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Dominant Species» Forums » General

Subject: Dominant Species: Where does it live? rss

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It seems, if I'm not 100% sure, that every Dominant Species comes up, people argue to which genre it belongs. And oddly, even though I think it's one of the best games out there, and agreed on by the community (#45 game on BGG rankings), it seems like people are always saying it belongs to the other guys.

So what say you? Can you present an airtight case?

Poll
What genre is Dominant Species?
100% Euro
100% Ameritrash
100% Wargame
Euro/AT Hybrid
Euro/Wargame Hybrid
AT/Wargame Hybrid
Other (specify)
      278 answers
Poll created by Mat628
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No One
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Mat628 wrote:
So what say you? Can you present an airtight case?


Yes. If you like it, it belongs on your table. whistle

~V
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Veero wrote:
Mat628 wrote:
So what say you? Can you present an airtight case?
Yes. If you like it, it belongs on your table. Nothing else is important.
whistle

~V

This is a site which gets 15-page threads on people's favorite color of pieces. Hair-splitting is what gets done here.
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Mat628 wrote:
Veero wrote:
Mat628 wrote:
So what say you? Can you present an airtight case?
Yes. If you like it, it belongs on your table. Nothing else is important.
whistle

~V

This is a site which gets 15-page threads on people's favorite color of pieces. Hair-splitting is what gets done here.


And it always makes me giggle.

~V
 
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Pete
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It's too long and contentious to be a "European" game...
It's too cubey, iterative, and drab to be an "American" game...
It's too abstract and convoluted to be a "War" game...
It's too themed and unpredictable to be an "Abstract" game...

The games it has the most in common with in my mind is the old epics, like History of the World or Advanced Civilization. Those also fit all of the above commentary (even though the cubes were chits, a minor detail).

Pete (doesn't usually engage in pigeonholing, but if he did would stick those games all in the same pigeonhole)

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C Bazler
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It would be almost completely an area-control Euro (although a pretty confrontational and cutthroat one) if it weren't for the "ha ha screw you" cards that blow the board up in ridiculous and arbitrary ways.

Maybe you should have included an option: "90% Euro, 10% Munchkin"

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Party game. If your party is very odd indeed.
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John Perry
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It is a Euro with war game-like aspects;

I have a proof for this but it is too long to fit in the margins here
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Now with another poll! To make it more granular and interesting.

Poll
How do you characterize yourself and how do you characterize DS?
I'm a Eurogamer. It's a Eurogame.
I'm a Eurogamer. It's a Eurogame hybrid.
I'm a Eurogamer. It's not a Eurogame.
I'm an Ameritrasher. It's Ameritrash.
I'm an Ameritrasher. It's an Ameritrash hybrid.
I'm an Ameritrasher. It's not Ameritrash.
I'm a wargamer. It's a wargame.
I'm a wargamer. It's a wargame hybrid.
I'm a wargamer. It's not a wargame.
I'm a pan-gamer. It's a pure Euro.
I'm a pan-gamer. It's pure Ameritrash.
I'm a pan-gamer. It's a pure wargame.
I'm a pan-gamer. It's a hybrid of stuff.
      142 answers
Poll created by Mat628
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Coxeter wrote:
It is a Euro with war game-like aspects;

I have a proof for this but it is too long to fit in the margins here

Pretty sure any wargame argument can be turned into a 68-page argument with numerous, numerous tables and statistics.
 
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Scott YahNotHappening
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I'd put it in the "fun" category. Not sure any other category matters.
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Michael Dillenbeck
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Dominant Species is a wargame skinned as a Eurogame.

Can I present an air-tight case? No. Its a matter of perspectives and definitions. My judgement is based on:

* Personal experience with wargames - the play and strategy of the game is solidly an area control wargame, and it creates all the same feelings and tensions as all the wargames I have played in the past. At the core of all wargames is the long, dry maneuvering for position before you attack; and DS definitely has this. Attack too soon or from a weak position, and you'll lose.

* Personal experience with playing with my wife - she disliked it immensely. This dislike is almost exclusively reserved for wargames, so it makes me suspect it (like March of the Ants) is in this category.

* Publisher - Its a GMT title, and they are a wargame company.

