Custom Card Game Design

More Overworld

In the last two weeks, I worked on my Overworld set further with lightning speed. Although I anticipate that this rush of creativity will level off rather quickly, it is great while it lasts. In the meanwhile, I dekeyworded the Treasure mechanic and came up with three new mechanics for the set instead. These are Dominion, Adventurism and Riposte.


A rare creature with a dominion ability.

In Iamur, the large creature mechanic was “Power 8 or greater matters.” There was even a weird 8/1 Octopus in the set to support the theme. For Overworld, I wanted a new mechanic, but tailored to large creatures as well: Dominion is an ability word signaling an effect that is active only for as long as the creature has the greatest power among creatures on the battlefield. Here I like the flavor and that it should be very interactive. Only one monster can have dominion over the sea, so both players will engage in an arms race to buff up their largest creature to get the dominion effect. Naturally, a set with this mechanic should have many ways to alter the power of creatures. Equipments are especially great as you can reequip to activate the dominion of another creature instead.

Of course, dominion has the downside that it does not really synergize with other dominion creatures, so there cannot really be a “dominion deck.” But if you have multiple fatties out and you can only activate the dominion ability of one of them, I think you will survive.


A common creature with Adventurism.

Here is another top-down mechanic. Adventurism, as the name suggests, is the mechanic for the adventurers of the set. Explorers of various kinds sail across the endless sea and constantly discover new lands. But to do so, they have to be very daring (which of course is attacking the opponent). So, adventurism reads:

Adventurism (Whenever this creature attacks, look at the top card of your library. You may put it on the bottom of your library. If it’s a land card, you may put it onto the battlefield tapped.)

Overworld is a format where you beat each other up quite much, and adventurism plays into that. It encourages you to attack for value, the best encouragement by far. I initially designed the ability without the pseudo-scry, but after playing a bit with Explorer’s Scope in Commander, I realized how frustrating it can be. So, I made this change which forfeits a bit of elegance in favor of good gameplay; a more than acceptable trade.


A combat trick with Riposte.

Combat tricks are important for limited to keep both players able to attack into what would otherwise become a very cluttered board. But a format with many good combat tricks can also shift the advantage too much to the attacker, leaving the defending player vulnerable to all kinds of shenanigans as he cannot afford to leave up mana for his tricks on the opponent’s turn. In a “go-face” format, there are bound to be many great combat tricks. But I like combat to be interactive, and not just a mere race. I want to shift the advantage back to the defender a bit, and give him the tools to be on an even playing field. This led me to include the Riposte mechanic:

Riposte {cost} (You may cast this spell for {cost} if a creature is attacking you.}

While Riposte spells are not only usable on defense, they are cheaper to cast if you do. This allows the defending player to respond to the opponent’s tricks while still playing threats on the previous turn.


These will be all the new mechanics. Now, on to fleshing out the different tribes! As always, check out the visual spoiler linked above and tell me what you think!


4 responses to “More Overworld

  1. Circeus September 1, 2014 at 12:30 pm

    Domnion is a little win-more, but at least it doesn’t turn on a bunch of creatures at the same time. I feel it should explicitly state what happens if the creature is tied for greatest power, though. Also you now have TWO mechanics (the unkeyworded treasure and adventuring) entirely dedicated to mana acceleration. So I’m asking even more than I did in the last post: where are the mana sinks to justify that? And I mean ones we see in limited. Where are the common monstrous creatures, level-up, invokers etc.?

  2. antaresmtg September 1, 2014 at 4:20 pm

    I agree. I haven’t paid much attention into putting enough mana sinks into the set yet. An invoker cycle is a good place to start. I have to see if I can put together a convincing cycle. Other than that, there will be very expensive creatures at common.

    Adventurism isn’t a pure ramp mechanic, though. It also ships lands off the top of your library so you draw into more gas. And the gold tokens will only be on a few cards, now that it’s dekeyworded. That being said, mana sinks exist too few in the set currently, but I think an invoker cycle, lots of Equipment, and a few random activated abilities on creatures suffice and we don’t need an additional mechanic to solve the mana-sink problem.

  3. adventmtg September 3, 2014 at 11:53 pm

    Looking good. I’m not sold on ‘adventurism’ – not the mechanic itself, but the name. I don’t have any great suggestions here except to think about other names that may fit the effect and sound better.

    Riposte is brilliant, flavorful and functional. Home run there.

    Dominion, IMO, needs to go. Like Circeus said, it’s a bit win-more, but also the fun factor quickly goes away when you realize that only one creature, at any time, will have the dominion bonus. Maybe you’ve got a bonus on a creature that you want to keep, but in doing so you’re forced to hold back your fattie. This isn’t fun gameplay – I’d think about dropping or reworking this mechanic as a whole.

    • antaresmtg September 6, 2014 at 7:13 pm

      I’ve had a discussion with someone about Dominion yesterday. We concluded that it’s potentially frustrating that you can turn off both of your dominion creatures if you manage to achieve a tie in power between the two creatures. It may be worth considering changing it so that ties still activate dominion.

      But other than that, I think the issues should be negligible. It is far more likely that both players have one dominion creature out than that one player has several out, and then the mechanic plays very well. Unless the dominion bonus on a creature is completely insane, you’ll never hold back an even bigger creature just to keep the bonus.

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