Friday, December 12, 2008

Creativity Helper

On days when I'm not feeling particularly creative (the better part of this day being an example), I often go and delve into parts of the Internet with which I am familiar but which I no longer visit frequently. One such place is Magic: The Gathering's home page.

Now, I'm not actually a Magic player. I have had some casual interest in TCGs (don't ask which ones) mostly because it seems like a simple way to break into gaming as a creator (no, really-I'm serious). Magic, as the oldest of trading card games, has the most experienced of the TCG creators in it, and they take the game as a game very seriously. (Many card game designers view the game as a way to force people to buy ridiculous numbers of cards. Magic has elements of this for competitive play, but it's thoroughly systematized into the game itself.) So it's a good place to look for creativity.

One place to look which is helpful for creativity is Mark Rosewater's column, Making Magic. Mark Rosewater is clever, funny, and holistically so in his process of writing columns as well as designing cards. He has some interesting things to say on elegance, and also on how his techniques can be applied to pretty much anything. This includes weddings. Yes, he broke down how he and his wife designed their wedding.

Another column (which I am less familiar with, as it started after I stopped regularly visiting the site) is Savor the Flavor. This column is all about how to consider the "flavor," that is, the plot- and world-building elements, of the game. Thus far, while many of the columns are Magic-specific, they are lush with ideas for worldbuilding (this article has given me ideas for how to build parts of a fantasy magic system). Also, the articles themselves are written in rich language.

One column that I used to read was House of Cards. The reason I stopped going regularly to the M:TG site, actually, was because House of Cards (which was about combo decks, which collapse when they don't "click," hence the reference to building structures out of playing cards), stopped being written by Mark Gottlieb. Mark Gottlieb was (and is) far and away my favorite author for the site, because he is somewhere between brilliant and insane, and in the best (and funniest) possible way. Now he's the guy in charge of the M:TG game's rules, which is an irony because he traditionally preferred putting together decks that bent or outright fractured those rules. Now he enforces them with a diabolical iron fist (pretty close to his own words).

-Signing off, because I'm now feeling creative and I need to do something.

1 comment:

Golden Dragon Girl said...

Now if only you would help me design cards for the card game I designed. (gives you a dirty look) XD (After all, you were the sounding board for most of it...)