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Paradox (fan expansion for Dominion)» Forums » General

Subject: A whole slew of initial comments rss

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Moosey
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Beta Status
My favorite part of Paradox is the new kingdom cards, but you wouldn't know it by the vast quantity of Variant Rule, and Variant Rule contributing cards. Variant Rule cards are an attempt to diminish the problem of the same players who play together all the time knowing the game (or more to the point, their group-think for the game) to the extent that they often choose the same strategies. They are only a compliment, and not the primary focus of this expansion. Just something to mix things up. I used to play with these custom cards a lot, but my main Dominion partner and moved to different areas, where I have not had the chance to play Dominion nearly as much. Consequently, not all of these cards are tested and polished. Most of the testing was with the Kingdom cards. The Variant Rule cards remain untested. I know it's bad form to put out untested cards, but I want to be clear that this is their status. The reason I am putting them out anyways, is I feel there are good ideas in here. I wanted to produce the cards anyways for myself, so why not make those production files available to everyone? I know in all practicality, it will likely be years, if ever, before I get the chance to test all the cards at the level I'd like to. So I offer this expansion in it's current form now. I'd consider Variant Rule cards to be beta development status. Kingdom cards to be a mix of beta and finished status (though, I do feel no fan card should ever be locked in stone).

Custom User Cards
Other fan creators: A small portion of the cards are mildly or heavily inspired by a couple fan creations that are not mine (in one case, only the card Type is changed). I make no attempt to disguise these as my own creations. Such cards are signified by creators handle on the card itself, and a reference in the rules. I have included these for the sake of completion, because they harmonize with the paradox dilemma feel. They are truely great custom creations, and the original designers deserve full recognition.

Curses
Many on the forum have already come to the conclusion that any additional Curse Kingdom cards should be signified with a card Type other than Curse. This is so that you don't end up helping other players you attack with Curse gaining cards. For this expansion, I have stuck with the theme of mixing things up; causing you to re-evaluate previously obvious card to use; changing how cards behave based on the rest of the Kingdom; causing damaging abilities to be potentially helpful, and helpful abilities to be potentially harmful. So yes, sometimes those attack cards will be significantly weaker when such curses are in the game. It will just make you have to think of the setup in a new way. But this is a fan expansion. We have the freedom to create it the way we want, and play it the way we want. If you really dislike this, then I offer the following options to handling curse cards (in fact, if you dislike anything from this expansion, I encourage you to change it to make it your own):
1) When you gain a Curse, you may gain any Curse Type card in the supply.
2) When you gain a Curse, you may gain any Curse Name card in the supply.
3) When you execute an ability that causes another player to gain a Curse, you may choose any Curse Type card from the supply.

Guilds
I realize there is a "Guilds" expansion coming out for Dominion. All I know is that "Guilds" is the name of the expansion. I can only assume that means it will have guilds in it. I don't know if they will function remotely like the guilds I developed. I don't mean to imply that my guild system is the way to do it. But like my philosophy of putting this Expansion out there in its current development state, I didn't want to delete all the hard word I did on guilds because of finding out after the fact they were coming to the official game. Obviously, I'd recommend having any guild mechanic the future expansion comes with supersede any reference to guilds you find in this expansion. I suspect this guild mechanic could remain as-is, and work side by side with the official upcoming guild mechanics. You would just have to know that Paradox cards referring to guilds means only Paradox Guild cards. And any other source referring to guilds would mean the official guild cards. If they cannot work in harmony, then just remove Paradox Guild cards from the game (or at least any game containing official Guilds).

Expansion Parts
I broke Paradox up into three parts. I know all some people want from a fan expansion are a collection of Kingdom Cards. Variant Rule cards offer an interesting change of pace, but it could be too much for some people (this is neither a good nor bad thing, just personal preference). So I have included Variant Rules as a "supplement expansion". I included assets for printing mats and tokens, but I'll tell you that I don't even intend on producing these for my own collection. I just wanted the expansion to feel complete, and offer it in its proper entirety so that anyone who does want them has access to them. But honestly, existing tokens and mats should suffice perfectly fine to represent these components.

Paradox Expansion, Part A: Kingdom Cards (core expansion)

Paradox Expansion, Part B: Variant Rule Cards (supplemental expansion: if you prefer: do not use; or use only the ones you like. there is no obligation to use these if you use the core expansion).
NOTE: had to split this up into multiple files because of upload time-out limitations. Splits are not perfect, as there may be a couple straggler cards from the neighboring segments.

