Monday, March 26, 2012

Magic's Time Distortion: Uno's Reverse

In large multiplayer Magic games, one of the biggest obstacles is turn order. For a game that was originally strictly 2 player, many of the cards/effects do not properly scale when you start adding extra people.

Of course, that's a little bit of the fun, and why the card selection process is so much different than in a standard person on person game.

This summer the new planechase set is introducing the "phenomenon" card to make each game even more wacky and chaotic than you probably thought possible. Randomly planeswalking to a dimension of pure fire was not crazy enough, apparently.

One of the things that catches my eye for Time Distortion is its close resemblance to the Uno card known as Reverse.

Uno is a marvelous multiplayer game, one that is self adapting for most small to large groups of card players. Kids like it, too.

Reverse is definitely not very exciting in the occasional Uno duel. In my childhood, where most Uno games were unfortunately played with 2, the Reverse card took on a very cryptic nature. To be honest, it does absolutely nothing. And explaining a card that does nothing to a 5 or 6 year old is never easy.

A house rule sprung up from the nothingness. I decided Reverse would just be another Skip card…a card I was very fond of using in the 2 player metagame. Skip becomes overpowered with just 2, allowing you to eventually chain a collection of skips in your hand until you run out and your opponent is at your mercy. Overpowered cards and extremely attractive to 6 year olds. It was also the beginning of a long, long period where I thought I was really good at card games.

Now, here it is in 2012. About 27 years since I first played Uno, and a year or so into my career playing UNO against my always-game 5-6 year old son.

It has taken a completely unrelated-to-Uno expansion for multiplayer Magic: The Gathering to make me realize I should probably institute a couple modifications to Uno to get this whole 2 player thing under control.

1. TAKE OUT the Reverses! The card count to Uno seems almost sacred. But removing the Reverse cards avoids an ugly dead spot when the big R comes around and everyone is left staring down at it, wondering what to do.

2. TAKE OUT the Skips! No one except for the cruelest of fathers would take pleasure in chaining skips towards an unearned victory.

3. The rest of the cards, probably ok!

To go to Magic for a second, I wonder what other UNO-inspired abilities might be in store for the planechase set?

The leftover mechanisms:

1. Skip: done already plenty. But a random free effect in a multiplayer setting would be interesting, especially if it were used consistently to deal withe the Threat on the board.

2. Draw 2: An almost given that at least one phenomenon card will cause you to draw extra cards or cause someone else to discard them.

3. Wild: Changing the colors of cards is s time-honored tradition. But the Magic version of this would not work in exactly the same way.

4. Wild Draw 4: INSANE!!!!!!

Now to go tear apart my Uno decks to preparation for dueling…

No comments:

Post a Comment