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Dominion» Forums » General

Subject: Dominion or Race for the Galaxy? rss

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Trey Chambers
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Which should I buy for my gaming group?

We're fairly casual, but are intelligent enough for deeper strategy (BSG, SoC, Risk, Chess...etc.). Most of them have some card game background like MTG, but I do not.

Please give me a comparison of Dominion vs. RotG in:

Ease of learning to play.

Ease of learning basic strategies.

Similarity to MTG and other CCGs.

Player interaction.

Fun factor.

Also, is the Dominion 6 player expansion coming out soon? We usually have 5 in our gaming group so not having the expo out yet really hurts Dominion's playability by our group.

Thanks!
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Tanner Griffin
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This, my friend, is a very controversial question that many believe will never be answered.

I vote Dominion though, for most of those reasons.

EDIT: Glory to Rome is better than both of them. So get that one.
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I like RFTG more, but it is much more difficult to teach.

You must purchase both.Period.


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Eric Carter
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Both. Some will like Dominion more, others Race more. Seriously, if you can get both, do so. They're both different, but they're both top ten games, and deservedly so.
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Ian Klinck
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I'd also say "both", but:

Quote:
Ease of learning to play.

Ease of learning basic strategies.


Dominion is easier for both.

Quote:

Similarity to MTG and other CCGs.


Each is similar in its own way.

Quote:

Player interaction.


Both are light on the "direct interference" sort of interaction, although it sounds like it's coming in the next RftG expansion. Dominion has a little more of this right now, though.

Quote:

Fun factor.


Both are fun.

Quote:

Also, is the Dominion 6 player expansion coming out soon? We usually have 5 in our gaming group so not having the expo out yet really hurts Dominion's playability by our group.


You'll need the RftG expansion to play 5. Dominion actually plays OK with 5 out of the box, but the expansion coming in a month or two will "officially support" up to 6.
Thanks![/q]
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Dave Daley
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Shampoo4you wrote:
Which should I buy for my gaming group?

We're fairly casual, but are intelligent enough for deeper strategy (BSG, SoC, Risk, Chess...etc.). Most of them have some card game background like MTG, but I do not.

I am not an MTG guy, but there are dozens of reviews on BGG here that say that if you like CCGs, you will love Dominion.

Shampoo4you wrote:

Please give me a comparison of Dominion vs. RotG in:
Ease of learning to play.
Ease of learning basic strategies.

Ummm.. Dominion : 5 minutes.
RftG : 10 games over the period of a week. Seriously, you might get some of the game quicker, but the basic strategies WILL take you 10 games.

That being said, there are MUCH better strategies contained in RftG. If you want the depth, and your guys can learn then RftG is a great choice

Shampoo4you wrote:

Fun factor.

Well, I got Dominion in November. At about 3/4 of the game nights I have had, we end up playing Dominion most of the night. It's not me - I'm a bit burned after several hundred Dominion games - but people just love Dominion. It's a quick light game, and it deserves all the accolades it gets.

As someone else said though - you really can't go wrong owning both of these games...
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Nick Short
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Shampoo4you wrote:
Please give me a comparison of Dominion vs. RotG in:

Ease of learning to play.

Dominion is very easy to learn, Race requires a reference sheet on the first couple plays. Both are second nature after the first few plays (easily in less time than a typical game of Risk).
Shampoo4you wrote:
Ease of learning basic strategies.

In both games, you'll learn the basic strategies in the first few games. I feel Race takes a while longer to really plumb the full depth of strategies available in Race, but you can still be competent fairly quickly.
Shampoo4you wrote:
Similarity to MTG and other CCGs.

This aspect of both games has been significantly exaggerated. Dominion is a game where you build a deck as you play, but that is nowhere near the same as the Magic deckbuilding process. Really, neither is anywhere close to a CCG. (this from a high rated Magic player/Magic judge)
Shampoo4you wrote:
Player interaction.

