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Messages - Aquila

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Forbidden Text - Action, $3+ cost.
+1 Action
Draw until you have 7 cards in hand. Return this to its pile.
When you buy this, you may pay $4 more to gain a Madman.
It would be nice and elegant if the overpay could be $3 more, but comparing Madman at default 4 Cards 2 Actions against Experiment I don't think a bundle of Forbidden Text and Madman could get away at $6. And I don't want to go to $8.

Edit: simplified text (box only for those who can see the mock-up) to 'pay $4 more'. I could even make it 'when you gain this, you may pay $4...', but I'll stick to on-buy to be more true to overpay.

Variants and Fan Cards / Re: Dominion: Wilderness
« on: October 08, 2021, 07:46:48 am »
I did a fairly big update here.

Water Source Wanderer Boomerang Offer

Water Source is out, so now there are just 4 different Resources, 40 total. It was substantially less useful overall than the other Resources and didn't belong.

I committed to the Ancient Ruins change I suggested and brought the cost down to $4. A nicer play experience for you and the opponents, with a high reward for an awkward condition.

I swapped the below-line effect on Despoiled Village around, so you gain the card you have a copy of in hand and discard the copy for a free Village. More accessible and interesting with weighing up cheap or expensive gains.

The discard benefit on Hollow is now Artificer without the top-decking, rather than + $1 per card discarded. It's no longer a single card engine with (Workers') Village support.

Mirage Island now costs $3. It rarely affects the opening, and being cheaper helps its reaction out.

Subsidy was renamed Sponsor, and rather than gain a Resource on gain you can trash one from hand. Much weaker for balance.

Survivalist was a Lost City+ too often before, so the on-play effect is weakened from being cantrip and the cost is now $4. It can trigger itself too.

Tinker is down to $5 cost. It isn't powerful all the time.

I got tired of Wanderer being so inelegant, and Boomerang being so swingy in the opening. So they're out.

Conclude checks for discarded cards like Tactician does, rather than be once per turn. It's cool when you can repeat it so why not? It's better than getting a free $3 when you empty hand of good cards with an Action left.

Offer was never going to work and I couldn't get to a sensible variant. So it's out.

And a new idea:

Dig >
Key to the Past - Treasure, $4 cost.
Cards in the trash cost $2 less this turn. You may buy a card from the trash.
Setup: trash a Gold from the Supply per player, and put an extra Kingdom pile costing $5 in the trash.
A recent WDC entry to replace Dig. When good things were visiting the trash, Dig made things a bit too easy to get them back. So this Kingdom pile calls for more commitment to a repeating tfb strategy. And when there isn't tfb, there is still a unique card this can access.

These changes are on the OP and the History added on.

Weekly Design Contest / Re: Weekly Design Contest #130: Sidekicks
« on: October 03, 2021, 03:34:40 am »
On top of Venture:

Projection - Treasure, $2 cost.
At Clean-up, you may trash a Treasure card you would discard from play this turn, to gain a Treasure costing up to $3 more than it.

Artificially cheap to avoid it being a two-step Gold.

Weekly Design Contest / Re: Weekly Design Contest #129: In Play
« on: September 24, 2021, 08:39:48 am »
I entered this into a contest before, only it was too cheap. Tracking can be an issue, but I like the strategies it creates if people can get past that:
Hostile Village - Action, $5 cost.
+3 Cards
+2 Actions

Trash a card you have in play that would be discarded this turn.

Variants and Fan Cards / Re: Fan Mechanics Week #11: Acting Sideways
« on: September 22, 2021, 04:42:58 am »
Hey Aquila: do Acts count as a card played? Asking for a conspirator.
As Gendo said, Acts are not Actions, so they do nothing for Conspirator.

With Hire, I did say that it counts as a 'played Attack card' for Moats; that's the whole point of the Attack type of course. But, for breaching the rule that sideways cards are not 'cards', all it's achieving is being a pure attack. Other hypothetical Act Attacks would probably be also to keep within their low power cap. So, it's going to be a design flaw in most people's eyes, so Hire probably shouldn't exist.


Survey Act
Gain an Idle Hands. +1 Route.
I thought of an Act with +1 Route by itself, but was put off by the radical openings that could occur. Like with a $5/$2 split, playing a $5 on turn 2 or a Night $5 immediately. The Idle Hands might soften this a bit, but not much with said Night cards.

