A Gnome's Ponderings

I'm a gamer. I love me some games and I like to ramble about games and gaming. So, more than anything else, this blog is a place for me to keep track of my ramblings. If anyone finds this helpful or even (good heavens) insightful, so much the better.
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It took my breath away - Dominant Species

Lowell Kempf
United States
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Microbadge: Icehouse fanMicrobadge: Solitaire GamerMicrobadge: Golden ReviewerMicrobadge: Doctor Who fanMicrobadge: PnP / DIY fan
I’ve noticed a thread that has been running through my ruminations about gaming that I call a blog and that’s how, as I get older, my gaming time has decreased and I find myself enjoying shorter games that can more easily fit into my schedule.

However, there is always the exception to the rule.

Dominant Species! Ta-da!

I was recently introduced to Dominant Species a few weeks ago. I’d long heard about it but I hadn’t had a chance to play it and it costs more than I want to pay for a game that I’ve never played. Fortunately, someone else bought instead.

And, let me tell you, Dominant Species is the kind of game that makes my brain go click.

Dominant Species is like a strange alchemical merging of Agricola, El Grande, and Evo. You use worker placement to manipulate the movement, reproduction and evolution of your own species while using majority control to score points. The mechanics fit the theme of the game like a glove (not that I’m really one to worry about themes) and you have a strikingly diverse number of mechanics that fit together like gears in a watch, steadily ticking along.

More than that, I am also very impressed by the actual graphic design of the game. If there is one thing that being a Sid Sackson fan has taught me, it’s that clear, easy to understand components are a real plus in a game. And the game board on Dominant Species is practically the player aid for the game. It shows the tie breakers, the scoring for each type of tile, the chart for bonus points, and the action section clearly shows necessary details, like the reproduction rate for each type of tile. Anything the board doesn’t tell you, the player aids do. There’s a lot going on in the game but the components make it very easy to follow the game.

On top of very solid mechanics and really well designed components, the whipped cream on top that really makes Dominant Species really sweet and replayable is that each species is different enough to play differently and reward different strategies.

I can already tell you that I will not be able to find the time to be able to play Dominant Species as much as I want to. I think that there is enough replay value and depth of strategy and tactics in the game that I will never plumb the depths of the game.

However, I am really, really glad that my friends showed me this game.
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