Intelligent Cards

Pygyzy
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Post by Pygyzy » 3 days ago

Inclusivity Festivity 2RG
Enchantment
When this card leaves your hand of cards for you to use the words in it's text to change the state of the game, if it's allowable, and the interval between you and the autumnal equinox is less absolute, using three dimensional space-time, this has declination. If the interval between you and the winter solstice is less absolute, using three dimensional space-time, this has apsis.
Declination — All creatures have base power and toughness equal to their lowest value.
Apsis — You have an additional upkeep step after your first upkeep step.
"Every knave open your stick-boxes. It's a stick! Yay. Go have fun!"

I designed this as part of my mechanic that cares about time. This is one attempt at a "seasonal" card. I'm testing different concepts. I like that it uses real English vocabulary. I think for my complexity mechanic instead relying upon nonsense I'll use cards that care about "a sentence that is all English vocabulary words and makes sense independently." Or maybe "you understand all the words in it's text" heheh
Example:

Not That Hard G
Sorcery
The Earth is round.
Destroy target creature with flying or intractable.

Johnny Frankenstein 3BG
Legendary Creature — Zombie Buddy
Protection from Citizens and Wizards
Johnny Frankenstein can't block creatures with fire in their art.
Whenever an opponent says, "Uh", "Um", or, "Hmm", put a +1/+1 counter on Johnny.
6/4

Polyglot WU
Creature — Ingus Linguist
When polyglot enters the battlefield, choose a word you know. If you can recite that word in three different languages, put two +1/+1 counters on Polyglot and it gains flying as long as it has a +1/+1 counter on it.
1/1

The Lazy Cube 5
Artifact
T, Discard a card: Choose target card with printed text that doesn't work the way it says it does, then choose another card. It's that card now. If it would misbehave (break the game), put it into its owner's hand instead (It's still that card.)
"Sorry I ruined your game. Have a black lotus."

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spacemonaut
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Post by spacemonaut » 3 days ago

The game's written for something like a sixth grade reading level given it's a children's card game. This is probably one of those rules to avoid breaking. Requiring players to know tons of complex vocabulary will just make people feel dumb when they don't. It'll also play poorly: the game will slow down as people stop to argue over what the card means, pull out their phones to google it or the words on it, and argue some more about the conflicting explanations they dig up.

Also, when players don't understand cards that opens them up to angle shooting: one player lies very confidently to the other about what the card means so they can do something it wouldn't normally do, and the second doesn't know enough to refute it. Deliberately designing cards so that many players won't understand them is unnecessarily creating this problem. ("The autumnal equinox being absolute means XYZ, therefore we're in declination." Or assuming Intractible isn't a mechanic that actually exists and that's the joke: "Intractible is just a fancy word that means trample, that's the joke, it's one of those have-to-understand-the-words cards. I get to destroy your Colossal Dreadmaw.")

As Maro points out: Humor is better when it punches up. That means making fun of people with higher status or privilege. Not That Hard punches down.

Gotcha! taught us that punishing players for speech just makes everyone play in total silence, making games extremely un-fun. It's one of the worst mechanics of all time and Maro considers it an enormous mistake. Johnny Frankenstein is a Gotcha! card in disguise. (I'm also concerned it will make players feel humilated. The only time we ever draw attention to people saying "um" or "uh" in Western society is to make them feel dumb for it. This will do that as well.)

Polyglot could be neat in that I'd be interested to know what different players learn for a word to say when they play this.

I don't really understand how The Lazy Cube could work at all. Also because its effect follows a zone change into a hidden zone, it creates tracking issues.


If you want to make intelligent cards that are about intelligence, can I suggest a better avenue might be finding play patterns that require common knowledge but make people feel smart, and designing cards in that direction? Then everybody wins. Or make cards about smart people doing smart people things that are playable with common knowledge.

