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User Rating Comment Status
Matt Tonks
United Kingdom
Bedfordshire
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10
Nov 2010
Owned
Mark Beyak
United States
Santa Rosa
California
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Combat Commander gets your blood flowing.
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10
Jun 2013
Here is another fine example of a EuroChad design. This one has quite a bit of back and forth competition. I have to remember to sometimes just ride the coattails of other players while I rebuild my species to become dominant another day.

I'm a play tester and enough time has gone by so that I can rate this game the way I feel it ought to be rated by me.
(6/11/13)
2013-06-11
Owned
Johan Pettersson
Sweden
Smygehamn
Skåne
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10
Nov 2010
Owned
Kevin Bakker
United States
Ypsilanti
Michigan
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10
Dec 2011
This is essentially the greatest game ever made. I will write more when I return home.

4/24/12: Update, played again, still my favorite game ever. After playing this one I went and sold $1200 worth of games (~15 games) because I found the perfect game here. Probably going to cull some more as I would rather play this than even take the time to try others.
2012-04-24
Owned
Abraham Drucker
United States
San Francisco
California
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10
Feb 2013
Owned
Pete Martyn
United States
Guilford
VT
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10
Jan 2015
Gonna give this a few more plays, but it's gunning for a 10 rating. Really fantastic work. After one play I couldn't stop thinking about it for the next few days. I had to own it, and now I do. Good work, me!
Edit: This gets a ten from me. I just adore everything about this game and wish I could play it more. It is not a game that is gentle to one's brain, as you're 100% on for the entire multi-hour length. But oh, what a ride. And also, best rulebook ever, possibly.
2015-01-18
Owned
Want To Play
Todd Jarvis
United States
Arizona
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10
Nov 2014
Owned
Brian Barnes
United States
Layton
Utah
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10
Nov 2010
Love this game a real gamers game. Its long but I love every minute of it. Played twice so far, everyone seems to enjoy it and by the way I think it looks great.
2010-11-08
Prev. Owned
Ricardo Viera
Spain
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10
Feb 2013
Owned
Ingo Keiner
Germany
Oberhausen
NRW
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10
Dec 2011
SS 2010 - Thank you Santa!
2010-12-22
Owned
Diz Hooper
Japan
Osaka
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10
Nov 2010
An excellent game. Very tense all the way through. The time flies by when you play. I'm very much looking forward to getting it to the table again.
2010-11-21
Owned
Andrew Garttmeyer
United States
Warminster
Pennsylvania
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10
Jun 2012
Very long game where things are changing a lot from turn to turn. You have to keep your wits about you because if you are not paying attention to many aspects there is a chance that your animals will not have food sufficient for them to exist in that space, or a glacier will fall on your group of animals (happened to me and I cried).

I do love this game because you do not have to plan super long term, but every decision you make will drastically change the course of the game. It is fun watching how much the board changes over the course of the game.
2011-10-31
Owned
Malcolm Bruce
United Kingdom
Aberdeenshire
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10
Jan 2011
Owned
Michael Behr
Germany
Koenigswinter
Germany
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10
Mar 2011
Owned
Jenny Nguyen
Australia
Bungarribee
NSW
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10
Jul 2013
Revised rating from 8 (2010) to 9 (2011) to 10 (2013).

Yup, this game certainly has continued to live long and prosper in my gaming circles. It is a deep thinking game with many tough decisions to be made along the way. I continue to thoroughly enjoy it after all this time.

New players will often feel miserable as they appear to lose but there are always outs and ways to claw back in and even move into pole position. Definitely not a game to judge on a first play basis.

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This game has only gotten better with more plays. I enjoy the deep strategy and the heart wrenching decisions. The mechanics marry well with the theme. Prospective buyers/players should be warned that this is a long game, and it is a cruel one.
2013-07-16
Owned
Yoki Erdtman
Sweden
Södertälje
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Handsome devil huh?
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10
Aug 2012
Great theme, good designer, tons and tons of hype, and I'm glad I fell for it. This game is all that and a bag of chips. I love it! The worker placement mechanism is very cleverly implemented, and the way the timing of the actions work out will make you curse in frustration, or snicker with glee. The fact that the area control features 2 different metrics of resolution going on simultaneously in each area makes ones brain hurt, but it certainly is well designed and evocative of the theme. The elements work in a great way to tie the entire package together.

