September 2009
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Day 09/16/2009

Spectromancer Endnotes


In 2001 (I think) Alexey Stankevich created a game called Astral Tournament. On the surface it looked like a simplified Magic:The Gathering clone. Once one started to play it was easy to see that it was much more original than that. After years of difficulty in adapting Magic to online play I deeply appreciated a game that was designed for computer play from ground up.

In Astral Tournament players played dueling wizards. Each player was dealt “cards” from a common deck of 60 cards, so that 20 went to each player and 20 were unused. Each turn players gained an astral power (mana) in 5 different types of magic – earth, air, fire, water, and death. Any card a player was dealt was available to that player the whole game provided they could pay the astral power cost. Each turn a player could play exactly one card – a spell or creature. A spell had an immediate effect – like damage or healing, a creature went into one of several slots in front of the player, and each turn would attack the creature in the opposite slot or the opposing player if it was unblocked. Players took turns playing cards until one of them had no more life – and thus lost the game.