I considered some card powers before, like “muster,” which would allow a card to be sponsored for free. It occurred to me (last night? this morning? I don’t remember when) that might be a bit too powerful to lead with in the beginning of the game. I’d like to avoid banning cards at any point in the game’s run, and would rather spend more time designing, and then developing the game, than revising it.

Looking at it now, I thought that rather than creating powers that initially affect costs of cards, I should focus my efforts toward the timing of the game. If I’m going to bother creating actions and reactions at all, they should be supported right out the door. They’re part of core gameplay. The first thing I should support is the core.

It gave me a slightly different way of looking at “Muster” as a card concept. Instead of:

Muster (While stockpiled, this card can be sponsored without committing resources.)

I thought it should be:

Muster (While stockpiled, this card can be sponsored as a Readied action instead of a Standard action.)

It then becomes a tactical choice to muster a card instead of a choice of efficiency. The problem is, “if you can play a card for free, why would you choose not to?” As a player, choosing not to play a card for free when it has the muster keyword is usually a poor choice. I decided it should never require less than two cards to play one card.

If, at some point, you field one card that lets you play another card without paying a cost, then there’s a clear cost for that effect. You must retain the card in the field to play another card without paying its cost. It’s more efficient to stick to your guns.

Being able to play a card with different timing is a big deal, however subtle. It opens your options differently. Rather than, say, revealing cards during an opponent’s turn via Divination and then being forced to lose those cards when they use Depletion, you may be able to Sponsor one or more of those cards and save them.

I need to be careful about these things. *ponders*