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Author Topic: Fan Card Mechanics Week 78: He Who Remains  (Read 1015 times)

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emtzalex

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Fan Card Mechanics Week 78: He Who Remains
« on: November 22, 2023, 02:25:32 pm »
+3

For Week 78, I'm using a mechanic that I came up with a while ago, but have gone back and forth about, not sure if it is worthy of being its own thing: Remain cards. Remain cards are similar to Duration cards (they even share the same orange color), but they operate differently enough (I think) to justify being their own mechanic.

Here are the rules for Remain cards:
  • Remain cards are orange and may stay in play beyond the turn they are played.
  • As part of their ability, Remain cards will put Remain tokens on themselves. They do this using a +Remain direction, with +X Remain putting X Remain tokens on a card. So, for example, if a card says "+2 Remain" it will put 2 Remain tokens on itself.
  • Players do not discard Remain cards in Clean-up if they have any Remain tokens left on them. Instead, players remove one Remain token from each Remain card each Clean-up.
  • Remain cards are not discarded the turn their final Remain token is removed; instead they will be discarded the following turn (unless additional Remain tokens are added).
  • There may be other ways to add or remove Remain tokens from a Remain card.
  • Unlike with Duration cards, everything a Remain card does on-play happens the turn it is played.
  • Thus, if a card such as Throne Room plays a Remain card multiple times, that card does not stay in play until the player discards the Remain card, as there is no need to track the fact that the Remain card was played multiple times.
  • Remain cards may have an effect on future turns using a below-the-line ability, but playing a Remain card multiple times will not multiply that ability (although doing so will put more Remain tokens on the card, which could strengthen the ability or extend the time it's working).
  • I have made a few examples of Remain cards for the follow-up post.
The task is simple:

Design a Remain card.

The Remain type is not by itself playable, so your Remain card will need at least one other type (presumably a playable type such as Action / Treasure / Night / Dawn / etc.). Your Remain card can have any other type as well (I don't think Remain - Duration would work, but I'm not banning it in case someone comes up with something creative I'm not anticipating). You are also free to include any other official or fan mechanics in the design and to use any additional cards/landscapes you want to support your card's design--and if you use a split pile or non-Supply card, you are allowed (but not required) to use multiple Remain cards.


My main judging criteria is whether I would be excited to see the design in a Kingdom. Important factors for me are:
  • balance -- the card useful, but not overpowering (both in general and in a variety of Kingdoms);
  • playability -- the card is fun to play and works in more than one type of deck;
  • simplicity -- this doesn't always mean fewer words; a card with lots of text that, once you understand it, can be easily and intuitively be played is better than one with four lines of text that is hard to understand;
  • topicality -- the card uses the mechanic in an interesting way;
The deadline for submissions will be 19:30 UTC / 2:30 p.m. Eastern/Forum time on Thursday, November 29, 2023. Please let me know if you have any questions.
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emtzalex

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Re: Fan Card Mechanics Week 78: He Who Remains
« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2023, 02:53:11 pm »
+2

Examples:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             
Quote
Deep Cellar $2 Action - Remain
+1 Card
+1 Action
Discard any number of cards for +1 Remain each.

While this is in play, at the start of your turn, +1 Card.
                                                     
Quote
Remote Laboratory $3 Action - Remain
+2 Cards
+1 Action
+2 Remain

                                                     
Quote
Allied Village $3 Action - Remain
+2 Actions
Remove a Remain token from any number of Allied Villages you have in play for +1 Card each.
+4 Remain
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

These examples highlight some of my initial thoughts on how the mechanic could be used. Deep Cellar is a cantrip cellar variant that gives you back the cards slowly, one per turn. It uses the Remain tokens as a benefit, giving you +1 Card each turn it's still in play. Remote Laboratory is a Lab variant that is cheaper, but which you get to play far less often. It uses the Remain tokens as a negative, simply keeping the card out of your deck until the Remain tokens are all removed. Allied Village is a bit more complicated. A single copy of it would be terrible, as it's effectively a Necropolis that you don't get back for 4 turns (although with a Necropolis that's not a bad thing). However, the tokens on one copy are used to boost the play of other copies, which has the twin benefits of drawing more cards and making the other copies available sooner.


