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Topics - Aquila

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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 / Fan Mechanics Week #11: Acting Sideways
« on: May 27, 2021, 06:07:26 pm »
This week will be looking at Acts. They're just like Events, but you spend Action on them during your Action phase to activate instead. They also follow the same inclusion rules; shuffle Acts in with the WELPs and draw out 2. You could choose to play with 3 or more Acts, but that won't be the standard rule.

With this basic premise, Acts can be diverse. These 5 examples are here to demonstrate the possibilities (and not crowd out your potential for ideas I hope!).

Descend gives players one optional Lab draw each turn, at the cost of a VP for balance. The card to draw is first discarded in case it's bad and the VP giveaway would sting.

Hire is an Attack. It triggers all concerned Reactions and Attack blocks; it is 'playing an Attack card' even though it doesn't become an Attack card in play.

Recall is once per turn so it can't infinitely loop playing Village for infinite draw.

Ambush goes onto Supply piles, moving around for an Action each time.

Declare is a Duration, so it follows very different rules. When you spend an Action on an Act Duration, move the Act card to the top row of your play area, move it down next turn and then return it to the middle at turn end. Whilst it stays in your play area, other players cannot use it. Declare mitigates any potential harshness from this by giving a global effect.
So because the card must move, Act Durations are innately once per turn. You do not need to say they are in their instructions, since it comes with the Duration type.

So some general design rules to think about. They are easier to activate than Ways are, so power wise are a bit weaker. (Descend is potentially a free Lab each turn, but needs the VP giveaway to balance it.)
On the other hand, they can use not needing an Action card in hand to their advantage, also being once per turn (Recall can't do crazy Adventures token tricks like an Action with the same effect could).
They can be used on the opening turns! (Hire avoids hitting Treasures for this reason.)

I won't ask for mock-ups, but here is a link to the generator with the colours all set if you so desire (just select secondary colour Duration if you make a Duration). I had to use GIMP/Photoshop to get the types on two lines.

Closing time: June 3rd 2021, 16:00 forum time. I will aim to have results up by then, but I'll say if I need more time.

Please enjoy, and feel free to ask questions/offer suggestions.

Edit: fixed example cards and explanation of the mechanic to incorporate multiple uses per turn.

Variants and Fan Cards / Dominion: Wilderness
« on: January 29, 2021, 05:19:55 pm »
Dominion: Wilderness

Most of my forays into card design have been focused on high skill cards aimed at experienced players. Then I was seeing lower skill cards and appreciated player interaction and randomness a bit more. These aspects can make a game constantly engaging; with my set Dynasties focused on analysis of the kingdom before the game starts, heavily strategy-oriented, I felt little urge to play games through. Once the story of the game was sussed, that was that.
So could I make a high skill set where player interaction and a touch of randomness are encouraged? I took some mechanics that seemed to fit this brief, gelled them together, and now they've almost turned into an expansion.

The result is Wilderness, an ultimately 400-card expansion with the central theme of adaptation to changing events. There are useful Resources adding a light sprinkle of randomness, Acts giving you alternatives to spend your Actions on, and the return of Heirlooms, the Tavern mat and VP tokens.

The list of cards is just below the explanation of the new mechanics.

- 27 kingdom cards
- 7 Heirlooms
- 40 Resources
- 19 Acts
- The Tavern mat
- VP tokens

I have seen all the mechanic ideas mentioned on this forum before, but not especially developed (or I don't remember). Nothing is a conscious direct copy.

Resources and Gatherers
So Resources, that's a rather generic term. They look like this:

Fruit - Action Resource, $2 cost.
You may play an Action card that costs more than this from your hand. Then, +2 Cards.
Ore - Action Resource, $2 cost.
+1 Action
+  $2
Refuge - Action Resource, $2 cost.
+1 Card
+2 Actions

Discard a card.
Wood - Action Resource, $2 cost.
+1 Card
+1 Action
+1 Buy
They're a take on the 'good Ruins' idea. Like Ruins:
  • There are 10 copies of each, shuffled at the start of each game and only the top one is visible.
  • There is a type, Gatherer, that adds them to the game and comes with the extra setup rules of shuffling them and keeping them face down except for the top one. Maybe confusing with the Gathering type, but thematically correct.
  • There is one each for Cards, Actions, Buys and $.
Unlike Ruins:
  • All 40 are used in every game.
  • When you want to buy a Resource, you look at the top 2 Resources and choose one of them. If it's the second one down, put the top one at the bottom of the pile. Since you're putting effort in to use a Buy, you get this bonus then. When you're instructed to gain one, you just take whatever's on top.
So when there's a Gatherer in the game, every engine component is available, but at random times. You might try to collect lots of Resources to get everything, but be careful since they don't work that well together.

These are landscape cards just like Events, only they're triggered by spending an Action (Action, not Action card) during the Action phase rather than buying them.

Some Acts are Durations. They can only be used once per turn. When one of them is used, the card is moved into the player's top row of their play area like an Action Duration card, moving down and being returned after that turn's end. While it's in their area, other players can't use it.

Differences from Ways:
  • An Action is spent, not an Action card. So they can be used in the opening turns.
  • The overall power level is thus a bit weaker.
  • They can potentially only be used once per turn.
  • Design space advantages include independence on what's in your hand and effects broken on an Action card.
  • You can use two of them in a game.

Heirlooms are also in the set. The rule I would impose for when 8 or more different Heirlooms are selected is to randomly choose 7 of them.

So with Acts and Heirlooms together, there is a lot more going on in the opening turns!

I am revealing the cards over time, then putting them all together in this first post.

I explain each of them, then give my positives (+) and negatives (-) on its design, then give its history.

As you seek to expand your kingdom into barren desert regions, you must depend on whatever resources the environment bestows you. Whilst players may not have to depend on them as much as in real life, every vanilla engine component is available in every game with a Gatherer, but they come in a random order, and sometimes the crucial one will be hotly contested and sought after!
+: They create random and replayable games. They do not make a good deck by themselves, but rather support the kingdom cards.
-: Ore is risky costing $2, although it is the only stop card. The same issue as Donald had with Horses could arise, that a large number of gained Resources lengthens play too much.
History: Fruit had draw to 5 cards on it for quite a while, with varying forms; may discard a card first, discard any number, put a card back on the deck for +1 Action, +1 Card before everything, then 2 Cards. Then I saw how it was making the Resources too independent and changed it to the current weak lab.
Ore was initially +1 Action + $1, if you had a Gatherer in play + $1; a bit boring. Then + $2, if a Gatherer or another Resource in play +1 Action; independence again and awkward. So now plain Action Silver.
Refuge and Wood basically haven't ever changed.
I also tried $3 cost variants briefly, but that was too useful and centralising.
Flavour wise, they were first called Trinkets, and they were Codex, Jewellery, Garment and Crate, respectively. Like things you could find when razing a settlement. Too much of that in Dominion already, so I thought again, landed at Resources, and from there the whole desert theme developed.
There was a fifth Resource; Water Source (Tool as a Trinket), +1 Card +1 Action if you have exactly 5 cards in hand trash one of them. The only reason I put it there was to be symmetrical to the Ruins pile. Resources are useful unlike the Ruins, so they don't need a deck controller to soften them. It was much less useful overall, so didn't belong.

Ancient Ruins - Action, $4 cost.
Reveal your hand; the player to your left picks one of the cards. Trash it to choose two different things: +2 Cards; +2 Buys; + $2; +2VP.
Dare you venture into the unknown to find lost treasure within the ruins? The best card in your hand (probably) will be trashed for benefit, and you get to pick a nice reward.
+: It adds interaction and puts an interesting choice alongside VP gaining. One can get a big payoff early, but then see this become dud more quickly than other trashers, especially if Treasures are the principal payload.
-: Not much testing yet, it could be too difficult to use too often.
History: it used to give +1 Buy, trash the top card of deck for 2VP and your choice of +Cards or +$ equal to the trashed card's cost in $. I was trying for casual randomness. Then I liked the randomness less, and reduced the VP reward to 1; it wasn't nice to have players get ahead by taking gambles. When I tired of it, I changed a WDC entry I did with the premise of the player to the left choosing a card in hand, replacing top-deck trash with it.
Then I saw an interesting design lesson: the decision for the player to the left was a mundane one. The better the card they had trashed, generally the better the payoff you got, so they had to weigh things up, using mental effort not for the benefit of their deck. So, the self benefit had to be a constant. It became the current version.
With further playtesting, the cost was reduced from $5 to $4 because it was proving so fiddly to use.

Astronomer - Action Reserve, $2 cost.
+1 Action
Put this on your Tavern mat.
When you shuffle, you may call this to first pick one of the cards and put it into your hand.
Astronomers make Star Charts. This triggers on a shuffle, letting you pick any card to draw, so it's like a delayed cantrip. In exchange for the near immaculate reliability, it misses the shuffle.
+: It's simple and elegant. I have seen plenty of moments where the decision of what to pick is very meaningful and interesting.
-: Some could find it trivial, a $2 that can help any deck.
History: it's an old card, like back from WDC #3, but it conceptually hasn't changed. The wording has improved over time though. Also the first card I did art for.

Boundary Marker - Action Reserve, $5 cost.
+1 Action
+1 Buy
This turn, cards cost $1 less.
When you gain this, you may put it on your Tavern mat. while it's there, when you gain a Victory card costing $3 or more, +1VP per empty Supply pile.
In a featureless landscape, boundary markers are precious, few and far between, and valuable acquisitions, declaring your claim on the land. These have two modes of play, either put them in your deck to get a non-terminal Bridge effect, or put them on your Tavern mat to provide a late game passive boost to gaining Victories. Assess which is the better mode when, and read your opponent well.
+: The interaction between each mode and decision how much of each should make interesting play.
-: The Tavern mat mode can be similar to Duke. The two modes conflict a bit.
History: the initial premise was, VP tokens were in the set, could I create powerful alt VP akin to Goons? It started as a Reserve 'when you gain a card, +1VP'. It could make crazy times, but it didn't feel different enough to Triumph or Goons. So I changed it to 2VP for Duchies. Then I saw how an extra on-play effect with optional gain to Tavern mat created two modes and added on-play Estate milling for VP to stick to the Victories theme. The Tavern mat mode opened up to Victories costing $3-$6, because Mirage Island is in the set. Then I liked the idea of adding empty Supply pile relevance to the set - for the player interaction theme - and changed the Tavern mat mode to 1VP per empty pile as it is now. This wanted to work on Provinces, so the cost range became $5+.
The Tavern mat mode was the clear preference to the Estate milling; it was better than a cantrip, whilst the Estate milling was non-drawing terminal and not very collectible. When a recent WDC favoured cards about empty piles, I twigged non-terminal Bridge, put it on and entered it. It didn't do that well because balance was hard to assess, but the cost reduction clash with the Victory cost range was brought to attention and I decided to reduce $5+ to $3+.

