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theory

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Interview with Donald X.
« on: December 07, 2012, 12:41:21 pm »
+14

We're going to post an interview with Donald X. on the main blog.  Of course, the man is friendly and active enough in this community already, but we thought this would be a nice thing to post on the main blog in time for all those people getting Dominion as a gift this holiday season.

Post your questions here and we'll pick out some of the most popular to collate into a formal interview.
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theory

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #1 on: December 07, 2012, 12:43:56 pm »
+8

You've said many times before that Guilds is the last of the "standard" Dominion expansions.  Have you given any thought to what you want to do with Dominion after Guilds?

What lessons have you learned about the game design process in general from making Dominion?  How has it informed your subsequent games?

What is your personal favorite Dominion card and why?

At what point during the process of making Dominion did you realize that it was not just any other board game, but one that was going to be a really special game?
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Insomniac

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #2 on: December 07, 2012, 12:47:29 pm »
+5

Are you still leaning towards Dominion 2 over more expansions?
What kind of things would you want in Dominion 2 that couldn't be incorporated with the rules as they stand?
Any hints or tastes of what we can expect in Guilds?
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DG

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #3 on: December 07, 2012, 12:49:43 pm »
+8

What problems found in other games are you most happy to have avoided in Dominion?
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GendoIkari

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #4 on: December 07, 2012, 12:53:57 pm »
+3

What is your favorite board game that you designed?

What is your favorite board game that you didn't design?

How did you decide on the theme for Dominion?
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dondon151

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #5 on: December 07, 2012, 12:57:54 pm »
+5

What is your favorite Pokemon?
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #6 on: December 07, 2012, 12:58:36 pm »
+5

How have isotropic and the online forum community affected the development of Dominion expansions?

Besides specific card changes, is there anything you would have done differently in Dominion development if you had it all to do over again?

What goals do you have for yourself as a game designer (if you haven't reached them all already)?

What are your favorite games to play that you did not design?

What are your interests besides board games?
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philosophyguy

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #7 on: December 07, 2012, 01:01:40 pm »
+1

How often does the community come up with something that you never thought of?

What's the most inventive/unusual deck you've seen work out?
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werothegreat

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #8 on: December 07, 2012, 01:18:05 pm »
+4

Was Dominion always Medieval Europe themed, or did you try other/no themes at some point, like space or zombies or the stock market?

What do you think of the anime girls Japanese version of Dominion?

Would you say that, with Guilds, you've explored all the game space available for Dominion without resorting to mechanics that would change the game inherently?

If Dominion had been computerized from the start, are there mechanics you would have liked to have tried that would only work on a computer? (random numbers, etc)

Do you have any favorite wacky translations of card names or card text into other languages?

If you could go back and edit any Dominion cards, knowing what you do now, which would you and why?

What's your favorite color?
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werothegreat

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #9 on: December 07, 2012, 01:19:42 pm »
+5

As a community, we've explored quite a lot of the possibilities of cards and their combinations.  Is there anything we haven't hit upon yet that you're surprised we haven't?
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eHalcyon

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #10 on: December 07, 2012, 01:28:42 pm »
+5

Similar to the above -- do you ever look at fan cards?  If so, do you have a favourite?
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #11 on: December 07, 2012, 01:41:13 pm »
+5

What is your favorite combo, or engine?

Do you still play a lot of Dominion, or has that tapered off so you can concentrate on other projects?
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Tables

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #12 on: December 07, 2012, 01:41:48 pm »
+2

What is your personal favorite Dominion card and why?

We already know the answer to this, it's Rats.

Have you played any of the various other deckbuilder games (e.g. Ascension, Thunderstone, Legendary etc.) and if so, do you enjoy (m)any of them? Do any have mechanics that you'd have liked to use?

Suppose a new player just got the base game for Christmas, but wants to get an expansion immediately because they love the game. Which expansions would you recommend?
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michaeljb

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #13 on: December 07, 2012, 01:42:01 pm »
0

Adding on to other fan cards questions...Agricola Gamers Deck was designed by fans. Is there any chance of something similar happening with Dominion, perhaps using the Mini-Set Design Contest hosted by rinkworks as a starting point?
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #14 on: December 07, 2012, 01:55:45 pm »
+5

You've mentioned before that if you had the KC/Masquerade pin in playtesting you would have nerfed it a bit.  Can you share any other powerful combos that got destroyed in playtesting?
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #15 on: December 07, 2012, 02:09:54 pm »
+1

Will we ever see another purpose for the "while this is in play" (on cards like Goons and Haggler) clause apart from limiting a card's power with King's Court/Throne Room (or seriously nerfing it with Procession)?

(I guess Lighthouse already is an example, but that's still limited to Duration cards, I'm looking for something more general)
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #16 on: December 07, 2012, 02:24:03 pm »
+10

If you play on isotropic competitively how high do you expect your level to be?
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cherdano

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #17 on: December 07, 2012, 02:38:41 pm »
+5

What brought me to dominion was that I realized right away that there was a fantastic community discussing dominion strategy. Thanks to this community, dominion is IMO played at a higher level than any other recently invented board game (i.e., any game other than the classics chess, go, bridge). Are you worried at all that this community will no longer thrive once the free dominion online implementations will shut down?
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aaron0013

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #18 on: December 07, 2012, 02:43:38 pm »
+3

When did you first become interested in making board games?

Do you have any advice for ambitious game designers?
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Polk5440

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #19 on: December 07, 2012, 03:39:26 pm »
+3

Did you design Dominion with any particular type of person in mind?

When was the first time you realized, "Wow, this is going to be a big hit!"?

How do you pick the kingdom cards when you play Dominion with your friends?

How has your life changed now that you are rich and famous?
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philosophyguy

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #20 on: December 07, 2012, 03:44:50 pm »
+1

Why did you cap the number of turns you can take via Outpost but not via Possession?
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Young Nick

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #21 on: December 07, 2012, 03:52:00 pm »
0

Have simulators helped shape some of the cards? For example, you obviously knew about BMU as a strategy before the game was clearly released, but maybe were not aware of how potent BM + Courtyard is. Have any cards been nerfed, buffed, or scrapped because of their BM play and have simulators influenced this?
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #22 on: December 07, 2012, 05:22:40 pm »
+1

Of the many people you've met (both irl and online) through the making of this wondrous game we call Dominion, who do you think has had the biggest effect on how the game has evolved over time? Who has had the biggest effect on how the community has evolved over time?
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"Chicken Chicken Chicken"-Donald X
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #23 on: December 07, 2012, 05:31:46 pm »
+6

Have you ever ragequit a game of Dominion, and why?
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SirPeebles

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #24 on: December 07, 2012, 05:39:57 pm »
+2

Why did you cap the number of turns you can take via Outpost but not via Possession?

I'm not Donald X., but isn't this obvious?  Imagine having a deck of Village-Monument-Outpost-Outpost.  Possession doesn't lead to infinite turns.
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michaeljb

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #25 on: December 07, 2012, 05:43:07 pm »
0

Why did you cap the number of turns you can take via Outpost but not via Possession?

I'm not Donald X., but isn't this obvious?  Imagine having a deck of Village-Monument-Outpost-Outpost.  Possession doesn't lead to infinite turns.

I think philosophyguy is more asking "Why isn't Possession limited, like Outpost?" rather than "Why isn't Outpost unlimited, like Possession?"
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SwitchedFromStarcraft

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #26 on: December 07, 2012, 05:50:42 pm »
+6

You've been very generous with your time in this community, especially in light of how busy you must be.  How do you decide what merits you taking the time to post here (or at BGG)?

If you were a blue dog, what breed would you be?
« Last Edit: December 07, 2012, 05:53:32 pm by SwitchedFromStarcraft »
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Quote from: Donald X.
Posting begets posting.

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Donald X made me a design snob.

There is a sucker born every minute.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #27 on: December 07, 2012, 09:52:00 pm »
+2

Has competitive Dominion gone further than you originally expected, with both live and internet tournaments worldwide and a healthy community of serious players discussing and writing about Dominion here on Dominion Strategy?

Do you think Dominion's primary audience is somewhat to seriously competitive players who mainly play online, or more of the "family game" audience who will pick it up occasionally but never know what Big Money means? Does this influence the game's design, as well as its presentation both in real life as well as the official online implementation?
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sparky5856

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #28 on: December 07, 2012, 09:57:15 pm »
+2

Have you ever considered participating in forum mafia?
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #29 on: December 07, 2012, 10:34:00 pm »
+5

Have you looked at the Dominion memes thread? If so, do you have a favorite?
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thirtyseven

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #30 on: December 07, 2012, 11:09:46 pm »
0

Do you open double Ambassador or Ambassador/Silver?

What is your favorite beer? If you don't drink beer, favorite alcoholic drink? If you don't drink alcohol, favorite drink?
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #31 on: December 08, 2012, 12:07:38 am »
+2

What game do you consider a guilty pleasure? That is, you think it's poorly designed or has serious flaws in some way, but you enjoy it anyways.

Can you give an example of when you had to make a game design decision due to business factors (like cards per expansion, or cost or something), and it turned out better than you expected? How about (heresy!) worse?

If there were such thing as a perfectly designed game, which player skills do you think it would emphasize, and which skills would be secondary concerns?

What is your best source of inspiration for new cards? What is your best source of feedback?
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #32 on: December 08, 2012, 02:57:34 am »
+31

I'm just going to start answering questions, because, what, I don't need to skip a question that wasn't good enough for the front page, and this way you can post follow-up questions. Theory can pick what stuff to use based on how interesting the answer was, and no-one who doesn't look at the forums will ever be the wiser.

You've said many times before that Guilds is the last of the "standard" Dominion expansions.  Have you given any thought to what you want to do with Dominion after Guilds?
I would like to do spin-offs that have "Dominion" in the title. Not unrelated stuff like Cardcassonne, but clearly related games which nevertheless are different enough to not just be expansions.

For Dominion itself, probably there will be a promo or two, I think Jay would be interested if I handed him one now. Also probably an online-only promo that couldn't exist irl. Some kind of "treasure chest" small expansion in the future, with 1-2 cards for each existing expansion, sounds more doable than any other new Dominion expansion, but has the issue that it would appeal to a smaller audience than a more normal expansion. Also it has the issue that Jay would note this. At one point I was considering doing a Seaside expansion in place of Guilds (not having come up with Guilds yet). And Jay was like, isn't a new thing better than more of an old thing? And it was, it was better.

What lessons have you learned about the game design process in general from making Dominion?  How has it informed your subsequent games?
I've learned some stuff about interacting with publishers and playtesters and interviewers. Dominion was the direct inspiration for Kingdom Builder - Kingdom Builder started out with deckbuilding. I'm not sure it's done so much other than that. I started seriously working on games in 1995. Dominion had years of lessons learned from other games to draw on, and is full of stuff that I had already learned. For example I had been doing "attacks hurt everyone but you" since 1997. I guess I have gotten a little better at wording cards through Dominion.

What is your personal favorite Dominion card and why?
In Magic psychograph terms I am a Johnny; I like to have unique experiences in games, to be creative. A lot of my favorite Dominion cards involve exotic experiences and combos. Overall my favorite is Rats, from Dark Ages. You give your kingdom a Rat problem and then somehow this works out for you. Dark Ages is my favorite expansion, and it's because of all the various ways it gives you an exotic deck or crazy combo.

At what point during the process of making Dominion did you realize that it was not just any other board game, but one that was going to be a really special game?
It was clear immediately that it worked, that it would be a good game. For a week or two it was just that, it could go in the pile with my other good games. When I made Dominion I had a game night and a Magic night. Dominion took over the game night immediately and the Magic night within a few weeks. Then we got in more nights of Dominion because how was that enough. I made some new games a month or so later and no-one wanted to try them, they just wanted more Dominion. And more people got to play it and they would just play for however long we had. So, gradually over a couple months, it became clear that here was the game, and why wasn't I trying to get anything published. The first game of Dominion was on Oct 30 2006; I email'd RGG Jan 22 2007.
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #33 on: December 08, 2012, 03:05:20 am »
+8

Are you still leaning towards Dominion 2 over more expansions?
Yes.

What kind of things would you want in Dominion 2 that couldn't be incorporated with the rules as they stand?
Well I would either add something significant, or change the basic game in some way. I don't really want to give anything away, so like, consider say A Few Acres of Snow or Mage Knight (I have not played these games). Why can't those games just be Dominion expansions? Man, the question doesn't even make sense; they are clearly separate games. Whereas, the various Dominion clones that could actually be Dominion expansions, which I don't like naming, those are not what I am looking to make.

Any hints or tastes of what we can expect in Guilds?
It's a small expansion (150 cards). It's the most complex expansion, and is more skill-based than the other expansions. Jay has the files and art is being made, so it's on track for getting pushed back from early spring to late spring.
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blueblimp

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #34 on: December 08, 2012, 03:08:24 am »
+1

Dominion is popular both in real life (as designed) and on computer (isotropic and other sites). Me, I enjoy both platforms, in different ways.

Have you considered or dabbled with designing a game specifically for computer or some other electronic doodad (iPad, etc.)?
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #35 on: December 08, 2012, 03:09:22 am »
+8

What problems found in other games are you most happy to have avoided in Dominion?
The most ubiquitous problem of other games that Dominion solves is politics. You generally can't get rid of politics in interactive decision-based games, but you can dial it down, and Dominion does a good job of that. That's just something normal for me though, I am always looking at that, and so Dominion doesn't stand out in that way for me.

A way that Dominion does stand out is, it has a good solution to the tableau problem. You have a game where each turn you play a card, and they have abilities that do things for you. There are four players. After six turns there are 24 cards in play and it's impossible to make sure everything happens that's supposed to. Dominion solves this by hiding your abilities in a deck, so we only have to worry about a few things at a time. I am not sure if too many games are affected by this problem, but I have faced it a bunch, being fond of games where you get lots of abilities.
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #36 on: December 08, 2012, 03:37:42 am »
+4

What is your favorite board game that you designed?
Dominion! If you mean "no really, that has a board, a real board" then Kingdom Builder. In both cases I am including expansions okay.

What is your favorite board game that you didn't design?
Magic: The Gathering, by a mile. If again it has to really have a board, then I'm not sure I have a clear favorite. I have more games by Knizia than anyone else, and like to single out Clash of Gladiators as a favorite that people don't seem to know about, although probably I played Medici more, but that doesn't count because I made an expansion for it to give it variety.

How did you decide on the theme for Dominion?
Right around then, I had been meaning to make a game with a medieval kingdom-building theme. I did not know that this theme had like, been done; I was not too up on such things. It was flavor I liked and I hadn't done it yet, or at least not in a game that worked out. My most common theme is 20's gangsters; Infiltration started out as thugs robbing a bubble gum factory (they are stealing money and valuables though, I don't know why people who hear that think they are stealing bubble gum), and I have contracts for two games that started out gangster-themed, although I rethemed one of them. I've done a bunch of time travel, D&D-ish stuff, and movie stuff. I have more exotic themes too but in general don't want to spoil them; maybe I will do those one day.

Anyway, I had been meaning to do medieval kingdom-building, it looked like a good fit here, I used that flavor, it did not have problems. I had been thinking kingdoms, but the initial batch of cards all involved a castle, so I called it Castle Builder. I moved outside the castle for the second expansion, which I therefore referred to as Abroad. That expansion in the long run got split into Seaside and Hinterlands; Seaside got its flavor from a few cards that were on the shore already, and Hinterlands took over the getting-away-from-the-castle flavor.

I might as well do the other expansions. Intrigue probably comes from, initially I thought I might do like an event deck for an expansion. In the end that seemed pointless; you get plenty of variety from changing what cards are available, and your opponents attacking is like an event already. It ended up with an event theme anyway though, via one-shots, and then when it lost that functional theme it kept the flavor. Which was intrigue, because like, what kinds of events happen in castles?

Alchemy got its theme from the idea of adding a resource, and what would it be. Prosperity gots its theme from its mechanical theme of spendy cards and treasures that do things. That makes it really on-theme, I mean you really feel like the theme matches the functionality. Cornucopia just came from a list of potential themes I made when I needed more themes. It was originally Harvest Festival; they are proper medieval things. Dark Ages was originally War; it was an obvious direction to shift to when war turned out not to be a suitable theme for Hans im Gluck. And War had come from, you know, the Crusades and stuff. Finally Guilds got its theme from a few card names. Those of you speculating as if I started with "guilds" and then tried to make a neat mechanic, no guys, as usual I started with cards and then needed a theme for them.
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #37 on: December 08, 2012, 03:39:00 am »
+20

What is your favorite Pokemon?
Since I am regularly on the internet, I have seen names of pokemon, and have seen images of them, but I do not really have enough information to make an informed decision here. Is there one that makes copies of itself while destroying things?
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Jimmmmm

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #38 on: December 08, 2012, 03:57:29 am »
+6

There's Rattata, but I'm not sure it works in the same way.
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #39 on: December 08, 2012, 04:14:32 am »
+6

How have isotropic and the online forum community affected the development of Dominion expansions?
The big isotropic thing is just, we used it for testing, and it was pretty convenient and easy to use, so we got tons of extra testing in that way. So the later expansions are all better due to having that good way to playtest them.

Intrigue was finalized when Dominion came out, so Seaside is the first time any feedback from fans could have meant anything. I am sure some things have changed due to that feedback. One thing was, it turned out people didn't like the idea of an attack that doesn't produce resources. So I stopped doing those after Sea Hag (well not counting Sir Michael). That was not something I would have known otherwise. Alchemy made it clear that I had to make sure cards weren't too slow to resolve; Wandering Minstrel is an example of a card that got tweaked specifically because of that. Alchemy also made me steer clear of things like a new resource in the future, although probably Guilds is the only place I might have done something like that. Some people don't like cards that make them not draw their good cards (such as Loan), so I pulled back on those, although that kind of thing isn't verboten, I just work more to make sure those cards are worth having.

Besides specific card changes, is there anything you would have done differently in Dominion development if you had it all to do over again?
I would probably change how reactions work, actually to make them how they originally worked, which is, you play them at special times (so, they end up in play). This would have been simpler, and better for like everything but Moat, but Moat was the main set one and so I warped them to make Moat better.

What goals do you have for yourself as a game designer (if you haven't reached them all already)?
The big one is to have a current project I can really get stuff done on; something that we enjoy playing that's far enough along that it's easy to work on. Whenever I don't have such a project, that is the big thing, I need a new one.

Mostly I just want to make games we like to play; if they turn out to be publishable then that's great. Sometimes I specifically work on games for particular companies, and sometimes I am trying to make new German family games. I will work on something skill-heavy and then want to do something light.

I guess also, I want to get as many of my existing good games published as possible, and especially, before other people think of them and get them published. My big regret as a game designer is not getting a Magic-style drafting game published ahead of 7 Wonders. I have several good ones; the first one is from 1998.

What are your favorite games to play that you did not design?
Magic: The Gathering was my favorite game for many years. I gradually stopped playing in 2006-2007 due to Dominion taking over that time.

What are your interests besides board games?
I am a big music fan. 2012 has not been a great year, but the Guided by Voices album Class Clown Spots a UFO and the Amanda Palmer album Theatre Is Evil were stand-outs.

