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You gotta look at everything, otherwise you misevaluate the Kingdom. Rough categories help like, is there trashing/junking/gaining/drawing/sifting. But it is not multiplayer solitaire so next you think about potential strategies and how that influences the dominant strategy. If there is e.g. Marauder but it is not clear that Marauder is all that good, you can put less emphasis on trashing than you would have to if it were more likely that a junker gets bought.

Also, flexibility is a concept that is often ignored early on. Like, is your opening fairly committal or is it flexible enough to react well and quickly to your opponents choices.


➁ Treasure - Duration

+1 Buy
The next time anyone
gains a Victory card,
trash this for +1 VP.
➑ Action
+3 Cards
Choose one:
Play a Treasure from the
trash; or +① per Bricks
you have in play.

Split pile, for Empires.
Yeah, those Bricks are great for business. They're not really that great on their own though. This is why Split piles are a pain to design...

Bricks is not priced correctly — it’s a disappearing 1vp, like mill, which costs 3. Except it gives an additional $ and +1 buy which arguably makes it way stronger than mill.

Mill did get replaced, but this is too strong for $2. Compare it to estate, as well.

I’d say make bricks stronger, price it for $4 and allow it to gain Bricks so you can run the pile more quickly.
Maybe something like “+$2, you may gain a Bricks. The next time …”

I like this general concept and idea .
I guess you meant Great Hall, not Mill and I fail to see how you could compare a card that draws with a card that does not draw.
Jeweled Egg established that Pouch with a bonus is fine for $2 and it is anything but clear whether Bricks is really better than Pouch. Extra Buys are something that you want consistently so a one-shot is kinda meh.

I'd worry much more about Bricklayer never seeing the light of day than Bricks being too strong.

Moneylender is the best comparison imo. Jeweler without +card is exactly 1$ weaker than Moneylender  in the early game but scales well instead of becoming completely useless, thus making it similarly strong, neatly demonstrating that it shouldn't have the +card; I rest my case.
$4 for a trasher that is weaker (even with the extra card I’d rather pick something that can also trash Estates) than literally every other $4 trasher? Nah.

The notion that weak thrashing is somehow compensated for for by the terminal Treasure Throning in the endgame (ain’t gonna happen earlier) is ridiculous. Even if you consistently hit a Gold, a terminal Gold is nothing to write home about. Nobody wants Fortune Hunter, you don’t got the terminal space for such nonsense.

The card as it stands is fine for a Copper trasher. Spice Merchant ain’t broken and this terminal is significantly below the power level of Spice Merchant.

And in the meantime, however got a decent trasher easily outpaced you.

^ This card is auto-buy at 4$ every time, I believe. Every card that trashes without hand-size reduction ...  and this card has no risk and scales amazingly.

I'd remove the +1 card outright. I think it's completely playable without it.

There is the problem that more than one of them don't scale, but that doesn't change that you'll ~always want one.
Nope. Without the draw it is weaker than Moneylender and totally unplayable for trashing purposes. As Treasure Throne it would also be strictly inferior to Tiara without the draw.

I like this but it is obviously fairly Kingdom-sensitive. The baseline (strongest effect, ignoring the flexibility for the sake of simplicity) is always a kind of hyperdelayed DoubleLab whereas with something like Way of the Pig you get a Lab in the same turn and a Lab effect later when you draw the Horse.

Variants and Fan Cards / Re: Fan Card Mechanics Week 82: Pupil
« on: January 19, 2024, 03:10:16 pm »
OK, so the implicit assumption is that the post-Action-play window in which you can play a Pupil is closed after you do something else in-between Action card play, namely trigger an Activation card.

I don’t think that is very intuitive, I assumed wrongly that the second window does not close the first one just like any other inter-Action-play-intermission like e.g. using a Villager would not have done so.

Variants and Fan Cards / Re: Fan Card Mechanics Week 82: Pupil
« on: January 17, 2024, 06:32:11 pm »
OK dude, then you gotta explain the timing. The way I understand it is, the baseline is: you play the card, spend an Action to trigger the below the line stuff, get the Pupil and draw a card. Same net effect as Village.

Variants and Fan Cards / Re: Fan Card Mechanics Week 82: Pupil
« on: January 17, 2024, 05:46:48 pm »
This is strictly better than Village and thus needs a price of $4.

Variants and Fan Cards / Re: Revised versions of published cards
« on: January 16, 2024, 01:18:22 pm »
None of these cards except for Cartographer is weak. Cartographer with an added Peddler is likely too strong, Crystal Ball needs no buff, Duplicate needs no buff, the second Feodum variant is totally crazy, Monument being stronger than Plunder is totally crazy (not to mention the issue that a non-terminal that can be played as nothing but +2VP does not work; cards that provide VPs should lead to game progress and not to loops).

Except for obvious power level misevaluations (dude, Monument ain’t weak!), making cards more wordy and complex is seldom a good idea.
Take Pendant, a powerful Treasure with a simple and clear wording. Why mess this up via adding Treasure trashing or Loot exchange to it?

