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Messages - Matt_Arnold

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Dominion General Discussion / Re: Which Cards Are Most Luck-Dependent?
« on: April 22, 2013, 01:10:42 pm »
Can I ask a favor? Can I get a new version of that list now that Dark Ages has been out for a while? I'm designing sets of cards for a tournament, and would like to include a good number of high-skill cards.

Thanks for this thread.

I agree that the original beginner's set has nothing wrong with it for teaching beginners. Zero. It's perfect.

However, I'm just tired of playing with it. It's as simple as that. I teach this game every month or so, at the minimum. I need to spice it up for my own sake, just a tad bit. The most interesting question this thread could answer is "Suppose you don't own the base set. A beginner wants to play. What do you use to teach them?"

Dominion General Discussion / Re: Provincial: Cool looking Dominion AI
« on: March 18, 2013, 06:33:35 pm »
This is great! But how do you play with the custom cards? I tried to type them into the card requirements field and they were ignored.

Also, is it possible to program my own custom cards?

Sorry if this has been covered elsewhere, but I couldn't find it in this thread or on the webpage about Provincial.

This tournament used the practice of leaving the last-place player at the same table to play the same game again. I thought that sounded fine and I was happy to give it a try. I see the rationale of giving a last-place player an advantage the second time around through what they've learned about that set of cards-- but in retrospect, it was actually a disadvantage. I am one of at least three players who spent three games in a row at the same table, playing with the same set of cards, just trying to not be in last place. The tournament was great fun, but would be more fun if all players change tables every time.

Dominion General Discussion / My Ultimate Dominion Carrying Case
« on: September 02, 2012, 01:31:46 pm »

I laser-cut* these card sleeves out of posterboard, with laser-cut/engraved reinforcements for the tabs. It was important to me not to put the card names on fixed locations in the carrying case itself. This way, it doesn't matter what letters of the alphabet Dark Ages and The Guilds will have-- re-alphabetization is a snap.

Until Dark Ages, everything fit in the briefcase shown here which I Remodeled from the original briefcase by ripping out the interior fixtures, then Upgraded with three interior walls. It's time to throw this case in the trash and Expand to the ultimate new one!

The new carrying case will be laser-cut out of 2.07mm chipboard (material used in most die-cut game chips, tiles and boards). It will be finger jointed.

It will sport a pair of wheels and a collapsible handle salvaged from an old backpack. It will be large enough to contain all known or predicted Dominion products, including randomizers, tokens, mats, and promo cards, plus room for my fan expansion (or future promos).

My question for you is: Which style of carrying case works best?

A simple clamshell like a briefcase-- This makes a mess when opened upside-down. Don't ask me how I know. Plus, it would be a cumbersome width to have all the cards on the same level. Plus I'd need to hinge it, which I'm not sure how to do.

Korean sliding interlocking leaves-- This has an exceptionally large number of interior walls for individual card stacks, adding to its weight and bulk.

Drawers-- I would need to put clasps on there to secure them.

A lid that just slides off like a normal gamebox with trays stacked inside-- Once i3Detroit's vaccuum-forming machine is done, I could make the trays from sheet styrene.

Cantilever trays (like some toolboxes/tackleboxes)-- Awesome. I like it. Downside: It's complicated. Again: What kind of hinges for chipboard?

Some hinge types:
- Glued cloth tape. Simple, but it might just tear off the outer laminate of the chipboard.
- Laser-cut some circular holes in different walls and string a dowel through them.
- Bolt actual metal hardware on there. How to accommodate the hardware within the interior dimensions and exterior clearances? Doable, but adds design complexities.

I seek your guidance and suggestions. What's your dream case?

* I made these on the laser cutters at a couple of different local hacker spaces: my home hacker space, i3Detroit in Ferndale, which is a member-run nonprofit club, and the TechShop branch in Allen Park, which is a corporate place more in common with a gym membership, but which gave me a free membership as a contest prize. I have happily shared the design files in SVG format with whoever has asked for them.

Curse, Copper, Estate, Silver, Duchy, Gold, Province = 7, not 10
This makes it 46 different cards. But they are worth 2 points per 5 different cards, not 1. So this is 18VP per Fairgrounds.
You're right. Sweet merciful croutons.

