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Author Topic: Interview with Donald X.  (Read 1641457 times)

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MrHepp

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #5100 on: May 07, 2021, 06:20:34 pm »
0

Most expansions are set in late medieval times or in the renaissance, but Empires jumps back 1500 years in history to ancient Rome. What is the reason for the Roman theme? Would a European empires theme be too controversial?
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #5101 on: May 08, 2021, 01:34:38 pm »
+2

Most expansions are set in late medieval times or in the renaissance, but Empires jumps back 1500 years in history to ancient Rome. What is the reason for the Roman theme? Would a European empires theme be too controversial?
It was a theme with a lot of good card names. That's really what pushed it for me.
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mxdata

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #5102 on: May 08, 2021, 05:33:45 pm »
0

Most expansions are set in late medieval times or in the renaissance, but Empires jumps back 1500 years in history to ancient Rome. What is the reason for the Roman theme? Would a European empires theme be too controversial?
It was a theme with a lot of good card names. That's really what pushed it for me.

Do you think you might ever go with a theme that's more modern or even futuristic?
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #5103 on: May 09, 2021, 01:07:48 pm »
+6

Do you think you might ever go with a theme that's more modern or even futuristic?
I don't think so. I think the ancient Rome stuff sits next to the medieval stuff and doesn't look so out of place. The Roman empire lasted a long time past its heyday, and they weren't so far behind in technology from the dark ages. Modern stuff would clash in a way that Rome didn't.
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NoMoreFun

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #5104 on: May 10, 2021, 01:51:39 am »
+2

Are there any flavour themes (themes like how Empires is Roman, not mechanics) that you considered and decided against?

Did any past expansions have a completely different theme before the final?

Can you spoil any future themes?
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pubby

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #5105 on: May 10, 2021, 04:00:12 am »
+3

Are there any card names you regret?
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GendoIkari

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #5106 on: May 10, 2021, 11:29:01 am »
0

Are there any card names you regret?

I think he's said he regrets Harem?
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #5107 on: May 10, 2021, 01:54:44 pm »
+3

Are there any flavour themes (themes like how Empires is Roman, not mechanics) that you considered and decided against?

Did any past expansions have a completely different theme before the final?

Can you spoil any future themes?
I'm not too interested in spoiling future themes, and don't generally know more than one in advance anyway.

Dark Ages was once War. That changed because Hans im Gluck didn't want that theme.

For later sets I've considered multiple themes. For example I considered Roman Empire for Adventures. I made a list of potential card names for the cards, in a column next to columns of other names.
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #5108 on: May 10, 2021, 02:02:23 pm »
+4

Are there any card names you regret?
For homemade card makers it would be nice if Curse wasn't both a card name and a card type. It hasn't bitten me personally though.

Besides Harem, in the early sets I was paying less attention to names; there are certainly some cards that could have better names, or could support the set theme more.
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dz

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #5109 on: May 17, 2021, 07:55:38 am »
0

(Admittedly I already know the answer to most of these questions; I just want a good quote to add to the wiki.)

Was it a concern that it may be too hard to reveal Rocks, especially in 2-player? It's not mandatory for a split pile to get to the 2nd card, but it seems to rarely come up for Catapult/Rocks.

Why do you enjoy Swindler more than Jester nowadays? Is it because Jester is weak for a 5?

Do you think Groom is too strong in VP rush (with e.g. Gardens)? I can see these rushes being less significant in multiplayer (since Estate and Gardens are 12 cards), but in a 2-player, Groom ends the game pretty fast.

Why does Cathedral cost 3 and not 2? Is it because a Project can't cost 2 unless it hurts you (even though Cathedral does hurt you eventually)?

Why did you change Priest from +Coffers to +Coins?

Do you think Travelling Fair is too strong?