Paradox Expansion, Part C: Tokens & Mats (not recommended to print, but optional)

Rules
Don't forget, I did include a rule book to try to clear up some possible indiscrepancies. I tried to word cards so, even though they are sometimes unclear at first glance, if you pay close literal attention to them, they should become clear. I may have failed in some cases, but I put forth a lot of effort to try and get it right. Sometimes I worded cards a bit odd for brevity (these cards can be wordy). Often I tried to use phrasing found in official Dominion cards for consistency (very important), but I know this was overlooked in places. To that point, sometimes the official Dominion cards are inconsistent as well. But, even though wording/punctuation may be inconsistent at times, the literal clarity of the base cards is remarkably clear if you void your mind of any false assumptions. Anyways, the rules were made to clear up things I thought would be questions, so please refer to them if you have any. If questions go beyond the rules, feel free to post them in the forums. With this many cards, I'd be surprised if I covered every inevitability. There are also Game Rule cards I created to serve as reference cards for new mechanics Paradox introduces. So it is possible to play the game without ever referring to the rules (but don't ignore the rules on the Rule Cards).

Just For Fun
Even if not completely flawless, I do hope some people have fun with these cards. That's the entire point.


---------------------------
EDIT: Files explanation can be found here.
 
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Alex Baker
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Hey man,

Appreciate the work you put in here, its a really ambitious expansion with some cool ideas and a nice, dark thematic feel. It doesn't look like there's much action on here yet so I thought I'd throw in my 2 cents.

Caveat: I don't think I'm the target audience for this expansion: I have a pretty low threshold for complexity in card designs, from official dominion expansions to magic the gathering cards, so take my criticisms with a grain of salt. But my take might still be useful? There are some brilliant new ideas here, which is why I bother picking them apart so savagely devil You've really gotten ambitious about stretching the limits of what dominion is capable of, which is awesome - I just think in some places you've stretched it too far. Also, I haven't played with them, so maybe I'm extrapolating incorrectly about how some of these cards would play out in practice.

In short: I love the goal of making complicated, subtle, interesting decisions, but my advice would be to find a way to create those decisions without making the cards themselves so complicated, subtle and interesting. Look at cards like Loan, or the newly printed hotness Rats, which create tricky (paradoxical even!) effects, with very little text. I fear that many of the cards in paradox are going to leave players saying "what exactly does that do again?", and even players with a higher complexity threshold don't like doing that.

I think there are places where you can dial the complexity of understanding the card down (which is good) without losing too much of the interesting of the decisions it creates. Some examples I see in my quick pass:
- Autumn Equinox: this is plenty interesting and has plenty of complexity without the first option (which also culls that confusing -%50 + 1 bit). It might be even nicer if it was something: "choose one: for the remainder of this turn all action cards cost +2 OR for the remainder of this turn all action cards cost -1." Sure that cuts out certain possibilities, but it still lets you do weird upgrade tricks, and provides a straighforward card concept: "that card that lets you change costs up or down", and it read clean.
- Canning: the whole storing actions thing is neat, but I would cut the variable cost. It makes it harder to internalize, creates bookkeeping issues, probably has rules issues, and just doesn't buy you enough to do anything interesting. I'd say if you really want to do something with variable costs, I would do the simplest possible version of it (though I think the variable cost thing is just too hard to balance given how dominion works: to make a card that is never too good or too bad along its possible scale).
- Cardinal: the "reveal when a card is played that may cause you to trash" clause is potentially headachey in terms of timing and how broadly to take "may". Maybe something like "when you would trash a card, you may reveal this and gain 1 victory point" in place of the last 2 sections of text?
- Doppelganger: see current discussion on Band of Misfits and multiply confusion by 10. Fun idea that I suspect doesn't work in practice.
- Drama Queen: I think the whole "loop" thing might make sense to people from a programming background, but I think its unnecessarily weird. Couldn't this say "discard any number of victory cards. All other players must discard a Victory - Treasure card or gain a curse for each card you discarded"? Does this mean they must discard a card that is both a victory and treasure card? Because that seems insanely brutal (and frankly this card seems way brutal regardless, especially since you draw 2 first). I do like the idea of "fireball" X effects, but it seems like it could be clearer.
- Fountain of Youth: If I'm reading this right I like the idea a lot, but, again, it could be clearer.
- Gremlins: If this just read "while this is in play, all cards cost +1 for other players" that would be plenty original and interesting. A duration attack! Never been done! (I don't think?) All the other post-hoc reaction and duration stealing is way past my personal (albeit low) complexity threshold, and seems like it wouldn't matter in a lot of kingdom setups.
- Missionary: I'm pretty sure this card can be made more interesting by cutting at least 2 of the things it does.
- Unholy mirror is cool, but again, I'd be happy with two of: the top discard pile trick, the reflect trick, the negative cost. Also, I don't much like that this card introduces the need to think about what order you discard in (which was never previously a concern).