Are these necessary:

The main reason I've gone back and forth on these (and have hesitated to post about them) is that there's an obvious argument that this new type is not necessary: there is (probably) nothing a Remain card can do that a Duration card cannot. However, I think there are cases where wording a traditional Duration card to do what certain Remain card designs can would be so unwieldy as to make extremely impractical, if not impossible.

Looking at my examples, Deep Cellar (and cards like it) would not, by themselves, justify the mechanic. It could say "...Discard any number of cards and put a token here for each card discarded. While any remain, at the start of each of your turns, remove a token for +1 Card." This is (imo) only slightly simpler than that. On the other hand, it would be very difficult to design a Duration version of Remote Laboratory. It could say "At the start of your next two turns, do nothing" but that would be confusing, as the Duration rules say:
Quote
Players do not discard Duration cards in Clean-up if they have something left to do; they stay in play until the Clean-up of the last turn that they do something.
Logically, doing nothing is not doing something, so it wouldn't be at all clear if it should remain in play. And Allied Village would require a huge block of text to explain how it should work.
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Will(ow|iam)

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Re: Fan Card Mechanics Week 78: He Who Remains
« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2023, 08:21:15 pm »
+3

Secret Lab
$4 Action - Remain
(purple/orange color scheme)
Pick a number; X refers to that number.

+X Remain
+X Cards
+1 Action
--
-3 VP if there are any remain tokens on this at the end of the game.
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BryGuy

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Re: Fan Card Mechanics Week 78: He Who Remains
« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2023, 08:12:41 pm »
+1

.          :)
Quote
Tropical Village/Farm Randomizer
This pile starts with as many copies of each card as players, but minimum three and maximum five. All copies of Tropical Village are on top. | Set-up: Add an additional Kingdom piles costing $2.
.                    :)
Tropical Village $4 Action - Remain
+1 Action
+1 Remain

Discard any card for +1 Remain each.
-
While this is in play, at the beginning of your Action phase, you may remove a token from here for +1 Action. When you gain a card costing $2, +1 Remain.
.               :)
Tropical Farm $5 Action - Remain
+1 Action
+2 Remains

Discard any card for +1 Remain each.
-
While this is in play, at the beginning of your Action phase, you may remove a token from here for +1 Card. When you gain a card costing $3, +1 Remain.
.          :)
This is interesting. There have definitely been cases in my card set where using this mechanic would operate better than Duration.
.     :)
« Last Edit: November 29, 2023, 03:37:17 pm by BryGuy »
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NoMoreFun

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Re: Fan Card Mechanics Week 78: He Who Remains
« Reply #4 on: November 23, 2023, 10:22:20 pm »
+3

City Square
Action/Remain - $4
+2 Cards
+2 Actions
At the end of your buy phase, +1 Remain per Action you have.
« Last Edit: November 23, 2023, 10:23:51 pm by NoMoreFun »
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grrgrrgrr

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Re: Fan Card Mechanics Week 78: He Who Remains
« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2023, 05:48:24 pm »
+1


Quote
Guarded Kingdom (Reaction/Remain, $10)
+10%
+4 Remain
Untill this is discarded from play, discard 1 card from your hand at the start of your turns.
-
When you gain this, play it.
« Last Edit: November 27, 2023, 05:49:55 pm by grrgrrgrr »
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segura

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Re: Fan Card Mechanics Week 78: He Who Remains
« Reply #6 on: November 28, 2023, 12:12:51 am »
0

When gain or when buy triggers are usually not modeled as Reactions. Given that you can only play it once, I fail to see why this is not a Victory.
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grrgrrgrr

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Re: Fan Card Mechanics Week 78: He Who Remains
« Reply #7 on: November 28, 2023, 04:42:12 am »
0

