Author Archives: Bradley Rose

You’re a Designer, Harry! #21 – Not of This Worlds

O.K., so somehow, I had ended up arm-wrestling Mark Rosewater, Head Designer for Magic: The Gathering. To explain how I got here, let’s go back in time further than necessary – because more than just that happened when I attended the 2011 Magic World Championships in San Francisco.

Normally, I wouldn’t go to a Magic: The Gathering event larger than a Friday Night Magic at a local game store, so attending Grand Prixes, Pro Tours, PTQs, and all that jazz is foreign to me. However, this year, Worlds just so happened to be held in San Francisco – right where I work every weekday. I just had to jump on this opportunity. Especially when, considering the announcement Wizards made regarding Worlds, this is the end of the Worlds as we know it.

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You’re a Designer, Harry! #20 – Other Worlds-ly Journey

Welcome to another installment of You’re a Designer, Harry! #20! Yay! …And it just so happens that this is the 200th Red Site Wins post! Woohoo!

If you’re new here, read the following two blocks of text!

This is the column where you follow the process of designing a Magic: The Gathering set from, at least, my perspective. While I’m the “lead designer,” YOU get to help out by leaving your feedback either by commenting here on this column or by tweeting me (I’m @bradleyrose)! Really, we’re all on the same level here, and some of you may clearly be “better” at designing than I am. But, that shouldn’t, and doesn’t, shy me away from doing what I’m doing. So, let’s collaborate! Read the rest of this entry

You’re a Designer, Harry! #19 – The Classifieds

Welcome, once again, to the You’re a Designer, Harry!, the column where I write about the process of designing a Magic: The Gathering set where you feedback makes an impact on how the set evolves. Undoubtedly, we’ll run into blunders as well as breakthroughs, and the whole journey is documented here.

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You’re a Designer, Harry! #18 – Keepin’ It Classy

A Warrior and a Wizard walk into a bar. They’re here to recruit; and, apparently, this is the best place to do it. They have enough coin for two more members to be added to their party to embark with on their upcoming adventure. However, the pair were faced with a problem.

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You’re a Designer, Harry! #17 – Basic Adventuring Party

Hello again, readers, to You’re a Designer, Harry!, a column where my readers’ feedback impacts the public process of designing a Magic: The Gathering set. I started writing with the idea to do a column like this because it was pretty fresh idea compared to what I’m used to seeing (non-design, non-collaborative Magic articles). And this column started strong, were hopes were high and comments were abundant. …And where are we now? Sputtering ever behind! This must be fixed!

Ever since the Great Designer Search 2, thanks to the collaborative nature of the competition and the use of Wizards Community wiki, a Magic design community had grown as strong as ever. It’s still ever-thriving as websites devoted to Magic design had sprung up: Goblin Artisans, Designer Fun on Channel Fireball, and many from the #mtg Twitter community (I’m trying to get #mtgdesign to be the official hashtag for Magic design, but it seems that tag is too many characters, especially considering the nature of tweeting about Magic design. #GDS2 is long over, too). This column had been a result of the GDS2, with me being a former Top 101 candidate. Read the rest of this entry

You’re a Designer, Harry! #16 – Nonblack Vs. Nongreen

Welcome back, brave adventures of four-color Magic design! Last time, I went back over all the comments that had yet to receive a reply from me among the first fifteen articles. It was interesting to go back to some old comments to see what was suggested and forgotten, especially with how the set has evolved since the time of those comments.

This week, we go over the (perhaps embarrassingly so) first playtest of this four-color set. I had a testing session with Jules Robins of Quiet Speculation. We tested out a couple of the factions’ mechanics (or lack thereof): The nongreen faction’s “lego-bot” mechanic (which was previously concepted as lurk for the nonwhite faction) and the nonblack faction’s use of tokens.

The nongreen faction is blue-and-black-centric. Given the nature of how the “lurk” mechanic assembles creatures under other creatures, granting them extra abilities to make one super creature with several hiding under it, the mechanic felt more right existing with this faction rather than the red-black faction. It feels like that mad scientist flavor that currently exists in Innistrad. Besides, with how lurk had transformed and the other mechanic options for red-black faded away, the randomness, the recklessness of red was lost. “Lurk” feels more calculating now (Do I hardcast, or do I “lurk?”). Read the rest of this entry

You’re a Designer, Harry! #15 – Comment Ketchup

Welcome back, collaborators of four-colored dream-realizers! Today, I’m going to answer all comments left without a reply on each of all of the articles I’ve written for this column up to this point. Of course, some comments are now aged with what we know now, but I think that would make for a more interesting answer, anyway. Concerns of the past may very well be something that should be brought back into the limelight if it started to become obscured by more current issues. Let’s get right into it, starting with the most recent going backwards (because it’d be nice to see the comments of other people as they are in their present time first before we go backwards and see what crazy things they were suggesting before (or wise things)!

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You’re a Designer, Harry! #14 – Lurking, Prowling, and Hiding

Welcome to the latest installment of You’re a Designer, Harry! Last time, we talked in detail about the inclusion of a vanilla faction in the set and the implications of doing so along with the reasons why we should do so. Today, we’ll be talking about its neighboring faction, the nonwhite faction. More specifically, about three different possible mechanics in detail.

Some of you may know Jules Robins as @JulesRobins from Twitter, as Jules Robins on Quiet Speculation, or as Jules Robins when he comments frequently on this design column. Well, I met up with him in-person recently, and we talked design. It was pretty much a syncing up of the latest design efforts on the set, and we last left off in our conversation (we ran out of time!) of wanting to playtest Lurk.

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You’re a Designer, Harry! #13 – A Vanilla Lot, Eh?

Welcome to another installment of You’re a Designer, Harry!. I know last week that I said I was going to explore designs for legendary creatures (Read: four-color commanders) and planeswalkers. Even though I know it’s a good idea to get the mechanical identity along with most, if not all, of the mechanics designed before individual card designing began; I still wanted a fun break from the usual aspects of the set we were focusing on. Despite the possibility of time waste as well as having more difficulty designing without that mechanical backbone there, I believed that we could at least gain something from the effort, even if it’s not the most efficient way to go about designing the set in it’s current position.

So, it all sounded good in theory to go down this refreshing, not-so-efficient path; but once I got down to try to design some legendary creatures to fit into their respective factions, it felt wrong to decide on some set of abilities and for that to feel correct within the context of the whole set. Especially when I’m trying to determine what a legendary creature from a faction all about vanilla creatures would be like. And I’m not even sure which faction should be the vanilla creatures one (actually, I’m only a tiny bit not sure. Oh, right. Read on to learn what in tarnation’s going on here dealing with the “vanilla faction” thing I’m talking about). Read the rest of this entry

You’re a Designer, Harry! #12 – Mechanics, the Decisions Torn

Welcome back to You’re a Designer, Harry! Or, if you’re new here, hooray! In that case, here’s a summary: This is a collaborative Magic: The Gathering set design article series. We’re designing a four-color set and are currently attempting to nail down some mechanics. If you have anything on your mind regarding the improvement of the set design, please do: speak up! …No? Well, without further Ado —

O.K., here’s some further ado. Unlike last time where I’ll say at least a bit of a blurb about each faction’s woes + mechanics, we won’t be focusing on the other factions besides the one that come to mind recently: The “nothing” faction and the colorless faction. Read the rest of this entry