I have written a bunch of very short stories and also some normal-length screenplays. I've written some songs but don't really play an instrument. Wait, did you say board games? I also like video games. I made the best computer game ever, Dudes of Stuff and Things (my take on Heroes of Might and Magic III, which was the best computer game ever in its day).
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #40 on: December 08, 2012, 04:20:00 am »
+4

How often does the community come up with something that you never thought of?
I think the only real surprise has been King's Court / Masquerade / Goons. You can easily play a set of 10 that I haven't, and maybe see something I haven't, but you know, that's the nature of the game. Probably there are tons of random low-profile combos I haven't played that people have talked about, but you know, not like King's Court / Masquerade.

What's the most inventive/unusual deck you've seen work out?
Back when Trader's reaction was on a $2, Bill Barksdale built a Squire / Pawn / that-Trader / Chapel-or-something deck in one game, vs. Knights, that was immune to them and then suddenly exploded in Silver and bought Provinces.
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #41 on: December 08, 2012, 04:32:22 am »
+7

Was Dominion always Medieval Europe themed, or did you try other/no themes at some point, like space or zombies or the stock market?
Always medieval Europe.

What do you think of the anime girls Japanese version of Dominion?
If you mean the Hobby Japan one(s), I officially endorse it, it is called Dominion and everything. Best Woodcutter ever.

Would you say that, with Guilds, you've explored all the game space available for Dominion without resorting to mechanics that would change the game inherently?
You are implying false things. In order to make more expansions, the cards necessarily get more complex, and that's the real problem with making more expansions (in addition to, then it's all I do with my life, and don't people have enough variety already, and so on, all the stuff I say over and over when people ask about why I'm not making more expansions). It's okay to change the game and there is more space to explore; it's just, you are pushed into making more and more complex things, while the audience already wants things less complex than they are.

If Dominion had been computerized from the start, are there mechanics you would have liked to have tried that would only work on a computer? (random numbers, etc)
Meh, not really. The big thing you get out of a computer is tracking; you can do more stuff like Pirate Ship and Monument without worrying about it. I did those cards anyway though. If I were really making a computer-only Dominion-like game though, it would probably end up nothing like Dominion. There's no real point in simulating cards on a computer, except you know, when there's a real-life card game you want on your computer.

Do you have any favorite wacky translations of card names or card text into other languages?
I am not up on those things. Mountebank was called Trickster at one point, and I had to rename it because the German version of Swindler was Trickster (only in German). That isn't wacky, that is just about the limit of my interaction with card names in other languages.

If you could go back and edit any Dominion cards, knowing what you do now, which would you and why?
Fortunately there is an essay about this already, which you can see in the dominionstrategy.com forums. http://forum.dominionstrategy.com/index.php?topic=3179.msg56362#msg56362

What's your favorite color?
Green. Since no-one would ask this question without thinking of Monty Python, I will mention that my favorite Monty Python member is Cleese, although, what, most people probably pick Cleese.
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #42 on: December 08, 2012, 04:33:18 am »
+10

As a community, we've explored quite a lot of the possibilities of cards and their combinations.  Is there anything we haven't hit upon yet that you're surprised we haven't?
Man, don't you want to find it yourself?
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #43 on: December 08, 2012, 04:58:05 am »
+13

Similar to the above -- do you ever look at fan cards?  If so, do you have a favourite?
I don't usually look at them, because 1) I don't want people feeling like I'm taking their ideas, which probably I had years ago, not because I am amazing but because the obvious ideas are obvious and I had a big head start; and 2) the cards that aren't in sets already are usually awful, nonstop things I wouldn't do that are boring and redundant or else obviously bad for the game in some way, and if it's not obvious then I already tried them and found out the hard way. At best they are things I'm already doing; none of it is good reading.

Let's do an experiment, I will look at the first four cards of "Books of Magic," the first listed fan expansion at BGG. I am looking at the first four images sorted the default way ("hot"), skipping the big image of a card sheet.

Ghost Town: My first version of this was called Fool's Gold and was "+$2. Put this card into your hand." That turned into a card that gave you +$2 and an extra +$2 for each unused action you had when you played it, then +$1, then I made it into Diadem.

Book of the Dead: Getting something from the trash and saving a card for next turn were the two most suggested card premises ever (prior to those cards being published), followed maybe by a reaction to punish attackers. This card manages to put the card on your deck like Graverobber does, but of course is missing the crucial "provide a way to get stuff into the trash that you'll want" part.

Fairy Gold: The first version of Feast was this only with +1 Action, for $4. It was too strong and turned into the Feast you know. I eventually did a one-shot Gold that you can't buy, with Spoils.

Gravedigger: I haven't actually done giving yourself a Curse in a published card, although Death Cart gets close. I tried multiple cards that gave yourself a Curse; everyone hated them. Death Cart dodges the problem by giving you a use for the Ruins.

So, four-for-four, nothing new or interesting here. Sorry Books of Magic guy, it was just an example.

Sir Bailey made Courtyard, but he managed that because he showed me his homemade cards when I didn't have that many homemade cards of my own yet. Even so I had already done "+2 cards +1 action, put 2 cards from your hand on your deck," but abandoned it because it played so slowly. Dame Josephine similarly managed to get Counting House in relatively early on.

I will cite two favorite fan cards though.

As I said most are awful. The stand-out awful card, the epitome of awful fan cards, was one called Locusts that read "each other player discards a Gardens." First the guy of course must have meant "trashes a Gardens card from his hand" but blew it and ended up with the most useless thing ever. If he had gotten it right then it would still be crazy awful. He started with the flavor of "locusts destroy plants" and did not think of "wait you have to want to play the card though." The old Magic expansions Legends has stuff like this, where they made flavor-based stuff and just did not consider, why would anyone play this.

There has been to date exactly one card I saw where I thought, hey, cool idea. It was something like, "when you gain this put it in the discard pile of the player to your left; at end of game worth 2 VP for the player to your right." I have done hot-potato cards that did not work out and probably this would fail for the same reasons, but still, neat idea.
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #44 on: December 08, 2012, 05:34:12 am »
+8

What is your favorite combo, or engine?

Do you still play a lot of Dominion, or has that tapered off so you can concentrate on other projects?
I'm not sure I want to try to pick out a favorite combo (he said, after staring at the visual spoilers). I generally like stuff I haven't done over stuff I have, so anything I especially liked, I've done to death and no longer enjoy as much.

I have played very little Dominion irl in the last year. It's all done, so the only times it's come up were when I had just finished something and felt like I needed to offer up something different to play at a game night. I have playtested a bunch on goko, although I haven't done that as much in the last month either, due to it crashing on Chrome.
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #45 on: December 08, 2012, 05:47:25 am »
+5

Have you played any of the various other deckbuilder games (e.g. Ascension, Thunderstone, Legendary etc.) and if so, do you enjoy (m)any of them? Do any have mechanics that you'd have liked to use?

Suppose a new player just got the base game for Christmas, but wants to get an expansion immediately because they love the game. Which expansions would you recommend?
I have not played any of the various Dominion-based games. I have zero interest in the clones. Of the actual new games, I would try Friday or A Few Acres of Snow sometime, if it came up. The only game that has stuff I might have done, or might still do, is Mage Knight. Dominion started as a solution to a problem in a game of building fantasy heroes and going on quests, and I still feel like I'd like to make that game someday. And the way I would handle hit points is the same as Mage Knight (iirc) - you just get Curses weighing you down, so you don't have to track hit points separately.

I specifically made Intrigue to be the first expansion, and saved Prosperity for 3rd (4th because Alchemy got pushed ahead) so that you had time to get used to not having Colony before getting it. And then the sets get more complex later. So you might think I would just say, go in order, shifting Alchemy to last. However! I feel like I got better at making sets as of Seaside; the main set and Intrigue both have a greater number of uh weak / narrow cards. So I would say, get Seaside.
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #46 on: December 08, 2012, 05:56:43 am »
+5

Adding on to other fan cards questions...Agricola Gamers Deck was designed by fans. Is there any chance of something similar happening with Dominion, perhaps using the Mini-Set Design Contest hosted by rinkworks as a starting point?
Unlikely. If there was something good enough then maybe a single promo.

The main issue is, aside from me wanting to be the guy and getting to, that I also want to ensure a certain uh level of quality. If there were a fan-made set I would have to playtest it endlessly. Man. I'm busy. And as I've noted I don't expect there will be awesome fan-made stuff to do; if there is any cool stuff it will be complex. If I had to do a complex set I would just make one myself.

You could instead hope for some other famous game designer to make a set sometime. Tom Lehmann had an idea for one although I never heard what it was. Again I would need to playtest any such set and am not keen to, but it's at least more likely than a fan set.
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #47 on: December 08, 2012, 06:10:23 am »
+5

You've mentioned before that if you had the KC/Masquerade pin in playtesting you would have nerfed it a bit.  Can you share any other powerful combos that got destroyed in playtesting?
I don't think that's what I said - I said that if we had found it *and* it had seemed like it came up too often then I would have nerfed it. It's not clear that it's enough of a problem.

Generally when a card is too strong it's not just one combo or deck. Like, Horn of Plenty was part of degenerate decks for a while in different forms, but it was a variety of combos, not a particular one.

There was a Crossroads / Margrave deck that was too strong for a while. There was a lot of focused testing on that one, working out which cards exactly were the problem. In the end I changed Crossroads (it had been +2 actions, rather than +3 once). Margrave was also part of the problem but was more important to keep as is. Another card left that I only knew was too strong because of this deck (it was discard x coppers, gain a card costing up to $3+X).

Throne Room had problem situations with Tactician and Outpost, so that they have text specifically stopping those combos. Madman also has an anti-Throne clause although I'm not sure I ever specifically tested out Throning it.

Graverobber and Rogue have a range of costs they get back because of problematic combos from when they didn't (such as Graverobber / Madman, when Madman went to the trash).

There were things you could do with Haggler and Farmland that weren't necessarily too powerful, but were too confusing, that resulted in them being when-buy (Haggler had been, when-gain other than via Hagglers).

Talisman says "not a Victory card" because it had been too strong with Gardens etc.
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #48 on: December 08, 2012, 06:14:37 am »
+4

Will we ever see another purpose for the "while this is in play" (on cards like Goons and Haggler) clause apart from limiting a card's power with King's Court/Throne Room (or seriously nerfing it with Procession)?

(I guess Lighthouse already is an example, but that's still limited to Duration cards, I'm looking for something more general)
Well you already have - the purpose is tracking. "While this is in play" is always in play to show off that it's doing something (or isn't in play and so isn't doing anything). "This turn" effects like Coppersmith / Bridge might not be. It's not that I want to screw over Throne/Procession + Highway or whatever, it's that Procession + Bridge makes you have to remember the Bridge effect.

It's fun to Throne a Bridge and so there's that. In general "while this is in play" is just better though.

Similarly Conspirator looks at how many action cards you played this turn, but Peddler counts the action cards in play. Peddler's approach is better; no tracking.
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #49 on: December 08, 2012, 06:20:29 am »
+6

If you play on isotropic competitively how high do you expect your level to be?
I don't know what actual skill level corresponds to what numerical level. Also you are better at these things when you keep at them. I have not kept at it and so there's that. I imagine when I was playing a ton that I was probably a top player, but there's no reason to think I was ever at the very top.

When Captain Frisk (and Theory and RRenaud) showed up to do a little playtesting, I feel like me and the other playtesters really tried to beat them up - just, forget learning anything this game, let's show these new guys what for. And we did beat them up, although to be fair, we knew the new cards and they didn't, they were in the "can't you make Jack more powerful" phase. Frisk was playing more later and I think was winning his share then.
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #50 on: December 08, 2012, 06:26:45 am »
+3

What brought me to dominion was that I realized right away that there was a fantastic community discussing dominion strategy. Thanks to this community, dominion is IMO played at a higher level than any other recently invented board game (i.e., any game other than the classics chess, go, bridge). Are you worried at all that this community will no longer thrive once the free dominion online implementations will shut down?
Well I'm not "worried" about it, in that, I don't think it will make my life worse if it happens or anything. It will save me some time reading about Dominion on the internet, there's that. And I'm not sure that no isotropic is a killer; half the people can play for free on Goko, and surely some people will like the game enough to cough up some tiny amount of money for expansions.

As for how long I think this community will survive besides that, uh, I dunno. It happens both ways. The lack of new expansions will make talking about Dominion less compelling, but if people are talking about spin-offs then that could work out. Communities like this can survive for years based on whatever brought them together in the first place; you can go out and find communities of former Magic players for example, people who are not even reading the spoilers for the new sets but still hang out online with the people they used to.
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #51 on: December 08, 2012, 06:45:31 am »
+3

When did you first become interested in making board games?

Do you have any advice for ambitious game designers?
I made games in my youth, from time to time, but mostly it was my fixed version of someone else's thing. Magic: The Gathering is what got me seriously interested in pursuing game design, in trying to figure out how games worked and make good ones. I started playing Magic in 1994. I was seriously designing games in 1995, and ramped up over the rest of the 90s.

I don't think I have any advice that will change someone from a failed game designer to a successful one, except possibly, you have to go to cons to show your games to publishers. That's what I needed to hear (and didn't). If you want to specifically focus on "ambition" - that is, making something especially successful, rather than having to keep your day job - then it seems clear that there are two big audiences for games: German families and American families. They overlap some, with Dixit being a good example. I am a little ambitious these days, I would like the respect and admiration of my peers, but ultimately I have to make games my friends and I want to play, whether or not that's what will sell.
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #52 on: December 08, 2012, 06:50:49 am »
0

Do you sometimes play dominion with more than 4 players ?
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #53 on: December 08, 2012, 06:54:00 am »
+12

Did you design Dominion with any particular type of person in mind?
I guess it's fair to say that to some degree I designed it for me and the people I was playing games with, like any of my games. However it was also pursuing a particular concept to an extreme, and that was just because that sounded fun to do for me, rather than having any idea if it would work as a game or not.

When was the first time you realized, "Wow, this is going to be a big hit!"?
As explained in more detail in a previous answer, somewhere around 1-2 months after making it. I used to say, my vision is, you will go to the game store, and there will be that shelf of Settlers stuff, and the shelf of Carcassonne stuff, and a similar shelf of Dominion stuff. I did not envision that it would be, a shelf of Dominion stuff, a shelf of Dominion clones, another shelf of Dominion clones.

How do you pick the kingdom cards when you play Dominion with your friends?
I deal out 5 from the set I'm playtesting and 5 from some other set that I brought that evening. After the game I rotate out 2 from each set for 2 new ones, and then keep doing that, gradually changing the set of 10. If there's a specific card I want to focus on then I just put that out at the start and keep it out.

How has your life changed now that you are rich and famous?
I spend a lot more time reading about myself on the internet. I get to make games for a living, so that's nice. I want a nicer house than I might have. It's probably easier to get new games playtested.

The particular degree to which I'm famous is roughly this: a guy can show up to play games at a local game store, be standing in front of me holding his own copy of Dominion, be introduced to me as Donald X., and have no idea I'm anyone. The exception is German gamers, they recognize the name immediately.
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #54 on: December 08, 2012, 06:56:46 am »
+4

Why did you cap the number of turns you can take via Outpost but not via Possession?
I tried not doing that on Outpost, and took a lot of turns in a row in one game, with no end in sight. Possession did not have that issue and for sure didn't want extra text it didn't need.

It would have been great not to have that clause on Outpost, but I didn't manage to come up with a better fix in time. Another thing is that I would have preferred like "at the start of that turn, discard down to 3" or something, rather than the weird way it makes the next hand smaller. But time did not permit once I realized that.
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #55 on: December 08, 2012, 06:57:19 am »
+8

Don't worry Donald, we know you're someone.
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #56 on: December 08, 2012, 06:58:17 am »
+3

Have simulators helped shape some of the cards? For example, you obviously knew about BMU as a strategy before the game was clearly released, but maybe were not aware of how potent BM + Courtyard is. Have any cards been nerfed, buffed, or scrapped because of their BM play and have simulators influenced this?
I have personally written small programs to simulate certain decks. Some cards may have changed as a result, or not changed, you know. I don't remember any specifics.

No cards have been affected by the simulators that other people have made.
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #57 on: December 08, 2012, 07:05:51 am »
0

At what point, if any, did you make enough money from games to give up your day job?
And what was that day job?

I'm thinking Zoo Keeper....
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #58 on: December 08, 2012, 07:27:03 am »
+3

Of the many people you've met (both irl and online) through the making of this wondrous game we call Dominion, who do you think has had the biggest effect on how the game has evolved over time?
The people who have affected the game the most are all in the credits, no surprise there.

In the early days, which mattered the most, Dame Josephine, then Dame Molly, then Sir Destry. I mean they were the ones playing every week (or twice or more a week for the dames). And Dame Josephine had to listen to me talking about the game when we weren't playing. I didn't meet them through making the game though.

During development, we can add Valerie and for all I know Dale, since they did work on the game and the game was changed due to her/their suggestions; plus my original online playtesters (using my own program which did not have internet support - we played over aim), including Sir Michael (especially for later, he didn't play much at first), plus Sir Vander, who did not play so much but chatted about the game. Post-release, some other playtesters have been notable, especially John Vogel and Bill Barksdale (sorry I couldn't knight you guys). The early playtester credits include a bunch of "people who got to play the game before it was released," which is to say, sorry guys, I really did not get much out of you and I am not sufficiently polite not to say it, although at least I'm not naming names. Later credits just have the people who really contributed and well they all did, you had to contribute extra to make the credits. Anyway again, I didn't really meet most of the playtesters through Dominion, I already knew them. Or met them but not through Dominion, just because they were playing games in the same place that I was playtesting.

So, if we stick to "that you met through Dominion," then Valerie, for all I know Dale (I put it like that because stuff came from Valerie), and hey, Jay. Alchemy got pushed forward and smallified because of some mix of Jay, HiG, and Schmidt-Spiele. Intrigue didn't have colored treasure coins because of some mix of partners. And the promos exist because of the people who wanted them, Spielbox etc. I haven't even met those people. Dark Ages isn't War because of HiG.

The game itself had that pile of expansions in various states before being released; there was a lot of balancing for playtesters to work on, but "how the game has evolved over time?" There was no evolution except better testing, so there was no-one to affect that evolution.

Who has had the biggest effect on how the community has evolved over time?
I'm not sure if you mean dominionstrategy or something broader. Man I don't think I can give much of an answer either way. Ask the community! Jay has had tournaments and got the game on BSW; Doug made isotropic. Theory / Frisk / Renaud started this place.
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #59 on: December 08, 2012, 07:38:34 am »
+6

Have you ever ragequit a game of Dominion, and why?
I don't believe I have. I have seen rage maybe once ever, and that guy didn't quit (it was over Torturers). I think maybe I have seen multiple people concede to the card that said "play all the attacks in your deck;" I'm not sure. I haven't quit except when everyone wanted to, due to the game being fundamentally broken. For example when I appeared to get infinite turns from Outpost, we didn't finish that game. I've seen a bunch of "we are reduced to 5 cards via overpowered Knights or something" games, and some of them were quit while some were played out. A few times I have seen one person quit, and the other people kept playing. I have had a single opponent concede a few times. I don't think I've ever even conceded to a single opponent; maybe it's happened unmemorably due to needing to go or something. I've had to call a game because the place was closing.

