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Subject: Review: Still fun after ten plays? - My pros and cons rss

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Olaf Slomp
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Even though long extensive reviews seem te be the most popular reviews on BGG, I myself just don't have the time or the patience to read those.
I prefer quick overviews where I can get some insights into why this game may or may not be attractive to me.
So... I'll assume there are more people like this out there, and my reviews will be targeted for that audience, and just consist of my pros and cons coming from:
1) First impressions (before playing my first game)
2) Impressions after the first game
3) Current feelings (after at least 10 plays)

My only question: Aren't there already more than enough Dominion reviews? I have so far focused on less popular games when picking games to review, but well maybe, just maybe, somebody likes to see one in my style... let's wait and see (number of likes on this one will probably help me decide whether it's worth it to write reviews of other already often reviewed games).

First impressions:
- Lots of cards, do I really have to read them all?
+ I like the artwork
- The way the cards are organized in the box makes no sense (later found out that it's in alphabetical order of the english cards, even though I have the dutch version)

After my first game:
+ OK, I don't need to read all the cards to play my first game, good! (Nightmare still from playing Jambo)
- It took way too long for my likings; we played with four players, all of whom playing it for the first time, so lot of reading of cards, resulting in a lot of down time between turns. It didn't make a very good first impression
+ This was our first deck builder we ever played, I did like that mechanism right away

Current feelings (35 plays into it):
+ After the first time it took quite a while before we played it again, but then my wife and I played a game with just the two of us, this already went a lot quicker and we liked it a lot better already. After a couple games more we had the playing time down to approximately 20 minutes, which makes it a great option for playing when we just feel like a short game.
+ It now takes the same time as any filler, while offering a much more interesting playing experience than most filler games. As my wife often prefers a short game, this is now my most played game since I started logging my plays on BGG.
+ It's a great two player game. Maybe it's also good with four experienced players, but we have played it so often with the two of us that we cannot play with two friends that havn't played this before anymore without completely trashing them, so it's exclusively two players for us now, which is fine for us.
+ One might expect a large amount of luck involved, but since everybody starts with the same hand, everybody can buy the same cards and there are no super cards that can make a critical decision if they turn up relatively quick after you buy them, there is actually very little luck involved; it's almost pure strategy (which is very refreshing for a game with the playing time of a filler)
- The basic box comes with a limited variety, if you don't want to buy any expansions, this may get boring at some point.
+ But there are many good expansions available, adding to the variation. And no, you don't need many or all of them. We now have four expansions, and feel like we have enough to last us a very long time (and then there are more to buy if we ever feel like more)
+ Every combination of cards chosen calls for a potentially different strategy, there is not one way that always works. I really REALLY like that.
+ I have tried out a couple of deckbuilders after Dominion (Ascension, Star Realms, Legendary,...), but so far none of them has beaten this mother of all deckbuilders for me.
- The box is a nightmare to store in it's original form, as I have all my games standing on its side. I solved this by creating some custom size card board boxes out of trading card boxes. Added benefit is that I can now store the original game and all the expansions I currently own (three small expansions and one big one) all in one box, and they are now sorted in a way that makes sense.
There are expensive storage solutions too, but this works well for me.



End conclusion:
Loving it! Few games have this much staying power in this house.




If you'd like to read more of my reviews, check out Still fun after ten plays? - All reviews
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David Goldfarb
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I no longer bother to keep track of my plays, but I'm pretty sure that I'm closer to 10,000 than ten. I use all the expansions, to be sure.
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Henry Swantner
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"10 plays"? That's cute.
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Olaf Slomp
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ZUUL42 wrote:
"10 plays"? That's cute.


all my reviews are called "still fun after ten plays?".
If you actually read the review you would have seen the 35 plays mentioned.
I know, still not a lot compared to some Dominion fans, but plenty to review (and better than many reviews after one or two plays that I see regularly).
(And getting a neutral review from somebody that has played a hundred games is also quite unlikely, nobody that doesnt like a game very much would play it a hundred times)
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Patrick C.
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I've found that just about every deck builder I've played is a math exercise devoid of theme. Draw 2 cards, 1 extra buy, trash a card, etc. etc. Name on the card? Doesn't matter.

