Magic: the Gathering: Twenty Years, Twenty Lessons Learned

Magic the Gathering head designer Mark Rosewater shares twenty lessons learned over twenty years of designing one of the world’s most popular collectible card games. Watch to learn lessons such as “Restrictions Breed Creativity”, “Fighting Human Nature Is a Losing Battle” and “If Everyone Likes Your Game, But No One Loves It, It Will Fail”.

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Comments

Nikoli Sadnak says:

I play a little magic and a lot of d&d. I’m excited to bring these design ideas to my d&d campaigns.

Foolish Day says:

Put on it the Wall -4-

Primarina Queen says:

For some reason his intro reminds me of the Grandmaster from Thor: Ragnarok…

GhostRadio says:

Wow. Bungie should watch this

Eric Killough says:

I look at this and now know why world of warcraft is just not a pleasing game to me anymore. Sure hope blizzard entertainment is watching this.

HighLanderPony says:

Cool, thanks!

‘Up on the board!’ lul

Parker Hero says:

Feel bad for mark zuckerburg…That lizard creature will never know the joy of Magic xD

Baczo Zsolt says:

I don’t play magic but damn nice talk!

Pan says:

Absolutely amazing, very interresting, I’ve learned a lot about game design.
This game is such a masterpiece,
Mark Rosewater you’re a genius.

Fawkes 04 says:

is the pat with discarding cards actually something people di not like? I mean I never had a Threshhold-Card myself and for some reason it seemed strange when I first heard of it from friends bt… like, yu-gi-oh has a whole “race” that lives from getting rid of your cards. Lightsworn-decks don’t do anything else than discarding your cards in order to activate other ffects – or effects of the discarded cards, so why was asimilar mechanic an issue for magic? o.o

Skumpaj says:

Great talk except for that the original lands plus orig layout by far was the most aestestically pleasing cards. Good talk but corny 90’s taste graphically speaking.

locke434 says:

Rule 14 is like when bloodborne removed shields from a souls game.

lakermangmx says:

it started a bit goofy but around 8-9 I thought “this guy knows his shit”

Mike Shaver-Miller says:

“The greatest risk is not taking a risk.” Literally broke my brain

FluffyTurbo says:

Used this for a paper I was writing it helped a lot.

geo mundi says:

Awesome speech. Lesson 21… Don’t take the players promos! cards, mats, etc. encourage players to go play and helps shops out to boot

SoldSanke says:

Great, now I need to go find a Statute of Denial from my bulk card box

Josh Townsend says:

In defense of the “gotcha!” mechanic, teaching your players to stop flicking their cards in this way was an interesting choice which I really liked… that being said, I did find laughing hyena very punishing and frustrating.

Khyrberos says:

Absolutely brilliant. Loved it. And for so much more than MtG.

Calvin Cousins says:

Been reading his articles since the magic was a website…his voice is nothing like I imagined

Jarrod Uhrig says:

I kept thinking of how I quit Hearthstone a while ago during this because of multiple of these “lessons” their design team does not follow. In particular, being afraid of challenging players rather than boring them. I still despise Hearthstone for repeatedly not making changes or progress with their game because they think it is too confusing for players (such as making players wait years before we could have more than 9 deck slots because it would be too confusing for us to have more than 9 decks).

MrMrMoped says:

Shutterstock made a killing on this

Ultracity6060 says:

Lesson #11 is exactly why AAA gaming is starting to flounder.

OdysseusGR says:

what ever hearthstone is doing he did it twenty years ago

User says:

A very good talk.

DailyFatigueBar says:

Mark Rosewater blue bias confirmed. Showing only Islands… 😛 🙂

Totodile Games says:

It’s the 25 this year now

MasterSystem SegaGenesis says:

WOW! I was just sitting and watchin’ an hour straight. Super!

Meatbyproducts says:

Maybe he can focus on the game instead of political bs. Magic is starting to tank thanks to his twisted veiws.

ahp hodg says:

What emotion does chess give. I don’t think all games are about emotion. Some just are about challange.

Jacopo Bertolotti says:

“Five elder dragons, from a set called Legend, long ago”
Which effectively is the last set I am familiar with and played extensively. I feel old…

Morne Booysen says:

Best game design advice I’ve ever found or heard or seen in 6 years, thank you for sharing your experience!

Uncle Morty's Nerd Shed says:

This guy needs to watch his own damn video. If he took his own advice he would stop injecting SJW bullshit into magic.

BtheDestroyer says:

This is probably one of my favorite GDC slidedecks of all time.

Darwingreen5 says:

Unhinged was a horrible set.

Edward Feldman says:

Very nice

Goatllama says:

He totally had time for questions! It’s just that they were all his questions to the staff, and it was the same question 4 times. XD

gahbunk says:

It’s still not Worst Cards Ever

Diche Bach says:

Fascinating talk. These guy(s) are brilliant marketers.

Miguel Baptista says:

Good talk.
With the exception to the “you can’t change human behavior” bit. As in, humans come in many forms of behaviors, and when a someone, or a company, in this case Magic, speaks about that, they are clearly pandering to the lowest human denominator.
Mass marketing is a thing I know, companies bottom lines depend on it, but really, really special products are born because of the belief of the creators in higher values, and most, if not ALL of creative products that are dear to the costumers hearts, and wallets, were born because of taking risks. Milking the cow is also a thing, and once a product is created in such circumstance, it is easy to water it down to the lowest denominator (Skyrim, Starwars, cof cof), so everyone on the planet can have their grips, and wallets, on it.
And when that happens, well, as trends have shown, it usually signals the end of the line for that product. Millions are made of coarse, but not quality, truly memorable, or life changing experiences.
I know I’m talking about a card game here, but that single argument just winds me up everytime, and thats why most developers’s talk on “how to become successful” have to be taken with a grain of salt. Otherwise, you end up with a washed down product that doesn’t stand out, doesn’t create nothing new, and ticks every box of the so called “success rules”.

Btw on the second Aesthetic issue, apart from his anecdotal evidence, there is mostly a universal praise for that card. If it were represented by the number 7 in EVERYTHING related to the card, I really, really doubt it would have an even more positive effect.

john g says:

shocked it took him 30 min to mention Roseanne.

Branden Plays Games says:

commander <33333

AlphaBetaRudyInvestments says:

Lesson 2 sounds like card quality.

kardrasa says:

Someone link this to Blizzard. Their Hearthstone team could learn a loooot

misha sawangwan says:

one of the better gdc lectures, thank you

Mr. Mammuthus Africanavus says:

Yet MaRo makes the same mistake as Infect by making another un-interactable with Energy, good job buddy:P

SideboardMTG says:

I can’t get over how good this was. Mark Rosewater, you are a legend and if the people that make video games can’t relate to this then they were not going to make a good game in the first place.

dingding12321 says:

We don’t talk about Mirrodin block.

Metamonkey says:

And then the created Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare and the plants could move

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