Both are fairly limited on direct player interaction. In Dominion, you may occasionally have cards that affect the other players' hands, but they really don't have all that much of a direct impact. In Race, there is interaction of trying to anticipate other players' moves and plan accordingly to maximize your benefit (kinda like the interaction in Puerto Rico). Geeks are very divided over which is more "interactive," so I'd say they are dead even on this one (I'm in the Race is more interactive camp).
Shampoo4you wrote:
Fun factor.

Opinions are divided just as much as they were for interaction. Basically, both games have huge fanbases, and you won't know which you'll like until you've given both a few tries. Me personally, both were equally fun to start, but Race had more depth to keep it just as fun on the 50th play. I guarantee you there are others here that feel exactly the opposite.
Shampoo4you wrote:

Also, is the Dominion 6 player expansion coming out soon? We usually have 5 in our gaming group so not having the expo out yet really hurts Dominion's playability by our group.

Whichever way you go, I think the expansions will be well worth the price. Race's expansion adds enough cards to make a lot more archetypes viable and competitive. They have another coming out soon that will hopefully do so yet again. Dominion's expansion will allow more players, and will hopefully provide more strategic options as well.

There's a reason both are in the Top 10, they are both highly innovative and well designed games. I highly suggest you give each a few tries. That said, when my group has 30 minutes to kill, Race is always the game we pull out. You know where my vote is.
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Christopher Paul
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My 2 cents:

I'm a casual MTG player, and a fan of a variety of games, from Caylus to HeroScape. I also prefer Sci-Fi themes to more "realistic" themes (like Puerto Rico...)

I found RftG boring and difficult to learn. I've played it about 3 or 4 times over about that many months, and would need someone to re-explain the rules if I played it again. Usually I have to be talked into playing and I try to get out of it if I can.

I was addicted to Dominion the first hand I played, and was able to teach the rules to a new group 1 week after playing 1 game (without ever reading the rules, I was taught by someone else).

I wanted to like RftG, but couldn't. I was amazed by how much I liked Dominion. Dominion feels more intuitive to me, and it scratches the "MTG itch" that no other non-CCG card game (like Blue Moon) has been able to do.

That said, there are players in my gaming group who are just as addicted to RftG as I am to Dominion. If you were my friend, I'd tell you to go out and get Dominion RIGHT NOW. But more sound advice (ie, less biased), as stated above, is your group will probably like both games.

You could maybe start with Dominion, and then when you get sick of it (which will happen, umm, never...) move on to RftG...devil
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Michael J
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I think the question should be "Dominion or Race for the Galaxy or Glory To Rome"?

I vote for all 3.
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Branko K.
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Go to BSW. Try Dominion and San Juan (as RftG stand-in, since *approved* online adaptations of RftG still don't exist). See which you like better.

My personal opinion based on my own experiences and your "requests" would heavily lean on Dominion, but would keep an option of eventually getting both of those games, if possible.
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Green Dan
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OMG!! Race for the Galaxy is THE BEST GAME EVER!! Quick setup, quick to learn and quick to pack down.

You should so get Race for the Galaxy!!!
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JW
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I'd also like to chip in with my 2 cents worth. I've played MtG before. I own both Race and Dominion, love Race, hated Dominion, but have now come to appreciate Dominion for what it is. Although Race is the better game for me, I'll try to give a fair review here.

Ease of learning to play:
Dominion wins hands down. You learn how to play within 5 minutes, and can teach in even less time, whereas you'd take about an hour if you're trying to figure out Race from scratch, and half an hour (or more) to explain, and that's if you know the game inside out (provided you can keep their attention).

Ease of learning basic strategies:
Difficult to say. Dominion is fairly simple to play, so players can concentrate of figuring out a 'basic strategy' immediately, but I'm not good enough in it to define what a 'basic strategy' is in Dominion. I know even less about advance strategies.

In Race though, its likely that you'll be struggling with the rules first, rather than thinking of basic strategy. Once you get the rules down pat (maybe somewhere between 1 and 10 games; some people get it quicker than others, some take longer, if they are even willing to go that far), basic strategies come quickly. Advance strategies take quite a while longer though, but this is where the game really shines.

