Engineering Evolution

What Self-Determination Theory can tell us about Magic: The Gathering’s Metagame

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In the world of collectable card games, something curious is happening. Over the course of the last two-and-a-half years, three of the largest and best-respected card game developers—Wizards of the Coast, Fantasy Flight Games, and Blizzard Entertainment—have been scrambling to adjust the release cycles for each of their wildly popular (and staggeringly lucrative) card games. In the case of the latter two companies, these adjustments might be dismissed as the developers ironing out wrinkles in the new, untested systems that undergird their products’ popularity; doing so cannot, however, account for the fact that Wizards of the Coast’s previous model was employed to great success for over two decades, and that both Fantasy Flight Games and Blizzard Entertainment based their business models on adaptations of Wizards’ original system. So, then, why the change? Why now? Continue Reading

First Person Podcast Episode 15

Get Decked

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This month’s podcast is all about card games. We discuss everything from collectible card games (CCGs) like Magic the Gathering, to living card games (LCGs) like Android: Netrunner, to deckbuilding games like Ascension, and digital card games like Hearthstone. Why has this genre of game endured? What are the differences between the different business models? Which games have we been currently playing and which are the ones we had more time (and money) to play? Continue Reading

The Game Design Holy Grail

How Magic The Gathering & Nintendo Utilize Lenticular Design

Commentary - The Game Design Holy Grail

Two of my favorite pastimes are playing videogames and Magic: The Gathering (MTG). I’ve been playing videogames since I was eight and I picked up MTG at the tender age of eleven. After more than a decade of playing and loving MTG, I can firmly say that the world’s number one trading card game has had a profound effect on how I think about games. Furthermore, MTG taught me many valuable lessons about game design. There are a host of lessons and philosophies I could translate from MTG to videogames and back again, but the philosophy that I find the most interesting at the moment is lenticular design. Continue Reading