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Andy Van Zandt
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There are quite a few very solid reviews out there already that discuss the rules and components, so assuming you've got a base understanding of what's there already, I'll touch on those things later on and get to the meat of this review's purpose, which is to address some of the catch-phrases and common comparisons people like to throw around willy nilly about this game.

Comparisons:
Race for the Galaxy
Yes... It's a card game also ...and we're done. These games are apples and oranges, both mechanic-wise and how playing them feels. You are vaguely building an efficiency engine in both (which you do in a large amount of games), but you're doing it in a distinctly different way. I enjoy Dominion quite a bit, and I wasn't really impressed by RFTG. A better comparison for RFTG is Glory to Rome, which, in fact, I liked more than RFTG.


Magic: The Gathering
Ok, now you're shooting closer to the net. So far missing the collectible component (but I've no doubt we'll get closer to that the more expansions come out), playing Dominion feels VERY much like playing a combo deck in M:tG. High Tide, Pros-bloom, Bargain... draw cards, generate resources, draw more cards, and repeat. People also frequently toss in the "deck building", and you can certainly say that both M:tG and Dominion have that aspect, but in different senses. I'll cover that more in the myths section.

Saint Petersburg
Surprised? This is actually the game I would (at the moment) say has the most similar feel to Dominion. You're building an efficiency engine on several levels, you have a shared pool of cards that you buy from, there's a random aspect to it (although the random is in the pool, rather than in the engine), and you win by gaining victory points, which is something you generally aim at after you've solidified your economic situation, because it will dilute your engine. St. Petersburg with a splash of M:tG.

-------------------------------------------

Myths and Other Observations:

It's an innovative deck building game!
Yes, it's innovative. I'm not sure I like how most people address that, because really, what you're doing is building an engine with a random element to it. That has been done plenty of times before... as mentioned above in the M:tG section, but is also present in a variety of games as well. Moving the deck building from meta-game to game is good, and constitutes some amount of innovation, but deck-building as an art is not new either.

The real distinction though, is the combination of those elements. The deck must maintain base engine functionality throughout the building process- it's like telling you that you have 60 seconds to build a M:tG deck, and then will have to play it in whatever form it is when the three minutes are up. and then repeat several more times.

Components
+100 points for the amazing plastic organizer insert. +10 points for good color distinction between the types of cards on the faces. -80 points for not taking a bucket fill tool in MS Paint to turn the copper brown and the silver grey. -5 points for thinking the thin blue border is enough of a distinction on the back.


ZOMG no interactivity!
Myth. Yes, you do not point at someone and say "i'm doing this to YOU!", "I kill your dudes and loot their corpses", or "i punish you mightily for that action!". Those are not the only forms of interaction known to man, and this game has its fair share of the less gun-toting style of interaction. You're competing for limited resources, your opponent's decisions should affect yours if you're playing well, and you can perform actions which affect your opponent's hand, deck, points, and turns. I'm sorry there's no card which lets you stab a particular player in the face, but you're certainly not working in a vacuum... which brings me to my next point:

Make your decisions at the beginning of the game, and then auto-pilot
You should definitely do this. If you would like to lose.

Ok, my plan involves snagging provinces about 20 turns in. About 10 turns in, one of the other players starts picking up provinces. you should definitely not alter your course mid-stream, and instead just sail into loss-town oblivious to the world.

Or, how about when you realize someone just picked up a couple of VP cards, and is now trying to multi-buy some cheap cards to deplete three stacks? but your plan doesn't involve getting VP's yet. let's just stick with the plan. just because picking up a couple provinces would nip their blitz in the bud doesn't mean you should resort to... *gasp* thinking mid-game!

I need 3 to 5 council rooms to make my engine final... and that guy just snagged the 6th one. A lesser man might start buying some now, or maybe switching to a different build. We won't linger in his folly.

Let's take it to a more base level, their spy is stripping off your gold every turn. Moat isn't part of your plans, because you've already got plenty of card draw...

