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Subject: What Were They Thinking!! rss

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Yesterday I enjoyed a 2 1/2 hour session of eight consecutive games of Dominion (two-player, face-to-face). We started with a random set, and then would randomly remove/replace two cards between each session. It was awesome. It also confirmed my suspicion that the designers of the game have lost their minds.

Why on earth do the rules recommend starting with the basic set-up? It's the most boring possible way to play the game!! It's like the design team looked at the 25 cards and agonized over which 10 would be the least fun to play, and said, "that's a great place to start." What were they thinking! Sheesh!!

 
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Stoodster
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What would you recommend as a good set to start with? My wife and I played the game for the first time last night with the basic setup. She liked the game, I was underwhelmed.
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Dan Poole
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Talk about boring, our last random set up had no cards that allowed extra actions
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John Earles
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JohnRayJr wrote:
Why on earth do the rules recommend starting with the basic set-up?


Or maybe they thought...

Let's pick a set of cards that introduce the basic card actions so that after the first game or two all players, gamers or not, have the basics down. Oh, and let's give it name that shows that it does exactly that so people can move on to the other decks if they want - let's call it the Basic Deck.
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Dave Kudzma
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Quote:
Talk about boring, our last random set up had no cards that allowed extra actions


We do this and also setups with no extra buys. People complained at first until they got 1/2 way through a game and realized the extra tension this adds as you have to be even more efficient. I think this also adds more importance to 1 and 2 point VP's.


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I'm glad I'm reading all this on BGG before I get the game. I wouldn't want to play a couple of hands, be underwhelmed, and put it down. Of course, I'm usually very patient with a game, giving myself at least a half dozen plays before I pass final judgment. My gf, on the other hand, is a little quicker to put it back on the shelf in the time-out corner...
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David Bohnenberger
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Yesterday, we tried these two ways to set up a four-player game:

1) Deal out 6 cards at random, then each select one other card to be included,

2) Deal out 14 cards at random, then each select one of those cards to be eliminated.

I think the "first game" setup works just fine, though. There are a number of possible strategies.
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Jim Patterson
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Given that a single game isn't a huge time investment, I'm not sure I see the problem here, unless it's that one would be so underwhelmed by one thirty-minute play as to chuck the whole thing, which, even as profligate as I can be with board game spending is a bit much.

I've only played two games, both last night, and the basic setup, which we used for the first game, didn't seem to be a problem at all.
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jearles wrote:
JohnRayJr wrote:
Why on earth do the rules recommend starting with the basic set-up?


Or maybe they thought...

Let's pick a set of cards that introduce the basic card actions so that after the first game or two all players, gamers or not, have the basics down. Oh, and let's give it name that shows that it does exactly that so people can move on to the other decks if they want - let's call it the Basic Deck.


Yeah, it's that "if they want" part that strikes me as incredibly fool-hardy on the part of the designers. The rules should suggest the basic variant in the same way the "family game" is mentioned in the Agricola rulebook. Try it if you're in the mood for a gentle-yet-bland warm up. Otherwise, skip.

EDIT: Whenever I see another player drop the Village-Smithy combo, a small part of my soul dies. Even worse is when I have to concede that, given the set-up, it's a solid move. Even worse is when, given what I'm trying to achieve, I find myself doing it (rare). Anyone else feel the same way?
 
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locusshifter wrote:
Quote:
Talk about boring, our last random set up had no cards that allowed extra actions


We do this and also setups with no extra buys. People complained at first until they got 1/2 way through a game and realized the extra tension this adds as you have to be even more efficient. I think this also adds more importance to 1 and 2 point VP's.


Agreed. Set-ups lacking extra buys, extra actions, extra cards, or some combination of the three invariably present some of the game's most interesting challenges.
 
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jpat wrote:
Given that a single game isn't a huge time investment, I'm not sure I see the problem here, unless it's that one would be so underwhelmed by one thirty-minute play as to chuck the whole thing, which, even as profligate as I can be with board game spending is a bit much.

I've only played two games, both last night, and the basic setup, which we used for the first game, didn't seem to be a problem at all.


Well, one of the things I like about BGG is being able to hear so many varying opinions and experiences about each game. Ever since Dominion came out, everybody's been talking about it like it's cast in solid gold, so expectations are running very high for new buyers. I like to hear a little bit behind the hype so it's not like waiting a month to see the Next Big Movie and then hating it before I see it because everyone won't shut up about it.

But, yeah, I don't see myself getting tired of a thirty-minute game after two or three plays unless it plays worse than Go Fish.
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stoodster wrote:
What would you recommend as a good set to start with? My wife and I played the game for the first time last night with the basic setup. She liked the game, I was underwhelmed.


I'd give "Big Money" a try. Really, once you get the basic idea of deck-building-as-you-go, proceed directly to dealing out ten random cards. You might make sure to include the moat for a few games but after a while that's not necessary either.

 
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Mark McEvoy
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Dweeb wrote:
Yesterday, we tried these two ways to set up a four-player game:

1) Deal out 6 cards at random, then each select one other card to be included,

2) Deal out 14 cards at random, then each select one of those cards to be eliminated.