Copse - Action Duration, $3 cost.
+1 Card
+1 Action

You may set aside a card from your hand face down. At the start of your next turn, if it's an...
Action card, play it:
non-Action Victory card, discard it for +1 Card;
neither, trash it.
A lone patch of trees a harsh landscape provides a much needed resting place for your people and somewhere to bury unwanted luggage. Set aside a card from your hand and do something with it that benefits the typical engine next turn.
+: It's definitely balanced.
-: It's useful, but doesn't feel that interesting overall.
History: this was my very first fan card. It started as just dealing with Actions, with the options of play it, discard it for +2 Cards, or trash it. Then it dealt with other types; play Actions, trash Treasures, discard the rest for +1 Card. Then it got to the less elegant form it has now so it can trash Curses.

Craft - Action Gatherer, $3 cost.
+1 Action
Trash a card from your hand. If it was a Resource, +2VP. Otherwise, gain a Resource.
Local artists and traders know how to make useful things from the resources around them. Take up their tricks to trim your deck and earn VP.
+: Resource trash-for-benefit should be fun and possibly challenging since they're useful. Swapping junk for Resources is random fun but always useful.
-: Sometimes the 2VP benefit is rather generous when a harmful Resource is gotten rid of.
History: look down this first page of posts and you'll see this started giving different benefits for each Resource. You were never going to remember them all, and you'd always suffer analysis paralysis with so many options. I changed it to trash 2 cards, if both Resources +$2 and +2VP, otherwise gain 2 Resources; this was unnecessarily clunky, so now it's this smooth, non-terminal version.

Despoiled Village - Action, $4 cost.
+1 Card
+2 Actions

In games using this, when you gain a card, you may discard a copy of it to gain a Despoiled Village.
When you acquire this village, you've already despoiled it of something. Anything you gain can come with a free Village provided you have a copy in hand to discard.
+: Simple with a few neat uses and tricks. Cards that are easier to discard are not so good for the deck, while hard ones to discard are, so there is an elegant balance.
-: It's safe, maybe a bit uninteresting?
History: I wanted a Village that doesn't like Resources, to contrast Hostile Village. It started off with: when you first gain it during the turn, look at the opponents' hands to pick a $4 from them. Interactive, and Resources reduce the chance of hitting something nice. But the mirror play impetus wasn't too fun.
So it became: when you buy this, you may reveal a card costing up to $4 from your hand to gain a copy of that card. I later let it gain $5s to try making it more exciting, but it was still bland; it liked you drawing terminal collisions and playing clumsily. So I changed it to the current version, switching the gain parts around so discarding cheap copies becomes more of an option.

Expedition Camp - Action Reserve Gatherer, $4 cost.
Gain to your hand a Silver and 2 Resources. Put this on your Tavern mat.
After you finish playing an Action, you may trash this from your Tavern mat. If you do, each player with at least 3 cards in hand passes 2 to the next such player to their left, at once.
Acquire Resources, then send your people out. It's a two-shot, first gaining useful stuff to hand then sometime later launching double Masquerade, maybe straight away, maybe to pass some undesirable stuff you just gained on, or later when the right cards to send are in hand.
+: Double Masquerade on demand makes thinking about other players' strategies crucial.
-: The Masquerade might be too annoying to be enjoyable, even as a one-shot with added semi-junk.
History: the first Expedition Camp was quite different to this. I had the idea of an Outpost variant with random hand a long time ago, using a deck of special cards. The luck aspect neutralised by the constant function of an extra turn was somehow appealing. I kept it in reserve until I thought of other things for that deck to do, then when deciding to do this set I brought those cards in and they turned into Resources. This Expedition Camp drew 5 fewer cards at Clean-up for the bonus turn, then could be trashed at that turn's start to gain 3 Resources to hand; it also cost $4. It had a novel charm, but I anticipated that would quickly fade if (when) the randomness decided games.
So retaining one nice use of it, a one-shot bundle of stuff, and taking the other in a bonus turn - nice for the set - to morph into an Act, I thought of double Masquerade as a way to remove unwanted Resources from the deck and stuck it on here as a second shot. I had no Silver gainers in the set either and mixed that in as well; pass the Silver on if you don't like. So now this only gains 2 Resources instead of 3, there's the possibility of reducing the number of Resources in each game or even in the set to consider.

Fissure - Action, $5 cost.
+3 Cards
+1 Buy

Change all further +Cards you get into +$ for the rest of the turn.
Heirloom: Rope
Rope - Action Treasure Heirloom, $2 cost.
+2 Cards
+1 Action

Put a card from your hand onto your deck.
One can make a rapid descent down a fissure, but then get stuck. This grants big terminal draw, but it terminates all +card draw for the rest of the turn and it's payload from then on. The Rope can help you dance around this change in various ways, like putting a collided terminal back or turning into + $2.
+: Fissure has interesting interactions with cards in this set.
-: it's maybe a bit too dependent on shuffle order being right, even with Rope to help, or it's too niche.
History: Fissure was a WDC entry that I then thought about adding to Dynasties; but there it was quite swingy. I then had a Reserve variant here in note form that called at start of turn, also big draw that changed the rest to +$, but that could kill the fun of the turn. Repository took its place. Then while thinking about another terminal draw card I came back to the original version, thought how an Heirloom could help the swinginess problem, and here we are. Fissure used to be +4 Cards no buy, which seemed too big a number, and Rope started as a pure Treasure without the +Action.

Hollow - Action Duration, $3 cost.
Either now or at the start of your next turn, choose one: draw until you have 6 cards in hand; or discard any number of cards to gain a card costing up to $1 per card discarded.
A large natural cavity that could serve as a storeroom. It's a really flexible Artificer/Watchtower fusion that's great for adapting to or creating different events. Maybe you save it for next turn to collide it with another Hollow.
+: lots of set synergy and possible interesting uses.
-: Thrones might be too good or easy a combo. Or the mind is overloaded with 4 different play options.
History: This came at a point where there were just 2 kingdom piles left to invent (before removing Water Source for a 3rd). A draw-to-X I saw would have plenty of synergy and help diversify the strategies of the set, so that was the starting point. The rest clicked together quite quickly...somehow. I don't recall the line of thought.
Getting + $1 per card discarded I reasoned was a bit too strong with its self-synergy, so I weakened it to the current Artificer effect minus top-decking.

Hostile Village - Action, $5 cost.
+3 Cards
+2 Actions

Trash a card you have in play that would be discarded during Clean-up this turn.
Heirloom: Creed
Creed - Treasure Reaction Heirloom, $2 cost.
When you trash a card, you may trash this from your hand for +1VP per card you've trashed this turn.
This community is far from agreeable, as they adhere to a questionable law code. They'll only work for you in exchange for something, and if you refuse, they leave you. Hostile Village is a super powerful card, but at a hefty cost of trashing something in play; this will always mean itself if nothing else can go. Creed is a one-shot variable amount of VP everyone gets to start with; it can be removed from the deck quickly, or it can become a way to get ahead with a big trashing mega turn.
+: Hostile Village is elegant but skillful, and it provides trashing for Creed whilst allowing for the rest of the kingdom to provide much better trashing alternatives.
-: Hostile Village creates some tracking issues as cards are removed from play whilst having done something for the turn, and maybe it's a little too good with Resources. Creed is a bit swingy with the trashing Heirlooms in the set.
History: I made this for a recent WDC without the Heirloom or limitation to cards discarded this turn, and felt compelled by it. I put it in this set, liked what I was seeing, and felt more drive to continue with it. I added Heirlooms in, thought of Creed by itself, put it on HV to give it trashing, then finally added the cards discarded this turn bit.

Insignia - Treasure Duration, $5 cost.
At the start of your next turn, reveal cards from your deck until you reveal an Action. Discard the rest, then play the Action.
No special connection to deserts here, it's simply a Treasure for someone with influence. It digs for an Action at the start of next turn, like Ghost without Throning.
+: simple, and fits into set themes.
-: maybe a tad strong; in which case, it will have to lose some elegance somewhere.
History: it was another WDC entry that compelled me, and it became one of the set's first cards (along with Astronomer). It was worth $2 - I thought it would be a nice builder card - but that proved too strong.

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.
Some kind of artefact that gives you a clue to treasures from the past; long lost gold, an ancient people, or more recently lost history. Buy things from the trash, which right from the start includes Golds and something unique.
+: definite combos with the trashing in the set, and access to a random unique card adds constant interest.
-: it's rarely of constant use to the deck, making it either weak or less interesting.
History: there was an Act, Dig, that gained a non-Victory from the trash once per turn. When strong cards were visiting the trash, it made getting them back a bit too easy. This was put together for a WDC, inspired a little bit by earlier fan designs of Treasures accessing a unique pile, with the intention of adding it to this set if feedback was good. It combined other factors I felt were missing from the set as well as fixing Dig; another Kingdom Treasure, and some kind of Gold gaining.

Mirage Island - Victory Reaction, $3 cost.
When another player gains a Victory card, you may put this and any number of Victory cards from your hand on your Tavern mat for +1VP each.
The island that disappears quietly out of your deck, taking other Victories with it. The main difference to Island is it works by Reaction rather than spend an Action, so it rewards thinking about what the other players are doing.
+: There is the potential to make dynamic turnarounds.
-: preparing a hand with lots of Victories in is very risky and may not be viable very often, so that the points potential on average is rather low.
History: it was a WDC entry (winner) at $4 cost, only using the Island mat instead. I have tried this setting just itself aside for 2VP, i.e a Distant Lands variant; it seemed to be more viable for points within the context of this set, but less different. Then testing and design theory suggested going down to $3 cost was OK; opening with two isn't the strongest move that often, and being more accessible helps the reaction work more.

Provisioner - Action Reserve Gatherer, $5 cost.
Gain a card costing up to $5 onto your deck, then gain a Resource onto your deck. Put this on your Tavern mat.
During your turn, whenever you have any unused Actions, you may discard this from your Tavern mat for -1 Action.
The provisioner can access local supplies and things much greater, just don't ask him how. You get two cards on your deck, a card up to $5 paired with a Resource. For balance, you need two Actions to use it repeatedly, otherwise it stays on your Tavern mat. Maybe you're finished with using it anyway.
+: It calls for adaptability to the top Resource, and the Tavern mat setback adds some neat functionality to the set.
-: it can nearly get away without the the Tavern mat bit, so this might be a little on the weak side.
History: it started as just the top part, but then it seemed to be deciding a few games if one player opened with it, so now I'm trying it out like this.

