For those roleplayers out there, we MtG players often like to use playmats. They mark our territory on the table and they are a protective barrier between our cards and the possibly quite rough table. Actually, between our sleeves and the table, but anyhow. So, what if we use them somehow?
I have more than 30 playmats. Mostly these are from various Grand Prix I’ve played, some are from winning or doing well in other tournaments and some I’ve bought directly from the artist. Most of them are card art, Bazaar of Moxen used to base them on local legends, like the one below from GP Krakow 2015, while others are just random things, like maps.
I recently read an article in a design magazine called How. It talked about what it called villains, who they saw as creative, because they wouldn’t follow the implied rules. The basic idea is this: We want characters, so we fill out forms. However, that’s removing the problem a step from the actual problem. Basically, we have willingly become relient on a tool that’s just commonly accepted. The so-called villains of this article, who the article actually praises, go to the source. We aren’t in the business of filling sheets, we are in the business of creating characters. Sheets are just a tool, which might not be a necessary one. We can convey the character in other ways.
So, suppose I gave each player one of these playmats during character creation. Ones with prominent, singular character on them. Here’s some examples of cards that have a playmat made from them which would fit the bill nicely:
Captain Lannery Storm
Gift of Orzhova
Roar of Challenge
Kari Zev, Skyship Raider
Sight Beyond Sight
I would rather choose ones depicting characters in action than stationary ones, but I find all these pretty interesting. The playmat would than act as the basis for each character. We can complement it in various ways if we want to. Maybe go back to the draft piles of the first two articles, but use them a bit differently.
Agon has a very interesting element in its character creation. It it each player had a chance to tell a story about their character’s exploits with each of the other characters. Now, this is where we can bring the cards in. Suppose each player (in turn) chooses a card for each other player and concocts a story based on those cards about their common adventures, which then displays an ability for the other character, based on the playmat.
This way we can also form the group and maybe even make a team out of them.
Here’s a question for you: How could we use the playmats and the area they cover? They are of course a good visual tool, but I bet there’s more we could do with them.