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Subject: Is the suggested first set a good set for playing? rss

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Keith Schleicher
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I have only played this three times and with people who aren't regular CCG players, once with three players and twice with two players. Each game took about an hour and a half, even though in the last two games I tried to end the game by taking Estates. Is the game length because of unfamiliarity to the game, or would I be better off trying a different card configuration?

I really like the game and want others to get into it, but I have been surprised at how long the games have been taking.
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David desJardins
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If everyone else is totally incompetent, it might indeed take you quite a long while to buy 12 Provinces all by yourself.

Why don't you just give them some advice? You don't need to be a "regular CCG player" to learn "when in doubt, buy treasure", which by itself will eliminate the horrifically prolonged games.
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Tim Stellmach
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It's because of unfamiliarity with the game. Early games can go long because nobody knows how to get to 8 treasure a turn, so the Province deck doesn't run out. No card set is really going to change that fact much. But any set includes (of course) Silver and Gold, which all by themselves can be the basis for a much faster strategy.

Once you know how, games that end by running out 3 decks rather than running out Provinces become the exception, not the rule.

That said, I'm sure it's possible to design card sets that play faster when people are never getting to 8 treasure. I'm just not sure it's the most helpful answer to your question.
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Chris Ferejohn
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How can you end the game by taking estates? That's just going to make it last longer. 90 minutes is a *really* long time for this game to last. Most turns should only take 20-30 seconds as you don't have that many decisions to make.

I suspect that strategically players are buying too many action cards. Next time you play, let others do as they will, but on your turn, buy silver (if you have 3+ money), gold (if you have 6+) or a province (if you have 8+), and nothing else. I bet you'll find the game ends much quicker (and that you win handily). With most card sets, the game is played around the margins of this strategy (sometimes referred to as "big money").
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Scott Russell
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Before the release, there were sets at Origins and Gencon (zealously guarded [most of the time ] by Valerie and Dale). My kids and I played several games with the suggested ten kingdom cards and had definitely not tired of the game. We did enjoy changing the cards some and I think that is an important feature to keep it fresh.

That being said, if your group is taking an hour and half per game, I cannot see you ever playing often enough to get tired of the set, if you aren't tired after the first game. Our first (four player) game reading the rules and playing took at most forty five minutes. Immediately after that we played another (not surprising) and it took about a half hour.

To answer the question that you're really asking, the basic recommended ten cards is not a particularly slow set for ending the game.
 
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Darren Hron
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GrahamGB wrote:
I have only played this three times and with people who aren't regular CCG players, once with three players and twice with two players. Each game took about an hour and a half, even though in the last two games I tried to end the game by taking Estates. Is the game length because of unfamiliarity to the game, or would I be better off trying a different card configuration?

I really like the game and want others to get into it, but I have been surprised at how long the games have been taking.


Just to be sure, you are not trashing (discarding from the game) the Treasure cards why you buy something right? As in leaving the game when buying something, they are going into YOUR discard deck which you then reshuffle.

It seems silly to ask, but that was our first insticnt when playing...but figured it out that was not the case before we played.
 
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Jonathan Morton
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Personally, I find the suggested first set to be quite a boring configuration. When teaching new players I just deal a random setup and then tweak it, removing the cards I think would cause difficulty and replacing them with others to 'balance the set'. But of course you can't do this yourself until you know the game well. In the meantime, try "Big Money" - it's faster than First Game.
 
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Keith Schleicher
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We aren't trashing the treasure cards when we play, we are putting them into the discard deck and then reshuffling when we run out of cards.
 
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Keith Schleicher
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cferejohn wrote:
How can you end the game by taking estates? That's just going to make it last longer. 90 minutes is a *really* long time for this game to last. Most turns should only take 20-30 seconds as you don't have that many decisions to make.

I suspect that strategically players are buying too many action cards. Next time you play, let others do as they will, but on your turn, buy silver (if you have 3+ money), gold (if you have 6+) or a province (if you have 8+), and nothing else. I bet you'll find the game ends much quicker (and that you win handily). With most card sets, the game is played around the margins of this strategy (sometimes referred to as "big money").


I have avoided most of the strategy posts here because I didn't want to get too good where I would turn everyone else off to the game. Whenever we did play, if there was an extra buy they would take the Bronze if they couldn't afford anything else. I think that the focus of most games was to buy the Action cards because that is what is laid out for us and seems to be main point of the game. The game I played last night I won 47-36.

I will try this strategy and suggest it to others the next time we play. I will use the Big Money card set too and see if that helps.
 
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I try to remember that non-gamers haven't bought into the idea that games are a worthwhile way of spending time, so obviously they want to get a taste of the hobby with minimum investment. If they get the impression that games are all about sitting through long rules lectures, they'll ask to do something else before even getting started.

So, when introducing this to my non-gamer friends, I try to get in and start doing something as soon as possible. To avoid a lot of rolling eyes, I find it best to start with cards with very little text so they can just glance at it and know what it does without having to endure another long speech from me.


If they like the game, then I find that they immediately want to jump to the "complicated" cards because they're "cooler".

GrahamGB wrote:
Is the game length because of unfamiliarity to the game, or would I be better off trying a different card configuration?

I'm no authority, but I found that attack cards in general slow things down - you're in the middle of shuffling, and suddenly you have to see the top card of your draw deck. If nothing else, there's more explaining to do.

