This is an archive of a past course's class materials from 2011. Present "Games & Society" students should look elsewhere to find their coursework; consult your current syllabus for more information.
The designer and intstructor of this lab course, Jason McIntosh, has written notes and commentary about this course which may be of interest to other teachers. You can contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here’s some additional information about the tabletop game Dominion. I’m sharing this here becuase we didn’t have time to debrief about the game as a class during our two design-and-playtest lab meetings. Reading this information is wholly optional. If you enjoyed the game, this may be of interest; if you have seen enough of it for one lifetime, feel free to skip this page.
Now that you know your way around Dominion, if you ever want to play a pick-up game you can always find friendly competition online, via either Board Game Arena or Isotropic Dominion.
Those who especially enjoyed the game can obtain a physical copy of their very own at most any local game or hobby shop, or via mail order – NU bought its copies through Amazon.com. We played in class with only the base set, but Dominion’s publishers have released many expansion sets since the game’s original publication in 2008. While the base set features a broad mix of different cards, the expansions tend to focus on some specific card type, or introduce entirely new types. Games & Society students might be particularly interested in the first expansion, Dominion: Intrigue, which focuses on new kinds of Attack cards – the card type that this class perhaps found lacking in the base set, judging by the tenor of the cards you designed.
Here is a long essay about Dominion card design by dominionstrategy.com user “rinkworks”. It includes an interesting list of common design pitfalls, based on the collective wisdom of the Dominion fan community, who have designed and tested many, many cards.
This essay was brought to my attention by that website’s administrator, Edward Fu. He had noticed all the traffic the site was getting from a single source, and followed it back to find our own class’s website, and the Dominion design assignment. While he suggested I pass this link along to y’all, I decided it was too much information to drop on the class at at the start; I’d rather see the students discover some of these design principles and traps for themselves. (And I was not disappointed…)
In a BoardGameGeek.com forum post titled The Secret History of the Dominion Cards, Dominion creator Donald X. Vaccarino details the design decisions that went into every basic-set Kingdom card, summarizing each into a paragraph. (Donald wrote “Secret History” posts for all the expasions’ cards as well, but I will leave locating those as an exercise for the reader.)