Card Counting Challenge on the Learning Sphere Blog

Welcome everyone in this announcement about the Card Counting Challenge!

Last september, I announced the creation of the Card Counting Challenge Project. The article also included the 4 first scenarios our team crafted.

Nine months later, it is time to give updates on where we are.

The Scenarios

First, 5 more scenarios are available. We have some evolution of the challenge, with the monitorless versions. Scenarios 3 and 6 can be completed without the help of a second person to answer your questions: all the available information about each card are directly freely provided. Also, even though our imagination is quite creative (see Money Counting and Approach of the 7th card), we built scenarios from actual situations that happened on tournaments.

Here is a list of the 9 current scenarios, with small introduction:

  1. AER standard: A player does not remember if they drew for the turn. It is a good scenario to unravel to people in seminars, as it gots a lot of interactions to notice.
  2. AKH sealed: A twisted scenario were taking into consideration every element is necessary to know if an extra draw occured.
  3. Modern Life Problem: On turn 3, all the life totals are lost, you need to figure out what were they. A Monitorless version is also available (the monitorless version is easier).
  4. HOU sealed: another Amonkhet block sealed, another drawing extra card suspicion. This scenario is easier than the AKH sealed.
  5. Money Counting Challenge – XLN Sealed: The goal will be to count the number of treasures of a player. To do so, some counting cards will be involved.
  6. IMA Sealed – Monitorless: As the previous monitorless scenario, life totals are missing. Being given all the information, you need to recreate the game. This is a good puzzle to solve individually.
  7. Approach of the 7th Card – XLN Standard: A player is not sure about where should be their opponent’s Approach of the Second Sun. It is a challenging twist in the countings, as it is not possible to track down everything from the beginning of the game.
  8. Modern Tron vs Jeskaï: A scenario that happened at GP London 2018. Tron player put back lands in their hand, and cannot remember how many of those should be on the battlefield.
  9. DAR Sealed: This situation happened in a Dominaria Pre-release. A spectator believes that a player has more lands than possible on the battlefield.
  10. Common Draws – Pauper: A scenario created thanks to a situation brought by Juha Ihonen. Active Player shuffled with their Ponder, and the players disagree on whether AP drew a card after that or not.

    Counting situation that happened in GP London 2018

The authors of those scenarios include Kevin Desprez, James Edwards, Florian Horn, Tomas Ornowski and myself.

All the current and future scenarios are available on this google drive. We will try to give updates about new scenarios on the Learning Sphere Bog.


As you can see, we have been prolific. A Pauper scenario that was brought by Juha Ihonen should arrive in July. If you handle a Counting situation that was interesting, feel free to contact us with all the information you can remember, and we will do our best to recreate it. You can even take a picture of the board state.



Translation and GP Challenges


On the translation side, some of the challenges have been translated. You can find all the translations in the google drive folder given earlier. Here are the leads for some languages:

If you want to help on translations, you can contact the corresponding responsible if the language is listed above, or me directly otherwise. Our goal is to put all the translation in the google folder of the challenges.


Another goal of the Project is to bring scenarios at all GPs around the world. If you want to bring some in a GP, you can contact Samuele Tecchio who is coordinating the spread.


What’s next?

We are always looking for ideas in order to improve the project, seeking for new ways to teach.

For example, Mark Dragstra used the scenarios in a seminar of the Benelux conference (slides are available here). Another way to use those scenarios in a conference is as a workshop. In a Finnish conference, I first unraveled scenario 1 in front of everyone, explaining each steps to figure out what is the answer to the call. Then, I split the judges in 3 groups, and I put 4 tables with 4 scenarios. 3 were monitored (with a Monitor waiting for the groups), the last was monitorless. The groups went to see monitored scenarios one after another. If a group was done earlier than the others, it could go to the monitorless and try to solve it.

The advantage of those seminars is to bring some of the toughest scenarios, in order to see people thinking together and finding all the relevant information to solve the puzzle.

We are starting, with the help of Aurélie Violette, to create an application to perform on your own the scenarios. The goal is to give to anybody the opportunity at any time to test themself on a scenario. The monitorless scenarios will be the first implemented. We intend to find ways to put all scenarios, and maybe find new features thanks to this tool.


If you have ideas or suggestion, feel free to contact us. Same if you want to join the project. We are happily recruiting volunteers to think on scenarios, craft, test, translate, produce content.

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