Custom Card Game Design

So much to design…

…and so little time. Here are some updates on everything ever.


A few weeks ago, MTGSalvation user Captain Salty and his playgroup drafted some Iamur and gave me extensive feedback, which is awesome. Based on their feedback and some of my own thoughts, I made some changes to the Iamur set. The biggest change was that the ‘Mermaid’ creature type was changed to ‘Nixie’, to differentiate them better from the Merfolk that are also in the set. I made some changes to cards that were unintuitive to other players, and changed the wording on all cards to reflect the changes brought with Magic 2014. I also found that Iamur was more aggressive than I intended it to be, so I added more cards that hose intimidate creatures.

A card to make Iamur less aggressive.

Now I have to apply those changes to ‘Grim Tidings’, the follow-up set to Iamur, and finish designing it. However, I got the feeling that triple Iamur was more fun to draft than Grim Tidings, 2x Iamur, so maybe I’ll have to cut deeper and some minor changes won’t suffice. In addition, I’m still unhappy with the amount of constructed playable cards in Iamur. I designed the set with only limited in mind, but we’re planning on playing ‘unified constructed’, and it becomes apparent very quickly that the overall power level of Iamur is very low.


As usual, I’m already ahead of myself and am thinking of the next sets in the block before I have my first set finished. Currently, I envision the ‘Esparand’ block to follow the usual large set, followed by two small sets pattern. The eponymous first set will be followed by the sets ‘Storm of Chaos’ and ‘Eternity.’

In ‘Esparand’, the phenomenon called the ‘Storm of Time’ is introduced, which chaotically alters the flow of time on the plane. The set ‘Storm of Chaos’ will expand on that theme; I want to convey that things go seriously wrong in that set. I looked for a way to show multiple versions of the same character, both existing at the same time due to a time paradoxon. This led to the idea of ‘split creatures’. Just like ordinary split cards, they are Magic cards with two card faces. You cast one of the halves of the creature and when the spell resolves, that creature enters the battlefield. If a split creature would enter the battlefield from anywhere but the stack, you choose which creature enters the battlefield.

Hunter and Gatherer

A split-creature for Storm of Chaos.

I haven’t designed any double-faced legendary creatures yet, which was actually the original intent. Maybe I won’t even do it, but I still like the idea, even if it’s a bit crazy. All split creature names are based on pairs like ‘Hunter & Gatherer’, as shown above, but my ideas are limited. If you have ideas for more names, let me know. Master & Servant , Judge & Executioner, ehh…

In the third set of the block, ‘Eternity’, the original paradoxon is destroyed and the Storm of Time collapses. But instead of returning to normal, the flow of time abruptly stops, freezing the entire plane in an eternal moment beyond time. This theme will be represented by the mechanic ‘Eternal’, which changes the effects of instants and sorceries to last for the rest of the game.

Millennia of Suffering

A card with Eternal. Exile this card underneath the affected creature to avoid memory issues.

Conquest of Orion

Just wanted to give a small update on ‘Conquest of Orion’ that this project is far from dead. I continue to work on it, but I shifted my focus on Magic sets since then. Because of the logistic difficulties of playing the game online, I didn’t continue to write about it, and the overall interest also began to wane. Most people probably won’t know what I’m talking about: You should start here. So, is anyone interested in hearing more on this project, and if so, what should I focus on?

Meanwhile, here are some new cards!

Millennia of Suffering

A human science vessel, built to explore unknown planetary systems.

Millennia of Suffering

Not nearly as broken as it seems on first glance.

Millennia of Suffering

In the third chapter, ‘Invasion’, the humans gain powers rivaling those of a Q.


3 responses to “So much to design…

  1. adventmtg August 30, 2013 at 1:16 am

    Loving it all (except maybe the split creatures – not sold on that one working out too well (have you considred using the double faced teamplate for this instead?)

    I’m going to commit to getting your Cockatrice templates done this weekend (holiday here in the states so I’ll have a long weekend.) Once they’re done, I’m up for some playtesting on your Iamur changes if you’re interested.

    • antaresmtg August 30, 2013 at 1:49 pm

      Using the double faced template would have further implications (you have to provide check cards, it changes signaling in draft ect.). I think it shouldn’t be used for just a small theme.

      I’m all for testing. This weekend sounds good.

  2. Pingback: Designing Eternity | Adventares - Custom Card Game Design

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