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Author Topic: How thematic are card names?  (Read 2140 times)

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AJD

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How thematic are card names?
« on: January 20, 2018, 04:07:59 am »
+10

Something I've been thinking about cataloguing for a while: my opinions on how thematic the names of Dominon cards are—that is, how well do the names of the cards correspond to what the cards do? I'm largely going by gut feeling here, but my rough standard is this:

*: No particular relationship between card effect and name.

**: You can tell a reasonable story that kind of justifies it ("a village has a lot of people who can do things for you at once")

***: There's an intuitively clear relationship between the name of the card and its ability ("a workshop is where you make stuff"), or there's a fairly detailed, even if non-obvious, story that makes sense ("I get it, the bureaucrat slows you down with red tape and takes bribes").

****: You can describe the main effect of the card in a way that also makes perfect sense to someone who doesn't know you're talking about Dominion ("a thief steals your treasures").

Here are my card name thematicity ratings for the base set (first edition). Expansions to follow!

*:
Chancellor
Woodcutter

*˝:
Feast
Gardens
Library

**:
Chapel
Village
Smithy
Throne Room
Festival
Laboratory
Adventurer

**˝:
Cellar
Council Room

***:
Workshop
Bureaucrat
Remodel
Market
Mine

***˝:
Militia
Moneylender
Spy

****:
Moat
Thief
Witch

Now you can debate how wrong my opinions are!
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weesh

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Re: How thematic are card names?
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2018, 11:30:20 am »
+4

young witch is my favorite....you are safe if you hide in your cellar!
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AJD

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Re: How thematic are card names?
« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2018, 08:42:18 pm »
+2

The list for Intrigue (first edition)! Now that there are previous cards that new cards can refer to, it's possible for the thematicity of a card to be derived from other cards with related names. For instance, Mining Village's name makes more sense in the context of the fact that Village already exists than it would independently, and its score reflects that.

*˝:
Harem
Nobles

**:
Courtyard
Shanty Town
Baron
Bridge
Minion
Tribute

**˝:
Pawn
Secret Chamber
Great Hall
Steward
Conspirator
Duke
Trading Post

***:
Masquerade
Wishing Well
Ironworks
Scout
Upgrade

***˝:
Swindler
Coppersmith
Mining Village

****:
Saboteur
Torturer
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AJD

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Re: How thematic are card names?
« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2018, 03:30:41 pm »
+1

Seaside! At this point, the theme of the expansion can be taken into account a bit as well. Sea Hag becomes a bit more thematic if you just accept that "from the sea" means "affects the next turn".

*˝:
Native Village

**:
Ambassador
Explorer
Outpost
Wharf

**˝:
Warehouse
Caravan
Bazaar
Ghost Ship

***:
Haven
Lighthouse
Fishing Village
Lookout
Smugglers
Navigator
Tactician

***˝:
Island
Salvager
Sea Hag
Treasure Map
Merchant Ship

****:
Embargo
Pearl Diver
Cutpurse
Pirate Ship


This also seems like a good time to rate the early promos:
Envoy: *˝
Black Market: ****
Stash: ***˝
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AJD

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Re: How thematic are card names?
« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2018, 02:50:54 pm »
+1

Alchemy!

*˝:
Vineyard
Herbalist
Apothecary

**:
University
Alchemist

***:
Transmute
Scrying Pool
Familiar
Philosopher's Stone
Apprentice

***˝:
Golem

****:
Possession
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GendoIkari

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Re: How thematic are card names?
« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2018, 03:21:33 pm »
0

Can you imagine what a horrible attack Possession would be if its behavior were even more thematic to the name? I imagine it would more or less be "you control the player to your left during his or her next turn (you see all cards he or she can see and make all decisions for him or her)".

So, basically an attack that gives out as many Curses as you can generate +buys. And gives out Coppers and Estates when Curses run out. AND makes your opponent lose their turn.
« Last Edit: January 22, 2018, 03:26:04 pm by GendoIkari »
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weesh

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Re: How thematic are card names?
« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2018, 04:31:11 pm »
0

Can you imagine what a horrible attack Possession would be if its behavior were even more thematic to the name?

