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Subject: How much would each Alchemy card cost if there were no potions? rss

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Simon Jester
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Alchemist becomes irrelevant as it loses its extra functionality and is just a Laboratory. Apothecary refers to Potions but works fine in their absence. Apprentice and Herbalist can be ignored here as they're already "normal".

Poll
What would you cost each card?
  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 More
Apothecary
Familiar
Golem
Philosopher's Stone
Possession
Scrying Pool
Transmute
University
Vineyard
      27 answers
Poll created by Zedsdead



------------------------------------------------------------------------
Transmute Action $0P
Trash a card from your hand. If it is an...
Action card, gain a Duchy
Treasure card, gain a Transmute
Victory card, gain a Gold
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Vineyard Victory $0P
Worth 1 Victory for every 3 Action cards in your deck (rounded down).
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Apothecary Action $2P
+1 Card
+1 Action
Reveal the top 4 cards of your deck. Put the revealed Coppers and Potions into your hand. Put the other cards back on top of your deck in any order.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Herbalist Action $2
+1 Buy
+1 Coin
When you discard this from play, you may put one of your Treasures from play on top of your deck.

------------------------------------------------------------------------
Scrying Pool Action - Attack $2P
+1 Action
Each player (including you) reveals the top card of his deck and either discards it or puts it back, your choice. Then reveal cards from the top of your deck until revealing one that isn't an Action.
Put all of your revealed cards into your hand.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
University Action $2P
+2 Actions
You may gain an Action card costing up to 5 Coins.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Alchemist Action $3P
+2 Cards
+1 Action
When you discard this from play, you may put this on top of your deck if you have a Potion in play.

------------------------------------------------------------------------
Familiar Action - Attack $3P
+1 Card
+1 Action
Each other player gains a curse.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Philosopher's Stone Treasure $3P
When you play this, count your deck and discard pile.
Worth 1 Coin per 5 cards total between them (rounded down).
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Golem Action $4P
Reveal cards from your deck until you reveal 2 Action cards other than Golem Cards.
Discard the other cards, then play the Action cards in either order.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Apprentice Action $5
+1 Action
Trash a card from your hand.
+1 Card per Coin it costs.
+2 Cards if it has Potion in its cost.

------------------------------------------------------------------------
Possession Action $6P
The player to your left takes an extra turn after this one, in which you can see all cards he can and make all decisions for him.
Any cards he would gain on that turn, you gain instead; any cards of his that are trashed are set aside and returned to his discard pile at end of turn.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
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George I.
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Interesting topic. meeple
It's not easy to translate the costs into coins, as coins + potion can't be compared to just coins; just like complex numbers.

I've voted as follows:

1) Apothecary: $4. It's the standard $4 card, like Coppersmith. Sometimes it shines, sometimes it sucks. It's non-terminal & cantip, though, which probably calls for $5. Still, I believe $4 is the right cost.

2) Familiar: $5, hands down. As a cantip curser, it should be $5. It just gives +1 card, so it shouldn't be raised to $6 (like Sir Bailey).

3) Golem: $6, like Adventurer. The former digs for Actions, the latter for Treasures. Both terminal (although the Golem can be non-terminal, if it digs a +Actions card). Seems legit. edit: after taking into account the later feedback, I'd also put it at $7.

4) Philosopher's Stone: $5. It's non-terminal, so it can't be $4, just like Counterfeit.

5) Possession: $8, like Prince (the new Promo card). I feel it's much more powerful than Expand or Forge to just stay at $7. King's court, which also costs $7, is another story. Possession should directly contest with Province.

6) Scrying Pool: $5. Your standard non-terminal drawing card.

7) Transmute: $2. The below-than-average $2 card.

8) University: $5. I've had a hard time with this one. $3 is too cheap, as it's strictly better than Workshop. $4 seems fine, as it's in direct conflict with Ironworks, but the latter lets you also gain Treasure/Victory cards. However, at $4 it makes it "strictly" better than Feast; ok, it can only gain action cards, but it's non-terminal and $5 is an elite tier. Ironworks, on the other hand, can only gain cards up to $4. For this reason it's $5.

9) Vineyard: $4, like Gardens and Silk Road. The standard $4 alt-VP card.
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May want to artificially impose potion costs by requiring one of the cards be a Silver, as it's not uncommon to decide between Potion vs. Silver with $4. For each Silver you have played, you can buy one of those cards that formerly costs a Potion. You still need to meet the $/coin cost though (with the Silver counted in), and the +buys
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Simon Jester
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Picon wrote:
1) Apothecary: $4. It's the standard $4 card, like Coppersmith. Sometimes it shines, sometimes it sucks. It's non-terminal & cantip, though, which probably calls for $5. Still, I believe $4 is the right cost.


