Also, all cards, Artifacts, and Projects in Renaissance use the largest font size (in the English printing), due to the theme of simplicity.
Going into work on this set, I had two plans. First, to see what I could do with States. States showed up in , just as a way to deal with tracking for a few effects; I had put no work into trying to see what I could do with them, and well probably I could do something with them. Second, to try to do more with the coin tokens from . They were popular and it seemed like maybe I could actually do more with them.
Along the way I added a third goal: to make a set that was much simpler than the last few sets. The expansions naturally get more complex as you go along, since you run out of new simple things to do. I felt like things had gotten too complex though, and wanted to swing things back the other direction as much as possible. So the set intentionally has a bunch of off-theme cards, which is to say, cards that don't involve any of the new mechanics; and I limited myself to text that would fit with the large font, and for the landscape cards, text that would fit with the large font on two lines (then Innovation needed three during layout due to the expansion symbol). And the set tried to stay simple in other ways too.
Initially I did two things with States: I had ones that one player could have, and ones that every player got a copy of. The ones that every player got could turn over; one side would have a rule that let you upgrade it. We liked these a lot.
One of the two-sided States was a lot like the Journey token from - it was, some cards flipped it over, but when it flipped over one way nothing happened, and the other way gave you +1 Action. So some cards essentially had +1 Action half the time you played them. This was cool. But wait: maybe I could just have +1 Action tokens, to go with the + tokens. And I switched to that and it was even better.
So... +1 Buy tokens? I had them in the set for a bit there. And there was a 4th mat, unrelated to the others. In the end I felt like, we were eating up so much table space with mats, and hey what about being simpler. So there are just Coffers and Villagers. And they got those names and notation and then since we were updating Guilds for reprinting it got the Coffers mat too.
The other two-sided States, they were good times, but did not go well with the idea of a simpler expansion. Here, read this extra card, now turn it over. They turned into Projects: you pay to put a cube on a card, and now you have that ability. This is not only simpler - no second side to read, no text to explain how to upgrade it - it also means only one card per Project, rather than six (for six players) per two-sided State. So I could fit way more of them into the set, hooray.
The one-sided States persisted, but somewhere along the way I realized I should use a different name for them, to clarify that only one player got them. So they are Artifacts. The Artifacts were tricky; you want them to move around but not every turn, and they want to be attractive but not have the game hinge on them. I thought there might be 8; there are 5, and I struggled to get those.
Coffers tokens were also problematic; when you have a giant pile of those tokens, it's pretty demoralizing for the other players, and sometimes it's even a good strategy. So only one card gives +2 Coffers each time it's played, and some only sometimes produce +Coffers, and some do it when-gained. Villagers tokens had no issues. Go ahead and get a bunch if you want.
So, I think that covers it: Coffers, Villagers, Artifacts, Projects, and cards that do none of those things.
It turned out Ben King had been working on a Dominion program as a fun project, and he programmed in Renaissance and we playtested it some there. Thanks Ben! He also wrote some bots to demonstrate how powerful some particular cards were.
: Here you go, some villagers. At first this gave +5 Villagers. Too many.
: For a while this had no Artifacts. I wanted more Artifacts and saw that I could add one here, which was . Then I needed to put another Artifact somewhere and saw that this could have two Artifacts, so it got .
: The concept debuted on a 2-sided State, limited to Treasures. The first version as a card set aside all gains, and doled them out at one per turn, like . Then it was just one card, and that was better but weak - it cost . I tried it with +2 Coffers, then just lowered it to costing and then .
: A late card. I needed a , and a +1 Buy card. Matt suggested making it a Treasure and there it is. It didn't change, but it did get argued about. Adam felt like it was "strictly better" than . I am pretty sure it isn't. What feels better is when you trash a with it... which effectively costs you . But any which way, one is a Treasure and one an Action, and various things make those categories matter. It and Candlestick Maker are more similar than most pairs of cards, and well, twelfth expansion, trying to have simple cards, no regrets.