I'm in a position to specifically discourage quitting; I want to get the best data I can, and it's not hard to sit it out. If you get my turn one Silver with your turn one Noble Brigand, or whatever, then I would like to see how that plays out, I don't mind being in an unfavorable position. And I struggle to make games that are fun to lose.
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #60 on: December 08, 2012, 07:53:42 am »
+2

You've been very generous with your time in this community, especially in light of how busy you must be.  How do you decide what merits you taking the time to post here (or at BGG)?
There is an xkcd blog entry where he talks about constantly switching activities on the internet, to get some kind of chemical rush you get, and how he decided to reboot whenever he switched activities, in an effort to be more productive. And how it worked, and he would start cleaning his room for a break instead, and had a clean room.

I do not reboot when I switch computer activities. I sit at my computer. I work on what I'm working on. I google something tangentially related and then read a wikipedia article, then click a link and read another. I check BGG, I check DS; they are tabs I always have open. I play a game of Boggle at Wordsplay.net. I try to go back to work but immediately think of another website I could check. I look at a list of songs for a mixed CD and tweak it. I check a file for another game I'm working on, maybe try to get something done on that instead. I remember a card I wanted to reword for a 3rd game and make that image. I go back to the first game. I make a couple cards. I check BGG and DS again.

All for that sweet sweet chemical rush.

I do try to pass up answering rules questions that surely lots of people will immediately answer. And there are some threads that I'm unlikely to check, like storage solution threads. Man, I have had the experience.

There are a few other sites I look at once in a while to see people talking about my games, but I haven't registered at those places. I considered registering at F:AT a few days ago to comment on why Magic was the surviving TCG (you can only play one TCG, due to time/money/finding players, so games that compete with Magic are doomed, which is why the other successful TCG's are ones that don't compete with it, e.g. pokemon), but Ken B. hit on part of what I had to say, and I'm not sure how I'd be received there, so I didn't.
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #61 on: December 08, 2012, 07:55:53 am »
+4

I love how the genius mastermind of the complex, intricate, always-different Dominion spends his spare time playing Boggle.
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« Reply #62 on: December 08, 2012, 07:58:26 am »
+1

How many requests per day do you get from people wanting to show you their game?
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« Reply #63 on: December 08, 2012, 08:02:42 am »
+3

Has competitive Dominion gone further than you originally expected, with both live and internet tournaments worldwide and a healthy community of serious players discussing and writing about Dominion here on Dominion Strategy?
Well Jay originally did not plan on ever having tournaments - which is why we didn't include a tiebreaker for tournaments. So, sure, it was surprising when he changed his mind. Otherwise, I dunno, it wasn't something I thought about.

Do you think Dominion's primary audience is somewhat to seriously competitive players who mainly play online, or more of the "family game" audience who will pick it up occasionally but never know what Big Money means? Does this influence the game's design, as well as its presentation both in real life as well as the official online implementation?
The family game one. I mean, 32K people on BGG have the main set of Dominion listed as a game they own. That's a small fraction of the number of copies sold.

It does have an effect, mainly to say, you are making things too complex, try to simplify some of these cards over playtester objections, and maybe stop after Guilds.

I don't make online versions and so it's harder to make that call. I think they are trying to please the existing online players while appealing to the broader audience of normal people.
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #64 on: December 08, 2012, 08:03:49 am »
+4

Have you ever considered participating in forum mafia?
Not on this site. When I first saw mafia I read some of a few threads, and spent a few hours thinking about directions to take the game.
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« Reply #65 on: December 08, 2012, 08:04:26 am »
+22

Have you looked at the Dominion memes thread? If so, do you have a favorite?
I have read that thread. My favorite is easily the Baron one - "I don't always discard an Estate, but when I do, I gain $4." Man it looks just like that guy.
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #66 on: December 08, 2012, 08:04:40 am »
+3

Any chance we'll get the Secret History of Donald's Mafia Thoughts?
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #67 on: December 08, 2012, 08:12:32 am »
+7

Do you open double Ambassador or Ambassador/Silver?

What is your favorite beer? If you don't drink beer, favorite alcoholic drink? If you don't drink alcohol, favorite drink?
Depends on the board and also what my opponents do. They are both reasonable openings sometimes.

I don't drink alcohol. I've had champagne at a wedding, a sip of wine to see how easy it was going to be to drink tiny amounts of it when I'm older and it seems beneficial, and once I said, "this ice cream tastes funny," and they said, "there's rum in it." I don't really have any interest in mucking with my brain randomly.

I buy a Lemon Tea Snapple maybe every two weeks, then spend two weeks drinking tap water from the bottle. You want to drink from glass rather than plastic, see, and the bottle has a lid whereas a cup doesn't. Well I could be drinking water from a sippy cup but you know. Anyway that's what I do drink-wise.
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #68 on: December 08, 2012, 08:29:08 am »
0

Do you open double Ambassador or Ambassador/Silver?

What is your favorite beer? If you don't drink beer, favorite alcoholic drink? If you don't drink alcohol, favorite drink?
Depends on the board and also what my opponents do. They are both reasonable openings sometimes.

I don't drink alcohol. I've had champagne at a wedding, a sip of wine to see how easy it was going to be to drink tiny amounts of it when I'm older and it seems beneficial, and once I said, "this ice cream tastes funny," and they said, "there's rum in it." I don't really have any interest in mucking with my brain randomly.

I buy a Lemon Tea Snapple maybe every two weeks, then spend two weeks drinking tap water from the bottle. You want to drink from glass rather than plastic, see, and the bottle has a lid whereas a cup doesn't. Well I could be drinking water from a sippy cup but you know. Anyway that's what I do drink-wise.

And that's why he is such a genius, he doesn't fry is brain every night...not to mention his liver ;)

Tell me off if this is too personal, but what does a day in the life of Donald X. consist of? When do you find time to post on the forum or play games online and IRL?
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #69 on: December 08, 2012, 08:34:46 am »
+1

Who would win in a fight between James Bond and Indiana Jones....?
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« Reply #70 on: December 08, 2012, 08:40:38 am »
+2

What game do you consider a guilty pleasure? That is, you think it's poorly designed or has serious flaws in some way, but you enjoy it anyways.
I am not sure I have one. If I thought the game could be fixed and that I would like that version, I would fix it and play my fixed version. If I'm enjoying it it could still be flawed, but it's all about enjoyment, so hey, it made it.

Magic has two serious flaws: 1) the rules are unlearnable, and 2) sometimes you don't get to play. Despite that it's one of the best games ever; it's certainly not poorly designed or a guilty pleasure.

Can you give an example of when you had to make a game design decision due to business factors (like cards per expansion, or cost or something), and it turned out better than you expected? How about (heresy!) worse?
Well Jay decided to live with the intended size for the main set; business factors caused worry and discussion but no actual change. Business factors meant particular set sizes that resulted in blanks in the main set and Haven in Seaside (taken out then put back in). Partners not liking the idea nixed switching to colored treasure coins in Intrigue. Alchemy exists as a small set for business reasons; it was on a tight schedule - not as tight as they wanted - and I think that hurt it. Guilds got pushed back due to the Base Cards product. War was rethemed and the new theme is probably better anyway. Prosperity is slightly better because it was pushed back for Alchemy.

I guess the existence of all of the promos is business, that would be a significant thing. In general business isn't hanging over me though. If I ask Jay, and I have, what matters business-wise for something, he will just say, every time, "just make the game as good as you can and I'll worry about the rest." Dominion had to be 500 cards so it is. The business part, past deciding to publish it at all, was just, it has to be exactly 500, so there are some blanks.

If there were such thing as a perfectly designed game, which player skills do you think it would emphasize, and which skills would be secondary concerns?
Meh, people get different things from games. There's no perfect game except from a particular narrow perspective we choose in order to get an answer, and since it's so narrow, who cares?

What is your best source of inspiration for new cards?
Years of cards made for many games. In general I am not looking for inspiration when I make cards; I am doing the work. I know how to look at the rules set and find cards to make. Any really inspired cards are going to be exceptions.

What is your best source of feedback?
Seeing if people like the game or not.
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« Reply #71 on: December 08, 2012, 08:52:10 am »
+2

Have you considered or dabbled with designing a game specifically for computer or some other electronic doodad (iPad, etc.)?
I had a text adventure game published in some small sense back in the day (Escape from Planet X). I've programmed a bunch of little computer games. There are two that are especially significant to me. The Little Guy Game was like Lode Runner but with puzzles. Dudes of Stuff and Things is my take on Heroes of Might and Magic III. I made Dudes over a decade ago but have played it within the last month.

I talked some with a friend about making an iPad etc. game. We made a little puzzle game that I got some fun from but decided it wasn't good enough to get art for and try selling. Anyway something could still happen.
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« Reply #72 on: December 08, 2012, 08:54:29 am »
+1

Do you sometimes play dominion with more than 4 players ?
IRL, when I was playing Dominion irl, I would play with 5 sometimes. There are 5 people who want to play, counting me; man, it works well enough. I prefer 3, then 4, then 2, then 5. I don't play with 6. Online I have played with 5 a few times but we usually split into 2/3 when that came up.
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« Reply #73 on: December 08, 2012, 08:57:06 am »
+1

At what point, if any, did you make enough money from games to give up your day job?
And what was that day job?

I'm thinking Zoo Keeper....
My day job was computer programmer. More specifically I was programming dialysis machines.

I am making way more now. I quit my day job way before I made any money from Dominion, but Dominion was making enough to support me immediately.
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« Reply #74 on: December 08, 2012, 08:59:23 am »
+3

I love how the genius mastermind of the complex, intricate, always-different Dominion spends his spare time playing Boggle.
I will beat you up at it dude, I will anagram so fast relative to you and a bunch of other people but not quite everyone playing unless no-one great is on. Not counting the teams, man I just clicked the button to hide those.
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #75 on: December 08, 2012, 08:59:45 am »
+1

How many requests per day do you get from people wanting to show you their game?
Zero.
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« Reply #76 on: December 08, 2012, 09:04:49 am »
+1

Any chance we'll get the Secret History of Donald's Mafia Thoughts?
I know I wanted to try having the roles be objects that people passed around, and it turned out someone had already tried that. People have been working on the problem for years, so probably I didn't have any ideas they haven't gotten to.
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« Reply #77 on: December 08, 2012, 09:17:12 am »
+3

Tell me off if this is too personal, but what does a day in the life of Donald X. consist of? When do you find time to post on the forum or play games online and IRL?
You can see from my page here that I'm on at all hours. The only thing I have to do at a particular time usually is game nights, which start at 6 PM, and I am not tuned to 24 hours or something, so I gradually stay up later and later until I have to push it to be back to getting up in the mornings again. I am flipping as we speak, having gotten up at 11 PM.

I play games irl two nights a week. I spend a lot of time at my computer, and most of the rest with my family. Sometimes I go for a walk. There is not too much that's interesting to talk about here. I work from home, so, I'm just doing it whenever. I listen to music constantly; currently playing: Mono Rail, by Pugwash.
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #78 on: December 08, 2012, 09:18:22 am »
0

How many requests per day do you get from people wanting to show you their game?
Zero.

REALLY?!
Wow, that does surprise me.
Prominent member of the gaming community posts on BGG frequently, I would have thought that you would be a lot of peoples first choice to ask for feedback!
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #79 on: December 08, 2012, 09:21:49 am »
+1

The only thing I have to do at a particular time usually is game nights

Must be a hard life. ;)
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« Reply #80 on: December 08, 2012, 09:22:58 am »
+14

Who would win in a fight between James Bond and Indiana Jones....?
I don't think I want to open this up to hilarious questions. I would spend too long trying to think of something funny. Humor is work, I mean maybe you get lucky but maybe you spend hours staring at your joke paragraph, with the rest of the rulebook having been done for months. I will stick to just incidentally being hilarious, as is the way of my people.
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #81 on: December 08, 2012, 11:09:26 am »
0

Do you have another game in the works that you think will be huge?
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« Reply #82 on: December 08, 2012, 11:12:05 am »
0

What got you into playing (rather than designing) boardgames in the first place? 
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« Reply #83 on: December 08, 2012, 11:19:32 am »
0

How do you feel about coop games? I can't recall hearing you talk about any (of yours or other people, except for Mage Knight in this thread, but I think you were just talking about the HP mechanics and stuff). I'd have thought you would be all over this because of your feelings on politics. Or is the whole "quarterbacking" issue an even worse form of politics for you that you don't want to touch?

Edit: I guess Infiltration has some coop elements? I haven't gotten to play it yet but I got the impression it was mainly adversarial.
« Last Edit: December 08, 2012, 11:21:38 am by RD »
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #84 on: December 08, 2012, 11:47:51 am »
+1

Great stuff, Donald. I really enjoyed reading your answers during breakfast!

But I almost spit out my cereal here:

Similar to the above -- do you ever look at fan cards?  If so, do you have a favourite?
Let's do an experiment, I will look at the first four cards of "Books of Magic," the first listed fan expansion at BGG. I am looking at the first four images sorted the default way ("hot"), skipping the big image of a card sheet.

So, four-for-four, nothing new or interesting here. Sorry Books of Magic guy, it was just an example.

What a terrible experiment. What about this one?: Look at these cards (rinkworks's mini-set design contest winners).

What do you think about the cards the f.ds community voted for?

[I am just waiting for the comment, "Man, that card is in fact horribly broken. I threw a similar card into the trash 5 years ago!" ]

Adding on to other fan cards questions...Agricola Gamers Deck was designed by fans. Is there any chance of something similar happening with Dominion, perhaps using the Mini-Set Design Contest hosted by rinkworks as a starting point?
Unlikely.

 :'(

Quote
If there was something good enough then maybe a single promo.

There is a sliver of hope! 

Quote
The main issue is, aside from me wanting to be the guy and getting to, that I also want to ensure a certain uh level of quality.

So true. But, the joy of reading fan cards is that you never know what quality you are going to get. ;)
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #85 on: December 08, 2012, 11:52:18 am »
+2

I do try to pass up answering rules questions that surely lots of people will immediately answer. And there are some threads that I'm unlikely to check, like storage solution threads. Man, I have had the experience.

Follow up question: Are you planning a Dominion-brand storage solution for all the Dominion expansions, tokens, and mats after Guilds is released? Maybe Dominion-brand game travel bags?
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #86 on: December 08, 2012, 11:52:50 am »
0

Other than Chapel are there any cards that, with hindsight, you either regret making completely, or at least regret publishing in their current form?
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #87 on: December 08, 2012, 11:59:45 am »
+3

Can we have a card name spoiler from Guilds?
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #88 on: December 08, 2012, 12:12:01 pm »
+4

Other than Chapel are there any cards that, with hindsight, you either regret making completely, or at least regret publishing in their current form?

Has Donald ever said he regretted Chapel? I don't recall this.
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #89 on: December 08, 2012, 12:20:06 pm »
0

Other than Chapel are there any cards that, with hindsight, you either regret making completely, or at least regret publishing in their current form?

Has Donald ever said he regretted Chapel? I don't recall this.

I vaguely remember reading somewhere that he considered it undercosted or something, but I couldn't find the link.  I tried to word the question in such a way that if he was happy with Chapel he could still answer the question as-is without questioning the premise.
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #90 on: December 08, 2012, 01:01:32 pm »
+3

Following up your answer to my question (there's still game space, it just gets more complicated) - what if I want more complicated cards?  I'm looking forward to Guilds being insanely complex.  What if I want expansions to just get more and more insane, until I need a magnifying glass just to see what the cards say?
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #91 on: December 08, 2012, 01:03:18 pm »
0

Why did you cap the number of turns you can take via Outpost but not via Possession?

I'm not Donald X., but isn't this obvious?  Imagine having a deck of Village-Monument-Outpost-Outpost.  Possession doesn't lead to infinite turns.

This. Possession turns are already capped. They just aren't capped at 1.
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #92 on: December 08, 2012, 01:07:17 pm »
+1

Any more ideas for promo cards? Maybe one modeled after one of your other games?
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #93 on: December 08, 2012, 01:24:52 pm »
0

Re: the Possession/Outpost thing. Apparently I asked the question wrongly. I understand why Outpost got a cap—to avoid infinite turns. I am wondering why Possession didn't get a similar cap. Yes, it's not possible to have an infinite number of Possession turns, but it is very easy to be playing more with your opponent's deck than with your own. Given how unfun folks find that experience, I'm wondering why Possession wasn't capped.
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #94 on: December 08, 2012, 01:27:42 pm »
+1

Re: the Possession/Outpost thing. Apparently I asked the question wrongly. I understand why Outpost got a cap—to avoid infinite turns. I am wondering why Possession didn't get a similar cap. Yes, it's not possible to have an infinite number of Possession turns, but it is very easy to be playing more with your opponent's deck than with your own. Given how unfun folks find that experience, I'm wondering why Possession wasn't capped.

Maybe because it's so expensive in the first place?  I mean, how likely is it that you're going to King's Court all 10 Possessions?
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werothegreat

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #95 on: December 08, 2012, 01:28:40 pm »
+1

Another question - did Alchemy not include a $5+P card specifically so that you couldn't Procession/Upgrade into Possession?
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Check out this fantasy epic adventure novel I wrote, the Broken Globe!  http://www.amazon.com/Broken-Globe-Tyr-Chronicles-Book-ebook/dp/B00LR1SZAS/

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #96 on: December 08, 2012, 01:29:09 pm »
0

What a terrible experiment. What about this one?: Look at these cards (rinkworks's mini-set design contest winners).

No, please don't. I agree that Buggy's cards (Books of Magic, etc.) are bad. But if I had to show Donald X. a sample of fan cards to show that they could be worth his time, I wouldn't choose the mini-set contest cards. Don't get me wrong, I participated in the contest, and it was fun and an interesting experiment. But the fact remains that the result is (currently) a big ol' hodgepodge of cards that people had to come up with under time constraints, have had little to no playtesting, and have pretty much no cohesiveness as a set of cards.

As an example, I'm not proud of my winning submission. I'm guessing that playtesting will reveal that it's not sufficiently different from Torturer and certainly not unique enough to justify the amount of text on the card. If I had put the card in a fan expansion that I had complete control over, it probably would have been severely altered or scrapped by now.
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Archetype

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #97 on: December 08, 2012, 01:32:49 pm »
+1

What a terrible experiment. What about this one?: Look at these cards (rinkworks's mini-set design contest winners).

No, please don't. I agree that Buggy's cards (Books of Magic, etc.) are bad. But if I had to show Donald X. a sample of fan cards to show that they could be worth his time, I wouldn't choose the mini-set contest cards. Don't get me wrong, I participated in the contest, and it was fun and an interesting experiment. But the fact remains that the result is (currently) a big ol' hodgepodge of cards that people had to come up with under time constraints, have had little to no playtesting, and have pretty much no cohesiveness as a set of cards.

As an example, I'm not proud of my winning submission. I'm guessing that playtesting will reveal that it's not sufficiently different from Torturer and certainly not unique enough to justify the amount of text on the card. If I had put the card in a fan expansion that I had complete control over, it probably would have been severely altered or scrapped by now.

I agree. The best card I've ever made was never a submission to that contest. It just didn't fit any of the challenges' criteria.

