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Subject: If I forget the theme, then how is the "feeling" different from Dominion? rss

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Masoud Tabatabaei
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Actually I do care about the theme and that's what attracted me to the game. But I needed to be sure that my gaming group don't have problem with it. Well, it seems that they don't, but also the theme is not attractive for them either. They will be happy playing if the gameplay itself is attractive.
Now, we liked Dominion at first, but after some four or five games, it becomes "blah" for the group. It was just fine, but without much excitement. I guess it was because of low interaction in Dominion. Now is this game enough different than Dominion? I mean aside from the theme, what do you think is different regarding the "feeling" of the gameplay?
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Keith Ibsen
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I have only played once, a couple of years ago but I remember it being fairly different to Dominion in feel. There is a confrontation stage where you fight to gain control of towns and I remember there being some sort of uncertain element about the fight.
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Andrew Rowse
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In Barbarossa you put many of your cards onto your front line - which means they stay in play until they (or another card) forces them to be discarded. This means that the game falls into patterns of building up troops, then making a push to smash through a major objective. Because you build up troops over several turns, luck of the draw tends to be less of a factor than it can be in Dominion.

Victory cards generally do not go into your draw deck, so the game doesn't suffer from late-game bloat. On the flip side, there is no rubber-banding or catch-up mechanics.
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Manary Corte
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And there's much more interaction through the use of some event cards (like Heavy Mud, Old Man Winter and Fuhrer's irritation), awarded with the towns.
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Chris Salvato
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Great question.

For our group, we too have "played out" Dominion. Barbarossa scratches that Dominion itch with a few added benefits. Overall, I'd say that Barbarossa (and the excellent Trains) take the Dominion Mechanic and add another dimension to it. You are no longer buying cards to get you more cards that let you buy more cards to infinity, you're buying cards to get attack value which in turn allows you to gain VPs.

First, our positives:

- It's longer (60-90 mins), and thus allows you to develop your engine a bit more and feels more satisfying.

- Because many of your cards are deployed on your front line, you can really pare down your deck into a lean engine. And, since it takes actions to deploy cards, there will be fewer time-consuming "draw your whole deck" strategies employed.

- The randomness element of the Reinforcement cards on attacks can make battle outcomes uncertain, allowing players to choose between victory-assuring but time-consuming massive mobilization versus less-certain but more frequent lightning strikes.

A few negatives:

- Our group has identified a few strategies that seem to be superior, if a player is allowed to monopolize particular cards. However, if everybody is on the same learning curve and tries to limit such monopolization, things can get evened out.

- Since there is no deck balancing with dead or negative cards gained (like Curse and VP cards in Dominion), there can be a bit of a runaway leader IF one player hits on a winning combo early enough that others don't see.

- It is still very much multiplayer solitaire. There are few opportunities to "attack" other players, and in general, the attacks are nuisances at best.

- Little variety between games. Since you play with all but one deck available each game, the chances of a winning combination getting disrupted are slim. We plan to try Barbarossa with more green decks removed (up to 5) to try and add a little variety to each play. You can also combine with the soon-to-be-Kickstarted-in-English El Alamein for more variety as well.



Despite these negatives, I still backed Barbarossa's English edition within the first hour. My group loves this game. It's a great evolution of the Dominion mechanic, in the same way that King of Tokyo is an evolution of the Yahtzee mechanic. If you liked Dominion but want something deeper, this is a good game to try.

Trains is an excellent Dominion evolution as well. It has a bit more interaction, as you're jousting for position on a game board, but it has a much less interesting theme (and art!).
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Chris Salvato
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ManCorte wrote:
And there's much more interaction through the use of some event cards (like Heavy Mud, Old Man Winter and Fuhrer's irritation), awarded with the towns.


I have to disagree with this. Perhaps this is true for base-set Dominion, but if you've gotten used to playing with lots of Dominion's expansions (especially Intrigue), Dominion's attack cards are far and away more interaction than the occasional event card thrown at the leader. And even then, Barbarossa's interaction cards are nuisances at best.

Barbarossa is is a good game, but it's still MP solitaire.
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