Dominion Strategy Forum

Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length

Show Posts

This section allows you to view all posts made by this member. Note that you can only see posts made in areas you currently have access to.

Topics - Donald X.

Filter to certain boards:

Pages: [1] 2 3
1
The Bible of Donald X. / The Secret History of Dominion: Menagerie
« on: April 01, 2020, 01:00:24 am »
I took a break after Renaissance, and worked on other games. One night there was just me and Kevin. What's good with two? I dunno, Dominion? It happened again a week or two later. And then that was that, I was making an expansion. A lesson for us all.

There were two ideas waiting to be used, from when working on Renaissance. First, the Jail mat. This was a mat cards could put cards onto, and then it had a built-in rule that let you get the cards back when gaining another copy of whichever card. This mat and the associated cards had been good, but I didn't want more mats in Renaissance. At one point it had four mats; in the end it has one that does double duty. So I saved this for next time, and well, it was next time. So this went right into the set and had good cards right away. Eventually I renamed it to Exile, because I wasn't looking to make a wild west expansion, which is what "jail plus horses" sure suggested. "Exile" was nice because you can use it as a verb too, and it made at least some sense for a medieval game.

The other idea was for a particular way to do "+1 Card tokens." I considered them for Renaissance, but it didn't sound great to have a pile of tokens you could constantly consider cashing in for cards. What I ended up doing for Renaissance was Sinister Plot, which just happens at the start of a turn. But another approach was to have a pile of one-use Labs you could gain. It was like a +1 Card token, except different in all the ways it's different - you can only use it when drawing it, you can Remodel it, and so on. There wasn't room for a big pile of those in Renaissance, though it got Experiment. So this was another thing to try right away, and right away I liked it. Horse itself started and ended costing $3, but I tried having it cost $2, to make it weaker with trash-for-benefit. I preferred it being stronger there.

The first two cards using Horses were "Gain 3 Horses" and "+1 Action, discard any number of cards for that many Horses." They both immediately showcased the beauty of Horses. "Gain 3 Horses" is like Smithy... but it doesn't draw dead cards, and doesn't draw at all the first time you play it, and well more differences, Remodel and stuff. It was a pretty neat variation on Smithy and still really simple. And then the Cellar variant was nothing like Cellar. It was pretty neat too. Well as you may have noticed, these cards aren't in the set. They both just produced too many Horses. Another way "Gain 3 Horses" is different from Smithy is, it takes longer to resolve - not just playing it, but playing it and playing the three Horses. So in the end there are "Gain 2 Horses" cards, but no 3, and only Livery gets to really go nuts gaining Horses.

I tried several new kinds of landscape cards for the set. The one that stuck was Ways, which let any Action be played for a particular effect. I liked the vanilla ones right away. I also planned to add Events to the set. The set was going to have to be 400 cards, to include 30 Horses and some landscapes and not have fewer Kingdom cards than usual. So, it had space. It took me a while to get around to trying some Events, but when I did that all worked out, there were new things to do, not all of them involving Exile and Horses.

I considered having another card like Horse, a pile that some cards could give you. I didn't get around to trying one for a while, and meanwhile two minor themes crept into the set. So I never tried one, I had plenty of stuff going on. The minor themes are Reactions and uh weird costs. It seemed cool to have a bunch of Reactions, and I had this good trick to do to get some, which was letting you play the card. Caravan Guard had done that, but it had +1 Action, which severely reduced how exciting that was. And then the weird costs, I added Wayfarer and Animal Fair and they were just immediately highlights of the set, so I looked for a couple more.

* Kingdom Cards *

Animal Fair: The premise was the alternate cost; the first version had +2 Cards +2 Actions on top. It was just too important to madly try to acquire them. Then for a long time it was +$4 +1 Buy. This seemed to work out fine. But late in the going I was worried about player interaction and tried out +1 Buy per empty pile here. It worked great, it makes it less important early and well does have a little interaction.

Barge: A late card, trying to get more use out of "now or later" after I had it on Village Green. It started out without the +Buy; I gave it that to make it compare more favorably to Merchant Ship (just a joke for you people who read all the Secret Histories). Since your intention is to use it right away most of the time, it seemed like it needed more than just +3 Cards, and we weren't buying it enough without the +Buy.

Black Cat: The second reaction in the set. I wanted a black cat! Probably it would curse people? Could it be blue? I got all those things. At first it triggered on their gain and you discarded it to Curse them. It wasn't good enough. Shifting it to being played also let it be an Attack; Moat couldn't stop the discarded version.

Bounty Hunter: This started in Renaissance. That version gave +$1 always, and +$2 if you jailed a unique. There was just that version and the final version; it's more fun to have a bigger reward for the unique, and it didn't want to be as good otherwise. An early poster child for Exile.

Camel Train: Originally it had no below-the-line part. Some people liked it but for me it wasn't quite good enough. I tried letting you play it when you gained it, but it ran out piles too fast. So now it exiles a Gold when you gain it.

Cardinal: A card that started in Renaissance. It was an obvious thing to try with the Exile mat, and mirrored Old Witch's temporary Cursing. That version dug for a card to exile; this one just looked at the top 2, and then dropped down to costing $4.

Cavalry: Sometimes I try to make a new version of a favorite card. This is the new Villa. Villa saves you when what you needed was more Actions; this saves you when what you needed was more cards. It didn't change, though there was some noise about, should you get +1 Buy if you gain it in your Action phase, since that's easy to forget. Good luck remembering that. For years I wanted to make a when-gain that drew you cards, and tried some that died; all it took was returning you to your Action phase so you could play them.

Coven: Somehow this never changed.

Destrier: Trying to get one more weird cost into the set. Changed from counting all gains to just your own, suggested by Matt.

Displace: The first version gained a card costing "exactly $2 more," now it's "differently named" with "up to $2 more." I think Ben King suggested that. It's nicer as an exiler while still stopping you from using Province to gain Province.

Falconer: This started as a Smithy you could play when someone gained a particular thing - first a card they had a copy of in play, then when they gained either this or a 3rd card on their turn. I found it just too hard to pay attention to when they got a 3rd card. At the same time the set was packed with card-drawing, it didn't need more. Some people were sad to see it go, but I switched it to gaining a cheaper card to hand, Matt's suggestion, and then found a better reaction condition for it.

Fisherman: The first version gave you +$1 conditionally if your right-hand opponent had an empty discard pile (and cost $2). It was trying to be interactive, but that's not a great thing to have to pay attention to, as sometimes they're shuffling, and sometimes they're pre-shuffling. I switched it to caring about your own discard, but also tried it being a full-time Peddler that only costs $2 if your discard pile is empty. It was buy-phase only like Peddler, but we misplayed that some, so now it's full-time.

Gatekeeper: The premise remained constant. Some versions always exiled the card; you'd get back the previous one, so once you had e.g. Silver in exile, gaining Silver would work, you would just technically put one Silver into exile and discard the other one. I never liked that much, plus the card felt too oppressive, so it changed to just not working every other time. Some versions cost $4, but man you don't want to be under this right away.

Goatherd: I tried to make an interactive trasher that cared about the trash. At first it counted copies of itself in the trash, to determine how many times you could trash a card or gain a Silver. Then it counted Actions in the trash, and divided the count by 2. A bunch of versions followed, trying to zero in on the good parts of the card. Some versions gained a card that varied in cost with the trash; at first it could get Province. Some had a threshold rather than scaling with the trash. And well then I tried to think of what other way a trasher could be interactive, and came up with Goatherd and hooray, it was better. At first it counted all trashes, then it shifted to only ones you personally trashed, at Matt's suggestion.

Groom: An early card. The only change was the precise wording, "Action card" rather than "Action."

Hostelry: This didn't change. I did however compare "when you gain this, gain a Horse." We liked this better. I also tried letting you discard non-Treasures too; it was too generous.

Hunting Lodge: The first version of this was a duration card that let you get a new hand once during your next turn's Action phase. It never had a good wording, saying "...when nothing is happening..." Some players liked it, but I felt like it was too strong when it was good, and awful the rest of the time. Plus it did have this wording problem. So it changed to working immediately, with +$2, and then into the village that made the set.

Kiln: The only change here was adding "first," as people want to reach right over and take their card.

Livery: Another early card. Originally it triggered on gaining cards from the Supply; in the end if cares if the card costs $4 or more. Somehow or other it had to rule out Horse itself triggering it, and also Silver (due to Trader).

Mastermind: The initial idea was to use Exile to make a new King's Court that could somehow cost $5. It exiled both itself and the card it played. I was not thrilled with it, and making it a duration was the first new direction I thought of.

Paddock: The first version was +$2, gain 2 Horses. A variant on "+$2, +2 Cards," an ancient card that never seemed worth doing. For a while it filled its slot, looking like I might add a dividing line and some other ability, but being simple and inoffensive. Finally in the later days I was worried about having enough player interaction, and tried out the +1 Action per empty pile here.

Sanctuary: The initial premise was to have a way to exile cards that could also get cards out of exile. There were multiple versions and well. You don't want to exile good cards. If you can exile junk you will sure do that instead. It never really gave me a good "I'm saving a card for later" feeling. Some versions rewarded you for taking a card back by being a village; some players complained about these ones being disjointed messes. Plus it's not great that it hoses the exiling attacks. I stripped it down to a pure exiler, then gave it +1 Buy, and well there it is.

Scrap: This was a very old idea I just never got around to trying before. At first it cost $2.

Sheepdog: This has two origins. One is a treasure from Empires that had +1 Buy and gave you +$1 per Buy you had. I thought there was something there, and tried a new version, an action that gave you +$1 per card you gained that turn. Some people liked it but man the math was too much to ask of people. No really, it was bad. I tried multiple versions trying to fix it up and make it fair, some of which could also count trashes. I tried versions that triggered at one point in the turn. I switched to reactions and card-drawing (no math there) and was making progress. Now it resembled an outtake from Renaissance, that gave you +1 Card +1 Action when gaining a card, and some versions of this did just that. I got a version that seemed promising but had a bad wording - it wasn't trivial to communicate that you could reveal a copy for each gain, but not multiple copies for one gain. I tried it as draw-to-6 - now I didn't need to limit you to one use because it was naturally limited. Again I thought maybe this would do the trick, but more testing suggested it wasn't there. I came up with a few directions and one of them was Sheepdog. It's sleek and pretty and a delight. Sometimes it takes a while to get there.

Sleigh: Initially you just revealed it, but that was too much, so now you discard it. That had rules issues - wait you just lost track of the card you gained, you can't move it. A few different versions of the card tried to address this satisfyingly. Finally I bent time and space and fixed the rules.

Snowy Village: This started life as a joke card, in a Christmas kingdom I made (with help from Matt). Hey that idea wasn't bad. I made it more exciting by giving it +4 Actions and +1 Buy. Eventually it dropped from $4 to $3. The original: https://dominionstrategy.com/2017/12/25/2017-holiday-kingdom/

Stockpile: Renaissance had tried out a one-shot Smithy that went to your Jail. When the Jail left, it turned into Experiment. I knew Smithy wasn't great due to tracking, and after a game with it as a gold-gainer, went with +$3 +1 Buy. Those of you who have really been paying attention remember that Feast was originally a one-shot +$3 for $4; wasn't that too good or something? Apparently not!

Supplies: One of the first cards in the set. At first it just gained a Horse; it looked nice to me but people were dissatisfied. So now the Horse goes on top.

Village Green: With a Reaction theme having appeared, I thought, how about a Tunnel. I came up with the now-or-later concept and was instantly enamored with it. It was a good fit for the Tunnel too. I needed a village so I made this a village and well there it is. At first it only worked in an Action phase, but people misplayed that, so now it matches Tunnel.

Wayfarer: The original idea predates Dominion being published; you can see a picture in the outtakes article (https://dominionstrategy.com/2013/06/24/dominion-outtakes/, the last section). Like always, at some point I thought, are there any old ideas I haven't tried to fix up yet, and there it was. That one was a one-shot Gold, which I already had; this one started as a Smithy. Since some games that would just be Smithy, it got an optional Silver.

* Ways *

Well most of these did not change. Let's just look at the few that did.

Way of the Butterfly: At first you trashed the card. That's no good with Fortress and Adventures tokens. Also I gave it an anti-Throne wording.

Way of the Chameleon: At first you could mix up the four basic +'s any which way. It's too hard to communicate what happens with +2 of something - can you split it up or not - in the space available, plus it was too many options. I fixed both things by having it just exchange cards and $. Then I added "this turn" so you didn't have tracking on durations.

Way of the Frog: Originally it just put itself right on your deck. This can cause a loop, those Adventures tokens again. Pointed out by werothegreat. So now it has a way wordier wording but there is no loop.

Way of the Mole: This fought it out with another Way that first gave +1 Action, +2 Cards, discard 2 cards, then switched the order of drawing and discarding. My feeling was, we used that one so much, was that really the best gameplay. This one is harder to use but has its moments.

Way of the Mouse: At first it tried to single out the cheapest supply Action to play. This doesn't work due to debt and potions, oops. So it sets aside a card in setup. There was a late question, should it be just $2's, or $2's and $3's.

Way of the Rat: This didn't change, but we did try a version with no discard for comparison.

Way of the Seal: At first it was like an Artifact - you claimed the Royal Seal ability until someone else used an Action as a Seal. Then it just Royal Seal'd, then it died, then I brought it back with +$1. Arf!

* Events *

Alliance: Matt wanted some expensive Events. Okay, how about, gain a lot of cards? I tried two of them and liked them both. This one was always like this. I considered putting Curse on it but man you already don't want all of what you're getting.

Banish: An early Event, stayed just like this.

Bargain: A late Event, stayed just like this. I guess ahead of it I tried another $4 that gained $5's; that one only worked if there was an empty pile.

Commerce: A late one. At first it was "gain a Horse, gain a Gold per card you've gained this turn." It seemed too generous and lost the Horse. It was too strong with Horse-gainers, too expensive (at $8) otherwise; so, it counts differently named cards, Matt's suggestion.

Delay: Didn't change. There was some talk of dropping it due to also having Way of the Turtle, but I liked the effect enough to want to do two of them, and man they're different.

Demand: At first it gained a $4 onto your deck, plus put a card you'd discard from play this turn onto your deck. It was oppressive with Coven and probably had other bad scenarios, as had an endless Scheming Project in Renaissance. I tried getting a card from your discard pile, but ended up with just pairing the $4 with a Horse.

Desperation: At first it wasn't limited to once per turn. You don't need to have the experience of "okay I take 15 Curses and buy 6 Provinces" twice.

Enclave: Didn't change. It's a bigger Harem!

Enhance: At first it said "Action or Treasure," now it says "non-Victory."

Gamble: The wording changed late to get rid of a poor Village Green interaction (that Vassal has).

Invest: Originally you just drew one card. It was cool when we tried it in the first game with it, then we never bought it. I upped it to 2 (and fiddled with the wording), and then we played it a bunch, trying to see just how good this experience was.

March: The initial idea was to let you play all copies of one action from your deck/discard (a descendant of a very old card that played all of your attacks). It was usually weak and sometimes nuts. I fixed it up by having it only play one copy and charging less for it.

Populate: Didn't change. Foosh!

Pursue: Didn't change.

Reap: At first it gained two Silvers for next turn, for $5. I won a game just doing that, so I changed it to a Gold for $7.

Ride: Didn't change, though I briefly tried adding +1 Buy to it.

Seize the Day: Originally you took an extra turn in which you couldn't draw cards. This seemed neat and then weak but maybe okay, but then Ben and Steveie played a game with it and Scrying Pool, oops. Not all card-drawing is "drawing." We talked about wordings to fix that, then I tried a version that limited your cards in play to 5; that was not remotely restrictive enough, you could do plenty. Maybe there was a good version of one of those, but it was late, and I tried a straight "once per game, an extra turn" and was happy with it.

Stampede: The initial idea was to reward you for not having very many cards in play; it started as "if you have 3 or fewer cards in play, gain 5 Horses." It wasn't getting used much; so, it's more generous on the situationalness and puts the Horses onto your deck.

Toil: Didn't change. This led the charge of new Events, showing that there were in fact more good things to do.

Transport: Didn't change.

* Outtakes *

As I mentioned above, the first two cards were the Smithy of Horses and the Cellar of Horses. They were great except for how slow they made games. I tried a smaller Cellar before killing it.

Already there's a card I don't want to share. This card was fine, it just wasn't great with the other things in this set. Well let's move along.

One direction I looked in for new cards was "this turn" abilities. It sounded good to trigger on treasures, effectively giving them an ability, and I tried "when you play a Gold, gain a Horse" and "when you play a Copper, +1 Buy." I had big plans to try "When you play a Silver, +$1" again too, but that didn't happen and those cards didn't work out.

