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Topics - Donald X.

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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.

Dominion: Nocturne Previews / Previews #3: Blessed Village, Idol, Druid
« on: October 25, 2017, 03:00:06 am »
My gift for you today: a preview.

Nocturne has Boons. It's a deck of 12 landscape-style cards that give small beneficial effects. You play a card that says "receive a Boon" or some such, and turn over the top Boon and see what you get. You shuffle the cards when needed, they don't run out.

Okay here are some examples. The Sea's Gift, The Sun's Gift, The Swamp's Gift - they are all nature giving you stuff. The Swamp's Gift gives you another non-supply card, so here's that: Will-o'-Wisp.

It's a handy little thing, and who knows, maybe the Swamp will give you one. So anyway. You somehow get a boon, it's the Sea's Gift, so you draw a card; it's that easy.

Blessed Village gives you a Boon when you gain it. You can save the Boon for next turn and well some of them are still handy at the end of your Buy phase, but not all of them. The Sea's Gift for example is one you probably save. That word Fate at the bottom just means, shuffle the Boons for this game. See they all have it.

Idol alternates giving you Boons and Cursing the other players. It's that rare thing, a Cursing attack that doesn't just run out the Curses. Of course some games you get four and are playing them every turn. But not every game.

Druid gives you a choice of three Boons. It's just those three all game. Maybe this game Druid is your choice of, oh, those three Boons. Well that's a Wisp-making machine, that's pretty nice. And it can also draw you a card or order your deck, if those are important or the Wisps are gone. And there's the +Buy, sometimes you need that.

I only showed off three Boons, but of course the online version will have all twelve this week, so that the cards work correctly.

Dominion: Nocturne Previews / Previews #2: Shepherd, Pooka, Cemetery
« on: October 24, 2017, 03:02:40 am »
I have this preview from my father, who had it from his father, who had it from his father. Who won it in a cat's cradle contest, if you must know.

Seven cards in Nocturne come with an Heirloom. Let's see one.

That yellow band means, everyone replaces a starting Copper with the listed card. In a game with Shepherd, you have 3 Estates, 6 Coppers, and a Pasture. In a game with Shepherd, Pooka, and Cemetery (they're coming in a second), you start with 3 Estates, 4 Coppers, a Pasture, a Cursed Gold, and a Haunted Mirror. See how it works?

Shepherd can draw lots of cards if you have a bunch of Victory cards. Pasture meanwhile is a Victory card that rewards you for holding onto those Estates, or getting more of them.

Pooka lets you trade a Treasure you didn't want for +4 Cards, that seems completely innocent. It can't trash Cursed Gold but everyone has their limits. And as it happens you have some Cursed Gold. It's a Treasure worth $3 but you get Cursed each time you use it. Do you buy that great card turn one and get a Curse with it? I can't make that decision for you.

Cemetery trashes cards when you gain it, that's pretty sweet. I will just tell you now, it is great to gain it with a Workshop or something. It means everyone has a Haunted Mirror, which gives you a little sub-game to play to get a Ghost. And there's Ghost, another Spirit. It comes out at Night, finds an Action, and does it twice on your next turn.

It's always the same dream. I'm working in a factory, making giant marshmallows. When I wake up, I have an extra pillow. And also it's time to post a Dominion preview. Or am I still dreaming? Well I'll just get the preview posted, and worry about that later.

Nocturne has five themes, and there are five weekdays, so that's all going to work out neatly. Today: Night.

Night is a new phase. It comes after the Buy phase, and in it you can play any number of Night cards. That's all there is to it. We get right to the point here in Dominion-land.

One trick Night cards can do is, they can care about what happened during the turn. Devil's Workshop is an example: it cares how many cards you gained this turn. You can skip buying stuff to get a Gold from it; you can try to get multiple cards so that Devil's Workshop gets you an Imp.

Nocturne is a 500-card set. There are 33 kingdom cards, which take a lot of space, but still leave space for a bunch of other things. One of those things is Imp. It's a nifty Lab variant that only lets you play an Action you don't have in play. However diverse your deck is puts a limit on how many Imps you want. It says "Spirit" on the bottom and well we will figure out what that's there for later. You can't buy an Imp, you can just get one from Devil's Workshop, or maybe some other ways.

Raider also cares about your turn. Anything you have in play becomes fair game for your opponents to discard. Early on you just want to make sure you hit something; later you may try to make Raider hit harder by say not playing that Copper you drew. Raider is a Duration card and well that is a thing about Night cards; some of the game's resources only make sense during the day part of the turn, and Duration lets Night cards provide those resources. Nocturne didn't start out planning to have a Duration card theme but there are several of them.

Ghost Town does another trick: it goes straight to your hand. Since the Buy phase is ahead of the Night phase, you can buy it and play it the same turn. There are several of these. Do you think you'll need a village next turn? Here you go.

LastFootnote will be posting additional one-card previews at each day; they will show up in the morning, USA time.

Finally, online Dominion ( will have the preview cards (both the ones I preview and the ones LastFootnote does), at around 6 pm UTC each day. To play with them, pick the special matchmaking option that mentions Nocturne. You will get eight random cards plus two of the four previewed cards (my three and LF's one); later in the week you will get six random cards plus four previewed cards (two from that day, two from earlier days). This will last through the weekend and then disappear; the full set will show up online when the physical set hits stores.

Dominion General Discussion / Counterfeit copies of 2E
« on: September 06, 2017, 01:09:58 am »
Jay writes:

We have recently learned that counterfeit copies of the game are being distributed via Amazon’s Fulfillment by Amazon service.  We have purchased confirmed counterfeit copies of the game from the following third-party retailers on Amazon:

FastnBest LLC
Daily Deals Shop (NO TAX)
Tax Free Tech

Of course, more may show up and we will continue to monitor this situation. If you bought a counterfeit version of the Dominion 2nd edition game, we encourage you to return it to Amazon for a refund – and hope you will buy another from a reputable retailer. Of course, most sellers are selling legit games, including, of course, Amazon itself. For those who are uncertain if the game they bought is a counterfeit, there are two obvious differences. The counterfeit game has a VERY badly made plastic inlay with crumpled in the plastic and the artists names on the cards are not white, but tend toward orange and red. If your game has this, it is counterfeit.

Jay at Rio Grande Games

I think this has just been going on for a week or so. They have only seen this for Dominion 2E. I believe the cards are also bendy.

Adventures Previews / Adventures 2E is out
« on: August 03, 2017, 02:46:37 am »
The new printing of Adventures started shipping a month ago. So some places will have it; I know Amazon in particular does.

As with other second editions it has improved fonts and layout and stuff. Of course the special interest here is regular, non-bendy cards.

Advertisements / Dominion T-shirts
« on: July 25, 2017, 02:02:21 am »
There are Dominion T-shirts. Someone wanted to make them and we didn't have to do anything. You may be thinking, sweet, what Marcel-André Casasola-Merkle art do they have, and well they have none of that, they have the logo and the VP symbol. That was what they wanted; I couldn't tell you why.

Anyway they wanted us to mention these things in places like this and it was easy so I said okay. I have not clicked on these links; I'm holding out for sweet art. That may not be the best salesmanship here but well, that's what you get with me.

Ah, Love! could thou and I with Fate conspire
To grasp this sorry Scheme of Things entire!
Would not we shatter it to bits - and then
Re-mould it nearer to the Heart's Desire!

I can't trace exactly how it happened, but over time, I gradually built up an interest in revising the main set and Intrigue. The reasons piled up.

- It would be nice to have the prettier Base Cards in the main set.
- We could have a playmat for the trash.
- I could improve the rulebooks.
- I could improve card wordings.
- Hey I could actually replace some cards with better ones.

We couldn't replace cards without providing them separately. We could do that though, we could provide them separately. A small box with just the new cards. Two mini-expansions (that would go out of print when demand for them fell off).

In June 2015 I decided to go for it. I started thinking about it and talking about it with playtesters; I didn't actually test any new cards until July. Empires was still going on but that was fine, I would test Empires cards and slip in the new main set / Intrigue cards. Later of course it got to be the focus. Initially I was going to replace five cards and add one (there's space due to taking out the randomizer-backed base cards). I eventually came around to replacing six (and adding one) instead.

My goal with the replacements was to increase the number of decks to build, the number of things to do, while keeping things simple. Simplicity is tough with so many expansions but man I am pretty pleased with the complexity level of the new main set cards. The Intrigue cards are more complex but still pretty reasonable. There was the additional goal of just fixing any other problems I could fix, whatever problems there were, but the main goal was to have more things you could do.

Normally these posts just talk about new stuff, but today I also get to talk about the old stuff. Why did I replace cards? Right, to make the sets better. The main set and Intrigue have the most duds - the most cards that experienced players rarely buy, that usually aren't worth considering. Or, in the case of some main set cards, that just didn't add much to the game, didn't give you things to do. Seaside is 3rd but much better by this metric; after Seaside there just aren't many duds to speak of in any one expansion. I have big plans to fix wordings in every pre-Empires set, but only Dominion and Intrigue are getting new cards.

If I redid the main set from scratch, more things would change. For example I might do a draw-first Cellar like Warehouse because that's simpler. There are rules things: for example I might change how Reactions work. But I was just replacing six cards, adding one, and keeping the game compatible with all the expansions.

Actually, there's one rules change: the exact way it tells you to deal with shuffling is different. It now says, when you have to do something with more cards than are left, shuffle your discard pile, put it under your deck, then do the thing (or, put the remaining cards on top of the shuffled cards, same difference). This has no functional difference though (except with the promo Stash, which will get a wording to fix this when reprinted), and was already how some people did it. I changed that (from "do the thing with the remaining cards, then shuffle to get the rest") to clarify tricky situations like, what if I trash Overgrown Estate with Lookout - is the card I draw one of the ones I'm looking at, or what? "Do the thing with the remaining cards" worked a lot better when the thing was always "draw." The rulings haven't changed but now it's easier to see what happens. It's also easier to remember how many cards you have left to draw after playing your Smithy and shuffling (though I personally was already putting the 1-2 cards on the Smithy while shuffling so I'd remember).

In the end it seemed reasonable to also change three cards functionally in a very mild way. Moneylender, Mine, and Throne Room all should say "you may." It keeps you honest. You play Moneylender for some exotic reason (like making Peddler cheaper) but don't want to trash a Copper (that you do have in hand). You can get away with cheating. The card should either make you reveal that you have no Copper, or be optional so that it's legal to not trash the Copper (and being optional is simpler/shorter and so preferred). This essentially never comes up for Moneylender and Mine. It does come up with Throne Room once in a while though. It was a question, should the mini-expansions include these changes. In the end it seemed like, that's such a poor product - buying Moneylender etc. again just for "you may." I didn't want to be selling that to people extra, that didn't seem like an option. The options were not making the changes, or including the changes in the set but not the mini-expansion. I went with the latter and well I hope everyone is okay with that.

A similar thing came up for one Intrigue card, Masquerade. You can potentially lock your opponent out of cards (in a 2-player game) with certain combinations - for example, King's Court, Masquerade, Militia. Every turn you play out the rest of your deck, Militia them, King's Court a Masquerade, and they pass you three cards that you trash, while you don't pass them any. It is not an especially common situation, and most players who don't read up on these things in forums probably don't know about it. Still it has a fix - having Masquerade not include players with no cards in hand - and here was my chance to do it. I went for it. Again this is not part of the mini-expansion.

The plan was to update the base cards in both sets, but Jay started thinking, why not shift Intrigue to a regular expansion? Since Base Cards is a product now, you can just buy Base Cards and whatever expansion; it doesn't have to be Intrigue. People who want 5-6 player support can buy Base Cards; people who don't want it don't have to pay extra to have it included in Intrigue.

So all together the changes are:
- Six cards dropped
- Seven cards added
- Three cards changed very mildly ("you may") / one card changed mildly
- Base cards improved with art / base cards dropped
- Other cards changed to have better phrasings (that are functionally the same).
- Rulebooks improved
- A trash playmat in the main set

The base cards are actually better than the Base Cards product ones (which will be updated to match); they have art but reinstate the big symbol (but smaller). In some cases the art had to be nudged down to fit the symbol nicely. Platinum (in Prosperity) will actually get new art; there was no nice way to put the coin on or above the pyramid.

Card text will change for all sets prior to Empires (which already has these changes, so you can go see how you like them there right now). The different kinds of changes:
- Some wordings are improved to be clearer / simpler.
- We now use "they" instead of "he."
- A bigger font is used on cards that can use it.
- +Cards etc. in the body of the text are in bold.
- Layout will be more consistent and have better text centering etc.

A very small number of other cards may have changes. I don't have a complete list (and won't until all the work is done); the idea is to only do this when the wording gets a lot better and the change almost never comes up. It's not all the stuff I would change if only; it's really confined to nice improvements that only matter in exotic corner cases.

And Possession will change to also give you tokens, but that's already errata to handle Debt tokens. And Pirate Ship will have a wording that makes it clear it doesn't interact with Guilds coin tokens.

