Dominion Strategy Forum

Dominion => Dominion General Discussion => Topic started by: theory on December 07, 2012, 12:41:21 pm

Title: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: theory on December 07, 2012, 12:41:21 pm
We're going to post an interview with Donald X. on the main blog.  Of course, the man is friendly and active enough (http://forum.dominionstrategy.com/index.php?action=profile;u=19) in this community already, but we thought this would be a nice thing to post on the main blog in time for all those people getting Dominion as a gift this holiday season.

Post your questions here and we'll pick out some of the most popular to collate into a formal interview.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: theory on December 07, 2012, 12:43:56 pm
You've said many times before that Guilds is the last of the "standard" Dominion expansions.  Have you given any thought to what you want to do with Dominion after Guilds?

What lessons have you learned about the game design process in general from making Dominion?  How has it informed your subsequent games?

What is your personal favorite Dominion card and why?

At what point during the process of making Dominion did you realize that it was not just any other board game, but one that was going to be a really special game?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Insomniac on December 07, 2012, 12:47:29 pm
Are you still leaning towards Dominion 2 over more expansions?
What kind of things would you want in Dominion 2 that couldn't be incorporated with the rules as they stand?
Any hints or tastes of what we can expect in Guilds?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: DG on December 07, 2012, 12:49:43 pm
What problems found in other games are you most happy to have avoided in Dominion?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: GendoIkari on December 07, 2012, 12:53:57 pm
What is your favorite board game that you designed?

What is your favorite board game that you didn't design?

How did you decide on the theme for Dominion?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: dondon151 on December 07, 2012, 12:57:54 pm
What is your favorite Pokemon?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: HiveMindEmulator on December 07, 2012, 12:58:36 pm
How have isotropic and the online forum community affected the development of Dominion expansions?

Besides specific card changes, is there anything you would have done differently in Dominion development if you had it all to do over again?

What goals do you have for yourself as a game designer (if you haven't reached them all already)?

What are your favorite games to play that you did not design?

What are your interests besides board games?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: philosophyguy on December 07, 2012, 01:01:40 pm
How often does the community come up with something that you never thought of?

What's the most inventive/unusual deck you've seen work out?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: werothegreat on December 07, 2012, 01:18:05 pm
Was Dominion always Medieval Europe themed, or did you try other/no themes at some point, like space or zombies or the stock market?

What do you think of the anime girls Japanese version of Dominion?

Would you say that, with Guilds, you've explored all the game space available for Dominion without resorting to mechanics that would change the game inherently?

If Dominion had been computerized from the start, are there mechanics you would have liked to have tried that would only work on a computer? (random numbers, etc)

Do you have any favorite wacky translations of card names or card text into other languages?

If you could go back and edit any Dominion cards, knowing what you do now, which would you and why?

What's your favorite color?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: werothegreat on December 07, 2012, 01:19:42 pm
As a community, we've explored quite a lot of the possibilities of cards and their combinations.  Is there anything we haven't hit upon yet that you're surprised we haven't?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: eHalcyon on December 07, 2012, 01:28:42 pm
Similar to the above -- do you ever look at fan cards?  If so, do you have a favourite?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: buggy on December 07, 2012, 01:41:13 pm
What is your favorite combo, or engine?

Do you still play a lot of Dominion, or has that tapered off so you can concentrate on other projects?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Tables on December 07, 2012, 01:41:48 pm
What is your personal favorite Dominion card and why?

We already know the answer to this, it's Rats (http://forum.dominionstrategy.com/index.php?topic=3909.msg81228#msg81228).

Have you played any of the various other deckbuilder games (e.g. Ascension, Thunderstone, Legendary etc.) and if so, do you enjoy (m)any of them? Do any have mechanics that you'd have liked to use?

Suppose a new player just got the base game for Christmas, but wants to get an expansion immediately because they love the game. Which expansions would you recommend?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: michaeljb on December 07, 2012, 01:42:01 pm
Adding on to other fan cards questions...Agricola Gamers Deck was designed by fans. Is there any chance of something similar happening with Dominion, perhaps using the Mini-Set Design Contest hosted by rinkworks as a starting point?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: shark_bait on December 07, 2012, 01:55:45 pm
You've mentioned before that if you had the KC/Masquerade pin in playtesting you would have nerfed it a bit.  Can you share any other powerful combos that got destroyed in playtesting?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: michaeljb on December 07, 2012, 02:09:54 pm
Will we ever see another purpose for the "while this is in play" (on cards like Goons and Haggler) clause apart from limiting a card's power with King's Court/Throne Room (or seriously nerfing it with Procession)?

(I guess Lighthouse already is an example, but that's still limited to Duration cards, I'm looking for something more general)
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: timchen on December 07, 2012, 02:24:03 pm
If you play on isotropic competitively how high do you expect your level to be?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: cherdano on December 07, 2012, 02:38:41 pm
What brought me to dominion was that I realized right away that there was a fantastic community discussing dominion strategy. Thanks to this community, dominion is IMO played at a higher level than any other recently invented board game (i.e., any game other than the classics chess, go, bridge). Are you worried at all that this community will no longer thrive once the free dominion online implementations will shut down?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: aaron0013 on December 07, 2012, 02:43:38 pm
When did you first become interested in making board games?

Do you have any advice for ambitious game designers?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Polk5440 on December 07, 2012, 03:39:26 pm
Did you design Dominion with any particular type of person in mind?

When was the first time you realized, "Wow, this is going to be a big hit!"?

How do you pick the kingdom cards when you play Dominion with your friends?

How has your life changed now that you are rich and famous?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: philosophyguy on December 07, 2012, 03:44:50 pm
Why did you cap the number of turns you can take via Outpost but not via Possession?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Young Nick on December 07, 2012, 03:52:00 pm
Have simulators helped shape some of the cards? For example, you obviously knew about BMU as a strategy before the game was clearly released, but maybe were not aware of how potent BM + Courtyard is. Have any cards been nerfed, buffed, or scrapped because of their BM play and have simulators influenced this?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: ^_^_^_^ on December 07, 2012, 05:22:40 pm
Of the many people you've met (both irl and online) through the making of this wondrous game we call Dominion, who do you think has had the biggest effect on how the game has evolved over time? Who has had the biggest effect on how the community has evolved over time?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Jimmmmm on December 07, 2012, 05:31:46 pm
Have you ever ragequit a game of Dominion, and why?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: SirPeebles on December 07, 2012, 05:39:57 pm
Why did you cap the number of turns you can take via Outpost but not via Possession?

I'm not Donald X., but isn't this obvious?  Imagine having a deck of Village-Monument-Outpost-Outpost.  Possession doesn't lead to infinite turns.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: michaeljb on December 07, 2012, 05:43:07 pm
Why did you cap the number of turns you can take via Outpost but not via Possession?

I'm not Donald X., but isn't this obvious?  Imagine having a deck of Village-Monument-Outpost-Outpost.  Possession doesn't lead to infinite turns.

I think philosophyguy is more asking "Why isn't Possession limited, like Outpost?" rather than "Why isn't Outpost unlimited, like Possession?"
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: SwitchedFromStarcraft on December 07, 2012, 05:50:42 pm
You've been very generous with your time in this community, especially in light of how busy you must be.  How do you decide what merits you taking the time to post here (or at BGG)?

If you were a blue dog, what breed would you be?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Schneau on December 07, 2012, 09:52:00 pm
Has competitive Dominion gone further than you originally expected, with both live and internet tournaments worldwide and a healthy community of serious players discussing and writing about Dominion here on Dominion Strategy?

Do you think Dominion's primary audience is somewhat to seriously competitive players who mainly play online, or more of the "family game" audience who will pick it up occasionally but never know what Big Money means? Does this influence the game's design, as well as its presentation both in real life as well as the official online implementation?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: sparky5856 on December 07, 2012, 09:57:15 pm
Have you ever considered participating in forum mafia?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Schneau on December 07, 2012, 10:34:00 pm
Have you looked at the Dominion memes thread? If so, do you have a favorite?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: thirtyseven on December 07, 2012, 11:09:46 pm
Do you open double Ambassador or Ambassador/Silver?

What is your favorite beer? If you don't drink beer, favorite alcoholic drink? If you don't drink alcohol, favorite drink?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: PSGarak on December 08, 2012, 12:07:38 am
What game do you consider a guilty pleasure? That is, you think it's poorly designed or has serious flaws in some way, but you enjoy it anyways.

Can you give an example of when you had to make a game design decision due to business factors (like cards per expansion, or cost or something), and it turned out better than you expected? How about (heresy!) worse?

If there were such thing as a perfectly designed game, which player skills do you think it would emphasize, and which skills would be secondary concerns?

What is your best source of inspiration for new cards? What is your best source of feedback?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 08, 2012, 02:57:34 am
I'm just going to start answering questions, because, what, I don't need to skip a question that wasn't good enough for the front page, and this way you can post follow-up questions. Theory can pick what stuff to use based on how interesting the answer was, and no-one who doesn't look at the forums will ever be the wiser.

You've said many times before that Guilds is the last of the "standard" Dominion expansions.  Have you given any thought to what you want to do with Dominion after Guilds?
I would like to do spin-offs that have "Dominion" in the title. Not unrelated stuff like Cardcassonne, but clearly related games which nevertheless are different enough to not just be expansions.

For Dominion itself, probably there will be a promo or two, I think Jay would be interested if I handed him one now. Also probably an online-only promo that couldn't exist irl. Some kind of "treasure chest" small expansion in the future, with 1-2 cards for each existing expansion, sounds more doable than any other new Dominion expansion, but has the issue that it would appeal to a smaller audience than a more normal expansion. Also it has the issue that Jay would note this. At one point I was considering doing a Seaside expansion in place of Guilds (not having come up with Guilds yet). And Jay was like, isn't a new thing better than more of an old thing? And it was, it was better.

What lessons have you learned about the game design process in general from making Dominion?  How has it informed your subsequent games?
I've learned some stuff about interacting with publishers and playtesters and interviewers. Dominion was the direct inspiration for Kingdom Builder - Kingdom Builder started out with deckbuilding. I'm not sure it's done so much other than that. I started seriously working on games in 1995. Dominion had years of lessons learned from other games to draw on, and is full of stuff that I had already learned. For example I had been doing "attacks hurt everyone but you" since 1997. I guess I have gotten a little better at wording cards through Dominion.

What is your personal favorite Dominion card and why?
In Magic psychograph terms I am a Johnny; I like to have unique experiences in games, to be creative. A lot of my favorite Dominion cards involve exotic experiences and combos. Overall my favorite is Rats, from Dark Ages. You give your kingdom a Rat problem and then somehow this works out for you. Dark Ages is my favorite expansion, and it's because of all the various ways it gives you an exotic deck or crazy combo.

At what point during the process of making Dominion did you realize that it was not just any other board game, but one that was going to be a really special game?
It was clear immediately that it worked, that it would be a good game. For a week or two it was just that, it could go in the pile with my other good games. When I made Dominion I had a game night and a Magic night. Dominion took over the game night immediately and the Magic night within a few weeks. Then we got in more nights of Dominion because how was that enough. I made some new games a month or so later and no-one wanted to try them, they just wanted more Dominion. And more people got to play it and they would just play for however long we had. So, gradually over a couple months, it became clear that here was the game, and why wasn't I trying to get anything published. The first game of Dominion was on Oct 30 2006; I email'd RGG Jan 22 2007.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 08, 2012, 03:05:20 am
Are you still leaning towards Dominion 2 over more expansions?
Yes.

What kind of things would you want in Dominion 2 that couldn't be incorporated with the rules as they stand?
Well I would either add something significant, or change the basic game in some way. I don't really want to give anything away, so like, consider say A Few Acres of Snow or Mage Knight (I have not played these games). Why can't those games just be Dominion expansions? Man, the question doesn't even make sense; they are clearly separate games. Whereas, the various Dominion clones that could actually be Dominion expansions, which I don't like naming, those are not what I am looking to make.

Any hints or tastes of what we can expect in Guilds?
It's a small expansion (150 cards). It's the most complex expansion, and is more skill-based than the other expansions. Jay has the files and art is being made, so it's on track for getting pushed back from early spring to late spring.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: blueblimp on December 08, 2012, 03:08:24 am
Dominion is popular both in real life (as designed) and on computer (isotropic and other sites). Me, I enjoy both platforms, in different ways.

Have you considered or dabbled with designing a game specifically for computer or some other electronic doodad (iPad, etc.)?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 08, 2012, 03:09:22 am
What problems found in other games are you most happy to have avoided in Dominion?
The most ubiquitous problem of other games that Dominion solves is politics. You generally can't get rid of politics in interactive decision-based games, but you can dial it down, and Dominion does a good job of that. That's just something normal for me though, I am always looking at that, and so Dominion doesn't stand out in that way for me.

A way that Dominion does stand out is, it has a good solution to the tableau problem. You have a game where each turn you play a card, and they have abilities that do things for you. There are four players. After six turns there are 24 cards in play and it's impossible to make sure everything happens that's supposed to. Dominion solves this by hiding your abilities in a deck, so we only have to worry about a few things at a time. I am not sure if too many games are affected by this problem, but I have faced it a bunch, being fond of games where you get lots of abilities.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 08, 2012, 03:37:42 am
What is your favorite board game that you designed?
Dominion! If you mean "no really, that has a board, a real board" then Kingdom Builder. In both cases I am including expansions okay.

What is your favorite board game that you didn't design?
Magic: The Gathering, by a mile. If again it has to really have a board, then I'm not sure I have a clear favorite. I have more games by Knizia than anyone else, and like to single out Clash of Gladiators as a favorite that people don't seem to know about, although probably I played Medici more, but that doesn't count because I made an expansion for it to give it variety.

How did you decide on the theme for Dominion?
Right around then, I had been meaning to make a game with a medieval kingdom-building theme. I did not know that this theme had like, been done; I was not too up on such things. It was flavor I liked and I hadn't done it yet, or at least not in a game that worked out. My most common theme is 20's gangsters; Infiltration started out as thugs robbing a bubble gum factory (they are stealing money and valuables though, I don't know why people who hear that think they are stealing bubble gum), and I have contracts for two games that started out gangster-themed, although I rethemed one of them. I've done a bunch of time travel, D&D-ish stuff, and movie stuff. I have more exotic themes too but in general don't want to spoil them; maybe I will do those one day.

Anyway, I had been meaning to do medieval kingdom-building, it looked like a good fit here, I used that flavor, it did not have problems. I had been thinking kingdoms, but the initial batch of cards all involved a castle, so I called it Castle Builder. I moved outside the castle for the second expansion, which I therefore referred to as Abroad. That expansion in the long run got split into Seaside and Hinterlands; Seaside got its flavor from a few cards that were on the shore already, and Hinterlands took over the getting-away-from-the-castle flavor.

I might as well do the other expansions. Intrigue probably comes from, initially I thought I might do like an event deck for an expansion. In the end that seemed pointless; you get plenty of variety from changing what cards are available, and your opponents attacking is like an event already. It ended up with an event theme anyway though, via one-shots, and then when it lost that functional theme it kept the flavor. Which was intrigue, because like, what kinds of events happen in castles?

Alchemy got its theme from the idea of adding a resource, and what would it be. Prosperity gots its theme from its mechanical theme of spendy cards and treasures that do things. That makes it really on-theme, I mean you really feel like the theme matches the functionality. Cornucopia just came from a list of potential themes I made when I needed more themes. It was originally Harvest Festival; they are proper medieval things. Dark Ages was originally War; it was an obvious direction to shift to when war turned out not to be a suitable theme for Hans im Gluck. And War had come from, you know, the Crusades and stuff. Finally Guilds got its theme from a few card names. Those of you speculating as if I started with "guilds" and then tried to make a neat mechanic, no guys, as usual I started with cards and then needed a theme for them.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 08, 2012, 03:39:00 am
What is your favorite Pokemon?
Since I am regularly on the internet, I have seen names of pokemon, and have seen images of them, but I do not really have enough information to make an informed decision here. Is there one that makes copies of itself while destroying things?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Jimmmmm on December 08, 2012, 03:57:29 am
There's Rattata, but I'm not sure it works in the same way.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 08, 2012, 04:14:32 am
How have isotropic and the online forum community affected the development of Dominion expansions?
The big isotropic thing is just, we used it for testing, and it was pretty convenient and easy to use, so we got tons of extra testing in that way. So the later expansions are all better due to having that good way to playtest them.

Intrigue was finalized when Dominion came out, so Seaside is the first time any feedback from fans could have meant anything. I am sure some things have changed due to that feedback. One thing was, it turned out people didn't like the idea of an attack that doesn't produce resources. So I stopped doing those after Sea Hag (well not counting Sir Michael). That was not something I would have known otherwise. Alchemy made it clear that I had to make sure cards weren't too slow to resolve; Wandering Minstrel is an example of a card that got tweaked specifically because of that. Alchemy also made me steer clear of things like a new resource in the future, although probably Guilds is the only place I might have done something like that. Some people don't like cards that make them not draw their good cards (such as Loan), so I pulled back on those, although that kind of thing isn't verboten, I just work more to make sure those cards are worth having.

Besides specific card changes, is there anything you would have done differently in Dominion development if you had it all to do over again?
I would probably change how reactions work, actually to make them how they originally worked, which is, you play them at special times (so, they end up in play). This would have been simpler, and better for like everything but Moat, but Moat was the main set one and so I warped them to make Moat better.

What goals do you have for yourself as a game designer (if you haven't reached them all already)?
The big one is to have a current project I can really get stuff done on; something that we enjoy playing that's far enough along that it's easy to work on. Whenever I don't have such a project, that is the big thing, I need a new one.

Mostly I just want to make games we like to play; if they turn out to be publishable then that's great. Sometimes I specifically work on games for particular companies, and sometimes I am trying to make new German family games. I will work on something skill-heavy and then want to do something light.

I guess also, I want to get as many of my existing good games published as possible, and especially, before other people think of them and get them published. My big regret as a game designer is not getting a Magic-style drafting game published ahead of 7 Wonders. I have several good ones; the first one is from 1998.

What are your favorite games to play that you did not design?
Magic: The Gathering was my favorite game for many years. I gradually stopped playing in 2006-2007 due to Dominion taking over that time.

What are your interests besides board games?
I am a big music fan. 2012 has not been a great year, but the Guided by Voices album Class Clown Spots a UFO and the Amanda Palmer album Theatre Is Evil were stand-outs.

I have written a bunch of very short stories and also some normal-length screenplays. I've written some songs but don't really play an instrument. Wait, did you say board games? I also like video games. I made the best computer game ever, Dudes of Stuff and Things (my take on Heroes of Might and Magic III, which was the best computer game ever in its day).
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 08, 2012, 04:20:00 am
How often does the community come up with something that you never thought of?
I think the only real surprise has been King's Court / Masquerade / Goons. You can easily play a set of 10 that I haven't, and maybe see something I haven't, but you know, that's the nature of the game. Probably there are tons of random low-profile combos I haven't played that people have talked about, but you know, not like King's Court / Masquerade.

What's the most inventive/unusual deck you've seen work out?
Back when Trader's reaction was on a $2, Bill Barksdale built a Squire / Pawn / that-Trader / Chapel-or-something deck in one game, vs. Knights, that was immune to them and then suddenly exploded in Silver and bought Provinces.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 08, 2012, 04:32:22 am
Was Dominion always Medieval Europe themed, or did you try other/no themes at some point, like space or zombies or the stock market?
Always medieval Europe.

What do you think of the anime girls Japanese version of Dominion?
If you mean the Hobby Japan one(s), I officially endorse it, it is called Dominion and everything. Best Woodcutter ever.

Would you say that, with Guilds, you've explored all the game space available for Dominion without resorting to mechanics that would change the game inherently?
You are implying false things. In order to make more expansions, the cards necessarily get more complex, and that's the real problem with making more expansions (in addition to, then it's all I do with my life, and don't people have enough variety already, and so on, all the stuff I say over and over when people ask about why I'm not making more expansions). It's okay to change the game and there is more space to explore; it's just, you are pushed into making more and more complex things, while the audience already wants things less complex than they are.

If Dominion had been computerized from the start, are there mechanics you would have liked to have tried that would only work on a computer? (random numbers, etc)
Meh, not really. The big thing you get out of a computer is tracking; you can do more stuff like Pirate Ship and Monument without worrying about it. I did those cards anyway though. If I were really making a computer-only Dominion-like game though, it would probably end up nothing like Dominion. There's no real point in simulating cards on a computer, except you know, when there's a real-life card game you want on your computer.

Do you have any favorite wacky translations of card names or card text into other languages?
I am not up on those things. Mountebank was called Trickster at one point, and I had to rename it because the German version of Swindler was Trickster (only in German). That isn't wacky, that is just about the limit of my interaction with card names in other languages.

If you could go back and edit any Dominion cards, knowing what you do now, which would you and why?
Fortunately there is an essay about this already, which you can see in the dominionstrategy.com forums. http://forum.dominionstrategy.com/index.php?topic=3179.msg56362#msg56362

What's your favorite color?
Green. Since no-one would ask this question without thinking of Monty Python, I will mention that my favorite Monty Python member is Cleese, although, what, most people probably pick Cleese.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 08, 2012, 04:33:18 am
As a community, we've explored quite a lot of the possibilities of cards and their combinations.  Is there anything we haven't hit upon yet that you're surprised we haven't?
Man, don't you want to find it yourself?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 08, 2012, 04:58:05 am
Similar to the above -- do you ever look at fan cards?  If so, do you have a favourite?
I don't usually look at them, because 1) I don't want people feeling like I'm taking their ideas, which probably I had years ago, not because I am amazing but because the obvious ideas are obvious and I had a big head start; and 2) the cards that aren't in sets already are usually awful, nonstop things I wouldn't do that are boring and redundant or else obviously bad for the game in some way, and if it's not obvious then I already tried them and found out the hard way. At best they are things I'm already doing; none of it is good reading.

Let's do an experiment, I will look at the first four cards of "Books of Magic," the first listed fan expansion at BGG. I am looking at the first four images sorted the default way ("hot"), skipping the big image of a card sheet.

Ghost Town: My first version of this was called Fool's Gold and was "+$2. Put this card into your hand." That turned into a card that gave you +$2 and an extra +$2 for each unused action you had when you played it, then +$1, then I made it into Diadem.

Book of the Dead: Getting something from the trash and saving a card for next turn were the two most suggested card premises ever (prior to those cards being published), followed maybe by a reaction to punish attackers. This card manages to put the card on your deck like Graverobber does, but of course is missing the crucial "provide a way to get stuff into the trash that you'll want" part.

Fairy Gold: The first version of Feast was this only with +1 Action, for $4. It was too strong and turned into the Feast you know. I eventually did a one-shot Gold that you can't buy, with Spoils.

Gravedigger: I haven't actually done giving yourself a Curse in a published card, although Death Cart gets close. I tried multiple cards that gave yourself a Curse; everyone hated them. Death Cart dodges the problem by giving you a use for the Ruins.

So, four-for-four, nothing new or interesting here. Sorry Books of Magic guy, it was just an example.

Sir Bailey made Courtyard, but he managed that because he showed me his homemade cards when I didn't have that many homemade cards of my own yet. Even so I had already done "+2 cards +1 action, put 2 cards from your hand on your deck," but abandoned it because it played so slowly. Dame Josephine similarly managed to get Counting House in relatively early on.

I will cite two favorite fan cards though.

As I said most are awful. The stand-out awful card, the epitome of awful fan cards, was one called Locusts that read "each other player discards a Gardens." First the guy of course must have meant "trashes a Gardens card from his hand" but blew it and ended up with the most useless thing ever. If he had gotten it right then it would still be crazy awful. He started with the flavor of "locusts destroy plants" and did not think of "wait you have to want to play the card though." The old Magic expansions Legends has stuff like this, where they made flavor-based stuff and just did not consider, why would anyone play this.

There has been to date exactly one card I saw where I thought, hey, cool idea. It was something like, "when you gain this put it in the discard pile of the player to your left; at end of game worth 2 VP for the player to your right." I have done hot-potato cards that did not work out and probably this would fail for the same reasons, but still, neat idea.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 08, 2012, 05:34:12 am
What is your favorite combo, or engine?

Do you still play a lot of Dominion, or has that tapered off so you can concentrate on other projects?
I'm not sure I want to try to pick out a favorite combo (he said, after staring at the visual spoilers). I generally like stuff I haven't done over stuff I have, so anything I especially liked, I've done to death and no longer enjoy as much.

I have played very little Dominion irl in the last year. It's all done, so the only times it's come up were when I had just finished something and felt like I needed to offer up something different to play at a game night. I have playtested a bunch on goko, although I haven't done that as much in the last month either, due to it crashing on Chrome.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 08, 2012, 05:47:25 am
Have you played any of the various other deckbuilder games (e.g. Ascension, Thunderstone, Legendary etc.) and if so, do you enjoy (m)any of them? Do any have mechanics that you'd have liked to use?

Suppose a new player just got the base game for Christmas, but wants to get an expansion immediately because they love the game. Which expansions would you recommend?
I have not played any of the various Dominion-based games. I have zero interest in the clones. Of the actual new games, I would try Friday or A Few Acres of Snow sometime, if it came up. The only game that has stuff I might have done, or might still do, is Mage Knight. Dominion started as a solution to a problem in a game of building fantasy heroes and going on quests, and I still feel like I'd like to make that game someday. And the way I would handle hit points is the same as Mage Knight (iirc) - you just get Curses weighing you down, so you don't have to track hit points separately.

I specifically made Intrigue to be the first expansion, and saved Prosperity for 3rd (4th because Alchemy got pushed ahead) so that you had time to get used to not having Colony before getting it. And then the sets get more complex later. So you might think I would just say, go in order, shifting Alchemy to last. However! I feel like I got better at making sets as of Seaside; the main set and Intrigue both have a greater number of uh weak / narrow cards. So I would say, get Seaside.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 08, 2012, 05:56:43 am
Adding on to other fan cards questions...Agricola Gamers Deck was designed by fans. Is there any chance of something similar happening with Dominion, perhaps using the Mini-Set Design Contest hosted by rinkworks as a starting point?
Unlikely. If there was something good enough then maybe a single promo.

The main issue is, aside from me wanting to be the guy and getting to, that I also want to ensure a certain uh level of quality. If there were a fan-made set I would have to playtest it endlessly. Man. I'm busy. And as I've noted I don't expect there will be awesome fan-made stuff to do; if there is any cool stuff it will be complex. If I had to do a complex set I would just make one myself.

You could instead hope for some other famous game designer to make a set sometime. Tom Lehmann had an idea for one although I never heard what it was. Again I would need to playtest any such set and am not keen to, but it's at least more likely than a fan set.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 08, 2012, 06:10:23 am
You've mentioned before that if you had the KC/Masquerade pin in playtesting you would have nerfed it a bit.  Can you share any other powerful combos that got destroyed in playtesting?
I don't think that's what I said - I said that if we had found it *and* it had seemed like it came up too often then I would have nerfed it. It's not clear that it's enough of a problem.

Generally when a card is too strong it's not just one combo or deck. Like, Horn of Plenty was part of degenerate decks for a while in different forms, but it was a variety of combos, not a particular one.

There was a Crossroads / Margrave deck that was too strong for a while. There was a lot of focused testing on that one, working out which cards exactly were the problem. In the end I changed Crossroads (it had been +2 actions, rather than +3 once). Margrave was also part of the problem but was more important to keep as is. Another card left that I only knew was too strong because of this deck (it was discard x coppers, gain a card costing up to $3+X).

Throne Room had problem situations with Tactician and Outpost, so that they have text specifically stopping those combos. Madman also has an anti-Throne clause although I'm not sure I ever specifically tested out Throning it.

Graverobber and Rogue have a range of costs they get back because of problematic combos from when they didn't (such as Graverobber / Madman, when Madman went to the trash).

There were things you could do with Haggler and Farmland that weren't necessarily too powerful, but were too confusing, that resulted in them being when-buy (Haggler had been, when-gain other than via Hagglers).

Talisman says "not a Victory card" because it had been too strong with Gardens etc.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 08, 2012, 06:14:37 am
Will we ever see another purpose for the "while this is in play" (on cards like Goons and Haggler) clause apart from limiting a card's power with King's Court/Throne Room (or seriously nerfing it with Procession)?

(I guess Lighthouse already is an example, but that's still limited to Duration cards, I'm looking for something more general)
Well you already have - the purpose is tracking. "While this is in play" is always in play to show off that it's doing something (or isn't in play and so isn't doing anything). "This turn" effects like Coppersmith / Bridge might not be. It's not that I want to screw over Throne/Procession + Highway or whatever, it's that Procession + Bridge makes you have to remember the Bridge effect.

It's fun to Throne a Bridge and so there's that. In general "while this is in play" is just better though.

Similarly Conspirator looks at how many action cards you played this turn, but Peddler counts the action cards in play. Peddler's approach is better; no tracking.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 08, 2012, 06:20:29 am
If you play on isotropic competitively how high do you expect your level to be?
I don't know what actual skill level corresponds to what numerical level. Also you are better at these things when you keep at them. I have not kept at it and so there's that. I imagine when I was playing a ton that I was probably a top player, but there's no reason to think I was ever at the very top.

When Captain Frisk (and Theory and RRenaud) showed up to do a little playtesting, I feel like me and the other playtesters really tried to beat them up - just, forget learning anything this game, let's show these new guys what for. And we did beat them up, although to be fair, we knew the new cards and they didn't, they were in the "can't you make Jack more powerful" phase. Frisk was playing more later and I think was winning his share then.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 08, 2012, 06:26:45 am
What brought me to dominion was that I realized right away that there was a fantastic community discussing dominion strategy. Thanks to this community, dominion is IMO played at a higher level than any other recently invented board game (i.e., any game other than the classics chess, go, bridge). Are you worried at all that this community will no longer thrive once the free dominion online implementations will shut down?
Well I'm not "worried" about it, in that, I don't think it will make my life worse if it happens or anything. It will save me some time reading about Dominion on the internet, there's that. And I'm not sure that no isotropic is a killer; half the people can play for free on Goko, and surely some people will like the game enough to cough up some tiny amount of money for expansions.

As for how long I think this community will survive besides that, uh, I dunno. It happens both ways. The lack of new expansions will make talking about Dominion less compelling, but if people are talking about spin-offs then that could work out. Communities like this can survive for years based on whatever brought them together in the first place; you can go out and find communities of former Magic players for example, people who are not even reading the spoilers for the new sets but still hang out online with the people they used to.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 08, 2012, 06:45:31 am
When did you first become interested in making board games?

Do you have any advice for ambitious game designers?
I made games in my youth, from time to time, but mostly it was my fixed version of someone else's thing. Magic: The Gathering is what got me seriously interested in pursuing game design, in trying to figure out how games worked and make good ones. I started playing Magic in 1994. I was seriously designing games in 1995, and ramped up over the rest of the 90s.

I don't think I have any advice that will change someone from a failed game designer to a successful one, except possibly, you have to go to cons to show your games to publishers. That's what I needed to hear (and didn't). If you want to specifically focus on "ambition" - that is, making something especially successful, rather than having to keep your day job - then it seems clear that there are two big audiences for games: German families and American families. They overlap some, with Dixit being a good example. I am a little ambitious these days, I would like the respect and admiration of my peers, but ultimately I have to make games my friends and I want to play, whether or not that's what will sell.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: brokoli on December 08, 2012, 06:50:49 am
Do you sometimes play dominion with more than 4 players ?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 08, 2012, 06:54:00 am
Did you design Dominion with any particular type of person in mind?
I guess it's fair to say that to some degree I designed it for me and the people I was playing games with, like any of my games. However it was also pursuing a particular concept to an extreme, and that was just because that sounded fun to do for me, rather than having any idea if it would work as a game or not.

When was the first time you realized, "Wow, this is going to be a big hit!"?
As explained in more detail in a previous answer, somewhere around 1-2 months after making it. I used to say, my vision is, you will go to the game store, and there will be that shelf of Settlers stuff, and the shelf of Carcassonne stuff, and a similar shelf of Dominion stuff. I did not envision that it would be, a shelf of Dominion stuff, a shelf of Dominion clones, another shelf of Dominion clones.

How do you pick the kingdom cards when you play Dominion with your friends?
I deal out 5 from the set I'm playtesting and 5 from some other set that I brought that evening. After the game I rotate out 2 from each set for 2 new ones, and then keep doing that, gradually changing the set of 10. If there's a specific card I want to focus on then I just put that out at the start and keep it out.

How has your life changed now that you are rich and famous?
I spend a lot more time reading about myself on the internet. I get to make games for a living, so that's nice. I want a nicer house than I might have. It's probably easier to get new games playtested.

The particular degree to which I'm famous is roughly this: a guy can show up to play games at a local game store, be standing in front of me holding his own copy of Dominion, be introduced to me as Donald X., and have no idea I'm anyone. The exception is German gamers, they recognize the name immediately.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 08, 2012, 06:56:46 am
Why did you cap the number of turns you can take via Outpost but not via Possession?
I tried not doing that on Outpost, and took a lot of turns in a row in one game, with no end in sight. Possession did not have that issue and for sure didn't want extra text it didn't need.

It would have been great not to have that clause on Outpost, but I didn't manage to come up with a better fix in time. Another thing is that I would have preferred like "at the start of that turn, discard down to 3" or something, rather than the weird way it makes the next hand smaller. But time did not permit once I realized that.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Jimmmmm on December 08, 2012, 06:57:19 am
Don't worry Donald, we know you're someone.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 08, 2012, 06:58:17 am
Have simulators helped shape some of the cards? For example, you obviously knew about BMU as a strategy before the game was clearly released, but maybe were not aware of how potent BM + Courtyard is. Have any cards been nerfed, buffed, or scrapped because of their BM play and have simulators influenced this?
I have personally written small programs to simulate certain decks. Some cards may have changed as a result, or not changed, you know. I don't remember any specifics.

No cards have been affected by the simulators that other people have made.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Ozle on December 08, 2012, 07:05:51 am
At what point, if any, did you make enough money from games to give up your day job?
And what was that day job?

I'm thinking Zoo Keeper....
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 08, 2012, 07:27:03 am
Of the many people you've met (both irl and online) through the making of this wondrous game we call Dominion, who do you think has had the biggest effect on how the game has evolved over time?
The people who have affected the game the most are all in the credits, no surprise there.

In the early days, which mattered the most, Dame Josephine, then Dame Molly, then Sir Destry. I mean they were the ones playing every week (or twice or more a week for the dames). And Dame Josephine had to listen to me talking about the game when we weren't playing. I didn't meet them through making the game though.

During development, we can add Valerie and for all I know Dale, since they did work on the game and the game was changed due to her/their suggestions; plus my original online playtesters (using my own program which did not have internet support - we played over aim), including Sir Michael (especially for later, he didn't play much at first), plus Sir Vander, who did not play so much but chatted about the game. Post-release, some other playtesters have been notable, especially John Vogel and Bill Barksdale (sorry I couldn't knight you guys). The early playtester credits include a bunch of "people who got to play the game before it was released," which is to say, sorry guys, I really did not get much out of you and I am not sufficiently polite not to say it, although at least I'm not naming names. Later credits just have the people who really contributed and well they all did, you had to contribute extra to make the credits. Anyway again, I didn't really meet most of the playtesters through Dominion, I already knew them. Or met them but not through Dominion, just because they were playing games in the same place that I was playtesting.

So, if we stick to "that you met through Dominion," then Valerie, for all I know Dale (I put it like that because stuff came from Valerie), and hey, Jay. Alchemy got pushed forward and smallified because of some mix of Jay, HiG, and Schmidt-Spiele. Intrigue didn't have colored treasure coins because of some mix of partners. And the promos exist because of the people who wanted them, Spielbox etc. I haven't even met those people. Dark Ages isn't War because of HiG.

The game itself had that pile of expansions in various states before being released; there was a lot of balancing for playtesters to work on, but "how the game has evolved over time?" There was no evolution except better testing, so there was no-one to affect that evolution.

Who has had the biggest effect on how the community has evolved over time?
I'm not sure if you mean dominionstrategy or something broader. Man I don't think I can give much of an answer either way. Ask the community! Jay has had tournaments and got the game on BSW; Doug made isotropic. Theory / Frisk / Renaud started this place.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 08, 2012, 07:38:34 am
Have you ever ragequit a game of Dominion, and why?
I don't believe I have. I have seen rage maybe once ever, and that guy didn't quit (it was over Torturers). I think maybe I have seen multiple people concede to the card that said "play all the attacks in your deck;" I'm not sure. I haven't quit except when everyone wanted to, due to the game being fundamentally broken. For example when I appeared to get infinite turns from Outpost, we didn't finish that game. I've seen a bunch of "we are reduced to 5 cards via overpowered Knights or something" games, and some of them were quit while some were played out. A few times I have seen one person quit, and the other people kept playing. I have had a single opponent concede a few times. I don't think I've ever even conceded to a single opponent; maybe it's happened unmemorably due to needing to go or something. I've had to call a game because the place was closing.

I'm in a position to specifically discourage quitting; I want to get the best data I can, and it's not hard to sit it out. If you get my turn one Silver with your turn one Noble Brigand, or whatever, then I would like to see how that plays out, I don't mind being in an unfavorable position. And I struggle to make games that are fun to lose.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 08, 2012, 07:53:42 am
You've been very generous with your time in this community, especially in light of how busy you must be.  How do you decide what merits you taking the time to post here (or at BGG)?
There is an xkcd blog entry where he talks about constantly switching activities on the internet, to get some kind of chemical rush you get, and how he decided to reboot whenever he switched activities, in an effort to be more productive. And how it worked, and he would start cleaning his room for a break instead, and had a clean room.

I do not reboot when I switch computer activities. I sit at my computer. I work on what I'm working on. I google something tangentially related and then read a wikipedia article, then click a link and read another. I check BGG, I check DS; they are tabs I always have open. I play a game of Boggle at Wordsplay.net. I try to go back to work but immediately think of another website I could check. I look at a list of songs for a mixed CD and tweak it. I check a file for another game I'm working on, maybe try to get something done on that instead. I remember a card I wanted to reword for a 3rd game and make that image. I go back to the first game. I make a couple cards. I check BGG and DS again.

All for that sweet sweet chemical rush.

I do try to pass up answering rules questions that surely lots of people will immediately answer. And there are some threads that I'm unlikely to check, like storage solution threads. Man, I have had the experience.

There are a few other sites I look at once in a while to see people talking about my games, but I haven't registered at those places. I considered registering at F:AT a few days ago to comment on why Magic was the surviving TCG (you can only play one TCG, due to time/money/finding players, so games that compete with Magic are doomed, which is why the other successful TCG's are ones that don't compete with it, e.g. pokemon), but Ken B. hit on part of what I had to say, and I'm not sure how I'd be received there, so I didn't.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Jimmmmm on December 08, 2012, 07:55:53 am
I love how the genius mastermind of the complex, intricate, always-different Dominion spends his spare time playing Boggle.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Ozle on December 08, 2012, 07:58:26 am
How many requests per day do you get from people wanting to show you their game?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 08, 2012, 08:02:42 am
Has competitive Dominion gone further than you originally expected, with both live and internet tournaments worldwide and a healthy community of serious players discussing and writing about Dominion here on Dominion Strategy?
Well Jay originally did not plan on ever having tournaments - which is why we didn't include a tiebreaker for tournaments. So, sure, it was surprising when he changed his mind. Otherwise, I dunno, it wasn't something I thought about.

Do you think Dominion's primary audience is somewhat to seriously competitive players who mainly play online, or more of the "family game" audience who will pick it up occasionally but never know what Big Money means? Does this influence the game's design, as well as its presentation both in real life as well as the official online implementation?
The family game one. I mean, 32K people on BGG have the main set of Dominion listed as a game they own. That's a small fraction of the number of copies sold.

It does have an effect, mainly to say, you are making things too complex, try to simplify some of these cards over playtester objections, and maybe stop after Guilds.

I don't make online versions and so it's harder to make that call. I think they are trying to please the existing online players while appealing to the broader audience of normal people.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 08, 2012, 08:03:49 am
Have you ever considered participating in forum mafia?
Not on this site. When I first saw mafia I read some of a few threads, and spent a few hours thinking about directions to take the game.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 08, 2012, 08:04:26 am
Have you looked at the Dominion memes thread? If so, do you have a favorite?
I have read that thread. My favorite is easily the Baron one - "I don't always discard an Estate, but when I do, I gain $4." Man it looks just like that guy.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Jimmmmm on December 08, 2012, 08:04:40 am
Any chance we'll get the Secret History of Donald's Mafia Thoughts?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 08, 2012, 08:12:32 am
Do you open double Ambassador or Ambassador/Silver?

What is your favorite beer? If you don't drink beer, favorite alcoholic drink? If you don't drink alcohol, favorite drink?
Depends on the board and also what my opponents do. They are both reasonable openings sometimes.

I don't drink alcohol. I've had champagne at a wedding, a sip of wine to see how easy it was going to be to drink tiny amounts of it when I'm older and it seems beneficial, and once I said, "this ice cream tastes funny," and they said, "there's rum in it." I don't really have any interest in mucking with my brain randomly.

I buy a Lemon Tea Snapple maybe every two weeks, then spend two weeks drinking tap water from the bottle. You want to drink from glass rather than plastic, see, and the bottle has a lid whereas a cup doesn't. Well I could be drinking water from a sippy cup but you know. Anyway that's what I do drink-wise.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: aaron0013 on December 08, 2012, 08:29:08 am
Do you open double Ambassador or Ambassador/Silver?

What is your favorite beer? If you don't drink beer, favorite alcoholic drink? If you don't drink alcohol, favorite drink?
Depends on the board and also what my opponents do. They are both reasonable openings sometimes.

I don't drink alcohol. I've had champagne at a wedding, a sip of wine to see how easy it was going to be to drink tiny amounts of it when I'm older and it seems beneficial, and once I said, "this ice cream tastes funny," and they said, "there's rum in it." I don't really have any interest in mucking with my brain randomly.

I buy a Lemon Tea Snapple maybe every two weeks, then spend two weeks drinking tap water from the bottle. You want to drink from glass rather than plastic, see, and the bottle has a lid whereas a cup doesn't. Well I could be drinking water from a sippy cup but you know. Anyway that's what I do drink-wise.

And that's why he is such a genius, he doesn't fry is brain every night...not to mention his liver ;)

Tell me off if this is too personal, but what does a day in the life of Donald X. consist of? When do you find time to post on the forum or play games online and IRL?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Ozle on December 08, 2012, 08:34:46 am
Who would win in a fight between James Bond and Indiana Jones....?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 08, 2012, 08:40:38 am
What game do you consider a guilty pleasure? That is, you think it's poorly designed or has serious flaws in some way, but you enjoy it anyways.
I am not sure I have one. If I thought the game could be fixed and that I would like that version, I would fix it and play my fixed version. If I'm enjoying it it could still be flawed, but it's all about enjoyment, so hey, it made it.

Magic has two serious flaws: 1) the rules are unlearnable, and 2) sometimes you don't get to play. Despite that it's one of the best games ever; it's certainly not poorly designed or a guilty pleasure.

Can you give an example of when you had to make a game design decision due to business factors (like cards per expansion, or cost or something), and it turned out better than you expected? How about (heresy!) worse?
Well Jay decided to live with the intended size for the main set; business factors caused worry and discussion but no actual change. Business factors meant particular set sizes that resulted in blanks in the main set and Haven in Seaside (taken out then put back in). Partners not liking the idea nixed switching to colored treasure coins in Intrigue. Alchemy exists as a small set for business reasons; it was on a tight schedule - not as tight as they wanted - and I think that hurt it. Guilds got pushed back due to the Base Cards product. War was rethemed and the new theme is probably better anyway. Prosperity is slightly better because it was pushed back for Alchemy.

I guess the existence of all of the promos is business, that would be a significant thing. In general business isn't hanging over me though. If I ask Jay, and I have, what matters business-wise for something, he will just say, every time, "just make the game as good as you can and I'll worry about the rest." Dominion had to be 500 cards so it is. The business part, past deciding to publish it at all, was just, it has to be exactly 500, so there are some blanks.

If there were such thing as a perfectly designed game, which player skills do you think it would emphasize, and which skills would be secondary concerns?
Meh, people get different things from games. There's no perfect game except from a particular narrow perspective we choose in order to get an answer, and since it's so narrow, who cares?

What is your best source of inspiration for new cards?
Years of cards made for many games. In general I am not looking for inspiration when I make cards; I am doing the work. I know how to look at the rules set and find cards to make. Any really inspired cards are going to be exceptions.

What is your best source of feedback?
Seeing if people like the game or not.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 08, 2012, 08:52:10 am
Have you considered or dabbled with designing a game specifically for computer or some other electronic doodad (iPad, etc.)?
I had a text adventure game published in some small sense back in the day (Escape from Planet X). I've programmed a bunch of little computer games. There are two that are especially significant to me. The Little Guy Game was like Lode Runner but with puzzles. Dudes of Stuff and Things is my take on Heroes of Might and Magic III. I made Dudes over a decade ago but have played it within the last month.

I talked some with a friend about making an iPad etc. game. We made a little puzzle game that I got some fun from but decided it wasn't good enough to get art for and try selling. Anyway something could still happen.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 08, 2012, 08:54:29 am
Do you sometimes play dominion with more than 4 players ?
IRL, when I was playing Dominion irl, I would play with 5 sometimes. There are 5 people who want to play, counting me; man, it works well enough. I prefer 3, then 4, then 2, then 5. I don't play with 6. Online I have played with 5 a few times but we usually split into 2/3 when that came up.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 08, 2012, 08:57:06 am
At what point, if any, did you make enough money from games to give up your day job?
And what was that day job?

I'm thinking Zoo Keeper....
My day job was computer programmer. More specifically I was programming dialysis machines.

I am making way more now. I quit my day job way before I made any money from Dominion, but Dominion was making enough to support me immediately.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 08, 2012, 08:59:23 am
I love how the genius mastermind of the complex, intricate, always-different Dominion spends his spare time playing Boggle.
I will beat you up at it dude, I will anagram so fast relative to you and a bunch of other people but not quite everyone playing unless no-one great is on. Not counting the teams, man I just clicked the button to hide those.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 08, 2012, 08:59:45 am
How many requests per day do you get from people wanting to show you their game?
Zero.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 08, 2012, 09:04:49 am
Any chance we'll get the Secret History of Donald's Mafia Thoughts?
I know I wanted to try having the roles be objects that people passed around, and it turned out someone had already tried that. People have been working on the problem for years, so probably I didn't have any ideas they haven't gotten to.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 08, 2012, 09:17:12 am
Tell me off if this is too personal, but what does a day in the life of Donald X. consist of? When do you find time to post on the forum or play games online and IRL?
You can see from my page here that I'm on at all hours. The only thing I have to do at a particular time usually is game nights, which start at 6 PM, and I am not tuned to 24 hours or something, so I gradually stay up later and later until I have to push it to be back to getting up in the mornings again. I am flipping as we speak, having gotten up at 11 PM.

I play games irl two nights a week. I spend a lot of time at my computer, and most of the rest with my family. Sometimes I go for a walk. There is not too much that's interesting to talk about here. I work from home, so, I'm just doing it whenever. I listen to music constantly; currently playing: Mono Rail, by Pugwash.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Ozle on December 08, 2012, 09:18:22 am
How many requests per day do you get from people wanting to show you their game?
Zero.

REALLY?!
Wow, that does surprise me.
Prominent member of the gaming community posts on BGG frequently, I would have thought that you would be a lot of peoples first choice to ask for feedback!
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Jimmmmm on December 08, 2012, 09:21:49 am
The only thing I have to do at a particular time usually is game nights

Must be a hard life. ;)
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 08, 2012, 09:22:58 am
Who would win in a fight between James Bond and Indiana Jones....?
I don't think I want to open this up to hilarious questions. I would spend too long trying to think of something funny. Humor is work, I mean maybe you get lucky but maybe you spend hours staring at your joke paragraph, with the rest of the rulebook having been done for months. I will stick to just incidentally being hilarious, as is the way of my people.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Watno on December 08, 2012, 11:09:26 am
Do you have another game in the works that you think will be huge?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: theory on December 08, 2012, 11:12:05 am
What got you into playing (rather than designing) boardgames in the first place? 
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: RD on December 08, 2012, 11:19:32 am
How do you feel about coop games? I can't recall hearing you talk about any (of yours or other people, except for Mage Knight in this thread, but I think you were just talking about the HP mechanics and stuff). I'd have thought you would be all over this because of your feelings on politics. Or is the whole "quarterbacking" issue an even worse form of politics for you that you don't want to touch?

Edit: I guess Infiltration has some coop elements? I haven't gotten to play it yet but I got the impression it was mainly adversarial.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Polk5440 on December 08, 2012, 11:47:51 am
Great stuff, Donald. I really enjoyed reading your answers during breakfast!

But I almost spit out my cereal here:

Similar to the above -- do you ever look at fan cards?  If so, do you have a favourite?
Let's do an experiment, I will look at the first four cards of "Books of Magic," the first listed fan expansion at BGG. I am looking at the first four images sorted the default way ("hot"), skipping the big image of a card sheet.

So, four-for-four, nothing new or interesting here. Sorry Books of Magic guy, it was just an example.

What a terrible experiment. What about this one?: Look at these cards (rinkworks's mini-set design contest winners). (http://forum.dominionstrategy.com/index.php?topic=3521.msg68134#msg68134)

What do you think about the cards the f.ds community voted for?

[I am just waiting for the comment, "Man, that card is in fact horribly broken. I threw a similar card into the trash 5 years ago!" ]

Adding on to other fan cards questions...Agricola Gamers Deck was designed by fans. Is there any chance of something similar happening with Dominion, perhaps using the Mini-Set Design Contest hosted by rinkworks as a starting point?
Unlikely.

 :'(

Quote
If there was something good enough then maybe a single promo.

There is a sliver of hope! 

Quote
The main issue is, aside from me wanting to be the guy and getting to, that I also want to ensure a certain uh level of quality.

So true. But, the joy of reading fan cards is that you never know what quality you are going to get. ;)
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Polk5440 on December 08, 2012, 11:52:18 am
I do try to pass up answering rules questions that surely lots of people will immediately answer. And there are some threads that I'm unlikely to check, like storage solution threads. Man, I have had the experience.

Follow up question: Are you planning a Dominion-brand storage solution for all the Dominion expansions, tokens, and mats after Guilds is released? Maybe Dominion-brand game travel bags?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Piemaster on December 08, 2012, 11:52:50 am
Other than Chapel are there any cards that, with hindsight, you either regret making completely, or at least regret publishing in their current form?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Ozle on December 08, 2012, 11:59:45 am
Can we have a card name spoiler from Guilds?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: jonts26 on December 08, 2012, 12:12:01 pm
Other than Chapel are there any cards that, with hindsight, you either regret making completely, or at least regret publishing in their current form?

Has Donald ever said he regretted Chapel? I don't recall this.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Piemaster on December 08, 2012, 12:20:06 pm
Other than Chapel are there any cards that, with hindsight, you either regret making completely, or at least regret publishing in their current form?

Has Donald ever said he regretted Chapel? I don't recall this.

I vaguely remember reading somewhere that he considered it undercosted or something, but I couldn't find the link.  I tried to word the question in such a way that if he was happy with Chapel he could still answer the question as-is without questioning the premise.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: werothegreat on December 08, 2012, 01:01:32 pm
Following up your answer to my question (there's still game space, it just gets more complicated) - what if I want more complicated cards?  I'm looking forward to Guilds being insanely complex.  What if I want expansions to just get more and more insane, until I need a magnifying glass just to see what the cards say?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: GendoIkari on December 08, 2012, 01:03:18 pm
Why did you cap the number of turns you can take via Outpost but not via Possession?

I'm not Donald X., but isn't this obvious?  Imagine having a deck of Village-Monument-Outpost-Outpost.  Possession doesn't lead to infinite turns.

This. Possession turns are already capped. They just aren't capped at 1.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Archetype on December 08, 2012, 01:07:17 pm
Any more ideas for promo cards? Maybe one modeled after one of your other games?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: philosophyguy on December 08, 2012, 01:24:52 pm
Re: the Possession/Outpost thing. Apparently I asked the question wrongly. I understand why Outpost got a cap—to avoid infinite turns. I am wondering why Possession didn't get a similar cap. Yes, it's not possible to have an infinite number of Possession turns, but it is very easy to be playing more with your opponent's deck than with your own. Given how unfun folks find that experience, I'm wondering why Possession wasn't capped.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: werothegreat on December 08, 2012, 01:27:42 pm
Re: the Possession/Outpost thing. Apparently I asked the question wrongly. I understand why Outpost got a cap—to avoid infinite turns. I am wondering why Possession didn't get a similar cap. Yes, it's not possible to have an infinite number of Possession turns, but it is very easy to be playing more with your opponent's deck than with your own. Given how unfun folks find that experience, I'm wondering why Possession wasn't capped.

Maybe because it's so expensive in the first place?  I mean, how likely is it that you're going to King's Court all 10 Possessions?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: werothegreat on December 08, 2012, 01:28:40 pm
Another question - did Alchemy not include a $5+P card specifically so that you couldn't Procession/Upgrade into Possession?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: LastFootnote on December 08, 2012, 01:29:09 pm
What a terrible experiment. What about this one?: Look at these cards (rinkworks's mini-set design contest winners). (http://forum.dominionstrategy.com/index.php?topic=3521.msg68134#msg68134)

No, please don't. I agree that Buggy's cards (Books of Magic, etc.) are bad. But if I had to show Donald X. a sample of fan cards to show that they could be worth his time, I wouldn't choose the mini-set contest cards. Don't get me wrong, I participated in the contest, and it was fun and an interesting experiment. But the fact remains that the result is (currently) a big ol' hodgepodge of cards that people had to come up with under time constraints, have had little to no playtesting, and have pretty much no cohesiveness as a set of cards.

As an example, I'm not proud of my winning submission. I'm guessing that playtesting will reveal that it's not sufficiently different from Torturer and certainly not unique enough to justify the amount of text on the card. If I had put the card in a fan expansion that I had complete control over, it probably would have been severely altered or scrapped by now.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Archetype on December 08, 2012, 01:32:49 pm
What a terrible experiment. What about this one?: Look at these cards (rinkworks's mini-set design contest winners). (http://forum.dominionstrategy.com/index.php?topic=3521.msg68134#msg68134)

No, please don't. I agree that Buggy's cards (Books of Magic, etc.) are bad. But if I had to show Donald X. a sample of fan cards to show that they could be worth his time, I wouldn't choose the mini-set contest cards. Don't get me wrong, I participated in the contest, and it was fun and an interesting experiment. But the fact remains that the result is (currently) a big ol' hodgepodge of cards that people had to come up with under time constraints, have had little to no playtesting, and have pretty much no cohesiveness as a set of cards.

As an example, I'm not proud of my winning submission. I'm guessing that playtesting will reveal that it's not sufficiently different from Torturer and certainly not unique enough to justify the amount of text on the card. If I had put the card in a fan expansion that I had complete control over, it probably would have been severely altered or scrapped by now.

I agree. The best card I've ever made was never a submission to that contest. It just didn't fit any of the challenges' criteria.

Likewise, I love a lot of LastFootnote's cards, but the one of his that won, wasn't the one I liked the most.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: GendoIkari on December 08, 2012, 01:38:07 pm
Other than Chapel are there any cards that, with hindsight, you either regret making completely, or at least regret publishing in their current form?

Has Donald ever said he regretted Chapel? I don't recall this.

I vaguely remember reading somewhere that he considered it undercosted or something, but I couldn't find the link.  I tried to word the question in such a way that if he was happy with Chapel he could still answer the question as-is without questioning the premise.

I think you might be thinking of his quote "Chapel is the most powerful card in the game, relative to its cost. I'm unlikely to every create another card that powerful." If so, this is not at all the same as saying that it was undercosted or that he wishes he had done something differently. He's explained at great lengths why Chapel cost $2 even though it is powerful enough to cost $4.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Polk5440 on December 08, 2012, 01:49:00 pm
What a terrible experiment. What about this one?: Look at these cards (rinkworks's mini-set design contest winners). (http://forum.dominionstrategy.com/index.php?topic=3521.msg68134#msg68134)

No, please don't. I agree that Buggy's cards (Books of Magic, etc.) are bad. But if I had to show Donald X. a sample of fan cards to show that they could be worth his time, I wouldn't choose the mini-set contest cards. Don't get me wrong, I participated in the contest, and it was fun and an interesting experiment. But the fact remains that the result is (currently) a big ol' hodgepodge of cards that people had to come up with under time constraints, have had little to no playtesting, and have pretty much no cohesiveness as a set of cards.

As an example, I'm not proud of my winning submission. I'm guessing that playtesting will reveal that it's not sufficiently different from Torturer and certainly not unique enough to justify the amount of text on the card. If I had put the card in a fan expansion that I had complete control over, it probably would have been severely altered or scrapped by now.

I agree. The best card I've ever made was never a submission to that contest. It just didn't fit any of the challenges' criteria.

Likewise, I love a lot of LastFootnote's cards, but the one of his that won, wasn't the one I liked the most.

Fair enough. Mainly, I just thought it was funny the way Donald decided to pick 4 cards to look at given the amount of discussion on the Variant sub forum about various cards. Contest suggestion: Card to show Donald X.?  ::)
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 08, 2012, 02:57:09 pm
Do you have another game in the works that you think will be huge?
Well I have other games I think will be hits. I don't have anything that has taken over gamers like Dominion.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 08, 2012, 02:59:00 pm
What got you into playing (rather than designing) boardgames in the first place?
I played games in my youth, but, aside from D&D, nothing that any normal American wouldn't come into contact with. I read about Magic in Games Magazine, and after I started playing it, the other Magic players introduced me to older American gamer's games like Cosmic Encounter, and to the up-and-coming German stuff like Settlers.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 08, 2012, 03:02:33 pm
How do you feel about coop games? I can't recall hearing you talk about any (of yours or other people, except for Mage Knight in this thread, but I think you were just talking about the HP mechanics and stuff). I'd have thought you would be all over this because of your feelings on politics. Or is the whole "quarterbacking" issue an even worse form of politics for you that you don't want to touch?

