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Subject: Can MtG be played multiplayer? rss

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Graham Dean
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I am considering buying some core sets so that I own five different but (hopefully) evenly balanced decks. We usually have five people in our evening gaming sessions, and I have heard that MtG can be played in this way, although it isn't as good.

I can't find any rules on this - can anyone help?
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Martin DeOlden
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Just like most other board or card games with multiple people you just play in clockwise order and when you target a player you announce who it is to. some spells are global and that will not matter about target then.

I find the game the most fun in large multiplayer games rather then just a duel.

I played in some tournaments for a while but then found casual play was more to my liking so I play with group and it is a blast. Of course there can be some down time for a player who is eliminated early so we sometimes let the players who might be out early duel until the nest game starts.
 
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Nigel Buckle
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There's an official MtG team format called 2 headed Giant.

I usually play 'Circle of Death' so rather than play last man standing wins you win as soon as the player on your left is eliminated ...
 
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Adam Ruprecht
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Free-for-all magic has the general problem that when two players fight, the other players will get stronger, and there's no particular forcing mechanism to make two players fight (so you're basically playing Diplomacy with some magic cards involved). With exactly five players, one multiplayer format that I have found reasonably effective at solving this problem is star - each player has two allies and two enemies. Your allies are sitting next to you, your enemies are across from you. A player wins when both of his enemies have been eliminated. It's possible for up to two players to win (if the players are sitting A,B,C,D,E, and C and E are eliminated, both A and B will win if D is eliminated).
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Chris Baer
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Commander (née Elder Dragon Highlander) is a free-for-all Multiplayer Magic variant that Wizards has begun supporting with pre-constructed 100 card decks. You're limited to one card with a given name in the deck other than basic lands and one Legendary creature is the "commander."

I haven't played it myself, but the players at my regular FNM haunt (Labyrinth in Washington, DC) seem to enjoy it.
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Jerry Martin
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You can play multiplayer magic for sure. The suggestions of Commander/EDH are great but can be very daunting for new players at a normal gave has 100's of new cards to learn.

For 5 players I suggest star/color magic. Each player picks a deck that represents one of the colors on the back of the cards and sits in that order around a table.

Your enemies are the people across from you and your allies are the ones sitting next to you. So for example looking at the back of the card. Black is allies with Red and Blue. It is enemies with Green and White.

You goal is to kill the two enemy players. This keeps the game manageable since you are only worried about two players and can keep the game faster for the same reason.

Should be noted it is possible to tie. Say you are playing black again. White and red both die. If either blue or black kills green than both blue and black tie.

This is the most fun way I have found for 5 players. (even more fun as commander once you reach that level of play)
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spamman5r
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For our group, our favorite odd-numbered Magic format is something we call "Secret Alliances." The game works best with somewhat blanced decks or after a cube draft or something.

For five players, pull out 2 land cards (of different types), two colored cards (matching the land), and one colorless (non-land) card. Distribute randomly and secretly.

The players with the land cards show their cards and are the open players for each team, the players with the cards that match the color are their teammates, but secretly. The last player (the neutral player or the "neutch" as we refer to it) is on no player's team.

Then regular free for all multiplayer rules apply. Last team standing wins. We usually let the revealed players tap their revealed land for 1 colorless due to their exposed position. If one of the revealed players is out, their teammate reveals their card.
 
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K.Y. Wong
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My brothers and I just got back into Mtg (after >10 yrs!) by buying the complete set of five Commander decks. It's fantastic having such a great selection of cards from old & new sets (including some just for Commander). We're treating it as a standalone multiplayer cardgame. With each of the decks being a very balanced and varied singleton format, there is no need to customize or expand.
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Deep Thought
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It is not a certainity, but I have come to believe it possible that some entity wished for us to witness these events. Perhaps it wanted us to see all of these various ages.
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I used to love crazy FFA Magic games, but as time went on, I came to appreciate a little more structure. If you have 4, the 2-HG format works quite well.

I will also recommend Star for 5. You can find a few articles about it, but this is a format from the old days and is not officially supported (don't let that stop you). It used to be that you played 5 mono-color decks, but since most players tend to be short on those, you can allow splashes, or even have a deck that counts as 'white' so long as it's at least 50% white. However, I've had success with dropping the color rule altogether, and just using the enemy/ally restrictions. Other things, like whether you can attack 2 players at once, using a turn order other than clockwise around the table, and so on, are also house rules you can decide about. The nice thing is, as soon as 2 or 3 players are out, the game is over. (Hopefully the first people out won't have to wait that long.) Since your allies are each other's enemies, the game has some good tension and diplomacy without becoming a slog.
One old optional rule that is usually missed/omitted is blocking en passant. This is where you intervene to stop your 2 allies from fighting, and gives you a little more control over the outcome. If you were playing Green, for ex, and the White player was making a massive attack on Red (Black having already been eliminated, this would win him the game if he were to succeed), you could block some of his creatures en route to Red. Combat would be resolved for your blocks first, then Red would block as normal. The catch is, blocking this way taps your creatures, so it's expensive..

Emperor Magic is a favorite of mine, but you need a group that can be split evenly into teams of at least 3. (So, 6 players minimum, 9 or 10 if you want to get ambitious.) I won't summarize the rules, since they're available here: http://www.wizards.com/Magic/TCG/Article.aspx?x=magic/rules/... but suffice to say that for the price of a little added complexity (some of which you can omit if you don't feel it adds anything), you get a meaty team battle.

