by doomfistmonk, Dec 19,2011

Skeleton Discussion

It would be good to emulate Wizard's development methods in building a set skeleton (reference to this article). The card skeleton will help us structure our decisions a bit, focus creativity, and tell us when are "done" with the initial design and ready for playtesting. There are some top-level design decisions we should probably make first.
1. How "creature heavy" is the world? Are the cards a 50-50 mix of creatures to spells? 60-40?
  • Decided last EWDC episode: 50-50 as a tarting point.

2. Cycles? How many do we want and of what card type(s)? (E.g. we identified one cycle already: "creature-scribe.")
3. Which keywords will be in-play or out-of-play?
4. Will it be a set with a a lot of multi-color, artifact, and/or colorless spells?
  • Prevailing winds say not multi-color, not artifact heavy, no colorless spells, though none of this has been set in stone. There will be shard-based themes.

5. What is the card pool size and how many unique designs do we need at each rarity?
Greg and Jeff have identified a card pool size on the [[Magic: East West Draft Cast Custom Set/Basic Guidlines | Basic Guidelines]] page of 360, with 264 commons (66 unique designs x 4), 72 uncommons (36 unique designs x 2), and 24 rares (24 unique designs).
For reference points, lets consider Innistrad and Rise.
ROE: 228 unique cards (other than basic lands).
100 common
60 uncommon
53 rare
15 mythic.
ISD: 269 unique cards (other than basic lands).
113 common
74 uncommon
65 rare
17 mythic.
To compare all three, our proposed pool of 264 commons is more than twice the number designed by wizards and our proposed 24 rare designs is about a third. Seems like it might be better to go with a ratio like 3:2:1 (printings) and fix the numbers of unique designs accordingly. For example, 86C x 3, 38U x 2, 26R x 1 would make 150 designs / 360 cards and would come VERY close to the true pack ratio of 10:3:1 (remember there is a basic land stuck in the packs these days, so there aren't 11 commons).

I created a page and a table for our finalized skeleton; "Set Skeleton" found at the top of the page. At the moment there are 200 cards listed, which can change, but for now I'd like to shoot for 200 individual cards designed. I started adding in the creature sizes, and as time goes on we can all start adding in more specific things we think we are missing in the set. When a card is completed, put it in the corresponding place in the table so we can track our progress. Cards will obviously be moved around and discarded as the need arises.

Great! Thanks. I am a nut for structure when it comes to creative exercises. That may sound odd, but I do believe strongly in having creative constraints and a measuring stick for progress. I have a BFA in painting and was a practicing artist (professionally) for some time. I can tell you that once you generate energy and an idea, it's important to develop some kind of plan for executing your vision. A flexible plan, yes, but a plan. So I'm very happy to see a card skeleton because I was getting a little lost in all the designs. Seems like everyone wants to design Uncommons. :-) The skeleton will force us to design commons and rares too.
P.S. Just listened to the draft cast. I agree that the card pool should be bigger than 360, I was riffing off something you guys posted earlier. I keep my own cubes at 405-450. I was also, as you pointed out, under the assumption that everything was going to be mixed together as one cube. Since you plan to keep the cube separated into sections by rarity, that changes everything. The ratio isn't even all that important, because.it would be decided at the time you start pulling cards from the cube for a draft. This provides a lot of flexibility as one group could draft at a 6:2:1 ratio and another at 4:2:1, for example, just by pulling different numbers of cards out of the sections to make the packs.
[[Magic: East West Draft Cast Custom Set/Skeleton | Skeleton]]