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Magic the Gathering: Why I don't like it (and yet still do...)


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#1 vermillian

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Posted 16 September 2009 - 07:19 AM

My fist post will be short. Limited time right now, btu I thought it'd be good to get this off my mind.

Everyone, please share with us your feeligns towards Magic The Gathering!

Mine:

One card per turn = much of your deck space needs to be built around that first harsh barrier. One card per turn also keeps the one that is on top on top more likely than the others (less chance of drawing that 'answer' card if you're just drawing one per turn).

Land (and one land per turn) = the linear mana drop is boring to me, and if you miss the curve chances are you're in serious trouble. About 50% of the games of mtg i've played of late have been won or lost as a result of mana screw. This is compounded by the fact that we are only drawing one card per turn. Add in the fact that 20ish cards in one's deck are predetermined (land) add in that at the end game, you really don't want to draw that land (unless you've ALSO packed in a few cards AND HAVE IN PLAY the things that make drawing land late a good thing... which takes up another few spots in your deck that is already 1/3 NOT YOUR CHOICE (land))... yeah. land.

Money for prizes: Money in game's has a tendency to ruin games... this it almost does. Many MtG players have the pro tour attitude, and it grates on my nerves (maybe I need new nerves? maybe I need a new game).

Too many formats: I show up to play magic, i bring a standard deck. I look for a game, and I have to wander around saying "ok whose got a standard deck" ... "Oh no sorry man. I've got a type 1.5 deck. I'll play you with that!" "oh sorry, I've got a legacy deck, can't do that" "oh my decks a type 1, I'll annihilate you turn one. But you're welcome to try!" "um... what? what's a standard deck? (essentially thsi last player plays Magic the Gatherings most famous format, type whatever)".

Feel free to expand on these concepts. Why i still respet magic to follow (along with more things I hate about it).



#2 dormouse

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Posted 16 September 2009 - 10:07 PM

 I got tired pretty early on (well comparatively) of mana-screw. Basic lands were next to useless in a well built deck in the mid-game. The game while fun seemed much too luck based (for all the reasons you stated regarding draw) and just didn't particualry engage me, especially when the "planeswalker" concept started being pushed. I liked the original world the cards slowly revealed, Serra Angels and Sengir Vampires, Urza, etc. I liked that there were a large variety of deck types per color and color combinations... until I started running across 13 year olds with $1000 decks. After losing repeatedly to decks that cost as much as three months rent, despite my being the better player but with a thinner wallet (putting myself through school, in addition to all the bills life accumulates just out of your teens).

Moxes and Lotus and that lot pretty much ensured that I would always be on the wrong end of the mana curve, my opponents could build decks that worked faster and field more, despite the fact that most of them were about as elegant as B-52 or as fun to play against as getting a root canal.

I respect the mathmatics and vision behind the game in its early stages (yep, started playing in the Alpha release days) but eventually the rarity and inflation of the singles after-market pretty much chased me off. I've found other games since which I enjoyed as much or more, but none as much as FFG's LCG's (even when they were CCG's).

The multi format probably would do a lot to keeping the general issue with deep pocket games down, as well as all the new things they have added to the game... but at this point it just seems like to much of a cobbled together game in a WAY to deep pool to dip a toe in.


"words are like arrows, once loosened you cannot call them back"


#3 vermillian

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Posted 17 September 2009 - 02:38 AM

Its multi-supported format is one of the things that causes you to even ENCOUNTER those thousand dollar decks. You would not see those if the game were popularly 'standard' (two most recent blocks + base set).

Chances are, you've played in the Type Whatever format I've experienced in my casual magic tour...



#4 dormouse

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Posted 17 September 2009 - 07:11 AM

 No, when I quit they had standard and classic I believe, no type I or II or anything like that. Either way with or without rotation/multi-formats the game "developed" a flaw as power creep and singles market encroached on the game. The game wasn't varied or challenging enough in my opinion so in order to keep people interested they had to create more broken cards and that inevitably lead to people paying a lot for those cards and then insisting on continuing to use them.

Funny thing is AGoT has a lot of those styled "broken" cards, but the game is so rich and with such complicated interactions and tactics available they are not nearly as impactful and the switch to LCG greatly reduces the rare chasing and people losing because they can't buy several boxes or spend a $100 or more on singles every three or four months.

