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Author Topic: The Secret History of Hinterlands 2E  (Read 2947 times)

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Donald X.

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The Secret History of Hinterlands 2E
« on: June 29, 2022, 01:10:29 pm »

Man, another one of these? Okay in fact I worked on all three sets at once. Hinterlands wanted to be revisited so much that I had a personal set of fixed cards I was already playing with. I couldn't use those though; they were just tweaks on the published cards. Hinterlands also had less of a visible theme than most sets; I could fix that. I did by adding more Reactions; it has 6, which to me counts as a sub-theme. And it's still the when-gain set.

* Hinterlands dropped cards: *

Duchess: Sometimes a $2 with +$2 is good enough when you have $2, but even there this is weaker than it has to be.

Cache: It would be cool if I could just move the +Buy from Margrave to Cache, but I can't just do that. Banquet is kind of a fixed version of this. I like it more than many dropped cards, but it's sure not contributing much.

Embassy: This is okay, and it was the last card to go. All it really contributes is simplicity.

Ill-Gotten Gains: This has poor gameplay. Some games, it's all about emptying the Ill-Gotten Gainses, the Curses, and the Duchies. Ill-Gotten Gains empties two piles on its own; that's a big part of the problem.

Mandarin: This card would be interesting at $2 (and I've got some playtesting backing that up). At $5, well. If people don't know what they're doing, it still has a certain charm; otherwise it's part of a couple silly combos and that's it. And hey it was going to need errata anyway due to removing Treasure-Durations from play.

Noble Brigand: This fixed Thief tried too hard not to completely obsolete Thief, itself one of the very weakest cards in the game.

Nomad Camp: This is a more innocuous card to replace, but it doesn't add much. The ability is interesting turn one; after that it's usually a penalty, on an otherwise vanilla card.

Oracle: I personally stopped playing with this years ago. It slows down games way too much, while at the same time being the bane of playtesting, as they keep flipping over whatever you wanted to test. That's not a problem for anyone else, but that still leaves how slow it is.

Silk Road: This is a classic basic Victory card, but well, it's not a very good implementation of it. Mostly you don't go for these, though you might get one on your last turn. I couldn't replace it with another Victory card due to the update pack size; a fixed version may still appear someday though.

Fool's Gold stayed, though I'd really like to drop the reaction from it. Margrave stayed; it's a powerful attack, but it doesn't shut down the game like Ghost Ship and Mountebank, in fact it helps your opponents draw into their village/Margrave. It's a bummer that it has +Buy. And Trader stayed; it's tricky but well, only so much could get replaced.

* Hinterlands new cards: *

The key to the new Hinterlands cards is, I wanted to add a full theme, that would give the set more identity. When-gain felt like a great thing at the time, and it's a great mechanic that I use in every set; but, as a full set theme, well it vanishes into the set somewhat, and you're left with just a bunch of simple cards, some of them with dividing lines. I reinforced when-gain anyway, but also, wanted to add a new thing. And that thing is Reactions! The set had three, now it has six. Furthermore, three of them trigger on discarding them, which livens up the filtering sub-theme the set had. Something had to go; the set no longer has 3 Treasures / 3 Reactions / 3 Victory cards. But I think that didn't contribute nearly as much identity as the 6 Reactions do. Why just 6? Man it would have been nice to have more; as usual there were all the things demanded of the new cards, and that only left space for so much.

Berserker: We tested over 26 Berserkers. Man. I don't know the exact count because some variants we tried without me printing them out. Most could attack when gained. Some were Knight-family, some Militia-family. There were several issues that repeatedly came up, that wanted to be addressed: it should be played when gained, not just attack, so that Moats would work against it; it should have no way to wreck an opening 5/2; the resources should be useful when gained, without stepping on Nomads; the text should fit on the card. And I mean, ideally it should be fun and not wreck the game and all that. 26+ tries, attacks are hard, and the when-gain trigger made it harder.

Cauldron: The new Ill-Gotten Gains. It triggers on other gains, so it doesn't empty two piles. It plays into the when-gain theme, being a combo with things that gain extra cards. And it does the in-vogue modern Witch thing of not being able to give out Curses for a while.

Guard Dog: This is here so that one of the Reactions will react to attacks, the classic trigger. The premise goes back to before Dominion was published, an early card called Battlements, that could be played for +2 Cards when attacked. How Reactions ended up working left it undoable; then I did it as Horse Traders, which is a very wordy convoluted way to do it. This is the simple way. And since the Reaction isn't so hot against Militias, the top is good against them (as well as a combo with some of the filtering cards). I tried a version that could also trigger on your own Attacks.

Nomads: An exciting card from Allies that moved here to push the when-gain theme.

Souk: The top was an outtake from Menagerie and Allies, just due to, only so much fits, this wasn't on-theme. The filtering sub-theme made it fit Hinterlands, and then it got a when-gain to do even more fitting. I also tried just letting you trash one card on-gain, and having it come with a cheaper card like Border Village does.

Trail: The first version of this was the second card of the Odysseys split pile. It moved out to be its own pile so we'd have more copies of it, then moved here because it fits new Hinterlands so well. Late in the going it got the trashing trigger on top of what it already did, just to reduce further the chance that there's no combo for it on the board. It flirted with being limited to your turn, to simplify the Militia interaction.

Weaver: A star of new Hinterlands, pushing the new Reactions subtheme, doing something when discarded, and gaining cards, so that it ties everything together.

Wheelwright: This tried out for Seaside first, but was a good fit here, where it can activate when-discard abilities, or discard expensive cards that came with stuff.

Witch's Hut: In some sense the new Embassy, combining an attack for the Oracle slot. We tried versions with different discard conditions; this one was hard enough.

Hinterlands tweaks:

Farmland: I wanted a when-gain trigger, but had to still avoid looping with Fortress. So, it can't gain Farmlands.

Haggler: I can't just switch to when-gain here, so it uses an awkward "if you bought it" to at least clarify what it refers to while fixing the timing.

Highway: This switches from a while-in-play ability to a this-turn.

* Outtakes: *

- Somehow, 26+ Berserkers! There was so much Berserker.
- I tried some Silk Road variants, but I couldn't actually fit one. Maybe someday.
- I tried Gamble as a trigger on gaining cards. That was a silly game.
- I tried when-gain save a card for next turn; not for the first time.
- For a while there was a Witch that was played when gained, but only gave out Curse if you had more cards in hand than in play. It was hard to proc, which I liked.
- A bunch of villages tried to be Innovations. Sailor I guess took up that slack.

« Last Edit: June 29, 2022, 01:49:02 pm by Donald X. »
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