Do you think Fortress's bottom text is problematic? Obviously there's Bishop/Fortress, but you've also had to change some cards (like Butterfly) in response to Fortress tricks/loops.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2021, 08:01:24 am by dz »
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #5110 on: May 17, 2021, 01:52:03 pm »
+2

Was it a concern that it may be too hard to reveal Rocks, especially in 2-player? It's not mandatory for a split pile to get to the 2nd card, but it seems to rarely come up for Catapult/Rocks.
It was a concern for all split piles, that the 2nd card be reached in enough games. Not necessarily every game but sure not never. 2-player was a concern too although I am trying to support 2-4 well, and 5 at least somewhat, and that means I aim more for perfection for 3 players, in the middle. In the end reports from players suggest that Rocks is harder than an ideal amount to get to, though sometimes the 2 players get to it. I'm happy with it with more players.

Why do you enjoy Swindler more than Jester nowadays? Is it because Jester is weak for a 5?
I'd have to play them back to back to say which I really like more now. My classic experience with Swindler is, this game will be random, the pressure's off, see what happens. My classic experience with Jester is drowning in Coppers, never seeing the cards I've gotten. Jester is mostly thought of as a fun multiplayer card; yeeha, you could play it and gain 3 great cards. And sometimes it does that. And sometimes it deals out Coppers and you get too many Coppers and your deck is Coppers.

Do you think Groom is too strong in VP rush (with e.g. Gardens)? I can see these rushes being less significant in multiplayer (since Estate and Gardens are 12 cards), but in a 2-player, Groom ends the game pretty fast.
Maybe? I find it plausible. I didn't keep testing Groom after it was published, but word on the street is it's strong in those situations.

Why does Cathedral cost 3 and not 2? Is it because a Project can't cost 2 unless it hurts you (even though Cathedral does hurt you eventually)?
Projects did avoid costing $2. I may not have ever devoted specific consideration to Cathedral there. I don't try every card at every cost to see what went the best; time could never permit. However, there are the classic things that distinguish costs from $2-4: openings, +Buys, and perception. +Buys are not relevant here. Perception is a little open here; there's nothing like Cathedral. And then openings are huge; at $2 you can open with a $5 and Cathedral. Which game plays better, the one where that happens, or the one where the 5/2 can't get Cathedral without spending the 5 on it? Again I haven't done the experiment, but you see how I guessed.

Why did you change Priest from +Coffers to +Coins?
It says here in the Secret History that I liked +$2 better. I find that plausible! I don't remember the actual games. +1 Coffers is nice for handling the tracking. If they had been close I would have gone with the handled-tracking option. So, they weren't close. I can guess that +$2 was just more exciting, more potential for a bonanza.

Do you think Travelling Fair is too strong?
No? Ultimately the question is, how fun is the game. All else can bow down to that. A card is too strong (or too weak) if its power level makes the game less fun. I don't think that's the case for Travelling Fair.

Do you think Fortress's bottom text is problematic? Obviously there's Bishop/Fortress, but you've also had to change some cards (like Butterfly) in response to Fortress tricks/loops.
Fortress is problematic. The best example is Farmland. Farmland was when-gain, and that functionality has no issues, it really should be fine to print. But it wasn't because of Fortress (which hadn't come out yet, but I knew it was coming).
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Vengil

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #5111 on: May 19, 2021, 08:01:17 pm »
0

The first player have a 59% chance of winning the game (maybe by one more turn).
At the end of the game, some player finish the turn (variant) instead of the real rule. But I don't think it's a good idea ...

1) What do you think of the first player advantage?
2) What are the positive points of this imbalance ? Why is it better to end the game immediately with the first player rather than end the second player's turn? (better gameplay ?)
3) Ten years after the creation of the game, do players prefer the variant? Or are the players happy with the real rule?

Thank you !  :)
« Last Edit: May 19, 2021, 08:54:50 pm by Vengil »
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Wizard_Amul

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #5112 on: May 19, 2021, 10:19:02 pm »
+1

The first player have a 59% chance of winning the game (maybe by one more turn).
At the end of the game, some player finish the turn (variant) instead of the real rule. But I don't think it's a good idea ...

1) What do you think of the first player advantage?
2) What are the positive points of this imbalance ? Why is it better to end the game immediately with the first player rather than end the second player's turn? (better gameplay ?)
3) Ten years after the creation of the game, do players prefer the variant? Or are the players happy with the real rule?

