My experiment was a success for the most part. See the pic to the right? I took that from my phone (hence the quality of the pic (there was a light right below it shining up)) and twitpiced it. People who were following me on Twitter, found out first besides the party participants, that there would be Enemy Duel Sac Lands in Zendikar. Evan Erwin (The Magic Show) took the photo and put it on the “rumor site” and the place went nuts from what I saw in the aftermath. Lesson?
I don’t want to bore you with some of the details when I was at PAX (played some cards, won and lost some games) but I do want to say a couple things about my experience that Wizards did, good and bad.
The “Planeswalker Challenge”
This is what you had to do to get into the party. Five challenges for five colors. Get a stamp of each color to get in.
Red – A mat that looked like fire and you had to put your hands on it where warm stones would reveal a word. The password is “FLASH”
Black – You were handed a card that says a mythical creature and supposed to dig through a chest and find the pieces to make that creature. Mine was Vampire! (Bat+Human).
White – Four jumbled words with art of them. Unjumble 3 out of the 4 pictures to get your stamp. All were angels. (The arts were Angel of Mercy (Xth), Angel of Retribution, Angel of Salvation, and one I couldn’t identify and can’t find online. Does that mean new angel, I don’t know. I didn’t unscramble the name so I couldn’t tell you that.)
Blue – In an actual pool, identify two toy sharks that were exactly the same (out of 50), including the way the sharks floated. I really don’t remember the answer.
Green – On a wall of 9 arts with P/T, switch three P/T to make the sum of each row the same power and the sum of all columns the same toughness. This was the longest one for me as somehow adding didn’t work for me that day.
Good – It got gamers to walk around the convention center. Walking is good. Though, I didn’t have a map with me so I got lost in the beginning (That place is huge). Apparently the organizers didn’t realize that players would naturally work together so they encouraged it after it started happening. See, gaming does make you want to help out other players (I can’t believe I’m linking to a Cracked.com article for support).
Bad – Not on this exercise. Some of the challenges were easy (Black) and some were hard (Green/Blue). But in all, it was a good time.
Wizards of the Coast Booth
They were demoing games (along with an awesome guy who you played demos of magic with to get this, the common that’s going for $25 on eBay, which went right in my Rafiq EDH deck) and a booth where you could bus some magic stuff. My post about more Magic related stuff? It’s coming true. Bought a t-shirt with the mana logos on it (actually wearing it right now) and bought a messenger bag that will house my cards. They said that they will be on sale online sometime soon.
Good – More, awesome Magic stuff, including the shoes (looking at the shirts underneath the shows, the one I bought is the upper left one).
Bad – The Jones soda bottles they had in the case were not for sale. A guy was really disappointed to ask and not get those.
The Magic Party
The main reason to do the Planeswalker Challenge. Really. All of that work and the payoff was the party. Best Scavenger hunt ever.
I’m sure you’ve read what other people have said. It was crowded, there was music (we even were techno-remixed-Rickrolled), Planeswalker drinks (Extremely choice) and of course, the spoiled cards. Sure, there was a thousand dollar prize with the contest they were holding, but come on, the real prize was the party itself.
Side note: When you walked in you were given a sheet of paper with 15 close up images like the art quizzes they do on the website. We were told to find the art that these are in these big giant arts and there would be a contest later on in the night.
After walking around and talking briefly to artist Mark Tedin (Pimp if I ever knew one), I walked into the room where they were doing the “Challenge the Dragon” premier for Duel of the Planeswalkers. Took a couple tweets and answered some questions. Challenge the Dragon is going to be an expansion, and for a deck editor/other stuff, they have heard feedback from players. It looks likely but it would be a new release and at the moment there’s no timetable.
So, I’m walking around tweeting the new cards in the nightclub (Very beautiful nightclub, by the way) when I come around the corner and see the beautiful work of art that is Arid Mesa. I took the snapshot and twitpiced it. A man stood next to me and smiled. “Are you putting it online?” “Yeah, I hope someone’s reading my tweets.” “What do you think of it?” “I love it.” I met Mark Purvis, creator of both Planechase and the From the Vault series. He was standing there watching the reactions from people looking at the enemy sac land.
The problem was, everyone else was looking at the art for the contest and not actually looking at the cards themselves. I was one of the first to put the card online for everyone else to see. We talked for a moment and learned a couple of things:
– He says that From the Vault foils are exactly the same as regular foils. The reason why they curl is that they are packaged with other foils instead of a pack. If you look at them with regular foils, they are the same.
– It looks like From the Vault will be a yearly thing. They’ve got the next one figured out and it will be a different theme from the past two. He couldn’t give me any more hints only that it would be awesome.
– I told him about the fake celebrity commercials I’ve been writing and asked him about how Wizards have changed their advertising because they don’t have InQuest and Scrye anymore. He joked that they are going to start advertising in Sports Illustrated. But he said more events like the party and other types of advertising we’re going to see.
– Wizards also know that the Slow-Rolling spoilers are a little slow. They don’t want to reveal too many cards two months before the release. They’re learning from the experience.
Mark also wanted to make sure “those people on MTGSalvation” saw the pic I tweeted. Apparently, they think of them with everything about spoilers.
After telling my friends about this awesome find I caught up with Aaron Forsythe (@mtgaaron) and introduced myself. Nice guy (everyone at Wizards is pretty awesome actually, really cares about the players). We talked EDH for a moment and he said he was going to be meeting up with Sheldon in a couple of weeks (the guy who created the format) and hopefully voice his opinion of changing the rules of generals (off-color abilities allowed). He also said Zendikar is going to be top notch.
Going downstairs and into the Planechase room where they had several tables set up with the Planechase decks, I ran into Ken Nagle (sorry for the misspelling in my tweet) and Tom LaPille. I asked Tom about the possibility about the Planechase cards being sold by themselves and he didn’t know, just wanted to see how the first weekend went. When I told him that Star City Games is selling the planes at $2 each so to buy all of them would be the same price as buying all the cards, he raised an eyebrow. Maybe, just maybe we may get the planes seperate.
I asked Ken as he was teaching three others and I how to play about the possibility of making more. He wasn’t quite sure either (still too early to say) and said that at the Zendikar pre-release, everyone was going to get the promo Zendikar Plane, so it’s something they want to keep promoting.
After watching Nathan get presented his winning shoe for the RYZ concert (Congratulations!), and finding the contest to be really hard word scrambles after giving people drinks, my friend, Ian, and I took off. It was a really really fun time.
Good – It was a really classy party and everyone had a good time. The oversized cards were great (I would have loved to have taken one home), and those Planeswalker drinks were really good. Everyone at Wizards is a fan of the game, and I believe they truly want to make the game as best they can.
Bad – Well, the number of people in there was a little much, and the word scramble brought some groans, but there was nothing really bad about the party.
In all, it was a very fun time and great day. I really hope that Wizards considers this event a success and does this next year. In the immortal words of the internet: moar plz!