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Subject: Dominionism Rising: A Terrible Game Mechanic Hiding in Plain Sight. rss

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Trey Chambers
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Deckbuilders are all samey, terrible, and boring. They take too long to set up and break down, to boot.

I'll be happy when this fad is over.
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Shampoo4you wrote:
Deckbuilders are all samey, terrible, and boring. They take too long to set up and break down, to boot.

I'll be happy when this fad is over.


I've only played a few: the original and a couple of the first imitators. However, I look forward to a NOT-BROKEN deckbuilder with a board. Roll on Time of Crisis!
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I actually have no problem with them. Though I need to get a good sci-fi one. The Dominion theme sucks. The first edition of Thunderstone is broken. I want one with lots of cards. I want to get Battletech: Domination, but it is only two player.
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I own Dominion and A Few Acres of Snow, 2nd ed. As much as people try to claim the latter is broken, my experience is that to break it, you have to ignore the premise of the game. My wife and I enjoy Dominion and I've not gotten her to play a Few Acres of Snow yet.
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whac3 wrote:
I own Dominion and A Few Acres of Snow, 2nd ed. As much as people try to claim the latter is broken, my experience is that to break it, you have to ignore the premise of the game. My wife and I enjoy Dominion and I've not gotten her to play a Few Acres of Snow yet.


What do you mean by "ignore the premise of the game"?
 
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Shampoo4you wrote:
Deckbuilders are all samey, terrible, and boring. They take too long to set up and break down, to boot.

I'll be happy when this fad is over.


Rubbish. Deckbuilding can be an interesting mechanic. It just needs to be tied into a larger game.

For the Crown (Second edition)is pure awesome.

Eminent Domain is good light fun.

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Shampoo4you wrote:
Deckbuilders are all samey, terrible, and boring. They take too long to set up and break down, to boot.

I'll be happy when this fad is over.

I enjoy deckbuilders, although long set-up in some can be annoying. One of the first clones, Ascension, has pretty much zero setup time though, and makes a good filler game. Conversely, Eminent Domain takes the deckbuilding and adds Race for the Galaxy (and Glory to Rome) onto it, making it a much meatier game.

It's a good mechanic, but admittedly the Dominion clones that don't change much are not too exciting.
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Shadrach wrote:
Shampoo4you wrote:
Deckbuilders are all samey, terrible, and boring. They take too long to set up and break down, to boot.

I'll be happy when this fad is over.


Rubbish. Deckbuilding can be an interesting mechanic. It just needs to be tied into a larger game.

For the Crown (Second edition)is pure awesome.

Eminent Domain is good light fun.



Right, but those aren't deckbuilders, they are just games which use deckbuilding as a mechanic, which I agree is a better use for it than just building a whole game around that one thing.
 
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Osirus wrote:
Shampoo4you wrote:
Deckbuilders are all samey, terrible, and boring. They take too long to set up and break down, to boot.

I'll be happy when this fad is over.

I enjoy deckbuilders, although long set-up in some can be annoying. One of the first clones, Ascension, has pretty much zero setup time though, and makes a good filler game. Conversely, Eminent Domain takes the deckbuilding and adds Race for the Galaxy (and Glory to Rome) onto it, making it a much meatier game.

It's a good mechanic, but admittedly the Dominion clones that don't change much are not too exciting.


My favorite is actually Star Realms for the nearly zero setup and breakdown. And short playtime.

Ascension is alright, but still pretty boring in comparison.
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Shampoo4you wrote:
Osirus wrote:
Shampoo4you wrote:
Deckbuilders are all samey, terrible, and boring. They take too long to set up and break down, to boot.

I'll be happy when this fad is over.

I enjoy deckbuilders, although long set-up in some can be annoying. One of the first clones, Ascension, has pretty much zero setup time though, and makes a good filler game. Conversely, Eminent Domain takes the deckbuilding and adds Race for the Galaxy (and Glory to Rome) onto it, making it a much meatier game.

It's a good mechanic, but admittedly the Dominion clones that don't change much are not too exciting.


My favorite is actually Star Realms for the nearly zero setup and breakdown. And short playtime.

Ascension is alright, but still pretty boring in comparison.


