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Author Topic: Traveler Line: Orphan  (Read 539 times)

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Kudasai

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Traveler Line: Orphan
« on: October 11, 2017, 04:17:05 pm »
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Hello Fellow Dominion Players!

I've decided to start posting some custom Dominion cards I've been hoarding throughout the years. Since I'm new to posting on forums I'll start with a few cards before I leap into more to make sure I'm doing this right.

Thanks for looking and I hope these look enticing enough to wanna try out!

Orphan Traveler Line - 10 Orphan, 5 Witch Hunter, 5 Heretic, 5 Mountain Hag, 5 Grand Witch:
       

   


« Last Edit: October 18, 2017, 01:36:54 pm by Kudasai »
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Asper

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Re: Traveler Line: Orphan
« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2017, 10:24:56 am »
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The mockups are very nice. One consistent art style, very pretty. The cards themselves also look great. However, most of the cards have issues, and I think basically all of them are caused by the line revolving around Grand Witch, which is a horribly weak card and obtainable only after going through the others. As the others are pretty horrible before you have Curses, I see no reason to ever go for this line unless a very strong Curser is on the board, in which case you probably still prefer Cursing back or trashing. But ond at a time:

Orphan's -VP will not matter, as you usually start using Travellers as early as you can, so you won't have any VP as the time you play Orphan (s). I implemented "-VP" as "Each other player takes VP" and suggest doing it this way. Also, it seems like a very weak card, even considering it's a Traveller starter.

Witch Hunter is one of those classic "interact with Curses" cards that never work because they are either too strong or too weak, depending on the existance of Cursers/trashers. Technically, you could easily remedy the problem by including a Curser in the line, but as Mountain Hag itself is dependant on the existance of Curses in your deck, I wouldn't count it. Grand Witch is too late and also mostly self-inflicted to count. Think about it: In a game with no regular Cursers, Grand Witch basically reduces the cost of Estate to 0$ (Curses now give 1VP) and activates some abilities on the other parts of the Traveller line. Now, would a card like Witch Hunter be worth it if it asked you to discard an Estate? I doubt it.

Heretic has too much going on. If you didn't have the anti-Treasure condition (which Heretic itself makes harder to achieve) you could just use Archive's wording instead of tokens. The fact it wants you hand to be mostly junk will usually mean it'ss almost impossible to exchange unless getting Grand Witch is your only notable goal (instead of winning the game).

Mountain Hag's Coin Tokens are fine. The Curse distribution is an Ambassador that comes much too late to matter.

Grand Witch is much too weak. The ability itself is already lackluster for a Traveller, and the -6 VP are ridiculous. I guess your intention is that you want several of these? That's just going to be much too slow. By the way, Grand Witch can't be applied to copies of itself when you exchange for it, as exchanging is not gaining.

Chris is me

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Re: Traveler Line: Orphan
« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2017, 10:41:53 am »
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Just some style notes, not commenting on or endorsing the effects...

On Witch Hunter, the comma goes before “for”, not after.

On Heretic, the effect is not actually conditional on revealing your hand - you could choose not to, claim to have no Actions or Treasures, then conduct the exchange. Here is a wording:

While this is in play, at the start of your Buy phase, you may reveal a hand with no more than 2 Action and Treasure cards. If you do, exchange this for a Mountain Hag.

On Mountain Hag, the structure is also confusing, because it’s not clear if opponents can gain more than one Curse from it or not, and also it doesn’t integrate well with the Coin token pay. The “copy of it” language is unnecessary since only one card can be gained this way. Also saying “Curse Card” is redundant. Here is a wording example if a Curse is gained per Coin token paid, conditional on successful return:

Take 3 Coin tokens. Then pay any number of Coin tokens. For each Coin token you paid: reveal a Curse from your hand, return it to the Supply, and if you did return a Curse, each other player gains a Curse.
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Kudasai

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Re: Traveler Line: Orphan
« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2017, 06:54:12 pm »
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The mockups are very nice. One consistent art style, very pretty. The cards themselves also look great. However, most of the cards have issues, and I think basically all of them are caused by the line revolving around Grand Witch, which is a horribly weak card and obtainable only after going through the others. As the others are pretty horrible before you have Curses, I see no reason to ever go for this line unless a very strong Curser is on the board, in which case you probably still prefer Cursing back or trashing. But ond at a time:

Orphan's -VP will not matter, as you usually start using Travellers as early as you can, so you won't have any VP as the time you play Orphan (s). I implemented "-VP" as "Each other player takes VP" and suggest doing it this way. Also, it seems like a very weak card, even considering it's a Traveller starter.