I upgraded to the 3rd edition board, cards and tiles, and must say that I like them a whole lot better than the 1st edition. It made it much simpler for me and my buddies to keep an overview of the game state.

Dominant Species is easily the most epic game in my collection, not only in theme, but implementation and game length. This is one heavy and very long game. The rules are fantastically well written and easy to understand, but in execution the worker placement mechanism becomes too difficult to manage, as you cannot hold all the permutations in your head. I've learned that one can keep 7 things actively in ones short term memory, but this drives past that at 65 mph and leaves it in the dust. You are faced with so many if-then statements that you are forced to play more by gut and instinct. Sure, you can have some sort of strategy from the start, but this is definitely a highly tactical game, sadly all those actions are already locked in and in many ways the game starts feeling like a programming game ala Space Alert.

This is my game of choice for gaming weekends, vacations or long conventions, but it will probably not come out at our regular gaming nights at all again.

Enjoy the ride, it's epic!


Ideas for a shorter game:
1) Give everyone 1 extra AP. (Not sure if this won't have the opposite effect, as we already tend to take all the Domination Cards each round.)
2) Remove 5-6 of each Element from the bag, to even out the draws a bit.
3) Remove some cards, the consencus (even included in the rules) state to remove Immigrants, Intelligence, Omnivore, and Parasitism. Many add Blight to that list. I am of the opinion that removing the AP modifiers will handicap the animals at the bottom of the food chain. The Insects advantage is the initiative to grab Parasitism or Omnivore before anyone else can react.
4) Play with fewer Species cubes per player (say 5 less).

The drawbacks of a shortened game of Dominant Species seem to be that the last couple of turns are the most exciting, as players are running out of Species cubes, the Tundra is most valuable, and the Earth has grown so large that migrating across it is difficult at best. Missing out on this doesn't sound like much fun.

Cardless Variant:
The "cardless variant" by the designer is interesting though. All cards except for Ice Age are put on the board face down, and when taken by the Dominant player, kept in front of them until the End Game. They score Bonus VP as normal for how many Domination Cards they have in front of them at the end of the game.
2013-08-15
Owned
Larry Rice
United States
Irvine
California
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10
Oct 2011
LIKES:

* I like that each animal brings a special ability to the game.
* While the majority vs domination concepts can be confusing the first play, this really brings a fascinating parallel competition/game to the game. One is almost playing two different games at the same time although there is some relation between the two.
* The 12 or so different actions really bring out the flavor of the game and can really swing rounds like crazy both in regard to domination and majorities.
* When one scores a tile using the domination action, not only does the tile score points, but the person who has domination must choose and play a card that often can effect future scorings in the same round. Finding combinations that work well here are just fun and interesting. Another fascinating twist is that the majorities leader may not be the domination leader and either person could select to score the hex! I love incentive based games.
* When your species cubes are removed from the tiles for any reason other than glaciation, they are actually removed from the game. This can lead to a cube shortage for majorities!

DISLIKES:
* It is confusing to many people the concept that each cube is a species. Just make sure to hammer the concept home that when one reads/hears species, it refers to ONE cube.
* While this isn't a negative per se, this game will take 4-5 hours the first time you play. While it is straightforward to play, there is a lot to take in and think through while playing and choosing your actions.
2010-11-13
Owned
Jeremy Oppenheim
United States
Reston
Virginia
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10
Jul 2012
This might be the perfect worker placement game
2010-12-19
Owned
Joel Tamburo
United States
Unspecified
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10
Oct 2010
A euro from GMT. On the heels of Leaping Lemmings we get the much heaver but also extremely good Dominent Species.

