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Richard Garfield

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Anonymous

I want to talk about Richard Garfield and how he created the best TCG game ever!!!
A lot of people on this site do not know that
MAGIC THE GATHERING is so far the number 1 TCG game on the market.
I'm trying to follow in his foot steps and create my own game but so far I dont even know what type of program to use I just wanted to say this I dont need any replies later.

FastLearner
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Richard Garfield

I bet that almost everyone here knows that Richard Garfield designed Magic: The Gathering.

Are you familiar with Garfield's other games, like Robo Rally, The Great Dalmuti, Filthy Rich, and Twitch?

-- Matthew

Anonymous
Richard Garfield

He created the first TCG to be precise. Magic was the first TCG and is still around selling the most.

FastLearner
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Richard Garfield

He designed several other CCGs as well, though none were as successful: Battletech CCG, Netrunner, Star Wars: Trading Card Game, and Vampire: The Eternal Struggle.

Definitely a very clever guy. His first game, Robo Rally, while suffering somewhat from randomness and sometimes game length, requires a lot of fun spatial visualization and outguessing your opponents. Few people have ever played Filthy Rich, but it's really ingenious: it uses 9-up clear plastic CCG sheets in a binder, and players play cards in an attempt to cover up each others' while revealing their own. A die determines which page is currently on top. Wacky fun.

And needless to say, whether you like the CCG format or not, Magic is fricking brilliant;

-- Matthew

Anonymous
Richard Garfield

I agree that M:TG is brilliant in design, and compelling as hell. But I don't play any more. Two reasons:

1. While it is a huge attraction to some, the fact that the game constantly changes because of the non-stop expansions is a killer for me. I don't mind new cards that have different combinations within the scope of the existing rules, but I do not like all the new rules. If you don't constantly keep up, every time your oponent plays a new card, you have to stop, pick it up, read it carefully, and figure out how the rule works in relation to everything else.

2. Rulings database. It seems these days that every single card ever made has special rulings on how it affects certain other cards. To me, that is a huge design problem. The expansions only caused more of this. If you want to allow an infinite amount of card interaction (one of the best features of the game), then you have to make your base mechanics simple and complete enough that the rules alone are 100% resolvable in all situations. No FAQ. No special extra book. No house rules.

Anonymous
Richard Garfield

FastLearner wrote:
He designed several other CCGs as well, though none were as successful: Battletech CCG, Netrunner, Star Wars: Trading Card Game, and Vampire: The Eternal Struggle.

While its 2-player nature and theme undermined Netrunner, I actually think it's the greatest CCG he did, and probably the best game. Like many others, its a CCG where you think "why couldn't this have just been a standalone board/card game".

Best wishes,

Richard.

zaiga
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Richard Garfield

I actually saw Richard Garfield once at a Pro Tour I visited as a tourist (NY 2000, I just happened to be there at the same time) and exchanged a few words with him about a deck he had built and was gunslinging with. Pleasant guy. He didn't look like a multimillionaire! :D

Yeah, MtG is friggin' brilliant. It's one of those marketing miracles in the gaming industry that happen every ten years or so.

- René Wiersma

Scurra
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Richard Garfield

Richard_Huzzey wrote:

While its 2-player nature and theme undermined Netrunner, I actually think it's the greatest CCG he did, and probably the best game. Like many others, its a CCG where you think "why couldn't this have just been a standalone board/card game".

I'm with you here Richard. Netrunner is the best game Garfield designed, and nothing since has come close. What let it down ultimately was that the conception was too ambitious and although the execution was sound, it probably needed a chunk more playtesting time. And the fact that it was a two-player only game (most CCGs at least work in a multi-player environment, some better than others.)

Having said that, of course, it would be churlish to deny that Magic deserves its place in the Games Hall of Fame: the fact that it is still going after more than a decade is testament to the strength of the original concept, whereas Netrunner, whilst it doesn't deserve the ignomony of being forgotten, probably only belongs in one of those "ten best CCGs" lists...

Anonymous
Richard Garfield

Scurra wrote:
I'm with you here Richard. Netrunner is the best game Garfield designed, and nothing since has come close. What let it down ultimately was that the conception was too ambitious and although the execution was sound, it probably needed a chunk more playtesting time. And the fact that it was a two-player only game (most CCGs at least work in a multi-player environment, some better than others.)