I will say that once you've got a basic grasp of optimization, how you play out your hand each turn often only amounts to which cards you're playing at the end, as the "cappers" to use up your last actions. But those are meaningful as well (should I Militia or generate a second buy off a Woodcutter to snag a Silver?). And then the biggest thing, what you're actually buying each turn. Which, as illustrated above, should not be set in stone.

The Rules
Here's the word I DON'T see ENOUGH in relation to this game (no sarcasm): Gateway Game. This game has one of the cleanest rules sets I've seen since Carcassonne's third edition rules. Play 1 action card from your hand. Buy 1 card with your gold. Discard your hand, draw 5 cards. Shuffle your discards back in if your deck runs out.

The card wordings are done well, so they fit within those constraints and don't overly-symbolize, and as a result, the game literally teaches in about 60 seconds, and generates very few questions (and almost no consulting of the rulebook) even with brand-new players.

---------------------------------------

So my hope is, in closing, that people will maybe evaluate with a more open mind, and with less dependence on others' pre-packaged phrasings regarding Dominion.
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Indeed. Dominion is a much, much more interesting take on the same basic goal structure seen in Saint Petersburg. The similarities are so prominent at first that I was underwhelmed by my initial plays of Dominion, which of course has impressed me more and more.
 
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Andrea Chiarvesio
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I agree so much with yours that I won't ever try to write my review of Dominion, since I can subscrive your post from the fist to the last word.
I would be an happy man if you could write such an article on my Kingsburg too...
 
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Tony Chen
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Quote:
Yes, you do not point at someone and say "i'm doing this to YOU!", "I kill your dudes and loot their corpses", or "i punish you mightily for that action! I'm sorry there's no card which lets you stab a particular player in the face.

Actually, that is precisely the type of interaction that Dominion is limited to. Not in the gun-toting sense, but in the I-do-so-and-so-to-you-as-instructed-by-the-card sense. Consider sex and sex games. Roll a die, kiss your partner three times. Draw a card, go down on your partner for five minutes. I'd say that normal, natural sex is a lot more interactive in a meaningful sense than a sex game. Or that a real conversation is more interactive than Truth Or Dare.

Is Blackjack interactive because you compare your numbers? Pachisi is interactive because you get to kick someone's pawn back to his base? Look, you did something to him!

I find it ironic when people defend against criticisms of a lack of interaction with comments like, "There are more ways of interaction than literally stabbing others in the back." Exactly, there are more ways of interaction than literally stabbing others in the back, and that is precisely what we are complaining about when we say that there is a lack of interaction. Just because you make it more graphic, or instruct people to do something very impressive and awesome to each other, doesn't make it interactive. If I stab you in the back, and you just stand there and take it, it's not really that interactive is it? And then you draw a card, and I stand there and let you stab me in the back three times. It's certainly graphic and impressive, and you are certainly doing awesome/awful things to each other, but that doesn't make it interactive.

To go back to the sex analogy, a good interactive game encourages partners to find creative ways to screw each other. They give you the setting, but they don't tell you exactly what to do. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose (it's often better to lose, or make your partner lose, or whatever), but you always react to your partner's gestures. You don't just do something to him/her because the card told you to. In Dominion, you can't do anything to your partner unless you are told to. It doesn't matter if what I am told to do is something as racy as "Take her as if there is no tomorrow," or "Interact with each other intensely for ten minutes," I am still instructed to "interact." There's a good reason why these types of games are called "mental masturbation" games.

Quote:
Ok, my plan involves snagging provinces about 20 turns in. About 10 turns in, one of the other players starts picking up provinces. you should definitely not alter your course mid-stream, and instead just sail into loss-town oblivious to the world.

Well, if you have to change course mid-stream, you probably lost already. Your error was in making the wrong plan, at the beginning of the game, to go for a 20 turn build up. So yes you make your decision at the start of the game.

Yes there are some interactions in Dominion. I go over these in detail in my review. But it's not terribly much. There's also interaction in blackjack because you react to what face up cards the dealer has.

