A short one this week; for the next couple of months, these things will be huge.
CLOSING THE GUIDED PASSAGE
The”Break this Card” contest for Guided Passage hit the deadline last night; no further entries will be accepted. We got in fifty-plus, so we’re in bonus prize territory! I have a near-full complement of Apocalypse rares, so the prize will be decent. Even if I do scribble all over it in gold ink.
I’ve done a preliminary cut to about twenty-five entries, and should have results next week.
The week after that, we start up Version 4.0 of the Multiplayer Card Hall of Fame. This week, we’ll briefly look at how I’m structuring it, so we can hit the ground running.
THE ANIMAL KINGDOM
A few months ago, I did up a proposal for a new look to the Hall of Fame. In addition to the basics of each card (effects, enhancements, countermeasures, etc.), I also wanted to give each card a set of ratings. The ratings would relate to different animals, so that players could get an easier sense of how/why the card works so well in multipalyer.
Plus, it’s fun to talk about animals. Don’t complain, or I’ll come up with something REALLY annoying for Version 5.0. Like similarity to Star Trek aliens, or the basic food groups, or whatever.
You can find the original article (just read the second half, no need to inflict the whole thing on you) at this place here. Here’s a summary:
The five animal aspects of each multiplayer card are:
- Rattlesnake , for its ability to warn off opponents;
- Gorilla , for its ability to smash the board;
- Spider , for its ability to bait and surprise;
- Pigeon , for its feeding off of large groups of people; and
- Plankton , for their general willingness to supply the entire animal kingdom with sustenance.
Together, when rated, the five aspects”build the funky animal.” Rout is high on Gorilla and Spider, but low on Rattlesnake; Goblin Game is kind of high on Plankton and Pigeon, but low on everything else; Portcullis is pretty moderate across all rankings.
I asked for feedback on that model, and got enough positive feedback that I’m sticking with it. After I did my article on card advantage last week, I almost brought in a new category that would deal with the”Repeater”-ype card (spellshapers, Legacy Weapon, etc.), but I dropped it for two reasons. First, I couldn’t think of a good animal example — trout was the best, since it continually comes back to the same breeding and feeding grounds each year. (Yes, I know the animal kingdom is full of wonderful examples of creatures that eat, mate, or migrate in set patterns; I’m just saying I didn’t see any that I wanted doing that stuff over and over in my Hall, is all.) The second, and real, reason is that Rattlesnake already takes care of most of these cards. I’d really rather just have three or four aspects, to be honest; it would be cleaner theory and massively faster to write out all 100+ cards of the Hall.
Speaking of which. I think I’ll be expanding each color to twenty-five entries, instead of twenty. I do this for several reasons. First, apparently I’m insane and don’t think I have anything better to do. Second, I’ve expanded the Hall every version so that I can deal with more cards, have fewer dissatisfied readers, and do more new thinking as I write it. Third, those freaky squirrels at Wizards keep printing more cards, and I hate to drop the old classics just so I can tout the really cool new toys. The emphasis on multiplayer mechanics for the last couple of blocks certainly contributes to the”problem” here.
I’m happy to take last-second nominations for the Hall; but I make no guarantees! I hope you are all looking forward to this as much as I am. Many readers tell me they get a kick out of this, so let’s hope you’re not all lying just to get me to do this over and over. Because that would just be really, really cruel…
A MULTIPLAYER EXPERIENCE
Well, it’s not about Magic, but it is about multiplayer; and I want to do more this week than just give you a Hall of Fame preview. Last Tuesday, while at Dreamers for a booster draft, a few of us started playing Unreal Tournament. This was, believe it or not, my first multiplayer experience on a computer game. (I’ve played most of the classics — Doom, Descent, Diablo I/II, Unreal, Thief, Starcraft, etc. — but only on my home computer.) Don’t ask how this happened; I’ve been dying for a deathmatch for ages and just never got the opportunity.
Here is what I learned from this multiplayer environment. I think we can extrapolate most of these to the Magic world:
- Once you steal the flag, you get a lot of negative attention. Talk about not backing up my aggression! I never could figure out how to get that blue flag back to the red base. Damn sirens. I liked skulking around in Thief more than I liked taking three simultaneous headshots, let me tell you.
- Being a sniper is really, really cool. Giving cover to the occasional teammate made me feel useful, until I could get my bearings in this new environment.
- Sometimes, when you fire the wrong weapon the wrong way, you can get hurt, too. It took me about fifteen minutes to learn how not to blow myself up in all that multiplayer excitement. It was like casting Earthquake for forty, over and over and over. Hey, cut me a little slack: I haven’t even played the original Unreal in about a year.
- I still like multiplayer Magic a lot better. If you could take two really bad weapons in Unreal and use them in a totally cool way that got the enemy flag back to your base, I’d reconsider my opinion.