$3* - Dawn
+2 Cards
Return this to its pile.
When you discard this, you may reveal it to put it on top of your deck
(This is not in the supply)

The thought is this: Beneficiary lets you for example pay to play cards you bought this turn at the start of your next turn, alternatively just accelerating your deck with a Ghost-like effect. Living Grounds lets you slightly mitigate the tempo loss of gaining a Victory card by gaining a Dawn horse, but it might backfire on you. The interaction between Beneficiary and Mustang is twofold: playing actions at the start of your turn minimize the risk of drawing Mustang dead, and if it flips Mustang, you can topdeck it and be guaranteed to be able to play it during your next turn.
So is Mustang like Tunnel, a Reaction that triggers when it's discarded 'other than during Clean-up'? Do you also want it to react when discarded from hand at Clean-up? Either way it needs the Reaction type.


Audience - Action, $5 cost.
Choose one: play an Action card from your Queue; or play an Action card from your hand twice, Queuing it when it's discarded from play.
Prepare - Act
At Clean-up, put one of your Actions onto your deck when you discard it from play.
Prepare an Audience to keep meeting its target when it returns from the Queue each turn.

Weekly Design Contest / Re: Weekly Design Contest #128: Look at the trash!
« on: September 10, 2021, 10:34:07 am »

Shovel - Treasure, $4 cost.
Cards in the trash cost $2 less this turn. You may buy a card from the trash.
Setup: add to the trash a random unused Supply pile costing $5, and one Gold per player.

Variants and Fan Cards / Re: Fan Mechanics Week 19: Join the Queue
« on: September 09, 2021, 04:16:10 pm »
Looks like you missed my Commissioner. Does the mock-up load for you? Just recently they haven't been on one of my devices.

Variants and Fan Cards / Re: Fan Mechanics Week 19: Join the Queue
« on: September 07, 2021, 07:55:47 am »
I thought of queuing commands on a computer program and came to:

Commissioner - Action, $5 cost.
+ $2
You may play an Action card from your Queue.
When you gain this, Queue any number of Action cards you have in play.

I really like the concept but Im not sure about the power level.  With the way the Queue mechanic works you will eventually run out of Action cards in the Queue even without playing Commissioner.  If gaining Commissioner is the only way to add more Action cards to the Queue, you risk adding a bunch of $5-cost terminal silvers to your deck.
True, sometimes waiting for setting up big Queues to condense the deck down to mainly Commissioners won't work. So I added self-Queue if you choose not to play something from your Queue. They can stack themselves up for big payload.
Hopefully not overloaded with options like this.

Picture 2 works really nicely with this idea from my desert-themed expansion, so that's a nice coincidence:

Warband - Action Attack, $5 cost.
+3 Cards
Each other player with at least 5 cards in hand sets aside the top card of their deck face up, sets aside a card from their hand that shares a type (or reveals they can't), then puts the set aside cards onto their deck in any order.

Variants and Fan Cards / Re: Fan Mechanics Week 19: Join the Queue
« on: September 05, 2021, 10:26:56 am »
I thought of queuing commands on a computer program and came to:

Commissioner - Action, $5 cost.
+ $2
You may play an Action card from your Queue. If you don't, Queue this.
When you gain this, Queue any number of Actions you have in play.

Edit: added self-Queue on play for more permanent functionality.

Variants and Fan Cards / Re: Fan Mechanics Week 18: From A to B
« on: August 30, 2021, 05:38:22 pm »
Thanks for the win and the contest spineflu. Routes are a fine mechanic if they're not doing too much and always overloading players with options; yet, all of the functions have a part and taking one of them away would seem to take their elegance and simplicity to understand away.

I don't think I'll be able to host the next contest, but I did have an idea for it. Whoever does host next can choose their own idea of course, but if they're stuck for inspiration:

In Star Realms, some cards you buy to add to your deck can optionally trash (scrap) themselves from play for an extra bonus at any time later during the turn. Why not bring that to Dominion? Like:
Minding Village - Action, $5 cost.
+1 Card
+2 Actions

[Flame icon]: + $2.
Mining Village, but you can choose to pop it for $2 later during your Action phase or Buy phase, or right away just the same. After you finish playing any card (including itself), you can use what I've called flame abilities (because I fancied the idea of expanding on the elements after the Aquatic contest). Between trashing the card and returning it to its pile, I'm undecided.

Feel free to use it, park it in a store of ideas for contests, or leave it.

Weekly Design Contest / Re: Weekly Design Contest #126: Seeking an Heir
« on: August 29, 2021, 04:57:42 am »
Extract - Event, P cost.
Once per turn: +1 Buy. Gain a card costing up to $1 per differently named Treasure you have in play.

