Friday, May 18, 2012


Shortly after I graduated from law school, a buddy and I tried to play Magic as a drinking game.  The idea was simple.  We used beer instead of life totals: if you lost life, you'd drink that many times, and if you gained life, your opponent drank that many times.  While initially amusing, this game lost our interest fairly quickly, so we left to hit the bars.

For years afterwards, I occasionally reflected on why what seemed like a great idea failed miserably.  Eventually, I realized that the problem was that we weren't really playing Magic.  When damage was effectively irrelevant, the game ceased to be a game.  We didn't even bother blocking, so the combat step just became the drinking step.  And as we both have high tolerances, there wasn't even a measurable way to assess who was "winning."

The Booze Cube solves this problem by using drinking as a mechanic to enhance the game rather than its objective.  And since it's unlikely that Wizards will ever produce a set exploring this area of design space (although it would be pretty fucking awesome if they did), I decided that I had to do it myself.

As I learned from my first MtG drinking experiment, forcing your opponent to drink when you it them is fun.  It just can't be the entire game.  Creatures with the boozetouch ability capture this amusement while still advancing the game state by smacking your opponent in the face.

Drink X
A large number of the custom cards in the Booze Cube require players to drink X, where X is some number.  How this works should be self-evident to anyone who isn't a complete fucking moron -- when a player drinks X, they take X drinks of whatever beverage they are drinking; if there's no number, just assume X=1.  It doesn't have to be a giant gulp, but it shouldn't be a pathetic little sip either (unless you're sipping straight hard liquor).  It's just a normal drink, like one you'd take in any other drinking game.  This mechanic allows drinking to be used as costs, effects, kickers, or whatever else seems fun.  

Also, keep in mind that taking a drink on your own isn't "drinking" for purposes of cards that have abilities that trigger when a player drinks.  These cards trigger only when a player drinks as a game action.

This is basically just normal cycling, except that the cost is drinking.  Sometimes, drinkcycling a card will trigger other effects.

Chugging, Shots, Etc.
Some cards require you to chug beers or take shots.  These are a separate game action from the "drink" keyword, so activating cards like Necropotent won't trigger abilities that trigger on players drinking.

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