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Author Topic: How thematic are the expansions?  (Read 14105 times)

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AJD

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How thematic are the expansions?
« on: February 24, 2012, 03:16:26 am »
+2

So, each box of Dominion cards is associated with one or more structural gameplay themes. It just occurred to me to wonder how thoroughly each collection is shaped by its theme(s): how many cards actually fit in?

Basic Dominion:
About 13 out of 25 cards are the simplest way to accomplish some basic Dominion task. (Chapel, Gardens, Laboratory, Militia, Moat, Smithy, Spy, Village, Witch, Woodcutter, Workshop, arguably Cellar and Remodel.)

Intrigue:
About 7 out of 25 cards offer a choice of multiple distinct effects. (Ironworks, Minion, Nobles, Pawn, Steward, Torturer, and for Tribute the choice is random.)
4 more have variable effects in other ways. (Baron and Mining Village let the player choose whether to activate their abilities; Conspirator and Shanty Town have different effects depending on the circumstances in which they're played.)
3 out of 25 are playable Victory cards. (Great Hall, Harem, Nobles.)

Seaside:
8 out of 26 are Duration cards. (Caravan, Fishing Village, Haven, Lighthouse, Merchant Ship, Outpost, Tactician, Wharf.)
7 more have effects on the next turn by setting up the top of the deck. (Ghost Ship, Lookout, Navigator, Pearl Diver, Sea Hag, Treasure Map, Treasury.)

Alchemy:
10 out of 12 require Potions to purchase. (Alchemist, Apothecary, Familiar, Golem, Philosopher's Stone, Possession, Scrying Pool, Transmute, University, Vineyard.)
4 out of 12 interact in some special way with Action cards. (Golem, Scrying Pool, University, Vineyard.)

Prosperity:
3 out of 25 give Victory tokens. (Bishop, Goons, Monument.)
8 out of 25 cost $6 or more. (Bank, Expand, Forge, Goons, Grand Market, Hoard, King's Court, Peddler.)
8 out of 25 are special Treasures. (Bank, Contraband, Hoard, Loan, Quarry, Royal Seal, Talisman, Venture.)
5 out of 25 are obviously bigger and badder versions of cards from the basic set. (City, Expand, Goons, Grand Market, King's Court; plus honorable mention to Platinum and Colony.)

Cornucopia:
5 out of 13 interact in a special way with having a variety of cards. (Fairgrounds, Harvest, Horn of Plenty, Hunting Party, Menagerie.)
2 more increase the variety of cards available in the game. (Tournament, Young Witch.)

Hinterlands:
9 out of 26 do something special when you buy or gain them. (Border Village, Cache, Embassy, Farmland, Ill-Gotten Gains, Inn, Mandarin, Noble Brigand, Nomad Camp.)
4 more have effects that are triggered when another card is bought or gained. (Duchess, Fool's Gold, Haggler, Trader.)

So obviously Alchemy has the highest percentage of cards that are on-theme in some way, by virtue of the very large number of Potion cards; but its structural theme of Actions is a fairly small subset of the expansion. Prosperity has multiple quasi-related themes, and 17 out of its 25 Kingdom cards participate in at least one of them. Seaside's "next-turn" theme has the highest percentage for a single identifiable theme other than Potions, with 15 out of 26 cards.

Finally, Intrigue and Hinterlands both have a subtheme of Kingdom cards which are or interact in a special way with Victory cards. (Baron, Duke, Great Hall, Harem, Nobles, Scout; Crossroads, Duchess, Farmland, Fool's Gold, Silk Road, Tunnel.) Since they both fit this theme to the same extent, you can't really count it as a specific expansion theme for either of them; but it is striking.

EDIT: Let's add Dark Ages!
7.1 out of 35 Kingdom cards do something when trashed. (Catacombs, Cultist, Feodum, Fortress, Hunting Grounds, Rats, Sir Vander, Squire; plus Overgrown Estate.)
13 out of 35 trash other cards. (Altar, Count, Counterfeit, Death Cart, Forager, Graverobber, Hermit, Junk Dealer, Knights, Procession, Rats, Rebuild, Rogue; plus Mercenary.)
4 out of 35 trash themselves. (Hermit, Knights, Pillage, Urchin; plus Hovel.)
4 out of 35 interact with the trash or trashing in other ways. (Forager, Graverobber, Market Square, Rogue.)
« Last Edit: September 01, 2012, 10:22:50 am by AJD »
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Tables

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Re: How thematic are the expansions?
« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2012, 07:50:31 am »
0

I'd also point out Cornucopia has another subtheme you missed: Cards which help you get variety into your deck(/hand). Of which there are: Remake, Tournament, Young Witch, Hunting Party, Jester. Arguably also Horse Traders (it draws a card in it's reaction and can discard duplicates with it's action).