: We tried several versions of this. After a bit as a (based on another card that died), it switched to a , because that way there's usually no tracking (it uses an Action but gives +1 Action, so when it vanishes your play area still tells you the whole story, yes unless you it or something). For a bit they both went to the same place - e.g. if you used to gain , both Experiments went to your hand. That was too confusing for how often it came up. There was a version that was two different cards, the first gained you a copy of the second (the second being non-supply); there was a version that was three one-shot Labs instead of two; there was one that was like , it got you a cheaper card instead of another Experiment. In the end it's two one-shot Labs, which it was early on, but with a better wording.
: Originally you took the when you played it. Well at some point maybe you are drawing your decks and you just pass it back and forth. That isn't so great. I briefly tried only getting the Flag if Flag Bearer was your first play of the turn; then if you're drawing your decks it just sits there on the player who got lucky. Also bad. Changing it to when-gain/trash fixed it up every which way; anyone could take it on their turn, so it's not "those two are fighting over that, let them," and yet the cost varies (maybe this turn you have ) and gets higher over time (how many of these Flag Bearers can my deck really handle).
: One of the first cards in the set, and it never changed.
: Ben and Steveie requested I make a new card that gave you card progression reminiscent of . At first it cost , and triggered when discarding a card from play. It shifted to the start of Clean-up in order to avoid having it be possible for every effect in Dominion to happen in the middle of discarding your cards.
: One of the 2-sided State cards was a that could get you a -a-turn that turned into Citadel (but it worked on Treasures too). For some reason I added a effect to it, while it still used a State. Then I decided the State needed a different card, but kept the Workshop plus Bridge card sans States. We also tried it at with the bottom part of , but that was too helpful. Inventor does mega-turns, and ideally you don't always have just what you need there.
: Originally it was +2 Cards, turn over your thing that gets you +1 Action half the time. It went straight from that to the final version.
: The last card added. An early village with a negative Artifact didn't work out; then I made a new village with two Artifacts that also didn't work out. I decided the move was to just try to have a cool village, and not care about the Artifact being tacked-on, and this was the stand-out from the things I tried. At first you got an Artifact if your discard pile was empty; then I tried giving you the Artifact and +1 Card, and finally moved the Artifact to Recruiter (not what it did, but just, having an Artifact) (and of course Recruiter didn't keep it).
: The first version had a two-sided State (it was a Cathedral that turned into a Cargo Ship for Treasures if you trashed a + card). When those went away, I preserved the top and added the reaction. I fiddled with the wording some, to try to make it clear, but the idea stayed the same.
: This started out giving you an Artifact if you trashed a card costing or more; the Artifact had you draw a card each time you trashed a card. Sometimes the Artifact felt really important, and it sucked to have to eat your deck to fight over it. I tried changing the condition to "if you trashed a card that hadn't been trashed yet," then dropped the Artifact, and switched to getting a bonus per trash right on the card. The bonus was + first, but I also tried +1 Coffers for comparison. It gets rid of some tracking but I liked + better.
: For a while the set's was "Choose one: +3 Cards; or take the Evil Eye; or each other player gains a ." The Evil Eye was an Artifact that had you Curse the other players whenever gaining . We had fun with it for a while. Going for Evil Eye early and hard didn't work, but when someone did take the Evil Eye at a reasonable time, they would suddenly hand out so many Curses. Another issue was, wait, if you this, they can't take the Artifact from you? Matt suggested it not being an Attack, which would have had a certain something - has a built-in Moat, Old Witch is un-Moat-able. In the end I gave up on it and replaced it with this, the Witch that only temporarily gives you Curses.
: I tried trashing a card for +Coffers, and for a mix of +Coffers and +Villagers. It turned out to be too good of a strategy by itself - just madly convert your cards into tokens. But +Villagers by itself wouldn't have that problem, so I made that card and it was great. A kind of inverse . Then at the last minute it got an Artifact, in order to not have the Artifact on Mountain Village. Then at the very last minute I moved the Artifact to Border Guard. We'd been happy with Recruiter, and this way I avoided having another card with multiple mechanics.
: Gradually, the set developed an at-first unintentional trash-for-benefit theme - cards that do something when gained or trashed, plus nice ways to trash them. So when I was filling the last few slots, I tried to get in some more of that. This is like Apprentice, but you get the cards next turn, and since they're set aside you have to have cards left to set aside for it.
