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Author Topic: Heir: The Victory Card with post-game choices.  (Read 4274 times)

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SirPeebles

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Heir: The Victory Card with post-game choices.
« on: January 21, 2014, 04:36:24 pm »
+6

Quote
Heir
Types: Victory
Cost: $4
At the end of the game, choose one: Trash an Estate from your deck and this is worth 1 VP per Estate in your deck; or trash 2 Curses from your deck and this is worth 2 VP; or trash 3 Coppers from your deck and this is worth 3 VP if you have no Treasures in your deck.

This is the card I submitted to the Intrigue challenge a while back.  I had meant to make a topic about it later, but never got around to it.  I don't particularly care about this card itself, but I wanted to talk about the ideas that went into this and get feedback on those broader ideas.

So, Intrigue.  I wanted a Victory card with choice.  Now, alt-VP often gives a choice already.  If Vineyard is on the board, you have the option of pursuing Vineyards instead of Provinces, which causes one's deck to evolve along a completely different path.  But I wanted a choice Victory card which allowed multiple different paths.  The most natural time to actually make the choice is at the end of the game (I'll come back to this complication later).

For instance, I could have designed a card that effectively says "At the end of the game, either score this as a Duke or score it as a Gardens".  Simple enough, but there are two issues.  The first is that the choice is boring at the end.  In reality, you chose long ago as you built your deck whether these would be Dukes or Gardens.  Second, Duke and Gardens are already good enough to be stand alone VP cards.  What I wanted was a choice card where:

1) You wouldn't make the same choice for each copy at the end of the game.

2) We take advantage of the fact that a choice is granted to employ options that wouldn't viably stand alone.

Ok.  So what can you do at the end of the game?  Since turn order breaks down here, I wanted the choices to be independent, so that turn order would be immaterial.  The choices could reference your deck's composition, the Supply's state, or the Trash's state.  Since the Supply and Trash are shared, you cannot both use their states and change them, or else independence would be lost and turn order would matter.  But if you don't change these states, then one option will be the best and you'll choose that one for all of your copies of Heir.

So I decided that the choices will have to rely on changing your own deck's composition.  Now, you can't add to your deck, since those cards would come from a limited Supply or Trash, and turn order will matter.  So instead, you should trash from your deck.  Also, you can't trash just anything, or else you'll begin triggering on-trash effects.  So I need to specify what you can trash.  I don't want to specify "Action" or "Victory" because of Catacombs and Feodum.    So I decided to name specific cards.  This means that they should be cards which are common to all games.  That limits you to EDPCSG, Curse, and Heir itself.  You probably don't want to trash Duchies or Provinces at the end.  Three choices always seemed best, so I naturally looked at Estate, Curse, and Copper.

Curses.  Trashing Curse is already cool.  It is sort of like those elusive Victory cards that count Curses.  One problem with such a hypothetical Victory card is that you could theoretically gain 30 Curses in a 4-player game, which would make balancing nuts.  But since Heir is just an after the fact trasher, there is no incentive to actively gain Curses, rather it just makes receiving them less bad.  This effect would not stand alone, but is useful often enough to be a nice option out of 3.

Estates.  The Estate-Duke is another common but troubled fan idea.  It is tricky to get a good value on how many Estates you should need per 1 VP.  It would be too strong if it were just a flat "1 VP per Estate".  It would probably be too weak at "2 VP per Estate".  Here, since the Heirs trash Estates, you get a more delicate balance.  A big stack of Estates will allow for a few high valued Heirs, but if you go for too many Heirs then your point total will actually drop back down because you've trashed away all of your Estates.  That would be a problem as a stand alone card, but since Heir has other choices, you will simply choose "Trash Estate" for a few Heirs, and different choices for the others.  This also helps remedy the fact that Estate-Duke is just a boring, uninspired idea.

Copper.  I wanted a third option.  The Curse option gives a default 2 VP plus some post-game cleaning.  The Estate option incentivized buying Estates.  For balance, it seemed like you wanted to trash 1 Estate but 2 Curses.  So I decided to go with 3 Coppers, and decided that this could be an option which rewards a truly Treasure-less deck. Now, your deck already starts with Treasure (7 Coppers), so unless you have a way to trash them you wouldn't be able to activate a Treasure-less reward.  But since this option trashes 3 Coppers, it provides its own way to trash down.  So, buy three Heirs and no additional Treasure, and you'll be able to access this option even without the presence of other Trashers.

