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Contest Closed

Iíll do judging over the next few days.

Thereís still a lot of activity and Iím busy tonight, so hereís your

24 hour warning

If you havenít submitted yet, thereís still time.  And have submitted, please check that your entry is listed in the OP.

Weekly Design Contest #211: Not Your Ordinary Village

Village is one of the most iconic Dominion cards.  Villages usually donít do much on their own, but without one, you have to be extremely picky with the other Actions your deck can contain, limiting the potential of the deck and outcome of the game.  This time your task is to design something* that allows you to play 2 or more Terminal Actions in an unusual way. 

Thatís kind of vague, so letís look at some examples from the official cards.  Among all the cards that contain ďVillageĒ in their name, only Snowy Village would rate highly in this contest, due to its restriction on further +Actions.  Other cards that rate high are Taskmaster, Conclave, and First MateThrone Room is another good example, but the fact that it exists means that Throne Room variants need to be more unusual to rate well.  Something like Crown rates poorly, while Mastermind is better.  Landscapes like Toil also count, but you'll have to be careful to make your entry different enough from existing Landscapes.

Contest Guidelines:

Judgment Details:
  • The contest will close roughly a week from today.
  • I will judge entries based on balance, wording/mechanics, simplicity, creativity, and how fun the entry is to play with.


Sounds good.  Iíll have the next contest up soon!

Signerror hasnt answered the dm, could roving bear do the judgement?

Just saw this.  Roving Bear, if you would rather do it, thatís OK, with me.  Just let us know by the end of the day, or Iíll get things rolling again.

Im dming falsepriest to ask if he can judge next competition

Yeah, I can judge the next contest.  Iíll have it up later today.  It will be something along the lines of what fika monster suggested.


False Priest
$5 - Action - Attack

+1 Buy
Trash a card from your hand. For the rest of this turn, when you trash a card, each other player gains a Curse.
Heirloom: Goat

Edit:  added weird ass art.

Devil's Cellar
$5 Night
Look at the top 5 cards of your deck and discard any number of them. If the number of cards you've discarded is:
5, gain a Plunder.
0, gain an Imp.

Instead of gain a Plunder, did you mean gain a Loot?

That makes sense. I already understood about the flexibility (I didn't articulate that well in my post), I just wasn't convinced that ActionSilver would be stronger than $3 (my main thinking was that you couldn't price it at $4 because it's strictly worse than Patron, but it's probably just one of those unpriceable cards like a pure peddler). I'm going to update my card/OP.

I mean Taskmaster is worse than Silver until itís not.  Swamp Shacks is a Necropolis until itís not.  The stacking effect is super powerful, so I think the $4 price is justified.

Even a single copy could be a Merchant Camp or an Action Pouch, and that flexibility is valuable.

Could we modify an official card that already has a modifier?

For example Night Watchman could become ďDay Watchman.Ē  ďDay Night WatchmanĒ strictly meets the contest requirements, but thatís just silly.

$4 - Action - Duration

The next time you gain a Victory card, +1 Buy and choose one: +$3; or +2 Cards, +1 Action, and if it's your Buy phase return to your Action phase.

This is meant for Intrigue, fitting with the themes of choices and VP cards that do something.


This one is for intrigue, a twist on a victory card and the choice.

It needs the Duration type

- Action - Duration - Attack
Each other player with 5 or more cards in hand discards a card.
The next time any player plays an Attack card, +2 Cards.

It either needs wording like Kiln or wording like Landing Party / Inspiring to know whether the Duration +2 Cards happens before or after the Attack finishes playing.

Also for reference, hereís my entry from the last ďnext timeĒ contest which is similar:

Reinforcements - $5
Action - Duration - Attack


Each other player discards down to 3 cards in hand.

The next time anyone plays an Attack, draw until you have 6 cards in hand afterwards.

I think I like that your card costs $4 so it is easier to spam, and of course there are some other differences.  But maybe check out the feedback I was given over in that contest.

Updated entry

Scavenger Dog | Action - Looter | $3
+2 Cards
You may play a Ruins from the Supply or your hand.
When you trash this, play it.

You may want to add "other than in in cleanup" about the trash-play part to mimic trail

Trail needed it so that the trigger didnít happen when-discard during cleanup.  Fortress is fine without the non-cleanup clause, so Scavenger/Junk Dog should be too.

Edit: Fortresses probably isnít the best comparison here because it doesnít play itself.  There could be some really exotic combo like WotMouse Improve Tomb that generates infinite VP.  Still, there are infinite combos amoung the official cards, and making Junk Dog more complex just to kill a rare combo doesnít seem good.

Awesome analysis  :D

Remember not to make the card a 3$ if you think it's stronger than the average 4$.

Like I said, itís easy to think of the Labs and Smithies and Peddlers and forget all the other junk thatís possible.  If you tally the weighted value itís about $3.  Weighted value of everything above the line (with +Cards) is about $4, and weighted value of everything below the line (without +Cards) is about $2.

Hm I thought the sarcasm would be obvious in the context of my previous posts lamenting the misuse of the overpowered concept. What I meant to say was: the idea that you have to figure out whether your card is above or below a certain powerlevel to figure out whether to price it at 3$ or 4$ is extremely silly. Imo you'd do better just not thinking about card strength at all when deciding this. The major thing you should think about is whether it would be fun if people can open with two of the thing. After that, I mean 3$ will allow people to buy it slightly more situations later in the game.

