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Subject: Donald X., split piles should have been 6/6, not 5/5 rss

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Kyle Rush
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Just played a six player game where Catapult was the only trashing (and only attack.) Obviously since there are only 5 catapults in the game, one player was without one. He spent the entire game playing a slog and dealing with other players' attacks while he couldn't trash curses, estates or coppers, meanwhile everybody else was building toward an engine and happily trashing things. He had a very miserable time and there was nothing he could have possibly done differently because there are only 5 of the cards and 6 players.

And what about Fortune? One of the most brokenly powerful cards in all of Dominion, and only 5 of the players are allowed to buy one? How is that fair?
 
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Jason Speicher
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Thus is a 4 player game not 6 player game. That's your problem.
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Derek Whaley
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jwspiker wrote:
Thus is a 4 player game not 6 player game. That's your problem.
Incorrect. It has been advertised as a 6-player game since Intrigue and generally plays acceptably well as such (I've played more 5- and 6-player games than anything else, except for 2-player games). I have yet to play with Adventures or Empires, but I've noted before problems with chaining cards such as Treasure Map in Seaside.

That being said, Catapult/Rocks is only a single pile – there was nothing else in the other 9 piles that provided other options? That just sounds like bad playing. Everybody shouldn't play the exact same game. Dominion is best when the players diversify their strategies.
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Everette Robertson
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In a 5 player game with Catapults, most of the time you're going to have 3-card hands every turn, whether or not you have your own Catapult. If you have your own Catapult and want to junk other players, you're going to have to use the Catapult as your Action, a Silver, Rocks, or Village as your fuel, and hope you can buy something as valuable as what you just Catapulted. That doesn't sound like a winning strategy.

Besides this, if you decide to keep a Catapult and a Curse or Copper in hand so that you can trash the junk, you're not going to have much of a hand left either.

I suspect that the player who ignored the Catapults and just bought decent $5 cards when he could would probably finish ahead of the folks trying to Catapult each other.

If you post the entire Kingdom, I bet that posters here could come up with alternative strategies that don't require Catapults.

As for Fortune, it is extremely expensive (equivalent to 2 Provinces). I would imagine that in most 5 player games (where 3 Provinces and a duchy or two might well win you the game) you're better off just buying 2 Provinces with your $16 than putting yourself 2 Provinces behind and then trying to catch up with a Fortune megaturn.
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Colin
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Dominion is at its best with 2 or 3, I have a difficult time enjoying it at 4; I can't even imagine sitting through a 5 or 6 player game!
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Morten K
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12thManStanding wrote:
Dominion is at its best with 2 or 3, I have a difficult time enjoying it at 4; I can't even imagine sitting through a 5 or 6 player game!


Yeah with 6 players I'd much rather play two group of 3.
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Donald X.
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kru5h wrote:
Just played a six player game where Catapult was the only trashing (and only attack.) Obviously since there are only 5 catapults in the game, one player was without one. He spent the entire game playing a slog and dealing with other players' attacks while he couldn't trash curses, estates or coppers, meanwhile everybody else was building toward an engine and happily trashing things. He had a very miserable time and there was nothing he could have possibly done differently because there are only 5 of the cards and 6 players.

And what about Fortune? One of the most brokenly powerful cards in all of Dominion, and only 5 of the players are allowed to buy one? How is that fair?

You don't necessarily need six players for someone to be shut out of Catapults. It could be, for example, four players, the first three open 3/4, the last gets 2/5, the first two players open Catapult/Catapult and the third Catapult/something.

Similarly if there were six Catapults, players in a 6-player game could still get shut out. The 6th player can even be shut out of a pile of 10, if it costs $3. Everyone wants Steward, the first five players get Steward/Steward, the last player opened 2/5.

For 6-player games, I recommend tailoring the set-of-10 to the number of players; in particular I'd avoid game-slowing cards.
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Dale Stephenson
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Tigrillo wrote:
12thManStanding wrote:
Dominion is at its best with 2 or 3, I have a difficult time enjoying it at 4; I can't even imagine sitting through a 5 or 6 player game!


Yeah with 6 players I'd much rather play two group of 3.


So would I -- but the other five people in our game night disagree, so I've played a *lot* of 6-player Dominion. It's longer, but it's not bad at all and I frankly prefer it to two-player Dominion. I've also had a lot of experience playing sixth, and as the sixth player the last thing you want to do is exactly what the first five players are trying to do. (Though it's *very* rare, in my experience, that the other five players will all go for the same card.)