Commander/EDH I've just started playing. Now that Wizards is supporting it officially, it's a lot easier to get into, but there's still some added overhead in terms of new rules. It provides a multiplayer experience centered around big splashy spells, huge creatures, crazy interactions, and epic finishes. If this is what you're looking for, it's well worth checking out. (In my grouchier moments, though, I've been heard to complain that it turns Magic into a bastard mix of Fluxx, Risk, and Kill Dr Lucky. YMMV)

Wizards has also released a couple products specifically for multiplayer: Planechase (which I know little about) and Archenemy. The idea behind the latter is that you can take advantage of the traditional problems of imbalance in deck power/player number by setting one person up as the evil overlord and having everyone else team up to fight him/her. The overlord also gets a boost from a special deck of evil Schemes that they get to hammer you with, to keep it balanced even at 4 to 1. I've yet to try this one, but it sounds promising.

There are plenty of other wacky variants, like Assassin where each person gets dealt out the name of a random opponent and you only score points for killing that player (inheriting his target once he falls), and Respawn Magic (detailed here: http://www.wizards.com/Magic/Magazine/Article.aspx?x=mtg/dai... ).

There's no shortage of choices, so I hope you and your friends can have some fun multiplayer games!
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DT76 wrote:
I will also recommend Star for 5. ... The nice thing is, as soon as 2 or 3 players are out, the game is over.


If your enemies die, do you win even if dead?

If so, that's a weird rule.

If not, you might theoretically need to wait for all-but-one person to die.

 
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Jerry Martin
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NO you can't win if you are dead.
 
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Deep Thought
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It is not a certainity, but I have come to believe it possible that some entity wished for us to witness these events. Perhaps it wanted us to see all of these various ages.
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Normally, no, it's not like Bang, where you can win posthumously (unless you house rule it or something). But mathematically speaking, if 3 people have been eliminated, somebody has almost always won.

For instance, say White is the first to go. Red and Black are now halfway to winning, and just need to eliminate Blue or Green respectively. From Green's point of view, he has 2 enemies still in the fight, but attacking Blue would be silly: if Blue dies, Red wins. So, at this point the game usually devolves into a pair of 1v1 matches in tandem: Green vs Black, Red vs Blue. If Green succeeds in trampling over Black, then he and Red will win together if Blue dies. Since it's now 2v1, the game is probably all but over. The only way it continues is if one of Blue's rivals is so weakened that he can be eliminated right away, in which case it comes down to the last 2 in the game.
Obviously, this will depend on life totals, deck types, board position, and so forth (and get even more complicated if you allow attacking allies to try for a solo win), but most of the time, we can call it soon after the 2nd player is forced out.
 
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Jerry Martin
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When three are dead it is a win or a tie. As described above it is possible technically, but I have played hundred's of games like this and never had it happen. And it really only happens if a person "tries" to make it happen so at that point I would just call it a tie.

Anyway, Try it. Even my wife who isn't a big magic fan likes to play this way.
 
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This thread is probably dead, but here is the way we play. I didn't come up with it, but also can't remember where I got it from.

My group varies from 3 to 5+,so we often play free for all, we found a variant online that we call respawn. it works good if you have the 5+ so there are an odd number.

each player at the table has a "sphere of influence" which includes the players to his left and right. These are the only players that you can affect with spells or creature. normal global effects like Wrath of God, only affect the people in your sphere, you, left and right.
if you are taken out by one of your opponents, then they become parts of each others sphere. By taking out a player, you now get a new target, the other player in the dead guys sphere.

The respawn part is that you are never really out of the game. The game continues until either a time limit or a point ceiling is reached, more on that in a bit.
If you've been eliminated, you can rejoin the game (usually in the same chair), with the same deck or a different deck, immediately or later.

When you join or rejoin the game, you resolve any mulligans and immediately take three turns.
During those three turns, you're in a "new player bubble"—basically, a separate solitaire game of Magic. Nothing you do inside the bubble affects players outside the bubble (or in a different bubble), and vice versa. You fully enter the game when you start your fourth turn in regular turn order.
You can join the game at any time, picking a deck and a chair.

For Score keeping we do the following

Gain 1 or 2 points each time you kill an opponent.
Lose 1 point each time you die.
If you voluntarily leave the game, lose 1 point. The last player to
damage you, if any, gains 1 point.
The player with the most points at the end of the night wins.

We are still toying around with the rules, we have also looked at awarding a player that put out an opponent with either a modest lifegain, say 5 pts, or a card draw.

The biggest benefit is that if multiplayer is the flavour of the night, then this allows the game to get started early, even if one or two people are still missing and if you are put out, you don't need to wait for a huge game to end before you get to play again. it allows you to try different decks and also change seating positions. some games turn into runaways, but usually then the point total is reached and a new one starts over, or we move on to something else. If someone has to take off early, they can still play and have a real effect on the table while they are there and as they prepare to leave.
Like all multi player games, it can take a while for the turns to progress around the table, but with a limited number of threats and targets due to the SoI, you don't have as much to worry about and plan for.

any questions let me know, we are playing this tonight so the rules will be tweaked again.

Chris
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