Likewise, I love a lot of LastFootnote's cards, but the one of his that won, wasn't the one I liked the most.
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GendoIkari

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #98 on: December 08, 2012, 01:38:07 pm »
0

Other than Chapel are there any cards that, with hindsight, you either regret making completely, or at least regret publishing in their current form?

Has Donald ever said he regretted Chapel? I don't recall this.

I vaguely remember reading somewhere that he considered it undercosted or something, but I couldn't find the link.  I tried to word the question in such a way that if he was happy with Chapel he could still answer the question as-is without questioning the premise.

I think you might be thinking of his quote "Chapel is the most powerful card in the game, relative to its cost. I'm unlikely to every create another card that powerful." If so, this is not at all the same as saying that it was undercosted or that he wishes he had done something differently. He's explained at great lengths why Chapel cost $2 even though it is powerful enough to cost $4.
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Polk5440

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #99 on: December 08, 2012, 01:49:00 pm »
0

What a terrible experiment. What about this one?: Look at these cards (rinkworks's mini-set design contest winners).

No, please don't. I agree that Buggy's cards (Books of Magic, etc.) are bad. But if I had to show Donald X. a sample of fan cards to show that they could be worth his time, I wouldn't choose the mini-set contest cards. Don't get me wrong, I participated in the contest, and it was fun and an interesting experiment. But the fact remains that the result is (currently) a big ol' hodgepodge of cards that people had to come up with under time constraints, have had little to no playtesting, and have pretty much no cohesiveness as a set of cards.

As an example, I'm not proud of my winning submission. I'm guessing that playtesting will reveal that it's not sufficiently different from Torturer and certainly not unique enough to justify the amount of text on the card. If I had put the card in a fan expansion that I had complete control over, it probably would have been severely altered or scrapped by now.

I agree. The best card I've ever made was never a submission to that contest. It just didn't fit any of the challenges' criteria.

Likewise, I love a lot of LastFootnote's cards, but the one of his that won, wasn't the one I liked the most.

Fair enough. Mainly, I just thought it was funny the way Donald decided to pick 4 cards to look at given the amount of discussion on the Variant sub forum about various cards. Contest suggestion: Card to show Donald X.?  ::)
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #100 on: December 08, 2012, 02:57:09 pm »
+1

Do you have another game in the works that you think will be huge?
Well I have other games I think will be hits. I don't have anything that has taken over gamers like Dominion.
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #101 on: December 08, 2012, 02:59:00 pm »
+1

What got you into playing (rather than designing) boardgames in the first place?
I played games in my youth, but, aside from D&D, nothing that any normal American wouldn't come into contact with. I read about Magic in Games Magazine, and after I started playing it, the other Magic players introduced me to older American gamer's games like Cosmic Encounter, and to the up-and-coming German stuff like Settlers.
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #102 on: December 08, 2012, 03:02:33 pm »
+1

How do you feel about coop games? I can't recall hearing you talk about any (of yours or other people, except for Mage Knight in this thread, but I think you were just talking about the HP mechanics and stuff). I'd have thought you would be all over this because of your feelings on politics. Or is the whole "quarterbacking" issue an even worse form of politics for you that you don't want to touch?

Edit: I guess Infiltration has some coop elements? I haven't gotten to play it yet but I got the impression it was mainly adversarial.
Infiltration isn't a co-op. I liked Knizia's LotR co-op. I think that may be the only pure co-op I've played. I haven't made one. Certainly preventing one player from controlling the game (without switching to a traitor game or what have you) would be a big issue. I'm not especially eager to make one since there are a bunch already.
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #103 on: December 08, 2012, 03:30:23 pm »
+5

What a terrible experiment. What about this one?: Look at these cards (rinkworks's mini-set design contest winners).
Sorry to disappoint you! My experiment had the feature of only making one guy who isn't here feel bad. Probably you guys can do better, but, well.

Have I told the Richard Garfield story? Richard playtested for Seaside. At one point he randomly suggested a few new cards. They were: 1) the treasure throne room, which I had already tried but later abandoned and then even later fixed up as Counterfeit; 2) Bank, again already in a set; and 3) a reaction that punishes the attacker, which I'd already written up an essay on so I could just show that to people who suggested it. Treasure Throne Room and Bank were both good ideas, but they were obvious and I had a big head start. So... Richard Garfield, three for three.

You guys have an edge here; you know not to make cards from Prosperity and so on. I have had even more years to pile stuff up though. So, say, a victory card that varies in value based on whether or not the Provinces sold out, that one I tried in a couple games with a proxy but never bothered printing out.
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #104 on: December 08, 2012, 03:30:59 pm »
+1

Follow up question: Are you planning a Dominion-brand storage solution for all the Dominion expansions, tokens, and mats after Guilds is released? Maybe Dominion-brand game travel bags?
It's possible Jay will do something. I don't have any recent information there.
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #105 on: December 08, 2012, 03:33:16 pm »
+1

Other than Chapel are there any cards that, with hindsight, you either regret making completely, or at least regret publishing in their current form?
I do not regret Chapel. There is an essay where you can see what I'd change: http://forum.dominionstrategy.com/index.php?topic=3179.msg56362#msg56362

Overall the card I most regret printing as-is is Scrying Pool; I'd rather it didn't Spy. The card that I could change for the greatest positive effect through would just be any dud card in the main set, being replaced by anything good that isn't too complex.
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #106 on: December 08, 2012, 03:34:38 pm »
+7

Can we have a card name spoiler from Guilds?
You cannot. Jay will post the hilarious paragraph and serious paragraph whenever he decides to; that will tell you something about what you're in for. Until then you will have to settle for leaks via card selection programs.
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #107 on: December 08, 2012, 03:37:21 pm »
+3

Following up your answer to my question (there's still game space, it just gets more complicated) - what if I want more complicated cards?  I'm looking forward to Guilds being insanely complex.  What if I want expansions to just get more and more insane, until I need a magnifying glass just to see what the cards say?
Is this a rhetorical question? Not your question, mine. And the answer is yes.
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Polk5440

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #108 on: December 08, 2012, 03:41:18 pm »
0

What a terrible experiment. What about this one?: Look at these cards (rinkworks's mini-set design contest winners).
Sorry to disappoint you! My experiment had the feature of only making one guy who isn't here feel bad. Probably you guys can do better, but, well.

Have I told the Richard Garfield story? Richard playtested for Seaside. At one point he randomly suggested a few new cards. They were: 1) the treasure throne room, which I had already tried but later abandoned and then even later fixed up as Counterfeit; 2) Bank, again already in a set; and 3) a reaction that punishes the attacker, which I'd already written up an essay on so I could just show that to people who suggested it. Treasure Throne Room and Bank were both good ideas, but they were obvious and I had a big head start. So... Richard Garfield, three for three.

You guys have an edge here; you know not to make cards from Prosperity and so on. I have had even more years to pile stuff up though. So, say, a victory card that varies in value based on whether or not the Provinces sold out, that one I tried in a couple games with a proxy but never bothered printing out.

touche!
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #109 on: December 08, 2012, 03:41:58 pm »
+2

Any more ideas for promo cards? Maybe one modeled after one of your other games?
Well, I have a list of ideas from when I thought I might need one, and I could just use an outtake that wasn't awful in a pinch. I have something picked out to try for an online one sometime. I hadn't considered doing one for one of my other games, but I don't imagine Jay would be so excited to promote a game that RGG doesn't publish.
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #110 on: December 08, 2012, 03:44:00 pm »
+4

Re: the Possession/Outpost thing. Apparently I asked the question wrongly. I understand why Outpost got a cap—to avoid infinite turns. I am wondering why Possession didn't get a similar cap. Yes, it's not possible to have an infinite number of Possession turns, but it is very easy to be playing more with your opponent's deck than with your own. Given how unfun folks find that experience, I'm wondering why Possession wasn't capped.
I feel like I answered this the first time. It didn't get a cap because it didn't need it. It sure wasn't getting a cap it didn't need; look at that text box.

I've said it before: I usually do not buy Possession, because I am trying to win. I do not have trouble fighting it.
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #111 on: December 08, 2012, 03:45:15 pm »
+1

Another question - did Alchemy not include a $5+P card specifically so that you couldn't Procession/Upgrade into Possession?
No, there is no significance to that gap.
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HiveMindEmulator

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #112 on: December 08, 2012, 03:46:11 pm »
+3

Do you open double Ambassador or Ambassador/Silver?

What is your favorite beer? If you don't drink beer, favorite alcoholic drink? If you don't drink alcohol, favorite drink?
Depends on the board...
This made my day. :)
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #113 on: December 08, 2012, 04:21:14 pm »
0

Overall the card I most regret printing as-is is Scrying Pool; I'd rather it didn't Spy.

I've been meaning to ask, but does this mean it wouldn't even spy your own deck, or just that it wouldn't attack other players?
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #114 on: December 08, 2012, 04:49:01 pm »
+2

Overall the card I most regret printing as-is is Scrying Pool; I'd rather it didn't Spy.

I've been meaning to ask, but does this mean it wouldn't even spy your own deck, or just that it wouldn't attack other players?
No Spying on anybody.

Spying on other players is the slowest part, but besides that I'd like the sleek simple card it once was.
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theory

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #115 on: December 08, 2012, 05:12:57 pm »
+1

How do you feel about coop games? I can't recall hearing you talk about any (of yours or other people, except for Mage Knight in this thread, but I think you were just talking about the HP mechanics and stuff). I'd have thought you would be all over this because of your feelings on politics. Or is the whole "quarterbacking" issue an even worse form of politics for you that you don't want to touch?

Edit: I guess Infiltration has some coop elements? I haven't gotten to play it yet but I got the impression it was mainly adversarial.
Infiltration isn't a co-op. I liked Knizia's LotR co-op. I think that may be the only pure co-op I've played. I haven't made one. Certainly preventing one player from controlling the game (without switching to a traitor game or what have you) would be a big issue. I'm not especially eager to make one since there are a bunch already.


have you played or read about Hanabi?
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LastFootnote

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #116 on: December 08, 2012, 08:57:55 pm »
+1

What a terrible experiment. What about this one?: Look at these cards (rinkworks's mini-set design contest winners).
Sorry to disappoint you! My experiment had the feature of only making one guy who isn't here feel bad.

Actually, I believe he's posted in this very thread.
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #117 on: December 08, 2012, 09:29:01 pm »
0

Who was the hardest/most annoying playtester to work with?
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Tables

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #118 on: December 08, 2012, 09:45:07 pm »
+1

If you could go back in time and redesign which cards were in which sets, and the order the sets came out (but not changing/adding/removing any cards), what would you move and why?
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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.
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #119 on: December 08, 2012, 09:58:01 pm »
0

How many Dominion cards do you think you have come up with, including different variations on the same card that were at least considered and maybe tested? Do you have a spreadsheet to keep track of them all, so you can record things like "reaction that hurts attacker | bad idea" and ideas for possible future promo cards, etc.?
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Polk5440

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #120 on: December 08, 2012, 11:08:59 pm »
0

In the spirit of this being for a "holiday season" interview, what is your favorite holiday tradition?
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #121 on: December 09, 2012, 12:45:19 am »
0

Of all the cards you come up with an idea for, what percentage eventually get tweaked into a printed card?
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #122 on: December 09, 2012, 01:06:21 am »
0

Do you have a dog? If so, is it blue, or at least named blue?
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #123 on: December 09, 2012, 02:55:25 am »
+1

have you played or read about Hanabi?
Only at these forums, when I wondered what was going on in the non-Gauntlet of Fools threads.
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #124 on: December 09, 2012, 02:56:23 am »
+3

Actually, I believe he's posted in this very thread.
Sorry buggy. My other example was Richard Garfield, so you're in good company.
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #125 on: December 09, 2012, 02:58:25 am »
+2

Who was the hardest/most annoying playtester to work with?
Well John was a star playtester, but he was also the one who would bitch about playing games with Chapel and King's Court.
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #126 on: December 09, 2012, 03:13:22 am »
+2

If you could go back in time and redesign which cards were in which sets, and the order the sets came out (but not changing/adding/removing any cards), what would you move and why?
Obviously the move is to put all of the worst cards in the last set and then not release it. The sets aren't full of duds so it would be a small set. A few worthwhile cards would be left out but what can you do. This is still the move if it has to be published, I mean I am not here to make people buy awful stuff, and putting it all together is the best I can do to let you dodge it in this scenario. Then of course the main set, well it doesn't want all the best cards, but it wants the best simple cards. It matters more than any of the other sets and for sure could be better via swapping cards. I would replace Chancellor, Woodcutter, Feast, and Spy with more interesting cards, giving the main set more replayability. Lots of cards would be good enough.

For set order I like going Intrigue, Seaside, Prosperity - set trying to be a good first set, generally good set, set that adds Colonies. I would put Alchemy last, where it was; it was there because I knew some people wouldn't like potions, because somebody hadn't. You could swap Hinterlands with Seaside but I wouldn't. After Prosperity then there are Hinterlands and Dark Ages to order and well you have the question from before of whether or not Hinterlands is a standalone. I like having another standalone, and if it is one then I would put it ahead of Dark Ages. Possibly I would anyway. A question is, do you recombine Cornucopia and Alchemy. If people don't like Alchemy then it's nice that they get a tight package of just it, rather than buying it to get Cornucopia or passing on Cornucopia because of it. So possibly it's worth keeping them separate. Large sets are better though, so either expand Cornucopia and Guilds or combine them. That's another decision to make before knowing what order to put them in, but Guilds wants to be near the end due to complexity. If they're not one set then large Cornucopia could go between Prosperity and Hinterlands still, uh depending on how it turned out.
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #127 on: December 09, 2012, 04:42:22 am »
+6

How many Dominion cards do you think you have come up with, including different variations on the same card that were at least considered and maybe tested? Do you have a spreadsheet to keep track of them all, so you can record things like "reaction that hurts attacker | bad idea" and ideas for possible future promo cards, etc.?
There is an old ideas file, which has lists of ideas sorted by card type. I guess there's an even older file that I turned into this file. Ideas are sometimes marked with a rating, + for good, . for okay, - for bad; this doesn't reflect testing, just, how much do I like this idea. Some things have a comment in brackets after them, sometimes reflecting testing. Let's peek at the first five things on the discard-attacks list.

Code: [Select]
. att: each other player discards silver
. att: name treasure. each other player discards it [strong at 5]
. reveal top. if not silver, each other player ebbs. gain top silver. [multiplayer cumulativeness]
. if another pl. has < 5 cards, do x. otherwise, they discard.
  each pl. looks at left's hand if they have 5+ cards, chooses a discard

As you can see I tested one of those, although I don't think I printed out anything for it. "Ebb" means "put from hand onto deck" - after the Magic card Time Ebb. "Do X" is of course a placeholder to just show off the actual idea; similarly most cards would also make +$2 or something; that isn't the idea part.

There are just 21 things on that particular list, plus a list of general approaches at the top. The file is 58K and also includes lists of general mechanics. These lists have been combed over; there are probably a few things that would be okay in there, but you know, the discard-attacks list, those are the 21 variants I passed over in favor of better ideas.

Then each set has a file, with ideas specifically for that set, and a list of the set as it stands at the top, with some notes on what cards fill what roles. For example for Dark Ages, the original list of ruins ideas is:

Code: [Select]
junk possibilities
- +1 action / +1 buy / +1 card / +$1 (ruined village / market / library / abandoned mine)
- look at top 2, may discard them (survivors)
- pass this left
- gain a copper / gain a card costing up to $2 / gain a card costing up to $1
- blank / trash this
- draw up to 4
- +1 card, -1 card
- action cards cost $1 less this turn
- worth 1 vp per 5 ruins in your deck

In that list the minuses are just for indenting, not passing judgment. Later I considered a few other things, including "play up to two ruins cards" for Ruined Village, but they aren't on this list. The initial five worked out so there wasn't a lot more work there.

The Dark Ages cards file is 59K (distinct from the file with the secret history and such). It is just an endless sprawl of card ideas, with some to-do list items like "fit in a 3rd spoils card."

Finally there are the image files. Dark Ages has 30 pages of card images to test (9 cards per page), plus full versions of the sets that sometimes include cards not on the other pages, especially the older ones when I wasn't saving everything yet. It is hard to meaningfully count those pages; it's 36 pages, not counting the original 3 page version or the brief 2 page version, but most of that stuff is redundant. And of course most of the images are things in the Dark Ages text file.

I am looking at the 4th page of Cornucopia images, which was the first page without a version of a card from Guilds. It has:
- Three versions of Horn of Plenty, two of them actions.
- Two version of Wandering Minstrel that may appear unrelated to it (it started out +$2, name a type, dig for one and leave it on top).
- Two random cards that didn't make it - "gain 5 silvers minus a silver per card in hand" and a thing that made other players ebb a card if they had any duplicates in hand.
- A precursor of Harvest that drew the non-duplicates in your top 5.
- Horse Traders but called Foreign Traders.

I flirted with posting the image, but man let's save that stuff for after Guilds is out, not have any slip-ups.

Not every version of every card makes it anywhere though. I say, "this game, this card will be different," and explain what I want to test and we test it. Maybe it works out and gets an image and more testing; maybe I'm immediately done with it. Maybe it seems promising and I change the cost and we try that, but the original cost is never in a file. You know.

I do not know how many cards ideas I've had, but there's some of the data I'd be looking at to guess that number. For a normal game I make maybe twice as many cards as end up in the game (distinct cards, rather than slight variations or wordings fixes or what have you). Like, for Nefarious, there were about twice as many twists tested as were used. I pared it down a couple times. There would also be a list of twist ideas I didn't try, however many, I'm not checking. For Dominion the numbers are higher; some cards just have one version, but some have 10 versions, and for any idea there are probably lots of ways you could do it that would be fine, and you can list them and consider them, but once you commit to one then the others aren't so interesting anymore.
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #128 on: December 09, 2012, 04:48:18 am »
+2

In the spirit of this being for a "holiday season" interview, what is your favorite holiday tradition?
I am going to tentatively go with trick-or-treating.
« Last Edit: December 09, 2012, 05:00:58 am by Donald X. »
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #129 on: December 09, 2012, 05:00:48 am »
+1

Of all the cards you come up with an idea for, what percentage eventually get tweaked into a printed card?
You will have to try to work out something more precise from that other answer. It's changed over time too. A typical idea is just something stupid on a list, like "Each other player discards a silver." That's obvious from Cutpurse and not interesting but who knows it could work out well, why not list it. The best things on the list get tried and some get an image and some of those work out and are published in some form.

I feel like this is all springing from "no I don't look at fan cards." Man, ideas are easy, that's not the hard part.
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #130 on: December 09, 2012, 05:01:41 am »
+1

Do you have a dog? If so, is it blue, or at least named blue?
No. Boom swish.
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #131 on: December 09, 2012, 05:17:56 am »
0

What are the three most important events to happen in your life? Is getting Dominion published one of them?
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #132 on: December 09, 2012, 07:44:26 am »
+1

What are the three most important events to happen in your life? Is getting Dominion published one of them?
I'm not sure I want to tell my life story, either the boring parts or the interesting parts. There was a time that I asked for band recommendations at Mod Lang that domino'd into significance (they recommended Game Theory / Loud Family, see if it works for you). Buying that issue of Games Magazine with the article on Magic was pretty good. Aside from that issue of Games, I'm not sure what to point to for Dominion; we could start with, I made some games that my friends didn't like and wanted a surefire hit (which was Spirit Warriors; Dominion was a solution to a problem in Spirit Warriors II). There's no great one moment to point at though. I can't see a good domino-starter for the exciting events of my youth.