Try playing Dominion completely oblivious to your opponent's moves, and you can still play a semblance of a game. It won't be the same, and you will be missing a lot, but it would still be a semblance of the game. Conversely, try playing tic-tac-toe, or Go, without knowing where the opponent put his stones. You can't even try to play anything that is close to a semblance of the game.

For the record, I've played Dominion two hundred times so apparently I like to please myself quite a bit. Seriously though, Dominion does have its appeal, and I do enjoy it for what it is, but gameplay interaction is not one of them. By the way, one game that is limited in player interaction that I really like is Year of the Dragon.
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Galen
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Great review. I'm going to have to chime in though. I love the game but feel that the level of interaction is pretty low. The worst thing you can do to someone in the game is take a coin from their deck or give them a curse card. That's it. You really can't throw a wrench into their machine. I hope the expansions cover this.
 
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galeninjapan wrote:
Great review. I'm going to have to chime in though. I love the game but feel that the level of interaction is pretty low. The worst thing you can do to someone in the game is take a coin from their deck or give them a curse card. That's it. You really can't throw a wrench into their machine. I hope the expansions cover this.


These opposing viewpoints are pretty confusing for someone who hasn't played the game yet (i.e., Me). The OP indicates that you have to adapt your strategy based upon what other people are doing (e.g., when they grab provinces, etc.). The follow-up replies indicate there is no interaction other than focused card effects.

Which is it? Any game where strategies depend on what the other players are doing is an interactive game, in my book. Does Dominion have this, or not??

(My guess is that if the OP is correct, and the flow of play is anything like St. Pete, then the game is more interactive than some of the replies are giving credit for)
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Mark Haberman
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So, if your opponent starts buying thieves and witches, you won't change gears and try to get some moats?

Or are you saying that you should buy moats regardless from the beginning of the game because there are thieves and witches there?

But then what if your opponent wasn't planning on buying any, then you've wasted some cards. Or what if they were planning on attacking you, do they still do that once you've loaded up on moats?

This is the interesting interaction, not the "take-that" cards. The act of playing them is not interactive, the interaction starts as soon as they're bought.

As for ItYotD, there is plenty of interaction there as well (I'd argue that it's almost entirely how you react to the other players in that game, if you ignore the other players, you'd get demolished). You can play GO just as well by plopping down stones and ignoring the other players, as you can play either of these games and ignore the other players. You'll lose the majority of games either way, just because you can get a decent score by ignoring others, doesn't mean you're going to win.
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Joshua Gottesman
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galeninjapan wrote:
Great review. I'm going to have to chime in though. I love the game but feel that the level of interaction is pretty low. The worst thing you can do to someone in the game is take a coin from their deck or give them a curse card. That's it. You really can't throw a wrench into their machine. I hope the expansions cover this.


I look at it differently, more along the lines of what the OP said. I have to adapt my strategy to what others are doing or I'm screwed sometimes. If I had planned on buying mines early so I could convert all the coppers I'm getting with my free woodcutter buys and then someone has a run on markets, suddenly those 5 points I've been spending on mines go to markets so I'm not left out of the chain-building game.

While this isn't a direct interaction, it is the other players influencing my actions, and its not like playing 2 - 4 games of solitaire. If there were unlimited numbers of each card, I think it would be 2 - 4 games of solitaire. With only 10 of each, I've seen a lot of competition for resources, which to me is a big source of the game's fun.
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DavidT wrote:
galeninjapan wrote:
Great review. I'm going to have to chime in though. I love the game but feel that the level of interaction is pretty low. The worst thing you can do to someone in the game is take a coin from their deck or give them a curse card. That's it. You really can't throw a wrench into their machine. I hope the expansions cover this.


These opposing viewpoints are pretty confusing for someone who hasn't played the game yet (i.e., Me). The OP indicates that you have to adapt your strategy based upon what other people are doing (e.g., when they grab provinces, etc.). The follow-up replies indicate there is no interaction other than focused card effects.

Which is it? Any game where strategies depend on what the other players are doing is an interactive game, in my book. Does Dominion have this, or not??