I think that it is basically a University variant. Worse, as you cannot gain a $5 in the opening; better as you can gain non-Actions and Actions that cost more than $5.
Note that the Villagers are not superior to Actions as you could e.g. pay University+Smithy whereas Immigrants+Smithy nets you nothing (or a Poor House).

The latter is really what makes this design shine. It also makes it clear that you need another splitter beyond Immigrants except for cantrip-heavy Kingdoms.

Variants and Fan Cards / Re: Fan Card Mechanics Week 82: Pupil
« on: January 13, 2024, 03:06:09 am »

^ I think this needs to say "look through your discard pile" first (Eremit, and in general, you're not allowed to search it otherwise), and I think it also needs to be stronger to be viable. Right now, even if you get +2 Actions off of this (which you very rarely will), it's "+2 Actions, trash one card, discard this delayed", which is weak since you can't straight-forwardly use it on junk. And the floor is that you get no Actions at all. (Also, "action card" -> "Action card".)

good points. Posting an updated version, added "+1 action +1$" and cards from that pile as well. so you can get the benefit from ruins, or split piles from later expansion
It is still too weak. Even with Looters in the Kingdom, it would be highly unlikely that you can play splitter, Loanshark, 2 Ruins which is really the only situation in which this shines. Being able to play one Ruins is OKish, the card then had the same vanillas as Junk Dealer. But how often do these stars align (splitter, Loan Shark, Ruins in hand, identical Ruins in discard)? If you don’t have a copy of that Ruins in hand, the card is kinda like  „+1 Card Trash a card“ which is worse than Maroon.

But why would I want to play Loanshark without Ruins? Even if you had a deck with two dead Actions, e.g. two Sea Hags after the Curses are out, you would not want Loanshark.

A simple buff, although unlikely to be strong enough, would be to postpone the trashing until the end of the next turn.


$3 - Action - Looter

+3 Actions

Gain 3 Ruins to your hand. This turn, after playing a Ruins, return it to its pile.

It uses “after” instead of “when” in the same way that Inspiring does.  The timing of the return to pile matters for Way of the Mouse using Redoubt as the set aside card.

Redoubt is a friendly Looter like Death Cart.  You are tempted by the possibility of Peddler or a Lab.  But some combinations are comparable to $2-cost cards (e.g. Ruined Village x2 + Ruined Mine ≈ Squire). The best effects hinge on Ruined Library.  Careful play order is needed so that the desirable Ruins don’t get buried deep.  Lean too heavily into Redoubt, and the opponent may just gain and trash the Ruined Libraries, leaving you with a mess of stop-cards.  It’s still a double Necropolis if you can get draw elsewhere and have a way to deal with the undesirable terminal Ruins.  And it helps counter the unfriendly Attack - Looters.

Redoubt could partially replace Beggar as a card that gains a lot of cheap cards to your hand.  It has strong synergies as does Beggar, but Redoubt is more usable in a normal kingdom without those specific combos, while Beggar usually just sits there.   Another 2E card can replace Beggar’s defensive Reaction.
I like this but I am pretty sure that this is a $4. Anything but Ruined Village and Survivors is decent. Supposed you get Library, Mine and Market. Then you get Market + 2 Villages.  Suppose you get two Mines and whatever, then this is strictly better than Conclave.

The notion that the opponent might gain and trash Ruins seems dubious, self-junking is after all a heavy price to pay. If you run 3 copies of Redoubt, he has to buy at least 2 Ruins to hurt you in turns in which you draw all 3 of them. And at worst you still got a Double-Necro whereas he had to self-junk & trash for little benefit.

Ruinous Route • $4 • Action - Looter
You may gain a Ruin to your Deck's top to trash two cards from your Hand.
Choose one: +1 Action and +$1; or play up to two Ruins from the Trash.
Sadly there are only three official Looters, but none of them allow you to use them as Actions - Death Cart merely uses them as fodder. Cultist and Marauder use Ruins like Curses.
This uses Dark Age's theme of self junking, like Beggar, Death Cart; Count.
Early on, i.e. until the Ruins are out, it net trashes one, gives you two vanillas and basically something like -1 Card as the junk is topdecked.
That is really similar to Forager but I think that I would prefer Forager.

So I think that this has to be buffed (e.g. don't topdeck the Ruins) or be reduced in price to $3.

This would replace Beggar - a card i have never bought, nor have seen a kingdom where it would be of much use. I would also toss-out Survivors.
Beggar is pretty decent in Knight games and centralizing with Guildhall.

„You may play a Ruins from the Supply“ is a shorter wording. It works mechanically the same except for gain triggers like Trader.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: Allies' split piles & Ally
« on: January 03, 2024, 01:37:01 pm »
About the split piles, you know that the top card gives you control over the pile, right?
Forts is really the only pile with kickstarting problems due to how weak Tent is but and Townsfolk is often outclassed by a draw engine. But Wizards have trashing, gaining and junking and Clashes have two Lab variants! How can you not want these cards in at least some Kingdoms?