I made the reference to Donald X because he's released tons of busted 3$'s that are much stronger than 4$s. In fact it was sort of loosely held that the average 3$ is stronger than the average 4$ at some point (this probably isn't true nowadays), but in any case, it was common knowledge that "weaker cards cost 3$ and stronger cards cost 4$" isn't a thing. Apparently that's not common knowledge anymore, but it's still true.

In fact I vividly remember being a very nooby person in this forum and someone was indicated that 3$s are stronger than 4$s, and I was like, that can't be right, and then they were like, no literally, and I was like huh, but I didn't write it because back then I didn't admit mistakes.

Anyway your analysis convinced me that it's weaker than the average 4$, which has precisely zero bearing on how I would price it. (I'd price it at 3$ so you can open with two of them.)

I absolutely agree with this, but mostly did the analysis for others who seemed more fixed on $4 cost.

The greatest difference between $4 and $3 is the double open, and this is fine there. You would rather have a cheap trasher or a guaranteed Silver to afford a good $5, and early Redoubt is a huge risk, given you donít know what the cards below the top one are.

^ I don't know how the rules work here; can you gain Curses once Ruins are out?

From the Trader Official FAQ 2022:

You can only exchange if both cards are available to be exchanged; you have to be able to return the gained card to its pile (only possible if it came from a pile), and you have to be able to take the Silver.

So once the Ruins are out you can no longer do the exchange, and you gain the Curse

On a side note Squatter with lots of cost reduction means your Provinces turn into Ruins.  I actually think thatís neat; you just have to make sure what you want costs at least $1.

I wasnít expecting this much discussion.  I originally had this at $4, but realized pretty early on it cannot cost $4.  An easy, quick comparison is Ironmonger.  You get a fixed +1 Card, +1 Action, and half Survivors, along with one of +1 Card, +1 Action, and +$1, which are the best bonuses to spam.

But in case you want to go into all the details, the following is a list of all the raw possibilities along with their probability of occurrence and estimated value.  You might notice that certain individual effects are valued higher than you would think; weíll get into more of that later.

+3 Cards (0.612%) Smithy, but better (~$5.5)*
+2 Cards +1 Action (2.296%) Lab ($5)
+2 Cards +1 Buy (2.296%) Silk Merchant, but better?!? ($5.3)*
+2 Cards +$1 (2.296%) Fortune Hunter, but better (~5.6)*
+2 Cards Survivors (2.296%) Oracle, but better (~$5.4)*
+1 Card +2 Actions (2.296%) Village ($3)
+1 Card +1 Action +1 Buy (5.102%) worse than Market Square (~$2. 8 )
+1 Card +1 Action +$1 (5.102%) peddler (~$4.5)
+1 Card +1 Action Survivors (5.102%) most comparable to Spy (~$3.6)
+1 Card +2 Buys (2.296%) multiple +Buy bad (~$3.3)*
+1 Card +1 Buy +$1 (5.102%) not a lot of reference (~$3. 8 ) *
+1 Card +1 Buy Survivors (5.102%) not a lot of reference (~$3.4)*
+1 Card +$2 (2.296%) could maybe justify this as a terminal Silver+ (~$3.9)*
+1 Card +$1 Survivors (5.102%) not a lot of reference (~$3.6)*
+1 Card Survivors x2 (2.296%) not a lot of reference (~$3.2)*

+3 Actions (0.612%) strictly worse than Port, comparable to Snowy Village and Crossroads (~$3)
+2 Actions +1 Buy (2.296%) not a lot of reference (~$2.5)
+2 Actions +$1 (2.296%) worse than Merchant Camp (~$2. 8 )
+2 Actions Survivors (2.296%) not a lot of reference (~$2.3)
+1 Action +2 Buys (2.296%) multiple +Buy bad (~$1.5)
+1 Action +1 Buy +$1 (5.102%) worse than Candlestick Maker (~$1.9)
+1 Action +1 Buy Survivors (5.102%) bad, but not a lot of reference (~$1.7)
+1 Action +$2 (2.296%) Silver-ish (~$3)
+1 Action +$1 Survivors (5.102%) bad, but not a lot of reference (~$1. 8 )
+1 Action Survivors x2 (2.296%) bad, but not a lot of reference (~$1.5)
+3 Buys (0.612%) multiple +Buy bad (~$1.2)
+2 Buys +$1 (2.296%) worse than Squire (~$1.9)
+2 Buys Survivors (2.296%) multiple +Buy bad (~$1.5)
+1 Buy +$2 (2.296%) Woodcutter ($3)
+1 Buy +$1 Survivors (5.102%) bad, but not a lot of reference (~$1. 8 )
+1 Buy Survivors x2 (2.296%) bad, but not a lot of reference (~$1.3)
+$3 (0.612%) probably slightly better than Fortune Hunter (~$4.2)
+$2 Survivors (2.296%) Worse than Navigator, which was already bad (~$2.7)
+$1 Survivors x2 (2.296%) (~$1.4)
Survivors x3 (0.612%) Bad (~$1.1)

Remember not to make the card a 3$ if you think it's stronger than the average 4$.

