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Messages - emtzalex

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1
Weekly Design Contest / Re: Weekly Design Contest #132: All Hallow's Eve
« on: October 22, 2021, 04:31:12 pm »
What happens if you throne a Goblin?

You can't, it's a Night card.

EDIT: And, more importantly, it's not an Action card.

2
Weekly Design Contest / Re: Weekly Design Contest #132: All Hallow's Eve
« on: October 22, 2021, 02:31:04 pm »
My Submission:




Quote from: Goblin
GOBLIN
NIGHT - RESERVE
Cost: $4
Put this on your Tavern mat. Trash a Treasure have in play. Gain a Treasure costing up to $3 more than it, setting the gained card aside.

At the start of your Buy phase, you may call this, to put the set aside card into your hand.
                                                                


My submission is Goblin. A delayed Mine, it trashes from play, and thus (like Mine) does not reduce your payload on the turn that you use it. It has a slight advantage over Mine in that it is non-terminal, but has the significant disadvantage of requiring the player to wait until at least the next turn before putting the better Treasure into their hand.

While players will usually take the card as soon as possible (their next turn's Buy phase), the fact that it is a Reserve card instead of a Duration allows player to wait (at the cost of their Goblin remaining unavailable for another use), and put the card into their hand on a later turn. This could have strategic advantages in various circumstances (colliding 2 Idols; holding off to add to the gained Treasure to a payload which gets you to a target price point; holding back during a Buy phase on a turn when you plan to use Alms or Advance or play Devil's Workshop to gain a Gold). If you have multiple Goblins, you can do this even more, waiting until all have been played then getting multiple Treasures at once. Goblin's delay can also mitigate the effects of handsize attacks.

The fact that Goblin is called (and then puts the Treasure into your hand) at the start of your Buy phase instead of the start of your turn (like most official Reserve cards) has some synergies, for example with DtX cards and full hand discarders (like Tactician, Scholar, and Minion), but has anti-synergies with cards that use Treasures during your Action phase (like Black Market, Storyteller, and, ironically, Mine/Taxman). Making Goblin a Night card not only helps with the in-play interaction, but also allows the card to be called at the start of a player's Buy phase without the player being able to call the card on the turn it was played (as they could with an Action - Reserve).

Thematically, I think of Goblins as greedy and loving treasure, so, like a Taxman, they always want to get their hands on some Treasure (and if they work for you, you can reap the rewards). While there could in theory be a tracking issue with which Goblin set aside which Treasure, since the Goblins are fungible, it does not matter if one calls a different Treasure than it set aside.

3
Weekly Design Contest / Re: Weekly Design Contest #132: All Hallow's Eve
« on: October 22, 2021, 01:55:01 pm »
I suppose the "any order" here is important as well.

I don't think "any order" is necessary here, actually. That's only used when the cards were already in a specific order on your deck or some such. I don't think cards in your hand are really ordered at all.

Haunted Woods uses "in any order" when instructing a player putting cards from their hand onto their deck, suggesting it should be used here. While the cards in your hand are not already in an order, I supposed "in any order" contrasts with putting them onto your deck in a random order or, in the context of HW, putting them onto the deck in an order chosen by the attacking player.

4

Quote
Scoundrel • $5+ • Action • author: emtzalex
+3 Cards
You may play from your hand an Action card from the pile with your Cur token on it.
-
When you buy this, you may overpay for it. If you did, gain an Action card costing the amount you overpaid and move your Cur token to its pile.
$10 to turn Scoundrels into Smithy-Cultists. Or $7 to turn them into collision-dependent superlabs if there's a $2 cantrip on the board. Cultists are quality in the slogs they themselves cause - I can't imagine how this'd wreck shop in a game with no junk, maybe a little +Buy action.
Themewise, I'm not seeing the connection to scoundrel-y-ness? I'd expect it to be something like a petty attack - oracle-esque or maybe cutpurse, which, at $5 is not great.

Thanks for the feedback/judging. In terms of the theme, when I made it I thought I vaguely remembered some olde timey quotation that was something like "you can tell a scoundrel from the company he keeps" or not to trust someone who keeps the company of a scoundrel. Having now searched the interwebs, this does not seem to actually exist.

In terms of substance, I am wondering whether I wonder if the price point is too high (it's probably no accident that all of the official Overpay cards cost $2-$4). Absent a $2 cantrip or discounting (there is some potential for this to be quite wicked with Highway), you can only trigger this when you hit $8. While there could be some analogy there to Pathfinding, I tend to think of that as a somewhat niche landscape that is unplayable in a non-negligible portion of games. And while that might be acceptable with landscapes (see Tomb), I do feel like it is less so for one of the 10 Kingdom cards. I am now thinking it maybe should have had a $3+ cost and given +2 Cards (and maybe prohibited putting the token on itself).

5
Weekly Design Contest / Re: Weekly Design Contest #130: Sidekicks
« on: October 15, 2021, 12:15:00 am »
Quote
Art Colony (by emtzalex)
$2 - Action
+1 Card
You may play an Action card from your hand. If you did, reveal the top card of your deck. If it's an Action costing less than the card played, play it.
(on top of Artisan)
I really like how this card works together with Artisan, and as Art Colony is a cheap cantrip, it shouldn't be much trouble to uncover the Artisans. This is my favorite of the entries that go on top of official gainers. Also, since Artisan costs $6, you might not be able to get it real early anyway, so I don't mind putting another card on top of it as much.
FINALIST

It's hard to choose from the few finalists, but I think I'll go with...
Stablehand by spineflu as the Winner
...which proves that just because I don't have a lot to say about a card doesn't mean I don't like it.

Runners up:
Art Colony by emtzalex
Destitute Village by JW

Thanks LibraryAdventurer! I was really happy with how Art Colony turned out, and how it works with Artisan.



I designed several more of these. Here are a few of my favorites, all of which cost $2 and go on top of an official $5 or $6 non-Victory card (I've yet to satisfactorily resolve the question of how many cards go in a non-Victory/Victory split pile). One of these (Sheep) works for two official cards, so it shows up twice.


SHEEP
ALTAR
                         

Quote from: Sheep
Sheep
Action

Cost: $2
+$2
You may play a Sheep from your hand.


When you trash this, +1 Card, +1 Action.






