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Author Topic: Interview with Donald X.  (Read 802515 times)

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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #4650 on: April 09, 2019, 03:10:09 pm »
+2

A data point that might be interesting, and is hopefully really easy to answer: how big was the corresponding "finished" file for Renaissance?
There is no such file. The main file is 8K. Half of that is a terse list of the cards, one line per card; a fourth is cards by category; a fourth is final work being done - bad ideas for projects and wordings for Lantern. The list bit would have been copied to the other file but there was no point.

Okay I made a file of just the final card texts (but the full form, with exact wordings and card types and stuff), and that's 7K.
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crj

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #4651 on: April 09, 2019, 07:07:36 pm »
0

If I understand correctly, that suggests that only approximately one idea in every twenty-five ended up as a published card? That's surprisingly (and impressively) low!

I guess some of the junk ideas are reworking of other junk ideas, but even so...
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LastFootnote

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #4652 on: April 10, 2019, 11:54:47 am »
0

For the number of cards that get to me for playtesting, I can tell you that way less than half of them end up being the last version of a card. There's no line though between a card that's been tweaked and a card that's been replaced entirely. It's a big gray area. But any which way you slice it, the number of outtakes dwarfs the number of finished cards by leaps and bounds.
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LastFootnote

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #4653 on: April 10, 2019, 01:09:04 pm »
+1

Random NPCs: Were each of them tied to a room like in Infiltration or were they randomized as well, as suggested in Infiltration's Scattered NPCs variant?

Oh man, there are so many random changes from Factory Job to Infiltration, it's insane. So many of them are pointlessly making the game worse as well. Like you know there's this one NPC that always moves out and then dials up the cops number (or whatever it's called in Infiltration) when they leave the building? In Factory Job, that NPC only moves if they're alone, which is both more flavorful and more interesting mechanically.

The one thing I think Infiltration possibly does better is the money/data. Having large discrete chunks of it makes it a lot easier to divvy up loot in a room. It's a pain having $100 in room and giving each of three players $33, leaving $1 in the room that nobody will ever want. I also like the amounts being secret and randomized, but honestly I don't think it's worth the extra setup. Having to turn all those data tokens upside down and mixing them up is a huge pain.
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Jeebus

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #4654 on: May 19, 2019, 03:22:39 pm »
0

Maybe this has been addressed somewhere, but I can't find it. Why does Royal Carriage have a clause that it can't replay a card that has left play, while Citadel does not have that clause?

GendoIkari

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #4655 on: May 19, 2019, 03:33:07 pm »
+3

Maybe this has been addressed somewhere, but I can't find it. Why does Royal Carriage have a clause that it can't replay a card that has left play, while Citadel does not have that clause?

I don't know if it was the only reason, but without that clause, you could play Royal Carriage infinitely, calling it to reply itself each time. One could argue that this is no different than how you can reveal Moat infinitely for no effect; though it actually matters with Conspirator or any of the token bonuses.
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Jeebus

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #4656 on: May 19, 2019, 03:36:35 pm »
0

I don't know if it was the only reason, but without that clause, you could play Royal Carriage infinitely, calling it to reply itself each time. One could argue that this is no different than how you can reveal Moat infinitely for no effect; though it actually matters with Conspirator or any of the token bonuses.

That is a very good point. Citadel has a built-in limit of once.

LastFootnote

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #4657 on: May 19, 2019, 04:43:32 pm »
+7

Maybe this has been addressed somewhere, but I can't find it. Why does Royal Carriage have a clause that it can't replay a card that has left play, while Citadel does not have that clause?

I don't know if it was the only reason, but without that clause, you could play Royal Carriage infinitely, calling it to reply itself each time. One could argue that this is no different than how you can reveal Moat infinitely for no effect; though it actually matters with Conspirator or any of the token bonuses.

It also gives you infinite +Actions.
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hhelibebcnofnena

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #4658 on: June 02, 2019, 09:06:35 pm »
0

Are there any outtakes which got to the table for playtesting, but which you wonder why you ever considered them in retrospect?
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #4659 on: June 03, 2019, 01:40:39 pm »
+6

Are there any outtakes which got to the table for playtesting, but which you wonder why you ever considered them in retrospect?
If you don't playtest things that look crazy, you'll never have published cards that look crazy. Still I've certainly playtested cards that had no real chance of working out. I don't shy away from mentioning them in the secret histories.
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Titus

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #4660 on: August 21, 2019, 07:40:22 am »
0

Talking about play testing. Is there any new upcoming expansion this year? I really look forward to!
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #4661 on: August 21, 2019, 10:36:12 am »
+22

Talking about play testing. Is there any new upcoming expansion this year? I really look forward to!
There's no expansion this year, though there were two promos.