Ravage - Action Attack Gatherer, $5 cost.
+ $3
Each other player discards a non-Victory card costing $3 or more from their hand (or reveals they can't) if there are any Resources in the Supply. Those who do gain a Resource to their hand.
You tear through rival territory, rendering it a deserted waste until it recovers. In the short term, a good card in your opponents' hands is downgraded to a Resource, whilst in the long term, their deck may be slightly weakened by Resource 'junk' or strengthened. What they choose to discard may be influenced by the Resource they'll get. They go round the table in play order doing this, and if the Resources empty out part way round, the next players don't have to discard.
+: it's a different way to utilise Resources. The Attack can be interesting and even fun to play against.
-: there's the potential to devastate a good hand, and the potential to save a bad one; overall, this might be too swingy and not work.
History: the attack hasn't changed, but the vanilla bonus was +3 Cards for a time, which felt a little on the strong side.

Redoubt - Action Attack, $3 cost.
+ $2
Each other player may discard a Curse. Those who don't gain a Curse.
Heirloom: Rook
Rook - Treasure Curse Heirloom, $3 cost.

When you trash this or discard it from play, put it into the player to your left's discard pile.
From atop the mountain pass fortress, your trusty corvid companion flies... Or two things the castle in chess can be called. It's Mountebank without the Coppers, and with a starting Curse to help players defend against it. This Curse can't be trashed, and they're passed around. Maybe you pass yours on, or keep it for a bit.
+: player interaction right from the start that isn't too game-shaping.
-: Is the Curse type on Rook easily understood or even correct? How often is keeping a Rook the right thing to do? Some may not like the great similarity to Mountebank, but others (like me) may appreciate using a weaker variant.
History: this came from two floating Heirloom ideas: one that was passed around, and one that blocked the accompanying card's Attack. Redoubt started off giving +2 Cards at $4 cost, to distinguish it from Mountebank. Then I put it down to $3, to make it more accessible when keeping a Rook. Then I entered it into a Weekly Contest and that persuaded the change to + $2.

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 it, discard any number of Treasures, revealed, for +2 Cards each.
Heirloom: Permit
Permit - Treasure Heirloom, $3 cost.
You may trash this. If you do, gain a Treasure to your hand costing up to $1 per card in your hand -2.
Safekeeping for your valuables, and a Permit to their services. It's a terminal Shepherd for Treasures, but with the option to save it for a start-of-turn if the current situation isn't ideal. The Heirloom doesn't provide $1 to the starting deck, but it can become a valuable Treasure later.
+: Discarding Treasures can mean a worse hand after the draw, so it isn't trivial to use.
-: Permit's ability may rarely be relevant, if it's correct to make it a Copper at the start most of the time. And some may not like its mathematical instructions.
History: I think I was looking for another terminal draw, and something that liked Treasures because of the Heirlooms. I tried letting the call trigger being when any player plays an Action card, so there could be adaptation to a new situation in an instant; it's a nightmare to program online, I guessed, and also in solo tests I just ended up doing them at the start of the turn and that worked fine. It started at $5, which seemed a bit weak.
Permit used to give + $1 and Throne a Treasure; too strong, especially with Boomerang. I took the $1 off, then made it need a Gold in play to Throne, then a Silver instead. Then I thought of the current version, which is similar to Throning a Treasure only with the option of sticking to a plain Copper if the extra starting $1 is needed.

Sheikh - Action Duration Command, $4 cost.
At the start of your next turn, play a non-Duration, non-Command Action from the Supply costing up to $5, leaving it there.
Heirloom: Staff
Staff - Treasure Duration Heirloom, $1 cost.
Either now or at the start of your next turn, + $1.
The local man of influence is the sheikh, and he Commands something in the kingdom at the start of next turn. His staff can also be carried over to next turn.
+: It fits the adaptation theme as well as the Seaside-like synergies of the set.
-: the variety of possible interactions is limited with several Durations in the set, and $4 cost might annoyingly be too cheap.
History: it started as a WDC entry called Prospector, a slow Reserve that gained a $6 to hand 2 turns later than when played. There was already Provisioner, which I liked more, so I morphed it straight into this, and stuck Staff on later.

Street Market - Action, $4 cost.
+1 Buy
+ $2

This turn, when you gain a card, you may put it at the bottom of your deck, and when you discard one of your cards from play, you may put it at the bottom of your deck.
The sandy city streets are lined with merchants selling their wares at open air stalls. You can hire out one of these places to increase your buying power and bunch lots of your cards together at the bottom of your deck by gaining and Scheming them there.
+: It's about planning ahead and knowing your deck, so quite high skill.
-: hard to conclude if it's balanced or powerful enough at the moment, there are different deck states in which it shines and others not so much, even during the same game.
History: It was in my notes for a fair while at $5, then I added it to the set part way through realising how it fit with the shuffle control sub-theme. I had a go with it at $3 giving + $1, just in case the set needed another cheap card; it felt less interesting. And then $4 cost seemed balanced.

Sponsor - Action Gatherer, $5 cost.
+ $1 per $1 you've produced with Actions other than Sponsor this turn.
When you gain this, you may trash a Resource from your hand.
Financial boost that replicates the efforts of all your other Actions to produce $. The Resources guarantee that it can do something in every game, and each Resource supports it somehow, but the kingdom will still do the heavy lifting and determine how strong it is.
+: a different and hopefully fun payload strategy.
-: perhaps too wild; when it's good, it's really good, and when it's bad, really bad.
History: the initial premise was creating a mini-game of collecting all the different Resources. I first had a terminal Action that cost $3; +1 Buy, + $1 per differently named Resource you have in play. It wasn't reliable enough, so I tried adding +1 Action, still not there, so then a Treasure (if you read through the posts, you'll see it, Display Case). That scaled in power too easily, so I replaced it with this.
Sponsor (then Subsidy) was a WDC entry I put together when I twigged that the constant presence of Ore could make an Action Fortune work; it literally doubled the $ you produced, which I later changed to not include itself when I saw how strong doubling its own $ was. That also appeared too strong when there was another +$ kingdom pile, so I took the +Buy off; you can hunt for Wood if you need +Buys.
The when-gain was 'gain a Resource'. It was only there to make the Gatherer type noticed. Gaining a Resource was a bit strong, so now it's this weak, niche effect. I changed the name to Sponsor at the same time.

Choose one:+1 Action; or move the top Resource of the pile to the bottom. Put this on your Tavern mat.
When you have 0 Actions left during your Action phase, call any number of Survivalists. For each one you call, play a Resource from the Supply, leaving it there.
When you're coming to your end in the Action phase, Survivalists help you get through by copying whichever Resource is on top. Stack them up until the right Resource appears, or use them as Villages like CotR.
+: A lot of synergy and combos within the set.
-: could be weak for $4 overall or not that interesting.
History: I've toyed with the premise of Commanding the top Resource ever since I started doing this set. Yet only very recently did I think of putting it on an on-call effect, with the CotR function to give it a consistent function amidst the randomness. The on-play effect was +1 Card +1 Action and it cost $5, but that was like a better Lost City most of the time so it became the current version.

Tinker - Action Reserve, $5 cost.
Put this on your Tavern mat.
When you gain a card, you may call this, to trash that card and a card from your hand, then gain a card costing exactly the total cost of the two trashed cards.
He likes to make contraptions by putting all kinds of stuff together. It's a Reserve that triggers on a gain, Forging that gain with another card in your hand.
+: A simple and stackable effect, elegant and powerful.
-: Province milling with them can be a killjoy.
History: it's quite old. It came from the Tinker card I had in Dynasties, which also Forged 2 cards together but was a Night and looked in the discard pile for the first trash. It could hit things you bought, but it wasn't as reliable as this Reserve version. Starting out it felt strong and worthy of being $6, but then less so and it went down to $5.

Vagabond - Action Attack Duration, $4 cost.
At the start of your next turn, +2 Cards. Until then, when another player trashes a card, they gain a card costing at most $2 less than it.
When you gain this, you may set it aside. If you do, play it.
Heirloom: Begging Bowl
Begging Bowl - Treasure Heirloom, $2 cost.
You may let each other player trash a card from their hand for + $1.
This homeless beggar will give anything for the trash others don't want. Your opponents' efforts to trim the deck are neutralised, slowing them down. This calls for getting in quick, so you can play them straight after you gain them. The Heirloom guarantees trashing is in the game, and uses a new term 'let'; you get + $1 no matter how many opponents choose to trash, even if none of them.
+: trashing is such a powerful mechanic that an Attack countering it feels warranted.
-: 3+ player games with generous Begging Bowl use might be over blindingly fast.
History: Vagabond first gave + $2 next turn, which I changed to cards when Redoubt changed to + $2; a move I'm pleased with, since now there's an Expedition function. It also used to give Coppers out with every non-Copper trash; multiples in play were no fun, especially with trash-for-benefit. Tfb is fun, so why kill that? This still hands out Coppers for Estate trashes, but is more considerate of expensive tfb targets.
The Heirloom was basically there from the start.

Warband - Action Attack, $5 cost.
+3 Cards
Each other player with 5 or more cards in hand sets aside the top card of their deck face up, sets aside a card in their hand that shares a type (or reveals they can't), then puts the set aside cards onto their deck in any order.
Roaming the sandy plains hungry for battle, the warband launches a random attack on your opponents depending on the top card of their deck. Something sharing a type with it is put on top with it.
+: Its randomness can be mitigated by the effect on next turn; a top-decked Action means 2 Actions in the next hand/draw, and a Victory top-deck means a slightly better immediate turn.
-: it can still be nasty enough to determine games, having little control over the effect.
History: it started by applying different effects depending on the type of the card they revealed, like discard down to 3 for a Treasure and gain a Curse for a Victory, but I arrived at the current version - more elegant - before it got to testing.

Warden - Action Duration Reaction, $5 cost.
+1 Action
Now and at the start of your next turn: +2 Cards, then put a card from your hand onto your deck.
When another player plays an Attack card, you may play this from your hand.
The keeper of the land can show you the way around and protect you from trespassers. This turn you're sorting out the top of your deck, next turn you also increase hand size by one. If you react to an attack, it becomes non-terminal and lets you make a protective manoeuvre.
+: it's multi-functional and has plenty of set synergy.
-: it shares a lot of similarities to other official Durations. The immediate turn play can feel quite dull.
History: it started without the Reaction and giving +1 Action at $5. Changing it to how it is now made a lot of desirable changes; it could be cheaper, more distinguished from Caravan, more interactive. But then the first turn effect was feeling awkward, I twigged it was rather like terminal +1 Card, then added +1 Action back on and made it cost $5 again.