Regarding the bigger basic cards from Prosperity, I'm not really sure I count City and Goons, but I would certainly count Worker's Village (Village with +buy). City isn't really just a village, it's something completely different, although yes it is just an improved village in the end. Goons also, is really not just an improved Militia/Woodcutter, it's buy effect is it's defining ability. But strictly speaking I guess I'd include them.

Otherwise, it looks like a good list. An interesting read, if you've never really thought about it before.
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...spin-offs are still better for all of the previously cited reasons.
But not strictly better, because the spinoff can have a different cost than the expansion.
I hereby declare myself the best dominion player in the world. Obviously.

AJD

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Re: How thematic are the expansions?
« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2012, 10:29:09 am »
+1

I'd also point out Cornucopia has another subtheme you missed: Cards which help you get variety into your deck(/hand). Of which there are: Remake, Tournament, Young Witch, Hunting Party, Jester. Arguably also Horse Traders (it draws a card in it's reaction and can discard duplicates with it's action).

Hm, I guess so. That seems like a pretty loosely defined category, but I can see the argument for Jester and Remake fitting the "variety" theme. Actually, there's kind of another subtheme of cards which can cause you to discard things as a consequence of playing them (Hamlet, Young Witch, Horse Traders, Tournament), which I wasn't sure I wanted to count either.

Quote
Regarding the bigger basic cards from Prosperity, I'm not really sure I count City and Goons, but I would certainly count Worker's Village (Village with +buy). City isn't really just a village, it's something completely different, although yes it is just an improved village in the end. Goons also, is really not just an improved Militia/Woodcutter, it's buy effect is it's defining ability. But strictly speaking I guess I'd include them.

I don't really count Worker's Village as a "bigger and badder version of Village"; it's just a Village which also does something else, in the grand tradition of Bazaar (Village plus money), Farming Village (Village plus filtering), Mining Village (Village plus optional trash-for-cash), and so on. City on the other hand really is a bigger and badder version of Village—although a fully powered-up City is in a class by itself, it starts every game as nothing more than a Village clone. So I really do feel like that makes it describable as "just like Village, only more powerful", in a way that Worker's Village isn't (it has a bonus, but doesn't really feel powerful in that way). But this is all splitting hairs about subjective impressions. I take your point about Goons, though.
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rinkworks

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Re: How thematic are the expansions?
« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2012, 10:45:27 am »
0

This is an interesting analysis.  Having established the themes and subthemes, I'm interested in the converse:  the stats on off-theme cards that pad out the sets and balance out the selection of available powers.  For example, Bazaar doesn't have much to do with any of Seaside's themes, but having it there balances out the set's selection of Villages and probably $5-cost cards and possibly money-producing actions.

This would be hard to do with the base set, whose theme is so broad (maybe the exceptions are the complicated cards, like Bureaucrat and Library?).  Speaking of base, you could also include vanilla cards as a separate theme of the base set.  It's got at least six -- Village, Woodcutter, Smithy, Festival, Laboratory, and Market, and you could make a case for Council Room -- whereas the other sets tend to include only one, if that.
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tlloyd

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Re: How thematic are the expansions?
« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2012, 11:37:50 am »
0

Interesting thoughts, though some are a bit stretched (wouldn't a discard attack be simpler if it didn't provide +$2? Wouldn't a cursing attack be simpler if it didn't also draw cards?).

The other day for no apparent reason I was thinking about which Promo cards fit best in which sets:

Governor seems to fit Intrigue perfectly, both for the fact that it gives the player three choices (like Steward) and because the interactive component makes it very interesting strategically.

Walled Village fits the Seaside theme pretty well, as it sets up your next turn.

You could make an argument for Stash fitting Prosperity merely for the fact that it is a special treasure.

Black Market is perfect for Cornucopia, as it promotes variety.

I suppose Envoy has to go in the base set, as it doesn't particularly fit the others.

So that means we should be expecting four more promos: one that either interacts with potions or facilitates an action-heavy strategy, one that has an on-gain effect, and one more each for the Dark Ages and Guilds themes!  ;D
« Last Edit: February 24, 2012, 11:42:42 am by tlloyd »
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Donald X.

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Re: How thematic are the expansions?
« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2012, 12:11:36 pm »
+13

You could make an argument for Stash fitting Prosperity merely for the fact that it is a special treasure.