Like I said, itís easy to think of the Labs and Smithies and Peddlers and forget all the other junk thatís possible.  If you tally the weighted value itís about $3.  Weighted value of everything above the line (with +Cards) is about $4, and weighted value of everything below the line (without +Cards) is about $2.

A lot like Knights, the value of Redoubt fluctuates based on what the top card of Ruins is at the start of the game.  Ruined Library and Ruined Mine provide the most value.  Ruined Village is good in the absence of a Village, and Ruined Market is great in the absence of +Buy.  Survivors is only good if the kingdom has no trashing and little draw.  So you can use the knowledge of the top card to adjust the probabilities and be more informed about the value of the card.

For example, say itís a 2-player game without Ruined Library on top.  The chance of NOT having Ruined Library in the next 2 cards is about 80%, so if you want your Redoubt drawing cards (the most valuable effect), then you have to get decently lucky.  If you really want to dig into the Ruins pile for that Ruined Library, you need to gain 3 Redoubts and collide them in the same hand (difficult in itself). Youíre most likely to get 1 Ruined Library (43%), with the next likely outcome being no Ruined Libraries (34%).  That leaves a (23%) of hitting 2 Ruined Libraries and those spicy $5+ effects.  Not very good odds.

Any combo using Ruined Library and other terminals is actually better than its face value because you can play some Ruined Libraries to potentially draw more villages before playing your last terminal card.  I already adjusted the card values for that above. (*)

Everything below the line doesnít have +Cards, so it tends to be worth a lot less.  You may notice I rate the bad terminal stop-card combinations a little higher than they deserve face value.  Thatís because you always have the option to not play the Ruins and keep the innate +3 Actions, which Iím valuing at about $3.  Then you could play other terminal draw for the chance at drawing more villages while risking junking yourself.  Or you could just play terminal payload and take the junk.

The notion that the opponent might gain and trash Ruins seems dubious, self-junking is after all a heavy price to pay.

Removing Ruined Library as an option lowers Redoubtís value to about $2, so itís worth it if your opponent has a ton of them and is using the draw a lot.  Itís kind of like when you have 1 Poacher and the opponent has 8; you just gain the last Poacher to turn them into Oasis.  But here you donít need to gain extra Redoubts or Ruins.  Just play one Redoubt (you probably got one early on), get the Ruined Library thatís 3 cards down, and thatís it.

And at worst you still got a Double-Necro whereas he had to self-junk & trash for little benefit.

To get the double Necropolis effect for ~$3, the opponent has to trash or keep in their deck the Survivors and other terminal Ruins, so thatís not free either.

On a serious note, I'd consider returning the card to the bottom of the pile

Returning the ruins to the bottom of the pile is something I hadnít considered, and could probably work.  My worry is that it makes it too unpredictable early and too uncontrollable late.  Remember the average effect is actually $3, and you have to work to make it worth more than that.  Also Black Market is supposed to put cards on the bottom of the pile, but doesnít do that because then you have to track the pile (I think TGG lets you see the card order, but Iíve never been in a game that when through the whole pile to find out for sure).  But the Ruins pile is smaller unless you have a ton of players, so tracking is less of an issue here.  Iíd probably want to playtest it both ways to see how it works.


$3 - Action - Looter

+3 Actions

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

It uses ďafterĒ instead of ďwhenĒ 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 donít 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.  Itís 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 Beggarís defensive Reaction.

Alright, now let's investigate the Finalists in a few different kingdoms. Randomly generated with 9 official cards (excluding 1st edition removals) and up to 2 landscapes.

Kingdom 1

Merchant Camp, Enchantress, Acting Troupe, Landing Party, Recruiter, Haunted Woods, Guild Master, Cursed Village, Crown, Fellowship of Scribes, Way of the Chameleon, Fountain.

A lot of good things here, but no gainers or +Buy is a big limitation.  In particular Fountain is shut down, especially if you trash Coppers with Recruiter.  So this will probably be a Province rush using Recruiter, Haunted Woods, and Gold.  There will be little room to use anything else.  Interestingly, all the Finalists add extra gains, but no extra Buys.

Horse Lord competes directly with Crown.  Horse Lord helps you cycle through your deck to your key cards or provides Recruiter fuel, while Crown paired with Gold is most of a Province.  I kind of prefer Horse Lord to keep getting to my Haunted Woods, and you have the option of topdecking Horse to counter the opponent's Haunted Woods.  That said, it may be tricky to find a time to buy Crown or Horse Lord here when Recruiter, Haunted Woods, and Gold take precedence.

Portorosso's Villagers get overshadowed by Recruiter unless you have more than a couple Action cards, and you probably won't have time to accumulate lots of Action cards.  Likewise, you won't have time to get multiple copies of Portorosso, and you probably can't wait for 2 Seafolk to collide with your Portorosso.

Artifact Dealer allowing an extra Action gain could be decently strong.  You still have to collide it with Forgery or Gold, but Recruiter can help with that.  When paired with Forgery I probably gain and play Enchantress, and with Gold I probably gain and play Haunted Woods, unless it's my last turn.  I don't think I would get Artifact Dealer before Gold, but I probably get it before Haunted Woods.  It can also gain fuel to feed to Recruiter and support more Action cards, which is useful if the game goes into Duchy dancing.

