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Variants and Fan Cards / Silver Lining - Beta 2
« on: November 20, 2011, 12:29:50 pm »

This is a fan variant developed by a new player. This thread hosts the cards that completed peer review for the second beta test. Cards that are still being discussed and under peer review in this expansion can be seen in this thread. The test results of the first beta can be seen in this thread.

There's a basic shuffler for this expansion as well that produces a random shuffle. You can view the shuffler here.

Listed below is the cards that passed peer review (or tested fine in the first beta and did not need a review). Once all 25 are up, I'll start testing again and post ratings and findings here.

2 Cost

3 Cost

4 Cost


This is the second phase of a Dominion newbie developing his own fan variant. It is called Silver Lining. The second phase now comes after the first phase produced 100 test games and the results of those games were cataloged and analyzed. This is an exercise to help me learn the game's intricacy and balance and come to appreciate the difficulty of design in an elegant game such as DOMINION.

This thread is the "sequel" to the first round of beta-testing found here and the first round of peer-review found here.

Here are two other links related to the expansion:
For this thread, I am going to unveil one card at a time. Each card will have its rating and summary from the first phase of testing, and if necessary, it will discuss which revisions I feel are required for the second phase. The good news is most cards won't need revising as they tested fine. Others might just have small cosmetic revisions or small technical tweaks to the rules. Some cards will require a complete overhaul.

Comments, feedback and most of all criticisms are welcome. Rip this expansion apart, the more critical review I receive, the better the expansion will be.

Here are some of the set's themes and here is generally how the set plays:
  • SILVER - This set's central theme revolves around making silver a useful card. There are victory cards that score on the acquisition of silver and other cards that require a silver to ignite an ability.
  • MIDDLE ROAD - One of the set's themes is it allows you to win via the "middle road", that is to say by acquiring silver instead of gold and acquiring dutchies instead of provinces (along with other VP routes of course to make up for the point difference).
  • FAST GAMES - In general, this is a fast set. Games usually play slightly faster than other DOMINION sets. There are exceptions to this, but overall most games are over in 18 turns or so.
  • GREEN EARLY - The set encourages and rewards greening early, and can often augment greening early with victory tokens.
  • PILING - There are numerous mechanisms and combinations which allow you to pile certain cards.
  • NUMEROUS VICTORY PATHS - The set often provides numerous ways to win, when you combine the fact you can green early, pile quickly and that 'middle road' tactics are well-supported the way you can win is often diverse.
  • SYNERGY - The set has obvious synergy, many of the cards are clearly designed to work with one another.

The set has weaknesses, it's a very "basic" set that does not require a great deal of skill to master (one of the artifacts of the synergy is some of the combinations that work well are obvious). Another weakness is that almost all the curse attacks in the set are weaker than curse attacks in other expansions. Curse attacks are still viable, (i.e. they still work and are effective), but overall they are not as strong as the genuine curse attacks in real expansions.

Also the set is a mish-mash of ideas that are often borrowed from the other expansions. It has Duration cards like Seaside and it borrows both the discard-mechanic of Tunnel and the "on-gain" mechanic of Ill-Gotten Gains for some of its variants. So it is a highly derivative set. I can accept this, because its my first attempt at designing these, and because I think fan variants in general are often derivative. Also using all the "known tricks" of DOMINION allowed me to produce the kind of synergy in the set I was looking for.

I will write more on this thread in the coming days.

I say this often, but just to be clear, I know this is not of prolific interest to others, but using this space to document my notes and findings is really useful and if it elicits comments and feedback by doing so, so much the better.


Game Reports / Did I just get lucky?
« on: October 04, 2011, 12:41:41 pm »
I am not a good player. I know this.

The thing is, when I do win, a LOT of times, my opponent tells me I was lucky. It is just spite I think, but they really seem to resent losing to me. I think part of the problem is, I do generally gravitate to Silver when I can't figure out optimal strategy and I don't reach 6$. I often have 9 or more silver in my deck at the end of a game.

