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Author Topic: Empires: The "Eat Your Vegetables" Expansion  (Read 14703 times)

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JThorne

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Empires: The "Eat Your Vegetables" Expansion
« on: July 27, 2016, 12:07:14 pm »
+26

I don't know if this has occurred to anyone else, but after playing with it a bit and discussing some of the cards, a secondary theme seems to be emerging.

Empires is the expansion that desperately tries to give you things you really don't want.

Seriously, almost every card gives you something that is actively bad.

Many card-shaped things give you debt.

Many card-shaped things give you (or encourage you to keep) copper (Banquet, Settlers), silver (Delve, Conquest, Rocks), Estates (Wild Hunt) or even curses (Ritual).

There's a $5 silver that does nothing to make your deck perform better (Plunder)

There's a $5 do-nothing cantrip (Groundskeeper).

There's a $5 Peddler-variant (Emporium) that's worse than all previous ones (Market, Treasury, Artificer, etc.)

There's an event that tries to seduce you into sabotaging your own beautiful deck-drawing engine by cramming it with Gold (Windfall. It's exactly the kind of card that a semi-experienced player says "Wow!" about and an expert says, "Hey, wait a minute...")

Of course, other than the debt and treasure-gaining, it's mostly about the VP.

One of the most elegant and clever design decisions in Dominion, present from the very beginning with just the base set, is that victory cards are bad. Fundamentally, when players buy victory cards, they damage their deck, which slows them down so that the opponent(s) can catch up. Too many games neglect putting in a balancing mechanism like that, so when a player starts winning, they accelerate (I'm looking at you, Catan.) It takes careful and deliberate planning to get around that mechanism in Dominion, which is part of what makes engine-building so rewarding.

So after years of expert players figuring out how to optimize engines to mitigate the damage done to decks by the basic process of trying to win, what does Donald do? He gives us a huge number of additional ways to damage our decks by providing unskippable alt+VP generation. Nicely done.

Not that this makes engines less viable. In many cases, it's just the opposite. Historically, I've frequently looked at a board with a beautiful drawing engine on it, but with absolutely no payload! How many times have you seen fantastic draw, trashing and coin, but no +buy, and no attacks and realized that the best-case engine is a boring Province-a-turn which might not even outrace BM? Empires changes that by providing a whole ton of payload cards that offer far more interesting choices and opportunities, but very little actual help drawing deck.

Donald could have succumbed to the power-creep temptation and just given us a bunch of cards that were wildly more powerful than previous cards (and he sure as heck threw us that bone with Donate and Fortune) but instead, he reminded us what the basic mechanism of the game was and said, "Hey! You kids quit running all over the house flinging cards everywhere. Sit down and eat your vegetables."

Empires is greener than a Kale and Spinach salad.

It's a great design decision, and really improves the game dramatically.

(Edited to list a few actual cards.)
« Last Edit: July 28, 2016, 11:15:35 am by JThorne »
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Witherweaver

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Re: Empires: The "Eat Your Vegetables" Expansion
« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2016, 12:10:38 pm »
+5

Those vegetables presumably being grown and tended to by the Groundskeeper. 
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JThorne

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Re: Empires: The "Eat Your Vegetables" Expansion
« Reply #2 on: July 27, 2016, 12:13:01 pm »
0

Quote
Those vegetables presumably being grown and tended to by the Groundskeeper.

...A card that exemplifies the point perfectly! Who buys a $5 do-nothing cantrip? At least Goons came with money, +buy and a discard attack! (Goons really is a kind of unreasonably powerful card.) Yet Groundskeeper is a build-around you might not be able to ignore.
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GendoIkari

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Re: Empires: The "Eat Your Vegetables" Expansion
« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2016, 12:53:13 pm »
+2

I think I could appreciate this thread a lot more if you listed the cards you're talking about....
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Re: Empires: The "Eat Your Vegetables" Expansion
« Reply #4 on: July 27, 2016, 01:00:10 pm »
+3

I think I could appreciate this thread a lot more if you listed the cards you're talking about....

Just like a kid that doesn't eat their vegetables, wants everything handed to them instead of having to work themselves. 