There will probably be an expansion in 2020, probably earlier rather than later.
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #4662 on: August 21, 2019, 11:16:19 am »
+2

Will small expansions (a la Guilds/Alchemy/Cornucopia) ever be "in the cards" again? or will it likely be just medium/large expansions?
Another one could happen someday, but people like the large expansions better, so those are more likely.
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spineflu

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #4663 on: August 22, 2019, 04:54:07 pm »
+1

(for those looking for what's being quoted, I had deleted my post bc I thought "wait maybe this has been asked before, better read 187 pages of forum posts before asking" and sure enough, right there on p85. I'm about halfway through);
I've got some followup questions though; ignore any you dont feel like answering:

1: do you ever revisit old mechanics in light of new mechanics? Like specifically the idea of a coffer-potion - play a card, get a token that's spendable during your buy phase for a potion? Or did the response to alchemy sour you on the idea of ever revisiting potions as a mechanic in the way you have durations, events, etc?
1a: probably not a good fit for Dominion, but what do you think of games with secondary/commodity currencies?
1b: Did you ever try tossing potion on to Storyteller (as a valid target for generating draw akin to each $1)? Sort of a "won't matter but will make the people who have/like that set happy" type deal?

2: maybe this is a Jay/RGG question but: did you pick the euro-sized cards, or did you playtest w MtG sized cards + sleeves? any insight into why this size?

3: this is probably definitely a set of RGG questions but: why are the tavern mats so much thicker than literally all the other mats? why weren't the (2E) Guilds/Cornucopia Coffer mats the size of like, the VP-chit mats in Prosperity?why no VP mats in Empires*?

* actually this i can guess at: empires had A Lot already

4: might definitely also be an RGG question: Have you considered partnering with a print-on-demand cardmaker like Drivethru or GameCrafter to let people make their "own" dominion fancards? like, ya'll get a cut, the printer gets a cut, and the fan can have something  they designed that looks/feels/plays like a regular dominion card without having to sleeve their collection?
4a: could even toss the removed 1st Edition cards from main/intrigue on there so the completionists can complete
4b/sarc/aside: where's the "Ask RGG" thread?

5: Have you ever considered writing a book about game design? I feel like you've got some unique insights and perspectives, at least based on your forum posts/secret histories/bible subforum. (and uh if you're asking who'd read a book on game design, there's dozens of us)

6:
... Governor ...
...
Jay originally asked for a Power Grid tie-in, which also had an anniversary, but I didn't have any good ideas there. Plus it had to be a victory card, because of Friese's green theme. Puerto Rico was easy.
Hey with it being five more years down the line, power grid's probably got another anniversary; could you do a Landmark promo?


7: Kind of an abstract/doesn't matter rules question from the Variants Forum but with like... Capitalism, if you had an Action-Treasure card whose action chunk was involved +$, does that become an Action - Treasure - Treasure card?
Or uh in programming terms, is the collection of types a Set or an Array?

8: Do you ever use conversations (not fan-cards) on the forum as a spark for an idea? I'm reading reply #1431 in this thread (which pre-dates reserve cards) and
I actually specifically suggested no playmat. My housemate and I tried a mat. It made it really easy to forget to do our Princed Actions.
Out of curiosity, what did you do sans mat that made it easier to remember?  I would think as long as the actions are somewhere noticeable in your space, any marker indicating they are Princed (the Prince card, a distinctive mat, etc) would make it equally easy to remember to play them.

In your play area they're noticeable. Island and Native Village have trained us to ignore stuff on mats until a card we play alludes to them. Your mileage may vary.
that cause me to metal gear solid a "!" over my head when i connected it to reserve cards


9: Have you ever tried to do a board game of Heroes of Might & Magic III/Dudes? How'd it work out?

10: Is Dame Sylvia named after the Heroes III character?

11: (this is probably addressed circa p140, which i haven't read yet, but whatev) Was there ever an Attack/Hexes version of Druid (ie, set three hexes aside at the start, this card can do one of them when you play it)?