* Dominion Drop-outs *

Adventurer: This was the 6th card cut. My playtesters were pretty sure they didn't need to see more of it, and then I played some games with it, and man, it was not good. For casual players, it costs $6, Gold costs $6, if you want Adventurer you often want Gold first, maybe you never get around to Adventurer. Expert players will instead cite, it draws two cards and only gets Treasures, Smithy is cheaper, draws three, and can get Actions too.

Chancellor: This is both confusing and weak. The ability is totally worth having, if you can spare an action to play it; but the odds are that something else is a better use of your action and so much for that. One trick is, a $3 terminal action is actually competing with $5 terminal actions. I mean they both use up an action. So being cheaper isn't enough; you'd rather get Silver now and wait and get the $5. There is still room for terminal actions that cost $3, but Chancellor, not so much.

Feast: Feast is fine but really dull. It just adds nothing to the game; you consider buying it, but whether you do or not, your deck ends up whatever it was going to be anyway. Feast just doesn't change anything. I always point out, if I open Silver/Silver and you open Silver/Feast, and on turn three I draw 3 Coppers and Silver and buy a $5, and on turn three you draw 3 Coppers and Feast, trash Feast for that $5 and buy Silver, at that point our decks are the same. Okay so you can Workshop them and you can Throne Room them. The Workshop thing is fine but not enough to feel like I have to have the card. The Throne Room / Feast combo is the number one rules question in Dominion. Man let's just get rid of that.

Spy: This is both weak and slow. Make one decision per player; now play another Spy and make another decision per player. These days I prefer Spies to look more like Rabble and Fortune Teller: no +1 Action, no decision. I thought I would replace Spy with something like Rabble, but as you can see I didn't. Dominion itself is joining the ranks of the later expansions, that go lighter on attacks and heavier on non-attack interaction.

Thief: This is one of the weakest cards in the game. I mean you knew going into this that some of these cards were going to have to be some of the weakest cards, that was a reason for replacing them, but well Thief is way down there. New players are scared of it, maybe it will eat all of their Treasures and shut them out. Then you realize you aren't choosing to gain the Coppers and in fact are happy to lose them. Then you stop buying Thief. It ends up sometimes useful in games where you actually want Copper (e.g. multiplayer Gardens games), or games where your opponent is relying on Treasure but trashed their Coppers, or sometimes with special Treasures in expansions. But uh, most games it just sits there. I could do better. You can argue that Thief provides a certain learning experience, that there's real gameplay in learning that the card is weak the hard way; but other cards can provide learning experiences that leave the cards contributing more once they're figured out.

Woodcutter: Woodcutter is fine, it's totally fine. It's just, the main set had six vanilla cards, and did it need six? Cards that do things are more interesting. I felt like five would be enough. The card to take out wanted to be one of the +Buy cards, since I thought having three of those was better than having four (even if all three cost $5, which is what happened). Market is way more beloved so Woodcutter was the card to cut.

* Dominion New Arrivals *

Artisan: For a while this was, cost $5, discard down to 2 cards in hand, gain a card costing up to $5. The idea was that the ability was strong enough that it was worth jumping through hoops for. But in games without combos, it wasn't very good, and when you did have the combos, Library was better. I gave it +$1 and still wasn't impressed. Meanwhile I had had a card in Empires (gain a Gold to your hand, put a card from your hand on your deck, each other player gets +1 VP) that hadn't worked out but had seemed promising, and I tried versions of it with different penalties. Finally one day I realized that costing $6 would be more fun than having a (second) penalty. Which means the set still has a card for $6, hooray.

Bandit: This of course replaces Thief. You gain a Gold so that it's always doing something useful. It doesn't trash Coppers, so it both doesn't have that huge penalty, and can't threaten new players with eating all of their Treasures.

Harbinger: One day I thought, do I have any published cards that are really different from everything else in the set, that I could make new very simple versions of? I found two good candidates: Scavenger (from Dark Ages) and Herald (from Guilds). The Scavenger part I liked was getting a card from your discard pile; so Harbinger does that, with +1 Card +1 Action instead of +$2, and without the Chancellor part (phew). This was called Courier for a while, but people complained about there being both Courier and Courtier.

Merchant: A card that rewards you for having some Silvers. I tried something that gave the +$1 on having an Action in play (and another version that wanted an Action in hand), and that was nice, but I didn't want something too much like Conspirator. So, Silver. Then for a long time it said "the next time" instead of "the first time." "First" is simpler except with Black Market, Storyteller, and Villa. Simpler is better and people with just the main set do not have those cards (a promo, a card from the 9th expansion, a card from the 10th expansion).

Poacher: This is in a player interaction slot, vacated by Spy. I thought of having some vanilla bonuses with the penalty of discarding a card per empty pile. The vanilla bonuses had to be essentially fair at the price of the card, since you might never empty a pile until the game was over. So really it required a vanilla card I hadn't made yet. Well there was one of those, and it was +1 Card +1 Action +$1 for $4. So there it is. Avoiding making that card all these years finally paid off.

Sentry: One goal was to have another trasher in the main set; another was to have a cantrip $5. This card just came from combining those things. It's a mini-Cartographer that can also trash.

Vassal: This is the new Herald. Herald is +1 Card +1 Action, so Vassal is +$2; a mirror image of what I did for Harbinger. Originally it left the card on top, but discarding it is usually better and made the text simpler.

* Intrigue Drop-outs *

Coppersmith: The 6th card dropped. I wanted to drop the same number of cards as with Dominion, and had only picked five. My playtesters leaned towards Coppersmith. I had a new Coppersmith-like concept to try - which didn't work out. Coppersmith is an interesting dud, there are games where it's useful. They aren't common though. I used to use it as an example of how a not-so-good card would still be better than a main set dud; I could improve the main set by replacing say Feast with Coppersmith. But when the time came, Coppersmith didn't make it either. It's fun to win with a card that you can only rarely win with, but very few Dominion cards should be trying to fill that role (and enough still are).

Great Hall: For new players, maybe Great Hall is reasonable; it does nothing, but it can be interesting considering Upgrading Estates into them, or getting them for Conspirators or something, and then uh well later on they are better than Estates at least. There are more good things to Upgrade Estates into now though, or power up Conspirators with; Great Hall was not competing there. A card that did something would be more interesting.

Saboteur: Long ago my pick for worst card relative to its cost. It's got three huge problems: some people hate that it's an attack that doesn't otherwise help you; it's weak; and it's crazy wordy. On top of that some people just don't like trashing attacks, and the set already has Swindler. Some people do like them, but did I mention that the set has Swindler?

Scout: People often cite this as the weakest card in the game. I dunno, there are different metrics. There's "how often do I get it," there's "how sad am I when you give me one with Ambassador." You know. I'd rather your Ambassador gave me a Scout than a Thief. In all-Intrigue games, Scout gets to draw you some Harems and Nobles and Great Halls. New players like it; it's all upside, right? It is pretty weak though. And I could preserve the premise on its replacement.

Secret Chamber: People don't cite this one anywhere near as often as Scout or Thief, but I actually get it even less often. The reaction is confusing and rarely useful; the top part is a fine ability but very weak, it wants to come with more stuff.

Tribute: This isn't that good, but is better than most of these cards. It's not popular though. Hosing Nobles / Harem / Great Hall is not great. Some people feel like it's attacking them, since it can flip over good cards; I think it tends to help as much as hurt, but so what, I don't need people to feel bad over a non-attack. I'll say it for everyone: it wasn't the greatest card in the world; it was just Tribute.

* Intrigue New Arrivals *

Courtier: I wanted yet another card that was good with Nobles / Harem / Mill. Counting types was a way to trigger off of those cards, but would also work with Attacks, Reactions, Durations, and other things. In a few cases you can get to three, and one card takes you to four (Dame Josephine). To stop it from going crazy when it gets to three, there are two strong options and two weaker ones. All four get used though.

Diplomat: I needed a new Reaction. As with Secret Chamber it sounded nice to have the top deal with some Attacks while the bottom dealt with others (though it didn't end up like that). The top originally only gave +1 Action as the bonus for a small hand; that was still a nice bonus, but one day I thought of giving you +2 Actions and that seemed fun. Some games that's your Village, and you go for combos that will make it work, or else hope they attack you. The bottom originally gave a Silver when you gained or trashed a card. You had to discard it, so you couldn't gain the pile instantly (a once-per-turn approach was another option). I realized that discarding Reactions was not great, due to issues with early versions of Charm in Empires. Once-per-turn would have been okay but it got me thinking about, could I do better than this Silver thing. I had always wanted a Reaction that gave you a new hand when attacked, and tried a version of that, then tweaked it into what you see. When they attack, you use the ability (unless your hand is too good), and while you end up with just 4 cards in hand, on your turn you play Diplomat and are back to 5, with the +2 Actions.

Lurker: I needed a new $2, since my new Reaction was going to cost $4. I also needed an interactive card to replace Tribute. Somehow I hit on this half-Workshop. Trashing from the Supply never worked before (except on Salt the Earth and Gladiator, from around the same time period), but this time it did. The card originally didn't have +1 Action but needed that; one nice thing is, now you can just play two Lurkers to get whatever you want. The player interaction is great. Some people will put good stuff in the trash despite the risk that you'll get to it first; some will refuse, but still get a Lurker to try to leech off of you. Good cards find their way into the trash other ways for you too - Intrigue itself has Swindler, Upgrade, Replace, and Mining Village.

Mill: This of course replaces Great Hall. It's a Great Hall that does something. And that something also replaces Secret Chamber. Originally it was the same - discard X cards for +$X - but the tracking is simpler if the amount is always $0 or $2 (bump the card up from the line of played cards if it made the $2). I first tried it without the VP, before realizing it was a good candidate for the new Great Hall.

Patrol: This replaces Scout. Pretty directly really; it can also get Curses, and instead of +1 Action it's +3 Cards, and it costs $5 instead of $4. For a while it gave +1 Action and +$1 per different type in your top 3 cards, and only Scouted 3 deep; then it gave a fixed +1 Action +$2, but I didn't like having both that and Minion; then I tried giving you an Attack a Reaction and a Victory card, rather than all the Victory cards and Curses; then I tried looking at 4 cards and taking the Victory/Curse cards plus two more.

Replace: An attack, so ostensibly replacing Saboteur. A Remodel that gave bonuses based on what was trashed/gained was an old idea. Prior to that I had a bonus based on the types of the first card you bought; that was fun but the delay in-between playing it and it doing something was poor. Making it a Remodel fixed that. I tried different bonuses for the three types, but it was too wordy. I tried giving you a copy of the card if it was an Action or Treasure; that was too strong. The Cursing part stayed constant. It's cool that it's a Witch that doesn't hit for a while - unless they are willing to gain an Estate to hit you, or this is one of those games with Nobles or Harem or Mill.

Secret Passage: I had been thinking about trying to get in another Wishing Well combo, but it's tricky, because Wishing Well draws a card prior to the wish. Changing the top card just isn't enough. I thought of this and it was love at first sight. It does lots of neat little tricks. When it can't do those tricks, it's still useful, just for putting bad cards on the bottom of your deck (where you hope they miss a shuffle).

* Other Outtakes *

I tried to make a new Saboteur. There were several variations on "each other player trashes their top card, and gains a cheaper card they choose that shares a type with it." That attack preserves the ability to downgrade Provinces, and is much simpler. But it's just so very weak (whether looking at one or two cards). The main good outcome is turning Silver into Copper; that actually hurts. When you hit an Action, it's not meaningless but it just doesn't matter much. And then late in the game nothing matters but Victory cards. Anyway I still gave it a lot of chances in different forms.

I also tried to make a new Spy. Spies are just so weak. I tried it on Harbinger; man, so much text, messing up my classic simple card, and for nothing. I tried a Spy with "+1 Action +$3, discard 2 cards" as its resources. I also tried combining Saboteur and Spy - the non-trashed cards went back on top. It was even weaker than the other Saboteurs.

A couple similar cards tried to reward you for having more cards in hand than someone else. You play that Lab and then aha, play this and get a bonus. In practice it was too hard to get the bonus. I made the base good and the bonus large and still it was rarely worth getting.

A couple cards tried to be a better Coppersmith. I had a Treasure from Empires that seemed perfect - name a card, worth $1 per copy of it you have in play. If you name Copper, it's the Treasure version of Coppersmith; but if you have a bunch of Villages in play or something, okay, name that. And you never completely whiff, since you can name itself to just get $1. But uh. It has to cost at least $5 and was just never worth it. It looked classic but that wasn't enough.

In the Artisan slot, I tried a reusable Feast. It was Feast but you could either trash it or discard down to one card. You know, I kind of liked it, but "better Feast" wasn't such a claim to fame, and being strictly better than a dead card might still bug some people, and then I had a better idea.

* And That's That *

There are always people who don't like whatever change; sorry guys. To me this move does not feel risky. The main set and Intrigue are getting better. And if you just want the new cards, they're available separately.

Given that I've posted this, the new main set and Intrigue and the two Update Packs all must be in stores or on their way there. There's no precise schedule for changing the other sets; it will come up as they go out of print. The Big Box will also change, as will the Base Cards product. I don't know the schedules there either. Again other sets won't be getting new cards, just improved wordings and layout.

