Grand Melee

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Grand Melee is a casual multiplayer format for Magic: the Gathering where you can play a game with ten or more players at the same time. It is a variant of Free-for-All. [1]

Players sit around the table exactly as they would for a Free-for-All game, choosing their seats randomly. Unlike that variant, however, each player has a "range of influence" of 1. This means their spells and abilities can affect only themselves and players within one seat of their own: the player directly to the left and the player directly to the right. For the most part, everyone else in the game is treated as though they didn't exist. For example, if you play Wrath of God, it'll destroy only the creatures controlled by you and your two neighbors, and if you play Coalition Victory, it'll cause only your two neighbors to lose the game. Furthermore, players are allowed to attack only the player immediately to their left.

The most innovative twist in Grand Melee is that the variant allows multiple players to take turns at the same time! Rotating "turn markers" keep track of which players are currently taking turns. Each turn marker, which can be represented by a button or coin or anything else you have handy, represents an active player's turn. There is one turn marker for each full four players in the game, meaning a Grand Melee game with 16 players has four turn markers, while a game with 15 players has three turn markers.

The player who starts the game gets the first turn marker. The player four seats to that player's left (the fifth player) takes the second turn marker, and so on until all the turn markers have been handed out. Each turn marker is assigned a number in this way. Then all players with turn markers start their turns at the same time. When a player ends his or her turn, that player passes the turn marker to the player on his or her left. A player can't receive a turn marker if the player the three seats to his or her left already has one. If this is the case, the turn marker waits until the player four seats to his or her left takes the other turn marker. If an effect gives a player an extra turn and that player currently has a turn marker, he or she holds on to the marker and takes that turn. If it's not that player's turn, however, that player instead takes the extra turn immediately before his or her next turn.

If a player leaves the game and that player's leaving would reduce the number of turn markers in the game, a turn marker is removed. This doesn't happen immediately; turn markers are removed only between turns. The turn marker that's removed is the one closest to the departed player's right. If more than one player has left the game and there are multiple turn markers that could be removed, remove the marker with the lower number.

The last player to survive wins!

Rules[edit | edit source]

From the Comprehensive Rules (Commander 2017 (August 25, 2017))

  • 807. Grand Melee Variant
    • 807.1. The Grand Melee variant is a modification of the Free-for-All variant, in which a group of players compete against each other as individuals. Grand Melee is normally used only in games begun with ten or more players.
    • 807.2. Any multiplayer options used are decided before play begins. The Grand Melee variant uses the following default options.
      • 807.2a Each player has a range of influence of 1 (see rule 801).
      • 807.2b The attack left option is used (see rule 803).
      • 807.2c The attack multiple players and deploy creatures options aren’t used in the Grand Melee variant.
    • 807.3. The players are seated at random.
    • 807.4. The Grand Melee variant allows multiple players to take turns at the same time. Moving turn markers keep track of which players are currently taking turns. Each turn marker represents an active player’s turn.
      • 807.4a There is one turn marker for each full four players in the game.

        Example: A Grand Melee game with sixteen players has four turn markers. A game with fifteen players has three turn markers.

      • 807.4b The starting player in the game gets the first turn marker. The player four seats to that player’s left (the fifth player) takes the second turn marker, and so on until all the turn markers have been handed out. Each turn marker is assigned a number in this way. Then all players with turn markers start their turns at the same time.
      • 807.4c After a player ends his or her turn, that player passes the turn marker to the player on his or her left. If a player with a turn marker leaves the game during his or her turn, the player to his or her left takes the turn marker after that turn ends. If a player with a turn marker leaves the game before his or her turn begins, the player to his or her left takes the turn marker immediately.
      • 807.4d A player who receives a turn marker can’t begin his or her turn if any player in the three seats to his or her left has a turn marker. If this is the case, that player waits until the player four seats to his or her left takes the other turn marker.
      • 807.4e If a player leaves the game and that player leaving the game would reduce the number of turn markers in the game, the turn marker immediately to the departed player’s right is designated for removal. If more than one player leaves the game simultaneously, those players leaving the game would reduce the number of turn markers in the game, and there are multiple turn markers that could be removed, the marker with the lowest number is designated for removal. A turn marker may be designated for removal multiple times.
      • 807.4f For the purposes of determining if one or more players leaving the game would reduce the number of turn markers in the game (see rule 807.4e), disregard turn markers already designated for removal.
      • 807.4g If a player who’s taking a turn has a turn marker that’s been designated for removal, that turn marker is removed rather than being passed after that turn ends. If a player who’s not taking a turn has a turn marker that’s been designated for removal, that turn marker is removed immediately. If a removed turn marker had been designated for removal multiple times, the turn marker to its right becomes designated for removal that many times minus one.
      • 807.4h If one or more consecutively seated players leave the game, the players that were on either side of those seats don’t enter one another’s range of influence until the next turn begins.
      • 807.4i If an effect causes a player with a turn marker to take an extra turn after the current one, that player keeps the turn marker and starts his or her next turn after the current turn ends, unless another turn marker is too close on either side at that time. If a turn marker is within three seats on the player’s left, the extra turn waits to begin until the player four seats to his or her left takes the other turn marker. If a turn marker is within three seats on the player’s right, the player passes the turn marker to his or her left when the turn ends rather than keeping it, and the player will take the extra turn immediately before his or her next turn.
      • 807.4j If an effect would cause a player to take an extra turn after the current turn, but that player wouldn’t have a turn marker at the start of that turn, that player will take the extra turn immediately before his or her next turn instead.

        Example: During Alex’s turn, he casts Time Walk, which causes him to take an extra turn after this one. During the same turn, the player to Alex’s left leaves the game, which causes the number of turn markers to be reduced. After Alex’s current turn ends, his turn marker is removed. He won’t take the extra turn from Time Walk until just before his normal turn the next time he receives a turn marker.

    • 807.5. Rather than having a single stack, Grand Melee games contain multiple stacks. Each turn marker represents its own stack.
      • 807.5a A player gets priority for a particular turn marker’s stack only if the turn marker is within his or her range of influence or an object on that stack is controlled by a player within his or her range of influence.
      • 807.5b If a player has priority for multiple stacks and casts a spell, activates an ability, or a triggered ability he or she controls triggers, the player must specify which one of those stacks the spell or ability is put on. If an object on one of those stacks caused the triggered ability to trigger, the player must put it on that stack. If a resolving spell or ability on one of those stacks causes a player to cast a spell or create a copy of a spell, the new spell must be put on the same stack. If a spell or ability targets an object on one of those stacks, it must be put on the same stack as its target; it can’t target objects on multiple stacks.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Wizards of the Coast. (August 11, 2008.) “Casual Formats”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.