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Messages - Donald X.

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1
Dominion General Discussion / Re: Interview with Donald X.
« on: Today at 03:18:23 am »
You're going either too far or not far enough here. Chess has no correct set of moves, but rather a theoretical tree of optimal moves that is so enormously big that I will confidently claim that non-enhanced humans will never be able to memorize it. Either way, if you were to assume that humans were capable of memorizing it, you should also assume that they would be capable of making the exact right decision (based on probabilities) at any time in a game of Dominion, leaving the result up to chance alone. However, a game that's decided on chance alone isn't more than a coin flip, and therefore just as dull as a game with fixed winners.

The point is that Chess' actions depend exclusively on your opponent's actions, while Dominion's don't. You can like either and complain about either. I like both.
We have been down this road before.

For people who want to be super correct: chess is a low-luck game, but does have luck. This is trivially true due to the impossibility of complete analysis. As always I then recommend Richard Garfield's speech on luck vs. skill, which you can find on youtube.
Zermelo's theorem begs to differ.
It has luck if start player is predetermined.
I am looking at the wikipedia article on Zermelo's thereom; it does not appear to have the tiniest bit of relevance to the conversation.

Again if someone wants more words on the topic of what exactly counts as luck and all that, I recommend Richard Garfield's speech on luck, which is easy to find. I am not going to devote time to arguing it out but am prepared to tell more people that they're wrong.

2
Dominion General Discussion / Re: Interview with Donald X.
« on: May 24, 2017, 01:28:00 pm »
Chess would be simple if the pieces had text, but all the text is in the rules which actually makes it pretty complex.
This is not true, and I have playtesting experience backing me up. The grid adds a lot of complexity.

In the early days of Magic, trying to describe it, I'd say, suppose we were playing Chess, but I brought half the set and you brought the other half. You've got knights and bishops and things, but I have archers and pikemen. And half of my board is underwater. After describing it that way a few times, I thought, I should make that game. And I made a game with tiles with text on them that went on a board and fought it out. It was impossible to see legal plays, let alone good plays.

3
Dominion General Discussion / Re: Interview with Donald X.
« on: May 24, 2017, 01:23:02 pm »
I'm all but certain chess will be brute-force solved in my lifetime.  And even if it's not, we can show easily that such a solution exists even if computing technology as of 20xx or even 23xx can't find it.  (The computers described in Star Trek almost certainly had solved chess.)

This is not true of Dominion and other games that involve randomness.  Dominion, like poker, is non-solvable.

Chess has no such randomness; you cannot have a "bad beat" in chess, because there are only the moves that have been made.  The same could be said for many other games: Go, Caylus, Prismata (though setup is randomized), Terra Mystica (random setup), and of course dozens of games that *have* been solved.
It's obv. moot if computers have solved chess, if we are talking about a game between humans. To the humans, the game has luck. It's trivial to demonstrate.

The idea that a game with randomness can't be solved, well that's not how I use the word "solved." You can of course have a game with randomness where you can calculate the odds and know the best move. The only sane definition of "solved" is the one that includes those games. The fact that after the fact we can tell you another move would have been better given how the dice came up is moot. It's hugely misleading to suggest that "we don't know how the dice will come up" is anything like "we haven't thrown enough computing power at Chess yet."

Poker is unsolvable due to the psychological component. You can hone in on answers with history analysis, but may start with no history of your opponents to analyze.

4
Dominion General Discussion / Re: Interview with Donald X.
« on: May 23, 2017, 06:54:22 pm »
Will there be a Secret History for Alternate Realities?  I'm rather curious to hear some of the stories behind the mechanics and flavor of some of the zones/cards.  The ancient aliens want you to get rich, for some reason?
I wrote a preview/history that doesn't say much, but was waiting to post it until my copies showed up, and they are late. So now it's super pointless but probably it will make it out anyway.

You need the money to power up your pyramid spaceships? "Aliens" sounded like it fit with "alternate win condition" and I looked no further.

Obv the number $100 could have been tweaked to be whatever perfect number, but it really wanted to be $100 if $100 worked, and $100 did work.