The Bible of Donald X. / The Secret History of the Empires Cards
« on: June 11, 2016, 12:20:40 am »
One evening on a vacation, I paced around, the only one awake, thinking about what the future could possibly hold for Dominion. Was there anything great left to do? I jotted down some notes, then typed it all up when I got home.

Of the stuff I came up with, a few things went together, to make a kind of Prosperity sequel. It would have more VP tokens, those seemed like they had a lot more life in them than just those 3 Prosperity cards. Some "bonus" cards of some sort would award VP at the end of the game, like Kingdom Builder scoring methods. There would be giant expensive cards that you could pay for later. There would be cards that effectively didn't cost a Buy to buy. Special treasures could be a focus again. And there were three or so other ideas that did not actually make it. I like to tell the whole story, but who knows, I might need that stuff someday. Anyway you can only fit so much stuff in an expansion.

Initially the big thing I wanted out of VP tokens was, cards you trash for VP based on the game state. So, they would count things that conventional Victory cards can't, like how many Actions you managed to get into play at once. So I tried several of those and well in the end there's Emporium (which just checks a threshold) and Triumph (an Event). The original concepts didn't work out, but there are a zillion ways to make VP in this set so it was not much of a loss. A key thing was to try to avoid "golden decks" - where you just make points every turn without pushing the game towards ending. So most of the VP token stuff is tied to gaining cards, or trashing cards, or will run out some other way.

I didn't try the "bonus" cards for a while. When I finally got to them, they initially didn't matter enough, but it was easy to make them matter more and that all worked out. I made more and more of them and in the end there are 21. It could have been 20 Landmarks, 12 Events, 2 blanks, but I had the extra cards so in they went.

I had Debt from the start (and it had been in the ideas file for years). The first version though was a word on cards, "Debt," that meant you didn't need the $ to buy the card, but went into Debt. The Debt tokens worked the same way as they do now. One day I thought of using a symbol, and the cards changed to things like "When you gain this during your turn, take [red coin with a 10 on it]." They were like that for a while, before finally I put the symbol into the cost. With Debt a significant concern was that you could just buy the card turn one, and if that was good it seemed like the game could be too scripted. So the big Debt cards always tried to not be good turn one, although it took a while to really get there. Originally the cards could all be bought with $0, and in the end some have $ costs too.

And cards that gave you +1 Buy when bought, I made a couple and then it seemed like, that was plenty.

One day Jeff Boschen complained that one of the Debt cards (an earlier version of City Quarter) was dominating games, that in particular you could always get all the copies you needed, even in a 2-player game. And I thought, hmmm, I could have piles that were only 5 cards. And then from there went immediately to, wait, 5 cards, then 5 of another card. And I tried some cards like that and it seemed pretty cool. You get to tie together the cards somehow. A big issue was making sure you would get through the top 5 often enough; not necessarily every game, but you know, not as some rare thing. So three are cheap cantrips, and Gladiator eats its own pile for you.

I had no plans to have any Duration cards in this set, then somehow tried one, and then a couple more. The original one didn't make it but there are two Duration cards. The objection all these years was the amount of rulebook space Duration cards took in Seaside, but in Adventures that rulebook space was small enough to not seem so bad to repeat.

Dominion is a medieval game; ancient Rome is not medieval. I remained wishy-washy on that issue, not quite wanting to go full-on ancient Rome. In the end the set is called Empires and has a bunch of Roman things. Roman empires were around for a while in various forms, extending into medieval times, so there.

Late in the going, Scott Colcord took it upon himself to get all of the recommended sets played. The recommended sets don't always get much attention and well these ones did make it to a table or two.

Empires started out as a kind of Prosperity sequel. And ended up as one; it has super-spendy cards (though you can pay for them later), more Treasures than other non-Prosperity sets, VP tokens, even a Treasure that makes $6 and an Event that gets you 15 VP. One of Prosperity's less-obvious themes is player interaction; it ups the non-attack interaction to cope with having fewer attacks (which in turn was to make sure Colony was reachable in enough games). Empires has that too. There are again only three attacks, but the 3 Gathering cards are all interactive, plus Chariot Race and Gladiator, plus Castles in that way VP piles can be; the split piles cause more competition for cards; and then some of the Events are interactive and many Landmarks are, and those don't even take up space in the usual 10 Kingdom cards.

On to the cards!

*** Kingdom cards ***

Archive: When I thought of it, I had to try it, and it worked, so there it is. A Duration card!

Capital: This started as an action that gave +$2 and gave all cards "debt" for the turn, for $3. It was neat but scary. The final version costs more, doesn't use an action, and doesn't give any net $ - you are just borrowing.

Castles: There was an old idea in the file, a pile of Victory cards with different sizes. One day we needed a promo (which became Summon) and Matt Engel decided to try this out. He made 8 cards for it, including Small Castle and King's Castle, and converting Opulent Castle from an old outtake from Hinterlands (there a straight action). He also had a vanilla treasure-victory card ($2 and 1 VP). I thought it was important to have a cheap one that rewarded you for loading up on them, and made Humble Castle for the first one. Small Castle trashes itself or another Castle, so Crumbling Castle is something nice to trash, and Haunted Castle isn't so bad there either. Sprawling Castle and Grand Castle interact with some of the other cards and are also nice for people not going for Castles.

Mostly the cards didn't change after the second version; they just worked out. There were a couple cards in the Haunted Castle slot. I tried a Castle that shuffled cards from discard into deck, after an old outtake; I tried a one-time Cursing one (like Ill-Gotten Gains). Haunted Castle couldn't work at weird times (such as when gaining it with Saboteur) and so ended up saying "on your turn," to be as friendly as possible (still works with Small Castle) while shutting out weirdness.

Catapult / Rocks: I tried to come up with flavor that would be good for split piles. The main thing to do was one thing that leads to another thing somehow (rather than one card changing into another, like some cards in the past). But one idea on the list was a Catapult and Rocks and well, who can resist naming a card Rocks. Catapult initially gave the Cursing bonus on cards costing $4 or more, but at one point I lowered the cards to costing $2 and $3, and then kept Catapult working on $3's when I switched it back to costing $3 itself.

Rocks started out with "when gain/trash, +2 Cards, may trash 2 cards from hand." It wasn't everything I wanted and I replaced that with gaining Silver to your hand, then your choice of hand or deck top. Then to avoid confusion it took the destination choice away and based it on the phase, so you weren't all, wait if I put Silver in my hand after buying Rocks, can I play the Silver?

Chariot Race: The question here was what to do with the other player's card. If you leave it on top, Chariot Race has the same competition all turn, although your own card varies. If you discard it or put it on the bottom, it feels too much like an attack. It went back and forth but ended up leaving the card on top.

Charm: This started out as a Treasure worth $2 that made cards you buy come with different cards at the same cost. We did crazy things with that for a while, then finally I looked at ways to weaken it. I tried several variations in rapid succession, that limited you to one gain per turn. There was one that gave you a $5 if you had at least $5 when you played it. The best was a Reaction version - a Treasure worth $2 and a Buy, can discard when gaining a card to gain a different card with the same cost. Discarding it gives you the potential to get loops, where you redraw it repeatedly; Dave Goldthorpe found some of these. So now it's a choose-one. It doesn't get to be a pretty yellow/blue card, but is pretty similar.

City Quarter: One of the first Debt cards was +3 Cards +1 Action, for some large amount of Debt that I tweaked some. It was an interesting card to consider. It's two Laboratories in one card; that's different in various small ways from actually having two Labs. In the end it seemed too strong too early. I tried a version that either drew 3 cards or got two Treasures from your discard pile, that cost more up front. I tried a giant Pawn briefly. Then, a Village that had you draw a card the next 2 times you played an Action; it addressed early power level some but had tracking issues, especially in multiples. Finally it turned into the published card. It can go nuts, but you have to set it up; you do not want it turn one.

Crown: The first version was an Action that played an Action or Treasure twice. You really want it to be a Treasure too, so you don't draw it dead off of card-drawing. So, an Action - Treasure card! It always seemed like that would be too confusing, but here was one that was no trouble. It's something how popular it is even in games where you are almost always using it as Throne Room.

Encampment / Plunder: The idea to Encampment was to go back to the pile, that was the neat part; Plunder can get uncovered but then re-covered. Encampment is a card that's not shabby to play as a one-shot you only paid $2 for. At first you had to have Plunder to keep it; that sometimes worked well, sometimes not so well. To improve the card it changed to also letting you reveal Gold; it flirted with just referring to Treasures costing $6 or more (with a $6 Plunder), but naming the cards is simpler. Later on Encampment changed to being set aside, only going to the pile at the end of the turn, which sometimes stops you from buying it back (but lets you buy the Plunder), but was done as a precaution against recursion that helps you remember you got those extra Actions this turn. Plus it neatly solved the issue of clearly having it be that Overlord as Encampment goes to the Overlord pile, not the Encampment pile.

Plunder meanwhile started out as a treasure giving +1 Buy, and +$1 per Buy you have. It had been its own pile and had seemed cool for a while, but it dominated games, you buy them up as a combo with each other. It's like Bridge but different in lots of ways and in the end stronger. Even the half-pile version bugged me, and finally I replaced it with a straight treasure version of Monument. It cost $6 first but then seemed like it could be $5. I had already tried a similar card in the set that could sometimes go on your deck when discarded from play, but left that part out for this version.

Enchantress: A late card, replacing another attack. I quickly tweaked the resources and the wording, but the premise worked immediately.

Engineer: For a while there was a different Workshop: Gain a card costing up to $4, get +1 VP per empty pile. It seemed reasonable and then I had one too many games that were dominated by it. I tried a lot of replacements, man, like ten other cards, mostly very briefly. Engineer stood out. However it had the issue of being able to trash it to gain something plus another Engineer, to run out the pile. Dame Josephine suggested having it cost Debt, which fixed that problem while taking no space on the card.

Farmers' Market: At first you got the VP and trashed it at the same time you got the +$4. That was too big of a pay-off, so I separated out the VP. Before Farmers' Market I briefly tried an Explorer variant that increased in $ ala Farmers' Market.

Forum: This started at $2 with +2 Cards instead of +3. There were several possible ways to do "when buy +buy" to try to not empty piles too quickly; the solution here was, a more powerful card costing $5.

Gladiator / Fortune: Some split piles were having trouble getting to the 2nd card often enough. For Fortune I made a card that specifically eats its half-pile. A single Gladiator purchase can do the trick. The card was inspired by Chariot Race, trying to be another way to do that kind of thing, since we liked Chariot Race.

Fortune started as its own pile. It was a Debt card back when they could all be bought with no $. The first version was $10; in the end it's $16, with $8 up front please. That's how good double your $ is, taking into account that sometimes it helps pay for itself. And originally you could use multiple Fortunes in a turn and well doubling doublers is always trouble (Throning a Throne isn't actually doubling a doubler, person who thinks of that; however King's Court on King's Court is). There were "discard your hand" versions, but in the end it got a harsh clause to limit you to one doubling per turn. When Fortune became a split pile card, it got the when-gain ability to tie in to Gladiator.

Groundskeeper: First this cost $2 and let you pay $1 extra when buying a card to get +1 VP. It was nuts. It shifted to only working on Victory cards and then to costing $5 up front and none later.

Legionary: The first version had the other players "discard a card then draw up to 3" each time you played a Silver. So you got the full effect only if you played three Silvers. I quickly ran through a few variants before settling on, reveal a Gold to have them discard down to 2 then draw (an attack from Dark Ages that had been too annoying, but that one was cheaper and didn't require revealing a Gold). But then for a while it instead triggered on playing a Gold; for some reason I thought that might be better. It wasn't and it's back to revealing a Gold.

Overlord: Around when I found the good forms of Royal Blacksmith and City Quarter, I thought of trying a bigger Band of Misfits with Debt. It was preceded by related cards - Trash a non-Treasure, gain an Action for up to $7 and play it; then +1 Action, gain an Action for up to $6/$5 and play it. Gaining the card is so much simpler but just madly rushes the game end. Overlord costs 8 Debt but doesn't obviously lock itself out from being worthwhile turn one; somehow it all works out here.

Patrician / Emporium: Patrician started as its own pile. It never changed except to become half of a pile. I liked it as a full pile but it was a good fit for half of a pile. Originally it got to interact with Debt cards, since they had high $ costs, but I still liked the card when it stopped doing that.

Emporium started out as a village you could trash for +VP based on how many Action cards you had in play. I tried a few sizes. I liked that whole idea of cashing in cards for VP, but you don't so much want to do it until your last turn of the game, which is not great, and making it fair when it's good can mean making it weak most of the time. I fixed up the concept by making it a threshold; you either get VP or don't, and can't get more with more Actions. Patrician is a combo with it both ways (finds it, helps reach the threshold), which is cute. The threshold was 6 Actions for a while; one day Matt said, why not 5.