I loved Dominion when I first played it about 6 years ago. I played it at least twice, maybe three times, back to back. And then the experience for me fell off a cliff after about, well, 10 plays. It turned into the board gaming version of The Sixth Sense but instead of seeing dead people I saw numbers. Just numbers.

I recently played Mystic Vale against a strong veteran Dominion player who's entered and done quite quite in Dominion tournaments. Beat him on the 1st play even though he'd played it a few times already. He asked me if I liked the game. Even winning, I really didn't. Dominion by another name. There's less theme in Mystic Vale than Dominion and that's a pretty low bar to surpass! Not that either are the worst - Puzzle Strike wins that prize IME.

But I'd be a hypocrite if I said a lack of theme is the problem. I get more enjoyment out of Splendor and that has less theme than Dominion. For me it comes down to math again - or in this case card synergies. It seems like it's inherent in most/all deck builders. It's an element for me that gets old very very fast.

Then I played Trains: Rising Sun. Lay tracks in the mountain, play the mining train card, get money, buy the most valuable card, Stadium, take waste into your hand for all the building you do. Just about every single action made sense and went beyond doing math. It made sense that a mining train would get you money in tracks in the mountains. So far it's been the only deck builder that has had any connection whatsoever to its theme and that theme was maintained through the card synergies. (Not that I've played them all - still want to give Arctic Scavengers a try.)

My advice to anyone who tries Dominion: If you love the game after the 1st play give it 5 to 10 more tries before investing in the game system. There are many many of us who started out loving the game, enjoying what felt unique at the time, who later became quite bored with the whole exercise.

And yes, I still own Dominion. Wife loves it so I'm stuck with it. yuk Trains is okay for her. I'll get Arctic Scavengers at some point and maybe we'll both like it and I'll finally be saved.
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Chris Schumann
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travvller wrote:
My advice to anyone who tries Dominion: If you love the game after the 1st play give it 5 to 10 more tries before investing in the game system.
This is very sound advice. I liked it at first, then when through a slump of three or four sessions, but then it clicked. I'm a big fan of it now. Still, I think you should play ANY game before investing in it, especially one with so many expansions.
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Rick Teverbaugh
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travvller wrote:
I've found that just about every deck builder I've played is a math exercise devoid of theme. Draw 2 cards, 1 extra buy, trash a card, etc. etc. Name on the card? Doesn't matter.

I loved Dominion when I first played it about 6 years ago. I played it at least twice, maybe three times, back to back. And then the experience for me fell off a cliff after about, well, 10 plays. It turned into the board gaming version of The Sixth Sense but instead of seeing dead people I saw numbers. Just numbers.

I recently played Mystic Vale against a strong veteran Dominion player who's entered and done quite quite in Dominion tournaments. Beat him on the 1st play even though he'd played it a few times already. He asked me if I liked the game. Even winning, I really didn't. Dominion by another name. There's less theme in Mystic Vale than Dominion and that's a pretty low bar to surpass! Not that either are the worst - Puzzle Strike wins that prize IME.

But I'd be a hypocrite if I said a lack of theme is the problem. I get more enjoyment out of Splendor and that has less theme than Dominion. For me it comes down to math again - or in this case card synergies. It seems like it's inherent in most/all deck builders. It's an element for me that gets old very very fast.

Then I played Trains: Rising Sun. Lay tracks in the mountain, play the mining train card, get money, buy the most valuable card, Stadium, take waste into your hand for all the building you do. Just about every single action made sense and went beyond doing math. It made sense that a mining train would get you money in tracks in the mountains. So far it's been the only deck builder that has had any connection whatsoever to its theme and that theme was maintained through the card synergies. (Not that I've played them all - still want to give Arctic Scavengers a try.)

