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Messages - Donald X.

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Dominion General Discussion / Re: Interview with Donald X.
« on: December 15, 2018, 02:54:45 am »
Did you decide that you shouldn't be able to buy the same project twice for mechanics reasons, and then balance projects around that? Or did the no buying the same project twice rule come about due to needing to limit the power of some projects?
Originally they were states and each player got a copy. So there was no thought of letting you have two of one then; it would have been 6 more cards per state. When they turned into projects, I just kept them at one per player. But I immediately tried a card that let you place a second token on a project, and it was a dud.

In general I like to let people get multiple copies of an ability. It's the same number of rules - people are used to games not letting them have two of the same ability, so you have to spell out that they can. It generates more extreme situations and I like that. It does sometimes limit what you can do - the card phrasings have to all make sense, and it's bad if lots of abilities are now so strong with two copies that you have to cost them for that and then they suck at one copy. Here I didn't really consider it beyond that card. I didn't want to give you more cubes; sure you could have two cubes and be able to go up to two somewhere, but it would have felt like, wouldn't it be more fun to have four cubes. I wanted simplicity; this way I dodged any explanations of "what if you have two of this" (Nefarious didn't get "this twist copies the other twist" because the publisher didn't like the rules questions and phrasing changes that created). But it was not much on my mind.

Rules Questions / Re: Posession and projects
« on: December 14, 2018, 07:28:25 pm »
In the past I would assume that if I was possessing a player and purchased a project  that I would be purchasing the project for that player,  which they would keep the rest of the game.   However since the Eratta for  possession seems to have the spirit of intention with coin tokens and debt tokens that you get them, and this feels valid so you can’t muck up another players strategy too much.

But is this the case with projects? Simply put if I’m possessing a player and buy a project am I getting that project or are they getting that project?
Possession now only makes an exception for debt tokens; no other tokens are affected. So if you possess someone and make them buy a project, that's them buying the project for themselves.

Lurker + Silk Merchant

Your lurkers can now be used as +1 Action +1 Villager +1 Coffers until the silk merchants run out.
And after it does!

Dominion General Discussion / Re: Interview with Donald X.
« on: December 14, 2018, 03:46:25 am »
Why did Swindler survive the Intrigue re-design? It is hard for new players to understand (in my experience), takes a long time to resolve in many-player games, and (my main complaint) is very luck-swingy.
I haven't had the experience of it confusing people, I've continued to enjoy the card over the years, and some cards get to be swingy.

Swindler was not close to the chopping block. Closer cards included:
- Harem. It's called Harem. It would have left but it shows a real person.
- Baron. It's not so fun to think the move is to open with it and then draw it with no Estates.
- Trading Post. I don't like how it's good turn one and sucks if you get it later.
- Minion. More hated than Swindler.
- Mining Village. It should trigger e.g. at start of buy phase, both for tracking and to save time considering it. But I couldn't just change that and call it Mining Village.

The last card to go was Coppersmith. Some people miss it. Possibly Baron or Trading Post would have been a better call.

Rules Questions / Re: Clean-up order of operations
« on: December 13, 2018, 05:02:49 pm »
But the interesting question is the interaction between Walled Village and Improve. The question is, what does "At the start of Clean-up, if you have this and no more than one other Action card in play" mean, timing-wise?

Let's say you have 3 Action cards in play. Both Walled Village and Improve trigger at the start of Clean-up, so you can choose the order. If you choose WV first, there's no question, you can't topdeck it. But if you choose Improve first, and trash a card, you have 2 Actions in play. Can you topdeck WV now? I would say yes, since it's still technically start of clean-up - you're still in the process of doing "start of clean-up" abilities.
The wiki covers this. Walled Village's trigger is "at the start of clean-up"; none of the rest is checked until you resolve it, and it only matters what the board state is then.

Why are these mats called "Victory token player mat" and not "Victory Points token player mat"? Sorry that terminology just bugs me.
No-one noticing or caring, not sure which. That isn't the kind of thing that has a real reason.

The reason is probably there needed to be at least 4, so there would be 5 mats in total. But then the sheet jus got filled up to 8 because there was space and art available.
There needed to be at least 6 VP mats - the expansions always support 6 players - plus Trade Route makes 7 mats, and so yes there was space on the sheet so there are two more mats and Jay varied the art on all these mats (from existing art) so as to give the extra copies some value.

