magic missile

magic missile is a found image improv game of wizard battles for social media – i’ve been playing it on twitter. you can read the rules at my patreon post about it, or you can look at a transcript of a game. it’s really simple: each round is an image with an explanation of what spell is being cast and how it’s affecting the state of the game. it works well on twitter because of the enforced character limit.

the game was inspired by a similar thing that happened on the tigsource forums, as pointed out to me by my friend mickey alexander mouse, one of the participants. i wanted to try and engineer something similar!

like my earlier game, uroos maluroos (named after a scene in the ZZT game “pop” – it translates to “THE MURDERERS” in that game’s internal language), i wanted this to be a game only the initiating player needed to know the rules of. the opponent would just take that person’s lead. and that required phrasing the opening round in such a way as to make it really clear what the conceit of the game is.

my first attempt at playing the game, i tagged ian snyder. he responded in a really passive / receptive way – responding with images and descriptions but making no attempt to counterattack or defend himself. i wonder if the tone might have been different if i’d said something like “I’M CHALLENGING YOU TO WIZARDS’ COMBAT! I CAST MAGIC MISSILE!” but i’m okay with the game having gone in that direction; i think that’s a legit route to take it in.

then i tried making an open call for opponents by posting a WIZARD BATTLE POSE (a stock pose of someone in harry potter cosplay) and asking to see opponents’ battle poses. i ended up doing battle with jeanne thornton but it became obvious that people read my request for battle poses as a request for selfies, and though i wanted selfie battles to be an option (i later did battle with basically everyone at solomon fletcher’s house; their spells were all in the form of dramatic selfies), i didn’t want to signal that they should be obligatory.

my revised call for opponents ditched “battle poses” in favor of “here is my champion (a picture of a girl in the raddest witch costume i’ve ever seen) – show me your champion and i will duel the most powerful-looking!” i think that works better. the game is designed to be very open – my focus was on using the right suggestions to frame the play.

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