When gain or when buy triggers are usually not modeled as Reactions. Given that you can only play it once, I fail to see why this is not a Victory.
You are right that it doesn't need to be a Reaction. But making it a Victory card was kind of impossible as that would require two separators, which is a no-no.
EDIT: I kinda like to keep the Reaction type as it encourages people to pay more attention to when you can activate it (otherwise, it looks too much like an ordinary Remain/Duration card). And normally, cards with when-gain effects aren't Reactions as the on-gain effect is gone as soon as the card enters your deck. Here, the card will not enter the deck after the Remain part is depleted, and afterwards, you still need to be reminded that it has different play conditions.
« Last Edit: November 28, 2023, 05:03:07 am by grrgrrgrr »
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segura

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Re: Fan Card Mechanics Week 78: He Who Remains
« Reply #8 on: November 28, 2023, 01:00:33 pm »
0

There is no obvious best way to design this and the two links would be quite ugly. The advantage of making this green would be a clearer signal that this cannot ever played again (it took me some time to get that it is not an Action) like other + VP cards.
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LibraryAdventurer

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Re: Fan Card Mechanics Week 78: He Who Remains
« Reply #9 on: November 28, 2023, 06:55:49 pm »
+1

Quote
Metropolis
$5 - Action - Remain
+1 Card.
+2 Actions.
+2 Remain.
-
During each of your buy phases, you may pay $2 for +1 Remain.
At the start of each of your turns while this is in play, +1 Action.

emtzalex

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Re: Fan Card Mechanics Week 78: He Who Remains
« Reply #10 on: November 29, 2023, 02:30:09 pm »
0

24 Hour Warning!!!

Here are the submissions I have so far (let me know if I've missed yours):
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emtzalex

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Re: Fan Card Mechanics Week 78: He Who Remains
« Reply #11 on: November 30, 2023, 02:35:14 pm »
0

CONTEST CLOSED!!!

I will try to get the judging out tonight/tomorrow. Again, here are the submissions I believe I have so far (let me know if I've missed yours):
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Re: Fan Card Mechanics Week 78: He Who Remains
« Reply #12 on: December 05, 2023, 12:19:36 pm »
+1

Sorry for the delay. I should have something out tonight.
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Re: Fan Card Mechanics Week 78: He Who Remains
« Reply #13 on: December 08, 2023, 01:16:36 pm »
+2



Fan Card Mechanics Week 78: He Who Remains








Secret Lab
$4 Action - Remain
(purple/orange color scheme)
Pick a number; X refers to that number.

+X Remain
+X Cards
+1 Action
--
-3 VP if there are any remain tokens on this at the end of the game.





Secret Lab by Will(ow|iam)

Secret Lab is a lab variant that lets players draw as many cards as they wish, but then gets the same number of Remain tokens (staying out for that many turns). As an additional penalty, if a player uses in in such a way as to have Remain tokens left on it at the end of the game, they suffer a -3VP penalty.

As an initial matter, if it's going to be Purple and give you negative VP, it probably should have the "Curse" type (although that creates its own problems). This also raises some questions (which go to the rule itself and which I need to decide) about how the Remain mechanic interacts with Command cards (i.e. does it put Remain tokens on the Command card or are there just no tokens placed anywhere). However, these issue are secondary to this card being completely busted.

As it is, the card is way too strong as a 1-shot full deck drawer; even with the 3VP penalty, the guaranteed ability to buy a Province makes it a trade you'd always take, which makes the card way too powerful in many situations. The easiest example of this is with Armory. If you open Silver / Armory, and draw the Armory on Turn 3, you can play it to gain SL onto your deck. Turn 5, play SL to draw your entire deck, play Armory to gain an SL onto your deck, then buy a Province with the $9 you have ($7 from your Coppers +$2 from the Silver). In a 2 player game, you can repeat this every turn until the Provinces are gone; with multiple players, you'll get 10 of 12. Even with the 3VP penalty (making your Provinces effectively count as Duchies), you're still way ahead of your opponents. And while this is the most direct way of doing this, there are a ton of cards/combos that let you topdeck a $4 Action each turn.

I'm not sure if there is any clear way to fix this; maybe you could change the VP penalty to something saying "You can't buy Victory cards this turn." That might be too oppressive in most games, while not fixing the problem in others (with, e.g., Dominate or a combo like village - bandit - cantrip - remodel).