CABIN BOY
CAPTAIN
                         

Quote from: Cabin Boy
Cabin Boy
Action - Duration

Cost: $2
+1 Card
+1 Action
At the start of your next turn, you may play an Action card from your hand.






CURATOR
HIRELING
                         

Quote from: Curator
Curator
Action - Reserve

Cost: $2
+1 Card
+1 Action
Put this on your Tavern mat.


At the start of your turn, you may reveal 4 differently
named cards in your hand and call this, for +1 Buy, +$3.







HUNTER
HUNTING GROUNDS
                         

Quote from: Hunter
Hunter
Action

Cost: $2
+1 Card
+1 Action

You may discard 2 cards for +1 Action, +$1.






EYE OF NEWT
APPRENTICE
                         

Quote from: Eye of Newt
Eye of Newt
Reaction

Cost: $2
Directly after you finish playing an Action card, you may discard this for +1 Card, +1 Action.
At the start of your buy phase, you may discard this for +1 Buy.
When you trash this, gain a Gold.


During your Action phase, this costs P more.






ARCHIVIST
ARCHIVE
                         

Quote from: Archivist
Archivist
Action - Duration

Cost: $2
+1 Card
+1 Action

At the start of your next turn, reveal your hand. If you revealed exactly one Archivist, +4 Cards.






CLOTH MERCHANT
BAZAAR
                         

Quote from: Cloth Merchant
Cloth Merchant
Action

Cost: $2
+2 Cards
+1 Buy







SHEEP
BUTCHER
                         

Quote from: Sheep
Sheep
Action

Cost: $2
+$2
You may play a Sheep from your hand.


When you trash this, +1 Card, +1 Action.






FAGIN
COUNTERFEIT
                         

Quote from: Fagin
Fagin
Action

Cost: $2
+1 Card
+1 Action

You may gain a Copper to your hand.







HENCHMAN
VILLAIN
                         

Quote from: Henchman
Henchman
Action

Cost: $2
+1 Card
+1 Action

Reveal the top card of your deck. If it’s an Attack card, put it into your hand.







FIELD HAND
HARVEST
                         

Quote from: Field Hand
Field Hand
Action - Reaction

Cost: $2
+1 Card
+1 Action

You may put this onto your deck.


When something causes you to reveal this (using the word "reveal"), +1 Action.






SPIRE
PATROL
                         

Quote from: Spire
Spire
Action

Cost: $2
+4 Cards
+2 Actions

Put 5 cards from your hand onto your deck in any order.


6
An "online only" card (I think this also does not qualify, but just for fun):



Inspired by Sage, and strictly better unless cost reduction.

I think the overpay function should say:

Quote
When you buy this, you may overpay for it. This copy costs the amount you overpaid.

Otherwise, every copy of the card in the game changes (since they all have that language), like Wayfarer.

Regarding this being strictly better than Sage, while that might be true on-buy (in that if you spend $3 on it, it is strictly better in that it will grab all of the cards Sage will, as well as potion and debt cost cards), if you get one of the cards using a gainer, Sage is better. But even in the absence of gainers, I don't think it is strictly better in the way that is usually a cause for concern in card design.

If a new card is strictly better (or strictly worse) than a card that cost the same as it, then in a hypothetical kingdom that includes both of them, the strictly worse card will never be bought. This effectively turns a 10-card Kingdom into a 9-card Kingdom. But here, it is not hard to imagine that players might opt for a Sage instead of a $3 Guru not only when using gainers, but also where they might want to leave Gurus to buy at different price points (especially in multi-player games). Thus, I don't think the usual strictly-better issue exists (at least not to the same degree).

7
My new Submission:




Quote from: Scoundrel
SCOUNDREL
ACTION
Cost: $5+
+3 Cards
You may play from your hand an Action card from the pile with your Cur token on it.


When you buy this, you may overpay for it. If you did, gain an Action card costing the amount you overpaid and move your Cur token to its pile.

                                                                

I am withdrawing Topiary Garden and submitting Scoundrel instead. Scoundrel is a conditionally terminal draw card. If it can find its partner in crime, it can be played from your hand. The overpay mechanic functions as a virtually +Buy, and (more importantly), moves your Cur token to a pile, setting the card that Scoundrel allows you to play. If you can hit $10, you can get 2 Scoundrels, and they will chain with themselves.

8
This looks too good relative to Province.
Let us assume an average of 4 Provinces per player. This is the same as buying Topiary Gardens 4 times while overpaying 5 each time such that there are 60 tokens on the mat. Now the Topiary Gardens are worth as many VPs as Provinces with the additional feature that you can buy further 6VP cards for $3.

It's true that buying 4 of these at $8 makes them worth the number of VP as a Province (and creates the opportunity to buy another at $3), but I disagree that this makes them better. When you buy a Province you have a guaranteed 6VP (absent it getting Swindled into a Peddler or Prince; Topiary Garden is much more vulnerable to Swindler). With this, the first 3 TGs you buy at $8 are not guaranteed to end up being worth 6VP, which makes buying one instead of a Province a potentially risky prospect. And because in 2 or 3 player games there are 4 TGs per player (and fewer games with more players), there is a non-negligible chance that you will not get the chance to buy a 5th one (or even a 4th).

Also, think about how this would happen practically. Imagine we are playing a 2 player game and you and I each have bought 3 Provinces at $8. If I hit $7, what am I going to do? Buy a Gold? A Duchy? I have an extremely strong incentive to buy a 4th TG at $7. Now, if you buy a 4th for $8, I've got a pretty big problem, but I would have had that anyway unless I was going to hit $8 on the following turn. If you don't hit $8 the turn after I buy the penultimate TG, you nevertheless have an extremely strong incentive to buy one at whatever you can spend, because if I buy that 5th one at $4, I now have 5 TGs worth 6 VP each. Thus, I think actually getting 4 TGs at $8 is going to be extremely rare.
I totally disagree. Absent trashing attacks, your card is strictly better than Province.

So it will be very centralizing in nearly all Kingdoms, i.e. players will build up their engines more than in an ordinary Kingdom and then try to massively overpay for Topiary Gardens (a player overpaying less than $5 for them is not a strategic equilibrium as the other players can simply go for Provinces then)-
There is no reason to go initially for the inferior and less flexible Provinces.