Other Games / Re: Community Created Game
« on: August 21, 2012, 06:53:56 pm »
It seems like this should be a contest. Each entry would be an example of what DXV called mechanic and flavor, but leaving off what he called the data. The community element would not be design by committee, but rather a declaration that the winning game will officially permit and encourage fan content and free online implementations for the benefit of the whole community.

I would like to take this opportunity to announce that if this contest is held, not only would I enter it, I have an entry that I strongly suspect this community would select as its winner. I have been holding off talking about it, but I developed it with the idea of introducing it to members of this forum. (It is not the game Minion is publishing next year. It's one I have kept just among my friends so far.)

In any case, I am an artist and would definitely consider creating layout and illustrations for whichever game wins.

10: Curse, Copper, Estate, Silver, Duchy, Gold, Province.
= 10
+3: A couple of Alchemy cards costing a Potion, bringing with them Potion.
= 13
+4: A couple of Prosperity cards, bringing with them Platinum and Colony.
= 17
+6: Tournament, Followers, Trusty Steed, Princess, Bag of Gold, Diadem.
= 23
+1: Fairgrounds itself.
= 24
+2: Hermit, bringing with it Madman.
= 26
+7: Marauder, bringing with it Spoils, Abandoned Mine, Ruined Laboratory, Ruined Market, Ruined Village, Survivors.
= 33
+10: All ten Knights.
= 43
+3: The tenth Kingdom card is Young Witch, bringing with it a Bane (which happens to be Urchin, bringing with it Mercenary).
= 46
+3: Hovel, Necropolis, and Overgrown Estate.
= 49

There you have it. With the set described here, it is possible (with extreme luck, and the negligence of your opponents) to make your Fairgrounds worth nine points. Fairgrounds reaches just short, by one tantalizing cardsbreadth, of having the potential to be worth 10 points, as much as a Colony.

All: Where are you getting the information that Knights are shuffled rather than chosen a-la Tournament Prizes?

Dominion General Discussion / Re: Hilarious Dominion "review" at BGG
« on: July 01, 2012, 10:17:34 am »
If I remember correctly, this is done by one of the people who was a key member in the "What constitutes shuffling?" thread.
Can you provide a link to the "What constitutes shuffling" threat? I'd like to read it.

The Treasure Maps put four Golds on top of my discard pile.

I believe those should go on top of your deck, unless that's what you meant. That could make a real difference!

But yes, treasure map can be a really fun strategy but it is often just too random and slow.
I did mean that, yes.

I would normally not bother, but I already had pretty much my whole deck in my hand at that point of the game, and succombed to temptation.

What a blast. Thanks for organizing it.

I came in first in the first game, second in the second game, third in the third game, and first in the fourth and fifth games.

This qualified me for the elimination round. I was in a 3-player rather than 4-player game, so that was easier on us. The cards were mostly from the Seaside expansion, which my opponents had never played, and which I've been playing for years.

I noticed they both bought Outposts, widely considered one of the worst cards in the game.

I used Ambassador to put my least useful cards into my opponents' decks, and Salvager to recycle the rest for money. This left me with a tiny powerhouse deck of cards into which I put two Treasure Maps, and used Haven to store them so they came up together. The Treasure Maps put four Golds on top of my discard pile. My opponents complimented me on these fancy stunts and said they were in awe. We all agreed I had the game in the bag.

But when the score was counted, I lost by four points. It took too long to set up all those flashy stunts, and I wasn't able to catch up on their early lead. Salvaging a Province to buy a Province was particularly overconfident of me.

But no matter! I won the new base card reprints with gorgeous illustrations!

Here are my thoughts. This didn't get as many people as the Dominion tournaments I run at Penguicon (usually at least 28 people), but that doesn't matter, because it went longer. I can't get anybody to play more than two games of Dominion in a row at Penguicon, what with all the other distracting things going on that they could be doing instead. Michicon was a better venue an official competition, if for nothing else than the fact that it was small enough for the tournament to be the crown jewel of the con.

I also understand why it was at Michicon rather than U-Con: U-Con, while huger, is in November, whereas Michicon falls right before the rest of the competition.