My advice to anyone who tries Dominion: If you love the game after the 1st play give it 5 to 10 more tries before investing in the game system. There are many many of us who started out loving the game, enjoying what felt unique at the time, who later became quite bored with the whole exercise.

And yes, I still own Dominion. Wife loves it so I'm stuck with it. yuk Trains is okay for her. I'll get Arctic Scavengers at some point and maybe we'll both like it and I'll finally be saved.


I hope you are never saved. Dominion gets better for me each time I play and I have to be near 750 ftf plays.
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travvller wrote:
I've found that just about every deck builder I've played is a math exercise devoid of theme. Draw 2 cards, 1 extra buy, trash a card, etc. etc. Name on the card? Doesn't matter.

I loved Dominion when I first played it about 6 years ago. I played it at least twice, maybe three times, back to back. And then the experience for me fell off a cliff after about, well, 10 plays. It turned into the board gaming version of The Sixth Sense but instead of seeing dead people I saw numbers. Just numbers.

I recently played Mystic Vale against a strong veteran Dominion player who's entered and done quite quite in Dominion tournaments. Beat him on the 1st play even though he'd played it a few times already. He asked me if I liked the game. Even winning, I really didn't. Dominion by another name. There's less theme in Mystic Vale than Dominion and that's a pretty low bar to surpass! Not that either are the worst - Puzzle Strike wins that prize IME.

But I'd be a hypocrite if I said a lack of theme is the problem. I get more enjoyment out of Splendor and that has less theme than Dominion. For me it comes down to math again - or in this case card synergies. It seems like it's inherent in most/all deck builders. It's an element for me that gets old very very fast.

Then I played Trains: Rising Sun. Lay tracks in the mountain, play the mining train card, get money, buy the most valuable card, Stadium, take waste into your hand for all the building you do. Just about every single action made sense and went beyond doing math. It made sense that a mining train would get you money in tracks in the mountains. So far it's been the only deck builder that has had any connection whatsoever to its theme and that theme was maintained through the card synergies. (Not that I've played them all - still want to give Arctic Scavengers a try.)

My advice to anyone who tries Dominion: If you love the game after the 1st play give it 5 to 10 more tries before investing in the game system. There are many many of us who started out loving the game, enjoying what felt unique at the time, who later became quite bored with the whole exercise.

And yes, I still own Dominion. Wife loves it so I'm stuck with it. yuk Trains is okay for her. I'll get Arctic Scavengers at some point and maybe we'll both like it and I'll finally be saved.


As shocking as it can be to some Dom fans, there are legit reasons not to like this game. Some of which you did cover.

I still like Dom, but I will provide counterpoints to 2 areas:
1) The name on the card still has some significance. And not just in a "Smithy vs. card 246-b" way. It does describe or provide insight as to what it does. Plus, as a sort of "easter egg", I do like how there are some thematic ties between them, like how Hunting Party is good at triggering gaining Gold from a Tunnel; play on words like how Venture is a lesser version of Adventurer; and play on art like how the card art for Pillage is the same one as in Village, but well... wreaked (bonus plus... they rhyme too!)

.

2) for more games than I'd care to admit... they can be broken down into math. I have went into Ticket To Ride games with the 1910 expansion and mapped out how to get 120 points (as winning scores will be at least that much). Then I can even try to map out how many turns I'd need to do what I'd like to do. Another example is if I want to win, I'll need at least 30 pts, so I absolutely need to risk Drawing Destination cards.

However, that gets too "mathy" for me so I've only done it that one time. If I ever play that again, I'll just approach it of "get as many pts as I can", going for Destination Tickets that I can complete, stop drawing them if it's "risky", and strive for the longer routes.


Curious.. could you not just "turn off" the "extreme math" when playing Dominion, or is that how your mind works anyways?
For me, I've been fascinated by some of the articles on DominionStrategy.com, but when they get into hard stats with their simulator, "corporate graphs and pie charts", and even using actual statistics terms, I just don't bother with THOSE.
 
