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Author Topic: The Top 20 Best Designed Cards  (Read 2115 times)

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Commodore Chuckles

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Re: The Top 20 Best Designed Cards
« Reply #25 on: January 11, 2019, 11:27:16 pm »
+2

Interesting analysis. Here's what I think are the ten cards that have cleverest or most thoughtful design:

10. Doctor
Doctor can be very frustrating to use. Overall, though, the way it works is unique, and rewards careful strategy. The overpay part is also neat and fits very nicely with the main effect.

9. Butcher
The posts before did a good job explaining why this card is so well-designed. In general, it does a good job avoiding the frustrating aspects of other Remodelers.

8. Forager
Before Forager, there were two attempts at the idea of a card that gets better as the game goes on. Trade Route was a total flop: hard to use, even more difficult to power up, and with an overly complicated setup as well. City was much better but still awkward, as it starts out as just a very pricy Village and its own pile affects its power level. Forager, though, is a truly great implementation of the idea. At the beginning it's not strong, but it's still something you want, easy to get, and not awkward to use. Then, its own ability helps to power it up! And it doesn't require a complicated setup with mats and tokens either.

7. Engineer
The biggest problem with Workshop variants is that they end up as dead cards once you're gained all the cheap stuff you want. Hey, how about letting that Workshop trash itself, and then gain an extra card when it does? Yes please! The Debt cost is also clever: it helps you bootstrap your deck by getting it earlier, but it also prevents it from gaining itself, which might make it broken on certain boards.

6. Settlers/Bustling Village
Settlers is an okay $2 card - sometimes it's good, other times it's useless but still harmless. It can be awkward to use and it doesn't like you to trash your Coppers, but hey, it's only $2. The clever part, though, is how it interacts with Bustling Village: it ends up still being useful even if you have no Coppers, which is likely to be the case when you get to the Bustling Villages. Nice!

5. Temple
The difference between trashing one card per turn and trashing two is enormous, but the "differently-named-cards" requirement is a great way to find a power level in between. The Gathering mechanic, combined with how it can trash itself, also encourages people to empty the pile of a type of card that normally only goes one per person.

4. Night Watchman
As pointed out, earlier cards had trouble implementing the "set up your next turn" thing. Night Watchman, though, does it brilliantly. You play it at the end of your turn, which avoids Cartographer's problems, but it also doesn't take an Action to play, which avoids Navigator's problems. It also exploits the Night mechanic the most out of all the Nocturne cards. Not only does it have the gain-to-hand trick, but it has the additional trick of triggering a reshuffle and top-decking cards you just bought.

3. Torturer
So, I know a lot of people really hate this card, but I am not one of those people. The concept of letting your opponents choose their punishment is great in and of itself, but there are other details that make the card even better. The fact that it's easy to chain helps to put on the pressure and makes the card's choices as interesting (and interestingly painful) as they are. Gaining the Curse to hand is a clever way to temper the card's cruelty: it lets you potentially trash it right away and also gives you something to discard instead of your good cards.

2. Triumph
Yup, another Empires card (It's my favorite expansion if you couldn't tell :P). Few things are more satisfying than gaining and buying a huge haul and then topping it all off with a Triumph. The Debt cost certainly helps with that: pay it off on your hungover next turn, or end the game before then. The Estate-gaining was a smart addition: it gives extra points while also preventing endless point-gaining.

1. Conspirator
This is a perfect example of card whose high power makes it fun to play with while still being reasonably strategically deep and not monolithic. When it duds, it's very bad, encouraging you buy a lot of other things, but it's still not completely useless, which feels nice.
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Asper

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Re: The Top 20 Best Designed Cards
« Reply #26 on: January 12, 2019, 05:28:47 am »
0

Doctor was the first card I ever owned where I am not to date able to tell you what it does by heart. It's some trashing, top of deck, I think with matches? And then it does the same thing as overpay, or no, a very similar but not identical thing... Maybe it makes sense once you play a few games with it, but this never left our box.

Donald X.

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Re: The Top 20 Best Designed Cards
« Reply #27 on: January 12, 2019, 06:55:33 pm »
+1

Doctor was the first card I ever owned where I am not to date able to tell you what it does by heart. It's some trashing, top of deck, I think with matches? And then it does the same thing as overpay, or no, a very similar but not identical thing... Maybe it makes sense once you play a few games with it, but this never left our box.
We had this experience during Renaissance testing. Doctor was in the game, and someone said, man I don't want to read that.
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Asper

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Re: The Top 20 Best Designed Cards
« Reply #28 on: January 14, 2019, 03:05:19 am »
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Doctor was the first card I ever owned where I am not to date able to tell you what it does by heart. It's some trashing, top of deck, I think with matches? And then it does the same thing as overpay, or no, a very similar but not identical thing... Maybe it makes sense once you play a few games with it, but this never left our box.
We had this experience during Renaissance testing. Doctor was in the game, and someone said, man I don't want to read that.
For me it's mostly the fact that both things are so similar, really. It would be easier if the parts felt like they complimented each other, like on the other overpay cards, or were actually the same, like on Noble Brigand. I don't even know whether the card is good or bad, just that I never felt I could explain it in short words to my play group. That said, Guilds is still one of our favourite expansions, and sees a lot of use at our table. Baker's setup is perfect.

Cuzz

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Re: The Top 20 Best Designed Cards
« Reply #29 on: January 14, 2019, 03:38:27 pm »
0

Doctor was the first card I ever owned where I am not to date able to tell you what it does by heart. It's some trashing, top of deck, I think with matches? And then it does the same thing as overpay, or no, a very similar but not identical thing... Maybe it makes sense once you play a few games with it, but this never left our box.
We had this experience during Renaissance testing. Doctor was in the game, and someone said, man I don't want to read that.
For me it's mostly the fact that both things are so similar, really. It would be easier if the parts felt like they complimented each other, like on the other overpay cards, or were actually the same, like on Noble Brigand. I don't even know whether the card is good or bad, just that I never felt I could explain it in short words to my play group. That said, Guilds is still one of our favourite expansions, and sees a lot of use at our table. Baker's setup is perfect.

This is a similar issue I have with Graverobber. You're upgrading or pulling from the trash, there are some cost restrictions, something has to be an action, sometimes it goes on top of deck, but I cannot ever remember which goes with what.
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Commodore Chuckles

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Re: The Top 20 Best Designed Cards
« Reply #30 on: January 14, 2019, 06:05:59 pm »
0

Doctor was the first card I ever owned where I am not to date able to tell you what it does by heart. It's some trashing, top of deck, I think with matches? And then it does the same thing as overpay, or no, a very similar but not identical thing... Maybe it makes sense once you play a few games with it, but this never left our box.
We had this experience during Renaissance testing. Doctor was in the game, and someone said, man I don't want to read that.
For me it's mostly the fact that both things are so similar, really. It would be easier if the parts felt like they complimented each other, like on the other overpay cards, or were actually the same, like on Noble Brigand. I don't even know whether the card is good or bad, just that I never felt I could explain it in short words to my play group. That said, Guilds is still one of our favourite expansions, and sees a lot of use at our table. Baker's setup is perfect.

This is a similar issue I have with Graverobber. You're upgrading or pulling from the trash, there are some cost restrictions, something has to be an action, sometimes it goes on top of deck, but I cannot ever remember which goes with what.

I've never been confused by Doctor. To me personally, the card is very intuitive. On-play, you look for matches. On overpay, you look at individual cards.

I sort of agree about Graverobber, though. It's less intuitive and more arbitrary.
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