Recommend
12 
 Thumb up
 Hide
13 Posts

Thunderstone» Forums » General

Subject: Initial Thunderstone thoughts / Dominion comparison (1 play) rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Alex Rockwell
United States
Lynnwood
Washington
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
My initial Thunderstone thoughts, after playing once and watching one game:

* It doesnt bother me at all that Thunderstone copies some mechanics from Dominion. In the same way that it doesnt bother me that Puerto Rico copied ‘having roles’ from Meuterer/Verrater, or that World of Warcraft copied ‘MMORPG’ from Ultima Online and other earlier versions. Dominion deserves huge praise for innovation, and unlike many games that are the first of their genre, it is quite refined. But I like games thatrefine and build on a genre as well.

* I am excited to get it, in the same way that I would be excited to get a Dominion expansion. If you would buy a new Dominion expansion that had some differences and new mechanics, then you should buy Thunderstone.

* It is very interesting that there are two types of ‘buying power’: Gold, and Attack Power. You dont just get some Gold in your deck and then buy Provinces. I feel that this adds something to the game.

* The high VP monsters seem very critical. There isnt a stack of provinces, instead your access to high VP cards is limited. This is different, but I have no idea yet if its better or worse.

* 3 monsters available seemed way too low for a 4 player game. Often there was no planning allowed, there was a completely new monster set each turn. I could see 3 monsters working well in 2 player, but I kindof wish there were more with more players. A big monster coming up and moving to the front and being killed all while you wait for your turn is annoying. If a lot more monsters came out and you could plan, see what was coming, and be rewarded for a high-light deck, that would be cool. Again, 2 player might be better.

* The endgame feels as bad or worse than Dominion. Start player advantage is probably the most annoying part of Dominion to me. Now, the start player not only might get more turns, but also might get a 3 point bonus. I was feeling like maybe there should be a rule: If the Thunderstone is not claimed, then all players who had less turns than an opponent, get a 3 point bonus. Essentially, the first player might claim it, but if they cant then the people late in the order get it. Still this has problems.

Also, I think it would be cooler again if there were more monsters available, and you could see the Thunderstone coming from a long way away. And possibly if there were ways to snag it when it was way down there.

2 player might work a lot better, as with 3 cards out there, thats 2 monsters and the stone. If either player kills one of the two monsters, they set up the opponent to get the stone, which is interesting.

* The opening setup can have money splits from 0 to 10 in each hand, as Brian posted. Not just 2/5 vs 3/4 with a heavy chance of 3/4. I have no idea if this is better or worse yet. In my one game, it seemed better. The thing in Dominion is that many $5 cards are massively better than any $3-4 cards, allowign the one lucky player a significant advantage. Occasionally, there are no good $5 cards, and no $2 cards on the level of $3 cards, so the 2/5 is screwed.

In Thunderstone, I am not sure is such breakpoints exist. My start with two $5 cards seemed good, but it was my first game so who knows. Something like $7 and $3 did not seem like it would be better. The rule where you can spend a turn resting to trash a card from your hand is awesome. I think the comparison between 7/3 and 5/5 should probably be between adding two decent $5 cards, or adding a slightly better $7 card and trashing a bad card.

More play is required to determine if the money splits are more fair, less fair, or equivalent to Dominion. On the other hand, a ‘choose your starting hand’ variant seems even more interesting in Thunderstone than in Dominion. You have a lot more choices to choose from!

* As mentioned in the last point, the ’spend a turn resting to trash a card’ mechanic is AWESOME. I hope that spending one of the first two turns doing this is a viable strategy! I like that it lets you use those bad turns to improve your deck.

* Thunderstone felt like it had more viable choices per turn than Dominion, due to two types of purchasing power, and resting.

* I like the mixing in of three monster decks. This adds a lot of variety to the game, in a way that having just estate/duchy/province does not.

* I like the theme, feels more thematic than Dominion. But Dominion’s theme doesnt bother me or anything.

* Art is much better than Dominion. (Or alternately, its like only using the half of Dominion’s cards with good art, not the bad ones).

