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florrat

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Pricing vanilla cards
« on: November 29, 2013, 01:23:48 am »
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When writing this response I was wondering how much an action card giving +2 cards, +$1 (terminally) would cost. Why not make a thread discussing the cost of vanilla cards like this? I think some cards would lead to an interesting discussion, and can be useful when considering the price of fan-made cards. Some cards cannot be properly priced, but for this thread "strong at $4, weak at $5" is good enough.

Disclaimer: I do not suggest these cards as fan cards. By being vanilla, they will all be boring. This is just an exercise to attach a price to cards. For example, consider the following card:

(Action)
+3 cards
You may discard 6 cards. If you do: +1 card.

This would be a terrible card, because (1) it will almost play exactly the same as Smithy and (2) it's strictly better than Smithy. Still, I think no-one would argue that if you want to price this card, it would cost 4. That's what this thread it all about.

Also, I want to only consider reasonable cards within the price range 2~7 (or maybe 8 ). It's not so interesting whether an action giving "+7 Cards" should cost $12 or $15 or whether an action giving "+2 Actions" (Necropolis) should cost 1 or 0 when it is the supply.



Ok, with that out of the way, let's start.

Single vanilla bonus

(Action) +$2
Cost: (weak at) 2.
I think the topdeck inspection for every player doesn't make Duchess better or worse.

(Action) +$3
Cost: (weak) 5.
Compares pretty unfavorably to Harvest, which is weak at $5. I think this would be too strong at $4, though.

(Action) +$4
Cost: 7 or 6.
I'm wondering whether this is too strong at $6. It sounds too strong compared to gold, but on second thought, I think it wouldn't break much. Big money with this card at 6 wouldn't be so strong, I think. And for engines I also don't think it's too strong.

(Action) +$5
Cost: 8
I don't see any other price for it.

(Action) +2 Cards
Cost: (weak at) 2.
Strictly weaker than Moat, but not too bad.

(Action) +4 Cards
Cost: 6.
Almost Hunting Grounds.

(Action) +3 Actions
Cost: 2.
I think this would be reasonable at $2. Weak, but sometimes worth it.

(adding more actions would be pretty pointless, and a card which only gives "+n Buys" is very weak, so I don't consider them)

Terminals

(Action) +2 Cards +$1
Cost: 4.
I'm interested whether people think this is stronger or weaker than Smithy. I think it's a hard question, but currently I go for slightly weaker but only very slightly.


(Action) +1 Card +$2
Cost: 4.
I can't decide whether this is stronger or weaker than Smithy (or different terminal silvers at $4)

(Action) +3 Cards +$1
Cost: 6.
I think this is weaker than Hunting Grounds (on the other hand, with HG you can easily overdraw your deck, while here those "extra cards" are converted to Copper). Could this cost 5? I think not.

(Action) +2 Cards +$2
Cost: 6?

(Action) +1 Card +$3
Cost: 6? 7?

(Action) +2 Cards +1 Buy
Cost: 2 (3?)

(Action) +1 Card +1 Buy +$1
Cost: 2.
I think this would be perfectly priced at 2.

(Action) +3 Cards +1 Buy
Cost: between 4 and 5
Compare with Smithy and Margrave

(Action) +2 Cards +1 Buy +$1
Cost: (strong) 4

(Action) +1 Cards +1 Buy +$2
Cost: 4? strong 4?

(Action) +1 Buy +$3
Cost: 5.
I think this would be an okay $5.

(Action) +4 Cards +1 Buy
Cost: 7.
Can this cost 6? I think not, adding a buy to Hunting Grounds is pretty big.

(Action) +1 Buy +$4
Cost: 7.

Nonterminal Non-cantrip (including villages)

+1 Action +$n is very similar to the basic Treasures, and should cost the same (sometimes it is an advantage and sometimes it hurts when it is an action).

(Action) +1 Action +1 Buy +$1
Cost: 2.
Strictly weaker than Candlestick Maker, but still decent.

(Action) +1 Action +1 Buy +$2
Cost: 4.

(Action) +1 Action +1 Buy +$3
Cost: 7.

(Action) +2 Actions +$2
Cost: 4.
Hard one. A Fishing Village which does not give an action next turn, but gives the second coin immediately. I think Fishing Village is generally better, but you would never buy Silver over this (maybe except when Terminal Draw big money is the only thing on this board) (you also hardly buy Silver over Fishing Village, but that does happen sometimes), so it cannot reasonably cost 3 (and as Donald has argues, cards strictly better than Silver also shouldn't cost 4, but let's ignore that for the moment). This also compares too favorably to (vanilla) Village when priced at $3.

(Action) +2 Actions +1 Buy +$2
Cost: 4.
Is it strong at 4? It is definitely weak at 5.
  :-[

Cantrips
Almost all vanilla villages have been printed, the only semi-interesting one left is the following:

(Action) +1 Card +2 Actions +1 Buy +$1
Cost: 6.
Bazaar + Buy or Market + Action, both comparisons make $6 a good price.

non-villages:

(Action) +1 Card +1 Action +$1
Cost: 4.
I think Peddler is almost universally regarded as worth 4.

(Action) +1 Card +1 Action +$2
Cost: 7.

(Action) +1 Card +1 Action +1 Buy
Cost: between 2 and 3.
I think this would be a little too useful for a $2-card, but it compares really unfavorable to Market Square at 3. I do not buy Market Square often without the possibility of the reaction triggering.

(Action) +2 Cards +1 Action +1 Buy
Cost: 6.
Lab + Buy is a reasonable 6, I think.

Almost vanilla

(Treasure) +1 Buy. Worth 2.
Cost: 4.
Although Silver+ cannot cost 4, I think this would be the only reasonable price. Or can this be defended at 5?