I don't think it's better than Archer.

You're absolutely right. Didn't think of archer. A price of 4 makes more sense:
Each other player with 5 or more cards in hand reveals all but one and discards one of them that you choose.
If a player discarded a card costing more than this, trash this.
When you trash this, gain 2 Spoils.
Cost: $4
Type: Action - Attack
I don’t know whether it is stronger or weaker than Archer. But Pillage is a guaranteed Coin spike that you want either early in the game or in situations in which you need that very Coin spike (you trashed down quickly, got decent draw but not much payload, …). The Attack is nice and strong but not the reason you buy Pillage.
Your card on the other hand is Archer without Coins that can convert itself into Spoils somewhen in the middlegame (early on this is weak, you played a stop card to discard a Copper or whatever). I don’t really like a weakish Attack with no resources except the one-shot blow-up over which you have no control.

All this does not mean that [...] you cannot, and when analyzing fan designs should not, deeply care about [card strength]

Why not? I think that's exactly what it means.

I mean the "you should think about" thing is bit of an applause line because you can always say that it's better to think about something than not think about it. But I claim that "overpowered" is not a valid criticism and there's no reason to ever make that critique in writing (or judging). And you didn't give any reason why this would be a reasonable thing; you just stated it.

Even when designing a card, I don't think about powerlevel. I think about what kind of new idea I want to do. Then sometimes when it's done, I think about whether this particular idea would work better as a strong or weak card. And if it's too weak, I do something to fix that.* But it's not a key concern.

* since "underpowered" is a different category because if a card is consistently the weakest card on the board that is actually an issue.
You can put overpowered in quotation marks as often as you want to, it does not make card strength any less relevant. If you ignore power level in your designs, you will sooner or later come up with things than cannot be salvaged.
Let us take Fugitive. It is obviously a $4.5 card, i.e. it could never be done as normal Kingdom card because you cannot change the price to fix it. Of course you could buff or nerf it to put it into $4 or $5 territory but then that buff or nerf better be interesting.

Mechanical soundness and power balance are absolutely mandatory (in any game). They don’t make a design interesting, fun or novel; they are necessary but not sufficient for good card designs.

So if the only thing "over" (which is a comparative word) can target is other cards, and if it's not a bad thing if a card is stronger than other cards, well then "overpowered" is obviously not an applicable concept. (I've been saying this for years now.)
As Dominion does feature a fixed and not a rotating card pool like other deckbuilders, gama balance is indeed not that sensitive to varying card strength. As you neatly pointed out via Donate, Events are even less sensitive to them and e.g. Summon being virtually strictly stronger than Demand is not a huge issue.

All this does not mean that card strength does not exist and that you cannot, and when analyzing fan designs should not, deeply care about it. It is the first thing you do when you check a design, is it too strong or too weak. It is also far easier to do than analyze how interesting and fun a card is.

This is also the case with official cards. I will never understand how Cultist and Rebuild got through any playtesting in Dark Ages, they are far too strong and centralizing which is why they suck.

Back to the card, you yourself pointed out sitatuons in which Alcove could be far too crazy. And even though this does perhaps not imply that you run more than one, perhaps two, copies of Alcove, even though Alcove as a gainer of one-shot stop cards can hardly make the game wild, this could nonetheless be a serious issue which makes the card overpowered.

OP still isn't a coherent concept (OP -- over what?) but the ability to turn random +buys into spoils is pretty bonkers. Any cantrip +buy is going to have a field day with Alcove. Counterfeit will, too.
Card strength is not existing? Now that is a crazy notion.
There are obviously overpowered cards in Dominion, e.g. Cultist and Rebuild.

Action/Reaction - $3
Gain a Spoils, putting it anywhere in your deck.
When you gain or trash a card, you may reveal this from your hand, to exchange the card for a Spoils
This would be funky with Chapel. Open Chapel/Alcove. T3: Chapel, Alcove, 3 Estates. Blow the green up for 3 Spoils.
I don't want to imply that it is OP though, it is a very cool design.


Weekly Design Contest / Re: Weekly Design Contest #207: Vanilla on the Side
« on: December 23, 2023, 11:08:35 pm »

Oh yeah it's an event I forgot to add that in the mockup

I feel that this is kinda weak. It's rare to want to trash an action or treasure that costs $3 or more, so this becomes like a weaker ride. I think you can include the ability to trash victory cards and it becomes better.

Sometimes I want to trash a silver or another horse. Maybe it could be fine with +buy. Trashing an estate for 2 horses in the open feels busted.
How about:
"Once per turn, you may trash a card from your Hand, if it costs at least $3, +1 Horse per $1 it costs; otherwise, +1 Horse."
That is strictly better than Ride.

Weekly Design Contest / Re: Weekly Design Contest #207: Vanilla on the Side
« on: December 23, 2023, 03:10:59 pm »
I think that this is obviously too strong. You open Magi Workshop and Silver and basically got a cantrip Ghost gainer in T3/4/5.

DXV nixed quadratic scoring for good reasons.

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