One of the very old cards I dredged up was "Trash a card from your hand, discard a card, +3 Cards." It holds the distinction of being the first card in the oldest Dominion file, though I know it replaced something; I wasn't saving every image back then. In its day it was fine but then seemed redundant. I brought it back with exiling, and we tried it with the +3 Cards first and last, and then versions to try to iron out things I didn't like about it. I was never happy with it and then did a different trasher, which got me to Goatherd in the end.

Some attacks tried to cause discarding after each card play. Oh boy. Yes, "attacks," I tried more than one of these.

The cards that tried to save cards for later in Exile included one suggested by Matt, that seeded Exile with something and always made you swap. Initially it was Silver but that was nuts; then it was Copper and well, did I mention you don't really want to put your good cards into Exile for later? You just don't.

I tried some takes on cantrips that gained Horses. Conditionally; for discarding a card. It was always dangerous space; Horses are more interesting on terminals, but also I didn't want the game to get too slow, and the cantrips threatened that or did it.

Here's a cantrip that dug for an Action and put it onto your deck. Kind of a fixed Harbinger. It was unobjectionable but did not add much to the game. Another short-lived card was a cantrip that Exiled a Gold from the Supply.

I tried a card that added another VP card to the top of the Province deck. Well I never made the card, since it didn't matter for testing out the concept, but I made the VP card (it came with 2 Horses) and we played some games with one per player on top of the Provinces. You know, it has a mild charm, but did not add much.

There was a Smithy that Exiled a supply card for up to $6 when you gained it, and let other players get in on it by discarding a treasure. Then, a Smithy that let each other player play any Action card from their hand when you gained it. Sometimes it was very cool, but in practice they so often could not get use out of it. I replaced it with the first of the cards that led to Falconer.

One concept I trotted out briefly was to trash cards from low supply piles. There isn't much like that in the game and well the game doesn't need much of it.

For a while I liked the idea of a village with 20 cards in its pile, with no special connection to the pile being 20 cards. You know, it wouldn't gain copies of itself or anything, there would just be 20 of them. The idea was, for multiplayer, you put in this card and you are set for villages. So many multiplayer games, if there aren't two village piles, you have to build a deck that doesn't need very many villages. But uh surely the multiplayer players know about this already? They must be putting in those villages or living without them already, that's what I think. And it ate up a slot that stopped seeming so available, I could have a pretty 30 kingdom cards 20 events 20 ways. I came up with a lot of villages trying to be the good 20-card village; many were bad, some have potential but were no good for a 20-card pile, and some got tried out. In the end I did Village Green for this slot.

A couple cards tried to be some slightly novel way to discard cards for $.

I briefly tried a Haggler variant that had Treasures come with a cheaper card. It seemed promising and then had issues to fix and I grew weary of it.

There are Way outtakes. There were multiple versions of a Workshop. Multiple cards tried to give +$ with some formula, e.g. "per copy of this you have in play." None of those seemed as good as just plain old +$2. There was a Scheme for all copies of "this." A flip side to Butterfly, turning a card into a cheaper one but to your hand. I tested "play this twice then trash it," which had wording issues, was a lot of fun, and just messed up the game too much. A couple cards were one-shot +$ formula things. I tried Band of Misfits - all your cards do a zillion things! I tried Throne and Scepter that only worked on cheaper cards, and a Throne for Treasures. I tried Training - choose a card, the last one picked with the Way has +$1. There was an Embargo, man it didn't do much. Coppersmith seemed promising but oops it was way too mathy, you play lots of cards as Coppersmith and not all at once necessarily. There was a Bridge. There were a couple versions of Navigator, for a bit it seemed like one would make it. There was "gain 2 Horses" - what animal does that? It was an okay ability but not essential, and the name was trouble. It was called Way of the Mare, which I didn't like. I also tried a Way that gained Silver, and a "card from discard to hand."

And there are Event outtakes. An early one gave you a Gold and a Horse per Gold you had in play; man it's okay but I did better. Similarly there was, when drawing your hand this turn, +4 Cards then discard 4 cards. I tried a Witch variant that was no good. There were a couple versions of a trasher/exiler (it tried both) that looked through all your cards like Donate. There was a Harbinger. I had a free Event that gave you +$1 or a Silver; it let you turn extra Buys into $. It was a runner-up for making the set; I did better.

2
Dominion General Discussion / Menagerie Bonus Previews
« on: March 07, 2020, 03:03:09 am »
1. Way of the Chameleon: scroll down!
2. Way of the Rat: http://forum.dominionstrategy.com/index.php?topic=20150.msg825937#msg825937
3. Village Green: http://forum.dominionstrategy.com/index.php?topic=20150.msg826022#msg826022
4. Alliance: http://forum.dominionstrategy.com/index.php?topic=20150.msg826128#msg826128
5. Gamble: http://forum.dominionstrategy.com/index.php?topic=20150.msg826331#msg826331
6. Camel Train: http://forum.dominionstrategy.com/index.php?topic=20150.msg826449#msg826449
7. Way of the Horse: http://forum.dominionstrategy.com/index.php?topic=20150.msg826562#msg826562
8. Way of the Pig / Way of the Sheep: http://forum.dominionstrategy.com/index.php?topic=20150.msg826668#msg826668
9. Stampede: http://forum.dominionstrategy.com/index.php?topic=20150.msg826734#msg826734
10. Cardinal: http://forum.dominionstrategy.com/index.php?topic=20150.msg826816#msg826816
11. Desperation: http://forum.dominionstrategy.com/index.php?topic=20150.msg826945#msg826945

* * *

Bonus Preview 1: Way of the Chameleon

People asked for various things, but the big one was Ways, everyone wants to see more. Someone wanted the "vice-versa" card and someone wanted the most rule-bending things, so here's all three of those, and the most exotic thing in the set.



Durations are tricky. It only applies to this turn; if you play Merchant Ship using Way of the Chameleon, you get +2 Cards this turn and +$2 next turn. Also some things get you cards but aren't "+Cards"; Way of the Chameleon doesn't apply to them. There will be a rulebook eventually!

3
Dominion General Discussion / Menagerie Previews 5: More Cards
« on: March 06, 2020, 03:00:10 am »
And here we are with... more cards.



I warned you that there were more Duration cards. Here's Mastermind, which is like King's Court but slower. You can King's Court a King's Court in one turn; with Mastermind that's play Mastermind, next turn Mastermind a Mastermind, next turn actually play three things three times.

Menagerie has two minor themes I didn't mention yet. Surprise! The first one is reaction cards; there are five of them. Five! Four of them do the trick Sheepdog did of letting you play them at an unusual time; Black Cat is one of those. It's a Witch they have to activate for you. I will just point out now: when they gain a Province and that lets you use Black Cat, the other players gain Curses and that lets them use Sheepdogs.

The other minor theme is cards with weird costs; there are four of these, including Animal Fair. Wayfarer's weird cost is whatever the previous card cost. You could play Bureaucrat, gain a Silver, then Wayfarer costs $3. Or with two Buys, buy a Copper, now Wayfarer costs $0. Or buy an Engineer for 4 Debt and well now Wayfarer costs 4 Debt.

That's all the previews you were expecting! The cards will continue to be playable online through the weekend, then vanish, then come out properly online when the physical version is out. We still expect it around March 18.

This time for no special reason I am going to keep previewing cards until the set comes out or the rulebook is posted. These cards won't be playable online (until the whole set comes out), they will just be images to look at and ponder. I'll do one a day, and if people request stuff they'd like to see, I'll try to pick one of those things. They can be kingdom cards or sideways ones.

4
Dominion General Discussion / Menagerie Previews 4: Ways and Events
« on: March 05, 2020, 03:00:32 am »
First we have Ways. There are 20 of these. Okay so. They're landscape cards like Events and Landmarks and Projects. You deal them out the same way, except, don't use more than one Way per game (that's my advice anyway). A Way gives an alternate use to all Action cards that game. When you play an Action card, pick, do you want its normal function, or do you want the Way. If you want the Way, you just do what the Way says, that's that. It's like Action cards all say, "Choose one: that Way thing, or what this normally does." We turn the Action card sideways to remember which ones did the Way. Stuff below a dividing line is unaffected; if it's like, "While this is in play, something something," that will still happen.

Ways work any time you play an Action card. This means for example that if you play Sheepdog via its reaction, that can still use a Way if you want. If you Throne Room a card, it could be the Way the first time, not-the-Way the second time, or any combination. As always there's a rulebook, you'll get to see it eventually.



Way of the Ox is a simple one: +2 Actions. In games with this, every Action card can instead be used for +2 Actions. Your hand is nothing but Smithies? Play one for +2 Actions and away you go. Or, what was that thing from two days ago? Horses, that's right. Way of the Ox lets you play a Horse for +2 Actions, and still have it for later. And a Necropolis, well, uh, maybe the next one will be better for Necropolis.

Way of the Mole is also simple, there are a bunch of simple ones.

Way of the Turtle is a trickier one. It lets you play any card to set itself aside and replay it next turn. Way of the Turtle says "this" on it, but that's the card you played, it's not Way of the Turtle itself. You don't want your Moneylender this turn, so you Turtle it, and play it at the start of your next turn. I hear you asking, but wait, when you play it next turn, can't you just use Way of the Turtle again to save it for the turn after that? Yes, of course you can. If you want, it can be Turtles all the way down.

Online, you can click on a button on an Action card to instead do the Way with one click. You can also click on the Way itself, highlighting it, then click on an Action in hand. Cards like Throne Room and Vassal pause to give you a chance to use the Way on the extra play.

Menagerie also has 20 Events. They're just like the ones in Adventures and Empires, only new. In your Buy phase, you can use a Buy and pay the cost to generate the effect. Some of the Events involve Horses or Exile, but many don't, including these three.



Toil gives you a way to turn cash into playing Action cards from your hand. It's a secret village, for certain kinds of things. And if you just have $2 left you can't do anything useful with, you can Toil ironically.

Commerce makes some amount of Gold, depending on the variety of cards you've gained this turn. Scrap an Estate for a Silver and a Horse and you're well on your way.

Populate is a big one. You gain one card from each Action supply pile. Foosh! That's potentially 10 cards in a game without Ruins or Young Witch, though some piles may not be Actions, and if a good pile ran out, tough luck. And you can't say, "no I don't want that Beggar and that Ruined Library." You get to pick the order they show up, or online can click on a "random order" button when you don't care.

5
Dominion General Discussion / Menagerie Previews 3: Exile
« on: March 04, 2020, 03:01:02 am »
Menagerie includes Exile mats, one per player. They're a place to put cards where they're still yours but not in your deck. The Exile mat has a built-in rule to let you get the cards off of it; check it out:



What that all means will vary a lot, depending on the card doing the exiling. Eight kingdom cards use Exiling, and six landscapes; here are some of those kingdom cards.



Bounty Hunter mainly stores cards that you probably don't want to draw anymore. If you didn't have one of whatever it is in Exile already, you get +$3, so early on it helps you spike $ amounts, and then it's either a way to at least get rid of more cards, or you can consider collecting a bounty on something you weren't exactly planning on parting with. And after that it can keep Provinces out of your deck, so I mean, what's not to like.

Stockpile has a different trick: it Exiles itself. You can just buy another one to get back the first one, and Exile them again, and buy another to get back those two, and so on. Until the pile runs out anyway.

Coven has yet another trick. It hands out Curses, but they don't just poison your deck immediately; they accumulate in Exile and then one day you dump them all into your deck at once. I will just tell you now, you better not be relying on Bounty Hunter to get rid of the Curses; you can keep collecting the bounty, but Coven will keep dumping them back into your deck.

6
Dominion General Discussion / Menagerie Previews 2: Horses
« on: March 03, 2020, 03:00:05 am »
Horse is a non-supply pile. There are 30 of them. You get one via a card saying "gain a Horse" or something. If the pile is empty you can't gain one, but let's hope that doesn't happen much. Horse looks like this:



So Horse is a one-use Laboratory; it puts you up a card and then is gone. Or, you know, you don't have to play it; you can Remodel it or something. It's there for you. Once in your deck, it's just like Experiment, from Renaissance; it turns out, they were experimenting on Horses. Eight total kingdom cards use Horses, and four landscapes. Here are some of those kingdom cards.



Supplies is an easy one: when you play it, you get a Horse. The Horse goes onto your deck, so normally you'll just start with it next turn.

Scrap gives you a choice of bonuses, with more stuff for trashing a more expensive card. You could for example trash an Estate and get +1 Card and +1 Action, or trash a Horse and get +1 Buy, a Silver, and a Horse.

Livery makes everything that's expensive enough come with a Horse that turn. This works on cards you buy, or cards you get other ways. With two Liveries, everything comes with two Horses. With two Liveries, and you buy Farmland, trashing Remodel to gain a Border Village which comes with a Laboratory, you gain six Horses. Many Horses could be yours.

7
Dominion General Discussion / Menagerie Previews 1: 5 Cards
« on: March 02, 2020, 02:59:44 am »
So, it's come to this. Previews. I suppose I have myself to blame.

Menagerie - hey isn't that the name of a card? - has 400 cards, like Adventures. That includes 30 Kingdom cards. There are two major themes: Exile and Horses. There are also two kinds of landscapes: Ways and Events, with 20 of each. I'll do the math for you: 30 kingdom cards is 300 cards, plus 30 randomizers is 330, plus 40 landscapes is 370, and I'll just tell you now that there are 30 Horses. That means no Victory cards, and no other surprise extra piles.

Day 2 of previews will cover Horses, and day 3 Exile; day 4 will have landscapes, and day 5 will have... some more cards. Here on day 1 we have 5 miscellaneous cards, to get you started with a bunch, because as before the cards are immediately try-out-able at dominion.games.



Snowy Village gives you a bunch of actions and a buy, but closes the door on even more actions that turn. Some of you may remember this from the holiday joke cards that were on dominionstrategy a few years ago. I wouldn't be expecting those other cards, but this one was worth doing.

Sheepdog gives Dominion another blue dog. You can play it anytime you gain a card. It may not even be your turn. Playing it means you put it into play and get your +2 Cards; it will be discarded in that turn's Clean-up, even if it's not yours. Using the Reaction part doesn't use up an Action; it just leaps into play and draws you cards. If it draws you another Sheepdog, you can use that one right away too; you can keep playing Sheepdogs until you run out of them.

Animal Fair gives you a weird way to pay for it. The card costs $7; the alternate payment just applies when you're buying one. At the point at which you'd pay your $7, you can trash an Action from your hand instead (and can do this when you don't have $7). And then what do you get, you get +$4 and some number of Buys.

Kiln is another in the long line of Explorers. It most easily gains Treasures, but if you can play an Action after it, you can gain a copy of that, and it can even gain Night cards.

And finally Barge is a Duration card with an effect you can have now or later. Handy if you don't want to draw dead cards, or have drawn your deck already. If you take it now, it's just discarded that turn. All the sets seem to squeeze in a few Duration cards these days, and this set has four of them.

Again, those of you on dominion.games, you can probably try the cards right about now.

8
I play Merchant Ship. I buy Bonfire to trash it and Villa to go back to my Action phase, more to do. I gain the Merchant Ship with Rogue and trigger a shuffle with Vassal and it plays a Merchant Ship. Is it the same Merchant Ship? It matters. If it is Vassal stays in play, otherwise it doesn't.

But there's no way to know. Throne Rooms care "is this that card" in just the way I was trying to get rid of in other cards.

So, the ruling in these situations is, once you've shuffled a card into a deck, there are no cards that are "that card." For my example, Vassal does not stay in play.

Edit: Later in the discussion below, this turned into: "In the circumstance where you can no longer move a card, it's also no longer "that card" for effects that track a specific card."

9
Dominion General Discussion / Dominion: Menagerie
« on: January 07, 2020, 05:16:13 am »
The new expansion, Dominion: Menagerie, has been officially announced. Hey isn't that the name of a card?

Official page: http://riograndegames.com/Game/1350-Dominion-Menagerie

Functionality blurb: "This is the 13th expansion to Dominion. It has 400 cards, with 30 new Kingdom cards. There are Horses that save a draw for later, Exile mats that cards can be sent to and rescued from, and Ways that give Actions another option. Events return."

Edit: Also we currently expect it March 18.

10
Rules Questions / Dominion 2019 Errata and Rules Tweaks
« on: September 24, 2019, 04:28:19 pm »
Crossposted so I can sticky it here.

I am changing some rules and errata-ing some cards. And this post is telling you all about it.

The reasons behind these changes are:
- It's possible for two copies of a card to have different abilities. This causes problems, the worst (extremely exotic) situation being, you play a card and don't actually know what it should do. The cards that do this are also confusing in general.
- There are cases where card interactions fail in an unintuitive way, due to it mattering if cards in a discard pile are covered up.
- Two minor rules clarify things a little and simplify texts a little, and are just coming along for the ride.