Accommodate - Act
Choose one: put an Action card from your hand on your Tavern mat for +1 Action; or play a non-Reserve Action card from your Tavern mat.
This opens up your Tavern mat to offering hospitality to all your Actions. You can choose to put an Action you have out of the way, or play an Action you earlier saved at a good time.
+: It opens up more functionality to Actions, enabling more different strategies and combos. And as an Act, it's safe from Adventures token abuse.
-: the way it saves terminal collisions could make it boring.
History: I tried it as a Way, but weird broken stuff could happen. Then a cantrip Action, but that was unreliable. And then it needed the non-Reserve clause added on for the likes of Wine Merchant and Provisioner.

Accrue - Act
Choose one: put a token on your Tavern mat; or remove all tokens from your mat for + $1 each.
Spend a spare Action to either add to an accumulative pile of tokens or spend them all at once. Any kind of token will do, even the VP ones this set would provide, since no token goes on the Tavern mat otherwise.
+: Suitably weak, yet useful enough to incorporate into strategies.
-: the typical opening sees + $1 on turn 2; that can be swingy and/or too big a speedup.
History: I think tokens on the Tavern mat was the starting premise, and then this quickly came together. + $1 on the tokens to distinguish from Sinister Plot and to involve +$ on an Act sensibly (I already had Descend).

Ambush - Act
Move this onto any Supply pile. (It stays there.) Cards from the pile cost $1 more (before reductions).
Make the roads harder to travel with this global reverse Ferry. Spend an Action to move it onto any Supply pile, and it stays there to show that all cards from that pile cost $1 more, for everyone, all the time. If you don't like where it is, it'll cost you an Action to move it on.
+: interactive and strategic, including self benefits if one doesn't want to be aggressive with it.
-: looking at Livery, it's possible that the official game will eventually get a card that prevents cost increase of the Supply from ever happening.
History: I had an Ambush in Dynasties, a kingdom card that moved a State around non-Victory Supply piles that meant cards gained from the pile were trashed. It could be very rude, especially in the opening. This is a much gentler version.

Conclude - Act
Discard your hand. If you discarded any cards, + $3.
Conclude your Action phase (usually) by discarding your hand for some degree of profit. It's an available $3 if you can make it count.
+: There are various fun ways to incorporate this into an engine strategy, as well as odd occasions outside of engines.
-: it may be narrower than anticipated, not viable very often.
History: I just thought of it about the time I made Fissure. Deciding on + $3 to distinguish from Alms and make 2/5 opening splits less wild is the only point of interest. Late on I changed it from once per turn to checking for any discarded cards, just to squeeze in interactions with things that can get another hand from nothing.

Create - Act
Once per turn: play any number of Treasures from your hand. You may buy a card, gaining it to your hand.
Buy a card immediately to potentially use immediately. A Treasure or Night is fine, but an Action needs you to have 2 Actions left, one for using this first. At the very least this is +1 Buy, just fancier.
+: It has exciting moments.
-: perhaps silly with big money or with buying 2 Coppers in the opening.
History: right back to the early days of my first set Revolution, there was an Action, Innovator, which was all about buying a card to hand. I tried it in many forms before getting tired of it. I flicked through my old ideas for inspiration and found it again. As an Act it could work; it can wait until the time is right, it can be made weak enough and there's only one copy available per turn for balance.

Declare - Act Duration
Name a type. Until the end of your next turn, when any player gains a card with that type, they get +1VP.
Players get to declare what type of card is the preference to gain for a round of turns. The advantage of you spending an Action on this global effect is getting 2 turns of it, and you're aiming to get ahead on VP by making the right declarations.
+: It's an interactive way to get ahead on points, so it should be engaging play.
-: Players have to remember the declared type. It may also cause mirror play. Naming Resource might be too influential and game-shaping sometimes.
History: it stems from Donald's Secret History! There was an Event outtake from Adventures that rewarded Golds for gaining cards with the named type. I felt how it could be compelling, and saw how it could work on an Act by involving the user's immediate turn.

Descend - Act
Once per turn: +1 Action. Discard the top card of your deck. You may put it into your hand; if you do, each other player gets +1VP.
A physical descent down a mountain, or a moral descent in order to get ahead? Once per turn you can choose to play a free Lab at the cost of a VP, getting to look at the card first in case it's bad.
+: simple but effective, a bit like a +Cards variant of Desperation.
-: it can be swingy; it's something of a comeback card, and if it fails to discard something useful when you're already behind, that can feel bad. On the other hand, maybe it's a kingmaker.
History: One of the first Acts. When I twigged how weak they would have to be, I saw that self-inflicted penalties could open the design space up and then this was obvious. It was a Smithy (terminal +2 Cards), which could make the openings too wild. Then it became Lab (+1 Card +1 Action); you really wanted that card to be useful, so I made it discard the card first so you could see what it was.

Devise - Act
+1 Action
Put a card from your hand onto your deck.
Scheme your next turn by saving cards for then, or use an immediate top-deck inspect effect.
+: Simple ability to add to the game that will always be sometimes useful sometimes not, according to shuffle randomness.
-: maybe it's boring, not suiting engine play.
History: very new, it just came like this and the first tests saw interesting use.

Envision - Act
After your Buy phase this turn, you may play Action cards from your hand (that don't use an Action).
Plan out the future of your turn by effectively adding another little phase. You can play Actions between the Buy and Night phases with the advantage of them not costing an Action to play. One Action spent now lets you play multiple terminals after the Buy phase.
+: another new spin on Action cards.
-: could be too niche to be interesting?
History: I first had an Act that played all copies of an Action from hand, which then became differently named ones. The feedback was rightly 'it's just free Actions', too easy. So drawing inspiration from another fan card, alion8me's Lunar Ritual, I arrived at this less easy Village/splitter.

Forage - Act Gatherer
Gain a Resource.
Roam the desert in search of necessities. When the right Resource is on top, you can prioritise an Action on gaining it. Resources are also made available on the opening turns.
+: Simple and effective.
-: maybe too much of an acceleration to the game? I doubt it.
History: it just clicked when thinking of Acts one day, nothing else to say.

Hire - Act Attack
Each other player with 5 or more cards in hand discards a non-Treasure card (or reveals they can't).
Get a local mercenary to do some dirty work on your opponents. This is an Attack, so using it is 'playing an Attack card' for all concerned Reactions and Durations, even if it isn't a card in play.
+: it can't be too damaging early, whilst going late it can force discarded Actions.
-: It's purely an Attack, which isn't popular.
History: All of the Acts are very new, and this one came after Declare being an Act Duration; what other types could I give to Acts to make the whole rule simpler to understand?

Improvise - Act
Once per turn: trash a card costing $3 or more from your hand. Gain a cheaper card; if you gained an Action or Treasure, you may set it aside, and if you do, play it.
Utilise something you have in a different way to fill an immediate need. Downgrade a card in your hand to something cheaper, which you can then play if it's an Action or Treasure.
+: the fact it's once per turn helps prevent option overload.
-: possibly it takes some need for play skill away? Or it's option overload leading to analysis paralysis.
History: Basically no change, I once let it trash things costing $2 then realised why it was $3 when I trashed the starting Estates to Coppers.

Maroon - Act
Once per turn: either trash a card from your hand to put 1VP here, or take all the VP from here.
Abandon your wares in some remote place, where others can rescue them to play the hero. Getting to trash in the opening is very strong, but how big will the VP pile be allowed to get?
+: Significant player interaction.
-: it could speed the game up too much.
History: it just occurred like this...

Recall - Act
Once per turn: put a card you have in play that would be discarded this turn into your hand.
This lets you Throne one of your Action cards for 2 Actions, or a Treasure you manage to play in your Action phase for 1, or do other things with it. You can put the Act card in its place to help tracking, since it is only used once per turn.
+: There's some strategy in choosing what to Throne each turn, if you keep an Action spare for it.
-: maybe not very interesting with Villages, just some free draw? You might forego extra payload for it though. I can't think of anything that negative with it.
History: a Throning Act was amongst the first premises I had, and various forms went through my notes; gain a Curse to Throne (often stronger than Desperation), +1 Action put a card in play onto deck (not as direct, there's already lots of top-decking), replay a card costing $3 or less (could be too easy).

The Set Overall
It's gradually coming together. Some of the older cards I'm feeling quite confident in, newer ones probably need balancing out.
+: I'm feeling definite, interesting interactions, and potential for skillful play! There's a good amount of potential variety in viable strategies, though some feel distinctly more dominant at present. Balance amongst different card functions (draw, village, payload, etc) feels right.
-: tracking is a prominent issue running through several cards here, so this set won't be for everybody. Swinginess and heavy alteration of the opening can impact games too much, taking more audience away. The first games can be very confusing.
History: as I mentioned at the start, I had focused my attention on mostly skill and serious play with my first 2 fan expansions, then decided to explore a focus on randomness and player interaction.
I tried Weather here, but concluded that there wasn't much potential to adapt to them, and often players would plan their next turn and they feel good, but then the weather makes unpleasant changes to that.
Acts had their start in Wanderers. They also used an Action to be activated, but there was a pile of them and the top one went to the bottom after it was finished with. They weren't once per turn, so they could take some of the relevance of the kingdom away.
Acts were all once per turn and their card was always moved into play; but with the Fan Mechanic contest on Acts, naitchman had the bright idea of multiple use Acts and now they are as you see them.

Thank you for reading. I hope it was interesting in some way!

Variants and Fan Cards / Set Expansion Contest
« on: September 22, 2020, 02:22:37 am »
This was the second of a series of auxiliary Weekly Design Contests, each with the aim of adding a card to the official expansions. The current contest series is fan mechanics, here.


Base set
by gambit05

Heiress - $5
+2 Cards
You may reveal a Victory card from your hand. If it is an...
Estate, +1 Buy, +$2.
Duchy, gain a Gold.
Province, +2 Actions.
Action card, play it.
by xen3k

by aladdinstardust

by gambit05

by silverspawn

by segura

Dark Ages
by silverspawn

by grep

by X-tra

by grrgrrgrr

by gambit05

by Timinou

by grrgrrgrr

by Timinou

                by X-tra

Contest #1: Base Set

I have no other requirements here. Make a card that adds to the base set whilst keeping to its themes: simple to understand, no extra mechanics, maybe introduces a basic play aspect of the game.

