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Subject: Dominion & Ascension - similar games? rss

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Brandon Ciantar
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Dominion & Ascension - similar games?
 
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Pasi Ojala
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Get the Imperial Assault Campaign module for Vassal from http://www.vassalengine.org/wiki/Module:Star_Wars:_Imperial_Assault
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Both are deckbuilding games. The similarities mostly end there.
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Matt D
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a1bert wrote:
Both are deckbuilding games. The similarities mostly end there.


Agreed. The biggest distinction is that in Dominion all players draw from a limited pool of purchaseable cards that are the same so until the game is almost over all players have access to the same cards (running out of piles is an end game condition). Ascension has a random tableau marketplace which is replaced on the fly, so every turn there are different options available. Could mean that your opponent takes the card you really want JUST before your turn, OR the card you both want appears during your turn after you acquire a different one and your opponent never had a chance at it before you pick it up.

IMO Ascension has way more randomness which makes it a less strategic game but also does not fall victim to optimization/engine building as s means to victory. Competitive Dominion players will see a kingdom card setup and decide immediately how best to maximize to win, and that strategy drives their whole game. Hard to do that in Ascension. So this really steers the fame into two different audiences IMO. I thoroughly enjoy both, but get to Ascension more often because to some folks I play with it feels more like a game and they view Dominion more as a "puzzle" to be solved as the kingdom cards are first laid out.

Part of it is because they don't see the synergies as quickly as I do. If you are playing against a strong Dominion player who can think ahead to all the card interactions, and that is not one of your strong suits, it can quickly become a very frustrating game because you could take one "normal" turn and think you are doing ok, and then they can take a mega-turn going through their entire deck, buying two Provinces (the large victory point cards), and then starts repeating it each turn.

Of course, if no one playing is a "strong" Dominion player, it's a very fun game. It's just that those with lots of experience/insight can "solve" the game before the first turn, and would be unbeatable against someone who can't.
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Matt D
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Another note. Both have many expansions each of which introduce additional mechanics, so on the surface both have TONS Of replay ability.

The limit on that however is that if you have as I mentioned a strong Dominion player, they'll be able to see and anticipate synergies right away so introducing s new expansion doesn't really do much to close the gap between strong and casual player. Ascension is somewhat the opposite -- if you literally take the cards out of the wrap and shuffle them up to play. An experienced Ascension player will not have a huge advantage over an inexperienced one when playing with a new set of cards.
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hestiansun wrote:
a1bert wrote:
Both are deckbuilding games. The similarities mostly end there.


Agreed. The biggest distinction is that in Dominion all players draw from a limited pool of purchaseable cards that are the same so until the game is almost over all players have access to the same cards (running out of piles is an end game condition). Ascension has a random tableau marketplace which is replaced on the fly, so every turn there are different options available. Could mean that your opponent takes the card you really want JUST before your turn, OR the card you both want appears during your turn after you acquire a different one and your opponent never had a chance at it before you pick it up.

IMO Ascension has way more randomness which makes it a less strategic game but also does not fall victim to optimization/engine building as s means to victory. Competitive Dominion players will see a kingdom card setup and decide immediately how best to maximize to win, and that strategy drives their whole game. Hard to do that in Ascension. So this really steers the fame into two different audiences IMO. I thoroughly enjoy both, but get to Ascension more often because to some folks I play with it feels more like a game and they view Dominion more as a "puzzle" to be solved as the kingdom cards are first laid out.

Part of it is because they don't see the synergies as quickly as I do. If you are playing against a strong Dominion player who can think ahead to all the card interactions, and that is not one of your strong suits, it can quickly become a very frustrating game because you could take one "normal" turn and think you are doing ok, and then they can take a mega-turn going through their entire deck, buying two Provinces (the large victory point cards), and then starts repeating it each turn.

Of course, if no one playing is a "strong" Dominion player, it's a very fun game. It's just that those with lots of experience/insight can "solve" the game before the first turn, and would be unbeatable against someone who can't.


Thumbed for the clear and helpful description. Thanks!
 
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Keith Kansiewicz
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hestiansun wrote:
Another note. Both have many expansions each of which introduce additional mechanics, so on the surface both have TONS Of replay ability.

The limit on that however is that if you have as I mentioned a strong Dominion player, they'll be able to see and anticipate synergies right away so introducing s new expansion doesn't really do much to close the gap between strong and casual player. Ascension is somewhat the opposite -- if you literally take the cards out of the wrap and shuffle them up to play. An experienced Ascension player will not have a huge advantage over an inexperienced one when playing with a new set of cards.


I have to heartily disagree, an experienced Ascension player knows and can predict the kinds of synergies that are available and see the more obvious and less obvious opportunities when they arise, additionally they can optimize less ideal strategies.

