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You know Magic: The Gathering? Of course you do. Well, a while back I translated it for play with an ordinary poker deck. I had to modify(read:bastardize) the basic rules a bit to push the action element along, but otherwise it plays smoothly-- with some minor adjustments, it could be a legitimate form of card play.
Split deck, or better one deck each
1D20(or piece of paper to count 20 hit points for each player)
Each player deals 10 cards, face down. Each draws the next card out to see who goes first(Ace low). Those cards are returned to the bottom of the deck, and play begins. Before we get into what makes a turn, let's define the cards(to be explained later):
A,2,3,4,5: Definer cards(amount cards).
6,7,8,9: Spirit cards(or Mana Cards if you will).
10,J: Monsters(We will refer to the 10 card as "X" from now on)
Q: Protection Spell
K: Attack Spell
Jok: Used for... anything you want, as long as it's mutually agreed.
Okay. So when a player takes his turn, he first enters the POOLING phase. He lays down any Spirit Cards in his hand according to Alignment(Suit). If he has no Spirit cards, he may choose to dump his cards to the bottom of the deck, deal 10 more, and skip his turn(WITHOUT laying down cards). If somehow he uses all 10 cards during this phase, he deals 10 more cards and his OPPONENT'S turn begins. After this phase comes the Summon Phase.
In this phase, the player SUMMONS Monsters or Spells onto the field. Here's where it gets complicated: a Monster or Spell summoned MUST have a definer(A-5) attached to it. Essentially, a Summon means you lay down two cards next to each other. The Definer's Suit does NOT have to match the Monster's or Spell's Suit. It's better to think that Definers do not have suits. The Definer shows how much power a Summon has. So:
J2= A Monster with 2 Attack/2 Defense(by default the numbers are the same)
Q5= A Level 5 Protection Spell
K1= A Level 1 Attack Spell
Now, Monsters have one purpose: to kill other monsters. If there are no monsters to attack, the Monsters will attack YOUR OPPONENT. Monsters have two stats: attack and defense(which, by default, are each the value of the Definer card). Its Attack power dictates how much Defense it can take off of other Monsters(or your opponent, if there is nothing else to oppose it). Its Defense power dictates how many hits it can withstand before being Dismissed(taken off the game area and sent to the bottom of the deck). Protection Spells(Q) can do two things: they can be used to protect from Monster Attacks, or they can also be used to ADD DEFENSE to a monster. Therefore, a Q2 directly opposing a J4 reduces its attack to 2. Or, the card set J5Q3 gives the creature 5 Attack, 8 Defense. The Protection Spell has no Defense points in regard to how much damage it can take-- it is in play for as long as your mana is active. Attack Spells(K) are used in the same way Q's are: They can attack a Monster, or be used to enhance a Monster's Attack. So, a K3 can reduce an X-4 to 1 defense, or enhance a J1 to have 4 Attack, 1 Defense. Attack Spells can attack your opponent if none of his cards oppose it.
More notes on Summoning: A Spell, when enhancing a Monster, does not have to match its suit. If the suits don't match, though, it makes the Monster more vulnerable(more on this in the Battle section). It's possible to have a J4Q2 with cards of all different suits(but remember suits don't matter with Definers). Also, as with Pooling, if a player empties his hand during the Summoning phase he may then restock his hand and his turn ends.
A Monster(J,X) costs 1 corresponding SPIRIT to Summon. A Protection Spell(Q) costs 2, and an Attack Spell(K) costs 3. Note that SPIRIT is not cumulative, so 2 Spade SPIRIT can Summon as many Spade Monsters and Spade Protect Spells as possible, but IS NOT enough for any Attack Spells. (This rule regarding SPIRIT points is only to compensate for the difficulty in accumulating enough of the cards.)
A player may initiate Battle ONLY at the cost of his turn(i.e. no Summoning, no Pooling). Here he may rearrange his Summons to oppose any Opponent's, but he may only issue ONE ACTION PER CARD GROUP(A Monster with an Attack Spell attached can still only attack once). The opponent automatically has to accept battle, and acts in the same way. Turns progress, with alternating attacks, until no more attacks can be made. The player who runs out of attacks first takes 1 point away from his own Hit Points(battle loss penalty, including HP loss during battle) and resumes with his Summoning/Pooling turn.
"Ganging Up" is not only admissable, it's usually the only way to victory. You can team up any amount of Monsters or Spells to oppose another Monster. However, (THIS IS IMPORTANT) opposing Suits HAVE to match. Only creatures who contain the same suit can oppose each other. The addition to this rule is that if the Monster has a Spell attatched, the Spell's suit is added to the monster(keeping in mind that Definers A-5 have no suit). Hence, if we have a Spade Monster with a Heart attack spell, he can attack enemies of both Spades and Hearts-- but both can also attack him. This gets complicated if you think about numerous combinations-- but as stated earlier, the more suits attached to a Monster, the more battle positions it has to cover. In theory, a JQKK(yes, you can pile spells) group, all of the same suit and all with a Definer of five, would be considered the "Blue Eyes White Dragon" of the game(sorry for the nerdy comparison). This is because it is terribly powerful(15 Attack, 10 Defense) and also because only enemies or spells of one suit may challenge it.
Notes on Attacking, and Dismissal
Obviously, a spell cannot be attacked. It acts as a filter to weaken an enemy Monster in some way. A good strategy would be to keep a good Defense spell on the side, not assigning it to a Monster, just in case your army gets wiped out and your Opponent turns on YOU. Speaking of which, a Monster is Dismissed(sent to the bottom of your deck) if it is killed, along with any support spells it had. This includes any Protect spell directed at the enemy who killed it. Attack Spells are much more expensive, as they are Dismissed the first time they are used.
Obviously, the first person to lose all of his Hit Points loses. Gameplay testing has shown that the game kind of drags on and players never really lose big chunks of Hit Points at a time, so I'll consistently be tweaking the rules to see if battles can become a bit riskier, and also try to make it so the gameplay isn't so even-handed all the time.
Notes on Joker play:
The Joker can be used in a number of different ways. One interesting way to use it is as a "Mana Spoiler", where you lay the card over an opponent's Spirit Card, rendering the entire suit useless. Therefore, he must Dismiss any Summons that reside in the same suit and send them to the bottom of the deck, as well as the Spirit Cards that were spoiled(AND the Joker). The possibilities are endless, as the Joker is a wild card, but the Joker rule, if any, must be agreed upon before the game starts.
So that's it. And by the way, this game is Patent Pending, but feel free to test and submit suggestions at any time, heh.
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Ultimate Doomer: lol, all those cards from Urza's Saga, Urza's Destiny, and Urza's Legacy that are overpowered are either banned or restricted to one per deck. It's evened out some nowadays.
In tournaments, yes (as are a whole ton of older stuff), but not in general play. But even if the cards are somewhat fairer now (I wouldn't know as I haven't bought any for years), the overpowered Urza's ones will still be around. (the main trouble being that they keep coming back to your hand when lost. That, and giving super-cool things without any bad side-effects like the old Revised/FE/4th days)
Since 1993. The 10 Year Anniversary was held last summer with the release of 8th Edition. They reprinted cards from every set. Anyone who used to play a long time ago might recognize these cards that were reprinted in it:
Sage of Lat-Nam
Wrath of Marit-Lage
Death Pits of Rath
Furnace of Rath
Hammer of Bogardan
Skull of Orm
Urza's Power Plant