80,000 Words (with Director’s Commentary)

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This is Teresa. She is one of numerous people who work the front desk. If you ever have the privilege of visiting Wizards of the Coast, the front desk person will also greet you. Teresa is wearing a headset because the front deck person also doubles as the receptionist. On the right on the wall, you can finally see a Hasbro sign. Hasbro bought Wizards back in 1998. While there have been some changes, being brought by Hasbro hasn't changed much about how we make Magic.

I was trying to include as many Wizards perks as I could, and the front desk always has candy. Always! In fact, if you're in the know, there are always several bags of candy hidden away if you want more choices. On the bottom right of the picture is the sign-in sheet. If you're a visitor you sign in and get a spiffy visitor's badge. All non-employees have to be accompanied by a Wizards employee. We all have little badges we have to wear that get us past security. I said it—security. You didn't think you could just waltz in here and steal all the info about upcoming sets! (I have my eye on you, Internet rumor mills.)

We're proud of all the work we do, so much so that we fill up the shelves in our lobby to show it off. The upper left shelf is Star Wars Miniatures. The shelf behind my head has the miniature AT-AT and some more Star Wars Miniatures boxes. Below that is a shelf with some other trading card games. The only one I can make out is DuelMasters, a TCG that we made for the Japanese market (I was one of the five members on the design team—yes, once upon a time I designed games other than Magic.). The bottom left shelf has Axis & Allies miniatures.

The highest right shelf has a D&D branded game called Three-Dragon Ante and an old, old Wizards game created by Richard Garfield called The Great Dalmuti. If you can find a copy, it's a fun game. Years later we rebranded it with the Dilbert IP for a game called Corporate Shuffle. The next shelf has some Magic stuff including two awards (for Ravnica I believe), the first from the annual Origins awards (kind of like the Oscars for the game community) and the second from a fan-chosen award from the now defunct Inquest Magazine (I miss you, Inquest). The bottom shelf has D&D miniatures.

There are numerous other shelves in the lobby, so trust me when I say that all Wizards products are represented. The other reason I included the picture was that I like showing off when you can actually tell that Wizards is a game company.

As I mentioned earlier, Wizards is on three floors—the second, third, and fourth. On each of these floors is a kitchen. All the kitchens have the following amenities:

  • a cooler to keep lunches cold
  • a soft drink machine (I'll talk about this one more when we get to the appropriate photo)
  • a sink
  • a dishwasher
  • a coffee maker
  • hot and cold filtered water
  • a giant ice machine
  • a microwave
  • a first aid box (complete with bandages, pain relievers, etc.)
  • plates, cups, and bowls
  • free coffee, tea, and microwave popcorn
  • large trash cans and recycling bins
  • a "free" table (I'll also explain this one when we get to the appropriate photo)

The tricky bit about this picture was that I wanted to show the Goblin Rock Sled statue along with the kitchen. This is where the "I crouch down and am only barely in the picture" tech came from.

This is the first wall after you go through the big doors that lead from the lobby to the rest of the fourth floor. Behind me hanging on the wall is a Magic-branded surfboard. To the best of my knowledge, this is an actual functional surfboard. I think a few were made for some promotional thing we did. That means that somewhere there's a surfer hanging ten on the Magic logo.

My sign has since become technically incorrect. We expanded a year or so back and we now take up two and three-quarters floors.

I'm standing in front of an item made to celebrate the release of Tenth Edition. I also have a shirt with the same splotchy logo. I tried whenever possible to pose in front of interesting-looking, Magic-related things. I admit the Tenth Anniversary splotch isn't one of the most dynamic.

I'm often asked why we don't have any females in R&D. The answer to that is we do (and we have), just not many of them. Elaine was one such female R&D member. Currently, though, she is the Senior Magic Brand Manager. Whenever I talk about Brand, she is one of the people I am talking about.

This is the first picture we've come across that wasn't shot by Lora during my lunch hour. We had some issues and had to come back and reshoot this photo. More on this in a second.

Behind Elaine is a desk filled with numerous stuff, the vast majority of which is Wizards-related. On the shelf in the background are stuffed Neopets. That was a license that we based a TCG on many years back. Elaine and I were two of the four people on the design team. (See, another non-Magic design.) There are numerous pieces of Magic art. I see Summer Glau as River from Firefly. (Our geek blood runs strong at Wizards.) There's all sorts of goodies.

So what did this replace? Two pictures, actually. First was this—click here.

In my original jaunt around fourth floor, I held up a sign at every section of the company. When I had to reshoot Elaine's desk (I'm getting to it), I realized that I could include the intro about Brand in the same picture and thus shave a photo.

Okay, now let's go look at the verboten picture—click here.

This picture has a few differences. One, Elaine isn't in it. (She was, of course, at lunch.) Two, the vantage point is slightly different so you can see Elaine's extensive, and quite impressive, collection of Muppet figures. Finally, there were a bunch of Magic products on her desk. While it all seems quite innocent now as everything there has since been released, at the time some packaging wasn't public yet and I wasn't allowed to show it.

This forced me to retake the picture and that allowed me to condense two pictures into one and get Elaine in the shot.

This picture wins the award for being the absolute lamest one of the eighty. It's a sign with me holding a white board telling you what the sign behind it says. The only reason I didn't cut it was that I wanted to mention all the sections that work on Magic. I understand the irony that the PR picture is the least compelling.

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