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Mental Codex rules

This is a ruleset for playing Codex without access to any sort of randomizer (basically, playing without cards). The goal is to replicate the interactions of Codex as faithfully as possible, while requiring nothing but something to write on, and either knowing your cards really well or access to a card reference.

I tried this with @EricF , and while it’s a perceivably different game, it seems like a game worth playing.

Central rule: You can play whatever your hand could possibly contain, just track the number of cards in each location, as well as which cards are known to be in each.

Each turn should include board state in clear text, indicating revealed cards in discard:

  • Patrol Iron Man [4/5+1] in SL
  • Hand 4 deck 2, discard 4+2 tech (Bloom, Timely Messenger, xxxx, xxxx)

As well as a spoiler listing:

  • All cards in your worker pile as of the end of the current turn.
  • All tech choices as of the start of the current turn.
  • Any thoughts you care to include.

The main differences are that combos always line up and dead draws just don’t happen. A side effect of this is that going low on cards isn’t quite as damaging, since you’ll always have your best (possible) tool in hand.
Any further input or suggestions? If you want to play this, go into the PbP forums. I suggest a [mental] tag.

Additional advice by EricF on listing information:

Worker (card A, card B): Card C - where card A and card B were previous turns, and Card C is this turn’s worker
Hand + Deck (4/9) - Card D, Card E, Card F, etc. - this way I can see everything I have access to, and how many cards are in my hand
One little quirk is you could have a situational card like an Ultimate Spell in your deck, discard a card at the beginning of a cycle, and just retroactively decide that it was the ultimate if you end up not needing to play said ultimate for the rest of the cycle.


Has anyone actually played a game of this on here yet? I’m kind of curious to see how it actually works out in practice as a sort of Toribash or TAS version of Codex ^^

I started a game with bob199 on the old forum, me playing monoblue. He tried to TPoS and I locked it out with perfectly drawn free speech and was otherwise very annoying.

I’d be open to trying it again.

I haven’t try mental codex but I would expect it to make codex a game of reaction and less of anticipation. How about we tweak the rules a little bit to make it less annoying. How about, at the beginning of the game or every after reshuffle of discards to the deck, you can choose the order of the cards.

It does make it more a game of reaction, but since you know your opponent will get whatever they want, there’s still a good amount of anticipation.

One major goal was to reduce the number of things players have to keep track of, since it’s intended to be played with nothing but a browser and access to a card list (we only used the free starter). You could certainly play it with locked card order, but I find it’s nice to be able to think of your turn as a whole rather than a sequence of irreversible events.

You’re right. Mental Codex rules is for PbF games. I was thinking of applying it, Mental Codex and my suggestion, to real life card play and what will be the effect for the overall game.

Anyone tried Mental Codex IRL?

I see where you’re going now. Mental Codex is inspired by Mental Magic, which is playing MTG with nothing but a pen and a piece of paper, and let’s you draw anything that could possibly be in your deck. The Mental part is that it doesn’t use cards.

In Codex, “what you could possibly have in your deck” isn’t variable, it’s fixed at game start, and the mechanics of adding cards and planning out what you’ll need later seemed central enough not to get rid of them.

What you have in mind is, maybe, non-random Codex. In person, you could even add that you choose what card to “randomly discard”, since it doesn’t require asynchronicity. It seems like a viable variant, much as face-up Codex would be (hands, decks and discards known by both players), but I wouldn’t call it Mental Codex.

Note that when I say viable variant, I mostly mean it can help learn the game or how to react to stuff, so you can practice one aspect for later playing the full game better.


so if you were playing this game in real life with real cards, would you just search your deck for the best cards to draw every turn?

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It doesn’t even quite work in real life, because cards yo discard without playing them should remain wild. It’s intended for playing using neither cards nor hidden board state tracking so that it can be played anywhere as long as you can access card text (e.g. from the PDFs).

If you want to replicate it in live play, the closest things seems to be that all known cards go to discard face-up, unknown cards face down, and techs remain besides your discard pile. You can exchange cards from hand to deck to (facedown, non-sideways) discard at all times.

This allows cheating a bit, if you (e,g,) draw four from draw pile followed by shuffling and draw one more, there is nothing here to track that you don’t swap two cards for stuff that couldn’t have been in your draw pile yet.

Letting players select drawn cards is not the same game as mental Codex, but it might still be a good variant for learning what’s possible.

As a side note on mental Codex: if the opponent gets to look at your deck, it’s going to get ugly.