Some Words from Donald X

This post is sort of a follow up post to what I wrote yesterday about Dominion as we have a bit of information right from The Donald himself. (No… not Trump but he had a pretty cool game too!)

For those of you not into designers (something I myself have only begun taking note of in recent months) Donald X. Vaccarino is the designer of the game Dominion. After the flurry of speculation over the past couple days about Intrigue Donald posted some information over at BGG and I thought I would share it with you.

“Here is some vague information about the set. The cards were finalized just as Dominion was hitting the streets; how the game-playing public responded to Dominion had no impact on Intrigue at all. Nevertheless there are things people have said they are hoping for and sometimes the set has them.

  • Some people want to see more Victory cards. There are more Victory cards.
  • Some people want to see more decision-making in your turn. There is more decision-making. This kind of thing was put off from the main set in order to keep the game fast for new players.
  • Some people want to see the three pile ending come up more. It will come up more.
  • Some people want more player interaction. There are not actually more interactive cards than usual – the main set has six (five attacks and Council Room, not counting Moat as it depends on attacks), making for ~2.5 per game if you deal out a random set of ten, and that seems like a good amount to me. The set is more interactive though, due to the interactive cards seeing more play on average relative to the main set ones, due to some of them being more interactive in their interaction, and due to the three piles ending coming up more often.
  • Some people want more ways to hand out Curses. There are more of those.
  • Some people want more Reactions. There will probably only be about one Reaction per expansion. The good ones are hard to come by. There is just one new Reaction.
  • Some people want Copper, Estate, and Duchy to be more relevant. There are cards that make them more relevant.

Any expansion has to include certain kinds of things in order to keep the game working. For example there have to be new cards that give you +2 Actions. Those cards make some kinds of decks possible that I will always want possible (not every game, but you know, in general). Of course the rest of what the card does can be anything.

The most significant thing about the new set to me is that it adds more variety. You go from exploring a 25-card space to exploring a 50-card space. You can’t see everything in the base 25 cards but you can sure feel like you have. With 50 cards the amount of variety drastically increases. You will see new deck possibilities much more often.

The card art is nicer on average than the main set’s art.”

In response to some questions he went on to say:

“I don’t have any plans to ever make that-that attacks. Most attacks will hit everyone else. It’s conceivable I could make an attack that hit a specific player you didn’t get to choose, i.e. the player to your left. I don’t actually have any of those in sets at the moment, but it’s not out of the question. But like ‘pick a player to hose,’ that’s never happening.”


“There’s a card that lets you voluntarily take a Curse, but telling you that is pretty misleading.

In general heinous penalties like ‘gain a Curse’ result in cards no-one likes. You have to make the upside really blatant for the fair version of the card not to look so weak that no-one tries it. And there will still be people who never play it anyway. There are two main tricks to penalties: 1) make them things that you can get around somehow, and 2) don’t do very many of them. You can get around ‘gain a Curse,’ but it’s still a very tough sell.”

Pretty interesting stuff! You can pop over to BGG and check out the whole discussion!