Trick is a man of many projects. It seems like every other week something secret is being brewed and released. He’s a hard worker; that’s a fact. So it didn’t come as a surprise when he hit me up that he was working on yet another secret project. What struck me was that he wanted me to be part of it.
A few calls later, we were in a whirlwind to pull together plans, lay out the path, and gear up for a big to-do. Today, we get to begin sharing exactly what’s been cooking on the backburner: the Community Cube, a Cube dedicated to the social networking of Magic, to be shared everywhere Magic players travel.
If you’re unfamiliar with what a Cube is, let’s knock that out of the way. At its very core, a “Cube” is a selected collection of cards, balanced across colors and card types, to be randomized into “booster packs” before being drafted.
Tom LaPille covered all of the basics of Cubes a few years ago, and I’d recommend checking there for one of the original overviews. I’ve written a series of articles about my own Cube, currently maintain a blog dedicated to it, and have mentioned Cubing elsewhere several times. And that’s just the tip of the Cube iceberg:
- The Third Power Podcast
- In Contention Podcast – Cube Draft Videos
- Articles on Cube drafting on major sites: StarCityGames, Channel Fireball, Quiet Speculation, among others
- MagicTheGathering.com’s Coverage of the 2007 Magic Invitational
Cubing has grown from its earliest efforts and tiny niche into an every-event occurrence. I can’t recall the last major Magic event where I didn’t see or hear of a Cube draft (usually in the form of an awesome sick/bad-beat story). Whether it’s your first or four-hundredth event, Cubing is one of the most interesting things to do when you’re not in any events—and back at your local game store playing for fun.
However, Cubes aren’t easy to put together. We’re talking about hundreds of cards being carefully selected, compiling documentation around what’s in and what’s out, as well as sleeving up and always toting around hundreds of cards. Cubing is a blast, but it takes a special individual to really invest the cumulative efforts required to set up a Cube.
While Cube drafting, like all forms of Draft, is a social event and fantastic way to create a shared experience with Magic, dealing with the logistics isn’t for everyone. The Community Cube is meant to precisely highlight the social aspect of Cubing with simultaneously removing many of those cumbersome logistics.
A Cube for the Masses
So, what is the Community Cube? It’s a Cube that is meant to travel as players do, to be played and passed on at events the world over, and to be intuitive and fun in terms of power and choices. Unlike your typical Cube, with one owner and only available through that owner, the Community Cube is the Magic community’s Cube. It’s something that every individual can help and participate in, and that could be physically played by anyone who attends Magic events.
The Community Cube will work like this:
- Cube and limited specialists will be involved, along with general community voting, to help determine and finalize the initial list for the Cube.
- Players from all over donate the cards needed to physically construct the Community Cube.
- No foils or other promotional cards—just the vanilla English version.
- The physical result will premiere at GenCon this year.
- The Cube is passed to a new individual, who checks it in at the Community Cube Facebook page.
- At all times, someone should have the Cube, taking care of keeping it secure, and generally be responsible to keep it whole and ready to play
until . . .
- The next time the Cube is drafted, someone else takes the Cube.
- Someone travelling to another event soon is the best way to pass this along. The Cube should travel as far as possible to be drafted by the most possible.
- After checking in, the process of drafting, passing on, and checking in repeats again.
- Beyond just a shared draft or interesting limited engagement, the Community Cube is a social device in itself. From one person to the next, it’s meant to be shared and passed again, over and over, so as many players as possible have the chance to experience it. Information around the Cube will be shared through Google Docs, and a Facebook page is dedicated to compiling the experiences of those who have played Community-style.
And it’s all up to you to make it happen.
Some Likely-to-be-Frequently-Asked Questions
Why all commons? Why not allow any “pimp” (foils, alternate-art, promotional) cards?
While Cubes can be created to meet even the most discerning of tastes, there are a number of reasons to keep the Community Cube as simple as possible:
- Risk mitigation—that is, it reduces the liability of sending out a Cube’s worth of cards. All commons, without foil or promotional versions, makes it less appealing to unsavory folks.
- Reduced complexity, through the more natural creature-centric focus of commons.
- Easy duplication, so anyone else out there can make a parallel copy. Of course, feel free to pimp your own copy to your heart’s content!
Why share this at events? Aren’t the scheduled events good enough? Aren’t local stores good enough?
Magic as a social vehicle is as strange and diverse as the individual players who participate. “Sharing at events” is pretty broad, for several reasons:
- Larger, regional-style events allow the Community Cube to move further through the wider range and distance of attendees.
- Draft occurrences at events aren’t restricted to just the scheduled events during the day; hotel lobbies, dining establishments, and airport layovers are also frequent times for drafts to happen. Wherever players play, the Community Cube should follow!
- There’s nothing wrong with taking it to your local FNM, particularly if some of those players will be heading further away in the near future.
- The mission of the Cube is to travel, and if you should find your hands on the Cube, we hope you’ll take some time to travel with it somewhere else!
I’m an artist. Will there be something for me?
Beyond the basic voting rights all Magic players will have, there should be a unique opportunity for the creatively inclined. Stay tuned!
Who from the Magic community will be involved? How can I help?
Trick and I will be reaching out to personalities to gather their interest—if they’re on board we (and we hope they, too) will share with everyone.
- Everyone will have the chance to help Trick assemble the physical cards by sending them through the mail. More information will be shared closer to when cards will be needed.
- Personalities will have discrete feedback and may be soliciting their audiences for input. Once shared you should join in their discussions too!
- If you feel you have something very specific to add feel free to give voice to your potential in the comments below. While it would be impossible to get everyone’s input at the individual level we’ll certainly try to reach out if you have something unique that works for us!
How much will the community be involved? Why isn’t there a card list already up?
A collaborative, community effort will be crucial to moving the Cube from a basic skeleton (to be determined from pulling numbers from other Pauper Cubes) to a finished product.
- Faces of the community, yet to be revealed, will provide feedback and recommendations.
- Each week, there will be one or more polls open for voting—putting “the common reader” in democratic control of things. (Ben Stein would be proud.)
Speaking of “the common reader,” let’s begin diving into Cube construction with one seemingly simple question:
In answering that question, you’re really sharing how many draftees are possible: eight, ten, or twelve, respectively. Also, the larger the Cube, the more variety there is when drafting at less than capacity, such as the usual eight-player situation. Cube size is something that is very flexible, with advantages in going bigger or smaller.
If you’re ready to get down with the Community Cube, stay tuned—each week will bring more information, choices, voting, community feedback, and special information courtesy of some of the biggest faces in the Magic community.
The party’s just getting started—are you ready to Cube?
I just wanted to append a quick note to let you all know just how excited I am about this project. It's idealistic, but I think it's pretty cool and will provide for a very cool opportunity to bring the community together.
Please give us your feedback, your ideas, and let us know what you think about it as a whole!