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Author Topic: Fan Card Mechanics Week 14: 'Tis the Season  (Read 5895 times)

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Asper

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Re: Fan Card Mechanics Week 14: 'Tis the Season
« Reply #50 on: September 06, 2021, 12:01:22 pm »
+2

The Season mat has 20 spaces, 5 per Season, to reflect the typical phases of a game of Dominion:
  • Spring is the opening
  • Summer is buildup
  • Fall is closing
  • Winter (if it happens) is prolongued endgame.

While three of these can shift, Spring is certainly the one that pushes 5 turns as the standard the most, as this is the lowest number which guarantees that you will see every single one of your opening buys in Spring. Giving Spring only 3 or 4 turns means that you might see some of them randomly miss the Season. This also means that only on-buy and on-gain abilities can care for Spring - at least if you want something that is more than just random happenings.

It's also very relevant for the other Seasons, though. The way we (Co0kieL0rd and I) designed Seasons, one could make an attack that distributes Curses only in Fall, which still works but is too late to hurt players during buildup. We made a Village that you buy during Spring to trash a card, even though nobody needs several Villages early. We made a victory card that rewards you for buying it early, too, and a pile that disappears at the beginning of Fall, a card that you need to open with and play during Spring to max out what it can do, an attack that makes you discard in the middle of the game and topdeck during Spring and Winter, and so on, and so on.

Reducing the turn count ruins this model imo.

NoMoreFun's Wrangler would likely be my pick for winner considering this.
« Last Edit: September 06, 2021, 12:13:34 pm by Asper »
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Re: Fan Card Mechanics Week 14: 'Tis the Season
« Reply #51 on: September 06, 2021, 12:30:05 pm »
+1

The Season mat has 20 spaces, 5 per Season, to reflect the typical phases of a game of Dominion:
  • Spring is the opening
  • Summer is buildup
  • Fall is closing
  • Winter (if it happens) is prolongued endgame.

While three of these can shift, Spring is certainly the one that pushes 5 turns as the standard the most, as this is the lowest number which guarantees that you will see every single one of your opening buys in Spring. Giving Spring only 3 or 4 turns means that you might see some of them randomly miss the Season. This also means that only on-buy and on-gain abilities can care for Spring - at least if you want something that is more than just random happenings.

It's also very relevant for the other Seasons, though. The way we (Co0kieL0rd and I) designed Seasons, one could make an attack that distributes Curses only in Fall, which still works but is too late to hurt players during buildup. We made a Village that you buy during Spring to trash a card, even though nobody needs several Villages early. We made a victory card that rewards you for buying it early, too, and a pile that disappears at the beginning of Fall, a card that you need to open with and play during Spring to max out what it can do, an attack that makes you discard in the middle of the game and topdeck during Spring and Winter, and so on, and so on.

Reducing the turn count ruins this model imo.

NoMoreFun's Wrangler would likely be my pick for winner considering this.

This makes sense; cards made by Co0kieL0rd and you followed the design of the 5-turn per season wheel. Because of that, changing the wheel turn would strangle the intricate design of these Season cards.

However, thatís not to say that other hypothetical cards couldnít be made following a different type of wheel, such as the 3-turn per season one. I think as long as itís stated before, then cards can be properly judged according to which wheel they use. The premise of the Season mechanic is, after all, very much kept at heart.

As for me, personally, I do prefer and advocate for a 3 turn per Season wheel. The Alchemist made a beautiful rendition of it on the first page of this thread. I like it better not only mechanically, but also thematically. For the theme, the most flavourful aspect, we have:
  • A total of 12 spaces on the wheel, which is a perfect imitation of the Gregorian calendar.
  • 3 turns per season, which is like 3 months per season in real life. Pretty accurate once again.
  • The wheel starts in the middle of winter, just like the first month, January, starts in the middle of winter. The game starts at the beginning of a new year!
The matches are so well timed Ė my goopy brain couldnít be happier!
Now, mechanically speaking, I think it too fills a nice niche:
  • Winter is for the first 2 turns. This is kind of funny, as your 2 opening buys fill that winter gap. As if the harshness of winter is the start of it all, and itís slow for you and your opponents to get your kingdom going in these blizzard storms.
  • Spring ends on turn 5, just like it does with the 5 turn wheel. So turn 3, 4 and 5 is spring, which is exactly your first shuffle. You will see your 2 opening buys in Spring. Maybe youíll even see them a second time with a nice turn 5 shuffle.
  • Winter ends on turn 14, which is exactly the average number of turns in your typical Dominion game. With rushes probably ending in Fall, and slogs going for a second turn of the wheel. This is a good way to see how you fare in your game too. Going for a second Spring tells your group that oops, the game was played too slow.
  • The game is also spliced in a nice way. Spring is for you to hit and to see your first two purchases. Summer is to build and get deck control. Fall is to build toward how youíre going to score, such as adding economy to your deck. Winter is to score, pile, and/or end the game. This isnít always true for all games, but I think itís a pretty good baseline.
Anyway, all in all, both systems work. If you design cards for either of them, then it needs to keep the length of the wheel/seasons in mind. I donít think one can simply port a card from one system to the other, as there are fundamentals that are lost otherwise. For instance, the card I submitted for this contest actually would work way worse if it used the regular wheel with 20 spaces on it.
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Asper

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Re: Fan Card Mechanics Week 14: 'Tis the Season
« Reply #52 on: September 06, 2021, 12:47:57 pm »
+1

I will say that thematic games are something I very much enjoy, but Dominion never was such a game, at least not for me. It's nice if it works out, but as far as I'm concerned one shouldn't aim to let that get in design's way.

