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by Ed Fortune

Justin Gary is professional Magic The Gathering player and games designer. His latest game is Sol Forge Fusion, a  semi-randomised card game that he created with the legendary Richard Garfield, who invented the collectible card game genre with Magic The Gathering. We caught up with Justin to find out more.

STARBURST: what is Sol Forge and how did it come to be?

Justin Gary: Yeah, so this is this is a great story. It’s honestly one of the joys of my entire career. And so, you know, I used to I started off as a pro magic player, right played in one of the US National Champions when I was 17, paid my way through college, travelling around the world playing wedding photos, things like that. And then I started working on game design, working on the Marvel and DC VS  trading card games and a variety of others. I actually met Richard Garfield, and I launched my own game Ascension, about 12 years ago, I met Richard Garfield at PAX Dev, and he was giving a talk on design. And I was in the audience because, you know, it’s Richard Garfield, of course, you want to hear what he has to say about game design. So he asked at the end of the talk, someone asked him what his favourite game was right now. And he said, Ascension. So I literally like jump up in my seat in the back of the room. And everybody kind of laughed, but it gave me an opening to go start talking to him. And we started talking. And it became very clear that we both wanted the exact same thing for our next project.

And that was Sol Forge?

Yes, that project ended up being So Forge. And so that was a project. We began as a purely digital trading card game because none of those things existed at the time; when the cards levelled up as you played them, and it was really cool, very tight experience. You know, we launched that on Kickstarter, we ended up producing the game, we ran it for several years, it was really well received. Eventually, that project had to sunset but we kept having to think about how we might bring it back.

Once I saw Richard’s other game design Keyforge,  I saw the idea of an algorithmically generated deck. And I thought, wow, this is there’s something here. And the fact that Sol Forge needed these levelling up card. I thought this was a perfect way to be able to bring Sol Forge back in a new form. So I called Richard up, we started talking about what was good about Key Forge what was bad about Key Forge, how we could improve it, what could work. And, you know,  Sol Forge Fusion was born out of that. And so we created a hybrid deck game where every deck is one of a kind, but you can shuffle them together to play so that you can still customise your deck. Everything can be scanned, and played online through Tabletop Simulator. So it’s still true to it’s digital roots. It’s true to the kind of roots of the algorithmic design, but it’s bringing something new to the table in both cases. And so we’re both really thrilled with what we were able to create and now bring it to the world.

What’s the business model?
Yeah, that’s great question. So we have starter kits, which I think you already have one in your hand from what I can tell. Each starter kit comes with four unique faction decks. So again, every one is one of a kind. And then all the accessories you need to play play mats, little minion tokens, little tracker tokens. And so every every box you buy is unique.

So you could just buy one of those and any of those four decks can be combined to make six different unique playable backs. And then we have booster kits that are basically the same thing.

SolForge Fusion can be found here.