Winner of the 2012 Kingdom Design Challenge

2012 Kingdom Design Challenge

jonts26 has won the Kingdom Design Challenge (and will be receiving a copy of the Dominion base game) with the following Kingdom:

2012 Kingdom Design Challenge Finalist #7

2012 Kingdom Design Challenge Finalist #7

We selected this Kingdom for the final because it offered a number of intriguing choices, most of which the actual championship game (and third-place match) brushed on.  Note, for instance, that all four players chose four different openings.  Below are jonts26’s comments that accompanied the set submission (don’t read if you want to try the set out yourself, and don’t want it spoiled!):

This is a power board with two distinct strategies. The idea is that both strategies are equally viable (as is a hybrid of the two if played right). Also, either strategy is still interesting and very tactical in a mirror match.

The more obvious strategy revolves around Silk Road with a lot of support. There are also a few different ways to play the Silk Road ranging from rush to slog. Use Tunnel/Warehouse to get Gold and buy Province/Duchy support? Thin Copper with Spice Merchant and use Crossroads/Village/Warehouse to draw big and cycle big? Many opportunities for tactical advantage to shine through.

The less obvious, but more powerful strategy revolves around Apprentice/Tunnel/Warehouse to gain and Apprentice Golds for massive draw and spending power. The limiting factor for this plan is how quickly you can buy provinces. Since all +Buy options require a card to be trashed and are terminal,  likely you will settle for a few 2-3 Province turns. Embargo exists to allow the Silk Road player to slow this down by clogging the apprentice deck, hopefully leading to dead turns, bringing the two to roughly equal power levels. In a mirror, end game dancing will be more interesting since both players would know exactly what the other is capable of. Additionally, there is room for one player to quickly, unexpectedly Embargo Provinces and transition into a Silk Road/Workshop game. If done right, it could potentially be the strongest strategy of the board.

Of course, all of the eleven finalists were wonderfully designed.  Set #5 was an extremely close runner-up, featuring multiple combos (Herbalist / Philosopher’s Stone, Mandarin/Copper/Silver/Gold + Royal Seal + Horn of Plenty) up against engine enablers like Fishing Village/Watchtower/Young Witch, +Buy, and Vineyards.

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

We also have an online spreadsheet of all submissions, with designer comments, ready-made strings to paste into Isotropic, the candidates we considered for the finalists, a breakdown of what expansions are needed to play each Kingdom, and stats on the submissions.

Once again, the eleven finalists:

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Final Bronze Match Designer Set
* indicates Bane
Game 1 Game 1 Powerman Vineyard, Apothecary, Fishing Village, Menagerie, Envoy, Young Witch, Market, Goons, Hoard, Expand, Colony, *Wishing Well
Game 2 Game 2 shark_bait Fool’s Gold, Lookout, Shanty Town, Warehouse, Woodcutter, Remodel, Sea Hag, Apprentice, Bazaar, Hoard
Game 3 Game 3 Wingnut Hamlet, Menagerie, Tunnel, Watchtower, Monument, Remake, Inn, Tactician, Adventurer, Bank
Game 4 Game 4 WanderingWinder Courtyard, Oracle, Trade Route, Tournament, Golem, Bazaar, Mint, Rabble, Fairgrounds, King’s Court
Game 5 Game 5 Beyond Awesome Vineyard, Herbalist, Fishing Village, Philosopher’s Stone, Caravan, Young Witch, Horn of Plenty, Mandarin, Royal Seal, Trading Post, *Watchtower
Game 6 Game 6 Robz888 Ambassador, Lookout, Wishing Well, Bishop, Ironworks, Monument, Trader, Venture, Expand, Peddler, Colony
Game 7 Game 7 jonts26 Crossroads, Embargo, Trade Route, Tunnel, Village, Warehouse, Workshop, Silk Road, Spice Merchant, Apprentice
Game 8 Game 8 ednever Moat, Fortune Teller, Bridge, Moneylender, Smithy, Throne Room, Festival, Jester, Vault, Fairgrounds
Game 9 Game 9 RobertJ Chapel, Embargo, Fool’s Gold, Oasis, Workshop, Thief, Throne Room, Worker’s Village, Margrave, Wharf
Game 10 Game 10 Polk5440 Haven, Fishing Village, Scheme, Steward, Horse Traders, Mountebank, Upgrade, Festival, Library, Goons
Game 11 Game 11 Tables Native Village, Talisman, Treasure Map, Worker’s Village, City, Vault, Venture, Grand Market, Expand, Peddler, Colony

Thank you all for your participation!  This has been a great experience, and we hope to do it again next year!

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1 Response to Winner of the 2012 Kingdom Design Challenge

  1. Pingback: Lunchtime Dominion: Filling the Trash | James Plays Games

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