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Olaf Slomp
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Cool, normally my experience with posting reviews is:
1) post a positive review and get a bunch of likes but not many comments or discussions; or
2) write a negative review and get only a few likes but a lot of comments about why the game is better than I consider it to be

This is the first time I write a positive review and get comments why it's not as good as I consider it to be.
I think there's a lot of added value in the comments and arguments from both sides of fans and haters when reading a review, so happy to get that on positive review this time. Thanks!
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Dan Condon-Jones
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Olafslomp wrote:

- The way the cards are organized in the box makes no sense (later found out that it's in alphabetical order of the english cards, even though I have the dutch version)

Damn.

I'm only three games in on my physical version of the game, but I never noticed that the cards were alphabetical - and I have the English version. It's still a bit odd. Surely the money cards and the VP/Curse cards should be bulked together for ease of setting up a new game.
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David Lude
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My most played game, own every expansion. Empires really adds to the experience. Play regularly online. Theme is what you make of it, I always tell a story after each game based on the cards I chose to play in the set and it really brings the theme out for me.

Quote:
And yes, I still own Dominion. Wife loves it so I'm stuck with it. yuk Trains is okay for her. I'll get Arctic Scavengers at some point and maybe we'll both like it and I'll finally be saved.


Save your money on Arctic Scavengers, I bought it on a recommendation from someone who never played Dominion, and We found it to be 'clunky', luck based, and too long for what it was. Traded it away.

A somewhat thematic area control deckbuilder I recommend isTyrants of the Underdark. It is market based, so getting the best cards may feel luck based if they are snatched up before your turn, but the strategy you choose and board play is better than trains, which feels slow by comparison.

Happy gaming!
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Geoffrey Burrell
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I think that Dominion is fun after 10 plays. My favorite strategy is going the "Big Money" route.
 
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Dan Condon-Jones
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dancj wrote:
Olafslomp wrote:

- The way the cards are organized in the box makes no sense (later found out that it's in alphabetical order of the english cards, even though I have the dutch version)

Damn.

I'm only three games in on my physical version of the game, but I never noticed that the cards were alphabetical - and I have the English version. It's still a bit odd. Surely the money cards and the VP/Curse cards should be bulked together for ease of setting up a new game.

Hmm. Now I look at it again, it's even weirder than that. The VP cards are together, but the silver, copper, gold and the randomiser cards are scattered randomly.
 
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Derek H
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Wavyhill wrote:
Quote:
And yes, I still own Dominion. Wife loves it so I'm stuck with it. yuk Trains is okay for her. I'll get Arctic Scavengers at some point and maybe we'll both like it and I'll finally be saved.

Save your money on Arctic Scavengers, I bought it on a recommendation from someone who never played Dominion, and We found it to be 'clunky', luck based, and too long for what it was. Traded it away.

Agreed. Tried it at a MeetUp and it just ... didn't work. Dominion is just so slick, its hard to compete with. Trains adds a board, but it just feels awkward; like two disparate mechanisms mashed together that it does not really pull off - there are better train games and better deck-building games!
 
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Benoit Pilotte
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Olafslomp wrote:
We now have four expansions, and feel like we have enough to last us a very long time


Which ones?
 
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Olaf Slomp
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nimzo28 wrote:
Olafslomp wrote:
We now have four expansions, and feel like we have enough to last us a very long time


Which ones?


The three small ones (Dominion: Alchemy, Dominion: Cornucopia, Dominion: Guilds) and Dominion: Dark Ages
Out of the three small ones, Guilds and Cornucopia are much preferred above Alchemy. Havnt played Dark Ages enough yet to judge that one.
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Benoit Pilotte
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Olafslomp wrote:
The three small ones (Dominion: Alchemy, Dominion: Cornucopia, Dominion: Guilds) and Dominion: Dark Ages[...] Havnt played Dark Ages enough yet to judge that one.


Wow! Your choices are not usual! In general, it looks like Prosperity (not a very good choice, in my opinion) is one of the first expansions chosen.

Dark Ages will surely bring you satisfaction. The expansion fits quite well with Cornucopia...
 
