Thursday, July 1, 2010

Magic Cards... not the game....

I started playing Warhammer with the introduction of the Lizardmen (whom I still love) and the Brettonians (did I spell that right?) and during that period of the game's growth magic was a whole separate box full of cards and templates.

If you aren't familiar with the magic system then it was pretty cool imho; you were dealt a hand of cards which gave your wizards power or magical abilities such as dispelling and destroying spells. Total Power was only a single card in the entire deck. My friend David is nostalgic about those rules and wants them back.

I am perfectly fine with the current magic rules and I like the dice system just fine. I am a game mechanics guy so I find joy in just playing/using game mechanics and don't often see to much in the way of superiority of one over another. I also like the dicker with mechanics so I've come up with a system of using a deck of normal playing cards in the place of the dice for the current magic in Warhammer.

The deck is slimmed down some, you only need the number cards, one joker, the four aces and the four kings. In regards to special items or rules that affect magic just replace the word "dice" with the word "card" and you're fine. I'm sure there is an instance this won't work but I haven't run into it yet.

When the magic phase rolls around you deal the active player one card for ever level of wizard in his army plus two. So an army with a Slann and a Skink Priest (level 1) would have seven cards. The other player gets one card for every level of wizard OR two cards if they have no wizards or are dwarfs. In the old rules every army got cards even without wizards because the winds of magic were fickle as hell. The cards are split just like the dice would be, each wizard gets their and there are two for the pool.

The normal rules for casting spells all apply but instead of rolling dice the player must play number cards equaling or greater than the cost of the spell; their opponent may then play cards to exceed the total power played by the casting wizard to counter the spell. A wizard may not use more cards to cast a spell than they could dice.

The joker is a combination of Total Power and Drain Magic from the old deck; basically it can be used by the active player to automatically cast a spell that cannot be countered and Drain Magic (used by the counter wizards) automatically ends the magic phase and drains all cards from any wizard.

The personal twist is the aces and kings. Each ace is sufficient power to cast any spell at it's required casting level. So, a spell with a casting cost of 7 would be cast at 7 (much like a bound spell) and could be countered by the opponent as normal with number cards. The kings act as dispel scrolls and automatically counter any spell cast. Now, these can be dud cards if in the wrong hand. The active player can make no use of the kings and the counter player can make no use of the aces. This was an aspect of the magic deck that was super cool and super frustrating at the same time. There were a variety of dispel cards in the deck and if you were wanting to cast spells and got a bunch of them is sucked.

Also, the deck is not shuffled after every turn. Instead it is played through completely so the joker is only coming around once every 45 cards.

I've not play tested this yet but I'm going to the next Warhammer game I play and I'll let you know how it goes.

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