There are some cards I like: Favor is fun. I think I like inquisition, though I'm not sure that the last clause is needed? Though I suspect it's there in response to playtesting it without it, so I'll trust you. Reversal of fortune is cool and I might even like that it could actually hurt you worse than the attack from time to time. Them's the breaks! Street sweeper is neat: I like your victory cards made useful paradox. Wall is a nice, simple game-changer. That one gets me thinking, but not about how the card works. Wholesaler might be brilliant.

On the other hand, I can't even figure out what Migrant Workers does, and I assume Prophet was designed with some very specific scenario in mind that I can't unpack, and Steam Engine...I don't know, that becomes a game within a game way beyond what I look for in Dominion. I can see how it might appeal to certain players, but keep in mind that it costs 7, and then you need to draw it, and then you need to put a bunch of steam on it, and then you need to draw it again, before it gets interesting, by which point the game might be just about over : /

Also: revolution. The day this hits two golds or provinces in a row is the day that you make someone quit dominion. Heck, even a single province is brutal. Way, way too rough, compare to the new Knights Similarly, I like the treasure idea on Title Company, but the trashing victory cards bit seems very swingy.

Anyway: that's just my take on the kingdom cards, haven't looked at the rest yet. Some really neat ideas - I think you'll always want them to be more complicated than I would enjoy playing with, but hopefully this all at least gives you another perspective. Thanks for submitting this, was fun checking it out!
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Moosey
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You are absolutely right about over-complication being something I struggle with. It's very easy for me to think up interesting things, and the explanation is always simple in my head, but then to cover it in writing so that there's no ambiguity if you read the card very literally.... that's a challenge for me. In some cases, I think it's not even that the card is complicated so much as it is perhaps not worded as elegantly as possible. I tried adding definitions to the rules to help alleviate this. This expansion is best for people who don't mind cards a bit more complicated than standard Dominion cards. But don't let that be a red flag to anyone else... read a few of them from the preview file, and judge for yourself if you feel they would be enjoyable or not.

This critique you wrote is very well done. It states your perspective, overall views on things that could be globally changed, and specific examples. It states both positive and negative. People tend to think all criticism is bashing, but this is exactly the type of critisism that is actually helpful, thank you

Bear in mind that I "published" this expansion in a partial development stage because I had all these cards made, some of them tested, but saw that my opportunity to test to the level I wanted had dissolved. So some of these are only theory crafted. I wanted to make the available to all. And if there are some you don't enjoy, you certainly don't have to use them all. That being said, I am not arguing for the criticism to stop. Just so you understand the state of the cards.

