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Dominion» Forums » General

Subject: Future Development/Expansions rss

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Mark Winford
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Since its initial release, Dominion has produced two expansions per year. I understand that many cards (200?) had been created before the game was even released and expansions had been created and planned before the game was released, but what is the eventual endpoint for the game's development?

Will the game merely go with the original cards and expansions that Donald X created before the game's release? Or will expansions continue to be created after the arc of the original cards and expansions has ended?
 
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Craig Groff-Folsom
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That's a great question for Donald, if he's around.

Personally, though, I suspect that Dominion has a long shelf life. Donald has said that he usually only carries two expansions at a time with him. As that mentality has lent itself to 16+ years of Magic: The Gathering cards, Dominion could easily follow that precedent.

In terms of expansion arcs, The first game that comes to mind is Race for the Galaxy. Dominion has avoided making expansions reliant upon each other, so it is kind of apples and oranges in that sense.
 
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Max Maloney
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"If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down? We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good reason." -Jack Handey
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I don't think it will be too tied to the original "format" of expansions and cards Donald presented to RGG. We've seen Donald describe at length the ways in which cards were moved from their original expansions, altered and eliminated. In the latest Dice Tower podcast, Jay also comments that not all the cards were "tested or good" at the time they were presented to him.

I would expect that large library of cards will drive many expansions, but that many new ideas will surface along the way. The game should see continued expansion as long as there is an audience buying them.
 
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Jeff Wolfe
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Fading Captain wrote:
Will the game merely go with the original cards and expansions that Donald X created before the game's release? Or will expansions continue to be created after the arc of the original cards and expansions has ended?

Some of the cards Donald originally designed turned out not to work, so they were never published. Donald has created other cards since he first showed the game to Jay. It's never been the case that Rio Grande Games just published his original card designs. Read the Secret History documents some time if you haven't already (they're linked from Donald's designer page).

Dominion expansions will probably stop when people stop buying them, or when Donald stops designing them.
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Donald X.
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Fading Captain wrote:
Since its initial release, Dominion has produced two expansions per year. I understand that many cards (200?) had been created before the game was even released and expansions had been created and planned before the game was released, but what is the eventual endpoint for the game's development?

Will the game merely go with the original cards and expansions that Donald X created before the game's release? Or will expansions continue to be created after the arc of the original cards and expansions has ended?

There are three different answers I have for you.

1. Assuming the current release schedule, the original expansions (in their updated forms) will all be released by the end of 2012. At that point I expect the pace to slow way down. For several reasons!

- There are only so many reasonably simple cards to do that don't add rules or add components. I will have done such a large percentage of them that future sets will pretty much always need to add rules or components, or else be more complex. Adding rules complicates the game and adding components usually seems more appropriate for spin-offs. Like, adding counters seems fine, but if I add a board, won't it seem bad if there are games where the board gets set up and then just sits there, unused? Whereas a spin-off - a standalone game that doesn't combine with the other stuff - can add a board and just make it always matter.

- Furthermore some of the good space left involves mechanics that don't fit the "just play 10 random cards" premise, and people are attached to that. These mechanics are again better for spin-offs. Expansions that aren't kingdom cards also fall into this area.

- Part of what you get from expansions is more variety. This goes down as more expansions are released - eventually it doesn't matter that there's more variety, because there's already more variety than you'll ever see. I don't mean variety as in "25 choose 10," which isn't a real measure of the variety in the game, but you know, variety as in, pairs and trios of interacting cards or competing strategies. New expansions are still nice for giving you different things to do, different experiences in the game, but whatever expansion you get first has the biggest impact on the game for you, and so on.

- I would like to make more games! Working on Dominion expansions eats up a lot of my time.

2. So then, after 2012, say expansions are still coming out, but you know, not ~38 cards a year. Interest in expansions probably stays high enough that it's worth publishing more. I probably manage to make them at some slower pace, because what, it's fun making them, and it's nice to have a project that you know is getting published. They probably add components or are more complex than I'd like, but then at this point the fans who've stayed with the game can deal with the complexity or pay for the components. This could last for a while. At the same time I expect to make spin-offs - standalone games that start with the Dominion rules but add something or change something or both. Like Hunters & Gatherers vs. Carcassonne. You know. A lot of things are possible with those that aren't so hot for Dominion expansions. And you get to make new simple cards by having them use whatever new stuff there is.

3. Eventually it's gotta end, one way or another. The band plays Don't Stop Now and you know that means this is the last encore, and who knows if there will be a reunion concert years later for Matador or what.

As always, who knows. I can't even guarantee the set after Prosperity, although I will be surprised if it doesn't show up about when I expect it.
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Donald X.
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jeffwolfe wrote:
It's never been the case that Rio Grande Games just published his original card designs.

This is at least misleading. Some cards have gone out with no changes at all from the first version I made. Other cards I've changed due to playtesting but then they haven't changed further during development. And then what finally goes out is the final version as I want it. To date Jay has only changed one card - Possession going left instead of right (and he didn't insist on that change - I approved it).
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David desJardins
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I do think having other designers could eventually be a way to explore more of the space. If desired. It's no criticism of Donald to observe that seeing something from several points of view is going to generate more good ideas than just one. That matters more as the most straightforward ideas get exhausted.
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Jeremy Volk
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I think that between Donald, his "cabinet," and the for-fun card-makers on these very boards, Dominion will have quite enough fresh card ideas to last at least until it is no longer profitable.
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the great divide
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Thumbs up for Donald's GBV reference! thumbsup
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David desJardins
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donaldx wrote:
Other cards I've changed due to playtesting but then they haven't changed further during development.


Is there really a difference between "playtesting" and "development"?
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Donald X.
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DaviddesJ wrote:
donaldx wrote:
Other cards I've changed due to playtesting but then they haven't changed further during development.


Is there really a difference between "playtesting" and "development"?

Sure. Playtesting is playing the game, seeing if the cards are fun and balanced or what. Development is the time period between when I think the set is done (due to playtesting it) and it goes out to a larger group of people than have previously seen it (who then playtest it), and the time when it's actually done.
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Mark Winford
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jdpeters wrote:
Thumbs up for Donald's GBV reference! thumbsup


Yes!!! Here is the real Fading Captain: Guided By Voices mastermind, all around indie rock genius, hyper-prolific mutant, Robert Pollard:

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Mark Winford
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Selfishly, I really like Donald's answer(s). And thank you Donald for the reply. Sounds like there will be a wealth of expansions in the next couple years (that will add much to the game), but the game will not turn into a CCG; as a fan of the game, I suppose that is my main fear, not being able to keep up.
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