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Thread: The MTG comparison - is it valid?

  1. #1

    The MTG comparison - is it valid?

    So, it seems that in almost every discussion about Dice Masters, be it a discussion about rules, card interpretations, the size of the card pool, the state of the meta, or just about anything else, one game always gets mentioned, referenced, or compared against:

    Magic: The Gathering.

    I get that the DM designers both worked on Magic sets or cards, and there some similarities between the two games, but are the mentions, references, and comparisons either fair and/or valid?

    Those similarities between DM and MTG are things that define a whole genre, or at least sub-genre, of games, and so there is as much, if not more, similarity between DM and countless other games, many of which pre-date MTG.

    There are only so many ways to peel the egg called 'game design' and so games that share a similar location in the space of possible game designs will naturally share many features, and what sets games apart is the features they don't share.

    So, is it perhaps not more valid to look at what DM doesn't share with MTG, than what it does?

    Some examples, to start with:

    DM is a high variance, low hidden information game. MTG, by comparison, is low variance high hidden information.

    In DM you build your 'deck' through the dice you purchase and recycle your 'hand' every turn, in MTG, by contrast, you have a fixed deck and build your hand.

    What other differences are there?

    Is the comparison really valid?

    What do you think?

  2. #2
    I feel like the main part where the two are similar is in the combat. Having two groups of characters/creatures attempting to attack each others' controllers/wizards/masters/agents with Attack and Defense values is obviously inspired by Magic: the Gathering. The rest of the game, however, is very different.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by OddballNarwhal View Post
    I feel like the main part where the two are similar is in the combat. Having two groups of characters/creatures attempting to attack each others' controllers/wizards/masters/agents with Attack and Defense values is obviously inspired by Magic: the Gathering. The rest of the game, however, is very different.
    Honestly one of the biggest things that I've had difficulty with is the idea of combat because you lose your character to if you swing through to your opponent so it isn't there to swing again. I also run into problems where if the character is blocked and not KO'd it can also block on the next turn. Just difficult to to wrap my brain around sometimes.

  4. #4
    It compares well in a few different, very broad, ways:

    1) General structure of a CCG - card interactions, keywords, set size and variance, etc.

    2) Strategy - Specifically when approaching good technical play, nuts-and-bolts strategy, and draft.

    Otherwise, it compares very favorably to deck building games like Dominion, many/all of which were nonetheless borne from the influence MTG. This is why effectively managing your resource economy is so important in this game. I mean, resources are important in any game, but there isn't engine building in MTG the way there is here.

  5. #5
    I've never understood the association with MtG. It is a deckbuilder game with a combat system. You can call it a cross between Yu Gi Oh and Deck building and still just be as accurate. 80 Percent deckbuilder, 20 percent combat.

  6. #6
    Anyone remember Dragon Dice?

    MTG did pre-date that (by a couple of years), but given the lead-time in game design, I doubt DD took much, if any influence from MTG.

    That would be where I think DM, and quarriors before, took much of it's inspiration from.

    Yes, Mike's and Eric's respective work on MTG will have had some influence, but when you look at Eric Lang's gameography, I think one can many more examples of games he will have drawn inspiration from.

    And then there is the fact that, as I mentioned before, those core concepts that DM and MTG share (characters with attack and defence stats facing off against each other, for example), are much older than MTG.

    So, whilst I do agree that there is much in common with, and much we can learn from, MTG, when it comes to Dice Masters, I think we also do Dice Masters a disservice if we think of it as "MTG with dice".

  7. #7
    Scorpion - agreed; take lessons from CCGs, but it's its own thing.

    But any collectable game will draw comparisons to MtG given that it is the granddaddy of the genre and still going strong 20 years later.

  8. #8
    Certainly I understand the comparison, and the importance of MTG.

    However I think we sometimes forget the wider, older, and, in my opinion, more important context in which all these games are embedded.

    For example, MTG grew out of role playing games, and the collectible model was not a new idea (it was just a new application of the idea).

    Now, of course, as we move further from the location DM occupies in the game design space the less relevant the comparisons become, but I think it is important to understand it's place in that wider context.

    And even broader contexts still.

    With the high level of variance in the game, for example, I think there are lessons one can learn from Poker, for example.

  9. #9
    To be honest, lots of MTG players take lessons from poker as well. Increasing equity? Results-oriented thinking? All Poker stuff.

  10. #10
    Many people who can't make enough money playing MTG have moved to poker. David Williams, for example.

    Dave's right; it's good to analyse all sorts of games to find similarities with DM.

  11. #11
    Indeed.

    That's what started the train of thought and that lead to this thread - the idea that we should look at all sorts of games, not just MTG.

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