NaCYOCMo – Day 1 – Thoughts

AT-AT Imperial WalkerDay 1 (This didn’t get posted late last night thanks to a funky error)

If you read the links in the previous post, you would see they’re all about Development and not about Design. If there’s one thing I know I’m weak at it’s judging power level. I can gauge things alright but it’s all contingent on what the environment allows. Spiritmonger is a fantastic card in a vacuum: a 6/6 regenerator for 3BG that grows when it kills things. If you showed that card to someone just learning about Magic, they can see how powerful it is.

And it was powerful in the environment that it debuted in. Spiritmonger passed the “Flametongue Kavu Test” (doesn’t die to four damage) and it was helped that Pernicious Deed was in the same colors and worked rather well together. Back then, the spells were more powerful and the creatures weaker compared to today so Spiritmonger could reign supreme back then. When the creature was reprinted in Conspiracy, I asked some friends if it would even make a dent if it was legal in Modern.

No one said yes.

But with Cube, and any closed limited environment, we can create a situation where any card is powerful. Want to make Spiritmonger the most powerful card that can be drafted? Done. That’s part of the appeal for people who build Cubes: they can become an all-powerful being if they want.

With great power comes, well, you know…

So we can do what we want, but we’re going to try and keep the power level to keep with modern design/development ranges. We could make a 3/3 for B with no drawbacks, but I doubt that will be fun. But development is important to this process of the Cube because it’s in this part of the process that fostering a draft strategy comes into play. Sure it happens in Design to a certain extent, but in Development, that becomes a larger focus. This Cube is only ever going to get drafted, we need to see what could lie ahead with our environment.

These choices are not set in stone but to set up a guide to follow. Step one is to identify a identity for each color. This is going to be easier in the flavor world that I’m using, Star Wars, because it’s already fleshed out. If you’re going into this without any flavor in mind, this might not be the first step to use: this is a shortcut that allows us to pick out what each color is going to be focused on.

  • White – Empire
  • Blue – Jedi
  • Black – Rouges/Scoundrels/Sith
  • Red – Rogues/Scoundrels/Rebels
  • Green – Rebels/Wildlife

Of course there are going to be some small variations, this is just a starting point. If you’re wondering why Jedi is in Blue, I turn to Yoda:

Ready are you? What know you of ready? For eight hundred years have I trained Jedi. My own counsel will I keep on who is to be trained. A Jedi must have the deepest commitment, the most serious mind. This one a long time have I watched. All his life has he looked away… to the future, to the horizon. Never his mind on where he was. Hmm? What he was doing. Hmph. Adventure. Heh. Excitement. Heh. A Jedi craves not these things.

Some of you may notice that there are only a few real Jedi in the series so making an entire color about them might not be the best choice. When Development looks at drafting, there has to be a number of them in an “as-fan” to make sense (we’re not concerned with rarity in this cube, just the sheer number).

One of the reasons why the Star Wars TCG game was played and made into a cube is all of your favorite characters from Star Wars had a chance of being played. They had a mechanic where a character was given different versions an encouraged more than one version played in a deck. Of course, you could only have one of them in play at a time, but if you drew a second version of a character you could pay a cost to play it on top of the first version to make it bigger, stronger and faster. It wasn’t a dead draw (unlike the old Legend rule in Magic).

I believe that if there’s one Yoda in the Cube, then it must suck not to get it if you’re a Yoda fan. Since we can design the Cube to be whatever we want, we’re going to alter the idea of only “one of everything”. While I haven’t figured out the perfect solution yet I want to introduce a new keyword: Main.

C-3PO Protocol Droid

Alright, C-3PO isn’t the shiniest example of this keyword, but he’ll do for now.  At the moment, the keyword plays a bunch like a Planeswalker: there can be only one on each side with that name. This gives the game a flavor and a way to curb some of the power (imagine multiple Obi-Wans on one side). The maximum number of cards each character gets at the moment is equal to the number of movies they appear it. C-3PO appears in all six movies, so he can have up to six different cards. This allows a character to show off their different sides and a few of them might end up different colors.

With the number of possible characters that you can have without going too deep into the background of scenes, I believe that it’s quite possible to have a number of cards necessary to have a good as-fan.

I know this wondered a little bit, and I’m not fully done with the explanation of everything, but I want to get your opinion about how you feel about pieces like this. Is this what you’re looking for, the behind the scenes and the decision making? Do you just want to see the cards created every day? Let me know here or on Twitter. Remember that nothing is absolute and can (and most likely will) be changed.

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1 thought on “NaCYOCMo – Day 1 – Thoughts”

  1. Walker. Very cool! Main makes sense.

    Like the article. Highlights was the cards. Other parts felt a bit unfocused.

    Your colors feel unbalanced/sparse. Blue feels like it needs more. White is probably big enough. Where do the aliens fit (jungins, ewoks, etc)? You’re doing something interesting with color identity that feels like it needs to be fleshed out more. Specifically the Empire being so dominant in white, and then the other colors sharing tribes. It feels like you could mechanically play that up.

    I definitely recommend having color pair identities fairly early, right around after you pick your mechanics.

    Good luck! I’m loving the theme.

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