Dominion has loomed large in the part of my life that postdates it. Here I am getting asked this question for example.
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #133 on: December 09, 2012, 07:59:48 am »
+4

What game do you consider a guilty pleasure? That is, you think it's poorly designed or has serious flaws in some way, but you enjoy it anyways.
I am not sure I have one. If I thought the game could be fixed and that I would like that version, I would fix it and play my fixed version. If I'm enjoying it it could still be flawed, but it's all about enjoyment, so hey, it made it.
If we open this up to video games then there have been video games I played that weren't so good, not so much as a guilty pleasure as because I wanted to play something and that's what I had that was new. And of course I can't just fix the problems those games have, I am stuck with them.

I am going to cite Skyrim. I enjoyed walking around and to a lesser degree picking flowers. The interface had huge problems, man, like they hated their players. The rest of it was not so compelling, especially when compared to say Fallout 3, their previous game. And I mean, I would play for an hour and then stop because it crashed. I think they could make a good game by sticking to their core strengths - walking and flower-picking - and scrapping the rest of it.
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Powerman

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #134 on: December 09, 2012, 11:55:12 am »
+1

Of all the cards you come up with an idea for, what percentage eventually get tweaked into a printed card?
You will have to try to work out something more precise from that other answer. It's changed over time too. A typical idea is just something stupid on a list, like "Each other player discards a silver." That's obvious from Cutpurse and not interesting but who knows it could work out well, why not list it. The best things on the list get tried and some get an image and some of those work out and are published in some form.

I feel like this is all springing from "no I don't look at fan cards." Man, ideas are easy, that's not the hard part.

No, it's not from that at all.  I just want to see how much "failure" goes into creating such a great game!
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #135 on: December 09, 2012, 12:20:46 pm »
+1

Of the great multitude of questions you have answered throughout the wonderful Adventure Dominion has Tunnel 'd you through, which was your favorite question about Dominion?
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #136 on: December 09, 2012, 12:31:26 pm »
+17

Of the great multitude of questions you have answered throughout the wonderful Adventure Dominion has Tunnel 'd you through, which was your favorite question about Dominion?
Well, the first question in my first interview was "what question do you get asked the most often in interviews."
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #137 on: December 09, 2012, 01:26:13 pm »
0

When you were arranging the cards into the various expansions, what other themes or sub-themes did you consider but ultimately scrap?  Aside from Dark Ages being named War, were there other substantially different expansion names that you considered?
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SirPeebles

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #138 on: December 09, 2012, 01:35:16 pm »
0

I believe you once mentioned that in the early days of Dominion you had considered having multiple resources, but ultimately opted for only coin, reserving the alternate resource idea for the final expansion.  If this is true, did you always intend on having a single primary resource such as coin, with other resources playing only a secondary role like Potion?  Or did you consider having more than one resource in your starting hand, or perhaps a secondary resource which was necessary for purchasing victory cards?

Edit:  It was in the Secret History of Alchemy

Quote
When I came up with Dominion, I figured it would have multiple resources. When I actually made it, I went with one resource, because it was simpler. I could always add another resource in an expansion. With Alchemy I finally got around to doing that. Originally I was thinking it would be Reagents or Mandrake or something. I didn't find a good enough picture to use for such a card, so I went with Potions. That's how these decisions get made.
« Last Edit: December 09, 2012, 01:38:09 pm by SirPeebles »
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Watno

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #139 on: December 09, 2012, 02:01:06 pm »
+1

What question do you get aked most often in interviews?
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #140 on: December 09, 2012, 02:42:56 pm »
+1

When you were arranging the cards into the various expansions, what other themes or sub-themes did you consider but ultimately scrap?  Aside from Dark Ages being named War, were there other substantially different expansion names that you considered?
I dunno, if there's somehow a 9th expansion, I'll need one of those themes, right? Most of the sets only ever had one theme. I considered coming up with a different theme for Hinterlands, maybe a particular far-off place, but more or less stuck with the original theme, just making the travel go further abroad. I considered a few different themes for Cornucopia and Guilds.

Seaside plus Hinterlands was originally called Abroad; when I split it I temporarily called Seaside "Tomorrow." Cornucopia was originally called Harvest Festival; Jay wanted a different name. Dominion was originally called Castle Builder. Guilds had a placeholder name I cannot reveal at this time.
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #141 on: December 09, 2012, 02:50:40 pm »
0

I believe you once mentioned that in the early days of Dominion you had considered having multiple resources, but ultimately opted for only coin, reserving the alternate resource idea for the final expansion.  If this is true, did you always intend on having a single primary resource such as coin, with other resources playing only a secondary role like Potion?  Or did you consider having more than one resource in your starting hand, or perhaps a secondary resource which was necessary for purchasing victory cards?

Edit:  It was in the Secret History of Alchemy

Quote
When I came up with Dominion, I figured it would have multiple resources. When I actually made it, I went with one resource, because it was simpler. I could always add another resource in an expansion. With Alchemy I finally got around to doing that. Originally I was thinking it would be Reagents or Mandrake or something. I didn't find a good enough picture to use for such a card, so I went with Potions. That's how these decisions get made.
These early days you speak of are just when I typed up the original notes. When I actually made the game I went with just coins. When I typed up the notes I was thinking it would be three things or something, and cards would cost combinations of them, and your deck would start with all of them. But I mean, you are talking about, what did I think one afternoon about something I hadn't thought through.
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LastFootnote

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #142 on: December 09, 2012, 02:51:08 pm »
+1

Guilds had a placeholder name I cannot reveal at this time.

Dominion: Complexity?
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #143 on: December 09, 2012, 02:51:42 pm »
+1

What a terrible experiment. What about this one?: Look at these cards (rinkworks's mini-set design contest winners).
Sorry to disappoint you! My experiment had the feature of only making one guy who isn't here feel bad. Probably you guys can do better, but, well.

Please make us feel bad. Please!
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #144 on: December 09, 2012, 02:52:21 pm »
+3

What question do you get aked most often in interviews?
This question stopped being good as of the 2nd interview. Early on I got asked a lot "did you expect Dominion to be so successful" and gradually worked out how to say "yes" properly.
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GendoIkari

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #145 on: December 09, 2012, 03:54:00 pm »
+1

There has been to date exactly one card I saw where I thought, hey, cool idea. It was something like, "when you gain this put it in the discard pile of the player to your left; at end of game worth 2 VP for the player to your right." I have done hot-potato cards that did not work out and probably this would fail for the same reasons, but still, neat idea.

This seems almost identical to a double-curse, that works on-gain, so basically like a way more powerful IGG, with political issues because it only hurts one player.
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SirPeebles

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #146 on: December 09, 2012, 03:58:14 pm »
0

There has been to date exactly one card I saw where I thought, hey, cool idea. It was something like, "when you gain this put it in the discard pile of the player to your left; at end of game worth 2 VP for the player to your right." I have done hot-potato cards that did not work out and probably this would fail for the same reasons, but still, neat idea.

This seems almost identical to a double-curse, that works on-gain, so basically like a way more powerful IGG, with political issues because it only hurts one player.

In a 2 player game it is essentially a double curse.  It's interesting to me that you can't so effectively Ambassador it in a 2 player game.
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #147 on: December 09, 2012, 04:03:52 pm »
0

I think the versions of it I've seen allow you to spend an action to pass it left.
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aaron0013

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #148 on: December 09, 2012, 04:08:39 pm »
0

When you were arranging the cards into the various expansions, what other themes or sub-themes did you consider but ultimately scrap?  Aside from Dark Ages being named War, were there other substantially different expansion names that you considered?
I dunno, if there's somehow a 9th expansion, I'll need one of those themes, right? Most of the sets only ever had one theme. I considered coming up with a different theme for Hinterlands, maybe a particular far-off place, but more or less stuck with the original theme, just making the travel go further abroad. I considered a few different themes for Cornucopia and Guilds.

Seaside plus Hinterlands was originally called Abroad; when I split it I temporarily called Seaside "Tomorrow." Cornucopia was originally called Harvest Festival; Jay wanted a different name. Dominion was originally called Castle Builder. Guilds had a placeholder name I cannot reveal at this time.
You should consider making an arctic exploration theme....with PENGUINS!  Blue ones.
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #149 on: December 09, 2012, 05:50:01 pm »
+5

Actually, I believe he's posted in this very thread.
Sorry buggy. My other example was Richard Garfield, so you're in good company.

I'm right here!  And I don't feel bad.  It is kinda funny that the very next message in the thread after he talked about my cards was him answering my questions...
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #150 on: December 09, 2012, 06:37:44 pm »
+2

Great thread.  Here are some other questions.

If you could choose two (famous) people to play in a game of Dominion, who would they be and why?

Follow up: What cards would be in the kingdom?

Have you ever thought about running for political office (Governor, perhaps?)?

What is your favorite card to Throne Room?
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Captain_Frisk

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #151 on: December 09, 2012, 09:04:04 pm »
0

If you play on isotropic competitively how high do you expect your level to be?
I don't know what actual skill level corresponds to what numerical level. Also you are better at these things when you keep at them. I have not kept at it and so there's that. I imagine when I was playing a ton that I was probably a top player, but there's no reason to think I was ever at the very top.

When Captain Frisk (and Theory and RRenaud) showed up to do a little playtesting, I feel like me and the other playtesters really tried to beat them up - just, forget learning anything this game, let's show these new guys what for. And we did beat them up, although to be fair, we knew the new cards and they didn't, they were in the "can't you make Jack more powerful" phase. Frisk was playing more later and I think was winning his share then.

I can confirm that I took a beating.  Donald has already robbed my defenses, which were that i naturally wanted to play with the new hotness, and these guys had all seen all of the cards / combos before.  I'm personally very much of a "read lots of theory and execute it" rather than an "invent new crazy stuff" type of guy.

I would assume that Donald would be a 40-45 level player.  -Stef- would win > 50% games against him.
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ConMan

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #152 on: December 09, 2012, 09:38:18 pm »
0

Of all the different mechanics, themes, concepts and what have yous out there that you *haven't* explicitly made a game about, what do you most want to try?

Did Kingdom Builder ever have a different name?

Out of all the Dominion cards so far released, what is your favourite interaction - combo or nombo - between two or more of them?
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #153 on: December 09, 2012, 11:35:56 pm »
0

Any chance we'll get the Secret History of Donald's Mafia Thoughts?
I know I wanted to try having the roles be objects that people passed around, and it turned out someone had already tried that. People have been working on the problem for years, so probably I didn't have any ideas they haven't gotten to.

We do have the advantage of Mafia being more of a group-think development (albeit often starting from a "new" idea which is kept secret for the purposes of SUSPENSE, "playtested" once, and then overreacted to by the losers) compared to one guy teasing out all the "obvious" ideas from a rule set.

If you were to play forum Mafia, do you think you would do better as Mafia or Town? (Would the answer change if it were face-to-face?)
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #154 on: December 10, 2012, 01:38:14 am »
0

I assume when you first started testing Dominion, you tried out a lot of different basic game mechanics that ended up getting canned for various reasons.  Are there any that, with the benefit of hindsight, you wish you had persevered with as you think they would have made the game better in some way?
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #155 on: December 10, 2012, 02:54:02 am »
0

There has been to date exactly one card I saw where I thought, hey, cool idea. It was something like, "when you gain this put it in the discard pile of the player to your left; at end of game worth 2 VP for the player to your right." I have done hot-potato cards that did not work out and probably this would fail for the same reasons, but still, neat idea.

This seems almost identical to a double-curse, that works on-gain, so basically like a way more powerful IGG, with political issues because it only hurts one player.
Well they get the trash-for-benefit instead of you. But yes, that similarity could have killed the card. See, I already thought of everything.
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #156 on: December 10, 2012, 03:39:24 am »
+6

If you could choose two (famous) people to play in a game of Dominion, who would they be and why?

Follow up: What cards would be in the kingdom?
This is tangential, but in the movie Midnight in Paris, the ostensible premise is that our hero is going back in time to Paris in the 20s. But the real premise is, our hero is going back in time to Paris in the 20s, and all of the famous people of the day are interested in talking to him. I mean he's a writer and some of them are writers, but he isn't a famous writer of the 20s, and he also gets to hang out with non-writers, Dali and uh, well Cole Porter is playing at a party and he sees Picasso at Gertrude Stein's. Anyway in the end, btw spoilers, our hero learns that he should be happy in his own time. But I'm in my own time right now, I've written some screenplays, and I can't chat up Woody Allen. The whole thing makes you want to start a club for clever creative people, try to put a little Algonquin Round Table into your life, but I don't see why any of them would show up.

Anyway I have no special interest in playing Dominion with a particular famous person I might otherwise like to meet. Man, for any given famous person, either you want to talk to them or have sex with them or both; maybe you want to collaborate on something with them. Playing Dominion, it will just be Dominion, I can already play Dominion.

I played my games a bunch of times with Richard Garfield, Mark Rosewater, and other Wizards people back in the late 90s. I had long conversations with Friedemann Friese and Andreas Seyfarth at the Essen I went to; I don't drink, but Andreas Seyfarth, there is a guy to have some beers with. There was business to discuss with Bernd, aka Michael Tummelhofer. I met Knizia but he just appeared to shake hands and smile and was gone. Tom Lehmann is coming over to play games in a few days, with Wei-Hwa, who you will one day know as the Roll for the Galaxy guy. I guess it's not so hard to meet people within your industry.

My favorite band is Game Theory / Loud Family (all other members quit so he changed the name). Since they are obscure and local, I have gotten to chat with the guy a few times, although I was somewhat starstruck. My favorite movie is Brazil; I will probably never meet Terry Gilliam. If he wants to hang out sometime then man I am there, it sounds like good times, but it's not like I think, oh, if only. There would probably be too much of a disconnect to enjoy meeting David Lynch or Robert Pollard. Woody Allen and Stephin Merritt would just be trying to get it over with. My favorite novel is Little, Big; I have no real concept of that guy, I'm not sure what we'd talk about. I'd go for Gene Wolfe for novels I think.

Scarlett Johansson is hot. Why, if I were ten years younger... and she were five years younger...

Have you ever thought about running for political office (Governor, perhaps?)?
I haven't, but I have flirted with trying to get some of my voting reforms to the governments that might use them, e.g. Sweden's. There are basic problems with basic solutions, where cold hard logic is all you need to see that of course you should change things.

What is your favorite card to Throne Room?
I don't know. Cards with choices are good, like Nobles.
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #157 on: December 10, 2012, 04:19:32 am »
+1

Of all the different mechanics, themes, concepts and what have yous out there that you *haven't* explicitly made a game about, what do you most want to try?
For most of the mechanics I want to try, part of the appeal is not knowing a game that has them, so it's not like I want to list those. I've made several time travel games but no good ones; I'd like to make a good one.

Did Kingdom Builder ever have a different name?
No. I don't work on prototype names much; they need a name to be referred to, before I know if they're any good, and then it's easier to keep calling it that. So the names are usually something like The Spy Game. As you all know, in a surprise twist, Queen decided to stick with the prototype name. Rajive explained that, well, you are building a kingdom.

Out of all the Dominion cards so far released, what is your favourite interaction - combo or nombo - between two or more of them?
I already failed to answer this question. I will list a random interaction for each large set.

Dominion: Thief / Gardens has a certain charm.

Intrigue: I will stick with, Swindler / Silver. You couldn't possibly give me a Swindler, they're so terrifying.

Seaside: I am going to cite Smugglers / Pirate Ship. You open with Smugglers. You draw it and on their turn they buy Pirate Ship. Man. I don't want a Pirate Ship. Man. Urhrhrhr. Smuggle Pirate Ship, buy a Pirate Ship.

Prosperity: I am big on Worker's Village / Peddler.

Hinterlands: I have opened Develop / Spice Merchant so many times.

Dark Ages: Fortress is a pretty fun defense against Knights.
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #158 on: December 10, 2012, 04:26:04 am »
+1

If you were to play forum Mafia, do you think you would do better as Mafia or Town? (Would the answer change if it were face-to-face?)
I don't know dude. Town sounds easier. As Town I just need to play as Town. As Mafia I have to play as Town but also Mafia.
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #159 on: December 10, 2012, 04:38:27 am »
0

I assume when you first started testing Dominion, you tried out a lot of different basic game mechanics that ended up getting canned for various reasons.  Are there any that, with the benefit of hindsight, you wish you had persevered with as you think they would have made the game better in some way?
Day one, your starting hand was 5 coppers / 5 estates, and played cards went to the discard pile; it didn't take long to fix those things. And otherwise it was the same game when I showed it to RGG; there are no lost basic game mechanics.

There are plenty of single-card mechanics that didn't work out, and you can read about them in the secret histories. I have no regrets there, I mean the ones that still seem like they have potential also have the time I spent not getting anywhere to dissuade me. Look at Dark Ages especially, since many cards had their last stand there. There's nothing where I think, that would really have improved the game if it had worked; it's just, that would have been a cool card if it had worked.
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Jimmmmm

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #160 on: December 10, 2012, 05:29:19 am »
+4

What does the X stand for?
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #161 on: December 10, 2012, 05:33:56 am »
+9

What does the X stand for?
It's a variable. The unknown.
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Jimmmmm

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #162 on: December 10, 2012, 05:39:08 am »
0

What does the X stand for?
It's a variable. The unknown.

Don't know whether to believe you or not. :P
I must admit, I'm struggling to think of you as "Donald Xavier", and I can't really think of any other X names.
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ipofanes

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #163 on: December 10, 2012, 05:41:11 am »
+2

Dark Ages: Fortress is a pretty fun defense against Knights.

Another card that lives up to its name.
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #164 on: December 10, 2012, 05:42:17 am »
+1

I think it's interesting that most of us here seem to think of the Dominion cards as a whole bunch of cards, but Donald seems to think of them more in terms of the sets.
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SirPeebles

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #165 on: December 10, 2012, 06:32:45 am »
0

I think it's interesting that most of us here seem to think of the Dominion cards as a whole bunch of cards, but Donald seems to think of them more in terms of the sets.

I tend to think of them in terms of sets.  I remember acquiring them one ~$30 at a time, and how much each new set impacted my gaming group.  And still when we play we think in terms of sets. "Let's use Prosperity and Hinterlands" on Thursday.  It's never "Let's use King's Court and Jack" on Thursday.
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ipofanes

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #166 on: December 10, 2012, 06:49:45 am »
+3

What does the X stand for?
It's a variable. The unknown.

DXV also reads as 5:15, a great song by The Who.
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #167 on: December 10, 2012, 07:06:02 am »
0

Are you in favor of initializing a MTG-like Dominion Pro Tour? Or, in a similar way, do you think it's somehow possible to make taking part at the World Championships more attractive?
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SirPeebles

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #168 on: December 10, 2012, 08:00:56 am »
0

What was your reaction when you first heard fans talk about "the Silver test"?  Do you feel that Big Money strategies are too strong in base Dominion, and was that a consideration at all when you put together the flagship set?
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werothegreat

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #169 on: December 10, 2012, 08:16:29 am »
+1

I think it's interesting that most of us here seem to think of the Dominion cards as a whole bunch of cards, but Donald seems to think of them more in terms of the sets.