: A way to replay actions was an old idea. Well does it but you know, as a card you played. Royal Carriage happened, but this did not, because what if this game there's no card with +1 Action? You couldn't play your after-the-fact Throne Room. A fix is to make it a Treasure, and that card tried out for . Well first it was a Night card, and both the Night and Treasure actually returned you to your Action phase, so that most effects would be meaningful. I didn't feel like it was adding much, and changed it to a Treasure that didn't change phases, which meant that many cards were now no good with it. Which I liked; it made it more of a combo card. It was a poor fit for a set with a lot of Night cards though. It made a list of cards to try in the next set, and when the time came, we tried it again, and then I made it both weaker when strong and stronger when weak, by changing it from always making , to either making or replaying a card.
: This never changed. A poster child for the set being simple.
: One of the first cards in the set. It used the "+1 Action every other time" thing like Lackeys, then switched to +1 Villager, and that's that.
: At first it got you cards costing or less, but that was too strong early on. Then or , then - .
: Briefly this was like a when gained/trashed, only with tokens in place of + and +1 Action. I always like the idea of a when-gain that can draw cards, but it never survives, for the same reason: in the default situation, you don't want the cards. And then the triggered +1 Buy was problematic. So, no choice, it just gives you the other two.
: Briefly there was a treasure that gave you your choice of a mix of 2 tokens when you played it - Coffers, Villagers, or the +Buy mat. Then, a treasure worth that gave you +2 Coffers and +1 Buy mat token when gained; this was somewhat inspired by a card of Matt's. Then I got rid of the +Buy mat, but moved the +Buy to the top of the card.
: An early poster child for the 2-sided States gave +3 Cards and added a token to the State (or took it if you didn't have it); when one side got 3 tokens it flipped over and gave you +3 Villagers, and when the other side got 3 tokens it flipped over and got you +3 Coffers and 3 Golds. It was called Jungle Explorer, and the state was Base Camp / Ancient Ruins. When the 2-sided States died, I tried to capture at least some of the spirit of the card, and this is how I did it.
: Initially this couldn't get stuff from the trash. That change gave it combos and was great. Late in the going I wanted to try to have more Artifacts and squeezed the Key onto this. It didn't need it to be good enough; it was just a place that I could reasonably fit an Artifact.
: I tried a few different before getting here. When it got close to what it is, there were versions that looked for cards costing + or +, versions that made you discard all copies of what you discarded, and versions that only attacked if you had enough Coffers tokens.
: Unchanged, though there were many unrelated cards called Academy.
: One of the first Projects, and it never changed.
: Unchanged. A lot of these ideas were just fine from the get-go.
: There was a thing that made your be in your Action phase, then a thing that tried making your Treasures into Actions. It just isn't useful often enough. Once I hit on this, it was a question, should it be "+ amounts" or specific ones, e.g. "+ or + ." We tried it both ways.
: This started as the front of a 2-sided State, that turned over if you trashed a card costing +. Once it became a Project, it didn't change.
: This also started as part of a 2-sided State, though it was the harder-to-get 2nd side. It originally replayed your first play each turn, which could be Action, Treasure or Night; this was just too confusing though, everyone just mentally thought it only worked on Actions. Spelling it out was poor, so, it just works on Actions. So much for the sneaky Throne Room for Night cards.
: The last Project. Unchanged.
: This was and "discard an Action," then and "Victory," then the final version.
: At first this gave +2 Coffers. Ben demonstrated that it was too strong with a bot.
: Another early Project that never changed.
: This started and ended at , but went up to in the middle. I messed with the wording so that the turn order would be natural.
: This started at .
: This cost at first, but a Project can't cost (unless it has a penalty) - you just automatically buy it sometimes.
: Unchanged. Werothegreat suggested doing a one-card Project; Matt pitched it as a ; there it is.
: Early on I had a Duration card that sat there accumulating Coffers tokens until you popped it. There were a few versions. It's no fun seeing a giant pile of tokens on the other side of the table, so these died. Then I brought it back as the same thing but for +Cards. Somehow way more tolerable. So one day, you'd have a big turn. This was in the set for a while. Then I turned it into a Project, which only takes one card instead of eleven. As a Project there's the concern of, can we all keep our tokens separate, and well, we always managed.
