Well, May 2022 is over, which means, it’s almost been over a year since Tobey and I started working on our Legacy game, “MTG Storyline”.

Honestly, I never would have imagined getting wrapped up in a crazy fan project like this. See, we were each our own charmed lives in Taiwan, enjoying each day as if a pandemic weren’t raging around the rest of the world. Life was good, but everyone has some goal they want to work towards but they never have time to make happen. For Tobey, that was game design. For me, that was writing.

Then when Tobey asked for my help on this project, I remember my first response… “With what time?”

Two weeks later when COVID-19 breached Taiwan’s borders and sent the country into lockdown, Tobey replied, “With this time!”

And so we started the project, our love letter to Magic: The Gathering and our own contribution to the community that makes it great. It’s been quite a year. I’m going to try and break it down month by month, if anything, so I can keep track of how things have developed. This game has involved in stages, and each somewhat corresponds to a major life event. Besides game design, this year has been an intense ride for all of us.

Check it out:


-Tobey pitches the game. After an initial feasibility meeting in a coffee shop, he is cautiously optimistic. I’m willing to help until he gives up.
-We meet again to decide roles. I’m relegated as the story and flavor guy. He becomes mechanics guy. We mutually ignore the graphic design, marketing, type facing, social media, and logistic concerns, assuming it will all go well if we don’t think about it.
-The virus strikes. Taiwan is no longer a safe haven. Faced with a pseudo quarantine, I find no more excuses and jump in. I write a story overview and Tobey plans the mechanical gimmicks for Book 1.
-We quickly realize we’re going to have to do some computer stuff to make this happen. We scour the internet for open source software, settling on Paint.net to produce our own cards. Tobey recruits his daughter to draw the templates for each of our card types. He learns how to format them digitally. I waste 30 hours of my life trying to design background colors that don’t even look that great. We both learn how to construct the cards in the program.
– Tobey collects one of every common and uncommon MTG card from the last three years for me to play with. I take advantage of the lockdown to browbeat my wife into playing game after game after game after game with me until I feel good about the card list.
-We finish Chapter 1.


-With cards designed and templates set, we finish Chapter 2 in a week. Then we foolishly declare we can finish a Chapter every week (Hahahahaha).
-Tobey learns how to print our Storyline cards at a nearby print shop. Since COVID restrictions limit gatherings of more than four (and he has a family of 4), my apartment becomes a playtesting factory. We record and watch every card shop regular play through the first couple chapters.
-I learn that after three rounds of editing and five rounds of playtest, TYPOS CAN STILL SLIP THROUGH THE CRACKS OF ANY PIECE OF COPY (there are probably 5 in this paragraph alone).
-We finish Chapter 3.
-My wife sketches a few scenes from the Story. We like what we see. Tobey asks her for more every week, she asks for a ‘share of the company’. Tobey gives her half of mine.


-We hit the realization that no one will play our game if we don’t tell anyone about it. Tobey registers our blog and we work to make it presentable. He goes to reddit and puts out a call for playtests.
-Tobey pitches something weird structurally with how Week 4 and 5 work. Without spoiling it, it took a few tries to implement and shook our card construction process to the core. We emerged stronger (and less ambitious).
-I have a cool idea, he explains why it won’t work mechanically. We scrap it.
-He has a cool idea, I explain why it serves no practical function. We scrap it (Assume these two steps are happening every month).
-We finish Chapter 4 & 5.
-My wife and I move from sunny Kaohsiung to the metropolis of Taipei so she can start her graduate studies. I prepare to move to Japan with another job to pay for aforementioned studies.


-We realize a good percentage of our working hours are going to searching for and asking over again questions that one of us asked while working while the other was not. To avoid wasting more time, we start using management software.
-On a visit to Kaohsiung, Tobey and I lock ourselves in his game shop for a weekend to plan the latter half of Book 1. We reward our efforts by cracking a box of Mystery Boosters.
-Using more feedback from reddit play testers, we decide to overhaul much of Chapter 1. I can’t bring myself to delete certain content myself and ask my wife to do it. She presses backspace, I wait in my room.
-We become stuck in an editorial quagmire of our own making.