I tend to think of them in terms of sets.  I remember acquiring them one ~$30 at a time, and how much each new set impacted my gaming group.  And still when we play we think in terms of sets. "Let's use Prosperity and Hinterlands" on Thursday.  It's never "Let's use King's Court and Jack" on Thursday.

I think of it both ways.  I'm aware of what comes with which set, but since they're all part of a larger whole, rather than weird sequels to one another, my thoughts on Kingdom setups tend to be cross-expansion. 
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aaron0013

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #170 on: December 10, 2012, 08:23:02 am »
0

Is Seaside your second favorite set?

What was the most enjoyable set to work on and playtest?

Don't know why this comes to mind, but what is your wife's favorite card?
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #171 on: December 10, 2012, 08:35:29 am »
+1

Are you in favor of initializing a MTG-like Dominion Pro Tour? Or, in a similar way, do you think it's somehow possible to make taking part at the World Championships more attractive?
Well MtG has a constant flow of new products. Like, should Puerto Rico have a Pro Tour? It feels like the WBC is good enough for most games.

Giving people plane tickets to the championships would require thinking that that promotion was paying off. I'm not sure it would and it's not my department anyway.
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #172 on: December 10, 2012, 08:48:53 am »
+2

What was your reaction when you first heard fans talk about "the Silver test"?  Do you feel that Big Money strategies are too strong in base Dominion, and was that a consideration at all when you put together the flagship set?
I'm not sure I would put it like that - more like, when I first heard a non-fan talking about it. I thought, lol. It's pretty obviously stupid and while it's good to realize "hey maybe buying a terminal action every turn won't work out," that obv. doesn't mean the game is broken. Dominion clearly survived that nonsense and so much for that.

I think base Dominion could have better replayability/variety via swapping out some of the duds for more interesting cards. That would also make more-interesting decks better; a bunch of decks where you play just 1-2 terminals plus money is not as much variety as, you know, not that. But I would be changing it for the variety issue, not due to wanting to hurt heavy money strategies.

Heavy money strategies were not a consideration for picking the cards in the main set. Being simple enough was the main concern, followed by, variety. It did well on simplicity, probably it could have been slightly less simple. It wasn't going to have as much variety as when you add an expansion, but it could have had more variety.

Silver isn't awful, and the game has this "only play one action per turn" rule. Those both seem like good things, but together they lead to, sometimes you can do well without many actions. Not playing many actions is just one of the basic solutions to only being able to play one per turn. There are other solutions though, and the main set has them: I can play lots of +1 action cards like Lab, I can play Village and more terminals, I can play Remodels and Remodel Remodel, I can go for Gardens and just live with lots of terminals.
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #173 on: December 10, 2012, 08:59:43 am »
+2

Is Seaside your second favorite set?
Comparing just the large sets, I like Dark Ages best, then Hinterlands, Prosperity, Seaside, Intrigue, Dominion. They are just strictly in order from worst to best. The biggest gap is between Intrigue and Seaside though; from Seaside on they're all so good that who cares which set is better. I've had plenty of fun with Intrigue and Dominion but for sure there's room for improvement there.

It's hard to fairly compare the small sets to the large ones (or Dark Ages to normal large sets). I like Cornucopia more than Alchemy. I like Alchemy though, I am no Alchemy hater. I probably like Guilds best, but it's close.

What was the most enjoyable set to work on and playtest?
There's no set where I wasn't enjoying working on it. I guess the later sets were arguably more fun because we could playtest them on isotropic. Dark Ages is my favorite set, so, I dunno, Dark Ages?

Don't know why this comes to mind, but what is your wife's favorite card?
I don't know and she's asleep.
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Slyfox

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #174 on: December 10, 2012, 11:23:57 am »
0

Do you have favorite kid's game?

Any thoughts on a "Dominion for Kids" sort of variant similar to what we've seen for Settlers and Carcassonne?
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ipofanes

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #175 on: December 10, 2012, 11:33:24 am »
+2

This version should include chits in a bag instead of cards. Kids are poor shufflers and tend to warp cards, especially if excited by the game.
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #176 on: December 10, 2012, 12:12:51 pm »
+3

Do you have favorite kid's game?
I'm fond of step-on-feet. You try to step on their feet. They try to step on your feet. You win when every other player has conceded.

Any thoughts on a "Dominion for Kids" sort of variant similar to what we've seen for Settlers and Carcassonne?
I have not given any thought to such a thing. I've played Dominion with an 8-year-old, and I'm not sure I'd want to aim much lower.
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mith

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #177 on: December 10, 2012, 01:32:10 pm »
+4

Any thoughts on a "Dominion for Kids" sort of variant similar to what we've seen for Settlers and Carcassonne?
I have not given any thought to such a thing. I've played Dominion with an 8-year-old, and I'm not sure I'd want to aim much lower.

"You may drool on this card. If you don't, +$3."

What games did you play growing up (if any)? What's your earliest gaming memory?
« Last Edit: December 10, 2012, 01:37:56 pm by mith »
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #178 on: December 10, 2012, 02:36:18 pm »
+10

What games did you play growing up (if any)? What's your earliest gaming memory?
I played a lot of D&D. I played it when it was the little books - Eldritch Wizardry etc. No-one ever played by the rules, because there were awful, so I guess that was probably my first experience with game design. At some point in my teens I briefly tried to be good at chess. I was good at intimidating people by being smart, I would push a piece forward and they would be sure it must be some great plan.

Otherwise, you know, normal American stuff, this will not be interesting. Monopoly, Checkers, etc. etc. Trying to figure out what my oldest such memory is is too hard and boring. I'm like the Memento guy, I can only remember the last 38 years. I have a photo of a man from before then and it says "don't believe his lies;" I think it's referring to Santa Claus.
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Drab Emordnilap

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #179 on: December 10, 2012, 03:25:49 pm »
+1

Why does Spy cost $4? Were Spy/Spy openings just too annoying to resolve or something?
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #180 on: December 10, 2012, 04:05:36 pm »
+2

Why does Spy cost $4? Were Spy/Spy openings just too annoying to resolve or something?
It's pretty random. I didn't know as much what I was doing then; I tried it at $4 and people bought it and you didn't have to. These days I wouldn't make it at all - it's too slow for what you get, and charging less doesn't fix that. Rabble is the way to do Spy.

The "this has to cost $4 to stop you from opening with two of them" thing first came to light with a main set outtake that was "trash a card from your hand, discard a card, +3 cards." It was $3 for a while and I upped it to $4 to stop that opening (and moved it to Intrigue, then to Dark Ages, then it died). Throne Room is $4 because $3 was too good with +buys; it was cute that you could open Throne / Feast but I couldn't preserve that. Remodel is $4 because that makes it better. Smithy, Gardens, and Feast want to be $4. Militia, Moneylender, Bureaucrat, and Thief are all somewhat randomly at $4; they were trying to fit into a continuum of cards, where as you know the big difference is from $4 to $5. They are correctly less than $5. I'm happy with them being $4; it's not like you want to face double-attack openings a lot (bad or not) when you're new to the game. Moneylender fits fine into the continuum.
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ftl

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #181 on: December 10, 2012, 04:34:08 pm »
+3

That seems like it would go well on the spy wiki page.
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jupiter

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #182 on: December 10, 2012, 08:50:59 pm »
0

That seems like it would go well on the spy wiki page.

All the other cards he mentioned should go too.
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Powerman

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #183 on: December 11, 2012, 12:27:53 am »
+1

How do you go about teaching the game in general to new players?

How many games of Dominion would you guess you have played?

What card do you think you are "best" with?  What about worst?

Boxers or briefs?

Which is more frustrating for you in a competitive-ish game, Turn 5 chapel or 2+P in a Familiar game?
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #184 on: December 11, 2012, 01:42:29 am »
0

This thread seems similar enough to a reddit AMA that this feels appropriate....

Would you rather fight one Trusty Steed-sized Rat or 100 Rat-sized Trusty Steeds?

edit: asked this before coming to the post where you said you wouldn't be answering funny questions
« Last Edit: December 11, 2012, 02:22:30 am by michaeljb »
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ftl

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #185 on: December 11, 2012, 02:09:22 am »
+1

Which is more frustrating for you in a competitive-ish game, Turn 5 chapel or 2+P in a Familiar game?

I bet I can provide the start of his answer! "It depends on the board..."
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #186 on: December 11, 2012, 02:23:08 am »
0

That seems like it would go well on the spy wiki page.


A whole lot of this thread would be great for the wiki.
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #187 on: December 11, 2012, 04:54:22 am »
+1

How do you go about teaching the game in general to new players?
I uh explain the rules? "This is a game of building a deck..." I explain the data in the game - "you have a deck, a discard pile, a hand of cards..." I explain how your turn goes. I explain the card types, the four +'s, gain/trash, the end condition. I am teaching the game using whatever expansion I am testing, so I explain whatever twists it has.

How many games of Dominion would you guess you have played?
Man. Well, in the thousands. IRL I must have played at least 3K games; it's hard to estimate because any given game night may have involved other games. There are 3600+ posts in playtest forum threads for posting results from playing online; they aren't all games and I'm not in all of them, although a lot are and I'm in a lot of them. That doesn't cover all online games, just from Cornucopia on (I had a bad online version when working on the main set).

What card do you think you are "best" with?  What about worst?
I'm best with new, untested cards. Also against them.

I'm looking at the sets, I don't see cards that say I will lose. I buy the weak cards less often than the strong cards, the narrow cards less often than the flexible ones. I guess like anyone decent can say, I do worse against swingy cards.

Boxers or briefs?
Boxers; the motif on them is a boxer, poised to punch.

Which is more frustrating for you in a competitive-ish game, Turn 5 chapel or 2+P in a Familiar game?
Well I've experienced the former more than the latter so I guess that one. But really, if this game is competitive-ish, phew, I can point to this as why I lost. The pressure's off.
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Davio

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #188 on: December 11, 2012, 05:02:33 am »
+5

What I've always liked about Dominion and disliked about Magic is that in Dominion all players have the same choices. Every card in the kingdom was available to every player. You weren't limited to the amount of money you wanted to spend on random booster packs and such. You could just buy a set, know every card you were going to get and have equal access to all of those cards.

Cornucopia changed this with the Tournament prizes and it seems that a lot of games are decided on who gets Followers or Trusty Steed first. Dark Ages introduced Ruins and Knights and even made the initial shuffles more different with Shelters.

Now I understand that it's sometimes fun when games are this asymmetrical, but it seems like you're straying further from the original "equal access" concept - if that even ever existed. Even cards that "do something with the trash" attribute to this as the timing of when you play your trasher/trash-grabber matters a lot.

Did you have an "equal access" concept in mind when you started designing Dominion? Is there a reason you've been exploring asymmetry more and more?
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #189 on: December 11, 2012, 08:01:52 am »
+2

edit: asked this before coming to the post where you said you wouldn't be answering funny questions
I don't want to disappoint people, I just don't want to spend hours trying to think of funny answers. I started looking for an old, unrelated joke to post instead, and even that was taking too long.
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #190 on: December 11, 2012, 08:11:40 am »
0

What I've always liked about Dominion and disliked about Magic is that in Dominion all players have the same choices. Every card in the kingdom was available to every player. You weren't limited to the amount of money you wanted to spend on random booster packs and such. You could just buy a set, know every card you were going to get and have equal access to all of those cards.

Cornucopia changed this with the Tournament prizes and it seems that a lot of games are decided on who gets Followers or Trusty Steed first. Dark Ages introduced Ruins and Knights and even made the initial shuffles more different with Shelters.

Now I understand that it's sometimes fun when games are this asymmetrical, but it seems like you're straying further from the original "equal access" concept - if that even ever existed. Even cards that "do something with the trash" attribute to this as the timing of when you play your trasher/trash-grabber matters a lot.

Did you have an "equal access" concept in mind when you started designing Dominion? Is there a reason you've been exploring asymmetry more and more?
When I thought of the premise, my original thought was that there would be some cards to buy, and when you bought one we'd deal out a replacement. When I actually made the game, months later, that sounded bad. Wouldn't a lot come down to having a good card turned over when you got first shot at it? It might seem just like if we draw cards from a deck and I draw a better one, but it's much more in-your-face. Anyway I didn't manage to come up with a good solution, so for the first game, I just put (all) ten cards out at once. I figured, it would make it easy to find the broken cards, and if the game seemed promising I could come up with something better later. Then of course we liked getting to pick from ten cards. So this significant feature of Dominion was something I just lucked into.

From my perspective there has been no trajectory like you describe. The Knights and Black Market are from 2007. I have asymmetry in this area because it was something to do. There sure isn't much of it. It's like $7's; some people felt like $7's would break the game, not realizing that, even if I made say four of them, you still wouldn't have one in most games.
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ipofanes

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #191 on: December 11, 2012, 08:20:43 am »
+1

What I've always liked about Dominion and disliked about Magic is that in Dominion all players have the same choices. Every card in the kingdom was available to every player. You weren't limited to the amount of money you wanted to spend on random booster packs and such. You could just buy a set, know every card you were going to get and have equal access to all of those cards.

This is what instantly clicked with me. I committed to buying all the expansions if the game promised to be any good, and still be way below the money I spent for M:tG.
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Davio

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #192 on: December 11, 2012, 08:29:17 am »
+1

I agree with the fact that having a few asymmetric cards doesn't immediately sway the balance to complete asymmetry because most games wouldn't have those cards anyway, it's just something I noticed as more expansions came out.

I reckon it might be difficult for you (and us) to keep track of the timeline as our experience with the cards is different from yours. We don't exactly know the order the cards were designed in, we just know the order of the expansions. So introducing this asymmetry can simply be an effect of shuffling cards around from set to set and it's also quite logical that asymmetrical cards are more complex and thus end up in later sets.

And with Guilds around the corner I wondered if this was a trend or just a side effect of the way cards were released and judging from your answer, I guess it's the latter. In your view, correct me if I'm wrong, asymmetry has always been part of the game, but you can see how it looks to us like a trend, just because the expansions are released in a certain order.

I found the first tidbit about "just turn over some cards and replace them if they're bought" very interesting. So you essentially started with a Black Market deck? It's funny to see how games develop this way. Nowadays, picking 10 cards out of all the available cards is such a linchpin of the game that we don't even think twice about it and, for me certainly, this has been a big reason why it's been so popular.

Imagine playing with just the 25 cards from the base game, containing exactly one copy of Witch and one copy of Chapel.  ;D
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #193 on: December 11, 2012, 09:34:18 am »
+1

I reckon it might be difficult for you (and us) to keep track of the timeline as our experience with the cards is different from yours. We don't exactly know the order the cards were designed in, we just know the order of the expansions. So introducing this asymmetry can simply be an effect of shuffling cards around from set to set and it's also quite logical that asymmetrical cards are more complex and thus end up in later sets.
Tournament is a fixed Black Market and is in Cornucopia because I wanted something in the variety-based set that actually increased the number of cards available, which Black Market does. The Knights were always in Dark Ages, from when it was called War. They are Knights; it's a War. The Ruins cards and Shelters vary because that's more interesting than having them be the same. They were made for the set. It was not some drive to increase asymmetry or some careful saving of complex things; it was, can I make Curses more interesting, and then Tom suggesting replacing the starting Estates to push the Dark Ages flavor.

And with Guilds around the corner I wondered if this was a trend or just a side effect of the way cards were released and judging from your answer, I guess it's the latter.
I'm not really looking to tell people about Guilds yet. Let's just steer all questions away from that.

If the game didn't include any cards anyone hated, it wouldn't include any cards anyone loved either. You are complaining about a tiny number of things that some people absolutely adore. Don't play with Tournament and Knights if you don't like them. They are slam dunks for me.
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #194 on: December 11, 2012, 09:57:07 am »
0

If the game didn't include any cards anyone hated, it wouldn't include any cards anyone loved either. You are complaining about a tiny number of things that some people absolutely adore. Don't play with Tournament and Knights if you don't like them. They are slam dunks for me.

It struck me as amusing that Tournament and Knights are in different sets.  How can you have a Tournament without Knights?
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #195 on: December 11, 2012, 10:02:18 am »
+1

It struck me as amusing that Tournament and Knights are in different sets.  How can you have a Tournament without Knights?

Well, when you host a Tournament, knights come from all over to compete; that doesn't mean they're each in your personal employ. The more provinces you yourself hold, though, the more likely the victor will come from your lands.

Also, I totally like the flavor of hiring Dame Molly to go wreck a tournament being hosted by another player.
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #196 on: December 11, 2012, 10:24:22 am »
0

If the game didn't include any cards anyone hated, it wouldn't include any cards anyone loved either. You are complaining about a tiny number of things that some people absolutely adore. Don't play with Tournament and Knights if you don't like them. They are slam dunks for me.

It struck me as amusing that Tournament and Knights are in different sets.  How can you have a Tournament without Knights?
Hey, I'm not saying I hate those cards! It's just something I noticed after the first sets not having such cards. :)

Some of the cards I'd like to see in Guilds are asymmetrical cards. Yes, you don't have to say anything about Guilds, but we're allowed to speculate.

Dominion by itself is already pretty asymmetrical with all the shuffling anyway.

Again, it's just something that caught my eye, I'm not judging it either way. Getting the 2nd prize with Tournament is certainly no more annoying than drawing $2P on turn 5.
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #197 on: December 11, 2012, 10:27:40 am »
0

Again, it's just something that caught my eye, I'm not judging it either way. Getting the 2nd prize with Tournament is certainly no more annoying than drawing $2P on turn 5.

So much less annoying than this. I wish Familiar cost $1P so badly.

Dolan, why 10 kingdom cards? Did you ever try 12 cards available at a time, or eight? (Different cards, not cards per pile)
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #198 on: December 11, 2012, 11:31:32 am »
0

Again, it's just something that caught my eye, I'm not judging it either way. Getting the 2nd prize with Tournament is certainly no more annoying than drawing $2P on turn 5.

So much less annoying than this. I wish Familiar cost $1P so badly.

Dolan, why 10 kingdom cards? Did you ever try 12 cards available at a time, or eight? (Different cards, not cards per pile)
Dolan?  Is this a scumslip?
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #199 on: December 11, 2012, 11:34:56 am »
+7

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #200 on: December 11, 2012, 11:36:15 am »
0

Again, it's just something that caught my eye, I'm not judging it either way. Getting the 2nd prize with Tournament is certainly no more annoying than drawing $2P on turn 5.

So much less annoying than this. I wish Familiar cost $1P so badly.

Dolan, why 10 kingdom cards? Did you ever try 12 cards available at a time, or eight? (Different cards, not cards per pile)
Dolan?  Is this a scumslip?
It feels like it would be the Celtic equivalent of Donald, doesn't it?
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #201 on: December 11, 2012, 11:37:04 am »
0

Or maybe the title of a new Eagles song: Duelin' Dolan Doolan.
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #202 on: December 11, 2012, 11:48:54 am »
+1

Again, it's just something that caught my eye, I'm not judging it either way. Getting the 2nd prize with Tournament is certainly no more annoying than drawing $2P on turn 5.

