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Dominion» Forums » General

Subject: Dominion (prime): A :Gateway" game or not in your opinion rss

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mortego

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I really enjoy Dominion but never suggest playing it when I have friends over my home that are new to gaming. I do see this game a lot on lists for "Gateway" games but somehow feel that diminishes Dominion somehow.

What's you opinion? Is Dominion a "Gateway" game in you eyes?
 
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ackmondual
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killerjoe1962 wrote:
I really enjoy Dominion but never suggest playing it when I have friends over my home that are new to gaming. I do see this game a lot on lists for "Gateway" games but somehow feel that diminishes Dominion somehow.

What's you opinion? Is Dominion a "Gateway" game in you eyes?
Yes. It can be both a gateway game, and a gamer's game, but ideally not both at the same time.

For the former, your "clueless" acquaintances, grandma, Cards Against Humanity group, etc., can be taught Dominion and for the most part, have an overall grasp of things, how to play their turns, and perhaps see some interesting synergies, loopholes, and even win.

For the latter, there's enough planning out at the start of the game, as well as dynamic changes during the game rewards strategy, but still instill a "healthy" amount of luck into the mix.



The experiences of both camps may not be so pleasant when you mix them together. For example, folks who are more strategic or otherwise experienced can mop the floor of newbies and nongamers, adding insult to injury as they need to sit through minutes per turn of somebody drawing out their entire deck.

Folks who just do Dominion casually may never have any intention of getting better, reading up on strategies here and/or DominionStrategy.com, and reviewing charts/graphs from simulators on DS.com. They'll do stuff like buy Copper with their extra buy (even when it's not a Kingdom with Gardens) or buy a Woodcutter even though they already have 3 other terminals (which should've been Silvers).

You can give this group strategy advice, but I've been in groups where it's taboo or considered rude to do so, as it's unsolicited, and the mantra for those groups is "just let people play the game they'd like to". It may not be fun for vets/experienced gamers when other players lag too far behind, or end up doing "kingmaker-like" moves.
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Timur Tabi
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I think it can be a gateway game only if you have the simplest of Kingdom cards. Otherwise, the novice player will easily get overwhelmed by the choices.

If a player who understands the game very well always dominates over a new player, then it can't be a gateway game.
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Igor Kaplounenko
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tabicat wrote:
I think it can be a gateway game only if you have the simplest of Kingdom cards. Otherwise, the novice player will easily get overwhelmed by the choices.

If a player who understands the game very well always dominates over a new player, then it can't be a gateway game.


That doesn't even begin to make sense, except maybe with the one exception of the knights, which are all distinct and only the top one gets revealed. The rest of the Kingdom cards are always known to all the players -- nothing prevents a talented novice from winning. The rules are also extremely straightforward.

FWIW Dominion got me into board games. I hated Catan, and still do.
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Kirk Monsen
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megawidget wrote:
tabicat wrote:
I think it can be a gateway game only if you have the simplest of Kingdom cards. Otherwise, the novice player will easily get overwhelmed by the choices.

If a player who understands the game very well always dominates over a new player, then it can't be a gateway game.


That doesn't even begin to make sense, except maybe with the one exception of the knights, which are all distinct and only the top one gets revealed. The rest of the Kingdom cards are always known to all the players -- nothing prevents a talented novice from winning. The rules are also extremely straightforward.

FWIW Dominion got me into board games. I hated Catan, and still do.


This makes sense to me. He is saying use simple cards when teaching the game. Stick with cards with little verbiage, maybe with one or two wordy cards, and not too many different mechanisms or strategies. This makes the game more level as players have a better chance of understanding the game and the cards.

