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Subject: Why do you like Dominion? rss

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James Naylor
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Why do you like dominion?

I am currently trying to write a blog series about what makes individual games great. My goal is to isolate the critical mechanics, implementations and design decisions behind great games in order to learn more about what makes games great in general - and then share those insights. Essentially board game criticism that might be useful to future designers and enthusiasts.

I posted my first blog entry on BGG already and got some very useful feedback: specifically that I should look for more data to help drive my analysis, so I'm posting this poll to gather that data before I write.

This is all a bit of an experiment so go easy on me! But could you help me out by answering the following?

Poll
Why do you like Dominion? (Rate the importance of each)
  Mostly unimportant Somewhat important Very important
Themeing
Artwork
Set-up time
Simplicity of basic rules (Not including card text)
Short game length (typically les than 45 mins)
Turns move quickly between players
Powerful combo possibilities
Number of combinations of kingdom cards available
Limited number of curated expansions (e.g. not a CCG)
Lack of a board
Regular shuffling
Constructing a deck itself
Other interesting mechanic (please specify in thread if so)
      122 answers
Poll created by jamesDN
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chearns
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It's not an option on your list. I enjoy building an engine and Dominion does it better than any other game I've played. You do mention the potential for a different engine every time due to random set-up, that it's not too complicated (although far too complicated for an SdJ, what were they thinking?), and that it doesn't overstay it's welcome (as long as you never play with more than three players).
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Matt E
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The main thing that makes Dominion great, and that shoots its replayability factor through the roof, is its variable setup. The magic formula is:

• You use 10 different cards each game. So each game is different.
• You know about all of them right from the start of the game, as opposed to them being revealed as the game goes on. This means you can develop a strategy, rather than only reacting.
• You are unlikely to get completely locked out from building the deck you want to build. Since there's only one currency, and there are 10 copies of each card, you can usually get some of what you want. You may not get as many villages—or whatever—as you would have liked, but you get to build some form of the deck you want to build nearly every game. This is in contrast to other games where resources are much more limited and your plans can be easily foiled by other players or through sheer bad luck. That still happens in Dominion, but not too often.
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Daniel Fish
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I find your poll choices confusing, which probably means other people do too, which probably means your results will be reduced in quality.

When you say "Why do you like (rate importance)", then include things that I don't like about the game, how am I to respond?

For instance, I don't care much about the theme itself or the lack of theme in the game, but I do not like the setup time. Do I say that "theme" is mostly unimportant regarding "why I like it," or do I leave it blank? Do I say that "set-up time" is mostly unimportant regarding "why I like it?" Or is it "important" as to why I don't like it? Or do I leave this blank? I feel differently about these two items, so if I am answering them the same way, that is clearly a loss of information.
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James Naylor
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Thanks @chearns. That's a great spot: the engine aspect is a critical one. Forgive me, what's SDJ?

Thanks too @Matt E! I'd not considered the comparative lack of "lock out" aspect yet. Great point.

@Daniel - thanks for the feedback. I guess if you don't want to answer (e.g. you disagree with premise of the particular point) you can leave blank. I'll try to make sure that's clearer another time.
 
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chearns
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jamesDN wrote:
Thanks @chearns. That's a great spot: the engine aspect is a critical one. Forgive me, what's SDJ?
The Spiel des Jahres.
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James Naylor
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Ah Ha! Thank you
 
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Other reasons I like it is:
--I can play it on my phone
--It's such a popular game that I don't ever need to buy it. I'll just play someone else's copy
--It's easier to teach and not that bad to learn
--expansions can be used to tailor play styles and complexity levels
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Dan Fox
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I find the lack of "targeting" an important element of Dominion's design. When "Attack" cards are played, they affect everyone equally. As such, there is a minimal "take-that", meta-game, or diplomatic influence. The result is a casual, friendly vibe with the perfect amount (IMHO) of player interaction.
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Jonathan Morton
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+1 on non-targeted attacks. It's really nice to be able to play aggressively without being a jerk.