Thank you !  :)

These questions get brought up a lot in the forums and Reddit, so I'll share my opinion and some ideas I've seen.

1) It's a real advantage, but you still have to capitalize with skill on using your advantage. There are many random aspects of Dominion, and you could make up a variant for each one, but I wouldn't suggest that...the opening random split of 5/2 or 3/4 is often very important, the cards in your turn 3 and 4 hand are random and very important, etc. It's about knowing what risks to take and how to play optimally given what happens--sometimes it doesn't work out, and that's okay. If you want to take all the luck out of Dominion, play a different game--I always recommend Prismata.

2) There really isn't a way to make the end of the game longer to fix the number of turns imbalance work out in a way that doesn't heavily warp the end of the game (player 1 cannot pile out if player 2 can go afterwards, etc.). The best variant I've heard of that may fix the player order imbalance went something like this--after you and your opponent(s) see the kingdom layout, you each bet debt tokens on getting to go first, with the one betting the most taking the debt and going first (like Mountain Pass).

3) Players understand that after many games and presumably getting equal first player and second player, the player order advantage all evens out. Yeah it can be tilting to go second on a kingdom with Donate for example, but one game of Dominion doesn't mean anything on its own. I think most people are happy with the real rule.
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dz

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #5113 on: May 20, 2021, 02:18:14 am »
0

I guess with my earlier Travelling Fair question, I meant that Travelling Fair is a good example of super +Buy being strong. The worst case is probably Priest/Watchtower/Travelling Fair, which instantly empties Copper/Curse. So is super +Buy still something that is scary with Travelling Fair?
Quote from: The Secret History of Renaissance
On the quest for Ducat, there was a card that gave you +1 Buy per Treasure you discarded when gaining it (super +Buy cards are always trouble)

You changed Commerce to "differently named" because otherwise it was too strong with Horse gainers. In retrospective, do you wish you could change Triumph as well?

Certain players on Discord have expressed confusion about being able to chain Masterminds together. In retrospective would you add "non-Duration" to Mastermind?

Were there concerns that Goatherd may not be a good fit for Menagerie because of exile? I'm mainly asking because Night cards made Scepter not be a good fit for Nocturne.

You've said that you dislike Doctor; is it because of the randomness of trashing from the top of your deck, the wordiness (it's in competition for wordiest card in the game), or both?
« Last Edit: May 20, 2021, 10:07:58 am by dz »
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #5114 on: May 20, 2021, 12:59:57 pm »
+4

The first player have a 59% chance of winning the game (maybe by one more turn).
At the end of the game, some player finish the turn (variant) instead of the real rule. But I don't think it's a good idea ...

1) What do you think of the first player advantage?
It's a much bigger thing online. IRL I think players typically don't even notice that one player had an extra turn, no joke. And skill imbalance can be much larger. So "winner goes last next game" has worked out fine.

The intention is never to have a large first player advantage. That %, that wasn't printed on the rules; it's data arrived at years later. Sometimes there are nice things you can do there. Some games there's no first player, that's ideal; sometimes it's like, the first player starts with $1 less or something, and it's never perfect but it nudges the advantage down. For Dominion I didn't have one of those things, but we always played multiple games, and the winner going last was enough for me. IRL, for the first game, I usually go last, whether or not I'm the favorite to win. I don't mind.

2) What are the positive points of this imbalance ? Why is it better to end the game immediately with the first player rather than end the second player's turn? (better gameplay ?)
Initially it was just automatic; we were taking turns, it's nice not to have to track who went first. Then the end condition pushed it; the experience is much different if only the last player can end a close game on piles. It's not just an issue of, now it's advantageous to go last (we don't have a % there since that's not how the online games go); it's a different experience. I preferred this experience.