Edit: I guess Infiltration has some coop elements? I haven't gotten to play it yet but I got the impression it was mainly adversarial.
Infiltration isn't a co-op. I liked Knizia's LotR co-op. I think that may be the only pure co-op I've played. I haven't made one. Certainly preventing one player from controlling the game (without switching to a traitor game or what have you) would be a big issue. I'm not especially eager to make one since there are a bunch already.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 08, 2012, 03:30:23 pm
What a terrible experiment. What about this one?: Look at these cards (rinkworks's mini-set design contest winners). (http://forum.dominionstrategy.com/index.php?topic=3521.msg68134#msg68134)
Sorry to disappoint you! My experiment had the feature of only making one guy who isn't here feel bad. Probably you guys can do better, but, well.

Have I told the Richard Garfield story? Richard playtested for Seaside. At one point he randomly suggested a few new cards. They were: 1) the treasure throne room, which I had already tried but later abandoned and then even later fixed up as Counterfeit; 2) Bank, again already in a set; and 3) a reaction that punishes the attacker, which I'd already written up an essay on so I could just show that to people who suggested it. Treasure Throne Room and Bank were both good ideas, but they were obvious and I had a big head start. So... Richard Garfield, three for three.

You guys have an edge here; you know not to make cards from Prosperity and so on. I have had even more years to pile stuff up though. So, say, a victory card that varies in value based on whether or not the Provinces sold out, that one I tried in a couple games with a proxy but never bothered printing out.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 08, 2012, 03:30:59 pm
Follow up question: Are you planning a Dominion-brand storage solution for all the Dominion expansions, tokens, and mats after Guilds is released? Maybe Dominion-brand game travel bags?
It's possible Jay will do something. I don't have any recent information there.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 08, 2012, 03:33:16 pm
Other than Chapel are there any cards that, with hindsight, you either regret making completely, or at least regret publishing in their current form?
I do not regret Chapel. There is an essay where you can see what I'd change: http://forum.dominionstrategy.com/index.php?topic=3179.msg56362#msg56362

Overall the card I most regret printing as-is is Scrying Pool; I'd rather it didn't Spy. The card that I could change for the greatest positive effect through would just be any dud card in the main set, being replaced by anything good that isn't too complex.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 08, 2012, 03:34:38 pm
Can we have a card name spoiler from Guilds?
You cannot. Jay will post the hilarious paragraph and serious paragraph whenever he decides to; that will tell you something about what you're in for. Until then you will have to settle for leaks via card selection programs.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 08, 2012, 03:37:21 pm
Following up your answer to my question (there's still game space, it just gets more complicated) - what if I want more complicated cards?  I'm looking forward to Guilds being insanely complex.  What if I want expansions to just get more and more insane, until I need a magnifying glass just to see what the cards say?
Is this a rhetorical question? Not your question, mine. And the answer is yes.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Polk5440 on December 08, 2012, 03:41:18 pm
What a terrible experiment. What about this one?: Look at these cards (rinkworks's mini-set design contest winners). (http://forum.dominionstrategy.com/index.php?topic=3521.msg68134#msg68134)
Sorry to disappoint you! My experiment had the feature of only making one guy who isn't here feel bad. Probably you guys can do better, but, well.

Have I told the Richard Garfield story? Richard playtested for Seaside. At one point he randomly suggested a few new cards. They were: 1) the treasure throne room, which I had already tried but later abandoned and then even later fixed up as Counterfeit; 2) Bank, again already in a set; and 3) a reaction that punishes the attacker, which I'd already written up an essay on so I could just show that to people who suggested it. Treasure Throne Room and Bank were both good ideas, but they were obvious and I had a big head start. So... Richard Garfield, three for three.

You guys have an edge here; you know not to make cards from Prosperity and so on. I have had even more years to pile stuff up though. So, say, a victory card that varies in value based on whether or not the Provinces sold out, that one I tried in a couple games with a proxy but never bothered printing out.

touche!
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 08, 2012, 03:41:58 pm
Any more ideas for promo cards? Maybe one modeled after one of your other games?
Well, I have a list of ideas from when I thought I might need one, and I could just use an outtake that wasn't awful in a pinch. I have something picked out to try for an online one sometime. I hadn't considered doing one for one of my other games, but I don't imagine Jay would be so excited to promote a game that RGG doesn't publish.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 08, 2012, 03:44:00 pm
Re: the Possession/Outpost thing. Apparently I asked the question wrongly. I understand why Outpost got a cap—to avoid infinite turns. I am wondering why Possession didn't get a similar cap. Yes, it's not possible to have an infinite number of Possession turns, but it is very easy to be playing more with your opponent's deck than with your own. Given how unfun folks find that experience, I'm wondering why Possession wasn't capped.
I feel like I answered this the first time. It didn't get a cap because it didn't need it. It sure wasn't getting a cap it didn't need; look at that text box.

I've said it before: I usually do not buy Possession, because I am trying to win. I do not have trouble fighting it.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 08, 2012, 03:45:15 pm
Another question - did Alchemy not include a $5+P card specifically so that you couldn't Procession/Upgrade into Possession?
No, there is no significance to that gap.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: HiveMindEmulator on December 08, 2012, 03:46:11 pm
Do you open double Ambassador or Ambassador/Silver?

What is your favorite beer? If you don't drink beer, favorite alcoholic drink? If you don't drink alcohol, favorite drink?
Depends on the board...
This made my day. :)
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: LastFootnote on December 08, 2012, 04:21:14 pm
Overall the card I most regret printing as-is is Scrying Pool; I'd rather it didn't Spy.

I've been meaning to ask, but does this mean it wouldn't even spy your own deck, or just that it wouldn't attack other players?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 08, 2012, 04:49:01 pm
Overall the card I most regret printing as-is is Scrying Pool; I'd rather it didn't Spy.

I've been meaning to ask, but does this mean it wouldn't even spy your own deck, or just that it wouldn't attack other players?
No Spying on anybody.

Spying on other players is the slowest part, but besides that I'd like the sleek simple card it once was.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: theory on December 08, 2012, 05:12:57 pm
How do you feel about coop games? I can't recall hearing you talk about any (of yours or other people, except for Mage Knight in this thread, but I think you were just talking about the HP mechanics and stuff). I'd have thought you would be all over this because of your feelings on politics. Or is the whole "quarterbacking" issue an even worse form of politics for you that you don't want to touch?

Edit: I guess Infiltration has some coop elements? I haven't gotten to play it yet but I got the impression it was mainly adversarial.
Infiltration isn't a co-op. I liked Knizia's LotR co-op. I think that may be the only pure co-op I've played. I haven't made one. Certainly preventing one player from controlling the game (without switching to a traitor game or what have you) would be a big issue. I'm not especially eager to make one since there are a bunch already.


have you played or read about Hanabi?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: LastFootnote on December 08, 2012, 08:57:55 pm
What a terrible experiment. What about this one?: Look at these cards (rinkworks's mini-set design contest winners). (http://forum.dominionstrategy.com/index.php?topic=3521.msg68134#msg68134)
Sorry to disappoint you! My experiment had the feature of only making one guy who isn't here feel bad.

Actually, I believe he's posted in this very thread (http://forum.dominionstrategy.com/index.php?topic=5799.msg148235#msg148235).
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: ^_^_^_^ on December 08, 2012, 09:29:01 pm
Who was the hardest/most annoying playtester to work with?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Tables on December 08, 2012, 09:45:07 pm
If you could go back in time and redesign which cards were in which sets, and the order the sets came out (but not changing/adding/removing any cards), what would you move and why?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Schneau on December 08, 2012, 09:58:01 pm
How many Dominion cards do you think you have come up with, including different variations on the same card that were at least considered and maybe tested? Do you have a spreadsheet to keep track of them all, so you can record things like "reaction that hurts attacker | bad idea" and ideas for possible future promo cards, etc.?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Polk5440 on December 08, 2012, 11:08:59 pm
In the spirit of this being for a "holiday season" interview, what is your favorite holiday tradition?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Powerman on December 09, 2012, 12:45:19 am
Of all the cards you come up with an idea for, what percentage eventually get tweaked into a printed card?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Beyond Awesome on December 09, 2012, 01:06:21 am
Do you have a dog? If so, is it blue, or at least named blue?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 09, 2012, 02:55:25 am
have you played or read about Hanabi?
Only at these forums, when I wondered what was going on in the non-Gauntlet of Fools threads.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 09, 2012, 02:56:23 am
Actually, I believe he's posted in this very thread (http://forum.dominionstrategy.com/index.php?topic=5799.msg148235#msg148235).
Sorry buggy. My other example was Richard Garfield, so you're in good company.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 09, 2012, 02:58:25 am
Who was the hardest/most annoying playtester to work with?
Well John was a star playtester, but he was also the one who would bitch about playing games with Chapel and King's Court.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 09, 2012, 03:13:22 am
If you could go back in time and redesign which cards were in which sets, and the order the sets came out (but not changing/adding/removing any cards), what would you move and why?
Obviously the move is to put all of the worst cards in the last set and then not release it. The sets aren't full of duds so it would be a small set. A few worthwhile cards would be left out but what can you do. This is still the move if it has to be published, I mean I am not here to make people buy awful stuff, and putting it all together is the best I can do to let you dodge it in this scenario. Then of course the main set, well it doesn't want all the best cards, but it wants the best simple cards. It matters more than any of the other sets and for sure could be better via swapping cards. I would replace Chancellor, Woodcutter, Feast, and Spy with more interesting cards, giving the main set more replayability. Lots of cards would be good enough.

For set order I like going Intrigue, Seaside, Prosperity - set trying to be a good first set, generally good set, set that adds Colonies. I would put Alchemy last, where it was; it was there because I knew some people wouldn't like potions, because somebody hadn't. You could swap Hinterlands with Seaside but I wouldn't. After Prosperity then there are Hinterlands and Dark Ages to order and well you have the question from before of whether or not Hinterlands is a standalone. I like having another standalone, and if it is one then I would put it ahead of Dark Ages. Possibly I would anyway. A question is, do you recombine Cornucopia and Alchemy. If people don't like Alchemy then it's nice that they get a tight package of just it, rather than buying it to get Cornucopia or passing on Cornucopia because of it. So possibly it's worth keeping them separate. Large sets are better though, so either expand Cornucopia and Guilds or combine them. That's another decision to make before knowing what order to put them in, but Guilds wants to be near the end due to complexity. If they're not one set then large Cornucopia could go between Prosperity and Hinterlands still, uh depending on how it turned out.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 09, 2012, 04:42:22 am
How many Dominion cards do you think you have come up with, including different variations on the same card that were at least considered and maybe tested? Do you have a spreadsheet to keep track of them all, so you can record things like "reaction that hurts attacker | bad idea" and ideas for possible future promo cards, etc.?
There is an old ideas file, which has lists of ideas sorted by card type. I guess there's an even older file that I turned into this file. Ideas are sometimes marked with a rating, + for good, . for okay, - for bad; this doesn't reflect testing, just, how much do I like this idea. Some things have a comment in brackets after them, sometimes reflecting testing. Let's peek at the first five things on the discard-attacks list.

Code: [Select]
. att: each other player discards silver
. att: name treasure. each other player discards it [strong at 5]
. reveal top. if not silver, each other player ebbs. gain top silver. [multiplayer cumulativeness]
. if another pl. has < 5 cards, do x. otherwise, they discard.
  each pl. looks at left's hand if they have 5+ cards, chooses a discard

As you can see I tested one of those, although I don't think I printed out anything for it. "Ebb" means "put from hand onto deck" - after the Magic card Time Ebb. "Do X" is of course a placeholder to just show off the actual idea; similarly most cards would also make +$2 or something; that isn't the idea part.

There are just 21 things on that particular list, plus a list of general approaches at the top. The file is 58K and also includes lists of general mechanics. These lists have been combed over; there are probably a few things that would be okay in there, but you know, the discard-attacks list, those are the 21 variants I passed over in favor of better ideas.

Then each set has a file, with ideas specifically for that set, and a list of the set as it stands at the top, with some notes on what cards fill what roles. For example for Dark Ages, the original list of ruins ideas is:

Code: [Select]
junk possibilities
- +1 action / +1 buy / +1 card / +$1 (ruined village / market / library / abandoned mine)
- look at top 2, may discard them (survivors)
- pass this left
- gain a copper / gain a card costing up to $2 / gain a card costing up to $1
- blank / trash this
- draw up to 4
- +1 card, -1 card
- action cards cost $1 less this turn
- worth 1 vp per 5 ruins in your deck

In that list the minuses are just for indenting, not passing judgment. Later I considered a few other things, including "play up to two ruins cards" for Ruined Village, but they aren't on this list. The initial five worked out so there wasn't a lot more work there.

The Dark Ages cards file is 59K (distinct from the file with the secret history and such). It is just an endless sprawl of card ideas, with some to-do list items like "fit in a 3rd spoils card."

Finally there are the image files. Dark Ages has 30 pages of card images to test (9 cards per page), plus full versions of the sets that sometimes include cards not on the other pages, especially the older ones when I wasn't saving everything yet. It is hard to meaningfully count those pages; it's 36 pages, not counting the original 3 page version or the brief 2 page version, but most of that stuff is redundant. And of course most of the images are things in the Dark Ages text file.

I am looking at the 4th page of Cornucopia images, which was the first page without a version of a card from Guilds. It has:
- Three versions of Horn of Plenty, two of them actions.
- Two version of Wandering Minstrel that may appear unrelated to it (it started out +$2, name a type, dig for one and leave it on top).
- Two random cards that didn't make it - "gain 5 silvers minus a silver per card in hand" and a thing that made other players ebb a card if they had any duplicates in hand.
- A precursor of Harvest that drew the non-duplicates in your top 5.
- Horse Traders but called Foreign Traders.

I flirted with posting the image, but man let's save that stuff for after Guilds is out, not have any slip-ups.

Not every version of every card makes it anywhere though. I say, "this game, this card will be different," and explain what I want to test and we test it. Maybe it works out and gets an image and more testing; maybe I'm immediately done with it. Maybe it seems promising and I change the cost and we try that, but the original cost is never in a file. You know.

I do not know how many cards ideas I've had, but there's some of the data I'd be looking at to guess that number. For a normal game I make maybe twice as many cards as end up in the game (distinct cards, rather than slight variations or wordings fixes or what have you). Like, for Nefarious, there were about twice as many twists tested as were used. I pared it down a couple times. There would also be a list of twist ideas I didn't try, however many, I'm not checking. For Dominion the numbers are higher; some cards just have one version, but some have 10 versions, and for any idea there are probably lots of ways you could do it that would be fine, and you can list them and consider them, but once you commit to one then the others aren't so interesting anymore.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 09, 2012, 04:48:18 am
In the spirit of this being for a "holiday season" interview, what is your favorite holiday tradition?
I am going to tentatively go with trick-or-treating.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 09, 2012, 05:00:48 am
Of all the cards you come up with an idea for, what percentage eventually get tweaked into a printed card?
You will have to try to work out something more precise from that other answer. It's changed over time too. A typical idea is just something stupid on a list, like "Each other player discards a silver." That's obvious from Cutpurse and not interesting but who knows it could work out well, why not list it. The best things on the list get tried and some get an image and some of those work out and are published in some form.

I feel like this is all springing from "no I don't look at fan cards." Man, ideas are easy, that's not the hard part.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 09, 2012, 05:01:41 am
Do you have a dog? If so, is it blue, or at least named blue?
No. Boom swish.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Beyond Awesome on December 09, 2012, 05:17:56 am
What are the three most important events to happen in your life? Is getting Dominion published one of them?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 09, 2012, 07:44:26 am
What are the three most important events to happen in your life? Is getting Dominion published one of them?
I'm not sure I want to tell my life story, either the boring parts or the interesting parts. There was a time that I asked for band recommendations at Mod Lang that domino'd into significance (they recommended Game Theory / Loud Family, see if it works for you). Buying that issue of Games Magazine with the article on Magic was pretty good. Aside from that issue of Games, I'm not sure what to point to for Dominion; we could start with, I made some games that my friends didn't like and wanted a surefire hit (which was Spirit Warriors; Dominion was a solution to a problem in Spirit Warriors II). There's no great one moment to point at though. I can't see a good domino-starter for the exciting events of my youth.

Dominion has loomed large in the part of my life that postdates it. Here I am getting asked this question for example.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 09, 2012, 07:59:48 am
What game do you consider a guilty pleasure? That is, you think it's poorly designed or has serious flaws in some way, but you enjoy it anyways.
I am not sure I have one. If I thought the game could be fixed and that I would like that version, I would fix it and play my fixed version. If I'm enjoying it it could still be flawed, but it's all about enjoyment, so hey, it made it.
If we open this up to video games then there have been video games I played that weren't so good, not so much as a guilty pleasure as because I wanted to play something and that's what I had that was new. And of course I can't just fix the problems those games have, I am stuck with them.

I am going to cite Skyrim. I enjoyed walking around and to a lesser degree picking flowers. The interface had huge problems, man, like they hated their players. The rest of it was not so compelling, especially when compared to say Fallout 3, their previous game. And I mean, I would play for an hour and then stop because it crashed. I think they could make a good game by sticking to their core strengths - walking and flower-picking - and scrapping the rest of it.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Powerman on December 09, 2012, 11:55:12 am
Of all the cards you come up with an idea for, what percentage eventually get tweaked into a printed card?
You will have to try to work out something more precise from that other answer. It's changed over time too. A typical idea is just something stupid on a list, like "Each other player discards a silver." That's obvious from Cutpurse and not interesting but who knows it could work out well, why not list it. The best things on the list get tried and some get an image and some of those work out and are published in some form.

I feel like this is all springing from "no I don't look at fan cards." Man, ideas are easy, that's not the hard part.

No, it's not from that at all.  I just want to see how much "failure" goes into creating such a great game!
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: ^_^_^_^ on December 09, 2012, 12:20:46 pm
Of the great multitude of questions you have answered throughout the wonderful Adventure Dominion has Tunnel 'd you through, which was your favorite question about Dominion?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 09, 2012, 12:31:26 pm
Of the great multitude of questions you have answered throughout the wonderful Adventure Dominion has Tunnel 'd you through, which was your favorite question about Dominion?
Well, the first question in my first interview was "what question do you get asked the most often in interviews."
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: SirPeebles on December 09, 2012, 01:26:13 pm
When you were arranging the cards into the various expansions, what other themes or sub-themes did you consider but ultimately scrap?  Aside from Dark Ages being named War, were there other substantially different expansion names that you considered?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: SirPeebles on December 09, 2012, 01:35:16 pm
I believe you once mentioned that in the early days of Dominion you had considered having multiple resources, but ultimately opted for only coin, reserving the alternate resource idea for the final expansion.  If this is true, did you always intend on having a single primary resource such as coin, with other resources playing only a secondary role like Potion?  Or did you consider having more than one resource in your starting hand, or perhaps a secondary resource which was necessary for purchasing victory cards?

Edit:  It was in the Secret History of Alchemy

Quote
When I came up with Dominion, I figured it would have multiple resources. When I actually made it, I went with one resource, because it was simpler. I could always add another resource in an expansion. With Alchemy I finally got around to doing that. Originally I was thinking it would be Reagents or Mandrake or something. I didn't find a good enough picture to use for such a card, so I went with Potions. That's how these decisions get made.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Watno on December 09, 2012, 02:01:06 pm
What question do you get aked most often in interviews?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 09, 2012, 02:42:56 pm
When you were arranging the cards into the various expansions, what other themes or sub-themes did you consider but ultimately scrap?  Aside from Dark Ages being named War, were there other substantially different expansion names that you considered?
I dunno, if there's somehow a 9th expansion, I'll need one of those themes, right? Most of the sets only ever had one theme. I considered coming up with a different theme for Hinterlands, maybe a particular far-off place, but more or less stuck with the original theme, just making the travel go further abroad. I considered a few different themes for Cornucopia and Guilds.

Seaside plus Hinterlands was originally called Abroad; when I split it I temporarily called Seaside "Tomorrow." Cornucopia was originally called Harvest Festival; Jay wanted a different name. Dominion was originally called Castle Builder. Guilds had a placeholder name I cannot reveal at this time.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 09, 2012, 02:50:40 pm
I believe you once mentioned that in the early days of Dominion you had considered having multiple resources, but ultimately opted for only coin, reserving the alternate resource idea for the final expansion.  If this is true, did you always intend on having a single primary resource such as coin, with other resources playing only a secondary role like Potion?  Or did you consider having more than one resource in your starting hand, or perhaps a secondary resource which was necessary for purchasing victory cards?

Edit:  It was in the Secret History of Alchemy

Quote
When I came up with Dominion, I figured it would have multiple resources. When I actually made it, I went with one resource, because it was simpler. I could always add another resource in an expansion. With Alchemy I finally got around to doing that. Originally I was thinking it would be Reagents or Mandrake or something. I didn't find a good enough picture to use for such a card, so I went with Potions. That's how these decisions get made.
These early days you speak of are just when I typed up the original notes. When I actually made the game I went with just coins. When I typed up the notes I was thinking it would be three things or something, and cards would cost combinations of them, and your deck would start with all of them. But I mean, you are talking about, what did I think one afternoon about something I hadn't thought through.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: LastFootnote on December 09, 2012, 02:51:08 pm
Guilds had a placeholder name I cannot reveal at this time.

Dominion: Complexity?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Drab Emordnilap on December 09, 2012, 02:51:42 pm
What a terrible experiment. What about this one?: Look at these cards (rinkworks's mini-set design contest winners). (http://forum.dominionstrategy.com/index.php?topic=3521.msg68134#msg68134)
Sorry to disappoint you! My experiment had the feature of only making one guy who isn't here feel bad. Probably you guys can do better, but, well.

Please make us feel bad. Please!
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 09, 2012, 02:52:21 pm
What question do you get aked most often in interviews?
This question stopped being good as of the 2nd interview. Early on I got asked a lot "did you expect Dominion to be so successful" and gradually worked out how to say "yes" properly.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: GendoIkari on December 09, 2012, 03:54:00 pm
There has been to date exactly one card I saw where I thought, hey, cool idea. It was something like, "when you gain this put it in the discard pile of the player to your left; at end of game worth 2 VP for the player to your right." I have done hot-potato cards that did not work out and probably this would fail for the same reasons, but still, neat idea.

This seems almost identical to a double-curse, that works on-gain, so basically like a way more powerful IGG, with political issues because it only hurts one player.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: SirPeebles on December 09, 2012, 03:58:14 pm
There has been to date exactly one card I saw where I thought, hey, cool idea. It was something like, "when you gain this put it in the discard pile of the player to your left; at end of game worth 2 VP for the player to your right." I have done hot-potato cards that did not work out and probably this would fail for the same reasons, but still, neat idea.

This seems almost identical to a double-curse, that works on-gain, so basically like a way more powerful IGG, with political issues because it only hurts one player.

In a 2 player game it is essentially a double curse.  It's interesting to me that you can't so effectively Ambassador it in a 2 player game.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: LastFootnote on December 09, 2012, 04:03:52 pm
I think the versions of it I've seen allow you to spend an action to pass it left.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: aaron0013 on December 09, 2012, 04:08:39 pm
When you were arranging the cards into the various expansions, what other themes or sub-themes did you consider but ultimately scrap?  Aside from Dark Ages being named War, were there other substantially different expansion names that you considered?
I dunno, if there's somehow a 9th expansion, I'll need one of those themes, right? Most of the sets only ever had one theme. I considered coming up with a different theme for Hinterlands, maybe a particular far-off place, but more or less stuck with the original theme, just making the travel go further abroad. I considered a few different themes for Cornucopia and Guilds.

Seaside plus Hinterlands was originally called Abroad; when I split it I temporarily called Seaside "Tomorrow." Cornucopia was originally called Harvest Festival; Jay wanted a different name. Dominion was originally called Castle Builder. Guilds had a placeholder name I cannot reveal at this time.
You should consider making an arctic exploration theme....with PENGUINS!  Blue ones.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: buggy on December 09, 2012, 05:50:01 pm
Actually, I believe he's posted in this very thread (http://forum.dominionstrategy.com/index.php?topic=5799.msg148235#msg148235).
Sorry buggy. My other example was Richard Garfield, so you're in good company.

I'm right here!  And I don't feel bad.  It is kinda funny that the very next message in the thread after he talked about my cards was him answering my questions...
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: nopawnsintended on December 09, 2012, 06:37:44 pm
Great thread.  Here are some other questions.

If you could choose two (famous) people to play in a game of Dominion, who would they be and why?

Follow up: What cards would be in the kingdom?

Have you ever thought about running for political office (Governor, perhaps?)?

What is your favorite card to Throne Room?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Captain_Frisk on December 09, 2012, 09:04:04 pm
If you play on isotropic competitively how high do you expect your level to be?
I don't know what actual skill level corresponds to what numerical level. Also you are better at these things when you keep at them. I have not kept at it and so there's that. I imagine when I was playing a ton that I was probably a top player, but there's no reason to think I was ever at the very top.

When Captain Frisk (and Theory and RRenaud) showed up to do a little playtesting, I feel like me and the other playtesters really tried to beat them up - just, forget learning anything this game, let's show these new guys what for. And we did beat them up, although to be fair, we knew the new cards and they didn't, they were in the "can't you make Jack more powerful" phase. Frisk was playing more later and I think was winning his share then.

I can confirm that I took a beating.  Donald has already robbed my defenses, which were that i naturally wanted to play with the new hotness, and these guys had all seen all of the cards / combos before.  I'm personally very much of a "read lots of theory and execute it" rather than an "invent new crazy stuff" type of guy.

I would assume that Donald would be a 40-45 level player.  -Stef- would win > 50% games against him.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: ConMan on December 09, 2012, 09:38:18 pm
Of all the different mechanics, themes, concepts and what have yous out there that you *haven't* explicitly made a game about, what do you most want to try?

Did Kingdom Builder ever have a different name?

Out of all the Dominion cards so far released, what is your favourite interaction - combo or nombo - between two or more of them?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: mith on December 09, 2012, 11:35:56 pm
Any chance we'll get the Secret History of Donald's Mafia Thoughts?
I know I wanted to try having the roles be objects that people passed around, and it turned out someone had already tried that. People have been working on the problem for years, so probably I didn't have any ideas they haven't gotten to.

We do have the advantage of Mafia being more of a group-think development (albeit often starting from a "new" idea which is kept secret for the purposes of SUSPENSE, "playtested" once, and then overreacted to by the losers) compared to one guy teasing out all the "obvious" ideas from a rule set.

If you were to play forum Mafia, do you think you would do better as Mafia or Town? (Would the answer change if it were face-to-face?)
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Piemaster on December 10, 2012, 01:38:14 am
I assume when you first started testing Dominion, you tried out a lot of different basic game mechanics that ended up getting canned for various reasons.  Are there any that, with the benefit of hindsight, you wish you had persevered with as you think they would have made the game better in some way?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 10, 2012, 02:54:02 am
There has been to date exactly one card I saw where I thought, hey, cool idea. It was something like, "when you gain this put it in the discard pile of the player to your left; at end of game worth 2 VP for the player to your right." I have done hot-potato cards that did not work out and probably this would fail for the same reasons, but still, neat idea.

This seems almost identical to a double-curse, that works on-gain, so basically like a way more powerful IGG, with political issues because it only hurts one player.
Well they get the trash-for-benefit instead of you. But yes, that similarity could have killed the card. See, I already thought of everything.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 10, 2012, 03:39:24 am
If you could choose two (famous) people to play in a game of Dominion, who would they be and why?

Follow up: What cards would be in the kingdom?
This is tangential, but in the movie Midnight in Paris, the ostensible premise is that our hero is going back in time to Paris in the 20s. But the real premise is, our hero is going back in time to Paris in the 20s, and all of the famous people of the day are interested in talking to him. I mean he's a writer and some of them are writers, but he isn't a famous writer of the 20s, and he also gets to hang out with non-writers, Dali and uh, well Cole Porter is playing at a party and he sees Picasso at Gertrude Stein's. Anyway in the end, btw spoilers, our hero learns that he should be happy in his own time. But I'm in my own time right now, I've written some screenplays, and I can't chat up Woody Allen. The whole thing makes you want to start a club for clever creative people, try to put a little Algonquin Round Table into your life, but I don't see why any of them would show up.

Anyway I have no special interest in playing Dominion with a particular famous person I might otherwise like to meet. Man, for any given famous person, either you want to talk to them or have sex with them or both; maybe you want to collaborate on something with them. Playing Dominion, it will just be Dominion, I can already play Dominion.

I played my games a bunch of times with Richard Garfield, Mark Rosewater, and other Wizards people back in the late 90s. I had long conversations with Friedemann Friese and Andreas Seyfarth at the Essen I went to; I don't drink, but Andreas Seyfarth, there is a guy to have some beers with. There was business to discuss with Bernd, aka Michael Tummelhofer. I met Knizia but he just appeared to shake hands and smile and was gone. Tom Lehmann is coming over to play games in a few days, with Wei-Hwa, who you will one day know as the Roll for the Galaxy guy. I guess it's not so hard to meet people within your industry.

My favorite band is Game Theory / Loud Family (all other members quit so he changed the name). Since they are obscure and local, I have gotten to chat with the guy a few times, although I was somewhat starstruck. My favorite movie is Brazil; I will probably never meet Terry Gilliam. If he wants to hang out sometime then man I am there, it sounds like good times, but it's not like I think, oh, if only. There would probably be too much of a disconnect to enjoy meeting David Lynch or Robert Pollard. Woody Allen and Stephin Merritt would just be trying to get it over with. My favorite novel is Little, Big; I have no real concept of that guy, I'm not sure what we'd talk about. I'd go for Gene Wolfe for novels I think.

Scarlett Johansson is hot. Why, if I were ten years younger... and she were five years younger...

Have you ever thought about running for political office (Governor, perhaps?)?
I haven't, but I have flirted with trying to get some of my voting reforms to the governments that might use them, e.g. Sweden's. There are basic problems with basic solutions, where cold hard logic is all you need to see that of course you should change things.

What is your favorite card to Throne Room?
I don't know. Cards with choices are good, like Nobles.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 10, 2012, 04:19:32 am
Of all the different mechanics, themes, concepts and what have yous out there that you *haven't* explicitly made a game about, what do you most want to try?
For most of the mechanics I want to try, part of the appeal is not knowing a game that has them, so it's not like I want to list those. I've made several time travel games but no good ones; I'd like to make a good one.

Did Kingdom Builder ever have a different name?
No. I don't work on prototype names much; they need a name to be referred to, before I know if they're any good, and then it's easier to keep calling it that. So the names are usually something like The Spy Game. As you all know, in a surprise twist, Queen decided to stick with the prototype name. Rajive explained that, well, you are building a kingdom.

Out of all the Dominion cards so far released, what is your favourite interaction - combo or nombo - between two or more of them?
I already failed to answer this question. I will list a random interaction for each large set.

Dominion: Thief / Gardens has a certain charm.

Intrigue: I will stick with, Swindler / Silver. You couldn't possibly give me a Swindler, they're so terrifying.

Seaside: I am going to cite Smugglers / Pirate Ship. You open with Smugglers. You draw it and on their turn they buy Pirate Ship. Man. I don't want a Pirate Ship. Man. Urhrhrhr. Smuggle Pirate Ship, buy a Pirate Ship.

Prosperity: I am big on Worker's Village / Peddler.

Hinterlands: I have opened Develop / Spice Merchant so many times.

Dark Ages: Fortress is a pretty fun defense against Knights.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 10, 2012, 04:26:04 am
If you were to play forum Mafia, do you think you would do better as Mafia or Town? (Would the answer change if it were face-to-face?)
I don't know dude. Town sounds easier. As Town I just need to play as Town. As Mafia I have to play as Town but also Mafia.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 10, 2012, 04:38:27 am
I assume when you first started testing Dominion, you tried out a lot of different basic game mechanics that ended up getting canned for various reasons.  Are there any that, with the benefit of hindsight, you wish you had persevered with as you think they would have made the game better in some way?
Day one, your starting hand was 5 coppers / 5 estates, and played cards went to the discard pile; it didn't take long to fix those things. And otherwise it was the same game when I showed it to RGG; there are no lost basic game mechanics.

There are plenty of single-card mechanics that didn't work out, and you can read about them in the secret histories. I have no regrets there, I mean the ones that still seem like they have potential also have the time I spent not getting anywhere to dissuade me. Look at Dark Ages especially, since many cards had their last stand there. There's nothing where I think, that would really have improved the game if it had worked; it's just, that would have been a cool card if it had worked.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Jimmmmm on December 10, 2012, 05:29:19 am
What does the X stand for?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 10, 2012, 05:33:56 am
What does the X stand for?
It's a variable. The unknown.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Jimmmmm on December 10, 2012, 05:39:08 am
What does the X stand for?
It's a variable. The unknown.

Don't know whether to believe you or not. :P
I must admit, I'm struggling to think of you as "Donald Xavier", and I can't really think of any other X names.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: ipofanes on December 10, 2012, 05:41:11 am
Dark Ages: Fortress is a pretty fun defense against Knights.

Another card that lives up to its name.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Jimmmmm on December 10, 2012, 05:42:17 am
I think it's interesting that most of us here seem to think of the Dominion cards as a whole bunch of cards, but Donald seems to think of them more in terms of the sets.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: SirPeebles on December 10, 2012, 06:32:45 am
I think it's interesting that most of us here seem to think of the Dominion cards as a whole bunch of cards, but Donald seems to think of them more in terms of the sets.

I tend to think of them in terms of sets.  I remember acquiring them one ~$30 at a time, and how much each new set impacted my gaming group.  And still when we play we think in terms of sets. "Let's use Prosperity and Hinterlands" on Thursday.  It's never "Let's use King's Court and Jack" on Thursday.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: ipofanes on December 10, 2012, 06:49:45 am
What does the X stand for?
It's a variable. The unknown.

DXV also reads as 5:15, a great song by The Who.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Qvist on December 10, 2012, 07:06:02 am
Are you in favor of initializing a MTG-like Dominion Pro Tour? Or, in a similar way, do you think it's somehow possible to make taking part at the World Championships more attractive?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: SirPeebles on December 10, 2012, 08:00:56 am
What was your reaction when you first heard fans talk about "the Silver test"?  Do you feel that Big Money strategies are too strong in base Dominion, and was that a consideration at all when you put together the flagship set?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: werothegreat on December 10, 2012, 08:16:29 am
I think it's interesting that most of us here seem to think of the Dominion cards as a whole bunch of cards, but Donald seems to think of them more in terms of the sets.

I tend to think of them in terms of sets.  I remember acquiring them one ~$30 at a time, and how much each new set impacted my gaming group.  And still when we play we think in terms of sets. "Let's use Prosperity and Hinterlands" on Thursday.  It's never "Let's use King's Court and Jack" on Thursday.

I think of it both ways.  I'm aware of what comes with which set, but since they're all part of a larger whole, rather than weird sequels to one another, my thoughts on Kingdom setups tend to be cross-expansion. 
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: aaron0013 on December 10, 2012, 08:23:02 am
Is Seaside your second favorite set?

What was the most enjoyable set to work on and playtest?

Don't know why this comes to mind, but what is your wife's favorite card?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 10, 2012, 08:35:29 am
Are you in favor of initializing a MTG-like Dominion Pro Tour? Or, in a similar way, do you think it's somehow possible to make taking part at the World Championships more attractive?
Well MtG has a constant flow of new products. Like, should Puerto Rico have a Pro Tour? It feels like the WBC is good enough for most games.

Giving people plane tickets to the championships would require thinking that that promotion was paying off. I'm not sure it would and it's not my department anyway.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 10, 2012, 08:48:53 am
What was your reaction when you first heard fans talk about "the Silver test"?  Do you feel that Big Money strategies are too strong in base Dominion, and was that a consideration at all when you put together the flagship set?
I'm not sure I would put it like that - more like, when I first heard a non-fan talking about it. I thought, lol. It's pretty obviously stupid and while it's good to realize "hey maybe buying a terminal action every turn won't work out," that obv. doesn't mean the game is broken. Dominion clearly survived that nonsense and so much for that.

I think base Dominion could have better replayability/variety via swapping out some of the duds for more interesting cards. That would also make more-interesting decks better; a bunch of decks where you play just 1-2 terminals plus money is not as much variety as, you know, not that. But I would be changing it for the variety issue, not due to wanting to hurt heavy money strategies.

Heavy money strategies were not a consideration for picking the cards in the main set. Being simple enough was the main concern, followed by, variety. It did well on simplicity, probably it could have been slightly less simple. It wasn't going to have as much variety as when you add an expansion, but it could have had more variety.

Silver isn't awful, and the game has this "only play one action per turn" rule. Those both seem like good things, but together they lead to, sometimes you can do well without many actions. Not playing many actions is just one of the basic solutions to only being able to play one per turn. There are other solutions though, and the main set has them: I can play lots of +1 action cards like Lab, I can play Village and more terminals, I can play Remodels and Remodel Remodel, I can go for Gardens and just live with lots of terminals.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 10, 2012, 08:59:43 am
Is Seaside your second favorite set?
Comparing just the large sets, I like Dark Ages best, then Hinterlands, Prosperity, Seaside, Intrigue, Dominion. They are just strictly in order from worst to best. The biggest gap is between Intrigue and Seaside though; from Seaside on they're all so good that who cares which set is better. I've had plenty of fun with Intrigue and Dominion but for sure there's room for improvement there.

It's hard to fairly compare the small sets to the large ones (or Dark Ages to normal large sets). I like Cornucopia more than Alchemy. I like Alchemy though, I am no Alchemy hater. I probably like Guilds best, but it's close.

What was the most enjoyable set to work on and playtest?
There's no set where I wasn't enjoying working on it. I guess the later sets were arguably more fun because we could playtest them on isotropic. Dark Ages is my favorite set, so, I dunno, Dark Ages?

Don't know why this comes to mind, but what is your wife's favorite card?
I don't know and she's asleep.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Slyfox on December 10, 2012, 11:23:57 am
Do you have favorite kid's game?

Any thoughts on a "Dominion for Kids" sort of variant similar to what we've seen for Settlers and Carcassonne?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: ipofanes on December 10, 2012, 11:33:24 am
This version should include chits in a bag instead of cards. Kids are poor shufflers and tend to warp cards, especially if excited by the game.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 10, 2012, 12:12:51 pm
Do you have favorite kid's game?
I'm fond of step-on-feet. You try to step on their feet. They try to step on your feet. You win when every other player has conceded.

Any thoughts on a "Dominion for Kids" sort of variant similar to what we've seen for Settlers and Carcassonne?
I have not given any thought to such a thing. I've played Dominion with an 8-year-old, and I'm not sure I'd want to aim much lower.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: mith on December 10, 2012, 01:32:10 pm
Any thoughts on a "Dominion for Kids" sort of variant similar to what we've seen for Settlers and Carcassonne?
I have not given any thought to such a thing. I've played Dominion with an 8-year-old, and I'm not sure I'd want to aim much lower.

"You may drool on this card. If you don't, +$3."

What games did you play growing up (if any)? What's your earliest gaming memory?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 10, 2012, 02:36:18 pm
What games did you play growing up (if any)? What's your earliest gaming memory?
I played a lot of D&D. I played it when it was the little books - Eldritch Wizardry etc. No-one ever played by the rules, because there were awful, so I guess that was probably my first experience with game design. At some point in my teens I briefly tried to be good at chess. I was good at intimidating people by being smart, I would push a piece forward and they would be sure it must be some great plan.

Otherwise, you know, normal American stuff, this will not be interesting. Monopoly, Checkers, etc. etc. Trying to figure out what my oldest such memory is is too hard and boring. I'm like the Memento guy, I can only remember the last 38 years. I have a photo of a man from before then and it says "don't believe his lies;" I think it's referring to Santa Claus.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Drab Emordnilap on December 10, 2012, 03:25:49 pm
Why does Spy cost $4? Were Spy/Spy openings just too annoying to resolve or something?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 10, 2012, 04:05:36 pm
Why does Spy cost $4? Were Spy/Spy openings just too annoying to resolve or something?
It's pretty random. I didn't know as much what I was doing then; I tried it at $4 and people bought it and you didn't have to. These days I wouldn't make it at all - it's too slow for what you get, and charging less doesn't fix that. Rabble is the way to do Spy.

The "this has to cost $4 to stop you from opening with two of them" thing first came to light with a main set outtake that was "trash a card from your hand, discard a card, +3 cards." It was $3 for a while and I upped it to $4 to stop that opening (and moved it to Intrigue, then to Dark Ages, then it died). Throne Room is $4 because $3 was too good with +buys; it was cute that you could open Throne / Feast but I couldn't preserve that. Remodel is $4 because that makes it better. Smithy, Gardens, and Feast want to be $4. Militia, Moneylender, Bureaucrat, and Thief are all somewhat randomly at $4; they were trying to fit into a continuum of cards, where as you know the big difference is from $4 to $5. They are correctly less than $5. I'm happy with them being $4; it's not like you want to face double-attack openings a lot (bad or not) when you're new to the game. Moneylender fits fine into the continuum.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: ftl on December 10, 2012, 04:34:08 pm
That seems like it would go well on the spy wiki page.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: jupiter on December 10, 2012, 08:50:59 pm
That seems like it would go well on the spy wiki page.

All the other cards he mentioned should go too.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Powerman on December 11, 2012, 12:27:53 am
How do you go about teaching the game in general to new players?

How many games of Dominion would you guess you have played?

What card do you think you are "best" with?  What about worst?

Boxers or briefs?

Which is more frustrating for you in a competitive-ish game, Turn 5 chapel or 2+P in a Familiar game?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: michaeljb on December 11, 2012, 01:42:29 am
This thread seems similar enough to a reddit AMA that this feels appropriate....

Would you rather fight one Trusty Steed-sized Rat or 100 Rat-sized Trusty Steeds?

edit: asked this before coming to the post where you said you wouldn't be answering funny questions
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: ftl on December 11, 2012, 02:09:22 am
Which is more frustrating for you in a competitive-ish game, Turn 5 chapel or 2+P in a Familiar game?

I bet I can provide the start of his answer! "It depends on the board..."
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: michaeljb on December 11, 2012, 02:23:08 am
That seems like it would go well on the spy wiki page.


A whole lot of this thread would be great for the wiki.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 11, 2012, 04:54:22 am
How do you go about teaching the game in general to new players?
I uh explain the rules? "This is a game of building a deck..." I explain the data in the game - "you have a deck, a discard pile, a hand of cards..." I explain how your turn goes. I explain the card types, the four +'s, gain/trash, the end condition. I am teaching the game using whatever expansion I am testing, so I explain whatever twists it has.

How many games of Dominion would you guess you have played?
Man. Well, in the thousands. IRL I must have played at least 3K games; it's hard to estimate because any given game night may have involved other games. There are 3600+ posts in playtest forum threads for posting results from playing online; they aren't all games and I'm not in all of them, although a lot are and I'm in a lot of them. That doesn't cover all online games, just from Cornucopia on (I had a bad online version when working on the main set).

What card do you think you are "best" with?  What about worst?
I'm best with new, untested cards. Also against them.

I'm looking at the sets, I don't see cards that say I will lose. I buy the weak cards less often than the strong cards, the narrow cards less often than the flexible ones. I guess like anyone decent can say, I do worse against swingy cards.

Boxers or briefs?
Boxers; the motif on them is a boxer, poised to punch.

Which is more frustrating for you in a competitive-ish game, Turn 5 chapel or 2+P in a Familiar game?
Well I've experienced the former more than the latter so I guess that one. But really, if this game is competitive-ish, phew, I can point to this as why I lost. The pressure's off.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Davio on December 11, 2012, 05:02:33 am
What I've always liked about Dominion and disliked about Magic is that in Dominion all players have the same choices. Every card in the kingdom was available to every player. You weren't limited to the amount of money you wanted to spend on random booster packs and such. You could just buy a set, know every card you were going to get and have equal access to all of those cards.

Cornucopia changed this with the Tournament prizes and it seems that a lot of games are decided on who gets Followers or Trusty Steed first. Dark Ages introduced Ruins and Knights and even made the initial shuffles more different with Shelters.

Now I understand that it's sometimes fun when games are this asymmetrical, but it seems like you're straying further from the original "equal access" concept - if that even ever existed. Even cards that "do something with the trash" attribute to this as the timing of when you play your trasher/trash-grabber matters a lot.

Did you have an "equal access" concept in mind when you started designing Dominion? Is there a reason you've been exploring asymmetry more and more?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 11, 2012, 08:01:52 am
edit: asked this before coming to the post where you said you wouldn't be answering funny questions
I don't want to disappoint people, I just don't want to spend hours trying to think of funny answers. I started looking for an old, unrelated joke to post instead, and even that was taking too long.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 11, 2012, 08:11:40 am
What I've always liked about Dominion and disliked about Magic is that in Dominion all players have the same choices. Every card in the kingdom was available to every player. You weren't limited to the amount of money you wanted to spend on random booster packs and such. You could just buy a set, know every card you were going to get and have equal access to all of those cards.

Cornucopia changed this with the Tournament prizes and it seems that a lot of games are decided on who gets Followers or Trusty Steed first. Dark Ages introduced Ruins and Knights and even made the initial shuffles more different with Shelters.

Now I understand that it's sometimes fun when games are this asymmetrical, but it seems like you're straying further from the original "equal access" concept - if that even ever existed. Even cards that "do something with the trash" attribute to this as the timing of when you play your trasher/trash-grabber matters a lot.

Did you have an "equal access" concept in mind when you started designing Dominion? Is there a reason you've been exploring asymmetry more and more?
When I thought of the premise, my original thought was that there would be some cards to buy, and when you bought one we'd deal out a replacement. When I actually made the game, months later, that sounded bad. Wouldn't a lot come down to having a good card turned over when you got first shot at it? It might seem just like if we draw cards from a deck and I draw a better one, but it's much more in-your-face. Anyway I didn't manage to come up with a good solution, so for the first game, I just put (all) ten cards out at once. I figured, it would make it easy to find the broken cards, and if the game seemed promising I could come up with something better later. Then of course we liked getting to pick from ten cards. So this significant feature of Dominion was something I just lucked into.

From my perspective there has been no trajectory like you describe. The Knights and Black Market are from 2007. I have asymmetry in this area because it was something to do. There sure isn't much of it. It's like $7's; some people felt like $7's would break the game, not realizing that, even if I made say four of them, you still wouldn't have one in most games.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: ipofanes on December 11, 2012, 08:20:43 am
What I've always liked about Dominion and disliked about Magic is that in Dominion all players have the same choices. Every card in the kingdom was available to every player. You weren't limited to the amount of money you wanted to spend on random booster packs and such. You could just buy a set, know every card you were going to get and have equal access to all of those cards.

This is what instantly clicked with me. I committed to buying all the expansions if the game promised to be any good, and still be way below the money I spent for M:tG.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Davio on December 11, 2012, 08:29:17 am
I agree with the fact that having a few asymmetric cards doesn't immediately sway the balance to complete asymmetry because most games wouldn't have those cards anyway, it's just something I noticed as more expansions came out.

I reckon it might be difficult for you (and us) to keep track of the timeline as our experience with the cards is different from yours. We don't exactly know the order the cards were designed in, we just know the order of the expansions. So introducing this asymmetry can simply be an effect of shuffling cards around from set to set and it's also quite logical that asymmetrical cards are more complex and thus end up in later sets.

And with Guilds around the corner I wondered if this was a trend or just a side effect of the way cards were released and judging from your answer, I guess it's the latter. In your view, correct me if I'm wrong, asymmetry has always been part of the game, but you can see how it looks to us like a trend, just because the expansions are released in a certain order.

I found the first tidbit about "just turn over some cards and replace them if they're bought" very interesting. So you essentially started with a Black Market deck? It's funny to see how games develop this way. Nowadays, picking 10 cards out of all the available cards is such a linchpin of the game that we don't even think twice about it and, for me certainly, this has been a big reason why it's been so popular.

Imagine playing with just the 25 cards from the base game, containing exactly one copy of Witch and one copy of Chapel.  ;D
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 11, 2012, 09:34:18 am
I reckon it might be difficult for you (and us) to keep track of the timeline as our experience with the cards is different from yours. We don't exactly know the order the cards were designed in, we just know the order of the expansions. So introducing this asymmetry can simply be an effect of shuffling cards around from set to set and it's also quite logical that asymmetrical cards are more complex and thus end up in later sets.
Tournament is a fixed Black Market and is in Cornucopia because I wanted something in the variety-based set that actually increased the number of cards available, which Black Market does. The Knights were always in Dark Ages, from when it was called War. They are Knights; it's a War. The Ruins cards and Shelters vary because that's more interesting than having them be the same. They were made for the set. It was not some drive to increase asymmetry or some careful saving of complex things; it was, can I make Curses more interesting, and then Tom suggesting replacing the starting Estates to push the Dark Ages flavor.

And with Guilds around the corner I wondered if this was a trend or just a side effect of the way cards were released and judging from your answer, I guess it's the latter.
I'm not really looking to tell people about Guilds yet. Let's just steer all questions away from that.

If the game didn't include any cards anyone hated, it wouldn't include any cards anyone loved either. You are complaining about a tiny number of things that some people absolutely adore. Don't play with Tournament and Knights if you don't like them. They are slam dunks for me.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: TWoos on December 11, 2012, 09:57:07 am
If the game didn't include any cards anyone hated, it wouldn't include any cards anyone loved either. You are complaining about a tiny number of things that some people absolutely adore. Don't play with Tournament and Knights if you don't like them. They are slam dunks for me.

It struck me as amusing that Tournament and Knights are in different sets.  How can you have a Tournament without Knights?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Drab Emordnilap on December 11, 2012, 10:02:18 am
It struck me as amusing that Tournament and Knights are in different sets.  How can you have a Tournament without Knights?

Well, when you host a Tournament, knights come from all over to compete; that doesn't mean they're each in your personal employ. The more provinces you yourself hold, though, the more likely the victor will come from your lands.

Also, I totally like the flavor of hiring Dame Molly to go wreck a tournament being hosted by another player.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Davio on December 11, 2012, 10:24:22 am
If the game didn't include any cards anyone hated, it wouldn't include any cards anyone loved either. You are complaining about a tiny number of things that some people absolutely adore. Don't play with Tournament and Knights if you don't like them. They are slam dunks for me.

It struck me as amusing that Tournament and Knights are in different sets.  How can you have a Tournament without Knights?
Hey, I'm not saying I hate those cards! It's just something I noticed after the first sets not having such cards. :)

Some of the cards I'd like to see in Guilds are asymmetrical cards. Yes, you don't have to say anything about Guilds, but we're allowed to speculate.

Dominion by itself is already pretty asymmetrical with all the shuffling anyway.

Again, it's just something that caught my eye, I'm not judging it either way. Getting the 2nd prize with Tournament is certainly no more annoying than drawing $2P on turn 5.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Drab Emordnilap on December 11, 2012, 10:27:40 am
Again, it's just something that caught my eye, I'm not judging it either way. Getting the 2nd prize with Tournament is certainly no more annoying than drawing $2P on turn 5.

So much less annoying than this. I wish Familiar cost $1P so badly.

Dolan, why 10 kingdom cards? Did you ever try 12 cards available at a time, or eight? (Different cards, not cards per pile)
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: SwitchedFromStarcraft on December 11, 2012, 11:31:32 am
Again, it's just something that caught my eye, I'm not judging it either way. Getting the 2nd prize with Tournament is certainly no more annoying than drawing $2P on turn 5.

So much less annoying than this. I wish Familiar cost $1P so badly.

Dolan, why 10 kingdom cards? Did you ever try 12 cards available at a time, or eight? (Different cards, not cards per pile)
Dolan?  Is this a scumslip?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Tables on December 11, 2012, 11:34:56 am
(http://cdn.memegenerator.net/instances/400x/31685080.jpg)
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: SwitchedFromStarcraft on December 11, 2012, 11:36:15 am
Again, it's just something that caught my eye, I'm not judging it either way. Getting the 2nd prize with Tournament is certainly no more annoying than drawing $2P on turn 5.

So much less annoying than this. I wish Familiar cost $1P so badly.

Dolan, why 10 kingdom cards? Did you ever try 12 cards available at a time, or eight? (Different cards, not cards per pile)
Dolan?  Is this a scumslip?
It feels like it would be the Celtic equivalent of Donald, doesn't it?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: SwitchedFromStarcraft on December 11, 2012, 11:37:04 am
Or maybe the title of a new Eagles song: Duelin' Dolan Doolan.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Schneau on December 11, 2012, 11:48:54 am
Again, it's just something that caught my eye, I'm not judging it either way. Getting the 2nd prize with Tournament is certainly no more annoying than drawing $2P on turn 5.

So much less annoying than this. I wish Familiar cost $1P so badly.

Dolan, why 10 kingdom cards? Did you ever try 12 cards available at a time, or eight? (Different cards, not cards per pile)
Dolan?  Is this a scumslip?
It feels like it would be the Celtic equivalent of Donald, doesn't it?

Donald is Celtic.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: jotheonah on December 11, 2012, 12:40:54 pm
tag
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 11, 2012, 12:46:34 pm
Dolan, why 10 kingdom cards? Did you ever try 12 cards available at a time, or eight? (Different cards, not cards per pile)
As you add more cards you get more options but the game is harder to play, especially when you're new. Of course at a certain point you aren't increasing options much anymore because cards displace other cards for you.

Originally I had ten cards and decided to just put them all out. We could cope with ten so it stayed ten.

At one point I played with eight for a while. It worked fine but was not as good. I never really considered twelve because ten is already too many to remember them all (and I didn't consider odd numbers). There's the neat trick of, it's my first game ever, man I'm not reading all these, I have $4, what costs $4, I'll read those. But ten cards is still a lot.

Another thing is that the number has an effect on the variety you get. With 25 cards and 10 at a time, it takes you, you know, 2.5 games to see them all. If it were 8 cards at a time it would take 3 games. That was the big reason to test 8 for me, and it pushes away from putting more cards out at once.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: SwitchedFromStarcraft on December 11, 2012, 01:02:02 pm
Again, it's just something that caught my eye, I'm not judging it either way. Getting the 2nd prize with Tournament is certainly no more annoying than drawing $2P on turn 5.

So much less annoying than this. I wish Familiar cost $1P so badly.

Dolan, why 10 kingdom cards? Did you ever try 12 cards available at a time, or eight? (Different cards, not cards per pile)
Dolan?  Is this a scumslip?
It feels like it would be the Celtic equivalent of Donald, doesn't it?

Donald is Celtic.
I can't imagine why I didn't know that, with a name like Vaccarino.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Schneau on December 11, 2012, 01:18:00 pm
Again, it's just something that caught my eye, I'm not judging it either way. Getting the 2nd prize with Tournament is certainly no more annoying than drawing $2P on turn 5.

So much less annoying than this. I wish Familiar cost $1P so badly.

Dolan, why 10 kingdom cards? Did you ever try 12 cards available at a time, or eight? (Different cards, not cards per pile)
Dolan?  Is this a scumslip?
It feels like it would be the Celtic equivalent of Donald, doesn't it?

Donald is Celtic.
I can't imagine why I didn't know that, with a name like Vaccarino.

Ahh, I meant the name, not DXV. I have no clue what DXV is.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: shraeye on December 11, 2012, 01:20:08 pm
Ahh, I meant the name, not DXV. I have no clue what DXV is.
515, duh.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: werothegreat on December 11, 2012, 01:35:00 pm
Again, it's just something that caught my eye, I'm not judging it either way. Getting the 2nd prize with Tournament is certainly no more annoying than drawing $2P on turn 5.

So much less annoying than this. I wish Familiar cost $1P so badly.

Dolan, why 10 kingdom cards? Did you ever try 12 cards available at a time, or eight? (Different cards, not cards per pile)
Dolan?  Is this a scumslip?
It feels like it would be the Celtic equivalent of Donald, doesn't it?

Gooby plz.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: meandering mercury on December 11, 2012, 01:47:02 pm
As you add more cards you get more options but the game is harder to play, especially when you're new. Of course at a certain point you aren't increasing options much anymore because cards displace other cards for you.

Originally I had ten cards and decided to just put them all out. We could cope with ten so it stayed ten.

At one point I played with eight for a while. It worked fine but was not as good. I never really considered twelve because ten is already too many to remember them all (and I didn't consider odd numbers). There's the neat trick of, it's my first game ever, man I'm not reading all these, I have $4, what costs $4, I'll read those. But ten cards is still a lot.

I've found this to be true too. These days when I explain Dominion to a set of non-gamer friends I only use five cards instead of ten. It all fits in memory that way. For their second game, I roll out a full set of ten cards. Of course if you have an experienced boardgaming audience then you can start with ten to begin with.

I've sometimes thought that the official First Game set should be less than ten cards for this reason.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Young Nick on December 11, 2012, 02:24:39 pm
I've also been itching to play some games with 12 instead of 10. I think that experienced players would enjoy the greater number of options it presents and it would lead to fewer BM+X games, which are no one's favorites.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: TWoos on December 11, 2012, 02:56:33 pm
These days when I explain Dominion to a set of non-gamer friends I only use five cards instead of ten. It all fits in memory that way. For their second game, I roll out a full set of ten cards. Of course if you have an experienced boardgaming audience then you can start with ten to begin with.

Do you have a specific set of five that you use?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: theory on December 11, 2012, 03:27:58 pm
These days when I explain Dominion to a set of non-gamer friends I only use five cards instead of ten. It all fits in memory that way. For their second game, I roll out a full set of ten cards. Of course if you have an experienced boardgaming audience then you can start with ten to begin with.

Do you have a specific set of five that you use?

King's Court
Goons
Masquerade
Saboteur
Possession
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: werothegreat on December 11, 2012, 03:34:03 pm
These days when I explain Dominion to a set of non-gamer friends I only use five cards instead of ten. It all fits in memory that way. For their second game, I roll out a full set of ten cards. Of course if you have an experienced boardgaming audience then you can start with ten to begin with.