I've never played it, but it seems less awful to give them your hand, and let them take a turn, than for you to reveal your hand, and then be forced to follow their verbal instructions, like some sort of unwilling but impotent puppet.
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AJD

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Re: How thematic are card names?
« Reply #7 on: January 23, 2018, 03:44:56 am »
0

Prosperity:

*˝:
Quarry
Hoard

**:
Trade Route
Talisman
Worker's Village
Contraband
Rabble
Bank
Forge

**˝:
Loan
Royal Seal
Goons
Peddler

***:
Bishop
Monument
Counting House
Vault
Venture
Grand Market
Expand
King's Court

***˝:
Watchtower
City
Mint
Mountebank
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weesh

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Re: How thematic are card names?
« Reply #8 on: January 24, 2018, 12:24:05 am »
0

*˝:
Quarry

if you own the quarry, everything is cheaper to build. 
to you want to pay for all the stones to build that village, or do you want to just transport them from your very own quarry?
I'd call that one a slam dunk.
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Cave-o-sapien

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Re: How thematic are card names?
« Reply #9 on: January 24, 2018, 01:25:31 am »
+4

It's really too bad 'Loan' was used before debt tokens.
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faust

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Re: How thematic are card names?
« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2018, 02:34:27 am »
+7

*˝:
Quarry

if you own the quarry, everything is cheaper to build. 
to you want to pay for all the stones to build that village Doctor, or do you want to just transport them from your very own quarry?
I'd call that one a slam dunk.
FTFY
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ipofanes

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Re: How thematic are card names?
« Reply #11 on: January 24, 2018, 04:24:05 am »
+4

I would give points for consistency. You may disagree that a Smithy has to do with drawing cards (I surely do), but once you have accepted it, you will see some consistency in Royal Blacksmith, and inconsistency in Forge. If Markets provide buy and coin, Grand Market is fair game, Villa could have been a market, and Bazaar is just misleading (I may have lost early games thinking a Bazaar delivers +buy). In this vein, I would rate Native Village a lot higher, once I have accepted that villages net Actions. Once I played NVs in the turns after being attacked by Sea Hag, putting all the curses on the mat. I really felt like a slimy merchant selling glass beads and moonshine to the locals.

As an aside, after they started to translate all Upgrade-like cards into German using names ending with --bau, I was disappointed that they didn't name "Abbruch" (Dismantle) "Rückbau", for a card whose first incarnation was in German to boot.

To me, theme is less like a feeling of immersion in the world being reenacted by the game and more about mnemonics. Therefore, consistency in naming is important.
« Last Edit: January 24, 2018, 04:25:49 am by ipofanes »
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weesh

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Re: How thematic are card names?
« Reply #12 on: January 24, 2018, 11:21:17 am »
+2

*˝:
Quarry

if you own the quarry, everything is cheaper to build. 
to you want to pay for all the stones to build that village Doctor, or do you want to just transport them from your very own quarry?
I'd call that one a slam dunk.
FTFY

You made me chuckle.
But no card stands up to that level of scrutiny.

In magic the gathering, it's quite thematic that giving a creature a sword increases the damage it can do...
Until you give the sword to an ooze or a camel or something too small to wield it, or a human already holding six swords.

I agree with the OP that witch and moat are quite thematic, but the combination of them together is a flavor fail.  why would a moat stop a witch from cursing you? 

Identifying the cases where the theme is stupid does not change the fact that the theme makes good general sense.
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mameluke

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Re: How thematic are card names?
« Reply #13 on: January 24, 2018, 11:23:36 am »
+4

Quarry is also used with the same effect in Puerto Rico.
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greybirdofprey

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Re: How thematic are card names?
« Reply #14 on: January 24, 2018, 11:40:39 am »
+1

*˝:
Quarry

if you own the quarry, everything is cheaper to build. 
to you want to pay for all the stones to build that village Doctor, or do you want to just transport them from your very own quarry?
I'd call that one a slam dunk.
FTFY

You made me chuckle.
But no card stands up to that level of scrutiny.

In magic the gathering, it's quite thematic that giving a creature a sword increases the damage it can do...
Until you give the sword to an ooze or a camel or something too small to wield it, or a human already holding six swords.

I agree with the OP that witch and moat are quite thematic, but the combination of them together is a flavor fail.  why would a moat stop a witch from cursing you? 