Witch Hunter is one of those classic "interact with Curses" cards that never work because they are either too strong or too weak, depending on the existance of Cursers/trashers. Technically, you could easily remedy the problem by including a Curser in the line, but as Mountain Hag itself is dependant on the existance of Curses in your deck, I wouldn't count it. Grand Witch is too late and also mostly self-inflicted to count. Think about it: In a game with no regular Cursers, Grand Witch basically reduces the cost of Estate to 0$ (Curses now give 1VP) and activates some abilities on the other parts of the Traveller line. Now, would a card like Witch Hunter be worth it if it asked you to discard an Estate? I doubt it.

Heretic has too much going on. If you didn't have the anti-Treasure condition (which Heretic itself makes harder to achieve) you could just use Archive's wording instead of tokens. The fact it wants you hand to be mostly junk will usually mean it'ss almost impossible to exchange unless getting Grand Witch is your only notable goal (instead of winning the game).

Mountain Hag's Coin Tokens are fine. The Curse distribution is an Ambassador that comes much too late to matter.

Grand Witch is much too weak. The ability itself is already lackluster for a Traveller, and the -6 VP are ridiculous. I guess your intention is that you want several of these? That's just going to be much too slow. By the way, Grand Witch can't be applied to copies of itself when you exchange for it, as exchanging is not gaining.

Hello Asper,

Big fan of your cards so I appreciate the feedback. As you stated most of the pre-Grand Witch cards are bad/terrible and only get a bit better with Grand Witch in play. This is by design as in my playtesting I've found Grand Witch to be very powerful. But with only a handful of testing it's hard to prove this. It's strength is highly dependent on how many turns it's in play and that is dependent on the board.

A few things to clarify:
Orphan: The -2VP is to the player who played it, not other players. This does nothing early/mid game, but could hurt if you've started gaining VP tokens from Grand Witch or any other VP token gainer.

Witch Hunter: You nailed this one. Not a great card, but having Curses in your deck early can help by-pass the Heretic exchange requirement.

Heretic: You also nailed this one. It can help you by starting your next four hands with 6 cards and 2 Actions, but it hurts your chances of exchanging a Heretic for a Mountain Hag. The chances of exchanging it the first turn Heretic is played is good since you only have 4 cards after playing it, but I wanted to reward players who risk the 6 cards/2 Action hands. Just don't have it in play too long or have it miss the shuffle. The coin token tracking aspect is weird, but I guess I felt tracking 5 potential turns would be too much for people. There's no risk of botching the game with this wording, but I feel it's confusing and hard to conceptualize what the card is actually doing. So I will change this to be more clear and hope players can manage the tracking (with or without tokens).

Mountain Hag: Also not a great card. Basically an Ambassador/Butcher hybrid. The one ace up it's sleeve though is it's ability to give Grand Witches to other players. This hopefully explains the weird wording. When and when not to do that is a hard decision to make.

I'll try and test this set more. If I find it underwhelming I can relax the Heretic exchange condition to 3 cards and make Grand Witch -3 or -4 VP.

Thanks again for the comments!
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Asper

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Re: Traveler Line: Orphan
« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2017, 08:37:44 pm »
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Orphan: The -2VP is to the player who played it, not other players.

Yes I know. My suggestion was to make this "Each other player takes 2VP". Or rather, to remove it, because it makes an already weak card incredibly bad. If it needed the -VP however, you'd still practically never play an Orphan after having a Grand Witch, which in turn means that for most boards you'd never have any VP tokens to lose when you play Orphan. That's where my suggestion comes into play: IF you needed the -VP, you should rather give +VP to other players. If you don't need them, drop them.

Witch Hunter: You nailed this one. Not a great card, but having Curses in your deck early can help by-pass the Heretic exchange requirement.

Yes, I got that much. It just doesn't look worthwile to get Curses just for this. It's okay if you had Curses either way, which in turn will happen if the board has Cursers, but then again this being in the kingdom discourages using Cursers, which means that on boards where the line could be good, people will just decide not to curse you, or curse you just enough to annoy you, but not enough for you to make good use of the Travellers. In other words, it will never be good. Unless you make Curses so attractive that you want to gain them, which makes the line lead to slow, luck driven games that depend highly on draw luck or at least drag the game out incredibly. The reason is that if it becomes good to gain Curses, people will do so, subsequently becoming incapable of buying Provinces (many Curses in hand, engines choking on Curses), and so the game doesn't end. Ultimately, piles would be depleted, but it would make for an incredibly exhausting and long game.