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Post by Pygyzy » 2 days ago

Thanks. I see your points. I hadn't considered that it would make people feel bad. It wasn't intended that way. Just "how can you use the concept of intelligence as a game mechanic.". I'll give it some thought. One problem I had with the complexity mechanic I've worked out kinda so they're now very very literal. I dunno if it's gonna work but they're literally not hard to interpret since they're literal, literally.

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Post by spacemonaut » 1 day ago

Yeah, it's just that when you're deliberately creating a dividing line where only some people will be able to make heads or tails of something, it's the setup for a very bad dynamic. If nobody understands the cards they can't use them. Poor understanding will lead to arguments. Meanwhile if some do and some don't, then your mechanic is sorting people (by design!) into "smart" or "not smart", that sets up the latter group feeling dumb or humiliated, and sets up the formere group with material to tease them with. Some groups with well-established trust and respect will handle this fine. Others won't, like game stores or school groups.

On the other hand, if everyone understand the cards, everything's OK. That situation's win/win and has no problems whatsoever, so it's no coincidence WotC strives for that with every card as much as possible.

If you want to explore the concept of intelligence as a mechanic then you could look at what intelligence means for you and build a mechanic around that, one that everyone can understand. For example if intelligence to you means accumulation of knowledge, you might want to use Investigate/Clues and Surveil as reference points. Or it might mean being able to cast a variety of spells (different names matter), or being able to see what's coming ahead (topdeck manipulation), or so on.

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Post by Pygyzy » 23 hours ago

Interesting. So the idea came about because I'm a huge fan of "skill tester" type cards, punisher mechanics, bluffing cards, or cards that force a choice based on incomplete information or between bad or worse. Choice of Damnations Torment of Hailfire Fact or Fiction. Stuff like that.

I typically refer to these types of cards as "house wins". Technically, there's a "right" choice but it's always weighted against you so that there really isn't a "right" choice, they're all equally bad. I liken it to forcing an opponent to play against themselves and capitalizing on it. I'm trying to emulate that. That's what intelligence means to me as a game mechanic. So I'll use that as my building block. I've learned I'm good at getting the overall concept but I overburden it trying to make everything work. I just have to distill it to its core idea.

I can definitely see why it's considered unfun. "Shoulda picked the other card sorry" irritates me when it happens to me. I just say "o well next time" but it is feel bad. The thing is that's my type of play style. It's supposed to be my grixis mechanic but it's causing more problems than I anticipated.

Grokability, use of shared knowledge, and eliminating angle-shooting I think are my biggest design hurdles so I'll take those into consideration for future designs.

What about

Remember? 1U
Sorcery
Ask target player to recite the name of the last instant or sorcery spell you played this game. If they can, draw a card. If they can't, draw two cards.

Or

Guess Who? 3UUU
Enchantment
Players can't cast spells.
0: Choose a nonland card type. An opponent picks a card in your hand at random. If it's the chosen type, you may cast spells of that type this turn. Any player may activate this ability, once during each of their turns.

Those types of cards would be fun for me, but definitely not everyone. Here's a perfect example of what I'm going for

Insatiable Phelddagrif 2b
Creature — Dinosaur Phelddagrif
, Return a creature you own to your hand: Each player draws a card, then discards a card. Any player may activate this ability.
B, Put a -1/-1 counter on a creature you control: Each player loses 1 life. Any player may active this ability.
, Sacrifice a creature: Each creature gets +1/+0 and gains haste until end of turn. Any player may activate this ability.
5/5

So the card obviously benefits me. However you can "take advantage" of it maybe, but only on my terms. That's a very grixis mechanic to me and has a very "better luck next time" feel which is what I want since I like that playstyle although it has an inherently let's say "icky" feel. It's not angle-shooting but it feels like it. Even if it's not but it feels like it is, that could be problematic.

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Post by spacemonaut » 21 hours ago

So the thing about punisher cards is they draw on skill and knowledge you already gain over the course of playing the game. People do already express their skill, wisdom, knowledge, and intelligence through Magic through deckbuilding choices and gameplay decisions. They can understand the metagame, read their opponent, try to figure out what they're up to, and play in response to their board or in response to what we anticipate they might be about to do. (Or we can just play a linear deck like Red Deck Wins that has the same game plan no matter what the opponent does.)

