In this variant a pyramid VP card mechanic is used to drive the game to its conclusion and provide a different kind of challenge. The VP pyramid increases the decisions and pace at which you must adjust to constructing your deck.
All attempts were made to maintain the primary goals of deck building and the feel of playing by the normal game rules. To gain a consistent experience I am recommending that the cards chosen at 'random' fall into a set distribution. This variant was playtested using all Dominion expansions other than Alchemy.
Game setup will take about 10 minutes with an expected play time of around 30 minutes.
Retrieve 5 copper, 9 silver, 6 gold and 4 platinum treasure cards (if using them)
Randomly select the 10 kingdom card 'types' that will be used for play. Five of each kingdom card chosen will make up the kingdom card stacks in play.
Prepare the 30 card VP deck and the pyramid
Retrieve 12 estates, 12 duchies, 9 provinces and 6 colonies (if being used).
Determine how many of each card you would like to have in your 30 card VP deck.
- You must include all 12 estates.
- You may not have more colonies than provinces than duchies than estates. (Recommended first setups: 12 estates, 10 duchies and 8 provinces or; 12 estates, 8 duchies, 8 provinces and 2 colonies)
- Set aside all victory cards not part of the chosen deck components.
As you become more familiar with the mechanics of this variant you may discover ways to better fine tune your VP deck.
Shuffle the selected victory cards thoroughly.
Create a 6 card pyramid filling the pyramid from left to right and bottom to top. The bottom of the pyramid will have 3 cards, middle row 2 cards with 1 on top.
You may choose to adjust 2 card positions or to redraw up to 2 victory cards for the pyramid. If you are choosing to redraw, set the card(s) aside and draw replacements from the top of the deck. Reshuffle the card(s) set aside into the victory card draw deck.
Retrieve 5 attack cards from the attack card group and shuffle them into the victory card draw deck. Note: There are other attack cards in other card groupings but only the attack card from the attack grouping should be shuffled in.
Retrieve 5 curse cards placing them near the victory card pyramid
Create your starting deck of 7 copper and 3 estates (or expansion cards).
End Game Scoring Notes
Each copper remaining in your deck at game end loses you 2 VPs each unless there is only an action trashing card in the set. In this case, copper loses you 1 VP each. (0VP, easy game)
If you are playing with the expansion that replaces the estates, you need to know that each estate replacement card still in your hand at game end loses you 3 VPs each. (0VP, easy game)
Shuffle your deck.
Setup is complete.
For game balance it is important to follow the noted card distribution.
Creating Token/Card Supplies
If there are cards that introduce tokens (coins, VPs and Embargo) or other cards into play. You will need to create a game supply. Reminders about these requirements is mentioned in the Action Card Differences/Comments/ Setup Reminders section.
If coins are needed, retrieve 5 for each card type that call for them, Trade Route, for example.
If VP tokens are needed, retrieve a value of 15 (1, 5 VP token and 10, 1 VP tokens) for each card type that call for them, Bishop, for example.
If Embargo tokens are needed, retrieve 5 tokens.
If ruins are needed, it may be one or two ruins per card depending on how many the card specifies.
If a 0+ card supply is needed, create a supply of 5 cards of those required.
If spoils cards are needed, create a supply of 5 spoil cards.
Each card is designated its own game supply. Each time you buy/gain a card of the type move 1 token, 3 VP tokens or 1 to 2 cards into the active supply near the kingdom cards. At this point the token(s), VPs or card(s) can be gained through game actions. All cards will share the same pool of active tokens.
The supply will be limited by the number of cards of the type(s) bought/gained. If all cards of the type are bought, all 5 or 15 tokens will be in the active supply. The AI will never trigger moving tokens/cards to the active supply.
Game Play Brief
Draw 5 cards from your deck
Check the VP pyramid for stability (Game Status Change #1)
Optionally play an action card (+ any additional actions that a card(s) may provide)
Make one buy action (+ any additional buys action card(s) may provide)
Game Status Changes
I. Checking for Pyramid Stability
If there are no bottom level cards, cascade and refill the pyramid.
If there are less than 4 cards and there is not a VP card in the top position or the remaining cards are not all connected (touching), cascade and refill the pyramid.
How to Cascade?
Move each card down one level at a time adjusting no more than one position to the left or right until the cards reach the lowest possible level. Then refill completely the pyramid from left to right, bottom to top from the VP draw deck. If the draw deck is depleted, fill what you can. Note: An empty draw deck does not count towards the 3 empty supply stacks.
II. Game Reactions
Whenever any of the follow game conditions occur the AI may react by scoring one or more VP cards from the bottom of the VP pyramid. Maintain a facedown score pile for the AI.
After reshuffling your deck:
You may either place a curse in your discard or the AI scores the bottom, leftmost 'VP' card from the pyramid.
If you take a curse and there is an active supply of VP tokens, one token is discarded from play.
If the card scored is a curse, trash it and the top VP card the AI has scored. If the AI does not have a VP card only the curse is trashed.
If the card to be 'scored' is not a VP or curse card, trash the card.
After drawing cards from your draw deck:
(duration cards already in play do not count)
If there are 7+ cards combined between the cards in hand and in play, the AI scores a card of your choice from the bottom of the pyramid. Some cards will increase this number.
Exception: Outpost turns (starting with 3 cards) will not trigger the AI scoring a VP card as a result of card draws.
