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Variants and Fan Cards / Dominion: Roots
« on: January 15, 2021, 04:49:24 pm »
Here's a fan expansion. It's mostly just a compilation of cards that I've made recently and liked. Feedback is appreciated.

Welcome to Dominion: Roots! The theme is something something Dominion has become all about big cities and grand castles and it's time for a return to some nice small-town values. It's pretty weak; I don't care. I'm here for the mechanics, not the theme.

Dominion: Roots reuses a few mechanics from existing expansions, most notably States, of which the set contains eight. All of the States have a copy for each player; Nocturne was inconsistent about this, but Renaissance established that if there's only one copy of it, then it's an Artifact, not a State. The set also contains Sheep, which are non-supply cards similar to Horses.

I've also created a new mechanic, inspired by Way of the Mouse. Some cards and Events set aside Kingdom cards which are treated as non-supply piles for the game, usually with some modification to how the cards play.

(Paranoid/Gullible is one two-sided State)

I was thinking about making a fan expansion recently, and it gave me the idea to go back and review an old one I made, but never posted. This was finished about a year ago; I was still fairly new to Dominion at this time. I'm not going to go easy on inexperienced-me!

This topic is mostly for me, just as a place to organize my thoughts; but if anyone wants to comment on these cards, by all means feel free. Hopefully I'll be posting a new fan expansion soon which will compile my favorite ideas from the past year.

This set is Dominion: Rivalries. It is named as such because it is a loosely-themed set based around disruption, both with attacks that mess with things the opponents are trying to do as well as cards which may be powerful but also interfere with your own plans.

It contains one new mechanic: Harms. Harm is a new card type, of which there are four different cards (Flood, Fire, Drought, and Storm). Whenever any card with the Disaster type is in the kingdom, all four Harm piles (10 cards in each) are added to the Supply. In addition, in any games including Harms, players must reveal their hands at the start of each Clean-up phase; this is because Harms inflict some effect on the player when revealed during the Clean-up phase.

So, unsurprisingly, these are meant to be junk cards. They weren't all meant to be equally bad, as reflected in the cards that give them out, but man I really didn't think very hard about Drought. That's gotta be downright beneficial a lot of the time because you can topdeck a card you bought with it, isn't it.

Setting aside the issues with the individual Harms (I think the others are mostly okay, though Storm is pretty dang nasty), I like this concept, but it's also problematic. For one, it slows the game down a lot, and more importantly, it doesn't really scale with the player count. Since most Disaster cards only distribute a single type of Harm, it would require 30 copies of each to have them scale the same way Curses do. Ruins are a bad enough waste of space; 120 Harms of four kinds, each of which is used by only 2-3 cards, is absurdly inefficient. (Not that I'm ever going to print these, but I still try to think about this stuff nowadays.)

Now, on to the actual Kingdom cards!

Pearl Diver tells me that the floor for a $2 cantrip is pretty low. And this was designed in the same vein; pretty weak, but possibly a useful way to gain some reliability. I think it's weak, but not too weak to exist. Interestingly, I developed the "now or next turn" mechanic for this card before Menagerie used it on Village Green and Barge.

This is the first of eight Structures in the set; Structure is just a meaningless label that serves to underscore the set's theme; Structures are generally powerful Actions that antisynergize with themselves and with other Structures. This one looks pretty nuts, even without being able to chain.

Anachronistic name aside, I think Tourist Village mostly holds up. It's weak, yes, but it definitely has use cases in accelerating your deck early game and ensuring reliability lategame. Nowadays I'd add "non-Duration" to it to fix tracking issues.

This seems pretty reasonable to me; Donald X himself said that Throne Room cost $3 until someone had a massive chain of them. Well, you can't do that with this. It's boring, but I think it's pretty balanced.

Another boring one. This tends to be a theme with the Structures; they're mostly just simple strong cards with a Structure antisynergy clause added. This is fine as far as $3 Peddler variants go, but nothing special.

