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Topics - Holunder9

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Variants and Fan Cards / Power cards
« on: October 17, 2018, 10:06:06 am »
OK, here is a wacky one. No idea if this is any good.
Power cards are a variation on Projects but they are not sideways, i.e. they are Kingdom cards that can be normally gained.
They are not gained into your discard pile though but directly into play. That's all there is to it.

Here are some rough sketches, no names or mockups yet. I hope it is not too hard to read:

At the end of your Buy phase, you may spend to put a card from your hand on your Tavern mat.
At start of your turn, take or trash this.

During your Action phase, you may spend an Action for +  .
At the start of your turn, discard a Treasure card or trash this.

During your Clean-up phase, before drawing cards, you can keep any number of cards in your hand.
When you gain this, +1 or +1 Villager.

At the start of your turn, +1 Action or +1 Buy.
At the end of your turn, discard a card or pass this to the player to your left.

During your Buy phase, you may spend to activate this.
When you buy a card, you may overpay for it. For each you overpaid, +1 Coffers.

During your Action phase, you may draw 3 Cards. If you do, discard a card, freeze this 2 times and each other player draws 2 Cards and discards a card.
During your Action phase, you may discard a card costing   or more to thaw this.


At the end of the game, take an extra turn. Players take single extra turns in player order, waiting until the other players finished their single turns before playing their next, single extra turn.
At the start of your turn, discard a card or trash this.

Some quick comments:
1 - Paying for trashing or Islanding.
2 - Using Actions as net source of income of +4 (you have to discard at least a Copper). But if you go too engine-y, they self-destroy.
3 - The effect is weak and doesn't satck but sometimes you only want this only for the VPs or the Villagers.
4 - Probably too similar to Fair. Passing is borrowered from Masquerade and as Power cards are never in your hand, discard or deck that means that the other player immediately puts it into play after it is passed and can immediately use it next turn.
5 - Activate means that the card is active afterwards, for the rest of the game, and not before. This is meant to emulate building it in potentially two steps. We will learn about the playtesting multistep Projects once the Secret History is out. Even at a cumulated price of 6 the overpaying for Coffers is probably totally bonkers.
6 - Either it is a Forum that has to discard something good or you wait until it thaws on it own. Freezing is a mechanic by Gazbag, it means that you put that many tokens on it, discard a token at the start of your turn and once no tokens are on it the Power card is active again. Thaw means you remove all tokens.
7 - The official card-shaped thing that grants an extra turn at the end of the game will most likely be a Project. This can stack so you can pull off funky tricks like 3-piling and then getting some Provinces. But if you get too many copies of the card too early, you could Miltia yourself to death. The wording is pretty awkward.

Variants and Fan Cards / Anticipating Renaissance
« on: August 28, 2018, 11:31:28 am »
While we are waiting on Renaissance it might be fun to come up with some cards that could match the expansion.

Trash a card from your hand. Take a number of Action tokens equal to its cost in Coins.

Nothing fancy, salvage for Action tokens. Could be too crazy.

+1 Card
+2 Actions
Pay any number of Coin tokens, then draw that many cards.

A village that converts Coin tokens into Card tokens and liquidates them.

You may do this more than once: convert 3 Coin tokens into 2 Victory tokens or vice versa.

OK, doesn't strictly match the expansion as it doesn't seem to include Events and Victory tokens.
This could be bonkers with Baker or even Plaza but at least early in the game you normally prefer 1 Coin token over 1 Victory token. So perhaps it is most interesting in Kingdoms with Victory tokens.

Artifact - Victory
At the start of each of your turns: You may trash a card from your hand. If you did not, +1 Card.
When you buy this, you may overpay for it. If you did not overpay as much as there are Coin tokens on this, return it to the Supply. If you did, remove the Coin tokens on this and for each you overpaid, put a Coin token on this.
This costs 5 plus the number of Coin tokens on it.

The basic idea is that there is only one copy of each Artifact, that it is out-of-deck and that you can bid for it (not particularly creative as I have something similar in my fan cards set with Conjuration). If somebody bids more than you later though you lose it entirely.
I first wanted to do this as pure Victory card but realized that it is too similar to Mountain Pass and not dynamic enough; in most games somebody will pay a lot of for a lot of VPs late in the game lest somebody pays more. With this you have an incentive to go for it early, even if somebody takes it away from you a few turns later.
The wording is bad though as it only refers to buy and not gain as it should (unless you specify that Artifacts are something like Events, i.e. you can only buy them and then get the card-shaped thing in front of you).