: We tried several versions of a card that gained you a card each time you shuffled. It had problems every which way. This was a better fit for "thing to do when you shuffle."
As I mentioned, there was a 4th mat I don't really want to talk about. I don't know if I'll try to put it into an expansion someday, or how that will go, but, I might.
For a long time there was a for that came with an Artifact that made you discard a Copper each turn. We had fun with it; you're happy to buy it as long as you aren't the last one to get one, and when you're the current last one to get one, well, time to load up on these. Sometimes someone would be stuck with it and suffer. And sometimes you could brush off the penalty. We enjoyed the various ways it played, but it had a big problem: a casual player might just buy it, let's see what this does, and be screwed. It was worse than buying a Curse (sometimes), but disguised. So we tried having it give each other player "+1 Card, discard a card" at the start of your turn; this slows down the game too much and the tracking is poor, guess who has no incentive to remember this, yes it's the guy who has it. Then there was making you gain Coppers, but sometimes that's actually good, and sometimes easy to cope with. Then there was, your choice of discarding Copper or gaining Copper. This was just way too minor, it didn't delay you buying this village at all. In the end there is no negative Artifact; the village that got this slot is Mountain Village.
There was a village that was, cantrip, +1 Villager; man it's fine, you can argue about, does it need to cost
, but it's nice. The village that's always there when you need it. But really, the experience it gives is the villager experience, and other cards are giving us that experience. Another village just came with +2 Villagers; we already have that experience too. Another village converted + to +Coffers for your next card played. Large amounts of +Coffers are trouble.
The +Buy mat debuted with +
, discard cards for + each, +1 Buy token. Ahead of Spices and Ducat, there was a treasure that just gave you your choice of 2 tokens when played, between Coffers, Villagers, and +Buy.
Here's one that trashes itself for +5 Coffers if your opponent has a Silver in hand; when gained, it gave them a Silver. It was nuts, oops.
I tried a few cards that gave the other players a negative State when gained. They were cantrips that sometimes gave you stuff. The State made players put a played Copper on their deck for next turn. An early Witch had a one-use Moat State. A concept that hadn't worked in Nocturne either.
I mentioned some of the 2-sided States above. Another one simulated the +Buy mat. At first it was a +Buy mat that could upgrade to a +Card mat; then I had a card that just gave you the State on either side, and it couldn't flip - you locked in what it was, and what it was was your choice of a +Buy mat or a +1/2 Coffers mat (two tokens for +
One of the 2-sided states was Scheme / Citadel. Different kingdom cards tried producing that state - a , a , a .
There was also a duration cantrip giving +
next turn, that had a 2-sided State where the 2nd side had you draw a card per Duration at the start of each turn. It upgraded all your Durations. Then the States died, but I had a Project that did that, and I had the duration cantrip with no associated State. Both left in a purge of low-rated cards.
A prominent outtake gave you your choice of a Silver or one of two Artifacts. Initially one of the Artifacts gave you +1 Card +1 Action for gaining a card in your action phase, while the other made Silvers get +
(after briefly giving them +1 Coffers). Adam figured out that you could just crush people with this and no other cards. For a while I kept trying to make that happen in my own games; no-one quite managed to pursue the boring strategy, and the card kept seeming reasonable. Finally I saw it be broken. Then we went through a variety of Artifacts, trying to find a version of the card to preserve. The second Artifact usually let you topdeck gained cards. Billy and I heavily analyzed the situation - what exactly could you do to make this kind of an Artifact-giver work. I made a new card with two Artifacts, a village, abandoning the Silver-gainer. Finally I gave up on that too. I replaced one of the Artifacts with a Project - going to 5 Artifacts, 20 Projects, surely the set was always like that, you can't be telling me once there were 19 Projects - and the last Artifact tried out for both the village and Recruiter before ending up on Border Guard. Which does have two Artifacts... but having to get lucky (or to have trashed down) to get one helps it out, and the Artifacts nicely distinguish themselves.
There was a card called Patron that put a token on each of two non-Victory piles with no token (non-Victory because of ). When you gained a card from one of those piles, you took the token. The idea was that you could put one on whatever you were buying, plus one somewhere else, and for a little while there were safe options - I'll start with Curse, then Copper. But eventually you'd be sharing. Of course with +Buy you could just give yourself both tokens. Interesting concept; too powerful and not actually enough fun.
