Hey Mages! Yesterday we teased you the new Mana system. Today we’ll discuss about it further. Explaining it from the beginning (for those who just discovered the game) with some more details.
So how does it work exactly ?
Mana is the energy needed to cast spells. It is a resource that exists in 6 different elements and that flows between 4 distinct areas.
- The infinite Ether
- The available Ether
- Each respective player’s Mana reserve
- The different spells on the table
The available Ether is composed of two distinct Mana piles. When adding Mana to the available Ether, the player will have to put the Mana alternatively in each pile, starting with the smallest pile of Mana.
This means Pile 1, then Pile 2, then Pile 1 again, etc until there is no more Mana to add. (Assuming Pile 1 was the smallest one when starting to add Mana)
If both piles are the same size, the player may choose where he wants to start adding Mana.
At the beginning of their turn, players will take 3 Mana of the elements of their choice from the infinite Ether to put them in the available Ether. This usually means that the smallest pile will get 2 Mana and the other one will get a single Mana. Then, the player will choose one pile and take it entirely, even if it contains Mana that he does not find useful.
He may then use this Mana to cast spells (putting the Mana underneath the spell), to pay for various costs or to exchange with the available Ether.
Exchanging with the available Ether is a very useful and powerful action when used properly. However it has some rules to it:
- A player may exchange with the available Ether only during his main phase. (i.e: after choosing and taking one of the piles)
- The exchange is two for one, which means he has to give two Mana of any Element (it may be two different elements) to get one single Mana of the element of his choice.
- It has to be made with the largest Mana pile in the available Ether.
- When exchanging two for one, both Mana go to the biggest pile instead of being split between the two piles.
When a player finally decides to activate the effects of a spell, the Mana underneath the spell is released back in the available Ether.
Keeping the core concepts
When reworking the Mana system, we wanted to keep the core concepts above all. We thought the concept of a shared Mana pool was one of the most interesting parts of our game and that it had to be preserved at all costs. We also thought that the system functioned pretty well generally, the flow was pretty natural and simple to use.
Giving your Mana to the opponent when casting a spell creates a sense of risk that keeps players on their toes and it guarantees that casting your spell is always an important decision rather than an automatic habit.
The cool new features
Simpler to use
This new system is much simpler to apply during games. We used to have to count all the Mana in the available Ether and it could be a bit tedious when there was a lot of Mana. Now you just add that Mana to the Ether and take one of the two piles. It’s as simple as that.
More interactive between players
It is usually more interesting to take the biggest pile of course. By planning accordingly, you can guess which pile your opponent will take next. You can then flood this Mana pile with some elements he doesn’t care about. But what if you wanted this Mana for yourself?
Will you flood the Available ether with elements that nobody will use?
Will you focus entirely on getting the elements you want?
Will you focus on denying your opponent?
Or maybe a mix of all of these tactics?
All these questions will lead to bluffs, advanced planning and sometimes rather curious decisions from the players. Every Mana movement is a strategic choice, making the system even more engaging and interactive.
Exchanging Mana, a critical mechanic.
Since your opponent also added Mana in the pile you take each turn, you will often get Mana that you can’t use for your spells. Your best bet is to use it to get the Mana you want in the available Ether by exchanging it. However that means that you give two Mana to the opponent, and adding them to the biggest pile makes it even more interesting for them.
Use this feature wisely if you want to win.
Adding Mana in the available ether, a long term choice
There isn’t any exchange with the infinite ether anymore. This means that if you ever want to use a Mana of a specific element during the game you will eventually need to add it in the game at the beginning of your turn.
This also means that it will stay in the general pool of circulating Mana during the whole duration of the game. Adding Mana at the beginning of your turn then becomes a very important decision. Flooding the game with a single Element or deciding to diversify the Mana pool thus becomes a meaningful long term choice.
Our objective with this update: creating meaningful choices
We think our previous Mana system was functional and fun. But in the end it wasn’t very interactive between player and it also lacked meaningful choices. You’d end up taking the exact Mana you need, your opponent would do the same, and you wouldn’t think about it much more.
Now every time Mana moves, you have a lot of questions to answer. Should I put this Element in Pile 1 or Pile 2? Can I afford to put two of those in there? Will he deny me by taking the smallest pile?
Same goes when you have to take your Mana pile at the beginning of your turn of couse.
And there is much more to it!
But we don’t want to spoil the thrill of discovery for you Mages. So we’ll let you discover all of the wonderful features that this new Mana system imply.
We’re overall very satisfied with how this system turns out and we’re very happy that we made it this practical and meaningful to use.
We wish you a very good week and we’ll see you next thursday for the weekly update.