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Subject: The non collectible card game system rss

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Geir Erik Ø
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The year must have been 1995, and I had been playing Magic for half a year or so, when I read an article in “The Duelist” on a draft system. The idea was that you used one pile of cards and every player picked cards from the same pile through an auction-system.

This appealed to me for different reasons.

1. I was not very good at the “standard” game, as I didn’t get the cards I wanted. I didn’t get them as they did cost more than I was willing to pay, and I’m bad at haggling, so I didn’t get what I wanted through “trading”.

2. I didn’t want to play at a club, but with friends. In my gaming group there was only two Magic players, one of my friends was losing interest, one was just to good and the rest didn’t play the game.

3. I had piles of unused cards.

The principles

The draft made it possible to play Magic in the gaming group as any other game, also with non-magic players. It did also eliminate the “player with the most expensive cards” factor.

The problem with the draft, was that it took a long time. We spent more time drafting than playing. So I “invented” a system that I called “Communist magic”, as we shared the resources.

At first I just piled all the cards, including lands, in one pile, and we dealt the same number of cards to each player. This was a bad solution, as you could end up with few lands and making your deck unplayable. So I divided them in two piles, one for lands and one for other cards. And we drew a given number from each.

The next problem was that I’m a collector by heart. That didn’t mean I had to get a complete set of cards, but I like to organize the collection. This desire grew as the collection of cards grew. So I organized the decks by following rules:

1. To limit the cards, I choose to only include one of each card. I defined a card as the picture. As an example I included all the different thallids from “Fallen Empires”.

2. Each expansion got its own pile, again defined by the picture. So my revised “unstable mutation” would go to the “Arabian night” pile, but my “Ice Age” icy manipulator was in the “ice age” pile as it got a new picture.

3. All the lands were in one pile. This made the “multiple mana lands” more common, and they made deck building easier. There was not enough land pictures in the beginning to introduce the “only one of each picture rule”, but now I only got only one of each picture with the lands as well, as the countless expansions make this possible.

The list

So I got several decks, one for each expansion and one for the lands. How is the cards used?

After starting with my non-collectible system, I have not played the “Normal” way, not in casual game or tournaments. But I joined sealed deck and draft tournaments. I like these formats, and it was a good way to get new cards.

This was the idea behind the list. You should draw 15 cards from 4 expansions (simulating boosters), and 40 cards from the land deck. You now have 100 cards to make your deck. The expansions you draw are decided by rolling on the list. The list was always changing, as it had to adjust to new expansions.

The end of the addiction

The Time Spiral block was my last addition to my collection. I promised myself that I would not invest in the expansions after that. I have kept that promise, and the “buy new cards itch” have stopped.

This made me wanting a final list that could meet different aspects of the game. It could be final as I’m planning to not include more cards. One problem with my previous lists, was that the newer expansions were designed to work with other cards on the same block. In my system it was rare to get all the cards from one block. Still I like the chaos it is to mix all the expansions.

The final list.

So here is my “final” list.

First you roll on the following table with a D6. This table makes both a balanced selection possible, but also a good mix. Both can be fun.

Start table.

1-3: Roll four times on the “Expansion Table. Draw 15 cards from each.
4-5: Roll one time on the “Block” table. Draw 30 cards from the “main expansion” and 15 from the other two.
6 : Roll one time on the “Expansion table”. Draw 60 cards from this.

When you should roll on the “Expansion table” you roll on the following table with a D100. Note that when you roll a block, you can choose one expansion from that block to draw from.

