Hello! Today I'm here to introduce a new landscape card type: Landforms. These come from an expansion that was originally intended to be a sort of sequel to Dominion: Civilization, but with 3 new card types we just couldn't get the playtesting done we needed too.
Landforms started one day when I was thinking about a new landscape card. We have Events, which you can buy, and Landmarks, which change your score. But what about other sideways cards, that did essentially anything else? I made a few of these and called them "Terrains". They had a variety of effects, but most of them were "In games using this" and "Setup" effects. One of them was "At the start of each of your turns, +1 Buy". I was thinking about it, and I wondered, wouldn't it be better if it was limited, like you can only use it 3 times each game. And then, wait, what if it was a shared resource? Like it could be used 6 times per game, but somebody could use it 4 times and the other person 2 times. And it would have to scale, so it could be used 6 times in 2 player, 9 times in 3 player, 12 times in 4 player, and so on. You would use tokens on them to track how many times you could use it. And Voila! Landforms were born.
I immediatley scrapped most of the others like "Setup: Each player gains a Spoils from the Spoils pile". They didn't always synergize with the board and they took up too much space. So I made a bunch of ones with tokens, to track how many times they could be used. I instantly made 4 for each of the Vanilla Boni. +Cards, +
, +Actions, and +Buy. As you will see the Cards one was dropped, and the
and Action ones evolved, because there were a few rules for making these I found out.
1) It can't be automatic. Something like +2 Cards you'll almost always want, so there's no fun. It still works somewhat, since it's limited, but in the end it's kinda boring. A good example of one that got removed was "You may discard 3 cards, for +2 cards". It seemed good, but the problem was anytime you had 3 junk, or even 2 junk, you'd always want to do it. I wanted Landforms to have a strategic descicion, like do I wan't to get +1 Buy now to grab another Smtihy, or potentially save it for when I need to double Province for the win. It's a fine line, but with some playtesting you always find what's fun and what isn't.
2) It can't give
in a way Landmarks could. Most of the Landforms use 3 tokens per player, so if you could remove one for +2
, it's essentially 6
per player all over again.
3) It can't help someone run away with the game. Something like "When you gain a Province, you may remove a token from here, to gain 2 Golds" is kinda bad. If you get behind due to bad luck you should still have a chance. This is why a lot of the Landforms help a losing player more, or aren't as good if your deck is full of good stuff.
4) It can't be too easy to burn the tokens, e.g. some jerk just removing all the +1 Action tokens for no benefit to him. This is why the +1 Action token you'll see later can only be removed after you play an Action. Otherwise you could just take 2 in your opening when it does nothing. That's no fun. Most Landforms overcome this simply by having their effect always do something, like gain a card costing up to
. It will (essentially) always hit.
Later in development I decided to drop the name Terrains. There just weren't a lot of terrain types without getting all weird like "Deciduos Evergreen Troplical Sub-Saharan Forest". It's a game, not a science textbook. I chose Landforms for the new name. Landforms are defined as any geographical feature of the earth's surface, so there was tons of new space for names. I got some fun ones in too (Who the heck knew there was something called a kipuka?)
Landforms have a lot of design space. You'll see some more background as I go over them in the next week or so, but there are a lot of possible uses for them. The general rule is "Landforms have the players remove tokens, and as tokens are removed different abilites or punishments are activated".
1) You can use the tokens as a limiter. It's more strategic when you have 3 free Actions then when you have infinite and you can stock up on terminals with impunity.
2) You can use them as a tracker. You have some landforms that force you to remove tokens, and when the tokens run out bad stuff happens. Some let you remove them for a cost, but when their gone you get some benefits.
3) You can use them simply to create player interaction. When it's a shared resource suddenly everything is more tense. If you don't want to use it now, are you actually helping your deck in the future, or are you just throwing away free stuff that your opponent will steal.
So yeah! That's a lot of text, and I'm still learning. I have complete confidence in the idea, but maybe some won't work out in the end. Maybe attacking your opponent isn't a good idea, or giving out free Silver is bad. Who knows. This intro might be confusing, but hopefully as I post the Landforms you'll get the idea. I hope you all enjoy!
I've revised the subject. Now it is a prefex "Geo - (Event, Landmark, Edict)". It keeps the color and the name to remind you to put the tokens on. I might remove the Setup clauses on all of them though. They all start with 3 tokens per player.