5
Dominion General Discussion / Re: Interview with Donald X.
« on: May 23, 2017, 09:02:15 am »
You're going either too far or not far enough here. Chess has no correct set of moves, but rather a theoretical tree of optimal moves that is so enormously big that I will confidently claim that non-enhanced humans will never be able to memorize it. Either way, if you were to assume that humans were capable of memorizing it, you should also assume that they would be capable of making the exact right decision (based on probabilities) at any time in a game of Dominion, leaving the result up to chance alone. However, a game that's decided on chance alone isn't more than a coin flip, and therefore just as dull as a game with fixed winners.

The point is that Chess' actions depend exclusively on your opponent's actions, while Dominion's don't. You can like either and complain about either. I like both.
We have been down this road before.

For people who want to be super correct: chess is a low-luck game, but does have luck. This is trivially true due to the impossibility of complete analysis. As always I then recommend Richard Garfield's speech on luck vs. skill, which you can find on youtube.

6
Dominion FAQ / Re: Dominion Seaside?
« on: May 22, 2017, 02:23:37 am »
Is there any more information regarding the new print run of Seaside? It's been over a month since this topic was posted in and I can't find any information anywhere.
There isn't more information. There is unlikely to be any more information until it's actually out.

7
Dominion General Discussion / Re: Interview with Donald X.
« on: May 22, 2017, 02:21:58 am »
There's a "strategic breadth" to dominion that stems from it's randomized kingdoms; even with just the base set its incredibly unlikely to play the same kingdom twice, so to get good you have to consider the pairs of interactions of loads of cards. I'm not as convinced that dominion has a similar amount of "strategic depth", in that one kingdom would generally get boring to play in less than 5 play thrus as a decent player. Chess is a good default example of what I mean from strategic depth: there's a universal starting point but it can handle tens of thousands of play thrus while still being interesting.

Did you intentionally aim for (some form similar to my definition of) strategic breadth over depth because you think it's more valuable for board games? Do your favorite games generally have some form of "arbitrarily large number of starting positions"?
So far the distinction you're making between "breadth" and "depth"  just seems arbitrary and negative to me. Either I'm having new experiences or I'm not; either I continue to find ways to improve or I don't. How the game achieves that seems unrelated to whether or not you have it. I mean. It's like you're saying, my games aren't as good, because of the particular ways that they produce new experiences. "Depth" is a term other people use, it will mean something to those people separate from whatever you may mean by it, and no amount of quotation marks changes that. When you say you don't think Dominion has strategic depth, you are telling those people that it sucks, regardless of what you actually mean. FYI!

I try to make games that produce new experiences repeatedly; often that involves varying starting conditions, often with those elements being rules components, to the point of "it's a different game each time." That's not the only way to get new experiences; you can for example simply have lots of designed space, such that it takes players a long time to see all of it. That's a basic thing computer games often do. You can push psychology or creativity such that you're exploring yourself or the other players; for people who like those games (far short of everyone for either category), that can keep a game replayable for a long time with nothing else backing it up. I've done some of each.

I can also enjoy a game that just gives one experience though, if I like that experience. For example I still sometimes play Boggle. Boggle is an example of a game with variable set-up where grouping it with variable rules games like mine is just hugely misleading; the variable set-up doesn't stop it from being the same experience every time.

I hold Chess up as an example of what not to do. It's too hard for new players to even see legal moves, let alone make good plays. It feels like if you were good enough you could see lots of moves ahead, but you aren't actually able to do that; so it feels like the game is telling you how stupid you are.

And yes also "explore what happens when the first 8 moves are the same but then things try somehow to get interesting" is bad. Bobby Fischer - wikipedia says, "Many consider him to be the greatest chess player of all time," and gives citations - didn't think it was so great memorizing openings and exploring those paths, and advocated randomizing the starting positions. As if then the game had more uh well let's not call it depth. More something.

8
Dominion General Discussion / Re: Interview with Donald X.
« on: May 22, 2017, 01:34:30 am »
So from a previous answer I know your daughters are slightly older than mine.  Are they now involved in playtesting?  And if so do they think of it as cool or boring?
They've done a little playing of unpublished games. It's a case-by-case thing, they have to be interested in the particular game and on that particular day. I don't think they've so much registered it as different from playing a game. And sometimes I ask them questions, especially to see, is this wording good. Natalie suggested the wording on the 2E Library, when I was asking about other options.

9
Other Games / Re: Temporum: Alternate Realities speculation
« on: May 21, 2017, 05:57:52 pm »

10
Dominion General Discussion / Re: Interview with Donald X.
« on: May 21, 2017, 05:52:45 pm »
Do you ever think about fixing Monopoly? I'd be interested to hear some Donald™ fixes on Monopoly, the game that could have been.

