2011 DominionStrategy.com Kingdom Design Challenge
Wingnut has won the Kingdom Design Challenge (and will be receiving a copy of the Dominion base game) with the following Kingdom:
We selected this Kingdom for the final because it offered a number of intriguing choices, most of which the actual championship game brushed on. (If you want to try the set out yourself, and don’t want it spoiled, don’t read the next paragraph!)
As with many such decks, Goons can be a dominating card because of the sheer number of VP tokens it gives. One way to set it up is with Governor/Goons, a monster drawing chain that can shut your opponent down like a Village/Council Room/Militia, and Worker’s Village can give you the +Actions and +Buys to fully exploit your Goons. But it had to compete with Inn/Menagerie/Goons, where Inn can play three roles: the on-buy power, the sifting to trigger Menageries, and the actions to play more Goons. Tunnel throws a huge wrench into everything: a careless engine builder can easily find himself overwhelmed by a money-based deck focusing on Tunnel, some VP from Monument, and possibly Adventurer. Maybe you can integrate Tunnel directly into your engine, but Ghost Ship can be a way around the Tunnels. Grand Market is a fantastic addition to Goons, but when do you have the time to get it? And you must be careful not to let the piles run out on you!
Of course, all of the nine finalists were wonderfully designed. One particular favorite of ours was Set #8, which had a hidden counter to Ambassador involving Secret Chamber/Crossroads that could explode for $30+ turns. Set #9, which didn’t get played, has an intriguing Chapel-into-Gardens approach. Set #3 was the famous King’s Court/Goons/Masquerade combo, the strongest combo Dominion has to offer, up against pretty much all of its nemeses.
So we would highly recommend all of them if you’re looking to try a custom set game. Each offers enough depth to be played multiple times without identifying any obviously optimal approach. You can see all the finalists here, or on DominionDeck.com.
We also have a complete spreadsheet of all submissions, with designer comments, including the 16 candidates we considered for the finalists. The nine that we selected happened to work especially well together, but all 16 of these candidates were worthy of being included in the final.
And of course, statistics on the submissions: turns out that when you ask the community for custom sets, chances are, you’re going to see Gardens, Hamlet, or Tunnel.
The nine finalists, once more:
Game 1: Moat, Tunnel, Bishop, Gardens, Ironworks, Young Witch, Tournament, Council Room, Torturer, Border Village
Game 2: Crossroads, Loan, Silk Road, Baron, Bureaucrat, Apprentice, Duke, Farmland, Harem, Nobles
Game 3: Haven, Great Hall, Workshop, Masquerade, Ironworks, Island, Throne Room, Tactician, Goons, King’s Court
Game 4: Lookout, Masquerade, Oracle, Smithy, Worker’s Village, Festival, Ghost Ship, Margrave, Mountebank, Treasury
Game 5: Embargo, University, Scrying Pool, Worker’s Village, Remodel, Wharf, Rabble, Grand Market, Forge, Peddler
Game 6: Menagerie, Tunnel, Ghost Ship, Governor, Inn, Monument, Worker’s Village, Grand Market, Goons, Adventurer
Game 7: Embargo, Scheme, Menagerie, Watchtower, Fishing Village, Remake, Haggler, Vault, Grand Market, Expand
Game 8: Crossroads, Secret Chamber, Warehouse, Loan, Ambassador, Caravan, Worker’s Village, Bureaucrat, Merchant Ship, Grand Market
Game 9*: Chapel, Fishing Village, Watchtower, Ironworks, Gardens, Bridge, Highway, Mountebank, Ill-gotten Gains, Goons
Thank you all for your participation! This has been a great experience, and we hope to do it again next year!