In the future, I would like Cornucopia in the tournament, except without the Tournament card. A Dominion tournament without Cornucopia, Horse Traders, Remake? Those are solid, quintessential parts of the Dominion experience, beloved far and wide. I don't mind if you leave out Alchemy, but that's only because a tournament is on a timetable and you can't wait for a Golem/Philosopher Stone game to finish. I have no actual objection to Alchemy.

All in all, please let me know if my services can be useful to the tournament next year. I do graphic design and websites. Plus I run Dominion tournaments, but you've got that part handled expertly.

How about: "When you draw this card, you may set it aside. At any time during your action phase, you may return it to your hand." ? In a digital version, there'd just be some button you can hit that returns one to your hand.

Edit: There'd also need to be something like "During your clean-up phase, if this is set aside, discard it."
This is my favorite. It interacts interestingly with Militia, Torturer, Margrave, Followers, Goons, Ghost Ship, Minion, Young Witch, Masquerade, Horse Traders, Tactician, Hunting Party, Menagerie, Shanty Town, Jack of All Trades, Library, and Watchtower.

Variants and Fan Cards / Re: Card Idea: Gilder
« on: June 19, 2012, 09:31:06 pm »
This doesn't look strong enough. Consider Black Market: its ability to throw up whole new vistas of cards costs only an action point, when you compare it to the equally-priced silver. You price the ability to access ONE, albeit buffed, stack of cards at an action point and $2 (comparing to gold).  I think Black Market's variety is about equal to your "can treat gilded cards as golds" - maybe a little stronger since with only a single type of card, you know and can plan for exactly what you're getting, and there's a chance the stack will be of $5 which is a considerable buff to have them a gold.

So let's cost it at an action and $1?

That means either have it give $2 when played, or price it at $5 and guarantee the stack will be $5 cards, imo.
Instead of comparing it to Black Market, try comparing it to Hoard.

I am so incredibly glad I posted this question. This is really what I was hoping for. Thank you to you all for these contributions.

I hoped to find some way to phrase this card so that it simply triggers on any Action containing a certain word or words, without triggering for an absurd number of Actions that have no meaningful interaction. No such luck. I searched for a variety of uses of the word "hand" on the cards. I have bolded the cards which are obviously meaningful possible interactions with Ghost Town.


"into your hand"
Adventurer, Apothecary, Explorer, Farming Village, Hunting Party, Ill-Gotten Gains, Mine, Native Village, Scout, Scrying Pool, Wishing Well

"from your hand"
Ambassador, Apprentice, Bishop, Chapel, Courtyard, Develop, Expand, Explorer, Farmland, Fool's Gold, Forge, Haven, Horse Traders, Island, Jack of All Trades, Masquerade, Mine, Mint, Moat, Moneylender, Remodel, Salvager, Secret Chamber, Steward, Spice Merchant, Trader, Trading Post, Transmute, Treasure Map, Upgrade, Watchtower

"in your hand"
Throne Room, King's Court

"reveal your hand"
Menagerie, Crossroads, Shanty Town

"discard your hand"
Minion, Tactician


"from his hand"
Bishop, Bureaucrat, Ghost Ship, Governor, Masquerade, Tournament, Young Witch

"in his hand"
Ghost Ship, Militia, Torturer

"discards his hand"


"in hand"
Followers, Ghost Ship, Goons, Library, Margrave

I like the way you've taken it, even though I miss Masqerade, Menagerie, Tactician and Shanty Town interaction.

I love it!

Can we define this quality we're identifying, in such a way that it could be measured in simulations?

I mean, sure, Swindler has an element of luck to it. But is it really more so than any other topdeck-affecting attack? Isn't it just a stronger attack than, say, Thief? Not more luck-based-- just stronger. The question isn't about strength. Thief is still able to steal a Platinum. It happens if you're lucky, and there's that word again: luck. It's a card game. It's guaranteed that there will be more than zero luck.

Many cards reward you for having them in hand with a specific other card. Baron and Estate. Moneylender and Copper. Is this really what we want to call swinginess? I mean, that's what the game is about. That's why there exist Warehouse, Tactitian, name a support card and that's pretty much why it exists. For that matter, trashers support that type of card too. Maybe what we mean by saying Baron and Salvager are swingy, is that they affect the outcome of the game too early in the game? (I'm not sure that's true, but I'm looking for a definition of swinginess.)