As was written above, if all the other five players have a discarding attack, getting access to a slow trasher is much *less* important. You'll usually have only three cards so a slow trasher kills your turn, and the bad cards in your deck will routinely get tossed to the discarder. If the other five are all committed to play their catapults, you are the most likely player to win.
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Dale Stephenson
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marcory wrote:
As for Fortune, it is extremely expensive (equivalent to 2 Provinces). I would imagine that in most 5 player games (where 3 Provinces and a duchy or two might well win you the game) you're better off just buying 2 Provinces with your $16 than putting yourself 2 Provinces behind and then trying to catch up with a Fortune megaturn.


If you have $16 and two buys, I think you're right. If you have less than $16 or only a single buy, get the Fortune.
 
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Salvador C. Majoral
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That's what (among other things) blank cards are for. If you feel there should be more catapults you can make them (place them at the bottom so that they will only be used if the printed ones run out).
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Rick Teverbaugh
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I think the OP is making a language mistake. Just because it can be played with 6 doesn't mean that is the optimal number. Donald can refute this but it seems to me that he, at one point in time, said the optimal way for 6 players to play Dominion is by playing a pair of 3-player games. If he refutes that he ever said it, then I will take credit.
 
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Bruno D
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rickert wrote:
I think the OP is making a language mistake. Just because it can be played with 6 doesn't mean that is the optimal number. Donald can refute this but it seems to me that he, at one point in time, said the optimal way for 6 players to play Dominion is by playing a pair of 3-player games. If he refutes that he ever said it, then I will take credit.



"Optimal number" is very subjective. What does it really mean ?

Who is anyone to say whether anyone may/can have fun or not with any particular player count ?

However, of course, opinions should help people get an idea of what has worked and what hasn't for other groups, what are certain game play elements to consider, etc (e.g. Donald's suggestion to avoid game-slowing cards)

I personally enjoy Dominion with 2, 3 and 4 players, and would try with 5 & 6 based on my experience with 4, but haven't had the opportunity to do so yet.

Re: OP's original complaint, well I think it has nothing to do with the player count, the same situation can happen with other cards and other player counts. Maybe there is a groupthink issue with all players going for the same cards / strategies ? It would help to know what other kingdom cards were available to get a better idea of other options that might have been available in that particular game setup.
 
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Rick Teverbaugh
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teg2 wrote:
rickert wrote:
I think the OP is making a language mistake. Just because it can be played with 6 doesn't mean that is the optimal number. Donald can refute this but it seems to me that he, at one point in time, said the optimal way for 6 players to play Dominion is by playing a pair of 3-player games. If he refutes that he ever said it, then I will take credit.



"Optimal number" is very subjective. What does it really mean ?

Who is anyone to say whether anyone may/can have fun or not with any particular player count ?

However, of course, opinions should help people get an idea of what has worked and what hasn't for other groups, what are certain game play elements to consider, etc (e.g. Donald's suggestion to avoid game-slowing cards)

I personally enjoy Dominion with 2, 3 and 4 players, and would try with 5 & 6 based on my experience with 4, but haven't had the opportunity to do so yet.

Re: OP's original complaint, well I think it has nothing to do with the player count, the same situation can happen with other cards and other player counts. Maybe there is a groupthink issue with all players going for the same cards / strategies ? It would help to know what other kingdom cards were available to get a better idea of other options that might have been available in that particular game setup.


I find your reply interesting if a bit off point. The OP was certainly talking about player count. It wasn';t theory. It was fact. If there are 6 players and just 5 of any card then it is physically impossible for one of those players to get one of those cards. In theory and practice it is certainly possible for more to go without one of the cards if they wait too long to try and make such a purchase. My experience with more than 4 players of Dominion is that, unless the players are all very experienced, I'd rather not play with 5 or 6. There is too much down time. I don't care for it. But I think the game shines equally among the 2, 3 and 4 player counts and that's good enough for me. With more players I have plenty of base cards to run 2 games simultaneously.
 
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Chris Schumann
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Bruno D
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rickert wrote:
teg2 wrote:
rickert wrote:
I think the OP is making a language mistake. Just because it can be played with 6 doesn't mean that is the optimal number. Donald can refute this but it seems to me that he, at one point in time, said the optimal way for 6 players to play Dominion is by playing a pair of 3-player games. If he refutes that he ever said it, then I will take credit.



"Optimal number" is very subjective. What does it really mean ?

Who is anyone to say whether anyone may/can have fun or not with any particular player count ?