Royal Blacksmith: One of the first Debt cards was +5 Cards, you may put your deck into your discard pile. It cost $10 at first, but varied. For a while it seemed like one of the more reasonable Debt cards. It wasn't good immediately, when your deck had mostly Coppers. Or was it? Gradually I got disenchanted with the deck-flipping; it was there to make you less sad to draw at the bottom of your deck, but sometimes meant you got it in every hand when you weren't actually drawing your whole deck. You zoomed to victory or didn't, depending on where it was in your deck. Then I got focused on wanting the big Debt cards to really not be good right away. I replaced the flipping with "discard the Coppers" and well there it is.

Sacrifice: The first version was identical except you only got +2 Actions when trashing an Action, and it cost $3. For a while it seemed good but you sure weren't too interested in trashing Actions to it. It's nice to have that option sometimes be meaningful.

Settlers / Bustling Village: This pile started with the flavor of the card names; nice names for a split pile, with the additional nice idea of having a village that wasn't available right away. It was trouble finding a good card to go in the top slot here; some cards left us just never getting to the village. In the end I used a card Matt made for a homemade set. It was perfect.

I tried a few different bonuses on Bustling Village. There was +$1 per Settlers in play; get your top card if it's an Action per Settlers; there was +VP based on the cards in your hand. Then I tried getting a Settlers from your discard pile and I liked that one. Then Settlers became Matt's card and I like how that ends up, where you play Bustling Village to get Settlers and then Settlers to get Copper.

Temple: At first it didn't have the when-gain ability (or put VP on the pile, don't be silly). When I thought of having VP tokens on piles, I added that part, and it all worked out.

Villa: Originally this just gave +1 Buy when you bought it. One day I thought of having a card that let you play an Action when you bought it, and after a few quick iterations it landed here, as the Village you buy to help out that same turn. For a while it was played when you bought it, but that has some tricky interactions, which were resolved by putting it into your hand instead, and giving you +1 Action to play it with.

Wild Hunt: This started out being trashed to get the VP. You don't want to trash your Smithy. I changed it to gaining an Estate (trying to make sure you couldn't make VP forever this way) and it was much better.

*** Events ***

I used every good Event idea that I had in Adventures. Still, why not try to make more? VP tokens helped a lot, and I ended up with 13 new Events.

Advance: This never changed.

Annex: Late in the going, I had Events that handed out Estate, Province, Curse, Copper, Silver, and Gold (*checks other Events*... huh he's right); where was Duchy? This finally makes good use of an ability I'd tried in a few forms in previous sets, especially Hinterlands.

Banquet: This started as a Treasure for $3 that was worth $1 and came with a Copper and a $5 (then, a Copper and a non-VP $5). I liked it like that, but changing it to an Event saved a slot and made it less fast at running out piles.

Conquest: This never changed.

Delve: This was an idea from Adventures that I never got around to trying there. It's the only one of those I tried, and it worked great.

Dominate: This never changed. Which is funny for an Event costing $14. The idea was to have a next step after Colony, and I could simulate it with an Event rather than spend 12 cards on it.

Donate: This started out costing $8. It was too swingy, and I fixed it by making it 8 debt. Now we can all figure out a plan for when to get it and it doesn't come down to draws, you can just always get it. At first it happened in Clean-up, but I had to move it to between turns due to Possession.

Ritual: I tried an Event that gave you a Curse in exchange for +1 VP per 2 Actions in play. It was a dud, then I tried trashing a card for VP, and there it is.

Salt the Earth: Trashing directly from the Supply tried out for Dark Ages - and cards were phrased to account for the possibility of it - but didn't pass the audition. This approach worked immediately though.

Tax: This started as an Action that gave +$2 and put two Debt tokens on a pile. Then it got a Setup rule that made piles start with Debt. It was hard squeezing everything into the set, and one trick was to turn this into an Event.

Triumph: This started out as an Action for $5 that gave +1 Card +1 Action +$1, and came with +1 VP per card you'd gained that turn (yes, looking a bit like Emporium). It was fun going nuts with it and so I tried variations - a Woodcutter version; one that gave +1 VP per 2 cards gained. Then I made it a Victory card worth 1 VP, that gave +1 VP per card gained that turn. That version was nice. But some games it's just sitting out, you don't have the combos. Space was limited and it could just be an Event. So there it is.

Wedding: This had a bonus I decided would have to wait for some future expansion I hope to put off making for a while. I replaced that part with +1 VP.

Windfall: This started out costing $6. It's a hard condition to meet so I felt like I could be just a little more generous.

*** Landmarks ***

Originally the Landmarks were all "when scoring" except it took a while for me to add the actual words "when scoring" to them. The first "6 VP per player" cards started with 12 VP, and I tried a few at "4 VP per player."

Aqueduct: This started out putting 5 VP on each Treasure pile. I liked that but you only have so many VP tokens. I played around with how to cut down on tokens and ended up with 8 each on Silver and Gold.

Arena: No changes.

Bandit Fort: First it gave 8 VP if you had no Silver and no Gold. It's more fun to punish each one, so you can get a few Silvers and Golds and then see if you can get rid of them later.

Basilica: An earlier version was, when you buy a card, you may pay $3 to take 2 VP.

Baths: No changes except that business about 12 VP turning into 6 VP per player.

Battlefield: No changes except. This was the first one of these 6 VP per player cards, paving the way for more of them, plus other Landmarks that weren't "when scoring." It was controversial, shouldn't they all be "when scoring," but well they worked great.

Colonnade: It was 1 VP when buying an Action you had in play, then 2 VP, then 2 VP with a limited supply of VP.

Defiled Shrine: It triggered on gaining a Curse, but it was not entertaining in games with Witches, so now you have to buy the Curse. The "non-Gathering" thing was a late change to deal with poor interactions between this and the cards that put VP on their own piles. It's kind of weird to have that type there just for this one thing, but it also ties the cards together. That's what I said when insisting on that change, and people's reactions to the Gathering cards has borne that out; they really are tied together.

Fountain: Stef Meijer suggested this one. It was one of the first Landmarks and so started out weaker, at 8 VP for 10 Coppers.

Keep: Some versions gave you the points if you didn't have the fewest copies of a Treasure. It's the same in 2-player but was more political in multiplayer. I went back and forth on whether tying got you the VP, again with an eye towards reducing politics.

Labyrinth: No changes. Well in the initial version of the art, you couldn't do the maze; I got the artist to erase a bit of wall so you could do it.

Mountain Pass: At first it was when the first Province was bought, the buyer bid first, no limit, and the prize was 10 VP. Since the correct bid might be infinity, there's a limit, and hey why not the total number of Debt tokens included. Gain felt better than buy; between turns dealt with Possession, man, that card. And eventually I lowered it to 8 VP to reduce the chance that you run out of Debt tokens.

Museum: The initial idea was to reward you for having cards other players didn't. It was too political, and ended up as a straight Fairgrounds variant.

Obelisk: Originally it could be any Kingdom card. I already knew from some Adventures playtesting that many people don't know that term. I used it anyway, then replaced it with Action.

Orchard: This started out giving a flat bonus of 5 VP if you had at least 3 copies of each card you had any copies of; then it was 10 VP if you had at least 2 of everything you had any of. It was too hard to go for, so it switched to giving VP per card you had 3 copies of, first 5 VP then a more reasonable 4 VP.

Palace: Originally it was 2 VP per set.

Tomb: This one just worked.

Tower: Originally any pile counted; it was slightly more interesting to not reward Victory cards, a thing Matt pushed for.

Triumphal Arch: It started at 2 VP per copy of your 2nd-most copious Action; Matt argued for bumping it up.

Wall: First it was 8 VP if you had no more than 15 cards; then -1 VP per 2 cards in your deck; then the version you know and love. Inspired by that Adventures Victory card outtake that rewarded you for having a small deck (itself inspired by a conversation on BGG, where I talked about possible future Victory cards, and decided inverse-Gardens wouldn't be fresh enough, and David argued otherwise).

Wolf Den: Never changed, though there were related cards that didn't work out.

*** Outtakes ***

This time around I'm putting the outtakes in list form instead of paragraph form. I'm skipping some stuff mentioned above, and a few things that seem like I could maybe fix them up if I have to make more cards someday.

Regular card outtakes:
- The first card in the file is a Witch variant that gives you +1 VP if the Curses have run out. That sounded nifty enough that it hung around for most of testing, though later versions triggered on buying a card. If you somehow got +1 Buy and then played it and bought two things, yeeha. Eventually the trigger started to seem bad, and then the whole card fell apart. And I replaced it with Enchantress, hooray, a happy ending.
- Village, you may trash this for +1 VP per 2 Actions in play;
- and +2 Cards, you may trash this for +1 VP per 2 cards in your hand. I liked the idea of cards you cashed in for VP, but well, you would generally like to hold onto the card until the last minute, and we've already had that experience with Mining Village. They seemed like a good direction and then I fiddled with them and then they died.
- Right and a third one, a treasure worth $1, may trash it to pay any amount of $ for +VP. That one you cashed in of course, since you didn't want the big Copper. There were a couple versions; they were dominating and didn't seem worth pursuing.
- I tried several cards that cost a lot but let you go into Debt, that tried to look impressive and in the end were too impressive. First up, a new extra-turn card. I also had double your $ in Fortune, and I felt like, double your $, with +1 Buy, was like an extra turn but way way faster to resolve.
- One of the most significant outtakes was a treasure that gave +1 Buy and produced $1 per Buy you had. So by default it made $2 and a Buy. But with other sources of +Buys it made more $. You could just play multiple copies of it and build up. If you think about it, it's like Bridge, but gives you the $ up front to divide how you want, instead of assigning $1 per purchase. It turns out that's strong. For a long time the card seemed on the edge of acceptable; gradually I got sick of it. I put it in the Plunder slot and then killed it.
- There was a Witch that gave everyone else a Curse and +1 VP. It seemed cute; it's like giving them a Ruined Village, but they end up ahead a VP if they trash the Curse. So do you still even want to give them these Curses? Yes, you still do, but not as much as usual. I still like the idea but well it wasn't popular. Tower can give you that "Curses are just blank" feeling.
- A Knight-like attack trashed from the Supply if it missed. I decided Salt the Earth was enough of that. Yes and Gladiator.
- A couple attacks played around with playing cards you bought that turn; then I had a village that let you play a card from your hand when you gained it, and then I figured out how to do Villa.
- I tried a Reaction that gave you +VP when attacked. Man. You load up on them and then hope they attack you. Even at once per round I wasn't happy with it.
- I tried giving other players VP as a penalty. It's not pretty-looking but was around for a while.
- +1 Action, get the Silvers and another card from the top 4. Also you got +1 VP per Silver in play when you gained it (then, +1 VP per 2 Silvers, then no VP). The top was crazy. I thought the bottom would survive somewhere in some form but it did not.
- Here's a Venture variant, discard N cards to play the treasures from your top N cards. I have a very vague memory of trying this.
- There was a card that made each card you bought come with a Silver. For a while I thought there would be a sub-theme of cards doing things when you bought other cards. Also I thought there would be a sub-theme of making Silver more exciting.
- Treasure, name a card, worth $1 per copy of it you have in play (cost $5). A super-Coppersmith; if you name Copper it's a Coppersmith treasure, but you can name something else instead. It looked classic and got a lot of chances.
- Treasure version of King's Court, with debt. A dud.
- A cantrip super-Remodel (up to +$4) that had you take debt equal to the amount you Remodel'd up. Debt and Remodels are a poor combination, but I tried it multiple times anyway.
- Mine 3 times, with a Debt cost. Then, trash a treasure to gain a treasure to hand - the same if you went Copper to Platinum, but usually weaker. It thought it had a shot, and spent some time in split piles.
- Remodel 3 times, with a Debt cost. Debt? That's okay, I'm not going to be buying any more cards.
- In the same vein as Farmers' Market, I tried a Warehouse. You draw N cards then discard N, N being the number of tokens on the pile. And could optionally trash it to take the VP. Farmers' Market made the concept work.
- There were a bunch of treasures I tried briefly for split pile slots. A treasure version of Vault. A treasure that gained you a copy of a treasure in play. A treasure that played the Coppers from your 3 top cards. A treasure that made cards the previous player had gained cheaper. A treasure (worth $2) you could put on your deck ala Treasury. A treasure worth $1 per other differently named treasure you had in play. A treasure that let you trash a card when gaining or trashing it. A treasure you cashed in for two $3's when you played it (that one goes back to Prosperity). A double Harem - $4 and 4 VP for $10. You know it wouldn't have been embarassing, but when its pile died I didn't miss it.
- There was a bigger Wharf with Debt cost - +3 Cards this turn and next.
- Here's a Wishing Well where you just need to get the type right, not the card name. Man I don't remember trying this. And next to it a version that could get 2 cards if they both matched.
- There were cards called Barbarian, don't think there weren't. Here's one where they name a card, then trash their top card if it costs $3+ and isn't what they named. Then immediately a version where they revealed two cards; revealing one has worked on a few attacks but tends to be too random. My memory is this attack just never hits.
- I tried another permanent duration; +$2 each turn with the first Action card you play, with a Debt cost. It was in the running for a big debt slot, it seemed potentially balanceable but was not as fun as the competition.
- I tried a few things in the Settlers slot, maybe not all in the file, but here's a 2-card Cartographer.
- Each other player reveals 2 cards from their hand, trashes one you choose, gains a replacement to their hand with the same cost, also your choice. Attacks are hard.
- Ah yes, so many cards tried out for Engineer's slot. Here's an Expand with on-use Debt that tried to dodge Remodel/Debt issues by doing something different if you had any Debt. A +$1 Remodel that had you draw 2 cards when you gained or trashed it; I still like the idea of a Remodel that does something when gained/trashed. A +$1 Remodel that, when trashed, gave you a $5. Yowza. Another one of these, gaining you a copy of a card in play with some limits to try not to go nuts. Another one with different limits, man. Okay here are 3 that involve putting VP on the pile. One is just a Workshop that accumulates VP you can trash it to get; one counts down, it's reset to 5 VP when a copy is gained, and when played gains a card for the number of VP on the pile and then gives you a VP from the pile, that was fun to try; and a Workshop that adds or takes VP based on how much the card you gained cost. Finally, the one that held the slot for the longest out of these, a Workshop that turns into Remodel if a pile is empty. That seemed okay and like I could live with it if I couldn't do better, but I like Engineer better.

