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Dominion card question

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questccg
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Hi all,

I was wondering if any designers have played "Dominion"? If yes, I had a question about the game:

-How many cards land up (end of game) being a part of your Deck (The one you build)?

I see that Dominion uses a whooping 500 cards. But the game plays up to 4 players. Doing some simple math, that is about 125 cards per player (in the case of 4 players).

The current game I am working on is also a Deck-building game and the number of cards per player are roughly 120 at the very end of the game! The game uses scenarios and so a game may end sooner depending on the scenario.

Am I correct in assuming that player's decks contain about 125 cards (at the end of a game)? Or is there some other considerations regarding the game to consider...?

Many thanks.

sedjtroll
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Give it a try!

If you are designing a deck building game, then you really ought to invest a couple hours into playing Dominion.

Your post suggests that not only have you not played the game, but that you have not seen it played, nor read the rules. yes, there are 500 cards in the box. In any given game, you only use like 150 of them (10 stacks of 10 Kingdom cards, and a handful of money and VP cards). Player decks get nowhere near 125 cards in Dominion.

This doesn't necessarily mean you should or should not build a game in which player decks get to 120 cards - if it works, it works. But I highly recommend playing several of the deck building games out there if you're working on your own!

PaulG
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I strongly recommend playing

I strongly recommend playing these before designing your own:

Dominion
Ascension
Nightfall
Mage Knight
Eminent Domain

Try to understand them all as well, they are all rather different and seeing how they compare is useful. Also read some reviews and see where they're bashed and what people like about them.

I also wouldn't necessarily recommend jumping on the DBG bandwagon, there are a lot of us already! :P

PaulG
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Also relevant - your deck in

Also relevant - your deck in Dominion is anywhere between 20 and 50 cards, approximately normally distributed.

questccg
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Thanks for the input

sedjtroll wrote:
Your post suggests that not only have you not played the game, but that you have not seen it played, nor read the rules. yes, there are 500 cards in the box. In any given game, you only use like 150 of them (10 stacks of 10 Kingdom cards, and a handful of money and VP cards). Player decks get nowhere near 125 cards in Dominion.

@Seth: Thanks for the info. My game has 4 scenarios: different end-game objectives. They make game play different because of how you win:

-Tradewars: Collect 1,500 qS to win.
-Spacewars: Be the last player standing in an all out battle.
-Days of Glory: Build 5 cultural acheivements.
-The Derelict: Defeat an alien starship which is going to invade a homeworld.

If you take "Tradewars" as an example, you'll probably want to configure some defensive starships to prevent an opponent from attacking your homeworld (base)... But for the most part you will need to balance between defense and collecting qS (quickSilver - money).

In "Spacewars", this is the scenario in which players battle each other to survive. I think this scenario is the one that will last the longest (longest game play time). You need to knock out each one of your opponents (2-4 players).

"Days of Glory" requires you to *build* 5 cultural achievements:
-100 qS = Galactic Archives (One free upgrade)
-200 qS = United Credit Corporation (100 qS)
-300 qS = Trade Federation (Allows you to control 5 ships instead of 4)
-400 qS = Imperial Senate (Monarch role allows you to draw +3 cards)
-500 qS = Royal Palace (You win)

This again amounts to collecting 1,500 qS to build all the cultural achievements. First one to build the achievement earns the reward (in parenthesis).

Lastly "The Derelict" is a co-op or solitary game in which you must destroy an alien starship that is bent on colonizing one of the homeworlds. The ship will stay in space until it is provoked (attacked). From there on, it will attack the weakest player until it destroy that player's homeworld. If that happens, all players lose the game. This scenario can also be played with only 1 player (solitary game).

With ALL the cards in your deck, you have 120 cards. But I believe most games will only have about 60 cards when a player beats or achieves the objective... The only one that may take longer is "Spacewars" if there are 4 players playing.