This does not lead to good play. It is called alt-VP for a reason, it should be a real choice and not a virtually always mandatory strategic path.

I don't think this is totally correct either (and it's different from your initial point). First, not every Kingdom supports an engine. Without one going for Topiary Garden at high numbers is far less certain than Provinces. Nor am I convinced that building an engine guarantees a win. If a BM deck can buy 6 Provinces before an engine gets its first giant TG, than there still won't be time to catch up (and on the turn the BM player hits $3 she can just buy TGs to keep them away from the other player, especially if she has decent trashing). The most obvious official equivalent I can think of is Dominate, which does not automatically guarantee a win for a player who builds an engine  (although that is far from perfect, since with Dominate you have to hit $14, and $13 is no better than $8 (or $11 in a Colonies game), plus buying Dominate depletes the Provinces pile more quickly).

That said, your posts have gotten me thinking about this extensively, and I actually think the bigger risk is that these get bought almost automatically at $7, $9, or $10. I'm not sure that this would be a consistently winning strategy, but I'm also not sure that it wouldn't be. I actually do think this has a lot of potential, but I also think it needs extensive playtesting to ensure that it is balanced (and not totally broken), so I'm withdrawing it as my submission. I'll update my OP and post a new card.


You will also need a lot of tokens, won't be better to adjust the numbers to gain less tokens when overpaying?

This is true. I went with tokens on a mat since that is the mechanic the closest official card (Pirate Ship) uses, but obviously this would require way more tokens. I was thinking that this could probably be tracked with dice or a counter of some sort (and a set including this card might come with a TG counter rather than a TG mat).

9
This looks too good relative to Province.
Let us assume an average of 4 Provinces per player. This is the same as buying Topiary Gardens 4 times while overpaying 5 each time such that there are 60 tokens on the mat. Now the Topiary Gardens are worth as many VPs as Provinces with the additional feature that you can buy further 6VP cards for $3.

It's true that buying 4 of these at $8 makes them worth the number of VP as a Province (and creates the opportunity to buy another at $3), but I disagree that this makes them better. When you buy a Province you have a guaranteed 6VP (absent it getting Swindled into a Peddler or Prince; Topiary Garden is much more vulnerable to Swindler). With this, the first 3 TGs you buy at $8 are not guaranteed to end up being worth 6VP, which makes buying one instead of a Province a potentially risky prospect. And because in 2 or 3 player games there are 4 TGs per player (and fewer games with more players), there is a non-negligible chance that you will not get the chance to buy a 5th one (or even a 4th).

Also, think about how this would happen practically. Imagine we are playing a 2 player game and you and I each have bought 3 Provinces at $8. If I hit $7, what am I going to do? Buy a Gold? A Duchy? I have an extremely strong incentive to buy a 4th TG at $7. Now, if you buy a 4th for $8, I've got a pretty big problem, but I would have had that anyway unless I was going to hit $8 on the following turn. If you don't hit $8 the turn after I buy the penultimate TG, you nevertheless have an extremely strong incentive to buy one at whatever you can spend, because if I buy that 5th one at $4, I now have 5 TGs worth 6 VP each. Thus, I think actually getting 4 TGs at $8 is going to be extremely rare.

10
Updated Submission:




Quote from: Scoundrel
SCOUNDREL
ACTION
Cost: $5+
+3 Cards
You may play from your hand an Action card from the pile with your Cur token on it.


When you buy this, you may overpay for it. If you did, gain an Action card costing the amount you overpaid and move your Cur token to its pile.

                                                                

My new submission is Scoundrel. Discussed at the new post here.



My old submission (withdrawn):

Quote from: Topiary Garden
TOPIARY GARDEN
VICTORY
Cost: $3+
Worth 1VP per 10 tokens on your Topiary mat (round down).


When you buy this, you may overpay for it. For each $1 you overpaid, add three tokens to your Topiary mat.

                                                                

11
Variants and Fan Cards / Re: Fan Card Mechanics Week 21: Curse you!
« on: October 06, 2021, 01:07:25 am »
My Submission:


Quote from: Halloween Town
HALLOWEEN TOWN
ACTION
Cost: $4
+2 Actions
Choose one: +1 Card per you have (round down); or +1§.


When you gain this, +1§.
                   

My submission is Halloween Town, an homage to Tim Burton's excellent film Nightmare Before Christmas. A variant of City, it gives you a village effect that gets stronger as the game goes on. This powers up as you add Curse tokens, which you get on gain or by foregoing your draws with the card.

12
Weekly Design Contest / Re: Weekly Design Contest #130: Sidekicks
« on: October 06, 2021, 12:50:49 am »
My Submission:




Quote from: Art Colony
ART COLONY
ACTION
Cost: $2
+1 Card
You may play an Action card from your hand. If you did, reveal the top card of your deck. If it's an Action costing less than the card played, play it.
                                                                

My submission is Art Colony, going on top of Artisan. A weaker version of Herald (with a little Vassal mixed in), it gives one +Card and one virtual +Action, followed by a 3x conditional virtual +Card and +Action. I was partially inspired by my favorite top card of a split, Encampment. Encampment always gives you a Lost City effect, but risks being a one-shot. Art Colony is never a 1 shot, but only gives you the LC effect with some luck or some help.

This card gets along very well with any Action card that can topdeck a cheaper Action on-play: Armory, Artificer, Count, Graverobber, Mandarin, Replace, and Scavenger (less so Courtyard or Harbinger, which are a bit on the cheap side to pull it off, but could work with Ruins). And, of course, it goes well with Artisan.

Artisan is a solid (but expensive) card, as the ability to gain a $5 is extremely powerful, and even if you have to play it terminally, the topdecking (normally a drawback) can be used to put that card into the next turn's hand. It gets even stronger in the presence of good villages and good $5 Action cards (especially strong draw cards), as the village can allow playing the gained card that turn.

When played together, both cards are supercharged. Artisan's topdecking turns AC into the village Artisan loves, and the virtual +Card undoes Artisan's topdeck disadvantage. Meanwhile, Artisan's high cost actually becomes an advantage, allowing AC to play those powerful $5 cards Artisan can gain.

Because Art Colony is effectively (at least) a cantrip, it is fairly spammable, allowing players to reach the Artisans. They become even more worth having when you start buying those Artisans.

