The following text is adapted from material found in the Battle Royale™ giftbox booklet. BASIC MULTIPLAYER RULES For the most part, Magic rules and spells work the same in multiplayer games as they do in a one-on-one game. To play a two-on-two game, start with the following basic multiplayer rules: 1. Everybody sits around a single table, with team partners sitting across from each other. After the first player takes his or her first turn, play moves around the table to the left. 2. A player’s creatures can attack only the opponent to his or her right. If that player is eliminated, they can then attack the remaining opponent. 3. If a player is eliminated, all his or her permanents are removed from the game. The game continues until both players on one team are eliminated. 4. Table talk is not allowed. You can’t tell your partner what’s in your hand, what your next move is going to be, or what you want him or her to do. This makes the game more interesting, because you have to pay attention and make educated guesses about what you think will help your partner and harm your opponents. It also prevents one partner from “running” a partnership, leaving the other partner out of the picture. MULTIPLAYER VARIANTS This section describes several multiplayer Magic variants. Don’t worry if the variant descriptions mention rules or terms you’ve never heard of; those are explained in the next section. DCI Two-on-Two Four players • Two teams Although this format isn’t actually sanctioned by the DCI™ players’ organization, the DCI does recommend it as an interesting variant. In this format, you and your partner sit next to each other, across from your two opponents. The left player of one team takes the first turn, and then play passes to the left, so one team will have the first and fourth turns while the other team will go second and third. You may attack only the player across from you; if that player is eliminated, you may then attack your remaining opponent. Moving creatures is allowed (see “Moving Creatures” for how this works), and moved creatures attack the player across from your partner. Spell range is unlimited, table talk isn’t allowed, and life totals aren’t shared. Typically you and your partner will want to gang up on whichever of your opponents is more vulnerable. Once that player is eliminated, the two of you will have a big advantage against your remaining opponent. Because table talk isn’t allowed, you need to think about which opponent to beat on first, then play accordingly (possibly by removing that player’s creatures first). This strategy cuts both ways, however. If the other team gangs up on your partner, you need to rush to the defense, using creature destruction on the creatures that are dealing the most damage to your partner and using cards like Fog and Healing Salve to keep your partner in the game as long as possible. Two-Headed Giant Four players • Two teams Two-Headed Giant is a variant of DCI Two-on-Two or basic two-on-two multiplayer Magic. In Two-Headed Giant each team represents two “heads” of a giant. The giant has an initial life total of 40, and damage dealt to either player is deducted from the giant’s total. Your creatures can attack any opponent, so moving creatures isn’t allowed. You win by reducing the opposing giant’s life total to 0. Emperor Six or ten players • Two teams An Emperor game is a contest between two teams. Each team has one emperor (seated in the middle) and two generals (seated one on each side of the emperor). The left-hand general of one team takes the first turn, and then play passes to the left, balancing the advantage of going first with having all the opposing team members take their turns next. The spell range is limited to one—that is, your spells and abilities can affect only you and the players sitting one seat to your left or right (the two players right next to you). You can attack only players on your immediate left or right. Because of this, until a general is knocked out, neither emperor can be attacked. Moving creatures is allowed. Each player starts with 20 life; life totals aren’t shared. If a general is eliminated, the remaining players on that team continue to play normally. When an emperor is eliminated, that team loses. You can also play Emperor with four generals per team, sitting two on each side of the emperor. Spell range is still limited to one. Free-for-All Best for three to six players • No teams The Free-for-All format is exactly that: you’re on your own against the world. Your creatures can attack any other player, and spell range is unlimited. The last player left standing wins! Melee Best with six to ten players • No teams If you try to play Free-for-All with six or more players, you’ll quickly realize that it isn’t practical. There are too many permanent effects to keep track of and too many choices of whom to attack. Melee is a structured Free-for-All with rules to address these problems. You can attack only the player to your left, and spell range is usually limited to one, though you can also try it as two. The object is to knock out the players to your left. Whenever the player to your left is knocked out, you get 1 point, even if someone else eliminated that player. You also get 2 points if you’re the last one in the game. In the end, the player with the most points wins, even if he or she isn’t the last remaining player. Grand Melee Fifteen or more players • No teams A Melee game with fifteen or more players graduates to Grand Melee status and requires some complicated arrangements to keep the game from bogging down. Though anyone can enjoy playing in a Grand Melee, we recommend that you don’t try to run one until you’ve played a few regular Melee games and are ready for a challenge. If complex logistics don’t appeal to you, skip ahead to the next format. The main difference between Melee