Creator of the Multiverse database for custom sets, the Magic Turing machine (proving Magic Turing-complete) and the random Magic card generator.
here's an idea for tracking life that would probably never work: just write it down
Tracking life by writing it down is simple and easy. The biggest problem is that it consumes paper, ink, and requires a larger space than a die does. If you have a life total that goes up and down often (I'm looking at you Sundroplet, but your friends do it too), it can quickly eat up a lot of paper-space.
I'd dispute that you need dice. We have glass beads of a few different colours, which serve handily for +1/+1 counters, -1/-1 counters, tokens of a couple of different sizes (turn them over if they're tapped), and life total (black for 5, white for 1: so 3 black 3 white means 18 life). It also helps that I have a big stack of token creatures from boosters and proxy tokens I've printed out over the years, but really, just five colours of glass bead provides more than enough for two or three kinds of counter, a handful of tokens (easier to track how many are attacking who than dice), and life totals that don't get jogged when someone bumps the table.
Beads can sometimes work, and for impromptu tokens they're servicable. But usually, you know you're going to be playing Magic when you show up, and you know if you brought a token deck. If the table is long and the game big (6+ people) telling whether a bead is upside down or not can be difficult. One person tried to argue that you can always ask if you're not sure, but if your opponent has to ask questions about the game state then your tokens aren't doing their job. Cards are hard enough to see once 100+ of them are on the table and the art is too far away to make out. Beads are usually fine for groups of four or less, though.
For counters, beads are better, but they suffer from a "counting" problem. Humans can only count at a glance up to about 7. If you have 13 +1/+1 counters, it gets tricky to keep track of it. That many counters also obscures the visibility of the card, making it even harder to keep track of what's what (as if multiplayer didn't have enough of that already). Dice don't have that problem.
The beads sound pretty handy for life totals, though, so I might adopt that. It's nice to tell at a glance whether somebody is at 9 or 18, and having two colors makes the counting easier. Dice can be hard to read from so far away.
Sometimes, it's not a question of "does it work" but "is it best". Nobody is going to tell you that you can't use paper to track your life total unless your scroll starts getting in their space. Beads will usually work, but they're not ideal unless you're using only a few at a time.
Probably the most important rule for multiplayer (aside from being somewhat manipulative and trying to off the players with a clue ASAP) is simply to play far more threats than answers.
My EDH decks:
Sliver Overlord ()
I find that in multiplayer, writing down life totals generally doesn't work. Either every player is keeping track of everyone else's life total (they aren't), or one player is keeping score and has to give out constant 'life roundups'. We use poker chips in stacks of five. It's easily readable from across the table, everyone gets to see the maths is done right and stealing life is extra satisfying.
Face it, you're pretty much here as a meat shield.
If you are at Georgian Court Univeristy or Monmouth Univeristy PM me. If you are out by York College of PA, I can help you reach the group there.
The real Rules for Multiplayer:You are not going to win with a burn deck.Aggro is not going to work.Mill is not going to work, unless it's a "everyone loses" combo.Combo must kill everyone else at the table, at the same time.Counterspells and removal are for win-denial, not lockdown control.Armageddon and Wrath just make you a target.Stasis will make the game last about seventeen hours. Just don't.Do not overextend.
Those who fear the darkness have never seen what the light can do.
I've seen angels fall from blinding heights. But you yourself are nothing so divine. Just next in line.
191752181 wrote:All I'm saying is, I don't really see how she goes around petrifying swords and boots and especially mirrors. How the heck does she beat a Panoptic Mirror? It makes no sense for artifacts either. Or enchantments, for that matter. "Well, you see, Jimmy cast this spell to flood the mountain, but then the gorgon just looked at the water really hard and it went away."