13
Week 20: Season 2 Finale (One plus One)
Winner: Conscript and Displacement by Timinou.Second Place: Spear Fisher and Way of the Salmon by Xen3k.Third Place: Crowded Village and Relocate by The Alchemist.

14
Weekly Design Contest / Re: Weekly Design Contest #129: In Play
« on: September 29, 2021, 11:44:48 pm »


Quote from: Warlock
Warlock -- $5
Action - Night
If it's your Action phase, play a card from your Warlock mat twice, leaving it there.
Otherwise, put a non-Command Action card you would discard from play this turn onto your Warlock mat.[/font]

Sorry this is last minute (I was trying the get the Fan Mechanic Contest judged). Here's my entry: a twist on Necromancer, it puts your Action cards onto a mat, and later lets you throne those Action cards from the mat. Like Mandarin or Monastery, it moves cards that are in play.

You need Command type to stop infinite loops.
You play set aside Warlock to play itself twice, once to play a Smithy, once to play itself twice, ...

Thanks for the feedback. You are of course correct. I was slammed judging the Fan Mechanic Contest so I had to put this out really quickly and didn't spend enough time thinking about all of the potential for loops.

Here is the fixed card:



Quote from: Warlock
Warlock -- $5
Action - Night - Command
If it's your Action phase, play a card from your Warlock mat twice, leaving it there.
Otherwise, put a non-Command Action card you would discard from play this turn onto your Warlock mat.[/font]

Quote
Warlock by Majiponi
http://forum.dominionstrategy.com/index.php?topic=20912.msg878230#msg878230
Interesting idea. I can see this being very powerful, the question is how long it takes to set up by getting the right cards onto your Warlock mat. I wonder if this could be a golden deck enabler by getting the right cards onto the Warlock mat.

This is not my card. I just said it needs fixing.

As majiponi pointed out, this was my card, not his (although he did provide good feedback).

15
Weekly Design Contest / Re: Weekly Design Contest #129: In Play
« on: September 27, 2021, 02:29:01 pm »


Quote from: Warlock
Warlock -- $5
Action - Night
If it's your Action phase, play a card from your Warlock mat twice, leaving it there.
Otherwise, put a non-Command Action card you would discard from play this turn onto your Warlock mat.[/font]

Sorry this is last minute (I was trying the get the Fan Mechanic Contest judged). Here's my entry: a twist on Necromancer, it puts your Action cards onto a mat, and later lets you throne those Action cards from the mat. Like Mandarin or Monastery, it moves cards that are in play.

16
The Results

Thanks to everyone who participated. I have a lot of thoughts that I will try to get out in more detail later, but for now here are the results:


Third Place: The Alchemist's Crowded Village and Relocate

Second Place: Xen3k's Spear Fisher and Way of the Salmon

Winner: Timinou's Conscript and Displacement

17
Sorry it took so long to get though all of this judging. Requesting two designs made judging exponentially more complicated, and I would not recommend anyone ever doing it again.


Fan Card Mechanics Week 20: Season 2 Finale (One plus One)





Quote from: Survey
Survey
Act
If you don't already have it, take Surveying.


Quote from: Surveying
Surveying
State
When you next shuffle, first gain an Idle Hands, then +1 Route and return this.


Survey

If Idle Hands is effectively -1 Action, this -1 Action now, -1 Action in the future, in exchange for a Route token. The question then becomes how much the Route tokens help (and how badly the IH hurt). The strongest case for Routes is as a Defense against junkers, particularly Cursers. Unlike Reactions, which need to be in your hand when the Attack is played, once you have the Route token (unless you use it for something else), it is guaranteed to block one piece of junk. Thus, Survey will tend to be pretty useful in games with junkers (although there is a risk of creating a stand-off, where players don't buy junkers because they will be blocked by the Route, so players don't get the Routes either, and neither ends up being used). The second strongest use of Routes (imo) would be to set up combos, either by gaining and topdecking two cards that work well together (village/Smithy, 2x Treasure Map, etc.), or by putting a card gained during your Action phase (e.g. with Bandit) into your hand for use that turn. You might be able to build (or improve) a strategy around this, but it could be a hard sell, especially if you have to take 2 IHs into a deck without good access to spare Actions. The final, non-edge use of Route (as far as I can think of) is as a general accelerator, acting as a token version of Royal Seal to put the better cards you buy onto your deck. It seems to me that this will rarely be worth the cost of an IH. Of course, that can change if you have a way to mitigate IH's sting. That does make this design somewhat venerable to the presence of a Way (W.o.t. Horse is particularly good here), Advance, or Academy. Once a player buys Academy, the IHs become one-shot cantrips (with a chance of netting a Villager if you get lucky with your timing). This would make using Survey all but automatic (once per shuffle).

Having the Act gain a State then having the State carry out the effect on shuffle both delays it, and limits it pretty substantially. While I understand using the State to prevent it messing with openings, I think this delay makes the card significantly less playable. You lose a lot of interesting strategic possibilities around timing and using it multiple times (and somewhat lose the point of it being an Act instead of an Event).

Overall it is an interesting idea combining three different mechanics. The fact that its usefulness is fairly conditional on what is around is less of an issue for a landscape, as those cards are frequently so limited (e.g. Tomb).



Quote from: Course
Course -- $5
Action - Level
+1 Card
+1 Buy
+1 Card per level.
Queue a card from your hand per level.

When you buy this, reveal your hand. It costs $1 less per Action card revealed.

Course

A scaling (with Level) terminal sifter (with a bonus +Buy), that Queues instead of discarding. Queuing instead of discarding is a powerful effect, and I do really like the concept and the pairing of the two mechanics. However, increasing the Level of a $5 card is an expensive prospect, and I don't know how frequently the discounting will be useful. Having an Action card in your hand during your Buy phase pretty consistently represents a failure, and a $1 discount is very little consolation (compare that to Arena, which offers 2VP). That said, if you did manage to Level it up a few times (this would be especially possible with some discounting outside of the card's effect), it would become a strong card. In engines, you could combine it with a village (frequently necessary in engines) to find the cards you need to keep the engine moving, while Queuing dead cards to keep them out of the way (using the Queue's "leaky Exile mat" feature) or setting aside spare engine parts (e.g. extra villages) to have available on future turns (or both). It could also be pretty useful in a big money deck which (absent a nice Kingdom Treasure) can be pretty sad at $5, often having to settle for a Silver after it has as many terminal draw cards (Torturer, Patrol, etc.) as it can fit. By contrast, a player can keep buying Courses (even without any discount), either to add more to the deck (since collisions aren't as painful with the Queuing) or adding Level tokens.