After a few plays I revised my score upward. The rules are outstanding and the play is DEEP. It is a heacy game and some players may have analysis paralysis but to me that type of game is geek heaven.
2010-10-22
Owned
Jeff Pratt
United States
Anacortes
Washington
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Just admit it already, Small World is not a fantasy wargame...it's a Mancala variant!
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10
Jan 2012
Dominant Species is the best game I have played in years. Although many parts of it are very abstract in nature, the game does a tremendous job of creating an atmosphere of constant adaptation and struggle for survival. At times, just trying to move into a habitable set of tiles can get so competitive it feels like a knife fight in a phone booth. The Domination cards really intensify the effect, because being able to control them is often times more important than expanding your species or scoring. People will fight for them, intensely.

All of this drives the game to very competitive place. Feelings are going to get hurt, people are going to get angry. I have played with a number of different groups and I have seen it play out time and time again. You are actively driving other players to extinction and silly as it may be, you will take it personally when someone pops a volcanic eruption under your population center and instantly removes half of your species from the game. You don't get them back, so you WILL want revenge. It drives the game, so even if it makes the group uncomfortable at times, it is necessary in creating the game's undeniably intense experience. This is one of those titles that keeps you talking about a particular session for weeks after you actually played it. It's a hall of fame game, one that will stay in my collection even if I decide to someday get out of the hobby.
2015-02-10
Owned
Joshua Miller
United States
Holland
Michigan
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10
Nov 2011
Marvelous, brilliantly-constructed game.

The best way I can quickly describe Dominant Species is that it's the state-of-the-art hardcore gamer's version of El Grande. The magic of El Grande was not just plopping cubes into regions and scoring 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place whenever a scoring round rolls along. Many games have done that sort of thing. No, the magic was in the jockeying for the special game-breaking actions that put the game state in constant flux, and provided countless ways of screwing up your opponents' plans. Dominant Species has the same kind of fun in the box.

But of course, Dominant Species is more than just Advanced El Grande. It combines the best parts of El Grande with the smooth menu selection / action drafting / worker placement of games like Caylus, Agricola, Age of Empires, and seemingly every other game released over the past five years. That sort of system works best when it creates the feeling that there are three or four or five things you absolutely must do right away, and you might be totally screwed if you don't get to do them. Agricola, for example, gets this right. Most of the other games in the genre get it wrong. Dominant Species gets it right.

And for all its mechanical beauty, Dominant Species also features an organic, compelling theme that meshes amazingly well with the game systems. I really do feel like I'm doing the sort of things I ought to be doing in a game about protean creatures that are adapting, surviving, proliferating, dominating. My role is that of a god-like shepherd and provider for my creatures. I'm not just guiding their actions. I'm also shaping the world itself to create an environment where they can thrive.
2011-07-01
Owned
James
United States
Texas
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10
Apr 2011
Dominant Species is making a fantastic first impression. It's a game of constant aggression and success to you needs to come at the cost of the other people playing. The systems mesh perfectly and the time spent (over 7 years in development from what I understand!) shows with the smoothness of play and the way that all of the systems work together to create an ebb and flow that one would expect from the evolutionary theme. I love the fact that this game has the "pebble in the pond" effect down perfectly. Decisions made have impacts that you may not be aware of until much later. Amazing game!

My initial impressions based on my first two two-player games is very positive. I think that this game is going to be a big hit with my group!
2010-10-09
Prev. Owned
The root of all evil... but you can call me cookie.
United States
Gainesville
Florida
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10
Oct 2010
The best game of 2010 hands down. This game has it all. Tight area control, worker placement tension...ahhhh you just need to give this game a try.

Tried this one exactly twice with 2 players. Once with each of us playing 2 animals and once with us each playing 1. Both were unsatisfying experiences. Both games had some elements go dead and drop off of the earth. Ugh this needs to be a 5 or 6 player game.
2013-12-09
Owned
Michael Sillion
Sweden
Varberg
Unspecified
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10
Nov 2010
Seems like one of the best game ever!
2010-11-02
Owned
Want To Play
Niels Nas
Netherlands
Vught
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10
Oct 2010
Owned

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