I'mnot sure I'll ever play another "proper" CCG again. At least not without a steady play group and an agreement to play in a limited environment.


"words are like arrows, once loosened you cannot call them back"


#5 jogo

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Posted 20 September 2009 - 01:53 AM

I like to play the old Microprose MtG Computer Game. You can get the cards you want for free, gameplay is faster, your enemies are good. And that just for 50DM. I also bought some real cards after having fun with the computer game. But the costs were just ridiculous compared to the pc game. And after played with real good decks, I did not want to stay with crap decks with real cards  because they felt so bad. So I stayed with the pc game and had fun and have fun.



#6 vermillian

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Posted 20 September 2009 - 10:34 AM

Last poster, what other card games have you played?

Yeah magic can be fun at times. Creatures, decent balance in design, good ole color wheel (mostly butchered from what it used to be I hear/experience... plus ca change, eh?).

But again, a few games of it, and its limitations start grinding my nerves. yes, the game is built on playing AROUND those limitations... but I don't find playing around MtG's limitations as fun as playing around other game's limitations.

Anyhow...



#7 dormouse

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Posted 20 September 2009 - 04:33 PM

 The PC game removes the collectiblity of the game allowing for some very creative deck building options... If that was how I had been introduced to the game I probably would have stuck with it on some level. My roommate was a former pro-tour player. He seems to conccur with a lot of the same problems that have been brought up here.

For me I like games that I have to learn to work with their design space, where the cards and rules create an environment for exploration and expression of my own personality. Magic very quickly got to the point where I felt that I couldn't do that. The draw one card, linear-restricted resource develoment and the sameness of challenges attack/defense began to grate and bore me and their weren't developing cards that let you easily play around those (I hear that may no longer be the case). Essentially there were far fewer choices for me to make in deck design and game play and because of that having the best cards most often lead to the win.

Magic tournaments essentially were forced to go to money prizes because in order to win reliably you had to spend so much money to make a fine tuned deck. There tournament program would have eventually fizzled down to a few hundred people with a lot of disposable income.


"words are like arrows, once loosened you cannot call them back"


#8 vermillian

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Posted 20 September 2009 - 04:54 PM

They are attempting to do things with things like Cycle, and Landfall if both introduced along with Clash and... Cascade? (lets you play thing for no cost if things from top deck are less mana cost than what you just played).

And yet still it still seems rather linear and limited in deck design space... IDK. Maybe I just fail at magic?



#9 dormouse

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Posted 20 September 2009 - 06:48 PM

 It is linear and it is limited. Drawing a single card a turn greatly limits your ability to set up combos or dig yourself out of a whole if you find fortune favoring your opponent. A limit of putting a single land into play is always going to greatly restrict your ability to play cards. This limitation allows for some very powerful cards to be created because playing them becomes difficult early on requiring a development of resources over several turns before you can put them into play... except for having the rare cards that produce multiple mana or don't cost antyhing to put into play (read lotus/moxes) and as such an expensive deck can play high cost very powerful cards very early in a game... something that no one else can match without the same cards in their deck... end result every deck needs these cards or a way to counter those cards reliably (which is one of the reasons why Blue was so powerful for so long).

Because Blue was really the only color that could reliably stop over powered decks it became the color that dominated (either solely or in combination) most tournaments for years (I have no idea what happened after I stopped playing). However it is no fun to have a deck that you spent hours crafting and weeks or months fine tuning to never be able to play half your cards as the Mother-May-I/Permission decks became all the vogue.

Anyway, back to limitations. The Attack Defense is atrocious. I mean it works for what it was when it was developed and believe me I am a huge fan of Richard Garfield. There was nothing that he had to base his game off really, it was very much a case of every game after able to look at the games that came before and avoid making some of the decisions that led to some unneeded limitations (though surprisingly few actually did so successfuly, but I could write a paper on the psychology of self-limitation/innovation).

The intricacies of the game are based around the direct damage effects versus attack/defense, that a blocked creature without trample has all his damage canceled (which is as much a limitation), and the FILO system.

I like the idea of direct damage versus attacking to deal damage, it does provide a two pronged method by which to achieve victory but compared to the games FFG produced it is still woefully simple.

The blocked creature losing all damage potential without trample is a feature I hate. It does make cards with trample much more valuable and interesting but I just don't see it as a positive feature. It becomes the difference between the two were interesting things happen, versus all cards essentially having trample and requiring more planning on the part of the defender and in general a more balanced deck.