Do you have a specific set of five that you use?

King's Court
Goons
Masquerade
Saboteur
Possession

Saboteur makes the whole thing worth it.  BRING IT ON.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: jonts26 on December 11, 2012, 04:36:55 pm
These days when I explain Dominion to a set of non-gamer friends I only use five cards instead of ten. It all fits in memory that way. For their second game, I roll out a full set of ten cards. Of course if you have an experienced boardgaming audience then you can start with ten to begin with.

Do you have a specific set of five that you use?

King's Court
Goons
Masquerade
Saboteur
Possession

The more I stare at it, the more I think it would be incredibly interesting to play.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Beyond Awesome on December 11, 2012, 04:57:44 pm
These days when I explain Dominion to a set of non-gamer friends I only use five cards instead of ten. It all fits in memory that way. For their second game, I roll out a full set of ten cards. Of course if you have an experienced boardgaming audience then you can start with ten to begin with.

Do you have a specific set of five that you use?

King's Court
Goons
Masquerade
Saboteur
Possession

Mind=Blown
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: SirPeebles on December 11, 2012, 05:11:36 pm
These days when I explain Dominion to a set of non-gamer friends I only use five cards instead of ten. It all fits in memory that way. For their second game, I roll out a full set of ten cards. Of course if you have an experienced boardgaming audience then you can start with ten to begin with.

Do you have a specific set of five that you use?

King's Court
Goons
Masquerade
Saboteur
Possession

I didn't know you were going to go claiming credit for the final match kingdom I submitted.  ;)
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 11, 2012, 05:12:20 pm
Donald is Celtic.
It means "world ruler." And Vaccarino means "cow herder." And then X is the unknown. So, put it all together and it's like that South Park joke. phase 1: herd cows. phase 2: ? ? ?. phase 3: world domination.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: ConMan on December 11, 2012, 05:26:00 pm
Donald is Celtic.
It means "world ruler." And Vaccarino means "cow herder." And then X is the unknown. So, put it all together and it's like that South Park joke. phase 1: herd cows. phase 2: ? ? ?. phase 3: world domination.
But since it's the other way around, it seems to me like you're taking over the world in order to herd cows.

Allegedly, the biggest-selling LCG in Japan is a game called "Tanto Cuore", a maid-themed deck builder. While a lot of its mechanisms are practically identical to Dominion, its basic currency costs one more than the Dominion equivalent (so the $1 costs $1, the $2 costs $4 and the $3 costs $7). Did you ever consider doing anything like this in Dominion - particularly, moving Copper off the $0 price point?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: SirPeebles on December 11, 2012, 05:30:52 pm
He herds us like cattle...
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 11, 2012, 06:03:24 pm
Allegedly, the biggest-selling LCG in Japan is a game called "Tanto Cuore", a maid-themed deck builder. While a lot of its mechanisms are practically identical to Dominion, its basic currency costs one more than the Dominion equivalent (so the $1 costs $1, the $2 costs $4 and the $3 costs $7). Did you ever consider doing anything like this in Dominion - particularly, moving Copper off the $0 price point?
I never considered Copper not costing $0, because I wanted something you could do usefully with no money. Obv. they can sell out, and I have seen that case, I have seen the Coppers sell out and someone with no money. Obv. I try to avoid that being so possible in games with published cards, and if I've done that then does it matter that Copper costs $0, but what, it still seems nice that it does. And of course since it costs $0 that affects things.

The treasures had their costs from game one. The way to think of it is, all of the other costs were tweaked to work with them.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: ^_^_^_^ on December 11, 2012, 06:44:36 pm
So the player learns as the developer developed the game ;]

This brings up another question:
Was any tweaking done to Estates/Provinces/Colonies?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: ftl on December 11, 2012, 06:54:37 pm
In case Donald doesn't want to add more, I'll quote things he's said before:

http://forum.dominionstrategy.com/index.php?topic=115.0

Quote
Estate, Duchy, Copper, Silver, Gold: These cards are unchanged from day one. You could argue that the actions got tweaked to fit the treasures. The treasure pile sizes changed to match different estimates for the total set size, and ended up generous on all counts. In development the issue of the names for these came up - is it simpler if it's Copper Mine rather than Copper? In the end you can see that Copper won out. It just makes it a lot easier to name action cards if the treasures are treasures rather than mines.


http://wiki.dominionstrategy.com/index.php/Province (http://wiki.dominionstrategy.com/index.php/Province)

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As mentioned in the BGN article, we changed [Province] from 5 VP to 6 VP during development, as part of the fix to the Duchy rush. The Duchy rush was, you buy nothing but Silver and Duchies. At the time the game ended when any Victory pile ran out. If one person went for the Duchy rush you could beat them, but if two people did, you had to join them. My friends found this strategy, but it didn't seem like a problem. It was a boring strategy, so the only reason to play it was if you thought it would win for you. It wouldn't though; it would win for someone at random, since we would all follow suit. You could make the game suck but that's it. So we never did it. Well would you believe, being able to make the game suck is not so hot. Furthermore, if you're a new player, the Duchy rush may elevate your chance of winning from zero to even. So it was in fact a problem. An anonymous playtester realized this, Valerie and Dale raised the alarm, and in the end, Province changed from 5 VP to 6 VP and the end condition changed from "any empty victory pile" (the end condition we were using at the time, but not the original one, which was "any empty pile") to the one you know. We tried ideas that Valerie or Dale came up with, but in the end happened to go with something that I suggested (which is why I didn't count this when I mentioned Thief as the only card they changed). These two changes were easily the most important changes during development.—Donald X. Vaccarino (http://wiki.dominionstrategy.com/index.php/Donald_X._Vaccarino), The Secret History of the Dominion Cards (http://forum.dominionstrategy.com/index.php?topic=115.0)

http://wiki.dominionstrategy.com/index.php/Colony (http://wiki.dominionstrategy.com/index.php/Colony)
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This always cost (http://wiki.dominionstrategy.com/images/thumb/d/df/Coin11.png/16px-Coin11.png). Originally it made 8 VP. At the time Province was worth 5 VP. When Province went up to 6 VP, I changed this to 9 VP. It stayed like that for a while. 9 VP seemed like a good spot for making both Colony and Province viable in Colony games. In development, Valerie and Dale really wanted it to be worth 10 VP. 1 - 3 - 6 - 10! Except, the 1 and 3 there really don't mean much; Estate and Duchy are not bargains. For a while I said, sure, maybe 9 VP isn't the right value, but you know, it sure has seemed good in testing so far. And it had. It had seemed just fine. I finally tested it at 10 VP anyway though. And well, it usually didn't make a difference in who won, and it made counting scores easier, and it looks prettier. And attacks and rush strategies already push you away from Colony; it's fine if some games you really don't want to stop at Provinces. So 10 VP it is.—Donald X. Vaccarino (http://wiki.dominionstrategy.com/index.php/Donald_X._Vaccarino), The Other Secret History of the Prosperity Cards (http://forum.dominionstrategy.com/index.php?topic=5230)

Though we would of course love to hear more :)
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 11, 2012, 06:57:29 pm
Was any tweaking done to Estates/Provinces/Colonies?
Province was originally worth 5 VP. I changed it to 6 VP as part of the fix for the Duchy rush (the other part was changing the end condition from "any empty victory pile" to "any 3 empty piles, or all provinces gone").

Colony was originally 8 VP. I changed it to 9 VP when Province went to 6 VP. Valerie and Dale wanted it to be 10 VP so that the victory cards went 1 - 3 - 6 - 10, even though the 1 and 3 there don't belong. I tried it and found that it didn't matter much in terms of game play, but it did look nice and made counting scores easier. So Colony went to 10 VP.

Estate and Duchy never changed. Well the very first versions weren't named.

Edit: There was nothing new to say. They're green because I had a lot of green paper, I could mention that. At the time I printed in black and white on colored paper.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Powerman on December 11, 2012, 07:18:26 pm
all my firend buyz is money and he winz. pls help.

Do you consider yourself more of a BM-ish player or an engine player?

What's your favorite type of pie?

How did you decide on the artists for the cards?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 11, 2012, 07:27:32 pm
Do you consider yourself more of a BM-ish player or an engine player?

What's your favorite type of pie?

How did you decide on the artists for the cards?
Engines, apple. I don't have any input into who does the art for what card. I do get to see some of the sketches sometimes, in  which case I comment on them, but that's about illustrating the correct thing (and not having anachronisms or what have you) rather than say quality of art.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Ozle on December 12, 2012, 12:29:17 am
Donald is Celtic.
It means "world ruler." And Vaccarino means "cow herder." And then X is the unknown. So, put it all together and it's like that South Park joke. phase 1: herd cows. phase 2: ? ? ?. phase 3: world domination.

Surely the X is actually a multiplication sign

So its World Ruler x Cow Herder.

I'll leave the maths for someone else.....
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Ozle on December 12, 2012, 07:56:04 am
How have the sales of Dark Ages compared to, say, Hinterlands?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 12, 2012, 08:41:45 am
How have the sales of Dark Ages compared to, say, Hinterlands?
I won't have any sales figures until next year, and even then I'm not sure that will say anything about the level of interest from players - I'll just know how many copies were sold to distributors, and that may just reflect initial orders, i.e. what they guessed the level of interest would be.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: SwitchedFromStarcraft on December 12, 2012, 08:44:31 am
How have the sales of Dark Ages compared to, say, Hinterlands?
I won't have any sales figures until next year, and even then I'm not sure that will say anything about the level of interest from players - I'll just know how many copies were sold to distributors, and that may just reflect initial orders, i.e. what they guessed the level of interest would be.
Follow up question:

Aside from the base game, what is the best selling expansion to date, and what are your thoughts on why?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 12, 2012, 09:04:56 am
Follow up question:

Aside from the base game, what is the best selling expansion to date, and what are your thoughts on why?
This kind of thing is really more appropriate for an interview with Jay; so, last question about sales.

Without adding up these numbers I am guessing it's Intrigue. It was the first expansion and is a standalone and those seem like plausible explanations.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: theory on December 12, 2012, 09:34:07 am
Do you have more fun playtesting stories involving horribly broken cards?  I enjoyed the stories where no one has any deck whatsoever and must struggle forward with 5-card hands.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: tyr10n on December 12, 2012, 12:54:55 pm
In order to make more expansions, the cards necessarily get more complex, and that's the real problem with making more expansions (in addition to, then it's all I do with my life, and don't people have enough variety already, and so on, all the stuff I say over and over when people ask about why I'm not making more expansions). It's okay to change the game and there is more space to explore; it's just, you are pushed into making more and more complex things, while the audience already wants things less complex than they are.

Magic also has to deal with complexity creep in much the same way. Advanced players want more complicated cards, but the developers need to keep the game accessible to new players to make sure the playerbase doesn't stagnate. Somehow Wizards has managed to churn out expansions and attract new players for 20 years. Is there a reason why this couldn't be done with Dominion? I can understand you wanting to move on to new games, but would you ever be willing to hand off development of Dominion?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Tables on December 12, 2012, 01:47:24 pm
Was it intentional or just fortunate that if you only have Base+Cornucopia or Intrigue+Cornucopia then you still have at least 10 cards costing $2 or $3, and thus can't run into a situation where YW can't find a bane, at least without base cards?

(Yes I know it's contrived, but it's something I observed recently)
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 12, 2012, 05:02:27 pm
Do you have more fun playtesting stories involving horribly broken cards?  I enjoyed the stories where no one has any deck whatsoever and must struggle forward with 5-card hands.
Well I looked at some outtakes and haven't thought of one. I try to include every good story I can in the secret histories, including ones where the cards weren't broken, and then there's that post where I looked at the extremes of each type of attack outtake. One "We were all stuck at 5 cards" story is probably about the same as the next one. There are other random memorable games I've posted about, and as they get less memorable they somehow get harder to remember.

I could talk more about the early cards though, and I typed up something I will be proofreading and posting before you know it.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 12, 2012, 05:34:20 pm
Magic also has to deal with complexity creep in much the same way. Advanced players want more complicated cards, but the developers need to keep the game accessible to new players to make sure the playerbase doesn't stagnate. Somehow Wizards has managed to churn out expansions and attract new players for 20 years. Is there a reason why this couldn't be done with Dominion? I can understand you wanting to move on to new games, but would you ever be willing to hand off development of Dominion?
Magic is drastically more complex than Dominion, and that rulebook complexity takes complexity away from the cards. You can make tons of very simple Magic cards, but there are only so many combinations of +'s for Dominion. Then, Magic is okay with having extremely similar cards, even identical cards with different names (plus straight reprints), but that doesn't work in Dominion; if there are two identical piles there's one pile that could be making the game better and isn't. Magic is also not a game that normal people can play. Dominion can be played by your parents and so on and that doesn't seem good to give up.

I have made hundreds of homemade Magic cards. You can churn them out. There are all these knobs, all these ways to tweak something to end up with something different enough for Magic that isn't too complex for Magic. Dominion doesn't have those knobs, while needing cards more different and less complex.

I don't imagine I will ever want to "hand off" Dominion. Someone might be able to talk me into letting them do an expansion, but I would feel compelled to put in a lot of work on it myself. And if I'm making spin-offs, isn't that enough?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 12, 2012, 05:42:00 pm
Was it intentional or just fortunate that if you only have Base+Cornucopia or Intrigue+Cornucopia then you still have at least 10 cards costing $2 or $3, and thus can't run into a situation where YW can't find a bane, at least without base cards?

(Yes I know it's contrived, but it's something I observed recently)
The original Young Witch always had a bane costing $3 (so, not intentional). Jeff Wolfe suggested changing it to "$2 or $3" to reduce the frequency with which the bane was a particular Cornucopia card.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: LastFootnote on December 12, 2012, 05:45:46 pm
Someone might be able to talk me into letting them do an expansion, but I would feel compelled to put in a lot of work on it myself.

Resisting urge to send Donald fan cards...
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: jotheonah on December 12, 2012, 05:52:44 pm
People need to ask Donald more questions. He evidently has enough free time to lurk the GoF threads and point out when we're resolving the rules wrong.

Donald, when will game stores start having Gauntlet of Fools and what do I need to do to give you money for that game?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Drab Emordnilap on December 12, 2012, 05:54:12 pm
I don't imagine I will ever want to "hand off" Dominion. Someone might be able to talk me into letting them do an expansion, but I would feel compelled to put in a lot of work on it myself. And if I'm making spin-offs, isn't that enough?

We made one of those already! You should totally playtest it and get it printed. Especially the card I made.

Completely objective opinion, of course.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 12, 2012, 06:11:12 pm
Donald, when will game stores start having Gauntlet of Fools and what do I need to do to give you money for that game?
They have it now, and if you buy a copy I'll get my cut.

Obv. many physical stores may not have specifically chosen to stock it yet, but you can get them to order it, if you prefer that to ordering it yourself.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: ednever on December 12, 2012, 06:31:03 pm
I think the answer to this is "the game was long enough already", but I'm interested in the color:

Why 8/12 victory cards? And how did you get to that number?

My guess is that you started playing 3/4 player and wanted a number that was evenly divisible by that group- 12 is the obvious number. And then you shrank it to 8 to make 2p games similar.

Related question: why not 12 of each kingdom card then too? Making them evenly divisible seems fair using the same logic.

Would love to hear how the numbers were chosen.

Ed
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Tables on December 12, 2012, 06:38:19 pm
How often do you play Dominion with non-playtesting people? Do you ever do so online?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 12, 2012, 07:02:50 pm
Why 8/12 victory cards? And how did you get to that number?

My guess is that you started playing 3/4 player and wanted a number that was evenly divisible by that group- 12 is the obvious number. And then you shrank it to 8 to make 2p games similar.

Related question: why not 12 of each kingdom card then too? Making them evenly divisible seems fair using the same logic.
Originally there were 12 of every kingdom card and victory card (and I gradually printed more Copper / Silver / Gold / Curses, not knowing how much would be enough). Most of my games initially try to work with 3-5 players, and then I support 2 or 6+ if that works out. In a 5-player game where everyone wants a particular card, you may just end up with one of them. They get $5 on turns 3-4 and you don't, you know. I wanted enough copies of a card that I could expect to get a couple copies if I wanted them. So that was what mattered for a lower limit. And then the upper limit was, I can only print so many cards. I didn't know at the time that the number of cards would be an issue for publication, but man, I didn't want giant stacks of things we weren't buying. So 12 seemed reasonable and I went with 12. Yes, being divisible by 3 and 4 was nice too.

The original game ending condition was any empty pile. Normally it would be a victory pile though. When I learned that the number of cards was an issue - will people buy a box of just 500 cards, no incredibly valuable board or anything - I looked at ways to cut down. One was, lower the action card piles to 10 cards, but change the end condition to any victory pile. You had to leave a buffer you see - if I bought the Remodels down to one left, whoever's winning could buy that to lock in the win. So I have to leave two Remodels. With Remodel not ending the game, having only 10 Remodels was like having 12 had been before. We were getting use out of that last Remodel that never did anything but end the game, plus the Remodel you had to leave as a buffer. But the victory piles were still the end condition so they stayed 12. Then when I changed the end condition to "no provinces or 3 empty piles," I kept the non-Province VP piles at 12, because I felt like, having 12 of a kingdom victory card made it easier to go for that strategy. I wanted those cards to be competitive and having more cards was part of that. Now, Estate for sure did not need 12 and could have just not been a pile. If I had needed to cut cards, it was on the list. Since I didn't, it was 12 because the other VP piles were.

For 2 players you could just have a longer game, but it seemed good to pare it down, so it's 8. For more players you need more Provinces and so I add 3 per extra player to keep it a multiple of the number of players. Possibly 4 per player (so 16 for 4 players) would have been better; my thinking at the time was, more players means a longer game, so maybe it's not so bad to only have 3 per player for 4+. Speed it back up a little.

Curses ended up as 10 per opponent to make it possible to balance Witch over different numbers of players. It's probably 10 because it's a round number; it seemed like enough pain. And then Copper/Silver/Gold just tried to be enough to reasonably handle expansion cards that I already knew were coming.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 12, 2012, 07:14:43 pm
How often do you play Dominion with non-playtesting people? Do you ever do so online?
Never. All of my Dominion playing has also been Dominion playtesting. If I'm playing with non-playtesters, we're still playtesting. Some games were for playtesting sets-of-10 rather than cards. I've certainly played a lot for fun, but man, why not get in some testing while we're at it? And all it takes is using the most recent set. I haven't played Dominion irl in a while, but I only sent the Guilds rulebook to Jay two weeks ago; that was the earliest that I could not be accomplishing valuable playtesting in my games (and even now I could make a last-minute change if I had to).

I played a portion of a game for some people to film at Essen in 2009; that's the only time I've played with published cards, and the only game I can point to as not doing any testing.

There was a point when I was playing the Goko version to while away some time while technically accomplishing something. I stopped when it started crashing Chrome; since then I've only done a little dedicated new expansion testing. But all the Goko games count as testing Goko, including the tiny number I played against real people.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: ConMan on December 12, 2012, 07:42:13 pm
If you weren't known as "The guy who created Dominion", which of your other games would you most want to fill that space?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: RD on December 12, 2012, 08:31:08 pm
What's the weirdest fringe situation you learn about from playtesting broken cards, that we never experience? I'm guessing you have like ten pages of advice on what to do in games where, say, Gold is likely to run out, even though the rest of us have seen that situation about twice in our lives?

Similarly is there any sort of borderline-fringe stuff that you got good at because of playtesting, but you think it really helps you and maybe we should learn it? A few expansions ago I'd have said "Silver-based economies" as an example but I guess those have gotten pretty mainstream; we've all learned our lesson. Weird Duchy rushes or something like that, maybe?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 12, 2012, 08:33:25 pm
If you weren't known as "The guy who created Dominion", which of your other games would you most want to fill that space?
I'm not sure I exactly buy the premise - I don't know that I want all of my life achievements to be eclipsed by one particular achievement. If I go for it then a classic Donald X. game involves simultaneous play, cards with rules on them that interact, and variety from game to game, and takes about half an hour, with very little politics. There's an upcoming game from Queen that's like the quintessential one; of my published games, Nefarious is closest. But uh, like if we hypothesize that I really want to be known as "the guy with that one particular thing" then possibly that would go hand-in-hand with wanting to be known for whatever my most successful thing was.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 12, 2012, 08:49:45 pm
What's the weirdest fringe situation you learn about from playtesting broken cards, that we never experience? I'm guessing you have like ten pages of advice on what to do in games where, say, Gold is likely to run out, even though the rest of us have seen that situation about twice in our lives?
Most of what I learn from broken cards is how to avoid making broken cards. I'm not sure I have any advice for games where Gold runs out. Gold will run out if people aggressively pursue Gold-gaining cards, like Hoard or Tunnel; when it does, man, that's not so bad, you have plenty. Stop trying to gain Golds once they're gone, that's my advice. You have plenty of Silver if it runs out; you weren't planning on buying Copper anyway, except to boost Gardens or Goons or something in which case it's nevertheless okay that you can't. Sometimes you'll actually buy Curse because you are netting points, but man people know about that.

You can dodge Knights by sticking with just 5 cards in your deck and playing Remodels; they can beat that with Sir Michael though. If your deck is going to be really awful, get straight to the Duchies, don't waste time. One of my few games against real people on Goko, I won in part by going for Estates first; I guess it's fair to say that that did come from experience with broken cards, although also from experience with not-so-broken ones.

Similarly is there any sort of borderline-fringe stuff that you got good at because of playtesting, but you think it really helps you and maybe we should learn it? A few expansions ago I'd have said "Silver-based economies" as an example but I guess those have gotten pretty mainstream; we've all learned our lesson. Weird Duchy rushes or something like that, maybe?
I'm not really here to give strategy advice. I immediately think of one classic lesson that I think people take a long time to get, and it's like, man, why should I spoil that?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Ozle on December 13, 2012, 05:30:34 am
Dominion can be played by your parents and so on and that doesn't seem good to give up.


You've obviously not met my parents....
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Davio on December 13, 2012, 07:18:56 am
Can you explain once and for all why a "Curse - X" dualtype is a bad idea? Or if you think it CAN be done, what needs to be done to make it possible? Some extra setup instructions perhaps?

How did you arrive at the "1 Action, 1 Buy" principle? Other deckbuilders let you just play all of the actions in your hand and buy as many cards as you want as long as you have money. Obviously, this is a problem with Bridge and emptying the Copper Pile in one turn, but still...
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 13, 2012, 08:07:09 am
Can you explain once and for all why a "Curse - X" dualtype is a bad idea? Or if you think it CAN be done, what needs to be done to make it possible? Some extra setup instructions perhaps?
Since Curse is both a card name and a type, it would be confusing to have any more cards with the Curse type. It would create the question, what are Witch etc. referring to? Can I discard this to Mountebank? And even if you say "well it only makes sense that they did this if Witch can dish these out," whatever, yuck, it's awful. If I wanted more Curses, I had to make the type and name of Curse different back when.

Then consider the case where I want to add a new Curse so badly that I do it some other way. There's a Super Witch and it says (after a dividing line) "In games using this, when a player would gain a Curse, they instead gain a Super Curse." Let's say Super Curse is -2 VP. It is not a "Curse" so no problems there. It's clear whether or not you can discard one to Mountebank.

We have Super Witch and Witch in the same game. Well why buy Super Witch? Super Witch is balanced around Super Curse and Witch isn't. Witch is way better at dealing out Super Curses.

If Super Curse were comparable to Curse - just about as bad to get, no better no worse - then Super Witch wouldn't need to be weaker than Witch, and I could buy either card depending on other factors (you could also let the player choose which Curse they took, which makes all Cursing cards weaker but if it's not by much then why not). It is far from trivial to make Super Curse comparable to Curse though (aside from making it identical), and the less it matters which you get, the less exciting it is to do Super Curse in the first place.

Even if this all worked out, it wouldn't scale unless you got 50 Super Curses. What kind of expansion would have room for that many non-kingdom cards?

Finally there is Dark Ages. I went for it, I put in 50 Ruins, They are not as bad for you as Curses but the cards that give them out are balanced around that, with the existing cards that give out Curses still just giving out Curses in those games (albeit, Curses that hurt more because now you can get 20 dead cards, not considering Moat etc.). Dark Ages had 500 cards and it seemed like I could make room for Ruins. If there are more sets in the future, they won't have that space and anyway I did it already, it would be way less exciting the second time.

How did you arrive at the "1 Action, 1 Buy" principle?
Playing one action per turn is extremely simple and opens the door for making cards like Village and Spy (and less obviously, Remodel and Vault and Bank and Gardens). I value both of those things. I made a TCG that had you just play one action per turn, as part of an attempt to make an extremely mainstream TCG, and it worked great. So I already knew it was a fine direction to go in. I wanted something simple and went for it. It immediately worked well so that was that.

In my initial notes it was going to be that some cards let you buy cards, but that seemed bad once I thought about it. It had to be that you could just buy stuff. I didn't have Gardens etc. at that point and could have just let you buy multiple cards, but again I knew that limiting you to one card was simple and would let me make Market. Village and Market were maybe the 2nd and 3rd action cards I made; they were inherent in the game premise.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: DStu on December 13, 2012, 08:14:13 am
Village and Market were maybe the 2nd and 3rd action cards I made; they were inherent in the game premise.

That of course raises the obvious question which card was the fourth...
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Davio on December 13, 2012, 08:23:37 am
I know you "already did this" with Ruins, but imagine Dark Ages didn't exist for a second.

How about a Curse pile that replaces the original Curse pile kind of like how Shelters replace your starting Estates.
Setup instructions could be analogous to Colony and Shelters: In games using X Attack cards, have an X in 10 chance of replacing the original Curse pile with the alternative Curse pile. Not all Attack cards dish out Curses and not all games without Attacks are Curse-less, but you need a way to determine some chance of using them.

Would this way of replacing the Curse pile have been viable? More so than adding another Curse pile? By the time Dark Ages came around we were used to all kinds of setup instructions and edge cases, so I don't see a problem with discarding a Curse - Treasure to Mountebank. It's not much different from Fortune Teller putting a Great Hall on top.

Now let me make clear that I'm glad we have Ruins to spice things up and not this alternative Curse pile, but it has been tried so often that I wondered if it could be viable.

I know you have a sort of "been there, done that, I already know it doesn't work/isn't interesting" attitude toward fan cards, but the comments you provide are very helpful to us - we don't have that kind of experience with the game -, so that's why I asked about it.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Schneau on December 13, 2012, 08:35:18 am
Village and Market were maybe the 2nd and 3rd action cards I made; they were inherent in the game premise.

That of course raises the obvious question which card was the fourth...

And the first.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: ashersky on December 13, 2012, 08:41:17 am
Village and Market were maybe the 2nd and 3rd action cards I made; they were inherent in the game premise.

That of course raises the obvious question which card was the fourth...

And the first.

Clearly that was Scout.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: ipofanes on December 13, 2012, 08:52:28 am
How did you arrive at the "1 Action, 1 Buy" principle?

Donald already answered that, but I would like to elaborate on what I think.

Taking Magic as a source of inspiration. The number of cards in your hand is a valuable asset that carries over to your next turn. Curbing the number of actions wouldn't do much as playing three Enchantments in a turn meant that your future turns would be very limited. In Dominion, your cards are discarded and shuffled anyway, so the more cards you play this turn, the more power to you. So thinking about the number of actions as a resource in itself only would occur after implementing the rule "draw up to ... cards at end of turn".

Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Captain_Frisk on December 13, 2012, 08:56:02 am
How did you arrive at the "1 Action, 1 Buy" principle?
Playing one action per turn is extremely simple and opens the door for making cards like Village and Spy (and less obviously, Remodel and Vault and Bank and Gardens). I value both of those things. I made a TCG that had you just play one action per turn, as part of an attempt to make an extremely mainstream TCG, and it worked great. So I already knew it was a fine direction to go in. I wanted something simple and went for it. It immediately worked well so that was that.

In my initial notes it was going to be that some cards let you buy cards, but that seemed bad once I thought about it. It had to be that you could just buy stuff. I didn't have Gardens etc. at that point and could have just let you buy multiple cards, but again I knew that limiting you to one card was simple and would let me make Market. Village and Market were maybe the 2nd and 3rd action cards I made; they were inherent in the game premise.

Since donald hasn't played the other dominion spinoffs, the ones that let you play unlimited actions / unlimited buys all are providing something else to do.

Ascension lets you have unlimited buys / actions, but you have the dual resource thing, and all of the cards are like buying from a black market - so you don't have to worry about having 2 similar cards come up...

Nightfall has limited actions via chaining, and while there are unlimited buys, you need them because the game is so short. 

Resident evil is a straight dominion ripoff that redacted

Puzzle strike has unlimited buys, but limited actions.  Because you aren't buying victory points, the value of +buy isn't particularly useful.

Having limits on actions and buys not only simplifies the basic gameplay, but also expands the space available for cards. 

Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 13, 2012, 09:14:20 am
How about a Curse pile that replaces the original Curse pile kind of like how Shelters replace your starting Estates.
Setup instructions could be analogous to Colony and Shelters: In games using X Attack cards, have an X in 10 chance of replacing the original Curse pile with the alternative Curse pile. Not all Attack cards dish out Curses and not all games without Attacks are Curse-less, but you need a way to determine some chance of using them.

Would this way of replacing the Curse pile have been viable? More so than adding another Curse pile? By the time Dark Ages came around we were used to all kinds of setup instructions and edge cases, so I don't see a problem with discarding a Curse - Treasure to Mountebank. It's not much different from Fortune Teller putting a Great Hall on top.
The crucial difference is, Curse is named Curse. There is no card named Action or Victory. When a card says Curse, does it mean the card with that name or a card with that type? It's ambiguous. I don't need you to care about this but I do. And I knew this was an issue with giving Curse that type, I just didn't have a better type for it or a reason it was going to matter. It was originally "token." Of course if it were still "token," you wouldn't be changing what Witch did by making a new "token," since Witch would still say "Curse."

Cards change how good other cards are. Witch isn't as good in games with Gardens and so on. So it's not strictly bad to have something that changes how good Witch is, although it's not exciting if it ends up, Witch sucks or is unbeatable. But whatever; is it worth 50 cards? The main set had a second Curse-like card originally, Confusion (a blank), and it was not worth the space it took, and that would have only been 30 cards.

You always have to weigh the cost vs. the benefits. Is it worth confusion and doing fewer kingdom cards in order to have a new card that Witch can give out? Man, no, it isn't.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 13, 2012, 09:16:48 am
Village and Market were maybe the 2nd and 3rd action cards I made; they were inherent in the game premise.

That of course raises the obvious question which card was the fourth...

And the first.
In the early days I did not keep everything - I put new cards in the image files where dead cards had been. The oldest sheet of cards goes "Dungeon," Village, Market, Smithy. I know Dungeon and Smithy weren't in game one, and that Village and Market (in worse forms) were. Mine is next and was in game one, so it was probably the 5th card. You can read more about these pages at http://forum.dominionstrategy.com/index.php?topic=5905.0.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Davio on December 13, 2012, 09:29:45 am
How was the decision to allow up to 6 people made and is this something you regret?

The original game just plays 2-4. Coupled with Intrigue this could go up to 6, but this meant that any subsequent expansion that had some new "basic" cards (like the Ruins mentioned earlier) would have to support this number of players.

Do you regret "losing" 2 card slots (20 cards) in order to have so many Ruins?

When I play in real life, my favorite number of players is 3, then 4, then 2, but certainly not 5 or 6. In fact, I would just split 6 into two games of 3 players. 4 can already be a bit tedious as you wait for the Village idiot to play 8 Villages and buy another Village, but 5 or 6 just makes it too uninteresting for me and I would rather play something like 7 Wonders with so many players.

PS: I haven't exactly read every question and answer in this topic, so if I'm asking something that's been asked before, I apologize. It's just that..it got to 10 pages in half a day and I didn't have the time to keep up.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Jimmmmm on December 13, 2012, 09:38:03 am
This might help:

Do you sometimes play dominion with more than 4 players ?
IRL, when I was playing Dominion irl, I would play with 5 sometimes. There are 5 people who want to play, counting me; man, it works well enough. I prefer 3, then 4, then 2, then 5. I don't play with 6. Online I have played with 5 a few times but we usually split into 2/3 when that came up.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Davio on December 13, 2012, 09:54:15 am
That I did read, actually, but it doesn't answer my question entirely, which is why I still asked. :)
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 13, 2012, 09:54:24 am
How was the decision to allow up to 6 people made and is this something you regret?
I would have supported 2-5 in the main set and never added a 6th. In general game companies seem to support one more player than is sensible, though that's not always the case; I only play Nefarious with 5 or Kingdom Builder with 4, but I do play Gauntlet of Fools with 6. There is also some kind of attraction to adding a player or two in an expansion. So, I don't know Jay's actual reasons, but he wanted 2-4 in the main set and then going to six with Intrigue, and so that's what happened.

There's nothing to regret, it doesn't hurt me if people play with six. There are always people who want to play with one more player than is reasonable, which is maybe why game companies support it.

Do you regret "losing" 2 card slots (20 cards) in order to have so many Ruins?
No, it never felt like that and really whatever. Dark Ages was 500 cards, it didn't just fill up.

Randomizers cost each set 1-3 cards and are unnecessary (just use one card from each pile for your randomizer deck, adding them to the pile for playing, and as a bonus Black Market loses its setup). It's not like I "regret" that though.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: thirtyseven on December 13, 2012, 10:29:34 am
What do you think are the most overrated and underrated kingdom cards (using our card rankings (http://wiki.dominionstrategy.com/index.php/List_of_Cards_by_Qvist_Rankings) as a reference)?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: michaeljb on December 13, 2012, 11:54:36 am
What do you think are the most overrated and underrated kingdom cards (using our card rankings (http://wiki.dominionstrategy.com/index.php/List_of_Cards_by_Qvist_Rankings) as a reference)?

Probably this:

I'm not really here to give strategy advice.

:P
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: thirtyseven on December 13, 2012, 12:08:18 pm
Haha. But to clarify, I was asking for personal opinion, nothing to do with strategy; he doesn't have to divulge any strategy secrets, that is. I was also gonna ask since he told us the first 5 cards he created, if he could tell us the most recent, say, 13 cards he made, but that would've been crossing the line. :P
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: dondon151 on December 13, 2012, 12:15:09 pm
I was also gonna ask since he told us the first 5 cards he created, if he could tell us the most recent, say, 13 cards he made, but that would've been crossing the line. :P

The 13 most recent cards that DXV has made are not guaranteed to be Guilds cards, though. For all we know, some of the Guilds cards have been around forever.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 13, 2012, 12:44:49 pm
What do you think are the most overrated and underrated kingdom cards (using our card rankings (http://wiki.dominionstrategy.com/index.php/List_of_Cards_by_Qvist_Rankings) as a reference)?
There are more casual players than serious players, and more people playing the main set than anything else. So, overall, the most overrated card is Thief, and the most underrated is Chapel. I am okay with telling you that.

I don't see how you don't see that me commenting on the card rankings you link to would be me giving strategy advice. That's okay though.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 13, 2012, 12:47:53 pm
The 13 most recent cards that DXV has made are not guaranteed to be Guilds cards, though. For all we know, some of the Guilds cards have been around forever.
Guilds was going to come out ahead of Dark Ages, so Dark Ages got the last significant hunk of work. I think Rebuild was the last new card added, although the idea had been sitting in the file.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: AJD on December 13, 2012, 01:43:29 pm
The 13 most recent cards that DXV has made are not guaranteed to be Guilds cards, though. For all we know, some of the Guilds cards have been around forever.
Guilds was going to come out ahead of Dark Ages, so Dark Ages got the last significant hunk of work. I think Rebuild was the last new card added, although the idea had been sitting in the file.

I really like Rebuild; glad it made the cut.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Davio on December 13, 2012, 01:47:22 pm
Now that Guilds is around the corner as the last expansion for now, do you feel like the entire collection is pretty complete?

Are you happy with how the game ended up or are there some things you would have liked to do, but couldn't due to deadlines, complexity or publisher requests?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 13, 2012, 01:56:24 pm
Now that Guilds is around the corner as the last expansion for now, do you feel like the entire collection is pretty complete?

Are you happy with how the game ended up or are there some things you would have liked to do, but couldn't due to deadlines, complexity or publisher requests?
I have gone over at length all of the things I might have done differently: http://forum.dominionstrategy.com/index.php?topic=3179.msg56362#msg56362

I'm not sure I know what this "complete" feeling would be like, in order to compare my feelings to it. I don't sit around thinking, is Dominion complete or what. Anything that had seemed exciting but hadn't worked out but seemed like maybe it could somehow, I tried to fix up for Dark Ages, since that was going to be the last set. But it's not like you can't make more cards (they just get more complex etc.). So uh. Why would it ever feel "complete?" That doesn't seem to be in the nature of games with rules components.

The thing is I don't like being inaccurate; so some of these questions I just have to say, I don't relate to that. Dominion feels neither complete nor incomplete.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Jimmmmm on December 13, 2012, 03:55:11 pm
Is there a particular reason you haven't made an Action - Treasure card (as far as we know)?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: michaeljb on December 13, 2012, 04:07:05 pm
I don't see how you don't see that me commenting on the card rankings you link to would be me giving strategy advice. That's okay though.

I think I remember you saying that when people were comparing Thief and Noble Brigand, and why would you ever buy Thief if NB was also in the Kingdom. In my mind that applies to the lists in that you giving specific comments on cards' rankings would be calling one card better than another, which I think you avoided in the Thief/NB discussion.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: werothegreat on December 13, 2012, 04:19:39 pm
Is there a particular reason you haven't made an Action - Treasure card (as far as we know)?

That would just be silly.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Captain_Frisk on December 13, 2012, 04:23:14 pm
Is there a particular reason you haven't made an Action - Treasure card (as far as we know)?

That would just be silly.

Diadem is nearly an action / treasure.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: GendoIkari on December 13, 2012, 04:43:00 pm
Is there a particular reason you haven't made an Action - Treasure card (as far as we know)?

That would just be silly.

Diadem is nearly an action / treasure.

How do you mean?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Captain_Frisk on December 13, 2012, 04:44:39 pm
Is there a particular reason you haven't made an Action - Treasure card (as far as we know)?

That would just be silly.

Diadem is nearly an action / treasure.

How do you mean?

It could read:

Action / Treasure

+$1 for each action you currently have.  Stop playing actions and proceed to the buy phase.

$2
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Captain_Frisk on December 13, 2012, 04:45:59 pm
Is there a particular reason you haven't made an Action - Treasure card (as far as we know)?

That would just be silly.

Diadem is nearly an action / treasure.

How do you mean?

It could read:

Action / Treasure

+$1 for each action you currently have.  Stop playing actions and proceed to the buy phase.

$2

Obviously - the current implementation is much more elegant.  I was just pointing out that it functions as an action - in that in order to get benefit out of it you have to give up some number of actions.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: LastFootnote on December 13, 2012, 04:47:19 pm
Is there a particular reason you haven't made an Action - Treasure card (as far as we know)?

That would just be silly.

Diadem is nearly an action / treasure.

How do you mean?

It could read:

Action / Treasure

+$1 for each action you currently have.  Stop playing actions and proceed to the buy phase.

$2

By that argument, Copper could read:

Action / Treasure

Stop playing actions and proceed to the buy phase.

$1
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Jimmmmm on December 13, 2012, 04:49:29 pm
Is there a particular reason you haven't made an Action - Treasure card (as far as we know)?

That would just be silly.

Diadem is nearly an action / treasure.

How do you mean?

It could read:

Action / Treasure

+$1 for each action you currently have.  Stop playing actions and proceed to the buy phase.

$2

By that argument, Copper could read:

Action / Treasure

Stop playing actions and proceed to the buy phase.

$1

Well actually, then you could only play one Copper.

The Diadem thing doesn't really work either since you can't draw Diadem dead or run out of Action to use it, it's always at least a Silver.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: werothegreat on December 13, 2012, 04:59:27 pm
Action/Treasure is silly because they're both types that you play, just in different circumstances.  Combining them somehow means you can play them in both circumstances, which doesn't make sense.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: ^_^_^_^ on December 13, 2012, 05:23:45 pm
Any advice for getting a Mother who has honestly no interest in board games hooked on Dominion? (Base only)


Would you consider a Curse-X card but instead it being called Black Magic? (To be casted by Black Mage ;) )


Note: Above question refers to the Super Witch example.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Drab Emordnilap on December 13, 2012, 05:40:20 pm
Action/Treasure is silly because they're both types that you play, just in different circumstances.  Combining them somehow means you can play them in both circumstances, which doesn't make sense.

I think it's possible to design a card that would be interesting to be played in either the Action phase or the Buy phase. Consider this card:

Foo
Action - Treasure
+1 Card
+$1

If you play it in your Action phase, you can potentially play the action you drew off of it (if you have extra actions, of course), but if you play it during your Buy phase, it doesn't require you to have an action remaining.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: sudgy on December 13, 2012, 06:40:54 pm
Also, one that would say "when you play this in your action phase, set it aside.  Discard it with your other cards during your clean-up phase."
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: ftl on December 13, 2012, 07:35:53 pm
This is the ask Donald X questions, thread, BTW, let's not get it TOO sidetracked with speculation, however fun it may be.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 13, 2012, 09:41:50 pm
Is there a particular reason you haven't made an Action - Treasure card (as far as we know)?
Yes, because it would be too confusing. And the most compelling reason for making one is to have Ironworks etc. trigger off both things.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 13, 2012, 09:43:09 pm
I think I remember you saying that when people were comparing Thief and Noble Brigand, and why would you ever buy Thief if NB was also in the Kingdom. In my mind that applies to the lists in that you giving specific comments on cards' rankings would be calling one card better than another, which I think you avoided in the Thief/NB discussion.
Well Noble Brigand is better in general, just not always better. That should be clear to you guys though, I mean most cards are better than Thief so why wouldn't Noble Brigand be?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 14, 2012, 10:11:09 am
Any advice for getting a Mother who has honestly no interest in board games hooked on Dominion? (Base only)

Would you consider a Curse-X card but instead it being called Black Magic? (To be casted by Black Mage ;) )
If a new Curse-like card doesn't have the Curse type, it avoids the ambiguity problem but still has the other problems I explained.

The question would be how to get her to play; after that, it's up to her and Dominion. Uh, man, I don't know her. I have no great ideas here.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: jotheonah on December 14, 2012, 10:17:57 am
Thanks for indulging us with all these answers, DXV. You're a champ.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: PitzerMike on December 14, 2012, 11:28:40 am
I would imagine it would mostly behave like normal treasure in a black market game. I don't think it could create any more confusion than that. Double Tactician fun :)
But then again BM already does that.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: werothegreat on December 14, 2012, 11:41:28 am
Did you ever consider a card that had some sort of silly mechanic, like "Keep this card on top of your head for as long as you can" or "do ten jumping jacks" or something like that?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Tables on December 14, 2012, 11:47:04 am
Did you ever consider a card that had some sort of silly mechanic, like "Keep this card on top of your head for as long as you can" or "do ten jumping jacks" or something like that?

For a time, Amazon seemed to believe it existed.
http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/701090/prosperous-caterpillar
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 14, 2012, 12:49:02 pm
Did you ever consider a card that had some sort of silly mechanic, like "Keep this card on top of your head for as long as you can" or "do ten jumping jacks" or something like that?
No. There could be a silly promo but I don't think people would like it as much as a non-silly one.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: theory on December 14, 2012, 03:50:12 pm
I went through the list and picked out what I thought were good questions.  The edited version is a 17-page word doc with 8k+ words.

I'm probably going to split them up / categorize them and post it on the main page.

Of course this thread is still live!
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: theory on December 14, 2012, 04:00:49 pm
If time and money were no concern, what would you most like to be doing right now?

Did you ever imagine an alternative career for yourself, outside of ability?  Like becoming a rock star, or an astronaut, or football player?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: theory on December 14, 2012, 04:09:01 pm
Do you consider yourself as having a "game design philosophy"?

Do you think of your games as related by some unifying theme?  Or are they just random areas of design that you wanted to explore?

How would you describe the process for you, from initial seed of an idea to final game?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: eHalcyon on December 14, 2012, 04:11:01 pm
If time and money were no concern, what would you most like to be doing right now?

Did you ever imagine an alternative career for yourself, outside of ability?  Like becoming a rock star, or an astronaut, or football player?

Are you suggesting that Donald X doesn't have the ability to celebrate his Space Football game-winning touchdown by doing a sick Space Guitar solo?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: jotheonah on December 14, 2012, 04:24:09 pm
If time and money were no concern, what would you most like to be doing right now?

Did you ever imagine an alternative career for yourself, outside of ability?  Like becoming a rock star, or an astronaut, or football player?

Are you suggesting that Donald X doesn't have the ability to celebrate his Space Football game-winning touchdown by doing a sick Space Guitar solo?

For some reason I'm now contemplating what effect zero-g would have on my guitar playing...
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 14, 2012, 04:42:53 pm
If time and money were no concern, what would you most like to be doing right now?
Well they aren't really a concern, and here I am. Money hits these thresholds; if I had twice as much money I would get a nicer house but that might be the only change. I would like that nicer house, don't get me wrong, but you know. I don't like to travel, I don't want a boat. There aren't activities that are expensive that I want to do; there aren't material possessions I want that I can't have. At some level of wealth I might hire people; I dunno, that's a job, interacting with those people.

Did you ever imagine an alternative career for yourself, outside of ability?  Like becoming a rock star, or an astronaut, or football player?
As a kid I wanted to be a writer; then I wanted to be someone who worked on D&D products. Then I wanted to design computer games. I seriously pursued screenwriting at one point, if it counts as serious if you don't submit stuff anywhere, and I've written songs, although a whole rock star career, I dunno. Hunter / gatherer doesn't sound so bad; the hours are short, and you can pee almost anywhere.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: mith on December 14, 2012, 04:54:26 pm
Wait, you mean Rock Star Game Designer DXV can't pee anywhere already?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 14, 2012, 05:22:54 pm
Do you consider yourself as having a "game design philosophy"?
Well in general I aim for short games, with low downtime, minimized politics, variety, and interacting rules on cards.

An example of an overall philosophy would be, it has to be fun to lose.

Do you think of your games as related by some unifying theme?  Or are they just random areas of design that you wanted to explore?
There were two big areas I explored when I first started seriously designing games.

First there were, games where the rules change. This comes from Magic; I loved how the game could work so differently from game to game. I seriously mapped out this space. The rules can change once per game, once per turn, or somewhere in-between; they can be rules the players make up, or that the players build inside the game, or they can come pre-built. In the end it turns out the best approach is, they change once per game and are all pre-built. I made a lot of games coming to this conclusion though, and then more games just doing it.

The other area was game theory. I read about game theory in the William Poundstone book Prisoner's Dilemma, and thought, but wait, games don't do this stuff (yes some do). So I made games with simultaneous decisions that would often be dilemmas. You don't just automatically get a dilemma; you can aim for more or fewer dilemmas. Simultaneous decisions are great eight ways from Sunday and that was the biggest thing that came out of this. A typical game of mine has simultaneous decisions.

These days I am doing more turn-based games, and trying to do stuff with boards, but I haven't forgotten my roots.

A third area I've focused on is building stuff; especially, assembling combos.

How would you describe the process for you, from initial seed of an idea to final game?
I either randomly have an idea, or find it by working through possibilities looking for the good ones.

Then months or years go by, while I try to convince myself that the idea is actually worth making the game for. Maybe a particular flaw will be obvious and I won't want to make a prototype until I've fixed it. This stage is the biggest hurdle.

When I finally make a prototype, I play it with whoever will have me and then decide whether to work on it more based on how it goes. If it doesn't go well, probably I drop it immediately, and maybe come back to it months or years later.

If it goes well then it becomes a regular game that I play. I'll put a bunch of work into it and then it will coast along and I'll gradually tweak it.

Then I have to consider whether or not to submit it to a publisher, and who to send it to. This is another significant hurdle, unless a particular publisher wanted the game already, or wants games in general.

If I don't get anywhere with publishers then probably at some point I focus on the game a little more, improve it slightly. This could happen multiple times.

If I find a publisher then we interact over the contract, and then there's a delay in which they are committed to the game but nothing is happening. Maybe I work on it some more, although this work isn't as good because it's not automatically in - anything I change before a publisher sees it, that's all just up to me, but once the publisher has it, maybe they will disagree with my change. I might have to convince them of it or something. Or not, but you know. Get your changes in before the publisher has it, that's my advice.

The publisher may or may not work on the game, I mean probably they do but not always. If they do it probably involves me - they say, we don't like this, we want this change, and I fix it or replace it or argue about it or what have you. I will repeatedly try to make sure I will see the rulebook in time to proofread it. They might show me sketches or finished art or might not.

I write up an article to post when the game is in stores, and work on other things. If the game has expansions, or expansions are wanted, I work on those things as a new general project, but maybe there aren't any. When the game comes out, I read about it on the internet.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Ozle on December 14, 2012, 07:16:44 pm
Any one else think that this entire thread was cooked up by Donald and Theory just to get their Respect counts up into unreachable numbers?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Captain_Frisk on December 14, 2012, 07:26:32 pm
Any one else think that this entire thread was cooked up by Donald and Theory just to get their Respect counts up into unreachable numbers?

I'll start an "Interview with Ozle" thread to see if we can match them.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: SirPeebles on December 14, 2012, 07:27:05 pm
Any one else think that this entire thread was cooked up by Donald and Theory just to get their Respect counts up into unreachable numbers?

Together with their alt ()|(_)^/
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Ozle on December 14, 2012, 07:27:34 pm
Any one else think that this entire thread was cooked up by Donald and Theory just to get their Respect counts up into unreachable numbers?

I'll start an "Interview with Ozle" thread to see if we can match them.

Argh....the pressure! You realise it will be extremely dull? Im a very boring person generally!
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: jonts26 on December 14, 2012, 07:28:41 pm
Any one else think that this entire thread was cooked up by Donald and Theory just to get their Respect counts up into unreachable numbers?

I'll start an "Interview with Ozle" thread to see if we can match them.

Argh....the pressure! You realise it will be extremely dull? Im a very boring person generally!


This is the internet. Make up a fake, more exciting personality.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Ozle on December 14, 2012, 07:31:41 pm
Any one else think that this entire thread was cooked up by Donald and Theory just to get their Respect counts up into unreachable numbers?

I'll start an "Interview with Ozle" thread to see if we can match them.

Argh....the pressure! You realise it will be extremely dull? Im a very boring person generally!


This is the internet. Make up a fake, more exciting personality.


It's also gone midnight and I have to have enough sleep to manage to stay awake during the Hobbit tomorrow


-------> Thread back on track please!!


Donald X:
Was Rats always your favourite card?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: jonts26 on December 14, 2012, 07:44:22 pm
Donald X:
Was Rats always your favourite card?

Rats wasn't always a card so I'm guessing not.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: WanderingWinder on December 14, 2012, 07:53:12 pm
What goes in to writing those flavour paragraphs?

What gave you the idea for doing secret histories?

What are your thoughts, if any, about "classic" board games (chess, go, or even things like risk, stratego, monopoly)?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Polk5440 on December 14, 2012, 08:51:57 pm
Any one else think that this entire thread was cooked up by Donald and Theory just to get their Respect counts up into unreachable numbers?

That's what the meme thread is for some people.... I much prefer respect coming from a thread like this!

If time and money were no concern, what would you most like to be doing right now?
Well they aren't really a concern, and here I am. Money hits these thresholds; if I had twice as much money I would get a nicer house but that might be the only change. I would like that nicer house, don't get me wrong, but you know. I don't like to travel, I don't want a boat. There aren't activities that are expensive that I want to do; there aren't material possessions I want that I can't have. At some level of wealth I might hire people; I dunno, that's a job, interacting with those people.

Sort of a follow up: What is your favorite charity or cause that you like to (financially) support?

If there could be a Donald X Fund for X, what would the second X be and why?

Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: DG on December 14, 2012, 09:43:08 pm
If a friend has a newly released game and puts it on the table, who's name as the game designer would get you most eager to play?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: werothegreat on December 14, 2012, 10:30:36 pm
At the end of the Cornucopia Secret History, you talk about three cards that went to a "later set": a "popular" card, an Attack card, and one that was in both Intrigue and Alchemy.  What were these cards?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: () | (_) ^/ on December 14, 2012, 10:48:15 pm
.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: ipofanes on December 15, 2012, 11:32:45 am
Quote
An example of an overall philosophy would be, it has to be fun to lose.

ok, I have to remember to enjoy myself next time I am on the receiving end of a Torturer pin. Don't want to hurt your philosophy, you know.

Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Polk5440 on December 15, 2012, 12:22:41 pm
Quote
An example of an overall philosophy would be, it has to be fun to lose.

ok, I have to remember to enjoy myself next time I am on the receiving end of a Torturer pin. Don't want to hurt your philosophy, you know.

edge cased
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 15, 2012, 12:26:41 pm
Was Rats always your favourite card?
No, Rats does not even predate me showing the game to RGG.

It was a while before I felt like I had to consider what might be my favorite card, and your tastes change over time. In the early days I was especially fond of Pawn and Upgrade.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: eHalcyon on December 15, 2012, 12:53:16 pm
Quote
An example of an overall philosophy would be, it has to be fun to lose.

ok, I have to remember to enjoy myself next time I am on the receiving end of a Torturer pin. Don't want to hurt your philosophy, you know.

Torturer can't really pin. You can just take the Curse.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Captain_Frisk on December 15, 2012, 12:58:22 pm
Quote
An example of an overall philosophy would be, it has to be fun to lose.

ok, I have to remember to enjoy myself next time I am on the receiving end of a Torturer pin. Don't want to hurt your philosophy, you know.

Torturer can't really pin. You can just take the Curse.

Its not just 1 curse, but usually if you're in a position where you are taking the curse, you're probably taking 2.

The problem with torturer, is that its a card drawer... so in addition to you hurting your deck or your buying power, your opponent has accelerated through theres - making the next torturer coming faster.

There are lots of situations this game can get into that are no fun.  Being on the receiving end of torturer abuse.  Being on the losing end of ambassador tennis.  Being prize swept.  Being on the receiving end of a scrying pool rampage.

The first time it happened, it's an eye opening experience.... wow you can do that??? 

The second time, it's still interesting.

The 10th time that it happens when you knew about it and were trying to do the same thing, and your opponent did it first can be no fun for some players.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 15, 2012, 12:58:51 pm
What goes in to writing those flavour paragraphs?
For the main set, they had an awful "impress the king" thing they put in as a placeholder. Man. Impress the king. You don't need to acquire land to impress anyone - it's its own reward. So I wrote up a replacement intro, which then got hacked up to be less conversational and therefore slightly less funny. It was still better than what they'd had so okay (the later ones mostly escaped editing).

For Intrigue I thought, oops, now I have to write another funny intro. I wrote it very quickly though, it was effortless.

For Seaside I sat down to work on a list of jokes to turn into a paragraph. You can see that in detail at http://forum.dominionstrategy.com/index.php?topic=124.0.

For Alchemy I again worked on a list of jokes. It didn't turn out as well as I'd hoped, but people seemed to like the main jokes, phew. For Prosperity, another list, this one turned out well. The baklava statue was originally a piece of pumice that looked like the pope, but not enough people got that joke. For Cornucopia I didn't do as well and then Jay cut the jesters fighting to the death, which was one of the main jokes. The roast hay doesn't carry the paragraph but well it turns out these things don't loom large in my life afterwards, hooray.

For Hinterlands I wrote down, "The world is big and your kingdom small," fitting the faraway lands theme, and then immediately thought of a joke from one of my screenplays, that started, "It's a big city out there, and we're little people. I mean little when compared to the city..." So I just copied that with the words changed, and the rest was easy except for what concept exactly for them not even to have a word for, which I picked a day or two later, although I think mamihlapinatapai was immediately in the running.

For Dark Ages I wrote one paragraph the usual way. It wasn't as good as I wanted and I wrote a completely new one, then merged them.

What gave you the idea for doing secret histories?
There was a BoardGameNews preview of Dominion. I was asked a bunch of questions, but whereas most people would just post my answers, W. Eric Martin kind of hacked it up. There would be one sentence quoting me, and then two sentences describing what I said. This made it a little less accurate, but I corrected the thing I cared most about in a comment on it, and hey W. Eric has to have fun too. Anyway that article was about the game and he also asked about the outtakes (which I barely said anything about), but it didn't cover the cards in the set. And there was stuff to say there. So I wrote up an article and posted it on BGG, which didn't have an article.

These days BGN is no more, and BGG has "designer diaries." I stuck with the Secret Histories though. I feel like they're plenty visible to the people that want to see them, and I don't want to be too in-your-face with them.

What are your thoughts, if any, about "classic" board games (chess, go, or even things like risk, stratego, monopoly)?
I will just cover those five.

Chess: Chess has two huge flaws. First, for new players, it's hard to even see what the pieces can do. You have to remember how all the pieces move and then consider how they would all interact with any potential move. Second, you can potentially see many moves in advance, perfectly. Only, you personally, you cannot do that, because it's too hard. You aren't looking ten moves ahead and therefore you're playing suboptimally. I guess you're just stupid, Chess tells you. Chess magnifies this due to the way the game works; it's not just perfect information, it's perfect information and small differences can get blown up. At one point I made a game in the Chess family. People would ask me about Magic, and I would say, well suppose we were going to play Chess, only we each brought half of the board and pieces. You've got knights and pawns and so forth, but I've got archers and pikemen, and half of my board is under water. After using this analogy a few times, I thought, I should make that game. And I made a game and well, it was way too hard to even see what the pieces could do.

Go: Go is also perfect information but somehow does not seem as flawed in that way as chess, in addition of course to not making you remember how the pieces work and stuff. I've barely gotten to play it. It was interesting. I guess I'm more interested in it in terms of implications than as a game to play. It's cool that like a piece in the middle of nowhere is doing good work for you.

