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Dominion: Intrigue» Forums » Reviews

Subject: An Expansion Always Does Expand Things...Right? rss

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Mikko Ämmälä
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A review of the long waited stuff is always a task to compose....

Well. To my surprise my friend had already gotten his pre-ordered Intrique and of course I was eager to try it out. I had read the spoiler before but not made any significant notes of not-so-obvious cards. I wanted to keep this expansion as unexplored as possible before the real thing = the first play sessions.

And several games we played (three player games) and ensured that all the new cards where in the mix atleast once.

1) Components...or art in this case:

Pretty much what you can expect. However I actually liked the cartoonish approach of some cards (like Harem). It gave some new fresh not-so-serious (Phil Foglio style of MtG circa 1994-95) touch to other mainstream "medieval" stuff you have seen hundreds of times. No complains. No ultra great either.

2) The essence...how the cards actually hold the candle.

In short paragraphs and hopping sentences:

+ I liked the funky approach which meant that usual routes of "silver-silver-silver-and then the game actually starts" does not work as often as before. The new cards and combinations made players think and usually thinking was worth time spent.

+ It does perfectly its job. It expands the base game. I actually would not recommend to play Intrique-only setup after initial familization process...the reasons:

1) Practically all Intrique cards are more complicated than their comparable versions of base game - this actually dismisses the base Dominion's greatest asset = fast and simple play and can turn the the play experience into a relative brainburning struggle where the fun factor can be lost.

2) You just need simpler and more straight cards from the base set. If all are funky...then the funky factor gets inflated.

+ There were several ultra cool cards which instantly were hits:

Ironworks: You just want this into your deck unless the card mix is very obscure.

Bridge: Screams for abuse. But it needs work...you do it well and it can pay double back.

Masquerada: Ultra fun card but has "black market" label on it : After all is more annoying than rewarding. However the card switching between the players is original concept. Props for that.

Swindler: Not exceptional by default but is the most fun of Attack cards as it usually at least does mess things up. I liked the card. However I would have hoped it had been a bit better.

...of course there were a lot of strong cards like Steward, Trading Post....absolutely great Mining Village...but these missed some fun, "work around factor" and originality of something more fancy like Bridge...

+ I really liked the cards which gave minor VP attached (Harem, the Great Hall etc). Not terribly original but functional and clear.

+/- I am not fan of cards which had multiple choices (like Pawn I already hate a lot). I agree that they give room for tactical paths/opportunities but I seriously think that it only slows the gaming process instead of giving enough back in quality.

- I did not like extra randomness some cards offer (Wishing Well, Tribute etc). Too situational. Just too random. Of course the other cards can give you means to get a ticket to pass that random obstacle but more than often it seemed too workaholic task compared to fun playing there could have been instead.
(the analogy is like playing Puerto Rico game with strong Forest House strategy....you can be a strong/winner-by-ease but you probably miss a half of the fun as your moves need to be optimized whole time for the strategy)

- After all those interesting (and again generally good) cards...when the dust has settled the outcome is revealed: There was no revolutionary stuff. It was after all same action-card-vp-discount-attack chain and optimizing it. No new card/action/ type (a'la permament). No altering of game state/turn order/base rules.

- Attack cards were interesting but generally a bit too weak. This was actually the biggest disappointment. The base Dominion for example included very fine Bureucrat and I somehow expected that expansions give more similar indirect attack cards...it actually does but with weaker effects...

I have fluctuated with my opinion of Dominion (my geekrating history goes smt like - first five games = '8', five games more = '7', three games more = '6'...then after five-ten more games a revelation and back to '8' where Dominion has stayed for two dozen+ games.

This expansion is fine and thought (almost overthought as many cards were quite wordy) job. It expands the base game and if you enjoy Dominion there certainly is no reason be without Intrique.

May be Intrique was a slight disappointment for me ('7' compared to base Dominion's '8')..I think...but yet still I am going to buy it next week. The rating for this after-all fine expansion is more probable to rise to '8' than stay its current '7'.

A good well-thought effort. May be too much what we actually expected with no revolutionary ideas but still...an interesting set of funky and gameplay altering cards.

I really look for setting up some Throne Room combos with the juiciest Intrique cards...

.mikko
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Justin Moore
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It definitely expands the game, but I think it makes thing overly complicated. I despise the dual role money/VP cards, completely unnecessary. Dominion is a great game, I own and love it, but this expansion completely turned me off and guaranteed I won't be spending any more money on the game.
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Clement Tey
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I hope that there'll be new card types in Dominion. Like permanents, interrupts, etc. If there aren't, I probably won't buy Seaside.
 