* The components and conflict resolution - cubes, cones, abstract icons, cylinders... yeah, that looks like a Euro. It also has deterministic resolutions. However, Euros usually have this passive aggressive style of play where what is yours is rarely taken away. Take out the attacking elements and killing of other people's species and it might be a Euro, but not with it. It might borrow from the genre the deterministic conflict resolution, much like the COIN series, but that is just the "style" and not part of the genre in my eyes.

Of course, people will disagree with me. There is no industry definition for the terms we use.
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Guillermo Jorlington
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Coxeter wrote:
I have a proof for this but it is too long to fit in the margins here


Wow, I get this reference! I'm proud of myself

In regards to the question, I agree with cbazler, 90% Euro (Worker placement/area control), 10% Ameritrash (cards introducing a significant amount of chaos).
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Brandon
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If the designer and the publisher were different, but the actual game were 100% the same as it is now, no one would ever suggest in their wildest dreams that Dominant Species is like a wargame. It's an area-control + worker-placement eurogame, end of story.

For example, you don't see the same conversation about Lancaster, despite having area control, worker placement, and targeted elimination of oppopnents' pieces.
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Verbosity wrote:
Of course, people will disagree with me.


Not I. You expressed my own feelings, ironically more concisely than I could have, Verbosity.
 
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jakobcreutzfeldt wrote:
If the designer and the publisher were different, but the actual game were 100% the same as it is now, no one would ever suggest in their wildest dreams that Dominant Species is like a wargame. It's an area-control + worker-placement eurogame, end of story.

For example, you don't see the same conversation about Lancaster, despite having area control, worker placement, and targeted elimination of oppopnents' pieces.


I played it for the first time in January. 10 minutes into the rules explanation of what I thought (based on the pieces as we got them out of the box) was a eurogame, I said "Oh, this is a WARgame!"

...THEN I looked at the box, and saw it was GMT. "Oh, I guess that makes sense."

So yeah, I suggested it was a wargame based purely on the rules, before knowing who the designer or publisher were.
 
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I am also of the opinion that it is a straight euro. Age of Empires is also
Similar and i dont see people referring to it as a war game. El Grande also.

Besides, I think it was the op's contention that it is a Ameritrash game. Which it certainly is not in my opinion.

 
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Tariff wrote:
I am also of the opinion that it is a straight euro. Age of Empires is also
Similar and i dont see people referring to it as a war game. El Grande also.

Besides, I think it was the op's contention that it is a Ameritrash game. Which it certainly is not in my opinion.

My personal opinion is that it's a hybrid that doesn't sit neatly into any box. And I think that goes for all, or nearly all, area control games. Because they contain a fair amount of depth of strategy. But then also almost always contain some heavy interaction including the ability to move and generally eliminate your opponents. So it looks very different from the current understanding of Euros from the last 5-8 years. But is still too cube-y for Ameritrashers to claim. And although I don't do wargames, my understanding is that they involve some heavy calculations, adjustments, etc., that Dominant clearly lacks.

My contention and observation is that it's a funny game. It's really well regarded, both by BGG rank as well as anecdotally. But ironically enough, no school wants to claim it fully. And if it's branded as pure anything, it's by people who don't play that style.

Which is largely borne out by the poll. As of right now,
* 33% of self-described Eurogamers think it's a pure Eurogame.
* 0% of Ameritrashers think it's Ameritrash, and not even an AT hybrid.
* 0% of Wargamers think it's a wargame, and not even a wargame hybrid.

And then more murkily,
* Slightly more than half of self-described pan-gamers think it's a hybrid, while the remainder think it's a pure Euro. Even though almost no Eurogamers agree.

I just think that's funny and pretty interesting. Personally, I'm a pan-gamer: I really play a wide gamut. And DS is one of my favorite games. Which I can make different arguments of what it's like, but the strongest is that it's in no way 100% a Eurogame as people currently use the term.
 
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My 2nd poll is the one I really wanted to do, but didn't think of it when I made the initial one. Because I'm a little less interested in what everybody thinks of it as. I'm really interested in what people who play specific styles of games think of it as: which is nearly universally, "Not the style I play" no matter which style that is.
 