and Grand Melee is that you need to have two or more players take their turns at the same time; otherwise the game takes far too long. To decide how many turns should happen at the same time, divide the total number of players by one plus the number of players within spell range. (If you use a spell range of two, for example, the number of players within spell range would be five: you, the two players on your right, and the two players on your left.) Round down. Space the turns out evenly among all players. EXAMPLE: If you’re playing with twenty-eight players and a spell range of two, you’ll start the game with four turns happening simultaneously (1 + 5 players within spell range = 6, and 28 players ÷ 6 = 4.66, rounded down = 4). Below is a “number of starting turns” chart for up to forty players using a spell range of two: Number of Players Number of Turns 36 to 40 6 30 to 35 5 24 to 29 4 18 to 23 3 12 to 17 2 11 or fewer 1 Players’ spheres of influence—the spheres around each player created by the spell range on both sides of that player—are never allowed to overlap. After a player finishes his or her turn, the player to that player’s left can’t start his or her turn if doing so would put a player into two spheres of influence at the same time. The player whose turn it would be waits until he or she could start a turn without the spheres overlapping. As players are eliminated, you’ll eventually need to reduce the number of simultaneous turns in the game or else the game will grind to a halt. You’re forced to do this when the number of turns multiplied by the number of players within spell range is greater than the number of players in the game. You probably should reduce the number of simultaneous turns before you’re forced to, though—otherwise, the game will slow down because of spheres of influence bumping into each other. It’s best to reduce the number of turns as soon as the number of players still in the game would give you one less turn using the starting game formula. EXAMPLE: If you’re playing with twenty-eight players and a spell range of two as in the last example, you’ll have to move from four simultaneous turns to three when there are nineteen players left in the game (4 turns x 5 players within spell range > 19 players in the game). However, you’d be better off eliminating a turn when there are twenty-three players left (1 + 5 players within spell range = 6, and 23 players ÷ 6 = 3.83, rounded down = 3). There’s no absolutely fair way to eliminate a turn. When the number of turns needs to be reduced, the turn in the spell range of the last person eliminated is removed instead of being passed at the end of the current player’s turn. This will often result in a player receiving one less turn than the other players nearby. EXAMPLE: In a game with twenty-four players and four simultaneous turns, the next person to be eliminated will reduce the turns to three. The turn in that player’s spell range will disappear after the player currently using it completes his or her turn. When a player is eliminated, that player immediately removes all cards he or she owns from the game. (This may affect players in other spell ranges.) All cards that player controls but doesn’t own are put into their owners’ graveyards. For purposes of calculating spell range, the eliminated player still counts as occupying a position. For purposes of creatures attacks, that player doesn’t. However, you can never attack a player outside of your spell range. EXAMPLE: Bob is to your left and Susan two to your left. Ted is three to your left, which is outside of your spell range. During your main phase you eliminated Bob with direct damage. Now during your combat phase you may attack Susan with your creatures. If you’d also eliminated Susan with direct damage, you still couldn’t attack Ted, because he’s outside of your spell range. When a turn passes in the spell range of an eliminated player, that player’s position is removed. EXAMPLE: To continue the last example, after eliminating Bob and attacking Susan with your creatures but not eliminating her, the turn would pass to Susan. Then, Bob’s position would be removed, and Susan would become the player to your immediate left. Ted would then be in your spell range. Two-Color Star Five players • No teams; two opponents If you want to try something a bit out of the ordinary, you might play Two-Color Star, a variant for five players. First, assign each player two friendly colors; the five friendly-color pairs are white-blue, blue-black, black-red, red-green, and green-white. Then each of you should build a deck using only cards that are of your assigned colors—plus lands, of course! Both of your friendly colors should be reasonably well represented in your deck. You can’t use artifacts or cards of the other three colors in your deck. Next, figure out which is your enemy color. If you’re playing white-blue, your enemy color is red; for blue-black, it’s green; for black-red, white; for red-green, blue; and for green-white, black. Your opponents are the players using your enemy color in their decks. For example, if you’re playing blue-black, your enemy color is green, so the green-white and red-green players are your opponents. The two players who aren’t your opponents (in this case, white-blue and black-red) aren’t really your allies either; they’re neutral. You’re competing against them, but you don’t get any benefit from hurting them. Once you’ve all figured out who your opponents are, sit in a circle like this, so that your neutral players are the two players next to you and your opponents are the two players across from you: In Two-Color Star, you attack only your opponents with your creatures, but spell range is unlimited. Moving creatures isn’t allowed (because you have no teammates). You win if you’re the first to knock out both of your opponents. For