Finding good sets for beginners is one of the reasons I got into the "recommended card sets" thread:

http://boardgamegeek.com/article/3739732#3739732
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Chris Ferejohn
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GrahamGB wrote:

I have avoided most of the strategy posts here because I didn't want to get too good where I would turn everyone else off to the game. Whenever we did play, if there was an extra buy they would take the Bronze if they couldn't afford anything else. I think that the focus of most games was to buy the Action cards because that is what is laid out for us and seems to be main point of the game. The game I played last night I won 47-36.

I will try this strategy and suggest it to others the next time we play. I will use the Big Money card set too and see if that helps.


Buying an extra copper is almost never a good idea. I definitely appreciate not trying to beat people too badly and turn them off the game, but if you win a few times, they will figure out what you are doing and hopefully start to emulate it.

Most people (especially those without experience in deck-building games) seem to go through phases with Dominion.

1. They see all the cool action cards and want to buy as many as they can.

2. They realize that buying treasure and 6-point VP cards is usually a better idea. Some people get disenchanted with the game at this point since you can do very well with most card sets by ignoring the action cards almost entirely.

3. They realize the point of the game is to play around the margins of the money/VP strategy and find ways to make a deck that can beat the basic money/VP strategy. Depending on the card set, this can mean just adding a couple of action cards to make the deck run more smoothly once it starts getting clogged up with VP cards, or it can mean more radical changes (cards like the Witch and Gardens can often play havok with the basic strategy).
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Keith Schleicher
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Thanks for the suggestions. I am hoping to pull this out this weekend and see how it goes. These friends do like to play Ticket to Ride, but I wanted to try something different. I tried Pandemic once, but our group is usually bigger than four. We just got the Carcassonne Big Box 2, so I will try that with a couple of expansions and this, and maybe TTR: Marklin.
 
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Joseph
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sasquatchdjh wrote:
GrahamGB wrote:
I have only played this three times and with people who aren't regular CCG players, once with three players and twice with two players. Each game took about an hour and a half, even though in the last two games I tried to end the game by taking Estates. Is the game length because of unfamiliarity to the game, or would I be better off trying a different card configuration?

I really like the game and want others to get into it, but I have been surprised at how long the games have been taking.


Just to be sure, you are not trashing (discarding from the game) the Treasure cards why you buy something right? As in leaving the game when buying something, they are going into YOUR discard deck which you then reshuffle.

It seems silly to ask, but that was our first insticnt when playing...but figured it out that was not the case before we played.


My group had a similar experience, except we thought the game only ended when three of the Treasure, Victory, or curse piles emptied. When it was pointed out by more experienced players we were playing wrong, our games went from an hour to a half hour very quickly.
 
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Post a session report. I regularly introduce this game to new players, and we even have six or so players at a time. The game, however, only goes about an hour or so long.

I usually skip the First Game setup, although that's because I win the games when there's deck trimming...!
 
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Tony Chen
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The first set is good for introducing all the different mechanisms in the game: it has card draws, attacks, plus coins, plus actions, trash, etc. Essentially showcases a little bit of each mechanism.

However, it is also a very slow setup. Longer than the average setups from the base game. I'd recommend Big Money setup for a quicker, less dragging game.

Additionally, I also think the first set is harder to play well. The art of balancing your deck in the first setup is kind of subtle, and only experienced players can play it well. The strategy in Big Money is a lot more obvious.

For game length and transparency of strategy, I'd recommend Big Money over First set for beginners.

 
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Sam Butler
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I have only played one game, with First Game setup, but I found it very engaging. You may want to give a couple of hints, though: the Mine is probably the most powerful early action card in the (First Game setup) game, and the Market is also very powerful. You will also want a few Villages if you find your hand starts to get multiple action cards per turn.

I probably bought too many action cards, but I think it was very fun! I'm sure the game changes radically based on what is in play, but I found once my wife and I caught on to the power of the Mine, things really took off. The mine basically lets you upgrade a treasure card for free, since you get the upgraded card *in your hand* again, not in the discard pile; that is huge! The market is also incredible, very powerful.

Anyway, take all of this with a grain of salt, I have no clue what other cards there are, but I would recommend with the first game setup, you tell the players the suggestion that buying treasure is well worth it, particularly early-on, and the Mine is probably the most powerful card out in the early game, then you will find it will go faster; once we figured that out, the VPs were flying off the "shelves".
 
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Edward Montgomery
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As noted earlier in the thread, the real advantage of the First Game setup is that it introduces all the concepts of the game fairly gently (especially Attack).

My youngest daughter isn't particularly fond of Dominion, but she's won the only two games she's played (with that setup). We do give hints to a new player (limit Action card purchases unless you have a strategy in mind, upgrade your treasure, Copper and Estates are usually not worth the space they take in your hand). That's enough to get them competitive and climbing the learning curve without removing the fun.

After watching my daughter win, her late-arriving friend Sarah replaced her, and we played First Game again. Now, the kids across the table from me were engaged in good-natured jawing about who had scored better on their SATs (I beat you by 10 with a 2180, yeah but you had to take it twice) so they aren't idiots or anything, but still. Her first game, Sarah won. Sigh.

She leaves, and Roderick and I are left with a two player contest for who feels worse about our showing. Random setup, and a fun one. So, of course, we tied.


My point being that even a newb has a chance in the First Game setup, and it really does teach the game well. I could tell that Sarah was hooked. She'll be back for more Dominion.
 
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