Hmmm. Doing either one sequentially gives a lot more control over the game flavour to the late pickers than the early ones (as they get to react to early players' inclusions/omissions, and make/break combinations as a result).

Doing it simultaneously doesn't seem to have a good allowance for duplicate picks (unless each player selects from a distinct subset of the leftovers).


I wonder if the best way to do this, to avoid later selectors gleaning too much info from early selectors, is something akin to "Citadels" - of the N leftover Kingdoms, deal N-5 of them to player 1, he picks one, passes the rest on, the next player picks, one, passes the rest on. The players can't have much more than a fuzzy guess what earlier pickers actually picked, and what was in the excluded-from-circulation pile (5 in my example).
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Jeff Wolfe
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They wanted to introduce all of the core concepts of the game and give beginning players some straightforward strategies to employ without overwhelming them with esoteric cards or requiring them to discover a convoluted strategy to build a good deck.

The "First Game" set introduces:
+1 Action/+2 Actions
+1 Coin/+2 Coins
+1 Buy
+1 Card/+3 Cards
Trash a card
Gain a card
Discard a card
an Attack card
a Reaction card

Some of the basic strategies one can try:
Village/Smithy
Militia
Mine/Remodel

The cards that have generated the most questions here on the Geek are absent from the "First Game" set. That is not an accident. You're better off learning these cards after you already have mastered the core concepts. For example:
Gardens
Witch
Spy
Thief
Throne Room
Library

The developers spent a lot of time coming up with the "First Game" set, and the playtesters (of which I was one) played a lot of possible card combinations before finding one that worked well.

Perhaps a hard-core gamer could just jump right in with any random set and be okay, but not everyone learns at the same speed and most people aren't as experienced at learning games as we are.
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Allen Doum
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In my first session with the game, we played the Basic set first.

One player came away with the impression that the "Village/Smithy" combo was king, but then, he hadn't been the winner. I was. While I had used that combo, I also used Mines and Cellar to improve my deck and hand, which he had not.

I would have no qualms about using the Basic set to teach new players, but would want to move to random ASAP.

Fortunately, the game allows this.
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Mikael Ölmestig
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I am one of the players that at least in the beginning like to play with the fixed sets and would also get recommends on other cool sets which I can play with. If you are playing it extensivly I can understand that you want random sets because fixed sets will be analysed, but as a casual gamer I find the fixed sets more interesting.
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Tony Chen
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Actually the base set is one of the harder sets to play. The optimal path isn't immediately obvious. Big Money is the boring one.
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Hannes Riener
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JohnRayJr wrote:
I enjoyed a 2 1/2 hour session of eight consecutive games of Dominion (two-player, face-to-face)

Can you repreat that? Only 2,5 hours for 8! games?

That makes 18,75 minutes per game! surprise





 
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Mark Bigney
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I've played about a dozen times, mostly with the "first game" setup. I still enjoy it, and I still find new card combos to use. I have also tried random setups, and would personally never use them to introduce players to the game--imagine a game with a witch, a thief, no gardens, and no chapel... A fine mix for some, but not for a first player.
 
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Hannes wrote:
JohnRayJr wrote:
I enjoyed a 2 1/2 hour session of eight consecutive games of Dominion (two-player, face-to-face)

Can you repreat that? Only 2,5 hours for 8! games?

That makes 18,75 minutes per game! surprise


Yeah, and a couple of those were a bit long because the gardens and the witch were in play. I think it's reasonable to play face-to-face games of Dominion in ~15 minutes. 4-player games, maybe 25 minutes. I know the BSW folks play in 5-10 minutes, but I really don't care about the time they're "saving."
 
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Gyges wrote:
I've played about a dozen times, mostly with the "first game" setup. I still enjoy it, and I still find new card combos to use. I have also tried random setups, and would personally never use them to introduce players to the game--imagine a game with a witch, a thief, no gardens, and no chapel... A fine mix for some, but not for a first player.


Certainly. You can do 9 random and a moat for the first handful of games.
 
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Hannes Riener
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Ah - you generally talking about virtual gameplay - not real life?
 
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Hannes wrote:
Ah - you generally talking about virtual gameplay - not real life?


No... what I meant to say was that, in real life, 2 player Dominion takes ~15 minutes. On BSW, it's even faster.

Pretty weird for the new BGG superstar, right?
 
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Hannes Riener
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surprise surprise surprise
Oh Boy!

A 2-player takes us 'here' for about 1 hour, so I thought: 30 minutes? maybe per player?

15 Minutes is the time it takes us to make up our minds what decks to play
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I was the other player. Yeah, for FTF we played pretty fast, but we've had enough time to get familiar with the cards and all. You can make a lot of decisions on the other player's turn - even if you have card draw you can figure out a decision tree to cover 90+ percent of what might happen.

I actually like the starting set, but mostly because it contains both Remodel and Mine, my two favorite cards ever. The only problem I have with it I would have with any preset setup; I prefer to think on my feet. I've taught enough games of Dominion that I know how I like to play the First Game. (Not optimal play necessarily.)
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