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Messages - Donald X.

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1
Dominion General Discussion / Re: Interview with Donald X.
« on: September 28, 2020, 03:53:25 pm »
Black Cat can be a royal PITA or very ineffective, based on the luck of draw. I'd place it among the cards where the attack is the main purpose.

I dislike the swinginess of Black Cat as much as I detest the swinginess of Fisherman, which favours 2/5 openings so much.

Do you try to avoid swinginess, or do you think the game is short enough to allow for 'tough luck, rematch' moments?
Swinginess can get me to change a card, or regret it; for example I don't like the swinginess to Warrior (hitting/discarding travellers). I'm not looking for "tough luck, rematch" though obv. the game has lots of luck. But I don't just rule out swingy cards, within reason; there are lots of casual players who like them.

Fisherman doesn't add as much to the game as I'd like. The joy is supposed to come from "this is when I can get it cheap, but is it really the move" (plus a few combos). I like that but it didn't add up to much, and sure some people will feel bitter about openings - not just 2/5, but 3/4 even, oh man you got to open with Fisherman plus a $4 and I didn't.

I still like Black Cat plenty though.

2
Dominion General Discussion / Re: Interview with Donald X.
« on: September 28, 2020, 03:47:15 pm »
Do you feel like you've run out of victory cards? You've gone higher (colonies, dominate), victory cards that do stuff (graveyard, island, nobles, etc.), and counting stuff (cards, silvers, variety, actions, other vp, duchies, estates); as you've said in that post there isn't much left to count... the last two sets had no vp cards. Alt-VP are my favourite type of kingdom card but also the hardest to design it seems.
You can endlessly do victory cards where there's just 2 VP tacked onto an action or treasure. You can even sometimes make that relevant (e.g., Ironmonger but also worth VP).

"Classic" victory cards where the whole idea is that they're worth VP based on something, well, you can read the Secret Histories for lots of things I've tried there that didn't make it. Some of them turned into Landmarks, which further eat into the remaining space. If I had to have new classic victory cards, I know what my front-runners would be, but if I can make better cards instead, I'll do that. So that's what's been happening. I haven't forgotten that some people would like new victory cards, and haven't stopped trying things there.

3
Dominion General Discussion / Re: Interview with Donald X.
« on: September 25, 2020, 05:03:39 pm »
Do you consider Gatekeeper to be a dud? I watch a lot of top players and they never seem to buy it or even consider it. I know you have explicitly stated that avoiding duds in new sets is a high priority for you, naturally. Are players under valuing it?
As a potentially really oppressive attack (and there were more oppressive playtest versions), the intention was for it to be at a below-average power level, but not so weak that you'd never play it. It's weaker than intended but also more rules-messy than I'd like. So it's not just a dud, I'd have liked to replace it anyway.

Attacks are tricky. These days attacks try to skew weaker (though sometimes they're still strong). In the early days there were a bunch of strong attacks and the feedback I get is that, while some players love attacks, players in general do not enjoy e.g. discarding every turn to Militia. But I'm not trying to make attacks awful.

4
Dominion General Discussion / Re: Dark Ages printing and new BoM version
« on: September 22, 2020, 02:47:16 pm »
I have ordered the Dark Ages expansion online, but it isn't currently in stock. When is the new printing, and do I get the new version of it, with the newer wordings on Band of Misfits?
I proofread the sheets for it in February (with the new wording for Band of Misfits etc.), but I don't know when it actually appears in stores. You could ask Rio Grande Games.

5
Dominion General Discussion / Re: Interview with Donald X.
« on: September 16, 2020, 03:54:36 pm »
Why did no project give extra VP at the end of the game based on some criteria, etc? It seems like one of the more obvious things to do with them... is it because it would be too similar to landmarks? Or did you use all of your good "When scoring"s in empires?
Arguably Fleet does.

It's not the premise of Projects. They're abilities. So it's not something I was looking for. The landscapes at least try to be their own type of thing, to hang together somehow.

6
Dominion General Discussion / Re: Interview with Donald X.
« on: September 05, 2020, 01:46:07 pm »
As far as I understand, Menagerie was the "left-overs" from Renaissance (jail -> exile, card tokens -> horses).