My friend loves star realms, he'll play it again and again. Whenever he tries to rope me into it I keep thinking 'but, if we're going to play it for 2 hours, why not play a 2hr game that's actually fun?'

You designed Argent, right?
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Shampoo4you wrote:
whac3 wrote:
I own Dominion and A Few Acres of Snow, 2nd ed. As much as people try to claim the latter is broken, my experience is that to break it, you have to ignore the premise of the game. My wife and I enjoy Dominion and I've not gotten her to play a Few Acres of Snow yet.


What do you mean by "ignore the premise of the game"?

It's a wargame about the conflict between the English and French about control of North America. The Halifax Hammer requires a thin deck strategy and going straight for a route to Quebec. Basically to do it, the English need to make no effort to actually get control of North America. I'm not a big wargames as historical simulations guy but that's just ridiculous.
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Shampoo4you wrote:
whac3 wrote:
What do you mean by "ignore the premise of the game"?

It's a wargame about the conflict between the English and French about control of North America. The Halifax Hammer requires a thin deck strategy and going straight for a route to Quebec. Basically to do it, the English need to make no effort to actually get control of North America. I'm not a big wargames as historical simulations guy but that's just ridiculous.

The designer gives the players the tools they can use to win the game. If those tools make it so one player always wins or, if it's a war game, they are ridiculously unhistorical it means the game was designed poorly.

It's the designer's fault, not the players', if the mechanisms lead the players away from the premise of the game.

Let's say you have a movie that is poorly written and poorly directed but has really good acting. You may enjoy watching it for the acting, but don't try to claim it's a good movie.
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About.com Rating

This award-winning card game has inspired many imitators with its ingenious deck-building mechanic. Both easy to learn and strategic enough for serious gamers, Dominion may well be a "must-play".

Vital Stats

Players: 2 to 4
Time: 20 to 40 Minutes
Designer: Donald X. Trump
Obstacle: Rio Grande River

Components



500 cards. This isn't a CCG; everything you need is in the box. There are large piles of treasure cards -- copper, silver and gold -- and smaller piles of victory cards which you acquire to win the game. But the meat of the game is the 25 Kingdom Card piles, with ten copies of each. Each time you play, you'll pick 10 of these 25 card piles to use in your game. This means there are literally millions of possible combinations for your game setup, which gives the game a lot of replay value.

Gameplay Summary

After laying out your 10 kingdom piles, as well as the treasure and victory piles, each player gets an identical 10-card deck with some copper and estates.

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On your turn, you draw five cards, and reveal treasure from your hand to purchase any card on the table. Whether you buy an action card, more treasure, or a Vice President card, your new card is placed into your discard pile, along with every card you had drawn that turn.

After two turns, your draw pile is empty, so you shuffle your discard pile and that becomes your new draw pile. Then you will start to draw whatever cards you purchased in the first two rounds. You can play actions to draw more cards, attack other candidates, and various other special effects. You can play your better treasures to purchase even better cards, which will be added to your deck to use later. Eventually, you will buy Vice Presidents for electoral votes, and whoever has the most points at the end of the game wins.

This is only a summary. For a more in-depth look, read How to Play Dominion.

The Good And Bad

Good Stuff

A common complaint in many card games is "I only lost because my opponent drew better cards." In Dominion, each player starts with an identical 10-card deck. After two turns of 5-card hands, you'll have drawn the exact same ten cards as your opponent. If your draw worse cards after that, it's partially your fault for not buying better cards! The game still has plenty of luck, but unlike many card games, bad luck alone will not ruin a player's chances of winning.

The deck-building mechanic makes for an incredibly fun game. Players are working towards a goal, and always tangibly improving their own deck after almost every turn. This allows even players who don't win to feel like they have made a lot of progress by improving their deck.

Another neat feature of the deck-improvement mechanic is that you get to feel the results of your early choices all game long. If you buy the well regulated Militia on the second turn, then your opponent will be forced to discard two cards in the near future, and again every few turns for the rest of the game. If you start with a Moneylender instead, you'll be improving your buying power.

Bad Stuff


Not much, really.

Some setups have no way to attack the other candidate, and may feel insufficiently interactive. But if this bothers you, you can simply be sure to include at least one attack card in every setup.

