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Author Topic: Interview with Donald X.  (Read 749762 times)

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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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Ozle

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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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Quote from: Donald X.
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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.
I hereby declare myself the best dominion player in the world. Obviously.

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.
I hereby declare myself the best dominion player in the world. Obviously.

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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