Mana Maze Solitaire
The object of the game is variable. As described below, you might have to destroy a particular card in play, or remove all the cards in the layout from play without running out of life points.
Mana Maze alters the
following basic game concepts:
In normal Magic, a card is considered "in play" as soon as its casting is resolved. In Mana Maze, cards are stacked as in traditional solitaire, and are brought into play by being exposed. That is, if a card is in the game and is not covered by any other card, it is considered in play. Cards in play are "active" or "inactive".
Active cards are all permanents that can exist independently of other cards: creatures, artifacts, land, and general enchantments (that is, any enchantment can stand alone and need not be cast on something else). An active card is considered to enter play "pre-cast" - its abilities can be used freely without paying the casting cost. Treat active cards like any cast permanent in a normal Magic game. Any activation costs must still be paid.
Passive cards include the following: sorceries, instants, and interrupts, as well as enchantments that must be cast on creatures, artifacts, land or enchantments. A passive card comes into play uncast; you still must cast it in order to use it. However, passive cards are still in play and may be targeted by spells. The casting of passive cards follows all normal Magic rules, requiring appropriate mana and an available target in play. You may be a target yourself if the spell can target players. Also, for game purposes, when an enchantment is placed on another card, both cards are still considered exposed and in play. Either card may be the target of a spell.
Out of Play
The graveyard starts the game empty. All cards that leave play, as explained below, are considered to have gone to the graveyard unless otherwise specified. You may re-cast any card returned to your "hand" if you have the appropriate mana (and a target for targeted spells), but it is out of play for game purposes until re-cast. If a card is brought back into play by recasting or by another card, place it on top of any exposed card, putting the newly covered card out of play.
Cards that use any of these terms refer to you, the player.
Effects that target an "opponent" have no effect in Mana Maze.
In Mana Maze you start with only one life point. If at any time your life point total falls to zero or below you die instantly and lose the game.
The final step before the game ends is clearing the mana pool. If you have any mana remaining in your mana pool, you suffer one point of mana burn for every leftover point of mana. If mana burn reduces you to zero life points, you lose the game.
Getting Rid of Cards In Play
In Mana Maze, cards can be removed in five different ways:
Tapping A Card
Whenever a card is tapped, it is destroyed and sent to the graveyard. Any effect from tapping occurs before the card is removed from play.
Casting A Spell
If a spell is cast (with a proper target and a paid cost), it is removed from play and put into the graveyard unless otherwise specified. The effect of the spell occurs before the card leaves play.
Destroying A Card
The destruction of a card removes it from play and puts it in the graveyard unless otherwise specified.
Killing A Creature
If a creature is destroyed by any means normally available in Magic, it is removed from play and sent to the graveyard unless otherwise specified.
Sacrificing A Card
Whenever a card is sacrificed, it goes to the graveyard unless the card says otherwise. Any effect from the sacrifice occurs before the card is removed from play.
Now it's time to start a game. First, build a Mana Maze solitaire deck, then decide what kind of Mana Maze game to play, as follows:
As in traditional solitaire, the cards are laid out in a pattern. With sixty cards, there are several layouts to choose from.
When a layout includes a "hand", that simply means that you have extra cards left over to thumb through, one or three cards at a time, to break logjams. This Mana Maze "hand" is not to be confused with the Magic "hand" that a card goes to if unsummoned.
Open Or Closed
In an open game, all cards are laid out face-up at the start. The open game is less prone to luck and therefore requires more thought. In a closed game, only the top card of each pile is visible. This takes a lot of pressure off, because you don't have to take all the extra data into account.
Many goals are possible. The following are just a few potential goals.
Destroying A Particular Card
This is the simplest goal. Put one or more cards in your deck and then find and remove them. The more targets you have, the harder the game will be. If you use multiple targets, it's fun to pick cards that fit a particular theme.
Destroy All The Cards
Simply put, win by destroying everything. This is the hardest variation, as it requires the careful matching of all your resources so as not to strand yourself with a card that you have no way to get rid of. You should play this variation open-handed, because you will need all the information you can get.
Get To A Particular Life Total
This variation requires that you pepper the deck with lots of cards that give and take life. The goal is to get to the life-givers and reach a certain life total.
Any goal is fine, as long as it requires you to work through the cards to accomplish it. You can define any objective, such as getting seven blue cards in your hand, but remember to build your deck to make such a goal possible.
Building a Mana Maze Solitaire Deck
When creating a deck, here are some factors to think about:
As you begin playing Mana Maze, try using all five colors. A five-color deck is the easiest type of deck to build and the most varied in play.
The mana mix is roughly the same as in a normal game (30% to 40%). The balance for each color should be determined by how many passive cards and cards with colored activation costs you have in each color. If you find yourself always short or flush with mana, change the mix accordingly.
Creatures are an important part of Mana Maze and will typically make up at least a quarter of your deck. Remember to add a significant number of creatures with special abilities, as they tend to make the game more fun.
These add some spice to the game but are not needed in quantity.
These don't tap and aren't cast, so they are the hardest cards to get rid of. Use enchantments that have an impact, and keep them down to a handful.
Active cards (permanents) tend to be the obstacles in the puzzle, and passive cards provide most of the house-cleaning needed. This means that your passive cards should be close in number to your active cards. Also, try to include a lot of other passive cards that destroy a lot of other types of cards, because these provide the nuts and bolts of Mana Maze.
These cards can be left out entirely, but if you do use them, try to balance the deck with an equal number of healing and damaging cards.
Make sure every card can be destroyed by at least two other cards in the deck. Also, throw in three or four spells that provide mana in some way.
When creating your first deck, here is a good checklist to follow:
One Final Word
If you're winning too easily, throw a few curves into your game: add some big creatures to your deck, play a closed hand, or make the goal destroying all the cards. If you're getting frustrated, check your deck. It is possible to create an unwinnable game.
This variant was created By Mark Rosewater.