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And really, if someone wants to claim that Dominant Species is 100% Euro, then you'd have to argue that El Grande and nearly all other Area Control games are as well. If not moreso. And even the original, pure, and granddaddy El Grande I think you'd have a tough time selling to a group of Eurogamers that it is 100% similar to the things which they play.
 
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Also FWIW I played The Lord of the Ice Garden this week. And it's glamm'ed up with more plastic and some sort of magic-techno theme. Which I'm guessing gets labeled as a hybrid. But I don't think the gameplay itself, the actual game, is any more AT than Dominant. It's more complicated, has more going on. But the actual kernel and game interaction among the players is mostly the same. Truth be told, it had less player interaction and faction elimination than Dominant. It was always a looming factor. But largely avoided. It's like Cyclades. You have all these mechanisms for conflict and war. But the best thing you can do is burn the boats and don't let anybody war with you.
 
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It's kind of like Dune. Or Civilization.

In other words, it spends too much time on my bookshelf, and not enough time on a table.

...It's a complex strategy game, that, although not a wargame, has enough meet to appeal to a wargamer. GMT's figured out there's a healthy market niche for those. I think the euro- and ameri- labels are pretty dumb, anyway.

You need an option in the second poll for "I think of myself as a wargamer, but spend most of my gaming time playing 7 Wonders Duel with my wife and Sushi Go! with my kids."
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The niche could be called "long euro with conflict". However, euro is a bit of a misnomer in that games of this type existed prior to euro/german style modern games. It is similar to a lot of old AH games that were not 2p hex and counter type affairs, like the previously mentioned Civilization. But also Tyranno Ex and 18xx games.

What makes these game akin to wargames for me is their length which is sufficient for the game to have a arc that does not feel rushed.
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Quote:
if someone wants to claim that Dominant Species is 100% Euro, then you'd have to argue that El Grande and nearly all other Area Control games are as well.


El Grande is a euro.

The problem here is your hung up on what euros have become. It was always called a Euro back in the day.

Side note, is Belfort a euro?..

Its like music. There used to be several genres and as time goes on people just added more and more genres. Back in my day it was just rock, then we had heavy metal, then we had black metal, thrash metal, speed metal, gay metal, whatever...to me its all still just rock.

Maybe a new term does need to be invented for modern Euros, or the older german games, but ive always known El Grande as a Euro. Its the epitome of euro, small elegant rule set, wooden cubes, plays in a couple of hours, deep decisions.

Next you will be telling me Settlers of Catan isn't a euro! (it has dice man!...Ameritrash!!...and shush, you cant say that anymore!..)
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Tariff wrote:
Quote:
if someone wants to claim that Dominant Species is 100% Euro, then you'd have to argue that El Grande and nearly all other Area Control games are as well.


El Grande is a euro.

The problem here is your hung up on what euros have become. It was always called a Euro back in the day.

Side note, is Belfort a euro?..

Its like music. There used to be several genres and as time goes on people just added more and more genres. Back in my day it was just rock, then we had heavy metal, then we had black metal, thrash metal, speed metal, gay metal, whatever...to me its all still just rock.

Maybe a new term does need to be invented for modern Euros, or the older german games, but ive always known El Grande as a Euro. Its the epitome of euro, small elegant rule set, wooden cubes, plays in a couple of hours, deep decisions.

Next you will be telling me Settlers of Catan isn't a euro! (it has dice man!...Ameritrash!!...and shush, you cant say that anymore!..)

I'm not hung up on it. It's just how things are. And have been for almost 15 years now.

There's been long threads dedicated to just this issue.
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, and even back to Michael Barnes have been talking about this forever. The idea that, "Eurogames" took a turn away from where they started is a ship that's sailed. It's completely understood that the older games like El Grande are not the same thing.

As you do above, you can describe today's as modern Euros. And that's generally how they're named in a discussion comparing them versus the original German family games.

But as a default, and as common usage at BGG, they're the ones that are simply Euros. And that's what I mean in this discussion. I'm not disputing that El Grande is of the class of what they used to be. But they're very different than where Euros are now. As you mentioned, even Settlers of Catan wouldn't really fit any more.

I'm not hung up on my own definition. It's people who think that the term from 20 years ago still means the same thing today who are hung up on theirs.
 
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