I took a break after , and worked on other games. One night there was just me and Kevin. What's good with two? I dunno, Dominion? It happened again a week or two later. And then that was that, I was making an expansion. A lesson for us all.
There were two ideas waiting to be used, from when working on Renaissance. First, the Jail mat. This was a mat cards could put cards onto, and then it had a built-in rule that let you get the cards back when gaining another copy of whichever card. This mat and the associated cards had been good, but I didn't want more mats in Renaissance. At one point it had four mats; in the end it has one that does double duty. So I saved this for next time, and well, it was next time. So this went right into the set and had good cards right away. Eventually I renamed it to Exile, because I wasn't looking to make a wild west expansion, which is what "jail plus horses" sure suggested. "Exile" was nice because you can use it as a verb too, and it made at least some sense for a medieval game.
The other idea was for a particular way to do "+1 Card tokens." I considered them for Renaissance, but it didn't sound great to have a pile of tokens you could constantly consider cashing in for cards. What I ended up doing for Renaissance was , which just happens at the start of a turn. But another approach was to have a pile of one-use you could gain. It was like a +1 Card token, except different in all the ways it's different - you can only use it when drawing it, you can it, and so on. There wasn't room for a big pile of those in Renaissance, though it got . So this was another thing to try right away, and right away I liked it. itself started and ended costing , but I tried having it cost , to make it weaker with trash-for-benefit. I preferred it being stronger there.
The first two cards using were "Gain 3 " and "+1 Action, discard any number of cards for that many ." They both immediately showcased the beauty of . "Gain 3 " is like ... but it doesn't draw dead cards, and doesn't draw at all the first time you play it, and well more differences, and stuff. It was a pretty neat variation on and still really simple. And then the variant was nothing like . It was pretty neat too. Well as you may have noticed, these cards aren't in the set. They both just produced too many . Another way "Gain 3 " is different from is, it takes longer to resolve - not just playing it, but playing it and playing the three . So in the end there are "Gain 2 " cards, but no 3, and only gets to really go nuts gaining .
I tried several new kinds of landscape cards for the set. The one that stuck was Ways, which let any Action be played for a particular effect. I liked the vanilla ones right away. I also planned to add Events to the set. The set was going to have to be 400 cards, to include 30 and some landscapes and not have fewer Kingdom cards than usual. So, it had space. It took me a while to get around to trying some Events, but when I did that all worked out, there were new things to do, not all of them involving Exile and .
I considered having another card like , a pile that some cards could give you. I didn't get around to trying one for a while, and meanwhile two minor themes crept into the set. So I never tried one, I had plenty of stuff going on. The minor themes are Reactions and uh weird costs. It seemed cool to have a bunch of Reactions, and I had this good trick to do to get some, which was letting you play the card. had done that, but it had +1 Action, which severely reduced how exciting that was. And then the weird costs, I added and and they were just immediately highlights of the set, so I looked for a couple more.
* Outtakes *
As I mentioned above, the first two cards were the of and the of . They were great except for how slow they made games. I tried a smaller before killing it.
Already there's a card I don't want to share. This card was fine, it just wasn't great with the other things in this set. Well let's move along.
One direction I looked in for new cards was "this turn" abilities. It sounded good to trigger on treasures, effectively giving them an ability, and I tried "when you play a , gain a " and "when you play a , +1 Buy." I had big plans to try "When you play a , +$1" again too, but that didn't happen and those cards didn't work out.
One of the very old cards I dredged up was "Trash a card from your hand, discard a card, +3 Cards." It holds the distinction of being the first card in the oldest Dominion file, though I know it replaced something; I wasn't saving every image back then. In its day it was fine but then seemed redundant. I brought it back with exiling, and we tried it with the +3 Cards first and last, and then versions to try to iron out things I didn't like about it. I was never happy with it and then did a different trasher, which got me to in the end.
Some attacks tried to cause discarding after each card play. Oh boy. Yes, "attacks," I tried more than one of these.
The cards that tried to save cards for later in Exile included one suggested by Matt, that seeded Exile with something and always made you swap. Initially it was but that was nuts; then it was and well, did I mention you don't really want to put your good cards into Exile for later? You just don't.
I tried some takes on cantrips that gained . Conditionally; for discarding a card. It was always dangerous space; are more interesting on terminals, but also I didn't want the game to get too slow, and the cantrips threatened that or did it.
Here's a cantrip that dug for an Action and put it onto your deck. Kind of a fixed . It was unobjectionable but did not add much to the game. Another short-lived card was a cantrip that Exiled a from the Supply.
I tried a card that added another VP card to the top of the deck. Well I never made the card, since it didn't matter for testing out the concept, but I made the VP card (it came with 2 ) and we played some games with one per player on top of the . You know, it has a mild charm, but did not add much.
There was a that Exiled a supply card for up to $6 when you gained it, and let other players get in on it by discarding a treasure. Then, a that let each other player play any Action card from their hand when you gained it. Sometimes it was very cool, but in practice they so often could not get use out of it. I replaced it with the first of the cards that led to .
One concept I trotted out briefly was to trash cards from low supply piles. There isn't much like that in the game and well the game doesn't need much of it.
For a while I liked the idea of a village with 20 cards in its pile, with no special connection to the pile being 20 cards. You know, it wouldn't gain copies of itself or anything, there would just be 20 of them. The idea was, for multiplayer, you put in this card and you are set for villages. So many multiplayer games, if there aren't two village piles, you have to build a deck that doesn't need very many villages. But uh surely the multiplayer players know about this already? They must be putting in those villages or living without them already, that's what I think. And it ate up a slot that stopped seeming so available, I could have a pretty 30 kingdom cards 20 events 20 ways. I came up with a lot of villages trying to be the good 20-card village; many were bad, some have potential but were no good for a 20-card pile, and some got tried out. In the end I did for this slot.
A couple cards tried to be some slightly novel way to discard cards for $.
I briefly tried a variant that had Treasures come with a cheaper card. It seemed promising and then had issues to fix and I grew weary of it.
There are Way outtakes. There were multiple versions of a . Multiple cards tried to give +$ with some formula, e.g. "per copy of this you have in play." None of those seemed as good as just plain old +$2. There was a for all copies of "this." A flip side to , turning a card into a cheaper one but to your hand. I tested "play this twice then trash it," which had wording issues, was a lot of fun, and just messed up the game too much. A couple cards were one-shot +$ formula things. I tried - all your cards do a zillion things! I tried Throne and that only worked on cheaper cards, and a Throne for Treasures. I tried - choose a card, the last one picked with the Way has +$1. There was an , man it didn't do much. seemed promising but oops it was way too mathy, you play lots of cards as and not all at once necessarily. There was a . There were a couple versions of , for a bit it seemed like one would make it. There was "gain 2 " - what animal does that? It was an okay ability but not essential, and the name was trouble. It was called Way of the Mare, which I didn't like. I also tried a Way that gained , and a "card from discard to hand."
And there are Event outtakes. An early one gave you a and a per you had in play; man it's okay but I did better. Similarly there was, when drawing your hand this turn, +4 Cards then discard 4 cards. I tried a Witch variant that was no good. There were a couple versions of a trasher/exiler (it tried both) that looked through all your cards like . There was a . I had a free Event that gave you +$1 or a ; it let you turn extra Buys into $. It was a runner-up for making the set; I did better.