But given some time to cool down, it’s really not that bad. Let’s re-evaluate those points, and then look at what MaRo has to say

– They’re going to suck our money anyways. A lot of the changed cards aren’t rares, and there are enough good cards in the set that we’ll buy lots of packs anyways, and end up with full sets of the cards we want anyways. This is, of course, from the perspective of college Kevin who has disposable income for this. Take me back 4 years, and I would be irritated. Then, I’d have to mine the 10 cent bin and hope I could update my collection with just a couple dollars to continue to play standard. I’ll skip the familiar rant, though, that magic doesn’t understand casual players for what they are (being neither new players nor pros)

– A lot of the cards that they’re changing aren’t going to matter. No one plays 4 master decoys, much less 8. Savannah lions was once awesome, but power creep means that it’s not so special anymore that 8 in a zoo deck is going to break open any format (I think). I’m not honestly scared about any of the reprints individually, and will only be when someone breaks it

– MaRo’s point #4 about getting clean cards to fill holes. 2010 is going to be a major change to magic, both in cards and rules. In some sense, it’s major housekeeping. Magic rules haven’t gotten bent out of shape. Some cards exist that aren’t quite what they should be, whether that’s having the wrong creature type or being flavored specifically for a block when it should be more general for a core set. What 2010 does is give players a complete, simple, usable toolkit of cards without a lot of cruft, and that’s what a core set should give.

– And then there’s point $5 – simplicity. A lot of these cards are very simple, which is good. It’s made to introduce new players to the game. And the name of cards conveys what they are. I remember reading an article where someone (maybe forsythe?) talked about how card names and that flavor should reflect functionality. That’s what makes magic so clean.

In any case, I’m sure dailymtg will address this point. I wouldn’t be surprised if MaRo wrote about it for tomorrow’s article, but at least this way, I seem original in my critique and analysis instead of just responding to an article.