Having said that, of course, it would be churlish to deny that Magic deserves its place in the Games Hall of Fame: the fact that it is still going after more than a decade is testament to the strength of the original concept, whereas Netrunner, whilst it doesn't deserve the ignomony of being forgotten, probably only belongs in one of those "ten best CCGs" lists...

Hm- I'd agree Netrunner doesn't beat Magic on a "best CCG" list, if only because the CCG format wasn't the best way of releasing Netrunner (!).

I've been playing a lot of Blue Moon recently (which I think got discussed in a "Knizia's doing a CCG!?" thread a while ago), which has made me think about this line between board games and CCGs. There's a lot of animosity to CCGs from a lot of 'Geek-ish* gamers, which I can partly understand: they get the mass market attention "These Games Of Ours" don't, and seem expensive and exploitative. Yet I think they've come up with a number of really nice games and mechanics (conflicts in B5 CCG, twilight in LOTR TCG, pretty much the whole of Netrunner's mechanics) which beg to be released in a non-collectable (i.e. more reasonably priced) format. Equally, the elements you can't really divorce from the collectable format- of a meta-game, deck building from a large card pool, sideboarding -have a lot to be said for them. I think that's why Reiner, who has previously expressed some dislike for the format, I understand, has looked at these ideas in Scarab Lords and Blue Moon.

Getting back to Magic, it is a fun game, although it would probably begin, like so many things, from starting from the ground and correcting problems with the knowledge of mistakes made since. For example, timing rules could definitely be streamlined without losing depth. Of course, I'm sure a revised edition (which changed fundamental basics) would be unviable, and it seems to be doing okay still.

Best wishes,

Richard.

* = As in, people who would use BGG and are in tune with the focus of its content.

Scurra
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Richard Garfield

TBF, Magic in its current incarnation is astonishingly smooth, with very few examples of "counter-intuitive" thinking. Where it suffers is that a large proportion of cards (although decreasing rapidly) were produced before the most recent iteration of the rules and thus sometimes work in a completely contradictory fashion.

And one of the attractions of Magic has always been the complexity of those interactions and the joy of exploiting them in an unexpected way.

(After all, they have tried streamlining Magic twice now: in Portal, and later in the Starter set, and it didn't work!)

Dralius
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Richard Garfield

Without getting into the pros and cons of MTG I would say that Illuminati NWO is the best I have played in the world of CCG’s. Why? Because it defies the one thing that most other CCG’s are built around. That is power gaming, or to put it simply he who spends the most money has the best cards and the best odds of winning. This is why I stopped playing. it becomes more about getting card X than buying a game and playing it for fun. The point is that INWO has common, uncommon and rare cards but in the end that’s not what determines the cards strength. In INWO you can make a deck out of all common cards that can take over the world. Then there is all the back stabbing, double dealing and lying but then again that’s just how my friends are.

Anonymous
Richard Garfield

Dralius wrote:
he who spends the most money has the best cards and the best odds of winning. This is why I stopped playing. it becomes more about getting card X than buying a game and playing it for fun.

That's one of the MAIN reasons that I don't play or get into collectible card games. Someone shouldn't have an advantage in game play simply because he outspends his opponent. Of course, it's a good marketing strategy, but surely there is some value to having an interesting variety of supplemental cards that appeal on more of a level than just "if I can get card X I will have the power to destroy everything."

I have a CCG that my brother and I created. In it we expressly strayed away from the concept of rares etc. that lead to "card envy." The result is that the expansion cards served to more add new flavors and added mechanics that were comparable to others. No one card or combination gave anyone a huge advantage. The appeal would be for players who want to take their adventure in different directions (and try different combinations of game possibilities).

Anonymous
Richard Garfield

SiskNY wrote:
Dralius wrote:
he who spends the most money has the best cards and the best odds of winning. This is why I stopped playing. it becomes more about getting card X than buying a game and playing it for fun.

That's one of the MAIN reasons that I don't play or get into collectible card games. Someone shouldn't have an advantage in game play simply because he outspends his opponent.

Without saying whether I agree or disagree with you about this (but I don't play CCGs as a rule either), I want to play devil's advocate and ask: why not? (but I also think it is an interesting question ...)