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It expands things, but I've found (especially on BSW) that the interminable chains of +cards, +actions is horrendous to endure.

Cards like the following are particularly mind-numbing:
*Minion
*Nobles
*Market (old Dom)
*Council Room (old Dom)
*Village (old Dom)
*Laboratory (old Dom)

You could draw your entire deck and drag everyone else down into what I'd call Monopoly syndrome: basically getting four million cards per turn and buying more of the +cards, +actions cards until you can, on one turn many years later, buy all the provinces and end the game in a very unsatisfying fashion.

I think the team will need to add interrupts for sure, and also cap actions at a certain number (even 10 actions would be fine).
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Branko K.
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BSW gives long combos a bad name. I have found that a long chain of Villages/Labs/whatever is much easier to withstand in real life then on BSW. I guess it's the sound effects and animations combined with faceless opponent that makes it REALLY tiring.

Since reviews here *should* apply to real-life games and not BSW, I don't really think Dominion needs an Action cap and interrupts could perhaps work, but could also introduce samo major scaling problems since the number of interrupts is directly proportionate with a number of players.

I am still mostly worried about the choice cards, especially those that seem to be more trouble then their worth (like the Pawn) or those with some wonky mechanics (like Mining Village which is immediately trashed so the other bonus it gives disappears from the table). Also, what if in a Nobles chain someone loses track on how many Actions he has left? Before you could more-or-less easily re-count it, but here, after a chain of 6 Nobles with some other Action cards in between, who will remember which Nobles card was used for what?

I agree with the OP that some sensible mix of Intrigue and base set seems to be the best way to go. Simple cards serve a great purpose - they move things along. Long combos with lot of wonky cards just doesn't sound amusing, especially in a game which above all should be quick and fun.
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Matthew Hurst
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MichaelB wrote:

Swindler: Not exceptional by default but is the most fun of Attack cards as it usually at least does mess things up.

- Attack cards were interesting but generally a bit too weak. This was actually the biggest disappointment..mikko


You apparently missed the Saboteur.

This card forces your opponents to reveal cards off of the top of their decks until they find a card costing 3 coins or more. They have to trash that card and replace it with one costing at most 2 coins less.

I've been in games where people have lost Provinces.



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Thomas Staudt
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feydjm wrote:
It definitely expands the game, but I think it makes thing overly complicated. I despise the dual role money/VP cards, completely unnecessary. Dominion is a great game, I own and love it, but this expansion completely turned me off and guaranteed I won't be spending any more money on the game.


That's one way to see it. In my opinion it adds some complexity which gives playing your hand much more variety. With only the base set, there were not many decisions needed on how to play a hand except for what card(s) to buy. Now playing out the hand has become much more interesting.

I also find it fascinating that the expansion did not need any new rules (apart from the clarification that the dual type cards always count as both types). Many expansions only add small things while adding pages of new rules.
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Quote:
That's one way to see it. In my opinion it adds some complexity which gives playing your hand much more variety. With only the base set, there were not many decisions needed on how to play a hand except for what card(s) to buy. Now playing out the hand has become much more interesting.

I also find it fascinating that the expansion did not need any new rules (apart from the clarification that the dual type cards always count as both types). Many expansions only add small things while adding pages of new rules.


Quite true. It does add complexity. I can see why he might think it adds too much though--play a set entirely with Intrigue cards, and when you're chaining decision-cards together it'll take a lot of brain-bashing before turns run quickly (if they do at all).

I felt the base game was a bit too simplistic--it was always the case that the optimal play was going for money or Provinces, frankly. At least this expansion changes that, even if it adds other problems (like the horrible cover art ).
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I'm still unconvinced that action chains are the optimal option a player should be pursuing anyways. As Chay stated, going for money/provinces is how you win the game, with action cards used to speed up the process a little. However, building action engines means you have to spend many turns and buys on action cards, wasting precious time and resources.
 
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Eric S
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baba44713 wrote:
I am still mostly worried about the choice cards, especially those that seem to be more trouble then their worth (like the Pawn) or those with some wonky mechanics (like Mining Village which is immediately trashed so the other bonus it gives disappears from the table). Also, what if in a Nobles chain someone loses track on how many Actions he has left? Before you could more-or-less easily re-count it, but here, after a chain of 6 Nobles with some other Action cards in between, who will remember which Nobles card was used for what?


There are a few options here.

Simplest, for some people, is to have the other players help keep track of your actions, or for you to announce them out loud.