I thought an Event would be less shuffle dependent, and that Potion cost was about right balance wise (as well as an extra different Treasure)
I like the idea, but I'm not sure how needing to have a Potion in your deck makes this any less shuffle dependent. You would get pretty much the same gameplay (barring interaction with other Potion costs) from this if it was a Treasure that reads "Once per turn: Gain a card costing up to $1 per differently named Treasure you have in play." At that point, it is a pretty straightforward Horn of Plenty variant.
Not that I've played with HoP, but the comparison is a bit uninteresting isn't it? Thanks for this, I'll change my entry:

Record - Event, $3 cost.
+1 Buy
At Clean-up, put up to 2 cards costing from $2 to $4 onto your deck when you discard them from play.
Heirloom: Quill Pen
Default $3 cost Heirloom is fine here.

Weekly Design Contest / Re: Weekly Design Contest #126: Seeking an Heir
« on: August 26, 2021, 05:15:36 pm »

Record - Event, $3 cost.
+1 Buy
At Clean-up, put up to 2 cards costing from $2 to $4 onto your deck when you discard them from play.
Heirloom: Quill Pen
Default $3 cost Heirloom is fine here.

Former entry:

Extract - Event, P cost.
Once per turn: +1 Buy. Gain a card costing up to $1 per differently named Treasure you have in play.

I thought an Event would be less shuffle dependent, and that Potion cost was about right balance wise (as well as an extra different Treasure).
Edit: then I wanted something that's actually not shuffle dependent, so changed my entry to Record.

Variants and Fan Cards / Re: Fan Mechanics Week 18: From A to B
« on: August 24, 2021, 06:24:03 pm »
I agree with keeping things simple here, Route tokens present a lot of options by themselves. 3 different functions, with the use-it-or-save-it dilemma that tokens bring!
Here's something that tries to bring out their raw strategizing:

Ringleader - Action, $3 cost.
+1 Action
+ $1
+1 Route

When you trash this, gain 2 Spoils.
Non-terminal Route gaining Action cards are innately useful for workshops and the buy phase. This idea adds extra impetus to the trash function (on itself) and gain to hand function (Spoils gains; this could happen outside of turn). Those Spoils could lead to a nice purchase to Route somewhere good too.
The Ringleader of a marauder band was my thinking for flavour, he knows the routes to follow and carries spoil around.

Weekly Design Contest / Re: Weekly Design Contest #125: What's the Draw?
« on: August 13, 2021, 05:42:01 pm »
I do have a mock-up of this, but only with an heirloom that I won't include here:
Repository - Action Reserve, $4 cost.
Put this on your Tavern mat; you may immediately call it.
At the start of your turn, you may call this. When you call this, discard any number of Treasures, revealed, for +2 Cards each.

Variants and Fan Cards / Re: Fan Mechanics Week 17: Idle Hands
« on: August 10, 2021, 04:03:50 pm »

I initially wanted this to be able to give an Idle Hands and VP per unused Action, but I think that would be broken with Champion.
This suffers from infinite VP situations, since the Idle Hands return to the pile.

As junk, they're lighter than Ruins are, taking Ruined Library as a comparison. I quite like them as -Actions that kinda get in the way of draw, so I thought simple:
Buried Village - Action, $3 cost.
+2 Cards
+2 Actions

When you gain this, gain 2 Idle Hands.
Unlock its power over time.

A money-oriented puzzler:

Appanage - Treasure Attack, $5 cost.
Gold costs $1 less for the rest of the turn.
Each other player with 5 or more cards in hand discards a Treasure costing less than this (or reveals they can't).
When Treasures are the payload in a game, this makes swings and roundabouts. Gold looks tasty, but an opposing double-Appanage could see them discarded and/or you want to keep Coppers around to protect them (discards a Treasure costing less than 'this', i.e. Appanage normally at $5) and dilute your money density a bit doing so.
Could be doing a bit too much for $5, or a chance $5 opening with this could be too strong.


Card costs are a wide and diverse field to look into. Many factors are involved such as timing of availability, expensiveness, effect on the card's other functions, and the route one takes to purchase it.
Many designs here looked at costs that interact with the on-play effect. I guess it's easy to create a meaningful cost that way, and there have been some great executions as a result.

Onto the analysis:


+: Working towards a high payout of (simulated) +Actions can be fun.
-: play Actions from hand is much less flexible than +Actions, so it's very influenced by shuffle randomness.
Cost: very heavy considering the impact on the card itself. It certainly seems too much.
Overview: it plays very similarly to City Quarter (especially with the original 8 debt) in loving high Action density. The cost could be improved, as could changing the play effect to, e.g., reveal hand, +1 Action per Action revealed.