I voted 5 for this guy. Non-terminal and it puts 1-5 cards in your hand. I think this will very often functionally be a gold, especially early in the game.

Picon wrote:
2) Familiar: $5, hands down. As a cantip curser, it should be $5. It just gives +1 card, so it shouldn't be raised to $6 (like Sir Bailey).


I went 6 here. 5 feels right for Witch and I'd almost always want Familiars over Witches. Multiple Familiars chain, multiple Witches result in dead draws.

Picon wrote:
3) Golem: $6, like Adventurer. The former digs for Actions, the latter for Treasures. Both terminal (although the Golem can be non-terminal, if it digs a +Actions card). Seems legit.


I like the comparison. I think Golem hits hard enough to be a 7+, but it's slow to set up. I'm comfortable with 6.

Picon wrote:
4) Philosopher's Stone: $5. It's non-terminal, so it can't be $4, just like Counterfeit.


I picked 6. In my PS games I remembering it being worth less than gold early, more than gold late. So on average, the same as gold. (After thinking about it I'm revising that to 5; early buying power (when PS is low) is more important than late buying power.)

Picon wrote:
5) Possession: $8, like Prince (the new Promo card). I feel it's much more powerful than Expand or Forge to just stay at $7. King's court, which also costs $7, is another story. Possession should directly contest with Province.


I abstained from costing Possession, I hate that this card exists. (It feels like an unnecessarily convoluted, wordy, rules-baggagey way of saying "Take another turn.")

Picon wrote:
6) Scrying Pool: $5. Your standard non-terminal drawing card.


5. Spy with an upside = 4 + 1.

Picon wrote:
7) Transmute: $2. The below-than-average $2 card.


Yeah, 2. Because only Poor House costs 1.

Picon wrote:
8) University: $5. I've had a hard time with this one. $3 is too cheap, as it's strictly better than Workshop. $4 seems fine, as it's in direct conflict with Ironworks, but the latter lets you also gain Treasure/Victory cards. However, at $4 it makes it "strictly" better than Feast; ok, it can only gain action cards, but it's non-terminal and $5 is an elite tier. Ironworks, on the other hand, can only gain cards up to $4. For this reason it's $5.


I compared it to Ironworks also. With Apothecary's +2 Actions, it mitigates a terminal heavy board in a way that Ironworks doesn't. Yeah Ironworks can grab Silvers, but...5.

Picon wrote:
9) Vineyard: $4, like Gardens and Silk Road. The standard $4 alt-VP card.


My reasoning as well. 4.
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James Newton
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My guess is that a lot of these card wouldn't end up the same if they were costed in Coins and not Potions.

As I understand the process (from Donald X's Secret Histories), during playtesting not only are costs adjusted to see what works best, but if a card is still over- or under-powered (or simply bought too often or not enough) then it often gets buffed or nerfed a bit to make it work better (at that cost).

I am pretty sure that some of these cards would end up in these situations with straight Coin costs - or even not exist - if only because the purchase opportunity cost is so different with coins than with Potions.

For example, once a deck gets going and is generating plenty of spending power (and maybe +Buys) each turn, most cards can be bought regularly and the only opportunity cost is what you don't buy instead - but with Potions you have to have a Potion in that hand as well which could be harder. If your cash comes from a mixture of cards, only the total matters not whether it comes from Golds, Silvers, Vaults, Minions or whatever; drawing 2 Golds one turn and Platinum + Copper the next is equivalent with only Coin costs while drawing 2 Potions one turn and 2 other Treasures the next really skews the purchase choices with Potions.
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Apothecary: easily $5. It will almost always be worth at least +card/+action/+coin until you've thinned your deck a lot, and in the early game when your deck is still 50% copper it's even stronger.

Familiar: $6. It's significantly stronger than Witch, and Witch is just right at $5.

Golem: $7. The Adventurer comparison is tempting, but misleading. For one thing, Golem is effectively giving you +2 Actions by letting you play the cards it finds, whereas you can always play all your treasures so Adventurer doesn't provide a similar benefit. For another, Adventurer is often weakened by the 7 Coppers that start in your deck; without that drawback it would always be worth $4 or better. But Golem will only hit Actions you've purchased yourself.

Philosopher's Stone: I think it's in sort of an awkward position where it's a bit strong at $5 and a bit weak at $6. Not sure what to do with this one.

Possession: I guess $8+, but it would be better not to print it at all.

