Although the actual competition for Magic’s Great Designer Search 2 has not yet begun, Mark Rosewater let slip a few details this week. Instead of lone designers showcasing their individual genius, the contest will reward collaborative design and the integration of ideas from multiple sources. We’re pretty good at that sort of thing here at Robot Viking.
The best way to learn about the GDS2 is to read Rosewater’s article on the subject, which includes tips for prospective entrants and links to useful articles. There’s an essay test, a multiple choice test, and then the real competition begins. The good news is, the tests aren’t about knowing all the minute details of Magic’s sometimes obtuse and unintuitive rules. It’s more about understanding how and why Magic cards are designed, how they fit into the “color pie,” and creating cards that appeal to a wide variety of players.
The collaborative aspect is linked to the Magic wiki, where people are hashing out ideas and offering suggestions and criticism. The finalists will have to create a world in which to base a hypothetical set. I think it’s a cool idea because effective design, especially at Wizards of the Coast, is not a solitary job. The ability to incorporate ideas from different people is a more realistic and useful test to determine if someone would make a good intern at WotC HQ.
Of course, we have our own group of people with great ideas here at Robot Viking, and even the inklings of our own Magic set with the Star Counters mechanic. While that has been on the backburner for a while, the seeds are there for some cool ideas. I definitely plan to enter the GDS2. If other Vikings want to enter, please post some ideas here and we can offer all the help possible. And if you don’t plan to enter but want to participate anyway, we can all work together. For instance, the Star Counter set needs one new mechanic.