Risk: Risk (the old version, not whatever goes by that name today) is perhaps the game I most often use as a bad example. In Risk, the better you're doing, the more fun you get to have; the worse you're doing, the less you get to do. It's like if in Scrabble, the player in last place only got 3 letters to work with. In Risk all losers look identical - they all have nothing. No-one has any interest in seeing that position but the winner. Risk eliminates players with hours left in the game. It's heavily political. Having a map of the world with armies in the countries is great, but that's all it's got.

Stratego: The premise is cute. I've played but don't really remember it.

Monopoly: I think people take the wrong lesson away from Monopoly. Monopoly is a bad game, because it gives you pointless decisions and lasts a random huge amount of time and eliminates players with hours left in the game and is political. But Monopoly is also a successful game, perhaps because it's filled with fun things - you roll dice and draw cards and see what you get, you get stuff that's yours that goes in front of you, you build up your stuff. On anyone else's turn you might get paid. People focused on cashing in on Monopoly by making more roll-and-move games (yes they predate Monopoly but don't you think?), so that roll-and-move (a completely reasonable mechanic) has all these negative connotations now, when the real direction to go in was more games of building up your stuff. Settlers is more or less a fixed Monopoly - you roll dice and draw cards, you get stuff that's yours, both on the board and in your hand, you build up your stuff, you trade, you get paid when it's not your turn. But it's fast and doesn't eliminate players and isn't full of pointless decisions. It's still political of course.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 15, 2012, 01:24:31 pm
Sort of a follow up: What is your favorite charity or cause that you like to (financially) support?

If there could be a Donald X Fund for X, what would the second X be and why?
We donate some tiny amount to utterly conventional charities. My interaction with it is just recycling the junk mail they then send you. If one of them doesn't mock your contribution by spending some of it on junk mail, I pick that one.

This isn't the forum for political talk, so take it there if you must, but one cause I especially care about is uh well it might be called "voting reform," although if you're doing it right it's not really "voting." Voting is a poor way to get from "what people want" to "what they get." "Choosing" is much better. [Consider 10 friends who get together once a month and eat out; how should they determine the restaurant?] Voting reform is top-level for me because so much other stuff that you might try to accomplish goes through governments. So I want to fix that system first.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 15, 2012, 01:28:45 pm
If a friend has a newly released game and puts it on the table, who's name as the game designer would get you most eager to play?
In the 90s, Reiner Knizia and Richard Garfield were the two I was most likely to buy new games from. These days I might pick Vlaada Chvatil; I do not have much experience with his games, so this isn't due to that; but from reading the descriptions, they are the ones I am most interested in.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 15, 2012, 01:33:44 pm
At the end of the Cornucopia Secret History, you talk about three cards that went to a "later set": a "popular" card, an Attack card, and one that was in both Intrigue and Alchemy.  What were these cards?
The popular card is Jack of All Trades. The attack is in Guilds. The card from Intrigue/Alchemy is Madman.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Tables on December 15, 2012, 05:32:07 pm
At the end of the Cornucopia Secret History, you talk about three cards that went to a "later set": a "popular" card, an Attack card, and one that was in both Intrigue and Alchemy.  What were these cards?
The popular card is Jack of All Trades. The attack is in Guilds. The card from Intrigue/Alchemy is Madman.


Jack was popular? Bwuh?

If a friend has a newly released game and puts it on the table, who's name as the game designer would get you most eager to play?
In the 90s, Reiner Knizia and Richard Garfield were the two I was most likely to buy new games from. These days I might pick Vlaada Chvatil; I do not have much experience with his games, so this isn't due to that; but from reading the descriptions, they are the ones I am most interested in.

Come play one of our Through the Ages PBFs! Or try and run a Galaxy Trucker PBF, what could possibly go wrong?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: werothegreat on December 15, 2012, 07:04:12 pm
Welp, we know there's an Attack in Guilds!
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Piemaster on December 16, 2012, 03:29:22 pm
In previous answers in this thread you have expressed a preference for fast games and also a dislike for games that eliminate players 'with hours to play'.  Are these two philosophies related?  Do you think any long game (let's say typically more than 1.5 hours per game) is destined to either have a fairly dull and meaningless early game or be forced to eliminate players early?  Are there any 'long games' out there that you think successfully walk the fine line between giving players meaningful strategic choices all through the game, while at the same time keeping as many players as possible 'in contention' until the later stages?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 16, 2012, 03:56:45 pm
In previous answers in this thread you have expressed a preference for fast games and also a dislike for games that eliminate players 'with hours to play'.  Are these two philosophies related?
They aren't.

Fast games are good because there are more opportunities to play them, players get more of a chance to win a game over the evening, and you get more variety of experiences over your evening.

Eliminating players with a substantial amount of game left is bad because you leave them with nothing to do. I guess it's getting kind of late. Maybe I'll just go home. It's fine in an online game, where I can just go off and start another game somewhere; it's awful for anything to be played at a kitchen table.

I obv. don't think player elimination is always bad; I think it's fine if there isn't much game left. It's entertaining seeing how things play out in Gauntlet of Fools, and doesn't take long. And the threat of elimination can be a fun thing. In Risk though, well, thanks for having me over. I'll see myself out.

Do you think any long game (let's say typically more than 1.5 hours per game) is destined to either have a fairly dull and meaningless early game or be forced to eliminate players early?
No.

Are there any 'long games' out there that you think successfully walk the fine line between giving players meaningful strategic choices all through the game, while at the same time keeping as many players as possible 'in contention' until the later stages?
Staying in contention isn't an issue. It has to be fun to lose! And if it is then it's okay not to be in contention. You can start a game of Scrabble knowing you have no chance of winning - the other player is just way better at anagramming than you. That doesn't stop you from having fun anagramming though. That would be true even if Scrabble took twice as long (although, being so homogeneous, it's just as well that it doesn't).

Some people may make games faster as a way to avoid eliminating players while minimizing how much time you spend knowing you've lost. I just make fast games because I like fast games.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Synthesizer on December 17, 2012, 08:02:32 am
One of the reasons that a game might not be fun enough to play, is when it just has too much bookkeeping for how meaningful the choices are. (Imagine something like the numerous resources of Puerto Rico or Agricola with the depth of Monopoly. Or imagine a DifficultDominion, with not only treasure and potion, but also wheat, wood, swords and ships as possible card costs. Or imagine a Dominion card whose effect changes each time you play that individual card (rather than e.g. pirate ship, where the number of successful PS plays are recorded)).

With the recent uprise of touch devices (iPad etc.) this could be alleviated - it's a computer, right! These things are really good at counting stuff!

Have you ever considered developing a game especially for this kind of devices? (either completely new, or adapting an old, rejected one)
Realizing that the above question only allows a boring yes/no answer, but not being successful at properly rephrasing it:
Why do you give that answer? :)
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: ipofanes on December 17, 2012, 08:33:53 am
it's a computer, right! These things are really good at counting stuff!

Have you just invented computer games?  ???
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: bozzball on December 17, 2012, 08:57:10 am
"Gangnam Style" or "Call Me Maybe"?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Drab Emordnilap on December 17, 2012, 09:03:32 am
Let's say you designed a Dominion card that is balanced and fun, but some aspect of the card makes it unusable in an electronic implementation of Dominion. It plays just fine in paper, but it won't work in Goko, Isotropic, or any other foreseeable digital medium.

Would you be most likely to:

A) Change the digital card to do something different than the paper card (or replace it with a new card for the digital version

2) Just not implement the digital version of the card

iii) Scrap the card altogether and design something new, for the digital AND analog Dominion
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Synthesizer on December 17, 2012, 09:08:11 am
it's a computer, right! These things are really good at counting stuff!

Have you just invented computer games?  ???

Not sure if serious. So I will elaborate.

What I mean is inspired by my new addiction: Hero Academy for iOS. This plays like a strategic boardgame - the playing field is even divided up in clearly visible squares. But as fun as the game is on iOS, it would totally suck IRL. You would have to keep track of hit points, upgrades, calculate damage modifiers for each individual unit, a.s.o. For that kind of effort, the game is too light. The iPad naturally does a very good job at keeping track of all this, thus matching lightness and level of bookkeeping, leading to a fun experience.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 17, 2012, 09:47:44 am
Have you ever considered developing a game especially for this kind of devices? (either completely new, or adapting an old, rejected one)
Realizing that the above question only allows a boring yes/no answer, but not being successful at properly rephrasing it:
Why do you give that answer? :)
http://forum.dominionstrategy.com/index.php?topic=5799.msg148838#msg148838

In general I would not be doing programming, because it's so much work relative to making physical games. But I mean, providing designs, I'm there, why wouldn't I be.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 17, 2012, 09:48:51 am
"Gangnam Style" or "Call Me Maybe"?
My only knowledge of Call Me Maybe is the meme. I've seen the Gangnam Style video. I guess from that I go with Gangnam Style.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: ipofanes on December 17, 2012, 09:51:38 am
it's a computer, right! These things are really good at counting stuff!

Have you just invented computer games?  ???

Not sure if serious. So I will elaborate.

What I mean is inspired by my new addiction: Hero Academy for iOS. This plays like a strategic boardgame - the playing field is even divided up in clearly visible squares. But as fun as the game is on iOS, it would totally suck IRL. You would have to keep track of hit points, upgrades, calculate damage modifiers for each individual unit, a.s.o. For that kind of effort, the game is too light. The iPad naturally does a very good job at keeping track of all this, thus matching lightness and level of bookkeeping, leading to a fun experience.
Well, yeah, I was serious. Many computer-implemented strategic games are too complex to be managed on the board lightly. When Vlaada Chvatil adapted Civilization to the playing table, the map had to go. And the rest is, for a modern boardgame (I am not talking about Battletech or the like) at the upper end of bookkeeping. When I play Through the Ages with newbies whose moves I'd better check whether they conform with the rules, it's quite a stressing experience.

Most computer games are not transparent about every aspect of the gaming environment. And good multiplayer strategy games (http://"http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M.U.L.E.") did not really catch on on the computer.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 17, 2012, 10:30:36 am
Let's say you designed a Dominion card that is balanced and fun, but some aspect of the card makes it unusable in an electronic implementation of Dominion. It plays just fine in paper, but it won't work in Goko, Isotropic, or any other foreseeable digital medium.

Would you be most likely to:

A) Change the digital card to do something different than the paper card (or replace it with a new card for the digital version

2) Just not implement the digital version of the card

iii) Scrap the card altogether and design something new, for the digital AND analog Dominion
I do not find your scenario remotely plausible. It's a fantasy question.

What could such a card look like? Is it a dexterity card? I'm unlikely to ever make a dexterity card; I wouldn't expect it to be "fun" to enough Dominion players. I'm not against dexterity games, but you want to sell them to people who like dexterity games, not throw them into something that people like for unrelated reasons. Similarly I wouldn't be making a card that involved eating cake or something.

In Magic they have physical cards that do not appear online - the Un- sets - and have had online stuff that is not physical - the Astral set from an old dead computer implementation, "avatars" with special rules, and reprints that they can't reprint physically due to the reserved list. The Un- set cards are silly things that sometimes involve the physical world - eating and flipping cards and how old you are and so on. You couldn't do them online. What Wizards did was to group them together and then not do them online. That seems fine, I don't remember people complaining. It does make those sets less worth making for Wizards though. These days Wizards is not interested in doing more Un- sets, but I think the reason is just lack of interest from players in general, rather than not being able to make an online version. They also are English-only, so that's another strike (the argument there was the difficulty of translating the type of humor they have).

Anyway I don't see an Un- set for Dominion; I don't think the interest is there. But let's say Reiner Knizia died and Jay wanted a commemorative promo, and it had to involve eating cake because that was Knizia's favorite thing to do, and it couldn't just be called Cake-eating Contest or something, it really had to involve eating. I would just do that as a real-world only promo and no-one playing online would feel remotely left out.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: theory on December 17, 2012, 10:32:46 am
it's a computer, right! These things are really good at counting stuff!

Have you just invented computer games?  ???

Not sure if serious. So I will elaborate.

What I mean is inspired by my new addiction: Hero Academy for iOS. This plays like a strategic boardgame - the playing field is even divided up in clearly visible squares. But as fun as the game is on iOS, it would totally suck IRL. You would have to keep track of hit points, upgrades, calculate damage modifiers for each individual unit, a.s.o. For that kind of effort, the game is too light. The iPad naturally does a very good job at keeping track of all this, thus matching lightness and level of bookkeeping, leading to a fun experience.
Well, yeah, I was serious. Many computer-implemented strategic games are too complex to be managed on the board lightly. When Vlaada Chvatil adapted Civilization to the playing table, the map had to go. And the rest is, for a modern boardgame (I am not talking about Battletech or the like) at the upper end of bookkeeping. When I play Through the Ages with newbies whose moves I'd better check whether they conform with the rules, it's quite a stressing experience.

Amusingly, this is how I feel about Mage Knight.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Synthesizer on December 18, 2012, 09:57:22 am
<text>

O right, now I get it. I guess you meant it in the sense of "discovered" instead of "Eureka".

No, I have been playing video games my whole life, and I love TBS games more than any other. I was just wondering what a Donald X. (2 SdJ's says he knows a thing or two about making good/fun games) rejected-IRL-for-bookkeeping-or-specifically-designed-ground-up-for-touch-devices game would be like. Judging from his answer (which I missed earlier): apparantely nothing worth publishing. (yet) :)


Sorry to have sort of taken offense.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Davio on December 20, 2012, 03:20:45 am
Donald,

In the Secret History of the Dominion Cards you said that Witch at one time had a penalty of "pay 1 coin". I wonder if you have explored the design space of "activation costs" further and what your findings were. Obviously, there are no cards like this currently in existence, but what would the main problems of a card like that be? Another way to pay activation costs is through discarding, like Baron, Stables and Hamlet have, but they are somewhat limited to either a specific card, a specific type or just discarding two in the right order. Could there be a reason against a card like the following to exist (don't mind the details, just the parts about discarding)?

Random Card
Action - $SomeCost

You may discard up to 3 cards from your hand.
If you discarded at least 1: +$2
If you discarded at least 2: +2 cards
If you discarded 3: +2 actions
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: ipofanes on December 20, 2012, 03:37:20 am

Sorry to have sort of taken offense.

I was a bit snappy and I knew it, sorry if you took sort of offense and thanks for elaborating.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: brokoli on December 20, 2012, 04:12:07 am
Have you ever tried a village + trashing effect ?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Drab Emordnilap on December 20, 2012, 09:17:09 am
Donald,

In the Secret History of the Dominion Cards you said that Witch at one time had a penalty of "pay 1 coin". I wonder if you have explored the design space of "activation costs" further and what your findings were. Obviously, there are no cards like this currently in existence, but what would the main problems of a card like that be? Another way to pay activation costs is through discarding, like Baron, Stables and Hamlet have, but they are somewhat limited to either a specific card, a specific type or just discarding two in the right order. Could there be a reason against a card like the following to exist (don't mind the details, just the parts about discarding)?

Random Card
Action - $SomeCost

You may discard up to 3 cards from your hand.
If you discarded at least 1: +$2
If you discarded at least 2: +2 cards
If you discarded 3: +2 actions

How is this any different from what Hamlet and Cellar already do?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: theory on December 20, 2012, 11:56:52 am
If you wanted to brag -- what do you think separates Dominion from other deckbuilders? 
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 20, 2012, 12:09:25 pm
In the Secret History of the Dominion Cards you said that Witch at one time had a penalty of "pay 1 coin". I wonder if you have explored the design space of "activation costs" further and what your findings were. Obviously, there are no cards like this currently in existence, but what would the main problems of a card like that be?
Originally Prosperity was going to have it as a sub-theme, although I never had much of it (see secret histories). There was a trashing attack that trashed an extra card if you paid; then later it trashed a card with a cost based on how much you paid. There was a card that let you pay to draw cards. At the same time I had stuff that let you discard cards, and those cards were just better. They were simpler. If I say "discard a treasure," you will be trying to discard a copper, and the fact that you might be discarding something else is fine.

Another way to pay activation costs is through discarding, like Baron, Stables and Hamlet have, but they are somewhat limited to either a specific card, a specific type or just discarding two in the right order. Could there be a reason against a card like the following to exist (don't mind the details, just the parts about discarding)?
Look through the secret histories and you will see plenty of cards that involve discarding. Obv. I am going to go for something simpler where possible (it's usually possible). Multiple conditionals is generally bad, although when you can make a chart like Ironworks etc. that's not so bad.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 20, 2012, 12:27:08 pm
Have you ever tried a village + trashing effect ?
I'm guessing you mean a Chapel rather than Dame Molly.

I am thinking, what if you ask about something in Guilds? What do I say then? Maybe these kinds of questions aren't so great for this interview.

After Guilds comes out I will probably send theory a collection of shrunken images of some of the more interesting outtakes. It will mostly be stuff covered by the secret histories but may have some entertainment value anyway.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 20, 2012, 12:55:37 pm
If you wanted to brag -- what do you think separates Dominion from other deckbuilders?
Well you can mean this question two ways.

What separates Dominion from the Dominion clones? Man. They are clones. I haven't played them so really this is a question for the people who have. In some cases the answer is just going to be, they aren't balanced as well and different people get paid for them. For others it will be, that plus they added something bad or pointless. Some people will prefer them anyway though, just as I know of someone who intentionally saw the Asylum version of something.

What separates Dominion from the actual new deckbuilding games, such as A Few Acres of Snow and Eminent Domain? Well they are just different games. They are different in all the ways they are different.

We can make a special case for Ascension. When I typed up my original notes for Dominion, I was going to have multiple resources, and have a small number of cards available, where buying a card would cause it to be replaced. Ascension seems like a reasonable thing to try, but I liked my choices for Dominion better.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: werothegreat on December 20, 2012, 01:14:27 pm
Straight from the horse's mouth - there's a trashing Village in Guilds.

;)
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Davio on December 20, 2012, 01:57:20 pm
Straight from the horse's mouth - there's a trashing Village in Guilds.

;)
Well, info on Guilds would mainly cause a problem for the publisher, it's not like I won't get it anyway if it gets totally spoilerd... ::)

But I guess it's a pretty big thing for Goko to have...
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: GigaKnight on December 20, 2012, 02:54:41 pm
some people felt like $7's would break the game, not realizing that, even if I made say four of them, you still wouldn't have one in most games.

This piqued my interest, because it seems that a card "breaking the game" only really matters when it's in the game.  That is, if it "breaks" the game, it doesn't matter how often it shows up - it's probably just a bad card.

But clearly you playtested the heck out of the $7s and they do not break the game.  Maybe they skew games toward themselves, but that's what all good cards do, right?  In the big picture, that's actually variety.

So what was the concern, exactly?  That the existing $7s were just too powerful?  Or that any card at $7 would inherently be too powerful?  The latter seems mistaken; any achievable cost can be "balanced" (even though most of them won't be worth doing).
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: LastFootnote on December 20, 2012, 03:04:27 pm
So what was the concern, exactly?  That the existing $7s were just too powerful?  Or that any card at $7 would inherently be too powerful?  The latter seems mistaken; any achievable cost can be "balanced" (even though most of them won't be worth doing).

The concern at the time was mostly that the 'hole' at $7 was serving a purpose. For instance it prevented you gaining Provinces with Upgrade. Same thing with the hole at $1. That's why it's not a big deal if a few cards are at these costs. Most games still have those holes.

EDIT: I'm not trying to imply that the game would be bad if those holes weren't usually there, but certain cards are balanced around usually having them, I believe.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: mistergross on December 20, 2012, 03:51:49 pm
Donald,

We haven't heard much from you about Infiltration--no secret history that I could find, for instance. Any chance of that happening? (If there's a contractual obligation with FFG or the like, no worries.) Thanks!
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 20, 2012, 03:59:38 pm
So what was the concern, exactly?  That the existing $7s were just too powerful?  Or that any card at $7 would inherently be too powerful?  The latter seems mistaken; any achievable cost can be "balanced" (even though most of them won't be worth doing).
I had no concerns - I tried a $7 early on. People on BGG would talk about how not having a card costing $7 was good for the game, and reason that thus there would never be a card costing $7. This was poor reasoning because even if not having a $7 is the bee's knees, you still get that experience most of the time if there are a few $7's, while also getting to have whatever experience the $7's give you.

I did not specifically avoid $7 for any value that hole provides - I avoided $7 because it was hard to make those cards sexy enough in non-Colony games. I solved the problem by doing them in Prosperity, then made $7's more special by not doing them in other sets (though I might not have anyway).

The basic cards have a hole at $4, and that caused me to make more $4's than was sensible early on ($5 is the important cost), and to put Potion at $4 (which was fine).
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 20, 2012, 04:02:49 pm
We haven't heard much from you about Infiltration--no secret history that I could find, for instance. Any chance of that happening? (If there's a contractual obligation with FFG or the like, no worries.) Thanks!
FFG wants to control the flow of information there.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 21, 2012, 04:16:56 am
The Powerman question from part I has me referring to an answer that is now in part II.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: kn1tt3r on December 21, 2012, 04:32:09 am
Was it ever an option to fix some things, like a Throne Room rewording, when doing the online implementation or even later editions?

On a similar note, as you maybe know, some translations into other languages are flawed for several cards (I only know about German, but that's probably similar for other languages). Some of those are due to simple oversight (German Procession says "gain a card costing exactly $1 more"), some due to not caring enough about exact wording (German Venture says "Play that Treasure. Discard the other cards"), some due to unawareness of the exact wording which turned out to be crucial for future cards (German Chancellor says "You may discard your draw pile"). Will such things be fixed for the upcoming Goko translations?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: ipofanes on December 21, 2012, 05:11:14 am
German Procession says "gain a card costing exactly $1 more"
Oops, I wasn't even aware that it is an erroneus translation. Sorry to all the people I beat by processing Border Villages into Banks.

Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: () | (_) ^/ on December 21, 2012, 06:22:34 am
German Procession says "gain a card costing exactly $1 more"
Oops, I wasn't even aware that it is an erroneus translation. Sorry to all the people I beat by processing Border Villages into Banks.

rofl!
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Davio on December 21, 2012, 01:19:07 pm
Dutch translation of King's Court doesn't say "you may", it has text analogous to Throne Room. I guess the translators didn't think two little words (you may) would mean so much.

Throne Room doesn't need to be "fixed" for online since it can force you to play a card, it needed to be fixed for live play where you could pretend not to have that Masquerade in hand (with only Colonies), that's the real problem; it doesn't keep you honest. All later cards got a "or reveal a hand with no X" clause, but it was too late for Throne Room.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 21, 2012, 02:04:09 pm
On a similar note, as you maybe know, some translations into other languages are flawed for several cards (I only know about German, but that's probably similar for other languages). Some of those are due to simple oversight (German Procession says "gain a card costing exactly $1 more"), some due to not caring enough about exact wording (German Venture says "Play that Treasure. Discard the other cards"), some due to unawareness of the exact wording which turned out to be crucial for future cards (German Chancellor says "You may discard your draw pile"). Will such things be fixed for the upcoming Goko translations?
Well this is a question for Goko, I mean the only way I would know is to ask them, but it seems really unlikely that they wouldn't at least fix the wording if someone pointed out it was wrong. They don't just have images of the cards, they build them. So it's just a matter of changing the translation text.

They have a German version up on the private site, so I can tell them now about whatever mistranslations you know of, starting with Chancellor.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Drab Emordnilap on December 21, 2012, 02:21:22 pm
All later cards got a "or reveal a hand with no X" clause, but it was too late for Throne Room.

Not Graverobber!
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: rspeer on December 21, 2012, 06:00:40 pm
Do you have favorite kid's game?
I'm fond of step-on-feet. You try to step on their feet. They try to step on your feet. You win when every other player has conceded.

Step-on-feet is a pretty fun game, and I heartily recommend it for people of all ages who do not mind looking silly and occasionally being accidentally kicked. There's even strategy to it! It's like fencing without the pointy bits, the safety equipment, and the years of training!
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: rspeer on December 21, 2012, 06:15:50 pm
Well, yeah, I was serious. Many computer-implemented strategic games are too complex to be managed on the board lightly. When Vlaada Chvatil adapted Civilization to the playing table, the map had to go. And the rest is, for a modern boardgame (I am not talking about Battletech or the like) at the upper end of bookkeeping. When I play Through the Ages with newbies whose moves I'd better check whether they conform with the rules, it's quite a stressing experience.

My gaming group plays Through the Ages a lot, and we still have to watch each other like hawks. There are enough constraints to follow that you end up missing one and cheating without trying to. I can only remember one game of it where nobody caught anyone else breaking the rules, and that was one that ended early with Napoleon pwning everyone into submission in age 2, and, you know, maybe we just didn't catch the Napoleon player.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: onigame on December 21, 2012, 09:04:18 pm
Tom Lehmann had an idea for one although I never heard what it was. Again I would need to playtest any such set and am not keen to, but it's at least more likely than a fan set.

I think I remember that idea.  It was before Seaside had come out and he was speculating on what new mechanics Seaside would have, since all he knew was the name.

The idea ended up being rather similar to some of the concepts that ended up in Alchemy and Guilds.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: ipofanes on December 21, 2012, 11:55:55 pm
My gaming group plays Through the Ages a lot, and we still have to watch each other like hawks. There are enough constraints to follow that you end up missing one and cheating without trying to.

My 9yo is extremely sharp at this. Yesterday I had a Dominion match with him and two friends. By his design, we played with Golem, King's Court, and Possession. We had to resolve convoluted sequences of recursively triggered King's Courted Possessions (why kids played that: see parallel thread on Politics and Bargaining, but maybe just for the lulz) that he seemed to have little problem to keep abreast of.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Beyond Awesome on December 22, 2012, 01:56:01 am
Why in the rules must there be at least one Prosperity card for Colony games? Why must there be one DA card for there to be Shelters?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Jimmmmm on December 22, 2012, 02:31:19 am
Why in the rules must there be at least one Prosperity card for Colony games? Why must there be one DA card for there to be Shelters?

Prosperity and Dark Ages cards are designed to generally work better with Colony games and Shelters games respectively.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 22, 2012, 02:39:36 am
Why in the rules must there be at least one Prosperity card for Colony games? Why must there be one DA card for there to be Shelters?
The idea is just to have Colony show up proportionally to how much of your collection Prosperity is. If you just have the main set and Prosperity, you get Colony half the time; if you have four large expansions, you get Colony (close to) a fourth of the time, and so on. That's it, that's the idea. I mean how often should it show up? It seemed to me that it shouldn't be every game (except for those people who chose to play that way). So what should the ratio be? And then there it is, why not have it be that the ratio is the same as the rest of the set. If you just have two sets, then half your cards are from Prosperity, half of your experience is Prosperity, and you get Colony half the time. That just sounded perfect.

And then Dark Ages matches that for Shelters. There was no specific intention to prevent Colony from appearing in games without Prosperity cards; the rule that neatly gives the intended ratio just happens to have that side-effect. You could instead roll some dice to determine whether or not to use Colony, and have the same ratio but without limiting Colony to games with Prosperity cards. Or, you know, do whatever you want.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: kn1tt3r on December 22, 2012, 03:43:28 am
They have a German version up on the private site, so I can tell them now about whatever mistranslations you know of, starting with Chancellor.

Here is a collection of mistakes in the German forums:
http://forum.dominionblog.de/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=1338


And here my attempt of a translation:

Quote
Base Game:

Thief:
"you may discard any of the gained gards" instead of "gain"

Chancellor:
"You may discard your draw pile" instead of "put"
(partially corrected in 2nd edition)


Seaside:

Pirate Ship:
"Each player..." instead of "Each other player"
(corrected in 2nd edition)


Alchemy:

Possession:
"Any cards he gains..." instead of "would gain"


Prosperity:

Venture:
Wrong order: "Play that Treasure. Discard the other cards" instead of "Discard the other cards. Play that Treasure"

Bischop:
has a "If you do that..." clause after "Trash a card"

King's Court:
matches the Throne Room "mistake", i.e. has no "may"

Forge:
Gain a card with the exact [coin symbol] costs of all the trashed cards combined (or something like that - in any case it would make it legal to forge two Estates into a Golem)


Cornucopia:

Tournament:
Says "You may discard a Proince from your hand. If you do,..." and then "Each other player may reveal a Province..."
(changes the timing a bit, because you don't know whether another player has a province when you have to decide which Prize to gain)

Trusty Steed:
matches the Chancellor mistake, i.e. has "discard" instead of "put"


Hinterlands:

Scheme:
Says "If you would discard it" instead of "If you discard it"
(this is a subtle thing, but it matters a bit with Herablist)


Dark Ages:

Procession:
"gain a card" instead of "gain an action card"

Dame Natalie:
"Gain a card" instead of "You may gain a card"

Ironmonger:
Wrong order. Says "...you may discard it. If it is an Action.../Treasure.../Victory.... Discard the revealed card or put it back on your draw pile"

Scavenger:
matches the Chancellor mistake (discard instead of put)

Hermit and Urchin:
has no "from the Madman/Mercenary pile" clause (is a bit nitpicky, but as far as I know without a statement that tells otherwise "gain" is restricted to the supply")


Promo:

Walled Village:
Says "only one more action card in play" instead of "no more than one other"
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 22, 2012, 03:48:41 am
Here is a collection of mistakes in the German forums:
http://forum.dominionblog.de/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=1338
This is great, but if you want to go that extra mile, what Goko will need to fix these is fixed text in German. I'm sure they can get someone to translate for them, but you know, if you have fixed text I will give it to them and you will get to have it all just the way you wanted.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: onigame on December 22, 2012, 04:04:56 am
Here is a collection of mistakes in the German forums:
http://forum.dominionblog.de/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=1338
This is great, but if you want to go that extra mile, what Goko will need to fix these is fixed text in German. I'm sure they can get someone to translate for them, but you know, if you have fixed text I will give it to them and you will get to have it all just the way you wanted.

I was at Goko when they were copying the German from the cards into their system and I did make sure that King's Court and Venture were corrected (but that's the only errata I noticed at the time).  Thanks for the link, kn1tt3r, I'll make sure that they get looked at.

Some of the trickiness is that actual Germans may not be aware of the errata and may have been playing the cards as written instead of as intended.  Of course Goko can't realistically implement different rules based on what language you're playing the game in, so it's best if the text actually matches how the cards behave and not how the text was originally printed.  :)
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Dsell on December 22, 2012, 04:08:00 am
Will you still play Dominion after playtesting (for everything: Goko, possible promos, possible future expansions) is finished?

If you do, will you just play with the released cards or will you still sometimes bring new ideas to the table?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: onigame on December 22, 2012, 04:22:22 am
Anyway I don't see an Un- set for Dominion; I don't think the interest is there. But let's say Reiner Knizia died and Jay wanted a commemorative promo, and it had to involve eating cake because that was Knizia's favorite thing to do, and it couldn't just be called Cake-eating Contest or something, it really had to involve eating. I would just do that as a real-world only promo and no-one playing online would feel remotely left out.

I had a friend who created a "Food" expansion for Dominion for a mutual friend's birthday party.  It had cards like: "You may eat some bacon.  If you do, +2 cards or +$2."

Also, I've been with Reiner in an environment where cake was offered and he declined, so sadly I doubt that cake-eating is his favorite thing.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 22, 2012, 01:09:10 pm
Will you still play Dominion after playtesting (for everything: Goko, possible promos, possible future expansions) is finished?

If you do, will you just play with the released cards or will you still sometimes bring new ideas to the table?
The last new prototype images were from January 7th 2012. So it's been done! And I haven't played much non-Goko since then; maybe four or five nights I brought Dark Ages / Guilds to a game night, when I didn't have a new game to work on and it seemed like the previous new games were done. Online is different because you can play it alone, and not waste valuable playtesting time.

Anyway this is typical. Getting lots of playtesting done doesn't just mean I don't have much time for games that aren't mine; I don't have much time for finished games of mine either, unless I can play them alone.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: kn1tt3r on December 22, 2012, 01:16:29 pm
Here is a collection of mistakes in the German forums:
http://forum.dominionblog.de/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=1338
This is great, but if you want to go that extra mile, what Goko will need to fix these is fixed text in German. I'm sure they can get someone to translate for them, but you know, if you have fixed text I will give it to them and you will get to have it all just the way you wanted.

I was at Goko when they were copying the German from the cards into their system and I did make sure that King's Court and Venture were corrected (but that's the only errata I noticed at the time).  Thanks for the link, kn1tt3r, I'll make sure that they get looked at.

Thanks a lot.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Davio on December 22, 2012, 01:33:43 pm
Will you still play Dominion after playtesting (for everything: Goko, possible promos, possible future expansions) is finished?

If you do, will you just play with the released cards or will you still sometimes bring new ideas to the table?
The last new prototype images were from January 7th 2012. So it's been done! And I haven't played much non-Goko since then; maybe four or five nights I brought Dark Ages / Guilds to a game night, when I didn't have a new game to work on and it seemed like the previous new games were done. Online is different because you can play it alone, and not waste valuable playtesting time.

Anyway this is typical. Getting lots of playtesting done doesn't just mean I don't have much time for games that aren't mine; I don't have much time for finished games of mine either, unless I can play them alone.
Why not design a solitaire game then? There have been some popular ones lately: Friday, Robinson Crusoe (same theme surprisingly), Legendary (deck building game) among others. Well, this isn't a serious question, since you like games with interaction, but still. :)

Let me ask you this then: Which of your games has taken you most out of your comfort zone? Or do you tend to "stick to what you know"?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Archetype on December 22, 2012, 03:04:46 pm
What's the coolest mechanic you've seen in other designer's board games? Why?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 22, 2012, 03:22:57 pm
Why not design a solitaire game then? There have been some popular ones lately: Friday, Robinson Crusoe (same theme surprisingly), Legendary (deck building game) among others. Well, this isn't a serious question, since you like games with interaction, but still. :)
I've made solitaire computer games. A solitaire card/board game isn't out of the question, although I'd be more likely to make one than to get one published.

Let me ask you this then: Which of your games has taken you most out of your comfort zone? Or do you tend to "stick to what you know"?
I wouldn't exactly say that I stick to what I know. Once you have a good solution to a problem it's hard not to use it when you need it, which makes future games more similar unless you desperately search for a different solution. And I like certain things and so do those things more often. But I've done pretty exotic premises, specifically to be doing something different; Dominion itself was an exotic premise.

I avoid making political games; I guess a political game would count as outside my comfort zone. It's not that I don't think I'd be up to the task though; I just wouldn't want to play it.

Of my published games, Kingdom Builder is the least typical for me, simply because it's a board game and I've done more card games. It is pretty recognizable as one of my games in other respects.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 22, 2012, 03:32:40 pm
What's the coolest mechanic you've seen in other designer's board games? Why?
At one point "rules on cards that interact" was new to me, and if that counts then I have to pick that one. I was introduced to it in Magic, but Magic gets it from Cosmic Encounter expansions and Wiz-War.

"Rules for playing make-believe," from D&D, was pretty amazing in its day, again if that counts as a mechanic.

Dilemmas (simultaneous decisions where the pay-offs vary based on the combination of choices), well I got them from game theory rather than a board game, so I guess they don't count, but they're definitely a mechanic at least.

I'm not sure I can do a good job of answering "why" for those. They are good times. I value that.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: ipofanes on December 22, 2012, 04:14:44 pm
Do you feel your goal of "no politics" in your games is satisfied now that the most popular setting of Dominion is a 2-player game?  ::)
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 22, 2012, 05:21:08 pm
Do you feel your goal of "no politics" in your games is satisfied now that the most popular setting of Dominion is a 2-player game?  ::)
I don't know where you get your data. You mean most popular online?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: ehunt on December 22, 2012, 05:26:36 pm
Do you go through phases where you are sick of playing with certain cards?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 22, 2012, 05:48:38 pm
Do you go through phases where you are sick of playing with certain cards?
I can only get so sick of a card while still keeping it in the set. So there's a limit to how bad anything could be for me. Odds are, whatever it is, I like it.

The worst cards for me are Spy variants. Some of them are slow, but all of them make it harder to get testing done. I buy the new card, you buy the Spy, you flip my card over a couple times, and that's that, I am learning nothing about the new card this game. Aside from the speed and testing issue they're fine though. I am happy to have made Rabble, it just messes up playtesting.

IRL I don't look at my hand in Minion games until it's my turn (barring Moat etc. obv.). Online that's not an option, I mean I am sure not closing my eyes when I click on what I'm buying. So Minion gets annoying online, as you look at your hand and wonder if it will vanish.

Some of the cards people cite as not liking are swingy cards and attacks. I like swingy cards; they take the pressure off, and you get fun swings. I like attacks in general, especially trying to beat them.

I guess there was a time period when I didn't like Pirate Ship because there would always be someone who thought it was broken, and while odds were I would beat them handily, it put pressure on the game, I had to make sure they were crushed so they didn't say, "see, see, you sure blew it on this card." And I mean Pirate Ship was trying not to just be awful 100% of the time, so maybe they had a shot. But these days that issue has been settled and I can relax as I beat Pirate Ship.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: joel88s on December 22, 2012, 08:30:53 pm
I've learned to tolerate even online Minion games with a little mind trick of looking at my hand as little as possible, not planning my turn so as not to get invested in it, and just assuming it will be Minioned away.

Still not quite as thorough as your IRL solution to be sure. I guess if you were playing for blood you might want to know what your hand was to know which cards have gone by, depending on what's in your deck of course. But playing for fun I'd probably also trade any small strategic advantage for the major reduction in annoyance. Funny how the mind works.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: ipofanes on December 23, 2012, 12:59:35 am
Do you feel your goal of "no politics" in your games is satisfied now that the most popular setting of Dominion is a 2-player game?  ::)
I don't know where you get your data. You mean most popular online?
Certainly, though my experience with ftf is about in the same direction.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 23, 2012, 01:13:46 am
Do you feel your goal of "no politics" in your games is satisfied now that the most popular setting of Dominion is a 2-player game?  ::)
I don't know where you get your data. You mean most popular online?
Certainly, though my experience with ftf is about in the same direction.
Well I am here to tell you that in fact there is plenty of 3+ player Dominion getting played IRL.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: ipofanes on December 23, 2012, 01:18:04 am
I wouldn't ever argue with that.

Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Davio on December 23, 2012, 02:38:24 am
I've learned to tolerate even online Minion games with a little mind trick of looking at my hand as little as possible, not planning my turn so as not to get invested in it, and just assuming it will be Minioned away.

Still not quite as thorough as your IRL solution to be sure. I guess if you were playing for blood you might want to know what your hand was to know which cards have gone by, depending on what's in your deck of course. But playing for fun I'd probably also trade any small strategic advantage for the major reduction in annoyance. Funny how the mind works.
Well, I want to look to track where my cards are, even if the current hand goes away.  ???
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 23, 2012, 05:01:54 am
Quote from: nightwishpt
Well, the way he referred to Dominion-inspired games certainly made the respect I had for him take a big notch.
By Dominion-inspired games, do you mean Dominion clones, rather than say the actual Dominion-inspired games, a few of which I specifically cited, saying nothing negative about them at all, even picking a few I'd try? That would make no sense, so you mean the clones, right? Oops that makes no sense either.

Quote from: Sooty
Came here to say the same thing. It was just openly disrepectful to say so much crap about it after he admitted to not ever trying them before.
I openly disrespect Dominion clones. I'm with you there. "So much crap," man, I felt I kept it short and sweet, and was even generous, noting that some people would prefer them. I was answering a question, did you see the question? I didn't say, "World, listen up, I want to talk about Dominion clones."

This is an interesting thing that people do. Because I said that some games were Dominion clones that didn't add anything worthwhile, I must be the most egotistical person who ever lived. But anyone can tell which games are clones and just what they add. Was I supposed to lie and say, wow, Silver costs $4 and it's maids, you've really got something new there? [The game I must be referring to has other things it adds that I am not impressed by, but the sentence wouldn't read as well if I listed them, I am mentioning this so you don't have to.]

When someone interviews you, a lot of the questions will be about how great you are. This question was especially so. "If you wanted to brag" is how it starts. So, I was perhaps being given the option of politely not answering. It was an interview, and I had an answer; I answered. The humble thing is not to do interviews. I was up front about not having played the clones; that should clue you in that what follows is what I've heard about the games, not me fantasizing about how awful they must be because of my greatness.

One question I've gotten a bunch is, "how much do you play games that aren't yours?" At first I would say "basically never," then I worked out to say "basically never, I am too busy playtesting." Both responses would get people commenting, "wow, he's the most egotistical person who ever lived." As if my answer were somehow "all games I didn't make are awful." In one case I specifically cited games I wanted to try when I got the chance, but still got that comment. I further modified my answer to "basically never, I am too busy playtesting; I have time to play other games alone, and play video games, but I only get so much time with other people, and need all the playtesting I can get." This is all in a desperate attempt to reduce the number of people who will think my completely innocent and honest answer is the most egotistical thing ever. At this point my answer would be "Basically never, I only get so much time with other people to playtest, and need to use it all playtesting. In fact I don't get to play my own finished games either." I dunno, I bet someone will find record-setting egotism in there if they want to.

I thought of Dominion. I don't brag about that, like I'm the only one who could have thought of it. Two guys thought of calculus; Knizia had Qwirkle just a few years too late. And so on. Someone else would have thought of Dominion, sooner or later. And the way intellectual property works is awful; awful from the perspective of humanity that is, rather than say rights holders. And if there's say a vegetable-themed Dominion clone, and you prefer that theme, then it's better for you the consumer that that exists than that it doesn't. It's worse for me, but whatever; there are a lot of consumers and only one me. [And one RGG and so on, person who was going to think I was the most egotistical person ever if I didn't mention the obvious fact that I am not the only one cashing checks for Dominion.]

But despite all these things, a Dominion clone is still a Dominion clone. No amount of humility or egotism on my part will make those games stop being clones. And the only clones worthy of respect are actual clones, like that sheep.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 26, 2012, 04:01:36 pm
Quote from: Jesse Fuchs
I thought it was pretty funny, though a telling contrast with Richard Garfield’s own “Let a thousand flowers bloom” vibe. Especially since Vaccarino has always studiously denied that Magic was an influence on Dominion, despite it being his favorite game and Garfield being the game designer he’d been actively trying to impress in his salad days.
I think it's great that people get to make Dominion-inspired games, and sad what many of them have chosen to do with that power.

Some people get the idea that I must have thought, hey can you take Magic's deck-building and turn it into a game. That isn't how I thought of Dominion; it was a solution to a complexity problem in a card game where you built up fantasy heroes. I'm a game designer because of Magic, but I can't change the actual events of how I thought of Dominion.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: rrenaud on December 26, 2012, 04:36:06 pm
I think the reason many people find your response to "do you play other games" egotistical is the implicit assumption that your own game designs would get basically no benefit from having played other best in breed games from other top designers.  It gives the impression that you know how to solve all design problems that you'll ever face and that you'll never get any insight from thinking about other well made but new games.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 26, 2012, 06:01:15 pm
I think the reason many people find your response to "do you play other games" egotistical is the implicit assumption that your own game designs would get basically no benefit from having played other best in breed games from other top designers.  It gives the impression that you know how to solve all design problems that you'll ever face and that you'll never get any insight from thinking about other well made but new games.
I don't know why people think the things they do, so let's just look at, if they do think that, how accurate do I think that is.

I have played lots of games. And I can read about new games all I want. And I play computer games, although they generally aren't computer versions of board games. So, it's like, just how many advances are being made that are confined to new board games and only visible if you play them? Like, Space Alert had a cool premise; I would have a much better idea of how it played if I played it, but I know what the idea was.

Then, the flip side: if there's a solution to a problem and someone's already figured it out, shouldn't I be looking for a new solution? Space Alert already did Space Alert; I have no interest in making Space Alert II. When I read about Space Alert, it's more likely to stop me from making a particular game than it is to improve a game I make. Even if it's a broad idea, worthy of a genre, I can stick to my own broad ideas, or rather, the broad ideas that I have had that other people have had too, but which I nevertheless feel connected to due to me thinking of them. For example I have not made a worker placement game and it doesn't sound especially attractive. I have made a bunch of games where you pick an action each turn though. Other people have made those too, but I was doing them before I knew that, and they feel better to me for future projects than worker placement does.

I have certainly gotten plenty from other games, and here is a good example. After playing Evo, I spent a while thinking about bidding, trying to figure out how best to do it. [There are two basic problems: 1) it shouldn't be possible to know just what something is worth, but you have to be able to have a good idea as to what it's worth; and 2) if players are taken out of the bidding by say winning an auction, they will get screwed over by the other players turning out to undervalue things; ideally good players can stay in the auction as long as possible.] When I made Gauntlet of Fools, I went with something very similar to Evo's (the only difference, well besides the fact that you are bidding with penalty rules rather than money/vp, is that you keep going around in Gauntlet of Fools, but jump to the outbid player in Evo; I think my way is a slight improvement). I felt like I had done my work on bidding and that I wasn't going to do better. But I can't run the experiment the other way; I don't know what I would have come up with if I didn't have that good answer sitting in front of me already. I don't know if it would have been the same or better or worse or just different.

I don't think you should avoiding hearing any Bach if you want to write music, like in Unaccompanied Sonata, but I don't think you have to hear Bach if you want your music to have any merit, either. I'm already standing on the shoulders of giants; I'm not sure why I should be trying to get up higher. The view is fine.

Anyway I am sure there is stuff to learn from games I haven't played; I get in a game or two a year, and otherwise am trying to coast along on reading about them and what I've already got. I have games to be playtested. They always benefit from more playtesting, you just hit diminishing returns on them, and then move on to the next one. If I'm just trying to maximize respect (in the non-forum sense), which of course I'm not, then improving my games via playtesting totally seems like it beats out improving them by looking for ideas to copy from other games.

Lastly, re-reading your post, I can tell you that I abandon games all the time due to problems I couldn't solve. Sometimes I go back to them months or years later, sometimes multiple times, and sometimes they just die. I don't ever feel like, I just need to find the answer in some other game. It seems to me that the less unique the problem is, the more likely I can find the answer in another game, but then too the less essential it is to get that answer from another game; and the more unique the problem is, the more likely that I'll just abandon my game if someone else has done the solution.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: cherdano on December 27, 2012, 09:13:02 am

If you don't like "politics" in games, why did you call the strongest $3 card "ambassador"?
(To be fair, you also called the weakest one "chancellor".)

You say it should be fun to lose. Do I need to say "torturer"?

Bishop is usually not a great opening buy, but chapel obviously is. So I am confused - are you for or
against child baptism?

Ok, now you can all get back to serious questions and arguing :P
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 27, 2012, 02:34:16 pm
Bishop is usually not a great opening buy, but chapel obviously is. So I am confused - are you for or
against child baptism?
Baptism - Action, $2
Name a card. If a card with that name would be trashed this game, instead, it goes to heaven.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: ipofanes on December 28, 2012, 03:05:23 am
Bishop is usually not a great opening buy, but chapel obviously is. So I am confused - are you for or
against child baptism?
Baptism - Action, $2
Name a card. If a card with that name would be trashed this game, instead, it goes to heaven.

Shouldn't this be "this turn", or is this in line with the permanent cards to be introduced in Guilds?  ::)
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: ednever on December 28, 2012, 04:01:01 pm
You've spoken about doing Dominion Spin Offs.

Any reason why you haven't started on these already?
Historically RGG has released ~2 Dominion expansions per year. And it seems from the outside at least to be commercially viable.

Next year there will only be one. And given the lead times I expect it will be a long while before we see a Dominion spin-off - unless something is already in the works?

Ed
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 28, 2012, 04:35:04 pm
You've spoken about doing Dominion Spin Offs.

Any reason why you haven't started on these already?
Historically RGG has released ~2 Dominion expansions per year. And it seems from the outside at least to be commercially viable.

Next year there will only be one. And given the lead times I expect it will be a long while before we see a Dominion spin-off - unless something is already in the works?
I have started on spin-offs. The first one, I ended up taking out the deckbuilding, and it's Kingdom Builder. The second one, I ended up taking out the deckbuilding, and it's a game I'm still working on but which is looking good.

Probably the latest in the year that a spin-off would come out would be at Essen. To have one at Essen it needs to be done by ~July. With say flavor commitments before that so that art can be started in June.

RGG would very much like a spin-off, the sooner the better, and I'd like to do one or more, so it's still on the agenda. It will be a bit though before I know whether or not I'll have one for 2013.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Tables on December 31, 2012, 01:12:16 pm
Now I might have counted wrong, but assuming I haven't... was it intentional to have exactly 200 kingdom cards after Guilds is out, excluding promos?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Drab Emordnilap on December 31, 2012, 01:55:27 pm
You say it should be fun to lose. Do I need to say "torturer"?

I still don't get why people hate Torturer so much. I hear all this talk about being "Torturer-pinned". How does this happen?

Torturer isn't a super-Militia. It's a Witch with a bane of "Two cards you don't want". Really, I think it's closer to Mountebank than anything else, but no one ever talks about being "Mountebank-pinned". (And yeah, I know they're easier to chain because of the draw, but mostly I think people discard to Torturer way more than they should.)
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on December 31, 2012, 03:42:37 pm
Now I might have counted wrong, but assuming I haven't... was it intentional to have exactly 200 kingdom cards after Guilds is out, excluding promos?
You have counted correctly. It was not intentional. The large sets are 25 cards so if there were eight it would naturally be 200 for all of them and not seem special. Instead one was split into 12/13, and then there is no 12 to go with Guilds' 13, but Dark Ages has an extra 10 and as it happens two of the 25-card sets actually got 26.

If the "no-one possibly needs a placeholder card for Copper" technology had been around earlier, there would be 1-2 more cards, and Dark Ages might have had a few more or less depending on what happened with the cards that eat up the extra space.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: LastFootnote on December 31, 2012, 03:47:01 pm
If the "no-one possibly needs a placeholder card for Copper" technology had been around earlier, there would be 1-2 more cards, and Dark Ages might have had a few more or less depending on what happened with the cards that eat up the extra space.

Man, I really wish future copies of the base set had Dungeon and future copies of Intrigue had another new card to take up that space. Then maybe the BGG store could sell them as promos for those of us who already own those sets.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: werothegreat on December 31, 2012, 04:09:38 pm
If the "no-one possibly needs a placeholder card for Copper" technology had been around earlier, there would be 1-2 more cards, and Dark Ages might have had a few more or less depending on what happened with the cards that eat up the extra space.

Man, I really wish future copies of the base set had Dungeon and future copies of Intrigue had another new card to take up that space. Then maybe the BGG store could sell them as promos for those of us who already own those sets.

What was Dungeon?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: LastFootnote on December 31, 2012, 04:19:11 pm
If the "no-one possibly needs a placeholder card for Copper" technology had been around earlier, there would be 1-2 more cards, and Dark Ages might have had a few more or less depending on what happened with the cards that eat up the extra space.

Man, I really wish future copies of the base set had Dungeon and future copies of Intrigue had another new card to take up that space. Then maybe the BGG store could sell them as promos for those of us who already own those sets.

What was Dungeon?

Dungeon
Types: Action
Cost: $4
Trash a card from your hand. Discard a card. +3 Cards.

It's not that Dominion as a whole really needs Dungeon, but the base set really does. There's a big Dungeon-shaped hole in it. Without Dungeon, the only viable way to fight Witch is with Chapel. Remodel is a terrible Curse trasher. Moneylender and Mine can't trash Curses. I think new players might hate Witch less if Dungeon were available.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: werothegreat on December 31, 2012, 04:28:38 pm
If the "no-one possibly needs a placeholder card for Copper" technology had been around earlier, there would be 1-2 more cards, and Dark Ages might have had a few more or less depending on what happened with the cards that eat up the extra space.

Man, I really wish future copies of the base set had Dungeon and future copies of Intrigue had another new card to take up that space. Then maybe the BGG store could sell them as promos for those of us who already own those sets.

What was Dungeon?

Dungeon
Types: Action
Cost: $4
Trash a card from your hand. Discard a card. +3 Cards.

It's not that Dominion as a whole really needs Dungeon, but the base set really does. There's a big Dungeon-shaped hole in it. Without Dungeon, the only viable way to fight Witch is with Chapel. Remodel is a terrible Curse trasher. Moneylender and Mine can't trash Curses. I think new players might hate Witch less if Dungeon were available.

Except it's trodding directly on Smithy's territory.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: LastFootnote on December 31, 2012, 04:39:19 pm
Except it's trodding directly on Smithy's territory.

Not at all. Smithy's primary function is to increase your handsize. Under most circumstances, Dungeon maintains your handsize.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: jonts26 on December 31, 2012, 05:48:53 pm
It's much more similar to masquerade than smithy. Actually, it's really, really similar to masq.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: LastFootnote on December 31, 2012, 06:18:57 pm
It's much more similar to masquerade than smithy. Actually, it's really, really similar to masq.

That is definitely true.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: sudgy on January 01, 2013, 10:28:37 pm
Why was Scout priced at $4?  It doesn't seem like it would be too much better at a lower price, and it might be a bit better priced then anyway.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on January 02, 2013, 02:09:40 am
Why was Scout priced at $4?  It doesn't seem like it would be too much better at a lower price, and it might be a bit better priced then anyway.
It's somewhat random. It was $4 originally and neither caused problems nor went unplayed. Card balance is better from Seaside on, especially in terms of having fewer duds.

Scout dates back to when it turned out that Intrigue was going to be 25 cards rather than 20 cards. I made a few cards and moved a few cards. Scout was a new one. I added it to have something else that interacted with the two-type victory cards. People would sometimes buy it for those combos or the Wishing Well one, and other times would buy it even though there was no good reason. Intrigue expanded in August; it was finalized in October. So there wasn't much time for people to get sick of Scout.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: ipofanes on January 02, 2013, 05:55:16 am
You say it should be fun to lose. Do I need to say "torturer"?

I still don't get why people hate Torturer so much. I hear all this talk about being "Torturer-pinned". How does this happen?

As Torturer draws 3 cards as opposed Witch's 2 cards, it's easier to chain multiple Torturers than multiple Witches.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: p1q0 on January 02, 2013, 08:51:27 am
I wanted to register a vote 100% behind Donald on this one.  I can't stand people that try to attack him for being supposedly 'egotistical' and dismissing inferior games.  The truth is that he created a massively successful game (s?) and deserves to take credit for all the ambition, hard work, talent, and determination that that entails.  Society has far too much political correctness, equal outcomes are good, don't ever say anything bad or think you're better than anyone else nonsense.  Let the winners take credit for having done something special and if you don't like it go out and do something special yourself.  That would make you a much better person than whining about how someone else is proud of their accomplishments.

Donald - stay strong brother!

Quote from: nightwishpt
Well, the way he referred to Dominion-inspired games certainly made the respect I had for him take a big notch.
By Dominion-inspired games, do you mean Dominion clones, rather than say the actual Dominion-inspired games, a few of which I specifically cited, saying nothing negative about them at all, even picking a few I'd try? That would make no sense, so you mean the clones, right? Oops that makes no sense either.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Lashof on January 02, 2013, 11:05:57 am
Regarding the discussion of Dominion Clones vs. legitimate new deckbuilding games:

What, in your mind, differentiates between a clone and an interesting new game?  What defines a dominion clone?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: RichardNixon on January 02, 2013, 12:34:12 pm
Regarding the discussion of Dominion Clones vs. legitimate new deckbuilding games:

What, in your mind, differentiates between a clone and an interesting new game?  What defines a dominion clone?
He listed a pair of examples in the interview: Friday and A Few Acres of Snow.
Friday is a solo game that you lose by running out of hit points. Snow is a war game with a board/map. They both borrow Dominion's deckbuilding mechanic, but they play their own game using deckbuilding, as opposed to 'buy currency and actions, then buy victory cards slay monster cards, then count points,' which is just a retheme of Dominion.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Davio on January 02, 2013, 12:43:45 pm
Here's an interesting take on this: How do you view the game "Copycat" or as it is originally known in German: "Fremde Federn" by Friday designer Friedemann Friese?

This game is a tribute to the best games on BGG, Dominion among them. It's even published by the same company that has Dominion: Rio Grande Games.

In it you start with 7 money cards and 3 victory point cards, I mean, he doesn't even try to hide the fact that he's copying Dominion here. But as the game is like a satirical comment on other games, I wonder if this is a big deal. Still, it's the same designer that made Friday...
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: soulnet on January 02, 2013, 11:12:29 pm
My two cents on the ego thing: I also have the impression of him giving egotistical answers, and I think this is primarily because through the interview there is almost none (sorry, but I do not have the time or energy to go read it all over again to check the fact) recognition to good things others do. On the flip side, the fact that there is a lot of mention of good things he did well, I here agree that is a direct consequence of him being the interviewed, so I do not find that annoying at all. But it would be good to recognize that other people does good things as well, and I think there is lack of such recognition. For instance, there is mention to Magic being good or innovative a couple of times, and also Richard Garfield is mentioned as a designer he trusts makes good games. However, this are minor comments and, more significantly, there is no mention to Magic nor Garfield as direct contributors to Dominion existence.

tl; dr: I don't think concluding DXV is egotistical from this interview is fair at all, although I, and apparently others as weel, would appreciate if he commented more on people or games or ideas he recognizes as really good, as we all recognize his game as really good.

Onto a more constructive part of the post:

1. Besides the obvious deck-building, do you feel there is something deeper or more detailed Magic contributed to Dominion? In particular, did you at some point considered other properties in Magic and how they would affect dominion (like different resources in costs, things that stay in play a really long time as opposed to instant effects, explicit combat)? I know this has been partially answered before here and there, so it is of course fine if you only go into new details.

2. How do you feel about identical starting hands? Would you consider including it as a suggestion or variant in a rule book? How often do you think a different opening has a too big impact on the outcome (by "too big" I mean "it would be better to avoid if it could be done in a simple manner, like arrange shuffle luck for particular kingdoms with god, nature, chance, or whatever has the "decision").

3. One of the two things that I hate most about Dominion (this sounds harsh, but after reading it, I think this is more a testimony that I love the game) is the fact that the text on the cards is sexist (it refers to individual players as "he"). Did you consider gender neutrality while making the game? Would you (if you happen to call the shots on such a thing) consider a request for gender neutrality for upcoming expansions/games?