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Benoit Pilotte
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Olafslomp wrote:
Out of the three small ones, Guilds and Cornucopia are much preferred above Alchemy.


Alchemy is a very particular expansion. Here, an interesting pool about Alchemy...
 
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Olaf Slomp
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nimzo28 wrote:
Olafslomp wrote:
The three small ones (Dominion: Alchemy, Dominion: Cornucopia, Dominion: Guilds) and Dominion: Dark Ages[...] Havnt played Dark Ages enough yet to judge that one.


Wow! Your choices are not usual! In general, it looks like Prosperity (not a very good choice, in my opinion) is one of the first expansions chosen.

Dark Ages will surely bring you satisfaction. The expansion fits quite well with Cornucopia...


The small ones are priced low enough (at least over here) to ask for as a birthday gift, the big ones arent. I think all three small expansions were gifts for me or my wife.
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travvller wrote:
I've found that just about every deck builder I've played is a math exercise devoid of theme. Draw 2 cards, 1 extra buy, trash a card, etc. etc. Name on the card? Doesn't matter.


Hi, I agree with you on deckbuilders. Not really my thing either.
That said, give Great Western Trail a go. It has a deck building mechanism which is central to basically any strategy you choose, however it is a board game at heart. Excellent game.
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R. O. Schaefer
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Dominion is a great game. But learning it with four unexperienced players is just a serious mistake. I abandoned the game because of that for almost two years. In the core of their heart deck builders are just for two players - all the more so, when you learn the game.
If you want to play deck builders with four, just try something cooperative that lets you directly take part in other players turn, like Alien - Legendary encounter.
 
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Olaf Slomp
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Califax wrote:
Dominion is a great game. But learning it with four unexperienced players is just a serious mistake. I abandoned the game because of that for almost two years. In the core of their heart deck builders are just for two players - all the more so, when you learn the game.


Exactly the same experience as me!

They should put a warning sticker on the box!
 
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dancj wrote:
dancj wrote:
Olafslomp wrote:

- The way the cards are organized in the box makes no sense (later found out that it's in alphabetical order of the english cards, even though I have the dutch version)

Damn.

I'm only three games in on my physical version of the game, but I never noticed that the cards were alphabetical - and I have the English version. It's still a bit odd. Surely the money cards and the VP/Curse cards should be bulked together for ease of setting up a new game.

Hmm. Now I look at it again, it's even weirder than that. The VP cards are together, but the silver, copper, gold and the randomiser cards are scattered randomly.

When OP first said the organization was weird, I thought, you got that right, even in English. I'm just happy to see someone else commenting on it.

The Kingdom cards are alphabetical. So are copper and silver, but not gold, which is at the very end of everything. The randomizer location might make sense if the rest were correct to start with. And Garden with the other victory cards, even though it's a kingdom card and needs set up that way. (And just randomly stuffed between Duchy and Province. Estate is out of place, both alphabetically and numerically.) And Curse smack in the middle of kingdom cards with no logic. So even worse than you're saying.

It's pretty retarded really, cause it's just not that hard to organize it in some logical fashion.

Brilliant, you can turn the little card over. Yeah, and all the stuff that's out of place is still in the same place. So you can reorganize the kingdom cards, though the empty spot by the victory cards where Garden was is still GREEN.

(I just have a really low tolerance to this kind of thing. Not understanding something is one thing, but some things are just stupid. Setup isn't hard cause I know where they are; it's just stupid.)

EDIT: I just realized Copper isn't alphabetical. With the C's, but not alphabetical.
 
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Dan Smith
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Olafslomp wrote:
ZUUL42 wrote:
"10 plays"? That's cute.


all my reviews are called "still fun after ten plays?".
If you actually read the review you would have seen the 35 plays mentioned.
I know, still not a lot compared to some Dominion fans, but plenty to review (and better than many reviews after one or two plays that I see regularly).
(And getting a neutral review from somebody that has played a hundred games is also quite unlikely, nobody that doesnt like a game very much would play it a hundred times)


He didn't have the patience to read the whole thing lol.
 
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