After playing your 4th action card:
(duration cards already in play do not count)
The AI scores one of the bottom VP cards, your choice.
Exception: Outpost turns (starting with 3 cards) will not trigger the AI scoring a VP card as a result of 4+ actions being played.
After buying cards:
If you buy a gold or platinum treasure card, the AI scores 1 or 2 bottom VP cards respectively. You can reduce the scoring of VP cards by 1 for each 2 coin you pay above the cost of the card. For example, if you bought a gold card by paying 8 coin, you are not required to score a card for the AI.
If you buy a VP kingdom card, the AI will score 2 VP cards from the bottom of the pyramid of your choice. You can reduce the number of VP cards the AI scores for each 2 coin you pay above the cost of the card. In other words if you pay 8 coin for a Gardens card, the AI will not score a VP card.
If you buy a VP card from the pyramid, the AI may score 1 or more VP cards. The cost of a VP card goes up 2 coins for each pyramid level above the bottom. This means that an Estate costs 6 coins if bought from the top of the pyramid:
- If you buy an estate, no card is scored.
- If you buy a duchy from the bottom row, the AI scores 1 VP card.
- If you buy a province from the bottom row, the AI scores 2 VP cards.
- If you buy a colony from the bottom row, the AI scores 3 VP cards. Reduce the number of VP cards the AI scores by 1 for each level above the bottom level the card is bought from. For example if a colony is bought from the top level the AI scores only 1 VP card or if a duchy is bought from the middle level the AI does not score a VP card.
- If the AI scores more than one card, you must consider all bottom cards before taking one from a higher level. If there are not enough cards in the pyramid, the AI scores what it can.
Important Game Play Note: Gaining a card during the action phase is not the same as buying a card and does not cause a game reaction.
However, to gain a specific VP card from the VP pyramid the specific card must be in the bottom row. A Baron, for instance cannot gain an estate unless one is in the bottom row.
VP cards higher up in the pyramid have an increased cost which is always considered. For example, a Feast cannot gain a duchy from the middle row or top position of the pyramid because a duchy costs 7 or 9 coins respectively.
To use an action card you must be able to perform the full action on the card. If an action is optional, you do not have to perform action but it must be possible. If it is not possible, such as a supply stack is empty, you may not use any portion of the action. This includes giving a curse to the AI.
If the AI is given a curse, you may choose to add it to the VP pyramid or to trash the curse and the top AI scored VP card, if any.
Buy Action Options
If you make multiple buys, the most expensive is always bought first.
Just like the action restriction, you must be able to gain/give the cards required to be able to buy a given card, such as Ill-Gotten Gains (a curse is in the supply).
Possible buy actions
Buy a kingdom, treasure or pyramid VP card
If you buy multiple cards the AI reaction only triggers with the buy that scores the most cards. For example, if you are buying a province and a duchy the AI will react to the province purchase which must be done first.
Gain a copper (you may not 'buy' curse cards)
Curse a bottom level estate from the VP pyramid.
To curse an estate you trash a curse from your hand and then trash an estate from the bottom level of the VP pyramid.
Optional Bonus Action
If you purchase a VP card from the top position of the pyramid, regardless of the type, you may move any 1 VP card in the pyramid to another position or you may switch 2 VP card positions. Pyramid stability is not checked until after you draw your new hand.
Possible Game End Condition
If you are not able to complete a buy action, you have lost the game.
Reminder: gaining a card during the action phase does not count as buying a card.
Exception:During an Outpost 3 card turn, if you chose not to play any action cards, you do not have to buy a card. Discard your hand with the Outpost and redraw a full hand for your next turn.
End of the Game
At the end of your turn when 3 card supply stacks are empty. This includes treasure and curse cards.
The VP pyramid has no remaining cards
You are unable to purchase a card on your turn. This is a game loss. End game scoring does not happen in this case.
Scoring the End Game
Determine the score that you need to beat
AI scores 2/3/4/5 VP for each VP card gained regardless of type
Master: (4 colonies in play minimum) The AI scores the face value of the VP cards it scored.
Add the value of any VP cards remaining in a kingdom card supply stack. Note that some VP cards will need to be calculated. See card explanations at the end of these rules.
Add 1 VP for each VP card still in the pyramid and draw stack. Expert/Master: The AI scores 2 VP for each card remaining.
Subtract 1 VP for each curse remaining in the supply
Determine your score
Score all VP cards gained, Subtract 1 VP for each curse
Normal, Advanced, Expert or Master Level Game:
Score all VP cards gained
Subtract 1 VP for each curse
Subtract 2 VPs for each copper remaining in your deck unless there is only an action card trashing kingdom card in play. In this case, each copper subtracts 1 VP.
Subtract 3 VPs for any starting deck 'estate replacements' remain in your deck. If there are no action or VP action trashing cards each estate replacement subtracts 2 VP.
Subtract 4 VPs for each Ruin in your deck.
Subtract 5 VP for each kingdom card stack that has 5 cards in it excluding treasure cards
Determine if a victory condition has been reached
For each game level:
- Tie or Score Less than Game: Game Loss
- +1 to 5: Level 1 Victory
- +6 to 10: Level 2 Victory
- +11 to 15: Level 3 Victory
- +16 or more: Level 4 Victory (you are ready for the next game level or in the case of an expert level, played a perfect game)
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