Mage Wars CCG

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Completely different new rule idea:

What if instead of a single deck, you had 3: a Spell Deck, and Army Deck, and a Resource Deck. How you are able to draw cards depends on different factors.

Lets say, for example: you begin with 8 draws from each deck, 24 draws total. You get to spend 7 drawing your opening hand. Once you've run out of draws for that deck, you have to do things to gain additional draws. This would be part of the game mechanic.

The Resource Deck would be resources you need to cast spells, summon units, or both. Some resource cards would also provide additional draws.

More development is necessary, this is just a brain dump.

Old stuff

(Note: much like the PnP game, this will eventually be known as Year of Fire)

I have come up with an entirely new rule-set for the game. The old rules can be found at Mage Wars CCG_old, in the meantime, I've got a lot to do... Oh, and all pages belonging to Mage Wars CCG will begin with the prefix MCG.

In the collectible card game, you take on the role of an Arch Magus commanding a tower. Your goal is simple: destroy your opponent's tower. You must do this by any and all means necessary; for in the Mage Wars, power is the only currency.

Basic Overview

You have four types of cards in the game: Units, Castings, Holdings, and Elemental Sources. The game is state-based, meaning that the conditions of the board determine what you can and cannot do.

  • For hit points, the game uses Tower Levels. These are also used to cast more powerful spells.
  • Spells have an Elemental Source requirement, may have a Tower Tier requirement, and may also cost Tower Levels.
  • Units will always have a Holding requirement and may also have Elemental Source requirements.
  • Holdings have no requirements.

To play the game, you lay down Holdings, Deploy units, and cast spells. You loose the game when your Tower hits 0.


Here is a more in-depth overview of the rules.


The Tower functions as both your life points and your spell-casting resource. Yes, in order to cast a spell, you must sacrifice a piece of your tower. Not a literal piece, a figurative piece. When you cast a spell, you pay the cost for it in Tower Levels. Players begin with 200 Tower Levels.

You may GAIN tower levels in any number of ways. Some spells may cost points, but actually give you levels. Resource and Holding cards will also often give you Tower Levels when they are deployed - but only then. This is called the Tower Modifier and can be found on any card, it looks like a small Tower Icon and a number, with a + or - sign. When that card comes into play, apply the modifier accordingly. Only when it comes into play, not when it leaves.

Your Tower is tracked using the Tower Deck, which is a series of cards with numbers printed on them. Theoretically you can use anything as a counter, but why not keep extra cards? Tower Cards come in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 100, and 1,000. If used properly these can quickly and easily represent any number you will need.

Tower Tiers

The Tier value of your Tower is another variable. Under normal circumstances, each Tier is 100 levels, so all players begin with a Tier II Tower. Drop down to 199, it becomes a Tier I; drop to less than 100, and your Tower no longer has a Tier, and most spells and units are Tier I minimum. If your Tower lacks the appropriate Tier, you cannot use the card that requires it. If your Tower is above the requirement, you can (Example: Card requires Tier II, your Tower is 350 Levels high and Tier III, you can play it).

Many cards have Sacrifice effects that let you give them up to add levels to your tower. All Units have the ability to be sacrificed to raise the Tower level, unless contradicted by a rule printed on the card.

Line Rules

Mage Wars CCG features a series of line rules that determine when or what an attacking player can target. In Mage Wars you do not attack specific cards, but a specific line. There are three lines: Offensive, Defensive, and Tower. Players must divide the play area into offensive and defensive lines and be clear about where they are laying a card (even if it is face-down). Units must be deployed only to the Defensive Line and cannot move to the Offensive Line the turn they come into play. Only Units on the Offensive Line can attack.

Under normal circumstances, units can only attack the forward-most line; meaning if a defending player controls any units on the Offensive Line, the attacking player must first destroy those units before attacking the defensive line. Same goes for Tower, the Tower can only be attacked directly if defending player controls no units able to block on either line.

Aerial Units (things that fly) can ignore line rules, by attacking whichever line their controller chooses. Including going after the tower directly. Only other Aerial Units can block, effectively their are no lines. Further, an Aerial Unit can choose to attack either line, if it attacks the Defensive Line, units from the Offensive Line cannot block.

The defending player can choose which line blocks, or not to block at all, starting from the offensive line. An attack can be "let through" the offensive line to the defensive line, or directly to the Tower.


Combat is determined by line rules and has a series of stages that determine what players are allowed to do. This is covered more thoroughly under Combat.


Castings are separated into three types: fast cast, slow cast, and weave. Casting costs for these spells by subtracting Tower Levels. Whenever a fast cast or weave spell is cast, any player may block it by sacrificing a unit with Power Level equal to the spell's casting cost. Some spells are unblockable.

Additionally, spells have Resource Requirements. These are specific numbers or types of Resource Cards you must control on the field in order to be able to cast a spell. Most spells will only require one of a particular resource. This is a state-based requirement and can be interrupted with effects that change the state. Example: A player casting a spell that has the earth-type elemental resource requirement, and only has one such source. The other player plays a card that destroys that elemental type, whereupon the player casting the spell is no longer able to cast it, and the spell fizzles. Any costs are still paid.


The turn structure is seperated into 4 phases. These are: Draw, Deployment, Combat, and End. These are described in greater detail on the Turn page.


A Mage Wars CCG deck is made up of several parts. The Main Deck consists of exactly 88 cards, no more, no less. Additionally, you have the Tower Deck (used for tracking Tower Levels), the Side Deck (used when an effect requires you to take a card from "outside the game"), and a Side Board of extra cards to fine-tune your deck in case you wish to customize it between matches.