Quote
Tropical Village/Farm Randomizer
This pile starts with as many copies of each card as players, but minimum three and maximum five. All copies of Tropical Village are on top. | Set-up: Add an additional Kingdom piles costing $2.
.                    :)
Tropical Village $4 Action - Remain
+1 Action
+1 Remain

Discard any card for +1 Remain each.
-
While this is in play, at the beginning of your Action phase, you may remove a token from here for +1 Action. When you gain a card costing $2, +1 Remain.
.               :)
Tropical Farm $5 Action - Remain
+1 Action
+2 Remains

Discard any card for +1 Remain each.
-
While this is in play, at the beginning of your Action phase, you may remove a token from here for +1 Card. When you gain a card costing $3, +1 Remain.






This is a split pile of cards that use Remain tokens as a bonus, with the chance to be a village (in the case of Tropical Village) or a lab (in the case of Tropical Farm) on subsequent turns, if they're adequately powered. In addition to their base Remain token(s) (1 for TV, 2 for TF), they get additional tokens from discarding cards on-play, or from gaining cards of a certain value ($2 for TV, $3 for TF) while they're in play. The card also adds an extra $2 Kingdom card pile, and the number of each card is pegged to the number of players (but stays between 3-5).

Unless I am missing something, these seem prohibitively weak. TV plays as a Ruined Village (a junk card), and unless it's bonused up through either discarding or buying a $2 card, it does nothing the following turn but wait around (since the one Remain token is removed during that turn's clean-up). Even if you do bonus it up once or twice (getting a village effect on the following turn), and even if doing so was no real disadvantage (because you discarded dead cards and/or would have gained the $2 anyway), the card is still significantly worse than Fishing Village while costing more. The fact that it gives you no benefit this turn is a huge downside, and needing to buy $2 to bonus it up will often be a bad bet (even with the addition of the extra $2 pile).

TF is not as bad, as (even without bonusing it up) you get a lab effect the following turn. But that play is significantly weaker than Caravan while costing more. Bonusing this up is a bit less onerous, as buying $3 cards is almost always part of some strategy. However, by the time you get to, gain, and play TF, you may very well have finished much of your Silver gaining. It does combo very well with Horses/Experiment. If you can gain 2 Horses or an Experiment (which will then gain you the 2nd Experiment) each turn, you can keep your TF(s) going indefinitely (giving you 1 Remain token for Clean-up and 1 to draw).

One challenge of a split pile is that if the top card isn't emptied, the bottom card is inaccessible (absent Battle Plan). Thus, even in games where TF is particularly strong, players may never see it. This is somewhat mitigated by the adjustable pile size, but even then, there's a strong disincentive to buy multiple copies of a terrible TV, only to unlock TF for everyone.

These need major buffs. At a minimum, I think TV needs a +1 Buy to making getting $2 card easier. I would also be inclined to make TF terminal, so players are incentivized to buy TF. I might do something like:
Quote
+2 Cards
+2 Remain
Gain an Estate. You may return an Estate from your hand to the Supply. Discard any number of cards. +1 Remain per card discarded.

While this is in play, at the beginning of your Action phase, you may remove a token from here for +1 Card; when you gain a card costing $3, +1 Remain.
That might be too complicated, but I'd like to see the cards do more the turn they are played.





City Square
Action/Remain - $4
+2 Cards
+2 Actions
At the end of your buy phase, +1 Remain per Action you have.





City Square by NoMoreFun

City Square is a Lost City variant, that uses Remain tokens as a negative (strictly to withhold the cards). The number of Remain tokens are conditional, based on how many Actions you have at the end of your Buy phase.

I love this card. LC is such a strong engine component because it not only gives you two of the most important things to keep your engine going (cards and actions), but those things complement each other, with the extra Action meaning you'll be able to use what you draw, and the extra Card meaning you'll be more likely to draw something to use that Action on. As a result, LC (or imitators thereof) tend to be quite useful, and you can never really have too many of them (except for the opportunity cost in just getting them, and not other things). CS turns that on its head; while playing 1 SC without any terminal cards is bad enough (keeping it away from you for 2 turn), playing more makes that exponentially worse, adding more Remain tokens to more cards. The fact that it does this on such a simple card is really impressive.