You might have to react to what your opponent does. That's the best I can put it.
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DavidT wrote:
galeninjapan wrote:
Great review. I'm going to have to chime in though. I love the game but feel that the level of interaction is pretty low. The worst thing you can do to someone in the game is take a coin from their deck or give them a curse card. That's it. You really can't throw a wrench into their machine. I hope the expansions cover this.


These opposing viewpoints are pretty confusing for someone who hasn't played the game yet (i.e., Me). The OP indicates that you have to adapt your strategy based upon what other people are doing (e.g., when they grab provinces, etc.). The follow-up replies indicate there is no interaction other than focused card effects.

Which is it? Any game where strategies depend on what the other players are doing is an interactive game, in my book. Does Dominion have this, or not??

(My guess is that if the OP is correct, and the flow of play is anything like St. Pete, then the game is more interactive than some of the replies are giving credit for)

By your definition, Dominion is very interactive. But I suppose you knew that already. I specifically talk about interaction in my review if you want a more detailed answer.

And actually, to really get the most out of Dominion's interaction, you need to play online. In real life with all the shuffling etc, if players play fast and don't wait for you to finish your shuffle before playing their cards, you'll be less aware of everyone's deck than you would if you played online.
 
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Joshuaaaaaa wrote:
galeninjapan wrote:
Great review. I'm going to have to chime in though. I love the game but feel that the level of interaction is pretty low. The worst thing you can do to someone in the game is take a coin from their deck or give them a curse card. That's it. You really can't throw a wrench into their machine. I hope the expansions cover this.


I look at it differently, more along the lines of what the OP said. I have to adapt my strategy to what others are doing or I'm screwed sometimes. If I had planned on buying mines early so I could convert all the coppers I'm getting with my free woodcutter buys and then someone has a run on markets, suddenly those 5 points I've been spending on mines go to markets so I'm not left out of the chain-building game.

While this isn't a direct interaction, it is the other players influencing my actions, and its not like playing 2 - 4 games of solitaire. If there were unlimited numbers of each card, I think it would be 2 - 4 games of solitaire. With only 10 of each, I've seen a lot of competition for resources, which to me is a big source of the game's fun.

Actually, that's more like you copying your opponent's solitaire game. I'd argue that you should've started the game planning for markets in the first place.

Either Markets are better, or Mine is. Very rarely do you get a rock paper scissors relationship between decks.
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habermanm wrote:
So, if your opponent starts buying thieves and witches, you won't change gears and try to get some moats?

Or are you saying that you should buy moats regardless from the beginning of the game because there are thieves and witches there?

But then what if your opponent wasn't planning on buying any, then you've wasted some cards. Or what if they were planning on attacking you, do they still do that once you've loaded up on moats?

This is the interesting interaction, not the "take-that" cards. The act of playing them is not interactive, the interaction starts as soon as they're bought.

As for ItYotD, there is plenty of interaction there as well (I'd argue that it's almost entirely how you react to the other players in that game, if you ignore the other players, you'd get demolished). You can play GO just as well by plopping down stones and ignoring the other players, as you can play either of these games and ignore the other players. You'll lose the majority of games either way, just because you can get a decent score by ignoring others, doesn't mean you're going to win.

I am well aware of all the interactions you allude to. It's not quite the same as Go's or Imperial's, I don't know how else to put it. I love Dragon by the way, but I still think it's limited in interaction.
 
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Quote of the day:

"I'm sorry there's no card which lets you stab a particular player in the face..."
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truekid wrote:
(and almost no consulting of the rulebook)


If you had, you'd have noticed that the body of the rules doesn't always agree with the sidebars. Some of us think the body takes precedence, not least because it produces a slghtly harder & therefore better game. In practice this doesn't mean much, except that you are forced to use all buys, and the Cellar becomes tricky, given the stipulation to do everything in order.

But what is a beginner supposed to do?
 
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Gateway game: seconded strongly! I think Dominion is a better gateway game than some stalwarts such as Carc and Settlers.
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aforandy wrote:

But what is a beginner supposed to do?