While each of the designs individually put somewhat of a strain on your need for +Actions, combined that strain grows substantially. Having the alternative use for IH to get the discount on Course is strictly worse than Copper (although they have their own use), as they take up a space in your hand and are $1 you can only use to buy Course. Using Course to Queue IHs can also help mitigate the effect, but absent +Actions, those will be dead cards in your hand (or, at best, Coppers to buy/level up Course). While there is certainly some synergy, the effect of using both of these will be to make the need for villages substantially (and make the absence of such villages majorly limiting on the strategy).







Quote from: Beneficiary
Beneficiary -- $3
Supplier-Duration
+1 Buy
+$1
$2: Reveal cards from your deck until you reveal an Action  card. Set it aside under this and discard the rest. Play it at the start of your next turn.


Beneficiary

This is a fun card, and I like the use of the Supplier mechanic. It has hints of Ghost, Golem, and Summon, all of which are fun cards (if not always the easiest to use effectively. And it can be used in different circumstances: if you've drawn your deck, it can play the Action card you bought for $1 less than you have (similar to Summon); in a deck with just a few terminal Action cards, it can ensure that you get to play at least one of them, and function as a virtual village (allowing you to play it and still have an Action left over).

However, it is very strong. As you note, the effect is similar to Ghost (albeit playing the card once, instead of twice). Ghost is a powerful card, which you can only get by either trashing a Haunted Mirror then discarding and Action card (which is generally limited to 1 per game) or by trashing a card costing $5+ (a set of cards which are almost always worth having and which--absent Swindler--you are never junked). By contrast, this card is in the Supply, and costs only $3. And, unlike Ghost (which is useless if you draw your entire deck and don't buy an Action card), it has an alternative function, giving +$1 and +1 Buy. The other way it is weaker than Ghost is the fact that you have to Buy the effect. However, the first time you play and use it it only has a net cost of $1, with the option of spending another $2 and a Buy add a second Action card. This provides the not-unrealistic possibility of setting up 2 different Action cards to be played back-to-back by a single card, something that is generally only enabled by a Golem, and which allows for some crazy combos (like Tactician + dtx). Also, because it is a Supplier - Duration, you can buy the Action in subsequent turns. This sets up the potential to put 2-3 copies of a single terminal draw card (Margrave is a particularly stong option) into your deck; as long as you have a good source of +Buy, you can buy Beneficiary's purchase every turn and keep getting the card no matter how full your deck gets.



Quote from: Living Grounds
Living Grounds
Edict
Whenever you gain a Victory card, you may gain a Mustang.


Quote from: Mustang
Mustang -- $3*
Dawn-Reaction
Whenever you gain a Victory card, you may gain a Mustang.
+2 Cards
Return this to its pile.

When you discard this, you may reveal it to put it on top of your deck
(This is not in the supply)

Living Grounds (with Mustang)

Living Grounds accompanies each Victory card you gain with Mustang, a one-shot Dawn that nets +1 Card and has a reaction to topdeck it. I'm not sure that there is enough of a difference between Mustang and Horse to justify inventing a new (and more complicated) version of a very similar card. And while the ability to topdeck when discarding during Clean-up hypothetically mitigates the risk that you draw Mustang at the start of your turn, the fact that you have a dead card one turn for a net-effect of +1 Card the following turn means that the two effects basically cancel one another out (and it is probably even worse than that, as getting the extra card later is generally worse than having it sooner for a variety of reasons).

Generally speaking, LG makes buying Victory cards more desirable, but not nearly enough to suggest buying regular dead cards early in the game. It does makes slogs more practical, and improves the prospect of buying dual-type Victory cards (like Mill or Harem). However, I think Mustang is too weak to make any strategic impact in most games. There may be some narrow exceptions (e.g. in a game with Quest and no other source of +Cards, it might be worth having a Mustang to try to have 6 cards and get a Gold), but I think this will generally just give an unreliably little boost somewhat randomly at the end of the game.



As you pointed out, card played at the beginning of your turn won't draw the Mustang dead, and if you discard the Mustang while looking for the Action card, it will go onto your deck. Also, Beneficiary could potentially mitigate the effect of buying more Victory cards early, as it would sift through them looking for Action cards. (Alternatively, it can help you get to the Action/Victory card). However, because Mustang is not an Action card, it cannot be played using Beneficiary, and I don't see any of the synergies really being strong enough to make the presence of one increase the likelihood of using the other.







Quote from: Relax
Relax
Act
+1 Action if you have no cards in Queue
Queue an Idle Hands from its pile


Relax

A very interesting and innovative use of 3 of this Seasons mechanics: Acts, Idle Hands, and Queue. By Queuing the IH, you avoid one of the means of breaking the card (Academy).

When playing this with an empty Queue, it is effectively, +1 Card, -1 Action at the start of your next turn (with the potential option of forgoing that effect and getting junked with IH). It is sort of to one-per-turn, (although if you have a ton of Actions on one turn and fairly consistent access to 2 Actions every turn, you could Queue more than one to get +1 Card, -1 Action on multiple future turns). To me, this appears to be useable in 3 contexts -- (1) you are drowning in spare Actions, (2) you know you are going to start the next turn with an extra Action (with, e.g. Fishing Village, Ghost Town, Barracks, Prince, or WotTurtle) or (3) you are strictly playing a Big Money strategy (or some other strategy that involves buying no Action cards). You could also use it in a deck with only non-terminal Action cards, but you would risk drawing them dead (although if you had a relatively low number of them, that might be worth the risk; that could also be mitigated if you had access to villagers).

Upon further consideration, (3) might be a non-frivolous possibility. If you used Relax every turn (and had no Action cards in your deck), it would effectively function as a Hireling, giving you an extra card in your hand every turn (each turn you would put the IH from your Queue into your hand, then play Relax to put an IH onto your empty Queue, then play the IH, using your 1 Action and drawing a 6th card from your deck). If you could supplement that with some solid alt-Treasure and/or Night cards, that might very well make a strong strategy. This could be made even stronger with the presence of Donate or Goat, giving you access to trashing without any Action cards (Monastery works as well).

