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Subject: Nothing Really Changed in Deck Building Until Orleans rss

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Tony Chen
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Dominion spawned a lot of successors, but none that I played felt different from Dominion in any significant way. Not Ascension, not Thunderstone, not Star Realms, not Quarriors, etc. All of them left me feeling, “this game is nice, and a nice change of pace from Dominion, but ultimately, I am still playing Dominion.”

In Dominion, the resources are coins, actions, cards, and buys. Only coins are used for buying cards; other resources such as actions and buys are fundamentally different. This made Dominion special, clean, and effective in terms of design.

Some of the pool building games following Dominion did away with the concept of actions and buys as limited resources, instead allowing “infinite” actions and buys as long as a player can afford it. But that’s just like, adding “+1 action” and “+66 buys” to every single card in Dominion.

Furthermore, many of these pool building games add “+X attack” to half of the cards. Attacks, like coins, also buy cards. Specifically, coins buy attack cards, and attack cards buy victory points. This changes nothing fundamentally. The only addition is a forced thematic effect. The pool building mechanism is used as a slave for running a different script, and not as a master for creating a different emergent gameplay.

Even Dominion itself tried to mix it up with a different resource for buying cards: the Potion. The Alchemy is the worst Dominion expansion in my opinion.

And nothing really changed. In Dominion, the actions are cards. If you did something, you played a card. Draw a card to play a card, what happens is what is written on the card. All these other pool building games are exactly like that.

Until Orleans.

First, Orleans completely breaks away from the concept that each “pool unit” is a complete, independent, and executable action. Instead, the pool units in Orleans are different colored resources that don’t do anything per se. All the actions and buys are on a separate player mat. Different combinations of pool units (a blue resource, a red resource, a black resource, etc.) are played to the player mat for triggering different types of actions and buys. This is such a simple, yet completely revolutionary change.

Instead of building actions, now I am building colors. It’s almost like Alchemy on steroids, but done right. Alchemy and other Dominion successors are caught between doing something different, and not doing anything different enough. Orleans gets the whole multiple-resource-types concept right by using six resources instead of just two, and removing the actions from the pool of colors (out of the cards and into a permanent player board).

The problem with Alchemy and other deck building games that had two resource types (Potion and Coins, Attacks and Coins, etc.) is that the dual resource types add randomness and complexity to a game that already has enough randomness and complexity. Orleans gets it right by amping up the randomness and complexity of resources, and lowering the randomness and complexity of the actions, which are no longer a part of the "deck."

Second, Orleans made trashing pool units a mini-game itself. Players get different points depending on which area they trash their pool units to, and additional points for trashing the last pool unit to an area.

I am very impressed by Stockhausen’s take on a pool building game. Orleans breaks away from Dominion while still staying true to the mold of a pool building game.



One minor critique is that the events could have a little more effect. Also, to keep the game fresh, different buildings need to be vetoed each game because some of these can dominate the strategies. There are a couple minor issues that could be patched up with further development, but overall Orleans is an extremely innovative, clean, and enjoyable game that scratches the pool building itch for me.

Someone needs to design another game using this base mechanism, but with a different set of actions on the player mat. For example, instead of gears and extra draws per turn, maybe have “reverse gears” for placing on other players’ player mats, and a way to reduce other players’ market size. Instead of traveling around Orleans and farming and fishing, maybe partying on Mardi Gras and making some Jazz music. Call it New Orleans. Maybe something to make “Garden decks” more interesting, because right now I think “Chapel decks” are more viable. Maybe purple witches for adding to other players’ pools.
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Seth Jaffee
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Orleans is great. There are a few other bag builders that are interesting, but some of them didn't really catch on (King's Pouch had an interesting twist of having 2 different shaped pieces in the bag, and you could choose which shape you want to draw (but not the color of it).

If you are interested in deck builders that don't feel like Dominion, I can recommend Eminent Domain. I originally described it as a role selection game with a deck building element, as opposed to a "deckbuilder" (like Dominion and Ascension style games). More recently I've taken to calling it "deck learning" instead, to emphasize the difference.

In deckbuilders, you decide which cards you want in your deck, and then you try and buy them into your deck. In EmDo, your deck changes as a side effect of the actions you take in the game.
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Casey W

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I would highly recommend getting the expansion Orléans: Trade & Intrigue. Took Orleans from a 8.5 to a 10 for me.
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David Taranto
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You're looking for the Trade and Intrigue expansion! You should look it up. I don't think I'm ever going back!
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Wojciech Gołowkow
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drunkenKOALA wrote:

Someone needs to design another game using this base mechanism, but with a different set of actions on the player mat.


Seems like you've missed the announcement of Altiplano
I love Orleans so much that the new game is an insta-buy for me. Probably the first booth I'll run to during Essen
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David B
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CashLiam wrote:
I would highly recommend getting the expansion Orléans: Trade & Intrigue. Took Orleans from a 8.5 to a 10 for me.


Cool. That would take it from 5 to a 6.5 for me.
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Chun Ping
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Hyperborea uses the same mechanics but in a dude on map style of game. good stuff!
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Jacob Walker
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pfctsqr wrote:
Cool. That would take it from 5 to a 6.5 for me.