Well, in a rules discussion, the designer stated: "The specific confusion here though is over what "+1 Action" means. "+1 Action" means "the number of actions you can play this turn is incremented by one." It doesn't mean "play another action card now." When you play Village, you must increment the number of actions you can play this turn by two if you can, and you always can. That doesn't mean you have to play two more Actions though. Similarly "+1 Buy" means "you may buy an additional card this turn;" it doesn't make you use that option."

This is the way that we naturally just started playing it: all +actions and +buys are optional.
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DavidT wrote:
galeninjapan wrote:
Great review. I'm going to have to chime in though. I love the game but feel that the level of interaction is pretty low. The worst thing you can do to someone in the game is take a coin from their deck or give them a curse card. That's it. You really can't throw a wrench into their machine. I hope the expansions cover this.


These opposing viewpoints are pretty confusing for someone who hasn't played the game yet (i.e., Me). The OP indicates that you have to adapt your strategy based upon what other people are doing (e.g., when they grab provinces, etc.). The follow-up replies indicate there is no interaction other than focused card effects.

Which is it? Any game where strategies depend on what the other players are doing is an interactive game, in my book. Does Dominion have this, or not??

(My guess is that if the OP is correct, and the flow of play is anything like St. Pete, then the game is more interactive than some of the replies are giving credit for)


There are levels of interactivity. There is Diplomacy (highly interactive)and there is solitaire in the computer (zero interaction).

My opinion: Dominion can be right of the gate, more interactive than Race for The Galaxy and Agricola, because the rules are very simple, so you can optimize your engine and pay attention in what other people are doing (and react to that).

Interaction and reaction are 2 different things (in solitaire and in balckjack, you are reacting to the cards). Dominion is not just a reaction game: you can work to make the game end earlier and you can play a harmfull card just in the right moment (although it is tough to plan that), making an opponent practically loose a turn.

It has interaction, just not enough for some people. I also talk a little bit about it in my review of the game.

But I brought Agricola and RFTG to make a comparison because of this: I think that's common in those games to see a player looking just for his game, concentrated and in silence. In a table of Dominion you are trashtalking, saying bad names to the guy that bought his fifth witch, you are aware that the guy in front of you is satisfied with his engine and will start to buy VP, and things like that. It is easier to notice the whole game - in Agricola and RFTG you need more experience to do that.

So Dominion is interactive in a sense that the table environment tend to be very dynamic, but the rules don't offer many options in the interaction department.

Ok, talked too much, Hope I've made some sense.
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drunkenKOALA wrote:
Actually, that is precisely the type of interaction that Dominion is limited to. Not in the gun-toting sense, but in the I-do-so-and-so-to-you-as-instructed-by-the-card sense. Consider sex and sex games. Roll a die, kiss your partner three times. Draw a card, go down on your partner for five minutes. I'd say that normal, natural sex is a lot more interactive in a meaningful sense than a sex game. Or that a real conversation is more interactive than Truth Or Dare.

Is Blackjack interactive because you compare your numbers? Pachisi is interactive because you get to kick someone's pawn back to his base? Look, you did something to him!

I find it ironic when people defend against criticisms of a lack of interaction with comments like, "There are more ways of interaction than literally stabbing others in the back." Exactly, there are more ways of interaction than literally stabbing others in the back, and that is precisely what we are complaining about when we say that there is a lack of interaction. Just because you make it more graphic, or instruct people to do something very impressive and awesome to each other, doesn't make it interactive. If I stab you in the back, and you just stand there and take it, it's not really that interactive is it? And then you draw a card, and I stand there and let you stab me in the back three times. It's certainly graphic and impressive, and you are certainly doing awesome/awful things to each other, but that doesn't make it interactive.

