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Author Topic: How many more expansions are there and why?  (Read 8176 times)

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theory

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How many more expansions are there and why?
« on: June 17, 2011, 04:52:20 pm »
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Quote from: Donald X.
Before I showed the game to RGG, there were 5 expansions. When Dominion came out, there were 6 expansions (plus the main game). They wanted to do small expansions too (alternating), so I split up one large expansion and added a small expansion, which puts it at 8.

I don't know if they will all come out, or all come out on schedule; in part that depends on people continuing to want them.

I don't expect there to be any more expansions after the 8th, although I suppose I can't commit to that. There are good reasons to stop doing expansions, and, if there's still interest, switch to spin-offs - new deckbuilding games that have changes besides cards (like those Carcassonne games that aren't expansions).

- Expansions always give you whatever new experiences, but they don't keep giving you more variety, because at some point, you just have so much variety already.

- There are things you can do in spin-offs that you can't do in expansions. If an expansion has a board and you move pieces around on it, you run into the problem of, what if this game there's only one card that cares about the board and no-one buys it. If it's an integral part of the game then you don't have that problem.

- There are only so many satisfyingly distinct simple things to do without adding components. The number of cards you can make for a game is proportional to the product of the complexity of the game, and the amount of space you use for card text. Dominion is a very simple game, so all of the weight is on the card text. I believe that the typical Dominion player does not really want the cards to be more complex than they are, but there's no other direction to go in. The alternative is to add rules to the rulebook - the rules have to go somewhere - and then it's no longer a game you can play just by reading the cards. But a spin-off adds that board or what have you and suddenly you can make new simple cards.

So yeah, I plan to stop after 8. The remaining expansions are close to done, and I haven't worked at all on any further expansions. Anything really worth doing, I am trying to squeeze in by the 8th expansion.
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theory

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Re: How many more expansions are there and why?
« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2011, 09:10:45 pm »
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Quote from: Donald X.
There are three different answers I have for you.

1. Assuming the current release schedule, the original expansions (in their updated forms) will all be released by the end of 2012. At that point I expect the pace to slow way down. For several reasons!

- There are only so many reasonably simple cards to do that don't add rules or add components. I will have done such a large percentage of them that future sets will pretty much always need to add rules or components, or else be more complex. Adding rules complicates the game and adding components usually seems more appropriate for spin-offs. Like, adding counters seems fine, but if I add a board, won't it seem bad if there are games where the board gets set up and then just sits there, unused? Whereas a spin-off - a standalone game that doesn't combine with the other stuff - can add a board and just make it always matter.

- Furthermore some of the good space left involves mechanics that don't fit the "just play 10 random cards" premise, and people are attached to that. These mechanics are again better for spin-offs. Expansions that aren't kingdom cards also fall into this area.

- Part of what you get from expansions is more variety. This goes down as more expansions are released - eventually it doesn't matter that there's more variety, because there's already more variety than you'll ever see. I don't mean variety as in "25 choose 10," which isn't a real measure of the variety in the game, but you know, variety as in, pairs and trios of interacting cards or competing strategies. New expansions are still nice for giving you different things to do, different experiences in the game, but whatever expansion you get first has the biggest impact on the game for you, and so on.

- I would like to make more games! Working on Dominion expansions eats up a lot of my time.

2. So then, after 2012, say expansions are still coming out, but you know, not ~38 cards a year. Interest in expansions probably stays high enough that it's worth publishing more. I probably manage to make them at some slower pace, because what, it's fun making them, and it's nice to have a project that you know is getting published. They probably add components or are more complex than I'd like, but then at this point the fans who've stayed with the game can deal with the complexity or pay for the components. This could last for a while. At the same time I expect to make spin-offs - standalone games that start with the Dominion rules but add something or change something or both. Like Hunters & Gatherers vs. Carcassonne. You know. A lot of things are possible with those that aren't so hot for Dominion expansions. And you get to make new simple cards by having them use whatever new stuff there is.

3. Eventually it's gotta end, one way or another. The band plays Don't Stop Now and you know that means this is the last encore, and who knows if there will be a reunion concert years later for Matador or what.

As always, who knows. I can't even guarantee the set after Prosperity, although I will be surprised if it doesn't show up about when I expect it.
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