Tapping is perhaps the better solution for experienced players, and can be used for multiple cards:

Turn the Mining Village 90° to show it's been trashed, then trash at clean-up. Leave the Noble upright for 2 actions, tapped for 3 cards.

My wife and I found that for Tribute, keeping your opponent's cards visible until used worked well--discard victory cards after new cards are drawn, hold an action card upright, then tap when used for one action and discard when used for a second... etc.
 
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Quote:
There are a few options here.

Simplest, for some people, is to have the other players help keep track of your actions, or for you to announce them out loud.

Tapping is perhaps the better solution for experienced players, and can be used for multiple cards:

Turn the Mining Village 90° to show it's been trashed, then trash at clean-up. Leave the Noble upright for 2 actions, tapped for 3 cards.


That helps for keeping track of +actions, yes (and I'd recommend such an approach for the new Intrigue cards).

Still, it doesn't solve the basic problem of why people keep buying those +cards, +actions cards. If the aim of the game is to have an efficient deck and a regularly efficient hand, isn't relying on +cards, +actions a sign of weakness and improper planning more than anything else?

I can see instances where this might not be true, for example, if you draw 4 estates and 1 copper, you might very well be wishing for a village then. But if you've done your job right, such hands are rare, and you should be able to win quickly instead of making fellow players doze off or turn away in irritation while waiting for you to finish your slingshot of +actions, +cards.

+actions, +cards decks annoy me even when they are (in the rare case) effective, because ultimately it slows down the game, even while it's meant to be impressive that you drew many, many cards.

Another part of the problem is that if one player buys +actions, +cards cards, other players will too (sometimes out of vengeance at the annoying wait periods, however brief they might be on BSW or in real life).
 
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Branko K.
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People buy "+Actions, +Cards, +something" because they see such cards as a picture-perfect example of an optimal Kingdom card - it replaces itself AND gives you some kind of bonus. Pure "+Actions" may irk you because you may get them with no other Action cards, and pure "+cards" are a downer because they end your chains.. but "+A, +C" are juuust right. Right?

Of course, in practice, yes, those cards are irritating and to a more experienced player often fill like unnecessary fluff that unnecessarily drag down the game. But it's really hard to describe to a new player in easy words that a string a Villages is only worth it if you have as many other non-action giving Action cards to play as you have Villages.. and it would serve no purpose whatsoever because he's usually happy as a pig in the mud after placing all those Villages. Come on, he just made a turn that was satisfyingly long and fun, and hence A Good Play! Certainly much better then Your turn, where you only bought a Gold and didn't play any Action cards and all, yuck.
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Mikko Ämmälä
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baba44713 wrote:
But it's really hard to describe to a new player in easy words that a string a Villages is only worth it if you have as many other non-action giving Action cards to play as you have Villages.. and it would serve no purpose whatsoever because he's usually happy as a pig in the mud after placing all those Villages. Come on, he just made a turn that was satisfyingly long and fun, and hence A Good Play! Certainly much better then Your turn, where you only bought a Gold and didn't play any Action cards and all, yuck.


Indeed. For me Dominion is not about winning (there are other more serious/meaty games for that purpose). Instead it is a game where every now and then you can have means to put the show going on. A lot of fun is many times generated of long chain which ends up player revealing three copper and a hand full of VP cards.

Of course you can get many times (depends on mix of course) a better result with silver-silver-silver-gold route and that is fun too but far from fun generated by a hand which have double throne + 2 other action cards...

I actually have wondered why they did not put something like following in the rules "at the end of the game you get 1 VP (or even 2VP?) for each different action cards you have in your deck". That would have spicen up a lot those serious silver-silver...gold...province-province... -races.

.mikko

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I understand what you're saying. I remember when I first played, there was a lot of novelty to be had in getting the many +cards +actions chain.

But here's another problem with the game's use of it in the long run: the game becomes an arms race for +cards, +actions as much as any pro game might just race for gold and provinces. It becomes dull by repetition, and while in a fast game that flaw is less evident, it is nonetheless there. And annoying. XD

I feel like there has to be a way to allow the pros their game while allowing the newbies the +actions +cards fun (and some pros too, I occasionally like it, just not on BSW I guess). Maybe upcoming expansions will have new card types to address this problem.

Or different ways to play? That might be quite novel. I know Race for the Galaxy has a lot of variants, and that's another fast playing game with some depth I enjoy. I just worry that Dominion has lost some of that depth with some of the cards in the new expansion, which I believe was not the developers' intent.
 
