Oh the halcyon days…
There was a time when my days were filled with the hokey-pokey and ultra-long words and speaking only in rhyme. What other sophisticated pizza delivery driver in his mid-twenties would imagine life without these things? I’m talking about Unglued and Unhinged. When times came that casual play was banalized by tournament-savvy competition, and the terms “fun” and “Magic” were quickly becoming mutually exclusive, these parody sets brought them back together. Cards like “Knight of the Hokey Pokey” and “…Longest Card Name Ever Elemental” (Just call it OMRSTPLRLCNSWMTCTHTALCNEE for short.) reminded even the most brutish rules-Nazi that The Gathering was supposed to be a past-time between friends – not a pivotal battle to the death. We had Blood Bowl for that. Remember the “B.F.M. ” and “Ach! Hans, Run! ”? Probably not. But they were real and they were fun and they…well, they have been relegated to history.
It’s been 8 years since a parody set has been seen in or near the plane of Dominaria, and only the veteran players with 10,000 or more cards stacked high in their closets can remember the glimpse of their silver-bordered brethren emerging from fresh booster packs. WoTC has moved on, favoring specialized formats like Commander and Archenemy. But what if WoTC could be compelled to bring back another “Un” set? What would it look like? How would it present new card types like planeswalker or even planes themselves? It is the job of this author to imagine that, and imagine I did.
I saw an opportunity to capitalize on a major trend in online media – the mash-up, as well as a marketing prospect. Who wouldn’t have liked to have seen the DinoBots charging for the Gruul guild on Ravnica? Or maybe introduce a new playing format, a la Battleship, where players race to destroy five hidden creatures on their opponent’s board before losing all 20 of their life? We could have an “Un” set based on any owned properties that interfaced with our favorite movies and games of past and present. Call it “Unscripted.” Seriously, who wouldn’t want to see a squad of G.I. Joes move through Innistrad full commando while Cobra Commander negotiates with the reigning vampires? Or an Angry Birds-meets- Chaos Orb mechanic where you fling a card onto your opponent’s battlefield and destroy anything it touches? What’s that you say? Angry Birds isn’t a movie? Oh, yes, it is. Hasbro, the owner of WoTC, even has licenses for Marvel, Star Trek and Star Wars properties. Yes, I know those brands have their own CCG-variants, but did you really think Overpower was that awesome? Imagine an indestructible Wolverine rampaging across the battlefield or a fleet of flash-into-play X-Wings to wipe out your opponent’s armada of evasion. The tie-in potential would go a long way to boosting sales for both the game and their associated markets as well as bringing back that crucial element that we should all remember as players – the fun!
I realized I still wasn’t thinking big enough. What about the whole alienated market of people who embraced white-collar jobs and alcohol instead of mana and monoblack devotion? Couldn’t there be a set called “Unsober,” combining all the best elements of Magic with our favorite drinking games? What would the cards look like?
- “Drinks on tap”: Whenever someone says ‘tap’, they take a shot. Even if they’re not playing.
“King Pong”: Players divide randomly and play a game of beer-pong, the losers of which lose half their life, rounded up.
How about a new planeswalker, the Designated Gatherer? One of his abilities could look something like “Take the keys of target player who has had five or more ounces of alcohol this game: That player gains an emblem that says, ‘Until sober, this player may not leave the premises.’” Just to be on the safe side.
These new Planeswalkers, parodies of their prime-counterparts, can force your opponents to twerk for loyalty counters or make sandwiches for your girlfriends to draw extra cards. The possibilities could be priceless or horrifying, depending on your opponent (NSFW).
I’ll bet at least one of you reading this has just decided to do this at your next game night…which probably already consists of Magic and drinking, just not together. If you want to do it, do it safe, and maybe Google “Booze Cube drafting.”
All in all, Magic is a game that brings people together and nourishes the creative process in an environment that promotes fun and strategy. Sometimes the fun is lost when strategy takes over. Unhinged and Unglued continue to remind us that, when everyone has fun, everyone wins.