Yeah, so that was the reasoning, more or less.  I liked that the optimal choice in the end is often a mix of the three options.  One complaint that I saw was that the calculations to choose them optimally were too complicated.  Maybe this is true.  As a mathematician, it can easy to overlook that, or more importantly to realize that many will see that as a bug rather than a feature.  Still, I think most people would get a good feel for it after a few games and some reflection.  Also, I spent a lot of time analyzing the Heir-Estate rush, and it is slightly weaker than Gardens or Silk Road, if I'm remembering correctly.  It improves a bit if you can go Treasure-less.
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Ozle

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Re: Heir: The Victory Card with post-game choices.
« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2014, 04:52:34 pm »
+1

Is it a choice at the post-game though?
As there will always be an optimal way to pick at the end of the game, and nobody should pick anything but this optimum way.

Its really a choice as you are building your deck, in which case it makes it very much like other Alt VPs



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Re: Heir: The Victory Card with post-game choices.
« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2014, 05:02:59 pm »
+1

Is it a choice at the post-game though?
As there will always be an optimal way to pick at the end of the game, and nobody should pick anything but this optimum way.

Its really a choice as you are building your deck, in which case it makes it very much like other Alt VPs
make them choose before they are allowed to look through all their cards? that way they might not know for sure which choice is best!
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SirPeebles

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Re: Heir: The Victory Card with post-game choices.
« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2014, 05:05:11 pm »
0

Is it a choice at the post-game though?
As there will always be an optimal way to pick at the end of the game, and nobody should pick anything but this optimum way.

Its really a choice as you are building your deck, in which case it makes it very much like other Alt VPs

Yeah, this is definitely a valid critique that I noticed when designing it.
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Warfreak2

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Re: Heir: The Victory Card with post-game choices.
« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2014, 05:27:00 pm »
+1

The other problem is timing. In Dominion, when multiple things happen at the same time to the same player, the player chooses the order to resolve them in. Is "scoring a card" an event which happens at the end of the game, for each of my cards, or is there a "when you are about to score" event which happens before actually counting the score? Can I score my Gardens/Silk Roads before I start trashing things from my deck with Heir? If so, can I score one Heir (for Estates) before trashing another Estate from my deck? This could get confusing if Heirs can be worth different values even when I make the same choices for them.
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LastFootnote

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Re: Heir: The Victory Card with post-game choices.
« Reply #5 on: January 21, 2014, 05:29:55 pm »
0

Is it a choice at the post-game though?
As there will always be an optimal way to pick at the end of the game, and nobody should pick anything but this optimum way.

Its really a choice as you are building your deck, in which case it makes it very much like other Alt VPs

Yeah, this is definitely a valid critique that I noticed when designing it.

I don't think that's a bad thing. Just because a choice is obvious doesn't make it any less of a choice. There are lots of choices in Dominion that are no-brainers, e.g. which basic Treasure to steal with Thief.
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NoMoreFun

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Re: Heir: The Victory Card with post-game choices.
« Reply #6 on: January 21, 2014, 05:49:16 pm »
0

I can imagine this causing extremely major analysis paralysis in the counting. A person will try and figure out if there's any combination of choices from Heirs that will allow them to win, which can be time consuming. Online you could calculate the highest possible combination from heirs immediately, but IRL this will be time consuming, especially when other alt VPs are involved. Would it be within the spirit of the game to use an app to calculate the highest possible combination, or is it up for the player to use mental arithmetic. Getting this wrong and losing can cause major resentment.

I do like the idea of post game trashing and other such actions though. There's that outtake with the type "endgame" isn't there?
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SirPeebles

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Re: Heir: The Victory Card with post-game choices.
« Reply #7 on: January 21, 2014, 05:50:12 pm »
0

The other problem is timing. In Dominion, when multiple things happen at the same time to the same player, the player chooses the order to resolve them in. Is "scoring a card" an event which happens at the end of the game, for each of my cards, or is there a "when you are about to score" event which happens before actually counting the score? Can I score my Gardens/Silk Roads before I start trashing things from my deck with Heir? If so, can I score one Heir (for Estates) before trashing another Estate from my deck? This could get confusing if Heirs can be worth different values even when I make the same choices for them.