Landmarks outtakes:
- 1 VP per card costing $4 wasn't very interesting;
- ditto 1 VP per card costing $6+.
- 2 VP per Attack seemed okay for a while but didn't survive. I then tried 2 VP per card with 2+ types. It feels like Obelisk covers "this random pile is worth points."
- 10 VP if you have at least 3 Curses; not the best way to use Curses.
- 5 VP if the game ended on your turn; that looks interesting but isn't really and could cause a stalemate.
- -1 VP per Duchy -2 VP per Province; what is there to say.
- If the Provinces are empty, 2 VP per Estate; that's a classic thing that didn't work out in Victory card form or here either.
- In a similar vein, 1 VP per empty Supply pile per Province you have.
- When "1 VP per $6" didn't work out I tried "take 2 VP from here when you gain Gold."
- There's one that gave you 2 VP for shuffling; it just doesn't make a difference.
- One gave +1 VP for starting your Buy phase with 6+ cards in hand.
- I tried a few versions of "At the start of your turn, you may gain a Copper, to take 2 VP from here." It's kind of interesting, but some players just always take the Copper, and sometimes you forget to take the Copper and are unhappy. I tried it with Curse; I tried it triggering on buying Treasures.
- When any player buys a Victory card, each player may discard a Victory card for +1 VP. Random and not so meaningful.
- When you buy a Victory card, reveal hand for +1 VP per Victory card. Grand Castles everywhere.
- -1 VP per copy you have after the first of each card. Then, -1 VP per copy after the 2nd. Then non-Victory cards only. The card to do was Wolf Den but I wasn't there yet.
- Reveal a hand of no duplicates at turn start to take 2 VP. Very easy to forget.
- At start of buy phase, if more Actions in play than VP tokens, +2 VP. You want more and more Actions. Not bad, except wait, it's no good in a game with any other way to make VP tokens, and I was making a whole expansion of those.

Events outtakes:
- Pick your next hand. It turns out that's pretty good and also repetitive.
- A couple versions of, Expand your top card.
- Summon! It always was hoping to be a promo but was in the set for a bit.
- A Scheme variant. It's tricky to make it useful and not automatic.
- A Moat-in-advance. It's tricky to make it useful and not stop people from buying attacks.
- Various versions of, the player to your left gains an Estate and you get +3 VP. I couldn't give everyone an Estate and didn't want anything political.
- A few versions of a hot potato - you pay to give it to the player to your left, and it punishes whoever has it (the Event, sitting in front of them). Again politics was an issue, but also it just wasn't creating good times.
- A few Haggler variants that were too hard to get value out of.
- A few versions of, trash a card, get VP if the trash didn't have it yet (phrased to not be Fortress tricks).
- It seemed like I could do "make anything a Nobles/Harem" and it would be reasonable. Pay $6, gain a card costing up to $4, get +2 VP. I could make it be worth doing, but entertainment-wise it was a dud.
- I tried giving Duchy an ability. It had to be a buy phase ability but that was fine; I tried +1 Buy +$1 (but +2 Buys because you bought the Event). Discard a Duchy, get that stuff, cost $0. It sounded interesting and was supposed to make me consider getting a Duchy for the +Buy. It did sometimes, but didn't add enough to make the grade.
- Trying to make other giant Events like Donate and Dominate, I briefly tried "gain all Actions from a pile" and "gain the trash."

Empires Previews / Empires Previews #5: Events
« on: May 13, 2016, 12:09:39 pm »
Empires brings back Events. They were fun but I did everything I could think of to do with them in Adventures. But well, this set had new stuff; maybe that new stuff would allow for more Events? In fact of thirteen new Events, nine involve either VP tokens or Debt or both

Triumph has both a Debt cost and a VP token payout. It's like a Victory card that rewards you for getting a lot of cards in one turn, and is represented in your deck with an Estate that you can maybe get rid of. The Debt cost helps you afford it after buying other cards; and hey, if you don't think you're getting another turn, why not go out in Debt and up a few points.

Windfall is one of the four Events that don't involve tokens. If you can manage to get your whole deck into play / your hand / the trash, you can get three Golds for cheap. It's a mini-game.

Dominate is like a new Victory card above Colony - $14 for 15 VP. But instead of a pile, it's just this Event; and you use Provinces for the Victory card, so buying Provinces also runs out the Dominates.

That's it for previews, not counting today's other preview, which is a doozy. We currently expect the set out on May 25, which I believe is when it ships not when it's in stores. I will post the Secret History around when people start to get the actual cards.

Empires Previews / Empires Previews #4: Landmarks
« on: May 12, 2016, 12:23:35 pm »
At last, Landmarks. And five of them because why not. There are twenty-one of them so there are still plenty you haven't seen.

Landmarks are landscape-style like Events. You can shuffle them into the randomizer deck, and flip over cards until you have ten kingdom cards, using Events and Landmarks if they show up; if using this method I recommend having a max of two total Landmarks/Events. Or, you can shuffle Landmarks and Events into a separate randomizer deck and just always play with one or two of them. Or whatever else you think of; we like to leave that up to you.

Landmarks change the scoring for the game. Some just change it at the end; some use VP tokens to score during the game. You don't buy Landmarks like you do Events; they just sit there, telling you how you could be making points, if only.

Fountain is a simple one. At the end of the game, if you have 10+ Coppers, you get 15 VP. Bam. If you don't, you don't get anything; if you have 20+ Coppers, sorry, still just 15 VP. Okay? So, you decide: do you want the VP enough to have the Coppers? If you do, you probably don't want the extra Coppers until later, but you don't want to wait until it's too late. Sometimes you may even try to trash your starting Coppers and then buy them back later.

Battlefield is one of several Landmarks that gets 6 VP per player and then doles it out somehow in 2 VP increments. Battlefield gives it out with Victory cards; the first however many Victory cards are worth extra. Should you buy up Estates for the bonus VP, planning to immediately trash them? As usual, it depends on the board.

Wolf Den is a negative Landmark. At the end of the game, each lonely card dings you. For extra fun, pair with attacks that trash cards, or ways to hand out cards to other players. That first Duchy loses a little something.

Tomb works during the game but has no limit, beyond what you're able to trash. There's no guarantee that you can trash cards in a particular game, but that won't come up too often; it spices up trashers, Remodels, one-shots, and some other random cards like Hovel or Knights or Gladiator.

Keep is the area control Landmark. Each kind of Treasure is a little battle, including normal ones like Copper and special ones like Rocks. Whatever else you are doing this game, you would also like to win these battles.

Empires Previews / Empires Previews #3: VP Tokens
« on: May 11, 2016, 12:24:11 pm »
One major theme of Empires is VP tokens and well here is some of that. VP tokens appeared in Prosperity, originally just on Monument, but on Bishop and Goons too by the time the set was released. They haven't been used since because well you have to include the tokens. But we included the tokens so we were set. In fact there are three denominations of tokens this time: 1 VP, 2 VP, and 5 VP. The 2 VP ones are the same size as 1 VP but a different color; the 5 VP ones are bigger. That was what we could manage so that's what we did.

Groundskeeper is pretty basic; all VP cards you gain under her watch come with extra VP. That applies to both bought and otherwise gained cards, which can sometimes be exciting. They're cumulative; you can play a line of four Groundskeepers, buy an Estate and get +4 VP.

Temple is more exotic. The basic function of the card both gives you VP and puts VP on the pile - sitting right there on the Temples. And then someone buying a Temple takes that VP. So playing Temple is a VP now for you, and a VP later for someone, could be you or someone else. Temple has this weird word "Gathering" on the bottom, I should say something there. Well uh. It groups together a few cards that put VP on their piles, and lets another card refer to them (in a "let's not mess this up" way). So that's that.

Chariot Race is a funny one. You get a card (the one you reveal) and an Action no matter what; you also get +$1 and +1 VP if your card is costlier than theirs. Their card is the same all turn usually, so after the first Chariot Race you will know what your other Chariot Races are up against.

There was a lot you could do with VP tokens, and I did a lot with them. Nine of the kingdom card piles use them, and then there are all those Landmarks and Events. But those stories are for another day. Well more specifically, tomorrow and the next day, and then later when the Secret History goes up.

Empires Previews / Release date
« on: May 10, 2016, 02:59:43 pm »
Currently: May 25th.

It was delayed a week, as reported by Jay on BGG.

Empires Previews / Empires Previews #2: Split Piles
« on: May 10, 2016, 11:59:38 am »
Today, six cards, but only three piles.

So how do these work exactly? The top cards are paired with the bottom ones. Each pile has 5 copies of the first (cheaper) card, then 5 copies of the second (more expensive) card. You can only buy/gain the card on top; if you want the other card, you have to dig it out. There are special randomizers for these piles, that list both cards and have art showing both things. You will see those when the set comes out; the six actual cards will have to do for today. And uh some things in the game care about stats for a pile, and well they go by the randomizer, which usually matches the top card. Young Witch can have Gladiator/Fortune as its bane (and then both cards will do the trick), Training lets you put your +$1 token on the Catapult/Rocks pile (and then both cards give +$1), and so on.

Gladiator has a cute interaction with the player to your left. If you manage to show a card they don't have, you get +$1, hooray, but you also eat a Gladiator from the pile. That way you are likely to eventually uncover Fortune. Which doubles your money, yeeha. And may come with some Golds; a reward for the players with Gladiators. If you were wondering how much doubling your money was worth, well, about $16, but you don't need it all in advance. And it's not cumulative because even at ~$16 that was too much. It can help pay for itself, I will just point out that part.

Settlers lets you get back a Copper; try not to draw it right after shuffling. And Bustling Village gets back a Settlers which gets back a Copper. And it gives you +3 Actions; that's just how Bustling it is.

At long last, we have the Dominion Catapult. Well it's been a great run guys. And it doesn't even let you throw something at the board. Catapult hurts the other players based on what you throw I mean trash; if you trash a Treasure they discard, if you trash a card for $3+ they get Cursed, and if a card has both attributes they both discard and get a Curse, yeeha. It's like a rodeo in here. As it happens Rocks is a Treasure costing $4, and does something useful when gained or trashed; it's just the perfect thing to Catapult. And it's called Rocks! I couldn't help myself.

Empires Previews / Empires Previews #1: Debt
« on: May 09, 2016, 12:04:33 pm »
You can feel it in the night, like an approaching storm. You hear its distant laughter on the wind; you catch a glimpse of it in the window of a passing train. There's no mistaking it. It's another Dominion expansion. And if you had any doubt remaining, I'm here with some previews for it.

As with last time around, there will be individual previews here each day by different people.

There are too many set themes to have a day with no theme. So the cards the other people preview will include some random stuff, while I will stick with the themes, which I will just get you ready for now: Debt, split piles, VP tokens, Landmarks, Events.

Okay so Debt.

That reddish hexagon means you don't pay for City Quarter or Royal Blacksmith up front. Instead you take some tokens that say how much you owe. While you have the tokens, you can't buy cards or Events. Those are the only things you can't do; you can still play cards, including the one that got you into Debt if you draw that one; you can still trash cards and get attacked and win the game and so on. You can pay off Debt tokens in your Buy phase, before and/or after buying cards, at $1 per token. So, you have $4, you buy City Quarter, you get 8 Debt, you pay off 4 of it immediately, you have 4 debt left. In your next Buy phase, if you had $6, you could pay off the rest of your Debt and then have $2 left to spend. Get it? It's pretty simple. The one tricky thing is how these things work when cards compare costs. There it works like Potion: apples and oranges. A reddish hexagon with an 8 isn't more or less than $3. There's a rulebook, okay? It covers all the tricky things. And uh why a hexagon, why that color? The physical tokens are reddish hexagons.

So City Quarter is one of these things, it costs $8 but you don't need any $ up front. You can buy it with $0 and a leftover Buy. But you'll be paying it off before you buy more things and well I went over that already. So uh City Quarter. It looks snazzy. You could draw so many cards. And it's a Village too, which helps you play those cards you had to have to draw those other cards.