Now go clean your room!
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Re: Empires: The "Eat Your Vegetables" Expansion
« Reply #5 on: July 27, 2016, 01:24:43 pm »
+1

I think the best examples for the thing you're trying to express are actually the attacks. You want to use them as your payload? You better work for it, either gaining silvers for catapults or a Gold for Legionary. I like this design trend very well, it's just so much more fun than cursing with a Witch
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Witherweaver

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Re: Empires: The "Eat Your Vegetables" Expansion
« Reply #6 on: July 27, 2016, 01:34:05 pm »
+3

I think the best examples for the thing you're trying to express are actually the attacks. You want to use them as your payload? You better work for it, either gaining silvers for catapults or a Gold for Legionary. I like this design trend very well, it's just so much more fun than cursing with a Witch

Eat your vegetables, and then spit them out at your opponent.
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Re: Empires: The "Eat Your Vegetables" Expansion
« Reply #7 on: July 27, 2016, 02:08:13 pm »
+3

Nobody likes eating their vegetables or buying victory point cards, but you have to have your greens   :)
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Re: Empires: The "Eat Your Vegetables" Expansion
« Reply #8 on: July 27, 2016, 02:22:04 pm »
+2

I think the best examples for the thing you're trying to express are actually the attacks. You want to use them as your payload? You better work for it, either gaining silvers for catapults or a Gold for Legionary. I like this design trend very well, it's just so much more fun than cursing with a Witch

When all is said and done though, there is something extremely satisfying about the basic cursing with witch.
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Re: Empires: The "Eat Your Vegetables" Expansion
« Reply #9 on: July 27, 2016, 05:45:56 pm »
0

There is also something seriously unsatisfying about getting pinned by crowned torturers. You wouldn't think torturur pins would be simple, but it happened. It was one of those few boards were opening 5/2 is a disadvantage.
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Re: Empires: The "Eat Your Vegetables" Expansion
« Reply #10 on: July 27, 2016, 09:39:57 pm »
0

There is also something seriously unsatisfying about getting pinned by crowned torturers. You wouldn't think torturur pins would be simple, but it happened. It was one of those few boards were opening 5/2 is a disadvantage.

how is this literally any different than throne / torturer or village / torturer tho
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Loschmidt

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Re: Empires: The "Eat Your Vegetables" Expansion
« Reply #11 on: July 27, 2016, 10:11:30 pm »
+1

OP nailed it. DXV is an excellent designer and realises the best part of building an engine is the challenge of putting it together and that is made all the better if it isn't simple. Like the first game I actually won while using rats. Empires is full of engine pieces that can be a perfect component to a satisfying deck but aren't just automatically good.
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Re: Empires: The "Eat Your Vegetables" Expansion
« Reply #12 on: July 27, 2016, 11:11:02 pm »
+8

There is also something seriously unsatisfying about getting pinned by crowned torturers. You wouldn't think torturur pins would be simple, but it happened. It was one of those few boards were opening 5/2 is a disadvantage.

Just take the Curse.
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Re: Empires: The "Eat Your Vegetables" Expansion
« Reply #13 on: July 27, 2016, 11:42:45 pm »
0

I think the best examples for the thing you're trying to express are actually the attacks. You want to use them as your payload? You better work for it, either gaining silvers for catapults or a Gold for Legionary. I like this design trend very well, it's just so much more fun than cursing with a Witch

When all is said and done though, there is something extremely satisfying about the basic cursing with witch.

I disagree completely. I think Witch is the worst designed card in Dominion next to Cultist since it so good without the attack that it becomes obnoxious with it.
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Re: Empires: The "Eat Your Vegetables" Expansion
« Reply #14 on: July 28, 2016, 12:50:51 am »
+6

I think the best examples for the thing you're trying to express are actually the attacks. You want to use them as your payload? You better work for it, either gaining silvers for catapults or a Gold for Legionary. I like this design trend very well, it's just so much more fun than cursing with a Witch

When all is said and done though, there is something extremely satisfying about the basic cursing with witch.

I disagree completely. I think Witch is the worst designed card in Dominion next to Cultist since it so good without the attack that it becomes obnoxious with it.

Witch without the cursing attack is crap.
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Re: Empires: The "Eat Your Vegetables" Expansion
« Reply #15 on: July 28, 2016, 12:59:58 am »
+1

I think the best examples for the thing you're trying to express are actually the attacks. You want to use them as your payload? You better work for it, either gaining silvers for catapults or a Gold for Legionary. I like this design trend very well, it's just so much more fun than cursing with a Witch

When all is said and done though, there is something extremely satisfying about the basic cursing with witch.

I disagree completely. I think Witch is the worst designed card in Dominion next to Cultist since it so good without the attack that it becomes obnoxious with it.

Um, Rebuild, scout? Witch is pretty decent, and without the attack it's worse than Moat.
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Re: Empires: The "Eat Your Vegetables" Expansion
« Reply #16 on: July 28, 2016, 01:14:56 am »
+3

honestly, yeah, just handing one over with witch is really fun. all of the other ones have some catch or conditional—torturer, well, the curse is only there to help her out, mountebank and young witch she can just block, swamp hag she can just not buy anything for, and cultist just has a colossal and consuming emptiness to it, like a zombie apologizing to another zombie even though they were both bitten by indifferent third parties. witch, you just hand it over and be content with having attacked.
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Re: Empires: The "Eat Your Vegetables" Expansion
« Reply #17 on: July 28, 2016, 08:46:17 am »
0

I think the best examples for the thing you're trying to express are actually the attacks. You want to use them as your payload? You better work for it, either gaining silvers for catapults or a Gold for Legionary. I like this design trend very well, it's just so much more fun than cursing with a Witch

When all is said and done though, there is something extremely satisfying about the basic cursing with witch.