3) Ten years after the creation of the game, do players prefer the variant? Or are the players happy with the real rule?
Feel free to ask the players! I'm just me. It comes up periodically, that some groups prefer to finish the round. I don't have a mound of data here though, just the voices that were the loudest.
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #5115 on: May 20, 2021, 01:13:08 pm »
+2

I guess with my earlier Travelling Fair question, I meant that Travelling Fair is a good example of super +Buy being strong. The worst case is probably Priest/Watchtower/Travelling Fair, which instantly empties Copper/Curse. So is super +Buy still something that is scary with Travelling Fair?
Super +Buy is scary, but it's less scary with an Event, since we all have it all the time; it's more like a rules change than a normal card is (normal cards are also like rules changes, but). But really it's just down to, I have tried various "+1 Buy per" cards that didn't work out, and Travelling Fair seemed to work out, and there it is, continuing to work out.

You changed Commerce to "differently named" because otherwise it was too strong with Horse gainers. In retrospective, do you wish you could change Triumph as well?
No, Triumph seems good. It's much less of an issue with cards not in the set; some people might just have a few expansions including Menagerie, and would see Commerce + Horses that much more often.

Certain players on Discord have expressed confusion about being able to chain Masterminds together. In retrospective would you add "non-Duration" to Mastermind?
Not so far. I enjoyed chaining Masterminds. Online an issue is that the program doesn't distinguish your Masterminds. No such problem IRL.

Were there concerns that Goatherd may not be a good fit for Menagerie because of exile? I'm mainly asking because Night cards made Scepter not be a good fit for Nocturne.
No Goatherd seemed fine. I guess if I'd been staring at a bunch of good options I might have saved Goatherd for a later set. But Goatherd triggers off of itself, and well, a lot of games that's all it would ever get, whatever set it was in; you just don't deal out another trasher for that game. That part of Goatherd had to be compelling enough with just Goatherd and if it was then it's not so bad if the rest of the set doesn't push it.

You've said that you dislike Doctor; is it because of the randomness of trashing from the top of your deck, the wordiness (it's in competition for wordiest card in the game), or both?
Both things are bad. I like the overpay though it goes overboard to be friendly at the expense of being wordy. There was probably a better direction there. I mean really on-gain trash is done perfectly on Cemetery. But anyway. The on-play was trying to be part of a "name a card" mini-theme that only ended up on it and Journeyman, and didn't amount to giving the set any more identity. I like randomness but I don't enjoy this randomness. And then to get this patchwork of anti-fun, you just need tons of tiny text.
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dz

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #5116 on: May 26, 2021, 10:47:25 pm »
+1

What's your retrospective on Urchin costing 3? I feel like most of the complaints about Urchin are because players feel forced to open 2 Urchins and then try to randomly get Mercenary.

What are your thoughts on Swamp Hag? I think the main reason people hate it is because of the stalemates, when neither player wants to buy cards.

What are your thoughts on Magpie, specifically about how people hate that gaining more Magpies early can snowball?

What are your thoughts on Advisor? I think people hate it because at some point, they're drawing their deck anyways, so it doesn't matter which card you choose for them to discard.

Why did you make Sanctuary optional? To me it's just so much stronger than Junk Dealer, especially since it can deal with Provinces.

Whenever base set gets reprinted, will Vassal get errata to get rid of the interactions with Faithful Hound and Village Green?

In retrospect, would you make the giant $ symbols on Treasures smaller? It eats up a lot of the text box, which I'm sure is annoying with your desire to keep the font size large. Same question for the VP symbol on Victory cards.
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #5117 on: May 27, 2021, 04:05:35 pm »
+7

What's your retrospective on Urchin costing 3? I feel like most of the complaints about Urchin are because players feel forced to open 2 Urchins and then try to randomly get Mercenary.
I'm not fond of Urchin. I don't think it's just about changing the cost. It's a whole package. But, focusing on the cost, if Mercenary were something else and Urchin had to have that trigger, it would be great if it didn't cost $3, so that there was more variety to openings.

What are your thoughts on Swamp Hag? I think the main reason people hate it is because of the stalemates, when neither player wants to buy cards.
I like that it's novel, straightforward, compelling. We didn't have problems with it in playtesting. For sure the intention is not to create stalemates; to the degree that it does, that's bad.