If you overwhelm them with lots of complex cards, while at a glance you know what they all do and the complex strategies they imply, a newbie will not have the same opportunity, and will get their ass handed to them.
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Freelance Police
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tabicat wrote:
I think it can be a gateway game only if you have the simplest of Kingdom cards. Otherwise, the novice player will easily get overwhelmed by the choices.


fwiw, I have the newbie select the ten cards! I tell them that they can look a the cards and pick out the ones with the least text. Plus, we get to blame losing the game on the newbie. laugh
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ackmondual
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Sam and Max wrote:
tabicat wrote:
I think it can be a gateway game only if you have the simplest of Kingdom cards. Otherwise, the novice player will easily get overwhelmed by the choices.


fwiw, I have the newbie select the ten cards! I tell them that they can look a the cards and pick out the ones with the least text. Plus, we get to blame losing the game on the newbie. laugh
Heh... the game begins before it even begins meeple
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Chris G
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I find the beginner recommended setup in the first book to be a pretty good balance for the first few games. It touches on several key mechanics that really set the foundation for the game. Once new players start seein how they interact then you can add more variety and cards. A seasoned player will dominate new players but I think that's part of the learning experience. New players can learn by seeing combinations that the seasoned player is using. If everyone is new they often fall into the follow the leader trap until one player has that epiphany moment where they can start to see the whole puzzle and play accordingly.

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Derek Whaley
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I've taught probably a dozen people or more how to play Dominion, none of them being gamers (a few never having played a Euro-style game before). All of them grasped it pretty quickly. We use the Spielbox mats to help show them what goes where when, but other than that, the cards are all rather self-explanatory, unlike many other deck-builders. They may not grasp the strategy end of things, but they can figure out quickly enough how the cards work by themselves. Very rarely have I gotten a question about how a card works – the cards just say precisely that. But still, the strategy thing can definitely be a steep curve. A lot of friends who are new to the game either unintentionally play Big Money, or they play grab-all-the-Kingdom-cards. Neither is a good technique when playing against veterans.
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Jorge
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tabicat wrote:
If a player who understands the game very well always dominates over a new player, then it can't be a gateway game.
This is irrelevant. This statement could also had been true for Stone Age: an experienced player with always dominate new players, due to their understanding of how the scoring cards work. Nevertheless, Stone Age hides from newbies the fact that they are behind until the final scoring, which makes it an excellent gateway game, as the newbies will enjoy it until the final scoring.

Having said that, this does not make Dominion a bad gateway game. It's not bad. It's just unsuitable unless everyone on the table is new to the game. Newbie, casual players that do not care getting better in the game might not enjoy seeing an experienced player getting the lion's share of the Provinces and hammering them every round with the one (1) Militia they've got, due to their excellent deck cycling.

For me the best "gateway" games, barring coop (Pandemic) should hide the final scoring until the end of the game. This is what makes Ticket to Ride so popular; while there is in-game scoring, the majority takes place at the end of the game.

For what is worth, I have played the "First Game" set more times than I can remember (Cellar, Moat, Village, Woodcutter, Workshop, Militia, Remodel, Smithy, Market, Mine). It's a good set to show the game, as it has a bit of everything and no cursers.
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Desiree Greverud
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megawidget wrote:
tabicat wrote:
I think it can be a gateway game only if you have the simplest of Kingdom cards. Otherwise, the novice player will easily get overwhelmed by the choices.

If a player who understands the game very well always dominates over a new player, then it can't be a gateway game.


That doesn't even begin to make sense, except maybe with the one exception of the knights, which are all distinct and only the top one gets revealed. The rest of the Kingdom cards are always known to all the players -- nothing prevents a talented novice from winning. The rules are also extremely straightforward.

except even 10 simple choices (16 when you include the base cards) is 8 or 9 (or 14 or 15) more than you get when playing Clue on Ludo or Monopoly. That can be quite overwhelming
 
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Morten K
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ackmondual wrote:
killerjoe1962 wrote:
I really enjoy Dominion but never suggest playing it when I have friends over my home that are new to gaming. I do see this game a lot on lists for "Gateway" games but somehow feel that diminishes Dominion somehow.

What's you opinion? Is Dominion a "Gateway" game in you eyes?
Yes. It can be both a gateway game, and a gamer's game, but ideally not both at the same time.


Exactly! And that is why this was the game that got me into the hobby.
 
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Rick Teverbaugh
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DragonsDream wrote:
megawidget wrote:
tabicat wrote:
I think it can be a gateway game only if you have the simplest of Kingdom cards. Otherwise, the novice player will easily get overwhelmed by the choices.