In my experience and observation the biggest disadvantage you could give to an experienced Ascension player is a higher player count. The more players there are the less optimally the experienced player can play and the more chance will trend towards a neutral balance against experience. Playing against human and AI opponents experience favors the human player highly in two and three player games, but add a fourth player and the experienced player loses their edge.
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Alison Mandible
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Are you asking if they're similar, or asking us for recommendations of other similar games? (I thought it was the second one until I saw everyone else's responses.)

 
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Matt D
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harlaquinne wrote:
hestiansun wrote:
Another note. Both have many expansions each of which introduce additional mechanics, so on the surface both have TONS Of replay ability.

The limit on that however is that if you have as I mentioned a strong Dominion player, they'll be able to see and anticipate synergies right away so introducing s new expansion doesn't really do much to close the gap between strong and casual player. Ascension is somewhat the opposite -- if you literally take the cards out of the wrap and shuffle them up to play. An experienced Ascension player will not have a huge advantage over an inexperienced one when playing with a new set of cards.


I have to heartily disagree, an experienced Ascension player knows and can predict the kinds of synergies that are available and see the more obvious and less obvious opportunities when they arise, additionally they can optimize less ideal strategies.

In my experience and observation the biggest disadvantage you could give to an experienced Ascension player is a higher player count. The more players there are the less optimally the experienced player can play and the more chance will trend towards a neutral balance against experience. Playing against human and AI opponents experience favors the human player highly in two and three player games, but add a fourth player and the experienced player loses their edge.


How do you predict synergies that are available without knowing what the cards do? Are you saying an experienced Ascension player should be able to predict what cards are in the deck based around seeing a few in the tableau?
 
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Matt D
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grasa_total wrote:
Are you asking if they're similar, or asking us for recommendations of other similar games? (I thought it was the second one until I saw everyone else's responses.)



On second read, you're right. Hard to say. I think in the interest of brevity he posted with ambiguity.

If you are looking for recommendations of other games, Star Realms and the Cryptoziac "Cerebus engine" games are almost identical mechanically to Ascension. So if you like DC Comics or Lord of the rings, you can check those out. I like what Star Realms did and think it has enough of a place as a different flavor of Ascension -- Stronghold Games apparently thought so too because the main mechanic of Star Realms got introduced in an Ascension expansion afterwards (it existed in very limited form before)

Personally I am a big advocate of Valley of the Kings. It's a near little deck builder that stands well on its own and has a stand-alone/expansion as well. Supports 4p and does 2p well IMO and it retails for $20 and is easily available at a good discount. I really enjoy it and it has a VERY interesting mechanic in that the victory points are only awarded for cards that are removed from your deck during the game. Which leaves you with lots of decisions about whether or not to remove (entomb) a good card for the points or keep using it for its power. Wait too long, and you'll lose.

I'd check those out. There's also Eminent Domain, but IMO it does not have strong replay value after a few plays.
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Keith Kansiewicz
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hestiansun wrote:
harlaquinne wrote:
hestiansun wrote:
Another note. Both have many expansions each of which introduce additional mechanics, so on the surface both have TONS Of replay ability.

The limit on that however is that if you have as I mentioned a strong Dominion player, they'll be able to see and anticipate synergies right away so introducing s new expansion doesn't really do much to close the gap between strong and casual player. Ascension is somewhat the opposite -- if you literally take the cards out of the wrap and shuffle them up to play. An experienced Ascension player will not have a huge advantage over an inexperienced one when playing with a new set of cards.


I have to heartily disagree, an experienced Ascension player knows and can predict the kinds of synergies that are available and see the more obvious and less obvious opportunities when they arise, additionally they can optimize less ideal strategies.

In my experience and observation the biggest disadvantage you could give to an experienced Ascension player is a higher player count. The more players there are the less optimally the experienced player can play and the more chance will trend towards a neutral balance against experience. Playing against human and AI opponents experience favors the human player highly in two and three player games, but add a fourth player and the experienced player loses their edge.


How do you predict synergies that are available without knowing what the cards do? Are you saying an experienced Ascension player should be able to predict what cards are in the deck based around seeing a few in the tableau?


In short, yes.

There are only four factions, and the designers have constructed the factions to have predictable interactions. Those interactions are observable within a particular faction and between the different factions. As a particular game progresses from early to mid game an experienced player can gauge which cards will help their position or hinder their opponent's.

At Gen Con I played with the new set, twice, that was my first exposure to the new mechanics and yet the interactions between the the factions and mechanisms that are inherent to each faction were still present and therefore there were card choices that I made because in spite of the face value of a card, experience told me that a weaker face value choice would yield a higher return in the long run.
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