Milling for 53
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Milling for 53

JumpSTARt: Battle Royale — Devlog #02: Drafting

JumpSTARt: Battle Royale is a fan-created star-format Jumpstart-style product. This blog post is part of a series chronicling its development.

Previous devlogs:
Devlog #00: Kickoff
Devlog #01: Packet Skeleton

Last time, we created the design skeleton for each packet. Additionally, we defined what sort of effects we expect to see in a packet. Today’s post is about how to draft these packets before playing a game of JumpSTARt: Battle Royale.

How Jumpstart Has Been Drafted

Illustrated by Matt Cavotta

The easiest way to play the original Jumpstart was for each player to open two boosters and mash ’em together. I haven’t played a lot of actual Jumpstart, but this was the approach I did when playing with Adam Viktor Klesh.

When I played Jumpstart with Tim Reilly, we wanted to add a bit of choice before we played :

  1. One player chooses one packet from the four opened packets
  2. The other player chooses two packets
  3. The first player then takes the last, remaining packet

While the strategy here is low in impact, it’s still fun to think about making the optimal decision when presented with limited choices.

The digital versions of Jumpstart allows you to choose from multiple packet options at a time, giving you some flexibility and agency (it also helped that there’s some underlying computer logic to help those multicolor packets gel well with whatever other packet was paired with it).

Now let’s shake things up for JumpSTARt: Battle Royale

Drafting JumpSTARt: Battle Royale

Illustrated by Dan Scott

The following rules for drafting JumpSTARt: Battle Royale stems from two desires:

  • Leveraging the unique pairing of Jumpstart with the star format
  • Mitigating the disadvantage of the “fifth player”

The “fifth player” (or, the player going last) is at the most disadvantage in JumpSTARt: Battle Royale, just as with other multiplayer formats like Commander or regular star gameplay.

While not a dealbreaker for the project, if there’s an opportunity to ameliorate this disadvantage, let’s go for it! And it looks like there’s an opening for this. Here’s what I propose —

After you’ve gathered five players and randomly pulled five pairs of packets (from the total of ten pairs of packets available in the set) that’ll be used in this game of JumpSTARt: Battle Royale

  1. Randomly determine which player gets to decide who goes first. Then, in clockwise order from where Player 1 is seated; each player becomes the second, third, fourth, and fifth player; respectively
  2. All five of the randomly chosen pairs of packets (ten packets total) are revealed onto the table and will be Rochester-style-drafted
  3. Whenever a player drafts a packet, they choose a teammate (that doesn’t already have two packets) to get the other, partnered packet (for example, if you draft the Toothy packet, then you choose a teammate — which are the players seated to your left and right — to get the Pir packet).
  4. Player 5 drafts first. This person also draft twice in a row, distributing one packet to each of their teammates.
  5. Then drafting goes counter-clockwise. This means Player 1 will not have a say in what packets they receive, because their packets will be given to them by their teammates Player 5 and Player 2, when they each draft their packets.

Due to how Jumpstart: Battle Royale turns work; Player 1 uniquely gets to begin their second turn at the same time as Player 5 starting their first turn. So it’s serendipitous that this Player 1 game advantage is offset by having to pilot packets you never got to choose during the draft portion.

And there ya have it. What do you think?

Illustrated by Tommy Arnold

Let the Games (Almost) Begin

Currently, I’m working through curating a list of multiplayer-friendly, star-format-augmented cards to slot into packets. So the next devlog might be focused on my picks for these kinds of cards, before we start getting into seeing the contents & themes for each of the legendary partner packets.

See ya next time!

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Magic: The Gathering game design

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Bradley Rose

Bradley Rose

Magic: The Gathering and card game design.

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