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Author Topic: Interview with Donald X.  (Read 725474 times)

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werothegreat

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #325 on: December 15, 2012, 07:04:12 pm »
+7

Welp, we know there's an Attack in Guilds!
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #326 on: December 16, 2012, 03:29:22 pm »
0

In previous answers in this thread you have expressed a preference for fast games and also a dislike for games that eliminate players 'with hours to play'.  Are these two philosophies related?  Do you think any long game (let's say typically more than 1.5 hours per game) is destined to either have a fairly dull and meaningless early game or be forced to eliminate players early?  Are there any 'long games' out there that you think successfully walk the fine line between giving players meaningful strategic choices all through the game, while at the same time keeping as many players as possible 'in contention' until the later stages?
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #327 on: December 16, 2012, 03:56:45 pm »
+2

In previous answers in this thread you have expressed a preference for fast games and also a dislike for games that eliminate players 'with hours to play'.  Are these two philosophies related?
They aren't.

Fast games are good because there are more opportunities to play them, players get more of a chance to win a game over the evening, and you get more variety of experiences over your evening.

Eliminating players with a substantial amount of game left is bad because you leave them with nothing to do. I guess it's getting kind of late. Maybe I'll just go home. It's fine in an online game, where I can just go off and start another game somewhere; it's awful for anything to be played at a kitchen table.

I obv. don't think player elimination is always bad; I think it's fine if there isn't much game left. It's entertaining seeing how things play out in Gauntlet of Fools, and doesn't take long. And the threat of elimination can be a fun thing. In Risk though, well, thanks for having me over. I'll see myself out.

Do you think any long game (let's say typically more than 1.5 hours per game) is destined to either have a fairly dull and meaningless early game or be forced to eliminate players early?
No.

Are there any 'long games' out there that you think successfully walk the fine line between giving players meaningful strategic choices all through the game, while at the same time keeping as many players as possible 'in contention' until the later stages?
Staying in contention isn't an issue. It has to be fun to lose! And if it is then it's okay not to be in contention. You can start a game of Scrabble knowing you have no chance of winning - the other player is just way better at anagramming than you. That doesn't stop you from having fun anagramming though. That would be true even if Scrabble took twice as long (although, being so homogeneous, it's just as well that it doesn't).

Some people may make games faster as a way to avoid eliminating players while minimizing how much time you spend knowing you've lost. I just make fast games because I like fast games.
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Synthesizer

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #328 on: December 17, 2012, 08:02:32 am »
0

One of the reasons that a game might not be fun enough to play, is when it just has too much bookkeeping for how meaningful the choices are. (Imagine something like the numerous resources of Puerto Rico or Agricola with the depth of Monopoly. Or imagine a DifficultDominion, with not only treasure and potion, but also wheat, wood, swords and ships as possible card costs. Or imagine a Dominion card whose effect changes each time you play that individual card (rather than e.g. pirate ship, where the number of successful PS plays are recorded)).

With the recent uprise of touch devices (iPad etc.) this could be alleviated - it's a computer, right! These things are really good at counting stuff!

Have you ever considered developing a game especially for this kind of devices? (either completely new, or adapting an old, rejected one)
Realizing that the above question only allows a boring yes/no answer, but not being successful at properly rephrasing it:
Why do you give that answer? :)
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ipofanes

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #329 on: December 17, 2012, 08:33:53 am »
0

it's a computer, right! These things are really good at counting stuff!

Have you just invented computer games?  ???
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bozzball

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #330 on: December 17, 2012, 08:57:10 am »
+1

"Gangnam Style" or "Call Me Maybe"?
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #331 on: December 17, 2012, 09:03:32 am »
0

Let's say you designed a Dominion card that is balanced and fun, but some aspect of the card makes it unusable in an electronic implementation of Dominion. It plays just fine in paper, but it won't work in Goko, Isotropic, or any other foreseeable digital medium.