Magi Workshop hurts your ability to get Recruiter, which is the main thing to be doing turn 3 and 4.  There isn't a lot of draw midgame, so it is easy to get the Horse, but Imps probably won't be gained.  Will-o'-Wisps are useful but have a high opportunity cost given how good Coppers are here, and that hinders Spoils gaining too.  I just don't see Magi Workshop working here.

Kingdom 2

Poor House, Supplies, Guardian, Wizards, Ghost Town, Clashes, Remake, Blessed Village, Displace, Family of Inventors Desperation, Commerce.

Some brutal attacks that can be countered by Guardian.  Early access to Gold with Desperation + Commerce, but Remake, Battle Plan, and Student are probably higher priorities.  Poor House is normally bad for Remake, but Family of Inventors can disable the gain.  While there are multiple gains, there is still no +Buy (I swear I'm doing this randomly). Lich when-trash is only useful if you use Family of Inventors on the Wizards.  Displace alternating between Territory and Province could be a good source of VP, although that can be disrupted with Family of Inventors. (I donít think Iíve ever seen so many Family of Inventors interactions.)

Horse Lord can use Horses from Supplies or double Battle Plan or Displace.  It's mostly an expensive Throne Room with a dud consolidation here, which can still be nice.

Portorosso has some cheaper alternatives for Villages. Villagers are usually good dud insurance, but there's no terminal draw, and Ghost Town can also help avoid duds.  Gold could be nice here with Displace, but I kind of like the Province & Territory combo, and either way, Family of inventors can ruin things.

Artifact Dealer is quite nice here.  Gold can be made cheaper by Family of Inventors, but not Forgery.  Blessed Village is a good target, as well as Battle Plan and Warlord (if it is cheap enough).  Limited draw means the two card combo is a downside, but early trashing with Student and/or Remake can help.

Magi Workshop might pair nicely with Student.  You could get your draw from Will-o'-Wisps, Horses, and eventually Imps.  Except for Overlord, which locks you out of the Imp requirement.  You can counter with Guardian, but that locks you out of Will-oí-Wisp gaining next turn.  I think Battle Plan and control of the Clashes is more important early on.

Kingdom 3

Hermit, Villa, Trail, Mastermind, Livery, First Mate, Crypt, Apprentice, Wayfarer, Way of the Sheep.

A kingdom with strong draw, trashing, and +Buy.  No Attacks or alt-VP, so you have to move quickly.  Hermit has no extra cards costing up to $3, so I might skip it in favor of Apprentice, especially with the Trail combo.  Livery is nice payload paired with Villa. The next cycle Villasí +Buys can get Trails played as WotSheep. And Crypt can help keep Coppers away.  The only thing missing is a solid opening buy, although thereís always Silver, and on 4/3 maybe you open Trail and trigger an early reshuffle.

Livery is a powerhouse Horse gainer, and Mastermind makes exceptional use of those Horses, so I think Horse Lord gets edged out here.

Villa diminishes the value of Villagers, and Livery is better payload than Gold, so I donít think Portorosso has a place here.

Artifact Dealer paired with Forgery isnít that great here.  Trail already plays itself, and it canít play Villa (which has the same timing as Siren, while Artifact Dealer has the same timing as Spell Scroll), although you can still play the Villa later.  Artifact Dealer paired with Gold has far more options, but you have to get the Gold separately.  Still, the kingdom has a lot of draw, so I think thereís room to play with Artifact Dealer here.

While there is no alternative $4 opener to compete with Magi Workshop, I think I want to do everything possible to afford either Apprentice or Livery turn 3 or 4.  Plus draw from Will-oí-Wisp and Imp gets edged out here.  Crypt removing Coppers from play can enable the Will-oí-Wisp and Spoils gain, so picking this up in the mid-late game could provide a slight benefit, although I think just getting another Livery probably outscales that.

Kingdom 4

Squire, Bauble, Taskmaster, Enchantress, Swamp Shacks, Fortune Hunter, Livery, Crew, Possession, Architectsí Guild.

No trashing, but itís still possible to build a deck that can draw itself and play Possession each turn (thank goodness itís only one Possession per turn now).  Possession shuts off Taskmaster, eats up Enchantress draw, and uses previously gained Horses.  But on a Possessed turn the opponent doesnít actually gain cards, so Favors canít be used up, and Livery canít gain Horses for anyone.  The question is if you can get enough Provinces before a Possession opponent can set up.

Once again, Horse Lord must compete with Livery, although this time Livery isnít as good as before with the lack of exceptional $4 gains.  If you think the opponent may Possess you soon, using the Horse gain option isnít great.

Possession messes with Portorossoís Villagers and existing Seafolk.  However, Seafolk and Gold gained on a Possessed turn go directly to their discard, making a Portorosso a Necropolis on a Possessed turn.  Especially when paired with only a couple of Crew, this could be a decent but expensive defense against Possession.  Possession aside, Also, Squire is a cheap alternative Village, and a Livery Horse can provide the draw needed to get to your Crew.

A possessed Artifact Dealer canít play the Action gained, limiting its effectiveness.  Meanwhile, on your own turn, you could gain Swamp Shack for guaranteed draw.  But the lack of trashing means combo cards like Artifact Dealer / Forgery, and Swamp Shack / Swamp Shack are pretty ineffective.  Swamp shack could be boosted by Taskmaster and Enchantress, but those are already vulnerable to Possession.

