2018 Variant Rules

Mage Tower plays great right out of the box!  But for the long-time player, we’ve found some quick changes you can use to make the game more fun.  There are two sections to these rules.  Section 1 speeds up gameplay.  Section 2 improves the quality of the cards used.  If you love the game and are just looking for faster gameplay, use Section 1.  If you want to use my recommended card pool to maximize fun and interaction, use Section 2 as well.  If you don’t want to worry about any of this, just go play the game as is!  It’s fun either way, this is just a different experience.

Section 1 – Speed Up Gameplay

This is pretty simple.  We’re going to increase everyone’s life a little so they have more time for their deck to set up cool combos.  We’re making all prize cards cost a consistent 3 gold, because they are about the same power level and I’ve seen too many decks sputter out because they spent 4 gold on the wrong prize card.  We’re also going to make all the monster board stuff and card drawing happen at the END of the turn.  This means that once a player is done, they can basically start setting up and planning out their next turn while the other players take their turns!


The Rules

1. Players start at 26 life instead of 20 life.

2. All prize cards cost 3 gold.

3. Players start with a full monster board instead of an empty monster board.  (This means they add 10-12 points of monsters to their monster board before the game starts.)

4. Players start with 4 cards in hand instead of 2 cards.

5. The monster phase and drawing 2 cards happens at the END of the turn now.  

New turn order:  Gain 1 gold.  Play cards.  Monster phase.  Draw 2 cards.

Old turn order: Gain 1 gold.  Draw 2 cards.  Monster phase.  Play cards.

6. On Monster- Attack cards, ignore the text that says they don’t become angry on the other player’s next turn.  They do, at the end of the turn, during that player’s monster phase.


Caveats

There are going to be cards whose wording doesn’t work completely correctly under these rules.  If you use Section 2’s card pool, you won’t have this problem.  But if you’re playing with all the cards, here are some guidelines:

-If a card says something happens at the beginning of the turn or at the end of the turn, just do it then.  Even though we moved the turn phases around, this usually still works fine.

-If you’re not sure, figure it out together.  Most cards should work fine.

-If a card breaks the game completely, which none should, remove it from the game and give the player a random card from the draft deck instead.

Section 2 – Curated Card Pool

In this section I’m going to recommend which cards to keep in the draft deck, and which ones to remove.  This will leave you with a lot of fun, interactive, and engaging cards.  The removed cards are ones that were found to be less fun, less effective, too boring, and stuff like that.  I’ll give a longer explanation below these lists.

Remove These Cards – Alphabetical Order

If you’re opening a new box, the cards are in alphabetical order so you can go down this list and remove cards as you go through.  Sometimes the cards are mixed up a little in the packages, but it should generally work.  If you already have your cards mixed up, I’ll be posting another list below that sorts the cards by cost instead of alphabetically.

Ballista
Band of Heroes
Black Blade of Death
Bodysnatcher
Burning Sensation
Carnivale
Ceremony
Chain Lightning
Charm of Earthly Delights
Circus Bear
Combination
Corpse Explosion
Dragonform
Drown
Element Cannon
Erase Mind
Essence Wraith
Finishing Blow
Flame Thrower
Fleet Battle
Fold Reality
Frogcast
Gelatinous Cube
Healing Flask
Heavy Tripwire
Hire Mercenaries
Horde
Infantry
Infinite Sleep
Invoke
Juggle
Knockback
Labyrinth
Last Beacon of Terror
Lost At Sea
Mage’s Whim
Magic Missile
Mana Eater
Marble Highway
Melt
Memory Beam
Molten Armor
Mystic Moment
Pact of the Mind-God
Parrot Familiar
Penetrating Shot
Potent Brew
Rolling Boulder
Siren
Slash
Soul Reap
Split Decision
Summoning Ritual
Tomb Guard
Tournament
Traveler’s Urn
Tree Form
Unicorn
Wisp

Remove These Cards – Sorted by Cost

If you already have your cards mixed up, it might be easier to sort them by cost, then remove the cards from this list based on the costs.  It’ll probably take around 20 minutes.