Mechanically, shorter Seasons mean you are more likely to see Seasons return, meaning that e.g. Winter cards become both opening and endgame cards. I consider it very hard to design cards with this split-up design space. There's a reason your contest winner is a circulating effect that just uses the Seasons as a way to delay itself, and could almost shift every ability one Season back or forth without losing how it works in essence.

I will admit that having the first two turns be Winter does improve the system, but it still means that you can't do opening on-gain abilities that aren't also endgame abilities, and vice versa. I suppose you can mostly emulate the original system other than that, but as I said, I don't see why one would want to lose on-gains. Rewarding players for opening with certain cards was a big thing in original Seasons.

And regarding 14 turns as the typical game length, should I presume you mostly play 1v1?
« Last Edit: September 06, 2021, 01:22:10 pm by Asper »
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Re: Fan Card Mechanics Week 14: 'Tis the Season
« Reply #53 on: September 06, 2021, 01:16:50 pm »
+1

I will say that thematic games are something I very much enjoy, but Dominion never was such a game. It's nice if it works out, but as far as I'm concerned Dominion is designed in a way where one shouldn't aim to let that get in design's way.

I actually agree about how theme should not be put forth to the detriment of gameplay. This isnít just true to Dominion, but to all games in general. I think this design philosophy is very important. For instance, I tend to design cards without name and art, and then I slap some flavour to tie everything together (this isnít always true, I sometimes succumb to flavourful ideasÖ Iím only human too, hehe). This is how Donald X. does it too I reckon.

That being said, if the theme can align with the gameplay and the two can coexist without one hindering the other, then bam! Thatís a nice bonus and now both ideas benefit from one another. I believe this can be the case here.


I will admit that having the first two turns be Winter does improve the system, but it still means that you can't do opening on-gain abilities that aren't also endgame abilities, and vice versa. I suppose you can mostly emulate the original system other than that, but as I said, I don't see why one would want to lose on-gains solely for *theme*.

I donít think it canít do it, but I will concede that it is a harder goal to achieve indeed. A card could, for instance, do something very neat when gained during Winter, and stay mostly idle on-play until winter comes around again (turn 12 onward). The design space is not completely negated here.
But while some design doors shut themselves with this new wheel, others open. For instance, winter will come around more often in the shorter wheel, which means Season cards using it can exploit that better. Likewise, shorter seasons means more season changes. Cards that care about the number of time seasons have changed in a given game can do stuff with that. There are more ideas out there, probably.


And regarding 14 turns as the typical game length, should I presume you mostly play 1v1?

Online, I mostly do 2-player games, yes. In real life with the physical game, I vastly prefer 3-player games (and I prefer playing in real life overall). I donít play 4-player games or above anymore.
« Last Edit: September 06, 2021, 01:41:43 pm by X-tra »
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Asper

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Re: Fan Card Mechanics Week 14: 'Tis the Season
« Reply #54 on: September 06, 2021, 01:23:18 pm »
+2

The reason why I asked for your typical player count was because games with more players tend to have scarcer engine parts and you are more likely to get hit by attacks, which would lead me to say that the average is more around 15 to 16 turns. While this may not seem like much of a difference, it shifts the beginning of Winter into the endgame (instead of its end), meaning that when you buy cards that are best later, you also make the estimation of whether the game will live long enough to use them to full effect (i.e. you can make a card cheap in Spring but great in Winter). This also gets lost here.

Either way, I apologize for complaining so much, I just didn't want to leave the impression 5 turn Seasons had been made on a whim. I think this is where the Seasons mechanic works the best and offers the most design space.

That said, thank you for using our mechanic in this contest :)
« Last Edit: September 06, 2021, 01:28:41 pm by Asper »
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Re: Fan Card Mechanics Week 14: 'Tis the Season
« Reply #55 on: September 06, 2021, 01:34:27 pm »
+2

The reason why I asked for your typical player count was because games with more players tend to have scarcer engine parts and you are more likely to get hit by attacks, which would lead me to say that the average is more around 15 to 16 turns. While this may not seem like much of a difference, it shifts the beginning of Winter into the endgame (instead of its end), meaning that when you buy cards that are best later, you also make the estimation of whether the game will live long enough to use them to full effect (i.e. you can make a game cheap in Spring but great in Winter). This also gets lost here.

Either way, I apologize for complaining so much, I just didn't want to leave the impression 5 turn Seasons had been made on a whim. I think this is where the Seasons mechanic works the best and offers the most design space.

That said, thank you for using our mechanic in this contest :)

I never had the impression that this cool game mechanic was made on a whim. This is one of the most well-known fan mechanic out there in the Dominion community. I even have it on Tabletop Simulator, downloaded from the Steam Workshop before Rio Grande pulled the plug. It mostly comes down to a personal preference of mine. Me liking the shorter wheel better is just a reflection of what I prefer in Dominion, it's not to take a jab at the Season game mechanic at all!

Plus, the cards you guys have made, like I said, were designed with the bigger wheel in mind, and indeed stuff would cease working as intended if it used a different one. So all in all, the thing I was fundamentally trying to point at with my initial wall of text is: Cards should be made and should try to work within the bounds of the gameplay mechanics they use. Cards trying to go for the shorter wheel need to keep it in mind - and vice-versa.
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