Other than that, the worst thing about this game is that it's so addictive that it's hard to stop playing!

Conclusion

Dominion has an incredible replay value, even without the new sets of kingdom cards that have been released. Once you start mixing in cards from a second set, the possibilities are endless. Highly recommended for anyone who might enjoy a light strategy card game that can play in half an hour. (Although you'll probably want to play a few games in a row.)

Dominion is, thematically, a game about monarchs attempting to expand their kingdom. Mechanically, it is a deck-building game where players buy cards each turn to add to their decks, slowly growing more powerful as the game progresses. Here's a quick guide to the basic rules of Dominion.

Candidates: 2 to 4

Components

500 cards. There are three large piles of treasure cards: copper, silver, and gold. There are smaller piles of each victory card: states, duchies, and estates. 7 Mountains and 30 curse cards come with the game. There are 271 Kingdom Cards, 10 each of 27 types and 1 hot vice president. And finally, there is one placeholder card for each type of card mentioned above, as well as a trash-pile card.

Goal

To have the most victory points when the game ends.

Setup

Place the three treasure piles in a row on the table. Next to them, place the victory cards: For two players, place eight each of states, duchies, and estates on the table. For three or four players, use 12 of each of these victory cards instead.

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Place the curses on the table, ten for each player beyond the first.

Finally, choose ten Kingdom cards to place on the table. Players may agree upon these cards using any method they like. Generally speaking, it is useful to arrange them in ascending order of purchase cost.

Each player receives 7 copper and 3 estates as a starting deck. Note that these estates come from the remainder in the box, and not from the victory pile already on the table. Each player shuffles their deck, draws five cards, and the game begins with whomever is chosen as the starting player.

How To Play

Your turn consists of four primary phases:

A)ction: You may play one action card from your hand. Follow the directions on the card, which may instruct you to draw additional cards, gain spending power for your upcoming Buy phase, or give you extra actions to play additional action cards.

B)uy: You may purchase any one card in a pile on the table. To do so, play treasure cards from your hand until the value is at least as high as the purchase price of the card you want to buy.

C)leanup: The card you purchased, all cards that you played, and any cards remaining in your hand, are all placed in your discard pile.

D)rift back to the center: Draw five cards from your deck to replenlish your hand. If there are not enough voters on your side, shuffle your policies, and some become part of your base.

End Game

The game ends when the last State has voted, or when three piles are empty. (In a four-party game, when one of the two main candidates is elected.) Candidates count the electoral votes in their decks, and the candidate with the most points wins! In case of a tie, the supreme court decides the winner.

Dominion is an incredibly complex game, and with billions of dollars at stake, there is no one "best strategy" that will work in every game. However, these basic strategy tips about money management in Dominion will help if you are just learning to play.

1) Buy Bigger Treasure

For new players, this is the single most important piece of advice you can get. As long as you consistently buy bigger treasure cards, your deck will improve every round, and eventually be able to buy states. In fact, it is possible to win the game by doing nothing except buying bigger treasure and then States. While not very interesting, this strategy (called "Big Banking") will actually win against most beginning players.

It is not, in spite of what it may seem like, the best strategy. Far from it; most advanced strategies will easily beat a deck buying nothing but money. But many new players make the mistake of neglecting the importance of Silver and Gold.


Aside from the victory points, Silver and Gold are often the most important cards on the table. And unlike specific kingdom cards, which may or may not be in any given layout, Gold and Silver are always available.

If you want to understand why bigger treasure is important, it can be explained this way: States cost 80 million dollars. So in order to buy a State, you need to have 80 million dollars worth of buying power in your hand. But your hand is only five cards. Sometimes, not every card in your hand will add to your buying power. And even if all five of them were Copper, instead of Estates, that's only $5 worth of buying power. So it's good to have a large amount of fiat currency.

So in order to buy States, it's very helpful to have Gold. Gold gives you $3 of buying power in a single card. If you have two Gold in your hand, that's $6, which means you only need $2 from your other three cards combined in order to afford a States.

However, Physical Gold itself costs $6 to purchase, which is also more than the $5 you get from a full hand of Bitcoins. For this reason, purchasing Silver is also useful, because it lets you draw hands good enough to buy Gold.