Scrying Pool: I'd put this at $6. Even without the attack portion it would be a very strong card for engine decks. It's also subtly buffed by the removal of the potion cost, since you're not obligated to spend $4 buying a Treasure before you can get it in your deck; this card wants Actions, not Treasures.

Transmute: $3, maybe even $4. I think you're underestimating Transmute. Turning Estates into Golds is a very powerful effect.

In its printed form it's severely gimped by the Potion mechanic. If it's the only card that costs a potion, you need to spend $4 on an otherwise-useless card before you can get it, and if there are other cards that cost a potion, you often want to spend your potion turns buying them instead. And it's an effect that trashes estates and gains you gold if you can pair it with an estate, which means it suffers a lot from being impossible to play until your third run through the deck. Oh, and despite its role as trasher, it's not good at getting the potion out of your deck when it has outlived its usefulness.

Without the baggage of the potion mechanic weighing it down, Transmute becomes a much stronger card.

University: I suppose $5. $4 is obviously too low, and $6 would mean that by the time you could afford it the $5-action pile you wanted to farm with it could already be almost gone.

Vineyard: $4. No question.
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churchmouse wrote:
My guess is that a lot of these card wouldn't end up the same if they were costed in Coins and not Potions.

As I understand the process (from Donald X's Secret Histories), during playtesting not only are costs adjusted to see what works best, but if a card is still over- or under-powered (or simply bought too often or not enough) then it often gets buffed or nerfed a bit to make it work better (at that cost).

I am pretty sure that some of these cards would end up in these situations with straight Coin costs - or even not exist - if only because the purchase opportunity cost is so different with coins than with Potions.

For example, once a deck gets going and is generating plenty of spending power (and maybe +Buys) each turn, most cards can be bought regularly and the only opportunity cost is what you don't buy instead - but with Potions you have to have a Potion in that hand as well which could be harder. If your cash comes from a mixture of cards, only the total matters not whether it comes from Golds, Silvers, Vaults, Minions or whatever; drawing 2 Golds one turn and Platinum + Copper the next is equivalent with only Coin costs while drawing 2 Potions one turn and 2 other Treasures the next really skews the purchase choices with Potions.


No arguing this. If you played any game with multiple currencies, then you most definitely know. That's one reason Settlers Of Catan blew my mind... it wasn't just money. Resources were used and there were 5 different types of them. Having many resources can be relatively useless if they're not the correct kind.

There's one promo card in Ascension that lets you use Runes to not only buy stuff, but to also defeat Monsters, so that can gets pretty OP.

I was under the impression that the OP was well aware of this, but wanted a fun, theoretical exercise.
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Jeremy Volk
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I might be alone, but I would price University at $6. There is absolutely no way it would be $4 or less, considering how much better it would be than Feast, and at $5 it would still be able to gain itself, which I think is a bad idea.

At $6, I think it compares pretty well to Altar, except with actions instead of trashing - the biggest downside of course being that it can't gain Duchies later in the game.

Philosopher's Stone I would actually most likely make $7. At any other reasonable cost, you're probably not going to buy it unless it can get you at least $3, in which case it should cost at least $6. But the fact that it can be worth so much more means you'd probably buy it at $7 (but most likely not at Province price).
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BaconSnake wrote:
[...] and at $5 it would still be able to gain itself, which I think is a bad idea.


So? Ironworks can also gain itself (and give thus +1 Action). Just think fourth-dimensionally: opportunity cost. If you're using the University to gain... University, you're merely passing up some other 5-cost cards. This could cost you the Curse/Minion split, for instance.
 
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Picon wrote:
Ironworks can also gain itself (and give thus +1 Action).

Gaining something costing $4 is very difficult to compare to gaining something costing $5.

Quote:
Just think fourth-dimensionally: opportunity cost. If you're using the University to gain... University, you're merely passing up some other 5-cost cards. This could cost you the Curse/Minion split, for instance.

I considered this, but the thing is, it would be a different card if it were able to gain itself. Part of what makes it interesting now is that although it has about the same value and usefulness as the kind of card it gains, it is not able to gain itself. It might add an interesting element if it could, but I am skeptical.
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ackmondual wrote:
churchmouse wrote:
My guess is that a lot of these card wouldn't end up the same if they were costed in Coins and not Potions.

As I understand the process (from Donald X's Secret Histories), during playtesting not only are costs adjusted to see what works best, but if a card is still over- or under-powered (or simply bought too often or not enough) then it often gets buffed or nerfed a bit to make it work better (at that cost).

I am pretty sure that some of these cards would end up in these situations with straight Coin costs - or even not exist - if only because the purchase opportunity cost is so different with coins than with Potions.

