"Oh, God. Not this card again!" Every poor soul who has opened a pack of Planeshift.
Around here, its one of the most hated rares ever to come out. (Alabaster Leech is the first.) Sure, it's a rare. But it's expensive, and the text is confusing.
But, as futile as it might be, I'll try to defend this card.
Each player hides at least one object, then all players reveal them simultaneously. Each player loses life equal to the number of objects he or she revealed. The player who revealed the fewest objects loses half of his or her life rounded up. If two or more players are tied for fewest, each loses half his or her life, rounded up.
What? What objects? Where do I hide them? Do I want my friends hiding stuff when playing at my house? Where is my couch?
First, here is an easier translation. Each player bids and loses life. Whoever bids the lowest amount of life loses half, rounded up.
Okay. Now, how do you use this?
The Mathematics of Goblin Game
If you are up on life, and you bid half your opponents life plus one, your opponent must outbid you to avoid losing half life. But, in doing so, they are biding more than half to avoid paying half.
Example: You half 20 life, Mr. X has 16. You bid 9. Mr. X is losing 8 life if he bids under 10. Most likely result. You are now at 11, Mr. X is at 8.
The disadvantage is a small lose in life advantage.
If you are down on life, you can use this card to narrow the gap between you and your opponent. Again, you bid half your life. The best your opponent can do is to bid half your life plus one. The end result will be a one point decrease in your opponent's life advantage.
Example: You: 12, Mr. X: 18 (Mr X up by 6)
Goblin Game, You bid 6, Mr. X bids 7
You: 6, Mr. X: 11 (Mr X now up by 5)
Of course, if your opponent bids more than half of your life plus one, the gap narrows even quicker.
So, how do we use this card?
This is a black burn card in a cute disguise. You are going to pay half your opponent's life total to drop their life by half, if your winning. If losing, your paying X life to drop their life by X+1 (at least).
After Goblin Gaming, you have the mana to wipe them out with other burn cards. Bolts, Ghitu Fire, Urza's Rage, Shock, Assault, Magma Burst, Fireballs, etc. Goblin game just weakens them for the kill.
Against other decks.
Well, I'm not that brave. This card wouldn't make the cut for serious decks, yet. But I hope I found a way to make it useful in fun decks. From there, who knows? Maybe someone can break this once hated card.
4 Raging Goblin
3 Goblin War Buggy
3 Goblin Spelunker
1 Goblin Snowman
3 Goblin Balloon Brigade
2 Goblin Recruiter
2 Squee, Goblin Nabob
2 Goblin King
3 Goblin Game
1 Goblin Bomb
2 Goblin Grenande
4 Lightning Bolt
2 Lava Axe
2 Urza's Rage
2 Ghitu Fire
2 Dust Bowl
Not the best deck, I'll admit. But, I'm not a red player. I prefer B/U. But I have this soft spot in my heart for cards that no one likes.
Deck Plan: Play Goblins. Get your opponent thinking that this is a poor deck. Lower his/her guard. Play Goblin Game. Then go for the throat with the burn cards.
Thanks for reading.