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Mindless Automaton FAQ

Q: What is this program, anyway?

Mindless Automaton is a virtual tabletop on which you can play card games against other people over a network. It was designed to simulate Magic: The Gathering® by Wizards of the Coast, but it could be expanded to simulate other games. It is inspired by, and compatable with, the Windows program "Apprentice" by DragonStar Studios.

Q: Why is it called "Mindless Automaton"?

Mindless Automaton is far and away the best Magic® card ever printed. It's incredible. What other card gives you a creature of unlimited size that can't be Terrored or stolen, lets you draw cards, lets you put cards in your graveyard, and can be cast with any color mana? That's pretty spiffy, if you ask me. Check out the Mindless Automaton AutoCard window.

Besides that, Mindless Automaton is a good description of this program. It doesn't know the rules and it can't play the game, so it's pretty mindless, as far as automata go.

Q: What are the legal issues with M.A.?


Magic: The Gathering® is a registered trademark of Wizards of the Coast.

Here is a link to WotC's Legal Guidelines.

Q: What is the newest version of Mindless Automaton?

It's the Latest File Release on the M.A. SourceForge project summary.

Q: When I start M.A., it asks for a card database. Where can I get one?

You can download the database (designed for Apprentice) from E-League or Magic-League. You can also download the text Oracle Card Reference from WotC.

Q: Where can I find other people to play against?

Try IRC. There are some Apprentice "leagues" out there, such as E-League, which runs the #apprentice channel on irc.efnet.net, and Magic-League, which runs #magic-league on irc.solidirc.com. You can usually find people to play against on their channels.

Q: Does M.A. support three (or more) player games?

No, but this feature may be added in the future. Note that three player games will only work if all players are playing M.A. You will not be able to play against Apprentice in a multi-player game.

Q: Can M.A. play card games other than Magic: The Gathering®?

In theory, it can. However, you will need the game's card database in the appropriate format. And you may need to add some features to the program. It depends on the game.

Q: Is it possible to cheat while playing M.A.?

Hell yes. By making small modifications to the source code, you can view your opponent's hand, his library, control the order your cards get shuffled, etc. Your opponent can do the same thing. So, next time you lose, just tell yourself that your opponent was probably cheating.

Q: How can I get involved?

Mindless Automaton is open source. If you fix any bugs or add any features, please send me a patch.

Send all bug reports, patches, features, artwork, generic feedback, money, etc. to svalente at mit dot edu.

Q: Is there a mailing list for users or developers?

I have created a public mailing list for discussion of the development of M.A. To join (or read the archives), go to mailing list area on SourceForge.

I will create a mailing list for announcements, and a mailing list for users, if it seems like a good idea.

Q: How do I play Impulse?

When you play a card (from your hand or from the library), if you hold the shift key when you release the card, then the card will be played face-down. (You can reveal the card by selecting Flip Card Over from the right mouse button menu.)

When you move a card to your library (from your hand or from the play area), if you hold the shift key when you release the card, then the card will be moved to the bottom of your library.

So, here's how to play Impulse:

  1. From the View menu, view the top 4 cards of your library.
  2. Drag one of the 4 cards to your hand.
  3. Drag the other cards to the tabletop, in order, face-down.
  4. Close the "Viewing My Library" window.
  5. Drag the face-down cards to the bottom of your library.