« Last Edit: August 22, 2019, 07:13:33 pm by spineflu »
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GendoIkari

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #4664 on: August 23, 2019, 10:20:15 am »
+1

(for those looking for what's being quoted, I had deleted my post bc I thought "wait maybe this has been asked before, better read 187 pages of forum posts before asking" and sure enough, right there on p85. I'm about halfway through);

In case you aren't aware, you can change the posts-per-page in your settings. This thread is only 94 pages for me.
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #4665 on: August 23, 2019, 11:25:08 am »
+3

1: do you ever revisit old mechanics in light of new mechanics? Like specifically the idea of a coffer-potion - play a card, get a token that's spendable during your buy phase for a potion? Or did the response to alchemy sour you on the idea of ever revisiting potions as a mechanic in the way you have durations, events, etc?
It's unlikely I will revisit potions. When a mechanic appears in a new set it's different due to what that set offers, e.g. the Events in Empires can give VP tokens.

1a: probably not a good fit for Dominion, but what do you think of games with secondary/commodity currencies?
I don't like it when there are 5 identical resources. It's fine if the resources are really distinct. Dominion has one resource so that you don't draw a bad mix of resources.

1b: Did you ever try tossing potion on to Storyteller (as a valid target for generating draw akin to each $1)? Sort of a "won't matter but will make the people who have/like that set happy" type deal?
No, I never considered tossing a potion on [any non-Alchemy card].

2: maybe this is a Jay/RGG question but: did you pick the euro-sized cards, or did you playtest w MtG sized cards + sleeves? any insight into why this size?
Jay picked the size as just a normal card size he'd worked with a lot already. He didn't anticipate the size being an issue due to sleeves.

3: this is probably definitely a set of RGG questions but: why are the tavern mats so much thicker than literally all the other mats? why weren't the (2E) Guilds/Cornucopia Coffer mats the size of like, the VP-chit mats in Prosperity?why no VP mats in Empires*?
I didn't think the VP mat was needed, since the tokens are different. Jay agreed, so there's no VP mat in Empires. I don't know about the Tavern mat thickness or Coffers mat size.

4: might definitely also be an RGG question: Have you considered partnering with a print-on-demand cardmaker like Drivethru or GameCrafter to let people make their "own" dominion fancards? like, ya'll get a cut, the printer gets a cut, and the fan can have something  they designed that looks/feels/plays like a regular dominion card without having to sleeve their collection?
No, I have not ever considered this.

4a: could even toss the removed 1st Edition cards from main/intrigue on there so the completionists can complete
For me it's a feature that those cards are out of print.

5: Have you ever considered writing a book about game design? I feel like you've got some unique insights and perspectives, at least based on your forum posts/secret histories/bible subforum. (and uh if you're asking who'd read a book on game design, there's dozens of us)
No; in the 90s I wrote a bunch of essays about game design, but man I don't think there's a market for them.

6: Hey with it being five more years down the line, power grid's probably got another anniversary; could you do a Landmark promo?
It would be an acceptable way to make the card green.

7: Kind of an abstract/doesn't matter rules question from the Variants Forum but with like... Capitalism, if you had an Action-Treasure card whose action chunk was involved +$, does that become an Action - Treasure - Treasure card?
Or uh in programming terms, is the collection of types a Set or an Array?
It's just an Action - Treasure; a card either has a type or doesn't.

8: Do you ever use conversations (not fan-cards) on the forum as a spark for an idea? I'm reading reply #1431 in this thread (which pre-dates reserve cards) and
That is not where reserve cards came from, and I know nothing of "metal gear solid." I don't think any mechanics have come from public forum conversations; you can read about where some of them came from in the secret histories.

9: Have you ever tried to do a board game of Heroes of Might & Magic III/Dudes? How'd it work out?
I've written notes up but haven't made the game. I made a game of building up fantasy heroes, not so much related to Heroes; it was called Spirit Warriors and the sequel I never made is where I got the idea for Dominion.

10: Is Dame Sylvia named after the Heroes III character?
No, http://forum.dominionstrategy.com/index.php?topic=4318.0

11: (this is probably addressed circa p140, which i haven't read yet, but whatev) Was there ever an Attack/Hexes version of Druid (ie, set three hexes aside at the start, this card can do one of them when you play it)?
No.
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spineflu

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #4666 on: August 23, 2019, 12:05:02 pm »
+1

Thank you for responding and spending time answering questions; your answers are insightful.
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Jeebus

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #4667 on: August 23, 2019, 02:58:28 pm »
+1

Any specific reason why "under/on this" (as seen on Crypt, Cargo Ship, Research, 2E Gear and 2E Haven) is dropped from Church? Just space problems?