* And finally: Thunderstone is clearly better than Dominion because you DRAW ONE MORE CARD! 6 is more better than 5! Kindof like how an Amp is louder if it goes to 11!




Overall: Its interesting and I want to play it more. No idea yet if its better, worse, or equivalent to Dominion.
18 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Cameron Chien
United States
Rancho Cucamonga
California
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Nice review, and it highlights some of Thunderstone's strengths.

One idea I had about the monster hall was to have the # of monsters shown be equal to the # of players, minimum of 3. So in a 2 or 3 player game the hall has 3 monsters showing, but in 4 and 5 player games it has 4 and 5 respectively.

Thoughts?

Cameron
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Juraj Sulik
Slovakia
Bratislava
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Or the # of players +1. Having five ranks in a four player game sounds great.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Alex Rockwell
United States
Lynnwood
Washington
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Yuri wrote:
Or the # of players +1. Having five ranks in a four player game sounds great.


Yes I was thinking the same thing. Though I figured I should play it first as is before trying this.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David Vanden Heuvel
Canada
Ottawa
Ontario
flag msg tools
badge
Gaamessz... need more Gaammesz...
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
but 6ranks in a 5 plyr game?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Alex Rockwell
United States
Lynnwood
Washington
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Deefer wrote:
but 6ranks in a 5 plyr game?


Right.

(In general, I simply expect that I will like this the most 2 player, for the same reasons as Dominion)
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Martin Klein
Germany
Würselen
Nordrhein-Westfalen
flag msg tools
www.spielerleben.de
badge
www.spielerleben.de
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Hey, thank you for sharing those interesting observations, just one thing:

Alexfrog wrote:

* It is very interesting that there are two types of ‘buying power’: Gold, and Attack Power. You dont just get some Gold in your deck and then buy Provinces. I feel that this adds something to the game.


Am I missing something? Why are XP not considered as 'buying power'? In my opinion, this game has three different types of buying power.

Other than that, I would sign nearly everything you are saying. I have just played this game with 2 players but I am also afraid that it would get a little random and frustrating with more players if all the high VP monsters show up when it's not your turn.

My girlfriend does not stop asking to play again and again, no one cares for Dominion right now. It took us a while and a lot of research on BGG to get the rules, but now our plays are rarely interupted by rule-questions. Don't get me wrong, I still love Dominion, but after playing Thunderstone Dominion 'just' feels like something the Heroes of Thunderstone would play for recovery while resting after a victorious battle. Thunderstone just feels more exciting, because unlike Dominion you just don't instantly know what you will do on your turn. (Well, maybe that's just because I played Dominion like 200 times and Thunderstone just 6 times)

Maybe that's just the cult of the new, but right now I am more curious about the Thunderstone expansion than about the next Dominion Expansion, albeit I will get both at the very first moment they are available.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jeremy Lennert
United States
California
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Zwecklos wrote:
Am I missing something? Why are XP not considered as 'buying power'? In my opinion, this game has three different types of buying power.

I disagree. Gold and attack power are both based on the cards in your hand, and those cards go back into your deck to be used over and over again, there are multiple things you can "buy" with them at different costs, with a limit of one "buy" per turn, and unspent resources are lost. So they're clearly parallel mechanics with a lot in common. It's like taking Dominion's money mechanic and splitting it into two flavors.

XP is set aside so it's always available exactly when you want it, and it goes away permanently when you spend it, and never goes away unless you spend it. So it's really more like you are directly using attack power to buy upgraded heroes, and there's a delay before you receive them.

You could just as well claim that there are 4 types of buying power, because victory points buy you the game. The resemblance is purely superficial.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Alex Rockwell
United States
Lynnwood
Washington
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Yeah I was thinking of two types of buying power that you build up within your deck and reuse, while XP is its own category and does card upgrades.

In a way, it is a third source of deck improvement, yes.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David Williams
United States
Chapel Hill
North Carolina
flag msg tools
mbmb
My initial impressions are mostly the same, although after thinking about it some, I believe Thunderstone will end up as an appealing but flawed game in my book. And you hit on the reasons:

Alexfrog wrote:

* The high VP monsters seem very critical. There isnt a stack of provinces, instead your access to high VP cards is limited. This is different, but I have no idea yet if its better or worse.


