Free Association

Posted in Making Magic on February 5, 2004

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.

Here's a Magic-themed game you can play while you and your Magic friends are riding in a car or out to dinner (To quote Richard Garfield: "It'll only take fifteen minutes”). At the beginning of the game choose two to four of the following:

  • mana cost
  • color
  • word in card name
  • card type
  • expansion
  • word in rules text
  • artist
  • power/toughness

Once you've chosen your parameters, the first person names any Magic card in history. The next person has to name a card that matches at least one of the parameters chosen. This continues around the group until a player cannot name a card. No card can be repeated for the length of the entire game (as opposed to just one round). A player unable to name a card loses the round and gets a letter. Once a player spells M-A-G-I-C, he or she is out of the game. A player can claim there are no legal cards to name. The next player can challenge by naming a legal card thus forcing the first player to get a letter. If no challenge occurs, the next player just names a new Magic card.

Some of you might be confused, so let me walk you through a round. There are three players, Larry, Curly and Moe. The three, let's call them stooges, have chose mana cost and power/toughness and have chosen to restrict the game to creatures.

Larry: Morphling
Curly: Hill Giant. Same power/toughness – 3/3.
Moe: Lightning Elemental. Same mana cost – .
Larry: Avalanche Riders. Same mana cost – .
Curly: Grizzly Bears. Same power/toughness – 2/2.
Moe: Quirion Elves. Same mana cost – .
Larry: Merfolk of the Pearl Trident. Same power/toughness – 1/1.
Curly: Scornful Egotist. Same power/toughness – 1/1.
Moe: Vizzerdrix. Same mana cost – .
Larry: Scornful Egotist is not .
Moe: Okay, I got M.

Have fun!

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