However, of course, opinions should help people get an idea of what has worked and what hasn't for other groups, what are certain game play elements to consider, etc (e.g. Donald's suggestion to avoid game-slowing cards)

I personally enjoy Dominion with 2, 3 and 4 players, and would try with 5 & 6 based on my experience with 4, but haven't had the opportunity to do so yet.

Re: OP's original complaint, well I think it has nothing to do with the player count, the same situation can happen with other cards and other player counts. Maybe there is a groupthink issue with all players going for the same cards / strategies ? It would help to know what other kingdom cards were available to get a better idea of other options that might have been available in that particular game setup.


I find your reply interesting if a bit off point. The OP was certainly talking about player count. It wasn';t theory. It was fact. If there are 6 players and just 5 of any card then it is physically impossible for one of those players to get one of those cards. In theory and practice it is certainly possible for more to go without one of the cards if they wait too long to try and make such a purchase. My experience with more than 4 players of Dominion is that, unless the players are all very experienced, I'd rather not play with 5 or 6. There is too much down time. I don't care for it. But I think the game shines equally among the 2, 3 and 4 player counts and that's good enough for me. With more players I have plenty of base cards to run 2 games simultaneously.


I guess my point is that often games have limited "resources" available to players and that is part of the game. If you are the last player to go in the first round of certain kingdom setups, you know that certain cards might not be an option if *all* previous players go for it. What is the likelihood of that happening ? What other options may there be available to support other strategies ? Any options to counter, etc
 
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Rick Teverbaugh
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Your point is certainly valid and at home in this discussion. I just think it doesn't exactly relate to the OP's view which seems to me to be about card count vs. player count for an individual card.
 
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Dale Stephenson
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rickert wrote:
Your point is certainly valid and at home in this discussion. I just think it doesn't exactly relate to the OP's view which seems to me to be about card count vs. player count for an individual card.


It is. It is true that in a split pile, it is not *possible* for all players to have a copy of a split card.

However, it's equally true that with five players, it may not be possible for a player to have a copy of a split card in practice. There's no rule restricting other players to only buy one copy, and for expensive cards (e.g. Fortune), it's quite possible to use your first Fortune to pay for a second Fortune. With only five cards in each part of a split pile, they can run out with any number of players, there's no possibility of the cards being split evenly except at 5-player, and there's no guarantee that purchasing a bottom card from the pile is possible.

But the question then becomes -- is this a problem in practice? Veterans of six-player games, of all people, should already be familiar with the idea that it's possible for a kingdom card to run out before you have enough cards to execute your strategy. But are any split piles so powerful that the top pile can be bought out before the sixth player makes his first purchase (quite possible), and that will doom the chances of the sixth player (highly unlikely, IMO). For many split piles giving the sixth player the chance to open with the bottom of a split pile gives him an advantage (if he can afford it) -- but that's a case that the fifth player should keep in mind before emptying the top of the pile.

Is Catapult a pile where losing a chance to get it will doom the 6th player? No. I don't care what else is in the kingdom, I like my chances even with Big Money against five dedicated Catapulters. We'll all be working with 3-card hands most of the time, but my turns won't be crippled by trashing a copper I would ordinarily discard anyway.

Is Fortune a card where not having enough to go around is a problem? No. Getting to 8 coin to buy a Fortune isn't so easy that it will go in strict turn order, and buying a Fortune when you get to 8 isn't necessarily the right strategic play.

Six-player Dominion plays differently than two-player Dominion. Most prefer the latter, I prefer the former because of the (practically certain) variety of strategies, and the increased value of high-variance strategies. If kingdom piles were as deep as treasures in a six-player game, it would be a different game and (I think) a less interesting one. (Six player games do run longer, but increasing time with player count is very, very common and not especially noteworthy.)
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There was some talks amongst my groups that it seems like there should've 12 of each Kingdom card to have an even split among 4p. Although there's some lopsidedness with 5p and 6p, the extra cards could come in handy. However, that probably would've added too many extra cards, possibly adding an unacceptable extra cost to the game.
 
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Rick Teverbaugh
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I love Dominion most with 2 or 3 players. I think those amounts are most likely to be won by the best player. I will play in a 4-player game without hesitation and generally turn down almost every opportunity to play with 5 or 6.

Anyone could buy 2 sets of each set of Dominion and make 12 card stacks for every Kingdom pile. But then I would end the game when 2 piles were empty.
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Everette Robertson
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The bigger problem is that 6/6 stacks for the split piles would make it even harder for 2/3 player games to get into the bottom half of the pile.