[small skippable sidenote: this fact was something me, my girlfriend and a friend of mine all noticed individually, so it IS noticeable, at least to our kind of people]

4. How good were you at playing Dominion during development in comparison with the other playtesters? When playtesting, do you feel that you play to win as hard as possible, or are your decisions based on other things as well (from "I need to test this card, even if I do not

5. If you were to put a clock on Dominion to avoid people thinking forever, would you give a particular limit to the first move (i.e., some time to evaluate the board)? How much time do you think a person should take to play close enough to optimal (i.e., close to what he/she would play if given unbounded time)? Do you have any more general thoughts on how to clock Dominion games in general?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on January 03, 2013, 12:09:28 am
I wanted to register a vote 100% behind Donald on this one.  I can't stand people that try to attack him for being supposedly 'egotistical' and dismissing inferior games.  The truth is that he created a massively successful game (s?) and deserves to take credit for all the ambition, hard work, talent, and determination that that entails.  Society has far too much political correctness, equal outcomes are good, don't ever say anything bad or think you're better than anyone else nonsense.  Let the winners take credit for having done something special and if you don't like it go out and do something special yourself.  That would make you a much better person than whining about how someone else is proud of their accomplishments.

Donald - stay strong brother!
Thanks, you're there for me.

I feel like I feel very sure of myself when it comes to opinions about the world, but that I am not nearly egotistical enough when it comes to game design. It took making Dominion for me to try to get games published (not counting trying to get Wizards to hire me); since RGG took another game at the same time (from 1995), clearly that other game at least could have been published earlier. Then I didn't show any more games to companies until a year after Dominion came out, using the excuse that my games would get looked at more closely and generously once I was the Dominion guy (I am not sure this even did much, but being the Dominion / Kingdom Builder guy seems to have drummed up some interest). It would have been great to have been sufficiently full of myself that I tried to get games published earlier. Dominion could have been a crowning achievement after a decade of games, instead of my first game published.

When you read a novel, odds are the author was a hyper-motivated self-promoter. They wrote a novel - they were hyper-motivated. Novels don't just write themselves. And then, they were sufficiently full of themselves to try to get the novel published, to tell other people, no really, this is good, read my thing. They're a self-promoter. Once in a while there's a posthumous Confederacy of Dunces or The Trial or what have you, but mostly, if someone managed to write a novel and get it published, you are talking about a somewhat constrained subset of humanity. So I mean, if I thought my stuff just sucked you'd never have heard of me. They never interview that guy who would be saying, "well I figured I wasn't good enough and so I gave up." And that movie about writer's block was written by two guys who got around it by switching projects.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on January 03, 2013, 12:23:22 am
Regarding the discussion of Dominion Clones vs. legitimate new deckbuilding games:

What, in your mind, differentiates between a clone and an interesting new game?  What defines a dominion clone?
This seems like a poor direction for future questions. The entire beauty of asking me this rather than someone else is the potential to think positively or negatively about me. Since people bothering to read the interview probably lean towards positive already, I am only losing here.

A Dominion clone copies the entire game and works from there. It is possible to not copy the entire game, as other games have demonstrated. The idea of building a deck during a game doesn't automatically carry with it any of the other choices I made.

Let us use Illuminati: New World Order as an example, since that doesn't involve me. INWO copies Illuminati (by the same guy). It isn't a Magic clone. The only thing it gets from Magic is the CCG premise: players bring their own decks to the table. Well realistically the CCG premise is, that, plus cards are sold in random packs - the random purchase part gets you the incredible money-making scheme (although INWO abandoned that later iirc). But you know. You can copy the CCG idea without copying the way resources work in Magic or the way combat works. Bringing your own deck to the table doesn't automatically carry with it "play one land a turn and other cards cost an amount of mana that lands produce" and so on.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on January 03, 2013, 12:26:29 am
Here's an interesting take on this: How do you view the game "Copycat" or as it is originally known in German: "Fremde Federn" by Friday designer Friedemann Friese?
Friedemann asked me for permission.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on January 03, 2013, 01:37:26 am
But it would be good to recognize that other people does good things as well, and I think there is lack of such recognition. For instance, there is mention to Magic being good or innovative a couple of times, and also Richard Garfield is mentioned as a designer he trusts makes good games. However, this are minor comments and, more significantly, there is no mention to Magic nor Garfield as direct contributors to Dominion existence.
Here is an interview at opinionatedgamers, in which the interviewer asks who taught me the most about game design, and I cite some people: http://opinionatedgamers.com/2012/05/11/the-art-of-design-interviews-to-game-designers-19-donald-x-vaccarino/

Magic was important for me pursuing game design, but it did not directly contribute to Dominion existing otherwise. I did not think "hey could I take deckbuilding out of Magic and make it the whole game." What I actually thought was, "how do I keep the building-up-heroes part of Spirit Warriors II while simplifying it enough for it to be playable." An edited version of that story can be seen here at http://forum.dominionstrategy.com/index.php?topic=1997.0

1. Besides the obvious deck-building, do you feel there is something deeper or more detailed Magic contributed to Dominion? In particular, did you at some point considered other properties in Magic and how they would affect dominion (like different resources in costs, things that stay in play a really long time as opposed to instant effects, explicit combat)? I know this has been partially answered before here and there, so it is of course fine if you only go into new details.
I did not get the deckbuilding from Magic. Not all obvious things are true.

Magic introduced me to interacting rules-on-cards, which Dominion has (as well as most of my other games). Magic didn't come up with that though, it was in turn inspired by Wiz-War and Cosmic Encounter. As a game with tons of cards, Magic had to really deal with making rules-on-cards work on a large scale, which other games had not; this didn't happen overnight, and all of that work is valuable for other games with rules-on-cards, although in this case I was there, I was working on good wordings right when they were, and even offered some to them (I am credited in the Magic rules in the "contributions" section, for commenting on the 6E rules, although most of what I suggested was probably also suggested by in-house people).

I tend to give cards types, on a line at the bottom of the card. This comes from Magic doing that. Again I don't think it originated that.

Spirit Warriors II (as described in the linked article) at one point had something like Smash Up has; you drafted four heroes and then shuffled packets of ~10 cards per hero together to get your own deck. I got that idea from a set of Magic decks I'd built that worked the same way. You make a 30-card packet for each color, plus one for artifacts; they include lands (use Urza lands for the artifact one). So your 6 packets end up making 15 possible decks. You have a theme; an early one I made was graveyard-themed. The RW graveyard deck was pretty cool. As it happens the contribution this had to Dominion was needing to be replaced by something that worked better for building up heroes.

I made Dominion after years of making other games. Dominion took things like "attacks hit everyone else" automatically from those other games. Things which you can trace back to Magic, like card types, only ultimately came from Magic; they directly came from other games of mine, where I'd tried out things and found what I liked.

2. How do you feel about identical starting hands? Would you consider including it as a suggestion or variant in a rule book? How often do you think a different opening has a too big impact on the outcome (by "too big" I mean "it would be better to avoid if it could be done in a simple manner, like arrange shuffle luck for particular kingdoms with god, nature, chance, or whatever has the "decision").
No interest. The opening hands vary intentionally. I have never felt unhappy with how that turned out. Play whatever variants you want; I shuffle my starting ten.

3. One of the two things that I hate most about Dominion (this sounds harsh, but after reading it, I think this is more a testimony that I love the game) is the fact that the text on the cards is sexist (it refers to individual players as "he"). Did you consider gender neutrality while making the game? Would you (if you happen to call the shots on such a thing) consider a request for gender neutrality for upcoming expansions/games?
The prototype said "they." RGG which is to say Jay switched to "he" (and also expanded most contractions).

I think "he or she" is awful. I think "she" is also awful. "They" is where it's at and has been in use for centuries. Evo is an example of a game that uses it.

I would not include this in contracts; it is hard enough getting games published. If I self-published (not likely) I would use "they."

4. How good were you at playing Dominion during development in comparison with the other playtesters? When playtesting, do you feel that you play to win as hard as possible, or are your decisions based on other things as well (from "I need to test this card, even if I do not
In playtesting my focus is generally just on winning, although sometimes it's on doing something wacky to try it out. Some games the focus is "get this particular card playtested." When a card seems like it might be trouble but might not be, it may end up that I am saying, "okay this game mcp and vinay have to buy it and me and locus can't." Some players are bad at being forced to buy a card and they tend to get shifted into the can't-buy role. But you know, if everyone buys a card, someone who bought it will win, and there won't be any real data there on how the card measures up. Unless it's always, "whoever gets the most copies of it wins," which I guess has come up. Anyway you can just decide, I am not buying the card they think is broken this game, but you will get (different) data faster if two buy it and two don't.

I won my share, I was no slouch. There were weaker playtesters, but among the better playtesters, I'm not sure I see a clear winner.

For Kingdom Builder, I think I am 2nd best after playtester Mark Levine. It's close though.

5. If you were to put a clock on Dominion to avoid people thinking forever, would you give a particular limit to the first move (i.e., some time to evaluate the board)? How much time do you think a person should take to play close enough to optimal (i.e., close to what he/she would play if given unbounded time)? Do you have any more general thoughts on how to clock Dominion games in general?
Well for a computer version it's straightforward to count down the time for whoever currently gets to make a decision - usually the person taking the turn, but sometimes another player who is deciding what to discard or something. You could resolve Militia in turn order as the rules technically say to do. Anyway then you don't need to do anything special for turn one; you've got X minutes for the whole game, spend 'em how you want.

I don't know how much time you should spend thinking about turn one or whatever later situation. The hardest decisions tend to matter the least and knowing that is helpful. There may be a lot to think about on turn one or not much. You don't necessarily need to figure out your whole strategy; some games you are clearly opening Silver/Silver or something and can work out the rest while shuffling. I generally do stare at the cards on turn one.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: soulnet on January 03, 2013, 09:25:50 am
Why are you not depicted in a Dominion card art? Are you going to get depicted in a Guilds card? If you could redo the art of the existing expansions, in which card would you like to be? (cue Harem joke)
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Davio on January 03, 2013, 09:29:59 am
Well, imagine that it would be the best card ever, it would be pretty arrogant. And if it were the worst card ever too, it would be a good laugh. And if it were a mediocre card, it would just be... mediocre.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Polk5440 on January 03, 2013, 10:40:46 am
3. One of the two things that I hate most about Dominion (this sounds harsh, but after reading it, I think this is more a testimony that I love the game) is the fact that the text on the cards is sexist (it refers to individual players as "he"). Did you consider gender neutrality while making the game? Would you (if you happen to call the shots on such a thing) consider a request for gender neutrality for upcoming expansions/games?
The prototype said "they." RGG which is to say Jay switched to "he" (and also expanded most contractions).

I think "he or she" is awful. I think "she" is also awful. "They" is where it's at and has been in use for centuries. Evo is an example of a game that uses it.

I would not include this in contracts; it is hard enough getting games published. If I self-published (not likely) I would use "they."

Donald's probably right that singular they is where the future's at. But, you know what's so amusing about these claims of sexism? Gender-neutral "he" was introduced by a feminist. e.g. see this NYT article (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/26/magazine/26FOB-onlanguage-t.html?_r=0).

Also of note from the article: "It’s a shame that grammarians ever took umbrage at the singular they. After all, they gave you a slide. It began life as a plural object pronoun and evolved into the whole enchilada: subject and object, singular and plural."

(Side thought: I wonder why "one" hasn't caught on? I would think since "one" is already a gender neutral pronoun, its use as a personal pronoun in informal contexts would be an easier adaption than using "they" as singular, but I guess not).
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: soulnet on January 03, 2013, 11:03:24 am
Donald's probably right that singular they is where the future's at. But, you know what's so amusing about these claims of sexism? Gender-neutral "he" was introduced by a feminist. e.g. see this NYT article (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/26/magazine/26FOB-onlanguage-t.html?_r=0).

Also of note from the article: "It’s a shame that grammarians ever took umbrage at the singular they. After all, they gave you a slide. It began life as a plural object pronoun and evolved into the whole enchilada: subject and object, singular and plural."

Its not the technicaly correct what matters in this case, but the impact on society's view. I think if they or one shock someone because of its technically improper use, that's not a bad thing, and its probably a good thing: people ought to think someone did their job to avoid following the usual male-oriented language, and that lead some people as to think why they would do that and that eventually reinforces the important debate over sexism, which of course exceeds language issues by far.

As for the they vs one vs other alternatives, I don't know which alternative is better, for the time being, any gender-neutral or non-sexist way is fine with me.

In any case, this debate, like all ideology ones, may quickly divert from the thread, and I know that can be really annoying, especially in a successful thread, so I don't want to get too into this, unless it entails cool questions for Donald, which does not seem to be happening.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Ozle on January 03, 2013, 11:17:06 am
"It"

Problem solved
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: soulnet on January 03, 2013, 11:42:05 am
Are you proposing using It as a neutral pronoun or sending an evil clown to hunt us down so we stop nagging about this?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Ozle on January 03, 2013, 11:45:10 am
Are you proposing using It as a neutral pronoun or sending an evil clown to hunt us down so we stop nagging about this?

I am good with either to be honest!
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Davio on January 03, 2013, 12:39:02 pm
3. One of the two things that I hate most about Dominion (this sounds harsh, but after reading it, I think this is more a testimony that I love the game) is the fact that the text on the cards is sexist (it refers to individual players as "he"). Did you consider gender neutrality while making the game? Would you (if you happen to call the shots on such a thing) consider a request for gender neutrality for upcoming expansions/games?
The prototype said "they." RGG which is to say Jay switched to "he" (and also expanded most contractions).

I think "he or she" is awful. I think "she" is also awful. "They" is where it's at and has been in use for centuries. Evo is an example of a game that uses it.

I would not include this in contracts; it is hard enough getting games published. If I self-published (not likely) I would use "they."

Donald's probably right that singular they is where the future's at. But, you know what's so amusing about these claims of sexism? Gender-neutral "he" was introduced by a feminist. e.g. see this NYT article (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/26/magazine/26FOB-onlanguage-t.html?_r=0).

Also of note from the article: "It’s a shame that grammarians ever took umbrage at the singular they. After all, they gave you a slide. It began life as a plural object pronoun and evolved into the whole enchilada: subject and object, singular and plural."

(Side thought: I wonder why "one" hasn't caught on? I would think since "one" is already a gender neutral pronoun, its use as a personal pronoun in informal contexts would be an easier adaption than using "they" as singular, but I guess not).
(http://i.qkme.me/3sf9o3.jpg)
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: onigame on January 03, 2013, 05:23:55 pm
Here is a collection of mistakes in the German forums:
http://forum.dominionblog.de/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=1338
This is great, but if you want to go that extra mile, what Goko will need to fix these is fixed text in German. I'm sure they can get someone to translate for them, but you know, if you have fixed text I will give it to them and you will get to have it all just the way you wanted.

I was at Goko when they were copying the German from the cards into their system and I did make sure that King's Court and Venture were corrected (but that's the only errata I noticed at the time).  Thanks for the link, kn1tt3r, I'll make sure that they get looked at.

Thanks a lot.

I got permission to edit their card text and all the errata on the German page you linked to should be in (but I did the copy-paste manually myself so I can't guarantee that it's completely error free).

Here's hoping there aren't any mistakes in the Guilds translation...
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: GigaKnight on January 03, 2013, 06:25:56 pm
My two cents on the ego thing: I also have the impression of him giving egotistical answers, and I think this is primarily because...

I also have two cents to chip in, but they're a bit more general than that.  I think smart people (like Donald) tend to state things very efficiently and matter-of-factly, which can create an arrogant tone, especially via text.  I honestly think the majority of perception issues stem not from what Donald says, but how he says it.

Take the "so much crap about Dominion clones" issue brought up earlier.  Every version of the answer Donald generated about playing other people's games starts with "Basically never."  This is super word-efficient but sets the tone as "I don't have time for that" rather than "I'd like to, but I'm too busy".  Personally, I find the tone of the first to be impatient/offputting and the tone of second to be apologetic/conciliatory.

Good, meaningful PR is a weird and delicate art, which is why you usually hire somebody skilled to do it.  I'm not always good at generating it, but I think I recognize it decently-well.  It's really cool that Donald interacts directly with the community, but I think he's a game designer first and PR guy second, so it doesn't surprise me that these issues come up.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: clb on January 03, 2013, 06:43:03 pm
I think we have also been conditioned to perceive confidence as arrogance. If you state something succinctly and concretely, you must obviously be arrogant, since only arrogant people do not hedge and concede with every statement.
Now, of course that is hyperbole and not meant at anyone in particular. I think it stems at least in part from the same thinking that handed out trophies to everyone on every team in little league, but had nothing to congratulate the team who actually won the play-off.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: GigaKnight on January 03, 2013, 08:39:28 pm
I think we have also been conditioned to perceive confidence as arrogance. If you state something succinctly and concretely, you must obviously be arrogant, since only arrogant people do not hedge and concede with every statement.
Now, of course that is hyperbole and not meant at anyone in particular. I think it stems at least in part from the same thinking that handed out trophies to everyone on every team in little league, but had nothing to congratulate the team who actually won the play-off.

I think that's probably part of it, but I also think that's an easy excuse for the insensitive.  I can think of several extremely confident people who don't come off as arrogant.  There's a real but hard-to-define line there.

Part of communicating effectively is knowing your audience and if you're perceived as arrogant, you can't simply say "well that's just your perception" and expect people to accept it.  IMO, that would actually be arrogant, since you're effectively putting the blame on anybody but you.  Something causes that perception.  If it's rare, isolated cases, you can shrug it off as anomaly.  If there's a pattern, then maybe you're sending different signals than you thought.

BTW, this isn't directed at Donald or anybody else.  It's just, like, my opinion, man.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on January 03, 2013, 08:49:48 pm
Why are you not depicted in a Dominion card art? Are you going to get depicted in a Guilds card? If you could redo the art of the existing expansions, in which card would you like to be? (cue Harem joke)
I've got my name on the boxes, that's something. I had the game, I didn't need to be on a card. If I had to be on a card it would be the randomizer for the Knights.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on January 03, 2013, 08:52:58 pm
I got permission to edit their card text and all the errata on the German page you linked to should be in (but I did the copy-paste manually myself so I can't guarantee that it's completely error free).

Here's hoping there aren't any mistakes in the Guilds translation...
Incidentally I sent the list to Jay and I believe fixes will be incorporated into future printed German cards also.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: soulnet on January 03, 2013, 08:59:50 pm
I've got my name on the boxes, that's something. I had the game, I didn't need to be on a card. If I had to be on a card it would be the randomizer for the Knights.

Nice choice!

Follow up: Are the personalities or any other real life characteristic of the real persons that inspire the names of the Knights in any way related with the card "effect"? More precisely, are the assignments of names-effect purely random? If not, what were the criteria, assuming is something not too private to be told here?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on January 03, 2013, 09:51:51 pm
Follow up: Are the personalities or any other real life characteristic of the real persons that inspire the names of the Knights in any way related with the card "effect"? More precisely, are the assignments of names-effect purely random? If not, what were the criteria, assuming is something not too private to be told here?
"Here" is the internet you know - I am not whispering exclusively to the people on dominionstrategy. Google can find anything, within reason - even pictures these days. It's okay though, nothing's too private for the internet.

Dame Josephine, Dame Molly, and Sir Destry all picked what bonus they wanted, from a list. At the time there was no Sir Bailey effect and I suspect if we did it again Dame Molly would pick that one. Sir Bailey is her boyfriend so hopefully that all worked out.

Sir Martin got his because he was the youngest in our gaming group. Dame Natalie got the one that gains little cards because she was a baby. Sir Vander was depressed so I gave him the suicidal knight, there's an in-joke you weren't expecting. I gave +$2 to Dame Sylvia just to give her a good knight. Dame Sylvia is a good one, you heard it here.

Dame Anna, Sir Bailey, and Sir Michael are just random.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Davio on January 04, 2013, 02:11:15 am
Okay, Dame Natalie is my new favorite knight. :)

Now, finding some actual time to play Dark Ages with my wife is tough with a 4 months old baby.  ;)
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: loppo on January 04, 2013, 03:23:13 am
Now, finding some actual time to play Dark Ages with my wife is tough with a 4 months old baby.  ;)

i find it quite difficult to play dark ages with my wife in general. She likes BM-type games, and whenever i manage to pull of an uncontested engine megaturn she walks off, doing laundry or some reading,... and dark ages is all about crazy engine possibilities (exception: rebuild)
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Davio on January 04, 2013, 03:51:26 am
I think we have also been conditioned to perceive confidence as arrogance. If you state something succinctly and concretely, you must obviously be arrogant, since only arrogant people do not hedge and concede with every statement.
Now, of course that is hyperbole and not meant at anyone in particular. I think it stems at least in part from the same thinking that handed out trophies to everyone on every team in little league, but had nothing to congratulate the team who actually won the play-off.
To be honest, nothing I've read from Donald seemed arrogant to me.

If he tells us he doesn't play other games because he doesn't have time, I believe him. I don't think he thinks he's too good for games made by other designers. He might like to play them, but I can understand that if you are a game designer and finally have a bunch of people together, you'd rather seize the opportunity to test your own games instead of playing something else.

And concerning Dominion clones: I don't think he said anything weird or negative about them.

In all of Donald's answers all that's become clear to me is that he is a human being passionate about the games he designs and why wouldn't he be? I write game reviews for a printed magazine and when I write something (I think is) good I'm very proud of myself. Or when I find an elegant solution to a programming problem at work.

In fact, Donald has been very helpful answering most if not all questions in this 18 page thread and he often jumps into other threads to clear up rules questions or provide various other insights. He didn't have to do this. He could have just designed Dominion, moved on to the next game laughing and swimming in the money a la Scrooge McDuck.

He shows a big commitment to Dominion not only here but I suspect at BGG as well and therefore I have a lot of respect for Donald. I mean, he could also take the Martin Wallace A Few Acres of Snow approach and just pretend an apparent game flaw is not a big deal and when you can't suppress the angry crowd anymore come up with a half ass solution. Now I'm not trying to dig up dirt here dragging that game into the discussion again. It's just to prove my point how "lucky" we are that Donald is that passionate about his games.

I don't know many other games and places that allow for this kind of direct communication with its designer.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: DStu on January 04, 2013, 04:00:24 am
To be honest, nothing I've read from Donald seemed arrogant to me.

If he tells us he doesn't play other games because he doesn't have time, I believe him.

and, after all, we want an interview with him and not with his PR-manager...

Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: ipofanes on January 04, 2013, 07:06:05 am
He could have just designed Dominion, moved on to the next game laughing and swimming in the money a la Scrooge McDuck.

That's an odd way of spelling Martin Wallace.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: soulnet on January 04, 2013, 09:51:32 am
He could have just designed Dominion, moved on to the next game laughing and swimming in the money a la Scrooge McDuck.

He already said he prefers engines to BM.

About the post, I agree with Davio, however, I do not think those good qualities are related (at least not too strongly) with him being arrogant or whatever. Plenty of arrogant people that are also smart, passionate and good persons.

However, why would we (or him) care so deeply about him being perceived as arrogant or not in the internet? Is definitely not such a big deal, and I don't think responses in this forum are conclusive proofs about his actual personality in either way. If he was asking people their skin color to decide weither to answer their questions, it would be different, but is nothing like that, so what's the point?

I think what we are actually doing here is almost Analysis Paralysis, just analizing a situation for the sake of arguments and discussion without any actual consequence or conclusion coming up. I know I do this a lot, and the nerdy folks I know IRL also, so I guess is just "professional" deviations, but we should seriously stop and get something useful, like nice questions.

So, questions:

What are the best games of Dominion you remember playing and why? (more fun, surprising, whatever)
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Davio on January 04, 2013, 10:00:49 am
I wonder if it included Rats and Knights. :)
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on January 04, 2013, 10:16:02 pm
What are the best games of Dominion you remember playing and why? (more fun, surprising, whatever)
I have commented on some memorable games in secret histories and that post in response to "maybe you should try getting beaten with KC/Masq/Goons before commenting on it" and such. It will be hard to find good new stories. Which I think is what I said previously in this thread. There isn't generally going to be much of a story to a random game with Rats that was a blast.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: soulnet on January 05, 2013, 11:23:04 am
What are the best games of Dominion you remember playing and why? (more fun, surprising, whatever)
I have commented on some memorable games in secret histories and that post in response to "maybe you should try getting beaten with KC/Masq/Goons before commenting on it" and such. It will be hard to find good new stories. Which I think is what I said previously in this thread. There isn't generally going to be much of a story to a random game with Rats that was a blast.

Sorry, I did not explain myself correctly, I was not requesting anecdotes (although I love those), I was thinking more on "were there boards that surprise you because of its power or fun or whatever?". Do you even keep some boards to study later like we do here?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on January 05, 2013, 08:27:31 pm
Sorry, I did not explain myself correctly, I was not requesting anecdotes (although I love those), I was thinking more on "were there boards that surprise you because of its power or fun or whatever?". Do you even keep some boards to study later like we do here?
Well playtest games played online all had that uh block of text from isotropic showing how they went posted in a thread so I could review them, sometimes with a sentence of description. Mostly I wasn't looking at those cards later - an exception would be like when Crossroads / Margrave was too strong and we had to work out what cards exactly were the problem. If nothing was a problem then we just moved on to the next game of random cards. When it came time to make recommended sets I made lists and then we tried them; obv. any particular combo I remembered enjoying might make it, but I wasn't saving up sets of 10.

As far as sets where we focused on them due to problems, the big one is again Crossroads at +2 actions every time / Margrave / Spice Merchant / Highway / "discard x coppers, gain a card costing up to $3+X." As I have related it turned out that Crossroads and Margrave were the issue and Crossroads was more fixable given what I was getting from both cards. Generally a power problem is more obviously confined to one card and so there's not a memorable set of 10, just, that card seems broken and we play it some more.

If it were rare for a random set of 10 to be fun, I would be desperately trying to fix that. Some are more fun than others but not by a sad margin. There are broad issues like "are there enough villages" and I look at those.

Okay I searched for "fun" in the latest version of the thread. Most of the hits are for Sir Destry saying how fun some specific card is. Most of the sets you couldn't play anyway. Here's an example set though, described as "really, really fun:"

Quote
cards in supply: Armory, Counting House, Develop, Great Hall, Hermit, Mandarin, Rebuild, Talisman, Walled Village, and Wandering Minstrel
Armory is Storeroom; Walled Village is Fortress; and Rebuild is some kind of Remodel outtake, I don't know which one. Probably one of the $5's since then you could Develop a Fortress into it. Destry specifically cited getting to go village, Counting House, Madman, and also using Hermits to draw Fortresses.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: NoMoreFun on January 06, 2013, 06:42:21 pm
There are 12 blank cards in Seaside; enough room for an extra kingdom card. Why was the decision made to have blanks instead of an extra card? This is especially notable as seaside had at least 2 outtakes that were deemed good enough to release as promo cards.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on January 06, 2013, 07:31:33 pm
There are 12 blank cards in Seaside; enough room for an extra kingdom card. Why was the decision made to have blanks instead of an extra card? This is especially notable as seaside had at least 2 outtakes that were deemed good enough to release as promo cards.
Originally the mats were going to be cards (which takes 18 cards total). Then when it turned out they were going to be mats, Haven didn't seem like it needed more testing, and some people felt like some people would like blanks. If it had switched from cards to mats earlier, I expect I would have put another card in, although I don't think Black Market or Stash would have made it.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: NoMoreFun on January 06, 2013, 07:38:46 pm
Why is there a strict requirement to have a round number of cards to the point where it influences what cards make it into the game?

Also, what's your take on including blank cards in general? What do you anticipate players do with them? If you could go back and replace the blank cards and placeholders (which IIRC you never used) with new cards, would you?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on January 06, 2013, 08:24:16 pm
Why is there a strict requirement to have a round number of cards to the point where it influences what cards make it into the game?

Also, what's your take on including blank cards in general? What do you anticipate players do with them? If you could go back and replace the blank cards and placeholders (which IIRC you never used) with new cards, would you?
The number of cards comes from whatever RGG agrees to with the printer. There's a deal for a round number or something. 493 cards would cost as much as 500 so we might as well give you 7 blanks. In some cases we could give you more Spoils or something instead, but in others it's like, a blank is maybe better than more Silver. Obv. when it hits 11 cards we can give you another kingdom card.

I have no interest in blanks. You can always sleeve cards and stick a slip of paper in front with your homemade card image, as I do for prototypes; you don't specifically need blanks. You can use extra treasures/VP from Intrigue, or cards you don't like.

The Copper etc. placeholders were obv. not the move. I did not advocate those, or try to fight against them; it didn't feel like I got to make those decisions. I would use those slots for something better, who wouldn't. The randomizers, I'm not sure, I don't have a good idea as to whether people in general would prefer to have them or not. They might prefer to have them. The main set could benefit from having more variety, but it could manage that with the 25 cards it has, or the 26 it would have with just dumping the Copper etc. placeholders.

I expect most players do not use the blanks, but I know some people want them.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: SirPeebles on January 06, 2013, 08:30:43 pm
I assumed that the blanks were there in case you lost or damaged a card.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: NoMoreFun on January 06, 2013, 09:35:16 pm
Total cards in each set that are randomisers, blanks and placeholders:
*Base set: 40 cards (4 kingdom cards)
*Intrigue: 33 cards  (3 kingdom cards)
*Seaside: 38 cards   (3 kingdom cards)
*Alchemy: 12 cards   (1 kingdom card)
*Prosperity: 26 cards  (2 kingdom cards)
*Cornucopia: 13 cards (1 kingdom card)
*Hinterlands: 34 cards (3 kingdom cards)
*Dark Ages: 35 cards (3 kingdom cards)

For a total of 231 printed cards that aren't used in gameplay (I'll assume guilds will add another 13 unless the randomiser cards are built into the mechanic somehow)

Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on January 06, 2013, 09:35:55 pm
I assumed that the blanks were there in case you lost or damaged a card.
I think that was part of the idea behind blanks rather than more Coppers etc., but probably just a couple blanks do the trick there.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: GigaKnight on January 07, 2013, 02:30:18 am
In the Rules Questions subforum, there was recently another question about the interaction of Ironworks / Trader.  I noticed that you didn't say anything specific about this confusion in your Dominion Time Machine post a while back (http://forum.dominionstrategy.com/index.php?topic=3353.0 (http://forum.dominionstrategy.com/index.php?topic=3353.0)), although you did say you would consider dropping the reaction on Trader.

If you had it to do again, would you reword Ironworks somehow?  Which (if any) other cards would you reword purely to clarify intended behavior / interactions?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on January 07, 2013, 04:44:40 am
In the Rules Questions subforum, there was recently another question about the interaction of Ironworks / Trader.  I noticed that you didn't say anything specific about this confusion in your Dominion Time Machine post a while back (http://forum.dominionstrategy.com/index.php?topic=3353.0 (http://forum.dominionstrategy.com/index.php?topic=3353.0)), although you did say you would consider dropping the reaction on Trader.

If you had it to do again, would you reword Ironworks somehow?  Which (if any) other cards would you reword purely to clarify intended behavior / interactions?
I don't imagine there's a better wording for Ironworks that isn't just confusing for no benefit. Trader issues are most easily solved by not doing the reaction part of Trader; the game doesn't need any particular card. If I wanted to do the reaction but somehow simplify it, it could give you a Silver in addition to whatever (non-Silver) else rather than instead of it. The main argument against Trader as it stands is that the game has only a tiny number of "replacements" (things that happen instead of other things), and so they are especially confusing; it would be better to do none at all or to have them be common. The reason I considered dropping the reaction in that post wasn't rules issues though, it was just, I had wanted the set to be simple enough to be a standalone and dropping that reaction is a step in that direction. The top was a compelling card by itself and it's so much simpler not to have a reaction too, even if the reaction is simple.

In general for any rules question the issue is, how much does this come up. Sometimes it's never coming up except for people who want to poke at the rules; those things are not much of a problem. Sometimes it comes up but very rarely. Sometimes it comes up but if people get it wrong it's probably not so bad; the key thing is that people can come to an agreement by looking at the rulebook. So in general what I care about is failing to include a particular interaction in the rulebook, rather than that particular interaction existing. If Trader's FAQ answered the Ironworks question then I would consider that sufficient there. I like common questions to be answered right on the card and well I work on the wordings.

I may have blown it on some random phrasings but I feel like I have already looked through the cards for these things, in particular for that post you cite. Where earlier cards don't match later ones, I would probably switch to the later style, such as saying "Silver" rather than "Silver card."
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: werothegreat on January 07, 2013, 02:51:44 pm
IF (big if) you decided to do an expansion after Guilds, do you think it would be large (500 cards), normal (300 cards) or small (150 cards)?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Davio on January 07, 2013, 03:17:37 pm
Why don't you join any of the Forum Games?

You'd make a great Mafia member as no one wants to kill the Dominion Godfather!
Heck, you could threaten to make an entire expansion of Scout clones and they wouldn't touch you.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on January 07, 2013, 04:34:55 pm
IF (big if) you decided to do an expansion after Guilds, do you think it would be large (500 cards), normal (300 cards) or small (150 cards)?
Small seems more likely.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on January 07, 2013, 04:40:01 pm
Why don't you join any of the Forum Games?

You'd make a great Mafia member as no one wants to kill the Dominion Godfather!
Heck, you could threaten to make an entire expansion of Scout clones and they wouldn't touch you.
They sound stressful. Mafia seems like it would take up way too much time, but for something faster, I dunno, too much pressure. I've considered running something sometime though.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: LastFootnote on January 07, 2013, 06:03:07 pm
This is a bit of a specific question, but if the original version of Feast was too strong, how in the world did Mining Village pass muster? I'd think that "+1 Card. +2 Actions. +$2. Trash this." would be generally be more powerful than "+1 Action. +$3. Trash this." Mining Village even gives you the option of not trashing it.

EDIT: I'm not arguing that the old version of Feast was that interesting or worth printing, but the comparison between the two cards interests me.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Dsell on January 07, 2013, 06:08:11 pm
Why don't you join any of the Forum Games?

You'd make a great Mafia member as no one wants to kill the Dominion Godfather!
Heck, you could threaten to make an entire expansion of Scout clones and they wouldn't touch you.
They sound stressful. Mafia seems like it would take up way too much time, but for something faster, I dunno, too much pressure. I've considered running something sometime though.

Oh man. I (and so many others) would be all over that.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on January 07, 2013, 08:03:56 pm
This is a bit of a specific question, but if the original version of Feast was too strong, how in the world did Mining Village pass muster? I'd think that "+1 Card. +2 Actions. +$2. Trash this." would be generally be more powerful than "+1 Action. +$3. Trash this." Mining Village even gives you the option of not trashing it.

EDIT: I'm not arguing that the old version of Feast was that interesting or worth printing, but the comparison between the two cards interests me.
The first explanation is that only four people were playing Dominion when I decided old-Feast was too good, and none of them had been playing for long. We would get a Gold with it on turn 3 automatically and it seemed like, this is no good. I don't know how it would go if we playtested it today. Obviously the game has ways to get turn 3 Gold, some of which leave you in a better position than old-Feast, some worse. Old-Feast was pretty automatic though. You bought it to get that Gold and then got that Gold with it.

The second is that trashing Mining Village early is not quite as surefire there because the card is sometimes an Estate. The extra action doesn't matter turn 3, you don't have two more action cards. Similarly Smithy is a good start towards turn 3 Gold (and then you have a good card in your deck), but you aren't guaranteed +$3 when you first draw it. Smithy is a good card at $4, but +$3 can't cost $4, it would make for some really dull games.

The fact that people don't automatically consider buying turn one Mining Village in order to immediately trash it is good too.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: onigame on January 07, 2013, 10:02:48 pm
Okay I searched for "fun" in the latest version of the thread. Most of the hits are for Sir Destry saying how fun some specific card is. Most of the sets you couldn't play anyway. Here's an example set though, described as "really, really fun:"

Quote
cards in supply: Armory, Counting House, Develop, Great Hall, Hermit, Mandarin, Rebuild, Talisman, Walled Village, and Wandering Minstrel
Armory is Storeroom; Walled Village is Fortress; and Rebuild is some kind of Remodel outtake, I don't know which one. Probably one of the $5's since then you could Develop a Fortress into it. Destry specifically cited getting to go village, Counting House, Madman, and also using Hermits to draw Fortresses.

The Rebuild for that period was "Trash a card from your hand.  Gain two differently named cards each costing exactly $2 more than the trashed card."
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: LastFootnote on January 07, 2013, 10:19:34 pm
Okay I searched for "fun" in the latest version of the thread. Most of the hits are for Sir Destry saying how fun some specific card is. Most of the sets you couldn't play anyway. Here's an example set though, described as "really, really fun:"

Quote
cards in supply: Armory, Counting House, Develop, Great Hall, Hermit, Mandarin, Rebuild, Talisman, Walled Village, and Wandering Minstrel
Armory is Storeroom; Walled Village is Fortress; and Rebuild is some kind of Remodel outtake, I don't know which one. Probably one of the $5's since then you could Develop a Fortress into it. Destry specifically cited getting to go village, Counting House, Madman, and also using Hermits to draw Fortresses.

The Rebuild for that period was "Trash a card from your hand.  Gain two differently named cards each costing exactly $2 more than the trashed card."

So presumably you'd usually be trashing Estates and $3 cards with it. Interesting.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Hockey Mask on January 07, 2013, 10:28:35 pm
Where do expect Dominion to be in 50 years?  Still on store shelves?   
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on January 07, 2013, 11:28:05 pm
Where do expect Dominion to be in 50 years?  Still on store shelves?
I don't have much to go on here. There are gamer's games that have stayed in print for 20 years; I think Dominion looks okay there. Boardgame technology and competing entertainment have changed so much in the last 50 years though.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Davio on January 08, 2013, 02:14:05 am
Why don't you join any of the Forum Games?

You'd make a great Mafia member as no one wants to kill the Dominion Godfather!
Heck, you could threaten to make an entire expansion of Scout clones and they wouldn't touch you.
They sound stressful. Mafia seems like it would take up way too much time, but for something faster, I dunno, too much pressure. I've considered running something sometime though.
Well, Mafia can be stressful and time consuming, but there are a lot of alternatives.

We're playing all sorts of games now, ranging from actual board games like Pandemic, Small World, Diplomacy, Gauntlet of Fools, Witch's Brew and such to single submission psychology games like trying be the furthest from any other guess or the Coin Game.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: RobBennett on January 08, 2013, 08:59:26 am
Do you think Dominion has the potential to catch on big-time with the general public (people who have only played Monopoly and such)?

I do.

I paid no attention to gaming communities until my boy was given Dominion as a Christmas present in 2011. Now I follow this board and try to play a game every night. I see this game as having huge crossover appeal. Of course it would need much more marketing support to pull this off.

Rob
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on January 08, 2013, 11:19:44 am
Do you think Dominion has the potential to catch on big-time with the general public (people who have only played Monopoly and such)?

I do.

I paid no attention to gaming communities until my boy was given Dominion as a Christmas present in 2011. Now I follow this board and try to play a game every night. I see this game as having huge crossover appeal. Of course it would need much more marketing support to pull this off.
Thanks, happy to have sucked you in.

I don't really know what the general public can tolerate in games. I think normal people can play Dominion, and I know it's done well as a gamers' spouses game. I don't know if full-on non-gamer couples would actually prefer it to other entertainment options though. I do not have much to go on there.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: buggy on January 08, 2013, 11:32:29 am
I don't really know what the general public can tolerate in games. I think normal people can play Dominion, and I know it's done well as a gamers' spouses game. I don't know if full-on non-gamer couples would actually prefer it to other entertainment options though. I do not have much to go on there.

I can speak to this.  My sister likes to play games, but before I introduced her to hobby games, her favorite games were things like Sequence.  We've only played a handful of hobby games, but there have only been two that she liked enough to want to play more of them: Dominion and Ticket To Ride.  So there you go.  My anecdotal evidence totally supports you.  Now if I can just stop her from calling the card, "Smitty..."
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Ozle on January 08, 2013, 11:34:47 am
I have tried to get non-gamers interested in Dominion, but I think seeing all the cards laying out there for a complete non-gamer is just too daunting.

I have to soften them up with less awesome games first and then once they have a grasp of strategy and tactics, I say "oh why don't we try this one next"

Anybody who is at heart a gamer, but just doesn't know it yet (Closet Gamers?) it gets brought out right away.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: theory on January 08, 2013, 11:41:21 am
When you're making an expansion, how much consideration are you giving to the cards themselves, and how much to how they fit together?

In other words, would you be fine releasing an expansion of "all-star" cards, or would you rather have cards that fit together in some way, even if it means losing a bit of "all-star"-ness?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on January 09, 2013, 02:40:31 am
When you're making an expansion, how much consideration are you giving to the cards themselves, and how much to how they fit together?
Every set has general things it wants that all sets want - a certain percentage of villages and so on. A particular set may have other needs - generally just, having the new things show up a good amount. For example I wanted Dark Ages to have three ways to use Ruins, but only two of them to be attacks, so there was this special need for something that Death Cart filled. This can mean one card's existence affects another - Margrave is providing +buy, only so many cards in Hinterlands should, something else may not get to.

But in general the existence of multiple expansions means that any great card that can't fit due to these roles can just go in another set. The worst case is, a great card that won't fit anywhere could be a promo.

In other words, would you be fine releasing an expansion of "all-star" cards, or would you rather have cards that fit together in some way, even if it means losing a bit of "all-star"-ness?
Hobby Japan has done several rethemes - Dominion cards grouped different ways and with new art and names. I am totally fine with those and have offered advice on their lists. An English all-star set isn't out of the question. It would still have a good proportion of villages and so on though, even if that meant taking a non-all-star to fill out a slot. In practice that just wouldn't matter, "all-star" isn't precise enough and most cards aren't duds.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Davio on January 09, 2013, 04:01:06 am
You heard it, Guilds has a Village!  ;D :P
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: SirPeebles on January 09, 2013, 07:05:38 am
You heard it, Guilds has a Village!  ;D :P

And a certain percentage of them!  Alchemy only had one village -- University -- but I suppose its non-terminal theme made them less necessary.  Cornucopia has two -- Farming Village and Hamlet.  Three if you count Trusty Steed.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Ozle on January 09, 2013, 07:06:50 am
Id put Mining Village and Fishing Village in an All Star list anyway, possibly even Working Village!
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Davio on January 09, 2013, 07:14:45 am
Id put Mining Village and Fishing Village in an All Star list anyway, possibly even Working Village!
Hamlet, man!
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Qvist on January 15, 2013, 01:41:44 pm
Here is a collection of mistakes in the German forums:
http://forum.dominionblog.de/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=1338
This is great, but if you want to go that extra mile, what Goko will need to fix these is fixed text in German. I'm sure they can get someone to translate for them, but you know, if you have fixed text I will give it to them and you will get to have it all just the way you wanted.

I was at Goko when they were copying the German from the cards into their system and I did make sure that King's Court and Venture were corrected (but that's the only errata I noticed at the time).  Thanks for the link, kn1tt3r, I'll make sure that they get looked at.

Thanks a lot.

I got permission to edit their card text and all the errata on the German page you linked to should be in (but I did the copy-paste manually myself so I can't guarantee that it's completely error free).

Here's hoping there aren't any mistakes in the Guilds translation...

I got permission to edit their card text and all the errata on the German page you linked to should be in (but I did the copy-paste manually myself so I can't guarantee that it's completely error free).

Here's hoping there aren't any mistakes in the Guilds translation...
Incidentally I sent the list to Jay and I believe fixes will be incorporated into future printed German cards also.

Regarding the problems with Hans im Glück and RGG, I think Hans im Glück won't publish the German version of Guilds right?
If this is true, can you say something about if there's already a replacement publisher found for the German version?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on January 15, 2013, 01:43:40 pm
Regarding the problems with Hans im Glück and RGG, I think Hans im Glück won't publish the German version of Guilds right?
If this is true, can you say something about if there's already a replacement publisher found for the German version?
Last I heard HiG was out of the picture. I don't know where things stand. I don't know who is publishing Guilds in German. I bet someone will be doing it.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Ozle on January 15, 2013, 01:47:15 pm
Regarding the problems with Hans im Glück and RGG, I think Hans im Glück won't publish the German version of Guilds right?
If this is true, can you say something about if there's already a replacement publisher found for the German version?
Last I heard HiG was out of the picture. I don't know where things stand. I don't know who is publishing Guilds in German. I bet someone will be doing it.

If you need someone I just got myself a swish new Epson Stylus C20UX off a guy in the market, will do a bang up job!

Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: achmed_sender on January 15, 2013, 03:17:37 pm
Quote
And a certain percentage of them!  Alchemy only had one village -- University

I'll count Golem as a kind of village


Every large expansion has three villages cards that let you play more actions
base has festival, village and throne room
intrigue has mining village, shanty town and nobles
seaside has fishing village, native village and bazaar
prosperity has KC, city and WV
hinterlands has Xroads, BV and Inn


Every small expansion has 2
alchemy: kind of golem and uni
cornucopia hamlet and Farming Village (ok Trusty steed also)

DA has as a 1.5 expansion 5 villages: squire, Wandering Ministrell, Procession, Fortress and Bandit Camp

so we can expect 2 +action cards i Guilds :)
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Ozle on January 15, 2013, 04:33:48 pm
Oh I got a real life legit question for once!

Urchin -> Mercenary

Whats the thought process behind that?

If your street urchin gets attacked he grows up to be a big bad mercenary?
Or its a mercenary posing as a street urchin in order to trap unwary thugs?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: theory on January 15, 2013, 04:39:31 pm
On the topic, are there any other card names you are particularly proud of?  I like City a lot.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on January 15, 2013, 04:54:02 pm
Oh I got a real life legit question for once!

Urchin -> Mercenary

Whats the thought process behind that?

If your street urchin gets attacked he grows up to be a big bad mercenary?
Or its a mercenary posing as a street urchin in order to trap unwary thugs?
As a kid he's an urchin, he grows up to be a mercenary. He gets taught the ropes by another attack card. Even if it's just another urchin he learns a thing or two.

Previously he grew up to be a bandit. That made more sense. It didn't work out because sometimes you would want to fight Bandit by buying some and you couldn't, you had to upgrade Urchins. So I switched it to Mercenary, which was called Mercenary because you pay it to attack.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Drab Emordnilap on January 15, 2013, 05:10:09 pm
Previously he grew up to be a bandit. That made more sense. It didn't work out because sometimes you would want to fight Bandit by buying some and you couldn't, you had to upgrade Urchins.

Also, Bandit is now Rogue, I think?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on January 15, 2013, 05:11:09 pm
On the topic, are there any other card names you are particularly proud of?  I like City a lot.
City was called Boomtown when I passed the file on to Jay. There was a sketch for it I was commenting on and I was saying how the name suggested wild west but of course we wanted medieval, and Jay said oh uh maybe we should rename it. City is a great name for it so that all worked out.

Man, good card names. Scheme is pretty satisfying. Jester had to be in some sense a funny card, and I was happy there. Treasure Map is nice; the card was not based on the concept. Torturer feels like he's torturing. Ruined Market etc. are pretty cute. Procession is nice for a Throne variant. I like Band of Misfits a lot.

Ill-Gotten Gains was a hard one. It was originally Bad Penny, and then for a while it was Cursed Idol. People would say, but it doesn't curse the person with the idol. Tunnel was hard; what gives you gold when you discard? Sometimes you discard to attacks, in which case it's an escape tunnel; other times you have a name like Cellar, some kind of basement or storage area, and the tunnel leads away from that. It doesn't always work but it hits sometimes. Anyway neither of those is top-notch, I am just telling name stories.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on January 15, 2013, 05:12:23 pm
Previously he grew up to be a bandit. That made more sense. It didn't work out because sometimes you would want to fight Bandit by buying some and you couldn't, you had to upgrade Urchins.

Also, Bandit is now Rogue, I think?
Well yes, but Bandit was different. It didn't make +$2 but both attacked and gained-from-the-trash in the same turn.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: jotheonah on January 15, 2013, 05:13:26 pm
The nice thing about Torturer is that it lends itself to a verb which is appropriate. (iso's "waiting for X to be tortured" always makes me giggle). But the decision making, it can be quite torturous.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Drab Emordnilap on January 15, 2013, 05:26:55 pm
Sometimes when I play a Torturer on Isotropic, when no one can hear me, I say out loud "Wheee, torture torture torture torture". So if anyone plays against me and I play a Torturer, now you can imagine that.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: ednever on January 15, 2013, 06:34:45 pm
Previously he grew up to be a bandit. That made more sense. It didn't work out because sometimes you would want to fight Bandit by buying some and you couldn't, you had to upgrade Urchins.

Also, Bandit is now Rogue, I think?
Well yes, but Bandit was different. It didn't make +$2 but both attacked and gained-from-the-trash in the same turn.

Wow. My initial reaction is that I like that a lot. It trashes an opponents card worth $3-$6 and then gains a $3-$6 from the trash. Effectively a thief for "everything else".

Why did you change it? Was the trash and gain too powerful (or bit powerful enough, hense the +$2?)

Ed
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on January 15, 2013, 07:05:15 pm
Wow. My initial reaction is that I like that a lot. It trashes an opponents card worth $3-$6 and then gains a $3-$6 from the trash. Effectively a thief for "everything else".

Why did you change it? Was the trash and gain too powerful (or bit powerful enough, hense the +$2?)
It was not too powerful.

There is a certain kind of player who does not enjoy having a Duchy stolen. It's one thing to make you lose a Duchy; it's another if I get it at the same time. This was further compounded by your inability to buy a Bandit. You steal my Duchy and I'm all ugh fine whatever I buy a Bandit. Wait I can't, I need to upgrade an Urchin, it is so not happening.

So I moved Bandit out of Urchin-land, and then had it attack less often. And splitting the attack and gain meant it needed that +$2.

For a long time the set had three trashing attacks - Knights, Bandit, and Barbarian, which was "+$2, each other player trashes their top card and gains a cheaper card that shares a type with it, or a Ruins if they can't." I especially liked Barbarian. But I think a lot of Dominion players are not keen on this kind of attack, and the players who do like them did not need three of them. So they got one and a half.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: michaeljb on January 15, 2013, 08:54:10 pm
Barbarian sounds really cool. A candidate for a Dark Ages card in the Treasure Chest set? ;D

(I know you've said that if there was going to be anything after Guilds, Jay would rather have it be something new than a set with more Durations/VP token cards/etc so I guess that really makes my question did it get substantial play testing, or did the decision to drop it come before it got very much?)
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on January 15, 2013, 09:55:19 pm
Barbarian sounds really cool. A candidate for a Dark Ages card in the Treasure Chest set? ;D

(I know you've said that if there was going to be anything after Guilds, Jay would rather have it be something new than a set with more Durations/VP token cards/etc so I guess that really makes my question did it get substantial play testing, or did the decision to drop it come before it got very much?)
Barbarian got plenty of testing.

The reasons for not doing Barbarian in Dark Ages continue to apply for not doing Barbarian elsewhere. Justifying bringing it back would require like some market research showing universal love for the Knights.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: GeoLib on January 15, 2013, 11:52:43 pm
You've said that you avoid politics in your games, and something that I appreciate about Dominion over say, Settlers of Catan, is that you avoid all the robber placement nonsense and one person feeling like everyone is ganging up on them. At the other extreme is a game like Diplomacy, where politics is most of the point. Perhaps counter-intuitively, it's one of my other favorite games (though I play it orders of magnitude less often due to the difficulty in getting 7 interested people together for a whole day). Have you played Diplomacy, and do you like it? Based on playing it, or perhaps what you've heard, do you think politics works in this sort of situation where it becomes the focus rather than an annoyance.

In reference to the massive, time-consuming game aspect, do you design your games to be quick because you, personally enjoy quick games more or because you think that they have broader appeal and people get to play them more often? Same with the politics: do you avoid politics because you like apolitical games better or because you think it makes them more fun for consumers?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: ipofanes on January 16, 2013, 05:08:35 am
Name, reaction, and artwork of Horse Traders synergise very well. I find this card very thematic.

Bazaar should have been a Village. Every card which looks like a market should net a Buy.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: RobBennett on January 16, 2013, 06:23:10 am
Since GeoLib has asked your opinion of Diplomacy, I need to ask your opinion of Axis and Allies. My boy Timothy insists.

Rob
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on January 16, 2013, 10:10:55 am
You've said that you avoid politics in your games, and something that I appreciate about Dominion over say, Settlers of Catan, is that you avoid all the robber placement nonsense and one person feeling like everyone is ganging up on them. At the other extreme is a game like Diplomacy, where politics is most of the point. Perhaps counter-intuitively, it's one of my other favorite games (though I play it orders of magnitude less often due to the difficulty in getting 7 interested people together for a whole day). Have you played Diplomacy, and do you like it? Based on playing it, or perhaps what you've heard, do you think politics works in this sort of situation where it becomes the focus rather than an annoyance.
I have not played Diplomacy. I have played other political games, like Risk and Settlers.

I think it's fine if some people like political games; I just don't like them. I don't enjoy spending the evening whining about who gets the robber and don't trade with Tom; I don't want the game to come down to people picking who wins. Richard Garfield argues that all political games are the same; he likes politics but doesn't need more games that have it. I don't remember how he actually argues this, but it seems to me that if convincing another player to do things good for both of you is more useful than whatever else you're doing with the components, then that's the game, the rest is window dressing. But I personally don't even want that one political game.

In reference to the massive, time-consuming game aspect, do you design your games to be quick because you, personally enjoy quick games more or because you think that they have broader appeal and people get to play them more often? Same with the politics: do you avoid politics because you like apolitical games better or because you think it makes them more fun for consumers?
Being fast does a lot for you.

Quote from: Donald X.
Fast games are good because there are more opportunities to play them, players get more of a chance to win a game over the evening, and you get more variety of experiences over your evening.
I have made longer games, but they're less likely to get published. I make shorter games because 1) I like that for several reasons, 2) other people like it, 3) we get in more plays, 4) they are more publishable.

I don't like political games. You can't eliminate politics in multiplayer games with interaction and decisions. You can cut it down to size though. There is kingmaking in Dominion, but not enough to make it a game that people say has kingmaking in it. I don't know how the public in general feels about politics, but I think, they've got those games already, they don't need them from me.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on January 16, 2013, 10:11:43 am
Name, reaction, and artwork of Horse Traders synergise very well. I find this card very thematic.

Bazaar should have been a Village. Every card which looks like a market should net a Buy.
Bazaar has that name because there was unused art from the main set that needed to be used - specifically, unused art for Market.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on January 16, 2013, 10:14:17 am
Since GeoLib has asked your opinion of Diplomacy, I need to ask your opinion of Axis and Allies. My boy Timothy insists.
I have not played Axis and Allies and do not even have much of a notion of how it goes.

I liked Vinci but it had too much politics. I am told Small World has less kingmaking but I haven't played it. Risk (the "classic" game rather than modern versions) is the game I am most likely to use as an example of what not to do.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: ipofanes on January 16, 2013, 10:28:22 am
Richard Garfield argues that all political games are the same; he likes politics but doesn't need more games that have it. I don't remember how he actually argues this, but it seems to me that if convincing another player to do things good for both of you is more useful than whatever else you're doing with the components, then that's the game, the rest is window dressing.

At least you can get away with designing an unbalanced game and rely on players' diplomacy to even it out. The races in Cosmic Encounter are not quite balanced but it doesn't matter much.

I think I get the gist of Richard Garfield's argument here but I have seen few games in which diplomacy is so dominant (the Werewolves/Mafia type of games come to mind but they don't deny that it's all about persuading). Most games are of the sort that someone should be able to trailblaze multiple paths to victory that cannot be blocked by everyone else. Your pet peeve Risk is not of the sort, that's why it takes ages to complete.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Ozle on January 16, 2013, 10:34:37 am
Richard Garfield argues that all political games are the same; he likes politics but doesn't need more games that have it. I don't remember how he actually argues this, but it seems to me that if convincing another player to do things good for both of you is more useful than whatever else you're doing with the components, then that's the game, the rest is window dressing.

Wow, and then he designed King of Tokyo....
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: ipofanes on January 16, 2013, 10:36:37 am
Name, reaction, and artwork of Horse Traders synergise very well. I find this card very thematic.

Bazaar should have been a Village. Every card which looks like a market should net a Buy.
Bazaar has that name because there was unused art from the main set that needed to be used - specifically, unused art for Market.

It's really an exception to quite workable mnemonics the card names offer. A positive example is using verbs for cards that trash to get something better ("mine" can also be a verb). In German they use words ending with "-bau". One more adantage to your putting a cap on expansions: You have more verbs in English than we have words ending on "-bau".

I have bought Bazaar more than once only to find out later that it doesn't offer the +buy (well less often than I have mistaken Mine for Mint -- "hey, where's all my Silver?"). More so as Festival is Jahrmarkt in German.

Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on January 16, 2013, 11:09:38 am
I think I get the gist of Richard Garfield's argument here but I have seen few games in which diplomacy is so dominant (the Werewolves/Mafia type of games come to mind but they don't deny that it's all about persuading). Most games are of the sort that someone should be able to trailblaze multiple paths to victory that cannot be blocked by everyone else. Your pet peeve Risk is not of the sort, that's why it takes ages to complete.
That's not Richard's argument, that's my argument: "I don't remember how he actually argues this, but it seems to me that..." Possibly you can dig up one of his old Duelist articles online. I know he explained the "chip-taking game," which is a very simple pure politics game.

I am not convinced by your statement about "most games." If most games are two player or have two teams or are co-ops or N-against-1 or are decisionless then hey, no politics. Multiplayer games with interaction and decisions always have politics, and not every designer tries to mute the politics. Risk is not unique, it is typical of an era.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: ipofanes on January 16, 2013, 11:49:19 am
Most games are of the sort that someone should be able to trailblaze multiple paths to victory that cannot be blocked by everyone else.
If most games are two player or have two teams or are co-ops or N-against-1 or are decisionless then hey, no politics. Multiplayer games with interaction and decisions always have politics, and not every designer tries to mute the politics.


I didn't say "no politics". Cyclades, for instance, has a lot of decisions inflicting harm to a specific opponent (being overbid can be cruel). Yet politics does not dominate the game to an extent where you could as well play Mafia.