I find the phrase a bit problematic, because it somewhat muddies the distinction between "cards in play" and "cards set aside". There might also be some confusion of what happens with Procession + Gear, because now there is no "under this" anymore. (I know that the set-aside cards stay.)

EDIT: Thanks to Spineflu - Research and Cargo Ship say "on this"
« Last Edit: August 23, 2019, 04:11:33 pm by Jeebus »
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Gubump

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #4668 on: August 23, 2019, 03:51:19 pm »
0

On a note related to Jeebus' question, I noticed that Research says "on this" instead of "under this" like most of the set-cards-aside Durations do. Is there a reason for this?
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JW

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #4669 on: August 24, 2019, 11:09:46 am »
+4

The reason why there’s no attack that can inflict a specific hex each time is presumably that some of the hexes wouldn’t work if you could reliably inflict them every turn. For example, Delusion prevents a player from buying actions for their next buy phase. If it was easy to build a deck that inflicted Delusion every turn, that would be no fun.
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #4670 on: August 24, 2019, 02:43:33 pm »
+1

Any specific reason why "under/on this" (as seen on Crypt, Cargo Ship, Research, 2E Gear and 2E Haven) is dropped from Church? Just space problems?

I find the phrase a bit problematic, because it somewhat muddies the distinction between "cards in play" and "cards set aside". There might also be some confusion of what happens with Procession + Gear, because now there is no "under this" anymore. (I know that the set-aside cards stay.)
It's just space for text on Church.

Saying e.g. "under this" felt helpful; there's no "under this" in exotic cases but I felt like people wouldn't blow it there.
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #4671 on: August 24, 2019, 02:44:17 pm »
0

On a note related to Jeebus' question, I noticed that Research says "on this" instead of "under this" like most of the set-cards-aside Durations do. Is there a reason for this?
We may have talked about it but there's no real reason there. The cards try to be phrased well and are not all phrased at once.
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #4672 on: August 24, 2019, 02:46:20 pm »
+1

The reason why there’s no attack that can inflict a specific hex each time is presumably that some of the hexes wouldn’t work if you could reliably inflict them every turn. For example, Delusion prevents a player from buying actions for their next buy phase. If it was easy to build a deck that inflicted Delusion every turn, that would be no fun.
Yes some of them are things that a regular card couldn't always do. You could maybe substitute some other way of limiting the damage (e.g. Torturer's choice), but whatever; at this point I wouldn't do the hexes at all, they were just way too complicated.
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whatwhen

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #4673 on: August 25, 2019, 01:08:41 am »
0

I have questions but no Dominion-related ones. If you like them, I will continue posting more. (I'll just post more after each is answered, as long as people continue to benefit.)

Quote from: Mark Rosewater (approximately)
Mana screw is a great scapegoat. In fact, one of the best roles that it serves, is if you want to blame your game on your mana, you can. Even if it has nothing to do with your mana. Someone would come up to a player after they’re done and go “How’d it go?” So much of the time they would just say “Oh, I got bad mana or bad draws". But I watched the match. They didn’t have bad mana or they didn’t have bad draws. They just lost. They made bad decisions or whatever. But it’s a nice excuse that anybody can give. And that is important.
Let's focus on the notion of a scapegoat. When someone wins, they want to feel it's fair and they won against a good opponent. When someone loses, they want to believe that RNG screwed them over and nothing is their fault. These two needs create tension. So in a game with public and private information, someone's disadvantages should all be private information and his advantages should all be public. (This is for ideal scapegoat design, ignoring all other considerations.) So a player sees all the things screwing him over and goes, "wow, I'm so unlucky". But he doesn't see the things screwing his opponent over, only the ways his opponent got lucky. He has the perfect scapegoat.

The one consideration I have with this model is, someone sees all the crappy stuff happening to him and so after he loses a game, he wants to complain about it big time. Because nobody knows his suffering, and he needs to let everyone know that he is actually a great player who is just very unlucky. If I make him keep his mouth shut (such as disconnecting him from his opponent after the match ends), will he explode with resentment? Or if I don't make him keep his mouth shut, will his complaining undermine the feeling of victory that his opponent has? Will it create toxicity in the community if everyone is constantly complaining about how unlucky they all are and how their match records don't reflect their greatness?