+: It creates a different strategy involving mega turns and an ever changing deck size.
-: The cases where this really shines seem to be limited to other cards that Exile.
Cost: two Actions not played now is a big sting, but setting up powerful plays later helps soothe this. It's an investment where the bigger cost now in terms of usefulness of the Actions usually means more payoff later. The Bone Collector starts off with fuel, but then gets much weaker when it needs to refuel; because of this balance is hard to call, but if it's right then this is clever.
Overview: It might be too heavily influenced by the presence of other Exiling cards, and a bit too weak for its cost without them. I wonder if it couldn't go bigger on the number of Actions moved to Exile somehow. '[ ]: Exile 2 or more...' maybe. In any case, I feel Throne-Command from Exile has potential to go somewhere.


+: definitely a new, interactive spin to add to the game. Although I've never played with Possession, I could see this being the nicer play experience. The Arbiter rules for the most part make intuitive sense.
-: randomness could be an issue, like if one player pays a Gold for a Bribe, gets to hit $8, then the other players miss out. It will feel particularly bad. The first player to use Bribe would be at an advantage when debt is present, if I understand correctly; they get a debt free City Quarter or $6 out of Capital whilst the Arbiter has to carry the debt to its next user (or players choose to not play Bribe then, which would be sad). So it needs to shift debt to the player using it like Possession does. Flag Bearer is funny too, paying one for a Bribe means the Arbiter gets the Flag; might be a fun desirability.
Cost: it is effective here, avoiding $ cost so Bribes can't end up in the Arbiter deck without deliberate work involving Masquerade. But is trashing a $4 to access it balanced? Feast would suggest a power level of $5 or more, but needing a Buy instead of an Action and you can use the $4 for a bit first. Yielding from $2-$7 plus whatever contributed cards add could well average out at $5 strength. Testing could prove this very wrong though.
Overview: a big list of FAQs would make this more of an academic exercise than a game for some, but polish them up with everything made safe and it could be worth a try.


+: Paying for a splitter with unplayed Actions can be interesting, and if the deck is filled with terminals to make payment easier, the play is still a bit clunky using these.
-: just the name I guess, nothing mechanically negative. Some may not like the similarity to other splitters/enablers.
Cost: there is the obvious self synergy where paying for one of these helps set up a copy you have in hand, but there are other good points: the Actions you pay can't be too bad or require precise timing, since they can be a disadvantage when this plays them, making the cost a little more expensive.
Overview: the first impression is good. It's rather like Bone Collector in the cost of 2 Action cards that can fuel the on-play, but because of consistent power level this is a bit easier to assess. Testing would need to show the the cost is balanced on average to be sure, but it feels about right.


+: Very simple to understand, it's a +Buy with added payload when the deck is ready for it.
-: It seems rather weak. The opportunity cost of first buying it when you don't have any other +Buys is rather large, although getting copies becomes much easier and they may be preferred over Gold.
Cost: it's rather loosely defined as a 'card' cost. I did say cards in play could meet a condition and count as a card cost, but here, the cards themselves are only indirectly involved. Like, you could pay 8 Coffers and not use cards at all. So it could be confusing.
Overview: the cost is the biggest design snag for me. I would suggest that a $* cost be more appropriate ('if you have $8 or more this costs $0 (or $X less)'). It might be a neat card for some audiences then, if not too similar to Animal Fair.


+: Simple discard for benefit that has a neat scaling effect.
-: it could have the potential to overwhelm with options, but Provinces are a standout favoured target to simplify things.
Cost: pure card cost avoids this gaining itself, and the scaling to Silvers/Golds/kingdom Treasures is potentially neat when draw is limited and picking up 3 Coppers won't happen. Good choice.
Overview: simple design that's quite strongly affected by the presence of draw. Province discarding might be such a standout function that this is actually quite narrow and scripted to most players; this either makes it interesting for working out the high skill potential with other targets, or uninteresting. I can't decide myself.

fika monster

+: An extremely cheap cost with a tame effect in engines.
-: terminally pick any card would lend itself to big money over engines, and it might be rather too good at setting up $8 hands by lining Golds and Silvers up.
Cost: it's so cheap that gaining the Heir's Gift itself is the cost, in a way. One can pick up a free double Scheme at the cost of a terminal in the deck. This can be made into a good design premise.
Overview: the on-buy Scheme and the finding any card are two functions this card has, and they are freely available. Put together, I fear money strategies will pick up 4 or 5 Provinces too fast.