What are your thoughts on Magpie, specifically about how people hate that gaining more Magpies early can snowball?
I still like Magpie. There are other people who like it too; it's not universally hated. The whole game snowballs. I think your opponent having most of the Magpies also feels worse than it is; a lot of them end up just cantrips that do nothing. I mean it's good to get most of the Magpies, man, I'm not saying it isn't.

What are your thoughts on Advisor? I think people hate it because at some point, they're drawing their deck anyways, so it doesn't matter which card you choose for them to discard.
I like Advisor except for how slow it can be to resolve a bunch of them. It's fine that if you're drawing your deck the choice matters less; there are still plenty of times when the choice matters.

Why did you make Sanctuary optional? To me it's just so much stronger than Junk Dealer, especially since it can deal with Provinces.
There's no special story here; it was trying to be good enough. Junk Dealer makes +$1; for a bunch of the game, that's pretty relevant, and exiling Provinces isn't.

Whenever base set gets reprinted, will Vassal get errata to get rid of the interactions with Faithful Hound and Village Green?
Uh maybe. But, separate from that, my plan is to change the rules so that you can't play a card if you can't put it into play, except for replaying cards (since otherwise players would hate me for killing Throne / Horse etc.).

In retrospect, would you make the giant $ symbols on Treasures smaller? It eats up a lot of the text box, which I'm sure is annoying with your desire to keep the font size large. Same question for the VP symbol on Victory cards.
No, but I might move them, e.g. to partially cover the art.
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mxdata

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #5118 on: May 28, 2021, 11:29:50 pm »
0

Whenever base set gets reprinted, will Vassal get errata to get rid of the interactions with Faithful Hound and Village Green?
Uh maybe. But, separate from that, my plan is to change the rules so that you can't play a card if you can't put it into play, except for replaying cards (since otherwise players would hate me for killing Throne / Horse etc.).

Wait, how would that work with things like Necromancer and Command cards then?  Also, is that interaction really such a problem that you'd have to kill it?  :-(  I rather like how Dominion can create weird effects like that
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #5119 on: May 29, 2021, 01:31:18 pm »
+7

Whenever base set gets reprinted, will Vassal get errata to get rid of the interactions with Faithful Hound and Village Green?
Uh maybe. But, separate from that, my plan is to change the rules so that you can't play a card if you can't put it into play, except for replaying cards (since otherwise players would hate me for killing Throne / Horse etc.).

Wait, how would that work with things like Necromancer and Command cards then?  Also, is that interaction really such a problem that you'd have to kill it?  :-(  I rather like how Dominion can create weird effects like that
The cards that specifically let you play cards without putting them into play will still let you.

There are many things to like in Dominion; we do not need to cling to confusing rules corners.
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dz

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #5120 on: June 03, 2021, 06:16:39 am »
+1

Why did you let Salt the Earth trash any Victory card? Wouldn't it be simpler to just say Province?

What's your retrospective on Procession? I really wish it got errata'd harder in 2019, because it's still one of my least favorite cards in the game. (Also I think you did a great job on Improve; it's all the fun parts of Procession without the rules/tracking issues.)

What's your retrospective on Knights being 10 different cards? And if you were to do them today, would you do them like the split piles in Empires?

When Adventures gets reprinted, will Storyteller get changed to +Cards, and will Quest get changed to prevent cheating with 2 Curses? On discord you didn't include them in the list of text changes.

With Boons/Hexes, were there thoughts about having multiple copies of the same card in the deck? I think a good solution to "hexes/attacks are inevitably more complex" is to have multiple copies of Plague/Poverty etc. and just abandon Delusion/Bad Omens etc..