Variants and Fan Cards / Holunder's cards
« on: January 26, 2018, 05:58:09 am »
Hi folks, been a lurker on this and the German forum and since Nocturne came out I worked on some cards, done with herw's great template.
There are Night cards, Heirlooms, new States and new junk, cards based on offical outtakes (lame!) and cards based on ideas by other fan card designers: Gazbag's freeze mechanic, ThetaSigma12's Landforms and Asper's Edicts:

Blackmail is a new junk card that should feature a different card back to prevent cheating. Racketeer and City Guard are probably gonna be part of either a split pile or a double pile with none covered up by the other and both being in the Supply all the time.
City Guard might be too good as it could easily net a lot of Coin tokens but I expect it to mostly shine in the late part of the game and in alt-VP.

Assassin also features 20 (I don't often play 4P so 20 suffice) unique junk cards. They are supposed to be shuffled together (with the top card of the pile being visible like with Ruins) which might be too random, e.g. in a game without trashers Heretic is very nasty. In general the junk is on the weaker side, they are all cantrips and you can e.g. discard a Turncoat with a Turncoat.
Bribe is based on an outtake and perhaps it works here. The junk is not that bad such that to pass or not to pass the Bribe sometimes (hopefully!) becomes a real decision.

These are just "vanilla" states which, like Lost in the Woods, are singular and wander between player. The more interesting part of Conjuration should be that kind of bidding game. The mechanic is directly taken from Runewars.

Royal Guard is pretty straightforward and actually came before Conjuration (see above for Protected).

Glacier is a variation of Gazbag's card, taking into account Cookielord's suggestion to make this pure green which could lead to more interesting alt-VP play.

Ordinary Night cards cannot feature vanilla stuff, hence all the Night-Durations. Tokens are another way and Nightmare and Spectre are shots at that. Nightmare's attack is based on an outtake by DXV. Note that you can only be hit once during your turns which might partially compensate for the non-terminality of the attack. It could of course still be too strong.
Action tokens should function like Coin of the Realm, i.e. you spend them after having played an Action card to get +1 Action.

There are 3 cases with Spectre:
no trashers - this only hexes.
trashers but no other junkers - this is a Copper/Estate junker
trashers and other junkers - universal junker
In my opinion only the last case is potentially problematic but I don't expect the trashing/junking ping-pong that could arise to be worse than multiplayer Ambassador (unlike with Ambassador you gotta play 2 cards).
But of course it has to be tested, increasing the size of the junk pool is a dubious idea.

Like Rats and Magpies those Owls procreate but not that easily. I am not quite happy with the other parts of the card though. It probably has to cost 5 as you can easily make them behave like Bakers with, most likely, 2VPs stacked on top of it. Key is there to make Owl decent in the opening. Putting Victory cards into your hand probably doesn't have many interactions, only Monastery and City Guard comes to mind, so that part could be deleted.

Evocation is another outtake.

Icelands is based on Gazbag's freeze mechanic and ThetaSigma12's Landmarks and might be too boring: you just automatically do it whenever you green and have Coins left. When you thaw the cards the Ice tokens are supposed to return to the Supply, not to Icelands; this rule should be on the card but I felt it was too wordy.

More overpaying with Peace. The Edict mechanic is an invention of Asper and I tried to set the ratio such that there are no 'strictly better' cases but Tunnel-Duchy is the exception.

Chappy7 pointed out that Spectre is bad if good stuff lands in the trash so I changed Spectre to only junk cards from the trash that cost up to 2.
Owl got nerfed (really?) a different Victory condition (from DXV's Secret History). It is in general a difficult condition to meet but Owl can be used as economy.

Azure Cove
is new and might be too similar to Avanto. Avanto is only non-terminal if you draw into Sauna whereas this is always non-terminal but you have to pay for the Action later.


Another double pile! Like Racketeer and City Guard Djinn and Efreet are constantly in the Supply with 5 per "half-pile" .
This is obviously a thematically inspired idea. Djinn came pretty natural (might be nearly as good as Artisan but it is trickier to gain) whereas Efreet was a card that I came up with some time ago but never liked as it felt too strong. I put it fairly randomly on Efreet as I thought that getting it later in the game would nerf it enough and only then I realized some interesting stuff: you can gain Efreet via Wishes as long as you have a Djinn in play. Efreet makes alt-VP better so wishing for Duchies might be a strategy.
I am still not sure whether Efreet is balanced (I will also test it with "draw 3 cards instead of 5") or any good though.

All of these are thematically or mechanically inspired by other fan card designers.