I'm not sure what you mean.  I don't think of scoring as an event that is part of the game.  When you make a choice with Heir, you are just choosing the "formula" for its worth.  You aren't determining a score at that point.  For instance, if I have three Estates and three Heirs, and trash an Estate with each, then each is worth 0 VP in the end, since you chose for their value to be pegged to how many Estates are in your deck, and there are now 0 Estates in your deck.
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eHalcyon

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Re: Heir: The Victory Card with post-game choices.
« Reply #8 on: January 21, 2014, 05:52:16 pm »
+2

Here's what I wrote about this card during the contest:

It sounds overly complicated for not a lot of difference.  Seems like a choice just for the sake of having a choice.  Other cards have interesting choices because it's not always clear what is optimal -- should I use my Steward to trash now, or should I draw and hope to hit $8?  Should I discard to Torturer, or should I take the Curse because another Torturer will be played before my turn?  And so on.  But with Heir, the optimal choice can be found because the game is already over.  However, it might still take a bit of work to figure that out, and then it's just annoying.

I mean, if I have multiple Heirs, do I have to make this choice for each one?  Like, if I had 8 Estates and 8 Heirs, would I have to trash an Estate to get the first one to be worth 7VP?  But then if I want the second Heir to count Estates, I have to trash another Estate?  Similar questions arise for trashing Curses or trashing Copper.  If not, then the choice is really trivial -- I can look at my deck contents and figure out the one that gets me the most VP.  If I have to do it for each one, the choice is still trivial but it takes a heckuva lot more work to figure out the best case.

Or if for some reason the rule is that you have to decide before looking through your deck contents... well, that's just forcing casual players to either track their deck during the game (which they may find unfun) or make an uninformed decision that may be suboptimal (and then it feels really, really bad if you lose because you chose the wrong option).


I think the general idea of end-game choice could be interesting, but I'm not sure if there's a design that will balance between a trivial decision and an overly complicated one.
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Re: Heir: The Victory Card with post-game choices.
« Reply #9 on: January 21, 2014, 06:08:29 pm »
+1

I'm not sure what you mean.  I don't think of scoring as an event that is part of the game.
But it's not specified in the rules, other players might, and it's easy to imagine people arguing about whether they have to trash before or after scoring their Gardens. Scoring a card doesn't have to be "part of the game" if the trashing happens "at the end of the game" (i.e., not part of the game), scoring also happens at the end of the game, that's the same time, why can't I choose which order I resolve it in?
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SirPeebles

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Re: Heir: The Victory Card with post-game choices.
« Reply #10 on: January 21, 2014, 06:19:21 pm »
0

I'm not sure what you mean.  I don't think of scoring as an event that is part of the game.
But it's not specified in the rules, other players might, and it's easy to imagine people arguing about whether they have to trash before or after scoring their Gardens. Scoring a card doesn't have to be "part of the game" if the trashing happens "at the end of the game" (i.e., not part of the game), scoring also happens at the end of the game, that's the same time, why can't I choose which order I resolve it in?

The end is still part of the game.  Scoring, as a thing, never happens, does it?  Whoever has the highest score wins.  If anything, scoring is always happening, throughout the game.  The entire game, that Gardens is worth 1 VP per 10 cards in your deck, rounded down.  Doing the human task of thumbing through and tallying is a metagame task where we investigate to see who won.  I don't think I've ever seen a game where counting the score is part of the game.  What would that even mean?

Edit:  That said, you've demonstrated that clarification in an FAQ would be needed.
« Last Edit: January 21, 2014, 06:20:51 pm by SirPeebles »
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Re: Heir: The Victory Card with post-game choices.
« Reply #11 on: January 21, 2014, 06:36:06 pm »
+2

So there are two things that happen separately: firstly, you do the trashing for each copy of Heir, then (remembering which decision you made for each Heir), you count the value of each card in your deck. That means the cards have state, and it's a bit counterintuitive if the choices are "do A and this is worth X, or do B and this is worth Y" but A and X aren't acted on consecutively.
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SirPeebles

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Re: Heir: The Victory Card with post-game choices.
« Reply #12 on: January 21, 2014, 06:51:20 pm »
0

So there are two things that happen separately: firstly, you do the trashing for each copy of Heir, then (remembering which decision you made for each Heir), you count the value of each card in your deck. That means the cards have state, and it's a bit counterintuitive if the choices are "do A and this is worth X, or do B and this is worth Y" but A and X aren't acted on consecutively.

