Coincidence in Design

Today's card reveal is another Action card, one that happened to be designed by two people independently during early iterations of the game.

In listening to Mark Rosewater's Drive to Work podcasts over the years, one of my favorite types of his podcasts were the ones where he gave historical insight into the design of Magic sets. Having played in through the mid to late 90s and returning in 2010, there was more than a decade of Magic I had missed, and it had changed quite a bit. In the initial packs I bought when I started playing again, I had pulled a Garruk, and had no idea what this Planeswalker card was. Though there were a lot of changes, the core of the game remained the same, and I was able to pick it up again rather quickly. Listening to the development history podcasts filled me in on the gap in playing I had, along with kindling my nostalgia of the early sets that I played as a teenager.

One of the things that Rosewater tried to do in those development history podcasts was credit designers of prominent cards from a set. He admitted that was often tricky to do because initial ideas for cards were often designed by different people at the same time without them knowing it. I was surprised that for a game with as many parameters that can change as Magic that essentially the same card could be designed for the first time by different people at the same time, especially early in Magic's life. For something like Shipload o'Gold, I wasn't so surprised when it happened, as we were initially designing around pirate tropes, which there aren't too many of.

So that leads us to the development of today's card, Stolen Secrets. In one of the early play tests that I did with my wife and step-kids, my wife had the idea for a card that would let you steal Action cards from people, based around the idea of a parrot or a monkey. She figured since we were stealing coins, we might as well be able to steal Action cards as well.

Before we had settled on a more family-friendly feel to the game (though the name still has some more adult humor in it), I had thought to base this type of card around "Pillow Talk" which was the first name of the card, then "Loose Lips" in the next version. 

Andrew also had the idea early on for this card as well, though from what I remember he hadn't named it, just had the mechanic written down in his notes. In the design notes for the artwork, it was to be based around a pirate stealing a scroll. When it came time to get the artwork completed, depicting that in an "icon" form was rather difficult, so we went back to the note of having a parrot or monkey stealing something. That's how this card came to be.

I knew it was a good card to include when I started seeing reactions to it being played. While it's not a huge hit as you might only look at a hand of cards that aren't worth much either strategy or sell value-wise, it's definitely a personal attack on someone. If you play this on someone, you better watch out for a little while as that person will likely be coming back at you in a big way when they get the chance!