Monday, September 26, 2011

New Version

 (Forge now has Balefire Dragon!)

It has been almost 2 months so it is time for another astounding new version.  Forge now has 9,133 cards which is almost 400 new cards.  Forge is very cutting edge and has 184 cards from Innistrad.

I'll talk about the new Innistrad cards because they are the most interesting.  Festerhide Boar (3G, 3/3, trample) also says, "Morbid — Festerhide Boar enters the battlefield with two +1/+1 counters on it if a creature died this turn" so it could easily be 5/5.  Festerhide Boar encourages players to play their creatures during the 2nd part of their main phase, which is what good players do (although sometimes I just play my creatures during the first main phase because the AI doesn't care). 

Morbid looks very cool and is a great keyword.  Technically morbid is probably an "ability word" which means that morbid doesn't do anything specific like flying but it does tie together thematically similar cards.  From the Innistrad faq, "Morbid is an ability word. It appears in italics at the beginning of abilities that check to see if a creature has died that turn. (An ability word has no rules meaning.)"  You can see all of the Magic faqs for each set here.

Some other interesting Innistrad cards include: a card that created THIRTEEN 2/2 creatures.  Army of the Damned (5BBB, sorcery) creates 13 creatures that are all tapped.  Since Army of the Damned is so closely related to black's "love death" theme, it also has flashback for 7BBB.  Reaper from the Abyss (3BBB, 6/6, flying) is a back-breaker with the ability "Morbid — At the beginning of each end step, if a creature died this turn, destroy target non-Demon creature."

Forge also has 10 rare lands like Clifftop Retreat (Enters the battlefield tapped unless you control a Mountain or a Plains.  Taps for R or W.) Gavony Township (2GW, tap: put a +1/+1 counter or each creature you control and tap: add 1). 

So far Forge doesn't have any 2-faced transforming cards but let's hope that changes in the future. :)

For a complete list of new cards look at the first post here, find the text "Added many cards, including:" and click on the "Open" hyperlink.  For an insanely long list of new features, click here.

To make Forge look better (in my opinion):
1. Run Forge
2. Open the menu, which is named "Menu"
3. Select "Display Options"
4. Scroll to the bottom and select "Nimbus"


Link - Forge 09-23 (Windows, Linux) 27 MB and can be
unzipped with Winzip or 7-Zip (free, open source)

Link - Forge 09-23  (Mac) 28 MB - Use Keka to uncompress 7z files

Download - Card Pictures (160 MB) - These are some of the low-quality (LQ) card pictures. 

Here - Quest opponent and pet pictures can be downloaded.  Scroll to the bottom of the first post.

Java - Forge requires Java in order to run

You can move your decks files by copying them from /old forge directory/res/decks/ to your new deck directory.  You can also copy your pictures from /old forge directory/res/pics/ to your picture directory.

If you have any questions/comments, please post them to the forum.

Thanks for reading,

Forge has a great loading screen, which is very fast.

The first screen that you see after Forge has been started.

Many people helped with this version. A special thank you goes out to them. (Names sorted alphabetically):

Friar Sol
Max mtg
Rob Cashwalker
Chris H

Monday, September 19, 2011

Innistrad – Double Faced Cards

Each new Magic set always has something that makes people squeal with delight.  In case you haven’t heard, Innistrad has double-faced cards.  These cards have two “front” pictures with different attack/defense stats.  Kruin Outlaw transforms into Terror of Kruin Pass.  (You can read about the new rules here and the official Innistrad card image gallery is here.)

At first I was very excited because I thought Wizard’s was doing something radically different.  Before reading the rules article I guessed what the rules would be.  I thought that you would hold the double-faced card in your hand, thus revealing the information to your opponent.  Then my mind starting racing and I started to think about how Magic Online would show this new type of information. 

After my initial rush, I read the rules article and it explained that you could use card sleeves or an official checklist card (which is shown below).  The checklist card feels very forced and unnatural.  Where exactly are you supposed to keep you double-faced card secret?  In your pocket?  Obviously this problem is more pronounced in casual games, which are less likely to use sleeves, versus tournaments where most people probably use sleeves.  

(My previous statement about card sleeves is just a guess because I don’t have much experience playing Magic.  In real-life I’ve only played three games with one guy, no kidding.  Of course that was all that was needed to get me hooked.  Magic Online taught me the many intricacies of the rules which the rulebook couldn’t quite explain.  Magic Online helped me to instinctively understand the rules.  And as a side note, I’ve read that Magic Online really helped Magic explode because everybody learned to play the game with the exact same rules.)

In conclusion, I think Wizards could have radically changed the game of Magic with double-faced cards but instead they chose the easy, boring solution.  If your opponent knew that you had a double-faced card in your hand that would have profoundly changed the game, it might even strike fear into your opponent.  Obviously Wizards has hundreds (and maybe thousands) of hours of playtesting and I have exactly zero. 

And any good trading card game should be strenuously playtested, much like software.