Lack of trashing and reusable non-terminal draw, paired with the low cost Squire are great conditions for Magi Workshop.  You delay Livery, but thatís probably fine here, given the lack of spamable $4s.  Bauble can topdeck Horse and later Imp, but never Spoils and Will-oí-Wisp.  Horse and Spoils are vulnerable to Possession, but you probably just donít get those later in the game.

Kingdom 5

The previous kingdoms were randomly dominated by game-warping cards (Recruiter, Clashes, Livery, and Possession).  So now lets get one final kingdom without any of the cards previously selected.  I was planning on re-rolling any other powerful cards, but I didnít really get any here.

Settlers, Shanty Town, Marauder, Baron, Wheelwright, Mystic, Mint, Jester, Bank, Barracks, Tireless (on Wheelwright)

Mint is the only trashing, and thereís also not a lot of draw.  Marauder has a chance to shine here.  Tireless makes Wheelwright the target for Jester and Mystic.  Barracks probably gets some use since Ruins donít play nice with Shanty Town, although Bustling Village might show up later on.  Baron or Ruined Market is +Buy.  Not a lot of draw options.

Horse Lord providing the only guaranteed draw  makes it pretty valuable here.  I probably get it early on to set up for Mint trashing and then transition to Wheelwright + Mystic.

Portorossoís Villagers work well with all the Ruins.  Seafolk could also be a defense against Jester if you donít have Wheelwright.  The endgame could just be Gold into Province, but I kind of like Wheelwright + Mystic better.

Artifact Dealer is hurt by the lack of trashing and draw.  Plus there arenít really any spamable cards costing up to $4.  Wheelwright can more reliably gain $5s, and Jester can gain Wheelwrights if the other player is using them.

The kingdomís lack of draw and trashing is nice for Magi Workshop, and once again the non-Supply piles are a deterrent for Jester.  It competes with Marauder in the opening, but I value Spoils + Horse + Will-oí-Wisp more than Spoils + maybe a Shanty Town + Ruins to Opponent.  Itís also safe to open with Shanty Town as guaranteed draw.


Magi Workshop with Spoils and Horse by anordinaryman: Honorable Mention

Itís really good when the kingdom lacks reasonable draw or trashing, but that is rare.  Usually there is a $4 card you want to use more in the opening, or a $5 card you want to afford turn 3 or 4.  And other sources of draw donít have such a high opportunity cost.  My suggestion would be to limit the card to 3 gains, eliminating the Horse gain.  This has a thematic connection to the 3 gifts of the wisemen, and it frees up space to add something like ďFor the rest of this turn, when you gain a card, set it aside and put it into your hand at end of turn.Ē  Thatís even more wordy, but it doubles down on draw being the benefit of Magi Workshop, and you see the benefit of your sacrificed turn much earlier.

Horse Lord with Horse by NoMoreFun: 3rd Place

Not a lot to say here.  Often Iím paying for a Specialist just for the Throne Room effect, so $5 Throne Rooms are perfectly reasonable. Horse gaining is a nice side hustle.  Draw is powerful, so this is valuable in kingdoms without draw, although that doesnít make me less sad that I have to pay $5 for it, and I have to be careful that simple big money doesnít beat out whatever Iím trying to do.

Portorosso with Seafolk by emtzalex: 2nd Place

I really liked the theme of this one, but it just didnít fit with most of the randomly generated kingdoms.  It goes back to that Renaissance Secret History; cantrip villager at $5 is a hard concept to make work.  Usually there are cheaper alternatives for Villages or better payload than delayed Gold, even when gained to the hand.

Artifact Dealer with Forgery by 4est: Winner

Itís very dependent on the rest of the kingdom, but as a gainer that comes with the territory.  It was able to stay relevant in kingdoms with powerhouse cards like Recruiter and Possession.  I kind of still wish that Forgery did more than just Copper, but itís in the name, and the interaction with Artifact Dealer is more than enough to keep it interesting.

Weekly Design Contest / Re: Weekly Design Contest #207: Vanilla on the Side
« on: December 31, 2023, 06:34:48 pm »
I'll try to have the final judgment finished tomorrow, but for now, here is the individual feedback and finalist list.

Bee Keeper with H-Bee (and Clover Honey) by BryGuy:

This one kind of misses the mark of the contest.  Bee Keeper is non-Vanilla and H-Bee is Vanilla, but Bee Keeper doesn't ever gain H-Bee.  Instead Clover Honey does, but it has Vanilla +$2.  H-Bee replacing Curses seems like something better done as an expansion mechanic instead of having "in games using this" on a non-Supply card.  And I think that means H-Bee is in the Supply like Curses would be, so it's no longer a non-Supply card.

The H-Bee trashing option on Bee Keeper returns the trashed H-Bee to play, so you don't actually get rid of it.  So especially as the game progresses, it will be easier to collide Bee Keeper with H-Bee, to great benefit.  I'm not a fan of the non H-Bee route saying you can play a Supply H-Bee, but dictating that you pick different option, although something is necessary because otherwise Bee Keeper is strictly better than Laboratory.  My solution would be to simplify things by removing the play H-Bee from supply fallback and playing the trashed H-Bee 4 times "leaving it there."  Then you have a flexible Pooka that works with the Bee Clover Heirloom instead of against it like Cursed Gold.