Technically, being able to spend real life money to buy the cards you want could be considered part of the game - a 'mechanic' of the ccg. It's not like anyone who plays the game couldn't figure that bit out on their own, so they should know that part going in (or at least not be surprised by it). So why is that not a valid mechanic from your collective point of view?

If you take the real life money out of the equation, and put it in-game ... in games where money is present, players can usually outspend their opponents (if they want) to gain some advantage (even if only temporary). but those same considerations are present using real money too, it's just that all the advantages/disadvantages of doing so are not necessarily represented in the game itself (ie: you can't pay the rent, because you just bought an expensive card(s), etc.).

IngredientX
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Richard Garfield

bitraven wrote:

Technically, being able to spend real life money to buy the cards you want could be considered part of the game - a 'mechanic' of the ccg. It's not like anyone who plays the game couldn't figure that bit out on their own, so they should know that part going in (or at least not be surprised by it). So why is that not a valid mechanic from your collective point of view?

Because the playing field isn't level. Let's say we have three fans of a CCG that gives a clear advantage to the player who spends more. We'll say that Player A is objectively smarter than Player B, and Player B is objectively smarter than Player C. However, Player A is a janitor who is only able to scrape together occasional change to buy the occasional booster pack. Player B is a preteen with rich parents, and therefore buys a lot of booster packs. Player C has a spouse who works at a comic book store, and therefore has every card ever made, even though Player C really isn't all that interested in the game.

Therefore, Player C will be better at the game than Player B, even though s/he is objectively stupider, and doesn't even care about the game. Player B will be better than Player A, even though Player A can beat the others in any "normal" CCG.

Truth be told, this won't be a very satisfying game, and most people will avoid it.

Quote:
If you take the real life money out of the equation, and put it in-game ... in games where money is present, players can usually outspend their opponents (if they want) to gain some advantage (even if only temporary). but those same considerations are present using real money too, it's just that all the advantages/disadvantages of doing so are not necessarily represented in the game itself (ie: you can't pay the rent, because you just bought an expensive card(s), etc.).

Any game that includes money as a mechanic will either have players start with the same amount of money, or give players with less money a tangible advantage.

Any other way makes for, quite frankly, a lousy game. :)

Hey, if I play devil's advocate for a devil's advocate, does that make me an angelic advocate? Or just someone with too much time on his hands?

phpbbadmin
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Let me also say

That I think the Internet also played a major role in the demise of the playability of Magic. You didn't have to think about the best deck to use, you simply had to logon to the Internet, browse a few sites (even worse was IRC), and find the current, best, unbeatable decks. Then all you had to do was grab some cash and construct said decks. It got so there was very little skill involved in actually playing the game itself. A lot of these killer decks pretty much played themselves. So any person with an internet connection and some cash could win tournaments. Not a very good game in my eyes. I do however, see the value in draft and sealed deck tournaments. With them, you can really see the skill of the players shine through.

My 2 pence,
-Darke

Scurra
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Re: Let me also say

Darkehorse wrote:
It got so there was very little skill involved in actually playing the game itself. A lot of these killer decks pretty much played themselves. So any person with an internet connection and some cash could win tournaments. Not a very good game in my eyes.

With respect* this has never been the case with Magic. Sure there have been occasions when there have been decks that "played themselves" but these were rarely "killer decks" - indeed, they have a tendency to roll over and die if you think you can treat them that way. Instead, it is the players who practise with their decks, tune them and understand what to do and when to do it who are the ones that win - and win consistently.

On the other hand, you are quite correct about draft and sealed, which tests a different skillset, and is what truly separates Magic from the rest of the CCG world which has rarely produced a game that provides such a satisfying experience purely from sealed product.

(*"with respect" meaning "with no respect whatsoever". :-))

Anonymous
Richard Garfield

IngredientX wrote:

Therefore, Player C will be better at the game than Player B, even though s/he is objectively stupider, and doesn't even care about the game. Player B will be better than Player A, even though Player A can beat the others in any "normal" CCG.

I disagree. Having more money to spend on the game does not make you a better player. It provides a player with more resources. Not better resources necessarilly, because Player A has pulled some good cards from his boosters too, but more resources. Having more resources doesn't mean you know how to use them, or will even get the opportunity to do so, so an intelligent player will not automatically lose such a game I think.

