Friday, May 25, 2012

Goldfishing Experiment

It'll probably be at least a week or two before I'll have the opportunity to playtest the cube, so I decided to shuffle up and make a few sample packs to see what I'd pick first.

Pack 1 presented an interesting choice: Spring Break or Captain Morgan?  

On one hand, I could go with Captain Morgan.  If I did, I'd have a sweet planeswalker that can defend himself well, draw cards, and make hilarious emblems to stick on my opponents.  And, of course, I'd be in blue.  On the other hand, Spring Break could fuel some real insanity, depending on what else I can pick up.  The downside, of course, is that I'm committing to GGG right away... but if I can resolve Spring Break, I effectively have infinite mana of any color.  In the end, I choose Spring Break.

Pack 2 presents an even harder choice: Corporate Tutor or Mr. Hankey?

My first impulse is to snap pick Corporate Tutor.  Since it's effectively a double Demonic Tutor for B, I could probably use it to find Spring Break and a huge spell or mana fixing right away.  Drinking 20 to kick Corporate Tutor seems a bit questionable, however, when I'm using it to find Spring Break so that I can start drinking heavily instead of using real mana.  

On the other hand, I can cast Mr. Hankey using green mana and use him to to reanimate some fatties even if I don't have Spring Break.  Also, he's a poo elemental.  Given that I'd probably want to play more than one game before blacking out, I decide to go with Mr. Hankey.

Pack 3 is a lot easier: Voltron or Tequila Wurm?

I'm tempted by Tavern of Heroes, since manlands are always good, but I really need a good fatty to drink out with Spring Break or reanimate with Mr. Hankey.  Voltron is bigger, but I could drinkcycle Tequila Wurm and then reanimate him.  I decide on Voltron, however, since (1) he's colorless and therefore less likely to be passed back and (2) if I'm getting wasted on Spring Break, so are my opponents.

So here are my three first-picks:

Seems like a decent start, but I've played with myself enough for now.  I can't fucking wait to draft this.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Booze Cube v1.0

(The spreadsheet with card types and mana costs can be viewed here.)

My goal for this initial version of the cube is to mostly just to have something to playtest the custom drinking cards with.  I'm envisioning this as being drafted for multiplayer games, probably with 3-5 people most of the time.  And, of course, since this is a casual drinking game, I'd rather have people draft fun decks than "powerful" ones; cards like The Asshole should be first picks over efficient removal.

For this first version, I needed to select cards based on two important factors: value (do I give a shit if someone spills beer on them?) and availability (did I find a copy of it when I went through my collection?).  Given those parameters, I selected cards that either seemed fun or played a particular role:

  • Removal: I want to make especially sure that people had access to artifact and enchantment removal in addition to the usual creature removal.  Most removal should destroy or tuck permanents rather than exiling them, but there needs to be a way to get rid of  The Asshole, The President, and Pubcrawler.
  • Mana-Fixing: Since this cube is going to be played by the inebriated, I want mana fixing to be easy and plentiful.  People should still be able play what they want (within reason) when their higher brain functions are impaired.
  • Archetype-Specific Support
    • Enchantress - I'm definitely envisioning a W/x Presidents and Assholes deck, so there needs to be support for this.
    • Reanimator - I want it to at least be a draftable archetype, especially reanimating Voltron.  Probably best in B/G, B/w, or Junk.
    • Artifacts - U/W, U/B, or Esper.
    • Tribal - Dwarves and Zombies each have a lord-ish card.
    • MBC - Should be powerful, but make you get completely wasted in the process.
    • U/x Control - Countermagic should be good but not overwhelming, especially since we already have Force of Will variant Center of Attention.  
    • Aggro - I rarely play aggro in real life, so I just threw in a bunch of creatures that seemed decent at the low end of the curve.  Since this will usually be multiplayer, swarm aggro seems to be a questionable strategy anyway.
    • Ramp - Green has its traditional ramp spells and some fatties to ramp into.  There's also Spring Break, which will definitely lead to some shenanigans with higher CMC spells.
    • Combo - I don't know what other interactions people will discover, but there's definitely some combo potential with Pile of Shit or Jesus Christ and a good sac outlet.
I've never actually designed a cube before, so please feel free to make constructive* suggestions, as I have no idea what I'm doing.  Anyway, here's the list:

White (60)
Dispeller's Capsule
Porcelain Legionaire
Sanctum Gargoyle
Gideon's Lawkeeper
Icatian Javelineers
Mesa Chicken
Suture Priest
Alkie Griffin
Accorder Paladin
Beer Knight
Jesus Christ
Wall of Omens
Roc Egg
Griffin Sentinel
Mesa Enchantress
Order of the Bottle
Palace Guard
White Russian
Cloud Crusader
Serra Angel
Morningwood Seraph
Flipper of the Birds
Social Drinkers
Designated Drinker
Noble Templar
Vengeful Archon
Belushi, Crusher of Cans
Guilty Conscience
Detainment Spell
Happy Hour
Royal Shaming
Forced Worship
My Little Hangover
The Thumbmaster
Two-Drink Minimum
Oblivion Ring
Break the Seal
The Asshole
Armored Ascension
Closing Time
Walk of Shame
The President
Sex Appeal
Faith's Shield
Sacramental Wine
Blessed Wine
Eye for an Eye
Abuna's Chant
Alcoholics Unanimous
Chad, the Pledgemaster
Group Drink
Revoke Existence
Shaken, Not Stirred
Hazing Ritual
Impaired Judgment

Blue (60)
Master of Etherium
Spined Thopter
Faerie Mechanist
Margaritaville Mixologist
Azure Mage
Merfolk Looter
Tequila Mockingbird
Clam Session
Junior Pillager
Aether Adept
The Most Interesting Mage in the World
Phantom Warrior
Mermaid Ingenue
Wall of Frost
Water Servant
Rum Elemental
Spire Monitor
First Mate
Horde of 80s Cartoons
Djinn of Wishes
Mahamoti Djinn
Captain Jack Sparrow
Harbor Serpent
Goliath Sphinx
Rhystic Resort
The Captain Was Here
Mind Control
Curse of Echoes
Beer Before Liquor
Volition Reins
Dream's Grip
Thirst for Rum
Sloppy Seconds
Drink Up, Me Hearties
Mage's Guile
Memory Lapse
Turn to Frog
Psychic Barrier
Fuck You
Traumatic Visions
Center of Attention
Captain Morgan
En Vino Veritas
Wasted Time
Call to Mind
It's 5:00 Somewhere
Trivial Pursuit
Hazy Memories

Black (60)
Horny Demonspawn
Reassembling Skeleton
Bloody Mary
Bloodthrone Vampire
Gatekeeper of Inebria
Phyrexian Rager
Phyrexian Pony
Blind Zealot
Liliana's Specter
The Count
Warpath Ghoul
Cadaverous Knight
Death Baron
Entomber Exarch
Lounge Guardian
Carrion Ants
Sparkling Vampire
Barkeep of the Damned
Bourbon Entity
Morkrut Banshee
Twisted Abomination
Cirrhosis Demon
Drowned Sorrows
Oblivion Crown
Zombie Infestation
Phyrexian Arena
Stoned Lich
Unspeakable Symbol
Montezuma's Revenge
Field Sobriety Test
Doom Blade
Geth's Verdict
Grasp of Darkness
Bone Harvest
Bad Trip
Wicked Party
Jack Daniels
Corporate Tutor
Postmortem Lunge
Sir, I'm Going to Have to Ask You to Leave
Dead Drunk
Chain of Smog
Mind Rot
Praetor's Grasp
Death Wish
Syphon Soul
Yawgmoth's Bong Hit
Syphon Mind
Peer Pressure
Rise from the Grave
Unburial Rites
Drinking Alone

Red (60)
Slash Panther
Dwarven Brewmaster
Dwarven Scorcher
Dwarven Grunt
Goblin Bookie
Dwarven Drinking Team
Dwarven Lieutenant
Goblin Wardriver
Pardic Swordsmith
Dwarven Gambler
Dwarven Vigilante
Dwarven Warrior
Manic Vandal
Prodigal Pyromancer
Hurloon Wrangler
Viashino Sandstalker
Oxidda Scrapmelter
Grenadier Wingman
Drunken Master
Party Fiend
Volcanic Dragon
Drunken Hellkite
Capricious Efreet
Rapacious One
Macetail Hystrodon
Disney Dwarves
Endless Rave
Lindsay Lohan's Wild Ride
Dwarven Afterparty
Drinking Game
Superhero House Party
Galvanic Blast
Burning Sensation
Volt Charge
Incite War
Last Call
I'm Rick James, Bitch
Chandra, Gone Wild
Faithless Looting
Spin the Bottle
Keg Stand
Sucker Punch
Pick-Up Line
Misguided Rage
Metallic Mastery
Drunk Dial
Bar Fight
Oh Yeah!