Dominion FAQ / Re: Playing with 8P
« on: December 11, 2018, 04:08:51 pm »
For large player-count non-party-games, counting social deduction as party games, the big thing is to make decisions simultaneously. For years there my go-to game with 7 players was Factory Job. It was published in distorted form as Infiltration, and they didn't support 7 players, I guess to keep components down, although man, why not seize the chance to have a game that works with 7? That's a big thing though, that publishers want to keep components down and that can limit how many players a game supports.

It's fair to say that Factory Job is an Ameritrash-y game; swingy things happen. That's not essential though. Other simultaneous-decision games of mine, aside from not having enough components for more players, often run into an area-of-effect issue. If you play Nefarious with 6, you get hit by too many negative effects from inventions; you can address that with an area-of-effect, but then the game rewards/punishes players based on seating position, which people don't like. This is a result of my approaches to reduce politics. You can have a political simultaneous decision game with 8 players with no problem, e.g. Diplomacy. Or, a more solitaire-y game, where the player interaction is e.g. a race. I played a lot of wordsplay at one point - essentially online Boggle - and there can be 50 people playing and it's fine, someone does the best.

You can have dilemmas that work with a large crowd; it's a different experience but does work. This provides a way to get lots of player interaction into a non-political non-random many-player game without an area-of-effect. I haven't done a large game with such a mechanic though. Factory Job is a dilemma game, but it's small group dilemmas (you aren't so much interacting with people who aren't near you).

Dominion General Discussion / Re: Interview with Donald X.
« on: December 10, 2018, 06:19:34 pm »
I think I need to correct myself. I was being hasty to reply and didn't read the conversation throroughly. It's my bad for wasting your time with this. I'll still try to explain my point of view:
The thing with Vampire vs Scholar is, Vampire is complex, and Scholar is simple. You did Vampire before Scholar. So to me this means you didn't do Vampire because you ran out of simple options, as later there were still simple options left.

Sticking with the toothpaste comparison, I agree, of course you can't squeeze infinite amounts of toothpaste out of that thing. What I'm saying is that there's still plenty of toothpaste inside. That toothpaste isn't Smithy levels of simplicity, and it's not like I (or anybody else) wants new cards to be base levels of complexity. But every time you introduce a new submechanic, like Villagers, VP tokens, Durations, Reserves, Events, etc, you can do a bunch of things with them without each individual card being overly complex, and there's still plenty such mechanics in the tube.
I did Vampire to do a card called Vampire. I was obv. not paying attention to complexity there and should have been. One of the things Renaissance does to be simpler is, it has really dull flavor. There was no point at which I thought, "how can I make this more like a Scholar."

There are two kinds of simple cards in Renaissance. There are cards with no new mechanics (yes counting Coffers as new), like Scholar. And then there are the ones with new mechanics, like Silk Merchant.

Silk Merchant requires a bunch of rules. They are in the rulebook instead of on the card, but they're still there, you still have to learn them. If we put them on the card it would be a mess.

It's this big trick, that you can hide rules in the rulebook, and act like you have something simpler. You do actually have something simpler, in that, you only learn what Villagers are once, and then know what they are for several cards that use them. Six cards with villagers is simpler than six cards with different mechanics. But still, that first card is actually more complex than if it were just loaded up with text explaining the ability; it's that, plus you also have to pick up the rulebook.

It's no coincidence that Renaissance, trying to be simpler, has these rulebook mechanics. Look how sleek and pretty Silk Merchant is. And Villagers and Coffers are two very easy to learn things, they are some of the simplest possible things tokens could mean in Dominion. As these basic things get used up, the rulebook mechanics get less easy to learn, and worse in all other respects too; a classic thing is just, Dominion doesn't give you much to hang effects on, when you want something to be relevant in nearly every game with it. I mean the same logic that says that you run out of simple things to do, extends to stuff that refers you to the rulebook; it just feels like you can get way more complex there because you've hidden the rules. But, the point here is, yes, I leaned on tokens to try to have a simpler set. And that's the big thing you can do to keep making expansions: add rulebook text and components.