These changes will be implemented in the online program soon, and are effective now. Of course if you are playing irl you may not know about them, or may choose to do whatever you choose to do. These are changes for the better though, and I recommend using them.

Edit: I didn't think those words through and should clarify. New printings of the sets will have the new wordings, just as with Possession and Masquerade earlier. Online we will have the new wordings soon, because we can. But obviously anyone with a physical copy has whatever version they have; there's no obligation to play with the errata, and it's not great having to tell your friends, "here's some text to remember about what this card actually does." You can do it if you want but it's not essential for good times. I'm telling people about the changes now instead of whenever the sets get reprinted, because we can have the changes online in the meantime.

1. Errata

Eight cards are getting errata. Four are "shapeshifters" - they can change what they are, or what something else is. These create lots of rules questions and a few problems, and are switching to be like Captain and Necromancer - they'll play a card instead of becoming the card. Three are one-shots that would behave differently with the shapeshifters; they're changing to be more like they previously were, though this will change how they work in some other situations (e.g. with Necromancer and Captain). And then Procession is getting rid of the tracking problem introduced when the Throne/Duration rule changed a few years ago.

Someday those expansions will get printed again, and will have the new wordings, with FAQs to go with them. You can play with them right now though, through the magic of knowing about them.

New card texts:

Band of Misfits: Action, $5
Play an Action card from the Supply that costs less than this, leaving it there.

Overlord: Action, 8D
Play an Action card from the Supply costing up to $5, leaving it there.

Inheritance: Event, $7
Once per game: Set aside a non-Victory Action card from the Supply costing up to $4. Move your Estate token to it. (During your turns, Estates are also Actions with "Play the card with your Estate token, leaving it there.")

Lantern: Artifact
Border Guards you play reveal 3 cards and discard 2. (It takes all 3 being Actions to take the Horn.)

Death Cart: Action - Looter, $4
You may trash this or an Action card from your hand, for +$5.
----------
When you gain this, gain 2 Ruins.

Pillage: Action - Attack, $5
Trash this. If you did, gain 2 Spoils, and each other player with 5 or more cards in hand reveals their hand and discards a card that you choose.

Embargo: Action, $2
+$2
Trash this. If you did, add an Embargo token to a Supply pile. (For the rest of the game, when a player buys a card from that pile, they gain a Curse.)

Procession: Action, $4
You may play a non-Duration Action card from your hand twice. Trash it. Gain an Action card costing exactly $1 more than it.

2. Tracking for the former shapeshifters

Some cards, like the new Band of Misfits, can play a card that isn't put into play. When you play Band of Misfits, leave it in play as long as you would have left the card it plays in play. Normally that will be the same turn's Clean-up. For a Band of Misfits playing a Duration card, it will be the Clean-up of the last turn the Duration card has any effects. For a Band of Misfits playing a Throne Room playing a Duration card, it will be the Clean-up of the turn the Duration card leaves play. For a Band of Misfits playing a card that can move itself from play, like Mining Village, the Mining Village can't move itself, and Band of Misfits would still stay out until Clean-up anyway, due to the normal rule for leaving cards out until Clean-up. If a Band of Misfits plays multiple Duration cards (e.g., you used Throne Room on it), leave it out until the Clean-up of the last turn that one of them still had effects.

These rules apply to all of the cards that play cards without putting them into play: currently, Band of Misfits, Overlord, Inheritance, Necromancer, and Captain.

3. The new lose-track rule, now stop-moving, and getting things from your discard pile

Sometimes, the game wants you to not move a card further. I used to call this lose-track, because it existed due to situations where you'd really lose track of the card. But mostly you know right where the card is, so now I am calling it the stop-moving rule. And it's changing too, as follows.

The stop-moving rule: An effect can move a card if it specifies where the card is coming from, or if the effect put the card where it is now. If a card isn't where the effect would expect it to be, or has moved away from there and then back, it can't move the card. Played cards expect to be in play; they can't move themselves if they aren't. Gained cards are expected to be where they were gained to, even if this isn't the discard pile. Cards in discard piles can be moved even if covered up by other cards; cards on top of a deck can't be moved once covered up.

Additionally, when you are told to get a card from your discard pile, you can look through it to get the card. That's just implicit. You don't have to just look at the top couple of cards, you can look through the whole discard pile.

The main change here is that previously you'd lose track of something if it were covered up in your discard pile, and now you don't. So for example if you Replace an Estate into Skulk, previously you would lose track of the Skulk when you gained a Gold and covered it up, but now you won't, you will put the Skulk onto your deck.

4. You can gain non-Supply cards when called out.

When a card tells you to gain a non-Supply card by name, you can gain it from its pile, even though it's not in the Supply.

This is just letting me drop "from its pile" from those cards, which wasn't a great way to make it clear that you really get to gain them.

5. Costs don't go below $0.

The cost in $ of a card can't go below $0. The cost in [potion] of a card can't go below 0 [potion]; the cost in [debt] of a card can't go below 0 [debt].

This is something that cards like Bridge have said; now it's just a rule, and covers the potion and debt cases since people ask. What does Vineyard cost with a Highway in play? Same as without it - zero coins, one potion, and zero debt.

11
Dominion General Discussion / Dominion 2019 Errata and Rules Tweaks
« on: September 24, 2019, 04:05:01 pm »
I am changing some rules and errata-ing some cards. And this post is telling you all about it.

The reasons behind these changes are:
- It's possible for two copies of a card to have different abilities. This causes problems, the worst (extremely exotic) situation being, you play a card and don't actually know what it should do. The cards that do this are also confusing in general.
- There are cases where card interactions fail in an unintuitive way, due to it mattering if cards in a discard pile are covered up.
- Two minor rules clarify things a little and simplify texts a little, and are just coming along for the ride.

These changes will be implemented in the online program soon, and are effective now. Of course if you are playing irl you may not know about them, or may choose to do whatever you choose to do. These are changes for the better though, and I recommend using them.

Edit: I didn't think those words through and should clarify. New printings of the sets will have the new wordings, just as with Possession and Masquerade earlier. Online we will have the new wordings soon, because we can. But obviously anyone with a physical copy has whatever version they have; there's no obligation to play with the errata, and it's not great having to tell your friends, "here's some text to remember about what this card actually does." You can do it if you want but it's not essential for good times. I'm telling people about the changes now instead of whenever the sets get reprinted, because we can have the changes online in the meantime.

1. Errata

Eight cards are getting errata. Four are "shapeshifters" - they can change what they are, or what something else is. These create lots of rules questions and a few problems, and are switching to be like Captain and Necromancer - they'll play a card instead of becoming the card. Three are one-shots that would behave differently with the shapeshifters; they're changing to be more like they previously were, though this will change how they work in some other situations (e.g. with Necromancer and Captain). And then Procession is getting rid of the tracking problem introduced when the Throne/Duration rule changed a few years ago.

Someday those expansions will get printed again, and will have the new wordings, with FAQs to go with them. You can play with them right now though, through the magic of knowing about them.

New card texts:

Band of Misfits: Action, $5
Play an Action card from the Supply that costs less than this, leaving it there.

Overlord: Action, 8D
Play an Action card from the Supply costing up to $5, leaving it there.

Inheritance: Event, $7
Once per game: Set aside a non-Victory Action card from the Supply costing up to $4. Move your Estate token to it. (During your turns, Estates are also Actions with "Play the card with your Estate token, leaving it there.")

Lantern: Artifact
Border Guards you play reveal 3 cards and discard 2. (It takes all 3 being Actions to take the Horn.)

Death Cart: Action - Looter, $4
You may trash this or an Action card from your hand, for +$5.
----------
When you gain this, gain 2 Ruins.

Pillage: Action - Attack, $5
Trash this. If you did, gain 2 Spoils, and each other player with 5 or more cards in hand reveals their hand and discards a card that you choose.

Embargo: Action, $2
+$2
Trash this. If you did, add an Embargo token to a Supply pile. (For the rest of the game, when a player buys a card from that pile, they gain a Curse.)

Procession: Action, $4
You may play a non-Duration Action card from your hand twice. Trash it. Gain an Action card costing exactly $1 more than it.

2. Tracking for the former shapeshifters

Some cards, like the new Band of Misfits, can play a card that isn't put into play. When you play Band of Misfits, leave it in play as long as you would have left the card it plays in play. Normally that will be the same turn's Clean-up. For a Band of Misfits playing a Duration card, it will be the Clean-up of the last turn the Duration card has any effects. For a Band of Misfits playing a Throne Room playing a Duration card, it will be the Clean-up of the turn the Duration card leaves play. For a Band of Misfits playing a card that can move itself from play, like Mining Village, the Mining Village can't move itself, and Band of Misfits would still stay out until Clean-up anyway, due to the normal rule for leaving cards out until Clean-up. If a Band of Misfits plays multiple Duration cards (e.g., you used Throne Room on it), leave it out until the Clean-up of the last turn that one of them still had effects.

These rules apply to all of the cards that play cards without putting them into play: currently, Band of Misfits, Overlord, Inheritance, Necromancer, and Captain.

3. The new lose-track rule, now stop-moving, and getting things from your discard pile

Sometimes, the game wants you to not move a card further. I used to call this lose-track, because it existed due to situations where you'd really lose track of the card. But mostly you know right where the card is, so now I am calling it the stop-moving rule. And it's changing too, as follows.

The stop-moving rule: An effect can move a card if it specifies where the card is coming from, or if the effect put the card where it is now. If a card isn't where the effect would expect it to be, or has moved away from there and then back, it can't move the card. Played cards expect to be in play; they can't move themselves if they aren't. Gained cards are expected to be where they were gained to, even if this isn't the discard pile. Cards in discard piles can be moved even if covered up by other cards; cards on top of a deck can't be moved once covered up.

Additionally, when you are told to get a card from your discard pile, you can look through it to get the card. That's just implicit. You don't have to just look at the top couple of cards, you can look through the whole discard pile.

The main change here is that previously you'd lose track of something if it were covered up in your discard pile, and now you don't. So for example if you Replace an Estate into Skulk, previously you would lose track of the Skulk when you gained a Gold and covered it up, but now you won't, you will put the Skulk onto your deck.

4. You can gain non-Supply cards when called out.

When a card tells you to gain a non-Supply card by name, you can gain it from its pile, even though it's not in the Supply.

This is just letting me drop "from its pile" from those cards, which wasn't a great way to make it clear that you really get to gain them.

5. Costs don't go below $0.

The cost in $ of a card can't go below $0. The cost in [potion] of a card can't go below 0 [potion]; the cost in [debt] of a card can't go below 0 [debt].

This is something that cards like Bridge have said; now it's just a rule, and covers the potion and debt cases since people ask. What does Vineyard cost with a Highway in play? Same as without it - zero coins, one potion, and zero debt.

*** Update! ***

Did I say that was the errata? There is more errata.

As a result of posting the errata, people have talked about it in forums and things, and the ShuffleiT version has gotten worked on. And this has resulted in two more desired changes. Well I'm counting it as two. And well the cards still won't be printed for months at least, but the online version is changing soon, so here they are.

The first is, when you are told to get a card from your discard pile, if it's not on top, or the card is chosen, you can look through your discard pile to get the card. You don't get to look through your discard pile to take the top card (again unless you're choosing a card from your discard pile). This change is because, well the idea to messing with when you could look in your discard pile was to fix some weird situations, not to add "look through your discard pile" to cards like Watchtower that never had it. In the rare situations where you gain a card and want to use Watchtower and the card is no longer on top, you get to look through your whole discard pile; when it's on top, just take the card like you used to.

The second is, further errata for four cards to prevent loops. You could do things like, play a Bridge and use Inheritance on Band of Misfits and then play Band of Misfits to play Estate to play Band of Misfits to play Estate and it's a loop. The fix here is a type on these cards, that they then don't work with. This affects very little other than getting rid of the loops; Courtier is better with these cards, and if you e.g. have an Adventures token on Band of Misfits and wanted to play Captain to play Band of Misfits (with a Bridge) to take advantage of that, well, now that doesn't work. This fix includes Overlord even though it wasn't part of the loops, just to be safe for the future and because it looks like the other cards and this seems less confusing. And hey it was already getting errata. To avoid "non-Victory non-Command" on Inheritance, I'm dropping non-Victory, which was just there for the old way Inheritance worked.

So:

Band of Misfits: Action - Command, $5
Play a non-Command Action card from the Supply that costs less than this, leaving it there.

Overlord: Action - Command, 8D
Play a non-Command Action card from the Supply costing up to $5, leaving it there.

Inheritance: Event, $7
Once per game: Set aside a non-Command Action card from the Supply costing up to $4. Move your Estate token to it. (During your turns, Estates are also Actions with "Play the card with your Estate token, leaving it there.")

Captain: Action - Duration - Command, $6
Now and at the start of your next turn: Play a non-Duration non-Command Action card from the Supply costing up to $4, leaving it there.

12
The Bible of Donald X. / Donald X.'s Guide to 12 Dominion Expansions
« on: February 18, 2019, 11:49:54 am »
Lots of people ask: what Dominion expansion should I get next? They have different criteria in mind and well this guide will try to answer that question for a variety of criteria.

It can be helpful to look at the cards, see what's in the expansions. The wiki has images of all of them: http://wiki.dominionstrategy.com/index.php/Main_Page

TERSE DESCRIPTIONS

Mainly there's the main set and 12 expansions. You technically don't need the main set - you could know the game and get Base Cards plus any expansions. So I have to consider it too.

Small - 150 cards: Alchemy, Cornucopia, Guilds
Regular - 300 cards: Intrigue, Seaside, Prosperity, Hinterlands, Empires, Renaissance
Large - 400 cards: Adventures
Extra large - 500 cards: Dominion (due to base cards), Dark Ages, Nocturne

Dominion: The main set - includes base cards needed to play. The focus is on simplicity.
Intrigue: Cards that give you a choice, and victory cards that do something.
Seaside: Duration cards - they do something this turn and next turn.
Alchemy: Potions - a new resource that most of the cards in the set require to buy them.
Prosperity: Adds Platinum and Colony as a step above Gold and Province; Treasures that do things, VP tokens (worth 1 VP at end of game).
Cornucopia: Variety theme.
Hinterlands: "When you gain/buy this" theme.
Dark Ages: Trash theme; Shelters to replace starting Estates; Ruins which are similar to Curses; Spoils which is a one-use Gold.
Guilds: Coffers tokens ($ you can save), overpay (pay extra for a card to get an effect when buying it).
Adventures: Duration cards return; Reserve cards you can save until you want to use them; Events, effects you can buy that aren't cards.
Empires: VP tokens return; more Events; Landmarks, things you don't buy that modify scores; Debt that lets you pay for a card later; Split piles with two or more cards in them.
Nocturne: Night - a new phase after the Buy phase with cards usable then; Boons/Hexes - small random good/bad things that cards generate; non-supply Spirits; cards with Heirlooms that replace starting Coppers.
Renaissance: Coffers tokens return; Villager tokens (+1 Action you can save); Projects, abilities you can buy that aren't cards; Artifacts, abilities only one player can have at a time.

But wait, there are other products you might find. I'll ignore these elsewhere in this guide, but let's see what they are.

Dominion and Intrigue were changed, with 6 cards dropped and 7 cards added. Thus we have:

Dominion, first edition: This is the only way to get the 6 cards dropped from Dominion. They were dropped with good reason! You don't need this. And it's not in print (in English), though there are lots of copies out there.
Intrigue, first edition: Similarly this is how you get the 6 cards dropped from Intrigue. You don't need them. Also this version of Intrigue was standalone - it has the base cards needed to play, meaning it's 500 cards.
Dominion Update Pack: Just the 7 cards added to Dominion. If you don't have them they are a great source of 7 pretty simple but still interesting cards. This is out of print (the expectation being that the people who wanted it got it, and new copies of Dominion just have the new cards).
Intrigue Update Pack: And the 7 cards added to Intrigue. They are pretty sweet imo. Out of print.

The other expansions through Adventures got new versions with improved layout, but no new cards.

There's more:

Base Cards: Just the basic cards needed to play - Copper Silver Gold Estate Duchy Province Curse - plus a few similar things that have appeared in expansions - Platinum Colony Potion. Once they were prettier than the main set / expansion versions; now everything is even prettier. You could want this in order to aviod buying Dominion itself, though it's a fine product, or if you want to go to 5-6 players.
Promos: Over the years some promos have come out. They're are a mixed bag, typically too weak or too strong. Some of them are fun though. You can buy them at BoardGameGeek and support the site at the same time.
Mixed Box: It's Cornucopia plus Guilds in one box; we no longer sell them separately (in English). I couldn't quite bring myself to combine them in this guide though.
Big Box: The current one is Dominion plus Intrigue plus extra base cards so you can play with 5-6 players. The old out of print one was Dominion plus Prosperity plus Alchemy, for some reason.