Cryptid Hunter with Bigfoot by Cutepelican126:

There's a lot going on with Cryptid Hunter.  At it's core it's like a terminal Loan that can't hit itself, plays your good Treasures instead of discarding them, and becomes non-terminal once you have Gold or some other semi-expensive Treasure; which are all good things.  Like Loan it needs to say "Discard the other cards" or give some other instructions.  I don't really like it allowing you to buy non-Supply cards, but I guess Black Market allows something like that.  You don't need "immediately," although that reveals some of the confusion players could have.

Bigfoot is a Peddler that gives extra draw when you buy a card.  Normally you wouldn't be able to play the drawn cards, but Cryptid Hunter gets around that.  Most of the official on-buy triggers have been removed in an errata, but the usual replacement "gain a card in your Buy phase" doesn't work here, and that's Bigfoot and Cryptid Hunter's main gimmick.  I really do like Cryptid Hunter's Loan functionality.  Maybe remove the buying interactions and pair it with a $4 cost Treasure non-Supply pile.

Horse Lord with Horse by NoMoreFun:

Strictly better than Throne Room, so that deserves the $5 cost.  Yet playing it as the Horse gain option seems sad considering it's the same benefit as the $2 cost Sleigh.  However, thinking of it another way, a Kingdom with Horse Lord always has a Throne Room variant and a Horse gainer, which is a very valuable combo.  Putting it into perspective, a hand with Horse and the Throne Room variant provides a similar benefit as a hand with Horse and Lost City.  My initial thought is still that this is a little weak, but it does what this contest requires and is perfectly reasonable.


Saddle with Horse by JW:

On the same page as Horse Lord, but this is exceptionally weak.  Putting it into perspective, Rope is like a combined Market and Junk Dealer, with the added benefit that the trashing is optional.  And yet it can cost $4, because those effects are spread across two turns.  Similarly, Saddle does the job of a bad Supplies and a non-terminal Throne Room, spread across two turns, so there's no way it deserves the $5 price, even taking the Horse + Throne Room combo into consideration.  Alternatively you could increase the power.  putting the contest rules aside I might make it a Silver variant on the turn you play it and call it good.

Portorosso with Seafolk by emtzalex:

I love this one.  Getting Villagers is a clear substitute for +Actions, and gaining a cantrip to your hand is a neat way to get around the +Cards restriction.  It reminds me of the cantrip Villager card mentioned in the Renaissance Secret History.  That would have probably needed to cost $5, but would be boring.  The interaction with Seafolk and Gold gaining is a nice way to make it more interesting and let it do other things. I don't particularly like the wording for removing Villagers from the mat.  You can get around this by giving +1 Villager unconditionally and +1 Villager alongside the Seafolk gain.  If you need to trim power, it would simplify things to not get Villagers with the Gold and 2 Villagers with the Seafolk.

I wouldn't have expected a Vanilla cantrip would end up in the contest, but the interactions with Portorosso are really interesting.  The "return to pile" clause is a little bit of a grey area.  As I mentioned in the contest guidelines, being a one-shot is usually a clear downside, but if it is optional, it can only be a benefit.  In this case the benefit is clear; you can control whether you get Seafolk or Gold from further Portorosso plays.  More subtly, maybe you want to empty the Seafolk pile (I'm assuming a pile of 10) or there are Vineyards or something.  It's something minor, but one way you could change it is by forcing a return to pile at the start of Clean-up. It has the benefit of being thematic; all the Seafolk return to the sea at the end of the turn. But aside from the contest prompt, I prefer the version with the optional return to allow more interactions.


Fruit Market with Coster by grep:

Fruit Market provides +1 Action and +$1 per X, which are Vanilla effects against the contest rules. As mentioned earlier I don't particularly like letting cards buy from non-Supply piles.  And varying the non-Supply pile size with the number of players is unprecedented.  Fruit Market gives me Miser vibes.  It starts exceptionally weak, but the more you play it and the more Costers you get, the better it becomes.  It's also non-Terminal, so it can grow exponentially.  It seems like a strong source of payload once you're overdrawing your deck, probably shutting out other payload.  With overdraw and assuming no other +Buy, 3 Fruit Markets gaining Costers each turn make $3 the first turn after gained, then $12 the next turn, then $21 the next turn.  You're probably adding more Fruit Markets as you go.  That assumes the other player doesn't go for it so there are enough Costers to gain, but this is obviously too good to ignore.  Of course, with other sources of +Buy things can get even crazier, so I don't think there's a way to make this "+$1 per Buy you have" idea work. Merchant Guild fills a similar space, but it costs $5, is terminal, the payload is delayed, and you actually have to use the Buys.

Gambling Hall with Gambler (and Drunkard) by RovingBear:

Starting with Gambler, I was wondering if "turn your Journey token over" should count as Vanilla.  In the context of Gambler it's fine because it can only give Vanilla bonuses, and even if Ranger is around, that's still only a Vanilla bonus.  But Gambling Hall also uses the Journey token, for non-Vanilla effects.  Aside from that Gambler being a double Lab at the start of the turn if you set up the Journey token correctly, while also providing payload when you flip it around, is probably too good.