Mountain Hag: Also not a great card. Basically an Ambassador/Butcher hybrid. The one ace up it's sleeve though is it's ability to give Grand Witches to other players. This hopefully explains the weird wording. When and when not to do that is a hard decision to make.

I realized that that's what the "from its pile" was for. But consider that you had to wait several shuffles to get this card. Could you ever imagine passing a Champion or Teacher?

I'll try and test this set more. If I find it underwhelming I can relax the Heretic exchange condition to 3 cards and make Grand Witch -3 or -4 VP.
Suggestion: If you can, have another player (or yourself, if you play against yourself) play WITHOUT the Traveller line. Even just buying money and Victory cards should easily beat the line and be so fast that Grand Witch will have no chance. The advantage of "Big Money" as a basaline to compare the card with is that it is so trivial to play and so weak usually that IF it beats your line, you know for sure it's too bad.

Edit: Also, thank you  :)
The fact that I have a bit of experience doesn't mean I'm always right, of course, but it means that I already know many mistakes because I already made them  ;)

Asper

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Re: Traveler Line: Orphan
« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2017, 08:55:45 pm »
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To add a little praise to go with all the critizism, it shows that you are very familiar with rules details and paid attention to them. For example, Grand Witch being non-supply means that the typical problem of alt-Curses, being gainable through Cursers (or having a weird "you can't gain this" wording) doesn't come up. I do get the impression you have what it takes to make good fan cards, I just believe that this particular concept isn't all that promising. A lot of people, including me, did Curse-supporters as some of their first fan cards, and I have yet to see one that doesn't have the problem of being either too weak or leading to long, boring games. But again, kudos to knowing your stuff.

Jack Rudd

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Re: Traveler Line: Orphan
« Reply #6 on: October 13, 2017, 06:51:28 am »
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Does Processioning a Heretic effectively turn it into a Hireling?
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Asper

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Re: Traveler Line: Orphan
« Reply #7 on: October 13, 2017, 07:38:36 am »
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Does Processioning a Heretic effectively turn it into a Hireling?
No, it's better. You get 2 Actions and 2 Cards.

As mentioned, I would suggest using the Archive wording to make the cards double as a tracking method. Here's a wording that keeps the functionality intact (even though I still think it needs severe fixing, but I won't push this):

+1 Action
Set aside the top four cards of your deck. At the start of each of each of your next four turns, put one of them in your hand, and if you do, +1 Action. Otherwise, return this to its pile.
---
At the start of your cleanup phase, you may reveal your hand with no more than two Action and Treasure cards total, to discard the set-aside cards and exchange this for a Mountain Hag.

Kudasai

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Re: Traveler Line: Orphan
« Reply #8 on: October 13, 2017, 02:00:07 pm »
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While this is in play, at the start of your Buy phase, you may reveal a hand with no more than 2 Action and Treasure cards. If you do, exchange this for a Mountain Hag.

On Mountain Hag, the structure is also confusing, because it’s not clear if opponents can gain more than one Curse from it or not, and also it doesn’t integrate well with the Coin token pay. The “copy of it” language is unnecessary since only one card can be gained this way. Also saying “Curse Card” is redundant. Here is a wording example if a Curse is gained per Coin token paid, conditional on successful return:

Hi Chris is me,

Thanks for the wording on Heretic. Much cleaner than what I had! I can see how Mountain Hag is confusing. It's meant to allow the player to return multiple copies of a Curse (Curse or Grand Witch) and have other players gain them. TO clean it up I think I'll just make the Coin token gain and Curse returning completely separate.
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josh56

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Re: Traveler Line: Orphan
« Reply #9 on: October 13, 2017, 02:10:30 pm »
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Does Processioning a Heretic effectively turn it into a Hireling?
No, it's better. You get 2 Actions and 2 Cards.

As mentioned, I would suggest using the Archive wording to make the cards double as a tracking method. Here's a wording that keeps the functionality intact (even though I still think it needs severe fixing, but I won't push this):

+1 Action
Set aside the top four cards of your deck. At the start of each of each of your next four turns, put one of them in your hand, and if you do, +1 Action. Otherwise, return this to its pile.
---
At the start of your cleanup phase, you may reveal your hand with no more than two Action and Treasure cards total, to discard the set-aside cards and exchange this for a Mountain Hag.
I like it. That solves the tracking issue and makes the card a bit weaker (you rather want to directly draw a card from your deck instead of drawing card from a set aside pool of cards that could be in limbo for quite some time, especially in Traveller games).