But I don't think it's good to have Dominion expansions where every card sends you to the rulebook. The sets need non-rulebook cards too. And you run out of simple things to do there.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: Interview with Donald X.
« on: December 10, 2018, 05:48:46 pm »
And they give people the chance to buy real Dominion with a different theme instead of buying a clone. That's nice too. The people who would have preferred a new expansion can still play the spin-off; it just doesn't combine. In exchange it gets to have whatever else it has.

So, it feels like this is the same line of thinking that gave us "Deckbuilder" on the back of Magic cards, and that went... where that went.  Do you think Dominion differs from Magic in a way that makes a second game line in the Dominion family feasible?  Do you ever wish you'd given Dominion a more generic card back so you could make combinable spinoffs?  (not counting Intrigue)
I don't so much follow you. Yes Wizards thought they'd make a bunch of games and wanted to tie them together with a brand. They actually made those games and they were not successful. I think it would be good to make a bunch of Dominion spin-offs. I haven't done it, we don't know how they'd do yet. The evidence is that there was a market for them though.

Dominion and Magic are different in a ton of ways, but one way is, people can't really play two collectible card games. This is what came out of Wizards making a bunch of them. Some people would try the new game, and then you know, they only have so much money for money-bleeding games, only so much time to spend building decks, and in the end they'd play just one game, and since the big one is Magic, they played Magic. The only way to sell a new CCG was to sell it to an audience that wasn't playing Magic, e.g. Pokemon. Meanwhile Dominion is a regular tabletop game. You buy it and then can invite three people over and you all play with the same copy. It comes with all the cards. It requires none of your time when not playing, and does not bleed you. So it's easy to buy a second one and get value from it; it's just like buying any two board games. Time you spend playing Ra is time you aren't spending playing Clash of Gladiators, but that isn't actually a problem. And again, there are lots of successful Dominion clones.

I don't like the Dominion back; it would be great if it were whatever other prettier thing. The idea to spin-offs isn't to be able to combine cards though.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: Interview with Donald X.
« on: December 09, 2018, 05:13:12 pm »
I think what Asper meant was that there are still plenty of card ideas that don't add any new complexity to the game, but it's going to be harder to do that than to introduce a new mechanic over time.
You are the one talking about that.

No, this is what I meant. Apparently you were able to do something like Scolar after deciding to do, let's say, Vampire.
I don't know what you mean at all then. Scholar hadn't been done yet, so I could do Scholar; of course having done Vampire didn't get in the way.

I feel like I've thoroughly addressed the topic of why exactly you run out of simple things to do. If some part didn't make sense, you will have to point it out very precisely for me to able to answer you.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: Interview with Donald X.
« on: December 08, 2018, 04:32:07 pm »
And Dominion then drops huge chunks of possibilities by avoiding having cards that are so similar that players wouldn't like it

Do you have a standard for this? Has it changed over time?

Unless I did the maths wrong, even if all you own is Base Set (1st Edition), Guilds and Renaissance, the probability of a game with both Ducat and Candlestick Maker is 1 in 43.4 (61C8/63C2), and even then there are several cards that would make them different enough to be interesting. That's the worst case scenario (as long as there are no more small expansions). In my view, that is rare enough that the risk from any new card that's too similar to one from another expansion wouldn't warrant too much hate.
There are already people who don't like Ducat, so it's not great to do lots of that, but I was talking about cards even more similar than that.

I don't have a way to quantify how new the cards have to be; they have to be new.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: Interview with Donald X.
« on: December 08, 2018, 04:25:44 pm »
I think what Asper meant was that there are still plenty of card ideas that don't add any new complexity to the game, but it's going to be harder to do that than to introduce a new mechanic over time.
You are the one talking about that.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: Interview with Donald X.
« on: December 07, 2018, 05:21:15 pm »
You have to put progressively more effort into making designs simple as there are more cards, but that doesn't mean simple designs have become impossible.
Similarly you can keep getting toothpaste from a tube forever; you just need to apply more and more force.

Which is to say, I disagree. And I mean there's no way out, there's no, oh there's the secret corner of simple cards. For example, Smithy is +3 Cards. That's the end of the line for that level of simplicity; there's no compelling single + left to do. Whatever hope +4 Cards had vanished when I did +4 Cards with a bonus. I could potentially do one via having a new kind of cost like debt, or a new kind of + like +Coffers... but that's added complexity, I just moved it to the rulebook. I can't make the same argument for e.g. Harbinger's level of complexity, and there is probably stuff left to do at that level. But you definitely run out. It's not just a question of how lazy I am. There is some amount of complexity, that Dominion has already used, where you can keep going long enough to not worry about it; the goal though is to be less complex than that.

