In February of this year, I posted my list of Projects to get done in 2018
. Now that it is January 1st of 2019, that is to say New Years Day of 2019, I feel it is only appropriate to look back on how much of this list I accomplished, my successes and my failings, and why certain things worked and didn't work. I'm going to do this the way Mark Rosewater does, with a State of Design report
. Now, obviously this won't be exactly the same as the official State of Designs, since I am one high school senior doing this as a hobby rather than a whole team dedicated to the design of the game, and some of this is going to be in terms of me personally and how I felt rather than the sets as a whole. Anyway, without further ado, for any who care, here's my State of Cardsmithing for 2018Overall DesignHighlights• I feel like I got most of what I wanted to do done.
When I look back at what I had originally set out to do this year, I realize I did list quite a bit more than I could reasonably do, but I also see that I accomplished a good deal of it! I got five of the seven sets I listed done (plus two I didn't list in any form), and all but one of the supplemental products I wanted to design done.•Generally speaking, I got better at balancing and designing cards.
Mark Rosewater himself has said the best way to get better at designing cards is to design lots of cards. Even he admits he uses only a fraction of the designs he actually theorizes. Thus, with all the cards I created across 2018, I feel it's reasonable to say I gradually improved over time, and I think that can be seen across my sets and blocks.Lessons•I bit off more than I could chew at some times.
I tried to make Umbra happen in a month and a half. That was a tall order, and while I just barely managed to pull it off, that was quite the workload, even if I enjoyed it. In junction with my real life (which always takes priority of cardsmithing), I was so busy I hardly did anything other than Umbra on MTGCS. It was around this time I started falling behind on and flat out not entering into contests I was interested in here on the site, and frankly it was all pretty stressful, and this is just one of more than a few examples of mildly overloading myself in my cardsmithing endeavors. In the following year, I'll try not to procrastinate seasonal-themed sets I want to make (e.g. Umbra being Halloween Themed) and overall plan to take on less projects so I can take more time on each one.•I need to try to get more people involved in proofreading my sets.
Being just one person, I can't catch everything I design. Maybe there's a broken combo or the card is just too strong. Often, it isn't until I've put a roughly-finished set aside for a few weeks, started on another project, then gone back and looked at the set that I catch errors and balancing issues. I feel like a lot of this could be helped by getting people involved. @Tigersol
was a huge help to me this year in looking over some of my custom sets and giving me his feedback on cards so we could debate, discuss, and make changes. It was almost like a mini R&D! Honestly, I'm hoping I can get more cardsmiths, as well as some members of my playgroup to help me check over my sets in 2019.