Royal Blacksmith also costs 8 Debt and draws a lot of cards. It doesn't let you keep the Coppers and well you may want to do something about that. I like to show off at least a few simple cards, and Royal Blacksmith and City Quarter are both pretty simple, other than wondering about that red hexagon.

Most cards and Events that use Debt use it in a cost. Capital is one that does something different. It's a Treasure that loans you $6. It's a nice hunk of change, but you have to pay it all back. At least there's no interest. And hey maybe you aren't getting another turn anyway.

So there you have it, Debt. And there's another preview today and then I'll have split piles tomorrow.

Empires Previews / Teasers!
« on: May 06, 2016, 10:43:16 am »
Dominion: Empires has:

- 76 pieces of card art.
- 60 VP symbols.
- 16 red hexagons.
- 10 uses of "Setup."
- 2 Duration cards.
- 2 ways to trash cards from the Supply.
- An Action-Treasure card.
- An Event costing $14.
- A way to double your money.
- A way to bid.

Let's Discuss ... / Let's Discuss Adventures Cards: Ferry
« on: February 16, 2016, 06:26:53 pm »
I guess everyone gets a turn starting these threads. I missed that it was my turn. But I waited n days and when no-one else left the island it was obvious.

Ferry: Event, $3
Move your -$2 cost token to an Action Supply pile (cards from that pile cost $2 less on your turns, but not less than $0).

You just erase the cost in the corner, and write in a cheaper one, and no-one can stop you.

- With a 3/4 or 4/3, do you just always open this? But I mean, always?
- Is it all that with Workshops?
- Is it worth it sometimes to move the counter later?
- Does it do other cute tricks? Uh, Band of Misfits? I will just tell you, the combo I really like is Artificer.
- Is this bad for the game? I mean, it isn't, but you know, I can still ask that.

Dominion Online at Shuffle iT / The Dominion online 2017 thread
« on: February 01, 2016, 07:09:19 pm »
People may have questions or just want to say stuff and well here is a place.

We are not renewing the contract with MF and will have someone else as yet to be specified.

Like it says in the title! I have no collected data on the automatch problem, but if you have any, here's a place for it where no-one's mad about anything.

Really, if you have any data, you otter post it! I didn't even set that up, I'm a natural. Anyway anywhere you post it is fine but if you want a dedicated thread there's this one or the other one. Or you can make your own thread; we're all friends here.

The Bible of Donald X. / The Secret History of Dominion: Adventures
« on: April 23, 2015, 03:34:01 pm »
At some point, you've gotta call it a day. I mean what about the people with storage solutions? And well. As I have said repeatedly, there are good reasons to switch from expansions to spin-offs. You run out of simple things to do. You already have endless variety with 8 expansions. There are things you can do in spin-offs that you can't do in expansions.

All that still stands. But I made a spin-off, and then took the Dominion part out; it's Kingdom Builder. And I made another spin-off, and took the Dominion part out; it's Temporum. At some point it was clear: even if I managed to make some spin-offs, I wasn't just going to crank out an endless series of them. So eventually I would make another Dominion expansion. The publishers and fans would want it, and I wouldn't be able to say, here's another spin-off instead. And one day in May 2014, I had nothing else going on, and it seemed like, well, maybe it's time to see what's left to do. And there was stuff to do, so I did it.

Some people talk about a "treasure chest" expansion - more cards for each existing expansion. It doesn't really work. It's not much of a product if it requires you to own the other sets, so everything you'd need has to be included. Including all that stuff is not great - so much for VP tokens, coin tokens, stuff that costs Potion, stuff handing out Ruins. At the same time some mechanics just don't scream out their expansion - "choose one" for example shows up in a bunch of sets, it doesn't just say, oh this is an Intrigue card. In fact of all of the mechanics in the expansions, the only one that seemed satisfying to revisit and which didn't require components (except rulebook space) was duration cards.

So, how about some new duration cards? There was plenty left to do there, and some of those cards could even be simple. So I made some up.

Another source of early inspiration was the idea of someday making an online-only promo. It would have to be something you simply couldn't do physically. I came up with an obvious card idea I liked - a card which, each time you played it, gained +1 of something of your choice. Gradually individual copies of the card would become distinct and more powerful. Later I realized, wait, I could do something like that physically, by having piles of cards to upgrade into. And that sounded cool. So, new duration cards, this upgrading thing, okay, a starting point. And I had my lists of old ideas never tried, and tried a few promising ones.

Initially I was thinking of the set as a full-on Seaside sequel. And what else did Seaside have? It had mats and tokens. I looked at what the possibilities were for these components. For mats one thing stood out: a mat you put cards on, where they would wait until you were ready to use them. I had done one of those in Dark Ages, and it had been great, but hadn't made the set because you know, it needed the mat. For tokens, again connected to the online-only card concept, I thought, what about modifying cards? I couldn't modify individual cards, but I could modify piles - your cards from that pile are better. It had to be just your cards, because people are stingy. So, 6 copies of each token, in 6 colors to handle 6 players.

So I made cards for the mat, initially the Castle mat, and cards that produced tokens, initially one-shot kingdom cards (plus a few other kinds of uses for tokens). And a good time was had by all.

I was playtesting irl, but it seemed good to also have some external playtesters. My old playtesters mostly just played online, which wouldn't be possible this time, but a few had physical copies. So I let some of them know. I also looked on for people who might playtest. I already had Matthew Engel, who had playtested Prince. Now there were two things I wanted out of new people: playing ability, and owning the physical game. As it happened there had recently been a tournament, and there was a thread talking about a meet-up in Chicago. I looked for people who did well in the tournament who also said they had a copy of the game in the Chicago thread, and invited three people. So somehow, being willing to go to Chicago upped your chances of me asking you to playtest.

Wei-Hwa Huang alerted Doug Zongker to the existence of the new set, and Doug offered to program the set on isotropic for us. This was fantastic; you get way more testing done online, since it goes so fast and you can do it whenever. Since we could play online, I invited a few more people from dominionstrategy, this time based just on playing ability.

The mat worked great, the tokens were exciting, the new duration cards compelling. One day, real-life playtester Kevin White said, man the tokens took a while to get. You buy the one-shot, eventually shuffle it in and draw it, then play it and finally you have the token. Couldn't they be faster? Now they could have just been when-gain one-shots, a concept I tried out previously in Hinterlands. But if you trash a card when you gain it, well, why have the card? It's not doing anything except limiting how many times you can do this. You could just buy the token directly. That immediately sounded awesome. And then, if you can buy tokens directly, why not pay for other things? And thus the set got Events. And I needed new kingdom cards to replace the ones that turned into Events, and I needed more Events so there would be lots of Events.

Initially I had no flavor concept beyond, maybe it's Seaside-ish. Later I had to actually focus the set's flavor. I tried a "castle" theme, because of the Castle mat, but it just felt like generic Dominion. Then I tried Adventures and well these stories aren't all interesting. I changed the Castle mat to a Tavern mat to tie in with adventures in its mild way. And I made some cards specifically to pursue the Adventures flavor. Dominion doesn't have a lot of "top-down" cards but it did get a few this time.

The set ballooned. With 20 Events and 8 upgrades eating up 60 cards, the options are to have fewer kingdom cards than usual, or more. I'm weak; I went for more. So the final set is 400 cards plus the mats and tokens.

Let's hear about those cards.

* Kingdom Cards *

Amulet: I tried a couple choose-one duration cards and quickly settled on this one.

Artificer: I had versions of this in Cornucopia and Dark Ages. It was never quite there. This version's trick is putting the gained card on top of your deck. Earlier it went to your hand but that was cwazy. Some versions let you optionally put the card on your deck, but it was simpler and worth it to be forced to.

Bridge Troll: Seaside had an attack that made cards cost $1 more on other players' turns. It died because it would have been the only duration card to go away other than at the end of your own turn. I figured out a fix for it and used it on Lighthouse but the cost increaser had already turned into Cutpurse. So, new duration cards, time to try that concept out again. It was a one-shot, then a non-one-shot, then a non-one-shot that was non-cumulative. It increased costs by $2 and then just $1. It was getting to be a mess and was still scary. Finally it just cost everyone else $1 via the token, turning into Cutpurse again. Only, it's the Cutpurse that never misses. Increasing costs had a certain charm but man the world does not need to be subjected to it. The upside of the card meanwhile had various forms before settling on Bridge. It's two turns of Bridge, but instead of getting +$1, you make the others lose $1. It worked with Thrones originally but it was too much. Kent Bunn insisted this card be called Bridge Troll (it was Highwayman). When I put in the Adventures theme, okay, Bridge Troll it was.

Caravan Guard: This came out of looking specifically to see if I'd missed some corner of possibilities for Durations. This is a Duration that's a round faster if you get attacked. The phrasing was an issue; what if you play it on someone else's turn and have a +$1 token on the pile? I decided that playing the card was just way simpler than simulating playing it, and in the end it got some explanatory text.

Coin of the Realm: One of the first Reserve cards was the classic concept of a Village that's there for you when you really need it. At first it was an Action. The tracking was kind of tricky, and at the same time it was tricky getting it to a good place relative to Village and Fishing Village. Loquacious playtester Matthew Engel suggested making it a treasure. It's nicely distinct from other villages, and the tracking is not bad - while you do need to remember if you put it on the mat this turn in your Buy phase, that's just for the amount of time between putting it down and buying a card. This also makes it a strange exotic card; it's a village that doesn't work the turn you play it (barring certain combos).

Distant Lands: How about a VP-Reserve card? It's a VP card that isn't worth anything unless you manage to play it once. A simple concept that just immediately worked.

Dungeon: An early card, just trying to do a good basic thing that the Seaside Duration cards hadn't covered.

Duplicate: Originally this cost $5. It didn't need to and so there it is at $4.

Gear: I tried a village that had you draw two cards, picking one to have this turn and one for next turn. I liked that part but had too many villages. I tried it on a Reserve card that set aside the top 2 cards of your deck until you wanted them, but if they were duds you'd let them sit there all game and that wasn't the fun part of the concept. I changed it to draw four, pick two for this turn; that was crazy at $5. Then it was draw 3, save however many you want for next turn, still at $5; still crazy. In its current shrunk form it was still a card to watch. It doesn't look like much, just +2 Cards something something, but it's got some tricks up its sleeve.

Giant: This came about because I wanted a card called Giant. Some kind of slow attack. I already had the Journey token so I used it to make an attack that only hits every other time. At first it didn't do anything on the face down turn, but I eventually nudged it up. Giants don't have a flavor tie-in with Curses, but it gives them out just to make sure that the attack doesn't miss.

Guide: One of the first Reserve cards, just covering easy ground. Originally it gave +$2, but making it +1 Card +1 Action meant it not only saved a future hand from being bad, it didn't make your current hand bad either.

Haunted Woods: I wanted more Swamp Hag-style attacks and came up with this take on the Rabble family. It never changed.

Hireling: What about a Duration card that never goes away? I playtested a version of this in Alchemy. It seemed fine but needed a playmat so it didn't happen (I did Alchemist instead). Here it was going to go on the Tavern mat, but Matthew pointed out it could just be a Duration card. It started out conservatively costing $7.

Lost City: A late card. I wanted to try a card that gave you your -$1 token as a penalty when you bought it. That penalty didn't seem significant enough here (and ended up on Ball). I considered the -1 Card token instead, and it was like, letting everyone else draw is like that but way more fun.

Magpie: Wei-Hwa Huang visited us early on, and in a discussion of an old version of Peasant, commented on the possibility of doing them something like Rats. I immediately latched onto the idea of doing a new Rats. A friendly Rats. Now the beauty of Rats is that it helps you but then starts to hurt you. Magpie just hurts itself. It's not Rats, it's a different thing. It does give you more Magpies though. I tried a few different versions and preferred this one.

Messenger: The initial card didn't have the Chancellor ability and always gave out cards when bought. Matthew suggested the Chancellor part to make the top less boring, for the people who complained about that. Meanwhile other people complained about the card emptying piles too rapidly; the first-buy-only part on the bottom slowed that down.

Miser: I was looking for more things to do with tokens, and made a thing that either gave you a token or gave +$1 per token, but made you put a token back when you got the card. The penalty was cool but it didn't need it, and we're not made out of tokens, so I used Coppers, thus making it also a way to get rid of Coppers. In the end it is like the friendly version of Pirate Ship; you get rid of your own treasures instead of theirs. I tried something very similar in Seaside back when, but turned it into Pirate Ship.

Page / Peasant: Okay so. As explained in the intro, the topic came up, maybe over lunch, man I don't remember, of someday doing an online-only promo. It would necessarily be something that couldn't exist in a physical expansion, so as not to enrage people. I went for the low-hanging fruit of, there could be a card that added +1 of something to itself when you played it. That sounded good, I filed the idea away.