Judging: 28th September 3:00pm forum time

Dominion General Discussion / Weekly Kingdom Design Contest?
« on: May 16, 2020, 05:55:28 pm »
Over on the Variants forum we have a weekly contest to design fan cards, and I thought we could easily have just the same for designing really interesting kingdoms (of official cards). Dominion is that big and expansive now that it could be fun.

So how it would work: each week, somebody thinks of a central theme or concept they want to see in a kingdom, then others try to design a kingdom to fit the brief. Then the contest setter judges each kingdom design and chooses a winner, and that winner gets to pick the brief and judge for next week. Time rules aren't rigid, of course, because life.
The spirit wouldn't primarily be about winning weeks, but to come up with games that people look at and want to go and play at their next games evening/online/etc.

Would this be interesting? Would it help to create more fun Dominion? Is it already done somewhere, like on Discord (I'm not on there)? Or is there a better format?

Variants and Fan Cards / Up to Date Guide to Fan Card Creation
« on: January 06, 2020, 05:37:32 am »
The stickied guide by rinkworks highlights common pitfalls to avoid, costing your cards, and how you can make and print your ideas. It is completely right in its introduction:
The first rule about creating custom fan cards for Dominion is that you can ignore every single rule about it if you want to. Dominion is a game. Its purpose is fun. If you've got a card idea that sounds fun, do it. Playtest it. If it remains fun after scrutiny, keep playing with it.
This is kind of an update and fork from that guide. It covers all the present mechanics, and describes the whole design process for those new to fan card creation.
If you just want the mechanics know-how, go straight to the Research section.

Spineflu wrote a fusion of these two guides, with some extra details, here on the wiki.

Dominion is a very simple, highly flexible game model, and it's very easy to add to. With that flexibility, though, is the potential to land upon uninteresting ideas. Whilst they may not break the game and be imbalanced, your ideas could get to be disappointing in some way after playing with them for a while. Particularly disappointing if you went through the trouble of getting them printed out.
This guide offers suggestions for making your good ideas into great ones for the long term before the final send-off to print, big reveal to your friends, etc.; it goes through the design process, identifying where people can take a bad turn, aiming to help refine your card ideas to be just what you want them to be.
You might be designing a whole expansion of cards, an extra level of interest that involves more depth than making individual cards. Parts referring to expansion design will be in this font.
  • Be open minded. When you get an immediate good feeling for an idea, note it down straight away.
  • Know the rules and makeup of Dominion well (but you don't have to be a top pro player). Refer to the Research section for help.
  • You will want to break away from your projects occasionally. Don't try to battle through if you're on a time constraint - the end results will not be of the best quality - rather factor them in to your schedule. Keep clear notes so you know what you're doing when you come back.
  • To make a design fun to play long term, focus on the mechanics first, then its theme. The more open it is to interactions, whilst having a definite primary function so it can't do everything, the more replayable it will be and hence interesting long term.
  • Put yourself in a player's shoes and see what mental skills and strategic thinking your design stimulates.
  • Design briefs for individual cards should specify something relating to one or more of its properties or needed mechanics, and be understandable to another person.
  • Each card you make should be on the same power level as the official ones and a fun or interesting play experience.
  • Imagine your design in a game whenever you make a change to it, to see how every other aspect of it is affected. Running a few solo tests may help.
  • You should be able to sum up what your card designs do in one quick sentence.
  • For testing simplicity, get another player to explain what your ideas do.
  • Upvotes on this forum show a good first impression, not necessarily a good overall design.

A note from the author
This guide may look like a rather serious, studious look into the field of Dominion design, but I'm well aware this isn't the most important thing in life. I just settled into playing and learning the game, the idea of making custom cards came up some day, and I fell in love with the thought instantly. I like designing, and Dominion is a simple yet diverse game that is amazingly expandable. This guide is the product of about 3 years casually exploring the field, written through personal interest and seeing how the forum is continually active.

Flavour and theme are used interchangeably to refer to a card's name and its story, and how the other properties of the card connect to it. Mechanics and functions/functionality refers to everything the card can do. A card's properties are its name, abilities, types and cost.
Direct payload refers to anything that can directly help getting ahead on VP, so $, +Buys, VP tokens, gaining Victory cards and sometimes cursing Attacks. Drawing cards, gaining non-Victory cards, other Attacks, and in a way trashing would all be indirect payload.
All random games are those where all 10 kingdom cards and landscape cards are randomly selected.
VP is short for Victory Points. Alt VP cards are those that can provide alternative victory point options to the usual Provinces and Duchies, e.g Gardens.
Terminal Action effects are those that use up an Action, to potentially terminate your Action phase. Any that give +1 or more Actions, or that are on Treasure or Night cards, are described as non-terminal.
Cantrips are non-terminal cards that give +1 or more Cards.
Deck cycle time refers to the game time taken for a card to be drawn into hand. A card gained onto deck takes much less deck cycle time to get to hand than one gained to the discard pile.

Situation (your audience, aim, motive)
Design Brief (the project's aim)
Research (Lots of really useful stuff to know all in one place)
Specification (checklist for your project)
Design Ideas (putting card designs together)
Testing (proving your cards balanced, fun, simple)
Final Outcome (ways to publish)

So now let's follow the order of the design process and apply it to Dominion. No matter how you make your ideas, with paper notes or mental ones, casually or organised, you're going through the same process to get to your final outcome. So even if you have ideas down already, it's still beneficial to backstep and look at the basics, in case you struggle to refine or add to your ideas. And should an idea you have turn out bad at some point, it isn't necessarily a lost cause; you can step back and tweak things to try and save it. You can also answer really deep design questions you might come across easier when you break the whole process down.

Important points are highlighted in bold.

Variants and Fan Cards / Dominion: Dynasties
« on: May 10, 2018, 12:12:24 pm »
Dominion: Dynasties

One day, I thought up the idea of a type on a kingdom card that gave other piles the type and interacted with them somehow. It looked pretty to me. What would work for flavour? Tribes seemed obvious. How would it play? Well players have to figure out what's going on before anything else. After dabbling a bit with this type, I made other cards to go with them, and then a set idea was born.

Dynasties has a playstyle theme of start-of-game analysis, focusing on that period just after the game is set up when you're thinking out your strategy. It should be great for people who like Dominion as a strategy game and play it often. It also seems to lend itself well to solitaire games.

- about 8 Kin-type piles
- 2 Kin markers
- 6 Induct markers
- at least 20 Tasks
- 10 Chiefs
- 24 non-Kin kingdom piles
- VP tokens

This makes for 392 cards. The remaining 8 can go on Tasks or more Chiefs as and when I'm getting to round the set off.

Below the explanation, I put up an example game.

The Kin type
Here's that pretty-looking type.

Kin Marker
When a Kin card is added to the game, put the 2 Kin Markers under different non-Kin kingdom piles after setup. This game, cards from those piles are also Kins.
Let's establish some terminology to avoid confusion: there are kingdom cards that have the Kin type on their bottom banner and a turquoise colour scheme. These are original Kins. If an original Kin is selected for the kingdom, get the Kin Markers out ready for after setup. No more than two original Kin piles should be selected; if you use randomiser cards, discard any original Kins drawn after the second and reselect. This helps to prevent analysis paralysis from too much interaction going on.

After setup - all ten kingdom cards and landscapes out, and anything extra they require done - each player selects a different pile that isn't an original Kin, starting with the player taking the first turn, for the Kin Markers to go under. If there are more than two players, shuffle a card from each chosen pile to randomly select two of them (returning those cards afterwards). Tuck the Kin Markers under each selected pile sideways, so the 'Kin' words show. Now, for the rest of the game, cards in those piles take on the Kin type; they'll all get one more thing for Courtier, and they'll all trigger Falconer.

So, the Kin type gets a new colour because it needs to give a clear visible reminder of what cards are affected by the original Kin's abilities. The original Kins will always affect themselves unless otherwise specified.

If Donald can reuse the name Menagerie, I can reuse Quest! It's the perfect word for these landscape cards. They have an Objective for players to complete, and a Reward for when they do. Players get some Completion tokens to put on Quests they complete (imagine coloured chits with ticks on), tracking similarly to Project cubes. A Quest can only be completed once. During the game, in a similar manner to using a Reaction effect, a player may interrupt game flow and declare they have completed one of the Quests, prove it to the other players if necessary, then put one of their Completion tokens on the Quest card and get the Reward straight away. A player can choose not to complete a Quest when they could do so.

The Quest cards should be kept separate from the other landscape cards you have, in two decks: one for Quests that can be completed in any game, and one for those that can't. 5 Quests (may change after playtesting) are put out per game, and they will count as one of the two landscapes recommended. They are always added to the game last.

Determining what Quests to include in a game when is quite liberal, since some Objectives require certain mechanics to be present in the kingdom (like 'trash 4 cards' requires a trasher), and players do well to pick all the Quests that are possible, shuffle them together, then draw 5 out. This is what I encourage.
For those who like following strict rules: some Quests could be shuffled into your WELPs, according to your desired odds of drawing one, and if one is drawn out randomly select others until you get 5. You might just shuffle all the Quests in, and if one of the first two is a Quest keep going through the deck of landscapes until 5 doable Quests are drawn out.
In addition to this, several of the kingdom cards in this set have extra banners on them, just like with Heirlooms, attaching a Quest to them. When one of these is selected, there will always be Quests. Shuffle all named Quest cards into the deck of possible Quests and draw 5 out (the named Quests may not appear; force them into the game if so desired).

* * *

So: the Kin type has players examine the interaction between all the Kin cards in the game, so they factor them in when deciphering their deck strategy. Quests give players recommended routes to take throughout the game, so there's planning ahead as well.

In terms of set design:
  • Original Kins give a positive and negative impact to the other Kins, so what interactions are strong and weak is not always easy to assess.
  • The other kingdom piles aim to be simple, so it's easier to see how Kins may affect them.
  • They're also diverse, so Quests can more likely be doable.
  • They also avoid randomness as much as possible, since strategy is the big focus.

Chiefs are a powerful non-Supply pile, obtained as rewards for various Tasks and other cards' mini-games.

Example game


I give my positives (+) and negatives (-) on each design, not out of lack of confidence but for modesty. It is a set, so there are combos I'll keep quiet about so you can have the fun of finding them.

Original Kins
Banner - Victory Kin, $5 cost.
Worth 1VP per 3 Kins in your deck (round down)

It makes an alt VP strategy that will be different each game. The more collectable the other Kins are, the better it is.
+: one of the first simple ideas that clicked, it feels safe yet compelling.
-: hard to conclude balance.