I HATE FILO/LIFO. Period. It is unintuitive, overly complicated, and increases the learnign curve of the game without producing an equal amount of innovationin and of itself. I was rather disappointed with its inclusion for W:I though I do understand why the choice was made. The one (and only benefit to me) of the stack is that it allows for a lot of player interaction for every play which gives the impression of a very fast and active game, even if it in fact slows down a game. Once you can get a total new gamer to understand that yes a card I played that boosts someones hit points after he has played a card that lowers their hit points which would have killed it actually takes place before his own card it can get interesting. Getting them to stop using logic which dictates that I should have had to play my card before theirs can be a bit difficult. It is a frustration I understand. It is one of the reasons why I love AGoT so much. I play a card that would kill one of your characters, you essentially must play a card that effects my card effect to stop it, rather than playing something on your card to stop my effect after the fact (simplified and generalized but I think the point comes across).

That pretty much sums up my thoughts about the things I hate about magic.


"words are like arrows, once loosened you cannot call them back"


#10 vermillian

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Posted 21 September 2009 - 04:41 PM

*claps* lovely rant. Really. Bravo sir! :P

yeah FILO is a cute headache. Check out Epic. velociROFLcoptor for FILOmagheddan



#11 jogo

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Posted 22 September 2009 - 07:45 AM

vermillian said:

Last poster, what other card games have you played?

Yeah magic can be fun at times. Creatures, decent balance in design, good ole color wheel (mostly butchered from what it used to be I hear/experience... plus ca change, eh?).

But again, a few games of it, and its limitations start grinding my nerves. yes, the game is built on playing AROUND those limitations... but I don't find playing around MtG's limitations as fun as playing around other game's limitations.

Anyhow...

I started with some old magic cards from my dad and then bought some, but was not as good as the pc game. After that I got some packages of MECCG (2 Starters and 20Boosters for 10€ was a good deal) and played a bit, but didnot realy like it. I found FFG and got some AGoT and some CoC cards and liked both games, but I was/am missing players to play with. After FFG announced a fresh LCG with no prior cards I decided to get some and yet like the rules and hope to get my base sets at Essen.



#12 vermillian

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Posted 22 September 2009 - 03:44 PM

Was that MECCG the Middle Earth CCG? ... man that's old... was this recently, or a while ago? (suppose it could've been back when AGoT and CoC were first being released...). Or ME could be Mega Man? ... nah that'd be MM CCG. Actually I kinda miss MM CCG (not that I played much more than 5 games of it...).

What were we talking about?

You should check out some other CCGs. Educate yourself. Heck send me your addy and 5 bucks and I'll mail you 4 playable decks for two other CCGs... hmm... I have a buisiness idea...

But anyhow, the more CCGs you play, the more discerning your tastes become, and the more you realize how good a good CCG is. WAR:I is pretty good. I've played a lot of CCGs.



#13 jogo

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Posted 23 September 2009 - 11:35 AM

Yeah, MiddleEarthCCG, but was a while ago.
Mailing to Germany might be somewhat more expensive. I will be at Game/Spiel, will you be there, too?

I like FILO stacks. But I like RPN too and I am addicted to the  Starcraft stacks.

 



#14 vermillian

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Posted 23 September 2009 - 06:31 PM

Darned people not living in the USA...

USAian. I think I might be able to swing it for 15 USD shipping (product free). But at that rate you're probably better off just buying really cheap boxes of stuff at gaming conventions. Here in the states, occasionally there will be booster boxes of stuff for like 8. For the entire box. I've bought many of those to 1.) relive what I used to play 2.) play what I never got to play. Good times.



#15 jogo

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Posted 25 September 2009 - 11:13 AM

Any games you especially advice?



#16 vermillian

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Posted 26 September 2009 - 12:15 PM

For variety's sake:

UFS (an FFG product) which lacks the typical amass tons of monsters and attack with them scheme that many TCGs have, check out Vampire the Eternal Struggle (but its multi player so you'll need a few more friends, HOWEVER this game has a large-ish European contingency). If you can find older games and are willing to buy them, check out Duelmasters (no really. Fantastically balanced, good change of pace to monster slug fest) Netrunner if you can find it (probably not) Maple Story (interesting turn sequence structure... the order in which you play your characters permanent abilities is the order in which they happen!).