Similarity to MtG and other CCGs:
For me, this is a critical question. It depends on what the expectations are. I approached both Race and Dominion from a MtG perspective, and while Race fulfilled my expectations, Dominion did not, and I hated it. This is just from my perspective though and I'll try and explain myself.

I like games where I can see (and feel) that I'm getting stronger. Both Dominion and Race does this, but in very different ways. In Dominion, you gradually build your deck, and it gets stronger (or weaker) but you don't play any cards that stay in front of you (they go back into the deck eventually). In Race, you don't have a personal deck, but you draw from a common deck and get to play cards that permanently stay in front of you, making your 'tableau' stronger.

Thus, Dominion is similar to MtG in the sense that you're building a deck by adding more and more cards into it. Race is similar to MtG in the sense that you're playing cards in front of you (a la summoning creatures; but not directly attacking the other player, of course). Therefore, it depends on what you want. I wanted to play cards that stayed there and had an effect that lasted longer than one turn. In Dominion, you play the card, apply the effect, and discard the card. If you get it again later, you can play it again.

Both Dominion and Race have card interactions like MtG, but I'd venture to say here that the interactions are more complex in Race. Almost every card is different in Race (although a lot will fulfill the same purpose), and they all work with each other in varying ways. If I'm not mistaken though, the expansion for Dominion will add more complex cards for more complex interactions between cards.

Player interaction:
Another controversial but key issue. Definition of interaction is important here. I'd say both games have plenty of indirect interactions that can only be fully appreciated by players who have played a lot in either game. I can't stress the importance of this previous statement. I'm in the camp that says Race has better interaction, but that's because I'm biased and haven't invested in Dominion as much as I have in Race. Even people who have invested a lot in both games have differing opinions.

In the first few games (maybe even up to the first 50), I don't think that you'll notice much interaction in either game. Dominion has the attack cards which let you directly affect the other player, but its not the kind of interaction I'm talking about. I'm talking about the kind of interaction where 'Player A does something. Can Player B respond? Can player A then respond to Player B's response?', and 'Player A plays does something that might not be the optimal play if he were playing alone, but looking at the Player B's situation, Player A decides that doing something else might be more effective'. In Dominion, this applies to buying cards to put in your deck. "What card should I buy now, given that I've seen my opponent(s) buy Card X?". In Race, its about the roles you choose, and to a lesser degree, the card you might decide to play, given that you see your opponents play a certain card. In Dominion, this might not happen on a turn by turn basis, as in you might decide right at the beginning what you're going to buy, but you might deviate a bit depending on what other players buy (More advanced players might disagree with me, but I haven't played enough to comment more about it). In Race, however, this happens on a turn to turn basis, BUT, you'd need a fair amount of experience in the game to be able to appreciate it. In THIS sense, I'd say Race is more similar to MtG than Dominion is.

Fun factor:
Both are fun, but its not as simple as that. The first few games of Dominion are going to be much more fun than Race, because you're not cracking your head trying to figure out the rules and what each symbol means in Race. Once you 'get' Race, and you figure out a few strategies, then it starts to shine, and if you can get to this point, you might want to invest more time into it, and then it truly shines more. Dominion however, might reach a plateau (it did for me), where you think "Is this all there is to it?". I suppose this is the part where you have to struggle to get through in Dominion to be able to truly appreciate it. I gave up at this point.

In conclusion, it depends on what your group wants:
Race would require your group to actually invest quite a lot into it at the beginning and get past the first few games. Getting a clueless facial expression and the exclamation "I've got a headache" after the first game is not a good sign. It would also require the group to play it on a consistent basis, or you'd forget the rules 2 weeks later, and can't be bothered to play it again. Also, there are reports of people who understand the rules, but just cannot get into the game. There's the danger that your group might fall into that category. That said, if you can get past those stages, you'll really really enjoy Race. And it doesn't have to take that long. Some people get it within their first 3 games. Learning more complex strategies and actually appreciating the interactions does take much longer though (For me, I had to get thrashed multiple games in a row by a seasoned player for me to appreciate that it wasn't all about being lucky getting the right cards).

