I had this crazy idea just a few minutes ago, that I’m going to have to attempt as soon as I get home, no matter how late it is, because I simply must see if it works. I was reading about Emergent Gameplay, and my brain linked it to the rules tweaks I’ve made to several games over the years. Changes to games like Arkham Horror, Magic: the Gathering, and Dungeons & Dragons, for instance.

My game contains a number of gameplay allusions to Magic: the Gathering (among others), and some of the latest ideas came from an alternate ruleset I was developing to incorporate ideas from my recent experiences with Agricola. I thought that I should try to construct a deck of Magic cards to conform to the game I’m developing. The idea is simple, and might just be crazy enough to work.

It’ll take some finagling, but I think I can do it. I thought the first deck to build should be Black and Red, in accordance with the colors you find on a standard deck of playing cards. There’s some more at work than just the colors, of course, but I think there’s some important symbolism at work that’s conducive to the experiment.

I don’t know what I’m thinking half the time, the other half the time, I wish I didn’t know what I was thinking. So, when I decide that, for whatever reason, I should make all personae even-numbered, I won’t question it until I’ve seen why I thought it was a good idea. I crunched some numbers, and thought about reasons why personae should be available at 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10, but not 12.

Ideally, personae (equivalent of Magic’s creatures and SWCCG’s characters) are selected as reserves more often than other cards. Not because other cards can’t be used as reserves, but because using other cards as reserves would equate to playing a creatureless deck in Magic. Workable but uncommon. But still workable.

The next problem I face is that Magic doesn’t use the same cost system I’m using. I’d love to choose four creatures that each cost 2, 4, 6, 8, or 10 mana, but that isn’t going to happen. To try and achieve a similar effect, what I’m going to do is find four 2-cost creatures, and eight each of 4- and 6-cost creatures. Since I plan to use a given card’s converted mana cost for its value, it might work.

Part of the idea is that higher-valued cards see less play on the table because they’re harder to run, and lower-valued cards see more play create vulnerabilities and are a liability and thus more expendable and more difficult to safely keep on the board.

The next quandary to face is … all the other effects, from sorceries and enchantments to objects and locations. 3, 5, 7, 9, and 11 are the numbers I want to hit, and I’m thinking that to get anywhere near numbers like those in Magic, I’m going to have to go with sorceries and enchantments that mostly cost 3 or 5 … probably eight 3-cost spells and twelve 5-cost spells. It should look like this:

Mana cost-6:
Four red and four black creatures

Mana cost-5:
Two red and two black enchantments
Two red and two black sorceries
Two red and two black instants

Mana cost-4:
Four red and four black creatures

Mana cost-3:
Two red and two black enchantments
Two red and two black sorceries

Mana cost-2:
Two red and two black creatures

If all this works the way I expect it to, I might just have to assume the other twelve cards are lands, because four of them should be Aces, four should be Queens, and four should be Kings. All are virtually unplayable by the rules I’ve created anyway, so assuming the converted mana cost of zero, they should ideally activate any card (based on their color) and just keep getting cycled.

I’ll let you know how it works out. *thumbs up*