Non-English language versions include different Big Boxes and different Mixed Boxes and random assortment products; I don't have all the information on those. Hobby Japan also makes rethemes - mixes of cards from multiple expansions, with different flavor. You can look those things up on BoardGameGeek if you want. 999 Games makes an intro product in Dutch that's smaller than the normal main game.

LONGER DESCRIPTIONS

If you just want a few sentences more on each set, I'm there for you.

Dominion: Some of the simplest cards in the game, covering all the most common kinds of abilities. Most of you have this already. If you don't, I recommend getting it; while it's possible to get base cards elsewhere, these cards are great to add to your games.

Intrigue: This expands on the main game in the simplest way possible, without much to send you to the rulebook. There is a theme of cards that give you a choice - something like "choose one..." or "name a card." There are also Victory cards with abilities, including Action - Victory cards and a Treasure - Victory card, plus a few cards that like those cards.

Seaside: Introduces Duration cards - orange cards that set up something to happen in the future. Many of them simply do something this turn, and that thing or another thing on your next turn. The rest of the set has some related cards, like stuff that interacts with the top of your deck. Duration cards were much admired on their debut. They finally came back in Adventures, and the later sets each have a few Duration cards. But they started out here.

Alchemy: Adds a new basic pile, Potions, which produce a new resource. To buy cards with the potion symbol in the cost, you need to play a Potion. The set also has an action-chaining theme, which it got to make sure that most of the cards were worth buying a Potion for even if no other cards in the game required a Potion. Some people adore Alchemy, but it tends to be people's least favorite set.

Prosperity: The overall theme is "spendy." There are Platinum and Colony, new base cards above Gold and Province; there are Treasures that do things when you play them or while they're in play; and there are at last cards that cost $7. There are also three cards that use VP tokens - a way to have VP without it being a card in your deck.

Cornucopia: There are no new rulebook mechanics in this small expansion. The theme of the set is variety, with cards that care about the variety of cards you have in your deck, or in your hand, or in play, and some cards that can get you more variety.

Hinterlands: This is a simpler set. The main theme is cards that do something (extra) either when you buy them or when you gain them. There are 3 Reactions, 3 special Treasures, and 3 Victory cards, but that's only 7 cards total. A number of cards push "filtering" - getting through your deck without using all the cards.

Dark Ages: This is a sprawling set full of crazy combos. There is a trash theme, cards that do something when you trash them, lots of ways to trash things, and a few things that care what's in the trash or can take cards out of it. The Ruins pile is like Curses but more interesting, with 3 cards handing them out. The Spoils pile is an unbuyable one-use Gold that 3 cards give out. Starting Estates can be replaced with Shelters, which have little abilities to spice up those games.

Guilds: A small set with two themes: Coffers tokens, which you can cash in in your Buy phase for +$1, and overpay, which is cards that let you pay extra for them in order to generate an effect when you buy the card.

Adventures: Duration cards return, including Duration attacks and Duration cards that just hang around in play all game. The Tavern mat gives you a place to put Reserve cards, which go to your mat when played and can be "called" off later to do what they do. For the first time a new kind of card is shuffled in with the randomizers (or kept separate if you prefer): Events. A game can have 0-2 Events; they give you an effect you can buy in your Buy phase, but aren't a card in anyone's deck. There are two Travellers, cards that upgrade themselves four times each.

Empires: VP tokens return, with lots of uses for them, including cards that they pile up on. In addition to more Events, there are Landmarks, more randomizer-deck cards that can be added to a game. They provide a way to score VP, sometimes with tokens or sometimes just calculated at the end of the game. You use 0-2 Events/Landmarks total. Some cards cost Debt, which means you don't have to pay for the card now, but can't buy other things until you finish paying off the Debt. There are 5 Split piles that have two different cards in them - five copies of each - plus the Castles pile with 8 different Victory cards.

Nocturne: This expansion adds a new phase, Night, which occurs after the Buy phase and before Clean-up. The only thing it means is, there are Night cards that you only play then. This lets them care about what happened during the turn, and many of them do; others go right into your hand when gained, so you can buy one and then immediately play it at Night. There are two small decks of random good/bad effects, the Boons and Hexes, and cards that cause you to turn over one of those cards and see what happens. Seven cards have Heirlooms, which are special Treasures that replace a starting Copper in games using that card. Several cards use new non-Supply cards, the Spirits. Overall it's the most flavorful set.

Renaissance: This set is much simpler than the last few, but still has four mechanics. Coffers tokens return, paired with Villagers, which are tokens you can cash in in your Action phase for +1 Action. Projects are randomizer-deck things like Events, but instead of getting a one-time effect, you get a permanent ability. You use 0-2 Events/Landmarks/Project per game. Artifacts are non-deck cards that only one player can have at a time; the cards that produce them will let you take them from other players.

LET'S START OFF SIMPLE

The main set is especially simple; start there! Intrigue is next simplest, adding just "Victory cards can do things" as a concept, and never really sending you to the rulebook. Hinterlands is pretty simple, and then, simple but with more new stuff, we have Seaside, Prosperity, and Renaissance.

I JUST WANT THE BEST EXPANSIONS OKAY

You get better with experience; I think the later sets - Adventures, Empires, Nocturne, Renaissance - are all more polished than the earlier sets, with fewer duds, and lots of exciting content. I also especially like the revamped Intrigue, and Dark Ages. Note however that Adventures, Empires, and Nocturne are the three most complex expansions.

I WANT THE SETS THAT ADD THE MOST TO THE GAME

Adventures, Empires, and Renaissance add not just kingdom cards but also Events / Landmarks / Projects, which add lots of variety to the game. After those, some expansions mess with the starting decks or basic cards: Prosperity adds Platinum / Colony; Dark Ages has Shelters and is also 500 cards; Nocturne has Heirlooms.

I WANT LOTS OF PLAYER INTERACTION

Empires has the most interaction overall: it has attacks, split piles, and Gathering piles (they accumulate tokens one player will get), plus many of the Landmarks are interactive.

I HATE ATTACKS

Renaissance only has two, getting much of its interaction from the Artifacts that players can compete for. Prosperity and Empires only have three, although Prosperity's three get played a lot. All three sets make up for that reduced interaction by having more non-attack interaction.

WAIT, I LOVE ATTACKS

Intrigue and Seaside have some especially vicious attacks, attacks that make the game be about that card. Dark Ages has fewer attacks by %, but they include the ones that give out Ruins cards, plus the Knights pile; if you like attacks, you will want to see the Knights. Nocturne has attacks that give out Hexes, which are random effects.

I WANT THE BEST PLAYER TO WIN

Any new expansion you get will favor the best player for a while. Empires helps the better player via VP tokens, so many ways to catch up to a lead in Provinces. Dark Ages and Renaissance help the player better at spotting card interactions. Renaissance and Guilds help the player better at knowing when to use up Coffers and Villagers.

I WANT CRAZY SURPRISING THINGS TO HAPPEN

Nocturne has the most randomness, with completely random Boons and Hexes. Dark Ages and Renaissance push card interactions, and can produce lots of crazy surprising ones.

I WANT BIG BUT LESS SURPRISING THINGS TO HAPPEN

Prosperity has a "big" theme, with Platinum and Colony as the next step from Gold and Province, and cards costing $7. Empires picks up from there, with a treasure that doubles your $, an Event that makes 15 VP total, and cards that cost 8 debt.

I LIKE THEME

Nocturne and Adventures stand out as having more thematic cards than other expansions - at the expense of, they're more complex too. Dominion's theme gets singled out some for ridicule, but well, whether that's your stance or not, those expansions are heavier on theme.

WHICH SETS HAVE THOSE COOL METAL TOKENS

Empires has VP tokens and Debt tokens; Prosperity has VP tokens and coin tokens; Seaside has coin tokens and Embargo tokens (they are only used with Embargo). Guilds and Renaissance have coin tokens. In terms of actually using the tokens, Empires and Renaissance get the most out of their metal.

NO FIDDLY BITS FOR ME

Dominion, Intrigue, and Hinterlands have no extra bits and no extra piles.

WHAT'S NEXT IF I LIKED...

Dominion: Intrigue does the least to stray from the basics.
Intrigue: Empires has lots of VP tokens, which are more non-deck VP. Guilds and Renaissance push choices.
Seaside: Duration cards return with a vengeance in Adventures.
Alchemy: If you liked the action-chaining, try Dark Ages.
Prosperity: Empires is kind of a sequel to Prosperity.
Cornucopia: There isn't much that cares about variety outside of Cornucopia, but some sets help you get variety - Dark Ages, Nocturne.
Hinterlands: All later sets have a little when-gain, but Renaissance has more than usual.
Dark Ages: Renaissance has some more trash-combo stuff. Nocturne has more non-Supply piles and starting-deck cards.
Guilds: Renaissance revisits Coffers. Hinterlands debuted when-gain, related to the overpay cards.
Adventures: Seaside debuted Duration cards. Events are also in Empires, and the related Projects appear in Renaissance. If you liked the flavor, Nocturne is especially flavorful.
Empires: This is kind of a sequel to Prosperity. Adventures debuted Events, and Renaissance has the related Projects.
Nocturne: Dark Ages has more non-Supply piles and starting-deck cards. Adventures also has fantasy elements.
Renaissance: Guilds introduced Coffers. Dark Ages has more trash-combo stuff, Hinterlands more when-gain. Adventures and Empires have Events, which are related to Projects.

BUT WHAT WOULD SOMEONE ELSE RECOMMEND

Seaside and Prosperity! When they came out they were the best sets. People have a lot of nostalgia for them. Duration cards from Seaside were popular; some people never want to play without Platinum and Colony from Prosperity. Among the later sets, Empires was especially well received.

If you look at BoardGameGeek ratings, expansion ratings are always warped; an expansion (correctly) tends to only get rated by people who have it, which tends to be people who were pretty pleased up to then. So expansions rate higher than games, and later expansions rate higher because the people who bought ten expansions are bigger fans than the people who bought two. So you can't just look at the ratings and get a clear story. Still, trying to take that into account, Prosperity and Empires stand out as outliers, higher than expected.

HEY WHAT ABOUT CORNUCOPIA AND ALCHEMY?

None of the above categories recommend these expansions. In the case of Alchemy, well, it's most people's least favorite expansion; I'd get it last. Cornucopia I think is great; it just doesn't fall into any of those categories. The variety theme is a unique thing that people like but don't specifically ask for.

AND THAT'S THAT

There you have it. When people say, what expansion should I get next, here is a thing you can link them to.

13
Dominion: Renaissance Previews / Secret History discussion thread
« on: November 09, 2018, 04:07:05 am »
Since you can't discuss it in that thread. http://forum.dominionstrategy.com/index.php?topic=19203.0

14
The Bible of Donald X. / The Secret History of Dominion: Renaissance
« on: November 09, 2018, 04:06:04 am »
Going into work on this set, I had two plans. First, to see what I could do with States. States showed up in Nocturne, just as a way to deal with tracking for a few effects; I had put no work into trying to see what I could do with them, and well probably I could do something with them. Second, to try to do more with the coin tokens from Guilds. They were popular and it seemed like maybe I could actually do more with them.

Along the way I added a third goal: to make a set that was much simpler than the last few sets. The expansions naturally get more complex as you go along, since you run out of new simple things to do. I felt like things had gotten too complex though, and wanted to swing things back the other direction as much as possible. So the set intentionally has a bunch of off-theme cards, which is to say, cards that don't involve any of the new mechanics; and I limited myself to text that would fit with the large font, and for the landscape cards, text that would fit with the large font on two lines (then Innovation needed three during layout due to the expansion symbol). And the set tried to stay simple in other ways too.

Initially I did two things with States: I had ones that one player could have, and ones that every player got a copy of. The ones that every player got could turn over; one side would have a rule that let you upgrade it. We liked these a lot.

One of the two-sided States was a lot like the Journey token from Adventures - it was, some cards flipped it over, but when it flipped over one way nothing happened, and the other way gave you +1 Action. So some cards essentially had +1 Action half the time you played them. This was cool. But wait: maybe I could just have +1 Action tokens, to go with the +$1 tokens. And I switched to that and it was even better.

So... +1 Buy tokens? I had them in the set for a bit there. And there was a 4th mat, unrelated to the others. In the end I felt like, we were eating up so much table space with mats, and hey what about being simpler. So there are just Coffers and Villagers. And they got those names and notation and then since we were updating Guilds for reprinting it got the Coffers mat too.

The other two-sided States, they were good times, but did not go well with the idea of a simpler expansion. Here, read this extra card, now turn it over. They turned into Projects: you pay to put a cube on a card, and now you have that ability. This is not only simpler - no second side to read, no text to explain how to upgrade it - it also means only one card per Project, rather than six (for six players) per two-sided State. So I could fit way more of them into the set, hooray.

The one-sided States persisted, but somewhere along the way I realized I should use a different name for them, to clarify that only one player got them. So they are Artifacts. The Artifacts were tricky; you want them to move around but not every turn, and they want to be attractive but not have the game hinge on them. I thought there might be 8; there are 5, and I struggled to get those.

Coffers tokens were also problematic; when you have a giant pile of those tokens, it's pretty demoralizing for the other players, and sometimes it's even a good strategy. So only one card gives +2 Coffers each time it's played, and some only sometimes produce +Coffers, and some do it when-gained. Villagers tokens had no issues. Go ahead and get a bunch if you want.

So, I think that covers it: Coffers, Villagers, Artifacts, Projects, and cards that do none of those things.

It turned out Ben King had been working on a Dominion program as a fun project, and he programmed in Renaissance and we playtested it some there. Thanks Ben! He also wrote some bots to demonstrate how powerful some particular cards were.

* Cards *

Acting Troupe: Here you go, some villagers. At first this gave +5 Villagers. Too many.

Border Guard: For a while this had no Artifacts. I wanted more Artifacts and saw that I could add one here, which was Lantern. Then I needed to put another Artifact somewhere and saw that this could have two Artifacts, so it got Horn.

Cargo Ship: The concept debuted on a 2-sided State, limited to Treasures. The first version as a card set aside all gains, and doled them out at one per turn, like Archive. Then it was just one card, and that was better but weak - it cost $5. I tried it with +2 Coffers, then just lowered it to costing $4 and then $3.

Ducat: A late card. I needed a $2, and a +1 Buy card. Matt suggested making it a Treasure and there it is. It didn't change, but it did get argued about. Adam felt like it was "strictly better" than Candlestick Maker. I am pretty sure it isn't. What feels better is when you trash a Copper with it... which effectively costs you $3. But any which way, one is a Treasure and one an Action, and various things make those categories matter. It and Candlestick Maker are more similar than most pairs of cards, and well, twelfth expansion, trying to have simple cards, no regrets.

Experiment: We tried several versions of this. After a bit as a Smithy (based on another card that died), it switched to a Lab, because that way there's usually no tracking (it uses an Action but gives +1 Action, so when it vanishes your play area still tells you the whole story, yes unless you Throne it or something). For a bit they both went to the same place - e.g. if you used Sculptor to gain Experiment, both Experiments went to your hand. That was too confusing for how often it came up. There was a version that was two different cards, the first gained you a copy of the second (the second being non-supply); there was a version that was three one-shot Labs instead of two; there was one that was like Border Village, it got you a cheaper card instead of another Experiment. In the end it's two one-shot Labs, which it was early on, but with a better wording.

Flag Bearer: Originally you took the Flag when you played it. Well at some point maybe you are drawing your decks and you just pass it back and forth. That isn't so great. I briefly tried only getting the Flag if Flag Bearer was your first play of the turn; then if you're drawing your decks it just sits there on the player who got lucky. Also bad. Changing it to when-gain/trash fixed it up every which way; anyone could take it on their turn, so it's not "those two are fighting over that, let them," and yet the cost varies (maybe this turn you have $5) and gets higher over time (how many of these Flag Bearers can my deck really handle).

Hideout: One of the first cards in the set, and it never changed.

Improve: Ben and Steveie requested I make a new card that gave you card progression reminiscent of Procession. At first it cost $4, and triggered when discarding a card from play. It shifted to the start of Clean-up in order to avoid having it be possible for every effect in Dominion to happen in the middle of discarding your cards.

Inventor: One of the 2-sided State cards was a Workshop that could get you a Scheme-a-turn that turned into Citadel (but it worked on Treasures too). For some reason I added a Bridge effect to it, while it still used a State. Then I decided the State needed a different card, but kept the Workshop plus Bridge card sans States. We also tried it at $5 with the bottom part of Silk Merchant, but that was too helpful. Inventor does mega-turns, and ideally you don't always have just what you need there.