Here's a recent game, I was accused of getting lucky in:

Seems to me, it was my opponent who made dumb purchases. An early Throne Room when most of his deck was still Copper and Estates, and too many Upgrades.

I played pretty sloppily, but don't think I got spectacular draws. I just played a little better (and he played pretty terribly I think). Here's the match in a nutshell for me, here's both of us at turn 15:

ChaosRed: 24 points : 3 Province, 2 Gold, 3 Nobles, 1 Upgrade, 1 Bridge, 9 Silver, 0 Estate, 6 Copper
bananabandana: 8 points : 3 Nobles, 2 Council Room, 4 Upgrade, 1 Bridge, 1 Horse Traders, 2 Throne Room, 5 Silver, 0 Workshop, 2 Estate, 6 Copper

My estates are all trashed, but I have a 16 point lead. How did he really expect to make a come back?  I probably have an average draw of 6$ or more on every turn after this. He's nowhere near a deck that can get him 9 points a turn that he needs to catch up. I wind up winning 3 turns later.

Is it because I just largely buy money that people think I luck out when I win? Or is there some truth to this? I only have a 50% win record, so I know I am not only average, I am average with players at my level (which at level 12 is really low). My opponent was like level 22 or something for this one, so he had more skill allegedly.

What was the better play in this game? I looked at Horse Traders a bunch of times, but I went with Bridge+Nobles+Big Money and it seemed to do okay. 6 Provinces by turn 18 seems pretty good given what was on the board. Tutor me if you can...but to me, it wasn't that I played so well, or got particularly lucky, my opponent made a lot of bad moves. It's like he anticipated the game going for another 6 turns and he'd have this massive engine. I just beat him to the punch.

Variants and Fan Cards / Silver Lining - Beta Cards
« on: September 27, 2011, 04:23:19 pm »

This is a fan variant developed by a new player. This thread hosts the cards that completed peer review and are in the "play test" phase. Cards that are still being discussed and under peer review in this expansion can be seen in this thread. I will post play test results here as time goes by.  If play test reveals adjustments, I'll move the card back to the peer review thread for discussion.

There's a basic shuffler for this expansion as well that produces a random shuffle. You can view the shuffler here.

Listed below is the entire 25 card set. Each card in the table below can be clicked to see a larger image of it...

2 Cost

3 Cost

4 Cost

5 Cost

6 Cost

Variants and Fan Cards / A Noob's Expansion - Come Rip it Apart...
« on: September 18, 2011, 01:32:47 pm »
This is really just a strange way for a noob to become more familiar with how Dominion works, not just for victory strategies, but what makes the game compelling and interesting. Feel free to review the progress of this thread and offer feedback.

As I reveal the cards in the expansion, feel free to rip them apart. I have no ego to bruise here. I am more interested in a discussion of what makes cards interesting and fun to play. This "expansion" is really more about igniting a discussion about balance and what makes for compelling play, than me actually attempting to design a decent expansion.

Some of the cards have gone past "peer review", in which case they are not listed here, they are instead  listed in this thread. I've done this so this this OP can stay "clean" with only cards currently up for review/discussion (it was getting a big long to read and load otherwise).

I will unveil these cards incrementally, look at feedback (if any) for each card I post. I will modify the thread to add new cards and of course, respond to criticism. So this OP always has the latest cards for peer review, (usually just two at at time) while the others are listed in the beta test thread.

Cards currently under review...

Dominion General Discussion / From Base Set Noob to Intrigue Noob
« on: September 13, 2011, 01:05:12 pm »
I posted a few weeks back about how my wife and I have started playing Dominion and love it. I read the strategy here on this site about the base set and found the advice excellent. I then posted a thread on this forum about additional advice and got a superb set of insight on how to play, where to play online and how to practice. I then taught my wife some of the tricks I learned...and we're both pretty good at base set now.

Now, this weekend, I make the purchase of Intrigue. I've been playing  Base+Intrigue online a little this week to try and learn the set.

What an exciting time to be discovering a brand new game, one expansion at a time!

