Excerpt from Ben’s Final Paper

I’m not exactly sure how I’m going to deal with these papers, but maybe some will be posted in full, some may just be parts, and some may get comments as well.

In any case, here’s an excerpt from a paper by Ben G., who wrote about his madness deck and the idea of information in Magic:

While studying epistemic logic, I found that the idea of controlling information was really interesting to me; what value do we place on information, and how do we control it with our actions? The general impression I got from the class is that information is valued relatively poorly, but is still valued. That is to say, the aspect of information shouldn’t change whether a player should perform an action, but it should change when or how an action is performed. If a player can play a creature, they should wait until after the combat phase so that they limit the information available to the opponent. Unless, of course, playing the creature earlier gives any advantage, in which case that value overrides that of the information revealed.

I think this is a really interesting point to make, about the when and how, not the whether. The way I see it, you use information primarily to let your opponent make mistakes. A classic example is “drawing the counter” when you slow-roll your hand or play cards in an atypical order to make your opponent waste counterspells on non-essential things.

Information is a favorite topic for Magic writers. I actually just saw one from Ben Stark on channelfireball about it that I actually haven’t read it. It’s a hard topic to address because I think the scope of Magic is too large to explain how information should affect your play-by-play. Instead, I think the general guidelines that writers give you are the best part because they make you think about playing Magic differently.

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