September and October

-We push through and finish the Chapter 1 overhaul.
-We finish Chapter 6
-The pseudo lockdown in Taiwan effectively ends. Tobey is knocked out of commission by dozens and dozens of make-up lessons. I’m knocked out of commission by going to America to attend weddings and eat real Mexican food for the first time in years.
-Tobey is left alone for a month as I live it up paying social visits in America. He lays the groundwork for the next few Chapters, we call a few times to discuss work.
-I fly to Japan and face a mandatory two week quarantine. We breeze through the rough drafts of Chapter 7 and Chapter 8.
-A tricky design element from an upcoming chapter warrants “The Call”, a marathon length remote chat that erupts into a war between flavor and mechanics. After hours of bloodshed our game (and friendship) emerge stronger.


-I get settled into life in Japan, we trudge along, realizing that the level of complexity in every week is gradually moving up. We also realize how dependent we were on lockdown to find the time to do everything.
-A medical emergency strikes. I rush back to Taiwan to help my wife recover from surgery. I face two weeks of quarantine, but, given the health of my wife, my mind is not on the project. I play video games in a fetal position from my hotel room.


-The surgery goes well!
-I start working remotely for my job in Japan while in Taiwan. My wife’s condition is good, but she needs help getting on her feet. We finish Chapter 7 and 8 while I administer medicine, lead her physical therapy, and set up online class. (The intent of this blog post may have been derailed but major life events tend to derail things now don’t they?)
-I start writing blog posts infrequently. Tobey starts seriously looking into how to ship our game to people who may want a physical copy via Patreon or something similar.
-We finish Chapter 9.

January and February

-My wife and I visit Tobey in Kaohsiung. We spend a couple of days there, with her entertaining Tobey’s kids while we discuss the MAJOR SPOILEREY THINGS THAT HAPPEN IN CHAPTER 10, 11 AND 12.
-My Dad hears about our game. He misses Magic and reconnects with his old gaming group. This isn’t related to the project but I thought it was sweet.

-Playtesting with any level of consistency becomes impossible later in the game due to the sheer number of variables introduced. We are more proud of this than discouraged, so we lean into it.
-After concluding we don’t need playtesters, Tobey puts out another call for playtesters on reddit.
-It turns out we needed playtesters.
-We finish Chapter 10

March and April

Tobey visits Taipei this time. We sit outside my wife’s lecture halls on campus all day, playtesting events from Chapter 11 and 12. We also hold a reckoning of the Book as a whole, and effectively change four Chapters worth of material.
-I check all the re-writes needed on my task management platform and cry.
-We finish Chapter 11
-I fly back to Japan to finish my contract in person.
-I write the story for Chapter 12.
-Tobey looks at a way to order and ship the SPOILER for SPOILER without SPOILERING the SPOILER.
-My wife finishes all of the art, asks, “Why is it taking so long to finish?”
-“Well dear it turns out Chapter 4 has to be totally re-written!” I say.
-“Well why didn’t you do it right the first time?”
-“Well why don’t you try to make a game instead of complaining about it!”


-I rewrite Chapter 4.
-We both playtest the finale until our fingers bleed from holding up cardboard.
-Tobey finishes roughly 100 small tasks neither of us expected to be a part of the game design process.
-I cheer him on from Vietnam (gotta take the occasional vacation with my wife.)


-We finish Chapter 12.
-We release Book 1.

…Is what I would like to report.

Frankly, Tobey and I have poured our hearts into this game, and we’re going to see it through! It followed us through some major life changes, but we kept at it.

Tobey actually envisioned this as one of the first on-going Legacy games to be released on a weekly basis. The last year proved how difficult that may be, but honestly, so much of our time was spent creating the systems we need to turn out content. Also, I think we will see a huge moral and productivity boost once we have a group of people regularly playing our game. Our own passion spurred us on through some hard times, but I can only imagine the kind of fire a passionate audience will light beneath our butts.

And this is good. I have a lot of story to tell. Tobey doesn’t know this, but I already have the whole plot planned out until Book 6! Let’s see how far we go.