When you buy Gardens, do you immediately follow the text and count to determine a fixed value?  No.  It is worth a variable amount, just like Heir.

Let me put it this way.  Suppose we play a game.  I buy the last Province and end my turn.  You then say "well, that was one hell of a game."  Then I say "yeah, I can't believe I got $4 off of that last Harvest!"  We proceed to put the cards back in the box, neither of us bothering to determine our scores.  Would you say that the game didn't end because we didn't "score" our cards?  I would argue that one of us did win (possibly we tied), but that we just didn't bother to check.
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soulnet

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Re: Heir: The Victory Card with post-game choices.
« Reply #13 on: January 21, 2014, 08:41:29 pm »
+1

I think this could cause AP post-game, but the highest problem is AP during the game, taking forever to know weither to 3-pile or buy a Duchy and wait, or whatever. I like the general idea, but I think it should be really simple to calculate your score. The Treasure part is simple enough, as it is a question on weither you can activate or not, and if you can, each Heir can give you the bonus if you want. The Curses is also ok, since (assuming you know what is in your deck) you know how much it is worth. The Estate option, I think, is what overcomplicates the counting, since it has a lot of possibilities. Maybe scrapping the Estate part can be ok.
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Re: Heir: The Victory Card with post-game choices.
« Reply #14 on: January 22, 2014, 06:16:45 am »
0

I do like it, and it doesnt fit the standard rules, thats why its a Variant card.

What about those gardens though.
Do I count the cards for Gardens before I do all my trashing, or do I do the Heir first?

What about cards on the island mat?
This is probably why none of the Alt VP cards have removal, only adding in

Could it possibly be done 'pre-scoring' so add an extra stage in?

Thinking about it, surely Island would have the same problem and must cope with this somehow or the same questions would be asked.
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Re: Heir: The Victory Card with post-game choices.
« Reply #15 on: January 22, 2014, 06:37:49 am »
+2

It would be too strong if it were just a flat "1 VP per Estate".  It would probably be too weak at "2 VP per Estate".
???
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Re: Heir: The Victory Card with post-game choices.
« Reply #16 on: January 22, 2014, 07:50:26 am »
+3

Choosing at the end of the game is IMO just a boring maths exercise. For me, a Victory card with choice should give this choice on gain (so that you have, as with other decisions during a game, estimate what effect will it have on your deck. And it should be easy to track. The simplest idea could be: $5. When you gain this, you may put it on the mat. If you do, this is worth 2VP, if you don't, 3 VP. Probably something should be done to make the "don't" option at least a bit different than Duchy.
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Re: Heir: The Victory Card with post-game choices.
« Reply #17 on: January 22, 2014, 09:22:05 am »
0

Choosing at the end of the game is IMO just a boring maths exercise. For me, a Victory card with choice should give this choice on gain (so that you have, as with other decisions during a game, estimate what effect will it have on your deck. And it should be easy to track. The simplest idea could be: $5. When you gain this, you may put it on the mat. If you do, this is worth 2VP, if you don't, 3 VP. Probably something should be done to make the "don't" option at least a bit different than Duchy.
But you have to estimate what effect Heir will have on your deck. You don't want to buy them unless you already know what you're going to do with them at the end of the game.
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Re: Heir: The Victory Card with post-game choices.
« Reply #18 on: January 22, 2014, 10:47:36 am »
0

Choosing at the end of the game is IMO just a boring maths exercise. For me, a Victory card with choice should give this choice on gain (so that you have, as with other decisions during a game, estimate what effect will it have on your deck. And it should be easy to track. The simplest idea could be: $5. When you gain this, you may put it on the mat. If you do, this is worth 2VP, if you don't, 3 VP. Probably something should be done to make the "don't" option at least a bit different than Duchy.
But you have to estimate what effect Heir will have on your deck. You don't want to buy them unless you already know what you're going to do with them at the end of the game.

Then it doesn't matter when the decision is, as long as it's short.
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Re: Heir: The Victory Card with post-game choices.
« Reply #19 on: January 22, 2014, 01:19:59 pm »
0

It would be too strong if it were just a flat "1 VP per Estate".  It would probably be too weak at "2 VP per Estate".
???

Oops.  I meant for that latter to be "1 VP per two Estates".  You would need to win the Estate split just for Heir to be worth more than a Duchy.
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