Quote
Risk is not unique, it is typical of an era.

Definitely, but I didn't have the games in mind that didn't stand the test of time when I said "most games".
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on January 16, 2013, 12:02:48 pm
I didn't say "no politics". Cyclades, for instance, has a lot of decisions inflicting harm to a specific opponent (being overbid can be cruel). Yet politics does not dominate the game to an extent where you could as well play Mafia.

Definitely, but I didn't have the games in mind that didn't stand the test of time when I said "most games".
Let us avoid a pointless endless argument over exactly what people mean with words. I don't need to convince you that any particular fraction of published games have whatever level of politics, and don't wish to spend time analyzing the data.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: werothegreat on January 19, 2013, 12:53:47 am
Were there any other Dominion cards that were named for animals at some point, besides Rats, Trusty Steed and Familiar?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Jimmmmm on January 19, 2013, 02:19:06 am
Was there any point during Dominion's development etc when you were ready to give up?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on January 19, 2013, 12:45:51 pm
Were there any other Dominion cards that were named for animals at some point, besides Rats, Trusty Steed and Familiar?
I considered "Menagerie" as an expansion theme at one point, and it came up again for Cornucopia, although that was really just a joke.

There were a couple cards called Kennel in Dark Ages. The original was "+1 card +1 action, name a type, others reveal their top cards and trash the ones that match." Dog & Pony Show, from Cornucopia, drew you one of each different card in the top 5.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on January 19, 2013, 12:48:52 pm
Was there any point during Dominion's development etc when you were ready to give up?
Well it worked immediately, so no. Sometimes I make a game and it has issues I don't see answers for and I put it aside for 6 months or 5 years or some combination of forever and who knows. Dominion worked the first night, so that was that.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: soulnet on January 19, 2013, 02:04:37 pm
1. Why is the background of Action - Reaction cards blue instead of White and Blue? It seems that either this or Treasure - Reaction or Action - Victory is "wrong", i.e., there seems to be no simple to explain convention regarding how to assign colors. Maybe a Treasure - Reaction was not planned when Moat got full blue background?

2. Is it possible / feasible to have Treasure - Duration type?

3. When learning that Dark Ages had a trashing theme, I was expecting a Victory Card scoring points per cards in the trash (or something else trash related). This is a really simple idea, so my wild guess is that it was considered. Is there something particularly broken about something like that? (maybe an Action - Victory that potentially trashes, so there is always a trasher in the board).

4. After Prosperity, there seems to be a really thin line between non-terminal non-village Actions and Treasures, but there are lots of cards that care about that thin line (even disregarding the "drawing nonterminals dead" possibility). At this point, I even think the difference between Actions and Kingdom Treasures is more of a "spirit" things, so that things that interact specifically with one kind have some meaning. After a kind of long introduction, my question is, do you base the decision of weither something should be an Action or a Treasure purely based on possible game interactions? If so, is there any kind of rule of thumb to decide what type to assign to a card to put something to avoid bad interactions in future cards?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on January 19, 2013, 02:38:33 pm
1. Why is the background of Action - Reaction cards blue instead of White and Blue? It seems that either this or Treasure - Reaction or Action - Victory is "wrong", i.e., there seems to be no simple to explain convention regarding how to assign colors. Maybe a Treasure - Reaction was not planned when Moat got full blue background?
I remember answering this one on BGG, and hey here's that post.

Quote from: Donald X.
I did think of this back when, and mentioned it in case anyone cared.

In Dominion, color indicates type, but type doesn't always mean a color, and the Action type does not always have its color represented.

The way to think of this is in terms of functionality. Why have colors at all?

- Green lets you know that you don't need to look at those cards in your hand, they are doing nothing. And it helps you sort them at the end too.
- Yellow lets you know you can play that card in your buy phase.
- Blue lets you know that this card does something at an unusual time. Look at your hand, see if there's a blue card.
- Orange reminds you that this might stay out an extra turn instead of being discarded.

Curses didn't strictly need their own color but it seemed nice to help sort them and they got one. Attacks were originally pink but I switched to the default white there because that word "attack" didn't have any meaning. It's just there so cards can refer to it.

White is just the default color; an Action with nothing extra going on is white.

So then, why make Nobles etc. white-green? Because normally you can ignore victory cards in hand, that's their deal, but you don't want to ignore Nobles. So it reminds you that it's an action.

Whereas orange-white isn't needed for duration cards because the orange color doesn't mean "ignore this."

For Moat in particular, there it was as the only reaction in the main set. It did not want to be two colors, that seemed more confusing rather than less confusing.

The "when-gain" ability could have had a type and color, to help remind you to do something when you gain one. But then Mint couldn't have been in Prosperity, and I didn't consider this back then.

Anyway, Moat could have been blue-white, this did not go unnoticed but it did go undone.

2. Is it possible / feasible to have Treasure - Duration type?
I would have to read the Seaside rulebook to know for sure. Read the Seaside rulebook, see what you think. The Seaside rulebook could have been written such that treasure-duration worked, but I don't know if it was.

3. When learning that Dark Ages had a trashing theme, I was expecting a Victory Card scoring points per cards in the trash (or something else trash related). This is a really simple idea, so my wild guess is that it was considered. Is there something particularly broken about something like that? (maybe an Action - Victory that potentially trashes, so there is always a trasher in the board).
There are secret histories for each expansion, you can see the Dark Ages one on this very site at http://forum.dominionstrategy.com/index.php?topic=4318.0

Quote from: Donald X.
- Another late card was a treasure-victory card, worth $1 plus $1 per nontreasure in your hand, and worth 1 VP per 10 cards in the trash. The VP part was crazy, and I replaced this with a treasure worth $1 per different card type in your hand. It was cute in all-Dark Ages games and not so great otherwise. It flirted with staying in the set, then I replaced it with Rebuild.
Seaside also once had a victory card that counted the trash, and Seaside also has a secret history viewable on this site.

Quote from: Donald X.
- The victory card that Island replaced was an Action-Victory with "Trash a card from the supply costing $6 or less / Worth 1 vp per 3 vp cards in the trash." I always thought it seemed cool and interesting, but in practice it wasn't much fun. If you went for it, other people would get in on it. It would do nothing some games, then dominate others, but never in a fun way. No-one was sad to see it go. There could still be a card someday that trashes supply cards, but in practice it's mostly a waste of time, with players sitting there trying to work out which card to trash in cases where it really doesn't matter (and so it's hard to decide).

4. After Prosperity, there seems to be a really thin line between non-terminal non-village Actions and Treasures, but there are lots of cards that care about that thin line (even disregarding the "drawing nonterminals dead" possibility). At this point, I even think the difference between Actions and Kingdom Treasures is more of a "spirit" things, so that things that interact specifically with one kind have some meaning. After a kind of long introduction, my question is, do you base the decision of weither something should be an Action or a Treasure purely based on possible game interactions? If so, is there any kind of rule of thumb to decide what type to assign to a card to put something to avoid bad interactions in future cards?
Prosperity had a theme of treasures that did things. Originally many of them were "when you spend this," but that created questions that I could solve by going either to "when you play this" or "while this is in play."

Since other sets don't have that theme, they don't have treasures that do something when played unless there's a compelling reason for them. It's not that an action with +1 action could be a treasure; it has to want to be a treasure. Only one card has been tried both ways - Horn of Plenty was an action, and switched to being a treasure in order to count treasures you'd played (in the simplest way). Diadem, Ill-Gotten Gains, and Fool's Gold all do something when played just to let them be worth varying amounts. Spoils does something to be one-use. Counterfeit is specifically a Throne Room for treasures, it plays treasures and so naturally it's a treasure (while some people like that Black Market plays treasures in the action phase, it's too confusing to be worth doing again).

I am not seeing the +1 Action cards that want to be treasures. Obv. anything that also draws cards is unhappy to be a treasure. Forager could be a treasure that makes a variable amount. Rebuild has no reason to be a treasure. Bag of Gold sounds like a treasure, but makes $0; even though Horn of Plenty is a treasure worth $0, that's not something to do for no good reason. Ruined Village for sure did not want to be a treasure.

So overall there's just Forager. I did not consider making Forager a treasure. I applied no rule of thumb; I just never considered it. It was an action and nothing said "wait let's think about this."
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: soulnet on January 19, 2013, 03:00:08 pm
Thanks for the pointers and reposts, and sorry for not remembering those excerpts from the secret histories. I read those a while ago and don't remember every detail. About BGG, well, I just don't read that forum.

2. Is it possible / feasible to have Treasure - Duration type?
I would have to read the Seaside rulebook to know for sure. Read the Seaside rulebook, see what you think. The Seaside rulebook could have been written such that treasure-duration worked, but I don't know if it was.

I did check beforehand and its apparently legal. Maybe my use of the word possible is not clear enough, my question was if there was something broken or not fun or difficult to explain that made such a thing better left out.

I think the Seaside rulebook is not too specific about what a Duration is or is not. Even "Reaction - Duration" would be legal, although it would be probably quite hard to get the text precise enough. Maybe Horse Traders is already an Action - Reaction - Duration, although this opens the door for things like "Action - Duration - Reaction - Duration" and that's probably too much.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: werothegreat on January 19, 2013, 03:38:59 pm
Treasures and Actions operate at different parts of your turn.  It does make a difference.

Say you have a three-card hand of Forager, Estate and Horse Traders.

If Forager is an Action: you play Forager, trash the Estate, then play Horse Traders, discarding nothing.

If Forager is a Treasure: You have to play Horse Traders first, since Forager cannot be played yet, and you discard the Estate and the Forager.

Let's say there's a Copper and a Silver in the trash.  In the first scenario, you get $5 and 3 Buys.  In the second scenario, you get $3 and 2 Buys.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on January 19, 2013, 03:40:54 pm
Thanks for the pointers and reposts, and sorry for not remembering those excerpts from the secret histories. I read those a while ago and don't remember every detail. About BGG, well, I just don't read that forum.
I don't expect people to remember them, it's just, if you have a question about Dark Ages outtakes, there's a source.

I did check beforehand and its apparently legal. Maybe my use of the word possible is not clear enough, my question was if there was something broken or not fun or difficult to explain that made such a thing better left out.

I think the Seaside rulebook is not too specific about what a Duration is or is not. Even "Reaction - Duration" would be legal, although it would be probably quite hard to get the text precise enough. Maybe Horse Traders is already an Action - Reaction - Duration, although this opens the door for things like "Action - Duration - Reaction - Duration" and that's probably too much.
If it didn't conflict with the Seaside rulebook and I was doing a new set with duration cards, I would for sure consider doing a treasure-duration. I don't think it would be too confusing.

A card has to say "duration" to be a duration card, so Horse Traders for example is not one. I wouldn't do a "reaction-duration," that wasn't also an action or treasure, it doesn't make sense. Duration cards stay in play; pure reactions aren't played.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: eHalcyon on January 19, 2013, 07:59:51 pm
Have you ever considered making an Action-Treasure?  If so, how would such a card work?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on January 19, 2013, 08:09:44 pm
Have you ever considered making an Action-Treasure?  If so, how would such a card work?
No, I can't do action-treasure because it would be too confusing. And basically the entire appeal of it would be triggering two things on Ironworks / Tribute / Ironmonger.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: RD on January 20, 2013, 09:45:39 am
Are there any interesting mechanics that you considered but didn't wind up using? Off the top of my head (just to save you the trouble of repeating yourself) you've mentioned:

* Duration cards that last longer than one turn, which were considered too confusing to mix in with Seaside
* A second resource, which obviously appeared in a very limited form as Potion
* Something like a board, which you say is better used for a spinoff, rather than an individual card that might not be bought and then why did you bother setting the board up.

You've probably mentioned some others in the Secret History articles but I can imagine where many ideas were probably abandoned too early to have ever had a place in one of the sets during development.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on January 20, 2013, 10:58:11 am
Are there any interesting mechanics that you considered but didn't wind up using? Off the top of my head (just to save you the trouble of repeating yourself) you've mentioned:

* Duration cards that last longer than one turn, which were considered too confusing to mix in with Seaside
* A second resource, which obviously appeared in a very limited form as Potion
* Something like a board, which you say is better used for a spinoff, rather than an individual card that might not be bought and then why did you bother setting the board up.

You've probably mentioned some others in the Secret History articles but I can imagine where many ideas were probably abandoned too early to have ever had a place in one of the sets during development.
Treasury is like a duration card that lasts longer than one turn.

I have a list of possible mechanics. If any of them are really that interesting I should keep them private for now, and consider them for spin-offs. I will mention a few uninteresting things that I decided against.

- My first plan for Intrigue was to have an event deck. You'd flip over a card sometimes and something would happen to everybody. When the time came I didn't try it, because it seemed so superfluous. The game gets tons of variety from changing the ten cards, and an opponent playing an interactive/attack card is like an event.

- There was a Dark Ages outtake, "Choose one: +1 card +1 action, or Throne." It died because it didn't want to cost $5 (it had cost $4 when Throne cost $3). At one point I thought I'd do a mini-theme of cards like that, but I didn't because it wasn't interesting enough to even replace that one card.

- I tried a few cards that did something at the start of your turn, while staying in your hand. There was nothing interesting about this either; if you really want a card that can do a little without using up your action, that can just be a choose one.

- "Cost weirdness" was at one point a theme of a small set. This mechanic is good, but only in small doses. Grand Market and Peddler survived, and a few other cards didn't. There was a VP card that cost less per card you'd drawn, and a card that cost the same as the last card you'd gained that turn.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: ipofanes on January 22, 2013, 05:31:50 am
I am not seeing the +1 Action cards that want to be treasures.
I think soulnet rather meant kingdom treasures that might as well have been actions, like Quarry, Talisman, and, to a lesser extent, Loan (the power cap on Loan by possibly drawing a copy of it may have been necessary).

Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on January 22, 2013, 11:45:13 am
I am not seeing the +1 Action cards that want to be treasures.
I think soulnet rather meant kingdom treasures that might as well have been actions, like Quarry, Talisman, and, to a lesser extent, Loan (the power cap on Loan by possibly drawing a copy of it may have been necessary).
I wanted a treasures-that-do-things theme for Prosperity, and so made treasures that did things. Originally it was "when you spend this," but that creates some questions, so it ended up "when you play this" or "while this is in play."

They were not actions because the whole point was to do treasures.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: PitzerMike on January 22, 2013, 02:31:43 pm
What's your favourite flavor of ice cream?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on January 22, 2013, 02:45:34 pm
What's your favourite flavor of ice cream?
Bittersweet Nugget.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Ozle on January 22, 2013, 04:29:48 pm
What's your favourite flavor of ice cream?
Bittersweet Nugget.

Who makes the best ice cream? James Bond or Indiana Jones?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on January 22, 2013, 04:35:05 pm
What's your favourite flavor of ice cream?
Bittersweet Nugget.

Who makes the best ice cream? James Bond or Indiana Jones?
Hans Solo, but you have to be careful not to eat any of the carbonite.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Jimmmmm on January 22, 2013, 06:55:01 pm
What's your favourite flavor of ice cream?
Bittersweet Nugget.

Who makes the best ice cream? James Bond or Indiana Jones?
Hans Solo, but you have to be careful not to eat any of the carbonite.

+1 for Star Wars jokes, but -1 for Hans.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on January 22, 2013, 07:03:08 pm
+1 for Star Wars jokes, but -1 for Hans.
It's the red queen's race in here.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: GigaKnight on January 22, 2013, 07:43:32 pm
What's your favourite flavor of ice cream?
Bittersweet Nugget.

Who makes the best ice cream? James Bond or Indiana Jones?
Hans Solo, but you have to be careful not to eat any of the carbonite.

I knew it!  Donald thinks he's too good to eat carbonite!
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: enfynet on January 25, 2013, 12:20:22 am
What I've always liked about Dominion and disliked about Magic is that in Dominion all players have the same choices. Every card in the kingdom was available to every player. You weren't limited to the amount of money you wanted to spend on random booster packs and such. You could just buy a set, know every card you were going to get and have equal access to all of those cards.

This is what instantly clicked with me. I committed to buying all the expansions if the game promised to be any good, and still be way below the money I spent for M:tG.
I was drawn in for the same reason. I actually had been avoiding ALL CCG/TCG games because of what I witnessed with MtG back in high school. Who wants to play a game where you lose before your 2nd turn? I actually wasn't much into gaming at all until this local company (PKXL, now Little Big Games) came to my work with PK Cards. The game struck me as exceptionally well balanced for a CCG/TCG so I tried it out. I'd love to still be playing it, but it doesn't seem that the company that owns the property actually does anything to promote it. (Which is sad, because it is a very fun game.)

So, as attention at work died, people started bringing in new games. The first such game was San Juan, the second was Dominion. Within 2 weeks I ordered the base game and two expansions to play regularly at game night. (We also tried Thunderstone and Nightfall without interest, the only one that seemed to draw any attention from Dominion was the Resident Evil clone.)

Sorry for the highjack. Donald, you have created an excellent game. I look forward to see what you might work on in the future.

With that said:

Dominion started out as "Castle Builder" and you have a game called Kingdom Builder. What can you say about the parallels between the two game concepts?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on January 25, 2013, 03:02:51 am
Sorry for the highjack. Donald, you have created an excellent game. I look forward to see what you might work on in the future.

With that said:

Dominion started out as "Castle Builder" and you have a game called Kingdom Builder. What can you say about the parallels between the two game concepts?
Thanks, I'm there for you, and so is this thread; talk about whatever you want in it.

The initial premise of Kingdom Builder was, you played cards to put pieces on a board, and put pieces on a board to gain cards. It was a two-step process, whereas Dominion has a one-step process of playing cards to get cards. But it was directly intended to be a Dominion spin-off.

The idea had issues and I sat on it for a while, trying to think of a resolution I was happy with. In the end that resolution was taking out the deck, and just playing pieces to play pieces, again a one-step process like Dominion.

So they both started out as deckbuilding, and they ended up similar in that in both you have an engine that's just one thing, playing cards or placing pieces. Then of course both of them vary the set-up, including the set of abilities available, although it's the variable scoring that really does the work of providing variety in Kingdom Builder.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: SirPeebles on January 25, 2013, 10:25:16 pm
On the matter of a Treasure-Duration type, it may have an awkward interplay with Herbalist (or Mandarin).  Scheme topdecks an action when that action is cleaned-up; Herbalist topdecks a treasure when Herbalist is cleaned-up. 
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on January 25, 2013, 11:05:25 pm
On the matter of a Treasure-Duration type, it may have an awkward interplay with Herbalist (or Mandarin).  Scheme topdecks an action when that action is cleaned-up; Herbalist topdecks a treasure when Herbalist is cleaned-up.
Thanks, that would be a good reason not to do one. Scheme struggled to not be confusing with duration cards, and of course Herbalist did not put in that effort.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: soulnet on January 25, 2013, 11:15:25 pm
Thanks, that would be a good reason not to do one. Scheme struggled to not be confusing with duration cards, and of course Herbalist did not put in that effort.

Well, you already did Procession that takes a Duration card out of play before it finishes having its effect. Having Herbalist do the same is such a big issue to completely forbid Treasure - Duration?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on January 26, 2013, 12:18:55 am
Well, you already did Procession that takes a Duration card out of play before it finishes having its effect. Having Herbalist do the same is such a big issue to completely forbid Treasure - Duration?
Well the only reason to do a treasure-duration is to do it. You know. For the sake of the novelty of it. It's not compelling in the face of this. Procession was a cool card that I couldn't otherwise make, but whatever the duration treasure is, odds are I can make a fine action version instead.

Again, I currently have zero expansions planned for after Guilds. And any spin-off that had something similar could plan for this.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Dsell on January 26, 2013, 12:21:39 am
I gotta say, I am incredibly excited to see these Dominion spin-offs. Dominion is my favorite game, and I really doubt these games would be worse than the original! :D
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Jimmmmm on January 26, 2013, 06:00:28 am
I gotta say, I am incredibly excited to see these Dominion spin-offs. Dominion is my favorite game, and I really doubt these games would be worse than the original! :D

Kingdom Builder? Not that KB's bad, don't mind a game of it every now and then, it's just nowhere near as good as its predecessor.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: thirtyseven on January 26, 2013, 12:02:00 pm
What do people call you IRL? Do you have a preference what we call you online? (e.g., you might hate being called DXV for whatever reason)

You don't have an avatar on here... so if you did, what Dominion card would you choose? Would you choose the Isotropic or Official artwork?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Dsell on January 26, 2013, 02:13:14 pm
I gotta say, I am incredibly excited to see these Dominion spin-offs. Dominion is my favorite game, and I really doubt these games would be worse than the original! :D

Kingdom Builder? Not that KB's bad, don't mind a game of it every now and then, it's just nowhere near as good as its predecessor.

I really love Kingdom Builder. Not as much as Dominion, but it's great. But like DXV's said, it's a totally different style of game. It started as a spinoff but became its own thing.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on January 26, 2013, 03:00:41 pm
What do people call you IRL? Do you have a preference what we call you online? (e.g., you might hate being called DXV for whatever reason)

You don't have an avatar on here... so if you did, what Dominion card would you choose? Would you choose the Isotropic or Official artwork?
IRL people call me Donald X. Online, if you're talking to me, I prefer Donald X. If you're just talking about me rather than to me, DXV is fine, we'll all know who you're talking about. "That guy."

I've considered using the Nefarious cover guy as a BGG avatar. There's no Dominion card art I feel that special connection to.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on January 26, 2013, 03:08:32 pm
I really love Kingdom Builder. Not as much as Dominion, but it's great. But like DXV's said, it's a totally different style of game. It started as a spinoff but became its own thing.
Thanks, I am pretty pleased with it. I would have liked to have more scoring cards in the main set; I did not have the technology in time. And I would tweak the boards just slightly so that no arrangement can let you connect two buildings on turn one.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Awaclus on January 26, 2013, 04:17:24 pm
IRL people call me Donald X. Online
Really?

Sorry, couldn't resist. :P
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Insomniac on January 28, 2013, 03:08:47 pm
Do you have any expansions planned for your other games that you can mention now (Kingdom Builder/Gauntlet of Fools/Nefarious/Monster Factory/Infiltration)?

Do you have any new games you are working on getting published or that are about to be published etc that you can mention now?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on January 28, 2013, 03:28:51 pm
Do you have any expansions planned for your other games that you can mention now (Kingdom Builder/Gauntlet of Fools/Nefarious/Monster Factory/Infiltration)?

Do you have any new games you are working on getting published or that are about to be published etc that you can mention now?
I made four total Kingdom Builder expansions. There was one large one originally, I split it into two because they wanted them smaller, and then when Kingdom Builder either got nominated for the SdJ or won it, they said they wanted more, and I made two more. I would not expect more than four but probably they will all come out eventually. The second one is possibly coming out at Nuremberg, it is on W. Eric Martin's list at least.

I made an expansion for Nefarious but I wouldn't get your hopes up there. It could happen if Ascora Games springs back to life, or if I find another publisher after the contract expires, which is in 2016.

I have not made expansions for Gauntlet of Fools, Monster Factory, or Infiltration. For Gauntlet of Fools and Monster Factory, if they're successful enough, a sequel seems more likely than an expansion.

I have two games placed with publishers that have not been announced. I was told one would come out at Nuremberg and well it has not been announced. The other one, they have been working on it and I imagine that means it will come out promptly, but that could easily mean Essen. They haven't tossed around a date so I don't really know. I can't really tell you much about them. One is a gamer's game and the other is a lighter family game.

I am always working on new games, and have older games that I want published. I can't really tell you much about these games.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Dsell on January 28, 2013, 03:48:39 pm
I can't really tell you much about them. One is a gamer's game and the other is a lighter family game.

Would you consider Dominion a "gamer's game" or more towards a family game? Obviously those definitions cannot be rigid, there's lot of crossover there. But can you say if this "gamer's game" is heavier or lighter than Dominion?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: soulnet on January 28, 2013, 03:52:28 pm
What Dominion card(s) we already know do you think have the most depth, i.e., it takes more games and thought to get the whole juice out?

Currently Dominion has a really low variety of materials. Is mostly cards and in a small part some tokens and mats. Did you ever find a limitation there for an idea of a card? Did you thought about cards that used other materials but were not good enough to bother making those new materials (like a board, or counters)?
An example could be a Duration card that makes a variable amount of coin (or draws a variable amount of cards) on the next turn, so that you need something to track that amount. Especially if it depends on what many players do or don't during their turns. Another example would be to add another source of randomness other than shuffling.

How important is to you that every card works with 2 and with 3+ players exactly as written, without referring explicitly to how many players there are? For instance, there are things, like changing the order, which don't make sense in 2 player games. Would you completely rule out a card for that? How likely would it be to have a card that cannot be used in 2 player games (or ruled out for any other number)? How about having different rules, or exceptions, to handle a specific amonut of players?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on January 28, 2013, 04:02:53 pm
I can't really tell you much about them. One is a gamer's game and the other is a lighter family game.

Would you consider Dominion a "gamer's game" or more towards a family game? Obviously those definitions cannot be rigid, there's lot of crossover there. But can you say if this "gamer's game" is heavier or lighter than Dominion?
Dominion is a gamer's game, and it's gone over well with non-gamers, so there you go, what do these terms even mean.

The gamer's game is like at the level Race for the Galaxy would be at if it didn't have the icon issue.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on January 28, 2013, 04:47:45 pm
What Dominion card(s) we already know do you think have the most depth, i.e., it takes more games and thought to get the whole juice out?
I'm not sure I can give this a satisfying answer. Workshop gains a card. Deciding what to gain is like deciding what to buy; it's pretty deep relative to say the mess of choices Count gives you. The various Workshops and Remodels probably beat everything else in terms of how long you can spend getting better at them.

Aside from that unsatisfactory answer I would have to stare at the visual spoilers, and I don't want to end up saying, here are the cards I think you guys are mis-evaluating.

Currently Dominion has a really low variety of materials. Is mostly cards and in a small part some tokens and mats. Did you ever find a limitation there for an idea of a card? Did you thought about cards that used other materials but were not good enough to bother making those new materials (like a board, or counters)?
Well if you add components, you can have cards that interact with those components; it directly opens up possibilities for you. However this is better for spin-offs, because of the Alchemy issue - not slow-to-resolve cards, the other one, that some people don't like potions. Doing individual cards like Native Village and Embargo has the issue of, we can only include so many extra components for individual cards.

For the most part I have not ruled out cards due to needing components - I just haven't tried to think of cards that required components I wasn't going to get to have. I can think of one exception. I playtested "+1 handsize for the rest of the game" as an Alchemy card. It would have required a playmat - yes even if you personally wouldn't have needed one - and that killed it.

How important is to you that every card works with 2 and with 3+ players exactly as written, without referring explicitly to how many players there are? For instance, there are things, like changing the order, which don't make sense in 2 player games. Would you completely rule out a card for that? How likely would it be to have a card that cannot be used in 2 player games (or ruled out for any other number)? How about having different rules, or exceptions, to handle a specific amonut of players?
If a card wouldn't work in two player games I would not make it. It's okay for the card to refer to the number of players though, if it has to, although generally it wouldn't. Like, Tribute originally looked at the top card of each adjacent player. To work in two player games it just goes left. But at the time it put the card back on top. It could have ended up looking at the top card of each adjacent player and discarding them, and in two player games that would just mean their top two cards, with no special rules.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: GigaKnight on January 28, 2013, 05:38:16 pm
If Dominion had been computerized from the start, are there mechanics you would have liked to have tried that would only work on a computer? (random numbers, etc)
Meh, not really. The big thing you get out of a computer is tracking; you can do more stuff like Pirate Ship and Monument without worrying about it. I did those cards anyway though. If I were really making a computer-only Dominion-like game though, it would probably end up nothing like Dominion. There's no real point in simulating cards on a computer, except you know, when there's a real-life card game you want on your computer.

This last sentence surprises me.  Do you truly see "no real point in simulating cards on a computer"?  Maybe I'm being too literal, but assuming I want to make a game that would, IRL, be a card game, I see a few benefits of doing that on a computer:
Are these differences irrelevant or undesirable to you?  Or do you simply think the flexibility of the computer design space would inevitably lead to a different game?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: blueblimp on January 28, 2013, 05:41:02 pm
I think his point is: why restrict yourself to simulated cardboard if you're designing a video game?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: SirPeebles on January 28, 2013, 05:41:28 pm
I feel that cards like Harvest already effectively have random number built into them.  But since the randomness comes from your deck, you can actually plan your strategy around increasing your expected value, which is neat.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: soulnet on January 28, 2013, 06:00:55 pm
I feel that cards like Harvest already effectively have random number built into them.  But since the randomness comes from your deck, you can actually plan your strategy around increasing your expected value, which is neat.

There is nothing random about Harvest, it just uses the randomness the shuffling provides. And it could be totally or partially non-random with some inspection or top-decking.

In any case, you can still think about expected value with a card that says "roll a dice, +$ equal to half of the rolled number, rounded up". This card in particular does not seem interesting, but I think some extra random may be nice. Especially for 2nd player :).
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on January 28, 2013, 06:05:01 pm
This last sentence surprises me.  Do you truly see "no real point in simulating cards on a computer"?  Maybe I'm being too literal, but assuming I want to make a game that would, IRL, be a card game, I see a few benefits of doing that on a computer:
Blueblimp has it right. There's no point to limiting yourself to what cards can do if you're making a computer game. You can do it to cash in on something - you make a CCG that's digital only and you make it cards so people know it's a CCG. Players know what to expect from cards, and cards are a familiar way to display certain information. But you don't have to do cards.

Instead of cards we can consider "rules components." These are things in a game that have rules associated with them. They are typically cards for physical games, but don't have to be. For a computer game you can think of them as cards, but they aren't cards at all. For example there's no uh Medusa card in Heroes of Might and Magic III. There's a creature with associated rules, but it's not card-like. When I get a particular perk in Fallout 3, that's like a card in a tableau, but it's not doing anything to imitate a card. For a physical game you couldn't deal with making sure all your perks happened when they were supposed to. For a computer game it's no trouble.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Ozle on January 28, 2013, 06:07:12 pm
Would you give up creative control and ownership of Dominion if someone came in with an offer?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: eHalcyon on January 28, 2013, 06:10:58 pm
Would you give up creative control and ownership of Dominion if someone came in with an offer?

Clearly Ozle wants to buy Dominion so that he can retheme it as Oland!
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Ozle on January 28, 2013, 06:11:31 pm
Would you give up creative control and ownership of Dominion if someone came in with an offer?

Clearly Ozle wants to buy Dominion so that he can retheme it as Oland!

Not Oland! Thats where O lives!
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: soulnet on January 28, 2013, 06:13:17 pm
Would you give up creative control and ownership of Dominion if someone came in with an offer?

Probably it depends on the offer.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SeldwfOwuL8 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SeldwfOwuL8).
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Ozle on January 28, 2013, 06:15:07 pm
Would you give up creative control and ownership of Dominion if someone came in with an offer?

Probably it depends on the offer.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SeldwfOwuL8 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SeldwfOwuL8).

Obviously. But I mean an offer that somebody would reasonably make rather than say £1,000,000 and a date with Halle Berry (Is Halle Berry still considered hot? I'm a little out of touch)
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: SirPeebles on January 28, 2013, 06:18:10 pm
I feel that cards like Harvest already effectively have random number built into them.  But since the randomness comes from your deck, you can actually plan your strategy around increasing your expected value, which is neat.

There is nothing random about Harvest, it just uses the randomness the shuffling provides. And it could be totally or partially non-random with some inspection or top-decking.

In any case, you can still think about expected value with a card that says "roll a dice, +$ equal to half of the rolled number, rounded up". This card in particular does not seem interesting, but I think some extra random may be nice. Especially for 2nd player :).

How on Earth is there nothing random about Harvest?  Yes, it uses the randomness from the shuffling.  Why not use that randomness, since it's already there?  Sure, you can use strategy to manipulate the probability distribution, but that's precisely what I said was cool about it.  Or you can just use it to cycle or clear Rabble junk.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on January 28, 2013, 06:19:15 pm
Would you give up creative control and ownership of Dominion if someone came in with an offer?
Possibly; it would need to be a pretty fantastic offer though. Dominion is still raking in cash, and I already get to design games for a living.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: eHalcyon on January 28, 2013, 06:20:46 pm
Would you give up creative control and ownership of Dominion if someone came in with an offer?

Clearly Ozle wants to buy Dominion so that he can retheme it as Oland!

Not Oland! Thats where O lives!

Oops, you are correct.  My bad!
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Insomniac on January 28, 2013, 06:25:06 pm
Would you give up creative control and ownership of Dominion if someone came in with an offer?
Possibly; it would need to be a pretty fantastic offer though. Dominion is still raking in cash, and I already get to design games for a living.

Strong opening to negotiations!
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: GigaKnight on January 28, 2013, 06:36:11 pm
This last sentence surprises me.  Do you truly see "no real point in simulating cards on a computer"?  Maybe I'm being too literal, but assuming I want to make a game that would, IRL, be a card game, I see a few benefits of doing that on a computer:
Blueblimp has it right. There's no point to limiting yourself to what cards can do if you're making a computer game. You can do it to cash in on something - you make a CCG that's digital only and you make it cards so people know it's a CCG. Players know what to expect from cards, and cards are a familiar way to display certain information. But you don't have to do cards.

Instead of cards we can consider "rules components." These are things in a game that have rules associated with them. They are typically cards for physical games, but don't have to be. For a computer game you can think of them as cards, but they aren't cards at all. For example there's no uh Medusa card in Heroes of Might and Magic III. There's a creature with associated rules, but it's not card-like. When I get a particular perk in Fallout 3, that's like a card in a tableau, but it's not doing anything to imitate a card. For a physical game you couldn't deal with making sure all your perks happened when they were supposed to. For a computer game it's no trouble.

Yes, I agree you don't have to do cards.  I didn't mean to suggest that video games *should* limit themselves to cards but, just as there is no point in limiting yourself to that, I also see no point in dismissing the design space.

I bring it up because, if Dominion were online-only, it'd be the core game we all love, but you'd be able to make all those changes you wanted and include all the cards you wanted.  Maybe Dominion makes more money and is more popular with IRL publishing, but that's sort of besides my point.  I see those online advantages as very compelling potential reasons to "simulate cards" instead of publishing IRL and I was just wondering if you agree.  And, if not, why not?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on January 28, 2013, 07:19:23 pm
Yes, I agree you don't have to do cards.  I didn't mean to suggest that video games *should* limit themselves to cards but, just as there is no point in limiting yourself to that, I also see no point in dismissing the design space.

I bring it up because, if Dominion were online-only, it'd be the core game we all love, but you'd be able to make all those changes you wanted and include all the cards you wanted.  Maybe Dominion makes more money and is more popular with IRL publishing, but that's sort of besides my point.  I see those online advantages as very compelling potential reasons to "simulate cards" instead of publishing IRL and I was just wondering if you agree.  And, if not, why not?
I'm not limiting myself by not doing cards - it's the opposite. Cards are strictly a limitation.

I have already made two physical games that started out with deckbuilding and lost it. I doubt if I would find deckbuilding compelling for a digital-only game. I can build something more complex and the computer can handle it.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: ConMan on January 28, 2013, 07:35:57 pm
You mentioned far back in the thread that you're not exactly well-recognised in the sense that people don't usually link your face (and sometimes even your name) to your games. Have you ever considered having your face show up in your games, possibly even on the cover (Copycat-style)?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on January 28, 2013, 08:03:14 pm
You mentioned far back in the thread that you're not exactly well-recognised in the sense that people don't usually link your face (and sometimes even your name) to your games. Have you ever considered having your face show up in your games, possibly even on the cover (Copycat-style)?
I have not.

Friedemann Friese explained once that the green hair and games that start with F made him more of a person, making him more of a brand. You know, you want people to buy your games because you made them, and it helps with that. That logic seems sound; probably I should go for D and blue. What can I say, I'm lazy.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Watno on January 28, 2013, 08:16:50 pm
Dingdom Duilder?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: GigaKnight on January 28, 2013, 08:24:26 pm
Sorry, Donald, I don't feel like my questions are being understood.  Let me try one more time. If this doesn't work, I'll drop it.

1) If you could retroactively change, remove, and add Dominion cards at will, would you want to? For example, you could magically change the text on every printed copy of Throne Room.
2) Given that this is impossible with physical games, but possible in video games: Do you agree that this ability could be a valid reason to implement a card game exclusively as a video game? (Even if it doesn't appeal to you, personally). If not, I'm curious why not.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on January 28, 2013, 08:48:11 pm
Sorry, Donald, I don't feel like my questions are being understood.  Let me try one more time. If this doesn't work, I'll drop it.

1) If you could retroactively change, remove, and add Dominion cards at will, would you want to? For example, you could magically change the text on every printed copy of Throne Room.
2) Given that this is impossible with physical games, but possible in video games: Do you agree that this ability could be a valid reason to implement a card game exclusively as a video game? (Even if it doesn't appeal to you, personally). If not, I'm curious why not.
Being able to tweak cards later would be nice, sure. That's no reason to make a video card game. I can make Starcraft and tweak units later, or whatever; I'm not giving up the ability to tweak things by not confining myself to cards.

If I made a card game, and decided it could only be done as a digital game, then the digital game could probably be further improved by making it even less like a card game. The only reason to make it a digital card game is to also sell the physical card game, in which case the cards at some point are set in stone by what's printed (although if the digital game was first there might be a window for tweaking them) (or like I said before, you might make it cards to cash in on the recognition people have of the CCG format).

Let's say you came up with Galaxy Trucker. Only you thought of it as a computer game. Maybe the spaceships are built in 3-D. Why confine them to tiles? If 3-D is too hard, they still don't need to be 2-D tiles all the same shape. Or a given spaceship piece might vary in size/shape depending on where you put it. The physical limitations don't apply to you, and there's no reason to cling to them (same caveats as before).
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: GigaKnight on January 28, 2013, 09:23:42 pm
Sorry, Donald, I don't feel like my questions are being understood.  Let me try one more time. If this doesn't work, I'll drop it.

1) If you could retroactively change, remove, and add Dominion cards at will, would you want to? For example, you could magically change the text on every printed copy of Throne Room.
2) Given that this is impossible with physical games, but possible in video games: Do you agree that this ability could be a valid reason to implement a card game exclusively as a video game? (Even if it doesn't appeal to you, personally). If not, I'm curious why not.
Being able to tweak cards later would be nice, sure. That's no reason to make a video card game. I can make Starcraft and tweak units later, or whatever; I'm not giving up the ability to tweak things by not confining myself to cards.

If I made a card game, and decided it could only be done as a digital game, then the digital game could probably be further improved by making it even less like a card game. The only reason to make it a digital card game is to also sell the physical card game, in which case the cards at some point are set in stone by what's printed (although if the digital game was first there might be a window for tweaking them) (or like I said before, you might make it cards to cash in on the recognition people have of the CCG format).

Let's say you came up with Galaxy Trucker. Only you thought of it as a computer game. Maybe the spaceships are built in 3-D. Why confine them to tiles? If 3-D is too hard, they still don't need to be 2-D tiles all the same shape. Or a given spaceship piece might vary in size/shape depending on where you put it. The physical limitations don't apply to you, and there's no reason to cling to them (same caveats as before).

Ok, thanks, I appreciate the answer.  For sure, you're "not giving up the ability to tweak things by not confining myself to cards".  Totally agree with this.  I'm thinking about the issue that you do give up some ability to tweak things by publishing a physical copy.  The cat's out of the bag, as they say.  CCGs aside, yes, you could print a new version of the same game, but that's complicated for consumers.

In other words, I'm not saying there's a reason to constrain your video game to cards.  I'm saying I see reasons to constrain your card game to being virtual.  Being virtual confers properties that are totally orthogonal to whether it's a card game or not.

Hopefully that clears up my point, even we don't see eye-to-eye.  Again, appreciate your thoughts!
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on January 28, 2013, 10:53:12 pm
In other words, I'm not saying there's a reason to constrain your video game to cards.  I'm saying I see reasons to constrain your card game to being virtual.  Being virtual confers properties that are totally orthogonal to whether it's a card game or not.
But once I constrain a card game to being virtual, I'm unlikely to keep it cards. Being cards is no longer relevant.

I make physical games instead of digital ones because it's so much easier. I can make a game over a weekend by myself and try it on Tuesday. I can make changes easily. Playtesting involves - I am not making this up - playing games. If a publisher wants one it's low-risk for them, even though most games don't sell well. If a publisher doesn't I've still got something, we still have fun playing the game.

Computer games cost millions of dollars, involve teams of people. People are less interested in taking risks, more interested in repeating previous successes. Richard Garfield got interested in doing computer games, and has spent years seeing them not get made. These days there are iPad etc. games, which one guy can program, but they are still way more work than a card game.

If Nintendo says, hey Donald X., give us some ideas for a new Mario game, man, I will think of some stuff. But I'm happy making physical games. It's not so bad that I can't tweak the cards once they're published.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: RD on January 28, 2013, 11:34:32 pm

I'm not limiting myself by not doing cards - it's the opposite. Cards are strictly a limitation.

I don't mean to beat on this dead horse but this brings up a more abstract question about your game design philosophy.

Orson Welles had it that "The enemy of art is the absence of limitations." And to me Dominion absolutely exemplifies this. Take Treasury, which as you mentioned earlier, is sort of like a permanent Duration card. Instead of writing up new rules for a new card type, you shoehorned it into the rules framework you had. And from this you get depth: it develops interesting interactions with discard attacks, it's a guaranteed target for Thrones or Graverobbers or whatever, all kinds of stuff. I think it's reasonable to say that a lot of the nuance in Dominion comes from stuff like this.

So this isn't a criticism of course; obviously however you think about game design, it works! And of course it's not like deckbuilders are the only game format that provides some basic structure to work from. But I'm surprised to hear that after your Dominion experience you find "limitations" to be a dirty word. Do you feel like pushing against boundaries is a major part of your design process? Or is it the sort of thing where like, your game mechanics are ultimately going to limit you no matter what you do, so you might as well carve out as big of a design space as you can?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on January 29, 2013, 12:22:01 am
Orson Welles had it that "The enemy of art is the absence of limitations." And to me Dominion absolutely exemplifies this. Take Treasury, which as you mentioned earlier, is sort of like a permanent Duration card. Instead of writing up new rules for a new card type, you shoehorned it into the rules framework you had. And from this you get depth: it develops interesting interactions with discard attacks, it's a guaranteed target for Thrones or Graverobbers or whatever, all kinds of stuff. I think it's reasonable to say that a lot of the nuance in Dominion comes from stuff like this, and of course you've been making Dominion cards long enough to appreciate it (though maybe long enough to get sick of it).

So this isn't a criticism of course; obviously you know more about game design than I do. And obviously it's not like deckbuilders are the only game format that provides some basic structure to work from. But I'm surprised to hear that after your Dominion experience you find "limitations" to be a dirty word. Do you feel like pushing against boundaries is a major part of your design process? Or is it the sort of thing where like, your game mechanics are ultimately going to limit you no matter what you do, so you might as well carve out as big of a design space as you can?
Mark Rosewater says, man how does he put it. Restrictions breed creativity. If you need inspiration, man, order some up. One way to be inspired is to box in your possibilities and that's fine. Sometimes you get inspiration some other way; that's fine too. It can be hard staring at a blank page, and in the end you will have something very specific on it; we can view the task as entirely one of cutting down the possibilities. And if you can get part of the way there that's better than uh not getting anywhere. Anyway you know, that's all well and good although it doesn't mean you constantly need restrictions. Sometimes you've just got good ideas, you leap right to some good stuff on that page. Restrictions in this sense are a tool but not the only one. I mean you're always restricting things but that's not always the clearest way to look at it.

My games tend to work with as little as possible; they are heavily restricted in that sense. In Dominion your VP go in your deck, your money is in your deck, your actions are in your deck. The reason I went that route was simply to try the most extreme version of the idea. In Kingdom Builder you place 3 pieces on your terrain, adjacent to you if possible, gain abilities when you play by them, can't use them the turn you get them, and draw a new card at end of turn. Most of my games are low on rules and can be taught very quickly. It's a trick because there are rules on cards, but you know, the framework is minimal. If there was something I didn't need, it's not there. And I see how much I can do with what little I've got.

In some of my games there will be this real question of, can you make enough cards for this. The number of cards you can make depends on the complexity of the cards and the amount of rules you have. When you don't have many rules, the pressure is on the card text, which tends to want to be simple too. I have tackled this so many times that I know a lot of basic things you can do with almost nothing. Let's say you have points of some kind, monkey points. Well you can gain monkey points. You can make the other players lose them. You can do both at once, always satisfying. If there are lots of ways to gain them, I can make a way to increase how many you gain, and if there are lots of ways to lose them, I can make a way to avoid losing as many. There aren't a lot of things you can do with just monkey points, but you know, a game without many rules can have more card variety than you might think.

But none of this has anything to do with "should I make a purely digital card game." That restriction isn't interesting or new or anything. There is better territory to stake out. Like, when you are trying to fill that blank page, deciding not to use the letter e is not a great start. It's a restriction but it's not doing good things for you. Someone already wrote something with no e's, and man no-one needs to read it.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: GigaKnight on January 29, 2013, 02:47:27 am
In other words, I'm not saying there's a reason to constrain your video game to cards.  I'm saying I see reasons to constrain your card game to being virtual.  Being virtual confers properties that are totally orthogonal to whether it's a card game or not.
But once I constrain a card game to being virtual, I'm unlikely to keep it cards. Being cards is no longer relevant.

That makes sense and I totally respect it.  I just also see an opportunity for somebody to make virtual card games because they like card games and they like virtual things.  It isn't likely to be you and I didn't mean to imply you should, but it does seem that there's valid design space there with some specific benefits (if a designer seeks those).  The hurdles, complexity, cost, and risk you bring up all make a lot of sense to me, too.

But I'm happy making physical games. It's not so bad that I can't tweak the cards once they're published.

This is the essence of what I was looking for in my original question, btw.  As somebody who probably values flexibility more than normal people, the draw of virtual is strong for me and it's probably why I'm a software engineer as opposed another type of engineer.  I was hoping to get some insight into how you value that stuff and I did, so thanks!
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: ipofanes on January 29, 2013, 03:34:53 am
Quote
made him more of a person, making him more of a brand
These two are entirely different things.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on January 29, 2013, 03:42:30 am
Quote
made him more of a person, making him more of a brand
These two are entirely different things.
And I mentioned both of them. And this is a post and it quotes your post.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: blueblimp on January 29, 2013, 03:52:12 am
Computer games cost millions of dollars, involve teams of people. People are less interested in taking risks, more interested in repeating previous successes. Richard Garfield got interested in doing computer games, and has spent years seeing them not get made. These days there are iPad etc. games, which one guy can program, but they are still way more work than a card game.
The millions of dollars plus team is only really for publishing the game, though. For prototyping many types of games, a single full-time expert programmer can do the job. Of course, you probably know that already, given that isotropic exists.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Ozle on January 29, 2013, 04:46:08 am
Magnets? How do they work?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: thirtyseven on January 29, 2013, 08:47:57 am
I know there are at least hints of this in the secret histories ("this card never changed" and "this took a long time to playtest and changed a lot"), but what cards were among the easiest/quickest to both come up with and playtest, and which ones were among the hardest/longest to both come up with and playtest? Are there whole expansions that were generally easier or harder to finish (expansion size notwithstanding)? I realize this question may not be answerable, but just in case. Thank you.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: rrenaud on January 29, 2013, 02:35:15 pm
The millions of dollars plus team is only really for publishing the game, though. For prototyping many types of games, a single full-time expert programmer can do the job. Of course, you probably know that already, given that isotropic exists.

Heh.  dougz's personal text should be "an existence proof of awesomeness".
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: jotheonah on January 29, 2013, 03:06:28 pm
Someone already wrote something with no e's, and man no-one needs to read it.

I don't know. I think lipogram is unfairly hit by too much criticism. I find just trying it ups my linguistic skills and assists in building my vocabulary.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: neoeinstein on January 29, 2013, 03:16:48 pm
Someone already wrote something with no e's, and man no-one needs to read it.

I don't know. I think lipogram is unfairly hit by too much criticism. I find just trying it ups my linguistic skills and assists in building my vocabulary.

I mark what you did in that location.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Insomniac on January 29, 2013, 03:52:51 pm
Someone already wrote something with no e's, and man no-one needs to read it.

I don't know. I think lipogram is unfairly hit by too much criticism. I find just trying it ups my linguistic skills and assists in building my vocabulary.

Myself? Elegant response sure. Equally challenging however express entire phrases ensuring e's everywhere.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on January 29, 2013, 04:18:19 pm
I know there are at least hints of this in the secret histories ("this card never changed" and "this took a long time to playtest and changed a lot"), but what cards were among the easiest/quickest to both come up with and playtest, and which ones were among the hardest/longest to both come up with and playtest? Are there whole expansions that were generally easier or harder to finish (expansion size notwithstanding)? I realize this question may not be answerable, but just in case. Thank you.
I will pick two cards from each set.

Main: Mine is a day one card where the only change was "up to +$3" rather than "copper to silver, silver to gold." It matters now but did not much with just the main set. Witch went from "$3, they gain Curse" through "$5, pay $1 to give them Curse" to what it is.

Intrigue: Masquerade is a good example of a nontrivial card that didn't change. It was carefully built to make the most of passing a card left. Secret Chamber started as "victory cards are also Copper this turn" for $4.

Seaside: Several of these were good to go - Merchant Ship, Caravan, Bazaar, Warehouse. None of these had so many versions; maybe Outpost has the record here. I'm going to say this set was the easiest.

Alchemy: Potion never changed. Vineyard just went from $4 to $P. Maybe Philosopher's Stone had the most versions; the oldest one was an action for $3, +1 buy, +$1 per 4 cards left in your deck (did not count discard).

Prosperity: Platinum never changed. The $7's all just changed in cost, plus the "may" on King's Court; Expand I think spent the most time as is. A bunch of discard attacks tried out for the Goons slot; that version may not have had multiple versions, but it feels like the most work went into that slot.

Cornucopia: Remake and Hamlet never changed. Remake got more playtesting focus. Tournament took the most work, but Horn of Plenty also has a long history, starting with "+$1 per card you played this turn" in Intrigue.

Hinterlands: Cache survived unchanged from the first month or so of Dominion, and even got to keep its name. The Margrave slot ate up the most time, depending on what you count. For a long time there was a discard attack that hit you the turn they bought it. There were multiple versions and well hooray they're gone. Margrave itself descended from another attack tried in a couple versions that didn't work out. Then Margrave itself didn't change once I had that particular card, but it was a focus of testing because of the old-Crossroads / Margrave deck.

Dark Ages: Probably this set took the most work over all. This set was last, so ideas that sounded good but hadn't worked out trickled down into it, to be worked on one last time. And it changed themes and is large. What month are the fewest children born in? February. Anyway Armory and Altar are cards that never changed. The Knights probably took the most work, although there was certainly some time spend on a bunch of these.

Attacks take the most work, both playtesting/changing and also just thinking of good ones that feel new. Very basic effects are easy to think of, but some of my initial cost guesses were way off, and sometimes the simple cards didn't start simple. Some of the easiest things I listed were Seaside's "do something basic but next turn also" and Prosperity's "do the big version of something basic." "Choose one of these basic things" wasn't hard either. Whereas "care about variety," you can quickly list the basic approaches (variety in your hand, in play, in your deck), but the cards didn't just happen.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: SirPeebles on January 29, 2013, 04:40:17 pm
You've mentioned just now and in the past that Witch used to require you to pay $1 to give a Curse.  Did this require you to play virtual money like Woodcutter first?  Or could you pay with treasure during your buy phase?  Or maybe it was effectively free if you hadn't gained coins from actions yet?

Did the ABC Action-Buy-Clean structure exist since the first night?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on January 29, 2013, 04:49:03 pm
You've mentioned just now and in the past that Witch used to require you to pay $1 to give a Curse.  Did this require you to play virtual money like Woodcutter first?  Or could you pay with treasure during your buy phase?  Or maybe it was effectively free if you hadn't gained coins from actions yet?
You got to play treasures right then, as with Black Market.

Did the ABC Action-Buy-Clean structure exist since the first night?
Well yes and no. Day one, the rules were, "on your turn, you may play one action, then you may buy one card, then discard everything and draw a new hand." And getting to buy a card or pay for something let you play treasures. Calling it "ABC" and calling them phases was something Valerie and Dale did.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: werothegreat on January 29, 2013, 05:04:37 pm
So, Dominion was always medieval themed, but if Jay dropped by today and asked for a retheme ("anything except castles and knights and whatnot"), what would you want to do with it?  Are there any mechanics you'd play with to suit this theme?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on January 29, 2013, 05:23:38 pm
So, Dominion was always medieval themed, but if Jay dropped by today and asked for a retheme ("anything except castles and knights and whatnot"), what would you want to do with it?  Are there any mechanics you'd play with to suit this theme?
I expect I would be handed the theme too. I expect it would be a pure retheme and I would just pick ~25 cards that went together well; either I would try to keep it simple or that wouldn't be an issue. If I was expected to make new cards, well probably they would be unexciting; I have gone over this topic before, there are good reasons to stop making expansions and switch to spin-offs.

I pick themes for games all the time. If I'm picking a Dominion retheme theme, the question is, well what is there to consider here? Who is this retheme for, why are we doing it. Like I said odds are the theme has been chosen and that's the whole point. Hobby Japan did rethemes; they had licenses, they used them. If the idea is "we need kids to play Dominion" then I would be thinking, what's a good theme for kids. And so on. There is no in-a-vacuum automatic theme. When I could have whatever I wanted, I picked medieval. The most common theme among my games is 20s gangsters, I have been over that already.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: heron on January 29, 2013, 07:36:00 pm
Why are so many of your games themed off of 20's gangsters?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on January 29, 2013, 08:00:31 pm
Why are so many of your games themed off of 20's gangsters?
- An early game had that theme and established a lot of goodwill towards that theme among my friends.
- Sometimes a game descends from another game, and sometimes more than one does, and sometimes the ancestor game had 20s gangsters.
- They lend themselves well to dungeon crawl type stuff without just doing D&D flavor.
- Bad guys are good flavor in general - gangsters, pirates, monsters, mad scientists, imperialists.
- You get to name all of the gangsters.
- Big Miller's Crossing fan.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: ipofanes on January 30, 2013, 03:29:43 am
So, Dominion was always medieval themed
Is it really? At least some of the artwork (eg Monument, many Seasides images) hints at later ages, and platinum was not assigned any value in the Middle Age.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: thirtyseven on January 30, 2013, 04:47:06 pm
How to you refer to Cities when no piles are empty, when 1 pile is empty, and when 2 piles are empty?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: sudgy on January 30, 2013, 05:14:48 pm
How to you refer to Cities when no piles are empty, when 1 pile is empty, and when 2 piles are empty?

Oh man, this is hilarious.  I was thinking, "I wish I could upvote this five times," and when I did someone else did at the same time too, so it looked like I did it twice...
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on January 30, 2013, 06:05:38 pm
How to you refer to Cities when no piles are empty, when 1 pile is empty, and when 2 piles are empty?
In the past I usually just said "boomtown," regardless of the number of empty piles. If I wanted to refer to the number of empty piles I said how many, or something like "they didn't get going" or "the Menageries ran out," you know. I mean the empty pile may well be part of this story.

Okay I am looking through old posts on the secret forums. In one place onigame says "+2/+2;" in another Locus says "at max;" and once I say "super Boomtowns." Every other place the number of empty piles was either spelled out or not mentioned.

So, if we're your role models, and you decide against spelling it out, there's no special term to let you know it hasn't upgraded, but with one empty pile it's +2/+2 and with two it's max or super.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: soulnet on January 30, 2013, 06:15:56 pm
Mad scientists are bad guys? I feel offended and sad.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: eHalcyon on January 30, 2013, 06:17:18 pm
Mad scientists are bad guys? I feel offended and sad.

Shouldn't you feel... mad?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: michaeljb on January 31, 2013, 01:02:10 am
I propose that we adopt "super Boomtowns" for when there are 2 empty piles.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Davio on January 31, 2013, 02:12:06 am
Don't know if this question has been asked yet as I'm sure you've been asked what your favorite card is a gazillion times, but this is a tad different.

What do you think is the card that embodies the spirit of Dominion best? Say someone where to ask you "Dominion, what's that all about?" and you could only show him one card, what would it be?

My pick would be Grand Market as it has all the vanilla bonuses, but also shows "hey, we can do wacky things with cards (no-Copper requirement)".
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on January 31, 2013, 03:13:02 am
What do you think is the card that embodies the spirit of Dominion best? Say someone where to ask you "Dominion, what's that all about?" and you could only show him one card, what would it be?
Well I haven't made any cards specifically so they'd sum up Dominion in one card, so I can only fail here. Which letter in Davio best sums you up as a person? We want the real Davio; that letter has to really embody your spirit.

The list of ideas for Golem included having it take turns with its own deck. "If you have a Golem deck, take a turn with it; otherwise, set one up. / At the end of the game, combine your Golem deck with your deck." There you go.

Dominion is a game of building a deck. You have resources, abilities, and VP, and they all go in your deck. Your options are on the table and vary from game to game. There aren't any cards that communicate enough of this to bother. Show someone Grand Market and they've got no clue what this game is about. It might as well be Curse.

I can pick a poster child for each set though.

Main: Laboratory
Intrigue: Nobles
Seaside: Wharf
Alchemy: Golem
Prosperity: Bank
Cornucopia: Fairgrounds
Hinterlands: Haggler
Dark Ages: Graverobber

I can see arguing for Village, Apothecary, or Squire.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Davio on January 31, 2013, 04:05:57 am
Well, I didn't mean to trap you here, I was just wondering what card would be a prolific Dominion card. Maybe the example with someone who doesn't know the game isn't so hot, it probably works better with people who already know the rules.