So much less annoying than this. I wish Familiar cost $1P so badly.

Dolan, why 10 kingdom cards? Did you ever try 12 cards available at a time, or eight? (Different cards, not cards per pile)
Dolan?  Is this a scumslip?
It feels like it would be the Celtic equivalent of Donald, doesn't it?

Donald is Celtic.
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #203 on: December 11, 2012, 12:40:54 pm »
0

tag
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #204 on: December 11, 2012, 12:46:34 pm »
0

Dolan, why 10 kingdom cards? Did you ever try 12 cards available at a time, or eight? (Different cards, not cards per pile)
As you add more cards you get more options but the game is harder to play, especially when you're new. Of course at a certain point you aren't increasing options much anymore because cards displace other cards for you.

Originally I had ten cards and decided to just put them all out. We could cope with ten so it stayed ten.

At one point I played with eight for a while. It worked fine but was not as good. I never really considered twelve because ten is already too many to remember them all (and I didn't consider odd numbers). There's the neat trick of, it's my first game ever, man I'm not reading all these, I have $4, what costs $4, I'll read those. But ten cards is still a lot.

Another thing is that the number has an effect on the variety you get. With 25 cards and 10 at a time, it takes you, you know, 2.5 games to see them all. If it were 8 cards at a time it would take 3 games. That was the big reason to test 8 for me, and it pushes away from putting more cards out at once.
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #205 on: December 11, 2012, 01:02:02 pm »
0

Again, it's just something that caught my eye, I'm not judging it either way. Getting the 2nd prize with Tournament is certainly no more annoying than drawing $2P on turn 5.

So much less annoying than this. I wish Familiar cost $1P so badly.

Dolan, why 10 kingdom cards? Did you ever try 12 cards available at a time, or eight? (Different cards, not cards per pile)
Dolan?  Is this a scumslip?
It feels like it would be the Celtic equivalent of Donald, doesn't it?

Donald is Celtic.
I can't imagine why I didn't know that, with a name like Vaccarino.
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #206 on: December 11, 2012, 01:18:00 pm »
0

Again, it's just something that caught my eye, I'm not judging it either way. Getting the 2nd prize with Tournament is certainly no more annoying than drawing $2P on turn 5.

So much less annoying than this. I wish Familiar cost $1P so badly.

Dolan, why 10 kingdom cards? Did you ever try 12 cards available at a time, or eight? (Different cards, not cards per pile)
Dolan?  Is this a scumslip?
It feels like it would be the Celtic equivalent of Donald, doesn't it?

Donald is Celtic.
I can't imagine why I didn't know that, with a name like Vaccarino.

Ahh, I meant the name, not DXV. I have no clue what DXV is.
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #207 on: December 11, 2012, 01:20:08 pm »
+5

Ahh, I meant the name, not DXV. I have no clue what DXV is.
515, duh.
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #208 on: December 11, 2012, 01:35:00 pm »
+1

Again, it's just something that caught my eye, I'm not judging it either way. Getting the 2nd prize with Tournament is certainly no more annoying than drawing $2P on turn 5.

So much less annoying than this. I wish Familiar cost $1P so badly.

Dolan, why 10 kingdom cards? Did you ever try 12 cards available at a time, or eight? (Different cards, not cards per pile)
Dolan?  Is this a scumslip?
It feels like it would be the Celtic equivalent of Donald, doesn't it?

Gooby plz.
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meandering mercury

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #209 on: December 11, 2012, 01:47:02 pm »
+3

As you add more cards you get more options but the game is harder to play, especially when you're new. Of course at a certain point you aren't increasing options much anymore because cards displace other cards for you.

Originally I had ten cards and decided to just put them all out. We could cope with ten so it stayed ten.

At one point I played with eight for a while. It worked fine but was not as good. I never really considered twelve because ten is already too many to remember them all (and I didn't consider odd numbers). There's the neat trick of, it's my first game ever, man I'm not reading all these, I have $4, what costs $4, I'll read those. But ten cards is still a lot.

I've found this to be true too. These days when I explain Dominion to a set of non-gamer friends I only use five cards instead of ten. It all fits in memory that way. For their second game, I roll out a full set of ten cards. Of course if you have an experienced boardgaming audience then you can start with ten to begin with.

I've sometimes thought that the official First Game set should be less than ten cards for this reason.
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #210 on: December 11, 2012, 02:24:39 pm »
+1

I've also been itching to play some games with 12 instead of 10. I think that experienced players would enjoy the greater number of options it presents and it would lead to fewer BM+X games, which are no one's favorites.
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #211 on: December 11, 2012, 02:56:33 pm »
0

These days when I explain Dominion to a set of non-gamer friends I only use five cards instead of ten. It all fits in memory that way. For their second game, I roll out a full set of ten cards. Of course if you have an experienced boardgaming audience then you can start with ten to begin with.

Do you have a specific set of five that you use?
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #212 on: December 11, 2012, 03:27:58 pm »
+29

These days when I explain Dominion to a set of non-gamer friends I only use five cards instead of ten. It all fits in memory that way. For their second game, I roll out a full set of ten cards. Of course if you have an experienced boardgaming audience then you can start with ten to begin with.

Do you have a specific set of five that you use?

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #213 on: December 11, 2012, 03:34:03 pm »
+2

These days when I explain Dominion to a set of non-gamer friends I only use five cards instead of ten. It all fits in memory that way. For their second game, I roll out a full set of ten cards. Of course if you have an experienced boardgaming audience then you can start with ten to begin with.

Do you have a specific set of five that you use?

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Saboteur makes the whole thing worth it.  BRING IT ON.
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #214 on: December 11, 2012, 04:36:55 pm »
+2

These days when I explain Dominion to a set of non-gamer friends I only use five cards instead of ten. It all fits in memory that way. For their second game, I roll out a full set of ten cards. Of course if you have an experienced boardgaming audience then you can start with ten to begin with.

Do you have a specific set of five that you use?

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The more I stare at it, the more I think it would be incredibly interesting to play.
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #215 on: December 11, 2012, 04:57:44 pm »
+1

These days when I explain Dominion to a set of non-gamer friends I only use five cards instead of ten. It all fits in memory that way. For their second game, I roll out a full set of ten cards. Of course if you have an experienced boardgaming audience then you can start with ten to begin with.

Do you have a specific set of five that you use?

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Mind=Blown
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #216 on: December 11, 2012, 05:11:36 pm »
+6

These days when I explain Dominion to a set of non-gamer friends I only use five cards instead of ten. It all fits in memory that way. For their second game, I roll out a full set of ten cards. Of course if you have an experienced boardgaming audience then you can start with ten to begin with.

Do you have a specific set of five that you use?

King's Court
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I didn't know you were going to go claiming credit for the final match kingdom I submitted.  ;)
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #217 on: December 11, 2012, 05:12:20 pm »
+17

Donald is Celtic.
It means "world ruler." And Vaccarino means "cow herder." And then X is the unknown. So, put it all together and it's like that South Park joke. phase 1: herd cows. phase 2: ? ? ?. phase 3: world domination.
« Last Edit: December 11, 2012, 05:13:23 pm by Donald X. »
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #218 on: December 11, 2012, 05:26:00 pm »
0

Donald is Celtic.
It means "world ruler." And Vaccarino means "cow herder." And then X is the unknown. So, put it all together and it's like that South Park joke. phase 1: herd cows. phase 2: ? ? ?. phase 3: world domination.
But since it's the other way around, it seems to me like you're taking over the world in order to herd cows.

Allegedly, the biggest-selling LCG in Japan is a game called "Tanto Cuore", a maid-themed deck builder. While a lot of its mechanisms are practically identical to Dominion, its basic currency costs one more than the Dominion equivalent (so the $1 costs $1, the $2 costs $4 and the $3 costs $7). Did you ever consider doing anything like this in Dominion - particularly, moving Copper off the $0 price point?
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #219 on: December 11, 2012, 05:30:52 pm »
0

He herds us like cattle...
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #220 on: December 11, 2012, 06:03:24 pm »
+1

Allegedly, the biggest-selling LCG in Japan is a game called "Tanto Cuore", a maid-themed deck builder. While a lot of its mechanisms are practically identical to Dominion, its basic currency costs one more than the Dominion equivalent (so the $1 costs $1, the $2 costs $4 and the $3 costs $7). Did you ever consider doing anything like this in Dominion - particularly, moving Copper off the $0 price point?
I never considered Copper not costing $0, because I wanted something you could do usefully with no money. Obv. they can sell out, and I have seen that case, I have seen the Coppers sell out and someone with no money. Obv. I try to avoid that being so possible in games with published cards, and if I've done that then does it matter that Copper costs $0, but what, it still seems nice that it does. And of course since it costs $0 that affects things.

The treasures had their costs from game one. The way to think of it is, all of the other costs were tweaked to work with them.
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #221 on: December 11, 2012, 06:44:36 pm »
0

So the player learns as the developer developed the game ;]

This brings up another question:
Was any tweaking done to Estates/Provinces/Colonies?
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #222 on: December 11, 2012, 06:54:37 pm »
+2

In case Donald doesn't want to add more, I'll quote things he's said before:

http://forum.dominionstrategy.com/index.php?topic=115.0

Quote
Estate, Duchy, Copper, Silver, Gold: These cards are unchanged from day one. You could argue that the actions got tweaked to fit the treasures. The treasure pile sizes changed to match different estimates for the total set size, and ended up generous on all counts. In development the issue of the names for these came up - is it simpler if it's Copper Mine rather than Copper? In the end you can see that Copper won out. It just makes it a lot easier to name action cards if the treasures are treasures rather than mines.


http://wiki.dominionstrategy.com/index.php/Province

Quote
As mentioned in the BGN article, we changed [Province] from 5 VP to 6 VP during development, as part of the fix to the Duchy rush. The Duchy rush was, you buy nothing but Silver and Duchies. At the time the game ended when any Victory pile ran out. If one person went for the Duchy rush you could beat them, but if two people did, you had to join them. My friends found this strategy, but it didn't seem like a problem. It was a boring strategy, so the only reason to play it was if you thought it would win for you. It wouldn't though; it would win for someone at random, since we would all follow suit. You could make the game suck but that's it. So we never did it. Well would you believe, being able to make the game suck is not so hot. Furthermore, if you're a new player, the Duchy rush may elevate your chance of winning from zero to even. So it was in fact a problem. An anonymous playtester realized this, Valerie and Dale raised the alarm, and in the end, Province changed from 5 VP to 6 VP and the end condition changed from "any empty victory pile" (the end condition we were using at the time, but not the original one, which was "any empty pile") to the one you know. We tried ideas that Valerie or Dale came up with, but in the end happened to go with something that I suggested (which is why I didn't count this when I mentioned Thief as the only card they changed). These two changes were easily the most important changes during development.—Donald X. Vaccarino, The Secret History of the Dominion Cards

http://wiki.dominionstrategy.com/index.php/Colony
Quote
This always cost Coin11.png height=16. Originally it made 8 VP. At the time Province was worth 5 VP. When Province went up to 6 VP, I changed this to 9 VP. It stayed like that for a while. 9 VP seemed like a good spot for making both Colony and Province viable in Colony games. In development, Valerie and Dale really wanted it to be worth 10 VP. 1 - 3 - 6 - 10! Except, the 1 and 3 there really don't mean much; Estate and Duchy are not bargains. For a while I said, sure, maybe 9 VP isn't the right value, but you know, it sure has seemed good in testing so far. And it had. It had seemed just fine. I finally tested it at 10 VP anyway though. And well, it usually didn't make a difference in who won, and it made counting scores easier, and it looks prettier. And attacks and rush strategies already push you away from Colony; it's fine if some games you really don't want to stop at Provinces. So 10 VP it is.—Donald X. Vaccarino, The Other Secret History of the Prosperity Cards

Though we would of course love to hear more :)
« Last Edit: December 11, 2012, 06:58:25 pm by ftl »
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #223 on: December 11, 2012, 06:57:29 pm »
+2

Was any tweaking done to Estates/Provinces/Colonies?
Province was originally worth 5 VP. I changed it to 6 VP as part of the fix for the Duchy rush (the other part was changing the end condition from "any empty victory pile" to "any 3 empty piles, or all provinces gone").

Colony was originally 8 VP. I changed it to 9 VP when Province went to 6 VP. Valerie and Dale wanted it to be 10 VP so that the victory cards went 1 - 3 - 6 - 10, even though the 1 and 3 there don't belong. I tried it and found that it didn't matter much in terms of game play, but it did look nice and made counting scores easier. So Colony went to 10 VP.

Estate and Duchy never changed. Well the very first versions weren't named.

Edit: There was nothing new to say. They're green because I had a lot of green paper, I could mention that. At the time I printed in black and white on colored paper.
« Last Edit: December 11, 2012, 06:59:03 pm by Donald X. »
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #224 on: December 11, 2012, 07:18:26 pm »
0

all my firend buyz is money and he winz. pls help.

Do you consider yourself more of a BM-ish player or an engine player?

What's your favorite type of pie?

How did you decide on the artists for the cards?
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #225 on: December 11, 2012, 07:27:32 pm »
+1

Do you consider yourself more of a BM-ish player or an engine player?

What's your favorite type of pie?

How did you decide on the artists for the cards?
Engines, apple. I don't have any input into who does the art for what card. I do get to see some of the sketches sometimes, in  which case I comment on them, but that's about illustrating the correct thing (and not having anachronisms or what have you) rather than say quality of art.
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Ozle

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #226 on: December 12, 2012, 12:29:17 am »
0

Donald is Celtic.
It means "world ruler." And Vaccarino means "cow herder." And then X is the unknown. So, put it all together and it's like that South Park joke. phase 1: herd cows. phase 2: ? ? ?. phase 3: world domination.

Surely the X is actually a multiplication sign

So its World Ruler x Cow Herder.

I'll leave the maths for someone else.....
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #227 on: December 12, 2012, 07:56:04 am »
0

How have the sales of Dark Ages compared to, say, Hinterlands?
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #228 on: December 12, 2012, 08:41:45 am »
0

How have the sales of Dark Ages compared to, say, Hinterlands?
I won't have any sales figures until next year, and even then I'm not sure that will say anything about the level of interest from players - I'll just know how many copies were sold to distributors, and that may just reflect initial orders, i.e. what they guessed the level of interest would be.
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SwitchedFromStarcraft

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #229 on: December 12, 2012, 08:44:31 am »
0

How have the sales of Dark Ages compared to, say, Hinterlands?
I won't have any sales figures until next year, and even then I'm not sure that will say anything about the level of interest from players - I'll just know how many copies were sold to distributors, and that may just reflect initial orders, i.e. what they guessed the level of interest would be.
Follow up question:

Aside from the base game, what is the best selling expansion to date, and what are your thoughts on why?
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #230 on: December 12, 2012, 09:04:56 am »
+1

Follow up question:

Aside from the base game, what is the best selling expansion to date, and what are your thoughts on why?
This kind of thing is really more appropriate for an interview with Jay; so, last question about sales.

Without adding up these numbers I am guessing it's Intrigue. It was the first expansion and is a standalone and those seem like plausible explanations.
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theory

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #231 on: December 12, 2012, 09:34:07 am »
+4

Do you have more fun playtesting stories involving horribly broken cards?  I enjoyed the stories where no one has any deck whatsoever and must struggle forward with 5-card hands.
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tyr10n

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #232 on: December 12, 2012, 12:54:55 pm »
0

In order to make more expansions, the cards necessarily get more complex, and that's the real problem with making more expansions (in addition to, then it's all I do with my life, and don't people have enough variety already, and so on, all the stuff I say over and over when people ask about why I'm not making more expansions). It's okay to change the game and there is more space to explore; it's just, you are pushed into making more and more complex things, while the audience already wants things less complex than they are.

Magic also has to deal with complexity creep in much the same way. Advanced players want more complicated cards, but the developers need to keep the game accessible to new players to make sure the playerbase doesn't stagnate. Somehow Wizards has managed to churn out expansions and attract new players for 20 years. Is there a reason why this couldn't be done with Dominion? I can understand you wanting to move on to new games, but would you ever be willing to hand off development of Dominion?
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #233 on: December 12, 2012, 01:47:24 pm »
+3

Was it intentional or just fortunate that if you only have Base+Cornucopia or Intrigue+Cornucopia then you still have at least 10 cards costing $2 or $3, and thus can't run into a situation where YW can't find a bane, at least without base cards?

(Yes I know it's contrived, but it's something I observed recently)
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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.
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #234 on: December 12, 2012, 05:02:27 pm »
+4

Do you have more fun playtesting stories involving horribly broken cards?  I enjoyed the stories where no one has any deck whatsoever and must struggle forward with 5-card hands.
Well I looked at some outtakes and haven't thought of one. I try to include every good story I can in the secret histories, including ones where the cards weren't broken, and then there's that post where I looked at the extremes of each type of attack outtake. One "We were all stuck at 5 cards" story is probably about the same as the next one. There are other random memorable games I've posted about, and as they get less memorable they somehow get harder to remember.

I could talk more about the early cards though, and I typed up something I will be proofreading and posting before you know it.
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #235 on: December 12, 2012, 05:34:20 pm »
+5

Magic also has to deal with complexity creep in much the same way. Advanced players want more complicated cards, but the developers need to keep the game accessible to new players to make sure the playerbase doesn't stagnate. Somehow Wizards has managed to churn out expansions and attract new players for 20 years. Is there a reason why this couldn't be done with Dominion? I can understand you wanting to move on to new games, but would you ever be willing to hand off development of Dominion?
Magic is drastically more complex than Dominion, and that rulebook complexity takes complexity away from the cards. You can make tons of very simple Magic cards, but there are only so many combinations of +'s for Dominion. Then, Magic is okay with having extremely similar cards, even identical cards with different names (plus straight reprints), but that doesn't work in Dominion; if there are two identical piles there's one pile that could be making the game better and isn't. Magic is also not a game that normal people can play. Dominion can be played by your parents and so on and that doesn't seem good to give up.

I have made hundreds of homemade Magic cards. You can churn them out. There are all these knobs, all these ways to tweak something to end up with something different enough for Magic that isn't too complex for Magic. Dominion doesn't have those knobs, while needing cards more different and less complex.

I don't imagine I will ever want to "hand off" Dominion. Someone might be able to talk me into letting them do an expansion, but I would feel compelled to put in a lot of work on it myself. And if I'm making spin-offs, isn't that enough?
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #236 on: December 12, 2012, 05:42:00 pm »
+1

Was it intentional or just fortunate that if you only have Base+Cornucopia or Intrigue+Cornucopia then you still have at least 10 cards costing $2 or $3, and thus can't run into a situation where YW can't find a bane, at least without base cards?

(Yes I know it's contrived, but it's something I observed recently)
The original Young Witch always had a bane costing $3 (so, not intentional). Jeff Wolfe suggested changing it to "$2 or $3" to reduce the frequency with which the bane was a particular Cornucopia card.
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #237 on: December 12, 2012, 05:45:46 pm »
+1

Someone might be able to talk me into letting them do an expansion, but I would feel compelled to put in a lot of work on it myself.