For being the lesser prize of Gambling Hall, Drunkard is still quite good.  At worst it's a cantrip that can set up the Journey token and give payload next turn.  Maybe you even save the +Action or +Card for next turn if you don't need it now.  But "choose the other 2" has tracking issues to avoid, just like how the Secret History for WotChameleon mentions it added "this turn" to avoid tracking issues.  Maybe just fix which bonus you get which bonus you get which turn.

Gambling Hall's "you may play an Action you gained this turn" also has tracking issues.  If you gain the card to hand or you use Harbinger to put a card onto your deck, you may no longer know where the card you gained is.  Take that away, and it's probably still OK, especially given how strong Drunkard and especially Gambler are.  There's definitely an interesting idea here, but it needs some polishing.

Cannibalism with Horse by Will(ow|iam):

A simple effect that meets the contest prompt.  Aptly named, as trashing a Horse to gain 3 is a cheap way to add draw to the next cycle, although drawing and not playing the Horse on the current turn is a decent opportunity cost, unless you already are drawing the deck, and then the Horses may not be that valuable.  Regarding some of the discussion, I agree that it's a little weak. +1 Buy would be a nice solution, except for the contest prompt.  Letting it trash Estates is far too powerful in the opening.  Even if it cost $4, that would be too automatic.  But at $5 you no longer want to trash Horse or Silver to it.  Maybe with a Gold gainer and source of +Buy it could be a nice source of draw.  The balancing on this one needs work.

Artifact Dealer with Forgery by 4est:

Artifact Dealer is an Action gainer comparable to Wheelwright and Hill Fort.  The effect of gaining and playing is strong, but you have to collide with an expensive Treasure.  The part about playing a Treasure to do something else could be a little confusing.  Do you still get the effect of the Treasure? (Yes, but it's not worded like any official Dominion card, so the confusion is justified.)  "If you do" wording like Conclave could help.  Either way, Artifact Dealer needs to say whether the gaining happens before or after the Treasure playing (see Kiln, Landing Party and Inspiring).

Forgery is an expensive Copper that comes with Artifact Dealer.  It's a really simple effect, but it makes sense to enable you to do something with Artifact Dealer before you have Gold.  You still have to collide the Artifact Dealer with the Forgery, which could require some luck mid-game.  Silver could also be an enabler if there are spamable $2 Actions in the Kingdom.  Forgery is also a deterrent for gaining and playing the entire Artifact Dealer pile, unless this will be your last turn.  I kind of wish it did something other than Vanilla Copper.  One way to solve both issues is by having Artifact Dealer discard a Treasure instead of playing it, and then giving Forgery a when-discard Reaction (like maybe "when you discard this, other than in Clean-up, +1 Card").  But these are really minor opinions, and Artifact Dealer is overall a very solid concept.


Magi Workshop with Spoils and Horse by anordinaryman:

I agree that the previous version gaining Ghosts was too strong.  In fact, maybe even monolithic.  Because Horse and Spoils disappear, you can continue gaining Ghost, Horse, and Spoils each play.  Ghost is guaranteed to hit Horse, for a duration +4 Cards.  And once the Ghosts run out, other Actions can safely join in.

The Will-o'-Wisp condition seems too restrictive.  You can't have Copper in play, and once you start playing the Will-o'-Wisps, it will be impossible to get more.  So especially in the early game, you have to look at it as skip your Buy phase to get a Spoils, a Will-o'-Wisp, and a Horse.  That's better than using Devil's Workshop to get a Gold.  But unlike Devil's Workshop, you have to be committed because playing your Coppers to buy something means you only get a Horse.  My intuition is that this version will be weak due to the limitations you have to play around.  It has to cost $4 because it might be too good as a double open.  And it's already fairly wordy, so adding something else is out of the question.  Maybe change some of the conditions to be easier; although I get that's the card's inspiration.  But draw is strong, so maybe it could be worth it?


Weekly Design Contest / Re: Weekly Design Contest #207: Vanilla on the Side
« on: December 28, 2023, 09:23:47 am »
24 hour warning

Please check that your entry is listed in the OP.

I won't disqualify anyone, but there are a few entries that are missing a mockup, or that aren't following the main prompt of Vanilla on the Side.  Also, some entries are missing the number of cards in the custom non-Supply pile, but I'll make a guess.  Those details will play into judging, but can be offset by doing well in other areas.

Contest is closed

Iíll get judging done over the next couple of days.

Weekly Design Contest / Weekly Design Contest #207: Vanilla on the Side
« on: December 19, 2023, 02:09:22 pm »
Weekly Design Contest #207: Vanilla on the Side

The title indicates what this contest is about, but the details are a little nuanced.  Your task is to design something* that does not provide any Vanilla effects, but includes gaining (or exchanging for) a non-Supply card that only provides Vanilla effects.  Examples of official cards that meet the criteria for the contest are Marauder, Pillage, Hermit, Sleigh, and Demand.

