Magnum Opus

Nina Demirjian
Elliot Winch

Magnum Opus is a two-player, anti-deck-building card game developed for iOS. I was part of a two-person development team that included myself and Elliot Winch, and we created the game as our final project for CSCI-UA 400 iOS Development at NYU, under the guidance of our professor, Nathan Hull. 


Magnum Opus was created over the span of about a month. Elliot designed the initial card game, and then he and I translated it into Swift to create iOS version using Xcode. He programmed the core gameplay, tutorial, and animations. His website can be found here. I programmed the UI/UX, menu screens, and did the art for the cards. 

At the end of the semester, Elliot and I were chosen to present Magnum Opus at the NYU App Showcase at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Science.

Rules and Gameplay

Magnum Opus is a game that requires two players and lasts anywhere from 5-10 minutes. The purpose of the game is to draw a fully-melded hand, which will be described below.

In Magnum Opus (and in other melding games such as Rummy), a meld is a group of cards that either have the same value (ex. 3 Kings) or are an ascending sequence of cards (ex. a 3, a 4, and a 5). There are no suit requirements in Magnum Opus; in fact, the cards used in the digital version have no suits at all. In Magnum Opus, "half-melds" contain two cards, and melds with more than two cards are called "full-melds". Therefore, a fully-melded hand means that one would have to have two melds in their hand: a meld of 3 and a meld of 4. Examples include (K,K,K,3,4,5,6) or (4,5,6,7,8,8,8) or (5,6,7,8,9,10,J).

At the beginning of the game, each player has 26 cards, or half of a standard deck. The game is played in rounds. At the end of each round, each player discards their hand into their own, personal discard pile. At the start of the round, players draw from their personal draw deck. Personal discard piles get reshuffled into personal draw decks when the draw deck runs out of cards. 

Magnum Opus is an anti-deck building game. Each round, players can trade in melds of 2 or higher in their current hand to receive one card. This means that each players' deck will get smaller each time they trade in a card. The players trade in melds with cards that are available in what is called the "Store". The store is created from a separate standard deck of cards and is visible to both players. At the start of each round, four cards are drawn from the store deck and create the Store for that round. Players can trade in melds for cards in the store to add to their hand.  

Play Cycle:

  • At the start of the round, players draw 7 cards from their deck
  • Check to see if their hand is fully-melded
  • Players take turns trading in cards with the store.
  • When a player is happy with their hand, they pass 
  • After both players have passed, the round ends.
  • Store is discarded, hands are discarded into personal discard piles.
  • Repeat

Original Card Designs

I created all of the card designs for Magnum Opus in an open-source program called Inkscape. The cards are based off of tarot cards, with the illustration on each card representing a theme in a classic tarot card deck. For example, the 4 card represents Judgement. The illustration on the card front is of four horses, an allusion to the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse that supposedly arrive during the Final Judgement.


Tutorial Video

Elliot created this nice instructional video below that describes the rules of the game and shows actual gameplay. 



Magnum Opus takes on an astrological theme. The menu, for example, is a constellation with each star being a different button. I also included three different color schemes for the player to choose from, which are shown below.