EDIT: The old Duration Phoenix was incredibly weak because it stayed out too long. My new attempt is at best roughly as good as Hunting Grounds (you non-terminally draw 5 cards but then have to play Ashes so the net effect is +4 Cards) but in addition to that it does some Island-ing. You can even Island a Curse, leave it on the mat for some turns and take it back when you have a trasher in hand.
I hope this isn't too good, as usual only playtesting will tell.

The lady asked for some Nightwatch cards after we first played with Night cards so here they are.
They are directly inspired by Gazbag's freeze mechanism .  The Season mechanic is by Asper and Cookielord.
White Walker is a variant of Yeti, Builder is the first version of Frost Spirit and Steward is Cold Storage.
There are 3 of each Brother and 6 White Walkers, shuffled together such that 3 Brothers are on top so the entire thing could be too random. I tried to make all cards versatile and fairly strong for their price to avoid that a bad card will prevent that the cards beneath it will see the sunlight.
Dragonglass Dagger is more of an afterthought, it is a Venture variant that can change the opening a bit like Doctor.

About the actual cards, Builder is a temporary pseudo-trasher, Ranger makes all Action cards next turn additional Fugitives and defends against the Walkers, Steward gains 5s that come into your deck a bit later, White Walker is a never-missing pseudo-trashing attack with a Rogue-like gain-from-freeze-limbo option.

I also used pacovf's suggestion for freeze as new keyword:

Nothing fancy, just a one-shot that distributes Blackmail. Getting a boon seems like a natural thing for a one-shot.

I need a village for my set so here it is. Like Extortioners is another way to spread Blackmails this is another way to get Traitors into the game. It is a bit like Blessed Village and Ill-Gotten Gains.
I tried to make the village effect non-standard because $4 for a village that junks when you gain it seemed too strong. Now it is either a Necropolis or a village that can draw from the discard pile and in case the opponents play BM or don't play a Vice Town during their turns you get an auto-Village next turn via Commanding (like when it gets used with Conjuration there is only one Commanding in play).

It looks like this is a way to emulate conditional durations (that can never occur or endure for more than just 1 turn) with the vanilla States. Of course there is also similar stuff you could do, e.g. you could take Beguild, i.e. the +1 Card State, when you gain a card such that the on-gain bonus becomes something like a conditional half Exploration.

Here are some cards that play with with the Conjuration States. They are more conceptual than the other ones and more about finding out whether the basic idea works or not:

A Silver+ for $4 is always a dubious notion. I think it works here though because the price of perhaps getting an extra Buy next turn (and with an even bigger perhaps, in future turns) is to play this as a Copper.

Kind of a reverse Relic. The buying of this will start something like a war of attrition: you don't really want that lousy Silver for $5 but you have to get it lest the other player gets a free Lab every turn.

Here we have something like an on-gain Treasury but this time you don't have to pay "too much" for a Silver but pay "too little" for a mere one-shot Fugitive to stop your opponent's Treasury for $2.
On-gain creates another mini-game though, under normal circumstances (i.e. no gainers and Remodel variants) you don't want to gain the 9th card (or 8th card in a 3P game) of the pile because then another player could empty the pile and get a safe Treasury for $2. No idea whether this is fun though.

This is unrelated to the Conjuration States and, once again, about Gazbag's great freezing mechanic.
The pile only contains 5 cards with Extinction being the 6th card underneath the 5 Mammoths. Like with Philosophers you don't want your opponent to get the last Mammoth.

About the duration effect, my Nightwatch Ranger is to Fugitive what Mammoth is to Asper's Scientist. Scientist  is based on Storyteller's idea of converting coins into cards. With Storyteller you convert existing Coins whereas with Scientist you backload it.
The entire idea could be totally broken, it is a card which needs quite some playtesting.

A simple idea, related to Coin of the Realms, for callable infinite Buys. A nice feature is that you cannot call the card in the turn you played it so in an engine where you need the extra Buys to get components you need at least 2 in your deck.
The purpose of the wording is to prevent the emptying of Curses/Coppers as well as funky stuff with Peddlers and cost reduction.

This is based on an idea by Seprix.
If you give it a fixed price it could be better than Province in some Kingdoms (e.g. if there are Attacks, Durations and Night cards this is better than Province as you can always buy a Curse to make Gate worth 7VPs). The variable/extra cost is a way to make the card a bit more interesting. Now you want to gain it when you have few different types in play yet your deck should have many different types.

Lich is inspiread by Kudasai's Old Witch but will play quite differently. It is a half-Curser, meaning that the first time you play it everybody else gets the negative VP and the second time the junk lands in their decks. In addition to that it is mainly a Copper trasher (you can put Curses on the mat to delay the inevitable or put a Silver there just like you would trash a Silver to make Forager better) and provides some scalable payload.