Keep on forging,

--I don’t play Magic Online anymore because although it was fun, it cost too much money.  Now I exclusively play Forge and other freeware programs.  Long live open source!

--The latest version of Forge doesn't have any Innistrad cards.  I'm sure that the next version will probably have 20-30 cards but that is just a guess.

Monday, September 12, 2011


I read this post and it really rung true with me.

Author: inb63

Forge is a great program, I started using it around a year ago and was amazed at the huge number of cards I could play with. Months later I was creating a custom set and scripting my first cards. It was so amazing for me, a guy with near zero programming experience to see some of his babies work on Forge. Anyways, I tested this card and it works.

I sort of laughed when I read that.  The message sums up the theme Forge: “huge number of cards” and a guy with zero programming experience could actually contribute something.  The card code that he posted was very impressive and is from the upcoming Innistrad set.  (You can see the official Innistrad spoiler here.)

Name:Dearly Departed
ManaCost:4 W W
Types:Creature Spirit
Text:no text
T:Mode$ ChangesZone | Origin$ Any | Destination$ Battlefield | ValidCard$ Creature.Human+YouCtrl | TriggerZones$ Graveyard | Static$ True | Execute$ TrigPutCounter | TriggerDescription$ As long as CARDNAME is in your graveyard, each Human creature you control enters the battlefield with an additional +1/+1 counter on it.
SVar:TrigPutCounter:AB$PutCounter | Cost$ 0 | Defined$ TriggeredCard | CounterType$ P1P1 | CounterNum$ 1

Crowdsourcing is the ultimate goal for many projects like Forge.  Crowdsourcing is like outsourcing, except you give the task to a crowd of people.  For Forge the biggest help that anybody can do is to add cards and now that many cards can be scripted, instead of hard coded in Java, crowdsourcing can help Forge add more and more cards.  Obviously not all cards can be scripted but Forge’s scripting has grown from supporting very simple cards to tournament winning rares.

Thankfully the user inb63 didn’t mind trudging through Forge’s scripting documentation and learning it.  I personally don’t understand the card code that he posted but I’m very impressed that it works.  Obviously Forge lends new meaning to fan created cards, since Forge lets you actually use your creations in a real game.  (Theoretically a program like Forge would make rapid prototyping and testing of a new card game much easier versus cutting cards out from a sheet of paper.) 

The ultimate goal would be to allow people to upload cards to a massive online database and then Forge would seamlessly check the database and download new cards.  While this is a pipe dream now, it may be possible in the future.  (Obviously the cards would need to be checked somehow to make sure that they work and that they implement the rules correctly.)

Thanks for reading,

The best known crowdsourcing project is Wikipedia.  More and more projects are trying to use crowdsourcing to solve many different types of problems.  Crowdsourcing is the future.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Great Magic Card Pictures

Magic has a ton of card pictures that the Wizards site doesn't show like judge and tournament promos.  I just wanted to show you a random assortment of great pictures.  All of these pictures are taken from the CCGHQ picture forum.  If you are a Vorthos and you love good art, I recommend that you visit that forum.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Mage – 2,450 Cards, Offline AI, Multiplayer

Mage is lets you play offline against the computer or online against other players.  Mage has an AI that is better than Forge’s.  Mage's AI that can generate possible futures and chooses the best one.  While the AI is not as good as Magarena, it can still be quite surprising.

Mage also supports booster drafting and sealed with either computer or human players or both.  I've always found booster drafting to be infinitely fun.  Forge's boosting drafting is OK but since the AI is only average it doesn't always test my skills and I can beat the AI with pretty bad cards.  Mage should provide great fun drafting and playing sealed deck against the computer and your friends.

Mage has plenty of cards, 2,450 to be exact.  Mage implements many full sets like Magic 2011 and 2012 as well as Scars of Mirrodin and Mirridon Besieged.  The statistics for other sets are listed below.

(Updated these stats, thanks to North.)

Magic 2012: 182/249 (100%)
Magic 2011: 249/249 (100%)

Scars of Mirrodin: 220/249 (100%)
Mirrodin Besieged: 122/155 (100%)
New Phyrexia 148/170 (87%)

Zendikar: 186/253 (73%)
Worldwake: 77/145 (53%)
Rise of the Eldrazi: 162/248 (65%)

Mage is very unique because it also has multiplayer games.  People have asked me, “Will Forge every have multiplayer?” and I always respond, “No, because it is too freakin complicated.”  Obviously the makers of Mage don’t feel that way.

Mage offers multiplayer games and you can mix human and computer players.  Other multiplayer options include setting the “attacking options” which lets you attack multiple players, or only the player on your left or right.  You can also change the “range of influence” which is another way of asking “How many players will be affected by Wrath of God?”

Collection Viewer

Download Site - You want to download the "bundle" which has both the client and server.

To download the card images and mana symbols, click on the buttons “Images” and “Symbols” in the upper right corner. 

--Mage is another fine project that uses Java. 

--Thanks to the Mage developers and supporters: