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Author Topic: Interview with Donald X.  (Read 1014067 times)

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dz

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #5000 on: July 13, 2020, 11:37:19 pm »
+2

I was just reading through the secret histories, for Conspirator you say that it replaced a really crazy card late into set development that was to be fixed up for a later expansion. Has a fixed version of that card been released and if so what is it?

It's Horn of Plenty.

Quote from: Cornucopia's secret history
Long ago, Intrigue had a card that read, "+$1 per Action card you've played this turn." It cost $4. This was popular with a certain kind of player. But many games it was useless - you needed a bunch of pieces to put together this puzzle - and then some games it was unbeatable. You would get staggering amounts of $ out of it, with +buys from something to make them count. Some people defended it, but I killed it. I could always try to fix it up later; there was no reason to give Intrigue a broken/useless card. Intrigue got Conspirator instead, which has a hint of the original premise.

I tried a new version in a later set: "+2 Actions +1 Buy. While this is in play, when you play another Action card, +$1." For $5. The idea was to provide some of what you needed with the original card, so that it was playable in more games, while weakening it in the games where it was good. You've got extra actions and a +buy up front... but it doesn't count Actions already played, only ones played after it. You can't draw your whole deck and finally draw it and play it and yeeha. Anyway this too was broken. I tried several things, including a version that only counted differently named cards. Eventually I gave up on it.

The solution in the end was to make it a Workshop variant. You don't get to combine the money with your other money. It doesn't use up your buy though. To be good enough and not fluctuate too much, it had to count your treasures too. At first it was an action with an effect delayed until the end of your buy phase, but I turned it into a treasure worth $0. Some people just liked that there was a treasure worth $0, I don't know what to tell you. So it doesn't use an action, and works with treasures naturally. This version was still sometimes too strong, so it got the "trash it if gained VP" clause.
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #5001 on: July 14, 2020, 11:52:37 am »
+3

As things stand, the fix here is to not provide ways to get Duration cards out of play, since with the errata to Procession there's just Bonfire and and Mandarin. Bonfire is easy. Mandarin would look weird. But, it's something I can consider still when those sets get reprinted.

Have your thoughts on this changed? Now with Way of the Butterfly, Horse or Turtle, it's possible to play Throne Room + Duration, and both remove the Duration (using the Way) and play it for its own ability. You'd have a Duration effect for next turn but no cards to track it.
Those cards all existed in January for me. The best solution is still to make the change that means Throne/Feast no longer works and people quit the game. "If this isn't a Duration card" was too awful for the Ways. They could have had a general rule that durations didn't get to use Ways; maybe that's still worth considering for a later printing, but they didn't get it. There had to be new cards and those new cards got to exist.
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LordBaphomet

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #5002 on: August 08, 2020, 08:02:49 pm »
0

Would you have made Holstery an overpay card if you could have?
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Jeebus

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #5003 on: August 08, 2020, 10:07:54 pm »
+6

Would you have made Holstery an overpay card if you could have?

So that you could upgrade it into an Up-Holstery? ;)

crj

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #5004 on: August 09, 2020, 05:46:11 am »
0

Are you still happy with the decision that Curse should be both the name and type of the card, or have you since wished they were different so you could make more kinds of purple card?
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #5005 on: August 11, 2020, 01:22:03 pm »
0

Would you have made Holstery an overpay card if you could have?
No, because I no longer like doing when-buy triggers. The buy/gain distinction confuses too many people.
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #5006 on: August 11, 2020, 01:23:27 pm »
+2

Are you still happy with the decision that Curse should be both the name and type of the card, or have you since wished they were different so you could make more kinds of purple card?
I was never happy with that; I didn't have anything better at the time but thought, this isn't great.

It's not an obstacle though. I never feel like, if only I could make a new thing Witch could give you. And I made another kind of purple card, it's Ruins.
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Sheogorath

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #5007 on: August 11, 2020, 04:10:42 pm »
0

Do you have a top 10 cards you most enjoy playing with (similar to the new "Cards You Like" feature online)?
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chipperMDW

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #5008 on: August 12, 2020, 12:04:43 pm »
0

Is it possible to make board games without having game night? How essential is in-person playtesting?
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #5009 on: August 12, 2020, 03:30:29 pm »
0

Do you have a top 10 cards you most enjoy playing with (similar to the new "Cards You Like" feature online)?
I don't want to put in the work to pick cards. I play 5 cards from whatever I'm playtesting, 5 from a single other expansion, and go through the expansions over and over. I rule out playing with a few cards that are super-strong or disrupt playtesting too much, and everything else comes up when it does. Sure some cards I'm extra-happy to see when they do.
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #5010 on: August 12, 2020, 03:32:20 pm »
+3

Is it possible to make board games without having game night? How essential is in-person playtesting?
It sounds in theory totally possible. Certainly all the non-playtesting work is done alone anyway, and some things can be playtested reasonably well online, though it's extra work to get there. In practice the lack of a game night just drops my interest level to zero.
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LordBaphomet

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #5011 on: August 12, 2020, 03:46:23 pm »
0

Are there any mechanics/effects/themes you regret using on a card that could have been better elsewhere? (ex. reactions, attacks, an interesting top/bottom on an otherwise bland card, etc.)
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #5012 on: August 13, 2020, 02:52:39 am »
+3

Are there any mechanics/effects/themes you regret using on a card that could have been better elsewhere? (ex. reactions, attacks, an interesting top/bottom on an otherwise bland card, etc.)
Well there are a lot of cards that could have been better-to-print. I wouldn't call that "elsewhere," just improving the card.

Vanilla cards cause the vanilla card problem. So it would be nice if some of them didn't exist, though some of them had to. For example Laboratory at $5 means Lab with a bonus has to cost $6. Or it has to be Lab with both a bonus and a penalty, which is more complex (or, Lab with a penalty and costing no more than $4). I needed Lab, I don't regret doing it. Woodcutter isn't even in the main set anymore, so it would be great if I'd never done it; it stops me from doing Woodcutter with a bonus at $3 (but why? because some people hate hate hate it when there are "strictly better" cards, and it's not something anyone loves, so there's no justification for making them). That's not really "elsewhere" either though.
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LordBaphomet

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #5013 on: August 13, 2020, 09:52:50 pm »
0

How do you make the final version of cards? Do you use Photoshop or something similar or do you have the publisher or artist do it? Also, do you write to artists after you are done the final version of an expansion? Sorry for all of the questions!
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #5014 on: August 14, 2020, 03:27:35 pm »
+1

How do you make the final version of cards? Do you use Photoshop or something similar or do you have the publisher or artist do it? Also, do you write to artists after you are done the final version of an expansion? Sorry for all of the questions!
Ask as many questions as you want.

I just make a prototype (using paint, though someday I will try paint.net). I don't even send my images to RGG; just a file with the card texts and counts, any special notes, and a file of notes for the artists. RGG makes the files to send to the printer (I don't remember what software is used); it used to be Matthias Catrein who did that, though lately Jay has put in some work there himself. It used to be that Jay assigned all the artists, now I mostly assign them. But again that's just a list for him; he contacts them himself. RGG sends card images to the printer, currently Altenburger; they make actual card sheet images out of the cards. And when we okay those they print them.

I rarely interact directly with artists. I do talk to layout people and sometimes there's overlap, e.g. Alayna Lemmer did the art and layout for Temporum and I interacted with her a lot.
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mutated

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #5015 on: August 14, 2020, 04:00:49 pm »
0

In recent expansions you've tried to keep the card text at its normal size, which can mean simplifying or finding alternate wordings for some cards.

How can you tell whether card text will fit on a given card? Do you have any particular strategies for simplifying or rewording in order to make text fit?
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LastFootnote

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #5016 on: August 14, 2020, 04:19:33 pm »
+4

In recent expansions you've tried to keep the card text at its normal size, which can mean simplifying or finding alternate wordings for some cards.

How can you tell whether card text will fit on a given card? Do you have any particular strategies for simplifying or rewording in order to make text fit?

That's where I come in. I mock up all the cards with a template that's close enough to the real one that we can use it to tell what fits. These days I also suggest where to put line breaks to make the text look nice (for my opinion of what nice is). Doing this is double-duty for me, since I print and use them for testing and make them available for other testers who want them. Donald X.'s prototype images are Magic card-sized, you see, so if you want to combine test cards with real ones, it's nice to have ones that look official.

I also tend to put in quite a bit of work suggesting wordings for things. I'm not sure I have any specific strategies, though.
« Last Edit: August 14, 2020, 04:20:48 pm by LastFootnote »
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gambit05

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #5017 on: August 14, 2020, 04:28:49 pm »
+1

In recent expansions you've tried to keep the card text at its normal size, which can mean simplifying or finding alternate wordings for some cards.

How can you tell whether card text will fit on a given card? Do you have any particular strategies for simplifying or rewording in order to make text fit?

That's where I come in. I mock up all the cards with a template that's close enough to the real one that we can use it to tell what fits. These days I also suggest where to put line breaks to make the text look nice (for my opinion of what nice is). Doing this is double-duty for me, since I print and use them for testing and make them available for other testers who want them. Donald X.'s prototype images are Magic card-sized, you see, so if you want to combine test cards with real ones, it's nice to have ones that look official.

I also tend to put in quite a bit of work suggesting wordings for things. I'm not sure I have any specific strategies, though.
When you are doing this (or anyone else before you did this), do you also keep in mind that some languages need more text/space for the same information?
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LastFootnote

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #5018 on: August 14, 2020, 04:35:44 pm »
+3

When you are doing this (or anyone else before you did this), do you also keep in mind that some languages need more text/space for the same information?

I sure don't! I mean the thought had crossed my mind, but that's just well outside the scope of what I do. If a smaller font is required for some cards in other languages, that's up to those publishers. We don't do any of the translation work. Sorry.

EDIT: I should clarify further that, even if I knew all the languages a certain set might be published in (because there are no guarantees) and wanted to spend all my free time translating them and checking how much space they took up, that would be time wasted, since I have zero control over how the same text will actually be translated by the publishers themselves.
« Last Edit: August 14, 2020, 04:39:36 pm by LastFootnote »
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gambit05

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #5019 on: August 14, 2020, 04:53:10 pm »
+1

When you are doing this (or anyone else before you did this), do you also keep in mind that some languages need more text/space for the same information?

I sure don't! I mean the thought had crossed my mind, but that's just well outside the scope of what I do. If a smaller font is required for some cards in other languages, that's up to those publishers. We don't do any of the translation work. Sorry.
Don't feel sorry about any translation work. That's definitely not your job here. I know that creating Fan cards is not a favored topic in this thread here (Sorry Donald X), but when I do so, I use some online translation tools (usually back and forth) to see what space is needed. Funny thing is, after the first couple of expansions (and the time that passed by), I could tell who in my playing groups needs glasses.
Edit: While I was writing this, I missed your Edit. The best "advise" I can quickly give is that the most important thing (from my point of view) is that the foreign translators/publishers should know the meaning of individual phrases used in Dominion, i.e. that a perfectly translated synonym of a word or phrase is sometimes just not the same in "Dominion language".
« Last Edit: August 14, 2020, 05:03:15 pm by gambit05 »
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Donald X.

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #5020 on: August 15, 2020, 01:03:18 pm »
+3

In recent expansions you've tried to keep the card text at its normal size, which can mean simplifying or finding alternate wordings for some cards.

How can you tell whether card text will fit on a given card? Do you have any particular strategies for simplifying or rewording in order to make text fit?
As LF said, he's how I know how much text will fit.

If it's close, sometimes there are slightly worse wordings to consider to squeeze it in. Maybe I said "Action card," but "Action" is sufficient. The word wrap may mean that switching the order of two things helps. In the end if it's just too long then the ability has to change or the card dies. And we usually know this very early, when the external playtesters haven't tried the card yet. There might be a case where I gave in and used the small font, but well, none of that in Renaissance or Menagerie. The worst case for Menagerie was Way of the Mouse; we moved the expansion symbol (on all Ways) to fit it.

Worrying about the font size for translations is beyond the scope for me. The translators can always ask me questions, and sometimes do.
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #5021 on: August 18, 2020, 03:11:02 pm »
+1

Thanks to you both. Interesting stuff!
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #5022 on: August 19, 2020, 10:03:10 pm »
0

In recent expansions you've tried to keep the card text at its normal size, which can mean simplifying or finding alternate wordings for some cards.

How can you tell whether card text will fit on a given card? Do you have any particular strategies for simplifying or rewording in order to make text fit?

That's where I come in. I mock up all the cards with a template that's close enough to the real one that we can use it to tell what fits. These days I also suggest where to put line breaks to make the text look nice (for my opinion of what nice is). Doing this is double-duty for me, since I print and use them for testing and make them available for other testers who want them. Donald X.'s prototype images are Magic card-sized, you see, so if you want to combine test cards with real ones, it's nice to have ones that look official.

I also tend to put in quite a bit of work suggesting wordings for things. I'm not sure I have any specific strategies, though.

are you just using the shardofhonor generator for that or is there a Top Secret Actual Tester template?

LastFootnote

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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #5023 on: August 20, 2020, 12:35:21 pm »
+3

are you just using the shardofhonor generator for that or is there a Top Secret Actual Tester template?

Neither. I use the template I found on BGG years ago for fan cards and have heavily modified it over time.

EDIT: To be clearer, I use GIMP to create all my cards, and I do all the text layouts lovingly by hand.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2020, 12:45:42 pm by LastFootnote »
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Re: Interview with Donald X.
« Reply #5024 on: August 20, 2020, 11:55:27 pm »
+1

in the little stats pages from discord, you've probably noticed the skill multiplier. i find that the more recent expansions trend towards higher skill multipliers, i.e. the stronger player wins more often with them. this is particularly strong with renaissance (even without the villager cards). does this feel like a win?
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