My intuition says that this is quite weak. But, there are maybe some tricks you can do with being able to play a Treasure in your Action phase? (Quarry?) I don't know. It also kinda plays on the "now or next turn" theme from Dock.

This one I have to single out as my favorite card from the set. I don't think it's especially balanced-- it looks pretty weak to me-- but the effect is so cool and I want to make this work. Specifically, it's important that this bottom part be on a Duration so you have to make the call now for whether you can use the buys next turn.

And now we start getting into the Disaster cards. Disaster cards... well, they live up to their name. The Harm idea might have been decent, but my implementation was pretty bad. I was concerned about games with Disaster cards and no Harm trashing where the Harms would just completely lock you down and prevent you from doing anything (some of them, such as Storm, might feasibly be able to do this) so I made sure to include a way to get rid of Harms in the Disaster cards that gave out the meaner ones. And, well, the result is garbage like this. This is probably pretty strong... but it's not interesting at all as a junker or a trasher. It just tries to do too much.

I like this one. It actually seems quite tricky to build a deck with Undercroft as the main draw; you'd need a lot of cantrips, I'd think. But Smithy for $3 is pretty strong, especially in the opening, so it's a bit of a tough balance.

This seems bonkers with basically any decent $2 card. Estate trashing with no loss of tempo at all, plus easy Curse removal, plus a lot of flexibility with regards to build order? This would be better suited costing $5 (though it would probably be a bit weak-- maybe make the +$1 unconditional in that case).

This is garbage. Why did I think this was good? Who is wasting their time with this crap, except maybe in a Groom rush?

This one's kinda cool. It gives me Cursed Gold vibes. Though, gaining Fire to hand is such an annoying penalty. Probably you use it to topdeck a Copper, but still. I think it's weak overall, but maybe a good opener if you really need to spike $6 or $7 or something.

This is uh really bad. Maaaybe it's worth it with Platinum. Probably worth it with Fortune. Maybe worth it with Philosopher's Stone, interestingly, if the board is weak enough. Not worth it with any other treasure, I don't think.

It's really just a Silver+ for $4, which is a no-no. The downside is minimal unless you're playing with another Structure (though it would get a bit annoying if this is the only +buy and you have a big engine).

What did I do with the vanilla bonuses here. I... don't even know. I just slapped some random crap on. I think the duration effect of this has potential (maybe nerfed a bit); the power varies wildly from game to game. Sometimes preventing your opponent from picking up engine pieces is massive and debilitating; other times you're just giving them free payload or free golds in a money game. Also, uses the "would gain" terminology that was recently obsoleted from Trader; I'd change it to "exchange" nowadays.

I fell into a newb designer trap here, for sure. With a Reaction you definitely want to make sure the top and bottom halves are both potentially useful. The top half of this is strictly worse than Silver... and it's not like the bottom half is great either. I guess it's good as a gainer when you're reacting off of yourself buying a useful Victory card like Mill, but usually the reaction is gonna come far too late to really do much, and the card is just a sad waste of space in the meantime.

This seems kinda nuts with, like, any cantrip that it can gain. It can't go completely crazy because it can't gain itself, but it still is pretty crazy, I think. (Like with Ironworks/Mill, it's usually worth it to rush the Mills even though having a ton of Mills is only moderately useful, just because of how easy it is.)

This is cute, but probably pretty weak except with power combos like draw-to-X. Also, it is missing an "if it's your Buy phase" to prevent shenanigans from playing it on someone else's turn, which is possible now. (I don't think it was when I made this.)

I feel like the only time this has a reasonable chance of being blocked is in the first shuffle. Which I guess is okay as far as it goes, but a $4 Witch that gives out a card that's arguably worse than a Curse (if there's no Estate trashing) is kind of a recipe for disaster. Verdict: busted, and probably highly unpleasant to play with.

Cool concept. Maybe you can get away with it with good gainers or topdecking (because it doesn't do anything if it's the first card you play in a turn). Otherwise, it probably just eats your deck.

I recall that this originally had +$3 instead of +1 Buy. I had the good sense to realize that was insanely good. So I nerfed it into the ground. :-[ It's, uh, okay Estate trashing? Other than that it's pretty terrible. I guess it's not bad with Gold gainers.