Green (60)
Llanowar Elves
Tavern Wench
Veteran Explorer
Seamus O'Leprechaun
Viridian Emissary
Sylvan Ranger
The Green Fairy
Ambush Viper
Towlie, High as Fuck
Pile of Shit
Garruk's Companion
Keeper of the Vineyard
Krosan Restorer
Sacred Wolf
Llanowar Dealer
Lebowsky, the Dude
That Guy
Giant Spider
Cudgel Troll
Garruk's Packleader
Deerblood Elemental
Autumn Willow
Terra Stomper
Llanowar Townie
Elvish Aberration
Yavimaya Wurm
Krosan Tusker
Wirewood Guardian
Duskdale Wurm
Tequila Wurm
Milwaukee's Beast
Homeric Epic
One For My Homies
Squirrel Nest
Boar Umbra
What Did I Do Last Night
Spring Break
Still Life
Eat the Worm
Doubled Vision
Nature's Claim
Hotboxed Van
Giant Growth
Emerald Charm
Public Urination
Elvish Wine
Juan, the Mind Smasher
Prey Upon
Rampant Growth
Nature's Spiral
Karaoke Night
Acorn Harvest
Creeping Corrosion
Feats of Strength

Multicolor (20)
Tastes Great | Less Filling
Shits | Giggles
A Two at Ten | A Ten at Two
Puke | Rally
Liquor in the Front | Poker in the Rear
Trace of Abundance
Valley Rannet
Selesnya Guildmage
Pale Recluse
Double Cleave
Grazing Kelpie
Mr. Hankey, the Christmas Poo
Borat Sagdiyev
Hindering Light
Ethercaste Knight
Soul Manipulation
Breath of Malfegor
Architects of Will
Noggle Bridgebreaker

Artifact/Colorless (30)
Foil Mox
Ice Cream Scoop
Elixir of Immortality
Mask of Avacyn
Expedition Map
Howling Mine
Liquid Courage
Tapped Keg
Contagion Clasp
Das Boot
Paddle of Hazing
Urza's Beer Goggles
Helm of Belushi
Stupid Spoiled Whore
Crystal Ball
Tumble Magnet
Beer Pong Table
Cocktail of the Gods
Porcelain Throne
Whisky on the Rocks
Drunken Simulacrum
Edward Fortyhands
Darksteel Sentinel
Voltron, Defender of the Universe
Artisan of Kozilek

Land (20)
Phyrexian Frat House
Shimmering Grotto
Tectonic Edge
Ghost Quarter
Abandoned Speakeasy
Cantina de los Pendejos
Trendy Nightclub
Tiki Bar
Dive Bar
Ye Olde Liquor Store
Maze of Escher
Buried Ruin
Kandazu Refuge
Akoum Refuge
Sejiri Refuge
Jwar Isle Refuge
Graypelt Refuge
Dread Statuary
Tavern of Heroes
Drunk Tank

* - If you're just going to troll, here's my response in advance: Fuck off, and I hope you get AIDS.

Booze Cube Comprehensive Rules

1. Gameplay

100.  Introduction
These rules are intended for people who want to use custom drinking cards in games of Magic: the Gathering.  These cards and rules are in no way endorsed by Wizards of the Coast, the DCI, Hasbro, or anyone else; they are just parodies of an awesome game, designed to be used as a late-night casual variant by players of legal drinking age.  Drink responsibly, and don’t drink and drive.

101.  Setup

101.1.  Supplies
101.1(a).  To properly play the game, players will need:

(i) beer for chugging;
(ii) things to take shots of; and
(iii) whatever players will be using for their game beverages.
101.1(b).  Players will also need a box of Trivial Pursuit questions (any edition), if they plan to play with the card Trivial Pursuit.

101.2.  Game beverage

101.2(a). At all points during the game, players should have an alcoholic beverage handy to drink from when the game calls for it.
101.2(b). The contents of player’s game beverage are up to him or her, and the player may switch what they are drinking at any time.
101.2(c). Each player's game beverage exists in his or her Command Zone.

2. Mechanics

200.  Drinking

200.1.  Drink X
200.1(a).  Cards with this ability will say “drink”,  “drink X”, or “drink” followed by a number.  
200.1(a)(i). When drink is followed by an X, the specific number is undetermined.  Like normal spells with X in their mana cost, X will take on a specific value when that drinking ability is put on the stack, and considered to have a value of zero when in other game zones.
200.1(a)(ii). Some cards require players to “drink XX”. Like normal spells with “XX” in their mana cost, the total value is equal to the sum of the Xs.
200.1(a)(iii). Cards that say “drink” without a following X or number require the player to drink 1, unless the context requires otherwise.
200.1(b). To drink X, a player takes X normal-sized drinks of his or her game beverage.  As an alternative to taking X discrete drinks, players may choose to drink continuously for X seconds.
200.1(c). Although players may take drinks from their game beverage at will, this doesn’t count as a “drink” for purposes of the game state.

Example: Eat the Worm generates 1/1 tokens when its controller drinks.  Drinking on the side won’t trigger this ability, only drinking as a game action will.
200.1(d). A few cards require players to chug beers or take shots.  Those are mechanically distinct game actions, and do not count as a “drink”.
Example: A player cannot use Designated Drinker’s ability to replace drinks with -1/-1 counters to replace the shot required by Foil Mox’s triggered ETB ability.
200.1(e). Each instance of drink X is a single ability on the stack, treated as if all the real-world drinking it causes happens at once. For example, "drink 2" is one object on the stack, so the individual drinks cannot be responded to separately.