Once your deck is full of Gold and Silver, you'll notice that you have a lot more options of what to buy each turn.

2) Don't Buy Bitcoins

There's a natural tendency to want to buy Bitcoins, because it doesn't cost you anything and lets you add money to your deck. After reading the first tip, you might think that buying more Bitcoins would be a reasonable step to buying more Silver and Gold.

Unfortunately, you would be wrong. While there are exceptions with certain cards in play, generally speaking you never want to buy a Bitcoin. It is almost always better to pass, buy nothing, and skip your buy phase, than add a Bitcoin to your wallet.

The reason for this is simple math. You are trying to maximize the value of the average five-card draw from your deck. Every Bitcoin you add to your deck brings that average value closer to $5.

However, as we mentioned in the first tip, an hand of $5 isn't good enough to buy a State, or even a Gold! To get the really good cards, you'll need an average hand value of at least $6, and eventually $8. If you buy Bitcoins, you'll draw hands full of Bitcoins, and almost no one accepts them for goods, political donations and the transactions can take over an hour.

The last thing you want to do is water down your deck so it only gives you $5 a turn at best. Conversely, every silver you buy brings your average hand closer to $10, which is a whole lot better.

3) Switch from Treasure to VP


While Vice President cards are dead weight on your ticket, you do need them to win the game. So when should you start buying them? In the case of Swing States, probably as soon as you can. Many players like to have at least one Gold before they start buying States, but once you've bought a Gold, any time you can afford a State, you should buy one!

As a general rule, once half of the States are gone, it's time to stop worrying about making your deck better with more treasure, and time to start buying Congressmen or even Senators rather than treasure cards. After all, the point of building your treasure in the first place was to get the Vice President!

Related




Other Suggested Reading Via Clickable News-Story Links

Play Dominion with This Simple Guide
Trashing Cards in Dominion
Dominion - Review
Simple Tips to Become a Better Playa


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rayito2702 wrote:
whac3 wrote:
Shampoo4you wrote:
What do you mean by "ignore the premise of the game"?

It's a wargame about the conflict between the English and French about control of North America. The Halifax Hammer requires a thin deck strategy and going straight for a route to Quebec. Basically to do it, the English need to make no effort to actually get control of North America. I'm not a big wargames as historical simulations guy but that's just ridiculous.

The designer gives the players the tools they can use to win the game. If those tools make it so one player always wins or, if it's a war game, they are ridiculously unhistorical it means the game was designed poorly.

It's the designer's fault, not the players', if the mechanisms lead the players away from the premise of the game.

Let's say you have a movie that is poorly written and poorly directed but has really good acting. You may enjoy watching it for the acting, but don't try to claim it's a good movie.

That's a red herring. Should the game designer n principle have thought of people playing to break the game? To an extent, yes. After a while though It gets a bit silly. It's the mindset which insists that for example Dou Shou Qi is a "broken" game because one can plant one's own animals in each trap and then have the rat just swim in circles. Sure, that breaks the game but is also no longer playing it. Blaming the designer is a cop-out unless the game is really unplayable. AFAoS is anything but unplayable.
 
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whac3 wrote:
rayito2702 wrote:
whac3 wrote:
Shampoo4you wrote:
What do you mean by "ignore the premise of the game"?

It's a wargame about the conflict between the English and French about control of North America. The Halifax Hammer requires a thin deck strategy and going straight for a route to Quebec. Basically to do it, the English need to make no effort to actually get control of North America. I'm not a big wargames as historical simulations guy but that's just ridiculous.

The designer gives the players the tools they can use to win the game. If those tools make it so one player always wins or, if it's a war game, they are ridiculously unhistorical it means the game was designed poorly.

It's the designer's fault, not the players', if the mechanisms lead the players away from the premise of the game.

Let's say you have a movie that is poorly written and poorly directed but has really good acting. You may enjoy watching it for the acting, but don't try to claim it's a good movie.

That's a red herring. Should the game designer n principle have thought of people playing to break the game? To an extent, yes. After a while though It gets a bit silly. It's the mindset which insists that for example Dou Shou Qi is a "broken" game because one can plant one's own animals in each trap and then have the rat just swim in circles. Sure, that breaks the game but is also no longer playing it. Blaming the designer is a cop-out unless the game is really unplayable. AFAoS is anything but unplayable.