In contrast, Dominion is oh-so-easy to pull out with a new group and play. Its easy to get them to play more than one game, simply because its fast, it doesn't cause a headache, and players want to try different cards (there's quite a few of them) and different strategies. The problem is that after a while players might wonder whether there was much more to it or not (most of the cards are variation of similar things), and this is the point where more investment must be put in for it to truly shine.

Dominion excels as a filler, but with people who know how to play Race, I'd pull out Race every time over Dominion. In my gaming group, Dominion has been relegated to a role where I have a lot of people over, and not all of them play much boardgames, so I pull out Dominion and teach it to them, after which I hop off to play Race :)

So thus ends my fairly long, slightly biased, but ultimately (and hopefully) fair review comparing Dominion and Race. Although there's a slight push towards Race, I think that I've sufficiently listed out the negatives and positives for each game, drawn from my pool of knowledge about each game, to sufficiently give you a good starting point in deciding which game you want to get for your group.

Cheers.
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Green Dan
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OMG!! Dominion is THE BEST GAME EVER!! Quick setup, quick to learn and quick to pack down.

You should so get Dominion!!!
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Matthew Watson
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I have both games, and I rate both very highly; I like Dominion better though.

Anyway, based on your criteria, I would definitely say that you should get Dominion, unless lots of shuffling will annoy you.
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Benoît Delcorps
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I totally agree with Jian Wey Chin.

Dominion is a faster to learn, faster to enjoy, faster to get bored with game.

Race for the Galaxy (RFTG) might ask some more efforts from the players to learn the rules... but, IMHO, this initial investment opens the doors of a game that is way deeper and is thus more interesting and fun.

Anyway, to answer your questions :

Shampoo4you wrote:
Ease of learning to play.

Dominion is learned in 10 minutes ; with RFTG, you might need a few games.

Shampoo4you wrote:
Ease of learning basic strategies.

As Dominion is an easier game, its basic strategies are easier to discover and understand.

Shampoo4you wrote:
Similarity to MTG and other CCGs.

None of those games share enough similarities with MTG for that comparison to be pertinent. Anyway, I would say RFTG shares more of its basic principles with MTG. Even if Dominion is a "deck building game", i don't feel there is any similarity in taste between Dominion and MTG.

Shampoo4you wrote:
Player interaction.

Once you're quite familiar with the game concept, i feel there is more interaction in RFTG than in Dominion... but as other mentionned, this is subject to personal appreciation.

Shampoo4you wrote:
Fun factor.

First games of Dominion should feel funnier... But, to my eyes, after, let's say 20 games, the fun curve tend to decline.
First games of RFTG should feel trickier ... But, to my eyes, after 20 games, the fun curve is still increasing as you discover the various possible combinations.

Conclusion:

- Dominion is a better short term investment

- RFTG a better long term investment.

I would advice you to spread your portfolio and buy both
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Joe Kundlak
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From my heart?

Race for the Galaxy.


From my brain?

Dominion
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Trey Chambers
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This has been a great thread, but it sounds like Dominion is a better fit for a more casual gaming group that constantly rotates players in and out like mine does.

It's an exciting debate though, so by all means please continue. =)
 
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Andrew Hardin
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My wife can't stand RFtG but plays Dominion so often it makes me cringe. For awhile she had one of the absolute worst ELO ratings on BSW but still kept playing. My win/loss record on BSW is completely distorted by the fact that she has a hard time winning against me. She has something like 275+ plays on BSW and just keeps at it.

Race she won't touch. But our group tends to like both. We play Race until we grew bored of it. Dominion is holding our interest longer.

So, get both, but Dominion seems much easier to explain to a complete newbie. We all picked it up very quickly and adding new players takes no time at all.

- Lex
 
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Andrew Hardin
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Benwa wrote:

Conclusion:

- Dominion is a better short term investment

- RFTG a better long term investment.