0 Hire Mercenaries
0 Magic Missile
0 Wisp
0 Mage’s Whim
1 Ceremony
1 Juggle
1 Knockback
1 Slash
1 Unicorn
2 Ballista
2 Black Blade of Death
2 Burning Sensation
2 Carnivale
2 Chain Lightning
2 Element Cannon
2 Erase Mind
2 Healing Flask
2 Invoke
2 Melt
2 Memory Beam
2 Mystic Moment
2 Pact of the Mind-God
2 Soul Reap
2 Split Decision
2 Tournament
2 Infantry
2 Drown
2 Band of Heroes
2 Charm of Earthly Delights
2 Marble Highway
2 Traveler’s Urn
2 Tree Form
3 Frogcast
3 Heavy Tripwire
3 Mana Eater
3 Tomb Guard
3 Finishing Blow
3 Circus Bear
3 Potent Brew
4 Bodysnatcher
4 Corpse Explosion
4 Essence Wraith
4 Flame Thrower
4 Gelatinous Cube
4 Horde
4 Infinite Sleep
4 Lost At Sea
4 Penetrating Shot
4 Summoning Ritual
4 Combination
4 Labyrinth
5 Dragonform
5 Fleet Battle
5 Rolling Boulder
5 Parrot Familiar
5 Molten Armor
6 Fold Reality
6 Siren
13 Last Beacon of Terror

List of Cards Kept (Do not remove these!)

Acolyte
Alchemist’s Lab
Ambassador
Angry Mob
Annihilate
Archaeologist
Astronomical Burst
Asylum
Bandit Raid
Bash
Black Market
Blackout
Blifferspell
Blizzard
Blood Plague
Bloodbath
Bloodblade
Borrowed Time
Bounty
Brocky, Noble Mercenary
Broken Reflection
Brotweird’s Grimace
Camaraderie
Champion
Channel
Church
Corpsemire
Council Mage
Creativity
Crow
Crusade
Crystal Cave
Cutpurse
Dark Pact
Death Ray
Death’s Grasp
Delveheart
Doom Bolt
Dusk and Dawn
Enchanted Nymph
Energy Burst
Fireball
Fish Scraps
Flame Dragon
Forgemaster
Fountain of Life
Frantic Research
Frog Familiar
Giant Club
Giant Turtle
Golden Golem
Greater Mind Control
Grivaarian Head-Eater
Gryphon Rider
Guardian Angel
Harbinger Totem
Harpy
Hell Axe
Hellfeast
Imposter Knight
Inspiration
Iron Armor
Jack of All Trades
King’s Fortune
King’s Guard
Long Shot
Lost Cities
Mead Hall
Meat Grinder
Meddlefish
Medium
Mental Menagerie

Mind’s Eye
Mother Lode
Mouth of Madness
Murder
Orc Chieftain
Overpowering Evil
Pain Transfer
Pickpocket
Prince
Propagate
Prosperity
Psychosis Blast
Quest
Rain of Fire
Rally
Rampaging Elephant
Renegade Scholar
Renegade Scholar
Rogue of Saedi
Royal Guard
Rule of Law
Sacrifice Chamber
Skeletal Apprentice
Soul Siphon
Spearmen
Sword of Midas
Thought Flurry
Thuridian Wilds
Training
Treasure Goat
Treefolk
Unholy Chalice
Unlimited Power
Voodoo Doll
Warhammer
Whispers of Legend

Explanation

The removed cards are removed for three reasons.  #1 is that there are too many low-cost cards in the draft deck, leading to players running out of cards in hand, so some are removed to balance things out.  #2 is that some cards seem good, but end up being quite bad and thus disappointing.  #3 is that many cards just deal damage and don’t combo with anything or affect other players.  It’s fine to have some of those, but that’s what the basic cards do, so we don’t want too many.  #4 is that some attack cards that steal cards from other players can hurt the spirit of the game, since players did so much work to create their deck.

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