Do you have other "left-over" ideas that could be remade into a new expansion, or are you planning on the next one having all-new mechanics?
Exile was in Renaissance. Horses weren't, except of course for Experiment; the idea of "card tokens" was, but I hadn't actually tried Horses. I'd tried Exile. If I knew I was going to do Horses, I wouldn't have done Experiment.

At the level of "not tried," there's a list of mechanics going way back. At the level of "was actually in an expansion as a theme," there are just Boons (from Empires) and Exile. Well the early expansions got rearranged a few times for publication, if you want to count that.

Not all mechanics fit your categories, and sets don't need to be all one such class of mechanic. Also "planning" would be an overstatement, if I hadn't started a set yet. I have mentioned in a few places that I have (due to covid19 - it was a project I could get playtested), and well I'm not telling you anything about it (and it may not come out so promptly, it will want playtesting by my regular group, and that still seems a ways off).

7
Dominion General Discussion / Re: Interview with Donald X.
« on: September 05, 2020, 01:29:46 pm »
Hey, are you considering updating your "guide to 12 Dominion Expansions", or did you specifically choose that title so you wouldn't have to?  :) It's strictly the best guide there is, so that would be nice. Thanks
I should keep it updated; it's just not on my mind. The title was so that people wouldn't think I was implying that there wouldn't be any more expansions.


8
Rules Questions / Re: Villa - Coffers interaction
« on: August 27, 2020, 02:47:26 pm »
At the beginning of your second buy phase, after you had exited the first buy phase by buying Villa, can you spend coffers?
Yes. You can spend coffers during the "play treasures" portion of your buy phase, and if you have many buy phases, you can do it during each of them.

9
Other Games / Re: Winter Kingdom
« on: August 25, 2020, 05:36:01 am »
Are the cards for Winter Kingdom supposed to be revealed?  I saw that there was a rule book available, which includes images of cards and examples, but the images are too low res to actually see the card text and it's difficult to infer what the cards do from the examples alone.
I don't know exactly what they intend there.

10
Dominion General Discussion / Re: Interview with Donald X.
« on: August 23, 2020, 01:44:31 pm »
Was Groom intentionally made as a "gainer" ironworks? Or was it a concept of its own that ended up similarly?
The concept was a gainer Ironworks. http://forum.dominionstrategy.com/index.php?topic=20260.0

11
Dominion General Discussion / Re: Interview with Donald X.
« on: August 21, 2020, 01:28:38 pm »
in the little stats pages from discord, you've probably noticed the skill multiplier. i find that the more recent expansions trend towards higher skill multipliers, i.e. the stronger player wins more often with them. this is particularly strong with renaissance (even without the villager cards). does this feel like a win?
Some of that is just, anything new pushes skill for a while. But sure, the goal is to have it be a strategy game.

12
Dominion General Discussion / Re: Interview with Donald X.
« on: August 15, 2020, 01:03:18 pm »
In recent expansions you've tried to keep the card text at its normal size, which can mean simplifying or finding alternate wordings for some cards.

How can you tell whether card text will fit on a given card? Do you have any particular strategies for simplifying or rewording in order to make text fit?
As LF said, he's how I know how much text will fit.

If it's close, sometimes there are slightly worse wordings to consider to squeeze it in. Maybe I said "Action card," but "Action" is sufficient. The word wrap may mean that switching the order of two things helps. In the end if it's just too long then the ability has to change or the card dies. And we usually know this very early, when the external playtesters haven't tried the card yet. There might be a case where I gave in and used the small font, but well, none of that in Renaissance or Menagerie. The worst case for Menagerie was Way of the Mouse; we moved the expansion symbol (on all Ways) to fit it.

Worrying about the font size for translations is beyond the scope for me. The translators can always ask me questions, and sometimes do.

13
Dominion General Discussion / Re: Interview with Donald X.
« on: August 14, 2020, 03:27:35 pm »
How do you make the final version of cards? Do you use Photoshop or something similar or do you have the publisher or artist do it? Also, do you write to artists after you are done the final version of an expansion? Sorry for all of the questions!
Ask as many questions as you want.