About the general idea, I think that it is good and that unlike other "make Curses good" ideas this could actually work due to all the interconnections in this Traveller line. What I don't like though is the lack of a (direct) Curser; Mountain Hag won't spread the love unless there are Cursers in the Kingdom. So why not spread Curses via an on-gain or on-exchange effect? On-gain for Orphan would probably be too good compared to IGG but on-exchange for Witch Hunter or Heretic might work.

Also, Grand Witch might be too harsh if you get it via Mountain Hag late in the game as junk so I'd definitely test this with -4VP. On the other hand the very presence of Grand Witch will turn lots of games into slogs (Estates and Duchies might very well empty before Provinces) so it might be good enough with -6VP.

Suggestion: If you can, have another player (or yourself, if you play against yourself) play WITHOUT the Traveller line. Even just buying money and Victory cards should easily beat the line and be so fast that Grand Witch will have no chance. The advantage of "Big Money" as a basaline to compare the card with is that it is so trivial to play and so weak usually that IF it beats your line, you know for sure it's too bad.
This is definitely how the line should be tested. But unlike engines Big Money decks might require quite some time to get 6-8 Provinces (no idea how much you need compared to a Duchy- and Estate-buying player with some or several Grand Witches in play). All the BM guidelines and simulations are after all about winning a Province split which is a valid benchmark  unless attack cards or alt-VPs (like here) are present.

In short, this seems very tricky to test as it is not just a Traveller line but also an alternative source of VPs.
« Last Edit: October 13, 2017, 02:12:13 pm by josh56 »
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Kudasai

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Re: Traveler Line: Orphan
« Reply #10 on: October 13, 2017, 02:24:36 pm »
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Does Processioning a Heretic effectively turn it into a Hireling?
No, it's better. You get 2 Actions and 2 Cards.

As mentioned, I would suggest using the Archive wording to make the cards double as a tracking method. Here's a wording that keeps the functionality intact (even though I still think it needs severe fixing, but I won't push this):

+1 Action
Set aside the top four cards of your deck. At the start of each of each of your next four turns, put one of them in your hand, and if you do, +1 Action. Otherwise, return this to its pile.

The Archive wording is beautiful, but I don't think it works here for two reasons: (1) I want the extra card draw to end after Heretic has been returned or exchanged and (2) this allows more shifting ability than I like to satisfy the Heretic->Mountain Hag exchange condition. There is surely a much more elegant way of wording this, but for now I'm going to try and get some more play testing in the make sure I even want to keep the mechanics of Heretic. I'll update the inserts with the word revisions from you and 'Chris is me' and try and come back with some quantifiable means of saying this set is good or not. I'll label these new inserts v0.2.

Thanks again to everyone for the help. It's nice having a community like this. I look forward to posting other cards I have!
« Last Edit: October 13, 2017, 02:27:35 pm by Kudasai »
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josh56

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Re: Traveler Line: Orphan
« Reply #11 on: October 14, 2017, 02:07:05 am »
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I don't think that changing Grand Witch to +3VP per green/purple is good. Now the game will even more likely be an Estate/Duchy slog and if you have her fairly late in your game when you don't green at least twice anymore you can still Mountain Hag her as nasty junk. Seems just too swingy (having Mountain Hag and Grand Witch in hand while not wanting to play Grand Witch will happen rarely but if it does it is a very nasty junking attack) to me.
I'd try -4VP, +2VPs per Curse/Victory card.
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Asper

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Re: Traveler Line: Orphan
« Reply #12 on: October 14, 2017, 09:40:04 am »
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Another problem with distributing Grand Witch as junk: The pile has only five cards and so it's likely there won't be enough Grand Witvhes to give one to every player.

Kudasai

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Re: Traveler Line: Orphan
« Reply #13 on: October 16, 2017, 02:37:31 am »
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I don't think that changing Grand Witch to +3VP per green/purple is good. Now the game will even more likely be an Estate/Duchy slog and if you have her fairly late in your game when you don't green at least twice anymore you can still Mountain Hag her as nasty junk. Seems just too swingy (having Mountain Hag and Grand Witch in hand while not wanting to play Grand Witch will happen rarely but if it does it is a very nasty junking attack) to me.
I'd try -4VP, +2VPs per Curse/Victory card.

