Inquest (later Inquest Gamer) was gaming magazine that was published between 1995 and 2007. It covered boardgames, Roleplaying games and, of course, CCGs. Its humor was a bit juvenile (think Cracked or Mad Magazine), but that suited me at the time. I remember its magic rules section being… odd, presented combos not worth a second look, but it also featured alternate ways to play Magic. Among others was a brutal AI and Kangaroo court. Today I’d like to describe the latter format.
Kangaroo Court Magic is an overlay that can be used for any normal Magic tournament (not sanctioned, of course). Everything stays the same, except that flavor matters. What does that mean exactly? Well, that card names, illustrations, and flavor text can impact the game – even without silver bordered cards in the mix!
Generally, a player involved in a match can call over the judge and make a case to modify the rules pertaining to a card based on one of the characteristics mentioned in the previous paragraph. After the player makes their case, their opponent can make an argument, with a final rebuttal from the original “litigator”. Based on this, the judge makes a ruling. Since we’re operating under common law, it sets a precedent for the rest of the tournament Unless they are overturned later by another case. I think it’s best to demonstrate this with some examples from rulings I’ve made.
Player 1 (putting Gemstone Mine into play): “Judge, the illustration clearly shows seven gems. The card should come into play with seven counters.”
Player 2: “Yes, but only one provides any color of mana. For the others, three are blue, two white, one red”.
Player 1: “But there’s a brush in the picture….”
Judge: “I agree that seven counters makes sense, and defined as Player 2 stated. However, that is a chisel sir, not a paintbrush”.
Ruling: Gemstone Mine enters play with seven counters, but has restrictions on what colors it can produce.
Player 1 (putting an Ice Age Sulfurous Springs into play): “Judge, this creature in the spring should be represented as a 2/2 Devil token.”
Player 2: “But you have to pay R to activate him – he looks too comfortable to leave on his own. Also, if the creature is destroyed, the land is destroyed as well.”
Player 1: “Why? The pool is still there. ”
Ruling: Sulfurous Springs (Ice Age only) gets “R: Put a 2/2 Devil token with haste into play. Exile it at end of turn. If token dies, you may not activate this ability”
I’ve always had boatloads of fun. And by always I mean two small local tournaments, when we still had a casual crowd mix with the more dedicated players at our weekly club meetups. I still think it would be fun to try at a kitchen table game or more social event. Have someone not involved in the direct ruling serve as judge.
I guess my one concern would be that the creative is so tight that it might be hard to get good cases to bring to Kangaroo Court.