I just make a prototype (using paint, though someday I will try paint.net). I don't even send my images to RGG; just a file with the card texts and counts, any special notes, and a file of notes for the artists. RGG makes the files to send to the printer (I don't remember what software is used); it used to be Matthias Catrein who did that, though lately Jay has put in some work there himself. It used to be that Jay assigned all the artists, now I mostly assign them. But again that's just a list for him; he contacts them himself. RGG sends card images to the printer, currently Altenburger; they make actual card sheet images out of the cards. And when we okay those they print them.

I rarely interact directly with artists. I do talk to layout people and sometimes there's overlap, e.g. Alayna Lemmer did the art and layout for Temporum and I interacted with her a lot.

14
Dominion General Discussion / Re: Interview with Donald X.
« on: August 13, 2020, 02:52:39 am »
Are there any mechanics/effects/themes you regret using on a card that could have been better elsewhere? (ex. reactions, attacks, an interesting top/bottom on an otherwise bland card, etc.)
Well there are a lot of cards that could have been better-to-print. I wouldn't call that "elsewhere," just improving the card.

Vanilla cards cause the vanilla card problem. So it would be nice if some of them didn't exist, though some of them had to. For example Laboratory at $5 means Lab with a bonus has to cost $6. Or it has to be Lab with both a bonus and a penalty, which is more complex (or, Lab with a penalty and costing no more than $4). I needed Lab, I don't regret doing it. Woodcutter isn't even in the main set anymore, so it would be great if I'd never done it; it stops me from doing Woodcutter with a bonus at $3 (but why? because some people hate hate hate it when there are "strictly better" cards, and it's not something anyone loves, so there's no justification for making them). That's not really "elsewhere" either though.

15
Dominion General Discussion / Re: Interview with Donald X.
« on: August 12, 2020, 03:32:20 pm »
Is it possible to make board games without having game night? How essential is in-person playtesting?
It sounds in theory totally possible. Certainly all the non-playtesting work is done alone anyway, and some things can be playtested reasonably well online, though it's extra work to get there. In practice the lack of a game night just drops my interest level to zero.

16
Dominion General Discussion / Re: Interview with Donald X.
« on: August 12, 2020, 03:30:29 pm »
Do you have a top 10 cards you most enjoy playing with (similar to the new "Cards You Like" feature online)?
I don't want to put in the work to pick cards. I play 5 cards from whatever I'm playtesting, 5 from a single other expansion, and go through the expansions over and over. I rule out playing with a few cards that are super-strong or disrupt playtesting too much, and everything else comes up when it does. Sure some cards I'm extra-happy to see when they do.

17
Dominion General Discussion / Re: Interview with Donald X.
« on: August 11, 2020, 01:23:27 pm »
Are you still happy with the decision that Curse should be both the name and type of the card, or have you since wished they were different so you could make more kinds of purple card?
I was never happy with that; I didn't have anything better at the time but thought, this isn't great.

It's not an obstacle though. I never feel like, if only I could make a new thing Witch could give you. And I made another kind of purple card, it's Ruins.

18
Dominion General Discussion / Re: Interview with Donald X.
« on: August 11, 2020, 01:22:03 pm »
Would you have made Holstery an overpay card if you could have?
No, because I no longer like doing when-buy triggers. The buy/gain distinction confuses too many people.

19
Dominion General Discussion / Re: Livery + Hypothetical Cost-Increaser
« on: August 06, 2020, 01:33:14 pm »
Now, I'm wondering - would there be a way to fix that if a cost-increaser existed (let's call it Anti-Bridge)?
There was an easy fix actually, which I think Sir Martin suggested. "This turn, when you gain a card costing more than Horse, gain a Horse." However this doesn't deal with Trader in situations where you affect the Silver and Horse piles differently (i.e. you have Quarry in play). "This turn, when you gain a card costing more than Horse and Silver, gain a Horse" goes the distance. But well. Yuck.