Black Market is perfect for Cornucopia, as it promotes variety.

I suppose Envoy has to go in the base set, as it doesn't particularly fit the others.
Stash lets you set up a future turn, which is how it fits Seaside, which it's an outtake from. Black Market was in Seaside on the grounds that it reached outside the game, which was like reaching outside the turn taken to extremes.

Envoy gives an opponent a choice, thus fitting Intrigue, which it's an outtake from.

Here's how I count the themes:

Intrigue:

10 Choices: Pawn, Masquerade, Steward, Swindler, Wishing Well, Baron, Mining Village, Minion, Torturer, Nobles
7 Also choices, but less unique: Courtyard, Secret Chamber, Ironworks, Scout, Saboteur, Trading Post, Upgrade
4 Victory cards: Great Hall, Duke, Harem, Nobles
5 Cards interacting with Victory cards: Baron, Ironworks, Scout, Duke, Tribute

4 Off-theme: Shanty Town, Bridge, Conspirator, Coppersmith

Seaside:

8 Duration: Haven, Lighthouse, Fishing Village, Caravan, Merchant Ship, Outpost, Tactician, Wharf
9 Top of deck: Native Village, Pearl Diver, Lookout, Navigator, Pirate Ship, Sea Hag, Treasure Map, Ghost Ship, Treasury
3 Other other-turn: Embargo, Smugglers, Island

5 Off-theme: Ambassador, Warehouse, Cutpurse, Salvager, Explorer, Bazaar

Alchemy:

12 Potion-related: Apprentice cares if it's in the cost and Herbalist can put a Potion on your deck for reuse, so, the whole set.
5 Actions theme: Transmute, Vineyard, Scrying Pool, University, Golem
10 Useful in multiples: Everything but Herbalist and Possession

0 Off-theme

Prosperity:

8 Special treasure: Loan, Quarry, Talisman, Contraband, Royal Seal, Venture, Hoard, Bank (Platinum)
7 Treasure interaction: Counting House, Mint, Mountebank, Venture, Grand Market, Hoard, Bank
5 Non-attack player interaction: Trade Route, Bishop, City, Contraband, Vault
3 VP tokens: Bishop, Monument, Goons
8 Expensive: Goons, Grand Market, Hoard, Bank, Expand, Forge, King's Court, Peddler (Platinum, Colony)

3 Off-theme: Watchtower, Worker's Village, Rabble

Cornucopia:

5 Care about variety: Menagerie, Harvest, Horn of Plenty, Hunting Party, Fairgrounds
4 Provide variety: Remake, Tournament, Young Witch, Jester

4 Off-theme: Hamlet, Fortune Teller, Farming Village, Horse Traders

Hinterlands:

9 When-gain/buy: Noble Brigand, Nomad Camp, Cache, Embassy, Ill-Gotten Gains, Inn, Mandarin, Border Village, Farmland
4 Other interact with gain/buy: Duchess, Fool's Gold, Trader, Haggler
7 Victory/Treasure/Reaction: Fool's Gold, Tunnel, Silk Road, Trader, Cache, Ill-Gotten Gains, Farmland
4 Interact with Victory cards: Crossroads, Duchess, Fool's Gold, Silk Road
8 Card filtering: Oasis, Oracle, Jack of All Trades, Cartographer, Embassy, Inn, Margrave, Stables

4 Off-theme: Develop, Scheme, Spice Merchant, Highway

Some of the various off-theme cards do connect up with their sets in significant ways. Rabble is an attack that promotes Colonies - you want to wait on buying VP cards to be hurt less. Hamlet supports Menagerie and the excised "hand theme" of Cornucopia; Horse Traders also fits the old theme. Develop is slightly-less-than-instant gratification.
« Last Edit: September 02, 2012, 01:43:18 am by Donald X. »
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Tables

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Re: How thematic are the expansions?
« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2012, 12:13:51 pm »
0


Hm, I guess so. That seems like a pretty loosely defined category, but I can see the argument for Jester and Remake fitting the "variety" theme. Actually, there's kind of another subtheme of cards which can cause you to discard things as a consequence of playing them (Hamlet, Young Witch, Horse Traders, Tournament), which I wasn't sure I wanted to count either.

I guess you could make a more well defined category of cards which help get variety, including all the cards I stated plus Hamlet and Horse Traders. What kind of variety (in hand, in deck, or both) is left up to the individual card, but they all help with variety in some sense.