I don't deny that there is an advantage to spending more money on the game, but I think there are some caveats that go along with that when you are judging an entire game to be bad as a result:

1) all the players know that going in
2) setting aside the 'buying booster packs' part of the game, if you like it, and you play it for fun, what does it matter if you play some joker who has 4 of every card to play with?
3) If you want to play tournament, then there is sealed deck style to play

As for the internet, I would take the opposite view of Darkehorse - a big part of MtG or any CCG is the metagame of building/tuning your deck. If people post their 'unbeatable' deck formats online, other people are going to spend time building their decks to break the 'unbeatable' ones. That's why there are allways new deck formats being posted (I assume that there is anyway, I don't really keep up with magic).

I wonder if people (including myself) complain about this aspect of magic because it involves us spending (maybe lots) of our own money on it. If you think of sports teams, nascar, battlebots, heck - even the military, spending more money tends to provide an advantage, that's capitalism really.

IngredientX
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Richard Garfield

bitraven wrote:
IngredientX wrote:

Therefore, Player C will be better at the game than Player B, even though s/he is objectively stupider, and doesn't even care about the game. Player B will be better than Player A, even though Player A can beat the others in any "normal" CCG.

I disagree. Having more money to spend on the game does not make you a better player. It provides a player with more resources. Not better resources necessarilly, because Player A has pulled some good cards from his boosters too, but more resources. Having more resources doesn't mean you know how to use them, or will even get the opportunity to do so, so an intelligent player will not automatically lose such a game I think.

That's fair enough, and I understand that in a well-designed CCG, a smart player with a small number of cards will beat a (forgive me for being blunt) stupid player with a large number of cards.

However, the example I gave was for a hypothetical CCG. My original sentence was "Let's say we have three fans of a CCG that gives a clear advantage to the player who spends more." In this fictional game, more resources WOULD make you a better player, simply for argument's sake.

Maybe I misunderstood your original post, but I thought you were playing devil's advocate, and arguing that perhaps spending more actual money on booster packs would itself be a valid mechanic. Forgive me if I misunderstood.

I still don't know if I'm an angelic advocate, but I suddenly have the urge for some devil's food cake.

Quote:
I don't deny that there is an advantage to spending more money on the game, but I think there are some caveats that go along with that when you are judging an entire game to be bad as a result:

1) all the players know that going in
2) setting aside the 'buying booster packs' part of the game, if you like it, and you play it for fun, what does it matter if you play some joker who has 4 of every card to play with?
3) If you want to play tournament, then there is sealed deck style to play

At this point, I think we're down to subjective opinions. Personally, I wouldn't want to touch this kind of game. I have better things to spend my money on. And sealed-deck CCG games never appealed to me anyway. Maybe there are people who would enjoy it, but I'm afraid I wouldn't be one of them.

Quote:
I wonder if people (including myself) complain about this aspect of magic because it involves us spending (maybe lots) of our own money on it. If you think of sports teams, nascar, battlebots, heck - even the military, spending more money tends to provide an advantage, that's capitalism really.

That's true... but I guess it all boils down to: does it make it a fun game? If I knew that the person sitting across from me works at a comic book store and blows half his paycheck on buying booster packs at cost rather than full retail, then unless I'm a rabid fan of the game, I'm probably not going to enjoy it. Maybe this speaks about me as a gamer, but I want all players to begin their positions equally, or close enough that the difference is negligible.

Disclaimer: I played Magic about 10 years ago for a few months, and then stopped when I realized that I couldn't spend enough money to stay competitive. I haven't touched it since.

It's a good topic... keep it coming!

Anonymous
Richard Garfield

bitraven wrote:
If you take the real life money out of the equation, and put it in-game ... in games where money is present, players can usually outspend their opponents (if they want) to gain some advantage (even if only temporary).