I will explain it in detail. Card text is made up of qualified rules atoms strung together by program flow. Rules atoms are the smallest things you can do in the game; qualifiers are the most basic ways of distinguishing things. Program flow is logic for doing things - "do a then b," "if x do a else do b" and so on. There are only so many rules atoms, only so many qualifiers, and only so many ways to have programs flow. For a certain number of steps, there is a finite amount you can do; it's inarguable. And Dominion then drops huge chunks of possibilities by avoiding having cards that are so similar that players wouldn't like it. As well as e.g. by avoiding cards that would just be stupid. It also has very few rules atoms.

It means you have to decide whether you prefer to spend increasing effort or prefer increasing complexity.
Those aren't the only options. There are spin-offs; there are unrelated games.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: Interview with Donald X.
« on: December 06, 2018, 07:53:48 pm »
It doesn't even work then, because cards can have more than one mechanic.

silk merchant - when-gain / when-trash / coffers / villagers
vampire - night / bat / hexes / states
peasant - travellers / reserve / tokens on piles
marauder - ruins / spoils / cause shelters to be added
tracker - heirloom / boons / wisp
treasurer - interact with trash / artifact
bridge troll - duration / -$1 token
contraband - treasure that does something / cause platinum and colony to be added
knights - mixed pile / VP that does something
possession - potion

pilgrimage - event / journey token
mountain pass - landmark / VP tokens / debt / bidding

Dominion General Discussion / Re: Interview with Donald X.
« on: December 06, 2018, 06:24:11 pm »
Wouldn't Dominion reach "peak complexity" given the limited size of Kingdoms? You can already have "12 unique mechanics" kingdoms.

This only makes sense if complexity is narrowly defined as "number of unique mechanics in the same game".
It doesn't even work then, because cards can have more than one mechanic.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: Interview with Donald X.
« on: December 06, 2018, 03:41:02 pm »
Wouldn't Dominion reach "peak complexity" given the limited size of Kingdoms? You can already have "12 unique mechanics" kingdoms.
There's no such thing as peak complexity. As you use up simple ideas, they're used up, and the cards get more complex.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: Interview with Donald X.
« on: December 06, 2018, 04:33:29 am »
You can also argue that probably any 9th expansion is only for people who bought 8 expansions (or maybe 6-7 leaving out 1-2 that sounded bad to them), no matter what the contents.

300 year old post, but I feel like it didn't really pan out this way. One of the cool things about Dominion (imo) is that any combination of expansions is fine, and no set depends on having experience with any other set. That made it considerably less intimidating to get into for me, knowing that it basically didn't matter what order I bought them in.

A number of your older posts talk about how expansions can only do so much, and that you'd prefer to do more spin-offs. Obviously you thought releasing a recent expansion was a good idea (spoiler: it was :D), but do you still agree with past-DXV re: spin-offs?
I haven't re-read the old posts but I bet I do.

I think there are plenty of people who bought expansions up to a certain set and then stopped. Sure there are other people who bought the five sets that looked the best, which weren't the first five in order, and may someday get another.

One issue with expansions over spin-offs is that they get more complex over time. This totally happened. Renaissance struggles to be simpler, but it's not like I can just do that every time and get that level of complexity. You really run out of simple stuff. Spin-offs offer the chance to do new simple cards based on whatever other elements the game has.

And they give people the chance to buy real Dominion with a different theme instead of buying a clone. That's nice too. The people who would have preferred a new expansion can still play the spin-off; it just doesn't combine. In exchange it gets to have whatever else it has.

What happened with the spin-offs was, I made one and took the Dominion part out and that's Kingdom Builder. And I made a second and took the Dominion part out and that's Temporum. I still think it would be good to make some.

I'm aware that prior to 2013 unofficial implementations of Dominion such as Isotropic and Androminion had the implicit consent of Donald X and RGG (as long as they remained non-profit and didn't use official artwork). Following the introduction of Dominion Online, these were discontinued (though Androminion still appears to be available online, albeit not through Google Play). At the same time, simulators such as Geronimoo's and Dominiate (which don't permit full gameplay but still implement the game mechanics) continue to operate.