IMHO, its worse. In the late game, you can have the best deck (consistently draw enough power to kill any monster) and score poorly just because the person to your right has a deck that is sufficient to take out the one monster worth taking out.

Alexfrog wrote:

* 3 monsters available seemed way too low for a 4 player game. Often there was no planning allowed, there was a completely new monster set each turn. I could see 3 monsters working well in 2 player, but I kindof wish there were more with more players. A big monster coming up and moving to the front and being killed all while you wait for your turn is annoying. If a lot more monsters came out and you could plan, see what was coming, and be rewarded for a high-light deck, that would be cool. Again, 2 player might be better.


Alexfrog wrote:

* The endgame feels as bad or worse than Dominion. Start player advantage is probably the most annoying part of Dominion to me. Now, the start player not only might get more turns, but also might get a 3 point bonus. I was feeling like maybe there should be a rule: If the Thunderstone is not claimed, then all players who had less turns than an opponent, get a 3 point bonus. Essentially, the first player might claim it, but if they cant then the people late in the order get it. Still this has problems.


These factors compound the above problem.

Also, I would add that there is a pacing problem, with tough monsters clogging the dungeon by midgame, followed by an anti-climactic endgame.

I think Thunderstone can be fixed, but at the moment I feel it is missing a critical mechanic.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Morgan Dontanville
United States
Charlottesville
VA
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
Plate of Shrimp.
badge
Here we are folks, the dream we all dream of.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I think that Thunderstone is more entertaining in concept than in practice. I hope I'm wrong, but right now it seems that the game is filled with false decisions.

It is far better to kill a monster than do anything else, especially as most of the monsters give you gold or powers. In Dominion it is a real decision when you are going to buy VPs as they will clog up your hand, not here.

So if you can't kill the best monster available, kill the second best.

If not buy the thing that will help you the most in killing the monsters. They will usually be the most expensive things, so buy the most expensive thing that you can...
3 
 Thumb up
0.01
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Alex Rockwell
United States
Lynnwood
Washington
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
sisteray wrote:
I think that Thunderstone is more entertaining in concept than in practice. I hope I'm wrong, but right now it seems that the game is filled with false decisions.

It is far better to kill a monster than do anything else, especially as most of the monsters give you gold or powers. In Dominion it is a real decision when you are going to buy VPs as they will clog up your hand, not here.

So if you can't kill the best monster available, kill the second best.

If not buy the thing that will help you the most in killing the monsters. They will usually be the most expensive things, so buy the most expensive thing that you can...


I do find that most of the monsters still clog up your hand, especially the weak ones. Most do not provide attack power, which is what you really need later. They all give gold (or almost all), but you dont usually care very much anymore by the time you are getting them.


I would say that you should probalby build up your deck until you can kill a large monster. Kill it, then start killing the best possible monster each turn.


The more expensive items/heroes are generally better, with the following exceptions:

Sometimes a lower cost hero is better than a higher cost one.

Trainer is rediculously good.
Pawnbroker is rediculously good.

There are times when you would buy something else to solve a certain problem.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Alex Rockwell
United States
Lynnwood
Washington
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
hycanth wrote:

These factors compound the above problem.

Also, I would add that there is a pacing problem, with tough monsters clogging the dungeon by midgame, followed by an anti-climactic endgame.

I think Thunderstone can be fixed, but at the moment I feel it is missing a critical mechanic.


After 3 more plays, I fear that this is correct.
It often reaches a point where players can almost always kill any monster - at which point it is the luck of the draw regarding how big of a monster appears on your turn.

I also think there are problems with the 'fight a monster to put it on the bottom, and get a bonus of trashing a card' mechanic. Sphinx is especially egregious. Does anyone ever kill this? What really happens is that it appears, the next person attacks it, loses, and gets to trash all the bad cards out of the next 6 in their deck. Having this appear at game start and allowing someone (the start player!) to trash half their deck, is game-breaking, and basically an auto-win.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.