Given reasonable people your point is reasonable.

There are many unreasonable people in gaming.

Many gamers who play spacehulk insist on using the unrealistic "Bug Dance" rule interpretation (even going so far as to hum charleston music as they use it which breaks the mood). The designer should have made that impossible.

 
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Shadrach wrote:
Shampoo4you wrote:
Osirus wrote:
Shampoo4you wrote:
Deckbuilders are all samey, terrible, and boring. They take too long to set up and break down, to boot.

I'll be happy when this fad is over.

I enjoy deckbuilders, although long set-up in some can be annoying. One of the first clones, Ascension, has pretty much zero setup time though, and makes a good filler game. Conversely, Eminent Domain takes the deckbuilding and adds Race for the Galaxy (and Glory to Rome) onto it, making it a much meatier game.

It's a good mechanic, but admittedly the Dominion clones that don't change much are not too exciting.


My favorite is actually Star Realms for the nearly zero setup and breakdown. And short playtime.

Ascension is alright, but still pretty boring in comparison.


My friend loves star realms, he'll play it again and again. Whenever he tries to rope me into it I keep thinking 'but, if we're going to play it for 2 hours, why not play a 2hr game that's actually fun?'

You designed Argent, right?


Are we thinking of the same game? Star Realms takes 15 minutes usually, 30 minutes top. Multiplayer lasts a bit longer, but not much.

Yes, I design Argent. More games coming out next year!
 
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whac3 wrote:
AFAoS is anything but unplayable.


I would call any game broken that requires a player to ignore a valid strategy in order to be playable.

So while technically playable, it's broken.
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Shampoo4you wrote:
whac3 wrote:
AFAoS is anything but unplayable.


I would call any game broken that requires a player to ignore a valid strategy in order to be playable.

So while technically playable, it's broken.

Your loss. We have different ideas of what makes a strategy valid. Perhaps Mr. Wallace can cover himself in future games by having a catch all rule "Do not play like a yutz."
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whac3 wrote:
Shampoo4you wrote:
whac3 wrote:
AFAoS is anything but unplayable.


I would call any game broken that requires a player to ignore a valid strategy in order to be playable.

So while technically playable, it's broken.

Your loss. We have different ideas of what makes a strategy valid. Perhaps Mr. Wallace can cover himself in future games by having a catch all rule "Do not play like a yutz."


I'm not sure how you even argue that the HH is not a "valid strategy". It's allowed by the rules, how is it not valid?

If he really wanted to prevent that playstyle or strategy, he would have designed the game differently.
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Shampoo4you wrote:
whac3 wrote:
Shampoo4you wrote:
whac3 wrote:
AFAoS is anything but unplayable.


I would call any game broken that requires a player to ignore a valid strategy in order to be playable.

So while technically playable, it's broken.

Your loss. We have different ideas of what makes a strategy valid. Perhaps Mr. Wallace can cover himself in future games by having a catch all rule "Do not play like a yutz."


I'm not sure how you even argue that the HH is not a "valid strategy". It's allowed by the rules, how is it valid?

If he really wanted to prevent that playstyle or strategy, he would have designed the game differently.

It's allowed by the rules because it probably never occurred to the designer to do it in the first place.
 
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Shampoo4you wrote:
Shadrach wrote:
Shampoo4you wrote:
Osirus wrote:
Shampoo4you wrote:
Deckbuilders are all samey, terrible, and boring. They take too long to set up and break down, to boot.

I'll be happy when this fad is over.

I enjoy deckbuilders, although long set-up in some can be annoying. One of the first clones, Ascension, has pretty much zero setup time though, and makes a good filler game. Conversely, Eminent Domain takes the deckbuilding and adds Race for the Galaxy (and Glory to Rome) onto it, making it a much meatier game.

It's a good mechanic, but admittedly the Dominion clones that don't change much are not too exciting.


My favorite is actually Star Realms for the nearly zero setup and breakdown. And short playtime.

Ascension is alright, but still pretty boring in comparison.


My friend loves star realms, he'll play it again and again. Whenever he tries to rope me into it I keep thinking 'but, if we're going to play it for 2 hours, why not play a 2hr game that's actually fun?'