My question is: would it be ok to implement and release an unofficial (and non-profit) Dominion game that allows you to play only with unofficial fancards (apart from the base treasure and victory cards)? I'm looking for a pet coding project and implementing Dominion would be lots of fun. My end goal would likely be a simple console application that lets you define and play with custom cards, and perhaps a rudimentary AI.

Anyone know who I can contact to find out. And if this is still not ok, what (if anything) I could get away with implementing?
We allowed isotropic and some other versions such as the BGA one, with the idea being, we weren't doing anything there, why not be friendly. We are doing something there now though, the dominiongames version. So nothing else is allowed. I'm not the one to ask for permission, but RGG would say no. I don't think RGG could even say yes; contractually they probably give ShuffleiT an exclusive.

When someone says "what could I get away with without being sued," I think, "here is someone who is not my friend." You can get away with making some completely unrelated game, that's what you can get away with; there is plenty of fun to be had writing programs for games which are not Dominion. There are games desperate to have programs, where the publishers would surely be happy to have someone promoting their game. Programs for Greed or Nefarious would be great, for example. I can't give permission from those publishers, not being them, but you know.

You can also just make something for yourself. By not sharing it online you gain the ability to do endless things that you'd never get permission for.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: Interview with Donald X.
« on: December 02, 2018, 05:50:01 am »
Why can't Miser reserve non-Copper treasures?
I wanted to avoid potential confusion on the Tavern mat. The only card there that isn't a Reserve card is Copper.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: Card Rankings for 2018?
« on: December 01, 2018, 04:55:51 pm »
Are we going to do that?
Yes, they've started a discord channel for it and I imagine someone will post something here for non-discord people at some point.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: Interview with Donald X.
« on: December 01, 2018, 02:41:21 am »
Why does Improve only work on Actions and not Treasures?

With the "exactly" clause, working on treasures would make it way stronger, as it becomes an already-spent Copper-trasher.
Yes; the whole idea was to make something that gave you some of the fun Procession does. "Exactly" goes that direction and then it's a much different card if it can trash Copper.

Does this mean that Seaside 2E has newer and older printings that are different?
I think so. I think in general the policy would be, why not fix this when we can. Surely there won't be enraged fans with their no-dividing-lines Treasuries to prevent us from fixing it.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: Interview with Donald X.
« on: November 30, 2018, 07:14:37 pm »
I've been wondering for some time: Is Dominion Online something you could consider a spinoff interesting enough to do something special for? I'm not talking about new cards really, you haver answered that before, but rather things like tweaks that smooths the online play experience and maybe sideway cards that perhaps only is relevant to have in an online, competitive, environment? Is it something you could see yourself enjoying working on future on?
The idea is to keep online Dominion as an implementation of the physical game, that promotes the physical game without e.g. teaching you rules that will be wrong there.

I don't need to rule out extra online content. There were the campaigns and their special rules before.

Also: Have you entertained thoughts on doing some very niched Dominion expansions, biased to a certain element in the game? I realise that there is a money factor there, a niched expansion will have fewer fans, but if enough interest is granted: Would it be fun for you to do, say, a very swingy expansion or an extremely player interaction/attacky one? (Could of course focus on other themes, only mentioned things I could see myself really be hyped about)
I feel like Dominion itself is niche enough to not do something nicher.

There was a player interaction heavy set where Dark Ages is, but I stole cards from it for other sets because all sets needed those cards. I wouldn't call it niche; it was great. An extra-attacky set seems counter to what most players want.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: Interview with Donald X.
« on: November 29, 2018, 05:20:14 pm »
One thing I didn't consider at the time that might have been possible is a mixed update pack - seven new cards that were spread around between expansions. I haven't put in any work there either, I just see now that it might have been an option.
Unless you were sure people would remove the cards you "replaced", wouldn't that be a miniature version of the treasure-chest expansion people often clamour for?
New printings of the various expansions would have the replacements. That's the whole idea; the update pack would just be so you didn't have to buy all the expansions to get the replacements.

Also the cards wouldn't specifically be trying to be a treasure chest; they wouldn't have to get in any particular mechanics.

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