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Dominant Species» Forums » General

Subject: How long is this with 2, and how fiddly is it? rss

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John Reynolds
United States
Scottsdale
Arizona
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Everything I've seen about this game looks really, really intriguing to me. I'm looking to get it for my wife and I.

How long are 2 player games typically? How rules heavy is it? We like elegant games - complex is ok, but anything that is super fiddly isn't really something she enjoys.

What say you?
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Wizard Nathan
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Randwick
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With two people you'd maybe be looking at 2 hours, once you were on top of it.

The rules are kinda complex but I definitely wouldn't call it fiddly. There's very few moments where things are unclear and you have to check the rulebook. It's also one of the best written rulebooks I've read.

Perhaps one thing to know is that with two people it's very strategic - there's next to no randomness or chance - and the best player will probably always win.
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Wesley M
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You can also pull out some of the cards to make it a bit faster. Its listed in the rules but barring some AP on your parts after you know the rules I can see it easily taking less than 2 hours.
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David Horm
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I don't play this as a 2 player game because this is a lil too heavy for me and my wife (Pandemic and Netrunner are our 2-player gotos). So I can't comment on the time. But BGG votes that 2 players is not recommended for this game. I remember reading reviews that maybe one person doesn't like direct conflict as much, so they just end up building out their separate ways. The rules have a 2 player variant where players play multiple species, and the only lowest scoring species is counted towards the final score. I think the game shines when you have the right level of conflict.

I would call this game elegant. It took some time to learn and teach the rules, but I don't have trouble remember the rules after long breaks from playing the game. I just look at the action spots, and all the labeling is intuitive. The only thing I would consider fiddly is the interpretation of some of the dominance cards. But there's a FAQ in the book, and the rules forums here.

I would says it's as complex as Agricola. Both games have a mode weight of 4. The brain burning part of the game is the recalculating of dominance after key actions, and also planning your moves ahead. You don't want to evolve that new sun element if it's going to disappear later that turn.
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fish face
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I have played this mostly as two player and its one of my favourites. Plays in about 2hours with all the cards. I don't agree about players going their own ways in 2 player games because as soon as a territorial advantage emerges a good player will close it down with the use of speciation or migration or glaciation. There also tends to be competition for new spaces created by wanderlust. This means that there is a lot of direct conflict and interaction. It takes a little upkeep to make sure the board state is accurate in terms of dominance but this is easier with 2 players than with more. If you think this appeals, you will probably love it.
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Greyson Bahr
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My partner and I just picked up the game this week. Played it yesterday and today. She is a biologist, so it appealed to her and we decided that this would be the first game that she taught me instead of the other way 'round.

Our first game we sat down, read the entire rulebook front to back, and played the game in about 4 total hours. This was while learning and included many quick looks at the rule booklet. I would say that, if you learn the rules beforehand, the game should not take more than 3 hours for a first play including teaching. Plus the game is incredibly immersive and feels like it plays much quicker than it actually does.

Our second game (this afternoon) took about 2.5 hours including set up. I can see the playtime varying between 2 and 3 hours with us based on how competitive we feel, or how much of each others' analysis paralysis we are willing to put up with. By the end of the second game, upkeep took a very negligible amount of time. I would consider the fiddliness to be far less than most games we play (though we have been conditioned by Castles of Burgundy...). Really, the fiddliness is limited to about 15-30 seconds between game rounds. As mentioned above, keeping track of Dominance does require a little vigilance but should be something you're keeping an eye out for anyway.

With only two games under our belt this game has already generated about an hour of talk about strategy and tactics as we reviewed our plays and discussed how to improve. We will be playing as much as possible until the academic year revs up again. However, we do think it will be even better with 3 or 4 players. Even if we only ever play it with two, though, I consider it money well spent.

You can tell I'm gushing here...but this game really is that good.
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Jack Smith
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Our 2 player games take 60-90 minutes and I consider the game rules light and intuitive but of course people will vary on their opinions on that. The rules are well written and easy to reference in any event.

As Greyson's experience shows the first few games can take a lot longer (our first 4 player was 7 hours) The game has a lot of subtlety and depth which reveals itself during play and the so called 'fiddly' bits such as dominance cone placement becomes quick once you realise it is not always needed and you gain efficiency with experience.

The only caveat I would give is that the game is cutthroat , this is not a Euro in the traditional sense. In fact I do not consider it a Euro at all but a Wargame. Just like Evolution is.
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