My cards are 60 Military cards (for Starships) and 60 Resource cards (for earning qS - money). You start of with only 8 resource cards and build your deck from there...

questccg
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One more project on the go

PaulG wrote:
I also wouldn't necessarily recommend jumping on the DBG bandwagon, there are a lot of us already! :P

@PaulG: Well even though I have not played those game, I am interested in using that mechanic (Deck-building) in a game. Currently I have 2 games that are in the prototype stage and 1 about half way there. They are all different (different mechanics). I wanted to add a game that uses deck-building...

So that's what I have done: created a Sci-Fi space game that is built around space battles, deck-building and role selection. It's a mix of MtG, Dominion and San Juan. Space battles are simple but can last several turns, deck-building is used to earn more resources, military capabilities or perform missions, and roles allow players to wisely choose what role they are going to use on their turn...

Unlike Dominion where you must discard ALL the remaining card in your hand, my game allows you to *hold on* to as many of these and replenish your hand to 5 or 7 (if you use the Monarch role).

PaulG
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I would avoid designing a

I would avoid designing a deck-builder without having played one (or all of them). Before I really got started on my own design, I played every DBG I could get my hands on, several on mobile devices. Others I just read the rulebook and reviews. There are some very common pitfalls that will be almost impossible to avoid without testing other games.

The game sounds more than a little like Eminent Domain, though not in a particularly toe-stepping way, so I would seriously advise playing that. It's also a very good game.

Not discarding your hand each turn is a bit of an odd thing, in general, you want to move through your deck as fast as possible to see your new good cards - so having a 120 card deck of which you draw less than 5 cards a turn... Means that you won't feel like the deck is being built at all. Having more than 4-6 turns before you go through your whole deck is not going to work very well. It's going to feel weird, and sloppy, and shuffling 120 cards sucks.

questccg
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Player's choose what they want to keep

PaulG wrote:
Not discarding your hand each turn is a bit of an odd thing, in general, you want to move through your deck as fast as possible to see your new good cards - so having a 120 card deck of which you draw less than 5 cards a turn... Means that you won't feel like the deck is being built at all. Having more than 4-6 turns before you go through your whole deck is not going to work very well. It's going to feel weird, and sloppy, and shuffling 120 cards sucks.

Well instead of playing 1 card at a time, you need to combine 3-4 cards. To do this, you may want to keep 1 or 2 cards before the next turn... You build a deck which in turn allows you to configure starships (models, crews, weapons, enhancements). Then you deploy those starships to either defend your homeworld or attack an opponent's starships/homeworld.

The deck-building aspect is used to build your deck of starships with their configurations. All kinds of combinations are possible, some stronger, some weaker. But the game is 1/3 space battles. So some times you may WANT to discard your cards (because none of them are relevant to what you want to do) and you CAN do that. There will be times when you want to configure a starship which will make it that you will want to keep certain cards. You can keep at most 5 cards but with roles - you can draw up to 7 (or 8) cards a turn.

BUT I understand what you mean. I will keep this in mind. Player's will need to balance earning money and buying technology.

questccg
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120 cards may be a lot

@PaulG: 120 cards is the total amount of cards available to 1 player. Most games will probably resolve themselves when players have 60 cards in their deck (about half). But there is 1 scenario, "Spacewars" which is purely a battle to be the last player standing which could make a player's deck bigger; especially if there are 4 players.

There is a 1,500 qS (quickSilver - currency) goal for 2 games, which resolve the game earlier. The 4th scenario also get resolved earlier (win or loss)...

The other thing is, you want to have some "down time" from space battles which can allow players behind in the game catch up to their opponents. Like I said, you need to wait for certain cards to appear (in a bigger deck)... But not investing in military technology would end your game early even with a player who isn't a very aggressive player.

Ultimately YOU decide what you buy and how you build your deck. I think there will be 2 RUSH plays:

1-Get to 1,500 qS faster than other players by focusing mostly on currency generation
2-Build a small group of starships before an opponent can build any defense and crush them!

kpres
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Second that.

PaulG wrote:
I strongly recommend playing these before designing your own:

Dominion
Ascension
Nightfall
Mage Knight
Eminent Domain

Try to understand them all as well, they are all rather different and seeing how they compare is useful. Also read some reviews and see where they're bashed and what people like about them.