Identifying the cases where the theme is stupid does not change the fact that the theme makes good general sense.

I'm now picturing a Witch standing on the other side of a closed drawbridge thinking about what to do.
Most attacks are just people who can be prevented from entering your stronghold or kingdom or whatever with a moat.

Pirate Ship, Ghost Ship, Scrying Pool, Relic, Idol, Catapult... not so much.

Caravan Guard speeds up when he/she hears the kingdom is under attack, a horse trader grabs a horse and hurries for backup...
No idea how someone else acquiring a Province turns your Fool's Gold into real Gold.
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AJD

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Re: How thematic are card names?
« Reply #15 on: January 24, 2018, 02:24:59 pm »
0

*˝:
Farming Village
Princess

**:
Horse Traders
Followers
Trusty Steed

**˝:
Fortune Teller
Remake
Horn of Plenty
Jester

***:
Hamlet
Menagerie
Harvest
Diadem

***˝:
Tournament
Hunting Party
Fairgrounds

****:
Young Witch
Bag of Gold
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weesh

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Re: How thematic are card names?
« Reply #16 on: January 24, 2018, 03:23:38 pm »
+2

***˝:
Tournament

This is gamer-level nitpicking, since you're only a half-star off, but I'd give tournament 4 stars easily.  It's my pick for the number one most thematic card in the game.

What's more flavorful than "if you win the tournament, you will gain the princesses favor"?
The mechanics of the card are wonky as hell, because they are working so damn hard to emulate that idea.
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LaLight

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Re: How thematic are card names?
« Reply #17 on: January 24, 2018, 03:39:16 pm »
+1

Nearly half a year ago i realised that princess is very thematic... you give your princess’ hand to other kingdoms and they make you discounts
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William Howard Taft

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Re: How thematic are card names?
« Reply #18 on: January 24, 2018, 03:44:02 pm »
+3

**:
Contraband

Big disagree on this one. Contraband is totally thematic.

Contraband: n. goods or merchandise whose importation, exportation, or possession is forbidden
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AJD

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Re: How thematic are card names?
« Reply #19 on: January 24, 2018, 03:53:58 pm »
0

**:
Contraband

Big disagree on this one. Contraband is totally thematic.

Contraband: n. goods or merchandise whose importation, exportation, or possession is forbidden

What I was thinking was, contraband is goods whose importation is forbidden, but Contraband the Dominion card has the effect of making something else forbidden. So it's related, but not quite on-point. Maybe two stars was a little weak for that; two and a half or three might be fair.
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GendoIkari

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Re: How thematic are card names?
« Reply #20 on: January 24, 2018, 04:59:36 pm »
+1

**:
Contraband

Big disagree on this one. Contraband is totally thematic.

Contraband: n. goods or merchandise whose importation, exportation, or possession is forbidden

What I was thinking was, contraband is goods whose importation is forbidden, but Contraband the Dominion card has the effect of making something else forbidden. So it's related, but not quite on-point. Maybe two stars was a little weak for that; two and a half or three might be fair.

So it should be called Contrabander.
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Re: How thematic are card names?
« Reply #21 on: January 24, 2018, 05:08:29 pm »
0

**:
Contraband

Big disagree on this one. Contraband is totally thematic.

Contraband: n. goods or merchandise whose importation, exportation, or possession is forbidden

What I was thinking was, contraband is goods whose importation is forbidden, but Contraband the Dominion card has the effect of making something else forbidden. So it's related, but not quite on-point. Maybe two stars was a little weak for that; two and a half or three might be fair.

So it should be called Contrabander.

Or the contrabandest!
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theory

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Re: How thematic are card names?
« Reply #22 on: January 24, 2018, 05:14:37 pm »
+9

Torturer is surely the most thematically appropriate Dominion card, for the simple reason that it genuinely evokes that theme within the player itself and not just his deck :)
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Donald X.

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Re: How thematic are card names?
« Reply #23 on: January 24, 2018, 08:27:57 pm »
+12

I agree with the OP that witch and moat are quite thematic, but the combination of them together is a flavor fail.  why would a moat stop a witch from cursing you? 

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greybirdofprey

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Re: How thematic are card names?
« Reply #24 on: January 25, 2018, 05:06:57 am »
+14

*:
Giant

The card is the same size as all other cards.
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