Sounds like an idea for either a game or a Chez Geek expansion (if they haven't already done it). :lol:

Anonymous
Richard Garfield

IngredientX - I started off being a 'devil's advocate' with my question, but after thinking about it and reading responses, I think I am now looking at it from a designers POV instead of a players. that doesn't sound right to me, so maybe this whole post won't make any sense. I am making an argument that spending more real money on the game is a valid mechanic, or at least, I'm thinking about it :)

As an aside, I too started playing Magic right when it came out (actually, before it came out, cause I played it at the GenCon before it was widely available). I too quit because I couldn't keep up, and realized I didn't really want to, though it took me a bit longer to figure that out :)

Anyway - I think I am trying to get to the bottom of this statement you made (a view which I have shared, but now am sort of questioning): "I want all players to begin their positions equally, or close enough that the difference is negligible"

And now, my question: is that the point of magic, or of any other CCG? is it even possible if each player starts with some unknown quantity of some unknown type of cards? I would submit the answers to each question is "No".

A) Even if both players each purchased 3 boosters and started with the same basic deck, one could, randomly, get better cards than the other. So now, they have spent the exact same money, but one has better cards. In that scenario, would you have the same opinion? I don't seem to.

B) So then say one player purchased 3 boosters and the other purchased 300 boosters, at the same cost (ie: no hidden discounts for either player). Do you still have the same opinion?

C) Now, say one player purchased 3 boosters, and the other bought 300 at half off. same question?

Now, if I play the game, and enjoy playing it, regardless of which player I am in the above scenarios, I would still play in A, B or C. Why not? It's just for fun, right? (of course, tournaments are a different issue, that I think neither of us is interested in talking about). After all, even good games sometimes don't play as fun as we like every time.

It seems to me that part of the point of a CCG is to construct your deck to a specific strategy. A lot of people call this the "Meta-game" of magic (and other CCGs). So obviously, getting new cards is a part of the meta game. Why should we care how many or what method another player used to get the cards? The very act of making your deck up (with the other player not knowing what's in it) sort of indicates people aren't on a level playing field (or at least, might not be).

Second question, how could such a mechanic be used in a game, while still keeping the game fair (or at least not being perceived as unfair) to most people?

Hmmm - I don't know, maybe I'm just talking in circles around myself ... I'm going to post this anyway, cause I spent a lot of time typing it :)

SVan
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Richard Garfield

I played Magic for a long time and spent way too much money on it. But I still play it today and that's why I still rate it really high. With all the other collectable games, I rate them based on the game, not on how they sell it, UNLESS the way they sell it makes the game suffer some.

I personally think it's great when games have expansions made for them. Seafarers of Catan was an ok expansion, but it gave you a different way to play it (although I admit, I only tried it a few times with the original and just took the gold hexes and the rest of the added tiles and kept the original rules.) Carcassonne is a better game because of it's expansions.

I am designing a game that will add a lot of customizability with the expansions. In fact, it will be similar to Magic and other collectable games, where there will be tournaments and players will customize their tilebag before they play. The only difference is that there will be a small amount of tiles (100 total) and it will not be collectable, all players will have access to the same amount of tiles.

The reason I bring this up is because this game was originally made as a ccg. In fact since I played a lot of ccg's in the past, I started creating ccg's before I did board games. I'm glad I did, it helped me to learn the importance of making sure a game is balanced for all players.

Reiner Knizia has just came out with a game a lot of people are familiar with, Blue Moon which is a customizable card game, designed similar to a collectable card game, but it is non-collectable. I think this is a great idea.

I don't think collectable games are bad, in fact I love having a lot of resources to build your deck (or army, since I played Mageknight too) with. I agree with the fact that it's too much money to play them however, with just my collection of Mageknight, I could have bought between 15 to 20 games. I love Mageknight, but I wonder what my collection of games would look like If I spent the money (and knew about the german games) on designer games. (I am not even thinking about Magic or the other CCG's I owned, I probably could have hundred's of other games with the money i spent on them.)

On the subject of Richard Garfield, I think he is more than the creator of Magic. To have played that and Roborally, you can tell how much he loves games and how much he loved to design them. He is definately one of my favorite designers of the 90's.

-Steve

(Now that I've hijacked this thread, I will return it back to it's owners. Sorry if somewhat off topic.)

Anonymous
Richard Garfield

bitraven wrote:
It seems to me that part of the point of a CCG is to construct your deck to a specific strategy. A lot of people call this the "Meta-game" of magic (and other CCGs). So obviously, getting new cards is a part of the meta game.

I have talked with some CCG players that actually enjoy the deck-building aspect of the game more than the actual playing of the game. The games serve only to point to ways in which they can better their deck.

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