I also wouldn't necessarily recommend jumping on the DBG bandwagon, there are a lot of us already! :P

I second this statement.

If you make a new deck-building game, and it falls inside the design space of any of the above five, but is worse, then you haven't really made a successful game.

Try your hand at making your own cards for one of the more popular deck building games. Test them with friends to see if they're fun. If your friends don't want to play with your custom expansion, then you will know that it's not as fun as you had imagined.

There are so many deck building games out now that people might be getting tired of them. There might be a renaissance in ten years or so, but for now, it would be best to find another mechanic to get interested in.

Also, you can play Dominion online. playdominion.com

questccg
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I like the deck-building concept!

kpres wrote:
If you make a new deck-building game, and it falls inside the design space of any of the above five, but is worse, then you haven't really made a successful game.

@kpres: The funny thing is that I don't really play a lot of games. I like seeing how they get put together and the mechanics they use, but rarely do I get the chance to play them. The most recent game I played was Metro (Circa 1997). I played it in Summer 2012. It was okay, but did not inspire me into making a game similar to it...

But a friend suggested I look into the Deck-Building genre because of a game I told him I wanted to design. He said the design would work perfectly with my game. And with some minor corrections he was correct. The game plays like a mix of MtG, Dominion and San Juan. The space battles resolve rather quickly (a few turns) and have a simple mechanic (slower than Yu-Gi-Oh! more like Magic). The Dominion part is the Deck-Building aspect has everything to do with configuring starships to defend and attack opposing players and lastly I used San Juan's role mechanic (partially) in offering players the chance to choose roles on each turn. So you can play your turn + select one of 5 roles, each role giving the player an ability in play.

My roles are:
-The Monarch = Allows you to draw +2 cards from your deck (7 cards in hand instead of 5)
-The Officer = Allows you to commandeer starships against your opponents
-The Soldier = Allows you to spy and sabotage an opponent's homeworld installations
-The Engineer = Allows you to swap to the next card in a stack without buying the topmost card
-The Trader = Allows you to buy Resource cards from the Trade Outpost (Opposite of selling resources)

These roles are available to ALL players, it's not like in San Juan where if someone selects a role, you cannot select it... That why I said "(partially)"...

For example, the Monarch rule is good if you want to traverse your Deck quicker. +2 Cards (7 instead of 5) is a good way of doing this. However you can't always choose this role, because you would probably be defeated by military force (of an opposing player). Similarly you don't always want to attack an opponent, so you would not always use the Officer role to use starships. Obviously most of the time players will choose the Monarch role until things heat up and use of the other roles becomes more pressing.

Some are very strategic roles like the Soldier and the Engineer. The Trader role can help balance a deck between military cards and resource cards (so it's a pretty important role). An unbalanced deck may make it hard to battle effectively while pursuing the scenario's objectives.

kpres wrote:
Also, you can play Dominion online. playdominion.com

Maybe I'll try a game or two... Thanks for that link, it will probably be very helpful.

questccg
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Post designing blues...

One worthy note is that I was sorta *unsatisfied* with "Enhancements". The "Enhancement" are additions you add to a starship which allow the starship to perform a mission. So they go in tandem with "Missions and Moons". Missions allow you to earn credits quicker and moons allow you to earn more resources per turn.

That seemed all okay - BUT I also wanted the "Enhancements" to be actual upgrades (such as Regenerating Shields, etc.) It turns out, because of the missions, it was not possible to go this route.

I may open up the possibility to an upgrade which may replace missions with more space battles (neutral enemies). Not sure yet - Because I have 3 other expansions planned for the game.

The way I am packaging the product is 1 Player kits. I may bundle 2 kits - so you can play head-to-head. This obviously allows for 2x2 (for 4 players). The 3 expansions will be other races which will be completely different and have unique advantages/weakenesses. My first Player kit is the "X-Terra" which means *Former Earth*. So the starships models, crews, and weapons are all humanoid sounding.