But one day it came up for some reason, and I thought, hmmmm. I could simulate that in a physical card, by having piles of unique cards. You start out with say +1 Card +1 Action for $2. When you play it (wait, when you discard it from play), you upgrade it into your choice of cards from the $3 pile, which are all worth about $3. They wouldn't need to be adding +1 of something each time, but at the same time they could mostly be vanilla cards. Village wasn't just Village here, it was a thing you picked to upgrade into, then upgraded away from later. You have to stop eventually and I figured four piles was enough. So you got a Peasant, and he turned into a Worker, then a Craftsman, then an Artisan, then a Master. And mostly they were vanilla cards, they had to be simple for multiple reasons.

I tried it and it was fun. It had issues though. Originally you got to pick the upgrade. You'd play three of these guys at different levels and then stare at the options. Oh man. So painful with less-frequent Dominion players. So I changed it to, we shuffle the piles, there's no choice. If you had to take the top one and put yours back on the bottom, it was kind of clumsy resolving it. If you put yours back on top, you would have slow decisions again, based on the order you upgraded guys. The upgrade thing was cool but the cards themselves were not too exciting. You would build this deck where they were a lot of your village/+buy/+cards, they did it all, and you would never know what your cards did and it would slow down games. It had seemed so cool, but was it really worth preserving?

I decided to make it a fixed four cards. You could learn them much faster; they could be more exciting although they still couldn't be too wordy, since the upgrading part took space. It still seemed like a cool thing, so I did two sequences: one is just a hero getting better, while the other tells a little story. They took up a lot of space in the set so I didn't make a third. The new version was way better, all problems solved, hooray. I picked names for the cards first, then picked abilities to go with the names, then polished them and in some cases replaced them as we tested them.

Page got the +1 Card / +1 Action of the initial Peasant; Peasant complements it with +$1 +1 Buy. It was +$2 at first (no buy) but that was cwazy. Soldier briefly was a mix of Militia and Ghost Ship; then Soldier and Warrior handed out the -1 Card and -$1 tokens respectively. Later on I had two other attacks using those and decided it would be more fun if these cards did something else. So Soldier is a Militia variant with variable money and Warrior is a Knight variant with variable attack depth.

Fugitive was an old old card, from the 2nd expansion before it split into Seaside and Hinterlands, that didn't exist previously because it was too strong at $4. Disciple for a while was another old old card that wouldn't fit a particular cost without a bonus or penalty or something, "+1 Action, look at top 4, take one discard the rest." But later I had Raze and was messing with possible ways to make it harder to get to Teacher, and didn't have the room for that ability on Disciple and didn't want it as much anymore. So I tried something else, then put on the Throne Room plus gain, an old concept I'd never gotten around to trying. That was great, so when I got the space for the old ability back I didn't switch back.

Treasure Hunter was another very old card, which had had various forms in different sets and never quite made it; there were always players saying, is this fun thing really as good as it gets. Such is human perversity. Here at last was a place for it where the casual players who liked it could enjoy it while not taking up too much room for the haters. Hero was just a simple compelling thing I could do; various cards have tried non-limited "gain a treasure" and "gain an action" and well having to buy a Page and play it multiple times sufficiently delays the ability.

Champion started out being a Moat that gave +$3 and +3 Actions. I wanted a Moat on that line of cards and it was the only place I could have it, the other cards all had upgrading text. It seemed dull for the top card. I got the idea of making it a permanent Moat, that Moated from your deck, but the tracking was wonky. So I made it a Duration card like Hireling and then the only issue was what it could do for you besides Moating. Infinite actions was just an obvious thing, trying to look more exciting than a straight +1 per turn like Hireling's.

Teacher wasn't a Reserve card originally. It got that to slow it down a little. Once you start giving out +1 tokens, your deck explodes.

Port: It's two Villages! One of the first ideas that went into the set. Eventually Billy Martin argued that there should be 12 of them, so that they'd split evenly in 2-player games if the players both wanted them. We had the space and there they are, 12 Ports.

Ranger: One of the simple things to do with a token was just to use it to make something work at a different speed. With the easiest speed being half speed. Originally this only gave +1 Buy when you got the token face up, but it got the +Buy full time to be slightly simpler, and costs $4 instead of the original $3 because now it doesn't compare poorly to Smithy.

Ratcatcher: While some other trashers were not working out, I put in this simple one. I tried a couple sizes - at one point it drew you a card when trashing - but quickly settled on the final version.

Raze: For a while we tried a card in the Apprentice / Salvager family that gave you a mix of +1's of your choice for trashing a card. It was cwazy, today's word of the day. I dropped +Cards from it and it was still cwazy. We kept giving it chances but I also tried some alternatives. Raze copied the earlier Disciple but based on the size of the trashed card. The mix of +1's thing let you trash itself, so I put that on Raze, and I liked everything about Raze so it got the slot.

Relic: Somewhat late in the going, I tried to steer a few of the remaining slots towards particular card names. Relic started out as a treasure that gave you a bonus based on the card types you had in play. First it just counted types, but that went too far; then it cared about specific types: it attacked if you had an Attack in play, gave +$1 if you had a Duration card, and gave +1 Buy if you had a Reserve card or Reaction card. The varying functionality was cute, but quick, what did it do again? Only the Attack part was memorable. While I like the idea of needing a dude to wield the Relic, I ended up simplifying it down to just always attacking. Then it could be a Treasure - Attack, so it is.

Royal Carriage: A Dark Ages outtake. We always liked it, but it needed a mat. It has a mat here and well that's pretty much the story. I briefly had a bad wording that could let you go infinite, and fixing it made it even more like the Dark Ages version.

Storyteller: I tried paying $ for cards long ago, in Prosperity. Prosperity at the time had a few ways to pay $ for things. It didn't work out then, and in fact I dropped that sub-theme. In the intervening years I have done that type of thing as discarding cards or treasures, because it's simpler. A couple things in this set approached being something like Storyteller, and one day it congealed. I tried a few different sizes of it, including a Reserve version, before settling on this one.

Swamp Hag: One of the first cards in the set. The attack was always the same, except for precise phrasing vs. things like Outpost. At first it gave +$1 on both turns, then +1 Card; now it's +$3 next turn.

Transmogrify: I tried a Reserve Remodel, that Remodel'd a card just as you were gaining it. It had a certain something but didn't seem like the ideal approach. I changed it into a start-of-turn Remodel to hand for $6, then dropped it to a smaller +$1 Remodel, but gave it +1 Action and made it cheaper.

Treasure Trove: This was another case where I wanted to use a particular name. I also liked the idea of the set having three Treasures. Another Treasure Trove didn't work out. I tried one that gave you a copy of another Treasure you had in play; then tweaked that into always giving you a Gold and a Copper.

Wine Merchant: Originally it didn't give +1 Buy. I tried letting you get it back for having any unspent money, but upped it to needing $2.

* Events *

There are twenty Events. Some people no doubt have already complained that the set has six blanks. Couldn't that have been six more Events? Man. You got twenty. I didn't have a pile of great ones I cut to put in the blanks. You have to stop working on the expansions at some point and let them get released. Anyway let's hear about these Events.

Alms: Late in the going, an Event wasn't seeming too hot, we never bought it. I needed a replacement and tried this. First it just gained you a card costing up to $4, no limits, because what, why not try that. As you can see instead it is a more sane thing that just means, you're never doing worse than a $4.

Ball: A simple concept. The -$1 token wasn't there until late. The very first version Chancellor'd, but that was cwazy.

Bonfire: An obvious one. The first version trashed one card from your hand or from play; trashing from your hand is just too automatic though.

Borrow: I reworded it a few times, but it always did the same thing.

Expedition: Another obvious one. It always seems cute to draw extra cards for your hand at end-of-turn, but there is the issue of that sucking vs. Militias, and of remembering it. An Event is the perfect way to do it.

Ferry: One of the ones that started out as a one-shot Kingdom card. For a long time it worked only on Kingdom cards (it's not too interesting if you can put it on Province), but that term just didn't mean anything to too many people, so now it only works on Actions.

Inheritance: Another one that was initially a one-shot Kingdom card. The big thing to muck with here was what exactly you could put the counter on. At one point Treasures worked; I tried letting it go on VP cards. VP cards were too automatic, and then it was simpler not to allow Treasures. There was also the question of when exactly the Estates were yours; some versions didn't work for when-buy abilities.

Lost Arts: Initially a one-shot Kingdom card. An early star of the set. Initially the tokens weren't counter-limited; you could get multiple +1 Action tokens and +$1 tokens and -$2 cost tokens. I lowered it down to just two and then just one. You get the experience with one and I don't need to cost the cards for crazier situations.

Mission: This one seems a little more complex, but it had no issues.

Pathfinding: I didn't do Kingdom cards for +1 Card and +1 Buy; I felt like +$1 and +1 Action were enough. When I was doing them as Events though it seemed like, why not. Pathfinding started out cheaper; adding +1 Card to something turns out to be pretty good.

Pilgrimage: Originally it didn't say "once per turn." It was too attractive to pay $8 and 2 Buys for.

Plan: This started out as an Action card that was "+2 Cards, move the token." You would move the token to whatever you were going to buy that turn. It's better as an Event; you actually plan.

Quest: At first you didn't discard the cards, you just needed to have them. You needed 6 in hand or 10-12 in play. It went nuts with +Buys.

Raid: I wanted an attacking Event, but I didn't want it to be too similar to an existing Attack, or too painful to have hanging over your head the whole game. The -1 Card token seemed like a good fit and there it is.

Save: Originally you could do this more than once a turn. You could spend $1 per VP card per turn just keeping them out of your deck. Which is neat but wasn't really the idea.

Scouting Party: An easy early one.

Seaway: I had a version that worked on any pile but only gave you a card if it was cheap enough. It was just simpler to tie the token to the gaining. So, you can't put +1 Buy on expensive cards, except of course all the ways that you can, this is Dominion.

Trade: Initially the limit wasn't there, it was any number of cards. That was cwazy.

Training: Originally a one-shot Kingdom card. Well I covered this under Lost Arts.

Travelling Fair: An easy one with no issues.

* Outtakes *

I tried some old ideas that it seemed time to try. For a while there was a card that trashed another card for a mix of +1's equal to its cost. Then it didn't include +Card. Then I tried a mix of +Cards and +Actions, and then a straight, trash for +Buys card. Maybe there is something there, but not in this expansion. There was "Discard X Silvers, +2X Cards." It somewhat survives as Storyteller. I tried a Throne Room that replays a card in play. It's dead unless there's a card giving +1 Action or better. That seemed insurmountable. Then I tried it again briefly in the Disciple slot. I had a draw-up-to-7 card that let you discard cards first. It was totally fine but we rarely bought it and other stuff seemed more worth doing. Near the beginning there was a super-Lookout - +3 Cards +1 Action, trash a card, discard a card, put a card from your hand on your deck. It was beloved and also cwazy. I watered it down some and then got rid of it.

I tried a few old cards that seemed like they should get another chance, but which then failed again. One was an Expand that hit the top of your deck, and could put the gained card back there. It always seemed reasonable to me, but no-one liked it. Intrigue had had gain a Silver to hand, reveal the top card of your deck, if it's Silver trash this. I tried a new version here: +$2, Gain 2 Silvers, reveal top, if it's Silver trash this and gain a Duchy. It was the kind of thing that casual players might turn out to adore but which playtesters tend not to. In some sense it lives on as Treasure Trove.

I tried an Action-Victory card that was cost $5, trash a card from your hand, worth 13 VP minus 1 VP per 2 cards in your deck. "What huh," I hear you say. We had some fun playing around with it but it was too hard making it be fair but not awful both in 2-player games and 4-player games. Some versions could trash cards from supply piles, an old concept that has never worked out. When I was giving up on this, I tried a Victory card that was worth 1 VP per Estate or Gold you had, whichever was less. This was an old idea that I planned to try if I ever needed another VP card. It's uh not awful. It had no special joy though. Briefly I tried an Action-Victory card that put a card on your mat, and was worth VP based on the number of cards there. It just didn't give a new-enough experience; there's Island. It sounded like it would be a strategy but it usually wasn't, it was usually Island but maybe not worth the 2 VP. I tried a VP card that rewarded you for having the most of something, and stopped the game from ending until its pile was empty; man, who has the time to empty an extra pile these days. I tried a VP card that wanted you to have 3+ of as many cards as possible; it wasn't the same as Fairgrounds but didn't have a good new feeling. I tried 1 VP per copy you have of the Action card you have the 2nd most copies of - you want a lot of two things. Man there isn't much to say about any of these. I tried a bunch of Victory cards, and in the end there's just Distant Lands, which I had for most of the time, but I like it so hooray.

A Moat that worked from the Tavern mat did not work out; I did do Champion though. There was a Reserve card that let you put cards on the Tavern mat when you gained them; just putting all of your VP on the Tavern mat was not really good times. I had a Reserve card that gave +1 Buy; it sounds totally worth having but it didn't work out. If it's just +1 Buy it's not enough; if it's more, you call it when you don't even care about the +1 Buy. I had the Reserve Remodel-on-gain that turned into Transmogrify.

I tried a few versions of a Thief variant as a Duration card. They trash a Treasure other than Copper from play when they buy a card. It didn't work out. Then I tried a discard Attack that hit them at the start of their Buy phase. It's kind of interesting; it punishes you for not playing Actions, and also hurts a draw-your-whole-deck thing that ends up with its 7 Coppers. But uh in practice it was a dud.