Like my parents, they have played a couple of games with me, but they haven't created any overly complex engines nor do they understand why I like the game that much. So I could show them Grand Market for instance and say "well, a card like this has a bit of everything you look for when you want to combine cards with each other, you can play another card off it with the +1 Action, you can draw a new card to replace the one you just played, it even gives you an extra Buy and 2 coins so you can easily get more cards! But there's a caveat, you can't spend any Coppers to buy it"

That's how I meant it, not that I thought that all of Dominion could be summed up in one card. Hey, I know that the game is about combining different cards, I was just looking for poster children as you rightly concluded. I thought it would be a fun different way to look at cards other than the usual "what's your favorite?"
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: soulnet on January 31, 2013, 10:49:20 am
Main: Laboratory
Intrigue: Nobles
Seaside: Wharf
Alchemy: Golem
Prosperity: Bank
Cornucopia: Fairgrounds
Hinterlands: Haggler
Dark Ages: Graverobber

I can see arguing for Village, Apothecary, or Squire.

The fact that there is no Attack, no Curse-interaction card and no Reaction on this list, just reinforces the point of "no card sums up Dominion".

How about a Kingdom? What condiments should a Kingdom have to try to people get a feel at the greatest percentage of the game from just one game? (or better, several games with the same Kingdom). I'm not asking for a simple Kingdom, but the contrary:

Which 10 Kingdom cards would you take to a desert island? (assume you can take an unlimited supply of base cards)

EDIT: You can take Dominion partners as well, but just to play Dominion with them.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: SirPeebles on January 31, 2013, 10:59:24 am
How about a Kingdom? What condiments should a Kingdom have to try to people get a feel at the greatest percentage of the game from just one game? (or better, several games with the same Kingdom).

I would suggest a card like Cultist which can jam Curses or Ruins into your opponent's deck.  You should have a card like Tournament which allows you to relish in your lead.  But also a card like Saboteur which provides the new player an opportunity to ketchup.  Colonies mayo may not be a good idea, depending on how much time you have for your game.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Drab Emordnilap on January 31, 2013, 11:02:02 am
My new stage name is Max Boomtown.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: theory on January 31, 2013, 11:05:36 am
This is a fun puzzle.  In our previous discussion on this subject (http://forum.dominionstrategy.com/index.php?topic=1861.0), I liked v3ck's definition of the sets:

The sets are really defined by how they put Curses in your deck.

Base: Witch
Basic curser

Intrigue: Torturer
Curser with a choice

Seaside: Sea Hag
Curser that affects the next turn

Alchemy: Familiar
Curser that costs a Potion and is better than a basic curser

Prosperity: Mountebank
Curser that gives treasure cards

Cornucopia: Young Witch
Curser that increases variety

Hinterlands: Ill-Gotten Gains
On-gain curser

I suppose it falters with Dark Ages, though. 
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: SirPeebles on January 31, 2013, 11:11:18 am
I suppose it falters with Dark Ages, though.

Dark Ages Ruins everything  :'(
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Drab Emordnilap on January 31, 2013, 11:13:21 am
But Cultist is perfect! It's a Witch that uses different 'base' cards (Like Shelters), has to do with trashing, and does a weird thing! It's Dark Ages in a can.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: AJD on January 31, 2013, 12:04:07 pm
How about a Kingdom? What condiments should a Kingdom have to try to people get a feel at the greatest percentage of the game from just one game? (or better, several games with the same Kingdom).

I would suggest a card like Cultist which can jam Curses or Ruins into your opponent's deck.  You should have a card like Tournament which allows you to relish in your lead.  But also a card like Saboteur which provides the new player an opportunity to ketchup.  Colonies mayo may not be a good idea, depending on how much time you have for your game.

Sage and Mint, obviously.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: LastFootnote on January 31, 2013, 12:24:02 pm
I can pick a poster child for each set though.

Main: Laboratory
Intrigue: Nobles
Seaside: Wharf
Alchemy: Golem
Prosperity: Bank
Cornucopia: Fairgrounds
Hinterlands: Haggler
Dark Ages: Graverobber

It's interesting to me that you chose Bank for Prosperity, considering it would have been an Alchemy card if the sets had come out in the intended order. If Philosopher's Stone were in Prosperity instead, would that still be your pick for the set?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on January 31, 2013, 03:45:02 pm
How about a Kingdom? What condiments should a Kingdom have to try to people get a feel at the greatest percentage of the game from just one game? (or better, several games with the same Kingdom). I'm not asking for a simple Kingdom, but the contrary:

Which 10 Kingdom cards would you take to a desert island? (assume you can take an unlimited supply of base cards)
This seems too much like busywork. In the desert island scenario I would try to pick cards suited to playing other games, because I will not want to play endless games of "Dominion with these ten cards." I would take Rats because there are twenty and Knights because there are 11 different cards there. If I take Young Witch do I get an extra pile? If Black Market do I get a Black Market deck? I take cards with different colors. Probably I don't take into account "will this make for a good game of Dominion" at all.

I teach people the game with 5 cards from the set I'm testing and 5 from the other set I brought today; if I go easy on them at all it's by not including anything in game one that requires remembering a wording change I haven't printed out. I want to make a good first impression but don't feel like I have to do anything special to do that.

You can try to pick 10 cards to show off as much of Dominion as possible; go for it.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on January 31, 2013, 03:55:24 pm
I can pick a poster child for each set though.

Main: Laboratory
Intrigue: Nobles
Seaside: Wharf
Alchemy: Golem
Prosperity: Bank
Cornucopia: Fairgrounds
Hinterlands: Haggler
Dark Ages: Graverobber

It's interesting to me that you chose Bank for Prosperity, considering it would have been an Alchemy card if the sets had come out in the intended order. If Philosopher's Stone were in Prosperity instead, would that still be your pick for the set?
Lab is a vanilla card that you buy a lot (so, better than a vanilla card you want less often). Nobles is a victory card that does something and has a choose-one. Wharf is a duration card where the effect is the same next turn (well as written, obv. not using an action on Wharf makes it different). Golem gets in the action chaining theme and the slow to resolve unintended theme, and has potion in the cost. Bank is a treasure, cares about treasures, and costs $7. Fairgrounds cares about variety in your deck directly, which is the broadest form of the variety caring-aboutness. Haggler doesn't have a when-gain for itself, but gives everything a when-gain. It when-gains the most. Graverobber upgrades cards and involves the trash.

Philosopher's Stone might not have cost $7. If it didn't I might pick Hoard - a treasure, involves treasures, costs $6 at least. I would represent treasures-that-do-things over costs-$7 and VP-tokens.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: SirPeebles on February 02, 2013, 04:40:53 pm
Sorry if this has been asked already, but why did you have Trusty Steed "discard" your deck when you gain 4 Silvers?  On the whole, I suppose that gets the Silver to you a bit quicker, without going so far as to top deck them.  But what was the thought process?  Perhaps I should be asking why you added 4 Silvers to the "discard" option.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on February 02, 2013, 05:30:44 pm
Sorry if this has been asked already, but why did you have Trusty Steed "discard" your deck when you gain 4 Silvers?  On the whole, I suppose that gets the Silver to you a bit quicker, without going so far as to top deck them.  But what was the thought process?  Perhaps I should be asking why you added 4 Silvers to the "discard" option.
I wanted four options, and they needed to all be different. +2 Buys was paired with +2 Actions at one point but I only wanted one prize to give +buy. Anyway it wasn't cutting it as a separate option, even though there's a certain something to just mirroring Pawn. So, a 4th option, and well gaining cards is a go-to thing there, as a very basic thing you can do that's worth doing, and gaining Silvers is a simpler version of it. It was four Silvers to be enough to feel it and you flip your deck so that you get to them and your Steed faster. You don't get a Trusty Steed turn one, you often don't see it many times, which is why Tournament puts Prizes on your deck.

I am happy with the Silvers option, I pick it sometimes. If I were making the Prizes today I might put +3 Actions on Bag of Gold and then replace the +2 Actions option on Trusty Steed, I don't know what with.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: GendoIkari on February 02, 2013, 05:34:46 pm
I don't think you weighed in on this yet....

For City, 1/2/3, or 0/1/2?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: SirPeebles on February 02, 2013, 05:36:42 pm
Sorry if this has been asked already, but why did you have Trusty Steed "discard" your deck when you gain 4 Silvers?  On the whole, I suppose that gets the Silver to you a bit quicker, without going so far as to top deck them.  But what was the thought process?  Perhaps I should be asking why you added 4 Silvers to the "discard" option.
I wanted four options, and they needed to all be different. +2 Buys was paired with +2 Actions at one point but I only wanted one prize to give +buy. Anyway it wasn't cutting it as a separate option, even though there's a certain something to just mirroring Pawn. So, a 4th option, and well gaining cards is a go-to thing there, as a very basic thing you can do that's worth doing, and gaining Silvers is a simpler version of it. It was four Silvers to be enough to feel it and you flip your deck so that you get to them and your Steed faster. You don't get a Trusty Steed turn one, you often don't see it many times, which is why Tournament puts Prizes on your deck.

I am happy with the Silvers option, I pick it sometimes. If I were making the Prizes today I might put +3 Actions on Bag of Gold and then replace the +2 Actions option on Trusty Steed, I don't know what with.

It's the option I use the least often, but I used it several times just now in a Feodum game.  My Bands of Misfits acted as Tournaments until I got the Trusty Steed, then they acted as Scavenger to topdeck Trusty Steed for more Silver.  It was fun, and made me wonder if I should take the Silver more often.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Max Boomtown on February 02, 2013, 05:44:30 pm
Right here, Gendo:

How to you refer to Cities when no piles are empty, when 1 pile is empty, and when 2 piles are empty?
In the past I usually just said "boomtown," regardless of the number of empty piles. If I wanted to refer to the number of empty piles I said how many, or something like "they didn't get going" or "the Menageries ran out," you know. I mean the empty pile may well be part of this story.

Okay I am looking through old posts on the secret forums. In one place onigame says "+2/+2;" in another Locus says "at max;" and once I say "super Boomtowns." Every other place the number of empty piles was either spelled out or not mentioned.

So, if we're your role models, and you decide against spelling it out, there's no special term to let you know it hasn't upgraded, but with one empty pile it's +2/+2 and with two it's max or super.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: werothegreat on February 02, 2013, 07:21:54 pm
Right here, Gendo:

How to you refer to Cities when no piles are empty, when 1 pile is empty, and when 2 piles are empty?
In the past I usually just said "boomtown," regardless of the number of empty piles. If I wanted to refer to the number of empty piles I said how many, or something like "they didn't get going" or "the Menageries ran out," you know. I mean the empty pile may well be part of this story.

Okay I am looking through old posts on the secret forums. In one place onigame says "+2/+2;" in another Locus says "at max;" and once I say "super Boomtowns." Every other place the number of empty piles was either spelled out or not mentioned.

So, if we're your role models, and you decide against spelling it out, there's no special term to let you know it hasn't upgraded, but with one empty pile it's +2/+2 and with two it's max or super.

Did you seriously create your username to tie-in with this post?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: ipofanes on February 03, 2013, 09:05:17 am
It's the option I use the least often, but I used it several times just now in a Feodum game.  My Bands of Misfits acted as Tournaments until I got the Trusty Steed, then they acted as Scavenger to topdeck Trusty Steed for more Silver.  It was fun, and made me wonder if I should take the Silver more often.

This is a wonderful story to relate, but does it work as a strategy? Given 3/4 openings, your opponent will have the first card to play as a tournament two turns ahead of you, which sounds as if the Trusty Steed may be handed to someone else later in the game.

Then again, I can see the point that you'd rather play another card than Tournament later in the game when the decks are rife with Provinces. I just cannot see playing this strategy and counting on having a Trusty Steed later. Also, heading for Provinces should collide with heading for Feodums.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: soulnet on February 03, 2013, 09:26:34 am
Then again, I can see the point that you'd rather play another card than Tournament later in the game when the decks are rife with Provinces. I just cannot see playing this strategy and counting on having a Trusty Steed later. Also, heading for Provinces should collide with heading for Feodums.

To get Tournament going you usually need to rush to the first province, but after 1 or 2, you can switch to Feodums, or whatever, especially if behind. This strategy switch can be great, for instance, if the opponent got Followers first being the only available Curser and you "settled" for Trusty Steed, because the extra economy of the Silvers will really help your clogged deck and it will make it easy to reach $4 for a Feodum despite the extra Curses, while your opponent will probably struggle to get 6 or 7 provinces with his extra Estates.

On top of that, if there is Trash for Benefit, rushing for provinces is completely compatible with switching to alt-VP strategies that score big (especially with Apprentice).
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: SirPeebles on February 03, 2013, 09:47:27 am
I certainly wasn't stocking up on Feodums and Silvers before Trusty Steed.  I was leaving my options open, since there wasn't great engine potential, but I could see myself potentially getting some high value Feodums if I got Trusty Steed while my opponent tried to finish the Provinces solo.  One of the nice things about Band of Misfits is that it can give you that flexibility.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: philosophyguy on February 05, 2013, 12:12:32 am
This may have been asked already, but how do you play IRL? Assuming you're playing somewhere that requires you to take the cards with you, rather than having them right in your living room or whatever: do you just take a couple of expansions with you or do you carry the whole shebang?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: ^_^_^_^ on February 05, 2013, 12:39:41 am
This may have been asked previously, but what is your favorite type of person to work with?
Also, what is your favorite Pokemon?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Jimmmmm on February 05, 2013, 12:45:46 am
Man, it's getting to the point where I can answer some of these questions.

This may have been asked already, but how do you play IRL? Assuming you're playing somewhere that requires you to take the cards with you, rather than having them right in your living room or whatever: do you just take a couple of expansions with you or do you carry the whole shebang?

He usually plays with 2 boxes at once, the one he's testing and another one. He'll start off with 5 cards from each, then rotate some out after each game.

Also, what is your favorite Pokemon?

Since I am regularly on the internet, I have seen names of pokemon, and have seen images of them, but I do not really have enough information to make an informed decision here. Is there one that makes copies of itself while destroying things?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on February 05, 2013, 01:01:42 am
This may have been asked already, but how do you play IRL? Assuming you're playing somewhere that requires you to take the cards with you, rather than having them right in your living room or whatever: do you just take a couple of expansions with you or do you carry the whole shebang?
I carry the base cards plus either two large expansions, or a large expansion and two small expansions. If it's two large sets I deal out 5 from each, otherwise 5 from large sets and some amount from the small ones. In the Dark Ages days I would sometimes bring it by itself or with one small set.

After each game I take out four cards and add four cards, except when a particular card is staying in because testing is focusing on it.

For the most part if we're playing with Prosperity we use Platinum/Colony, and if we're playing with Dark Ages we use shelters.

In my living room I still just play with 2-3 sets, but Black Market can be a set not being used. In the early days we played with everything, but once I had several expansions I've mostly just played with two at once. Except online, where I typically just forced 3-5 cards from the set being tested, except for games using ten from that set, and the rest are random.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on February 05, 2013, 01:14:10 am
This may have been asked previously, but what is your favorite type of person to work with?
I'm not sure what you're looking for here, what the types of people are.

I like playtesters who are fun to hang out with. It's good if some of them are good at games but they don't all have to be. They have to like my kind of game, but that's not something I have to check for, they filter themselves. I like to have some people I see all the time, so I can count on getting somewhere, and some people I rarely play with, so I see lots of different people try the same game.

I like game publishers that look at games promptly and communicate clearly. I like them to suggest things I should have thought of that make the game better. I like them to offer up everything for endless proofreading.

I don't really have enough experience with co-designs to say anything there.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: ^_^_^_^ on February 05, 2013, 02:22:32 am
That is what I was looking for, thank you :)
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: AdamH on February 06, 2013, 10:51:27 am
Would you play one game of Dominion with me on iso, just so I can cross it off my bucket list? Bonus points if I could record it. ZOMG I would just DIE.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: ednever on February 06, 2013, 11:18:43 am
Would you play one game of Dominion with me on iso, just so I can cross it off my bucket list? Bonus points if I could record it. ZOMG I would just DIE.

Idea:
Something like the above for charity. DXV names sine charity. Anyone who donates more than X gets a game with him on iso (or goko) on a specific day. Or anyone who donates more than X gets a name in a hat, and one person gets a game with him on iso.

(just throwing it out there after reading that last message. Definitely not trying to put pressure on DXV. Sometimes talk of charities can do that)

Ed
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on February 06, 2013, 08:20:40 pm
Would you play one game of Dominion with me on iso, just so I can cross it off my bucket list? Bonus points if I could record it. ZOMG I would just DIE.
It won't be anything special - the cards don't sparkle when I play them, the screen doesn't smell like cinnamon. You'll have the same chair you have already. Any amusing stories I tell, you'll know already from the secret histories and the TV movie.

I've played a few people on Goko; just whoever was on and wanted to play. I can make the trip to isotropic, but these days it will be like after midnight Pacific time.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: NoMoreFun on February 06, 2013, 08:59:47 pm
When you're designing a set, do you have a checklist or quotas that you need to meet? For example, what's the number of cards with +buy that you need in a set? What are some types of cards that you need to make sure are included in every set?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on February 06, 2013, 09:36:36 pm
When you're designing a set, do you have a checklist or quotas that you need to meet? For example, what's the number of cards with +buy that you need in a set? What are some types of cards that you need to make sure are included in every set?
These days for ~25 cards by default I want about 2.5-3 villages (counting thrones or expensive ones for less), 2-3 +buys, 2-4 remodels/vaults (trash or discard for benefit), 4 attacks (down from 5), 2-3 non-attack player interaction (up from 1), 1 victory card, 1 treasure, 6-7 cards with +1 card +1 action (up from 5, counting villages but not thrones), and a bunch of $5's.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: eHalcyon on February 06, 2013, 09:39:19 pm
No specific regard for reactions and cost tiers other than $5?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on February 06, 2013, 09:58:05 pm
No specific regard for reactions and cost tiers other than $5?
I like to include a reaction since some people like them, but it's not a slot I feel I have to fill. Other than $5 I just like to have a mix of costs; I feel like people don't want to see a bunch of games with no $3 or whatever, but really, $5 is what matters. I can't have a bunch of cards at $6+ but I don't specifically aim for zero.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: AdamH on February 06, 2013, 10:13:18 pm
Would you play one game of Dominion with me on iso, just so I can cross it off my bucket list? Bonus points if I could record it. ZOMG I would just DIE.
It won't be anything special - the cards don't sparkle when I play them, the screen doesn't smell like cinnamon. You'll have the same chair you have already. Any amusing stories I tell, you'll know already from the secret histories and the TV movie.

I've played a few people on Goko; just whoever was on and wanted to play. I can make the trip to isotropic, but these days it will be like after midnight Pacific time.

OMG. Name a time and I'll make it work. That would be so amazing. Of course if you don't want to that's totally cool. PM me or something. You are awesome.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on February 06, 2013, 10:58:03 pm
OMG. Name a time and I'll make it work. That would be so amazing. Of course if you don't want to that's totally cool. PM me or something. You are awesome.
Like I said, currently most likely is after midnight Pacific time. I am looking now and you don't seem to be on. I am "Donald X."
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: AdamH on February 07, 2013, 12:09:19 am
OMG. Name a time and I'll make it work. That would be so amazing. Of course if you don't want to that's totally cool. PM me or something. You are awesome.
Like I said, currently most likely is after midnight Pacific time. I am looking now and you don't seem to be on. I am "Donald X."

DONALD X IS AMAZING. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ATtBSeJyLpY) (and WanderingWinder too!) (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dmLD6uXcfX0)

AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: jotheonah on February 07, 2013, 01:11:08 am
the screen smelled like cinnamon, didn't it?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: AdamH on February 07, 2013, 08:21:08 am
the screen smelled like cinnamon, didn't it?

I may or may not have gotten cinnamon from my kitchen and put it by my screen while I played these games...
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Jimmmmm on February 07, 2013, 08:58:02 am
OMG. Name a time and I'll make it work. That would be so amazing. Of course if you don't want to that's totally cool. PM me or something. You are awesome.
Like I said, currently most likely is after midnight Pacific time. I am looking now and you don't seem to be on. I am "Donald X."

DONALD X IS AMAZING. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ATtBSeJyLpY) (and WanderingWinder too!) (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dmLD6uXcfX0)

AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

That was hilarious!

(I noticed the Swindler pile. Just saying.)
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: philosophyguy on February 07, 2013, 05:59:21 pm
When you are playtesting, how do you distinguish between "this card won't work as is" and "this isn't a set where this card will shine?"
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: sudgy on February 07, 2013, 06:32:06 pm
When you are playtesting, how do you distinguish between "this card won't work as is" and "this isn't a set where this card will shine?"

Also, how do you distinguish "this card won't work as is" and "this card won't work at all?"
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on February 07, 2013, 07:28:38 pm
When you are playtesting, how do you distinguish between "this card won't work as is" and "this isn't a set where this card will shine?"
Well if the card "won't work as is" then probably there's no set I want it in as is. Putting it in another set with more cards that make it worth playing only works when you play a high frequency of cards from that set; you might do that when you first get the set, and you might only have one expansion, so sure it's good if a card works well in its set; but lots of the time the cards are mixed in with everything else and those combos are not there. It's good if a card from Cornucopia works well with other Cornucopia cards, but it has to be good enough to get use out of when it's the only card from Cornucopia in the game, and that's certainly the intention.

Also, how do you distinguish "this card won't work as is" and "this card won't work at all?"
Generally in the end by some argument that's card-specific, although sometimes I endlessly waste time on them first.

Some cards just die because people don't like them. It could be that the card is hated, or just has no fans. The Remodel from/to deck top just didn't have fans. It seemed fine but left for something that people would like more. The attack that made people discard down to 2 then draw was hated. It's not like I should have tried to add something so fun to it that the result wasn't hated; I can do the fun thing without the thing people hate.

Some cards have tracking issues or other problems with handling them. Dark Ages had "+$2 +1 Buy, copies of cards in the trash cost $1 less this turn." You spread out the trash. It's not great spreading out the trash. Graverobber / Rogue just make you divide the trash into $3-$6 and not; Forager just makes you have a pile of one of each unique treasure. This card also had rules confusion involving some cards being cheaper and others not, and cards moving to/from the trash during your turn. Then the other part of the card was, "setup: each player puts a supply card costing up to $6 into the trash." People spent forever making this decision; it was a classic, "the less it matters, the harder it is to decide" situation. Neither part wanted more work done on it.

Unsolvable power level issues are rarer and take longer to give up on. There was a card in the main set at one point that I finally gave up on in Guilds. "+$1 per action in play" started in Intrigue, and went through many iterations to become Horn of Plenty; the premise was fixable. Madman was too strong when you could buy it, but even that was fixable.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: ConMan on February 07, 2013, 07:54:48 pm
Unsolvable power level issues are rarer and take longer to give up on. There was a card in the main set at one point that I finally gave up on in Guilds.
Hooray for Secret Histories teaser!

If you weren't a board game designer, do you think you'd still be a board game player?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on February 07, 2013, 08:07:51 pm
If you weren't a board game designer, do you think you'd still be a board game player?
Sure; I'm not sure how the answer could be otherwise.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: GigaKnight on February 07, 2013, 08:40:41 pm
It seems like you frequently mention card concepts you gave up on.  Are there card concepts you initially doubted, tried anyway, and found surprisingly good?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Stealth Tomato on February 07, 2013, 10:24:58 pm
OMG. Name a time and I'll make it work. That would be so amazing. Of course if you don't want to that's totally cool. PM me or something. You are awesome.
Like I said, currently most likely is after midnight Pacific time. I am looking now and you don't seem to be on. I am "Donald X."

DONALD X IS AMAZING. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ATtBSeJyLpY) (and WanderingWinder too!) (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dmLD6uXcfX0)

AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

"man look at all these bad cards I can make a statement with"

-Donald X., on his own game.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Davio on February 08, 2013, 02:19:10 am
Well, at least it was a highly interactive kingdom with Swindler. :)
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: kn1tt3r on February 08, 2013, 02:23:20 am
OMG. Name a time and I'll make it work. That would be so amazing. Of course if you don't want to that's totally cool. PM me or something. You are awesome.
Like I said, currently most likely is after midnight Pacific time. I am looking now and you don't seem to be on. I am "Donald X."

DONALD X IS AMAZING. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ATtBSeJyLpY) (and WanderingWinder too!) (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dmLD6uXcfX0)

AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

"man look at all these bad cards I can make a statement with"

-Donald X., on his own game.

Yeah, very entertaining matches. AdamH appeared a tad too starstruck for my taste, but well... it's fine I guess.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Davio on February 08, 2013, 02:29:04 am
OMG. Name a time and I'll make it work. That would be so amazing. Of course if you don't want to that's totally cool. PM me or something. You are awesome.
Like I said, currently most likely is after midnight Pacific time. I am looking now and you don't seem to be on. I am "Donald X."

DONALD X IS AMAZING. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ATtBSeJyLpY) (and WanderingWinder too!) (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dmLD6uXcfX0)

AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

"man look at all these bad cards I can make a statement with"

-Donald X., on his own game.

Yeah, very entertaining matches. AdamH appeared a tad too starstruck for my taste, but well... it's fine I guess.
I have no problem with him being starstruck, I would probably be very giddy myself if I got to play Donald.
But Donald's support for the game and its community IS amazing though.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: kn1tt3r on February 08, 2013, 02:37:36 am
OMG. Name a time and I'll make it work. That would be so amazing. Of course if you don't want to that's totally cool. PM me or something. You are awesome.
Like I said, currently most likely is after midnight Pacific time. I am looking now and you don't seem to be on. I am "Donald X."

DONALD X IS AMAZING. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ATtBSeJyLpY) (and WanderingWinder too!) (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dmLD6uXcfX0)

AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

"man look at all these bad cards I can make a statement with"

-Donald X., on his own game.

Yeah, very entertaining matches. AdamH appeared a tad too starstruck for my taste, but well... it's fine I guess.
I have no problem with him being starstruck, I would probably be very giddy myself if I got to play Donald.
But Donald's support for the game and its community IS amazing though.

It definately is.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on February 08, 2013, 03:34:06 am
Thanks guys, it is easy hanging out on forums but I would still like it to be recognized as one of the great achievements of our era.

It seems like you frequently mention card concepts you gave up on.  Are there card concepts you initially doubted, tried anyway, and found surprisingly good?
There isn't going to be much like this, because I'm not great at trying stuff that sounds bad. There are always people to entertain; I don't want to be saying, "now let's try something that we'll hate, just in case we don't." Next week they'll be at someone else's table, playing Battlestar Galactica and laughing and laughing.

I decided against doing Bridge early on because it seemed like it would be too strong. Spoils was on the idea list for a long time before I decided, what, why not try it out. I think that might be it.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: ^_^_^_^ on February 10, 2013, 09:11:37 am
Donald of the games you haven't designed, what is your favorite?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Ozle on February 10, 2013, 10:03:36 am
Funny story, was playing some dominion with a new guy last night, and he kept name dropping Donald X's posts on BGG like they were personal conversations. Was very amusing.

"Oh yeah, well Donald X told me on BGG that this card is because of ......"
"Donald says that this card was originally in Prosperity ......"

All that knowledge at his fingertips and he was still rubbish at the game!
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Polk5440 on February 10, 2013, 10:32:14 am
Funny story, was playing some dominion with a new guy last night, and he kept name dropping Donald X's posts on BGG like they were personal conversations. Was very amusing.

"Oh yeah, well Donald X told me on BGG that this card is because of ......"
"Donald says that this card was originally in Prosperity ......"

All that knowledge at his fingertips and he was still rubbish at the game!

It's not very nice to make fun of new guys.  >:( 
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: heron on February 10, 2013, 10:37:52 am
When I read ozle's post, I thought it was written by Donald. It made it much stranger.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Awaclus on February 10, 2013, 10:50:16 am
When I read ozle's post, I thought it was written by Donald. It made it much stranger.
Oh wow, I just imaged Donald X. using the third person when referring to himself. It was kawaii.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Ozle on February 10, 2013, 01:00:43 pm
Funny story, was playing some dominion with a new guy last night, and he kept name dropping Donald X's posts on BGG like they were personal conversations. Was very amusing.

"Oh yeah, well Donald X told me on BGG that this card is because of ......"
"Donald says that this card was originally in Prosperity ......"

All that knowledge at his fingertips and he was still rubbish at the game!

It's not very nice to make fun of new guys.  >:(

What?
Not only did I not make fun of him, I was very polite to him. Just sharing that I thought it was funny someone came giving it the big talk and actually all it was just all through reading Donalds posts (which is how it linked to this thread because it was mentioned he posts here a lot above) and no real experience, showing that theory talk is no substitute for actually playing sometimes.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on February 10, 2013, 08:03:26 pm
Donald of the games you haven't designed, what is your favorite?
Magic: The Gathering by a significant margin. I played from 1994 to 2006, winding down in 2007 due to Dominion. I still read Mark Rosewater's tumblr and his Monday article on wizards.com, and look at the spoilers for the new sets. Gatecrash looks great, I have considered buying a commons/uncommons set for cubes in case I ever have a window where I play some more.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: mail-mi on February 10, 2013, 09:46:11 pm
What color is the Guild's box?

Why is Rats your favorite card?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: ^_^_^_^ on February 10, 2013, 09:49:37 pm
Was there a method to your madness when designing Dominion? How did you decide between whether you should take one solution to a problem over another?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: werothegreat on February 10, 2013, 09:53:33 pm
What color is the Guild's box?

Why is Rats your favorite card?

I am eager for absolutely any tidbit about Guilds.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on February 10, 2013, 11:09:43 pm
What color is the Guild's box?

Why is Rats your favorite card?
I have not seen the Guilds box.

I like that you hurt yourself with Rats but it may all work out (if it didn't work out then you wouldn't do it and so it wouldn't hurt you either). I like how it's a drastically different way to go from your starting to deck to your ending deck. I like how exotic it is. The combos are satisfying to execute.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on February 10, 2013, 11:50:32 pm
Was there a method to your madness when designing Dominion? How did you decide between whether you should take one solution to a problem over another?
Probably I've gone over this at length in something quoted in the forum full of my posts. Here is a summary anyway.

- I put everything in the deck just to pursue the deckbuilding idea in its most extreme form.
- You draw 5 cards a turn so you can actually see the deck you're building during the game.
- Money gets recycled because that was an obvious way to make money work; the even more obvious "put it on the table tracking itself and then discard it when you spend it" method would have the problem of "I can instantly get a tiny deck of my best cards." What could keep that deck from getting tiny instantly? Putting the money back in it, spent or not.
- The selection of cards to buy from is because I didn't have a good idea for what to do there. I initially considered a line of cards and when you buy one the more expensive cards slide down (becoming cheaper) and you add one. It seemed like, isn't the luck of what gets turned over too much? I didn't have a solution and for game one just put everything on the table, figuring at least this way we'd immediately figure out what was broken. And we liked how it played so that was that.
- You play one action because 1) that's a very simple thing, which I'd done before, and 2) it lets me make "play two actions."
- Using cards to gain cards, as the only way to do it, seemed potentially problematic, so you can buy a card without using a card. You can only buy one so I can make "+1 buy."
- The variety via different kingdom cards each game was just a natural way to provide variety. I am generally looking for a way to work in endless variety and the path here was obvious.
- There had to be VP cards every game so I put some on the table as base cards. I had three sizes initially thinking that would give you different possible goals. In the end that didn't work out as planned but the three sizes still worked out.
- Silver and Gold let you build up from Copper. Copper gives you something to buy in harsh conditions. Those harsh conditions mostly vanished, although they didn't quite.
- It was 5 Coppers 5 Estates in game one, and I tried different amounts over a few evenings before settling on 7/3 for the level of initial spending power and variety of openings it provides.
- The end condition was any empty pile because that neatly answered the question, what if a pile runs out? Normally the pile was Provinces, so it changed to any VP pile to save on cards and then to what it is to address the Duchy rush while still letting you have non-Province endings.
- Piles were 12 cards as a number that sounded like it would give everyone a chance to get a couple in a 4-player game. Later I lowered it to 10 but that was just like the original 12 because of the ending condition changing. Province stayed 12 since it was determining the game length, kingdom VP piles stayed 12 for when they were doing that, and then Duchy and Estate are 12 just to keep that rule simple.
- Curses are in the game sans Witch because maybe you have a tricky use for them and it's simpler. The pile was 45 cards when it first had a particular size; it got smaller and scaled as part of balancing Witch.
- I like icons in moderation and would have used some for the +'s but I didn't have good ones.
- I have a type line in lots of my games; they do good work. I got the idea from Magic.
- Things like "do as much as you can" come from trying over the years to work out a good general approach to the problem of how to make rules on cards work. Ditto the timing rules. Even "lose track" predates the game being published.
- Reactions initially worked the way I normally do them, which is, you can only play them at a certain time and otherwise they are like actions, they are played. Playing Moat made it weak and so Moat led to reactions just being revealed, and then Secret Chamber led to the rest of the weirdness to them. If I had it to do again I think I would stick with the initial played reactions.
- VP cards are green because I had a bunch of green paper. Reactions are blue because Moats have water in them. Sometimes it's like the decisions are made for you.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Qvist on February 11, 2013, 11:48:08 am
- VP cards are green because I had a bunch of green paper. Reactions are blue because Moats have water in them. Sometimes it's like the decisions are made for you.

I'm glad you didn't have a bunch of pink paper. Calling it "Pinking" instead of "Greening" would be awkward.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Lekkit on February 12, 2013, 02:16:24 pm
"Pinking" is Swenglish for urinating.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: enfynet on February 12, 2013, 05:05:54 pm
Donald, do you have any pictures of your original version? (I'm talking about the one you printed and cut out to try that first time.)
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on February 12, 2013, 07:54:17 pm
Donald, do you have any pictures of your original version? (I'm talking about the one you printed and cut out to try that first time.)
My plan is that some time after Guilds is spoiled, I will send theory a pile of images of Dominion outtakes. They will not be photos, they will just be the images I print out to make prototypes, probably shrunk so it feels less like anyone would complain about me using an image they own. It will include very early images. If a card changed early on, then I do not have the original; there was no point to saving those images, I just put the new image in the file where the old image was. In fact I may not have any day one images; it's hard to know for sure. Almost everything changed; even Copper didn't have a name originally.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Beyond Awesome on February 12, 2013, 08:33:15 pm
Since you are into Magic, what is your favorite color/color combination?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on February 13, 2013, 02:29:47 am
Since you are into Magic, what is your favorite color/color combination?
Mostly I played limited, and obv. any given environment has different things you get out of the colors. In the old days blue and black got to do the most, followed by green, and that made them the most fun for constructed and casual decks, although it's not like I specifically played blue/black as a result. At the same time red and green were easily the best in limited for years, followed by black. These days they try to balance both power level in constructed/limited and how much fun you get to have with each color. I feel like red still isn't quite there but it's a lot better than it was. Anyway overall maybe black and green; I am a big fan of making tokens and sacrificing creatures. My favorite combo was Chronatog / Final Fortune; it looks like your opponent will get an extra turn, but then they don't.

For years I mostly drafted cubes; I would make a new one each month and we'd play it a bunch. Typically they would have rarities like normal sets - we would shuffle separate piles of commons/uncommons/rares. A classic cube is just a pile of the strongest Magic cards ever; I did that once but my cubes tended to be random themes, whatever I could come up with for a new environment. In later years I would have 20-40 commons that I made to flesh out the theme.

Back when I played casual constructed, my big thing was 3-card challenge decks. You pick 3 cards. You play 3 copies of each. Every other non-land card in your deck has to be a combo with one or more of those three cards., and there are no other duplicates. I also played superdecks, which is where you have a 30-card half-deck for each color plus artifacts with the same theme, and shuffle two together to get a deck.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: ^_^_^_^ on February 13, 2013, 07:19:41 pm
Are there anythings like the above (3-card challenge, cube, etc.) that you recommend for RL Dominion players to try out and have fun with?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Insomniac on February 13, 2013, 07:28:20 pm
Are there anythings like the above (3-card challenge, cube, etc.) that you recommend for RL Dominion players to try out and have fun with?

Mental Dominion!
Step 1: If playing with Celestial Chameleon, you lose.

If still playing, play a card in your hand as any card in dominion with the same cost.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on February 13, 2013, 08:47:39 pm
Are there anythings like the above (3-card challenge, cube, etc.) that you recommend for RL Dominion players to try out and have fun with?
There are enough cards now that you can make a set of 25 - pick 25 cards, as many as a standalone expansion that doesn't squeeze in a 26th, and then play with that set as if it's a standalone - take 10 cards from it at a time. And you pick a theme and uh you know. I will post some examples later.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Tables on February 13, 2013, 08:54:45 pm
What do you feel about Celestial Chameleon breaking Dominion in half? Or indeed the puzzles & challenges in general?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: ^_^_^_^ on February 13, 2013, 09:33:15 pm
Are there anythings like the above (3-card challenge, cube, etc.) that you recommend for RL Dominion players to try out and have fun with?
There are enough cards now that you can make a set of 25 - pick 25 cards, as many as a standalone expansion that doesn't squeeze in a 26th, and then play with that set as if it's a standalone - take 10 cards from it at a time. And you pick a theme and uh you know. I will post some examples later.

That sounds like a lot of fun! Thank you Donald! :] (can't thank you enough for all you've given back to this community ;))
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on February 14, 2013, 02:18:43 am
What do you feel about Celestial Chameleon breaking Dominion in half? Or indeed the puzzles & challenges in general?
They're fun in moderation. I've read a bunch and tried a few, but don't normally click on that forum these days.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: werothegreat on February 16, 2013, 12:03:39 am
If you could get Dominion translated into a quirky language (like Klingon, Esperanto, Latin, whatever) just for shits and giggles, which would it be, and why?  Which translation would amuse you the most?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: eHalcyon on February 16, 2013, 12:14:50 am
If you could get Dominion translated into a quirky language (like Klingon, Esperanto, Latin, whatever) just for shits and giggles, which would it be, and why?  Which translation would amuse you the most?

Latin is quirky?  Or do you mean ig-pay atin-lay? :P
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on February 16, 2013, 12:20:24 am
If you could get Dominion translated into a quirky language (like Klingon, Esperanto, Latin, whatever) just for shits and giggles, which would it be, and why?  Which translation would amuse you the most?
I think we are veering into "which kind of tree would you like to be" territory. It was cool to see Dominion in a bunch of languages, but that's that, I will get no special pleasure from seeing Dominion in any particular additional language.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: ^_^_^_^ on February 16, 2013, 09:20:56 am
What kind of tree would you like to be?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: thirtyseven on February 16, 2013, 10:47:04 pm
What kind of tree would you like to be?

I think we are veering into "if you could get Dominion translated into a quirky language" territory. It would be cool to see Donald X. as several different trees, but I'd get no special pleasure from seeing Donald X. as any particular tree.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Davio on February 17, 2013, 08:59:29 am
What kind of tree would you like to be?
I'd like to be that tree that clones itself. You know, there's a whole forest of genetically identical trees which originated from a single seed. But well, clones aren't all that great maybe. If I could get some clones and they would be anything like me, they wouldn't listen to me anyway. I couldn't just make them to do daily chores or go to work for me. Most likely they would revolt and kill me.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: soulnet on February 17, 2013, 10:56:37 am
What kind of tree would you like to be?
I'd like to be that tree that clones itself. You know, there's a whole forest of genetically identical trees which originated from a single seed. But well, clones aren't all that great maybe. If I could get some clones and they would be anything like me, they wouldn't listen to me anyway. I couldn't just make them to do daily chores or go to work for me. Most likely they would revolt and kill me.

I would probably work out better if instead of enslaving them to do chores, you are just friends with them. In any way, the agre difference between you and your clones would probably get in the way.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: ^_^_^_^ on February 17, 2013, 01:53:45 pm
What kind of tree would you like to be?
I'd like to be that tree that clones itself. You know, there's a whole forest of genetically identical trees which originated from a single seed. But well, clones aren't all that great maybe. If I could get some clones and they would be anything like me, they wouldn't listen to me anyway. I couldn't just make them to do daily chores or go to work for me. Most likely they would revolt and kill me.
What if a wild fire was to start in the Hunting Grounds you have created? Would you not all be destroyed?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: AHoppy on February 17, 2013, 02:47:19 pm
What kind of tree would you like to be?
I'd like to be that tree that clones itself. You know, there's a whole forest of genetically identical trees which originated from a single seed. But well, clones aren't all that great maybe. If I could get some clones and they would be anything like me, they wouldn't listen to me anyway. I couldn't just make them to do daily chores or go to work for me. Most likely they would revolt and kill me.
What if a wild fire was to start in the Hunting Grounds you have created? Would you not all be destroyed?
Then he'd be left with a duchy or 3 estates...
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: mail-mi on February 17, 2013, 06:38:10 pm
If you could take any one kingdom card and wipe it out of existence, which would it be?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on February 17, 2013, 08:08:28 pm
If you could take any one kingdom card and wipe it out of existence, which would it be?
Well the card that I could change in order to improve its set the most is Scrying Pool (dropping the Spy part), but I wouldn't get rid of it, just fix it.

The card that has the least going for it overall is Saboteur: it's an attack that doesn't give you resources, which seemed fine at the time but it turned out people don't like that and it's not like there's any reason I need such cards, yes I still made Sir Michael; it's an attack that trashes cards, which I think are worth making in moderation but they have to really please the people that enjoy them, since some people hate them; it's weak, so it's doing less for the people that might like it, and contributing less to possible strategies in a game; it's wordy; and Intrigue already has a trashing attack that makes resources, is strong enough and fun enough to be worth doing, and it even manages to be simpler.

The card that I personally acquire the least often is Secret Chamber, and it causes rules confusion too. I would certainly replace both cards if I were working on Intrigue today.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: AHoppy on February 17, 2013, 09:18:53 pm
When you playtested Dominion, you probably came across some of the crazy combos out there, but which ones came up once Dominion was released that you had not seen in playtesting?  and were there any strong ones that you were surprised people didn't recognize earlier?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on February 17, 2013, 09:44:19 pm
When you playtested Dominion, you probably came across some of the crazy combos out there, but which ones came up once Dominion was released that you had not seen in playtesting?  and were there any strong ones that you were surprised people didn't recognize earlier?
I'm sure there are whatever combos that I hadn't seen or still haven't, since you can't see everything, but the only one that stands out that I hadn't seen is King's Court / Masquerade / discard attack.

I don't really have a timeline on people recognizing combos, and obv. if you aren't staring at the spoilers looking for them you probably won't spot the interaction until you see the cards come up together in a game. So it's hard to say, here is something you could have spotted earlier. There are individual cards that I was surprised people didn't immediately see the power of, although in this community someone catches on pretty quick. Remake is a good example. Like, Ambassador and Masquerade are weird cards; we didn't immediately know how powerful they were, and I expect many people initially undervalue them. But once you get to Cornucopia, surely Remake immediately looks scary. It didn't though, to the public I mean.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: zporiri on February 17, 2013, 10:15:57 pm
what made you decide to put count in dark ages instead of intrigue? (assuming it had been created at the time that intrigue was released). it goes well with the mischievous theme in intrigue, and the theme of cards that give you a choice.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: ^_^_^_^ on February 17, 2013, 10:51:08 pm
You said you would replace Sab and Secret Chamber if you were working on Intrigue today. What would you've replaced them with? :o
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on February 17, 2013, 11:14:29 pm
what made you decide to put count in dark ages instead of intrigue? (assuming it had been created at the time that intrigue was released). it goes well with the mischievous theme in intrigue, and the theme of cards that give you a choice.
Count does fit well with Intrigue, but postdates it. It looks like it's from August 2010, so it could have gone into Cornucopia or Hinterlands. I never considered it for those sets, but Hinterlands was trying to be simple and Cornucopia didn't have room for it. For Dark Ages I tried lots of ideas that looked like they might be good that I hadn't done yet, and one of those was "two choose-one's, one good one bad."
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on February 17, 2013, 11:15:26 pm
You said you would replace Sab and Secret Chamber if you were working on Intrigue today. What would you've replaced them with? :o
I don't know dude, it's not like I had cards that they specifically bumped out.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: enfynet on February 18, 2013, 01:52:18 am
Doug wanted to be precise and so was. And hey for all he knew I would spring "when you would draw a card" on him someday.
Do you have a card (future, or former) that uses this mechanic?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on February 18, 2013, 02:48:41 am
Doug wanted to be precise and so was. And hey for all he knew I would spring "when you would draw a card" on him someday.
Do you have a card (future, or former) that uses this mechanic?
I'm not all about letting one person spoil things for everyone, but I mean if people are just going to say "okay which tree do you want to be" or "what's in Guilds" then we're done here right? There have been a lot of questions, maybe people have run out of other things they want to know, it's all trees and spoilers now.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Tables on February 18, 2013, 04:14:40 am
Well, the interview was meant to be for Christmas, it's mid-February now, that's 2 months beyond when this topic was designed for :P.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: LastFootnote on February 18, 2013, 08:45:53 am
I think that you shouldn't feel obligated to answer every question, but it would be nice to have the thread open going forward. Sometimes a person just wants to ask you a question and doesn't want to make a whole new thread for it. I guess they could just PM you, but still…
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Squidd on February 18, 2013, 08:47:07 am
You mean this isn't Truth Or Dare, where Donald has to answer questions that we all know he doesn't want to answer just because we ask them in this thread?

But, but, come on, Donald, you have to tell us: Is there anybody at school that you totally want to do kisses with (giggle giggle giggle)?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: aaron0013 on February 18, 2013, 10:24:57 am
I just have one more question. Do you ever get tired of people asking you questions?


Do you?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on February 18, 2013, 10:49:26 am
I just have one more question. Do you ever get tired of people asking you questions?


Do you?
It's not so bad, it's something to do. I haven't turned down an interview yet, and they're no trouble. Well the written ones are no trouble; I'm not as fond of the audio ones, although I do them. People tend to ask the same questions a lot, but that way you get good at figuring out an answer that gets fewer people saying how awful you are in the comments. And I mean I type up the secret histories, when no-one's even asked for any of those answers yet.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: ^_^_^_^ on February 18, 2013, 10:56:47 am
If we lived in a universe without game designing, what area of work would you most likely be in instead?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on February 18, 2013, 10:58:35 am
If we lived in a universe without game designing, what area of work would you most likely be in instead?
I would most likely be a computer programmer trying to break into writing.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: enfynet on February 18, 2013, 11:21:11 am
Doug wanted to be precise and so was. And hey for all he knew I would spring "when you would draw a card" on him someday.
Do you have a card (future, or former) that uses this mechanic?
I'm not all about letting one person spoil things for everyone, but I mean if people are just going to say "okay which tree do you want to be" or "what's in Guilds" then we're done here right? There have been a lot of questions, maybe people have run out of other things they want to know, it's all trees and spoilers now.
Perhaps I should have phrased the question better: Did you ever try to use this mechanic in playtesting? In that spirit, were there any basic mechanics you tried that really did not work at all?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: ^_^_^_^ on February 18, 2013, 12:28:14 pm
Have you ever had one of these moments? If so, what is it? if not, why not?!?
http://forum.dominionstrategy.com/index.php?topic=254.0 (http://forum.dominionstrategy.com/index.php?topic=254.0)
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: werothegreat on February 18, 2013, 08:22:15 pm
Would you be interested in playing a recorded game with me for my YouTube channel?  I've got my 100th Dominion video coming up.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: ^_^_^_^ on February 18, 2013, 09:24:43 pm
The answer to this was yes. Game in progress. GL HF everyone!


edit: I beat you all 2/3   8)  Donald came in 2nd. HF continuing playing, I gtg now :)
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on February 18, 2013, 10:58:53 pm
Perhaps I should have phrased the question better: Did you ever try to use this mechanic in playtesting? In that spirit, were there any basic mechanics you tried that really did not work at all?
I will probably give theory a bunch of images of endless outtakes, most of which you can read about in secret histories already, after Guilds is out. I mean if I say I tried something and it didn't work out, that's me saying it's not in Guilds. For the moment you will have to settle for all the things the secret histories already tell you about what's not in Guilds.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on February 18, 2013, 11:05:20 pm
Have you ever had one of these moments? If so, what is it? if not, why not?!?
http://forum.dominionstrategy.com/index.php?topic=254.0 (http://forum.dominionstrategy.com/index.php?topic=254.0)
"If not why not," wtf. I have not really had those moments. I could be feasting on a militia or hanging out at the bureaucrat festival and I don't even notice. The cards are named with words, they are not all Frobb of Grubnatz or Sword of the Glivivi or whatever, so of course they come up.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on February 18, 2013, 11:05:49 pm
Would you be interested in playing a recorded game with me for my YouTube channel?  I've got my 100th Dominion video coming up.
Only if you record at least 3, and we play with 1-2 other guys.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Dsell on February 19, 2013, 01:53:12 am
The cards are named with words, they are not all Frobb of Grubnatz or Sword of the Glivivi or whatever, so of course they come up.

Despite Donald's best intentions, we now know there is NOT a card in Guilds named "Frobb of Grubnatz." ;D
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Davio on February 19, 2013, 02:37:27 am
Will we ever see a PBF hosted by you?

I recall you expressing some interest in doing this earlier. Any idea on a format?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on February 19, 2013, 04:54:15 am
Will we ever see a PBF hosted by you?

I recall you expressing some interest in doing this earlier. Any idea on a format?
It would probably need to be a game that wasn't published that I felt I wasn't going to try to get published unless it got some encouragement. I mean if it's got a publisher then I'm not showing anything off, that's up to the publisher. If it's published then what's the point, you can run those if you want. And if it doesn't have a publisher then probably I don't want it quite so public on the grounds that maybe I will find a publisher and maybe they won't like that. At the same time I have to like the game, it's not like I want to show off something awful. So, it could happen, but the situation is kind of narrow.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Jimmmmm on February 19, 2013, 05:30:16 am
Will we ever see a PBF hosted by you?

I recall you expressing some interest in doing this earlier. Any idea on a format?
It would probably need to be a game that wasn't published that I felt I wasn't going to try to get published unless it got some encouragement. I mean if it's got a publisher then I'm not showing anything off, that's up to the publisher. If it's published then what's the point, you can run those if you want. And if it doesn't have a publisher then probably I don't want it quite so public on the grounds that maybe I will find a publisher and maybe they won't like that. At the same time I have to like the game, it's not like I want to show off something awful. So, it could happen, but the situation is kind of narrow.

You can rest assured you'd have plenty of people lining up to play.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: AdamH on February 19, 2013, 10:22:16 am
Frobb of Grubnatz ... Sword of the Glivivi

I don't know why but I can't stop laughing at this...
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Davio on February 19, 2013, 10:31:10 am
Will we ever see a PBF hosted by you?

I recall you expressing some interest in doing this earlier. Any idea on a format?
It would probably need to be a game that wasn't published that I felt I wasn't going to try to get published unless it got some encouragement. I mean if it's got a publisher then I'm not showing anything off, that's up to the publisher. If it's published then what's the point, you can run those if you want. And if it doesn't have a publisher then probably I don't want it quite so public on the grounds that maybe I will find a publisher and maybe they won't like that. At the same time I have to like the game, it's not like I want to show off something awful. So, it could happen, but the situation is kind of narrow.

You can rest assured you'd have plenty of people lining up to play.
So basically we can play a game which wasn't good enough to become an actual game?

/in!
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: ^_^_^_^ on February 19, 2013, 06:48:27 pm
Would you please ask the CEO of Goko who put the word filter in and then ask to speak to the guy privately, and then call him a 'mustard encrusted rat fancier'? :)
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: A Drowned Kernel on February 19, 2013, 08:13:35 pm
When you playtested the cards, how much time did you spend testing them in 2 person games vs. 3-4 person games? Did you spend a significant amount of time testing cards for 5+ player games?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Davio on February 20, 2013, 02:25:58 am
Has it ever been asked what the X. stands for?

And why did you choose Donald X. Vaccarino as your main handle instead of simply Donald Vaccarino?
I'll agree that the X. is fun for marketing purposes as it adds something mysterious, but does it have a personal touch as well?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Jimmmmm on February 20, 2013, 02:45:05 am
What does the X stand for?
It's a variable. The unknown.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Davio on February 20, 2013, 02:53:12 am
What does the X stand for?
It's a variable. The unknown.
So it's still a mystery!

Any guesses? Xavier?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on February 20, 2013, 03:12:40 am
When you playtested the cards, how much time did you spend testing them in 2 person games vs. 3-4 person games? Did you spend a significant amount of time testing cards for 5+ player games?
I have done more playtesting with three to five than with two.

Typically my goal for a game is to support three to five, and I focus on four because, that will be close. Four will tend to be in the middle of three and five, I mean this seems obvious but probably we could find counterexamples. Anyway I focus on four. And I go for three to five because that's how many people I'll have; I don't generally have just one other person there. Now it's great to support two if you can and I find out once it's working if it does support two. Other games I may aim for two to four or just two but normally I am aiming higher because I want to deal with the actual groups I am playing with. If six is no problem then I include it, but at the high end the game tends to get slower (even with simultaneous decisions) and you start having to include too many components.

For Dominion it was immediately clear it would work with two and so overall the game aims to support two to four, which means balancing it for three (though maybe a card will cause issues at one end and I will have to deal with that). But then there I am at a game night, I am setting up the game and people want to play. If the game handles them I let them play, I don't say, "no I really want to test three-player in particular." So I have played plenty of five-player Dominion even though I prefer three and then four and then two. I decided six was too many and wouldn't bring the cards for six, to make sure I didn't get suckered into it.

I have played a lot of two-player Dominion anyway, especially online. Online we wouldn't play with five; you aren't getting as much social aspect as irl and the slower play starts to bother you more. And it's easy enough to start two separate games and then see if someone leaves or shows up.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on February 20, 2013, 03:19:32 am
Has it ever been asked what the X. stands for?
Yes, many times.

And why did you choose Donald X. Vaccarino as your main handle instead of simply Donald Vaccarino?
I'll agree that the X. is fun for marketing purposes as it adds something mysterious, but does it have a personal touch as well?
I like the X., I don't know what to tell you here. I'm not being blackmailed into using it; I didn't lose a bet. There isn't treasure buried in my name; stop after the second d. It's not a Malcolm X reference. I'm not Donald the 10th. It does distinguish me from other Donald Vaccarino's, that's nice.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Davio on February 20, 2013, 03:26:50 am
Fair enough, heck, if you used DXV as your main handle, people could think you're the 515th!
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Ozle on February 20, 2013, 03:55:29 am
t does distinguish me from other Donald Vaccarino's, that's nice.


Why would you NOT want to be confused with this guy!
http://www.facebook.com/donald.vaccarino
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Tables on February 20, 2013, 07:09:15 am
Four will tend to be in the middle of three and five, I mean this seems obvious but probably we could find counterexamples.

Best quote of this thread.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Squidd on February 20, 2013, 08:44:47 am
Set of odd integers, set of primes, set of Fibonacci numbers. To name but a few.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: DStu on February 20, 2013, 12:22:48 pm
also: geometric mean, harmonic mean...
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Davio on February 20, 2013, 01:27:38 pm
Sudokus
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: werothegreat on February 20, 2013, 05:31:37 pm
Who decides what color each expansion will be?  Is there any sort of discussion about this, or is just "eh, let's make it purple."?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on February 20, 2013, 11:49:16 pm
Who decides what color each expansion will be?  Is there any sort of discussion about this, or is just "eh, let's make it purple."?
Jay decides. I don't think I've been in on any discussions there, although I've sometimes known what color it was going to be.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: hsiale on February 21, 2013, 04:41:17 am
Cards that give +2 actions are referred to as "villages" but only part of them are named "Some Village". I tried to find a reason behind which are and which are not, but all I tried failed (cost 4 or less idea was disproven by Wandering Mistrel and Border Village, +1 card idea was disproven by Fishing Village and Bandit Camp, and so on). Is there any way you use to decide if a +2 actions card should be named "Some Village", or is it just chance?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: ipofanes on February 21, 2013, 04:46:07 am
I presume that Bandit Camp and Hamlet are close enough in that they are dwellings (but Nomad Camp!), Crossroads only by some stretch. For Bazaar, Donald already said that he took the name b/c the card art was available. Bazaar is my pet peeve in naming inconsistency. Every market should net a Buy.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on February 21, 2013, 04:55:02 am
Cards that give +2 actions are referred to as "villages" but only part of them are named "Some Village". I tried to find a reason behind which are and which are not, but all I tried failed (cost 4 or less idea was disproven by Wandering Mistrel and Border Village, +1 card idea was disproven by Fishing Village and Bandit Camp, and so on). Is there any way you use to decide if a +2 actions card should be named "Some Village", or is it just chance?
The original idea was "groups of people" rather than villages specifically. You have people, doing things for you - some nobles, some bandits, maybe a whole city of people. Wandering Minstrel wandered into that name, as a card that wasn't always a village, and it never sounded inappropriate to me. Obv. the "village" identifier does good work. Possibly if I were doing it again I would rename Festival, Nobles, Bazaar, and Wandering Minstrel, although I'm still pleased with Squire and Madman and Necropolis and Crossroads and University and Trusty Steed and Inn and Fortress and Bandit Camp, in addition to City and Shanty Town and Hamlet. And I still like Ruined Village's exception. And then like Ironmonger and Tribute, they're not bothering anybody.

@iopfanes: Yes Bazaar was because we had extra Market art to use.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: ^_^_^_^ on February 21, 2013, 08:19:47 pm
t does distinguish me from other Donald Vaccarino's, that's nice.


Why would you NOT want to be confused with this guy!
http://www.facebook.com/donald.vaccarino (http://www.facebook.com/donald.vaccarino)
Dude that's the wrong Donald. T (http://forum.dominionstrategy.com/index.php?action=profile;u=19)his is the Donald you are looking for.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: A Drowned Kernel on February 21, 2013, 11:44:50 pm
What's your favorite card art? Least favorite? Are there any cards that looking back, you would keep it the same mechanically but change the name?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on February 22, 2013, 01:54:37 am
What's your favorite card art? Least favorite? Are there any cards that looking back, you would keep it the same mechanically but change the name?
There are only a few Dominion artists that I wouldn't ask to do an entire game of mine, if I were making those calls - there is a lot of good or great art. I'm not so comfortable singling out the worst artists, but as it happens I think I can stomach saying that either Shanty Town or Pearl Diver is the very worst. A lot of people don't like Kalusky's Dominion art; it's nice to have a variety of styles but that stuff is just too cartoony in this context.