Resisting urge to send Donald fan cards...
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jotheonah

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #238 on: December 12, 2012, 05:52:44 pm »
0

People need to ask Donald more questions. He evidently has enough free time to lurk the GoF threads and point out when we're resolving the rules wrong.

Donald, when will game stores start having Gauntlet of Fools and what do I need to do to give you money for that game?
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #239 on: December 12, 2012, 05:54:12 pm »
0

I don't imagine I will ever want to "hand off" Dominion. Someone might be able to talk me into letting them do an expansion, but I would feel compelled to put in a lot of work on it myself. And if I'm making spin-offs, isn't that enough?

We made one of those already! You should totally playtest it and get it printed. Especially the card I made.

Completely objective opinion, of course.
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #240 on: December 12, 2012, 06:11:12 pm »
0

Donald, when will game stores start having Gauntlet of Fools and what do I need to do to give you money for that game?
They have it now, and if you buy a copy I'll get my cut.

Obv. many physical stores may not have specifically chosen to stock it yet, but you can get them to order it, if you prefer that to ordering it yourself.
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ednever

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #241 on: December 12, 2012, 06:31:03 pm »
0

I think the answer to this is "the game was long enough already", but I'm interested in the color:

Why 8/12 victory cards? And how did you get to that number?

My guess is that you started playing 3/4 player and wanted a number that was evenly divisible by that group- 12 is the obvious number. And then you shrank it to 8 to make 2p games similar.

Related question: why not 12 of each kingdom card then too? Making them evenly divisible seems fair using the same logic.

Would love to hear how the numbers were chosen.

Ed
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #242 on: December 12, 2012, 06:38:19 pm »
+1

How often do you play Dominion with non-playtesting people? Do you ever do so online?
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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.
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #243 on: December 12, 2012, 07:02:50 pm »
+2

Why 8/12 victory cards? And how did you get to that number?

My guess is that you started playing 3/4 player and wanted a number that was evenly divisible by that group- 12 is the obvious number. And then you shrank it to 8 to make 2p games similar.

Related question: why not 12 of each kingdom card then too? Making them evenly divisible seems fair using the same logic.
Originally there were 12 of every kingdom card and victory card (and I gradually printed more Copper / Silver / Gold / Curses, not knowing how much would be enough). Most of my games initially try to work with 3-5 players, and then I support 2 or 6+ if that works out. In a 5-player game where everyone wants a particular card, you may just end up with one of them. They get $5 on turns 3-4 and you don't, you know. I wanted enough copies of a card that I could expect to get a couple copies if I wanted them. So that was what mattered for a lower limit. And then the upper limit was, I can only print so many cards. I didn't know at the time that the number of cards would be an issue for publication, but man, I didn't want giant stacks of things we weren't buying. So 12 seemed reasonable and I went with 12. Yes, being divisible by 3 and 4 was nice too.

The original game ending condition was any empty pile. Normally it would be a victory pile though. When I learned that the number of cards was an issue - will people buy a box of just 500 cards, no incredibly valuable board or anything - I looked at ways to cut down. One was, lower the action card piles to 10 cards, but change the end condition to any victory pile. You had to leave a buffer you see - if I bought the Remodels down to one left, whoever's winning could buy that to lock in the win. So I have to leave two Remodels. With Remodel not ending the game, having only 10 Remodels was like having 12 had been before. We were getting use out of that last Remodel that never did anything but end the game, plus the Remodel you had to leave as a buffer. But the victory piles were still the end condition so they stayed 12. Then when I changed the end condition to "no provinces or 3 empty piles," I kept the non-Province VP piles at 12, because I felt like, having 12 of a kingdom victory card made it easier to go for that strategy. I wanted those cards to be competitive and having more cards was part of that. Now, Estate for sure did not need 12 and could have just not been a pile. If I had needed to cut cards, it was on the list. Since I didn't, it was 12 because the other VP piles were.

For 2 players you could just have a longer game, but it seemed good to pare it down, so it's 8. For more players you need more Provinces and so I add 3 per extra player to keep it a multiple of the number of players. Possibly 4 per player (so 16 for 4 players) would have been better; my thinking at the time was, more players means a longer game, so maybe it's not so bad to only have 3 per player for 4+. Speed it back up a little.

Curses ended up as 10 per opponent to make it possible to balance Witch over different numbers of players. It's probably 10 because it's a round number; it seemed like enough pain. And then Copper/Silver/Gold just tried to be enough to reasonably handle expansion cards that I already knew were coming.
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #244 on: December 12, 2012, 07:14:43 pm »
+1

How often do you play Dominion with non-playtesting people? Do you ever do so online?
Never. All of my Dominion playing has also been Dominion playtesting. If I'm playing with non-playtesters, we're still playtesting. Some games were for playtesting sets-of-10 rather than cards. I've certainly played a lot for fun, but man, why not get in some testing while we're at it? And all it takes is using the most recent set. I haven't played Dominion irl in a while, but I only sent the Guilds rulebook to Jay two weeks ago; that was the earliest that I could not be accomplishing valuable playtesting in my games (and even now I could make a last-minute change if I had to).

I played a portion of a game for some people to film at Essen in 2009; that's the only time I've played with published cards, and the only game I can point to as not doing any testing.

There was a point when I was playing the Goko version to while away some time while technically accomplishing something. I stopped when it started crashing Chrome; since then I've only done a little dedicated new expansion testing. But all the Goko games count as testing Goko, including the tiny number I played against real people.
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ConMan

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #245 on: December 12, 2012, 07:42:13 pm »
0

If you weren't known as "The guy who created Dominion", which of your other games would you most want to fill that space?
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #246 on: December 12, 2012, 08:31:08 pm »
0

What's the weirdest fringe situation you learn about from playtesting broken cards, that we never experience? I'm guessing you have like ten pages of advice on what to do in games where, say, Gold is likely to run out, even though the rest of us have seen that situation about twice in our lives?

Similarly is there any sort of borderline-fringe stuff that you got good at because of playtesting, but you think it really helps you and maybe we should learn it? A few expansions ago I'd have said "Silver-based economies" as an example but I guess those have gotten pretty mainstream; we've all learned our lesson. Weird Duchy rushes or something like that, maybe?
« Last Edit: December 12, 2012, 08:34:01 pm by RD »
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #247 on: December 12, 2012, 08:33:25 pm »
+1

If you weren't known as "The guy who created Dominion", which of your other games would you most want to fill that space?
I'm not sure I exactly buy the premise - I don't know that I want all of my life achievements to be eclipsed by one particular achievement. If I go for it then a classic Donald X. game involves simultaneous play, cards with rules on them that interact, and variety from game to game, and takes about half an hour, with very little politics. There's an upcoming game from Queen that's like the quintessential one; of my published games, Nefarious is closest. But uh, like if we hypothesize that I really want to be known as "the guy with that one particular thing" then possibly that would go hand-in-hand with wanting to be known for whatever my most successful thing was.
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #248 on: December 12, 2012, 08:49:45 pm »
+3

What's the weirdest fringe situation you learn about from playtesting broken cards, that we never experience? I'm guessing you have like ten pages of advice on what to do in games where, say, Gold is likely to run out, even though the rest of us have seen that situation about twice in our lives?
Most of what I learn from broken cards is how to avoid making broken cards. I'm not sure I have any advice for games where Gold runs out. Gold will run out if people aggressively pursue Gold-gaining cards, like Hoard or Tunnel; when it does, man, that's not so bad, you have plenty. Stop trying to gain Golds once they're gone, that's my advice. You have plenty of Silver if it runs out; you weren't planning on buying Copper anyway, except to boost Gardens or Goons or something in which case it's nevertheless okay that you can't. Sometimes you'll actually buy Curse because you are netting points, but man people know about that.

You can dodge Knights by sticking with just 5 cards in your deck and playing Remodels; they can beat that with Sir Michael though. If your deck is going to be really awful, get straight to the Duchies, don't waste time. One of my few games against real people on Goko, I won in part by going for Estates first; I guess it's fair to say that that did come from experience with broken cards, although also from experience with not-so-broken ones.

Similarly is there any sort of borderline-fringe stuff that you got good at because of playtesting, but you think it really helps you and maybe we should learn it? A few expansions ago I'd have said "Silver-based economies" as an example but I guess those have gotten pretty mainstream; we've all learned our lesson. Weird Duchy rushes or something like that, maybe?
I'm not really here to give strategy advice. I immediately think of one classic lesson that I think people take a long time to get, and it's like, man, why should I spoil that?
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #249 on: December 13, 2012, 05:30:34 am »
+4

Dominion can be played by your parents and so on and that doesn't seem good to give up.


You've obviously not met my parents....
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #250 on: December 13, 2012, 07:18:56 am »
0

Can you explain once and for all why a "Curse - X" dualtype is a bad idea? Or if you think it CAN be done, what needs to be done to make it possible? Some extra setup instructions perhaps?

How did you arrive at the "1 Action, 1 Buy" principle? Other deckbuilders let you just play all of the actions in your hand and buy as many cards as you want as long as you have money. Obviously, this is a problem with Bridge and emptying the Copper Pile in one turn, but still...
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #251 on: December 13, 2012, 08:07:09 am »
+3

Can you explain once and for all why a "Curse - X" dualtype is a bad idea? Or if you think it CAN be done, what needs to be done to make it possible? Some extra setup instructions perhaps?
Since Curse is both a card name and a type, it would be confusing to have any more cards with the Curse type. It would create the question, what are Witch etc. referring to? Can I discard this to Mountebank? And even if you say "well it only makes sense that they did this if Witch can dish these out," whatever, yuck, it's awful. If I wanted more Curses, I had to make the type and name of Curse different back when.

Then consider the case where I want to add a new Curse so badly that I do it some other way. There's a Super Witch and it says (after a dividing line) "In games using this, when a player would gain a Curse, they instead gain a Super Curse." Let's say Super Curse is -2 VP. It is not a "Curse" so no problems there. It's clear whether or not you can discard one to Mountebank.

We have Super Witch and Witch in the same game. Well why buy Super Witch? Super Witch is balanced around Super Curse and Witch isn't. Witch is way better at dealing out Super Curses.

If Super Curse were comparable to Curse - just about as bad to get, no better no worse - then Super Witch wouldn't need to be weaker than Witch, and I could buy either card depending on other factors (you could also let the player choose which Curse they took, which makes all Cursing cards weaker but if it's not by much then why not). It is far from trivial to make Super Curse comparable to Curse though (aside from making it identical), and the less it matters which you get, the less exciting it is to do Super Curse in the first place.

Even if this all worked out, it wouldn't scale unless you got 50 Super Curses. What kind of expansion would have room for that many non-kingdom cards?

Finally there is Dark Ages. I went for it, I put in 50 Ruins, They are not as bad for you as Curses but the cards that give them out are balanced around that, with the existing cards that give out Curses still just giving out Curses in those games (albeit, Curses that hurt more because now you can get 20 dead cards, not considering Moat etc.). Dark Ages had 500 cards and it seemed like I could make room for Ruins. If there are more sets in the future, they won't have that space and anyway I did it already, it would be way less exciting the second time.

How did you arrive at the "1 Action, 1 Buy" principle?
Playing one action per turn is extremely simple and opens the door for making cards like Village and Spy (and less obviously, Remodel and Vault and Bank and Gardens). I value both of those things. I made a TCG that had you just play one action per turn, as part of an attempt to make an extremely mainstream TCG, and it worked great. So I already knew it was a fine direction to go in. I wanted something simple and went for it. It immediately worked well so that was that.

In my initial notes it was going to be that some cards let you buy cards, but that seemed bad once I thought about it. It had to be that you could just buy stuff. I didn't have Gardens etc. at that point and could have just let you buy multiple cards, but again I knew that limiting you to one card was simple and would let me make Market. Village and Market were maybe the 2nd and 3rd action cards I made; they were inherent in the game premise.
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #252 on: December 13, 2012, 08:14:13 am »
+3

Village and Market were maybe the 2nd and 3rd action cards I made; they were inherent in the game premise.

That of course raises the obvious question which card was the fourth...
« Last Edit: December 13, 2012, 08:16:13 am by DStu »
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Davio

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #253 on: December 13, 2012, 08:23:37 am »
0

I know you "already did this" with Ruins, but imagine Dark Ages didn't exist for a second.

How about a Curse pile that replaces the original Curse pile kind of like how Shelters replace your starting Estates.
Setup instructions could be analogous to Colony and Shelters: In games using X Attack cards, have an X in 10 chance of replacing the original Curse pile with the alternative Curse pile. Not all Attack cards dish out Curses and not all games without Attacks are Curse-less, but you need a way to determine some chance of using them.

Would this way of replacing the Curse pile have been viable? More so than adding another Curse pile? By the time Dark Ages came around we were used to all kinds of setup instructions and edge cases, so I don't see a problem with discarding a Curse - Treasure to Mountebank. It's not much different from Fortune Teller putting a Great Hall on top.

Now let me make clear that I'm glad we have Ruins to spice things up and not this alternative Curse pile, but it has been tried so often that I wondered if it could be viable.

I know you have a sort of "been there, done that, I already know it doesn't work/isn't interesting" attitude toward fan cards, but the comments you provide are very helpful to us - we don't have that kind of experience with the game -, so that's why I asked about it.
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #254 on: December 13, 2012, 08:35:18 am »
+3

Village and Market were maybe the 2nd and 3rd action cards I made; they were inherent in the game premise.

That of course raises the obvious question which card was the fourth...

And the first.
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #255 on: December 13, 2012, 08:41:17 am »
+3

Village and Market were maybe the 2nd and 3rd action cards I made; they were inherent in the game premise.

That of course raises the obvious question which card was the fourth...

And the first.

Clearly that was Scout.
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #256 on: December 13, 2012, 08:52:28 am »
0

How did you arrive at the "1 Action, 1 Buy" principle?

Donald already answered that, but I would like to elaborate on what I think.

Taking Magic as a source of inspiration. The number of cards in your hand is a valuable asset that carries over to your next turn. Curbing the number of actions wouldn't do much as playing three Enchantments in a turn meant that your future turns would be very limited. In Dominion, your cards are discarded and shuffled anyway, so the more cards you play this turn, the more power to you. So thinking about the number of actions as a resource in itself only would occur after implementing the rule "draw up to ... cards at end of turn".

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Captain_Frisk

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #257 on: December 13, 2012, 08:56:02 am »
+1

How did you arrive at the "1 Action, 1 Buy" principle?
Playing one action per turn is extremely simple and opens the door for making cards like Village and Spy (and less obviously, Remodel and Vault and Bank and Gardens). I value both of those things. I made a TCG that had you just play one action per turn, as part of an attempt to make an extremely mainstream TCG, and it worked great. So I already knew it was a fine direction to go in. I wanted something simple and went for it. It immediately worked well so that was that.

In my initial notes it was going to be that some cards let you buy cards, but that seemed bad once I thought about it. It had to be that you could just buy stuff. I didn't have Gardens etc. at that point and could have just let you buy multiple cards, but again I knew that limiting you to one card was simple and would let me make Market. Village and Market were maybe the 2nd and 3rd action cards I made; they were inherent in the game premise.

Since donald hasn't played the other dominion spinoffs, the ones that let you play unlimited actions / unlimited buys all are providing something else to do.

Ascension lets you have unlimited buys / actions, but you have the dual resource thing, and all of the cards are like buying from a black market - so you don't have to worry about having 2 similar cards come up...

Nightfall has limited actions via chaining, and while there are unlimited buys, you need them because the game is so short. 

Resident evil is a straight dominion ripoff that redacted

Puzzle strike has unlimited buys, but limited actions.  Because you aren't buying victory points, the value of +buy isn't particularly useful.

Having limits on actions and buys not only simplifies the basic gameplay, but also expands the space available for cards. 

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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #258 on: December 13, 2012, 09:14:20 am »
+1

How about a Curse pile that replaces the original Curse pile kind of like how Shelters replace your starting Estates.
Setup instructions could be analogous to Colony and Shelters: In games using X Attack cards, have an X in 10 chance of replacing the original Curse pile with the alternative Curse pile. Not all Attack cards dish out Curses and not all games without Attacks are Curse-less, but you need a way to determine some chance of using them.

Would this way of replacing the Curse pile have been viable? More so than adding another Curse pile? By the time Dark Ages came around we were used to all kinds of setup instructions and edge cases, so I don't see a problem with discarding a Curse - Treasure to Mountebank. It's not much different from Fortune Teller putting a Great Hall on top.
The crucial difference is, Curse is named Curse. There is no card named Action or Victory. When a card says Curse, does it mean the card with that name or a card with that type? It's ambiguous. I don't need you to care about this but I do. And I knew this was an issue with giving Curse that type, I just didn't have a better type for it or a reason it was going to matter. It was originally "token." Of course if it were still "token," you wouldn't be changing what Witch did by making a new "token," since Witch would still say "Curse."

Cards change how good other cards are. Witch isn't as good in games with Gardens and so on. So it's not strictly bad to have something that changes how good Witch is, although it's not exciting if it ends up, Witch sucks or is unbeatable. But whatever; is it worth 50 cards? The main set had a second Curse-like card originally, Confusion (a blank), and it was not worth the space it took, and that would have only been 30 cards.

You always have to weigh the cost vs. the benefits. Is it worth confusion and doing fewer kingdom cards in order to have a new card that Witch can give out? Man, no, it isn't.
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #259 on: December 13, 2012, 09:16:48 am »
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Village and Market were maybe the 2nd and 3rd action cards I made; they were inherent in the game premise.

That of course raises the obvious question which card was the fourth...

And the first.
In the early days I did not keep everything - I put new cards in the image files where dead cards had been. The oldest sheet of cards goes "Dungeon," Village, Market, Smithy. I know Dungeon and Smithy weren't in game one, and that Village and Market (in worse forms) were. Mine is next and was in game one, so it was probably the 5th card. You can read more about these pages at http://forum.dominionstrategy.com/index.php?topic=5905.0.
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Davio

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #260 on: December 13, 2012, 09:29:45 am »
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How was the decision to allow up to 6 people made and is this something you regret?

The original game just plays 2-4. Coupled with Intrigue this could go up to 6, but this meant that any subsequent expansion that had some new "basic" cards (like the Ruins mentioned earlier) would have to support this number of players.

Do you regret "losing" 2 card slots (20 cards) in order to have so many Ruins?

When I play in real life, my favorite number of players is 3, then 4, then 2, but certainly not 5 or 6. In fact, I would just split 6 into two games of 3 players. 4 can already be a bit tedious as you wait for the Village idiot to play 8 Villages and buy another Village, but 5 or 6 just makes it too uninteresting for me and I would rather play something like 7 Wonders with so many players.

PS: I haven't exactly read every question and answer in this topic, so if I'm asking something that's been asked before, I apologize. It's just that..it got to 10 pages in half a day and I didn't have the time to keep up.
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #261 on: December 13, 2012, 09:38:03 am »
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This might help:

Do you sometimes play dominion with more than 4 players ?
IRL, when I was playing Dominion irl, I would play with 5 sometimes. There are 5 people who want to play, counting me; man, it works well enough. I prefer 3, then 4, then 2, then 5. I don't play with 6. Online I have played with 5 a few times but we usually split into 2/3 when that came up.
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #262 on: December 13, 2012, 09:54:15 am »
0