If a player who understands the game very well always dominates over a new player, then it can't be a gateway game.


That doesn't even begin to make sense, except maybe with the one exception of the knights, which are all distinct and only the top one gets revealed. The rest of the Kingdom cards are always known to all the players -- nothing prevents a talented novice from winning. The rules are also extremely straightforward.

except even 10 simple choices (16 when you include the base cards) is 8 or 9 (or 14 or 15) more than you get when playing Clue on Ludo or Monopoly. That can be quite overwhelming


Having taught the game for the past six years for Rio at Origins and GenCon, I haven't found this to be true. Granted these are people who are aware enough of the hobby to have purchased a credential to get into a gaming event. But I would say only about 1 person in 30 has any issues with understanding the rules within a few turns and the basic strategies after a game or two.
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Eric Matthews
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Base Dominion is a gateway game.

Inoffensive theme that doesn't turn anyone off with its art
Easy to teach with only one mechanic to focus on
Accessible rulebook
Reasonable length that doesn't scare new gamers off


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Igor Kaplounenko
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kryyst wrote:
I find the beginner recommended setup in the first book to be a pretty good balance for the first few games. It touches on several key mechanics that really set the foundation for the game. Once new players start seein how they interact then you can add more variety and cards.


I fail to see how playing a setup that most veterans have by this point played to death benefits the newbie. The whole point of Dominion is you relearn the game every time you play with new random cards. This is both what gives it its longevity and makes it a great gateway game.
 
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Rick Teverbaugh
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megawidget wrote:
kryyst wrote:
I find the beginner recommended setup in the first book to be a pretty good balance for the first few games. It touches on several key mechanics that really set the foundation for the game. Once new players start seein how they interact then you can add more variety and cards.


I fail to see how playing a setup that most veterans have by this point played to death benefits the newbie. The whole point of Dominion is you relearn the game every time you play with new random cards. This is both what gives it its longevity and makes it a great gateway game.


It benefits by teaching basics. You can't expect a newbie to relearn each game from the start without even the most basic concepts as second nature. I very much agree with using the listed beginner setups for the first game or two at least and then I would just take out about 3 cards and put 3 new ones in and go again.
 
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PJ Cunningham
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killerjoe1962 wrote:
What's you opinion? Is Dominion a "Gateway" game in you eyes?

According to the votes of a few hundred BGG users a couple years ago, Dominion is one of the top 20 gateway games.

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Paul Bunyan
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What do you want out of a game? More importantly, what does an uninitiated board game player want out of a game. I think that's the biggest question in answering whether Dominion is a good gateway game.

Dominion was my gateway game in 2010, and before Dominion I really didn't like board games very much. I'd grumble and play, but I would get antsy and annoyed that the game felt too predictable or too luck based. I had seen other board games like Catan and just didn't like them.

What I liked about Dominion was what I still like about games now; the barrier of entry is low, but the room to grow within the space is huge. That's always been a very attractive selling point of some games for me, and a huge problem for me with others. Being able to jump into a game, thinking it might be shallow, and suddenly see it open up into a huge array of interesting choices that matter is extremely satisfying for me.

Dominion being a good gateway game isn't a bad thing in my mind. It has a lot of depth within the small space it creates for itself. And an obscure complicated board game isn't necessarily better than a well known board game with depth. To each their own.
 
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Vic DiGital
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Definitely a gateway game. I have a group of friends who are casual game players, canasta being the default game they play every Saturday night for the last twenty or so years. I try periodically to introduce them to more gamey games, but their eyes glaze over for 95% of them. But Dominion... they fell in love with this immediately, much to my surprise and delight. Once they understood the basic idea of deckbuilding and how the cards change things up, they were voracious in trying out different combos of cards. So much so that as a group, we ebayed all the expansions at one time. It's now the game we play 95% of the time. I've grown a little weary of it, but at least it's not just canasta now. We've since added Ticket to Ride, Codenames, and various small games like Qwixx and Roll For it to the mix.
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