Festival Grounds - Action Kin, $2 cost.
+2 Actions
+1 Buy

In games using this, when you gain a 3rd differently named Kin on your turn, you may gain a Chief.
Chief - Action Kin, $0* cost.
Draw until you have 6. cards in hand.
Gain an Estate to your hand for +2VP.
For every 3 cards you have in hand (round down), + $1.
(This is not in the Supply.)

If you can get three different Kins in the same turn, you win the respect of the Chief, a free payload card that plays a little differently in different decks. How hard will he be to get, what kind of deck would be made, and is it all worth it?
+: all the analysis involved here is great.
-: perhaps Chief is too strong, and the $ effect should probably go first so it's more a case of $ or draw.

Legend - Treasure Kin, $4 cost.
+1 Buy
When you play this, choose one: gain a Kin; or trash a Kin you have in hand or in play, for + $1 per $1 it costs.
In games using this, when you gain a Kin, each other player gets +1VP.
Every Kin you get leaves a permanent mark against your score, yet whilst you might look for Kin free strategies this can make them still options. Getting Kins no matter how expensive can be a breeze if you so desire, or you can Salvage them non-terminally. Failing all else this can self trash for a spike of $4.
+: This supports dabbling a little into the Kins, which the bottom part implies.
-: no real testing yet, could be imbalanced.

Mead Hall - Action Command Kin, $5 cost.
Trash this. If you do, set aside two Kins from the Supply that aren't Victories, Durations or Commands. Play them in either order, leaving them set aside. Return them to the Supply at Clean-up.
Fuse two Kins into one powerful one-shot card, including Treasures or Nights. Double up one of them, or form some amazing combo.
+: it has the feeling of being great fun sometimes.
-: some combos could be broken? And of course in some games this can do nothing.

Piper - Action Reaction Kin, $5 cost.
+2 Cards
You may play an Action Kin from your hand.
Directly after resolving an Action Kin, you may play this from your hand.
Make an engine by playing chains of Kins.
+: simple yet compelling.
-: maybe too strong in some cases. There's no real negative side to it unlike the other Kins, so it's less about analysis, so it feels kinda misfit.

Reassign - Night Kin, $4 cost.
You may trash a Kin you have in play, to gain a Kin costing up to $3 more than it.
You may move your Ally token onto a non-Victory, non-Kin Supply pile of your choice. (During your turns, cards from that pile are also Kins.)

The Ally token lets you choose a pile that counts as Kin type just for you, which sometimes will be very desirable with a second Kin card. Reassign itself lets you quite freely exchange kins around, so you can make good upgrade paths; but note that the trash happens before the token can be moved, so there's a limit to the flexibility.
+: this hopefully opens up a new compelling area of remodeling, and the Ally token a new strategic concept.
-: The upgrade could be too strong even if narrow. Nights are in the set almost entirely because of this; is there a better effect than the upgrade that could be used?

Rivals - Action Attack Kin, $3* cost.
+2 Cards
Each other player may reveal a Kin other than Rivals from their hand. Those who don't take Taunted, or if they already have it turn it over to Twice Taunted.
In games using this, Kins cost $1 more.
Taunted - State
When you next play an Action that has +Card, +Action, +Buy or +$ amounts in its instructions, choose one to reduce by 1, resolve it, then return this.
Twice Taunted - the same, but instead of returning it flip it over to Taunted.
Their presence makes the Tribe more expensive so generally worse (this basically costs $4, a sensible price unlike the others), and the worse they are the better this is. Its Attack will more likely land, weakening the next Action vanilla they get; two stacks, using a two-sided State for each player. Taunted reduces a number in the next Action's instructions, so Hireling would be made useless, and because you choose a number then resolve, Pawn is a counter to it.
+: it achieves the intended purpose of making Kins that are bad in a kingdom relevant.
-: How easy is it to remember the Kins cost $1 more? Is Taunted foolproof?

Travelling Merchant - Action Kin, $4 cost.
+1 Card
+1 Action
+ $1

This turn, cards cost $1 more if you have a Kin other than Travelling Merchant in play.
When you gain this, if you have any Kins in play, trash it.
You have a choice: either use these Peddlers, or use the other Kins. These only cost $4, but you can't gain them at all if you have one in play.
+: A simple but interesting matter to analyse in the game.
-: the bottom part could make this pretty bad, yet if it wasn't there it would probably be too good.

Other cards:
These aim to be simple and flexible to be most effective with Kins and Tasks, whilst forming combos using discarding, careful play order and the Buy phase as common themes.

Armoursmith - Action, $4 cost.
+4 Cards
If your deck and discard pile empty while this is in play, trash this.
You can't buy this unless you have a more expensive card than it in play.
Simple draw that can't be put in a full deck-draw engine so easily. It's rather strong early game, so you need to get more expensive cards or gainers first.
+: two pleasant twists to think around.
-: could easily be too strong with gainers.

Bridleway - Action, $6 cost.
+1 Buy
This turn, cards cost $2 less unless you've gained a copy of them during the turn.
Everything gets Princess-ed until they're gained; even if you gain something then play a Bridleway the cost isn't reduced. Effective if you get different things on your turn.
+: simple, powerful yet kept in check.
-: feels about right, I don't think there's anything bad with this?

Brute - Action Attack, $5 cost.
+ $3
Each other player who hasn't been affected by an Attack since their last turn reveals their hand and discards two cards that are the same.
This can be a nasty attack. Most of the time cards you have pairs of in hand will be useful, unless they're pure Victories in which case that hurts in itself. So, this can only work on those who haven't been attacked during the round of turns.
+: Definitely interacts with the set.
-: could be annoying in 3+ players when the player before you plays a different Attack first. Rules for 'being affected' by an Attack could be confusing; I'd have thought Pillage doesn't affect those who have 4 or fewer cards in hand since they're not its target. But with Rivals above everyone is a target, so they are affected whether they have a Kin in hand or not.

Caver - Action, $2 cost.
+2 Cards
If your deck is empty, + $2.
It can be a powerful +2 Cards + $2 when played at the right time, or it can be draw that changes its role once the deck is drawn.
+: Very simple, should be fun to try using well.
-: could be too strong for $2. Drawing it turn 4 when the other opening buy wasn't a drawer, so you draw the 2 cards that usually get left for turn 5, could make unpleasant random advantages.

Cooper - Action, $5 cost.
+1 Action
+ $1

Gain 2 Coppers to your hand. Then discard any number of cards and draw that many.
A fusion of Beggar and Cellar, making a flexible card that's initially powerful but slows down a little with the Coppers reducing how often you draw it.
+: Simple, diverse, has plenty of combos in the set, it fits right in but looks interesting out of it too.
-: some combos could be mundane (Engraver), and this has similarities to Goose.

Engraver - Action, $5 cost.
+1 Card
+1 Action

You may trash a Treasure from your hand. If you do: +1VP, or if you've trashed more than 1 Treasure this turn, +2VP.
A multipurpose card. A very desirable Copper trasher for an engine, or a dedicated VP strategy that burns through Coppers and the odd Silver.
+: it's simply nice.
-: games where players first empty out the Coppers and silvers before building to Provinces or 3-piling may not be pleasant.

Forester - Action, $4 cost.
+1 Buy
+ $2

Once this turn, when you gain a Treasure, you may play it.
A woodcutter that can easily inject money into the deck so that its +buy becomes useful throughout the game.
+: Really simple.
-: really boring maybe?

Goose - Action, $5 cost.
+1 Card
+1 Action

Choose one: +1 Card, discard a card; or + $1; or gain a Goose if you haven't yet this turn.
Fugitive or Peddler that can gain copies of itself slowly.
+: simple and effective.
-: it might be a little too much for a $5.

Highland Village - Action, $3 cost.
+1 Card
+2 Actions

Look through your remaining deck. Discard a card from it, then shuffle it.
How to make a plain Village interesting...? Here's one that works with the discarding theme, letting you get a key target in the discard pile or move some junk out of the way. 'Remaining deck' is what's currently in it after the +1 Card; if there are no cards in it, you don't shuffle the discard pile into a new deck.
+: simple, quite strong, fits the set but has plenty of use outside of it.
-: not for players who shuffle slowly!

Instruct - Action, $4 cost.
Do these in any order:
gain a Silver;
put a card from your discard pile into your hand;
trash a card from your hand and gain a card costing up to $1 more than it.
A fancy remodel that can do different things, from Workshop trash a Silver from the Supply, to remodel to hand with a Silver to bloat your deck, to getting generic good stuff.
+: Diverse remodel involving the discard pile.
-: maybe boring or too niche overall? Though some cards in a set need to be niche.

Neighbouring Village - Action, $3 cost.
+2 Actions
When you next play an Action from your hand this turn, add 1 more to each +Card, +Buy, +$ and +VP amount it gives you as you resolve it.
Village that likes careful thought as to play order, boosting the next Action you play from hand. Vault would be +3 Cards, discard any number of cards for +$1 each, then +$1 if you discarded any; you got a +$ amount then added 1 on to it, you did not add 1 to the instructions. 'Resolving' means the same as on Royal Carriage; Hireling doesn't give you anything as you resolve it so no bonus given, similarly to the VP from Goons and Groundskeeper.
+: it takes skill to use, careful lining up sitting well on a Village. It's unique especially with the VP niche.
-: the wording might be off, and the new mechanics confusing.

Potter - Action, $4 cost.
Gain a card costing up to $4. You may reveal an Action from your hand with the same cost as it, for +2VP.
A Workshop that can get you ahead on points if you play things right.
+: VP that involves some strategy and starting analysis.
-: Silvers may be points gained too easily with a $3 Action. 

Scrounger - Night Attack, $5 cost.
Gain a Gold. Put up to 3 cards from your discard pile onto your deck in any order, then shuffle the rest and put them at the bottom.
Non-terminal Gold gainer, but those Golds will come slowly as this and everything else in play miss shuffles. You get some control over how the discard pile disappears into the deck, which can make both simple and complex play.
+: it could make unique deck strategies.
-: too strong despite missing shuffles?

Thane - Action, $5 cost.
Discard a card. You may play an Action from your discard pile twice.
Throne from the discard pile. Your handsize reduces in exchange for having a potentially large range of cards to search from, or if you discard your target from hand then it's of course Throne Room.
+: two effects that go together brilliantly.
-: some may not like the large search range to find a target, so that it's less skillful than other Thrones.

Weaponsmith - Action Attack, $5 cost.
+3 Cards
You may discard two cards. If they cost a total of $5 or more, each other player gains a Curse.
Discard something useful, more than 2 Estates, to launch an Attack.
+: It's a curser that works better later on.
-: some may not like the choice to discard in games where there's no self-benefit.