Lackeys: Originally it was +2 Cards, turn over your thing that gets you +1 Action half the time. It went straight from that to the final version.

Mountain Village: The last card added. An early village with a negative Artifact didn't work out; then I made a new village with two Artifacts that also didn't work out. I decided the move was to just try to have a cool village, and not care about the Artifact being tacked-on, and this was the stand-out from the things I tried. At first you got an Artifact if your discard pile was empty; then I tried giving you the Artifact and +1 Card, and finally moved the Artifact to Recruiter (not what it did, but just, having an Artifact) (and of course Recruiter didn't keep it).

Patron: The first version had a two-sided State (it was a Cathedral that turned into a Cargo Ship for Treasures if you trashed a $5+ card). When those went away, I preserved the top and added the reaction. I fiddled with the wording some, to try to make it clear, but the idea stayed the same.

Priest: This started out giving you an Artifact if you trashed a card costing $3 or more; the Artifact had you draw a card each time you trashed a card. Sometimes the Artifact felt really important, and it sucked to have to eat your deck to fight over it. I tried changing the condition to "if you trashed a card that hadn't been trashed yet," then dropped the Artifact, and switched to getting a bonus per trash right on the card. The bonus was +$2 first, but I also tried +1 Coffers for comparison. It gets rid of some tracking but I liked +$2 better.

Old Witch: For a while the set's Witch was "Choose one: +3 Cards; or take the Evil Eye; or each other player gains a Curse." The Evil Eye was an Artifact that had you Curse the other players whenever gaining VP. We had fun with it for a while. Going for Evil Eye early and hard didn't work, but when someone did take the Evil Eye at a reasonable time, they would suddenly hand out so many Curses. Another issue was, wait, if you Moat this, they can't take the Artifact from you? Matt suggested it not being an Attack, which would have had a certain something - Young Witch has a built-in Moat, Old Witch is un-Moat-able. In the end I gave up on it and replaced it with this, the Witch that only temporarily gives you Curses.

Recruiter: I tried trashing a card for +Coffers, and for a mix of +Coffers and +Villagers. It turned out to be too good of a strategy by itself - just madly convert your cards into tokens. But +Villagers by itself wouldn't have that problem, so I made that card and it was great. A kind of inverse Apprentice. Then at the last minute it got an Artifact, in order to not have the Artifact on Mountain Village. Then at the very last minute I moved the Artifact to Border Guard. We'd been happy with Recruiter, and this way I avoided having another card with multiple mechanics.

Research: Gradually, the set developed an at-first unintentional trash-for-benefit theme - cards that do something when gained or trashed, plus nice ways to trash them. So when I was filling the last few slots, I tried to get in some more of that. This is like Apprentice, but you get the cards next turn, and since they're set aside you have to have cards left to set aside for it.

Scepter: A way to replay actions was an old idea. Well Royal Carriage does it but you know, as a card you played. Royal Carriage happened, but this did not, because what if this game there's no card with +1 Action? You couldn't play your after-the-fact Throne Room. A fix is to make it a Treasure, and that card tried out for Nocturne. Well first it was a Night card, and both the Night and Treasure actually returned you to your Action phase, so that most effects would be meaningful. I didn't feel like it was adding much, and changed it to a Treasure that didn't change phases, which meant that many cards were now no good with it. Which I liked; it made it more of a combo card. It was a poor fit for a set with a lot of Night cards though. It made a list of cards to try in the next set, and when the time came, we tried it again, and then I made it both weaker when strong and stronger when weak, by changing it from always making $1, to either making $2 or replaying a card.

Scholar: This never changed. A poster child for the set being simple.

Sculptor: One of the first cards in the set. It used the "+1 Action every other time" thing like Lackeys, then switched to +1 Villager, and that's that.

Seer: At first it got you cards costing $2 or less, but that was too strong early on. Then $2 or $3, then $2-$4.

Silk Merchant: Briefly this was like a Pawn when gained/trashed, only with tokens in place of +$1 and +1 Action. I always like the idea of a when-gain that can draw cards, but it never survives, for the same reason: in the default situation, you don't want the cards. And then the triggered +1 Buy was problematic. So, no choice, it just gives you the other two.

Spices: Briefly there was a treasure that gave you your choice of a mix of 2 tokens when you played it - Coffers, Villagers, or the +Buy mat. Then, a treasure worth $2 that gave you +2 Coffers and +1 Buy mat token when gained; this was somewhat inspired by a card of Matt's. Then I got rid of the +Buy mat, but moved the +Buy to the top of the card.

Swashbuckler: An early poster child for the 2-sided States gave +3 Cards and added a token to the State (or took it if you didn't have it); when one side got 3 tokens it flipped over and gave you +3 Villagers, and when the other side got 3 tokens it flipped over and got you +3 Coffers and 3 Golds. It was called Jungle Explorer, and the state was Base Camp / Ancient Ruins. When the 2-sided States died, I tried to capture at least some of the spirit of the card, and this is how I did it.

Treasurer: Initially this couldn't get stuff from the trash. That change gave it combos and was great. Late in the going I wanted to try to have more Artifacts and squeezed the Key onto this. It didn't need it to be good enough; it was just a place that I could reasonably fit an Artifact.

Villain: I tried a few different Militias before getting here. When it got close to what it is, there were versions that looked for cards costing $3+ or $5+, versions that made you discard all copies of what you discarded, and versions that only attacked if you had enough Coffers tokens.

* Projects *

Academy: Unchanged, though there were many unrelated cards called Academy.

Barracks: One of the first Projects, and it never changed.

Canal: Unchanged. A lot of these ideas were just fine from the get-go.

Capitalism: There was a thing that made your Silvers be Peddlers in your Action phase, then a thing that tried making your Treasures into Actions. It just isn't useful often enough. Once I hit on this, it was a question, should it be "+$ amounts" or specific ones, e.g. "+$2 or +$3." We tried it both ways.

Cathedral: This started as the front of a 2-sided State, that turned over if you trashed a card costing $5+. Once it became a Project, it didn't change.

Citadel: This also started as part of a 2-sided State, though it was the harder-to-get 2nd side. It originally replayed your first play each turn, which could be Action, Treasure or Night; this was just too confusing though, everyone just mentally thought it only worked on Actions. Spelling it out was poor, so, it just works on Actions. So much for the sneaky Throne Room for Night cards.

City Gate: The last Project. Unchanged.

Crop Rotation: This was $5 and "discard an Action," then $5 and "Victory," then the final version.

Exploration: At first this gave +2 Coffers. Ben demonstrated that it was too strong with a bot.

Fair: Another early Project that never changed.

Guildhall: Unchanged.

Fleet: This started and ended at $5, but went up to $8 in the middle. I messed with the wording so that the turn order would be natural.

Innovation: This started at $5.

Pageant: This cost $2 at first, but a Project can't cost $2 (unless it has a penalty) - you just automatically buy it sometimes.

Piazza: Unchanged. Werothegreat suggested doing a one-card Golem Project; Matt pitched it as a Vassal; there it is.

Road Network: Unchanged.

Sewers: Unchanged.

Silos: Unchanged.

Sinister Plot: Early on I had a Duration card that sat there accumulating Coffers tokens until you popped it. There were a few versions. It's no fun seeing a giant pile of tokens on the other side of the table, so these died. Then I brought it back as the same thing but for +Cards. Somehow way more tolerable. So one day, you'd have a big turn. This was in the set for a while. Then I turned it into a Project, which only takes one card instead of eleven. As a Project there's the concern of, can we all keep our tokens separate, and well, we always managed.

Star Chart: We tried several versions of a card that gained you a card each time you shuffled. It had problems every which way. This was a better fit for "thing to do when you shuffle."

* Outtakes *

As I mentioned, there was a 4th mat I don't really want to talk about. I don't know if I'll try to put it into an expansion someday, or how that will go, but, I might.

For a long time there was a Worker's Village for $2 that came with an Artifact that made you discard a Copper each turn. We had fun with it; you're happy to buy it as long as you aren't the last one to get one, and when you're the current last one to get one, well, time to load up on these. Sometimes someone would be stuck with it and suffer. And sometimes you could brush off the penalty. We enjoyed the various ways it played, but it had a big problem: a casual player might just buy it, let's see what this does, and be screwed. It was worse than buying a Curse (sometimes), but disguised. So we tried having it give each other player "+1 Card, discard a card" at the start of your turn; this slows down the game too much and the tracking is poor, guess who has no incentive to remember this, yes it's the guy who has it. Then there was making you gain Coppers, but sometimes that's actually good, and sometimes easy to cope with. Then there was, your choice of discarding Copper or gaining Copper. This was just way too minor, it didn't delay you buying this village at all. In the end there is no negative Artifact; the village that got this slot is Mountain Village.

There was a village that was, cantrip, +1 Villager; man it's fine, you can argue about, does it need to cost $5, but it's nice. The village that's always there when you need it. But really, the experience it gives is the villager experience, and other cards are giving us that experience. Another village just came with +2 Villagers; we already have that experience too. Another village converted +$ to +Coffers for your next card played. Large amounts of +Coffers are trouble.

The +Buy mat debuted with +$2, discard cards for +$1 each, +1 Buy token. Ahead of Spices and Ducat, there was a treasure that just gave you your choice of 2 tokens when played, between Coffers, Villagers, and +Buy.

Here's one that trashes itself for +5 Coffers if your opponent has a Silver in hand; when gained, it gave them a Silver. It was nuts, oops.

I tried a few cards that gave the other players a negative State when gained. They were cantrips that sometimes gave you stuff. The State made players put a played Copper on their deck for next turn. An early Witch had a one-use Moat State. A concept that hadn't worked in Nocturne either.

I mentioned some of the 2-sided States above. Another one simulated the +Buy mat. At first it was a +Buy mat that could upgrade to a +Card mat; then I had a card that just gave you the State on either side, and it couldn't flip - you locked in what it was, and what it was was your choice of a +Buy mat or a +1/2 Coffers mat (two tokens for +$1).

One of the 2-sided states was Scheme / Citadel. Different kingdom cards tried producing that state - a Workshop, a Remodel, a Vault.

There was also a duration cantrip giving +$2 next turn, that had a 2-sided State where the 2nd side had you draw a card per Duration at the start of each turn. It upgraded all your Durations. Then the States died, but I had a Project that did that, and I had the duration cantrip with no associated State. Both left in a purge of low-rated cards.

A prominent outtake gave you your choice of a Silver or one of two Artifacts. Initially one of the Artifacts gave you +1 Card +1 Action for gaining a card in your action phase, while the other made Silvers get +$1 (after briefly giving them +1 Coffers). Adam figured out that you could just crush people with this and no other cards. For a while I kept trying to make that happen in my own games; no-one quite managed to pursue the boring strategy, and the card kept seeming reasonable. Finally I saw it be broken. Then we went through a variety of Artifacts, trying to find a version of the card to preserve. The second Artifact usually let you topdeck gained cards. Billy and I heavily analyzed the situation - what exactly could you do to make this kind of an Artifact-giver work. I made a new card with two Artifacts, a village, abandoning the Silver-gainer. Finally I gave up on that too. I replaced one of the Artifacts with a Project - going to 5 Artifacts, 20 Projects, surely the set was always like that, you can't be telling me once there were 19 Projects - and the last Artifact tried out for both the village and Recruiter before ending up on Border Guard. Which does have two Artifacts... but having to get lucky (or to have trashed down) to get one helps it out, and the Artifacts nicely distinguish themselves.

There was a card called Patron that put a token on each of two non-Victory piles with no token (non-Victory because of Trade Route). When you gained a card from one of those piles, you took the token. The idea was that you could put one on whatever you were buying, plus one somewhere else, and for a little while there were safe options - I'll start with Curse, then Copper. But eventually you'd be sharing. Of course with +Buy you could just give yourself both tokens. Interesting concept; too powerful and not actually enough fun.

One card gave +2 Coffers, then went back to your hand if you had <= 3 tokens. "+$2, return to hand" was an old card, that made it out in mutated form as Diadem. One issue is tracking the $; this version solved that. It still had the issue of tracking the actions used - and had to have that issue, since the whole point was getting to replay it if you had another action. That wasn't great, but also it was too strong. On its way out I tried just rewarding you if your next play was an Action card, without moving itself or using up the action.

I tried a card that let you put two tokens on a Project. The effect is pointless or nuts, and makes the rules more complex.

Prior to Villain, there was an attack that had your opponents discard a card they had 2+ copies of in hand (an idea from Cornucopia); there was "each other player discards a copy of the most recently gained Treasure"; there was "if you have 5+ Coffers tokens, they discard down to 1 then draw 3." There was "they discard an Action, if they did they get +1 Coffers"; that looks like, why did I try that, but the idea was to be a simpler way of implementing an Enchantress that turned a card play into "+1 Action +1 Coffers." There was "Each other player with 5+ cards puts one on the bottom of their deck"; it's uh, it hasn't been done yet is what it is. And there was "they reveal their hand and discard all copies of one card in it," which bled into Villain.

I had a Band of Misfits variant that played a card from another player's hand (leaving it there). It wasn't as interesting as it sounded.

There was a cantrip that had you name a card, reveal the top 4, and discard the non-matches. It seemed cute and innocuous, but was secretly strong and also slow. Then I tried it just discarding Coppers and Estates. I tried a cantrip that got you the top card if it was Copper or Estate - oh right, that's a lot like Will-o'-Wisp. Then I got you all of the Coppers and Estates from the top 3, and from there we move to the cards that feel like versions of Seer.

Some stuff tried to mess with how many tokens you had. I tried doubling your Coffers tokens; somehow that's here in the outtakes section. I tried "Choose one: +1 Coffers, or +$1 per Coffers token." Then a choice between +1 Coffers, or a Warehouse for a card per token. Then, this one had some charm, +1 Coffers, you may gain a card costing $1 per token. There was a treasure that, when trashed, gave +1 Coffers per 2 tokens you had; yes you empty the pile and have an insane pile of tokens.

In Guilds I tested both "+$1 per card gained in the previous turn" and "+1 Coffers per," and I revisted the +Coffers one here, just making sure.

Here's a card that rewards you for having exactly one Treasure in hand, that's pretty random.

One of the things that tried to use Artifacts was a Treasure that gave you one Artifact if you gained a Treasure, another if you gained a Victory card. Another let you trash an incoming gained card to take one of two Artifacts or get +1 Coffers. An Artifact also messed with that a bunch, trying to let you trash an incoming card. It seemed appropriate for the trash-for-benefit theme that crept into the set, but kept being too weak or too strong. One of the cards was a village that said "If the next card you play this turn is a Treasure, take the thing or the thing." That trigger condition seemed promising for a while, though it limits what the Artifacts can be (mostly they want to be usable the turn you get them, and this confines that to the buy phase). There was a village that gave you an Artifact if you had 5+ Action cards in hand; you never remember that by the time you can do it. There were other Artifact-producing villages that were barely tried: one that had a choice, +2 Actions or toy; one that made your next draw like Catacombs except that's too hard to communicate; one that was a village and also had +1 Villager, and wanted you to gain a card no-one had gained yet to take an Artifact (you can turn the top card of each pile sideways to track that none have been gained yet, and man that doesn't fly today); another had a choice of Card/Coffers/Villager and always gave +2 Actions, and you got the toy for gaining a Gold. And the flurry of Artifacts that tried out for these cards included: Royal Seal; Treasures cost $2 less; each turn gain a Silver; each turn gain a copy of a Treasure you have in play; when you gain a card +$1; when you gain an Action or Victory card may gain a cheaper Treasure; Academy. A hard-to-get one gave you an Action card each turn.

On the quest for Ducat, there was a card that gave you +1 Buy per Treasure you discarded when gaining it (super +Buy cards are always trouble); and there was a card that Remodel'd to the same cost when you gained it and cost $2, which meant that on the 2/5 I drew in what was probably the only game with it, I went, buy that, turn three Estates into that, huh.

