I was a little disappointed with the drafting mechanism because it felt like the cards I ultimately ended up with were closer to random than a strategic selection from the pool of cards in that draft hand. I have trusted that the 3-2-1 drafting was chosen because the choose 1 and pass was TOO deterministic.
But when you don't even know if the card set you are looking for even has a large enough showing in the pool of cards to make it worth chasing, fortune seems to play the larger role over your decisions.
One might mitigate this by having everyone reveal their hands each time before players secretly select which cards to keep/pass. But it concerns me that that might be too much information and the game would struggle to progress.
But instead of that I thought it might be interesting if players could some how "curate" the pool of cards in the draft pool before players' initial hands are determined. I've dubbed this the "preening" phase. I believe there are some cards that may not be compatible with such a phase before the beginning of the draft.
The main idea for this phase is that players are dealt a random hand of cards and then select half of them for the pool and the other half to remove from the pool. And I'm not quite sure what would work best so there are some parameters to experiment with.
First the number of cards. It seems 10, 8, or 6 are the most reasonable options. So players would be dealt 10 cards, choose 5 to hold and 5 to discard. Or with 8/6 players would choose 4/3, and then the remaining cards needed for the hand would be dealt out randomly.
Second, what information is public and private? It was my main intent to make some of this information public to aid in decision making. So I definitely think the discarded cards should be played in front of players as public information. I was heavily leaning towards the cards that are kept being private.
Finally, I wanted some interaction in this phase so I was thinking that starting with the first player each player then has an opportunity to trade their kept cards with any set of the public discarded cards.
One other tweak to this is that once players have all their 5 cards, each player then passes their 5 cards to the player opposite the draft direction. This way players still have to make their first decision based on a set of cards they didn't personally craft for themselves.
So essentially the core elements of this phase would be:
* Deal cards (10/8/6)
* Choose half to keep and half to discard revealed in front
* In player order players may trade their kept hand with any set of discarded cards
* (Draw up to 5, if 8/6)
* (All players pass their hand to player opposite draft direction)
So my concerns with this are:
* Could add a significant AP element to a game whose length has been noted as surpassing its welcome.
* Extra mechanics mean extra time, so they would have to somehow contribute to closing the game faster.
* Extra mechanics means the game is less accessible
* May be incompatible with or otherwise "break" some of the Magic cards
The 3-2-1 drafting mechanic was inspired by the poker variant, Anaconda or "Pass the Trash". But rather than a single best hand, I wondered if there could be five 'best hands' and how that would impact the game. Nevermore was never intended to be as deterministic as a MTG draft, but like poker, more 'playing the players'.
Let us know how your variant performs.