Appease - Task
Objective: have 2 Duchies in your hand, revealed.
Reward: +4VP
Bring 2 Duchies together in peace. This may affect when you would normally get Duchies, as effectively bringing them up to 5VP each can be worth it.
+: A good way to make Duchies more relevant more often, and help deviate gameplay away from typical Province rush.
-: hard to find specific bad points with this one...

Build - Task
Objective: gain 4 cards on your turn.
Reward: +3VP; at the start of each of your turns, +1 Card.
Project effects can work as rewards, the Accomplish token serving the same purpose as the Project cube. Can you gain a big load of cards at once this game?
+: There are several different possible ways to complete this, to be a different experience each game.
-: it depends entirely on +buys or gainers being in the kingdom.

Demolish - Task
Objective: trash 4 cards on your turn.
Reward: +4VP, gain a Gold.
Can you trash a big load of cards at once this game?
+: There are several different possible ways to complete this, to be a different experience each game.
-: it depends entirely on a trasher being in the kingdom.

Explore - Task
Objective: have 8 differently named cards in play.
Reward: +5VP
The Horn of Plenty experience without the kingdom Treasure being there. How will the kingdom let you do it?
+: Some games will call for a variety strategy, a nice thing to let randomness decide.
-: sometimes impossible. Maybe not that fun. Investigate below might be enough of variety.

Gather - Task
Objective: produce $15 or more.
Reward: +1 Buy, +3VP
How easily can you get a big spike of money this game?
+: Always possible yet can take very different paths to get to.
-: if a double Province route is possible you'll probably go down it anyway.

Impress - Task
Objective: complete 2 other Tasks on the same turn.
Reward: +5VP, gain a Chief.
Extra points if you can complete the 2 other Tasks drawn together. You may want to wait declaring accomplishment for one so you can do this.
+: A simple extra twist to add.
-: how often will it be doable?

Investigate - Task
Objective: have a hand of 5 or more cards with no copies in it, revealed.
Reward: +3VP
Get a big enough hand of all different cards.
+: Always possible.
-: can be quite hard to remember.

Nothing stops you from playing with 3 or more of the original Kin cards, just too many can lead to analysis paralysis and too much going on. Having 2 opens up a fun interaction between them, just enough, or one can be influential on its own. I've tried to cover a wide variety of different relationships with them; one thing that's somewhat missing is one that completely supports other Kins. I'm working on it. At the least I hope I've got across the feel for compelling diversity and replayability I get with the Kin mechanic. But I have struggled with sound execution of it; maybe some of the ideas here still use it poorly. You be judge.
The Tasks are very much a work in progress. They're not very well designed for all random games (not necessarily a bad thing) and the rewards are likely not balanced. 3 seems like a sensible number to comprehend each game, but nothing says you can't do more or less.
If you have any ideas, feel free to post them; I don't pretend to know everything about the dos and don'ts of these mechanics.

Variants and Fan Cards / Dominion: Revolution
« on: March 10, 2017, 03:30:48 pm »
The Industrial Revolution followed and built on the Renaissance. So does this fan set, borrowing Renaissance's mechanics with the aim of making cards calling for good skill. You can put it with any of the official sets, though you'll probably want Renaissance for its components.

Set Play Themes: resource control, mega turns

Mechanics: new ones in -1 Action, card costs, and landscapes you buy once that do something only right away. Also Durations, Coffers, Villagers, Artifacts, overpaying.
Unlike Renaissance, simplicity hasn't been a focus. New mechanics explained after the list of cards below.

(Card images have been removed from this post, a) because I want to improve how they look, and more importantly b) using internet images as I had could have infringed legal usage rights)

Landscape cards:

The New Mechanics

-1 Action: Exhausted

Exhausted - State
When you next have unused Actions (Actions, not Action cards) during your Action Phase, immediately return this and -1 Action.
Villagers make getting +1 Action much easier. So here's the opposite, -1 Action; just like the -$1 token but for Actions. After you take Exhausted, whenever you next have 1 or more Actions left during your Action phase, you immediately lose one and return this, whether you're in the middle of resolving an Action or not. If you end your Action phase still having Exhausted, it will stay over to next turn, and be returned right at the start to take away your starting Action. You could spend a Villager at any time during your Action phase to return this at any time; this can be quite important to pay off Exhausted at turn start to enable the Action phase. And you're only allowed one Exhausted at a time, for simplicity and balance reasons.

Card costs
(Shorthanded to [ ])
Instead of or as well as a coin symbol, some of these cards have a card back where the cost is. It means that instead of or as well as $, your cards are involved in the cost. They could in theory be from anywhere so long as you own them, but in this set each cost comes from hand since it's more of an actual expense. Below the line, there will be a description of the cost.
You might think of Animal Fair having the option of an Action in hand as a cost. It's an option, card costs are not.
For abilities that care about costs: this is another different kind of cost to join Potion and Debt. You can't remodel a $ cost card into a [ ] or $[ ] cost or vice versa, or [ ] into Debt or Potion costs. Each differently described card cost is also incomparable, no matter how much $, Debt or Potion is with them and even though some might be distinctly easier to pay than others. So you can't remodel a [ ] into a differently described [ ], but you could remodel [ ] into $1[ ] or $2[ ] if the described cost on each card is identical.

Just like Projects, they're effects you buy once and then put a cube on. But unlike Projects, they are one-offs that happen straight away rather than effects that last for the rest of the game. So the cubes are used to track that you have bought the Prospect and can't get it again.
In other words, they're all like Seize the Day, but the rules require the cube to track buying them.

An explanation of each card, then my thoughts on its design positives (+) and negatives (-). I have confidence in every card here; I only mention the negatives to keep modest and realistic, and maybe they raise helpful points. There are plenty of interactions between these cards (it's a set), which I keep quiet about so you can have the fun of finding them out. Some reflect Renaissance, others don't.

Advancing Village - Action Duration, $3 cost.
+2 Villagers
At the start of your next turn, +1 Card.
This first card has gone through many variations. I wasn't going to make a set called Revolution and not have an Advancing Village, it's what villages do during an industrial revolution. Here's some simplicity that you're not going to see further down; get some Villagers, keep some for next turn when you get a bigger hand.
+: it's a Village that advances to next turn, more flexibly than Village Green.
-: it might be favoured as a Caravan variant too often.

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

[ ]: To buy this, reveal and discard 2 Victories.
Well here we have it, both Villages come first alphabetically. This one sets itself apart by being a card cost; have 2 Victories in hand, which you need to discard, to afford it. Campers need green space.
+: When you get a dud hand filled with green, you don't mind picking up an extra Village. It's useful, but doesn't improve deck power by itself so it's not easy mode.
-: it may be too easy to get.

Chemist - Action, $4 cost.
+1 Card
+1 Action

Choose one: discard a card for +1 Villager; or spend a Villager for +1 Card and +1 Action.
Chemical industries improved significantly. This has two modes, shrink hand to collect Villagers or enlarge hand by spending Villagers. This Villager spending gives the Lost City effect, and is separate from spending Villagers normally.
+: it's simple resource management and mega turn draw potential.
-: could there be a better way to use Villagers to draw?

Colliery - Action, $6[ ] cost.
+1 Buy
Take Exhausted. If you do, + $1 per Action you have in play.
[ ]: To buy this, trash 2 copies of a card costing $3 or more from your hand.
Coal mines fuelled the factories, with an infamous amount of manpower. Here's the first card using Exhausted; it's effectively a double Action, one card that uses two Actions on play. If you play it and already have Exhausted (that'd be by Thrones or by playing it at the Buy phase), you just get a Buy. Played 'properly' it can give impressive payload, but can be hard to play well in multiples.
There's a dual cost too. You need both $6 and two cards costing $3+ to Treasure Map to afford this.
+: powerful payload strategy that can possibly exist and be balanced with a big card cost and Exhausted.
-: the cost may be a bit extreme as is.

Dismiss - Action, $5 cost.
+1 Card
+1 Action

You may discard a card, to reveal cards from your deck until you reveal a card that shares a type with it but has a different name. Put it into your hand and discard the rest.
Change a card in your hand for one in your deck that you need more right now, be it an Action you need to play earlier in the turn, or a better Treasure, or an actually useful Victory, etc.
+: a card that will help any deck and is failsafe to pick up, but better skill enhances how useful it is.
-: it's wordy.

Entrepreneur - Action Reaction, $2 cost.
+1 Action
+ $1

If the Entrepreneur Supply pile is empty, +1 Card.
When another player trashes a card, you may return this to the Supply, to gain a card costing up to $5.
He starts out as a Copper in Action form. But you invest with him; if either the pile empties or you catch someone else trashing with him in your hand, he can become a much better card. There's a catch to be aware of. When someone reacts with him, the pile is filled up more. Players are kept on their toes as the entrepreneurs seek out their next venture.
+: this weakens trashing whilst adding player interaction, two great things.
-: there's the potential for frustration with some players. And in this set, card costs lessen the likelihood of trashing and the usefulness of gaining a $ cost.

Farm - Action Duration Victory, $5 cost.
+1 Action
Set aside any number of Victory cards from your hand face up. At the start of your next turn, put them into your hand.
2 VP
Make your expanding green space fit your engine, tucking it all out the way. You'll need several of these to keep it up.
+: it's a nice thing to collect, a Victory card that can fit into the modern engine meta.
-: you can already do what this does with plenty of official cards, just not increasing your score at the same time. No testing yet, the cost or terminality may be issues.

Furnace - Action, $4 cost.
When you gain this or play it: trash a card from your hand. If it costs $4 or more, +2 Coffers. If it isn't a Treasure, you may trash another card from your hand.
A trasher that works on buy for immediate use. Good cards can become Coffers, and non-Copper junk fuel to burn more junk. When a Furnace trashes itself, you get both Coffers and more trashing.
+: some interesting decision making involved.
-: possibly too strong or doing too much.

Glassworks - Action, $2 cost.
+ $2
You may take Exhausted. If you do, +1 Coffers.
When you gain this, you may spend any amount of your $. +1 Villager per $1 you spent.
Glassworks range widely in size, from small domestic businesses to industrial scale. Bigger establishments come with more workforce. Overpay for Villagers on a cheap card, quite simple, only you can Workshop-gain it during your turn and it'll work too. The on-play effect can let you turn an extra Action into a Coffers. So it can in effect let you convert your Villagers info Coffers and vice versa.
+: Simple and effective, hopefully.
-: + $2 +Coffers could be too much for a $2 to give, especially if opened with.