I hope with a Publisher, they may get excited in producing the more complex races (maybe including alien dialects)... Obviously the design of those will be more challenging. But I think that will be the fun part of those games. This is something I would never undertake on my own. That's why I'm focusing on the Terran version first and then we see if we get the 3 alien versions produced!

The other point is that design-wise, I think I have achieved the game that I wanted. We will see if the prototype for the game is challenging enough for playtesters!

Again thank you for your insight.

mistre
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kpres wrote: There are so

kpres wrote:

There are so many deck building games out now that people might be getting tired of them. There might be a renaissance in ten years or so, but for now, it would be best to find another mechanic to get interested in.

I have to disagree with this statement. There are not more deckbuilding games then there are any other mechanic. In fact there are fewer as it hasn't been around as long. I will say that in order to make a successful game that yours has to do something different than any of the others, but that is the case for any mechanic that you use in a game and not just for deck-building type games.

RGaffney
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Guise... Guise.... STAHP!

I don't think you get it.

Quest is building a game based on resource management, and also income generation, and also CCG battle mechanics, and also deck building, and also engine building, and role playing... with victory points.

I don't think there has ever been a more appropriate time to say:

"This game is a lot of things...

...But it's not just another Dominion clone."

questccg
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Different spin... for sure

mistre wrote:
I will say that in order to make a successful game that yours has to do something different than any of the others, but that is the case for any mechanic that you use in a game and not just for deck-building type games.

@mistre: Well I know that for certain, having the ability retaining cards is different. And that is because you are *building* starship to either defend your own homeworld or attack another player's starships/homeworld. Like in Magic: the Gathering, when there is no defending starships, it's your homeworld (home base) that takes the damage. When a homeworld drops to 0, that player loses the game.

Deck-building is unique because you are building starship configurations (multiple cards involved). There are over 2,500 unique combinations possible, some weaker, some stronger, some for missions, some for battles... And that is only with a deck of 60 military cards. I took the decision to duplicate some cards because of the deck-building aspect. Otherwise there would have been literally over 50,000 unique combinations!

Ryan (RGaffney) helped me in focusing the game around quickSilver (money). That allowed me to put together 2 scenarios built around generation of revenue. The other 2 scenarios are also unique and therefore there are 4 games bundled into one game. It also focused the vision of the game since I was undecided on how to handle trading and resource management.

The "code wheel" would be real cool for the final product... But I probably won't get that one done for the prototype... It's okay, the prototype won't be perfect. Nothing new here! :P

Note: Last night I sat down and worked on the "code wheel"... Maybe it may be part of the prototype after all... I'm still working on it... But it seems probable that I get it made for the prototype! Let's hope... I'll post an update regarding the "code wheel" soon...

UPDATE: Well the code wheel is coming along pretty nice. Here is the image link: http://www.bgdf.com/node/12533
I am thinking about not enforcing any rules as to how the wheels spin. For example if you turn the bottom wheel and it turns the top 2 wheel also ... that's okay. The idea was to have a market-like mechanic (so values going up and down). Plus there is a general trend that the market values follow. Again since there is no beginning or end, this makes for a *nice* way to determine trade values for the 3 resources in the game!

Willi B
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Dear QuestCCG

Here is how this thread has unfortunately run:

You - I need some input on a deck building game I am making.

Everyone else - You need to play some deck building games.

You - Allow me to ignore what you say and tell you more about my fabulous game.

I wish you good luck, but it seems you are unwilling to take advice. So I shall not give you any... though it seems you sought advice initially.

Eminent Domain was designed by one of the people offering you advice and uses similar concepts to what you have written.

If I were offering you advice, it might be to ask more questions towards that game's author... but I am not offering you advice.

questccg
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Deck size

Willi B wrote:
You - I need some input on a deck building game I am making.

Everyone else - You need to play some deck building games.

You - Allow me to ignore what you say and tell you more about my fabulous game.

@Willi B:No that's a bit why I talked more about the game. I wanted to state how the game is different. Seth was the first one to state that if the built deck is 120 cards... AND IT WORKS. Well that is great!

So I know one of the things that needs to be properly playtested is the DURATION of games (so the deck does not get built too large).

