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Author Topic: The Secret History of Cornucopia & Guilds 2E  (Read 1409 times)

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Donald X.

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The Secret History of Cornucopia & Guilds 2E
« on: February 21, 2024, 04:03:09 pm »

It was a real question, should I update this. Cornucopia just had one real dud, Harvest. Right? But I got update pack fever, and it was clear these sets could really benefit. So I went for it.

Let's look at all the cards that left.

Fortune Teller: This is weak, although if actions are plentiful it sometimes ends up in your deck, doing its thing. It's a fixed Spy; I could do even better, and the fixed Fortune Teller is Relic, in Adventures.

Harvest: The one complete dud in Cornucopia. The randomness isn't attractive, but since all it does is make $, whatever, it's easy to do better. $5 payload cards need to compete with Gold; it's in every game.

Horse Traders: This card is fine except that it has tons of tiny print. I eventually figured out how to do Reactions like Sheepdog, but I hadn't figured it out yet here, and the result is a mess. I replaced it with Guard Dog, which ended up in Hinterlands instead, freeing this slot for another card to tie into Cornucopia's variety theme.

Tournament: I thought there was no chance I'd replace this. All the playtesters wanted it gone. But well, it's a love-hate card, I wanted to preserve it for the love part. Then it turned out that the playtesters didn't hate the Black Market angle, where you get cards no-one else does; they hated Followers and blocking and how snowbally it is. I could address all of those things with a new card. And the original was also ludicrously complex, making you consider a 2x2 payoff grid. Just those words, "2x2 payoff grid," should make it clear how over-the-top complex it was. Plus I already wanted to change a bunch of the Prizes. So I went for it.

Farming Village: This one can be hard to see. Isn't this card great? Well it's a village, Village is great. It does almost nothing more though; game after game you just treat it like Village. A new card could actually do something.

Doctor: Over the years I grew disenchanted with how random this is. It's also more complicated than it had to be.

Masterpiece: This has a certain mild charm, but is pretty weak. Once in a while there's a game where it does something fun.

Taxman: You know, at first it was like, what do I even take out of Guilds, and in the end I am happy to see all three cards go. Taxman just doesn't do enough for a terminal. Sometimes it's the only trashing, but that's sure no reason to keep it.

And now, the new cards.

Carnival: An ancient concept, going back to the original Cornucopia, here in a form that finally seemed to work.

Farmhands: I tried a few different villages to replace Farming Village. One was "overpay to set aside cards for next turn." And it was a weak cheap village, +2 Actions +1 Coffers. I liked it but the cost seemed high and I thought mostly you set aside one card anyway. So now it's a full village and just sets aside one card.

Farrier: For a while this slot was a filtering card from Allies and then Hinterlands 2E. It was cool but not a great fit here (it was great in Hinterlands, but redundant). I ended up just doing a cantrip +Buy as a nice thing to pair with the bottom. The bottom tried to be overpay for Coffers, something that had seemed too strong in original Guilds testing. At first it seemed promising, but eventually it seemed strong, plus I was sick of it.  Then it was overpay for Silvers, just like Masterpiece, but I got sick of that one so fast. This idea seemed great immediately and just had to overcome people being scared of it. The art depicts Wei-Hwa Huang, since his previous card, Pearl Diver, got replaced.

Ferryman: Another ancient concept: a card that comes with a specific other card. The actual ancient concept was to make the second card a non-supply pile that was the same every game, but when I actually tried it I made it use an existing pile and vary from game to game.

Footpad: Kieran suggested doing another thing like Charlatan: an attack with a rules change on it that involves the attack. First we tried having a larger hand size, but well you never got to have it, because of the Militia. I tried making the attack conditional, so there was a window in the game where you actually got to have those 6-card hands. Then I gave up there and put in this card-drawing that happens on your own turn, so the Militia doesn't hit it.

Infirmary: A straight replacement for Doctor. The overpay that repeatedly plays the card is a delight. Less random than Doctor across the board, and simpler too.

Joust: The new Tournament. So you don't automatically have it in your deck, it costs $5. It has no blocking, since people didn't enjoy that part, and also it was complicated; now there's no payoff grid, you just get a Reward or don't. You set aside a Province so the same Province can't make you multiple Rewards in a turn, to reduce snowball-y-ness. And then, the Prizes are replaced with Rewards. Princess survives as Renown, and Courser is a slightly-simpler Trusty Steed. Demesne is a better Bag of Gold. And then Followers and Diadem are just gone, replaced with Housecarl (on-theme for Cornucopia), Huge Turnip (getting in Coffers from Guilds), and Coronet (just some new thing). There are 6 Rewards rather than 5, and also 2 copies of each for multiplayer. And then, instead of one being the only +Buy and one the only village, there are two with +Buy and three that can village.

Shop: Conclave and Imp have this mechanic already, but it just seemed perfect for Cornucopia, so I did a new one.
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