From a complexity standpoint, would you rather have an expansion full of Aqueducts and Ironmongers, or an expansion full of Wayfarers and Vampires? With your current large-font policy, I think you'd pick the second expansion, even though I think the first expansion is much simpler.
« Last Edit: June 03, 2021, 06:19:14 am by dz »
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crj

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #5121 on: June 03, 2021, 11:23:21 am »
+3

It seems pretty clear why Salt The Earth allows you to trash any Victory card: for starters, it's in the same set as Castles. Also, you might want to trash Colonies instead. And saying Province wouldn't be any simpler.
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #5122 on: June 03, 2021, 12:15:09 pm »
+1

Why did you let Salt the Earth trash any Victory card? Wouldn't it be simpler to just say Province?
"Wouldn't it be simpler" just wasn't an issue there; it's a simple Event. If we'd never trashed anything but Province I might have changed it, but of course it didn't go that way. There was no pull in that direction to start with, because obv. giving you more options would make the Event less narrow.

What's your retrospective on Procession? I really wish it got errata'd harder in 2019, because it's still one of my least favorite cards in the game. (Also I think you did a great job on Improve; it's all the fun parts of Procession without the rules/tracking issues.)
Well Procession is a lot of fun. If I could change Throne Room / Feast from day one I would; that would kill e.g. Procession / Horse, but that would be fine, there are all the other fun things in the game. But people cling to these things so you can Procession a Horse. Procession often has a tracking issue, even with "non-Duration"; trashing a card that gives +$2, you have to remember the +$. These days I prefer e.g. Vault to be more like e.g. Mill - if the amount is fixed, you can tilt the card to indicate whether you got it or not. No amount of tilting tells you what Vault did for you. But, Vault doesn't ruin games, and normal non-Duration use of Procession doesn't either.

What's your retrospective on Knights being 10 different cards? And if you were to do them today, would you do them like the split piles in Empires?
The whole premise was to have it be 10 unique cards. If I were doing them today I would keep that part! I still like it. The Knights are wordier than I like, the attack is stronger than I like, and there are a few to tweak otherwise.

When Adventures gets reprinted, will Storyteller get changed to +Cards, and will Quest get changed to prevent cheating with 2 Curses? On discord you didn't include them in the list of text changes.
Neither of those things changed when new images were finalized in January. I forgot about Storyteller, and I don't know that Quest ever came up. In a tournament, have the judge make sure there are two Curses; in a friendly game, they'll always show you the Curses. In the world of making sure the cards keep you honest, it's super minor.

With Boons/Hexes, were there thoughts about having multiple copies of the same card in the deck? I think a good solution to "hexes/attacks are inevitably more complex" is to have multiple copies of Plague/Poverty etc. and just abandon Delusion/Bad Omens etc..
No the premise was to have a variety of effects. If I had only had 6 effects worth doing and had somehow thought, let's do this mechanic anyway, I would have just had 6 cards, not duplicates. But I wanted 12. I think the solution to the Hexes was to not do them; attacks are just too complex in general. The Boons I am happy with though I might tweak a couple and then would do fewer Fate cards as previously discussed.

From a complexity standpoint, would you rather have an expansion full of Aqueducts and Ironmongers, or an expansion full of Wayfarers and Vampires? With your current large-font policy, I think you'd pick the second expansion, even though I think the first expansion is much simpler.
This is a question about font size? I'm not sure I understand it. Complexity is not just about font size, as if that needed saying. Vampire is the card I hold up as an example of Nocturne being too complex; to fully understand the card you need to read 18 cards. And one of the few things I'd change about Menagerie is only doing one of the alternate costs, probably Animal Fair (with 3-4 cards doing that same thing) (as always I would get to test the cards and have not put in that work, I don't know how it goes). The alternate costs were cool but are confusing, and I can address that at least some by not doing four different alternate costs at once, saving others for another day. Ironmonger and Aqueduct meanwhile do not have these issues, as you already know.

I of course don't need to make either expansion you propose. And alternate costs aside, Menagerie is full of sweetly simple cards.
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pacovf

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #5123 on: June 04, 2021, 06:33:46 am »
+3

So, after all these years... What is, in fact, the question you've been asked the most in interviews?
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Joshua

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #5124 on: June 04, 2021, 12:59:26 pm »
+1

Are you currently working on an expansion, and if so do you think that it will be in time for a 2021 release?
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