I also don't like it when the picture has something that physically doesn't work or make sense, which there are a few of. I try to catch that stuff in the sketches, but I don't always get to see them and it isn't always clear from the sketches.

Like I said there is a lot of great art. I will single out Marcel-Andre Casasola-Merkle and Claus Stephan as favorite artists. As an example of really nailing a tricky concept, I will single out Ill-Gotten Gains.

Aside from those villages I just mentioned, there are probably a few things from the first couple sets I would rename; I spent more time on names later. Harem I would probably call Farm, although I would try to fit in some other card called Harem. I might move Smithy to a Workshop-type card; I don't know what I call Smithy then. Feast isn't great, although if I don't do the card that problem goes away.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Davio on February 22, 2013, 03:42:59 am
Well, the art on IGG suggests that the person buying/finding it is Cursed, not the other way around. :)
Kind of like...... Blood Money!  ;D Or is the extra Copper a Curse?

I think Harem is the worst, unsurprisingly also by Kalusky. Those are some ugly women and the red haired one is so out of tone. Is she the patroness or does she live there as well? I like the composition, but the coloring and cartoony style are just way off.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on February 22, 2013, 04:04:24 am
I think Harem is the worst, unsurprisingly also by Kalusky. Those are some ugly women and the red haired one is so out of tone. Is she the patroness or does she live there as well?
She's Valerie! And Navigator is Dale. And Pearl Diver is Wei-Hwa, who won a tournament at the Gathering of Friends for that privilege.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Davio on February 22, 2013, 04:37:55 am
So you're going to do a Secret History of the Card Art next?  :D

But poor, poor people. All of them on cards by Kalusky and Wei-Hwa is even on one of the most useless cards.  :'(
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Awaclus on February 22, 2013, 05:03:16 am
So you're going to do a Secret History of the Card Art next?  :D

But poor, poor people. All of them on cards by Kalusky and Wei-Hwa is even on one of the most useless cards.  :'(
PD isn't useless, it's the card I have the highest win rate with!
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Tables on February 22, 2013, 08:35:07 am
On the subject of art:
(http://wiki.dominionstrategy.com/images/thumb/6/67/Native_Village.jpg/200px-Native_Village.jpg)

Does the tree growing out of the roof (and nothing below it where it'd be if you follow the trunk down) on that card bother you?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Davio on February 22, 2013, 08:46:22 am
Nah, it's clearly an antenna.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on February 22, 2013, 09:17:41 am
Does the tree growing out of the roof (and nothing below it where it'd be if you follow the trunk down) on that card bother you?
Feel free to talk about any such things you can find; it's not so awesome for me to badmouth my games, when you think about it, especially the parts that I didn't do.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: SirPeebles on February 22, 2013, 09:52:23 am
I just looked through the art, and saw that the ruined versions were each made by the original artist.  Library/Ruined Library, Walled Village/Ruined Village, Grand Market/Ruined Market, Mine/Abandoned Mine, and even Estate (Base Cards)/Overgrown Estate and Village/Pillage.  Are there any other pairs like that?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on February 22, 2013, 10:16:54 am
I just looked through the art, and saw that the ruined versions were each made by the original artist.  Library/Ruined Library, Walled Village/Ruined Village, Grand Market/Ruined Market, Mine/Abandoned Mine, and even Estate (Base Cards)/Overgrown Estate and Village/Pillage.  Are there any other pairs like that?
Native Village / Pirate Ship / Island are all Vohwinkel and connect up to make one big image. Scrying Pool shows Village but is a different artist. Hermit/Madman are the same artist, Urchin/Mercenary are the same artist, and of course those relate. The Sirs have male artists and the Dames have female artists.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: aaron0013 on February 22, 2013, 05:38:49 pm
Have you read much of Arthur Conan Doyle's works?  He seems to use a lot of the more interesting vocabulary in Dominion such as Counting House and Ill Gotten Gains.  If not, what do you enjoy reading?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: ^_^_^_^ on February 22, 2013, 10:53:09 pm
Can we see the 'one big image'? Especially for those of us without Seaside :(
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: SirPeebles on February 22, 2013, 11:04:17 pm
Can we see the 'one big image'? Especially for those of us without Seaside :(

It's the front of the Seaside rules (http://www.riograndegames.com/uploads/Game/Game_326_gameRules.pdf)
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on February 23, 2013, 05:22:07 am
Have you read much of Arthur Conan Doyle's works?  He seems to use a lot of the more interesting vocabulary in Dominion such as Counting House and Ill Gotten Gains.  If not, what do you enjoy reading?
I read some of the stories and maybe one of the novels in my youth; I don't really remember them.

Counting House is from a nursery rhyme, Sing a Song of Sixpence. When your first language is English, you get some English culture. Ill-Gotten Gains is an idiom; it's old-timey so maybe it's also specifically English. Anyway the game is set in Europe in the middle ages, so it specifically has some old stuff. And it's fun to give a card a name like Margrave.

I haven't read much non-online stuff in the last few years; I enjoy reading wikipedia. Pre-Dominion I read more sci-fi/fantasy than uh not those things. I will recommend some stuff.

Short stories:
- In the Penal Colony by Franz Kafka
- The Death of Dr. Island by Gene Wolfe
- Uncle Wiggly in Connecticut by J.D. Salinger
- Repent, Harlequin, Said the Ticktockman by Harlan Ellison
- The Secret Miracle by Jorge Luis Borges
- The Wind-up Bird And Tuesday's Women by Haruki Murakami

Novels:
- Little, Big by John Crowley
- Book of the New Sun by Gene Wolfe (starts with Shadow of the Torturer)
- Hardboiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami
- The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers
- Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
- Permutation City by Greg Egan

Nonfiction:
- Guns, Germs & Steel by Jared Diamond
- Labyrinths of Reason by William Poundstone
- Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid by Douglas R. Hofstadter
- Trouser Press Record Guide 4th edition by Ira Robbins

Humor:
- Restaurant at the End of the Universe by Douglas Adams
- Without Feathers by Woody Allen
- Deeper Thoughts by Jack Handey

The Anubis Gates is my go-to recommendation; it's just a crowd-pleaser, the Raiders of the Lost Ark of sci-fi/fantasy.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: ashersky on February 23, 2013, 05:42:09 am
Have you read much of Arthur Conan Doyle's works?  He seems to use a lot of the more interesting vocabulary in Dominion such as Counting House and Ill Gotten Gains.  If not, what do you enjoy reading?
I read some of the stories and maybe one of the novels in my youth; I don't really remember them.

Counting House is from a nursery rhyme, Sing a Song of Sixpence. When your first language is English, you get some English culture. Ill-Gotten Gains is an idiom; it's old-timey so maybe it's also specifically English. Anyway the game is set in Europe in the middle ages, so it specifically has some old stuff. And it's fun to give a card a name like Margrave.

I haven't read much non-online stuff in the last few years; I enjoy reading wikipedia. Pre-Dominion I read more sci-fi/fantasy than uh not those things. I will recommend some stuff.

Short stories:
- In the Penal Colony by Franz Kafka
- The Death of Dr. Island by Gene Wolfe
- Uncle Wiggly in Connecticut by J.D. Salinger
- Repent, Harlequin, Said the Ticktockman by Harlan Ellison
- The Secret Miracle by Jorge Luis Borges
- The Wind-up Bird And Tuesday's Women by Haruki Murakami

Novels:
- Little, Big by John Crowley
- Book of the New Sun by Gene Wolfe (starts with Shadow of the Torturer)
- Hardboiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami
- The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers
- Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
- Permutation City by Greg Egan

Nonfiction:
- Guns, Germs & Steel by Jared Diamond
- Labyrinths of Reason by William Poundstone
- Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid by Douglas R. Hofstadter
- Trouser Press Record Guide 4th edition by Ira Robbins

Humor:
- Restaurant at the End of the Universe by Douglas Adams
- Without Feathers by Woody Allen
- Deeper Thoughts by Jack Handey

The Anubis Gates is my go-to recommendation; it's just a crowd-pleaser, the Raiders of the Lost Ark of sci-fi/fantasy.

Murakami!  Bonus points for you.  1Q84 is tremendous.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: werothegreat on February 23, 2013, 12:07:50 pm
Well, the art on IGG suggests that the person buying/finding it is Cursed, not the other way around. :)
Kind of like...... Blood Money!  ;D Or is the extra Copper a Curse?

I think Harem is the worst, unsurprisingly also by Kalusky. Those are some ugly women and the red haired one is so out of tone. Is she the patroness or does she live there as well? I like the composition, but the coloring and cartoony style are just way off.

I don't get the hate on Pearl Diver - I think it's fine.  However, Navigator and Shanty Town are just not the right tone for Dominion at all.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Warrior on February 23, 2013, 02:29:56 pm
Not sure if this been discussed further back in the thread, but are you thinking of doing anything else for Dominion after Guilds is released? This game is enjoyed so much by my family and friends that it will be a sad day when new expansions are no longer being released. Also, how do you find Dominion plays differently when playing with 2, 3, 4, and 5+ players? Do you prefer 2 player games or multiplayer games and why? Thanks!

Warrior
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Davio on February 23, 2013, 03:35:23 pm
I think he said he might do more expansions if RGG wants it because he likes to make people happy, but I don't think he has any more predesigned.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Warrior on February 23, 2013, 04:09:08 pm
I think he said he might do more expansions if RGG wants it because he likes to make people happy, but I don't think he has any more predesigned.

We want the expansions.

-RGG
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on February 23, 2013, 05:04:03 pm
Not sure if this been discussed further back in the thread, but are you thinking of doing anything else for Dominion after Guilds is released? This game is enjoyed so much by my family and friends that it will be a sad day when new expansions are no longer being released. Also, how do you find Dominion plays differently when playing with 2, 3, 4, and 5+ players? Do you prefer 2 player games or multiplayer games and why? Thanks!
I would like to do a Dominion spin-off - a similar game that's different in whatever ways. It's possible I will get talked into doing another expansion someday, but I will try not to be, and it wouldn't be any time soon. The expansions, I have given this speech many times, the expansions go down in value as you do more of them; they are doing less to give you variety, they get more complex, you can only carry so much. Making expansions means not working on other projects, or expansions for those projects. OTOH it's nice to have a project you know people want.

The number of provinces per player shifts down when you go from 3 to 4, which makes games faster (in terms of number of turns), which shifts strategies. You have less ability to buy cards you want with 4-5 players; if everyone wants Fishing Villages you may find yourself opening Fishing Village / Fishing Village to get yours. Some cards change functionally with more players; Thief gains more cards, multiple Ambassador-ing opponents flood you with junk faster, etc.

I prefer 3 and then 4 and then 2 and then 5. I like the increased player interaction of 3-4 player games, and like the longer turn-wise 3-player game and reduced downtime vs. 4 players. I only play with 5 to be nice; I'm not nice enough to play with 6.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Warrior on February 23, 2013, 06:01:33 pm
Not sure if this been discussed further back in the thread, but are you thinking of doing anything else for Dominion after Guilds is released? This game is enjoyed so much by my family and friends that it will be a sad day when new expansions are no longer being released. Also, how do you find Dominion plays differently when playing with 2, 3, 4, and 5+ players? Do you prefer 2 player games or multiplayer games and why? Thanks!
I would like to do a Dominion spin-off - a similar game that's different in whatever ways. It's possible I will get talked into doing another expansion someday, but I will try not to be, and it wouldn't be any time soon. The expansions, I have given this speech many times, the expansions go down in value as you do more of them; they are doing less to give you variety, they get more complex, you can only carry so much. Making expansions means not working on other projects, or expansions for those projects. OTOH it's nice to have a project you know people want.

The number of provinces per player shifts down when you go from 3 to 4, which makes games faster (in terms of number of turns), which shifts strategies. You have less ability to buy cards you want with 4-5 players; if everyone wants Fishing Villages you may find yourself opening Fishing Village / Fishing Village to get yours. Some cards change functionally with more players; Thief gains more cards, multiple Ambassador-ing opponents flood you with junk faster, etc.

I prefer 3 and then 4 and then 2 and then 5. I like the increased player interaction of 3-4 player games, and like the longer turn-wise 3-player game and reduced downtime vs. 4 players. I only play with 5 to be nice; I'm not nice enough to play with 6.

Thanks! If you invent a spin-off of Dominion, I will definitely buy it. I usually play two player on isotropic, but play 3-4 player in real life, and I can definitely tell the difference between the way strategies play out with different numbers of players.

Warrior
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: ^_^_^_^ on February 23, 2013, 07:57:41 pm
Of the games you've published so far, how would you rate them? (Categorization of rating is up to you)
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on February 24, 2013, 05:28:58 am
Of the games you've published so far, how would you rate them? (Categorization of rating is up to you)
Instead, I'll rate the publishers by how much I want them to continue liking me.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Morgrim7 on February 24, 2013, 08:09:43 am
What is your favorite type of megaturn?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: ^_^_^_^ on February 24, 2013, 08:15:56 am
Of the games you've published so far, how would you rate them? (Categorization of rating is up to you)
Instead, I'll rate the publishers by how much I want them to continue liking me.

Fine. Do it your way, this is your thread we are talking in and these are your games we are talking about.

User was warned for this post.

edit:Sigh...
The post was said in my mind in a different tone than it was read. I actually meant that it is fine, you can answer that any way you like as it is your thread you made, your games we are talking about, and a site made to talk about them. I meant no harm or insult, although I see now how that was read wrong. Who knows, what I just wrote might've just came off sarcastic or something.  :-\


I'm sorry if I came off as a prick.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on February 24, 2013, 08:43:21 am
What is your favorite type of megaturn?
I'm not sure I have a concrete-enough set of things to rank here. I like the stuff you do with Cornucopia - getting Menagerie to pay off multiple times in a turn, getting big Horns, winning multiple Tournaments with one Province. I like trashing Colony or Dark Ages cards to Apprentice; I like Apothecary and Golem a lot. I like playing Madman multiple times, or doing crazy things with Procession. I like emptying a pile for City in mid-turn, and did not get tired of building multiple-Goons decks when playing that campaign.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on February 24, 2013, 08:47:45 am
Of the games you've published so far, how would you rate them? (Categorization of rating is up to you)
Instead, I'll rate the publishers by how much I want them to continue liking me.

Fine. Do it your way, this is your thread we are talking in and these are your games we are talking about.
I'm not sure I understand you, so I'm going to guess you don't understand me.

The number of times a publisher has complained to me about me comparing one of my games to another in public, in terms of how much I like them, is nonzero. I would like to minimize that number.

Try not to be the guy that makes someone say "this is why we can't have nice things," that's my advice.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: ^_^_^_^ on February 24, 2013, 01:58:57 pm
Oh ok. I was confused by it.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Blueswan on February 25, 2013, 02:39:11 am
Hello Donald X,

I’m new to Dominion and board gaming in general. I want to take this opportunity to thank you for your amazing work.  :) Dominion is my favourite game. I love it so much that just yesterday I started teaching it to my 7-year old daughter despite the fact that she doesn’t understand english, so she has to memorize what the cards do (I’ve only used some of the simpler base set cards so far though). Despite this, she loves it. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to pursuade my game-loathing wife to play it yet.
I read through this entire thread so I’m fairly confident that I’m not repeating questions from earlier in the thread. If I missed something, I apologize. :D

1) According to the BGG ratings, Prosperity is the most universally loved expansion. Have you got any thoughts on why that is so? Do you think it is fair or do you think the set is overrated?

2) Is there any expansion you feel is underrated - not getting properly recognized for its qualities?

3) How did you feel about Kingdom Builder winning Spiel Des Jahres? (sorry for the blatant attempt at sports ”journalism” here).

4) Which of your games would you most recommend that one tried to introduce non-gaming friends to?

5) Do you watch the video reviews of your games (or other games for that matter) posted on BGG? If so, do you have any favourite video reviewers?

6) Idea: On the 10 year anniversary of Dominion, Rio Grande Games puts out an anniversary edition ”complete Dominion” with the base set and every expansion in one nice looking box at an affordable price. Good idea or bad idea?

7) Idea #2: On the 10 year anniversary of Dominion, Rio Grande Games wants you to compile a ”definitive Dominion” set comprising a number of ”essential” kingdom cards (could be 25, could be 50, could be 100). Do you agree to this? (don’t worry, I won’t ask you which cards you’d pick). Do you think it is a good idea or a bad idea?

Sorry for the large amount of questions.  :D
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: DStu on February 25, 2013, 02:49:01 am
Oh ok. I was confused by it.
this is why we can't have nice things.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Awaclus on February 25, 2013, 06:11:06 am
A lot of numbers in Dominion are 10 (starting deck size, number of kingdom piles, number of cards in action/treasure kingdom piles, number of curses in two player games, numbers like that). How much did you prefer the number 10 in these cases just because it happens to be 10?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Tables on February 25, 2013, 06:29:04 am
Has theory given you any kind of modding power (like to pin your own threads)?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on February 25, 2013, 08:12:34 am
1) According to the BGG ratings, Prosperity is the most universally loved expansion. Have you got any thoughts on why that is so? Do you think it is fair or do you think the set is overrated?
I don't have any real data but can think of some things.

- The BGG ratings will be skewed towards earlier sets, because as time goes by fewer people stay on the every-expansion plan.
- Platinum/Colony are crowd-pleasers.
- The set is low attack, high non-attack interaction. It is my experience in general that, people who uh don't play Magic tend to be more uppity about losing their stuff, their precious stuff. Like, I will make a game, and it will have a card that makes other people lose stuff, and it seems fine and normal to me, nice as a thing to have that's different from other things in the game, but some people will specifically dislike it, perhaps being used to games where nothing remotely like that is possible. I am used to losing my stuff; in Magic you lose stuff constantly, it is a pillar of the game. But like I will tone down a game to having just a few ways to make people lose stuff, completely balanced as far as I am concerned, and then a publisher will say, we didn't like that one card. Anyway so. I think Dominion players in general, there are a lot of Magic players yes, but there are a lot of people who do not play Magic, and among those people I think losing stuff is less popular, and uh let's reset this sentence. I think Dominion players in general like attacks less than I do. So, Prosperity got fewer attacks specifically to make going for Colonies easier, and then it turns out people liked that. Later Dominion sets tone down attacks a little as a result. Now this may all seem silly when two of the three attacks in Prosperity are Mountebank and Goons, but still.
- The set has three themes: "spendy," treasures, and VP tokens. Spendy turns out to be pretty popular, including stuff like King's Court (yes a card some people hate), where you get these huge turns. Treasures, I dunno, I thought they would be popular but it's hard to say. They don't hurt. The VP tokens again are popular.
- The set has a secret sub-theme of, go ahead and buy everything. This falls out of the treasure theme. There are a lot of treasures and a fair number of +1 card +1 action things, plus some trash/discard-for-benefit. Add it all up and an all-Prosperity game may see you able to buy most of what's out without worrying about terminal collisions. I haven't heard people comment on this, but they do like the encouragement to buy everything in Cornucopia, so possibly this helps here.

I personally basically like the sets in inverse order of release - Dark Ages best, then Hinterlands, etc. However I think that Seaside, Prosperity, Hinterlands, Dark Ages, and Cornucopia are all so good that whatever, you can't go wrong. Alchemy is too slow and not everyone appreciates Potions, and then I was not as good at balancing the cards with the main set and Intrigue.

2) Is there any expansion you feel is underrated - not getting properly recognized for its qualities?
I most often see people recommend Seaside and Prosperity, but that's usually for people who don't have any expansions, so that's sensible, the later sets are more complex. It's kind of a hard question to answer without some hard data for me to critique. If Dark Ages isn't the most popular then it's underrated.

3) How did you feel about Kingdom Builder winning Spiel Des Jahres? (sorry for the blatant attempt at sports ”journalism” here).
It was good times. As I have said, after Dominion won there was a small amount of interest in specifically publishing Donald X. games, but man, not so much as I would have liked. It went up noticeably with Kingdom Builder. Some companies immediately contacted me as of the Kingdom Builder nomination/win, and those contacts have resulted in at least one game getting published (I don't have a date for it yet but am optimistic for this year). It's great overall to uh get this particular level of respect in your field.

4) Which of your games would you most recommend that one tried to introduce non-gaming friends to?
These kinds of questions are really better aimed at players. Make a thread in the "other board games" forum, see what you get.

5) Do you watch the video reviews of your games (or other games for that matter) posted on BGG? If so, do you have any favourite video reviewers?
I have seen some tiny number of video reviews. For the most part it's too much trouble to watch them; it takes too long and I can't listen to music at the same time. I do not have the data to rate reviewers.

6) Idea: On the 10 year anniversary of Dominion, Rio Grande Games puts out an anniversary edition ”complete Dominion” with the base set and every expansion in one nice looking box at an affordable price. Good idea or bad idea?
It sounds bad to me. It's really only a product for people who play Dominion with other people's sets and then know they like it so much they want everything. It's an unwieldy product, hard to carry, no room on a game store shelf for it. I could see doing a second "big box" product, the same size as the first one (the existing one is Dominion, Prosperity, Alchemy).

7) Idea #2: On the 10 year anniversary of Dominion, Rio Grande Games wants you to compile a ”definitive Dominion” set comprising a number of ”essential” kingdom cards (could be 25, could be 50, could be 100). Do you agree to this? (don’t worry, I won’t ask you which cards you’d pick). Do you think it is a good idea or a bad idea?
You really have to consider who your audience is for this. People who own all of the Dominion sets don't want it because they have all the cards. People who own multiple Dominion sets don't want it because it's partially redundant, and they can just buy a regular set they don't have and get no redundancy. So it's just an introductory product, and then an introductory product really wants to be introductory, it wants to have a bunch of simple stuff rather than be a best-of.

An introductory product isn't out of the question but isn't really what you were talking about. There are also rethemes, like the Japanese ones. I am not sure how well those work out, if enough people want a retheme for a particular theme, but they aren't out of the question. A retheme could be a best-of.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on February 25, 2013, 08:36:07 am
A lot of numbers in Dominion are 10 (starting deck size, number of kingdom piles, number of cards in action/treasure kingdom piles, number of curses in two player games, numbers like that). How much did you prefer the number 10 in these cases just because it happens to be 10?
I like round numbers when they work out; it's just for aesthetics but I think some people do think "what's this nonsense" when you have an 11 somewhere.

- Starting deck size isn't intentionally ten; it's just twice the hand size. The hand size matters in various ways and I did not experiment with different sizes, but five cards wasn't chosen for roundness and that ten wasn't either.

- The number of kingdom cards is intentionally round. I totally would have used 8 or 12 if they had been better, but did not consider 9 or 11. I played a bunch with 8 to try it out, and it might have been 8 if we needed to cut back on the total number of cards, but we didn't so it's 10. The number wants to be small since it determines how much you need to read at the start and how often you see each card, so 12 was never really in contention.

- Piles were originally 12 cards. This was based on wanting everyone to be able to get at least 2 copies of a card. The end condition was an empty pile, so really the piles were 10 cards - no-one would get to use the last copy since it ended the game, and the second-to-last copy had to sit in the pile preventing players from just buying the last copy to end the game. To cut down on cards, I changed the end condition and lowered the piles to 10 (except for VP piles which were part of the new end condition - any empty VP pile ended the game), which was thus functionally very similar to having 12 under the previous end condition. So, this particular 10 is really 12 minus 2.

- Initially I printed more Curses each time we ran out, intending Witch to stay functional for a long time; I stopped at 45 because you have to stop somewhere and it's a multiple of 9 - I print cards 9 to a page. The size of the pile had to scale to balance Witch properly, and again the total number of cards in the game was a concern. That 10 is round and again is certainly specifically not 9 or 11, but I didn't just start with 10.

Gardens was always 10. If it had been necessary for balancing, it could have been 9 or 11, though I wouldn't have done that unless I had to. Vineyards / Feodum / Silk Road are 3-4, and then Fairgrounds is 2.5 because that's what it took.

Colony was 8 VP originally, when Province was 5 VP. When Province went to 6 VP, Colony could have been 9 or 10, and I made it 9. Valerie and Dale really wanted the round number, and I eventually tested it and it was fine, so it's 10 VP.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on February 25, 2013, 08:37:27 am
Has theory given you any kind of modding power (like to pin your own threads)?
I have modding powers in the Bible forum. I have flirted with asking for them in the Rules forum.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: theory on February 25, 2013, 10:23:44 am
Has theory given you any kind of modding power (like to pin your own threads)?
I have modding powers in the Bible forum. I have flirted with asking for them in the Rules forum.

Done.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: ipofanes on February 25, 2013, 11:04:22 am

7) Idea #2: On the 10 year anniversary of Dominion, Rio Grande Games wants you to compile a ”definitive Dominion” set comprising a number of ”essential” kingdom cards (could be 25, could be 50, could be 100). Do you agree to this? (don’t worry, I won’t ask you which cards you’d pick). Do you think it is a good idea or a bad idea?
You really have to consider who your audience is for this. People who own all of the Dominion sets don't want it because they have all the cards. People who own multiple Dominion sets don't want it because it's partially redundant, and they can just buy a regular set they don't have and get no redundancy. So it's just an introductory product, and then an introductory product really wants to be introductory, it wants to have a bunch of simple stuff rather than be a best-of.

An introductory product isn't out of the question but isn't really what you were talking about. There are also rethemes, like the Japanese ones. I am not sure how well those work out, if enough people want a retheme for a particular theme, but they aren't out of the question. A retheme could be a best-of.

As a non-sleever, I, for one, would not mind an edition of all cards that tend to wear faster because they are bought on a regular basis, such as Minion, Scrying Pool etc.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: GendoIkari on February 25, 2013, 11:09:19 am
What are your thoughts/feelings when you see Celestial Chameleon emptying the supply in 4 turns? Are you as shocked and amazed as we are, or did you know/suspect that such a thing was possible?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: eHalcyon on February 25, 2013, 11:09:54 am
Are there any planned Promo cards to follow Guilds?

How averse are publishers to publishing promos that reference games they do not publish? I know it happens occasionally (7 Wonders has a Catan promo board). If they were ok with it, would you be interested? Maybe between two of your own games?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on February 25, 2013, 11:52:28 am
I have modding powers in the Bible forum. I have flirted with asking for them in the Rules forum.

Done.
Fear my wrath, question askers!
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on February 25, 2013, 11:57:44 am
What are your thoughts/feelings when you see Celestial Chameleon emptying the supply in 4 turns? Are you as shocked and amazed as we are, or did you know/suspect that such a thing was possible?
It's cool. I wouldn't have guessed you could empty the supply on turn four. You knew Procession / Fortress, was good, but not that it could do that. I've never tried to work out such things. The game intentionally avoids having infinite combos, but it has crazy things like King's Court and Procession. I have seen people gain a pile of cards and then play them all the same turn, generally with broken cards, although you get a little of that action with just regular card-gainers.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on February 25, 2013, 12:07:11 pm
Are there any planned Promo cards to follow Guilds?

How averse are publishers to publishing promos that reference games they do not publish? I know it happens occasionally (7 Wonders has a Catan promo board). If they were ok with it, would you be interested? Maybe between two of your own games?
Jay would like another promo, and Goko wants an online-only one (which again would only happen if it were the kind of thing that couldn't be done with cardboard). I've got something to try on Goko but have put off offering it up until more of the things that aren't done get done. I don't have anything picked out for a real-life promo.

If publishers didn't specifically ask for promos I would never do them. The promo is either good enough to be in an expansion or the main game, in which case it should be there so everyone can have it, or else it isn't, in which case why does this thing exist. To try to resolve this you can do something too wacky for the normal game, but then those things have too many rules issues to want to be promos.

So uh a cross-promotional promo would only exist if a publisher wanted it, which was the case with Walled Village. I don't mind, I like Carcassonne, although Hunters & Gatherers is the superior fixed version. I don't know if publishers wouldn't want to do a cross-promotional promo for a game that wasn't theirs; man, ask a publisher. I wouldn't be asking, I don't like promos.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: philosophyguy on February 25, 2013, 12:22:13 pm
How did you decide which abilities could be stackable with TR/KC (e.g., Bridge) and which ones couldn't (Highway, Princess, and Goons being the obvious examples)?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: DStu on February 25, 2013, 12:29:24 pm
How did you decide which abilities could be stackable with TR/KC (e.g., Bridge) and which ones couldn't (Highway, Princess, and Goons being the obvious examples)?
I guess Bridge would not be stackable if it would be redone today...
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: SirPeebles on February 25, 2013, 12:35:21 pm
The other prototypical non-stackable is Tactician.  The "if you discard a card this way" clause is there to prevent doubling the effect from Throne Room.  Of course, there is still that obscure edge case where Golem can cause multiple Tactician effects.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Tables on February 25, 2013, 12:37:41 pm
How did you decide which abilities could be stackable with TR/KC (e.g., Bridge) and which ones couldn't (Highway, Princess, and Goons being the obvious examples)?

IIRC, Donald has said Bridge would be worded differently (same as Highway) if he made it today.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: AJD on February 25, 2013, 01:23:34 pm
How did you decide which abilities could be stackable with TR/KC (e.g., Bridge) and which ones couldn't (Highway, Princess, and Goons being the obvious examples)?

I'm gonna guess that Highway, Princess, and Goons aren't stackable mainly for tracking purposes rather than for balance purposes (i.e., you only have to check how many copies are in play, and not remember how many times you played them), and the only reason this isn't the case for Bridge and Coppersmith is that the while-in-play clause hadn't occurred to him yet.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: SirPeebles on February 25, 2013, 01:53:03 pm
How did you decide which abilities could be stackable with TR/KC (e.g., Bridge) and which ones couldn't (Highway, Princess, and Goons being the obvious examples)?

I'm gonna guess that Highway, Princess, and Goons aren't stackable mainly for tracking purposes rather than for balance purposes (i.e., you only have to check how many copies are in play, and not remember how many times you played them), and the only reason this isn't the case for Bridge and Coppersmith is that the while-in-play clause hadn't occurred to him yet.

This is a silly reason.  The Throne Room is still right there.  It's no different than remembering to double the buys and coins from a Throned Woodcutter.  If anything, the exception makes it more confusing for new players.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: GendoIkari on February 25, 2013, 01:56:32 pm
The other prototypical non-stackable is Tactician.  The "if you discard a card this way" clause is there to prevent doubling the effect from Throne Room.  Of course, there is still that obscure edge case where Golem can cause multiple Tactician effects.

Madman and Treasure Map also.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on February 25, 2013, 02:24:27 pm
How did you decide which abilities could be stackable with TR/KC (e.g., Bridge) and which ones couldn't (Highway, Princess, and Goons being the obvious examples)?
Every action should be Throne-able unless there's a good reason for an exception. There are two main exceptions.

First there are cards where the ideal phrasing makes the card not Throne-able. This is the case for cards with below-the-line text like Highway, and also Treasure Map. It's just fallout from caring more about good wordings. Scheme went back and forth, but the wording I went with happens to allow Throne.

Second there are cards where being Throne-able was such an issue that they specifically have anti-Throne clauses. The cards in this category are Tactician, Madman, and Outpost. Princess might have had an anti-Throne clause if the ideal phrasing didn't already make it non-Throne-able, although it might not have. Possession at one point had an anti-Throne clause, but it didn't fit, and it would have been more about fun than power level.

There are of course also cards where you naturally get no meaningful advantage from Throning them, like Counting House. Tournament has a "you need another Province" clause (which is to say you discard the Province) but that was more because of the potential to play multiple Tournaments rather than Throne specifically.

It is cool that you can Throne Bridge and Coppersmith. It's nice that that's in the game even though I have no regrets on making Highway with my preferred wording.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: AJD on February 25, 2013, 06:09:56 pm
To what extent did you design cards to fit the themes of expansions, vs. having the cards pre-designed and then assigning them to expansions that fit them? So like, did you say "I'm doing an expansion with a next-turn theme; how about an attack that top-decks curses" or "I've got an attack that top-decks curses; I'll put that in the expansion with a next-turn theme"? Except, not just Sea Hag specifically, I mean.

Or could I just figure out the answer to this by rereading the secret histories?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on February 25, 2013, 06:48:14 pm
To what extent did you design cards to fit the themes of expansions, vs. having the cards pre-designed and then assigning them to expansions that fit them? So like, did you say "I'm doing an expansion with a next-turn theme; how about an attack that top-decks curses" or "I've got an attack that top-decks curses; I'll put that in the expansion with a next-turn theme"? Except, not just Sea Hag specifically, I mean.

Or could I just figure out the answer to this by rereading the secret histories?
I made most cards for the expansions they ended up in, though some have moved.

The broad story that I have told many times but focusing on this goes like:

- I made a pile of cards; none of these were made for a particular expansion.
- I divided them into a main set and two 15-card expansions.
- I made cards for these specific expansions to expand them to 20 cards.
- I made three more 20-card expansions; all cards went right into the expansion they were made for, no moving.
- I made a batch of random new cards and reconfigured everything into eight smaller 16-card expansions (splitting Seaside/Hinterlands).
- I shifted things around again into six 25-card expansions, with work left to do on many of them.
- As I worked on each expansion in its day, I stole cards from later sets if I wanted them, and made new cards specifically for the current expansion.

So there were two big time periods in which cards moved around, and otherwise some cards moved in the direction of the current set (or out of it if they didn't fit). Lots of cards were made for the sets they're in though.

I will consider just Prosperity. Trade Route, Quarry, Bank, and Peddler are from other sets. Grand Market is partially from another set; Monument was from the batch prior to the 16-card expansions. You can quibble about Vault but it's basically a Prosperity card. The other cards are native to Prosperity.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: GigaKnight on February 25, 2013, 09:22:25 pm
1) According to the BGG ratings, Prosperity is the most universally loved expansion. Have you got any thoughts on why that is so? Do you think it is fair or do you think the set is overrated?
I don't have any real data but can think of some things.

...

- The set is low attack, high non-attack interaction. It is my experience in general that, people who uh don't play Magic tend to be more uppity about losing their stuff, their precious stuff. Like, I will make a game, and it will have a card that makes other people lose stuff, and it seems fine and normal to me, nice as a thing to have that's different from other things in the game, but some people will specifically dislike it, perhaps being used to games where nothing remotely like that is possible. I am used to losing my stuff; in Magic you lose stuff constantly, it is a pillar of the game. But like I will tone down a game to having just a few ways to make people lose stuff, completely balanced as far as I am concerned, and then a publisher will say, we didn't like that one card. Anyway so. I think Dominion players in general, there are a lot of Magic players yes, but there are a lot of people who do not play Magic, and among those people I think losing stuff is less popular, and uh let's reset this sentence. I think Dominion players in general like attacks less than I do. So, Prosperity got fewer attacks specifically to make going for Colonies easier, and then it turns out people liked that. Later Dominion sets tone down attacks a little as a result. Now this may all seem silly when two of the three attacks in Prosperity are Mountebank and Goons, but still.

...

This is a really interesting point and I, for one, really appreciate you taking the time and energy to go into weird details like this.  It also occurs to me that losing things in Magic often either:

1) is specifically a choice of the player losing their stuff (e.g. "I choose to block or I choose to sacrifice".)  Even if it's a false choice, it gives the player the illusion of control.
2) costs something on the part of the attacker (i.e. they have to actually spend a card so at least they won't do it every turn).

That's not always the case and I haven't really played magic in a while, so I could be also be misremembering.  In Dominion, on the other hand, most attack cards get played over and over; their only "cost" is the Action they consume.  Does this seem like a relevant distinction?  And, as a designer, do you think this has a material impact on the psychology of the mechanics?


Another related question that popped into my head:

Did you ever toy with the idea of a reaction that trashed the cards they react to?  Is this a particularly bad idea or am I venturing too far into potentially-spoilery territory?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: heron on February 25, 2013, 09:32:07 pm
...Watchtower.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: AJD on February 25, 2013, 09:49:50 pm
Did you ever toy with the idea of a reaction that trashed the cards they react to?  Is this a particularly bad idea or am I venturing too far into potentially-spoilery territory?

Donald's essay on "why not have a reaction that hurts the attacker" can be found here (http://forum.dominionstrategy.com/index.php?topic=71.0).
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on February 25, 2013, 09:56:09 pm
That's not always the case and I haven't really played magic in a while, so I could be also be misremembering.  In Dominion, on the other hand, most attack cards get played over and over; their only "cost" is the Action they consume.  Does this seem like a relevant distinction?  And, as a designer, do you think this has a material impact on the psychology of the mechanics?
These things don't mean the same thing between the two games.

Magic has both "I use my card to trash your card and now they're both gone" and "My card sits there killing stuff of yours turn after turn." They do way more of the former these days, because reusable removal dominates Magic games and can be no fun. You sit there with cards you can't play because they will just die.

Attacks in Dominion are multi-use but then so is everything (except the things that aren't, which includes attacks). I get Saboteur, you get Workshop, we're even. It's similar to in Magic when I play a card and you play a one-use card to destroy it, except that in Dominion we both still have our thing (unless of course the Saboteur hits the Workshop). If you need to compare Dominion's "removal" directly to Magic's multi-use removal, then the cards you remove are like tokens made by token-making artifacts etc. in Magic - the multi-use removal is up against multi-use generation (not a typical case in Magic).

When I said, "I will make a game, and it will have a card that makes other people lose stuff," I meant, those other games, that aren't Dominion, that have those cards. In those games the removal that I was describing was one-for-one, like in Magic - I lose a card to make everyone else lose a card - and nevertheless that thing will be what some people cite as "what is this nonsense." Being one-for-one does not solve the problem for those people, they really just don't want to lose stuff.

So overall: 1) being reusable just isn't the same thing between Magic and Dominion, such that Dominion's attacks are not actually analogous to Magic's reusable removal; and 2) Magic-style one-for-one removal is exactly the thing I was describing that bothers some people.

Did you ever toy with the idea of a reaction that trashed the cards they react to?  Is this a particularly bad idea or am I venturing too far into potentially-spoilery territory?
That's a more extreme version of something already bad: http://forum.dominionstrategy.com/index.php?topic=71.0
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: philosophyguy on February 25, 2013, 10:21:10 pm
Quote
As I usually tell people who want to show me cards, the obvious ideas are obvious to me too, and I had a big head start. For example Richard Garfield suggested 3 cards while he was playtesting Seaside. One was already in a set and has survived; one was already in a set but currently isn't in one although I have an idea for fixing it up. The third card was the reaction that reflects the attack, which I had had suggested so many times that I had already written up an essay on why it doesn't work.

The quote is from the linked bit on DXV's response to reactions that hurt the attacker. My question is: what were/are the first two cards that Richard Garfield suggested?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on February 25, 2013, 10:39:56 pm
The quote is from the linked bit on DXV's response to reactions that hurt the attacker. My question is: what were/are the first two cards that Richard Garfield suggested?
Bank and a Throne Room for treasures. Prosperity had the Treasure Throne but it didn't work out (not popular enough); as you know I got it to work in Dark Ages by having it trash the treasure.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: SCSN on February 26, 2013, 05:14:06 am
It is my experience in general that, people who uh don't play Magic tend to be more uppity about losing their stuff, their precious stuff.
They should try playing chess.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Avalanchian on February 26, 2013, 06:00:48 am
It is my experience in general that, people who uh don't play Magic tend to be more uppity about losing their stuff, their precious stuff.
They should try playing chess.
Or shogi. In shogi the soldiers you lose are actually captured by the enemy and turned against you in some sort of twisted betrayal. As your castle crumbles around your king, you can't help but look at the traitors who once fought by your side and ask, "why?! Please.... Why?"

Also this appears to be your first forum post. Welcome! :D
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Davio on February 26, 2013, 06:02:24 am
No Harakiri?

Would love to see a game like that which involves Harakiri (or Seppuku).

Like, you don't actually capture a piece, but the piece that is about to be captured commits Harakiri instead. :)
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Watno on February 26, 2013, 07:45:33 am
If you were making Moat and Lighthouse today, would you phrase them in a way so they protect from IGG's and Noble Brigand's on gain/buy effects? or was it intended from the beginning that they wouldn't protect against everything?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on February 26, 2013, 08:08:57 am
It is my experience in general that, people who uh don't play Magic tend to be more uppity about losing their stuff, their precious stuff.
They should try playing chess.
They also won't like how hard it is to see what your possible moves are, and the potential to see many moves in advance.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on February 26, 2013, 08:12:52 am
If you were making Moat and Lighthouse today, would you phrase them in a way so they protect from IGG's and Noble Brigand's on gain/buy effects? or was it intended from the beginning that they wouldn't protect against everything?
The idea wasn't to specifically make un-Moatable attacks, but I also wouldn't make Moat confusing in order to have it cover those cases. Moat looks at attack cards being played. Saying "When an another player plays or buys an attack card" would be too weird, unless the main set had an attack card that did something to you when bought.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Awaclus on February 26, 2013, 08:37:54 am
If you were making Moat and Lighthouse today, would you phrase them in a way so they protect from IGG's and Noble Brigand's on gain/buy effects? or was it intended from the beginning that they wouldn't protect against everything?
The idea wasn't to specifically make un-Moatable attacks, but I also wouldn't make Moat confusing in order to have it cover those cases. Moat looks at attack cards being played. Saying "When an another player plays or buys an attack card" would be too weird, unless the main set had an attack card that did something to you when bought.
Did you consider "when an attack card would affect you"? If you did, what was your reasoning to go for the actual wording?

Though, I'm perfectly fine with Lighthouse not preventing IGG.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: ashersky on February 26, 2013, 08:40:58 am
If you were making Moat and Lighthouse today, would you phrase them in a way so they protect from IGG's and Noble Brigand's on gain/buy effects? or was it intended from the beginning that they wouldn't protect against everything?
The idea wasn't to specifically make un-Moatable attacks, but I also wouldn't make Moat confusing in order to have it cover those cases. Moat looks at attack cards being played. Saying "When an another player plays or buys an attack card" would be too weird, unless the main set had an attack card that did something to you when bought.
Did you consider "when an attack card would affect you"? If you did, what was your reasoning to go for the actual wording?

Though, I'm perfectly fine with Lighthouse not preventing IGG.

Your wording has no effect on IGG, though, right?  It's just a treasure card, I thought.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Watno on February 26, 2013, 08:41:53 am
Well, you then could easily add the word Attack to IGG.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: soulnet on February 26, 2013, 08:59:01 am
Well, you then could easily add the word Attack to IGG.

Then each play would trigger Horse Traders and Secret Chamber as well. The "would affect you" is not clear enough, everything affects you as long as it affects the game state.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on February 26, 2013, 09:00:18 am
Did you consider "when an attack card would affect you"? If you did, what was your reasoning to go for the actual wording?
No, that's not as good and I didn't consider it. In general you want to avoid "would" when you can because it's confusing. "When another player plays an attack card" is straightforward. It creates the question of "is this before or after it resolves" but answers it on the card with "well this card does nothing if it's afterwards so what are the odds."

As I always say, Moat has no obligation to prevent anything bad from happening to you. You can't Moat them buying a Province. I never felt like Moat had to do something about Masquerade or Possession, which were around before Moat was finalized, or IGG or Noble Brigand, which postdate it. At some points you could Moat Noble Brigand when bought because it was "when you buy this play it," and I would have done that if the wording had worked out, but it didn't.

Moat originally went into play when reacting, all reactions did, and I have explained before that that would probably be better. That has no bearing on the question but that's what I might do differently with Moat. I changed it to revealing specifically to make Moat more powerful, and don't know exactly what Moat would look like the other way, since I haven't had to do that work.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: SirPeebles on February 26, 2013, 09:51:43 am
You can't Moat them buying a Province.

Zoning Ordinance
$5 Treasure-Reaction

+$2
---
When another player would gain a Province, you may reveal this card.  That player gains a Duchy instead.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: SirPeebles on February 26, 2013, 10:02:49 am
Now, I've never played Magic, but I know that some cards have italicized flavor text at the bottom.  Did you ever consider doing the same in Dominion?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Davio on February 26, 2013, 10:45:12 am
Now, I've never played Magic, but I know that some cards have italicized flavor text at the bottom.  Did you ever consider doing the same in Dominion?
Fun community challenge! Wonder what Chancellor's ft looks like.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: theory on February 26, 2013, 11:01:07 am
"I'm better than Silver.  No, really, I am."
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: SirPeebles on February 26, 2013, 11:05:17 am
"I'm better than Silver.  No, really, I am."

In the voice of Droopy Dog, or Jon Stewart's Lieberman impression.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: ipofanes on February 26, 2013, 11:12:22 am
There's flavour text in the German Intrigue rulebook.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on February 26, 2013, 12:15:11 pm
Now, I've never played Magic, but I know that some cards have italicized flavor text at the bottom.  Did you ever consider doing the same in Dominion?
I did not. I haven't ever done a game with flavor text. I've had games where I named abilities for flavor.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: aaron0013 on February 26, 2013, 12:55:17 pm
When is theory going to put up the Q+A Part 2?  Not that it is completely necessary, but if there is a part1, there should be a part2...
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: greatexpectations on February 26, 2013, 12:59:33 pm
When is theory going to put up the Q+A Part 2?  Not that it is completely necessary, but if there is a part1, there should be a part2...

it's in the queue right behind his post of the greatest isotropic moments of 2011.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: theory on February 26, 2013, 01:00:58 pm
What are you referring to?  There's Part I, II, and III published on the blog.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: aaron0013 on February 27, 2013, 10:15:42 am
Oh right. I forgot the first set was in 3 parts :P.  I meant to ask when the next set would be posted, or if you are planning on it.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: LastFootnote on March 04, 2013, 02:36:30 pm
Donald, do you ever regret making simple cards because it meant it was harder to make similar, but more complex ones? For instance, you decided not to publish a card that had "+1 Card, +1 Action, +$1", which made it easier to justify Oasis, Treasury, Market, Tournament, Peddler, etc. Do you regret making, say, Smithy?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on March 04, 2013, 04:27:46 pm
Donald, do you ever regret making simple cards because it meant it was harder to make similar, but more complex ones? For instance, you decided not to publish a card that had "+1 Card, +1 Action, +$1", which made it easier to justify Oasis, Treasury, Market, Tournament, Peddler, etc. Do you regret making, say, Smithy?
I don't have any such regrets for the various vanilla cards. Some people complain about Hunting Party or Stables vs. Lab, but I am happy to have done all three. I would probably replace Woodcutter if I were making the main set today, but not because of the space it takes up, it neatly leaves space for better versions at $4. Smithy means +3 Cards with a bonus and no penalty has to cost $5, but $5 is a fine price to pay for those cards.

The "vanilla cards problem" is a real issue, but Dominion in the end just doesn't have very many vanilla cards.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: philosophyguy on March 04, 2013, 04:34:46 pm
This forum has gone through a lot of discoveries about what issues matter in the game. For instance, it took us a while to figure out that cycling faster was a good thing in the early game. Other issues on this list could be things like: average coin value, the value of sifting, greening and game longevity, etc.

When you were developing the game, what issues were the most surprising discoveries for you? Are there any discoveries you've made into strategic topics that the forums haven't figured out yet?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: ehunt on March 04, 2013, 05:05:39 pm
If you could pick 25 cards to make the base set today, what 25 would they be?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: ftl on March 04, 2013, 05:12:21 pm
Are there any discoveries you've made into strategic topics that the forums haven't figured out yet?

I believe that Donald has previously said that he doesn't answer strategy questions for us, so I wouldn't expect an answer to this one! ;)
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on March 04, 2013, 05:13:59 pm
This forum has gone through a lot of discoveries about what issues matter in the game. For instance, it took us a while to figure out that cycling faster was a good thing in the early game. Other issues on this list could be things like: average coin value, the value of sifting, greening and game longevity, etc.

When you were developing the game, what issues were the most surprising discoveries for you? Are there any discoveries you've made into strategic topics that the forums haven't figured out yet?
I went through learning the deal with Chapel like anyone else. I'm not sure "surprising discoveries" is how I'd describe anything else. On day one I thought +2 Actions and +1 Buy would be much better than they are, but it's not like it was a "surprising discovery" that they weren't, it was just how things turned out to actually work. Ho hum, I made Village and Market stronger. Similarly on day one I thought I would make all three base victory cards worth going for, but that didn't work out because you want the game to be long enough to have fun.

I generally avoid giving strategic advice because well it's lose-lose. Either I'm wrong and dumb, or I'm right and spoiling the Journey of Discovery. I wrote that essay about fighting attacks because it seemed like some of the casual players that Dominion was selling to could use that essay; I don't regret that. I've mentioned that a few obv. weak cards are weak, here in the company of you guys; recently someone on BGG quoted me saying here that Pirate Ship sucked, and I felt like, yeah, don't ever say things like that, we aren't actually at someone's house here after all. No-one needs to hear me saying bad things about Pirate Ship, it's not helping anyone, it's not increasing net human happiness. Have fun hilariously quoting this but really.

People have had years to catch up to my lead, so I wouldn't worry too much about my precious strategy secrets. I could probably show you some tricks with Dark Ages; probably not so many with Intrigue.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on March 04, 2013, 05:17:52 pm
If you could pick 25 cards to make the base set today, what 25 would they be?
I would like to be friendly and give people lots of exciting question answers. But this question is asking me to spend hours figuring out something that has no value other than answering this question. It is too much, it is beyond the scope. I have gone over what cards I might take out; I would take those out. I would replace them with you know good cards. Not too complex. Ideally I would get to make new cards, especially, simpler versions of existing cards that I might otherwise want.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: LastFootnote on March 04, 2013, 05:21:04 pm
You've said in the past that you don't like promos because if they're good enough to exist, you're depriving an expansion of a good card. Now that there are no more expansions forthcoming, does that change the equation? Specifically, there has been talk of a "Treasure Chest" expansion, but an objection is that such a product would only be really desirable for players who have all of the expansions. Why not create cards for such an expansion and just distribute them separately? You could make two new Seaside cards and sell/distribute them together as the Seaside mini-expansion, etc.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on March 04, 2013, 05:36:35 pm
You've said in the past that you don't like promos because if they're good enough to exist, you're depriving an expansion of a good card. Now that there are no more expansions forthcoming, does that change the equation? Specifically, there has been talk of a "Treasure Chest" expansion, but an objection is that such a product would only be really desirable for players who have all of the expansions. Why not create cards for such an expansion and just distribute them separately? You could make two new Seaside cards and sell/distribute them together as the Seaside mini-expansion, etc.
Well the main problem with Treasure Chest would be, that some other thing would be better. Even for the people who like Treasure Chest. Let's say Treasure Chest happens instead of Cornucopia. Is that better or worse? Well you don't get to look at Treasure Chest to make that call so it's unfair, but it gives a clearer picture than "what if we got Treasure Chest instead of nothing at all."

It's true that requiring you to have bought all the expansions would be a downside, but that's not really the case except for the tokens and Potions, and I could avoid using tokens, the Prosperity cards could just be a treasure and something that costs $7. And I could pass up doing a new Prize, or I could make another card that uses Prizes. So, the best case scenario is, there's one card that you can't use if you didn't buy Alchemy or Base Cards, and the rest of it works fine for anyone. The rulebook covers duration cards etc.

You can also argue that probably any 9th expansion is only for people who bought 8 expansions (or maybe 6-7 leaving out 1-2 that sounded bad to them), no matter what the contents.

The big advantage of Treasure Chest is that it would be easier to make than a new small set. That is how it is a topic at all.

Promos aren't sold, they are promotional, so, not to be greedy but realistic, we would not just make 13 promos to give away if they could be an expansion instead. I don't know how small you can get and still have a product; I bet it's not great going smaller than 13.

Your basic premise that a lack of expansions means promos aren't missing out on expansions is fine though.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: LastFootnote on March 04, 2013, 05:54:03 pm
Those are many good points. The only one I would argue is that most people would prefer a new thing to Treasure Chest. Personally, I'd rather have the new thing, but judging by a sampling of fan cards, there's a lot of people very interested in new Potion-cost cards, new cards costing $7, new Action/Victory cards, and—more than anything else—new Duration cards. Pretty much every Dominion player I know in real life loves Duration cards and wishes there were more of them. (Personally, I don't understand the huge appeal. They're just cards that do something on your next turn and therefore have the Duration type.)

I suppose the argument for more promos also carries over to an argument for online-only cards. Even if printing a card/expansion in real life is judged not to be economically viable, "printing" it online might fall on the right side of the cost/benefit equation. You'd have to pay for art, obviously, but still. If it turns out to be a big enough hit online, it could then be printed.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on March 04, 2013, 06:03:32 pm
Those are many good points. The only one I would argue is that most people would prefer a new thing to Treasure Chest. Personally, I'd rather have the new thing, but judging by a sampling of fan cards, there's a lot of people very interested in new Potion-cost cards, new cards costing $7, new Action/Victory cards, and—more than anything else—new Duration cards. Pretty much every Dominion player I know in real life loves Duration cards and wishes there were more of them. (Personally, I don't understand the huge appeal. They're just cards that do something on your next turn and therefore have the Duration type.)
If what people really want is duration cards though then an expansion to Seaside would make the most sense.

And well it's not out of the question. But when I had to do an extra small expansion, I thought of that, and mentioned it to Jay. And he didn't rule it out, but said, wouldn't a new thing be better? And I made Guilds instead. And well again, I can't compare this hypothetical expansion, but I like Guilds. It's more interesting than I imagine more duration cards would be.

I suppose the argument for more promos also carries over to an argument for online-only cards. Even if printing a card/expansion in real life is judged not to be economically viable, "printing" it online might fall on the right side of the cost/benefit equation. You'd have to pay for art, obviously, but still. If it turns out to be a big enough hit online, it could then be printed.
I can't make an online-only thing unless it's impossible to do irl - too many people would scream.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Breyfunk on March 04, 2013, 06:31:53 pm
Donald, I just wanted to say thank you for all of your work with Dominion.  Our group has gotten quite a lot of enjoyment out of the game, and I anxiously await Guilds!

On the topic of a "Treasure Chest" style set, I would like to see one set that combines the mechanics of all of the previous sets, so Duration cards with Potion in the cost (actually lots of cards with potion in the cost :p), things of that nature.  Whatever happens in the future for Dominion, you know that we fans will love it, thank you again for the job well done!

Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: enfynet on March 04, 2013, 07:01:58 pm
With all this talk about promos and treasure chest and specific card types...

What about mini-sets of say, 4 new cards? (i.e 4 new Durations, 4 new Treasures, 4 new Attacks) These could all be very similar cards and could satisfy the expansion-hungry audience. I think the only one I'd avoid is a set of only alt-Victory cards. I think people would spend $8-$10 on such packs. Heck, maybe include redemption codes for people to use one of those new cards on Goko or something.


Oh, and you've mentioned you'd prefer to do Dominion 2. Do you have a game design you're working on to fill that space?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: werothegreat on March 04, 2013, 07:12:02 pm
A Potion-cost Duration-Action-Victory that hands out Victory tokens and Ruins, adds an extra Kingdom pile, and has an on-gain effect.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on March 04, 2013, 07:16:28 pm
What about mini-sets of say, 4 new cards? (i.e 4 new Durations, 4 new Treasures, 4 new Attacks) These could all be very similar cards and could satisfy the expansion-hungry audience. I think the only one I'd avoid is a set of only alt-Victory cards. I think people would spend $8-$10 on such packs. Heck, maybe include redemption codes for people to use one of those new cards on Goko or something.
I don't see the beauty of small sets like that. Like, a store has shelves with the Dominion expansions. They want this product in the same place so that the right people see it. It's not a good size for that space though. And then, like, the plastic insert has got to be too expensive for a small product like that, but surely it would bother the publisher to have provided that plastic insert for all other products but not these (yes many people might not care but they aren't the publisher).

But whatever, here is the thing to focus on. There were good reasons to stop making Dominion expansions. They apply to smaller expansions and Treasure Chests too. I have talked about this before and here is a link: http://forum.dominionstrategy.com/index.php?topic=73.0

Oh, and you've mentioned you'd prefer to do Dominion 2. Do you have a game design you're working on to fill that space?
Kingdom Builder started out as a Dominion spin-off, as proof that I have worked on one. I would like to make a Dominion spin-off but it seems bad to talk about beyond that. I'd prefer people to assume there will never be one and then be pleasantly surprised if there is.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: enfynet on March 04, 2013, 08:13:21 pm
What about mini-sets of say, 4 new cards? (i.e 4 new Durations, 4 new Treasures, 4 new Attacks) These could all be very similar cards and could satisfy the expansion-hungry audience. I think the only one I'd avoid is a set of only alt-Victory cards. I think people would spend $8-$10 on such packs. Heck, maybe include redemption codes for people to use one of those new cards on Goko or something.
I don't see the beauty of small sets like that. Like, a store has shelves with the Dominion expansions. They want this product in the same place so that the right people see it. It's not a good size for that space though. And then, like, the plastic insert has got to be too expensive for a small product like that, but surely it would bother the publisher to have provided that plastic insert for all other products but not these (yes many people might not care but they aren't the publisher).
I'll be honest. I wasn't even thinking of the plastic inserts that come with the games. I just assumed a box like poker cards come in. I think I actually forgot the boxes had inserts in them because I consolidated to one box so quickly.
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Drab Emordnilap on March 04, 2013, 08:41:23 pm
Squire is a 2 cost card that gives you 1 of something and 2 of something else, and you're often inclined to throw it in the trash.

Squire in Magic: The Gathering fits this same description? Coincidence?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on March 04, 2013, 08:49:08 pm
Squire is a 2 cost card that gives you 1 of something and 2 of something else, and you're often inclined to throw it in the trash.

Squire in Magic: The Gathering fits this same description? Coincidence?
Well I used the art for Magic's Squire, and they are both concepted as squires. Those are connections. My Squire was originally "+1 card +1 action, you may buy a silver or play an attack."
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: SirPeebles on March 04, 2013, 08:51:52 pm
So it let you buy a Silver during your action phase, with the whole Black Market baggage?
Title: Re: Interview with Donald X.
Post by: Donald X. on March 04, 2013, 08:53:01 pm