Would you be most likely to:

A) Change the digital card to do something different than the paper card (or replace it with a new card for the digital version

2) Just not implement the digital version of the card

iii) Scrap the card altogether and design something new, for the digital AND analog Dominion
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Synthesizer

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #332 on: December 17, 2012, 09:08:11 am »
+1

it's a computer, right! These things are really good at counting stuff!

Have you just invented computer games?  ???

Not sure if serious. So I will elaborate.

What I mean is inspired by my new addiction: Hero Academy for iOS. This plays like a strategic boardgame - the playing field is even divided up in clearly visible squares. But as fun as the game is on iOS, it would totally suck IRL. You would have to keep track of hit points, upgrades, calculate damage modifiers for each individual unit, a.s.o. For that kind of effort, the game is too light. The iPad naturally does a very good job at keeping track of all this, thus matching lightness and level of bookkeeping, leading to a fun experience.
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #333 on: December 17, 2012, 09:47:44 am »
0

Have you ever considered developing a game especially for this kind of devices? (either completely new, or adapting an old, rejected one)
Realizing that the above question only allows a boring yes/no answer, but not being successful at properly rephrasing it:
Why do you give that answer? :)
http://forum.dominionstrategy.com/index.php?topic=5799.msg148838#msg148838

In general I would not be doing programming, because it's so much work relative to making physical games. But I mean, providing designs, I'm there, why wouldn't I be.
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #334 on: December 17, 2012, 09:48:51 am »
0

"Gangnam Style" or "Call Me Maybe"?
My only knowledge of Call Me Maybe is the meme. I've seen the Gangnam Style video. I guess from that I go with Gangnam Style.
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ipofanes

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #335 on: December 17, 2012, 09:51:38 am »
0

it's a computer, right! These things are really good at counting stuff!

Have you just invented computer games?  ???

Not sure if serious. So I will elaborate.

What I mean is inspired by my new addiction: Hero Academy for iOS. This plays like a strategic boardgame - the playing field is even divided up in clearly visible squares. But as fun as the game is on iOS, it would totally suck IRL. You would have to keep track of hit points, upgrades, calculate damage modifiers for each individual unit, a.s.o. For that kind of effort, the game is too light. The iPad naturally does a very good job at keeping track of all this, thus matching lightness and level of bookkeeping, leading to a fun experience.
Well, yeah, I was serious. Many computer-implemented strategic games are too complex to be managed on the board lightly. When Vlaada Chvatil adapted Civilization to the playing table, the map had to go. And the rest is, for a modern boardgame (I am not talking about Battletech or the like) at the upper end of bookkeeping. When I play Through the Ages with newbies whose moves I'd better check whether they conform with the rules, it's quite a stressing experience.

Most computer games are not transparent about every aspect of the gaming environment. And good multiplayer strategy games did not really catch on on the computer.
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #336 on: December 17, 2012, 10:30:36 am »
0

Let's say you designed a Dominion card that is balanced and fun, but some aspect of the card makes it unusable in an electronic implementation of Dominion. It plays just fine in paper, but it won't work in Goko, Isotropic, or any other foreseeable digital medium.

Would you be most likely to:

A) Change the digital card to do something different than the paper card (or replace it with a new card for the digital version

2) Just not implement the digital version of the card

iii) Scrap the card altogether and design something new, for the digital AND analog Dominion
I do not find your scenario remotely plausible. It's a fantasy question.

What could such a card look like? Is it a dexterity card? I'm unlikely to ever make a dexterity card; I wouldn't expect it to be "fun" to enough Dominion players. I'm not against dexterity games, but you want to sell them to people who like dexterity games, not throw them into something that people like for unrelated reasons. Similarly I wouldn't be making a card that involved eating cake or something.

In Magic they have physical cards that do not appear online - the Un- sets - and have had online stuff that is not physical - the Astral set from an old dead computer implementation, "avatars" with special rules, and reprints that they can't reprint physically due to the reserved list. The Un- set cards are silly things that sometimes involve the physical world - eating and flipping cards and how old you are and so on. You couldn't do them online. What Wizards did was to group them together and then not do them online. That seems fine, I don't remember people complaining. It does make those sets less worth making for Wizards though. These days Wizards is not interested in doing more Un- sets, but I think the reason is just lack of interest from players in general, rather than not being able to make an online version. They also are English-only, so that's another strike (the argument there was the difficulty of translating the type of humor they have).

Anyway I don't see an Un- set for Dominion; I don't think the interest is there. But let's say Reiner Knizia died and Jay wanted a commemorative promo, and it had to involve eating cake because that was Knizia's favorite thing to do, and it couldn't just be called Cake-eating Contest or something, it really had to involve eating. I would just do that as a real-world only promo and no-one playing online would feel remotely left out.
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #337 on: December 17, 2012, 10:32:46 am »
0

it's a computer, right! These things are really good at counting stuff!

Have you just invented computer games?  ???

Not sure if serious. So I will elaborate.

What I mean is inspired by my new addiction: Hero Academy for iOS. This plays like a strategic boardgame - the playing field is even divided up in clearly visible squares. But as fun as the game is on iOS, it would totally suck IRL. You would have to keep track of hit points, upgrades, calculate damage modifiers for each individual unit, a.s.o. For that kind of effort, the game is too light. The iPad naturally does a very good job at keeping track of all this, thus matching lightness and level of bookkeeping, leading to a fun experience.
Well, yeah, I was serious. Many computer-implemented strategic games are too complex to be managed on the board lightly. When Vlaada Chvatil adapted Civilization to the playing table, the map had to go. And the rest is, for a modern boardgame (I am not talking about Battletech or the like) at the upper end of bookkeeping. When I play Through the Ages with newbies whose moves I'd better check whether they conform with the rules, it's quite a stressing experience.

Amusingly, this is how I feel about Mage Knight.
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Synthesizer

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #338 on: December 18, 2012, 09:57:22 am »
0

<text>

O right, now I get it. I guess you meant it in the sense of "discovered" instead of "Eureka".

No, I have been playing video games my whole life, and I love TBS games more than any other. I was just wondering what a Donald X. (2 SdJ's says he knows a thing or two about making good/fun games) rejected-IRL-for-bookkeeping-or-specifically-designed-ground-up-for-touch-devices game would be like. Judging from his answer (which I missed earlier): apparantely nothing worth publishing. (yet) :)


Sorry to have sort of taken offense.
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Davio

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #339 on: December 20, 2012, 03:20:45 am »
+2

Donald,

In the Secret History of the Dominion Cards you said that Witch at one time had a penalty of "pay 1 coin". I wonder if you have explored the design space of "activation costs" further and what your findings were. Obviously, there are no cards like this currently in existence, but what would the main problems of a card like that be? Another way to pay activation costs is through discarding, like Baron, Stables and Hamlet have, but they are somewhat limited to either a specific card, a specific type or just discarding two in the right order. Could there be a reason against a card like the following to exist (don't mind the details, just the parts about discarding)?

Random Card
Action - $SomeCost

You may discard up to 3 cards from your hand.
If you discarded at least 1: +$2
If you discarded at least 2: +2 cards
If you discarded 3: +2 actions
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #340 on: December 20, 2012, 03:37:20 am »
0


Sorry to have sort of taken offense.

I was a bit snappy and I knew it, sorry if you took sort of offense and thanks for elaborating.
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brokoli

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #341 on: December 20, 2012, 04:12:07 am »
0

Have you ever tried a village + trashing effect ?
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Drab Emordnilap

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #342 on: December 20, 2012, 09:17:09 am »
0

Donald,

In the Secret History of the Dominion Cards you said that Witch at one time had a penalty of "pay 1 coin". I wonder if you have explored the design space of "activation costs" further and what your findings were. Obviously, there are no cards like this currently in existence, but what would the main problems of a card like that be? Another way to pay activation costs is through discarding, like Baron, Stables and Hamlet have, but they are somewhat limited to either a specific card, a specific type or just discarding two in the right order. Could there be a reason against a card like the following to exist (don't mind the details, just the parts about discarding)?

Random Card
Action - $SomeCost

You may discard up to 3 cards from your hand.
If you discarded at least 1: +$2
If you discarded at least 2: +2 cards
If you discarded 3: +2 actions

How is this any different from what Hamlet and Cellar already do?
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theory

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #343 on: December 20, 2012, 11:56:52 am »
0

If you wanted to brag -- what do you think separates Dominion from other deckbuilders? 
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #344 on: December 20, 2012, 12:09:25 pm »
+1

In the Secret History of the Dominion Cards you said that Witch at one time had a penalty of "pay 1 coin". I wonder if you have explored the design space of "activation costs" further and what your findings were. Obviously, there are no cards like this currently in existence, but what would the main problems of a card like that be?
Originally Prosperity was going to have it as a sub-theme, although I never had much of it (see secret histories). There was a trashing attack that trashed an extra card if you paid; then later it trashed a card with a cost based on how much you paid. There was a card that let you pay to draw cards. At the same time I had stuff that let you discard cards, and those cards were just better. They were simpler. If I say "discard a treasure," you will be trying to discard a copper, and the fact that you might be discarding something else is fine.

Another way to pay activation costs is through discarding, like Baron, Stables and Hamlet have, but they are somewhat limited to either a specific card, a specific type or just discarding two in the right order. Could there be a reason against a card like the following to exist (don't mind the details, just the parts about discarding)?
Look through the secret histories and you will see plenty of cards that involve discarding. Obv. I am going to go for something simpler where possible (it's usually possible). Multiple conditionals is generally bad, although when you can make a chart like Ironworks etc. that's not so bad.
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #345 on: December 20, 2012, 12:27:08 pm »
+4

Have you ever tried a village + trashing effect ?
I'm guessing you mean a Chapel rather than Dame Molly.

I am thinking, what if you ask about something in Guilds? What do I say then? Maybe these kinds of questions aren't so great for this interview.

After Guilds comes out I will probably send theory a collection of shrunken images of some of the more interesting outtakes. It will mostly be stuff covered by the secret histories but may have some entertainment value anyway.
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #346 on: December 20, 2012, 12:55:37 pm »
+2

If you wanted to brag -- what do you think separates Dominion from other deckbuilders?
Well you can mean this question two ways.

What separates Dominion from the Dominion clones? Man. They are clones. I haven't played them so really this is a question for the people who have. In some cases the answer is just going to be, they aren't balanced as well and different people get paid for them. For others it will be, that plus they added something bad or pointless. Some people will prefer them anyway though, just as I know of someone who intentionally saw the Asylum version of something.

What separates Dominion from the actual new deckbuilding games, such as A Few Acres of Snow and Eminent Domain? Well they are just different games. They are different in all the ways they are different.

We can make a special case for Ascension. When I typed up my original notes for Dominion, I was going to have multiple resources, and have a small number of cards available, where buying a card would cause it to be replaced. Ascension seems like a reasonable thing to try, but I liked my choices for Dominion better.
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werothegreat

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #347 on: December 20, 2012, 01:14:27 pm »
+6

Straight from the horse's mouth - there's a trashing Village in Guilds.

;)
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #348 on: December 20, 2012, 01:57:20 pm »
0

Straight from the horse's mouth - there's a trashing Village in Guilds.

;)
Well, info on Guilds would mainly cause a problem for the publisher, it's not like I won't get it anyway if it gets totally spoilerd... ::)

But I guess it's a pretty big thing for Goko to have...
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #349 on: December 20, 2012, 02:54:41 pm »
0

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.

This piqued my interest, because it seems that a card "breaking the game" only really matters when it's in the game.  That is, if it "breaks" the game, it doesn't matter how often it shows up - it's probably just a bad card.

But clearly you playtested the heck out of the $7s and they do not break the game.  Maybe they skew games toward themselves, but that's what all good cards do, right?  In the big picture, that's actually variety.

So what was the concern, exactly?  That the existing $7s were just too powerful?  Or that any card at $7 would inherently be too powerful?  The latter seems mistaken; any achievable cost can be "balanced" (even though most of them won't be worth doing).
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