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The Community Set
Created on 19 Mar 2014 by jmgariepy

History: [-]

2014-03-19 02:39:49: jmgariepy created the card The Community Set

Oy! That's a lot of reading, writing and editing. I need a soda.

By the way, this might be a fine time to mention to all Multiverse's recent new members that The Community Set is intended to be open to all. It's probably not especially clear where to get started, but I think we'll shortly be asking for uncommon designs for each of our six factions, so if you want to come up with some ideas for uncommons for a multicolour-versus-monocolour set, feel free.

We should dust off the challenge.

I confess I haven't had much enthusiasm for the community set. It does rather feel that we're just writing a bunch of cards. Perhaps for the next one we could have a bit more direction - people volunteering for Head Designer, creative, etc, and soliciting card ideas to a specific theme. Does that sound boring? I don't know.

I was quite excited about it when we were originally working on it, and I was originally quite interested in the themes, but now I've sort of lost touch with them. I think part of it is due to the fact that we've not agreed 100% on our interpretations of the story.

Hm? We do have a lot of themes:

  • White has a major theme of enchantments-matter and enchantment creatures; it did have a minor theme of exile-matters too, but that may have fallen by the wayside, but could be revived for the uncommons
  • Blue has a major theme of Islands-matter and the Flood mechanic ("Flood target land. (Put a flood counter on it. It's an Island in addition to its other types for as long as it has a flood counter on it.)").
  • Black has a major theme of Fortifications and a strong flavour of an Egyptian-style slavery; it did have a minor theme of sacrificing creatures too, probably to be brought out more in uncommon
  • Red has a major theme of all-in attacks, mechanically reflected with tap-all-your-creatures, and a strong flavour of icy mountains with yetis and devils
  • Green has a major theme of putting +1/+1 counters on creatures, turning them into Fungi, and making that matter; with a possible minor theme of plants and mana
  • Multicolour has a major theme of flying - every multicolour creature has flying - and a minor theme of card drawing, with the Enlighten ability word "Enlighten - Whenever you draw a card, [effect]."

I do think that it would be a good idea to have a head designer, head creative, and possibly a head developer, if we have anyone who thinks they'd be good at that (I don't.) I think we might be too deep into this set to try and fix that side of it up now, but I could be wrong.
Obviously, with our small numbers, each person would still be participating in all other roles. It would just be good to have a single person "in charge" of each department who could say "Yes, this is a good idea," or "No, we shouldn't do that."

I was't saying we don't have strong, readily apparent themes, because we do. It's just hard to get back into the mood for something from over a year ago. I still like it, though, and what we've got going has the potential to be good.

Reading Alex's summary, I'm sorry to say this sets sounds like an unfocused mess, and that's not counting that as someone who is hearing of it this way, I have no idea what its design specs are.

Is it bottom-up or top-down? (clearly the former, admittedly) Is it intended to be a core set, an expert expansion, a noncompetitive expansion (not part of standard like MMA, cube and the upcoming Conspiracy)? How is it played? Limited, block constructed, standard? Do we want to ensure we don't accidentally create eternal-format monsters or are we "severing" it from standard magic?

This is all relevant information, and aside from some story discussion, I can't find any of it summarized anywhere!

I don't think any of that stuff got thought about.

The idea was, pretty much; "Hey, lots of people making cards here, why don't we see if we can make a set together"

The original brainstorming threads can be seen on the set's comments thread. The original idea was "multicolour versus monocolour". We spent a long time hashing out what that would mean, before settling on the idea that multicolour can have flying and each of the five monocolour subplanes can have their own mechanical identity, which will naturally draw players to build monocolour decks focused in one of the colours.

We did ask several times for people to volunteer as Head Designer etc, but it seems we were all too humble. (Or dubious about our ability to do a good job, given for none of us is this our day job.)

I think the answers to how it's intended to be played are probably the "default" answers for any custom expert expansion on Multiverse unless stated otherwise. So that's - an expert expansion; intended to work in draft and sealed; intended to be part of standard for constructed, but without any clear knowledge of what blocks will be before and after it (so no ability to do cross-block design).

Circeus, we didn't answer those questions probably because we thought the answers were obvious, as Alex said. If it were a core set, it wouldn't be including Multicolor and a bunch of new mechanics. If it were a "noncompetitive expansion" (didn't think I'd ever hear Modern Masters called that) we would have explicitly called that out.
It's true that it's difficult to find the focus and organization of the set. I'm having a bit of trouble myself figuring out the current incarnation of our ideas. There are a lot of old comment threads to wade through in order to feel sure that I know what I need to know in order to progress with the set, and it's intimidating.

That said, here's an idea: Why not propose two blocks with vague themes that we can pretend are around our set in Standard?
And another idea: As creator of Multiverse, and someone with a proven knowledge of all sorts of things Magical, I would like to nominate Alex as the Head Designer. I feel that he's the person most likely to give us a good direction, but also that he is one of the least likely to volunteer for the job.
I would like to nominate myself as Head Creative, but I'm not sure I'm confident enough in my abilities or dedication.

Mostly, as the closest thing to head designer, my job has been to filter everyone's ideas into the closest thing everyone can agree on, and compile the cards in as structured an order as I can. It was one heck of a task to get those common skeletons to align. It sure helped that Jack took red, and Alex took Multicolor, while I focused on the other four mono-colors plus colorless.

In theory, Alex's explanation for what's going on in set looks like a mess. But the truth is, that Ravnica and Alara look like a mess too, when explained from a "This is what Naya does. This is what Esper does" point of view. Alara is about 5 tri-color sets that haven't seen each other in ages, slamming back together. Aer is about Multicolor vs. Monocolor... at least in flavor. I think we mostly captured that. I think we missed our mark on a number of other things, though, yes... but part of the problem, I guess, is that different people disagree on what we missed on.

I have no problem with the idea of shuffling the roles. I took head-ish designer/diplomat as a sort of "Well, no one else is really stepping up, and if no one does anything, than nothing will happen." That said, while I have no qualms with anyone taking a more pro-active role, I've got to advise against questioning the basic tenets of what we've established so far. Little tweaks, sure. Up the fungus theme, or up the plants and mana theme. That's fair game. But going back and trying to reinvent the whole set would probably end in disaster.

Instead, I'd suggest pushing forward and (hopefully) finishing this set. And learning from our mistakes for when (and if) we ever did this again. This is, after all, a pretty big experiment. It isn't pretty, but it might be the first of it's kind: A purely organic set made by amateur designers, created by using piecemeal tactics on a message board. Personally, I'm rather impressed at the progress we've made. Any reasonable person should have assumed this wouldn't even get past the conception stage.

@Link: You've certainly had many of the good ideas for the creative. That doesn't always translate into being good at also soliciting and choosing between ideas, but I'd support you taking on head of creative and seeing how it goes. If you don't have much time, that's no worse than now.

You also get my vote Link. Truth is, it probably isn't any more work than you're already doing. The only difference is that you'd be able to say "Okay, we're going with this, instead of that." Honestly, we could use someone saying that.

Thanks, guys.

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