(Treasure) +1 Buy. Worth 3.
Cost: 7.

(Action) + 2 Cards +1 Action. Discard 2 cards.
Cost: 2.

(Action) + 2 Cards +1 Action. Discard a card.
Cost: 4.
Too strong at 3, I think?

(Action) + 3 Cards +1 Action. Discard 2 cards.
Cost: 5.
Too strong at 4, I think?

(Action) + 3 Cards +1 Action. Discard a card.
Cost: 8.
Can this be justified at 7?

Do any of the above cards change when you first discard and then draw?



Okay, that's it. If you think I missed something which fits here, feel free to suggest it. This post is meant to encourage discussion about these prices (the very long list of cards might have a deterrent effect, sorry for that). Let me conclude with a fun fact I discovered: There is no official kingdom card which is terminal and always draws 1 card (in addition to other effects). Apparently "+1 Card" is not a good vanilla bonus.
« Last Edit: November 29, 2013, 03:22:26 am by florrat »
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Powerman

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Re: Pricing vanilla cards
« Reply #1 on: November 29, 2013, 03:05:59 am »
+2

(Action) +2 Actions +1 Buy +$2
Cost: 4.
Is it strong at 4? It is definitely weak at 5.

Forgive me, but is this not just Festival?
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florrat

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Re: Pricing vanilla cards
« Reply #2 on: November 29, 2013, 03:29:00 am »
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 :-[ :-[ :-[ :-[ :-[ :-[
Hopefully that is not an indication of how I've estimated the rest of the prices...
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Aidan Millow

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Re: Pricing vanilla cards
« Reply #3 on: November 29, 2013, 05:18:40 am »
+2

My opinions:

In general:
A lot of these cards haven't been made for reasons beyond simply being boring, some effects just aren't balanced or good for the game at any cost.

Putting +cards and +money on the same card is really awkward as they both serve the same purpose. Peddler variants only get around this due to being nonterminal and only giving 1 of each. #teachingasIwastaught

On +1 card:
+1 card on a terminal is awkward because it'll make people really sad if they draw another action with it (illustrated buy the lack of cards that do this in the game: Pawn, Ironworks and Ruined Library are the only ones that do so and two of these have options that don't involve drawing 1 cards terminally and the other is intended as junk (there might be others but they'll be similar cases)).

On +money:
+$ is the least interesting of the 4 vanilla effects. In particular vanillas that give large amounts of money are really awkward as you can't do much to work with them. Most of (all except harvest I think) the terminals that give $3 or more have some kind of drawback attached so you can play around them to get a worthwhile card. These cards can't really be balanced as if you cost them so as not to be overpowered you'll be able to craft much better strategies with cards at the same or less cost that have better interaction. For this reason I feel like all of the +x Cards +$y are worse than +x+y Cards at the same cost. Also I feel that the +$4 is a real problem for game aesthetic at $6 (despite thinking it worse than hunting grounds).

On the discard cards:
DXV tested +2 Cards, +1 Action, Discard 1 and found it too strong at 4. It makes sense when you consider that if you spam them it's not hard to draw the 5 best (other) cards in your deck every turn. Discarding first does change these as you're discarding from a strict subset of the cards you do if you draw first which weakens them a lot. I feel that both the -1+2 and the -2+3 would be okay at $4 (with the former being stronger). Also I feel that you've substantially overcosted +3-1 (I'd put it at six and expect it to be strong but balanced)  This things are best when you mass them and that gets pretty costly when you could buy gold instead.

On the 4 cost silvers:
Both of the +buy silvers should cost 5 (even though they're strictly* worse than Festival) as there are still plenty of situations where they're worth buying at 5 (probably more than stash(for instance)). The village silver is a bigger problem as it's probably not strong enough at 5 but still too much better than silver to cost at $4

On the "between"s:
Smithy +buy is a 5 I think as both cards are fairly strong for their cost so it's probably more balanced as a fairly weak 5 than a very strong 4. The market square without reaction is probably better at 2; it's good but probably still worse than the likes of Hamlet and candlestick maker.

I agree with you on the costing of other cards.
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Gveoniz

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Re: Pricing vanilla cards
« Reply #4 on: November 29, 2013, 05:39:10 am »
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What about potion? Can some of the cards be justified a potion cost?

XerxesPraelor

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Re: Pricing vanilla cards
« Reply #5 on: November 29, 2013, 05:54:25 am »
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I actually really don't see why people are against putting money and cards on the same card. You say it's awkward, but does that make it unbalanced or what? Same thing with +1 card. People already get frustrated when they have throne room with no actions, or lookout two golds and a province, so that's not a big deal. I think it's definitely design space that has yet to be explored. However, I don't really see the point of this thread. Apart from cards like +1 Card, +$2, lots of them seem like decent vanilla bonuses, but definitely not nearly interesting enough to put on a card without something else to set it apart.
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pedroluchini

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Re: Pricing vanilla cards
« Reply #6 on: November 29, 2013, 06:42:40 am »
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My memory fails me. What did DXV have to say about Silver-with-bonus costing $4?
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Awaclus

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Re: Pricing vanilla cards
« Reply #7 on: November 29, 2013, 06:54:54 am »
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My memory fails me. What did DXV have to say about Silver-with-bonus costing $4?
I can't find a quote from Donald X. himself, but here's a quote from soulnet: "The original point is, there are many times in which people buy Silver for $4. If there is a Silver+ for $4, you will always buy it over regular Silver if you have $4, therefore making Silver kind-of obsolete many times, and making a pile too likely to be fully consumed for no particularly good reason (especially in multiplayer)."
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