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.

Before you continue reading, choose someone you play Magic with regularly. Say his or her name aloud. Good. Now pick a number between 1 and 10. Say it aloud. Okay, you have the name of a Magic player and a number.

Scroll down to see what you need to do.

Longtime readers have learned to fear when I make them scroll, but don't worry, I'm playing a different game today.

Okay, the next time you play with the person, you now have a new objective. (It's below, next to the number you've selected.) If you accomplish the goal, you win. Yeah, you may not win the actual game, but you'll win the real game. Also, you can't tell your opponent your objective. In addition, if your opponent figures out you're up to something, you lose. Remember, even if he read this column, he might not have read this section.

And lastly, enjoy the experience.

  1. Get your opponent to say your name aloud twenty times.
  2. Get the game state where you have the same number of permanents in play as your opponent, the same number of cards in your hand and the same life total. Oh, and the permanents in play can't be 0, the hand size cannot be 7 and the life total cannot be 20.
  3. Get your opponent to stand-up five times. And the only topic you can talk about is the game itself.
  4. Mention the name of twenty blue Magic cards in casual conversation not in your deck or in what you believe is in your opponent's deck.
  5. Touch twenty or more of your opponent's cards before the game is over. You cannot touch your opponent's graveyard.
  6. “Accidentally” get one of your cards into your opponent's library before the game is over.
  7. Get your opponent to name ten cards in Alpha. You may only mention Magic cards that are being used in the current game.
  8. Read aloud every piece of flavor text of any permanent put into play before the game ends. (And remember, you can't raise your opponent's suspicion.)
  9. Do not say the name of any Magic card being used in the game you're playing.
  10. Get your opponent to say “Mark Rosewater”. In Taboo fashion, you cannot say any of the following words: Magic, Wizards of the Coast, designer, column, sexy.

I'd love for you to write me any stories of how this little game turned out.

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