Cute, and hard to evaluate. Seems quite good in money, but then, in money the bottom bit probably doesn't even matter as you're hitting $8 otherwise. I think it could have use as combined sifting and payload in an engine with good village support.

How badly do you want that Lost City? It's unclear whether it triggers on itself-- I think it doesn't, which probably means I want exactly two a lot of the time. And if this shows up with other Structures, well probably one of them is getting skipped entirely.

...I don't have words for how terrible this card is. *backs away slowly*

Cute, but weak. Also way too similar to Boomtown. I like the bottom though; I may reuse that on something else.

This is too strong, I think. I like the twist on the vanilla +2 Cards +$2 which is probably too weak to be a $5, but I think this card tries to do too much.

When I first came back to look at this one, I thought it was busted. I actually kinda like it now, though I must admit I had no idea what I was going for with the name (a rock tumbler, maybe? but it's not like those existed way back when). It's about as awkward as Count, and potentially more powerful (especially early on), but less flexible.

This is probably the best Disaster card, and by best I mean least terrible. It's a thinner and a junker, which is pretty good, and the junk can hurt, but there's always at least one way to get rid of it. If there's another trasher, whether to get a Wildfire is an interesting choice; either way, deciding when to take it is important because it doesn't help your economy at all.

Another card that does too much. Discard any number of cards then draw to 6 is a cool effect. It doesn't need all the rest of this crap. Maybe this would be okay if it just let you trash a card from your hand after drawing; it would certainly be a lot simpler.

Remember that I made this before Menagerie came out. Stuck an asterisk on it to indicate that the name probably needs to be changed. As for the effect, this just compares really poorly to Hunting Grounds. You better have a good way to get rid of all those Estates.

This one's got to be the one that most betrays my newbiness. I had not yet learned about the Harbinger Trap (a lot of the time you have no discard pile) and this is just straight-up garbage on almost every board-- if your deck is weak enough to have a sizable discard pile, you want those treasures!

This is kinda cool. A Highway-Village, but it makes itself more expensive. Debt is already a pain to deal with in cost-reduction games, so you probably can't spam these the way you could Highway. Makes for a great combo with Workshop variants, because then you really only need to get one or two.

What? Why? So many questions for my former self. This is just a terribly-designed card, and on top of that it seems really weak. 10D is a lot. Probably more than whatever card you're making your opponent trash, and they get a replacement card whereas you just played a terminal one-shot that did nothing to help you.

I like the idea of this one a lot; it's a trasher you can get early, but you get a significant benefit from not jumping on it at the earliest opportunity. The only change I would make now is to give a flat +1 Buy instead of +1 per card trashed; otherwise you can use it as payload by trashing a bunch of Coppers and repeatedly buying them back, and Donald X has warned of the dangers of going crazy with +buys. 12D is steep, but this is a pretty amazing trasher, so it's probably worth it.

Variants and Fan Cards / Perks - random fancard idea I had
« on: August 23, 2020, 10:47:21 pm »
I just had this random idea for a mechanic and then I brainstormed a bit and came up with a bunch of stuff. Feedback is welcome but I'm mostly just dumping this here because lol why not.

The idea is called the Perk deck. Cards that use the Perk deck have the Favor type.

Perks are pretty much a cross between Boons and Artifacts. Like Artifacts, there is one copy of each, and once taken by a player they are held by that player and provide a permanent effect until another player takes them away. When a player is instructed to take a Perk, they may choose to either draw a random one from the deck, or steal one from any other player.

This is a pretty rough idea and I haven't playtested it at all. My main fear (in 2p) is that it will be obviously better to take your opponent's Perk than it will be to draw a random one, even if your opponent's is bad. I tried to make up for this by having Favor cards that cycle out the Perks or are easy to play en masse, but I'm still afraid that a lot of times it will devolve to stealing the best few back and forth.

Anyway, without further ado, here are the Perks I've come up with so far:

And the Favor cards:

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