Ultimately, the fact that this is most useful either in the presence of a ton of Actions or in the total absence of other Action cards makes it a bit of an odd duck, but certainly an interesting one.



Quote from: Tourist Village
Tourist Village -- $3
Action/Season
+1 Card
If it's Summer +3 Actions,
If it's Winter, +1 Action,
Otherwise, +2 Actions

Tourist Village

Designing a village that costs less than $4 is itself an accomplishment, and this is definitely a fun use of the Season mechanic. The way this will actually work with the Seasons is interesting. While a player could easily buy the card during Spring (turns 1-3) to use in time for Summer (turns 4-6), it seems unlikely they would be in a position to make use of +3 Actions (that is, to have 3 additional Action cards, at least 2 of which are terminal) by then. However, the point of having villages in your deck is to be able to play your terminal cards consistently. To have that go away for 3 turns in Winter is a pretty hard price to pay. Even if you make it back to Summer (turns 16-18) with an engine, it could useful, but you still could not build a deck around that sudden influx of Actions. Ultimately I think this is actually substantially worse than a regular Village, perhaps enough to make it cost $2 (although probably not, as it is still usually stronger than Hamlet). If it was the only village in the game (or if the only other cost $5 or $6 and you needed one sooner), it would still certainly be worth buying (as even with a regular village there is a risk of getting stuck using a terminal card terminally if they don't collide).




Together, Tourist Village creates a new circumstance for using Relax: in summer, when you are likely to have access to a lot more +Actions. Conversely, Relax provides a use for those spare +Actions that isn't built into your deck (and, therefore, won't leave your deck unbalanced when you move into another season).







Quote from: Audience
Audience -- $5
Action
Choose one: play an Action card from your Queue; or play an Action card from your hand twice, Queuing it when it's discarded from play.


Audience

A throne variant that makes a fun and interesting use of the Queue mechanic. However, I think it might skew to the overly strong side. An Action that you would want to throne is probably an Action you would want to play again next turn, so the fact that you're Queuing it is a pretty strong added feature. The main only potential downside would be if you Queued to many Actions, but this solves that problem as well, by allowing you to play those Actions from the Queue. This also potentially fixes the biggest problem with throne variants, when you draw them without another Action card. It is interesting, but I think it might be a little too strong.



Quote from: Prepare
Prepare
Act
At Clean-up, put one of your Actions onto your deck when you discard it from play.

Prepare

There are (broadly) two limitations which Action cards have that Acts don't, which I would call (1) Acquisition and (2) Presence. Acquisition means that before you can use an Action card, you need to buy it. This almost always has an opportunity cost (arguably buying $2 Actions generally does not, as you are not foregoing any other buy), which isn't present with an Act. It also means you can't have an Action and the start of the game (except with Necropolis - Way of the Mouse). Presence is the requirement that the card be in your hand in order to use it (or, with Durations / Way of the Turtle, have been in your hand on a previous turn). This means that (absent a killer engine which draws your deck every turn or Prince) you will not always have access to the card. It also means you are limited on the number of times you can play the card on a given turn (to the number of copies you have, potentially increased by throne variants).

Prepare is not overly strong when used on an opening, but the ability to use it as many times as you have spare Actions (and Action cards leaving play to use it on) is extremely powerful. One comparison to an official card is Walled Village. The point of a village is to allow you to play extra Action cards (either an extra terminal Action, or non-terminal Actions following a terminal draw). Sometimes, when WV fails to fulfill its purpose (because you played 0-1 other Action), it goes back onto your deck to try again on your next turn. By contrast, EVERY village that does not get fully used (e.g. for which there is an Action left over) can go back onto your deck (plus, there is a large amount of additional flexibility). Looked at another way, this gives every village the option of being played as a Scheme. Given the usefulness of both cards in engines, this is a really strong additional option. Both of these things mitigate considerably the downside of investing more heavily in villages.

This also leads to some genuinely insane synergies. On a Prepare - Bandit Camp board, you could play every BC you have every turn, flooding your deck with Spoils (until the pile starts to run thin). Or, with 2 Fishing Villages an a Smithy (which you can have in your deck by turn 3 in the vast majority of games, and potentially get going a couple of turns after), you could play FV and Smithy every turn, then use Prepare to topdeck the previous turn's FV and the Smithy. This has the net effect of +1 Card, +$2 every turn. (And, because after you play FV at the start of your turn you have 4 cards in hand, can combo further with cards like Diplomat or Cursed Village).

This could be a lot of fun, and very useful with engines, but in my opinion it is too strong. I think this probably needs to be limited to once per turn (or have some other nerf put on it).



As you pointed out, together these allow you to throne any non-terminal Action every turn, Queuing the card and top-decking the Audience with Prepare. That turns Audience, a $5 card, into a super Prince, throning cards (instead of playing them once), having no price restriction (meaning Lab is on the table), and being able to change which card you use. And since you're Queuing Audience, you start from 4 cards you don't need for the play.







Quote from: Spear Fisher
Spear Fisher -- $3
Dawn - Action - Level
+1 Card
+1 Action
+$1
+1 Action per level.
Gain an Idle Hands.


Spear Fisher

This starts as a peddler variant (or, at Dawn, a Bazaar) that gives an Idle Hands. A peddler is a pretty strong effect for an unleveled Level card (especially at $3), although the Idle Hands is usually a pretty serious disadvantage. Adding a level makes it into a village (or double-village at Dawn), and each additional Level makes it more village-y. In theory this could further mitigate the effect of gaining an Idle Hands, but the bigger risk is not that you won't have enough +Actions, but that they don't collide (so Leveling it up several times may frequently result in more wasted Actions).