20
Dominion Articles / Re: Menagerie Hot Takes
« on: August 06, 2020, 01:19:52 pm »
The experience of not getting to exile VP is an experience you get in every game without those cards. Now we also get to have the experience of exiling VP.
I mean, sure, that's a way to defend any new mechanic. It doesn't even fully work since we already had that experience with Island.
Hooray for new mechanics! It turns out I wasn't saying something meaningless that justifies anything.

Complaints about "you can exile VP" are just like when people said "nothing should ever cost $7." The game hasn't lost "there's nothing that costs $7"; most games, there isn't. You still get the joy of "oh no I'm drawing Victory cards" in most games; now you also get another experience sometimes. If the experience of "you can exile VP" sucked then sure it would be bad for whatever those reasons are. But it is not made bad just because it changes something sacred-looking. And yet some people view it that way.

And I wasn't commenting on some specific complaint you made, there's no post of you saying "this is bad just because it changes things." I was adding my own thoughts to the thread, which I get to.

At this point a lot of Provinces have been exiled, and the loud voices on the internet have been pretty positive. If I want to please those players, for sure Exile was the move. You can't please everyone, and it's great if you ever manage to please as great a percentage as Exile does.

21
Rules Questions / Re: When exactly does Wayfairer's cost change?
« on: August 05, 2020, 02:49:11 pm »
There are actually two ongoing abilities that seem to be triggered: Deluded and Envious. The "this turn" ability seems to start "at the start of your Buy phase".

Deluded: At the start of your Buy phase, return this, and you can't buy Actions this turn.
Envious: At the start of your Buy phase, return this, and Silver and Gold make $1 this turn.

I assume these are timed as Arena and Treasure Chest. You can play Village Green off Arena, or play Sheepdog off Treasure Chest, and then use Way of the Mouse to play Black Market before Deluded or Envious kicks in.
Yes.

22
Dominion Articles / Re: Menagerie Hot Takes
« on: August 05, 2020, 02:48:19 pm »
The experience of not getting to exile VP is an experience you get in every game without those cards. Now we also get to have the experience of exiling VP.

For me Exile was a slam dunk, an excellent mechanic. It created some really novel cards.

I'm still enamored with Horses and Ways too, and it was great to revisit Events. The reaction subtheme is great too. The weak point of the set for me is the weird-cost cards. They are nicely novel, but all generate a lot of rules questions. Animal Fair seems worth it; I could have done a few of those, saved other weird costs for another day.

23
Rules Questions / Re: When exactly does Wayfairer's cost change?
« on: August 04, 2020, 02:10:00 pm »
Actually, I think you picked the one example where the answer is not that obvious. Notice that Gatekeeper says "Until then, when another player...". It's possible this refers to the point in time that the previous "At start of turn,..." effect was resolved.
It doesn't; Gatekeeper's attack part ends before anything else can happen on your turn.

24
Rules Questions / Re: Potion/Debt and cost-reduction
« on: August 04, 2020, 01:56:45 pm »
Sorry to necro this but... Isn't the Bridge text actually technically accurate? The Alchemy rulebook says that "$0" means "$0 and 0p". And "-$1 and 0p" is less than "$0 and 0p". Am I missing something here?
I'm not sure what your question is. Nothing lowers the $ part of a cost below $0.

25
Rules Questions / Re: When exactly does Wayfairer's cost change?
« on: August 01, 2020, 01:51:32 pm »
Does the cost change trigger on when-gain like Watchtower etc., or does it happen before that?

If you could order it with other when-gain stuff, you could gain a Salvager, play it with Innovation trashing a Wayfarer from your hand (for $6 let's say), and then apply the cost change ($4).

On the one hand the cost change does happen when (after) you gain the card, which is also when Watchtower, Innovation etc. trigger. But on the other hand, Wayfarer doesn't say "when you gain a card", it simply says that it "has the same cost as the last other gained card". So I assume the cost changes before when-gain stuff.

I would also expect Peddler to work the same way, changing its cost before Arena (start of Buy phase) triggers. (This could matter of you discard a Village Green with Arena, playing it using for instance Way of the Butterfly to return a Peddler Way of the Mouse to do something with a Peddler.)
The change happens before when-gain triggers. Yes Peddler also happens before Arena (and after Arena too, if more Actions are played in the Buy phase).

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