You designed Argent, right?


Are we thinking of the same game? Star Realms takes 15 minutes usually, 30 minutes top. Multiplayer lasts a bit longer, but not much.

Yes, I design Argent. More games coming out next year!


Yes but theyay it 5-6 times in a row. Hence the 2hrs.

Argent was interesting and had a lot of cool ideas. I wanted the arc to be longer though.

As for snow. I do get the idea of what moshe is expressing. One would have to argue M:TG was 'broken' because so many of the cards don't have all the explicitly odd ways people try to use them taken into account. Why *didn't* they consider someone would rip up the chaos orb to make sure it touched every card the opponent had when flipped?

The 'the rules don't say you can't' line of thinking always ends with a hypothetical punch in the face.
 
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Shadrach wrote:

The 'the rules don't say you can't' line of thinking always ends with a hypothetical punch in the face.


Yea but c'mon, we're not even talking the same thing here. The strategy in A Few Acres of Snow isn't about something the rules DON'T forbid, it's about something the rules explicitly ALLOW.

It's not what actually happened in history? So fucking what. You can literally take millions of actions in that game that did not actually happen in history. It's a historical SIMULATION, not a RECREATION.

The only knock you can possibly have against HH is that it's brokenly good and breaks the game, which is true. To say you shouldn't be able to do it just because the British didn't do it is completely asinine.

The game is simply broken, as evidenced by Martin Wallace trying to "patch it" many times after release (and failing, as HH was STILL insurmountable).
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Shampoo4you wrote:
Deckbuilders are all samey, terrible, and boring. They take too long to set up and break down, to boot.

I'll be happy when this fad is over.

"Dominionism Rising" also takes too long to play. After all, you have to gain majority control in all seven -- count 'em -- *7 spheres of influence* to win the game. (No simple majority about it!)

It's also quite possible that the following two cards are over-powered.


Heavenly Deception



Each other player reveals all cards and trashes all Action cards featuring only characters that match his/her own sex.

You yourself get +1 action for each card in your hand featuring only characters of the opposite sex.

Cost: 7 coppers


_________________________________________




Homophobic Harpy


Janet Folger-Porter of Faith2Action

Each other player reveals all cards and discards Action cards featuring only characters that match his/her own sex.

You yourself get +1 coin for each card in your hand featuring only characters of the opposite sex.

Cost: 5 coppers







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Sorry Shreve, mac already out-Shreved you.
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Shadrach wrote:
Shampoo4you wrote:
Shadrach wrote:
Shampoo4you wrote:
Osirus wrote:
Shampoo4you wrote:
Deckbuilders are all samey, terrible, and boring. They take too long to set up and break down, to boot.

I'll be happy when this fad is over.

I enjoy deckbuilders, although long set-up in some can be annoying. One of the first clones, Ascension, has pretty much zero setup time though, and makes a good filler game. Conversely, Eminent Domain takes the deckbuilding and adds Race for the Galaxy (and Glory to Rome) onto it, making it a much meatier game.

It's a good mechanic, but admittedly the Dominion clones that don't change much are not too exciting.


My favorite is actually Star Realms for the nearly zero setup and breakdown. And short playtime.

Ascension is alright, but still pretty boring in comparison.


My friend loves star realms, he'll play it again and again. Whenever he tries to rope me into it I keep thinking 'but, if we're going to play it for 2 hours, why not play a 2hr game that's actually fun?'

You designed Argent, right?


Are we thinking of the same game? Star Realms takes 15 minutes usually, 30 minutes top. Multiplayer lasts a bit longer, but not much.

Yes, I design Argent. More games coming out next year!


Yes but theyay it 5-6 times in a row. Hence the 2hrs.

Argent was interesting and had a lot of cool ideas. I wanted the arc to be longer though.

As for snow. I do get the idea of what moshe is expressing. One would have to argue M:TG was 'broken' because so many of the cards don't have all the explicitly odd ways people try to use them taken into account. Why *didn't* they consider someone would rip up the chaos orb to make sure it touched every card the opponent had when flipped?

The 'the rules don't say you can't' line of thinking always ends with a hypothetical punch in the face.


I remember stories went around about one tournament allowing that with an original unlimited chaos orb.

 
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