Allowed Deck Sizes:

  • Main Deck: 88 cards exactly
  • Side Board: 12 cards maximum
  • Tower Deck: as many as you think you'll need.
  • Side Deck: required only if an effect in your main deck or side board calls for it.

You may have up to 5 copies of any Resource Card and 3 copies of any other card in your deck, unless specified by a card rule. Side Decks and Side Boards are not strictly necessary. The Side Deck is restricted only to named cards specifically called for by cards in the Main Deck. If your Main Deck calls for no cards, you do not have a Side Deck.

Card Types

There are 5 basic card types:

  • Units: these are your army, this is how you carry out your tower-tactics
  • Castings: these are your spells, your tower magic, the spells cast from your tower.
  • Resources: these cards have many uses, from increasing the height of your tower, to providing bonuses to your units.
  • Ritual: used for all sorts of fun things.
  • Magic Tech: these are something of an enigma: sometimes Unit, sometimes weave, sometimes unnameable horror from beyond.

An additional "type" is a face-down card. Any card can be played face-down, and "flipped" depending on the type and flip-effect requirement. Face Down cards are not a memory game; if a spell or effect allows another player to view a face-down card, it is still treated as "face down", but that player can ask to see it or be reminded of what it is at any time. Players are not allowed to move face-down cards around after laying them, or to confuse a player who has seen them.


Units are your armies. During the Mage Wars, each tower would control vast military forces, used in a two-pronged attack against enemy towers. These "tower tactics" were ruthless, and required defending mages to maintain large defensive forces. This is the basic mechanic around which Mage Wars is built.

Deploying units is condition-based: each Unit will have a number of conditions that must be met to summon it; these consist of Resources, Holdings, and minimum Tower Level. Deploying a unit does not subtract from your Tower Level and once the Unit is out, it stays out, even if the conditions for deploying it are lost.

  • Playing a Unit Face Down: Units can be played as Face Down cards even if the conditions required to deploy them are not met. When a Unit card is turned face up, the conditions must be checked. If they are not met, that card is removed from the game without having entered play. Notriggered abilities can effect this, it goes from being a Face Down Card to having never been a Unit.


Castings, there are three types:

  • Fast Cast: can be cast any time at lightning speed. Fast Cast spells can only be countered by other fast-cast spells or activated abilities.
  • Slow Cast: can only be cast during controlling player's Expansion Phase.
  • Weave: creates a permanent enchantment on the field.

Each spell has a Power Level associated with it. This is the cost paid in Tower Levels to cast the spell. It may also have a level requirement (a minimum level the tower must be in order to cast the spell) if casting would reduce the level to below the requirement it can still be cast. A spell will also have a Star Rating, which denotes the power of the spell vs. a specific target. Finally, spells might have a Resource Requirement, this is a number or type of resources you must control in order to cast the spell.

Combined Resource Casting

There are several Combined Resource Types; if a spell or effect requires a combination you do not control, you can create it by sacrificing two resources of the appropriate types. This allows you to cast one spell, it does not create a combination.

Spell Blocking and Empowering

Whenever a player casts a spell, another player may block it by sacrificing Tower Levels equal to the spell's Power Level. In response, the player casting the spell may empower it by sacrificing additional Tower Levels to raise the spell's Power Level. This system works like an auction, in that the player willing to give up the most determines whether or not the spell succeeds. Both players still loose whatever number they sacrificed.


There are two types of Resources: Elemental 'Source' cards, and Holdings. Holding and Source cards are sub-types of the Resource super-type.


Mage Wars is based around four elemental types: Earth, Fire, Wind, and Water. In order to cast spells or deploy units in these elemental types, a player must control a certain number of "sources" of the appropriate type. These sources are not "activated" to generate a "point" of that type, rather it is a state-based effect (E.G. controlling the card contributes to a point-value that does not change unless the board-state changes). A single resource card may be worth multiple source points, or have a combined type.

Resources are cards you control that supply resources to your tower. You place these on the field, presumably behind your defensive line (but only Line cards have specific location requirements). Each Resource Card adds to your Tower Level when it comes into play.

Their are four basic Resource Types: Earth, Fire, Wind, and Water. There are also many Combined Resources and multi-resources. A Combined Resource is any resource card that consists of two or more types (Example: Earth and Fire create Magma).


Holdings represent regions under your control, and determine what type of Units you can summon. There are a few basic types of holdings and several multi-types that can act as more than one. Holdings do all kinds of things beyond just making unit-types possible; some may have activated abilities, others grant you Tower Levels, etc.

The basic Holding types are:

  • Fortress
  • Mine
  • Maze
  • Lands
  • Rivers
  • Island
  • Sea routes
  • Road
  • Fields
  • Tunnels
  • Skyways
  • Cities

...think of five or six others.

Fortress Level

Each Holding has a Fortress Level allowing it to be attacked directly in place of the Tower. If a unit with sufficient power hits a Holding, the holding is destroyed. Any Units already deployed that require that holding remain on the field, but new units cannot be deployed.

Dual-Type Resource cards

It is possible for a resource card to act as both a Holding and an Elemental Source. In this case the card counts as both an is affected by spells that target either.


A Ritual Card represents a Ritual Site. Rituals are the ultimate wild-card. They can cast spells, summon Units, any number of purposes. A Ritual Card must be played originally as a Face Down card on either Line. Each Ritual card will give the requirements needed to turn it face up and activate the Ritual.


Magic-Tech cards are permanently-enchanted eldritch machines that can hold great power. Magic-Tech is effectively a super-type that can be any sub-type. Some cards will have only the Magic-Tech type, others may also be Magic-Tech Units, Resources, or Rituals. Magic-Tech Castings are not allowed.