So. What do you think is a good precise definition of swinginess? The type of definition that a computer could score as a percentage by analyzing statistics? Can an equation, algorithm, or what have you, identify the level of influence of skill over games containing a particular card?

Dominion General Discussion / Which Cards Are Most Luck-Dependent?
« on: June 04, 2012, 12:35:05 am »
Of course, it's a card game. There will be shuffle luck. Granted. But let's say you're allowed to choose your 2-5 or 3-4 opening split. For purposes of a tournament, which cards cause the outcome to depend on luck the most?

Variants and Fan Cards / Re: Artwork
« on: April 30, 2012, 11:23:49 pm »
Thanks; this is correct. That will need to be fixed. It would need to draw 2 cards if discarded, not one, or the reaction would be useless.

Incidentally, not long after that blog entry, I came out with a revision to that card, although it doesn't fix the problem you described.
Each player (including you) either places a card from his hand on top of his deck, or discards his deck, your choice.
If another player shuffles, you may reveal this from your hand. If you do, +1 Card.
I'm not sure I understand "is the Duration one that lasts from play until the end of the game?" Durations always last until the end of the turn after the turn they were played. No existing Duration card bears a special instruction about when it is to be cleaned up. I'm probably misinterpreting your question.

Variants and Fan Cards / Re: Artwork
« on: April 08, 2012, 01:45:16 pm »
Honestly? I paint my own in Photoshop and/or Manga Studio on a Wacom tablet. I understand that's probably too time-consuming to be practical for most. 

Dominion General Discussion / Re: Dominion sonnets!
« on: April 06, 2012, 11:00:05 pm »
Hmm, what's next, Dominion Proverbs?

A Lighthouse a day keeps the Cursers away?
One man's Cache is another man's Treasury.

Dominion Articles / Re: Promo: Stash
« on: April 06, 2012, 10:51:06 pm »
Would it be worth $5 if it were "When you gain this, or when you shuffle, put this anywhere in your deck"?

Variants and Fan Cards / Dominion Re-Theme: Habits
« on: March 03, 2012, 04:18:01 pm »
Players attempt to grow out of pain and creature comforts to joy, enlightenment, and fulfillment, by forming good habits, and avoiding mood disorders. Will you self-medicate? Dodge responsibility? Engage in stoic self-denial? These and other tactics are yours to choose.

1. Dominion is by Donald X. Vaccarino, published by Rio Grand Games. The rules to this game are that of Dominion. Only the card names and artwork are different.
2. The actual instructions on the cards ought to remain the same except for the card names, because it would be confusing to say "personality" for "deck" and all these other word substitutions. However, I expect DominionStrategy forum readers to know how the cards work, so I am making the metaphor as explicit as possible in the hopes to better amuse you.
3. You will almost certainly disagree with my assignments, based on how you think people work. I apologize in advance, and own up to the use of my own philosophy.
4. I have not re-themed all the cards yet. This is a draft.

Terminology changes:
+1 Card = +1 Attention.
+1 Action = +1 Will.
+1 Buy = +1 Training.
Gain = Learn.
Trash = Unlearn.
Card = Habit.
Deck = Personality.
Hand = Awareness.


Curse-   Mood Disorder   Worth negative 1 Reward.


Estate-   Comfort   Worth 1 Reward.

Duchy-   Pleasure   Worth 3 Rewards.

Province-   Joy   Worth 6 Rewards.

Colony-   Breakthrough   Worth 10 Rewards.

Point Chip-   Fulfillment   Worth 1 Reward.

Garden-   Slack   Worth 1 Reward for every 10 habits in your personality, rounded down.

Vineyard-   Fame   Worth 1 Reward for every 4 Behavior habits in your personality, rounded down.


Copper-   Pain   +1 Motivation. Illustration: A hand warding off a stick.

Silver-   Hope   +2 Motivation. Illustration: A hand reaching for a carrot dangling from a string.

Gold-   Love   +3 Motivation. Illustration: A hand offering a carrot.

Platinum-   Enlightenment   +5 Motivation. Illustration: An eye.

Potion-   Guilt   +1 Guilt.