Jailer - Action Attack Duration, $5 cost.
Each other player with exactly 5 cards in hand reveals their hand and sets aside a card that you choose. After they draw their next hand, they put it into their hand.
At the start of your next turn, +3 Cards.
Put one of their cards behind bars for a turn, but next turn it will be released into their hand of 5. Decimate their combos, do general damage, but do so carefully so as not to make their next turn too good. Keep in mind you can't lock someone up from a hand of 6 so easily.
+: an Attack needing some skill that fits right in the mega turn theme.
-: maybe too strong initially, the same as Pillage.

Local Art - Treasure, $5 cost.
When you play this, put a card from your hand onto your deck for + $2.
When you gain this, +4 Cards, +1 Buy, then play any number of Treasures from your hand.
An expression of the local area, drawing the people of your kingdom near. You can gain this to draw 4 cards; then you can play Treasures, which makes buying it not so bad, and overall gives it a lot of different uses depending on when you gain it and what kind of deck you have. The on-play is a weak Silver to balance this, though it's sometimes useful.
(There was a Foreign Art in the set that's now back in the works, explaining the name).
+: a lot of uses makes for a lot of different strategies available with this.
-: it's very radical and could easily be imbalanced.

Playwright - Action, $3 cost.
+1 Action
Look at the top 2 cards of your deck. You may trash one of them. Put the rest back in any order.
This turn, when you play an Action of which there's a copy in the trash, take the Pen.
Pen - Artifact
At Clean-up, you may set aside an Action when you discard it from play. If you do, at the start of your next turn, play it.
It just seemed cute to have writers squabble over a pen like treasurers a key, as well as extending the Renaissance theme directly. Play the Playwright and then a copy of an Action in the trash, and you get a better Prince. So players decide what Actions take the Pen, choosing carefully or adapting to what opponents trash so as to write the story of stronger turns more often than everyone else.
+: this seems like a nice way to get an Artifact.
-: perhaps too game defining, or not simple enough.

Revolters - Action Attack, $4 cost.
+ $2
Each other player may take Exhausted or lose a Villager. Those who do neither gain a Curse.
When you gain this, each player (including you) gets +1 Villager.
They've been worked too hard in awful conditions, and they want your opponents' workers to agree with them. An Attack that tries to take an Action away from the opponents. Forcibly doing this would be imbalanced, so they can instead have a crow for their troubles.
+: it adds a new decision for players to think about.
-: it's a shame that this is basically a curser, that trashing and the Curses emptying make the -1 Action part trivial.

Spinning Jenny - Action Treasure, $5 cost.
+3 Cards
+1 Buy

If it's your Buy phase, then for the rest of the turn, cards with no [ ] cost in the Supply have one that reads, "to buy this, discard 2 cards".
An invention that improved spinning threads to weave into fabrics, and this spins cards through your deck quickly. It can be terminal Action +3 Cards +1 Buy, which already exists and is useful, or it can be a Treasure for non-terminal Buy phase draw. If you do the latter, you'll have to discard cards to buy stuff so you can't use it all.
+: It gets you thinking resourcefully about your cards, and it's an Action Treasure which is also nice in the set.
-: Discarding 2 cards might be too harsh, but at 1 it's a bit too good in big money decks.

Steam Engine - Action, [ ] cost.
+1 Action
Do this up to 3 times: take Exhausted. If you do, you may play an Action from your hand twice.
[ ]: To buy this, trash a Gold from your hand.
The first steam engines could be attached to several different machines. That's what you can do here, Throne up to 3 of your Action cards for an extra Action each time. It's just like going Throne Room - play, Throne Room - play, Throne Room - play, only you need the one Throne card not 3. This powerful effect is expensive though, and you get it in two stages: first get a Gold, then cash it in for a shiny new steam engine.
+: it's an elegant and thematic effect.
-: could easily be too strong, or swingy; you really don't want to draw this dead!

Textile Mill - Action, $5 cost.
+3 Cards
You may take Exhausted. If you do, +2 Cards.
A big place needing lots of people, quickly spinning cards through the deck. Yes, I decided to make both textile industry things draw. This gives you a choice on how much you draw. If you want more, you'll use an extra Action for it. There are times you want less.
+: one of the simplest things to do with Exhausted, and it's effective. It could take on an Artifact too, as an alternative Exhausted option.
-: could either be weak overall or too good with big money.

Timepiece - Action Duration, $4 cost.
+1 Action
Now and at the start of your next turn, look at the top 4 cards of your deck, discard any number and put the rest back in any order.
One plans ahead much better when they know the time. Sort out the top of your deck to be vaguely what you need, and move things you don't want there on. What you need now can be different starting next turn.
+: this has many different uses, yet isn't useful all the time.
-: two sort effects on one card may be too much for some people.

Trade Circle - Action reaction, $4 cost.
Choose one: gain a Silver; or trash a Silver from your hand for + $4.
When a card moves to your deck or discard pile from anywhere except the Supply not during Clean-up, you may discard this to draw the card and get +1 Coffers.
You can get Silvers and/or trade them away for more money. This can be quite niche, so the Reaction adds more function. With the various ways to move your cards around during your turn, you can easily swap this for one such moved card get a Coffers bonus.
+: a new and hopefully interesting Reaction space.
-: possibly the reaction window is too open.

Wastelands - Victory, [ ] cost.
[ ]: To buy this, trash 3 Actions and/or Treasures from your hand.
When this pile empties, it counts as 2 toward game end.
The more wasteland you own, the implication is the more productive your factories are. It rewards having few useful cards in your deck at game end, and has an on-gain that helps achieve this.
+: it makes a new way to win the game that takes strategy and skill. Opening it is bad most of the time, but can be done sometimes.
-: the VP could scale with the number of non-Victories in the deck (which it used to), so it's more defined as alt VP.

Just like Projects, they're effects you buy once and then put a cube on. But unlike Projects, they are one-off boosts that happen right now rather than ones that last for the rest of the game. So the cubes are there to track that you have used the Prospect and can't use it again.

Commission - Prospect, $2 cost.
+1 Buy
Return to your Action phase. Replay the last Action you played this turn that's still in play twice. (Put your cube on it, then on this when it leaves play.)
A single KC when you need it most.
+: it's simple, yet using it isn't always easy.
-: wordy.

Conscription - Prospect, $1 cost.
+1 Buy
Choose one: discard your hand, +1 Villager per card discarded; or +$1 per Villager you have.
Resource conversion to time optimally. Change your Villagers into economy once, so hoarding them can be a strategy. Or if there are no Villagers cards, you can change your hand into Villagers.
+: more new strategies is good.
-: some people may want to try using this twice?

Consumerism - Prospect, $0+ cost.
+5 Buys
You may overpay for this by $2 so non-Victory cards cost $2 less for the turn, or by $4 for all cards.
A big load of free buys with an optional Princess effect to pay for. Use for essential early purchases or build to a massive $ mega turn.
+: lets big spikes of $ by design or by accident always work out.
-: it will take a lot for the Victory cost reduction to be meaningful. $3 overpay may be more realistic.

Demonstration - Prospect, $0 cost.
+1 Buy
Each player (including you) discards their hand and draws the same number of cards. Return to your Action phase.
There are times a change of hand would be just right for you, and there are times when you know the opponents have a good turn. Choose how and when to use this best.
+: a one-time attack suits competitive players whilst not degenerating the game too heavily.
-: there are times when everyone has a good or bad hand, and this isn't advantageous then. Choosing who discards would help avoid this but also be too political.

Dividends - Prospect, $0 cost.
+1 Buy
If you have the same number of Actions and Treasures in play, +1 Coffers and +1 Villager per 1 of each type.
Count the number of times each type appears across the cards in play (Crown will be one for both), then if they're the same you get a Coffers and Villager for every Action (consequently every Treasure too) you have in play. Free tokens you might work to getting or take whenever it's convenient.
+: There are lots of ways this set and Renaissance can get the same number of each type in play, making hopefully compelling replayability.
-: could alternatively feel mundane, if one never works for lots of them.

Imports - Prospect, $4 cost.
Gain a card from the trash.
Setup: add an extra kingdom pile to the trash.
You can either gain a single copy of a unique card for $4, or if there's other trashing (really, tfb) you can regain a trashed Province for $4.
+: unrestricted gain from the trash is safe on a Prospect, and the added pile can be interesting.
-: it might be mundane too often.

Manufacture - Prospect, $2 cost.
+1 Buy
Choose one to gain: a card costing up to $4; a copy of a card you have in play; or a Duchy.
A cheap acquisition, because you make it yourself. It has a distinct early game option in gaining a $4 for $2, a late game boost in VP, and a middle game boost in gaining a copy of a good card you have in play.
+: it's an elegant way to get 3 different uses on the same card.
-: the late option in a Duchy might be comparatively weak.

Migration - Prospect, $1 cost.
+1 Buy
Trash an Action from your hand to put your deck and discard pile into your hand. Return to your Action phase.
Put your whole deck into hand at once, at the cost of an Action card. Time it when you have the right Action to lose and there's enough stuff in the deck.
+: A new means of card movement opens up new strategies.
-: maybe too cheap or swingy, if the Action to trash comes too late.

Prediction - Prospect, $2 cost.
+1 Buy
Put any number of cards you have in play that would be discarded this turn onto your deck.
Replay stuff next turn. When do you really need to do this?
+: an effective one-off.
-: it should work? Maybe it's a bit uninteresting.

Progress - Prospect, $2 cost.
+1 Buy
Take half the tokens on this (round up) as Coffers, the rest as Villagers.
When a card costing $4 or more is gained, add a token to this.
A passive accumulation of tokens that players have to time taking. When do you need them, can you take them away from opponents when they really need them, can you try waiting for more?
+: lots of strategy to consider.
-: can be hard to remember adding a token each time.

Stocks - Prospect, $1+ cost.
You may overpay for this. +1 Coffers per $1 overpaid.
Save some of your money from a turn for later.
+: overpay for Coffers can be achieved on a one-off.
-: timing may be trivial, that you always do it on a $3/4 or 4/3 start to get $5s.

Takeover - Prospect, [ ] cost.
Gain a Victory card.
[ ]: To buy this, reveal and discard 2 Actions.
One of your Provinces/Colonies this game is quite cheap. When will you get it?
+: simple.
-: possibly just a boring speedup to the game? Or it rewards bad play?

And that's the end. I hope you've enjoyed looking through these as much as I enjoyed making them. Maybe you've seen a mistake or flaw somewhere, in which case don't be afraid to tell. No design can be called perfect or final without criticism, and part of the thrill of the design process is identifying and making gradual improvements.

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