Expansion table:

1-2 Magic (the original set)
3-4 Magic 7th edition
5 Portal
6 Portal Second age
7 Unglued
8 Unhinged
9 Arabian Night
10 Antiquities
11-12 Legends
13 The Dark
14 Fallen Empires
15 Homelands
16-17 Ice Age
18 Alliance
19 Cold snap
20-21 Mirage
22 Visions
23 Weatherlight
24-25 Tempest
26 Stronghold
27 Exodus
28-29 Urza’s saga
30 Urza’s legacy
31 Urza’s destiny
32-33 Marcadian Masques
34 Nemesis
35 Prophecy
36-37 Invasion
38 Planeshift
39 Apocalypse
40-41 Odyssey
42 Torment
43 Judgment
44-45 Onslaught
46 Legions
47 Scourge
48-49 Mirrodin
50 Dark steel
51 Fifth dawn
52-53 Champions of Kamigawa
54 Betrayers of Kamigawa
55 Saviors of Kamigawa
56-57 Ravnica: City of guilds
58 Guildpact
59 Dissention
60-61 Time Spiral
62 Planar Chaos
63 Future sight
64-65 Magic or Magic 7th
66-67 Portal or Portal second age
68-69 Unglued or Unhinged
70-71 Arabian night, Antiquities, or Legends
72-73 The Dark, Fallen Empires or Homelands
74-75 Ice age block
76-77 Mirage Block
78-79 Tempest block
80-81 Urza Block
82-83 Masques block
84-85 Invasion block
86-87 Odyssey block
88-89 Onslaught block
90-91 Mirrodin block
92-93 Kamigawa block
94-95 Ravnica block
96-97 Time Spiral block
98-100 Choose one.

The block table needed some adjustment as the first expansions weren’t placed in a block. I put the first expansions in a “Classic” table. You pick the main set, and roll twice on the classic table.

Roll a D100 on the block table.

Block table

1-6 Magic + 2 Classic
7-12 Magic 7th + 2 Classic
13-15 Portal + 2 Classic
16-18 Portal second age + 2 Classic
19-24 Ice age block
25-30 Mirage Block
31-36 Tempest block
37-42 Urza Block
43-48 Masques block
49-54 Invasion block
55-60 Odyssey block
61-66 Onslaught block
67-72 Mirrodin block
73-78 Kamigawa block
79-84 Ravnica block
85-90 Time Spiral block
91-100 Choose one.

Roll a D6 on the classic table

Classic table

1 Arabian night or Antiquities
2-3 Legends
4 The Dark
5 Fallen Empires
6 Homelands

As you see there is bigger chance at drawing the “big” expansions.

Problems and adjustments

I’m pretty happy with the result, and it makes interesting decks. One could imagine that some expansions are much weaker than others. This is true, but we always play multiplayer, and in this environment the weaker gang up on the stronger, so a weaker deck could and does win, even if it is an advantage to have the strongest deck.

My “only one of each card” rule cause another problem. Many cards depend on other copies of the same card. This was a small problem before, but as “Cold snap” is an expansion that focuses on this, it was a problem that had to be solved. It doesn’t help to put more copies in the deck, as the chances to draw many still would be small.

The solution was proxy cards. If you draw a card that mentions the need of copies in the text, you get proxy cards representing the same cards. You will now have 4 copies of the same card.

Another problem is the Ante cards. I have not solved this problem as they are few. But a solution is to “ante” before the game, if a player declares this in the beginning of the game (As he have an ante card)

The “time shifted cards” in Time spiral was also an element that someone wonders how I solved. These have the same picture as older cards, and should by my rules have gone to the original expansion. I choose to have them in the Time spiral deck if I didn’t have a copy in the original deck. So my “Time shifted” Jasmine Boreal is put into time spiral deck, as I don’t have a Jasmine Boreal card in the legends deck.

If you read so far, I hope it was an inspiration to make your own “non collectible” system.
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It sounds as if you've had fun figuring out your own game system for your Magic collection, which is wonderful meeple
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Michael Deems
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You might check out the "cube" draft. Just google search for the cube draft to find a good description. This system essentially uses one copy of each card in a large draft pool which everyone drafts from. This has worked quite well for us. It is especially good for two players using a Winston draft system.
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Geir Erik Ø
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CpaGuy wrote:
You might check out the "cube" draft.

I see I really have a giant cube, but I have a different philosofy as I include all cards and not only the good ones. Still they both eliminate the "Player who have bought most cards" effect. And people who don't own a singel magic card can play.
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