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Dominion» Forums » Variants

Subject: Deckbuilding variant! rss

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Lucas Smith
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Hi,
what do you think of the following variant?

The following variant is for 2 Players by default (3p and 4p options are available as well*)
Use all Dominion sets and promos you want to.
All rules are still in power if not noted otherwise.

The game start:
VP and money cards are provided to a community pool as always, everybody starts with 3VP and 7 money as always.

Then every player chooses 10 sorts of kingdom cards and adds 5 copies of these card to his personal pool.

The game itself:
works normally with one exception:
You may only buy kingdom cards from your personal pool!


The game end:

One and only end condition is that all the provinces are sold.
(btw: This is the way 95% of our games end.)

Of course this variant takes away all the variability after a couple games, but to avoid this you can reduce the kingdom cards people may choose from (prohibit certain cards) or introduce certain rules like you need at least 1 card of each cost (1*2, 1*3, 1*4, 1*5), etc.


* For 3 players you could either play with 2 sets of every edition (giving you 20 cards of each type), alternatively players may only add 3 copies of each card to their pool (in this case maybe higher the limit of 10 cards!).
For 4 players you´d definitely need 2 sets of every edition used.



What do you think of this variant??
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Hans Broersen
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Did you playtest this?
Playing with inexperienced players will take hours just to pick the set of 10 Kingdom cards. The most experienced players have a major advantage in that they know what cards work best together.

I don't think this will work well.
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Benj Davis
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Taking out even more interactivity seems like a poor plan.
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Lucas Smith
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hansbro wrote:
Did you playtest this?
Playing with inexperienced players will take hours just to pick the set of 10 Kingdom cards. The most experienced players have a major advantage in that they know what cards work best together.

I don't think this will work well.

No, not yet.
I assume that I play this with equally experienced players.
 
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Lucas Smith
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I have just made a quick test of the above variant with 1 important change: the players can choose only 5 cards to their pool, not 10!!

We played with the base game only, no promos/expansions!
We excluded the Gardens (I think the workshop-gardens combo is overpowered) and decided that nobody may take more than 1 attack card.
What we ended up with was:

Payer A:

Cellar 2$
Workshop 3$
Militia 4$
Market 5$
Festival 5$

Player B:
Cellar 2$
Village 3$
Remodel 4$
Militia 4$
Market 5$

(so we shared Cellar, Militia and Market!!)

The game worked well, it didn´t feel to differently. The game (including set up) didn´t take long because a) we only selected 5 cards, not 10 and b) the options for each purchase are pretty limited

Player A won.


This is of course far from being a serious "playtest", but as a first impression it wasn´t too bad, for example we noticed the following:

When building your pool, you need to react to your opponent´s decisions. (e.g. If he choses the witch, Chapel and Remodel will be more useful for you,...) so the order of selecting the cards definitely matters, we need a mechanic for this: I thought of the city building in Settlers. If one player starts and then players take turns selecting 1 card, the start player will have a disadvantage because the other one can react to the last selection. This is a point that has to be worked on further!
Apart from that I don´t think the variant is useless. Maybe you could select more than 5 cards, maybe 7??
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Max DuBoff
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Lucas, what's the point? A variant should have a clear problem it's trying to fix, but I don't see a problem here.
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Mike MacDonald
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I think a variant is just an alternative approach to the game, not necessarily a "fix" to a perceived problem. What Lucas is really doing here is adding a drafting mechanic to the game, and I think this would be fun (the goal of variants, to me) if you and the other player tend to play Dominion a lot together.

You might consider looking at other games that use drafting (like Seasons) to encourage more player interaction. Or, if you both have similar sets, you prepare your own premade decks at home and then get together and see what you came up with (like MTG, I guess).

I'd try this if I got to play the game more often....soblue
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Mike Miller

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I've played with a similar personal pool idea before, just for fun. We love Dominion as-is, so it was definitely more of an experiment with mechanics than an attempt to fix anything.

Ours was quite a bit less swingy though. 8 normal community piles in the center. Each player draws a random set of 2 personal cards with a cost of 4 or less.