I read all the "card recaps" for Intrigue and found them interesting. One of them, I could not get to work well. The "Minion chain" that is preached in one of the articles, did not work for me. In particular, the Saboteur was ruining my chain and then I couldn't get the draw to keep the chain going. It was also really hard to judge how much money to buy and when with the strategy.

Is Minion really the strongest card in the set? Is there a more in-depth article on how to make Minion work?

The card article on Saboteur makes it seems like the card is pretty random and only useful early, but the card was killing me and seems like the Witch, as in, if it is on the board, you better buy two and try to attack more often than your opponent. Torturer of course, is the same way right? I won an online game by spamming Torturer a lot. It seems like the best defense against Torturer is to do it against your opponent too? Then maybe Library? Any advice on when Torturer is a "must by"?

Are there more in-depth articles about Intrigue+Base Set games?

My thanks in advance for any advice here you care to share about Intrigue. It looks like a great expansion!

Dominion General Discussion / Newb Questions
« on: August 26, 2011, 01:47:23 pm »

I am very new to DOMINION. I bought the game last Saturday and my wife and I loved it so much, we've played a game (or two) just about every day since we bought it. I've also been practicing (a little) on Isotropic and BoardGameArena (and getting thrashed thoroughly on both sites).

I have some newb questions. If you have the inclination to answer, one, some or all of these questions, I would be very grateful. Most of my questions refer to base set only. I do not intend to buy Intrigue until I really get a handle on Base, but on BoardGameArena, I play Base+Intrigue.

1. I think I figured out reasonable strategies for all of the basic deck types, the basic set ships with, except the one marked "Village Square". There were so many options, I could pick the right one. What's the best strategy? I went with Remodel mostly and really suffered. Is the best three cards to focus on in this set, Village, Throne Room, Market? Here's the list, if you've forgotten the set...

2. I love games with Chapel in them and really prefer dense, tight decks. I get burned with the thief on them a lot, or any game where there's an attack and no defense. Is a Chapel deck not worth it, if the Witch or Thief is in play, and there's no defense to it.

3. I win a lot with the Witch, but now my wife is learning fast and giving me a taste of my own medicine. If there's no Chapel or Moat, it seems like its a race to acquire and play Witch as much as possible. Does this seem right?

4. I recently played a Lab vs. Chapel game. It was about the most fun I've had. My opponent bought a ton of labs and other cards, I went chapel with just one lab and a smithy and tried to keep the deck dense as I could. I added Great Hall and Nobles at the end, as I acquired Provinces. I won, but barely. I know it depends on the other cards in the set, but in general does a dense deck tend to beat a deck that's wide but has a prolific engine (Lab deck)?

5. I find a LOT of games, come down to the last few hands. I run into 3-3 province splits a lot, (especially with my wife or on BoardGameArena). Then it becomes a dance of Duthies and having the guts to buy the penultimate province, and most especially getting the perfect draw on those last two or three hands. Is this common? It seems like one unfortunate draw near the end is often the difference.

6. Isotropic murders me. Murder. Not even close. It's because the sets are so varied and stuff like potions and colonies mess me up pretty badly (not to mention any Saboteur game, I LOATHE that card). I choose "base" as a bias, but often still get cards from various expansion. Also I seem to always get matched with players who KICK my not want to chat...and seem not only unsympathetic to newbies, but enjoy kicking them hard. I had heard the opposite, that Isotropic was full of great players who not only enjoy the game, but enjoy being an evangelist and supporter for it to new players.

My question on Isotropic is:

a) I had heard there was a way to solo (practice) on the site, but couldn't find a button or outlet to do it. Is it true? How does one do that?
b) Is there a way to constrain the auto-match to players of your level?

Thanks in advance for any answers and also for reading. I have read the main article on base set strategy, if there are others out there, (or better yet if you've written one about base set), I'd love to read it. I was thinking of writing an article on a newb's experience with the game, not as a strategy article, more of a "here's how to get hooked on a great game" kind of article.

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