200.2.  Boozetouch
200.2(a).  When a creature with the Boozetouch keyword deals combat damage to a player, that player drinks.
200.2(b).  Because Boozetouch is a triggered ability that causes a player to drink, cards that interact with the drink mechanic will interact with this as well. 

200.3. Intoxicated
200.3(a) Creatures that are Intoxicated deal damage to players in the form of drinks.
200.3(a)(i) When an intoxicated creature deals damage to a player, that player drinks X, where X is the amount of damage it would deal.
200.3(a)(ii) Intoxicated applies to both combat and noncombat damage to players.
200.3(a)(iii) Damage dealt in the form of drinks doesn't cause loss of life.
200.3(b) Creatures that are Intoxicated deal damage to creatures and planeswalkers as normal.
200.3(c) Cards that interact with the drink mechanic will interact with damage caused by an intoxicated creature.

200.4. Drinkcycling
200.4(a) Drinkcycling is just like regular cycling, except that the cost to cycle is always drinking.
200.4(b) Yes, this mechanic could probably be phrased as "Cycling drink X." This was one of the earlier mechanics I created, however, and I'm too lazy to go back and change the cards at the moment. Deal with it.

201.  Chugging
201.1.  Several cards require a player to chug beers. This is a different game action than drinking.
201.2.  To chug a beer, a player consumes an entire can, bottle, glass, or cup of beer in a single attempt.
201.2(a).  The specific vessel to be chugged is up to the player.  
201.2(b).  If the player makes a good faith attempt to chug but is unable to consume the entire beer in one gulp, the player may still finish the remainder. To count as a chug, however, the player must finish the beer before the game continues.  
201.3.  Chugging a beer is a special action and does not use the stack.

202.  Taking Shots
202.1.  Several cards require a player to take shots.  This is a different game action than drinking.
202.2. Players may take a shot of any reasonable alcoholic drink of their choice other than beer, wine coolers, malt beverages, or mixed drinks. Players may not take a shot of what they are drinking as their game beverage unless their game beverage is straight hard liquor.
202.3. Ideally, a shot should be from a standard-sized shotglass (1.5 oz), filled about ¾ of the way to the top.  Players may vary this to account for individual tolerances, glassware availability, and specific circumstances (i.e., Jello Shots).
202.4.  Players may chase their shots, but other players are free to make fun of him or her for being a giant pussy.
202.5. Taking a shot is a special action and does not use the stack.

Friday, May 18, 2012


Shortly after I graduated from law school, a buddy and I tried to play Magic as a drinking game.  The idea was simple.  We used beer instead of life totals: if you lost life, you'd drink that many times, and if you gained life, your opponent drank that many times.  While initially amusing, this game lost our interest fairly quickly, so we left to hit the bars.

For years afterwards, I occasionally reflected on why what seemed like a great idea failed miserably.  Eventually, I realized that the problem was that we weren't really playing Magic.  When damage was effectively irrelevant, the game ceased to be a game.  We didn't even bother blocking, so the combat step just became the drinking step.  And as we both have high tolerances, there wasn't even a measurable way to assess who was "winning."

The Booze Cube solves this problem by using drinking as a mechanic to enhance the game rather than its objective.  And since it's unlikely that Wizards will ever produce a set exploring this area of design space (although it would be pretty fucking awesome if they did), I decided that I had to do it myself.

As I learned from my first MtG drinking experiment, forcing your opponent to drink when you it them is fun.  It just can't be the entire game.  Creatures with the boozetouch ability capture this amusement while still advancing the game state by smacking your opponent in the face.

Drink X
A large number of the custom cards in the Booze Cube require players to drink X, where X is some number.  How this works should be self-evident to anyone who isn't a complete fucking moron -- when a player drinks X, they take X drinks of whatever beverage they are drinking; if there's no number, just assume X=1.  It doesn't have to be a giant gulp, but it shouldn't be a pathetic little sip either (unless you're sipping straight hard liquor).  It's just a normal drink, like one you'd take in any other drinking game.  This mechanic allows drinking to be used as costs, effects, kickers, or whatever else seems fun.  

Also, keep in mind that taking a drink on your own isn't "drinking" for purposes of cards that have abilities that trigger when a player drinks.  These cards trigger only when a player drinks as a game action.

This is basically just normal cycling, except that the cost is drinking.  Sometimes, drinkcycling a card will trigger other effects.

Chugging, Shots, Etc.
Some cards require you to chug beers or take shots.  These are a separate game action from the "drink" keyword, so activating cards like Necropotent won't trigger abilities that trigger on players drinking.