In the Amulet slot, I tried a Duration card that gave the other players a bonus of your choice at the start of their intervening turns - +1 Action or +$1. I liked it in theory.

I tried a Treasure - Duration. To not be wonky with cards like Counterfeit, it had to have an "if this is in play" clause on the next turn's +$2. That looks weird though. So then it had the penalty of leaving play if someone bought a Province, which gave the "if this is in play" part meaning. Then it got a bonus instead, you could discard it from play to Moat one Attack. And well. It was a dud, it showed up at the bottom of people's lists of cards sorted by how much they liked them. I did better Treasures.

Another Duration card that was around for a while gave out Golds to people who bought the right type of card. You named a type, you know, and it worked for you on two turns but only on one turn for them. It's fun naming the type, trying to make it hard on the other players. I liked the friendly interaction. But in multiples it just scripted games; you did what the card told you to.

I tried a drastically simpler variation on the Peasant concept, where playing a card got you a token, or you traded in the card and 3 tokens for a particular card costing $5, different each game. It was fine but didn't seem worth the tokens.

When I introduced the -1 Card token, it was on a card that just gave +$2 and gave out the token and cost $3. It was somewhat like Fortune Teller; only, as with Bridge Troll being a Cutpurse that never misses, it was a Fortune Teller that never missed. It moved to Soldier and then I did Relic instead.

I very briefly tried several other tokens that went on piles. There was adding "Gain a Silver" to a card, adding conventional trashing (rather than Plan's when-buy approach), there was "comes with a cheaper card" and "trash it and get an action costing $1 more." I tried "worth 1 VP;" it just didn't play well. You have to charge a lot for it and then it's just a Province that doesn't go in your deck that you can only buy one of.

Turning a card into a Witch has a certain charm but I never tried it, I wanted to go light on Witches. "Draw plus discard" makes you worry about timing more than an ideal amount. "Play it twice and trash it" sounded interesting but didn't play nice with too much of the set. Stuff like "+1 Card the first time you play one of these each turn" just doesn't translate well to a token; the tokens want to be small and clear. I considered shared tokens that modified piles, but people are stingy.

There was an Event that shuffled all but 5 cards from your discard pile into your deck. A version of a concept that never worked in Hinterlands, unless you count Inn. It was no good but I added Chancellor to it, Matthew's suggestion; Chancellor had been another dud Event that had died much earlier. So then that was in the set for a while, being an obvious dud, and then Alms replaced it, hooray.

I tried an Event that attacked you if you didn't buy it. It just drained $1 each turn (it did give +1 Buy) or else trashed your top card, giving you a cheaper card of the same type or a Curse. It seemed like a neat direction to go in but well. We have an established game here, established fans, and they are not so fond of attacks that they want the game hitting them every turn. It was pretty oppressive.

I had an Event that moved a +$2 cost token that affected everyone. Man I think we got in one game of that. And we tried an Event that moved everyone's -$2 cost token at once; it was okay, in a pinch I could have used it. I tried a Salvager - +1 Buy, trash an Action for +$1 per $1 it cost (only, the Event itself cost $2). You use that on the last turn of the game and that's it. I tried a variant of Quest that required trashing but gained Duchies, that was also just used on your last turn.

Phew. Well there were an endless number of cards and also an endless number of outtakes, and now you know about them.

Adventures Previews / Previews #5 - Lost Arts, Borrow, Inheritance
« on: April 03, 2015, 09:51:17 am »
Here at last are tokens. They are used some by non-Events too, but today, three more Events. I like to have all of the cards in one preview have the same orientation.

Lost Arts produces a +1 Action token, which modifies a pile so that those cards give you personally +1 Action. Each player has their own token. Say you put the token on Smithy; for you, Smithy is +1 Action +3 Cards, but for everyone else, it's still +3 Cards (unless they also put their token on Smithy). For example. So uh there's probably something good you can do with that. That Smithy example doesn't sound half-bad. The token on Smithy affects all of the Smithies you have, and any Smithies you get later; it's just a different card for you. It's like a giant pile of Villages that are always there when you need them for a particular action, for a one-time payment of $6 and a Buy. You are probably wondering, is there also a +1 Buy token, a +1 Card token, a +$1 token? Yes, of course there are those too.

Borrow shows off a minus. There are just -1 Card and -$1; -1 Action and -1 Buy would be no fun. Borrow gives you an extra +$1 this turn, but you'll draw one less card the next time you draw cards, that's what that -1 Card thing is about. You get one less card the next time you'd draw any cards, any which way; for Borrow though that's probably when you draw your next hand. So, four cards that turn instead of five, and well make sure it's worth it. You don't want an endless spiral of debt, where you Borrow turn after turn. -$1 meanwhile (not pictured - well neither one is pictured, but you know what I mean) just reduces how many coins you make by $1 the next time you make any. The minus tokens are used on a few cards each, sometimes to give to yourself and sometimes to make other players take them.

Inheritance is maybe the strangest thing in Adventures. Your Estates turn into another card. Again that's Estates you already have, and any new ones you buy. You put the token on say a Village; now your Estates are cards that cost $2 and are worth 1 VP and are Action-Victory cards and can be played for +1 Card +2 Actions. It is a great feeling when you're staring at your hand and it sucks and then you remember, oh yeah, these Estates are Villages, this hand is awesome. You actually set aside a card with the token, rather than just putting it on a pile, because Dominion has crazy stuff like the Knights from Dark Ages. Lost Arts can give all of the Knights +1 Action for you, but when your Inheritance is Sir Martins, your Estates are all Sir Martin, they aren't any other Knights. And if that's not clear, there's a lengthy FAQ.

That's it for previews, except for the other preview for today, if you haven't seen that one yet. Go see it (if it's not up yet this may take a while). Okay so. That's it for previews. You've seen 20 cards out of 58; there are still 17 more kingdom cards, 14 more Events, 7 more things that Page and Peasant turn into, and 2 mysterious tokens. No doubt someone will post the rest of the set once people have it. We are expecting the set out April 18th and well someone will keep us posted if that changes.

Adventures Previews / Previews #4 - Expedition, Trade, Mission
« on: April 02, 2015, 10:01:30 am »
Adventures has 30 Kingdom cards. It also has 20 Events. It's high time we looked at some of those. Man, they're sideways.

An Event is something you can buy in your Buy phase that isn't a card. You pay your $, you use up a Buy, and something happens. They don't take up Kingdom card slots; you shuffle them into your randomizer deck, but when you deal out cards, keep going until you have 10 Kingdom cards. I recommend stopping at two Events, but it's up to you.

Expedition is an example of a very simple Event. You get two more cards in your next hand. Maybe you'd rather have Silver; it's hard to say, man I don't even know you. Sometimes though I bet you'll want the cards. So, to be clear here: with Expedition in the game, you can, in your Buy phase, pay $3 and use up a Buy, to make that thing happen, the extra 2 cards for your next hand. If you had $6 and 2 Buys, you could go on two Expeditions, and have 4 extra cards in your next hand. Or buy a Silver and one Expedition. And so on. Expedition itself just sits on the table with the kingdom cards, reminding you that you can do this this game.

Trade, still somewhat simple, has you turning one or two cards into Silvers. It costs $5, but well, trashing two cards and getting two Silvers, maybe that's worth it. It only trashes from your hand, so you won't be doing much Trading turn one.

Finally we have Mission, a trickier one. You get an extra turn, but, this seems like some kind of joke, you can't buy cards on that turn. What good is it then? Well. There are things you can do. You can gain cards without buying them, such as with Remodels and Workshops. You can play Duration cards, setting them up for your next turn. You can get Reserve cards onto your mat. You can play Attacks, it can be that kind of Mission. You can trash cards; you can just be getting through your deck to get back to your good cards; you can turn that Hero into a Champion. And hey you can buy other Events, that's not buying a card. That may seem weird - what do we call that rectangular object then - but you didn't buy a card, you bought an Event, a thing that happened once and didn't come with a card, and so that doesn't trigger Swamp Hag and it's not cheaper due to Bridge and so on. Event cards give you something to buy; that thing is not a card. There will be a rulebook and it will say stuff just like this.

Adventures Previews / Previews #3 - Amulet, Swamp Hag, Hireling
« on: April 01, 2015, 09:46:28 am »
Those of you who have been wanting more Duration cards, here they are at last. There was lots left to do with them, and I could get in some nice simple cards this way, and well people wanted them. If you aren't familiar with them, they are simply cards that do something on future turns. They stay in play until they are done doing everything they have to do; that's the only tricky part.

Amulet is a basic Duration card. It gives you a choice on both turns, that's its special thing. Amulet is super-flexible; it gets rid of garbage, provides money for the same turn, and gets Silvers for later.

Swamp Hag showcases a type of Attack made possible by Duration cards. It makes the other players have worse turns. In this case, anything they buy will be cursed. Two Swamp Hags? Two Curses. It can be grim in multiplayer. They can just choose not to buy anything in order to dodge the Curses and well you will be happy with that too. Try to avoid playing Swamp Hag and Outpost in the same turn; that Swamp Hag doesn't end up Cursing anyone.

Hireling is a Duration card that lasts forever. You put it out, and then that's that, you have an extra card on every turn for the rest of the game. That seems good. They're cumulative of course; with three of them out, you'll get three extra cards each turn. You get the card at the start of your turn, rather than when drawing your hand, which means it doesn't suck vs. Militias. $6 may seem cheap for this ability and well there's playtesting, you know, the costs aren't just random.

Adventures introduces Reserve cards. They go on a Tavern mat. They hang out there, turn after turn, waiting until you are ready for them. "Calling" one means moving it from your mat to your in-play area; then it gets discarded normally that turn, to eventually be drawn again and go back on the mat. Wait let's go over this again. You play it, just doing the part above the line, putting it on your mat. Later, you move it off the mat into play, just doing the part it says there, whatever it says for whenever it says. Okay.

Guide can give you a new hand at the start of your turn. You just skip right past a bad hand, or a Militia'd hand, or a hand that doesn't have that Hero you need to upgrade. With multiple Guides on your mat, you can keep going until you run out or find that good hand.

Duplicate duplicates something. That name just tells the whole story. You buy a Lab; you Duplicate it, two Labs. You gain a Gold from Hero; you Duplicate it, two Golds. Whatever you are getting, you probably want more of them. Late in the game, Duplicate Duchies.

Coin of the Realm is a weird one. When you play it it makes $1 and goes on your mat. On some future turn, you call it to get to play more Actions. So it's a village that you can't (normally) use the turn you play it. And it's a village that just waits until you need it. You draw your two Heroes together, play one, call the Coin, and play the other one. You can also use Hero to gain a Coin. Will the other Reserve cards all be combos with Hero? *checks...* No. Not all of them.

Adventures Previews / Previews #1 - Lost City, Magpie, Hero
« on: March 30, 2015, 10:05:19 am »
It's a new Dominion expansion! Some of you knew it was inevitable; some of you hoped it would happen; some of you were glad it wasn't going to. It's happening though, I am so sure of it that I am previewing cards from it.

Adventures has a ton of cards, so I am previewing three a day. Each day but today the cards will fit a theme, showing off a different functional aspect of the set - Reserve, Duration, Events, tokens. That leaves today to show off some cards that don't fit those themes.

I like to lead with a simple card, to prove that the set has some. Lost City is a vanilla card on top, that makes the other players draw a card when you get one. You really don't want them to have that good turn, but then you may really want some Lost Cities.

Recent studies show that magpies do not especially collect shiny objects. These are folklore magpies though, which still do. Magpie might find you a treasure, or perhaps just reveal another Magpie. Over time a single Magpie can turn into a whole flock of them. There are just ten Magpies in the pile; they're not Rats with wings.

Finally we have Hero. This one is somewhat enigmatic. The top is straightforward, you get +$2 and gain a Treasure, any Treasure in the game. Usually Gold but you never know, could be Platinum or something more exotic. And then when you discard it from play, you can exchange it for a Champion. And wait, this isn't in the Supply. How do you get one? Well I'll tell you. You just need to discard a Warrior from play; then you can exchange the Warrior for a Hero. Warrior isn't in the Supply either though - you get one by exchanging a Treasure Hunter for it. I suppose it's obvious that you get a Treasure Hunter by exchanging a Page for it. But that's it, that's all the turtles there are; you buy a Page, and it turns into a Treasure Hunter, then a Warrior, then a Hero, then a Champion. Page costs $2, so the actual cost of Hero is, $2, plus playing those other cards once each. I somehow fit two of these cycles into Adventures - there's also a Peasant who becomes a Soldier, but then a Fugitive, but then a Disciple, and finally a Teacher. It's two little life stories, played out in cards that gradually get better for you. What exactly the other cards do will remain a mystery until the set is out; there is just too much to preview.

But wait, there's more! [wait that's here] is also going to have a preview each day this week - single card previews, a different previewer each time. The set has 58 uh things; even at 4 a day, it will be below average for what % of it was previewed. No doubt these other previews will be crossposted here, just as these are crossposted there. I am mentioning them here anyway.

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