Format – Space Bridge

Welcome back! As a second round of posts, we’re transcribing and expanding on a post from the original Facebook page regarding a possible new format should we lean into a new card type…Locations!

Kaon, Decepticon Capital

Many channels have floated the possibilities of Locations, and word is that WotC themselves were considering a Location card as a potential item that never manifested. Ideas have flown about how they would work, what they might do, etc.

Any time you’re going to add something to a game, you want to make sure it brings with it its own realm of design space and isn’t just eating up space from elsewhere. To that end, as a personal preference, I dislike the idea of making Locations battle cards. This was floated a few times in conversations I’ve seen, where folks refer back to Pokemon’s “Stadium” cards.

That said, one area of interesting impact in Transformers is you do not often get to see or do universal effects. There’s a few; tap all characters, deal 2 damage to all characters, etc. but nothing really generates any sense of…upheaval.

With that in mind, looking to other games as examples for how the handled similar concepts, I decided to tap into the Magic: the Gathering format “Planechase,” itself a formalized version of a casual game format called “Chaos Magic.” The idea behind both is there is a second deck of wild effects; in Chaos, the top card of the “Chaos Deck” is flipped at the start of each player’s turn and the reveal sets new rules basically for the turn. This deck is made up of existing cards, so the effects vary from benign to random to painful to hilarious depending on which deck list is used. With Planechase, there is a little more structure and the concept a little more clear: players are “exploring” the multiverse which makes up MtG’s setting. Each plane is a new place, on a new world, with relevance to the story, characters, and such. The effects are less wild than Chaos Magic in that there are very few of these “planes” cards.

“Space Bridge” would be an answer to this idea for Transformers TCG. Borrowing from the Chaos/Planechase concept, players would construct a deck of special Location cards, shuffle up, and get ready to play.

At the start of the game, the top card of the deck would be flipped and its text followed; cards would ideally have a “When Revealed” trigger, something big and splashy that should impact both players, and a static effect that is true while the Location is revealed.

The Ark; home after 4 million years of dormancy

Any time a player could play an Action card, they can choose instead to reveal a new Location. The current Location would go to the bottom of the Location deck, and the new Location flipped, its “When Revealed” triggers followed, and its static effects…messing with the table!

This is a simple outline of the idea; there’s a lot of room to explore. One such option is a “storybook” mode, where the order of the Locations is not randomized but fixed, with triggers that advance the players to the next Location. Such a “deck” could replicate the planet hopping of The Animated Movie, leading from Moon Base 1 to Earth & Autobot City, then on to Quintessa, Junkion, and finally back to Cybertron and Unicron for a final showdown for the ages!

Till all are one! ~Nate

Exploring Design Space – Titan Frames

In a first article for the site we’ll start talking about exploring unique design spaces, starting with tools we already have!

The above image was released last night as an announcement regarding the completion of the “Titan” card frame for the Magic Set Editor (MSE) template. In the game, Titans are reserved for the likes of Metroplex, Trypticon, and Fortress Maximus, though you can bet lots of folks are chomping at the bit to make even more. Even Omega Supreme got his first release on a super-sized Titan frame card.

For grins and giggles, I threw a Superion image into the frame…and it looked good. But more than that, the idea of making Superion not just a combiner but a stand-alone bot has some fun and interesting design possibilities.

Combiners are typically eschewed for their difficulty to assemble. They’re potentially a lot of fun, but it becomes a time-consuming affair and by the time the titanic monstrosity is assembled one or more of its components have been KO’d at least once and it becomes a slog as the combiner attacks, and then the opposing team gets 2-3 attacks in, and it keeps on going.

Conceptually, using the “Titan” frame and idea first floated by Omega Supreme we could remedy some of this by making a dedicated combiner-form card, with sane stats, that allows it to be a part of a team with a couple of smaller bots as backup/support. Doing it this way, we don’t have to worry terribly about super-weak support pieces or incorrectly costed parts being able to slot in elsewhere, and we can make some interesting adjustments with the combiners themselves.

Mind, this is a half-formed idea; there’s still a lot of ground to cover in terms of making this work. But, the basic idea isn’t too far fetched and could open a lot of possibilities!

Superion, Combiner Team Go!

Till all are one ~ Nate