Wanna sift through or trash some junk? Here is the guy for it. He can also set up a Province for your Tournament or dig for a Night card. Overall a versatile card that is obviously inspired by Settlers. It could be too strong for $2 yet too weak for $3.


A quick non-terminal draw idea that is related to Storyteller, Den of Sin and Expedition. The whole thing could be implemented via Card tokens or whatever but I prefer a card-shaped thing.
Slightly buffed via gaining Cursed Abbey to hand and via allowing Invocation to draw cards from the discard pile. The latter might make Invocation less automatic, i.e. don't use them immediately but wait until you have something nice in the discard pile at the start of your turn.

This is a card from one of the contests. I never did anything with positive stuff for the other players so here it is. Obviously the other way around, i.e. you get Coffers and they get Villagers, would be bonkers (not to mention that this design space is already more or less covered by Merchant Guild) and the card, like Monastery, wants to gain several cards per turn to be worthwhile.
As I expect the card to be fairly narrow due to the strength of Coffers I added the hand-gaining.

I tried to make the base version of this work for some time but I was never satisfied with the twists I gave it. This feels OK now.

Here are some nasty sideways cards that slow down play:

Renaissance has an on-shuffle trigger so this is a natural idea that punishes engine play.

Kinda like Tax but you get Ruins instead of Debt and if you cannot or do not want to get rid of them because your Scrying Pools love them so much or because they belong into a Museum you even get some points, set collection style.

First of all, this is in no way intended to be a substitute for Fly-Eagles-Fly's great Winery/Wine design! I first wanted to do something with water, wheat and bread but we already have Mill and Baker.

Winery and Grapes are part of a split pile with Winery above and Grapes below. Both cards are expensive for their vanilla effects but sometimes you might just use them as ordinary engine pieces.
There is a Cornucopia-like theme of variety and while the Coffers and Debt of Grapes are usually a liability you can make an asset out of them. Something like 5 Coffers and 6 Debt can be situationally good.
Wine is a recycling of the main idea of Phoenix (Phoenix was superbad because it is so superslow, taking at least 3 turns to be played again).

Now what about those Night Grapes and Ice Wine? Obviously the source of the idea is thematically, you harvest frozen grapes at night to make sweet wine out of them but your workers are not happy about nearly freezing to death.
My first idea was to make Grapes an Action-Night but that's too wordy to be stuck on one card. So perhaps simply make a double pile of Grapes underneath the Winery, i.e. once the Wineries are gone you can always choose to gain either kind of Grapes? Or maintain the flexibility and implement it as an Action-Night via printing the Action part on one side and the Night part on the other which comes with the problem of having the card being visible in and above all on your deck? I have no idea how to physically implement it well.

I am not totally sure about the downside of the Night Grapes but it does nothing constructive on play and having one or more villages out of your deck for several turns should hurt some.
Ice Wine is controversial as it is something that DXV tested for Intrigue but didn't work: 3 vs 5 Provinces leads to a VP spread of 12 whereas 3 vs 5 Ice Wines leads to a VP spread of 16. Perhaps it can work as on a non-Supply card that is difficult to get?

It's Hobbit time!

The little ones love their Shire so some Victory card interaction it is. Could be that discarding Actions and Treasures is too harsh but Pipe is pretty good (I used something similar on Efreet). Then again Hobbit is just a buffed Scout that might be weaker than Seer.

EDIT: The Pipe trigger is now trashing something good from your hand or discard. Could be situationally even beneficial when you want to get rid of a Silver.

Where there are Hobbits, Wizards are not far:

Wizard is probably a good $4 / weak $5 so without the Artifact it would be an expensive engine piece. Like most Potion cards it has some self-synergy (play 4 Wizards, then take the Staff). If it is too weak I'll merge the card with Settlement.
Staff is pretty crazy and defense strategies are similar to Possession (green earlier). The sifting option is there in case you don't want to gamble or want to exchange your bad hand with your own cards instead of an opponent's card (if he defends e.g. via playing money and greening early)
There are tricks like calling 2 Ratcatchers and then handing the other player a hand of 3 to get a hand of 5 or doing the same via leeching off handsize attacks.

EDIT: Staff only passes up to 3 cards instead of the entire hand.
EDIT2: Got a test game in and Wizard was too weak so I merged it with Settlement which is a slightly weakish $5 so it should be OK for this slot.