One card gave +2 Coffers, then went back to your hand if you had <= 3 tokens. "+. One issue is tracking the ; this version solved that. It still had the issue of tracking the actions used - and had to have that issue, since the whole point was getting to replay it if you had another action. That wasn't great, but also it was too strong. On its way out I tried just rewarding you if your next play was an Action card, without moving itself or using up the action.
, return to hand" was an old card, that made it out in mutated form as
I tried a card that let you put two tokens on a Project. The effect is pointless or nuts, and makes the rules more complex.
Prior to Villain, there was an attack that had your opponents discard a card they had 2+ copies of in hand (an idea from ); there was "each other player discards a copy of the most recently gained Treasure"; there was "if you have 5+ Coffers tokens, they discard down to 1 then draw 3." There was "they discard an Action, if they did they get +1 Coffers"; that looks like, why did I try that, but the idea was to be a simpler way of implementing an Enchantress that turned a card play into "+1 Action +1 Coffers." There was "Each other player with 5+ cards puts one on the bottom of their deck"; it's uh, it hasn't been done yet is what it is. And there was "they reveal their hand and discard all copies of one card in it," which bled into Villain.
I had a variant that played a card from another player's hand (leaving it there). It wasn't as interesting as it sounded.
There was a cantrip that had you name a card, reveal the top 4, and discard the non-matches. It seemed cute and innocuous, but was secretly strong and also slow. Then I tried it just discarding and Estates. I tried a cantrip that got you the top card if it was Copper or Estate - oh right, that's a lot like Will-o'-Wisp. Then I got you all of the Coppers and Estates from the top 3, and from there we move to the cards that feel like versions of .
Some stuff tried to mess with how many tokens you had. I tried doubling your Coffers tokens; somehow that's here in the outtakes section. I tried "Choose one: +1 Coffers, or + Then a choice between +1 Coffers, or a Warehouse for a card per token. Then, this one had some charm, +1 Coffers, you may gain a card costing per Coffers token." per token. There was a treasure that, when trashed, gave +1 Coffers per 2 tokens you had; yes you empty the pile and have an insane pile of tokens.
In I tested both "+ per card gained in the previous turn" and "+1 Coffers per," and I revisted the +Coffers one here, just making sure.
Here's a card that rewards you for having exactly one Treasure in hand, that's pretty random.
One of the things that tried to use Artifacts was a Treasure that gave you one Artifact if you gained a Treasure, another if you gained a Victory card. Another let you trash an incoming gained card to take one of two Artifacts or get +1 Coffers. An Artifact also messed with that a bunch, trying to let you trash an incoming card. It seemed appropriate for the trash-for-benefit theme that crept into the set, but kept being too weak or too strong. One of the cards was a village that said "If the next card you play this turn is a Treasure, take the thing or the thing." That trigger condition seemed promising for a while, though it limits what the Artifacts can be (mostly they want to be usable the turn you get them, and this confines that to the buy phase). There was a village that gave you an Artifact if you had 5+ Action cards in hand; you never remember that by the time you can do it. There were other Artifact-producing villages that were barely tried: one that had a choice, +2 Actions or toy; one that made your next draw like Catacombs except that's too hard to communicate; one that was a village and also had +1 Villager, and wanted you to gain a card no-one had gained yet to take an Artifact (you can turn the top card of each pile sideways to track that none have been gained yet, and man that doesn't fly today); another had a choice of Card/Coffers/Villager and always gave +2 Actions, and you got the toy for gaining a Gold. And the flurry of Artifacts that tried out for these cards included: Royal Seal; Treasures cost less; each turn gain a Silver; each turn gain a copy of a Treasure you have in play; when you gain a card + ; when you gain an Action or Victory card may gain a cheaper Treasure; Academy. A hard-to-get one gave you an Action card each turn.
On the quest for , there was a card that gave you +1 Buy per Treasure you discarded when gaining it (super +Buy cards are always trouble); and there was a card that to the same cost when you gained it and cost , which meant that on the / I drew in what was probably the only game with it, I went, buy that, turn three into that, huh.