If this is a proportional relationship, it might only take it to about a 6.471...
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David Chapman
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drunkenKOALA wrote:
Someone needs to design another game using this base mechanism, but with a different set of actions on the player mat. For example, instead of gears and extra draws per turn, maybe have “reverse gears” for placing on other players’ player mats, and a way to reduce other players’ market size. Instead of traveling around Orleans and farming and fishing, maybe partying on Mardi Gras and making some Jazz music. Call it New Orleans. Maybe something to make “Garden decks” more interesting, because right now I think “Chapel decks” are more viable. Maybe purple witches for adding to other players’ pools.


So you want Altiplano, then.
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Tony Chen
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sedjtroll wrote:
Orleans is great. There are a few other bag builders that are interesting, but some of them didn't really catch on (King's Pouch had an interesting twist of having 2 different shaped pieces in the bag, and you could choose which shape you want to draw (but not the color of it).

If you are interested in deck builders that don't feel like Dominion, I can recommend Eminent Domain. I originally described it as a role selection game with a deck building element, as opposed to a "deckbuilder" (like Dominion and Ascension style games). More recently I've taken to calling it "deck learning" instead, to emphasize the difference.

In deckbuilders, you decide which cards you want in your deck, and then you try and buy them into your deck. In EmDo, your deck changes as a side effect of the actions you take in the game.
Oh yeah, Eminent Domain is also nice, does something differently by combining Glory to Rome with Dominion. Players also take actions by "buying" a card, which is actually implemented in Orleans as well.
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Tony Chen
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the_windcaster wrote:
You're looking for the Trade and Intrigue expansion! You should look it up. I don't think I'm ever going back!
Yeah, sounds like something I need.
 
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Jakub B
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Orleans is my favorite euro game but even I can't say the game is some kind of messiah of pool building games. There were a lot of good titles utilizing this mechanic that came before or at the same time as Orleans. Like Concordia, Rococo, A Study in Emerald or Roll for the Galaxy.

Comparing Dominion to Orleans is like comparing 7 Wonders to Blood Rage and saying "drafting games were so simplistic and samey before Blood Rage came". That is simply not true. It's not a fair comparson.
 
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Tony Chen
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Bierzgal wrote:
Orleans is my favorite euro game but even I can't say the game is some kind of messiah of pool building games. There were a lot of good titles utilizing this mechanic that came before or at the same time as Orleans. Like Concordia, Rococo, A Study in Emerald or Roll for the Galaxy.

Comparing Dominion to Orleans is like comparing 7 Wonders to Blood Rage and saying "drafting games were so simplistic and samey before Blood Rage came". That is simply not true. It's not a fair comparson.
I am ashamed to say I haven't played those games yet, especially Concordia which I really want to try because it's by Mac Gerdts. But are they games with deckbuilding, or Deckbuilding Games?

By the way I am not comparing Orleans to Dominion, but Orleans to other Dominion clones.
 
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Jakub B
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drunkenKOALA wrote:
I am ashamed to say I haven't played those games yet, especially Concordia which I really want to try because it's by Mac Gerdts. But are they games with deckbuilding, or Deckbuilding Games?

By the way I am not comparing Orleans to Dominion, but Orleans to other Dominion clones.

They are all games with deckbuilding in them. Orleans is also not a deck building game but also a game that has poolbuilding in it. Considering there is so much more in the game calling it only a deckbuilder does not do it justcie.

That's why your comparson is so abstract. Does not matter if you use Dominion or its "clones" (bit unfair word but let's use it). You compared fast and simple games to a quite big euro game. Also, you can't make that statement you used in the title if you skip some games (as the ones I mentioned) and use only those that fit it. It's totally normal to not know or play everything but if you are putting the case this way you should have more resarch behind it.

All in all I join the people that recommended the Trade & Intrigue expansion. You'll love it. Also, do check out Concordia, it's great. And if you want a really good game with interesting take on poolbuilding then Roll for the Galaxy is also worth checking. It does feel a bit like Orleans here and there, especially with different coloured dice.
 
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Tony Chen
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I think it's fair to make a distinction between games with deckbuilding, and deckbuilding games. Orleans is a deckbuilding game imo, it's central to the game. The other aspects feel complimentary.

I've mean meaning to try out Concordia for a while now. Not so keen on Roll for the Galaxy, because I didn't take much to Race for the Galaxy.
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Jakub B
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drunkenKOALA wrote:
I think it's fair to make a distinction between games with deckbuilding, and deckbuilding games. Orleans is a deckbuilding game imo, it's central to the game. The other aspects feel complimentary.

Then we must agree to disagree. I see Orleans as more of an engine building game. The pool building itself is quite prominent but not dominant. You have also resource gathering, map traveling etc. This is by no means only a pool building game in my opinion.

I do agree that the pool building itself is great in Orleans. As I mentioned it's my favorite euro. The bag building is especially pleasant with wooden meeples one can buy additionally .
 
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