The only issue is certain fan mechanics (Acts, overplay) which could let you burn Actions too easily, and not have any risk, but I'm not counting those against you. Certain terminal ways (Otter, Sheep, Monkey) potential mitigate that risk somewhat, but players will still be in a position of having to choose when to play CS by itself, and when to use the Way. I don't think that in any way compromises the balance of these.









Quote
Guarded Kingdom (Reaction/Remain, $10)
+10%
+4 Remain
Untill this is discarded from play, discard 1 card from your hand at the start of your turns.
-
When you gain this, play it.





Guarded Kingdom by grrgrrgrr

Guarded Kingdom is Victory-card-esque card that, as a pure Reaction-Remain, is not playable from your hand. However, it plays itself on-gain, giving you 10 VP tokens and itself 4 Remain tokens, which function as 4 start-of-turn discards. This penalty is interesting. In theory, you could use Remain on Victory cards as a benefit, keeping a dead card out of your deck. But, in a way, this does the opposite, as discarding a card is very similar to drawing a dead card (as you end up with 1 fewer useable card). Thus, instead of never drawing GK for those 4 turns, it's as if you always draw it.

As a card that gives a player 10VP, the obvious comparison is to Colony, which costs $1 more, but does not have the discard penalty. While this could, in theory, be more than balanced, that $1 difference means that you can use standard remodel variants ("costing up to $2 more") to turn $8-6VP Provinces into 10VP GKs. This is a huge difference, and (imo) a big part of the reason that Expand costs $7 while Remodel costs $4.

Speaking of Remodel, the fact that the card gives you the 10VP on-gain also means that (once you get it out of Remain jail), you can use trash-for-benefit cards on it and still keep the VP. In addition to remodel variants, Ritual and Priest are potentially very strong options. Also, the fact that it remains in play messes with some designs (like Changeling) that rely on the fact that high-value VP cards are not in play.

It's an interesting idea, but I think it might need a bit of work, or even work better with a different mechanic (like Freeze).






Metropolis
$5 - Action - Remain
+1 Card.
+2 Actions.
+2 Remain.
-
During each of your buy phases, you may pay $2 for +1 Remain.
At the start of each of your turns while this is in play, +1 Action.





Metropolis by LibraryAdventurer

Metropolis is a village variant that uses Remain tokens as a bonus. In addition to working as a standard village on-play, it will repeat the net effect of giving you +1 Action for each turn it remains in play; at least 2, plus one more for each time you are willing to pay $2 to extend its run. Generally this is a nice, clean use of the mechanic, which I like a lot.

The only issue I have is slightly technical, involving paying $2 to add an extra turn of +1 Action. First, I think players can only spend $2 for +1 Buy once per Buy phase per card, but that should probably be clarified (it's probably enough to do that in an FAQ). Another thing I'd point out is that allowing a player to "spend" $ during their buy phase independent of some other interaction can potentially have some unusual effects. Generally, if you spend your last buy and doing so doesn't have the effect of giving you an additional buy, your Buy phase always ends, as there's nothing else to do. That means, for example, if you buy Nomads with your last buy, the $2 you get is unusable; similarly, playing most Action cards you buy on-gain with Innovation or City-State does you no good, as you have no buys left. It's not a big concern for me, but it's something to think about.

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emtzalex

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Re: Fan Card Mechanics Week 78: He Who Remains
« Reply #14 on: December 08, 2023, 01:21:15 pm »
+1


Fan Card Mechanic Contest #78: He Who Remains


The Results

Thanks to everyone who participated. Here are the results:

Winner: City Square by NoMoreFun

Runner Up: Metropolis by LibraryAdventurer

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Re: Fan Card Mechanics Week 78: He Who Remains
« Reply #15 on: December 08, 2023, 04:22:04 pm »
0

Thank you, next competition will be up soon.
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