Ill-Gotten Gains-   Anger   +1 Motivation. You may learn a Pain, putting
it into your awareness. -- When you learn this, each other player learns a Mood Disorder.

Harem-   Self-Esteem   +2 Motivation. +2 Reward.

Hoard-   Lust   +2 Motivation. When this is in play, when you train to learn a Reward, learn a Love.

Loan-   Clarity   +1 Motivation. Reveal habits from your personality until you find a Drive. Either discard it or unlearn it, your choice. Put the other revealed habits into your subconscious.

Philosopher's Stone-   Shame   +1 Motivation for every 5 habits in your personality plus subconscious, rounded down.

Cache-   Self-Medication   +3 Motivation. -- When you learn this, learn 2 Pain.


Bureaucrat-   Pray   Learn a Hope, putting it on top of your personality. Each other player reveals habits from his personality until he finds a Reward, puts it on top of his personality, and puts the rest into his subconscious.

Chapel-   Detach   You may unlearn 4 habits from your awareness.

Explorer-   Community   You may reveal a Joy from your awareness. If you do, learn a Love, putting it into your awareness. Otherwise, learn a Hope, putting it into your awareness.

Militia-   Lie   +2 Drive. Each other player puts cards from his awareness into his subconscious until he has 3 habits in his awareness.

Moat-   Lock Your Doors   +2 Attention. -- When another player plays an attack, you may reveal this from your awareness. If you do, you are unaffected by the attack.

Witch-   Blame   +2 Attention. Each other player learns a Mood Disorder.

Baron-   Touch   You may reveal a Comfort from your awareness. If you do, +4 Motivation. Otherwise, learn a Comfort. +1 Training.

Coppersmith-   Fret   This turn, each Pain is worth +1 Motivation.

Masquerade-   Ask For Help   +2 Attention. Each player passes a habit from his awareness to the player on his left. You may unlearn 1 habit.

Saboteur-   Insult   Each other player reveals habits from his personality until he reveals one that cost at least 3 Motivation. He unlearns that habit and discards the rest.

Haven-   Use To-Do List   +1 Attention, +1 Will. Set aside a habit from your awareness under this. At the start of your next turn, put it into your awareness.

Lookout-   Haste   +1 Will. Look at the top 3 habits of your personality. Unlearn one. Discard one. Put one back on your personality.

Merchant Ship-   Excercise   Now and at the start of your next turn, +2 Motivation.

Tactician-   Sleep Early, Rise Early   Discard your awareness. If you discarded any habits this way, at the start of your next turn, +5 Attention, +1 Will, +1 Training.

Warehouse-   Concentrate   +3 Attention. Discard 3 habits. +1 Will.

Wharf-   Keep Records   Now and at the start of your next turn, +2 Attention, +1 Training.

Apprentice- Meditate   +1 Will. Unlearn a habit from your awareness. +1 Attention for each Motivation in its cost.

Apothecary-   Introspect   +1 Attention. Reveal the top 4 habits from your personality. Put any Pains and Guilts into your awareness. Put the others back in any order.

Counting House-   Snoop   Look through your discard pile. You may put any number of Pains from it into your awareness.

Mountebank-   Punish   +2 Drive. Each other player either reveals a Mood Disorder from their awareness, or learns a Pain and a Mood Disorder.

Goons-   Identify With A Group   +2 Drive. Each other player puts cards from his awareness into his subconscious until he has 3 habits in his awareness. +1 Training. - When this is in play, for each habit you learn this turn, +1 Fulfillment.

Monument-   Create   +2 Drive. +1 Fulfillment.

Bishop-   Serve   +1 Drive. Unlearn a habit from your awareness. +1 Fulfillment equal to half its Motivation cost, rounded down. Each other player may unlearn a habit from their awareness.

Fortune Teller-   Threaten   +2 Drive. Each other player reveals habits from the top of their personality until they find a Reward or Mood Disorder, putting it back and discarding the rest.

Goko Dominion Online / Re: Official(?) Dominion App Available on iTunes
« on: January 24, 2012, 08:19:23 am »
DXV has been unbelievably generous. No one is within their rights to use the official artwork in their fan version. Rio Grande paid a lot of money to have that artwork made. That's a clear line in the sand.

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