And notice that I was initially talking about deck size (in a Deck-building game). Which was clearly clarified in that Dominion does not reach the 125 card size (even if that's the amount of cards available per player).

Note: I took a 2nd look at Eminent Domain. I think my game is sufficiently different: space battles are of greater importance, scenarios allow for different end-game scenarios, not civ-like (this is not a civilization building game - very important). That last point is very important: my game is more about resource trading and deck-building of starships for space battles.

RGaffney
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You aren't hearing them

You aren't hearing them Q.

120 is way way more than dominion uses. It is not the amount available per player. Dominion has only a minority of its cards available in each game, it has other cards so you can play other games with different cards and it will be new and different.

Saying it's ok if it works is a tautological statement, it was meant to be polite. Everything is ok if it works. All the evidence indicates this is too complicated to work. You should play some deck builders

Willi B
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Still Not Listening

Play deckbuilders if you design deckbuilders. This is the advice you are ignoring.

questccg
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How do you get to this conclusion?

Willi B wrote:
Play deckbuilders if you design deckbuilders. This is the advice you are ignoring.

I'm not ignoring any advice. I thanked kpres for that Dominion link... Isn't it obvious that I was going to look over that game??? But I have read and watched other game videos regarding deck-building. Another designer got me to think about using Deck-building in my game - because he thought it was a *good fit*. So I'm not working alone on this endeavour either...

@Willi B: Thanks for your criticism.

Note: Since Seth original reply, I have seen a Dominion video being played (Start to End). In addition the tutorial portion of the video (which was almost 60 minutes long) explains many of the cards in Dominion. A Dominion game ends early because of players buy up Providence cards and the game ends when that pile drops to 0 cards.

Willi B
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There's another way Dominion can end...

But you knew that because you looked it over and watched a video.

There are some things you can only learn through experience. I don't think I could fake piloting a plane because I read about it and watched a video.

Good luck.

questccg
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Yes... I know (they spoke about that also)

When 3 piles are reduced to 0, the game ends also (Dominion End Condition).

Anyhow, moving on to something more interesting, I watched a 30 minute video about *Eminent Domain*. Since my game is also a Space game, this perhaps was the most relevant game to be viewed. After viewing the video, I can clearly see differences in the style of the game as well as gameplay between ED and my game.

Specifically my game's space battles are just that: actual space battles with weapons, crews, shields, starships positions (like Port, Starboard, Bow and Aft). The deck-building aspect of the game is USED to facilitate these space battles... So where Magic: the Gathering has *Land cards* that produce mana, my game uses deck-building as the method of acquiring and configuring starships.

The other difference is that my game has *missions* that can be performed with the proper starship (and it's correct configuration). This is the opposite of space battles where you must satisfy the constraints of a mission in order to get the reward.

As I thought, decks should only be about 40-60 cards (like a Magic deck in the higher end) for most scenarios (3 out of 4). The only one that may run longer is the one where the last player standing is victorious. But I think this scenario will introduce just as interesting gameplay.

I'm really glad I got the chance to see how ED was put together (How it uses Actions and Roles). This gave me a good feel for what the game is about. I'm not saying I am an *expert* about the game... On the contrary. It just gave me SOME insight into the game and how it is played...

RGaffney
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You know who is an expert?

You know who is an expert?

questccg
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Seth is the game's designer

RGaffney wrote:
You know who is an expert?

Of course *sedjtroll* (Seth) he is the game's designer (and also the Admin/Moderator of this website/Forums). Ryan meet Seth, Seth meet Ryan (RGaffney) :D

sedjtroll
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I think it's great you're

I think it's great you're studying other deckbuilding games - certainly will help you design one, even if yours works differently than others.

Most deckbuilders take very little time, and some can even be played online (or on an iPad if you have one, such as Ascension) - it's really worth actually playing a few different ones in order to get a feel for how the mechanism works and the various things you can do with it.

Your original question just had to do with the number of cards players are likely to have in their decks, and I think you've gotten that more or less answered here. I would suggest your next step be to make some cards and give it a try - after trying several different deckbuilders out there of course :)

Good luck!

- Seth

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