I disagree completely. I think Witch is the worst designed card in Dominion next to Cultist since it so good without the attack that it becomes obnoxious with it.

Um, Rebuild, scout? Witch is pretty decent, and without the attack it's worse than Moat.

It's worse than Moat, but compare it to Sea Hag/YW etc..
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Re: Empires: The "Eat Your Vegetables" Expansion
« Reply #18 on: July 28, 2016, 10:36:15 am »
0

The real problem is that Witch's strength caused the other problems with junkers. It was the original junker, so it kinda became a precedent, a baseline for all newer cards from expansions.. Mountebank and Cultist are only slightly stronger than Witch, but they are still so strong that they are overcentralizing.
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Re: Empires: The "Eat Your Vegetables" Expansion
« Reply #19 on: July 28, 2016, 10:53:49 am »
0

How does one 'fix' Witch then? I think it's fine. Cultist spamming itself is insanely strong, and Mountebank junks way too often.
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Re: Empires: The "Eat Your Vegetables" Expansion
« Reply #20 on: July 28, 2016, 11:13:46 am »
+1

I think the best examples for the thing you're trying to express are actually the attacks. You want to use them as your payload? You better work for it, either gaining silvers for catapults or a Gold for Legionary. I like this design trend very well, it's just so much more fun than cursing with a Witch

When all is said and done though, there is something extremely satisfying about the basic cursing with witch.

I disagree completely. I think Witch is the worst designed card in Dominion next to Cultist since it so good without the attack that it becomes obnoxious with it.

Um, Rebuild, scout? Witch is pretty decent, and without the attack it's worse than Moat.

It's worse than Moat, but compare it to Sea Hag/YW etc..

Which are appropriately priced at $4? Witch is fine, cultist is strong, and mountebank is strong too, but I at least find them all fun to play with every once in a while.
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Re: Empires: The "Eat Your Vegetables" Expansion
« Reply #21 on: July 28, 2016, 11:34:00 am »
+1

I think the best examples for the thing you're trying to express are actually the attacks. You want to use them as your payload? You better work for it, either gaining silvers for catapults or a Gold for Legionary. I like this design trend very well, it's just so much more fun than cursing with a Witch

When all is said and done though, there is something extremely satisfying about the basic cursing with witch.

I disagree completely. I think Witch is the worst designed card in Dominion next to Cultist since it so good without the attack that it becomes obnoxious with it.

Um, Rebuild, scout? Witch is pretty decent, and without the attack it's worse than Moat.

It's worse than Moat, but compare it to Sea Hag/YW etc..

Which are appropriately priced at $4? Witch is fine, cultist is strong, and mountebank is strong too, but I at least find them all fun to play with every once in a while.

I was talking about how good there are without them cursing. But that I didn't really want to spark this discussion here, this thread is about Vegetables in Empires! I'll wonder whether you can buy those at the farmers' market. Also, why does the market have to be trashed every fifth time? I wouldn't buy there anymore if I heard that.
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Re: Empires: The "Eat Your Vegetables" Expansion
« Reply #22 on: July 28, 2016, 06:50:33 pm »
+2

I was talking about how good there are without them cursing. But that I didn't really want to spark this discussion here, this thread is about Vegetables in Empires! I'll wonder whether you can buy those at the farmers' market. Also, why does the market have to be trashed every fifth time? I wouldn't buy there anymore if I heard that.
It's the only way to guarantee that the vegetables are fresh.
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Re: Empires: The "Eat Your Vegetables" Expansion
« Reply #23 on: July 29, 2016, 01:05:48 am »
0

I think the best examples for the thing you're trying to express are actually the attacks. You want to use them as your payload? You better work for it, either gaining silvers for catapults or a Gold for Legionary. I like this design trend very well, it's just so much more fun than cursing with a Witch

When all is said and done though, there is something extremely satisfying about the basic cursing with witch.

I disagree completely. I think Witch is the worst designed card in Dominion next to Cultist since it so good without the attack that it becomes obnoxious with it.

Um, Rebuild, scout? Witch is pretty decent, and without the attack it's worse than Moat.
I thought we were over this.
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Re: Empires: The "Eat Your Vegetables" Expansion
« Reply #24 on: August 01, 2016, 06:19:43 pm »
0

I think I could appreciate this thread a lot more if you listed the cards you're talking about....
Go to Rio Grande Games and download a copy of Empires, and all other rule books.
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