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Colin Clay
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I really don't understand most of the complaints I'm hearing. This is the most customizable game I know of. The choice of card sets allows the game to be played a huge variety of ways.
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Branko K.
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Clay wrote:
I really don't understand most of the complaints I'm hearing. This is the most customizable game I know of. The choice of card sets allows the game to be played a huge variety of ways.


Well I don't understand neither what you're addressing exactly nor the point you're making.
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Quote:

Well I don't understand neither what you're addressing exactly nor the point you're making.


Likewise. I think perhaps it's just a general counter to any criticism of the game (though my complaint was pretty specific, I think).
 
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Mythdracon wrote:
Likewise. I think perhaps it's just a general counter to any criticism of the game (though my complaint was pretty specific, I think).


More like a generic counter to criticism of a specific card or group of cards. If you got a pool of 50 cards to use, how hard is it to just remove the ones you do not like completely? In this area Intrigue do add a lot as you can remove a quite some cards before you get as few to really limit variety.
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Branko K.
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Mythdracon simply stated that newbies often buy +action/+card Action cards because they perceive them (and long combos in general) to be more valuable then they really are. This is really not a "complaint" per se, but rather an observation. Pretty valid one, I might add.

Countering this with "I don't understand your complaints, this is a very customizable game." seems like that guy doesn't really care about what the discussion actually is nor wants to add anything meaningful except being contrary for the sake of being contrary. Hence, my comment.


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Yeah, It's a pity people are so defensive about this when there is a chance for valid critical discussion and hopefully implementation.

Game designers value constructive criticism (which some deem "negative") quite valuable, and I'm sorry to observe that some of their fans don't see it quite the same way. :S

Quote:

More like a generic counter to criticism of a specific card or group of cards. If you got a pool of 50 cards to use, how hard is it to just remove the ones you do not like completely? In this area Intrigue do add a lot as you can remove a quite some cards before you get as few to really limit variety.

Yes, we could remove the +action +card cards, but that might upset some people who have just learnt the game and like their combos. All I'm saying is that it might be nice to implement a "pro" start and a regular start. A pro start might add action limits or something, to limit spamming.

Frankly, I prefer intelligent games to simple ones. There is fun in both, but asking for a more intelligent game isn't always asking it to be less fun (as some of the prior posters seem to think I'm suggesting it is).
 
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Marcel Sagel
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Mythdracon wrote:
Yes, we could remove the +action +card cards, but that might upset some people who have just learnt the game and like their combos. All I'm saying is that it might be nice to implement a "pro" start and a regular start. A pro start might add action limits or something, to limit spamming.


If the +card, +action Kingdom cards really are not as strong - as you stated earlier - then there is no need for an action limit, as an optimized deck with lots of gold and only a few actions will beat it almost every time. After a while the newbies will see the error of their ways and build better decks as well.
 
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Colin Clay
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Quote:
Countering this with "I don't understand your complaints, this is a very customizable game." seems like that guy doesn't really care about what the discussion actually is nor wants to add anything meaningful except being contrary for the sake of being contrary. Hence, my comment.


I do care about this discussion, but I don't have the time (nor the inclination) to invest much time in it.

My point is simple. Some card sets lend themselves to longer turns. Some people will like this, you obviously don't. The brilliance of Dominion is that you can customize the game to lend itself to different play styles.
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One of my friends loves the + Action/+ Card types, and he wins often enough that he keeps doing it. But it really does drag the game down. Sarcastic comments like "Jim's up, I'm going to go take a nap, wake me when he's done" are not uncommon.

Each of these cards provides some other bonus - more coin, more actions, more VPs - or they would serve no purpose. Take the Market; compare a hand with this card to the same hand without it. The card you draw with the Market is the same card you otherwise would already have in your hand, so you only really are getting +1 Coin, +1 Buy. In many situations, a Silver would be more useful. If you draw the Market when you're out of actions, it's useless, but a Silver is still useful in that situation.
 
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Branko K.
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Yes, Treasure cards should be more appealing to newbies.

Thankfully, I have a solution. It's so simple yet ingenious:

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Glitter.




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Jason Martin
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As a former MTG player, I have little problem keeping track of "floating mana", so what I do is announce my remaining "pool" after each action.

IE:

"Pawn for action/card, noble for 3 actions, swindler, 2 actions, 2 coins left, pawn for buy/coin, 1 action, 3 coins, 2 buys left", etc.

Updating your "pool" after each card play improves the record keeping, but buying glass beads in three colors solves the whole problem, one for actions, one for buys, one for coins.

Realistically though, it's only actions that tend to get miscounted.
 
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