To go back to the sex analogy, a good interactive game encourages partners to find creative ways to screw each other. They give you the setting, but they don't tell you exactly what to do. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose (it's often better to lose, or make your partner lose, or whatever), but you always react to your partner's gestures. You don't just do something to him/her because the card told you to. In Dominion, you can't do anything to your partner unless you are told to. It doesn't matter if what I am told to do is something as racy as "Take her as if there is no tomorrow," or "Interact with each other intensely for ten minutes," I am still instructed to "interact." There's a good reason why these types of games are called "mental masturbation" games.

it's almost like you didn't read my post. yes, the cards have instructions. you selected those cards because you want to generate that effect. depending on how frequently you choose or are able to use those effects, your opponent may also choose to take defensive or retributive actions. to which you may also adjust. for instance, stocking up on witches, may result in someone grabbing a lot of moats or a couple of chapels. at which point your witches become 2nd class citizens. you may decide it's now time to remodel your witches. your actions and buys have a bearing on both how the other players continue playing, but consequently how you continue playing. they have options on how to react, as do you. just because their reaction takes course over several turns rather than at interrupt speed doesn't make it not interaction.

if that still doesn't make sense, i don't know how else to explain... there's a good chapter in "Rules of Play" by Salen and Zimmerman on interaction though, and i think that's the best thing i could recommend.
Quote:
Well, if you have to change course mid-stream, you probably lost already. Your error was in making the wrong plan, at the beginning of the game, to go for a 20 turn build up. So yes you make your decision at the start of the game.

"probably lost already" is not relevant. you have the potential to influence the outcome, and that's what matters. often substantially. you say the error was the choice at the beginning, and that's equally inaccurate- different plans will influence other plans in a myriad of ways. you make your choice blindly, without knowing what the other player's starting plan is- and so you reduce the game to being able to predict all other players' strategies? that's fine and well, but you don't NEED to, because you DO have the ability to change, and you didn't "error" if you anticipated something different from them.

look at the M:tG metagame- you select your deck before going into the tournament. you are stuck with your deck and sideboard choice at the beginning of the tournament, if you run into the "paper" to your "rock", THAT'S when you're stuck, and you're just hoping to get lucky. Dominion is nothing like that. You have full capability to change your plan based on what your opponent brings to the table, and just because you chose "rock" to begin you were not "in error", especially since you can drift towards "scissors" as soon as you recognize the situation. that's as much where the skill comes in, imho, is the ability to recognize what's up, to adapt and interact accordingly.
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I'd like to chime in here, I think Dominion is to a small extent interactive but certainly not any more so than RfTG. In RtFG you also have to adapt what you're doing based on your opponents' strategies. There's definitely more subtle interaction in RtFG than it would appear and to my mind, just as much as there is in Dominion. Holding onto the key cards that support the military strategy (in RfTG) that your opponent is building towards, (thus preventing them from cashing in on those cards), can be an interactive choice/strategy as much as buying a Moat to counteract the Militia card your opponent keeps playing on you during a match of Dominion.

I love both games, for the record.

Just my 2 cents.

Excellent review/article, by the OP.
 
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This is a great review, and I am waiting for someone to whine about the game in another thread so I can just paste-bomb them with this.

Quote:
This game has one of the cleanest rules sets I've seen since Carcassonne's third edition rules.


I think the game is clean, but the rules sort of suck, visually and the way they are organized. I asked Jay Tummelson for a copy of the source files so my class could revise the rules and he sent me the Quark files. I don't have Quark, however. Can anyone help with this?
 
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Bryan Jensen
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craniac wrote:
This is a great review, and I am waiting for someone to whine about the game in another thread so I can just paste-bomb them with this.

Quote:
This game has one of the cleanest rules sets I've seen since Carcassonne's third edition rules.


I think the game is clean, but the rules sort of suck, visually and the way they are organized. I asked Jay Tummelson for a copy of the source files so my class could revise the rules and he sent me the Quark files. I don't have Quark, however. Can anyone help with this?


I feel exactly about how the rules are organized and presented. I think they are ugly and hard to quickly scan mid-game, if and when it's needed.

If you have Adobe's InDesign, you may be able to convert the Quark XPress file.
 