Quote

I don't really count Worker's Village as a "bigger and badder version of Village"; it's just a Village which also does something else, in the grand tradition of Bazaar (Village plus money), Farming Village (Village plus filtering), Mining Village (Village plus optional trash-for-cash), and so on. City on the other hand really is a bigger and badder version of Village—although a fully powered-up City is in a class by itself, it starts every game as nothing more than a Village clone. So I really do feel like that makes it describable as "just like Village, only more powerful", in a way that Worker's Village isn't (it has a bonus, but doesn't really feel powerful in that way). But this is all splitting hairs about subjective impressions. I take your point about Goons, though.

Hm... I guess strictly speaking, Goons, Worker's Village and Village are all just bigger versions of old/base cards. They all fit as better versions of base cards, even if they're either just X with a bonus or are really totally different. There's also Rabble (although +3 cards isn't really a rare effect, but it still counts maybe?)

I guess strictly speaking a lot of the treasures could be considered copper/silver + cards, but I guess we just restrict the category to kingdom cards.
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...spin-offs are still better for all of the previously cited reasons.
But not strictly better, because the spinoff can have a different cost than the expansion.
I hereby declare myself the best dominion player in the world. Obviously.

ftl

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Re: How thematic are the expansions?
« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2012, 01:50:45 pm »
+1

Workers village seems like it fits great with Prosperity. I actually remarked on that when we first got prosperity - even the village is thematic! I mean, it's just a village plus a bonus - but of all the different bonuses that can be stuck on a simple village, Prosperity is the one that got +1 buy on its village, which fits perfectly with the theme of getting big expensive things. You'll have lots of cash to spend and hey, the village gives you the +buy!
« Last Edit: February 24, 2012, 01:56:07 pm by ftl »
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tlloyd

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Re: How thematic are the expansions?
« Reply #8 on: February 24, 2012, 01:53:41 pm »
+2

I love when it when Donald responds to silly discussions like this to hit us with something really interesting. Kinda like when I asked if he'd ever played against the KC/Masq pin and he posted a (lengthy) summary of all the crazy things he'd seen while playtesting cards that we'll never see because they were that crazy.
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ftl

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Re: How thematic are the expansions?
« Reply #9 on: February 24, 2012, 01:59:50 pm »
0

I love when it when Donald responds to silly discussions like this to hit us with something really interesting. Kinda like when I asked if he'd ever played against the KC/Masq pin and he posted a (lengthy) summary of all the crazy things he'd seen while playtesting cards that we'll never see because they were that crazy.

Do you have a link for that? It seems like it would be fun to read :)
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Re: How thematic are the expansions?
« Reply #10 on: February 24, 2012, 02:12:05 pm »
+2

I love when it when Donald responds to silly discussions like this to hit us with something really interesting. Kinda like when I asked if he'd ever played against the KC/Masq pin and he posted a (lengthy) summary of all the crazy things he'd seen while playtesting cards that we'll never see because they were that crazy.

Do you have a link for that? It seems like it would be fun to read :)


halfway down the page.....
http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/629646/kings-court-x2-goons-masquerade-broken/page/7
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Re: How thematic are the expansions?
« Reply #11 on: February 25, 2012, 12:05:51 am »
0

Quote from: David X.
...One player won with a deck based on $2's. One of those $2's isn't out yet, but one day it will be, and when that day comes, no-one will build that deck, because man, you can just buy better cards. It's not like you have to make a deck of all $2's work, what craziness would that be...
Fools Gold?
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Donald X.

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Re: How thematic are the expansions?
« Reply #12 on: February 25, 2012, 11:00:04 am »
+3

Quote from: David X.
...One player won with a deck based on $2's. One of those $2's isn't out yet, but one day it will be, and when that day comes, no-one will build that deck, because man, you can just buy better cards. It's not like you have to make a deck of all $2's work, what craziness would that be...
Fools Gold?
I don't know this David X. fellow, but I happen to know that the $2 he was thinking of was a version of Trader's bottom half, which as it turns out will never come out in that form after all. Bill combined that with Pawn and another card that cost $2 and gave +1 buy that will not be published as it existed then but it's not important to this story so don't worry about it, and had a deck full of $2's (with no Coppers for whatever reason) that suddenly gained a lot of Silver and could just immediately draw it next turn. He lost some Silvers, but not fast enough to stop him from buying Provinces and ending in the lead.
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jotheonah

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Re: How thematic are the expansions?
« Reply #13 on: February 25, 2012, 01:37:58 pm »
0

You can still build working decks out of nothing but $2s.

http://forum.dominionstrategy.com/index.php?topic=1268.0

Or here, where I discovered the card constraint field in SC and surprised Glooble (who creamed me with the boring but effective Herbalist/Big Money)

http://councilroom.com/game?game_id=game-20120219-135957-214da7d3.html
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kn1tt3r

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Re: How thematic are the expansions?
« Reply #14 on: March 01, 2012, 06:39:41 am »
0

Quote from: David X.
...One player won with a deck based on $2's. One of those $2's isn't out yet, but one day it will be, and when that day comes, no-one will build that deck, because man, you can just buy better cards. It's not like you have to make a deck of all $2's work, what craziness would that be...
Fools Gold?
I don't know this David X. fellow, but I happen to know that the $2 he was thinking of (...)