Those are all fine because they just differentiate "more skilled at the game" from "not as skilled yet". On the other hand, "do you recognise all these incomprehensible words?" is not expected knowledge within the scope of the game at all.

My main concern is punisher mechanics (like discard and counterspell) are controversial cards in that they're pretty unfun to be on the receiving end of, so they get printed in limited volume. I'm not sure that's something to build an entire set archetype around, but it's something you could do as part of the archetype you want to build.
Pygyzy wrote:
23 hours ago
Remember? 1U
Sorcery
Ask target player to recite the name of the last instant or sorcery spell you played this game. If they can, draw a card. If they can't, draw two cards.
I say "Remember". Or I look at the card at the top of your graveyard. :D

Guess Who is functionally OK, but "you don't get to cast spells most of the game because they keep randomly picking a land" is probably not good gameplay.

Insatiable Phelddagrif seems OK.

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Post by Pygyzy » 15 hours ago

All very good points. Ok so maybe something like this.

26 Problems B
Sorcery
Recite a letter of the alphabet. Look at target opponent's library for a nonland card with a name that starts with the recited letter and exile it face-down. Ask that player to recite the name of a card they think it is. If it is, exile that card and they shuffle their library. If it isn't, pick up to three more nonlands cards in their library that start with the recited letter, exile them, then that player shuffles their library.

I use recite and pick rather than name and choose to avoid magic vernacular. Mostly for cohesion in this case but its a small change that does have a few functional applications in my set (if it works out as planned)

Five Card Stud-muffin 2R
Sorcery
Each opponent shows you one card in their hand. If a shown card has a sword in it's art, recite the name of a creature card. Five card Studmuffin deals 4 damage to a creature with the recited name. If it has water, recite the name of a land card. Destroy a land with the recited name. If it has a bone, deal 4 damage to each opponent. If it has lightning, discard two cards and draw three cards. If it has a plant, recite the name of an artifact card. Gain control of an artifact with the chosen name. If it has none, discard a card then draw two cards.

Fixed remember:

Remember 1U
Instant
Pay respect — Turn your graveyard face down as you cast this spell. It's hidden. Turn it face up when it resolves.
Ask an opponent to recite the name of the instant or sorcery spell you last played before this spell. If they can, draw a card. If they can't, draw two cards.

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spacemonaut
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Post by spacemonaut » 10 hours ago

spacemonaut wrote:
21 hours ago
My main concern is punisher mechanics (like discard and counterspell) are controversial cards in that they're pretty unfun to be on the receiving end of, so they get printed in limited volume. I'm not sure that's something to build an entire set archetype around, but it's something you could do as part of the archetype you want to build.
Oops, I phrased this badly. Discard and counterspell aren't meant to be examples of punisher mechanics, they're examples of mechanics that get printed in limited volume for similar reason. Maro mentions a large part of the reason why counterspells and discard are only done in one color each is because either appearing in a second color would lead to them occurring in too high a volume.

Those cards seem OK. 26 problems seems pretty funny. Five Card Stud-Muffin might have longer templating than need be on account of the use of recital (instead of "deals 4 damage to a creature of your choice"), but I gather that might be important for your set.

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Post by Pygyzy » 3 hours ago

Alright at least I'm on the right track. So if there's typically what 3 or so counterspells, 3 or so discard give or take, basically you're saying there should be no more than ~10 of these types of cards in a single set?

5 card studmuffin did end up being longer than i expected. I'll work on that and address some of the issues with recitation in the rules thread.

If I can just get the grixis mechanic to play right I can move onto another faction but right now I'm stuck on figuring this out so it's put everything else on hold. Maybe I need to step back and get a broader view of how grixis should play then sculpt it into something workable rather than trying to force a difficult one.

I don't want to have to sacrifice my mechanics for my guild but I think the problem is I'm too invested trying to get it to play the way I like, that I'm getting tunnel vision and need to consider what other people like about grixis.

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