For example, once a deck gets going and is generating plenty of spending power (and maybe +Buys) each turn, most cards can be bought regularly and the only opportunity cost is what you don't buy instead - but with Potions you have to have a Potion in that hand as well which could be harder. If your cash comes from a mixture of cards, only the total matters not whether it comes from Golds, Silvers, Vaults, Minions or whatever; drawing 2 Golds one turn and Platinum + Copper the next is equivalent with only Coin costs while drawing 2 Potions one turn and 2 other Treasures the next really skews the purchase choices with Potions.


No arguing this. If you played any game with multiple currencies, then you most definitely know. That's one reason Settlers Of Catan blew my mind... it wasn't just money. Resources were used and there were 5 different types of them. There's one promo card in Ascension that lets you use Runes to not only buy stuff, but to also defeat Monsters, so that can get pretty OP.

I was under the impression that the OP was well aware of this, but wanted a fun, theoretical exercise.


What ackmondual said. I've read the Secret Histories and I've seen the files published by DXV of cards that were tested and evolved or just never made the cut. The development the cards go through is amazingly rigorous.

But all of these cards are more or less viable and COULD theoretically be published some day. Seems like a fun, worthwhile thought experiment to try to cost them without potions, precisely because you can't just apply the formula 1 Potion E X Coins. I love the discussions we've seen here so far.
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salty53 wrote:
Apothecary: easily $5. It will almost always be worth at least +card/+action/+coin until you've thinned your deck a lot, and in the early game when your deck is still 50% copper it's even stronger.

Familiar: $6. It's significantly stronger than Witch, and Witch is just right at $5.

Golem: $7. The Adventurer comparison is tempting, but misleading. For one thing, Golem is effectively giving you +2 Actions by letting you play the cards it finds, whereas you can always play all your treasures so Adventurer doesn't provide a similar benefit. For another, Adventurer is often weakened by the 7 Coppers that start in your deck; without that drawback it would always be worth $4 or better. But Golem will only hit Actions you've purchased yourself.

Philosopher's Stone: I think it's in sort of an awkward position where it's a bit strong at $5 and a bit weak at $6. Not sure what to do with this one.

Possession: I guess $8+, but it would be better not to print it at all.

Scrying Pool: I'd put this at $6. Even without the attack portion it would be a very strong card for engine decks. It's also subtly buffed by the removal of the potion cost, since you're not obligated to spend $4 buying a Treasure before you can get it in your deck; this card wants Actions, not Treasures.

Transmute: $3, maybe even $4. I think you're underestimating Transmute. Turning Estates into Golds is a very powerful effect.

In its printed form it's severely gimped by the Potion mechanic. If it's the only card that costs a potion, you need to spend $4 on an otherwise-useless card before you can get it, and if there are other cards that cost a potion, you often want to spend your potion turns buying them instead. And it's an effect that trashes estates and gains you gold if you can pair it with an estate, which means it suffers a lot from being impossible to play until your third run through the deck. Oh, and despite its role as trasher, it's not good at getting the potion out of your deck when it has outlived its usefulness.

Without the baggage of the potion mechanic weighing it down, Transmute becomes a much stronger card.

University: I suppose $5. $4 is obviously too low, and $6 would mean that by the time you could afford it the $5-action pile you wanted to farm with it could already be almost gone.

Vineyard: $4. No question.

I think these are all spot on (costs and reasons) except University. I agree with others that being able to gain Universities with University is potentially problematic and alters the card significantly. I would price it at $6 (or add a clause that kept it from gaining itself). Usually you get to $6 early enough to still make it worthwhile. In fact, $6 isn't really much harder to get to than $2P (barring certain attacks).

I might try Scrying Pool at $5, but I think salty may be right that it's too strong at that price.

I think $6 is good for Philosopher's Stone and $4 is reasonable for Transmute.
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Donald X.
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Vineyard was originally in the main set, where it cost $4 (and Gardens was in Alchemy and cost $P).

There were versions of some of the other cards in non-potion-costing forms, but nothing identical.
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Simon Victorius
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ackmondual wrote:
May want to artificially impose potion costs by requiring one of the cards be a Silver, as it's not uncommon to decide between Potion vs. Silver with $4. For each Silver you have played, you can buy one of those cards that formerly costs a Potion. You still need to meet the $/coin cost though (with the Silver counted in), and the +buys


I'm thinking that that's a good rule for the $0P cards and I would add that if the card has a coin on it's cost (the $2P and more expensive) after the card is bought, that silver is then trashed. Keeps the prices of the cards the same and there is still somewhat of a build up and higher cost to you and your deck to get those cards.
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