The opposite was true for my gaming group. We still like Race, but Dominion is hitting the table a lot more. And my wife plays constantly on BSW. I think it is going to depend very heavily on your own particular style. Race has a lot of subtle plays during a game. In Dominion, the Action card phase of a particular hand tends to be fairly direct but some subtlety exists. The Buy Phase tends to be the point where the beginner and expert go their separate ways . Both Race and Dominion are the kind of games where you can think about the strategy between sessions.

I tend to get most of my Dominion enjoyment between sessions as I think about various strategies for the game. Though it is possible to do that in Race I find it easier to think about Dominion in great depth between sessions. I tend to brood and think about games between sessions. So the little tweaks that improve your Dominion game are often on my mind. As much as I hate the MtG comparison it does have that same feature in common with MtG (at least for me).

I would recommend both. And you will likely due just fine if you do either one first. Both games are really good.

- Lexander
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Christopher Dodge
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I have both and would pick RFtG over Dominion. RFtG is more fun, the strategies are deeper and I really enjoy the theme. Dominion also is very fun but I find that the strategies aren't as involved as RFtG. I love both of these games those so you really can't go wrong. Why not buy both?
 
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Eric Carter
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Greendan wrote:
OMG!! Race for the Galaxy is THE BEST GAME EVER!! Quick setup, quick to learn and quick to pack down.

You should so get Race for the Galaxy!!!


In comparing the two games, it's easier to get a game of Race going than of Dominion. Setting up Dominion can take twice as long.
 
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Everett Scheer
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What Ian said (his post is nearer the top).

I like RFTG more, because it is deeper and has more interesting decisions. However this depth is shrouded with a short but very steep learning curve.

Dominion is a fun game, but is a lot less taxing on the mind. It definately scratches the CCG deck-building itch more than any other game.

Both games play quickly, F2F games of Dominion are in the 10-15 min range, RFTG in the 25-30 Min range.

I agree with the recomendation to try out Dominion and San Juan on BSW (which is IMO a lighter version of RFTG)
 
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Ryan Anderson
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Dominion is the safest bet. I have yet to meet someone who didn't like it. I have met people who didn't like RftG. It's simply a matter of easiness to learn. You will constantly be explaining symbols and rules to people with RtfG.

That being said I love both games. I play Dominion much more since so many people like it and, like a poster above, my girlfriend is not into RftG. But I think deep down I like RftG more. I don't know if it's the theme or that I just don't get to play it as much but I think in a hard core gaming group it will be fine and Dominion will be great for those, "Hey, we have fifteen minutes lets play something quick," situations.

So get both but if you have to get just one grab Dominion and the upcoming expansion that adds two players.
 
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Dave Daley
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baba44713 wrote:
Go to BSW. Try Dominion and San Juan (as RftG stand-in, since *approved* online adaptations of RftG still don't exist). See which you like better.

My personal opinion based on my own experiences and your "requests" would heavily lean on Dominion, but would keep an option of eventually getting both of those games, if possible.

I personally recommend VERY HIGHLY against BSW and Dominion.

BSW is dominated by a small number of *very good* players, by which I am yes, referring to the Chapellers and "Hand Sanitizers".

I have several groups of friends and family who would play Dominion with me at a moment's notice. I have set up most of those people with BSW accounts - and not a single person enjoys it on BSW. And the comments about BSW were all the same - not anything like the fun of playing in person.

Take that for what it's worth. But DON'T make the mistake of thinking the BSW experience is the F2F experience - far from it.
 
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Jon Grantham
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elkabong wrote:

I personally recommend VERY HIGHLY against BSW and Dominion.

BSW is dominated by a small number of *very good* players, by which I am yes, referring to the Chapellers and "Hand Sanitizers".


I play on BSW a fair amount, but I almost always play against people I know. We arrange to meet, try to turn the room "invisible" before anyone notices we're there and play among ourselves. It has pluses and minuses versus the FTF game, but they're not in the type of people we play against.
 
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