Projects, I have outtakes there too.
- A straight + per turn. It's similar to Canal, isn't it. It ended up on Key.
- Save a card for next turn. I didn't like that you had to remember it when it wasn't doing much for you, and would save an Estate for a while.
- Scheme. The gameplay wasn't great and it wasn't popular.
- That +1 Card per Duration card in play thing I already mentioned. Later it had a + option for if there were no Durations.
- May remove cube to trash or topdeck a gained card. This isn't what Projects were about.
- In your turns, are also Actions with "something." I tried a few things.
- At the start of your turn, +2 Cards; at the start of your Buy phase, discard 2 cards. Powerful, fun, too hard to remember.
- May discard Action for +1 Villager. Counterpart to Pageant.
- In your Action phase, Silvers are Peddlers. It was fun briefly.
- In your Action phase, Treasures are Actions. Without any special ability added on. Not useful very often.
- When you buy a card for <= , gain an extra copy. So many Projects tried to do Workshop, often just being too fast to empty piles.
- When you buy an Action you don't have a copy of in play, gain an extra copy. Another one.
- Every turn, Workshop. As if.
- When you gain a card costing +, gain one for <= . One issue is that many of these can even work twice in a turn.
- When shuffle, may first gain card costing <= . So this cut down on how often you got to do it, and seemed cool, but there were huge issues.
- After shuffle, may gain card onto deck costing <= . Another one. See some versions made us wait for a player to shuffle, which sucks hard.
- Once per turn, when shuffle, first gain card for <= . But the other versions had hopeless card interactions, where you'd e.g. empty a pile instantly.
- Before you shuffle, may set aside Supply card for <= , and gain it afterwards. A last gasp for both Workshops and shuffle-Workshops.
- When drawing your hand, +1 Card per card you gained that turn. I did Road Network instead.
- When you play an Action that doesn't give +Actions, +1 Card afterwards. Hard to communicate, and what was I thinking really.
- Buy phase, +; your hand is just 4 cards. Looked interesting; was too strong, was too hard to remember.
- Buy phase, +1 Action +1 Buy +, your hand is just 4 cards. Trying to fix that up.
- Buy phase, +, - per card in hand. Man I don't remember all of these. Probably just in one game.
- Start of turn, look at top 3, put them back in any order. Not meaningful enough.
- Buy phase, may trash hand Silver for hand . Makes the game too much about the boring cards.
- Start of turn, look at top, may discard it. This was endlessly on lists, but I don't remember actually trying it.
- Each turn you don't buy anything, +3 Cards in next hand. A direction to consider more; hey in the end there's Exploration.
- If <= 3 cards in play at start of Clean-up, +3 Cards in next hand. I liked it until it turned out to be strong with just money.
- When you trash non-Copper, +1 Coffers. This game, we all get a big pile of tokens.
- When you gain a Treasure, you may trash a card/Treasure from hand. Let's just have a boring game of buying Treasures now.
- When you play a Treasure, +. A problem even though it cost .
- When gain card in Action phase, +1 Action, and if it's not the first one, +1 Card. Trying to recreate the fun of a dead Artifact that made Workshops cantrips.
- When gain card for <= in Action phase, +1 Card and +1 Action. And so on, for four versions of this premise.
- When you gain a Treasure, +1 Villager. Don't you mean Action?
- When gain copy of card previous player gained, +1 Coffers. Did not play well. The remaining ones were late attempts to fill up the last slots.
- Instead of trashing a hand card, may gain Silver, and vice-versa. That looks cool, doesn't it. Rules issues.
- Start of turn, may trash hand Silver/Gold for +2/3 Cards. Not a highlight of my options at this point.
- At end of Buy phase, if spent <= , +1 Coffers. I guess, helped contribute to Exploration happening? Exploration and City Gate were the last two.
- When gain a card, look at top, may discard it. Not a great matching of trigger and effect.
- Start of turn, reveal top, +1 Card if Treasure. Some people liked this one. A runner-up.
- Start of turn, may reveal no-Treasure hand to gain Gold. I mean it's useful when you build a deck that crushes your enemies already.
- When drawing hand, +2 Cards, discard 2 cards. Good times, crazy power level.
And there you have it.