example, if you’re playing green-white, you win if both the black-red and blue-black players are knocked out. Ties are possible if no one wins when the first two players are knocked out. For instance, if both the white-blue and black-red players are out and the blue-black player is eliminated, the green-white and red-green players both win at the same time, making the game a tie. One Deck Four or more players • Two-on-Two or Melee One Deck is a variation of Two-on-Two or Melee. This is a great variant when not everyone has a deck available. You need just one deck of at least 120 cards for a four-player game. Add at least twenty cards for each additional player. Decks for One Deck games typically use all five colors, but you can build a deck using fewer colors if you want. Avoid using spells that require two mana of the same color in their mana or activation costs; that way each player will have a better chance of being able to play the cards he or she draws. You should also reduce the number of one- and two-mana spells. Such cards are usually good only in the early game, and it may take a while to get even one land of a particular color. If you’re using a five-color deck, you may want to prohibit attacking for the first three turns or increase the opening hand (and hand-size limit) to ten cards. This will reduce your chances of ending up with the wrong color mana to cast your spells. A One Deck game works like a normal Two-on-Two or Melee game except that every player draws from a common library and uses a common graveyard. (If the deck runs out of cards, the game’s a draw.) The difference between a card’s controller and its owner is eliminated; if you control a card, you’re its owner, no matter who drew or played the card. For example, if you play Raise Dead, you can select any creature card from the graveyard. If you steal a creature with Ray of Command and then Unsummon that creature, the creature will go to your hand because you’re the current controller of that creature card. When building a deck for One Deck, add Classic™ cards such as Gravebane Zombie, Gravedigger, Sage Owl, and Relearn to take advantage of the common library and graveyard. In One Deck Melee, to the victor go the spoils. When the player to your left is eliminated, at the end of your turn you gain control of all his or her permanents and you get the cards in his or her hand. (Discard down to the appropriate hand size if you have more cards.) It doesn’t matter who administered the final blow; at the end of the turn, the player to the eliminated player’s right gets the eliminated player’s stuff. GENERAL RULES AND TERMS Not sure what we mean by phrases like “moving creatures” or “spell range”? This section details some of the rules and terms common to most multiplayer variants. Attack Right and Attack Left In some multiplayer games, your creatures are allowed to attack only the player on your right or the player on your left. This rule limits only your creatures’ attacks; it doesn’t affect the spells you play or your choice of targets for your creatures’ abilities. Because play always passes to the left when a player’s turn is done, attack-left formats and attack-right formats produce slightly different games; games that use attack right are slightly more defensive, while those that use attack left are mostly offensive. Moving Creatures In some team formats, you can move your creatures to your teammate’s territory—the space in front of your teammate where his or her cards go. This allows your creatures to block for your teammate and attack the opponents next to your teammate. You move creatures as part of declaring your attack; to move a creature, simply place it in the territory to which you’re moving it. Moving a creature counts as that creature’s attack for that turn and follows the same restrictions; if a creature can’t attack, you can’t move it either. Moving a creature doesn’t tap it, though. Your moved creatures remain under your control—that is, you decide whether they attack or block, when to use their abilities, and whom they attack during your turn. But they can block attacks only for the player whose territory they occupy; they can’t block for you. Your moved creatures can attack only the players next to the player whose territory they occupy, not the players your creatures can normally attack. However, your moved creatures still attack during your combat phase, not your teammate’s, so your moved creatures and your teammate’s creatures can’t attack together. Spell Range In some multiplayer games, your spells can affect only players sitting close to you; this is stated as a spell range and is typically one or two. For instance, if the rules for a game say that the spell range is one, a Wrath of God will destroy only creatures controlled by you and by the players sitting one seat away on either side (the players right next to you); other players’ creatures are unaffected. Similarly, if you control a Howling Mine in that game, only you and the two players sitting next to you get to draw an extra card every turn. Furthermore, your target choices are limited to you, the players sitting next to you, and the permanents in front of each of you, no matter who controls them. When spell range is unlimited, you can choose any legal target for your spells, and untargeted spells affect every player’s territory. Player Elimination In multiplayer variants, whenever a player is eliminated, all permanents he or she owns are removed from the game (unless stated otherwise in the rules for that variant). Permanents controlled by the eliminated player but owned by someone else are put in their owners’ graveyards. Creatures that have been moved to the eliminated player’s territory but are controlled by other players are moved to their controllers’ territories.
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