GDS2, Episode 4: Design Challenge Elimination

Posted in Feature on December 22, 2010

By Mark Rosewater

Working in R&D since '95, Mark became Magic head designer in '03. His hobbies: spending time with family, writing about Magic in all mediums, and creating short bios.

It's time again to eliminate a candidate. After today, there will only be five designers remaining. I will list each designer's name. If you click on it you will see whether they are in or out. Candidates that are in will have a green CONTINUE PLAYING. The candidate that is eliminated will have a red GAME OVER. I will then give a short summary of where I feel they stand or why they were eliminated.

Ethan Fleischer


For the second week in a row you are the winner of the Design Challenge. You not only created some very compelling cycles but you did so in a way that helped expand upon your partner's world. Jonathon would be wise to make use of your work this week. If you can keep the pace you've set over these last few weeks, I think you have a very good chance of being flown to Renton, Washington in February.

Shawn Main


Another strong submission. I feel you did a good job on latching onto your partner's vision and finding some new executions for him to explore. I'm hoping when you return to your world this week you can keep the clarity you had while working on Scott's world.

Scott Van Essen


I feel you had a strong submission this week. It wasn't very innovative, but it made up for it in execution. I feel like you did a good job of finding fun mechanics that tied Shawn's world together. In doing so you've had a little more clarity than you've had in the first few submissions. That says to me that you haven't gotten the handle you need on your own world. You have the skills. You need to dig down and find the fun in your own set that you found this week in Shawn's world.

Devon Rule


The first week was your best submission and you've been losing steam ever since. I still see great potential in you as a designer but you need to pull your focus together. You keep creating pockets of awesome design. The next big step is creating a framework that ties all those ideas together.

Jonathon Loucks


You continue hanging on. You did lessen the complexity (and overcompensated a bit), which shows you're listening to the judges' comments. The thing that got in your way this week was execution. You had some neat ideas but the cards you created did not maximize those ideas. The thing I want to see is that you have the skills to execute your vision. Ethan gave you some great ideas. When you return to your world, you need to boil down your ideas to get to the core of what made your design test stand out. Light versus dark is a thematic goldmine. There's no one left to get axed behind you. This is the week you have to step it up or pack your bags.

Jonathan Woodward


You lost because the other designers all turned in better submissions. You had some good ideas but your execution did not live up to them. Also, you had some golden opportunities to step up and expand on Devon's vision and you didn't take the opportunity. You're a good designer with strong raw instincts. Please stick with game design, as I believe that with experience you can sharpen your skills.

And then there were five ...

But for the five, it's not time to rest.

Click here for the fourth Design Challenge.

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