+: Alt VP with a card cost makes for an alternative way to win: trash cards whilst keeping some green around.
-: Shuffle randomness can decide how buyable this is, so one can get a VP lead purely by chance sometimes, but this is true for a lot of card costs.
Cost: pure card cost means this calls for a strategy involving draw and gaining cards to trash, or picking the odd one up at an opportune time. It can pay for itself, which helps cheapen the cost to just the trashing later on.
Overview: I have a similar idea to this in my own folder of designs, which rewards more VP for having few non-Victories in the deck and costs trashing 3 non-Victories from hand. That idea would benefit from being $* cost to be more buyable. This can get away with just the card cost, I think, so it's a solid design.

Daemon, Humility and Mausoleum would all need to reveal the discarded cards with their costs. I haven't penalised for this, though.

Shortlist: Bone Collector, Bribe, Daemon, Humility, Mausoleum.

Runner-up: Mausoleum by Timinou

Winner: Daemon by mxdata

My choice based entirely on mechanics. Mausoleum is very likeable, but the randomness of when buying one is correct was just enough for me to put it behind the winner. Daemon's cost seems safe and interacts nicely with its on-play effect, so it would seem to be the most consistently well-playing entry.

Time has flown and it's already just 24 hours left on this contest.

I so far have:

Underground City by venusambassador
Bone Collector by Xen3k
Bribe by spineflu
Daemon by mxdata
Sycophant by NoMoreFun
Humility by emtzalex
Heir's Gift by fika monster
Mausoleum by Timinou

This contest focuses on card costs.

Does it have to be a Card or can it be a WELP?
Go for it, WELP is fine.

This contest focuses on card costs.

Instead of paying $, debt or Potions, you pay with the cards you own. It's another type of currency to mess Chariot Race around. There's a card icon (you can type it like [ ]) in the bottom left, and a description of the cost in the card's text.

Campsite - Action, [ ] cost.
+1 Card
+2 Actions

[ ]: discard 2 Victory cards, revealing them.

So at the Buy phase, you declare you use a Buy on Campsite. You first pay the price, reveal and discard two Victories. If you did, then you buy the card (when-buy effects trigger, -1 Buy) then gain a Campsite (when-gain effects trigger). You can't pay the price of an empty card-cost pile.

To clear up Chariot Race: each different card cost counts as a different currency, so they can't be compared. If there are two cards with the same card cost (e.g Campsite and a Smithy with '[ ]: discard two Victories...'), then they tie. I.e., pure card costs never win!
And so, nothing that gains cards costing up to $, debt or Potion can gain a card cost card. (And since the expensiveness of card costs vary so greatly - like Campsite is cheap and 'trash a Gold from your hand' is expensive - I don't recommend creating one.)

Let's bring Animal Fair into this too. It could easily have been '[ ]: trash an Action card from your hand'. Because it costs $7*, it can be made into a Province with Way of the Butterfly and also be bought with $7, extra functions that it benefits from.
So, it would be nice to see designs that benefit from being limited to just the card cost. With Campsite, I feel it benefits in that it's distinguished from the standard Village and calls for a different kind of engine.

Discarding and trashing your cards will be the most likely costs, but technically, you could also make a card cost out of a certain condition your cards in play need to meet, like '[ ]: have 5 Actions in play'; think how much of a cost it will actually be.

You can combine the card cost with other currencies! With Chariot Race, imagine the hypothetical Smithy with a cost of $1[ ] 'discard two victories'; that would beat Campsite. Also, you could Remodel/Upgrade/Butterfly a Campsite into it.

I think that's everything mechanics wise. I won't ask for mock-ups nor will I favour those who use them, but here is a link to the generator with the card cost icon set up if you so desire. (Just copy and paste the custom icon symbol.)

Contest closes on: Wednesday 28th July 20:30 forum time.

Please enjoy!

Edit: added more to $[ ] costs.

Variants and Fan Cards / Re: Fan Card Mechanics Week 15: Level Up
« on: July 21, 2021, 02:11:53 pm »
Lovely, thanks! I'll prepare the next contest now and try to choose something simple. This felt like a mechanic where once you know what design principles it needs to follow (card price, base power, level up power, etc.) a lot can be done with it. I did a WDC entry which basically used the level up mechanic, and it had a different 'level 1' and 'level 2' effect, something we didn't see here.

I also came to variable X:

Bookkeeper - Action, $5 cost.
Choose one: +2 Coffers; or draw until the number of cards in your hand equals your Coffers.

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