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Subject: Dominion: Intrigue - Intriguingly Complex? rss

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Travis Cooper
United States
Salt Lake City
Utah
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INTRODUCTION

I have been excited about Intrigue since about the time I bought Dominion in May. I followed all the cards as some were shown here or there and I read about all of them as soon as the rules were posted online. I think Dominion is a great game. I now have 10 plays of just the Intrigue cards and I'd like to share my thoughts.

I am not going to cover basic Dominion rules, I will assume readers either know them, or can find those elsewhere. I mostly want to focus on who might like this game and why. Is this a game for Dominion players? Should you buy this before buying Dominion? Hopefully I can help you answer these questions.

RULES

There are a few rules that are new to Intrigue. First, a simple rule that only is used with one card, is passing cards. As with most passing of cards, you must choose the card you want to pass before looking at the new card that has been passed to you.

Now we also have some action cards that take on two roles. There are victory point/action cards, and victory point/treasure cards. These cards should be considered as both types at all times. This is key to remember because there are several new cards that do different things based on card types.

The last thing is all the options. There are multiple cards that you have to choose what they do. For example, you can use the minion as extra coin to spend, or to get some new cards.

COMPLEXITY

I will have to say that intrigue is definitely more complex than the base Dominion game. My first few plays with new people, these were all people familiar with Dominion, definitely took longer than normal. Some of this was people just wanting to buy different cards and try them out.

The rest of the slow down was directly related to the complexity and decisions that exist in the cards. Playing a card means choosing which action to use, when you gain a card the type of card you gain might mean getting something different. One of the biggest slow downs so far, the tribute, means another player flipping cards and those types giving you different benefits. This all adds to the complexity of the game.

THE GOOD

Intrigue is exactly what I thought it would be, it has much more interaction. I guess this could be seen as good and bad, depending on your view, but I love the new interaction that we get.

Decisions are good. I think it is great that I can buy a card that changes how it works over time. It is kind of like getting two cards in one. I can use it how I need it whenever it comes up. I really like this aspect.

Something new. There are some new cards here that work really well together. It is nice to see a change of pace and to be able to think of new an interesting strategies. I have a lot of plays of Dominion and although I haven't mastered it, it definitely feels like some of the setups are the same old same old sometimes. This is a nice change of pace and I'm excited for it.

THE BAD

Dominion is complex. I have mentioned some of the good aspects of this complexity, but it means that it will be harder for new players to pick up. The complexity means that teaching new players, specifically people who haven't even played Dominion, will take a bit longer to catch on.

Attacks. Okay, so I can't really say the attacks are bad, but I know some people will definitely have a tough time with some of them. I've even heard a lot of complaints with my first place from other people. The attacks definitely seem more brutal. Yes there is a new reaction card, but that won't be out every time. A lot of people even on here have already complained about how the attack cards are starting to randomly hurt your decks leaving you with less control of building your kingdom. I personally like the attacks, but it might be too much for some people.

IS THIS GAME FOR YOU?

If you have been playing Dominion and you want some new and fresh actions to add to your base game, you need Intrigue. This is exactly what I expected it would be and I'm glad I got it.

If you have been playing Dominion and like to have more control over your deck with less interaction. You may not want to jump on Intrigue right away. Maybe try out the few cards on BSW first, or try it out at a game store, etc. The interaction might be too much for some people. I mean there is even a card that could potentially trash your provinces now, that could really hurt.

If you have never played Dominion I would suggest getting it first. I don't think Intrigue is a good introduction to the Dominion system, and the rules even mention playing the base game first. Although Intrigue is a stand alone game, I would say think of it more as an expansion and get Dominion first.

RATING

Currently I have Intrigue rated as an 8, same as Dominion for me, and have it one place higher on my top 10. I think this game will offer me more and more options and strategies to learn and I'm excited to get a good feel for the game. I expect to be playing this game for years to come. For me the complexity is great, for others it might not be.

Travis' Reviews
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Drew Spencer
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Nice summary.

I too have heard complaints about the attacks, but they don't make sense to me. We already had a card that could hit your deck and would randomly hurt some people more than others (Thief) and a card that could add Curses to your deck (Witch). Swindler doesn't do anything worse than either of those, I'd say, depending on which cards are in the set of course. The Saboteur can be brutal as hell, but it's a tough choice to buy one if there's anything else for 5, since it doesn't actually give you anything. Torturer is really not as bad as it seems, since it gives players the choice; at least I can say it can't possibly be worse than a Witch.
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Craig Somerton
Australia
North Ryde - Sydney
NSW
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I agree. I can see a lot of people not liking Intrigue as much as Dominion just for the initial complexity.

I certainly would not be inclined to introduce new players to Intrigue before Dominion as you will simply spin their heads.

Our first full game of Intrigue really burnt a few of my friends. But after a few plays, the games are as fast as ever.

I really love it, and combined with the base set, I can see these games taking over the majority of time at our gaming table for years, especially if they keep adding more expansions.
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Dave Daley
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banyan wrote:
Nice summary.

I too have heard complaints about the attacks, but they don't make sense to me. We already had a card that could hit your deck and would randomly hurt some people more than others (Thief) and a card that could add Curses to your deck (Witch). Swindler doesn't do anything worse than either of those, I'd say, depending on which cards are in the set of course. The Saboteur can be brutal as hell, but it's a tough choice to buy one if there's anything else for 5, since it doesn't actually give you anything. Torturer is really not as bad as it seems, since it gives players the choice; at least I can say it can't possibly be worse than a Witch.

I have to agree. There are a lot more attacks, but there is also a lot more ways to clean your deck up (trashing and remodelling cards are also staples of Intrigue), so really, it seems to me to be a nice balance.

As for the Torturer - man I LOVE that card. Before I played with it, I said there was no way in hell I'd ever take a curse - but I actually do end up taking curses maybe 1/3 of the time. When it comes to deciding whether to go down to 1 card (two torturers - it's going to happen to you a lot in a Torturer game) or take a curse, sometimes it's just wise to take the -1 and get SOMETHING that turn.

 
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