I suppose that if you had 2 sets you could have a house rule that makes all stacks have 12 or 15 or whatever cards in 5/6 player games, instead of just adding more Provinces.

But that ignores the fact that it's usually a bad idea for 3 or more players to use the same strategy in multiplayer games. The better idea is to do what the rules actually do, which is to require that 5/6 player games have to deplete a 4th pile to end. This reflects the existence of differing strategies in 5/6 player games.
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Donald X.
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rickert wrote:
I think the OP is making a language mistake. Just because it can be played with 6 doesn't mean that is the optimal number. Donald can refute this but it seems to me that he, at one point in time, said the optimal way for 6 players to play Dominion is by playing a pair of 3-player games. If he refutes that he ever said it, then I will take credit.

I'm not sure if I ever said it, but I personally don't play with 6, it's just too slow. I avoid playing with 5 but do sometimes.

I think in general publishers like to stretch the player count range. And players do too, that's why publishers like to. You've got 6 and want to play Dominion and maybe today it seems worth it to have it be slower. When you have 6 people there is often a lot of resistance to splitting into two groups.
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Derek Whaley
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donaldx wrote:
When you have 6 people there is often a lot of resistance to splitting into two groups.

You ain't just whistlin' Dixie! My game group was so stubborn, that in the rare event we did break into two groups, the first group that finished harassed the other group until they finished. They refused to start a new game.
 
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donaldx wrote:
rickert wrote:
I think the OP is making a language mistake. Just because it can be played with 6 doesn't mean that is the optimal number. Donald can refute this but it seems to me that he, at one point in time, said the optimal way for 6 players to play Dominion is by playing a pair of 3-player games. If he refutes that he ever said it, then I will take credit.

I'm not sure if I ever said it, but I personally don't play with 6, it's just too slow. I avoid playing with 5 but do sometimes.

I think in general publishers like to stretch the player count range. And players do too, that's why publishers like to. You've got 6 and want to play Dominion and maybe today it seems worth it to have it be slower. When you have 6 people there is often a lot of resistance to splitting into two groups.


Language to that effect is right in the Intrigue rule book.
 
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donaldx wrote:
rickert wrote:
I think the OP is making a language mistake. Just because it can be played with 6 doesn't mean that is the optimal number. Donald can refute this but it seems to me that he, at one point in time, said the optimal way for 6 players to play Dominion is by playing a pair of 3-player games. If he refutes that he ever said it, then I will take credit.

I'm not sure if I ever said it, but I personally don't play with 6, it's just too slow. I avoid playing with 5 but do sometimes.

I think in general publishers like to stretch the player count range. And players do too, that's why publishers like to. You've got 6 and want to play Dominion and maybe today it seems worth it to have it be slower. When you have 6 people there is often a lot of resistance to splitting into two groups.


IIRC, the Intrigue rulebook (1st ed.) mentions that 6p was a slower, "less desirable" game, and somewhere else mentioned that some cards should be avoided with 5p or 6p, so it seems things are covered there.
 
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ackmondual wrote:
IIRC, the Intrigue rulebook (1st ed.) mentions that 6p was a slower, "less desirable" game, and somewhere else mentioned that some cards should be avoided with 5p or 6p, so it seems things are covered there.


Here's what the current 1st edition rulebook says (from Rio Grande's site)

rulebook wrote:
If you own both Dominion and Dominion: Intrigue, you can play with more than 4 players. Our recommendation is to use both sets of Treasure, Victory, and Curse cards in order to play 2 separate games (for example, 7 players can play one 3-player game and one 4-player game). Each group can select their own 10 Kingdom cards from both sets to play with.

The following are rules for a single game accommodating 5 or 6 players. Please note that there will be increased downtime with 5 or 6 players, so this is not recommended for new players.


It does recommend splitting into two groups, but the only specific warning about 5-6 players is "increased downtime", and no recommendation about avoiding specific cards is made.

Whether you *should* avoid specific cards in 5-6 players really depends on what you consider fun. If you don't enjoy an attack heavy game in 4-player that's likely to end on piles, you certainly won't enjoy it in 5-6 players. But if you like that sort of game as much as kingdom sets with a quick-building engine, there's no particular reason to avoid it. Like the Alchemy picking rules, it's a suggestion that may or may not benefit you.

As I said before, I'd prefer to split into two 3-player groups than split into six, but that's mostly because I'd rather play more different kingdom sets within the same amount of time, rather than a great disparity in enjoyment between playing with three and six. I think the biggest player-count difference in gameplay is actually between two-player and three-player.
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