Projects, I have outtakes there too.
- A straight +$1 per turn. It's similar to Canal, isn't it. It ended up on Key.
- Save a card for next turn. I didn't like that you had to remember it when it wasn't doing much for you, and would save an Estate for a while.
- Scheme. The gameplay wasn't great and it wasn't popular.
- That +1 Card per Duration card in play thing I already mentioned. Later it had a +$1 option for if there were no Durations.
- May remove cube to trash or topdeck a gained card. This isn't what Projects were about.
- In your turns, Duchies are also Actions with "something." I tried a few things.
- At the start of your turn, +2 Cards; at the start of your Buy phase, discard 2 cards. Powerful, fun, too hard to remember.
- May discard Action for +1 Villager. Counterpart to Pageant.
- In your Action phase, Silvers are Peddlers. It was fun briefly.
- In your Action phase, Treasures are Actions. Without any special ability added on. Not useful very often.
- When you buy a card for <= $4, gain an extra copy. So many Projects tried to do Workshop, often just being too fast to empty piles.
- When you buy an Action you don't have a copy of in play, gain an extra copy. Another one.
- Every turn, Workshop. As if.
- When you gain a card costing $5+, gain one for <= $4. One issue is that many of these can even work twice in a turn.
- When shuffle, may first gain card costing <= $4. So this cut down on how often you got to do it, and seemed cool, but there were huge issues.
- After shuffle, may gain card onto deck costing <= $4. Another one. See some versions made us wait for a player to shuffle, which sucks hard.
- Once per turn, when shuffle, first gain card for <= $2. But the other versions had hopeless card interactions, where you'd e.g. empty a pile instantly.
- Before you shuffle, may set aside Supply card for <= $4, and gain it afterwards. A last gasp for both Workshops and shuffle-Workshops.
- When drawing your hand, +1 Card per card you gained that turn. I did Road Network instead.
- When you play an Action that doesn't give +Actions, +1 Card afterwards. Hard to communicate, and what was I thinking really.
- Buy phase, +$3; your hand is just 4 cards. Looked interesting; was too strong, was too hard to remember.
- Buy phase, +1 Action +1 Buy +$1, your hand is just 4 cards. Trying to fix that up.
- Buy phase, +$5, -$1 per card in hand. Man I don't remember all of these. Probably just in one game.
- Start of turn, look at top 3, put them back in any order. Not meaningful enough.
- Buy phase, may trash hand Silver for hand Gold. Makes the game too much about the boring cards.
- Start of turn, look at top, may discard it. This was endlessly on lists, but I don't remember actually trying it.
- Each turn you don't buy anything, +3 Cards in next hand. A direction to consider more; hey in the end there's Exploration.
- If <= 3 cards in play at start of Clean-up, +3 Cards in next hand. I liked it until it turned out to be strong with just money.
- When you trash non-Copper, +1 Coffers. This game, we all get a big pile of tokens.
- When you gain a Treasure, you may trash a card/Treasure from hand. Let's just have a boring game of buying Treasures now.
- When you play a Treasure, +$1. A problem even though it cost $8.
- When gain card in Action phase, +1 Action, and if it's not the first one, +1 Card. Trying to recreate the fun of a dead Artifact that made Workshops cantrips.
- When gain card for <= $4 in Action phase, +1 Card and +1 Action. And so on, for four versions of this premise.
- When you gain a Treasure, +1 Villager. Don't you mean Action?
- When gain copy of card previous player gained, +1 Coffers. Did not play well. The remaining ones were late attempts to fill up the last slots.
- Instead of trashing a hand card, may gain Silver, and vice-versa. That looks cool, doesn't it. Rules issues.
- Start of turn, may trash hand Silver/Gold for +2/3 Cards. Not a highlight of my options at this point.
- At end of Buy phase, if spent <= $4, +1 Coffers. I guess, helped contribute to Exploration happening? Exploration and City Gate were the last two.
- When gain a card, look at top, may discard it. Not a great matching of trigger and effect.
- Start of turn, reveal top, +1 Card if Treasure. Some people liked this one. A runner-up.
- Start of turn, may reveal no-Treasure hand to gain Gold. I mean it's useful when you build a deck that crushes your enemies already.
- When drawing hand, +2 Cards, discard 2 cards. Good times, crazy power level.

* Phew *

And there you have it.

15
Projects are abilities everyone can have. They go in your randomizer deck or special sideways deck, like Events and Landmarks. You only play with 2 max between these and Events and Landmarks, unless you prefer to have more, I can't stop you. Each player gets two wooden cubes, that's right we've at last moved into wood, and if you buy a Project - using a buy in your Buy phase - you put one of your unused cubes on it and then have that ability for the rest of the game. You only get two cubes, even if you preferred having more than two Projects out at once. Everyone can put a cube on the same Project, there's room for all. There are twenty Projects. Here are six of them.



So, Fair, you pay your $4, you put a cube on Fair, every turn from now on you have +1 Buy. Get it?

Silos lets you Cellar away Coppers at the start of your turn, could be a pip.

Citadel repeats your first Action each turn. You are going places once you have one of these.

Star Chart lets you pick your top card every time you shuffle. It seems like that could come in handy. Yes you get to look at the cards, you don't have to pick from the backs.

Sewers means every trasher you have can trash an extra card. It also works when you play a one-shot like Acting Troupe, or lose a card to Swindler or something. It can be sneaky.

And finally Innovation makes your first bought/gained Action each turn leap into play and immediately do something. Not all things are useful to play in your Buy phase (and there isn't always a Workshop available), but it turns out a lot of things are (and sometimes, there's a Workshop).

That's it for previews! You'll be able to play with the previewed cards online all through the weekend; then they'll vanish until the street date for the physical set. Which is when you'll also get to see the rest of the cards. And when is that? Well the current guess is... late October. Very late October. So late in October that it's almost not October. Man. A month away. But at least RGG has a lot of confidence in that estimate. The rulebook will show up online around then as usual, and once people have the cards I'll post a Secret History.

16
Artifacts are abilities only one player can have. When you take the Flag, you take it from whoever had it, if someone had it. So, they go back and forth. They're like Lost in the Woods (from Nocturne); hey could I do more with that kind of thing, I thought, and I could. There are five Artifacts total, and here are three of them and their parent cards.



Flag Bearer comes with a Flag. If someone takes it away from you, just buy another one. How many Flag Bearers can your deck tolerate, anyway? Well you can also trash them to get the Flag, so that won't always be an issue.

Swashbuckler is trickier. All that stuff after the colon only happens if you have cards in your discard pile - which is harder than it sounds. Part of it is, you draw the three cards before checking. The Coffers tokens don't have to have come from Swashbuckler specifically, so sometimes that helps, but you still need a discard pile at least once to get the Treasure Chest.

Treasurer can put you down a Treasure, up a Treasure, or even on Treasures. And the Key is like a Treasury. So it's sure to be a card you treasure.

17
Coffers are like Villagers but for coins. Bam. Also Coffers appeared already in Guilds, though it wasn't called that until the later printing. It's money you can save for later. You can only cash in the tokens before buying cards; they make +$1 each. Guilds originally said "take a coin token"; this set says "+1 Coffers."



Villain has +2 Coffers, there you go, it's that easy. It makes the other players discard something good, except early on they'll have Estates and later on Provinces. But you know, in the middle there, it demands a good card.

Ducat is the Coffers treasure. If you have a Copper in hand when you get it, it essentially upgrades the Copper into a kind of save-able Copper.

Silk Merchant spills out tokens both coming and going. You may even get use out of it in the middle.

18
Villagers are like Coffers but for Actions. I guess that explanation would have been simpler tomorrow. +1 Villager means you add a token to the Villagers side of your Coffers / Villagers mat. You can remove the token for +1 Action in your Action phase. It's a +1 Action you can save. The actual tokens are coins, but don't be fooled, they do double duty. I will tell you now, it's so nice just using one type of token. So anyway, Villagers.



Acting Troupe gets right to the point: 4 tokens, it's gone. How much of a village is that exactly; what decks are possible when this is the only village-like thing? As always I leave those questions to you.

Sculptor is that rare animal, a Workshop that gains cards directly to your hand. Watch out. If you gain an Action you won't necessarily be able to play it that turn... but wait, you might have Villagers from previous plays of Sculptor. They thought of everything.

Recruiter can let you really go nuts getting Villagers. Don't go too nuts; you don't need a giant pile of Villagers sitting there.

If you missed yesterday's preview, I am here to tell you that you can try these cards right now at dominion.games. If you did catch yesterday's preview, I'm just wasting your time now.

19
Dominion, that's what you're trying to achieve. This time in the Renaissance!

Renaissance has four themes: Villagers, Coffers, Artifacts, Projects. And we'll be seeing them in that order over the next 4 days. But in fact half the kingdom cards in the set don't fit any of those themes. And today, here are some of those. Like last time we will have the preview cards playable at dominion.games, and to have plenty of variety there I'm previewing 5 cards today. You read them already, but this paragraph still has to pretend you haven't, so, here they are:



Mountain Village gets back a card from your discard pile instead of drawing you a card. Or draws you a card if it can't, you aren't hurt there. It does some tricks; the first one you'll see is, one Mountain Village in your hand gets back all the Mountain Villages in your discard pile.

Priest is a trasher, and rewards you for further trashing. Play Priest, get +$2, trash a Copper. Play a second Priest, get +$2, trash a Copper, get a +$2 bonus from the first Priest. Play a third Priest, get +$2, trash a Silver (you ran out of Coppers), get +$2 from the first Priest and +$2 from the second Priest. See how it goes? Try to have enough stuff to feed them.

Seer draws cards costing from $2 to $4. Those aren't your best cards but hey, you could get three of them.

Scholar makes the cards go round. It's a poster child for simplicity; this set goes the extra mile to be simpler than the previous few.

Experiment is a one-shot Lab, but you get two of them.

Again, dominion.games, you can try out the cards right now (yes unless you are reading this from the future). Click on the thing that looks like it will do that, and it will.

20
Dominion: Renaissance Previews / Teaser
« on: September 21, 2018, 04:31:04 pm »
Prepare to be teased.

Renaissance has:
- 25 kingdom cards, 25 sideways cards, 12 wooden cubes, 6 playmats, and 35 tokens
- three Treasures, two Attacks, two Duration cards, and one Reaction
- fifteen uses for tokens
- sixteen uses of "trash"
- a card with a word in quotation marks on it
- a card with only 3 words on it; a card with only 4 words on it
- three ways to play Actions in your Buy phase
- a way to take a turn after the game would otherwise be over
- a trasher you can't turn off
- something that cares about shuffling

21
Rules Questions / Anything needed for Empires?
« on: September 19, 2018, 06:59:41 pm »
There's another printing of Empires coming up, so it's my chance to squeeze in some rulebook fix I've forgotten about.

So, is there anything?

22
The Bible of Donald X. / The Secret History of Dominion: Nocturne
« on: November 24, 2017, 05:30:45 pm »
While working on Empires, I tried out Boons. They were in the set for a while, but there was only so much space in the set, and something had to go. Boons were a nice chunk to remove and out they went. In July 2015, I put them in a file for some hypothetical future expansion, referred to as Boonies. A couple other cards went with them.

In August 2015 I invited Bryan L. Doughty to help playtest Dominion: Empires and the 2nd editions. That all worked out.

In August 2016, Bryan had some time on his hands, and decided to get in some games with the cards in the Boons file. And he posted a report on those games and what he thought of the cards.

Well if someone was going to be playing them, maybe I could work on them a little, make sure the testing was accomplishing something. And I worked on them a little. I tweaked the Boons and the cards that used them. I thought about what else I could do and tried some of that out. Bryan showed up a week later and was surprised at how much had happened. And then he was gone; people sometimes find other things to do with their time besides playtest my stuff. His name is not even in the credits, and the prominent names in the rest of our story are Matt Engel and Billy Martin. But Bryan got the ball rolling and then the damage had been done; I was working on a Dominion expansion. It accumulated mechanics and cards and before I knew it I was writing a Secret History for it.

Dave Goldthorpe is another name not in the credits, so let's give him his moment. He did not playtest. He did suggest names for things though, including a few cards plus the name Nocturne. He will also show up in the story for Fool.

Gradually the set acquired two themes: "spooky" and Celtic mythology. It seemed okay to go for both at once; they overlap a little. Mechanically the set tries to be more for typical Dominion players, rather than experts; the previous set, Empires, is heavily aimed at experts, and well I like the sets to be different.

* The Five Main Mechanics *

The set has five main mechanics, let's check 'em out.

Boons: The first thing in the set, leftover from Empires. It was an old idea waiting for its day, and then it got its day and then I cut it. The Boons required 24 extra cards at the time, and Empires as published only managed to fit in 24 kingdom cards, what with having Landmarks and Events. It would have been 22. And Empires wanted to do plenty of things with its other mechanics too. Something had to go, and the Boons felt the least like the rest of the set, and required extra space.

The idea was to have 12 different ones, and there were always 12. At first there were two copies of each, in the end there's one. Some Boons went the distance while others were tweaked or replaced; I'll get to that. What you can do with a mechanic varies with the rest of the set; in Empires one Boon gave +1 VP, and here one gives you a Will-o'-Wisp.

Originally the top Boon was revealed; you'd know what was coming up. One day Matt Engel suggested having a choice of 3, and initially I liked that, and for a while it worked like that. One day I tried a card that gave you a random one, and I liked it a lot better, and in the end I switched it back to random only you don't even get to know what's coming. It's much faster; there's no first player advantage; it takes less table space.

A big issue with Boons was making sure they didn't make the game too slow. There were cards that gave +Cards and gave you a Boon; they did not work out. The cantrip that gave you a Boon is gone. Even the Treasure only gives you a Boon half the time (in multiples).

Night: The second mechanic in the set. It was an old idea to try adding a phase. I put it after the Buy phase because that sounded more interesting than the other options. I let you play any number of Night cards because I couldn't really have Night villages; you'd need the Night village to show up with the other Night card. It endlessly would not. It could still have been that you could just play one Night card, but letting you play multiples meant you could load up on those cards if you wanted, and played into part of what's special about them, that you don't draw them dead.

At first it wasn't clear what I'd get out of Night, and the first couple cards didn't do anything fancy with the idea. Then I hit on having them care about what happened in the turn. This lets you do really novel things that would otherwise be a lot more complicated; Horn of Plenty is an example among older cards. Later on Billy Martin suggested doing Night cards that went straight to your hand when you gained them; you could immediately play them. This was similar to a few cards already in the set, but sleeker and more worth doing more of. And then a bunch of Night cards ended up being Duration cards; that wasn't intended as a theme, but you are limited as to what's useful to get in the Night phase, and Night-Duration cards get around that.

For a while Night cards all said "(Night is after the Buy phase)" on them. You were going to have to look in the rulebook anyway to figure out Night cards, so in the end I dropped it.

Extra Cards: The intention was always to do a set with no tokens; a 500-card set with non-supply cards, like Dark Ages. It gradually got more and more of these, and the set was squeezed down to 33 kingdom cards to make room for them.

Heirlooms: Matt suggested having a card that caused a starting Copper to be replaced by some non-supply card (that's my memory anyway; Matt thinks I just saw it in his homemade cards). He had tried it where the two cards interacted in some way. It sounded good. I thought I would try one, maybe have two or three if it worked out, possibly interacting or possibly not. In the end there are the full seven. There were times when I only had six good ones, but how do you just do six. And while only a couple of the cards directly interact with the heirlooms they are paired with, some of them interact in a more subtle way.

Originally they had the setup spelled out, then they had "Heirloom: Lucky Coin," then Billy suggested having it on its own banner. The yellow banner helps you spot these cards in time to do the setup before people are playing.

Hexes: I did not just leap to having a negative version of Boons. It was an obvious thing to try but in no way felt essential. I finally tried it many months into work on the set, after a particular card kind of wanted them. We enjoyed the craziness of them and there they are. They were tweaked a bunch but over a much shorter time span than the Boons. There is a lot of variance to a typical normal attack like Militia (maybe I have two Estates in hand while someone else goes from $8 to $6); there is more variance when the attack itself is random. They try to limit the amount of variance somewhat, but of course some hurt more than others.

Speed was still an issue here, but also oppression, just how much the attacks could hurt you. So the cards use various tricks to try to limit the damage.

* 33 Kingdom Cards and Their Close Friends *

Heirlooms are paired with the cards that provide them below, in case the stories go together at all, and a few other cards are paired with what they go with, while some cards used by multiple things are in another section. Just keep calm and keep looking for your card.

Bard: The simplest Fate card. I didn't have it immediately, but one day it was time to get simple. Some versions had an heirloom paired with it, since they glommed onto simple cards, but in the end it doesn't have one.

Blessed Village: A late card. Empires had had a Woodcutter that gave you a Boon when you gained it or trashed it. We all liked it a lot. It came under fire in Nocturne when you no longer knew what the Boon would be. One day it was one of the cards least able to cling to existence, and went. Then later still a village slot was freed up, see Ghost Town for details. I needed a new village. I tried a lot of crazy scaling villages, seeing if I could find something cool but fair. There were some cool things but not so much fair things. Finally I tried this, the most obvious idea but because I'd killed the Woodcutter I didn't go straight to it. It was great though. It's okay that you don't know what the Boon is; it's something, and you probably wanted a village anyway. You had not so much wanted the Woodcutter.