My personal assessment is that the first 25 minutes or so are fun, and then the rest is pretty awful.
One of my oldest games is my take on Monopoly. The only elements I preserved were moving around that style of board, and owning properties and building them up. Roll-and-move is a reasonable mechanic that you can't do because of the endless parade of bad roll-and-move games. And owning properties and building them up is great. Of course in my version the properties all had special abilities.

The trading in Monopoly is bad, I mean it's political and so much for that. And as everyone knows the game overall is low on interesting decisions (you can mention the trading but the trading is still awful); you have to be into it for the ritual, and then it blows it on the ritual by taking forever, by eliminating players with hours left and all that.

I always say that Settlers is the fixed version, although I don't like Settlers either, due to the politics. But you know, in both games you roll the dice and see what you get, you can get stuff on other players' turns, you draw cards that do random things, you build up properties, you trade. If you are keen on trying the ritual of Settlers with less politics, try: 1) the robber goes to the space with the most points of buildings that you aren't next to, ties broken by most commonly rolled number, further ties broken randomly; 2) on your turn you can only trade with the player to your left.

11
Dominion General Discussion / Re: Interview with Donald X.
« on: May 21, 2017, 05:42:43 pm »
-Being time-shifted out of Viking America will not proc it, right?
Correct.

-Are the Parthenon tokens component limited?  It's possible to have Greek America, New France, and Simulated Paradise in the same game, but you only get 2 tokens.
They are component limited.

-Capitalist Utopia's "rule all times" effect only happens if it's real, right?
Correct.

-You can't look through Quiet Planet's pile until you actually visit, right?
Correct.

-Coins on Beggar don't count towards its own limit, right?
Correct.

12
Dominion General Discussion / Re: Interview with Donald X.
« on: May 21, 2017, 05:40:47 pm »
Do players start with an extra card if Endless City starts the game real?  Similar question for Mafia City-States.
No.

13
Other Games / Re: Temporum: Alternate Realities speculation
« on: May 19, 2017, 05:32:24 pm »
There are not many copies, and probably no more will be printed. The base game itself would have to do better.

14
There's a very early Dominion outtake with –1 Buy. I think it was a Workshop variant.

EDIT: Yep, it was called "Workshop".

Workshop: Action, $3
+1 Action
–1 Build (Buy)
Gain a card costing $3 or less.
And that turned into Workshop.

Yes markusin, you could play multiples and just really not be able to buy anything. It's a Dominion card, that's how they work.

15
Well it should have 192 metal tokens if we are extrapolating.
Adventures had cardboard tokens, Empires had metal. It would be diamond tokens next.

16
Dominion General Discussion / Re: Interview with Donald X.
« on: May 11, 2017, 05:07:24 pm »
1. Do you ever come up with/test new cards when you are not actively working on a new expansion (or working on a promo)?
Some tiny amount. There's always a file I keep of unused ideas, and I add whatever it is to the file.

2. Dominion "came from" Spirit Warriors 2, a deckbuilding game with heroes. Have you ever tested adding heroes to dominion, or is Champion as close as it got?
   2a. If you did, would that be a spinoff?
If I made something like Spirit Warriors 2 I would think of it as a spin-off, although knowing me I'd end up taking out the deckbuilding part.

I haven't been trying to get "heroes you build up" into Dominion, but there are the travellers. Yes those are probably as close as it gets.

3. In a week of playtesting, is it it usually just playtesting the same game, or two, or sometimes a lot of things get playtested in a single week?
Over the years the most typical thing has been either a mix of games or all Dominion. Sometimes an evening might have been all Temporum or whatever, but not as often.

17
Dominion General Discussion / Re: Interview with Donald X.
« on: May 08, 2017, 02:32:38 am »
Do you think you would still be as successful if you didn't have a cool name like Donald X. and had something dorky like Dave P. Gilbert instead?
A story I like to tell: I have had the experience of someone standing there holding a copy of Dominion, introduced to me as Donald X., going on to say, so, we were going to play Dominion, have you played, are you interested.

So, the name does not appear to be a factor.