Contest Guidelines:
  • *For your main entry almost anything goes, including kingdom cards, landscapes, and all mechanics up to and including Plunder.  It just canít be a non-supply card itself and it canít include Vanilla effects, namely +1 Card, +1 Action, +1 Buy, and +$1.
  • There are some effects that are similar to Vanilla effects, but are not Vanilla themselves.  For example ď... put card(s) into your hand,Ē and ďyou may play an Action cardÖĒ are not Vanilla.  But you need a good reason to use that instead of a Vanilla effect (see Throne Room, Will-Oí-Wisp, and Imp wording).
  • The main entry needs to do something besides just gain the non-Supply card.  This disqualifies Ride and Stampede.
  • The non-Supply cardís only benefit should be Vanilla effects.  You could use an existing non-Supply card that meets the requirements (i.e. Spoils, Madman, and Horse).  Just make sure your main entry is different enough from existing things that use that non-Supply card.  Or you could make your own; just let me know how many cards are in the non-Supply pile. Donít worry if your non-Supply card has the same effect as someone elseís, especially if it is simple.
  • The non-Supply card can use various types, such as Action, Treasure, Night, Duration, and even Victory.  Some types, such as Attack, must be attached to a non-Vanilla effect, so they canít be used.  Reactions could go either way: a non-Suply card like Trail would be OK, but Moat would not (Attack protection is not Vanilla).
  • The non-Supply card can include drawbacks.  Most notably this is returning itself to its pile.  Your non-Supply card is not required to do that.  Also, itís OK if the drawback could be a benefit in some rare interaction (i.e. infinite gains for Collection), just make sure that interaction does not apply to your main entry or the non-supply card itself.
  • The non-Supply card can involve a condition (such as Madmanís draw varying with the number of cards in your hand).  It could also involve choices.  Just make sure that the only benefits are Vanilla effects.
  • Your entry must contain both card text and a mock-up.  If you donít do this, I may not judge the card.  You donít need to add card art, but I want to see the text fit on a card.  I recommend using this mock-up tool.  If you use one of the official non-Supply cards, you donít need to include card text or a mock-up for that.
  • If you have any questions, let me know, and I will post my reply here.
    • Would cellar be okay as the effect on the primary card?
      Iím assuming youíre excluding the +1 Action at the start.  If thatís the case,ďdraw that manyĒ is not Vanilla, so that effect is safe for the primary card.
    • Could your card be allowed if it gains non-vanilla non-supply cards?

      For example
      ďGain a Horse. If you have an odd number of cards in play, gain an impĒ
      Where imp is not vanilla.

      Not my real entry.
      Yes, that works. As long as the main card could gain a Vanilla non-Supply card (unconditionally, conditionally, or optionally), the main card can gain other non-Supply cards that are non-Vanilla.
    • can we have +Coffer, +Villager or +favors?
      Those can all be part of the main entry, but they cannot be part of the non-Supply card on the side.

Judgment Details:
  • The contest will close roughly a week and two days from today.  A little extra time because of the holidays and to get me to my long weekend for New Years for judging.
  • I will judge entries based on balance, wording/mechanics, simplicity, creativity, and how fun the entry is to play with.


Weekly Design Contest / Re: Weekly Design Contest #206: Evolution
« on: December 19, 2023, 09:55:37 am »
Thanks for the great contest and judging!  Iíll have the next contest up later today, but for now the hint is that it has something to do with Vanilla effects.

Weekly Design Contest / Re: Weekly Design Contest #206: Evolution
« on: December 12, 2023, 02:56:21 pm »

$2 - Action

+1 Action
Exile a card from your hand.  If itís an Action, +2 Cards. Otherwise, gain an Outcast.

Wilderness Throne
$5 - Action

You may play an Action from your Exile or hand.  Play it again.

This pile starts the game with 5 Copies of Outcast on top, then 5 copies of Wilderness Throne.  Only the top card of the pile can be gained or bought.

Note that Wilderness Throne is not a Command card using ďleaving it their wording.Ē  Playing an Action from Exile will move it into play where it is stuck until discarded during Clean-up, like normal.

Outcast has a more subtle evolution, like Goatherd or Sauna / Avanto. It starts as a really bad pseudo-trasher: replace one stop-card with another stop-card, at least until they start to collide.  Then you have the option to Outcast an Outcast, which is Action & Card neutral. Once the Outcasts run out, then they can actually thin non-Actions from the deck.  But more importantly, Wilderness Throne is revealed.  Itís a Throne Room that isnít dead if you draw it without a non-terminal draw Action.  Instead you can play one of those exiled Outcasts to double down on thinning and get +2 Actions to let you play a terminal draw.  In a deck with many Outcasts, Wilderness Thrones and other Actions, the Outcasts become cheap Labs, and the Wilderness Thrones can have flexible playing options.

The evolution is thematic too.  The Outcast is shunned by the kingdom, but eventually she bands together with other Outcasts, and a generation later they have formed their own government that has influence in the original kingdom.


Action-Command. $5
You may gain a non-Command Action card from the Supply costing up to $5, and play it twice. Each other player may discard two cards from their hand to gain a copy of it (or a horse) to their hand.

I donít think this needs the Command type; it doesnít use ďleaving it thereĒ wording.  You definitely need to make sure it canít gain itself, but that can be done by saying ďother than Coach,Ē like what Vampire does.  You could also make it cost $6 and say ďcosting less than this,Ē like Berserker, but that significantly impacts the cardís balance.

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