Cemetery / Haunted Mirror: Hinterlands tried and failed to get a when-gain trasher. Guilds managed it via having the card's ability also be trashing. Cemetery manages it by not doing anything else, it's just VP. I was pretty thrilled with this when I thought of it, and then it played great, hooray.

For a while a card called Doomed Miner provided another way to get Ghost. The Miner would die in a cave-in, was the idea. The card itself didn't work out though. It was +$2, gain 2 Silvers, reveal top, if it's Silver this turns into Ghost. Matt complained that his group didn't like how hard it was to get Ghost (then for a bit it put the Ghost into your hand). And I realized I rarely bought it. So the Doomed Miner died, and it seemed like it would be nice if some other card got you a Ghost. I tried a few things, and one problem was, there weren't very many Ghosts. You didn't get very many with Exorcist, so there weren't very many; space was limited, even with 500 cards. So the new thing had to not make very many Ghosts. And well an Heirloom was perfect, it caps out at one per player. There were a couple quick versions of it and then it locked in. And got paired with Cemetery because of the Ghost angle and wanting to be on a trasher.

Changeling: For a while this was just the top, a sleek simple classic card. We liked it but Matt's group not so much. I tried putting the gained card on your deck, but I like to go light on that as it's easy to forget and a more complex concept. Then I thought of the bottom as a way to hit the flavor harder; your Skulk is swapped at birth for a Changeling.

Cobbler: The initial idea was for Tracker. Instead of putting cards on your deck, it could set them aside to go into your next hand. It sounded cool and it was, but it was also nuts. So then it just worked on one card per turn. That's way simpler if you just gain a card and do that with it. So, Tracker went back to being Tracker, and another Workshop in the set took this concept. Its other concept was more complex and it seemed like it could be shaved off. So now it was a Workshop that set aside a card for next turn. Matt suggested that it could just gain you a card next turn, even simpler, and mostly better, as you know what your hand is then. And then it needed a buff and became a Night card. The final card does not look much like the premise, but there's a thread stretching back to it.

Conclave: I liked the idea so much on Imp that I tried it out on a village too. There was a version that did the "you may play a card you don't have a copy of in play" thing twice, then the version that made it out, which lets the second card be a repeat.

Crypt: A late card, though the set had a history of Night cards that imitated Scheme. There was a card that put all copies of one card onto your deck, then one that put any two cards on your deck. Then I tried saving a treasure for next turn as resources on a Night card with other stuff going on, then made it its own card. Finally I hit on letting you go nuts with it.

Cursed Village: For a while there was another Library+Village thing that seemed okay. I guess it wasn't quite there. When I wanted to try a card that hexed you when you got it, I thought of this Library+Village thing, and liked it better than the other one. There was the question of, is it okay that discard Hexes miss or mostly miss. We tried Cursed Village setting aside the Hex for your next hand, but it was too easy to forget; people are better at remembering things they actually want to happen. It could have been that Hexes had categories so that Cursed Village always hit one that mattered, but there's no space for that on the little diagonal bar, it would have to be in the text box or something. In the end I decided it was okay if the Hex missed sometimes; it makes the card a little less scary to buy.

Den of Sin: I tried a few forms of scaling next-turn card-drawing Night cards. One that was in the set for a while was a Coppersmith variant, as I liked to think of it - name a card, per copy of it you have in play you set aside a card from your deck, next turn you get the cards. Early on you pick Copper mostly. Eventually you might pick the card itself, or something else. Sometimes we liked this and sometimes we didn't. It would seem fair and then seem crazy. As crazy started seeming to be the winner, the card got less attractive. I made a few versions of it but did not hit on a great version. Then I scrapped it for this. It feels like the other card is part of the story though. The fix was to always give you +2 Cards, not a scaling number. And it goes to your hand, which one of the versions of the other one tried.

Devil's Workshop: One of the first Night cards, somehow going the distance with no changes. It was a poster child for Night all through work on the set.

Druid: One of the original Fate cards was gain a Silver, receive a Boon but don't discard it unless your top card is Silver; when it was the only Fate card, the Boon might stay the same all game. When the Boons switched to being choice-of-3, this card switched to being choice-of-3. When the Boons switched to being random, this card got setup to stay a choice of 3. And it sat on the list of cards that might get cut for a while, and then I replaced "gain a Silver" with "+1 Buy" and suddenly I liked it a lot more.

Exorcist: An early Night card, but pared down. It sounded cool to do a Remodel that gained one of three non-supply cards. This set could have the cards, and could give them other uses too. I had the idea before I had any of the cards; then I slotted Ghost (tweaked from an Empires outtake) into the $4 slot, and made Will-o'-Wisp to be a card a Boon gave you. Imp came last and then I could try Exorcist. At first it could trash cards from play too. It could only trash non-Duration cards because of tracking issues, but then we had trouble remembering that so then it could only trash Treasures from play. It was too powerful and cutting that part was key. And simplified it, hooray. It ended up a Night card that doesn't need to be a Night card, but I decided I preferred that to switching it to an Action.

Faithful Hound: A late card. There had been an heirloom that you set aside for your next hand when you discarded it. It was not obvious that it worked in clean-up. I fiddled with it and then replaced it. And then brought back the concept, sans the clean-up part, on this card. It has been some years since Tunnel, we are ready for something else to care about discarding it.

Fool / Lucky Coin / Lost in the Woods: One of the first cards in the set, just after starting work on it as its own set. At first it gave you the next three Boons in any order. Then when it was a choice of three, it gave you all three. Then it was back to three random ones. But this basic functionality, get three Boons, was there for a while and did not really change much.

But wait. One game I was in was so very slow, because it was all casual players who bought up Fools, and we had a Throne and they Throned it and turns took forever. And I vowed that day to stop Fool from being Throned. I tried various things, including bonuses if you Throned it but which weren't getting Boons. In the end though I decided maybe I could pair it with Lucky Coin and the Silvers you gained would slow down how often you played Fool enough to avoid problems.

But wait. While testing recommended sets, Matt had a game that was awful, that had Fool and Golem. And I remembered, man, didn't I vow something here? I sprang into action trying a pile of different versions of Fool, various ways to stop it from being Throned. One version had a card the Fools went on, and Lucky Coin brought them back. This was a funny thing because anyone told how this worked would immediately say "oh that doesn't work, you'll lose track of which Fools are yours." It always worked perfectly; you just have yours face you. Everyone has their own chair you see. Anyway that was one of the versions. And Dave Goldthorpe suggested, instead there could be one card that moved around, he called it Foolish, and that card stopped you from playing Fools. And Destry Miller said, what if that card gave you a benefit while you had it? And I made it Lost in the Woods, with a discard clause so that you could discard a dead Fool to it, and a Boon because that's what you came here for right, you bought Fool to get Boons. And they all lived happily ever after.

Lucky Coin was one of the first Heirlooms, bopping around from card to card. It ended up here to slow down the Boonage and then maybe didn't have to stay but I didn't want to keep testing late changes so here it is still on Fool. It uh gains you Silvers, it was a simple idea and didn't need tweaking.

Ghost Town: Early on the set had a village that went into your next hand. It was pretty sweet. And, separately, I had a Night card that was a village for your next turn. That was cool too; at first it had a Duchess-like rider that let you get it when you trashed an Action, but that didn't come up enough so I slimmed it down to the sleek basic effect. And then Billy suggested combining the two cards and here we are. It was a better way to implement the village - no setting it aside - and spiced up the Night card.

Guardian: Early on the set had a village that went into your next hand. I just told you about that. It was great so I thought I should try a second card like that, and the obvious concept was a Moat. At first it was a pure Reaction that was set aside for your next hand when you got it, and came with a Gold; then the Gold idea went on Skulk, and Guardian changed to be a Night card that gave you a Boon next turn, and went to your hand when gained. The Boon was too slow (since playing Guardian doesn't use up an Action), so now it just gives you +$1.

Idol: I wanted a Treasure that gave Boons, but didn't want to slow the game down too much. So it gives you one every other time, and Curses the other times. It also does the nice trick of being a Cursing attack that doesn't always run out the Curses.

Leprechaun: The initial idea here was a card that gave you a Boon someone else picked. Then it was a random Boon, and then became the impetus for changing the Boons to be random. You can blame it all on the Leprechaun. Originally it cost $5, and gave you a Gold and a warped Boon and had the Wish clause. There was talk of the random Boon somehow being mandatory, so that a few of them could end up hurting you. But you know what would really hurt? Something that always hurt. So Leprechaun also was the impetus behind the Hexes. And it gave you a Hex and well. Good times. At first it always hexed you, but I liked it better exempting you if you got the Wish.

Monastery: One of the first Night cards was a trasher. It wasn't very interesting. Then I thought of this one and it went the distance. It calls out Copper like that because I need to avoid hitting Duration cards in play (or Thrones that played them), and "Treasures" does the trick; but really, while in some situations you'd trash another Treasure, mostly you want to trash Copper, and it's simpler to just stop there. You can trash that other Treasure from your hand if you must.

Necromancer / Zombies: This card came from the name. I had a list of names that fit the flavor of the set, and in some conversation thought, hey Necromancer could play cards from the trash. For a while it was a Band of Misfits, it became the card. You played it as something in the trash. That was way more confusing but seemed the only way to do it. And it had this looming problem of how best to stop infinite loops, plus sometimes a tracking issue (how many of these did I play as Markets?). Matt suggested turning the cards in the trash face down for the turn to both track what you'd done and stop infinite loops; this solved those problems, but also turned out to open the door to changing it to play the cards outright, rather than being Band of Misfits. This fixes some poor rules situations and also has better flavor; it plays the Zombies, it doesn't become a Zombie. Not working on Duration cards was a late change; there's no tracking there, which is awful.

There were always three Zombies. At first they were Night cards, and Necromancer could also play Night cards, but that was more confusing than it was worth. For the first test they were Woodcutter, Smithy, Remodel. It was clear that one wanted to be a cantrip, so you could play Necromancer as that if you couldn't do better, and one wanted to provide a way to get things into the trash, a way that wasn't too generous and yet might get good cards there. In the end two do that: Zombie Mason may randomly hit a good Action, and Zombie Apprentice just flat out does it, but doesn't get people to immediately trash their good Actions - though, if you have a bunch of Necromancers...

Night Watchman: Messing with the top of your deck was one of the things Night cards could do, so here was one doing it. At first it said "when you gain or play this," then it switched to being gained to your hand after Billy suggested that.

Pixie: One of the early Fate cards was an attack. Eventually it got "Receive the same Boon twice." That part was fun and kept the card around for too long. It was also problematic; what if there's no trashing this game, and I get The Flame's Gift twice and you don't? When I got sick of having the attack endlessly played (a Militia-family attack), I changed it to non-attack interaction, where you got the Boon 3 times once any Provinces had been gained. People had liked the doubled Boon more when you could pick the Boon, and some versions messed with getting some choice into the mix. It seemed like playtesters would never be happy with it now, and I killed it, then brought it back as Pixie (after it first only gave you the Boon once). You get a choice of Boons in that you can just let the revealed Boon slide and keep the Pixie. And that's all it does, I mean it's a cantrip but there's no attack.

And then, aha, pairing Pixie with Goat means that The Flame's Gift is never as big of a prize; we all have a trasher. Goat was not an early Heirloom, but was an obvious one to try once it turned out I would be stuck making seven of them. It of course worked fine. It cost $4 for a while, but dropped to $2 to dodge War and Knight-family attacks.

Pooka / Cursed Gold: The +Cards version of Moneylender was an idea that had been sitting around. It was in Empires for a while, first as +3 Cards with another ability, and then +3 Cards and a Boon. While those didn't make the cut, the basic idea seemed worth keeping in mind, and went into the Boonies file when I made it. It appears here at +4 Cards, with an Heirloom that it can't trash. It's a simple but subtle card.

Cursed Gold was an early star of the Heirlooms. It never changed. It can cost $4 because you are happy to lose it to Knights.

Raider: One of the early cards that led the charge of "look what a Night card can do." For maybe a day it hit players with 4 or more cards in hand; then it stayed unchanged until very late, when it went from $5 to $6.

Sacred Grove: At first this gave +3 Cards, I had not learned that lesson yet. And the other players could opt for a Silver instead of the Boon if they wanted; concern over, hey aren't a couple of the Boons useless when it's not your turn? There were a few variants trying to deal well with that situation, before I decided, man it's fine, sometimes the Sacred Grove is piggy. It's explicitly piggy so people don't wonder what happens with those Boons.

Secret Cave / Magic Lamp: Secret Cave came from testing cards out for the Sauna / Avanto promo. You're doing less this turn because you're in the Sauna; that was the angle. We liked it and I put it in the file when something else became Sauna. Here it is in Nocturne. As a Sauna it said "if you don't buy anything this turn," and I changed it to discarding 3 cards.

Matt suggested having an heirloom that turned into something if you had 6 different Action cards in play. I tweaked it to requiring uniques but allowing other cards; pairing it with Secret Cave meant it would almost always be possible to do it (Secret Cave draws you a 6th card; Copper Silver Gold, Magic Lamp itself, and some other Action or Treasure card). At first it was a Treasure Chest that made an Artifact (Harem but twice as big, an Empires split pile outtake); then it made a Genie that gave you stuff, then it made three Wishes. For a while it was a Night card and double-Heirloomed - you replaced two Coppers with a Silver and a Magic Lamp (so as to still make $7 over your first two turns, although you could get a $6/$1 opening). In the end it's a Treasure so that they're all Treasures and there are seven and all that. It used to not let you play more Coppers after it and now it lets you and I decided I could live with that.

Shepherd / Pasture: This idea had been messed with in different forms over the years. This version always had the same ability text, but gained the Heirloom and then went from $5 to $4.

I think the only change to Pasture was that once it cost $4. Some of the Heirlooms dropped below $3 to dodge War and some Knight-family attacks.

Skulk: The idea of a weak card that comes with Gold came from Guardian. I very briefly tried it on a Night card that Hexed, but that was too strong. So it's an Action that gives you +1 Buy. And you get a Gold with it! How could that be, someone out there is still wondering. Well uh. Like, what if the Hex is Poverty. That's a good Hex. Then Skulk was Militia, but instead of +$2 you got +1 Buy. Sometimes you really need the +1 Buy, I see that, but when you don't, man, +$2 is a lot more than +$0. Skulk is at its best when you have a way to Remodel it or something.

Tormentor: When I made the Hexes, I made a card that just gave +$2 and handed out a Hex, to test them out. This card seemed fine, but space was tight, and did we really need both Bard and it, and other Hex-giving cards quickly crowded it out. I briefly tried a version that tried to do the Tracker trick of being a combo with Hexes, but it wasn't much of a combo with them. Then later on I was considering, are there ways to get a little more use out of the Spirits, and made this, a card that only gives you an Imp if it's alone. It could have been first play or only card in play; the latter is simpler but is messed up by Duration cards. The Imp is good, it felt like not playing nice with Duration cards was okay. The "no other cards" mechanic had been on another card earlier with a less sexy bonus. And then one late change to the set was having Tormentor not Hex them if you got the Imp; previously you got both, yeeha. The idea behind the change was just to get the order of effects better on the card; you want to reach for the Imp right away, while the other players want to reach for the Hex. It can't delay the Imp, but if the Imp is first then it's more awkward to phrase if you get both. But you know, once you are getting an Imp, you are happy, you don't need to Hex people too. And they're happy not to get Hexed; it's win-win.

Tracker: One day I had the idea of having Fate cards that were combos with Boons. Looking through the Boons at the time, there were three areas the Fate card could potentially interact with: gaining cards, discarding cards, and the top of your deck. I tried gaining cards first, and we liked it so I tried the other two too; the discarding cards one survives as Faithful Hound, while the top of your deck one died. The gaining cards combo was Royal Seal's ability to put gained cards on your deck; you get The Swamp's Gift for example, and can put the Wisp on your deck. Briefly it tried being a twist on Royal Seal, where you also got a copy of the card from your discard pile onto your deck, but that didn't come up enough to be worth the text. And I tried letting you put the card anywhere in your deck; that didn't come up often enough either.

Tracker started out giving +2 Cards +1 Buy and a Boon on top, for $5. We had many long games with it. Eventually I came to my senses; it was simply not reasonable to put card-drawing on Fate cards. I tried out not always giving you the Boon, then dropped it down to +$1 for $2. Then I tried some variations that twisted the Royal Seal part again, to set aside cards for next turn instead of putting them on your deck, but in the end it was back to Royal Seal and +$1 for $2.

Pouch initially was the Heirloom worth $0. Just +1 Buy. That seemed like a nice change of pace to sometimes have, and some of us did like it, so there. Matt's group did not enjoy the slower games so much, and eventually I gave in and made it make $1. When Pouch made $0, it was important that it went on a card costing $2. It was on another one that didn't work out, then on the $2 Tracker. Which is a nice fit because +1 Buy is also a combo with Tracker's Royal Seal ability.