Also, should the scapegoat be easy to summarize and communicate? (For example, a simple thing like mana screw is easily described to other people, such that the listener might believe it's a valid excuse.) Or, should the scapegoat be a complex mishmash of hard-to-summarize interactions, such that even if he tries to complain, his complaints won't be believable or communicable? (For example, if pieces can form sets of many combos, such as in Big 2, missing combo pieces aren't describable except by the general notion of "bad draws". A better player might find valid combos anyway, but this player hasn't found the combos he's looking for so it's legitimate for him to complain that combo pieces are missing.)
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #4674 on: August 25, 2019, 01:56:18 am »
+3

Quote from: Mark Rosewater (approximately)
Mana screw is a great scapegoat. In fact, one of the best roles that it serves, is if you want to blame your game on your mana, you can. Even if it has nothing to do with your mana. Someone would come up to a player after they’re done and go “How’d it go?” So much of the time they would just say “Oh, I got bad mana or bad draws". But I watched the match. They didn’t have bad mana or they didn’t have bad draws. They just lost. They made bad decisions or whatever. But it’s a nice excuse that anybody can give. And that is important.
Let's focus on the notion of a scapegoat. When someone wins, they want to feel it's fair and they won against a good opponent. When someone loses, they want to believe that RNG screwed them over and nothing is their fault. These two needs create tension. So in a game with public and private information, someone's disadvantages should all be private information and his advantages should all be public. (This is for ideal scapegoat design, ignoring all other considerations.) So a player sees all the things screwing him over and goes, "wow, I'm so unlucky". But he doesn't see the things screwing his opponent over, only the ways his opponent got lucky. He has the perfect scapegoat.

The one consideration I have with this model is, someone sees all the crappy stuff happening to him and so after he loses a game, he wants to complain about it big time. Because nobody knows his suffering, and he needs to let everyone know that he is actually a great player who is just very unlucky. If I make him keep his mouth shut (such as disconnecting him from his opponent after the match ends), will he explode with resentment? Or if I don't make him keep his mouth shut, will his complaining undermine the feeling of victory that his opponent has? Will it create toxicity in the community if everyone is constantly complaining about how unlucky they all are and how their match records don't reflect their greatness?

Also, should the scapegoat be easy to summarize and communicate? (For example, a simple thing like mana screw is easily described to other people, such that the listener might believe it's a valid excuse.) Or, should the scapegoat be a complex mishmash of hard-to-summarize interactions, such that even if he tries to complain, his complaints won't be believable or communicable? (For example, if pieces can form sets of many combos, such as in Big 2, missing combo pieces aren't describable except by the general notion of "bad draws". A better player might find valid combos anyway, but this player hasn't found the combos he's looking for so it's legitimate for him to complain that combo pieces are missing.)
I don't try to have scapegoats. I try to make it fun to lose; if it's fun to lose I'm set, I don't need to add more wrinkles there, e.g. making sure you feel like you could win, or a scapegoat. This is one of those cases where I cite Scrabble. You can start a game of Scrabble knowing that the other player will beat you, that they are simply better at anagramming than you are, and still have fun. You can blame your draw in Scrabble, if it's close, but when they beat you up, man, you know, they were just better. And that's fine, it doesn't make the game no fun. It's not something that needs fixing in Scrabble (what needs fixing is downtime, and people have fixed it, e.g. with Boggle, which provides no scapegoat at all).

I would not cite mana screw as serving an important scapegoat role in Magic either. You can always blame all the other aspects of your draw, e.g. drawing early-game cards late and vice-versa. Mana screw is one of the two giant flaws Magic has (the other is that the rules are too complex).  When e.g. Mark says how great mana screw is for Magic, he's either towing the company line, or suffering from Stockholm syndrome. Mana screw is: sometimes you don't get to play. In 1993 that was not unusual; these days we know that games are better when everyone gets to play. It's not some impossible dream; there are tons of games now where you always get to play.

I think people get way angrier about online games than real-life games. A huge difference is that you're up against friends irl, and often strangers online. But well, if people complaining online is toxic, then all those communities are toxic; there will always be something to complain about. The players are all humans.
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