18
Dominion General Discussion / Re: Interview with Donald X.
« on: May 08, 2017, 02:31:08 am »
I understand you used to program dialysis machines for a living. What would you say you liked best about that job, and what was the worst.
Best: I learned a bunch about programming on the job. In particular object-oriented and event-driven programming became a thing, and I learned about them, and that was good times.

Worst: The hours (they were normal hours).

19
Dominion General Discussion / Re: Interview with Donald X.
« on: May 08, 2017, 02:29:55 am »
I played Dominion every night for the last year, and I still love Dominion but right now I'm kind of sick of playing it. You've probably played more Dominion than anyone else. Way more than me anyways. When you've had to design/playtest more sets are you rarin to go or are you like "bllaaaaaaaahhh, not more Dominion"?
My games mostly push variety, with even more variety if I am working on them and thus adding/changing things. And they always push "things Donald X. enjoys." So I don't tend to get sick of them! I do not get sick of Dominion.

I'm sure I don't come close to the record for most games played if we count online games. For just games IRL, I'm up there.

20
Dominion General Discussion / Re: Interview with Donald X.
« on: May 07, 2017, 12:28:15 am »
Hey Donald, what has been your favorite Dominion set to design/play?
It's hard to answer the design question. I don't have, like, memories of those great evenings spent listing ideas. It was easier earlier on. Well not at the very very beginning, but right after that. But uh I don't know if that means it was more fun.

The favorite set question has been asked before. In the early days it was War, then War turned into Dark Ages and it was Dark Ages. I don't like the question much at this point because I didn't want to just say Adventures when Adventures came out or Empires when Empires came out, it feels too uh intelligent promotiony.

I can't sit and make myself want nothing
But I won't go knocking doors to find out
How many tickets to me I can sell


And it's not like there have really been low points, in terms of those experiences for me. It sucked that Alchemy had a tight schedule, but we enjoyed the playtesting games. I did hate playtesting Pirate Ship because someone always thought it was broken. I felt like Intrigue had more mistakes than Prosperity, to the point of me fixing some of Intrigue's with the 2nd edition, but designing/playtesting weren't worse for that.

21
Dominion General Discussion / Re: Interview with Donald X.
« on: May 05, 2017, 06:34:57 pm »
2017 has been pretty quite for new Dominion.  I know you don't usually discuss if you have new stuff in the works but do you let us know when you are NOT working on new Dominion?
I feel like people could do that math.

22
Dominion General Discussion / Re: Interview with Donald X.
« on: May 04, 2017, 06:00:18 pm »
Not that it makes much sense to discuss a topic with a rude guy who accuses me of sucking at English or at using several accounts.
I am indeed rude. For example I am rude enough to say, that it will be awesome if you do not actually make a new account after this one is banned.
In fact he made a new account a few minutes later to say

Quote from: yougotsomeseriousissues
Wow, you got some serious issues. Probably not used somebody disagreeing with the boss.  :D
Leck mein Rosettchen Donaldchen.  8)
I guess hey, it's rude to accuse someone of making multiple accounts even if they're doing it.

Edit: theory reports that that account's email address is gofuckyourselfdonald@gmx.at. I am just reporting this because it's hilarious.

23
Dominion General Discussion / Re: Interview with Donald X.
« on: May 04, 2017, 05:45:30 pm »
Not that it makes much sense to discuss a topic with a rude guy who accuses me of sucking at English or at using several accounts.
I am indeed rude. For example I am rude enough to say, that it will be awesome if you do not actually make a new account after this one is banned.

24
Dominion General Discussion / Re: Is Dark Ages being reprinted?
« on: May 01, 2017, 08:09:48 pm »
Has Seaside been reprinted already?  I think I saw someone on reddit saying they had seen the price go down.
I don't have copies yet, so it's not in stores.

25
Dominion General Discussion / Re: Is Dark Ages being reprinted?
« on: May 01, 2017, 05:20:42 pm »
So, I've noticed some commentary about Seaside and Prosperity being reprinted - any word on Dark Ages?  I'm not seeing this in stock anywhere online, and it's one of the only sets I haven't been able to get my hands on.  I'm REALLY hoping to not have to resort to second hand, but obviously will if I hear that Dark Ages is done for and won't be getting reprinted...
All Dominion expansions will be reprinted as stock runs out and schedules permit. I am only just now proofreading the updated card images for Dark Ages, so it will be a few months. I think it will be printed in the USA though, so you won't be waiting on the boat at least (if in the USA).

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