Because this gains so many IHs, it's balance particularly vulnerable to existing cards/landscapes that substantially mitigate the harm of IHs. A number of official cards operate under the presumption that Action cards are generally quite useful things that you want to hold on to, and therefore treats foregoing using them as substantial. Ruins have exactly the same issue. So, for example, in the presence of certain Ways, what is supposed to be the penalty of getting IHs is either mitigated (e.g. Way of the Chameleon, Mule, Ox), all but eliminated (Way of the Pig), or even turned into an benefit (Way of the Horse, Way of the Mouse [especially if a cantrip like Village or Merchant is set aside). In a game with Way of the Horse, even before Leveling up, this is a peddlar variant with "Gain a Horse", a card which, if official, would almost certainly cost $5. Other landscapes mitigate IHs as well, the most obvious being Academy (which turns future IHs into 1 shot cantrips, with a chance to keep a Villager).



Quote from: Way of the Salmon
Way of the Salmon
Way
+1 Route
+$1

Way of the Salmon

Way of the Salmon is a Way that gives a Route token and a coin. I like the idea, and it is a nice fit thematically with both the Ways from Minagery and Route tokens.

Its strength is going to be highly dependent on how useful Route tokens are. The strongest use for Routes is as a defense against junkers, particularly Cursers. Unlike Reactions, which need to be in your hand when the Attack is played, once you have the Route token (unless you use it for something else), it is guaranteed to block one piece of junk. Thus, WotS be extremely useful in games with junkers (although there is a risk of creating a stand-off, where players don't buy junkers because they will be blocked by the Route tokens, so players don't gain more than one Route token either, and neither ends up being used). The second strongest use of Routes (imo) would be to set up combos, by gaining and topdecking two cards that work well together (village/Smithy, 2x Treasure Map, etc.), or or strengthen gainers, by putting a card gained during your Action phase (e.g. with Bandit) into your hand for use that turn (this could also set up a combo, e.g. if you played a cantrip then used Ironworks to gain a Conspirator, which you could then play with +1 Card, +1 Action). There are a number of ways to build (or improve) a strategy around this, although using an Action as a Way twice to set something up once might not often be worth it. The final, non-edge use of Route (as far as I can think of) is as a general accelerator, acting as a token version of Royal Seal to put the better cards you buy onto your deck. This actually makes WotS into a variant of Way of the Seal, with Salmon being stronger since you can topdeck a card not gained that turn, but weaker since you can only topdeck a single card.

Ultimately, I think this skews a little too strong for a Way, but it isn't terribly overpowered, and does have some interesting possibilities.



Way of the Salmon, like almost any Way, can at least somewhat mitigate the effect of having an IH. If you have an IH that doesn't collide with your Spear Fisher (or some other source of +Actions), you can use WotS to get a Route token and $1. Since Spear Fisher is a self-junker, those Tokens are available for their strongest use, and saving you from the IH when you would next use Spear Fisher. A really solid combo that smooths out some of the issues of each card.







Quote from: Conscript
Conscript -- $3
Action - Level
+2 Routes
Choose one: Play an Action card from your Queue per level; or at the start of Clean-up, you may Queue a card from your hand per level.


Conscript

An Action-Level card that gives 2 Route tokens, and (once it is Leveled), either plays Action card(s) from your Queue or Queues card(s) from your hand. As already discussed above (see Survey or Way of the Salmon), Route tokens have a few different uses of varying strengths: defending against junk, setting up combos, or accelerating your deck. This gives the tokens an additional use, putting a card into your hand. This will probably be the most common use: with one Level token, you can Queue the card you buy during your Buy phase and have a Route token left over.

If you manage to Level it up a few more times, it actually becomes a pretty effective use of the Queue mat's storage function. By putting 1 or 2 useful cards that you gained into your hand, then Queuing those along with any dead/useless cards, you can keep those bad cards in your Queue behind the good ones, taking out the useful cards (in the order that works best with the hands you have) and (hopefully) Queuing more beneficial cards before you have to take the dead cards (or at least take out too many of them).

I don't know how often the first choice will be useful, especially if this is the only card with the Queue mechanic. Even if you gain 2 Action cards during your Buy phase, unless you get another Conscript on the following turn, they will probably end up coming off your Queue before you can play them. Even if you level this up a lot, you generally are not going to want to have Action cards in your hand at Clean-up to Queue (although there could be situations where this happens).

Overall this is a nice, balanced design with a few different uses.



Quote from: Displacement
Displacement
Edict
When you trash a card, Queue 2 Idle Hands.

Displacement

Another Edict, which Queues 2 Idle Hands each time you trash a card. As mentioned with Relax, Queuing an Idle Hands has the effect of giving you +1 Card, -1 Action on a future turn. Giving it automatically when you trash a card is a pretty interesting concept, although potentially a huge bummer. Generally, trashing is used to get rid of junk cards, but a card that gives you 2 pieces of junk for every card you trash makes trashing a massively less appealing prospect. Of course, if you play the IH the turn you get it, it doesn't actually end up being junk in your deck. However, most trashers are Action cards, and using an IH always runs the risk of drawing those dead. My big concern is that in a lot of games, this will render trashers unusable, the result of which will be that neither the trasher nor this have any use.

With cards that mitigate or even eliminate the negative impact of IH (see my second paragraph of Spear Fisher, above), this becomes a very different design. In a game with Way of the Horse, each time you trash a card you effectively get +2 Cards at the start of 2 future turns. This makes trashing massively more desirable.



This is the potential exception to the lack of use of the play-from-Queue mechanic. If you level up Conscript 3-4 times, and uses its Queuing ability to keep the Queued IHs on your mat, you can then fire it off as a Smithy or Hunting Grounds. (Even better if you can throne it, as then you can put any dead cards onto your Queue). The Route tokens are even potentially a source of trashing to fill those mats, in games with junkers or +Buys.







Quote from: Crowded Village
Crowded Village -- $4
Action
+1 Card
+2 Actions
Gain up to 2 Idle Hands.
For each, +1 Action.


Crowded Village

An interesting use of the Idle Hands mechanic, which gives an extra Action now in exchange for -1 Action later. While I like the idea a lot, I think it is going to tend to be of pretty limited use. It will be fairly rare to have CV in a hand with 3 terminal Actions, and while having it with 2 terminal draw cards is somewhat more likely, you have to make the choice about whether to use CV before you know what you are going to draw (which might include additional villages).

As discussed previously (see Spear Fisher and Displacement), there are a few existing landscapes (and to a lesser extent, cards) which turn IH from a liability into either something harmless or even a benefit.