This is the Villager version of Asper's Conserve with a fix that LibraryAdventurer suggested.
I hope that this is not as broken as Conserve turned out to be, Villagers should be weaker.

Half in earnest, half in jest:

This idea is thematically inspired by the recent cards with an insanity theme by Kudasai and Fly-Eagles-Fly.
Whenever Bedlam is in the Kingdom Healing is a mandatory Event. Lunatic and Insane are two sides of the same card, like Miserable and Twice Miserable.

The key idea here is to do a harsh permanent Attack that you can defend against relatively easily via Potions which you want anyway to get the card. So while the Kingdom card doesn't directly defend against itself, when you choose to go down the Potion path you get both attack and defense.

Then I settled on the Potion card having to be relatively expensive such that you sometimes cannot afford it and take the Medicine en passant more often than you would if this costed $2P or $3P.
I already had the "Coffers into card draw" idea for some while but it was far too strong for a $5 (there is probably a good reason for why no official card produces more than 2 Coffers) so it was a natural match for the expensive Potion card.

I was a bit sad that overpay did not reappear in Renaissance, it is not a difficult mechanism and there is stuff you could do with it and the tokens.
Marketeer is simply another name for a Buy token (that you can spend at the start of your Buy phase for +1 Buy); overpaying for VP tokens obviously doesn't work (on a Victory card, this card by Theta and AdrianHealey does work).
The anti-Copper clause is there to prevent endgame shenanigans with total Coin transfer; I don't like the enusing overall wordiness though.
Printing Press could be good enough to cost $5 and could be too similar to Academy, Guildhall and Spices.

EDIT: Costed at $5.

I always liked the recent Actions that want Silvers (Sauna, Merchant) or Golds (Encampment, Legionary) in your deck so this is my stab at doing something along these lines:

Both cards are part of a split pile with either 4 of each in a two player game respectively 6 of each in multiplayer.
Timber Raft could be good enough to cost $3. The base price of Riverlands is just a first shot, hard to determine this without playtesting. Riverlands could be in principle too strong. If you manage e.g. to play 3 Timber Rafts and 3 Treasures the first one costs only 1, the second one 2 and so on. Twitching the base price only gets you so far which is why Riverlands is then up for elimination. Its idea is mainly to make Timber Raft better but perhaps this is already good enough on its own.

EDIT: Timber Raft costs $3 now.

This is nothing original but a variation of Gazbag's Artefact. Instead of topdecking green it freezes itself though, so the card is mainly good for buildup. No idea about the best numbers, I wouldn't want to make it cheaper due to quick piling via Workshop variants so if this is too weak/strong the length of freezing are the variables that can be changed.

EDIT: Finally found a decent, albeit wordy, formulation that prevents stacking.

The vanilla stuff is from Tokenmonger aka Wizard. The attack is fairly mild and when  you are hit the second time it is actually beneficial as you get a Fugitive effect, kind of like with Margrave. The entire thing could be too similar to Villain (discard one card, if the guy to your left always discard Copper/Silver you get 2 Coffers).

I first tried to do a discard Attack with Mutineers, the great Militia token concept by Violet CLM, but I didn't come up with something.
Here is the basic idea that is flawed for an obvious reason: nobody wants to ever discard Victory cards to spend Mutineers while somebody else has a Corsair Ship in play. Marketeers (Buy Tokens) are an alternative token that could be coupled to Victory cards but as they are weaker than the other 3 tokens this would lead to the opposite problem: everybody always discards green to spend Mutineers.

Action - Duration - Attack

Each other player gets +1 Mutineer.

Until your next turn, when another player spend a Mutineer, if the discarded card is an...
Action card, +1 Villager
Treasure card, +1 Coffers 
Victory card, +1

At the start of your next turn: +2 Cards.

Here are some quick ideas for an alternative set of Shelters. I guess you could also mix them with the original Shelters and randomly choose one from each of the three sub-categories.

Lodge is a small house so only one dude villager is living there! While the card is superficially similar to Necropolis it will play differently. For example in games without villages it degenerates into a Ruined Village whereas Necropolis can be used as non-drawing village (this being the only situation in which you want to keep Necro). So I guess you will only use Lodge 1-3 times and then try to get rid of it.
Not much to say about Acolyte's Abode, it is my least favourite of the 3. Like Lodge it is also not something you really want to keep around but it can change the opening if somebody opens with 2-5/5-2. This is why it is perhaps too luck-dependent.
Swamp Cabin is remotely inspired by Pasture (a singular non-Supply card changing the worth of basic green). First it had 3VPs per set but got buffed to 4VPs to make it a real alt-VP kick-off card more often.

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