Yes! I changed this to 3VP tokens completely on impulse and immediately regretted it. I will change this back soon! I'll have to run more test to see if -4VP is a better fit. Using Mountain Hag to junk with Grand Witch is quite hard to do and in most cases probably isn't a good use of either card. -6 VP sounds like a lot, but if it's not the last turn of the game when this happens, your opponent may end up playing the Grand Witch and scoring enough to points to negate the -6VP or even gain access VP points. This is all untested though.
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Kudasai

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Re: Traveler Line: Orphan
« Reply #14 on: October 16, 2017, 02:44:35 am »
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Another problem with distributing Grand Witch as junk: The pile has only five cards and so it's likely there won't be enough Grand Witvhes to give one to every player.

I've thought about this and don't have a good solution. I'm entertaining the idea of making the Grand Witch pile 10 cards and keeping all the rest as is (10-5-5-5-10 respectively). This sounds like a lot of potential Grand Witches in play, but getting to it is still constricted by three 5-pile decks. I would hope going for any more than one or two Grand Witches is foolhardy. I also don't think junking with Grand Witch is as good as it seems. You need to hit an opponent on one of the last few turns of the game to ensure they don't just turn around and use the Grand Witch to net a bunch of VP tokens. Testing surely needs to be done though! Any thoughts on this are appreciated.
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josh56

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Re: Traveler Line: Orphan
« Reply #15 on: October 16, 2017, 04:59:32 am »
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Another problem with distributing Grand Witch as junk: The pile has only five cards and so it's likely there won't be enough Grand Witvhes to give one to every player.

I've thought about this and don't have a good solution. I'm entertaining the idea of making the Grand Witch pile 10 cards and keeping all the rest as is (10-5-5-5-10 respectively). This sounds like a lot of potential Grand Witches in play, but getting to it is still constricted by three 5-pile decks. I would hope going for any more than one or two Grand Witches is foolhardy. I also don't think junking with Grand Witch is as good as it seems. You need to hit an opponent on one of the last few turns of the game to ensure they don't just turn around and use the Grand Witch to net a bunch of VP tokens. Testing surely needs to be done though! Any thoughts on this are appreciated.
At least the maths is simple: when you respectively your opponent will green twice before the end of the game you are indifferent between playing Grand Witch or quasi-Ambassador-ing it your opponent, no matter whether it is the -6/+3 or the -4/+2 version. If the opponent does have a Grand Witch in play he only needs to green once to make Grand Witch provide a net of 0VPs. So I totally agree that Grand Witch will rarely be used as junk and more often be used as something which is a bit better than a perma-double-Groundskeeper.

So I think that the -4/+2 version of Grand Witch is more or less fine. The only card which I consider really bad is Witch Hunter. Sure, the last three cards in this Traveller line are pretty good and the rough guidline is that the second card should be a bit worse than a normal Kingdom card that costs 3 but +1 Action +1 Buy (the Curse-discard thingy will rarely happen) is plain bad.
I'd buff it a bit, e.g.:

+1 Card
+1 Action
+1 Buy
Discard a card. If it was a Curse, +1 Card +$2.
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Kudasai

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Re: Traveler Line: Orphan
« Reply #16 on: October 18, 2017, 02:36:50 pm »
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Ran a few test games. Here are the results:

Game 01 - Pure Orphan Line (One Grand Witch) versus Pure Big Money: Orphan = 48VP, Big Money = 41VP.
Game 02 - Pure Orphan Line (Two Grand Witches) versus Pure Big Money: Orphan = 57VP, Big Money = 43VP.
Game 03 - Orphan Line/Big Money Hybrid (Zero Grand Witches) versus Big Money = Orphan/Big Money = 28VP, Big Money = 33VP.

Notes: These games used Grand Witches that gave 2VP for each Curse and Victory card gained. No Grand Witches were given as junk.

Conclusion: The pure Orphan line seems to be right where I'd like it to be in terms of strength. Not strong enough to beat a good engine, but strong enough to beat Big Money. This is after all meant to be more of a support line and not an all inclusive means of winning the game. I tend to view the other two Traveler Lines the same way. Teacher enables engines, Champion blocks attacks and removes terminal Actions, but neither of these on their own will win the game. Grand Witch is meant to make cheaper Victory cards more viable, but it's strength is also dependent on the Kingdom card lineup.

It's also worth noting that I had an incredible amount of fun testing this line. These cards interact well with each other and decision making is abound. In Orphan versus Orphan play, I think the more thoughtful, strategic player will always be the victor.
 
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