Regarding some of the specific cards you mentioned. Some of them (ex. Favor & Title Company) are not entirely my ideas. The rules document links to the original versions of these. You may want to check these out and go with the originals (particularly with Favor).
Steam Engine - Yeah, this is a big one. Your judgement of it being a mini-game in and of itself is absolutely true. In fact, creating just such a mini-game was the goal of this card. That doesn't justify it as being a good thing necessarily, just a design goal. But more so, I didn't want this to be a card that would auto-win you the game if you used it. Therefore, if you don't want to play the mini-game with your own deck, you don't have to (though you may still have to play against it). This card is one of the later developed cards, and is only theory crafted, not play tested. Use at your own risk.
Canning - The goal of this was a variable cost card to synergize with remodel/bishop/salvager/etc. The actual power of the card is something that has taken work to balance. It started very underpowered, and my goal has been increase it's strength. So this is a play-tested card, but I was never able to verify the most recent round of revisions.
Loop - I understand what you are saying regarding the loop effect. I'm not a programmer either, but the way Dominion works, I thought the loop idea was best to create a card that can perpetuate itself as often as you are able to fuel it. There are pros to doing it this way, but then you also bring up cons to it. Something I will have to think more about.
Swingy cards - Yes, some cards that can trash others cards can be swingy. I am OK with these cards because of Dominion being such a short game. But you may want to avoid the Title Company and Revolution. Though I will argue that Revolution is the better of these to play with. Why? Because it's counterable. It's existance does make you play a more cautious game, but I feel a card that makes you play to prepare for it is an interesting thing. Title Company was probably the least liked card with other play testers, so feel free to omit that. But I encourage one to try Revolution, with the mindset that you just have to play to prepare for this. However, it does involve thinking of how you discard, so maybe you won't like it (like Unholy Mirror).
Unholy Mirror - Speaking of thinking about how you discard, I will say this is a tested card, and an enjoyed card among my play testers. I feel it needs all these 3 things because: attack reversal is only balanced if you take a VP hit to gain the power; and it needs an ability so it's not a useless card in games where you have no attack cards. The discard interaction is interesting to me, because it creates a scenario where you have to also think about not playing a card you want to this turn, depending on how likely you will draw Unholy Mirror next turn. In case you didn't realize, you discard your play area (in any order), THEN your hand (in any order). Thus creating the give-or-take decision of keeping a card in your hand in order to discard it last. I find it interesting, but if you don't like that interaction, you are welcome to omit it or change it for your own purposes. This is one of the cards I am most happy with, but that could be due to my personal tastes as well.
Reversal of Fortune - This is another of my favorites. Fun for exactly the reason you mentioned. This has been playtested, and never required much tweaking (other than wording).
Dispersal - You didn't mention this one, but I wanted to talk about it anyways. This was the main card that inspired the name of this fan expansion, and may be my favorite to play with (and yes, it's playtested).
Doppelganger - This card is playtested. It is actually a little underpowered (much like Throne Room is a little underpowered). It's a fun card to buy one of is what I've found. If I had to error on the side of overpowered or underpowered though, I'd prefer error on the side of underpowered, especially for fan expansion cards. That's not to say that all these fan cards are underpowered.
Fountain of Youth - Is basically a duration version of Throne Room. It's tested, and it was hard to arrive on an exact price point, but I belive the end conclusion was to price it so it was slightly underpowered, as pricing it 1$ less made is slightly overpowered.
Simple Cards - A few you mentioned (like Street Sweeper, Wall, and Wholesaler) are indeed simple. Thanks for pointing those out. Because it's harder for me to do simple, these types of cards bring me great joy when they come together so well. These are not all playtested, but the ones that are, never needed tweaking. I feel they are all that way, so I won't say which is which devil

In conclusion... I don't plan on changing these cards any time soon. Just a lot of non-Dominion stuff going on in my life right now. Although, if the community ends up being very involved with lots of good ideas, I'll more likely be inspired to take time away from other endeavors for this. I also very much welcome exact wording recommendations for those times I've said something simple with too many words. In the end, if you end up having fun from any of these cards, I'm glad I shared. But I don't see me modifying cards too heavily in the near future. When I do though, I will absolutely refer to your post as inspiration. You bring up a lot of good, well thought out points. Ultimately I am tailoring these to my own enjoyment obviously, but I would in no way dismiss the value (and difficulty) of simplicity!
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Alex Baker
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Nice reply, this has been a fun little activity for today

Understood that these are unfinished - I don't know that I would print the entire set (especially with my Dark Ages set coming soon ) but I could see trying a few. My favorite card designs tend to be the ones I can't quite evaluate in theory and then get to discover how they work in practice; definitely some of those in there.

Also, I totally misread revolution, I just assumed it was off the top of the deck: that's not nearly so bad then, in fact that's kind of interesting. I'm still not sure I like the extra consideration that worrying about discard pile order brings (especially in a game where you discard every turn) but I could see it being an interesting angle for sure.

And yeah - I don't think the rule about play area vs hand discard ever came up before: that makes revolution and mirror much more interesting...

And in case i didn't make this clear, I definitely appreciate how hard it is to make simple cards. I'm always trying to make up new cards in games I play, but I've found coming up with good, simple Dominion cards that haven't been done to be so hard as to not even be fun - so nice work!
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Ah yeah - just rechecked dispersal - the "affects" phrasing seems like it might lead to weird corner cases, but I can see it being a nice, subtle way to defend against an attack: letting you use cards that would make you discard/put on deck/etc as a trash outlet. Cool stuff!
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Moosey
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AlexB wrote:
Ah yeah - just rechecked dispersal - the "affects" phrasing seems like it might lead to weird corner cases, but I can see it being a nice, subtle way to defend against an attack: letting you use cards that would make you discard/put on deck/etc as a trash outlet. Cool stuff!


So like, against Thief/Pirate Ship, it makes you trash regardless, but at least it protects you from your opponent gaining an advantage. Against Militia, it can help you by trashing an estate/copper/curse/late-game-moneylender/etc.

I absolutely promote only printing those cards that fascinate you.
 
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