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Tony Chen
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Well apparently we have different definitions of what makes a game interactive. If you look at my review you can see that I am fully aware of the type of interactions you allude to, and more. I just don't find them to be interactive in a meaningful way.

But don't say that I want to stab someone in the face, because that is precisely the type of interaction that I am not looking for when I say that Dominion/Agricola/Year of the Dragon is not interactive.

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You have full capability to change your plan based on what your opponent brings to the table, and just because you chose "rock" to begin you were not "in error", especially since you can drift towards "scissors" as soon as you recognize the situation. that's as much where the skill comes in, imho, is the ability to recognize what's up, to adapt and interact accordingly.

That's making two assumptions. One, that there is a rock paper scissors relationship between available decks. This is not the case in most setups. Usually, there is only one best deck.

And two, that it's plausible to drift from one deck into another. The only time you can reverse your deck is with Chapel, and even then it's usually too slow (Remodelling is hopeless). Example: you get Militia, I get Library, you trash Militia, I trash Library. But these situations are few and far in between. Besides, it's probably a bad idea to go for Militia in the first place in situations like that.
 
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Andy Van Zandt
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i should probably clarify- the actual play of the rules is clean. the rules sheet is functional (although with some apparent sidebar discrepancies), but most people learn via oral explanations, and the concepts inherent in the rules function simply and smoothly.

same with carc- take a random tile and play it by lining up features, play a meeple on a feature, score completed features and remove that meeple. the rule sheet for carc could show that with a point value chart and most people would probably come very close to playing the game correctly without additional input.

so the play is clean because the rules are clean, even if the way they're presented sometimes gets a little convoluted.
 
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Emivaldo Sousa
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wytefang wrote:
I'd like to chime in here, I think Dominion is to a small extent interactive but certainly not any more so than RfTG.


I agree. I just think that Dominion is easier to grasp, so the opportunities to influence the game of the others are there sooner and more frequently.

And I also think that drunkenKoala is not diminishing the game when he says it is on the low interactivity side of the spectrum. I read his review and seems to me that he is fully aware of the interactions possible in the game.

I think the amount and the kind of interactivity can certainly be interpreted in a lot of different ways.

And Dominion can surely be compared with Agricola and in the Year of the Dragon in terms of player interaction. Weather this is interactivity enough is a matter of opinion.
 
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Tommy Occhipinti
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I will probably mostly echo what other people have to say, but I will try and put a slightly different spin on it.

First of all, I should say I absolutely love Dominion, it is one of few games I rate a 10. I do not in any way while playing it think to myself "gee, I wish this game were more interactive." This is not to say that I think the game is incredibly interactive (more on that in a minute), but more because there is enough to think about that I find I am usually engaged while my opponents are going.

I will make a mental note of what my opponents are buying, how much gold they are producing, etc. in order to pay attention to the pace of the game, and of course I will pay attention to attack cards they are buying and respond accordingly. However, it is rare that this will greatly affect my strategy. Why? Because the part of the game that is most interesting is looking at the initial 10 card display and deciding how to best play it. Part of this decision involves how I will protect against opponents attacks.

It is essential that I not give my opponent the ability to really mess up my strategy. For example, if there is a Chapel out I might want to go for a Chapel strategy, but if I also see a Thief out I am not going to because I know if my opponent is paying attention they will buy Thieves and totally ruin my strategy. The converse is also fair game. I.e. if an opponent leaves themselves totally unprotected and I see I can really hurt them with a particular attack card, I might invest in it.

In short, Dominion is not an incredibly interactive game. Perhaps even less so than Race for the Galaxy. "But Tommy," I hear you say, "how can you possibly rate a game with little interaction a 10?" And the real answer is that, to me, Dominion is a puzzle game. Each set you have to figure out how to put the pieces together while your oppenents attempt to do the same thing. What makes the game amazing is the vast number of ways to do this. The cards all interact with each other in complex and interesting ways which only become apparent as you play dozens and dozens of games of Dominion. I've played over a hundred games now, and the game is still fresh and interesting, regardless of interaction from my opponents.
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