Tragic Hero: I tried several cards as ways to get another use for Ghost into the set (with Haunted Mirror being the one that stuck). One of them looked like this with no +Buy and Ghost instead of a Treasure. It was fun but you got too many Ghosts. You get a Ghost and it hits another Tragic Hero and that turns it into another Ghost. I played around with wordings that made that not happen but then Haunted Mirror took over. Late in the going I had a card I wasn't confident in, and I looked for what could replace it. I tried this, only gaining Gold, and it immediately worked out. Matt suggested that it could gain any Treasure and that worked out too.

Vampire / Bat: The idea was to have a vampire that turned into a bat. There were some other flavor things to maybe hit on, but that was the starting point. There were several versions of each card. Vampire always hexed, but played around with different resources, before landing on "gain an Action." In the end that failed for the reason that it usually does - being crazy with expensive Actions. So it became "gain a $5" and then "other than Vampire" after a game with Matt's group where Alex went crazy for Vampires. The order of abilities shifted some, as everything wants to be first.

Bat started out an Action, but people demanded that it be a Night card too. For a while it was a Duration card, that drew you a card if it didn't turn back. That made it not so bad to have late-game Bats stuck in your deck. Mostly Bat could trash a card, and whether or not you got your Vampire back depended on what you trashed. Later it could trash two cards and cared about how many, settling on "at least one." It didn't want to automatically turn back, but didn't want that to be difficult either.

Werewolf: When Night debuted, I figured there would be a bunch of Action - Night cards. I had one early on but it turned into a pure Night card and then died. When it stopped being Action - Night, there was a vacancy, and why not have a Werewolf? I mean there's your Action - Night card. At first it was phrased like Crown, then it was tweaked to what it is, which is maybe slightly simpler. I realized it would be neat to have it interact with Silver, but did not manage it.

* Other Cards Plus Boons & Hexes *

Ghost: This started out in Empires, costing $10 minus $2 per Silver you had in play. Space for villages is often tight, and it left with the Boons. I changed it to a Night card, which has a certain something and also drops the need to say "other than a Ghost." And you can't buy it so there's no special cost. The Night version went the distance. That is going to be the story of the Spirits.

Imp: The same as the first version, except for how many copies there are, which I fiddled with as the set ran out of space.

Will-o'-wisp: The same as the first version tried. This was designed specifically to work well as something a Boon gave you, but knowing that Exorcist would also give it to you. And Exorcist was behind Ghost getting that slot and then the design of Imp. And the costs of the three cards were picked to give Exorcist a simpler wording. It was all about Exorcist and well Exorcist came through for me.

Wish: Magic Lamp gave out an Artifact first ($4 and 4 VP), then a Genie who could make $6's for you, then three Wishes which naturally make $6's. It's what the Genie had done and it sounded good for the card name. Then Leprechaun got Wish to give Wish more to do.

Boons: The goal was always to have 12 Boons that were reasonably close in power level. Obv. they vary with the circumstance. They also wanted to be simple, you do not want to spend a while poring over them. Because of Idol, it seemed bad if any were just dead in the Buy phase. It would have been nice to have them all work for the other players for Sacred Grove, but that was too much to ask. Too much I say.

Empires had had +1 VP; this set got a Will-o'-Wisp. There were several versions of Sky, trying to be hard enough but not too hard. The Moon's Gift started out also letting you flip your deck; it lost that when you got to choose your Boon, then didn't get it back somehow. I tried different versions of the basic +'s, trying to get the best mix and then to also keep Idol happy.

There was a Remodel, it was too good. There was discard X cards, gain a card for X+$2, also strong. There was "each other player gains a Copper"; it wasn't great to have an Attack in there. I tried out a Bridge and a twist on Bridge. I tried "+$2, put a card from your hand on your deck" and a Haven. I tried "draw up to 6." In Empires some tried gaining a copy of a card.

At one point when you could choose your Boon from 3, it started to seem bad that Boons people didn't want would pile up. A few Boons tried to fix that, refresh Boons somehow. One replaced the Boons and then gave you a random one.

Hexes: I was trying for a variety of effects, while keeping power level as close as I could given that. Which is not so close but you know. Sometimes a Hex missed a lot and I tried to fix those; sometimes a Hex was devastating and there's less of that. And some Hexes tried to be novel, by handing out cards that track effects, or tracking an effect via a revealed hand. One tried revealing your top card to track the effect, but various takes on that did not work out.

Greed started out just giving out Copper, while Plague gave out Curse and +1 Card. The bonus on Plague was too relevant, and they got closer by putting the Copper on your deck and the Curse into your hand with no +1 Card.

There were multiple versions of the discard attacks, with Poverty leaving and then coming back. One tried to have you discard a copy of your top card, which missed too much. At one point I tried "discard an Action" and "discard a Treasure," at Billy's suggestion. They take way way more words than that and were not great. Billy suggested putting Minion in but I didn't enjoy it and so in the end there's Fear, also Billy's suggestion. Haunting started out having them choose to put a card on their deck or discard down to 3; then it didn't have the "if they have 4 or more cards in hand" clause and I thought I could get away with that but decided in the end that I could not.

Famine started out discarding the $3-$6 cards. "Action" is simpler. Originally the other cards went back on top, but letting you order the top ends up helping you too often. Bad Omens started out like Fortune Teller.

One trashing attack dug for a Treasure other than Copper and trashed it. Locusts started out as "reveal top, trash if <= $6, gain Curse if <= $2." Then it trashed the top, gave you a cheaper card sharing a type with it, and gave you a Curse if you couldn't gain anything. It hurt too much losing e.g. a Village to gain a Curse; the final version can eat Curses but that's a joyous moment for someone. War started out as a Knight attack, reveal top two and trash one for $3-$6. Now it misses less and hurts less.

Early versions of Delusion played around with limiting the order you could play cards. It sometimes ate your turn and usually did nothing. Then it was Contraband, but Matt's group complained about the time period in the game where you name Province. Envious made cards cost more (which has rules issues), then made you discard cards to buy cards. In place of Misery there was Confused, which made you discard a card after each Action card you played. And Confused and Envious both stuck around until you met a condition, they could last turn after turn. For the biggest hunk of that you could get rid of them by gaining a Treasure; sometimes you would spend your turn buying a Copper to end the madness. The Contraband Deluded was tracked by having your hand revealed; in the end Deluded and Envious are on the same card, so as to use a card.

* More Outtakes *

Dismantle was here for a while, moving over from Empires with the Boons. Now it is a promo. Adam Horton suggested it. I tried one of Matt's cards that was a Throne Room that also Schemed the card. I liked it on paper but it couldn't compete with other $5's. Destry suggested a card that didn't work out but which I may try to fix up someday, so it will remain a mystery, as will a few of my own outtakes.

One of the original Fate cards had other players either discard down to 3 or put a card from their hand on their deck, their choice. I'd tried that in Adventures and it hadn't made the cut, and it didn't here either. It was around for a while though, and got paired with "receive a Boon twice" so that it was constantly played. Another trashed a card and gave you the same Boon once per $1 the card cost; that one died in Empires.

A bunch of cards tried to be a good Night Remodel. I tried ones that cared about other cards gained or trashed that turn - e.g., trash a card from your hand, then for each card you trashed this turn, gain a card costing up to $2 more than it. If your guess is that Billy would gain 6 Provinces in one turn with that, you'd be right. Then I tried one that cared about the number of cards in your hand, and some more that just had you discard cards. For a long time the set had "trash a card from your hand, discard X cards, gain a card costing up to $X more than the trashed card." It looked innocent at $3, people liked it and it didn't make waves. Then it was $5, now it is gone. I also tried one that could Remodel cards in your discard pile.

The first Night trasher just trashed a card from your hand and a card from play, with a Scheme clause to handle Durations. There were more interesting things to do, so it did not last.

An old old card had you discard a card to draw a card per $1 it cost. Apprentice without the trashing. It continued to not work out here. Another old card, from Cornucopia, drew the uniques from your top 5. That also did not magically turn out to have been fine all along. Another old idea was a card that gave you card selection based on how many cards you had in play.

One of the combo cards for Boons was +1 Card +1 Action, receive a Boon, name a type, reveal the top card of your deck, get it if it matches. It's poor to put the naming after the Boon; you forget about it, the Boon is too exciting. What killed it though was just being a cantrip that gave out Boons; even at $6, it slowed down games too much. I switched the type-naming to just hitting Treasure and Night cards, no choice, but that wasn't enough.

I tried a Night card that let you buy a card for half price. It looks pretty but is dull. I tried a few variations on it, including a Treasure that gave you half as much $ as you had - half a Fortune. That looked pretty too.

An early Night attack gained you a copy of a card/Action you had in play, and discarded Actions from their top 3 cards. It was interesting as a card you didn't want right away. Once I had Changeling they felt like they were in competition. Changeling was sleek and perfect, so it won. Then I grafted another ability onto Changeling to make it more exciting and less sleek and perfect.

There was a card worth 2 VP that was also +1 Card +1 Action +$1 if you had no cards in play other than copies of it. There were a few variations; it stopped being an anti-combo with Duration cards, it gave you a little something instead of nothing. Player interest varied but it was not a star and also ate up 2 extra cards due to being a Victory card. I needed the space, something had to go. The concept is vaguely preserved on Tormentor.

I tried a terminal that got another copy of itself from your discard pile to your hand. But wait, you say. Yes well. It had no value without a village, and with a village you still didn't just get the combo all the time. It seemed cute for a bit. Then there was a version that gave you something for getting a copy back, so it was a combo without a village.

There was an attack that tried to cash in on the joy of Chariot Race. If their card cost more than yours, they discarded it and gained a Curse. Then it just cared about their card to speed it up, and then I had better attacks.

In an interactive slot, I tried a card that cared about the number of empty piles, like City, but that just changed instead of getting better. It didn't change often enough and just wasn't very interesting. You didn't have incentive to empty the piles for it. Then it was a Workshop too to get those piles empty, and then it died.

There was a Night card that had you look at the top 6 cards, discard one per card you had in play, and set the rest aside for next turn. It's a relative of Tactician. It always seemed different enough from Tactician to me, and like an interesting option. But it's a narrow card, and they face a harder journey to making it into a set. There were people who thought it was a dud, and eventually I took it out. Billy kept trying to get me to bring it back, and well here it is in the outtakes section.

For a long time there was a Night attack that Cursed the other players if you had exactly 3 of anything in play. Early on it would probably be 3 Coppers, but it could be something else. There were different resources on it, but the longest running version was an Armory - gain a card onto your deck costing up to $4. It seemed cool and for a while seemed reasonable. After some game where it seemed strong, I realized that we were endlessly seeing it in games with Heirlooms, and thus not 7 Coppers. We played some more games with no Heirlooms and it seemed obviously too strong. I tried a bunch of variations on it quickly and then killed it.

A couple cards tried to draw cards at Night. It's fun if there's another Night card, not too exciting if there isn't. I don't have the market research to tell me, but suspect that for a lot of players there would be a lot of games with no other Night card (due to mixing expansions together rather than playing them alone or in pairs).

Before Changeling, some other cards tried out for that name. One was a choose-one that could turn into a cheaper card in your hand; one revealed your top card and could turn into it and be played. It was never quite there, and the tangentially related Night version was way better.

The card that left for Cursed Village was draw up to 7, may discard 2 for +2 Actions. It was fine? Cursed Village was just similar and better.

After I had Hexes I thought, can I make a card that combos with them. I made a village that had other players put gains/discards on their decks - it turned Witches into Sea Hags, Militias into Ghost Ships. It didn't actually attack by itself though. It wasn't actually much of a combo with the hexes, and in regular games seemed to just so rarely mean anything.

There was a Workshop that could gain a copy of a card in the trash costing up to $6, and put a card costing up to $4 into the trash when you gained it. So at first it would be a Workshop for just that one thing, but if you got another copy, or someone else did, or something got trashed somehow, then it would upgrade. We had some fun with it. Maybe there is more to this concept; I can think about it again if and when. What happened was, it was strong, then I put Cobbler's ability onto it to spice it up (while cutting +$2), then cut the rest to simplify it.

Relatively late, I had room for a village, and tried a bunch of villages. Most of them scaled in some way. You drew a card when you trashed a card; you drew a card for next turn when you gained a card. There were some fun games seeing those cards go nuts. One village didn't fit this mold; it was trying to be good with Night cards, and gave +$1 per treasure in your next two plays, then just +$1 if either was a treasure. So, essentially if you didn't get village value from it, it gave you $ instead. It just wasn't very interesting.

There are only two Heirloom outtakes of note. Bribe could be given to another player to stop an attack. We had fun doing it, but I can't have both an attack with a choice and a Moat with a cost, or you will have the situation where the choice gets made while someone's shuffling and now it informs their decision about the cost. Or to avoid that you do things in slow-mo which is no good either. Attacks with a choice already exist - e.g. Minion - so I can't do a Moat with a cost. So Bribe did not survive.

The other one turned into Faithful Hound. At first if you discarded it you set it aside for next turn, and this even worked if you discarded it in clean-up. I didn't like that most players wouldn't get that from reading the card. Then there were versions that didn't work in clean-up, and then I had Haunted Mirror competing for that slot. And the ability ended up on Faithful Hound instead.

24
Dominion: Nocturne Previews / Previews #5: Exorcist, Pixie, Vampire
« on: October 27, 2017, 03:00:09 am »
And now, something extra! Yes it's the last Nocturne preview.

The 5th theme of this set is extra cards. And you've been seeing them all week, there were too many to just save them for today. But here are some more of these things. And more cards for the previous themes; they're all interconnected.



Exorcist at last explains what Spirit is all about. It turns cards into Spirits. There are three Spirits and you've seen them all: Will-o'-Wisp, Imp, Ghost. So Exorcist can turn an Estate into a Wisp, a Silver into an Imp, and so on. And Wisp can draw Imp, and Imp can play Wisp, and Ghost can hit Wisps and Imps; if you get a bunch of Spirits they are a card-drawing package.



Pixie is another Fate card and has another Heirloom. It gives you a Boon twice, but just once, and it hangs around until the Boon is good enough. One of the Boons is The Flame's Gift, which trashes, but it's not super-unfair if Pixie hits that in a game with no other trashers, because there's always another trasher: Goat. It eats anything. And you sell its milk or something.



Of course there had to be a Vampire, and of course it turns into a Bat. That's what they do. Well vampires do tons of things, but that's one of them, and you can only capture so much in a Dominion card. Vampire gains you cards and Hexes people, while Bat is a trasher, and has to feed to turn back.

The online version will have all the preview cards through the weekend (and then won't have them again until the physical version comes out). The physical version is now expected to ship from RGG on November 13 (so stores will have it a few days later).

25
Your punishment today: a preview. See it's all about your own perspective on it.

Nocturne has Hexes. Hexes are another 12-card deck of landscape-style instructions. These ones are bad though. You get an effect like "each other player receives the next Hex," and then you turn over just one Hex, just one okay, and they all get that Hex. Of course sometimes you Hex yourself instead.



Some examples. Greed puts a Copper on your deck; War trashes something that wasn't great but probably wasn't worthless; and Envy makes you Envious. Okay so what's that then. Envious makes your Silvers and Golds suck for one turn (well one Buy phase, because you can play Treasures ahead of your Buy phase with e.g. Storyteller, and not necessarily just one, because you can get another Buy phase with e.g. Villa - this game is full of edge cases). Envious is a State, a way of tracking special information about players. It sits in front of you and then it doesn't. It's too hard to remember without the card there to remind you. So there's a card, hooray.



Werewolf is an Action-Night card. During the day he's just a Smithy, but at Night, he shows his vicious side. In your Action phase you can play Werewolf and draw 3 cards; in your Night phase you can play Werewolf and Hex everyone. Okay? It doesn't feel tricky to me but I am making sure here. As with Boons, a word on the card needs to tell you to shuffle up the Hexes, and that word is Doom. That makes Werewolf an Action - Night - Attack - Doom card. The Courtiers all like Dame Josephine, but they like Werewolves too.



Skulk costs $4, is all upside, and comes with a Gold, wait what? Somehow, having a Skulk in your deck weighs down the Gold sufficiently to make this all okay.



Cursed Village Hexes you when you gain it. Maybe you will get lucky there and just have to discard some cards or something. But probably it will hurt; that's the way it goes when your village is cursed. Once you have it it's a Village with "draw to 6" instead of +1 Card; that's pretty spiffy, but it has some quirks to learn about the hard way.

I only showed off three hexes, but the online version... you're way ahead of me. Stef has been getting the cards up fast; they will probably be playable online within half an hour.

Pages: [1] 2 3

Page created in 0.173 seconds with 17 queries.