Quote from: Relocate
Relocate
Act
If you have an Action card in play, +1 Villager.

Relocate

A simple Act, it allows you to convert spare Actions into villagers (effectively banking them for future turns), but only if you have an Action card in play. That restriction is a cleaver way to limit the card's use, both in the opening (where you would always use it and where, absent a Necropolis, you won't be able to because of a lack of Action cards), and throughout the game (if you have a bunch of terminal Action cards you will end up without an Action to spare each turn, but if you have mostly non-terminal Action cards you won't need all of the spare villagers you will be getting).

However, it is still a powerful effect. Being able to turn any unused Actions from a village into villagers (which you always will the village will be an Action card in play) means fewer villages will go a lot further to ensuring you can play terminal Actions (especially terminal draw cards) repeatedly without getting stuck drawing Action cards dead. And this continues on. If you play a Smithy, draw a cantrip (or, say, a Forager), then use one of your villagers to play the cantrip, you would then get that villager back. This is a massive boost to engines, making them a lot more potent.



The synergy here is obvious (but also fun): you can turn the extra Action you got from gaining the IH into a villager, which you can use to mitigate the IH when it comes up again.


18
Just a quick update, stuff has gotten pretty busy at work, so I probably will not be able to finish the judging until sometime mid-week. Will get to it as soon as I am able. Sorry for the delay.

Any update on the judging?

Sorry. I hadn't judged a season finale before (which it turns out is harder because you have to think about all these different mechanics), but I now realize asking for 2 designs was a huge mistake. I am going to try and post the judging and winners tonight (or early tomorrow morning), and then do a wrap-up post later.

19
Just a quick update, stuff has gotten pretty busy at work, so I probably will not be able to finish the judging until sometime mid-week. Will get to it as soon as I am able. Sorry for the delay.

20
Weekly Design Contest / Re: Weekly Design Contest #129: In Play
« on: September 20, 2021, 09:47:56 am »

This is cool, but I worry about gaining Golds with this. It's pretty easy to do as you can just play the remaining Golds after this, and a Gold gainer at $4 may be too powerful (and this can even gain Platina). You could restrict it to just Actions? Alternatively it would work as a Night card, but then you can't have the +$1.

Could it do its duplicating at the start of Clean-up (in the style of Improve)? Like:

Quote from: Ring
$1
At the start of Clean-up, gain a card that you have exactly 1 copy of in play.

This blocks the Magic Lamp trick of playing one copy of a Treasure before triggering the ability that cares about their only being one copy of that Treasure in play, then playing the other copies after. (Unfortunately it makes it less useful for Buy phase abilities that care about cards you've gained like Triumph and Destrier).

21
Submissions closed!

(Post with submissions list here. Please let me know if I have missed anything.)




22
Conscript/Displacement is missing from the list.  :)

Thanks! Added.

23
24 Hour Warning!!!


Here are the submissions so far (please let me know if I missed yours)

spineflu's Survey and Course (with a State called "Surveying" supporting Survey)
Jonatan Djurachkovitch's Beneficiary and Living Ground (with "Mustang" supporting Living Ground)
NoMoreFun's Relax and Tourist Village
Aquila's Audience and Prepare
Xen3k's Spear Fisher and Way of the Salmon
Timinou's Conscript and Displacement
(Added since this post):
The Alchemist's Crowded Village and Relocate

24
In my opinion, this contest is far too restrictive. I stopped reading when you began to single out particular sideway cards.

How so? You can submit any kind of sideways card (official WELPs, or fan ones like Acts, Edicts, or Wonders) as your design, as long as it uses one of the mechanics from this season.

When you say you stopped reading, I think you referring to my requirement that the submission be what I called an "independent" landscape (and not one that is only used with another card like Artifacts and States). To me this is the same as requiring the card to be in a Kingdom card pile. A State or Artifact itself is not a stand-alone design that can be judged (just like it would be impossible to judge Horse or Idle Hands because you would have to know how players gain them).
Well, if I read the first paragraph you tell me that I can use ANY sideway card. Yippie, I got a cool Artefact!
But, silly me, I forgot to read the second paragraph which tells me why the first paragraph is actually wrong.

Dude, it is your contest so you can run it however you want to. I just wanna tell you that this kind of hyper-restrictive setup will rather, well, restrict creativity than set reasonable parameters in which it can flourish.

You can 100% use that Artifact. But there has to be some card/landscape that allows a player to take it.

If what your saying is that what allows a player to take the Artifact is the other part of your submission (the Kingdom card that uses some other mechanic), I'd consider the Artifact to be part of that Kingdom card pile's design. Similarly, if you designed an Event or Act that gave players an Idle Hands and a one-shot village called Elephant (i.e. "+1 Card, +2 Action, Return this to its pile. (This is not in the Supply.)"), Elephant could not be the Kingdom card pile submission.

If what you have is a Kingdom card pile that uses one mechanic and can take an Artifact that uses another mechanic, you would still need to design a separate landscape. Alternatively, you could design a landscape that lets players take the Artifact (instead of the Kingdom card doing it). Again, look at spineflu's design. Most of what is going on happens on the State (although using an Act to get it does implicate that mechanic), which is fine. Or you could do both. Submit your design as is (presuming it is as described), and also design an Act or Edict (or WELP or whatever) that can also take the same Artifact. While there are no official cards that do this, I don't see a good reason why it shouldn't be done, especially if you really like the Artifact you designed.

While part of the contest is evaluating the entries together, another part is evaluating them separately, and it's impossible to judge an Artifact, State, or non-Supply card in a vacuum. So I'm not doing this to add an arbitrary restriction; it would be impossible to judge an Artifact, State, or non-Supply card on its own the way I'll be judging the other submissions.

25
It might be helpful to list the Season 2 mechanics in the OP or link to the Hall of Fame that you've done a really good job of curating.

I think there haven't been a lot of submissions so far because it's hard enough to make one card that combines one or more fan mechanics, but here we have to design two independent ones that also work well together.  It's a pretty large design space, but there's a lot more to think about when designing them!

Thanks for the suggestion. I have reworked the OP to (hopefully) be clearer and added the list of Season 2 mechanics.

Hopefully the extra time (and having it go over two weekends, which seems to be when many people have the most time to design) will allow for more people to come up with submissions.

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