*lol* Very nice.
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Re: How thematic are the expansions?
« Reply #15 on: March 01, 2012, 02:26:31 pm »
0

Quote from: David X.
...One player won with a deck based on $2's. One of those $2's isn't out yet, but one day it will be, and when that day comes, no-one will build that deck, because man, you can just buy better cards. It's not like you have to make a deck of all $2's work, what craziness would that be...
Fools Gold?
I don't know this David X. fellow...
:-[ This is why you shouldn't drink and post, people!
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Ozle

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Re: How thematic are the expansions?
« Reply #16 on: March 01, 2012, 04:16:11 pm »
0

You can still build working decks out of nothing but $2s.

http://forum.dominionstrategy.com/index.php?topic=1268.0

Or here, where I discovered the card constraint field in SC and surprised Glooble (who creamed me with the boring but effective Herbalist/Big Money)

http://councilroom.com/game?game_id=game-20120219-135957-214da7d3.html


Got to love someone opening Crossroads/Dutchy!
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jotheonah

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Re: How thematic are the expansions?
« Reply #17 on: March 01, 2012, 04:30:16 pm »
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yeah, that was dumb. But I knew the game wouldn't affect rankings, so it seemed like time to try something weird.
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Re: How thematic are the expansions?
« Reply #18 on: September 01, 2012, 10:29:26 am »
0

(Post updated for Dark Ages.)
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Re: How thematic are the expansions?
« Reply #19 on: September 01, 2012, 11:59:01 am »
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A lot of Hinterlands cards seem like perfect fits for seaside, especially the "off theme" Scheme and Develop, while Explorer (gain to hand and special interaction with victory cards) and Embargo (adds a when gain) are perfect fits for hinterlands. They could have been so easily swapped to make both pairs fit the theme. Same goes for swapping Rabble and Cutpurse.

Watchtower could have been swapped with Spice Merchant to make both cards on theme. I would have also swapped Horse Traders and Jack of All Trades (a card that does a variety of things), and Secret Chamber and Oasis (similar cards, but Oasis is more "basic" and has a more pronounced choice), so that Hinterlands would have a big "reactions" theme as well.
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Re: How thematic are the expansions?
« Reply #20 on: September 01, 2012, 12:12:42 pm »
0

I would have also swapped Horse Traders and Jack of All Trades (a card that does a variety of things)

Cornucopia isn't about doing a variety of things though, it's about having a variety of cards.  JoaT tends to pigeon hole you into a uniform deck of JoaT, lots of Silver and maybe a few support cards.  HT gives +Buy to help build variety, plus the discard is really nice for Menagerie.  OK, HT isn't super on theme for Cornucopia, but it's better than Jack!
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AJD

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Re: How thematic are the expansions?
« Reply #21 on: September 01, 2012, 12:13:56 pm »
0

Donald has described Seaside and Hinterlands as counterparts of each other in a couple of places.

It's worth noting, though, that it's desirable for each expansion to have some cards that might seem more at home in other sets, because it's also the case that each expansion wants to be able to fulfill most or all of the basic Dominion functions. For instance, if you swapped Rabble and Cutpurse, Prosperity wouldn't have a Spy/Oracle-type attack.
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Re: How thematic are the expansions?
« Reply #22 on: September 01, 2012, 12:37:38 pm »
+1

For Seaside, there are a couple cards that don't directly affect your next turn, but can be considered something like saving or building up for later - cards like Native Village or Pirate Ship - they're not good now, but they're better once you've used them a few times.
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Re: How thematic are the expansions?
« Reply #23 on: September 02, 2012, 12:46:05 am »
0

Donald X, where does Bazaar fit into Seaside?
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Re: How thematic are the expansions?
« Reply #24 on: September 02, 2012, 01:32:13 am »
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Donald X, where does Bazaar fit into Seaside?

It looks like he forgot to mention it, but I can see it fitting in any expansion. Funny thing is for a long time I kept thinking Bazaar was in the base set because it is kind of similar to Market.
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