Another "other" - scaling. Plays great 2 to 4 players.
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Go figure why Saboteur was omitted from 2E. laugh Many players who got it figured if they were going to lose may as well take down as many of the other players as they could. It's still non-targeted, but Sab. players want to target everyone
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Moshe Callen
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ἄνδρα μοι ἔννεπε, μοῦσα, πολύτροπον, ὃς μάλα πολλὰ/ πλάγχθη, ἐπεὶ Τροίης ἱερὸν πτολίεθρον ἔπερσεν./...
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For me, I bought it because it was a ground-breaking classic. I play it because one has to adapt one's strategy to the cards in play and that is different every single time. This is true even with just the base game-- which is all I have or want.
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Freelance Police
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Might want to add a column for a dislike. Frex, setup and tear down.

I like the simplicity and price! laugh

Love the game engine, and, if you wait for a sale, you can get the base games and expansions for a good price. Even if you can only get an expansion, all you have to do is buy the base game cards and you can play!

This game killed Magic for me. All the combos without having to bring a $100 deck of cards with me! laugh
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Ryucoo
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What I like about Dominion is not just that you build an engine, it’s that the engine you build tells you what it needs by the way it plays. Not seeing enough of your action cards? Get some +draw cards. Lots of action cards but not able to play them? Get some +action cards. Not hitting the big bucks? Get more money. Wasting money every turn? Get some +buy cards. There are so many little tells in the game in the way your engine stalls or flows, learning to read the signals and adjust is a big part of the fun.

There are of course lots of deck building games out there, mostly inspired by Dominion and have tried to work the mechanic into a stronger theme, or bolt on other mechanics - some are even pretty emjoyable. But none of Clank, Aeons End, Star Realms, Ascention, or any of the others come close to the elegance and sheer engine building satisfaction of Dominion.
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James Naylor
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Ok - that's lots of very interesting responses so far! 71 votes is also more than I was expecting.

I was on the fence about including the way the attacks worked as it was far down my list, but great to see how popular that is - thanks to all who mentioned that.

There's so much to the engine concept as Ryucco mentions, I am going to have to be very selective with this. Always challenging with such a legendary game.
 
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Vaughn Williams
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Dominion is great for me because of its replayability, especially with expansions added. There are such a variety of mechanisms that have been added to the game, it just never becomes old to me. And it really is a great 2-player game, which is good because it is usually just my wife and me playing.
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Brendan Slade
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Probably what I like most about Dominion is how you appear like a complete genius when playing against new players and they are just like What how can you have all the provinces :O

Realistically the different kingdom card combinations and deck creation make it a winner. Particularly in that everyone has access to the same cards.
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Greg Byrd
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It's the variety. I played last night with some friends - must have been my 50th game or so- and we played a kingdom that was unlike any I had ever played. We had the Landmark that gave a VP every time you trashed a card; it completely changed the game.
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James Naylor
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Hi everyone!

I've now written my first post based on the survey and your excellent comments. It's all about Dominion's innovative use of Victory Point cards:

https://naylorgames.com/2018/07/13/great-design-decisions-do...

Thank you again for all your help here. You changed some of my views on this game in the light of evidence and really helped me put together a better piece.

This is very likely not my last post on the subject as there are so many other features of this game I didn't get to touch on that were highlighted in the survey. But I preferred to zero-in on one area first and give it a detailed treatment.

Thanks again!

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tom tom
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I enjoy the tension of the decision to stop buying cards and money, and to start buying victory cards. I also love how each expansion brings something new to the game. And , man oh man, do you feel great when you can say "I'll buy a colony".
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1qwerty wrote:
I enjoy the tension of the decision to stop buying cards and money, and to start buying victory cards. I also love how each expansion brings something new to the game. And , man oh man, do you feel great when you can say "I'll buy a colony".
If you don't get Empires, consider house ruling in the Dominate event (single card)...
Cost 14 coins
Gain a Province. If you do +9 VP!

You'd need to find bits to proxy as VP tokens. Also, Events can only be bought during the Buy phase (so you can't just use Expand to trash a Colony and "gain" a Dominate), and since they're not "gameplay cards", discounting won't have an effect (e.g. 3 Highways in play... the Colony now only costs $8, but Dominate still costs $14!)
 
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Matt E
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ackmondual wrote:
You'd need to find bits to proxy as VP tokens.

Why? Presumably they have the ones that came with Prosperity.
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LastFootnote wrote:
ackmondual wrote:
You'd need to find bits to proxy as VP tokens.

Why? Presumably they have the ones that came with Prosperity.
I did forget that, so you'd be set there. However, it is possible to get Colonies via The Base Set, which do not contain any tokens.
 
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