OMG so many...



#17 Arma virumque

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Posted 29 September 2009 - 08:21 AM

dormouse said:

I HATE FILO/LIFO. Period. It is unintuitive, overly complicated, and increases the learnign curve of the game without producing an equal amount of innovationin and of itself. I was rather disappointed with its inclusion for W:I though I do understand why the choice was made. The one (and only benefit to me) of the stack is that it allows for a lot of player interaction for every play which gives the impression of a very fast and active game, even if it in fact slows down a game. Once you can get a total new gamer to understand that yes a card I played that boosts someones hit points after he has played a card that lowers their hit points which would have killed it actually takes place before his own card it can get interesting. Getting them to stop using logic which dictates that I should have had to play my card before theirs can be a bit difficult. It is a frustration I understand. It is one of the reasons why I love AGoT so much. I play a card that would kill one of your characters, you essentially must play a card that effects my card effect to stop it, rather than playing something on your card to stop my effect after the fact (simplified and generalized but I think the point comes across).

You know, the one time I dabbled in Magic, the LIFO stack was a part of what killed it for me.  The people I introduced to the game found it confusing and unintuitive, as you say.  I want to buy W:I, because I love AGOT, but the LIFO stack is bothering me -- a lot.

Why would Eric Lang choose this mechanic?  I find AGOT's save/cancel mechanic so much cleaner.  But there must be some advantages to the LIFO stack... aren't there? Can someone please help me understand why this is a good design decision?

And on a related note, what's the easiest way to teach/explain the concept (beyond simply defining the mechanics of how it works)?



#18 vermillian

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Posted 29 September 2009 - 02:28 PM

There are basically two steps to abilities.

The PLAY (and the paying of its costs) of the ability, and then seperately (kinda) the resolution of the ability.

At this point, anyone is allowed to break out an ability. This new ability will resolve itself as much as possible until interrupted by another ability, which will then resolve ITSelf as much as possible unless something else comes up and so on...

For instance, say someone plays that one biggun orc guy that blows things up in a zone. That is the PLAY of him. His ability will not resolve QUITE yet... especially if I break out the Empire card or ability or something that lets me move stuff to another zone. Then that ability has interrupted the resolution of the play of the orc guy, so that'll happen first, and then we break out the orc ability.

FILO allows for things like this to happen. Without FILO you could not move your stuff with some Tactic right before/ right after (but before it resolves) something specifically targetting a zone. It wouldn't work. This is more of a nuance than merely 'save from dying' like AGoT has. This could also affect things like 'everything in a zone gets -1 power until the end of the turn" if you really cared you could move it. Without the LIFO system you could NOT pull off things like this.

Even UFS has a LIFO system (though you can only trigger responses specifically when the responses say they can be triggered...).



#19 dormouse

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Posted 30 September 2009 - 06:43 PM

Well... I could play a character and you could move him before an ability he has could come into effect, it just depends on how that ability is generated. In AGoT it could be a response effect to his comking into play where everyone gets a chance to do something before his ability can trigger or it can be a passive where almost nothing does (the exception being other passive abilities which the ordering would be decided by the first player).

The long and short of it Arma is that Eric wanted more complicated card interaction and to differentiate W:I from AGoT and CoC. LIFO (as I have been corrected it is referred to by its adherents) is used only in actions. Everything else is your standard do then resolve intuitive set. The best way of teaching LIFO is saying that once you get to player actions you play a card/take an action, it does not fully resolve until everyone has a chance to play their own card/action, once everyone has passed consecutively then the card effects are sorted out starting with whatever is at the top of the stack. All effects are applied to figure out what happened then the cards are removed and placed in their respective discard piles.

If you liken it to playing War or Hearts or Spades, or any of the number of card games where everyone gets a chance to play a card no matter what was played, before that "hand" is sorted out, you figure who won that "hand" and then cleared, you may have better results than trying to use straight logic.

It was also my biggest stumbling block but after playing it I found it did not take away from the game at all.


"words are like arrows, once loosened you cannot call them back"


#20 vermillian

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Posted 01 October 2009 - 06:16 AM

Right in AGoT it'd have to specifically be a response specifically to that situation. In W:I you can have an ability that you could use to move a guy from one zone to another, and use it for a whole variety of tricks, now that it is not limited in its ability to move by that smaller timing window.






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