It is fun, but you pretty much have to limit the swing by imposing a cost limit. Even with the cost limit certain cards are killer if the opponent doesn't have access to them: Militia, Ambassador, Sea Hag, etc. We also ensured that the 8 community cards were capable of doing most things:
at least one +2 action card, at least one + buy card, at least one draw 2+ card, at least one +coin card, at least one trashing card. That meant that even if your opponent had access to something vicious there are always responses available on the board, which also limited the swinginess.

I guess since you are only choosing stacks of 5 in your variant, your opponent can always mirror you, but that kind of kills the "exclusive access" factor.
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Lucas Smith
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Thank you!
pinkymadigan wrote:
I've played with a similar personal pool idea before, just for fun. We love Dominion as-is, so it was definitely more of an experiment with mechanics than an attempt to fix anything.

You got the goal! I do not want to fix anything, I really like Dominion (the normal game without any variants) and it is by far my most played game!

Quote:
Ours was quite a bit less swingy though. 8 normal community piles in the center. Each player draws a random set of 2 personal cards with a cost of 4 or less.

Interesting idea, I will definitely consider that "semi" variant. Random selection for the personal cards is of course an elegant method to avoid reacting/mirroring.
Quote:

It is fun, but you pretty much have to limit the swing by imposing a cost limit. Even with the cost limit certain cards are killer if the opponent doesn't have access to them: Militia, Ambassador, Sea Hag, etc. We also ensured that the 8 community cards were capable of doing most things:
at least one +2 action card, at least one + buy card, at least one draw 2+ card, at least one +coin card, at least one trashing card. That meant that even if your opponent had access to something vicious there are always responses available on the board, which also limited the swinginess.

Yes, you have to balance the community cards if selecting works randomly.

Quote:
I guess since you are only choosing stacks of 5 in your variant, your opponent can always mirror you, but that kind of kills the "exclusive access" factor.

Yes, this was basically the main problem so far.

Your method is randomness and I can imagine it to work quite well, but I´d like to have more of an "deckbuilding" feeling where you got to choose from the cards thinking which ones will work best ("semi": with the community cards).
 
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Mike Miller

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smithlucas wrote:
Quote:
I guess since you are only choosing stacks of 5 in your variant, your opponent can always mirror you, but that kind of kills the "exclusive access" factor.

Yes, this was basically the main problem so far.

Your method is randomness and I can imagine it to work quite well, but I´d like to have more of an "deckbuilding" feeling where you got to choose from the cards thinking which ones will work best ("semi": with the community cards).


Well, I think the main problem is probably that the better player will always choose the same cards (as noted earlier). However, you might try to mix the two ideas for something more interesting:

Figure out X community cards purely random.
Each player chooses (10-X) personal stacks secretly (on paper I guess?)
For each card that isn't duplicated between the two players, the player gets exclusive access to that stack. Any that are duplicated become community also.

I would leave the base community cards a number at least as high as 5. This gives each player the opportunity to see what is already in the kingdom before deciding, and then players will have to react to what is already in the kingdom. It definitely would work better with some expansions.

This method at least reduces the chance that the cards chosen are not self-contained strategies, as if you choose the "best" cards every time, you are only going to end up fighting for them in the community anyway (which of course may by the right play if denying your opponent exclusive access to Mountebank or something is at stake).

EDIT: a further thought: I would also still limit the cost of the card to 4 or less probably. Or maybe allow each player to pick a 3 cost, 4 cost, and a 5 cost. Or give them a total cost they must add their costs up to (like 12 could be made with a 6, 4, 2 or 6, 3, 3 or 5, 4, 3, or 4, 4, 4). That at least reduces opportunities for things like the KC/Masquerade/Goons pin.
 
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Lucas Smith
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Cool. Yes, your ideas sound very nice, I especially like the write-it-down-idea (simple thought, actually).

I do agree that mixing in some expansions will be good, personally I have Dominion, Dominion: Intrigue and Dominion: Seaside, so the access to some cards is provided

Further plays will be neccessary.
 
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