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Subject: Take your turn allready! rss

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Chris Weeks
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Before I get into the game itself I feel a little background story is needed. Over the summer of ’09 things at work began to slow down and we found ourselves with time on our hands during lunch. In the past many of us worked through lunch so we could complete what was required of us that day and go home at a descent hour. With this new found time we needed to find something to do with ourselves. I being the self appointed group organizer looked into some possible board games. One of the first I stumbled upon was Dominion. The group took to the game immediately. Most weeks we were playing during lunch at least 3 if not 4 days. When Dominion: Intrigue came out I was one of the first in line to purchase a copy and the same held true for Dominion: Seaside. When the next expansion, Dominion: Alchemy, comes out I will be there again. As you can imagine if we’ve played as often as this then games should play rather quickly and by now most games should be rather competitive.

Fast forward to lunch the other day and our first game. We had five players which for us is not all that uncommon. It does slow the pace of the game a bit but we’ve all been playing for 6+ months now so things should move along. We all know the cards, what they do and how to play them. We don’t do anything fancy when selecting out kingdom cards. We simply shuffle up the blue backed cards and use the top 10. For subsequent games we take the top 4 cards and replace the four non bought cards from the previous game. For our first game the available kingdom cards were as follows:

Moat
Great Hall
Smugglers
Steward
Sea Hag
Scout
Library
Minion
Outpost
Upgrade

Not the greatest set of cards and seeing as the only 4 value cards were the Sea Hag and Scout it made for some interesting decisions. When the group saw me pull the Sea Hag everyone immediately pointed to me griping about how their decks would be filled with curses. Apparently I’m that guy in the group.

The first couple of rounds went pretty much to script. Three of us not liking the value 4 options went silver and smugglers while the other two players went great hall, scout and scout, steward.

After the reshuffle the smugglers began to do their thing and the additional silver allowed three of us to pick up upgrades and minions. Meanwhile, the other two players were left holding 3-4 splits and purchased additional scouts, stewards and great halls.

At this point it was clear three of us were headed down one path while the other two players had what appeared to be no plan. Up till now everything was going great. Then came the reshuffle and the nightmare began.

The two players with multiple scouts and great halls began to play these cards. Playing out ones turn usually doesn’t bother me because I’m in the middle of shuffling or figuring out my turn. However, this day things played out a little differently. It seemed as though these guys were pulling scouts every hand. If there aren’t enough cards in you deck then you need to shuffle the discard pile to complete your draw. Well with so many scouts in their decks it seemed as though they were shuffling every other turn. Why they didn’t plan ahead this day is beyond me. I wanted to reach over and bonk them on the head. I don’t mind waiting for my turn if the game is moving along but when you know you’re planning to play a scout and only have 1-3 cards in your deck then start shuffling your discard pile. If someone plays a card that requires you to discard something (militia) then put those into the reshuffle. When your turn begins put those cards under your current deck and get on with your turn.

The game ended when all the province cards were bought. I wound up winning by 1 point over one of the other guys who stayed away from the scouts in the early rounds.

With a game under our belts it was time to swap out some kingdom cards and start a new game. As luck would have it the next 4 cards we drew were Pawn, Lookout, Navigator and Trading Post. We try to take out cards with the same cost which were not bought the previous game. The group decided to remove Moat, Great Hall, Sea Hag and Outlook. I objected to the removal of Sea Hag instead of Scout but was over ruled. My reason for this was an attempt to keep the game moving along. The scout and navigator are similar in that they allow you to look at the top X cards of your deck. This caused delays in the first game with just scout in play, I can only imagine what would happen with both cards in play.

Well, as the game progressed my initial concerns came true. The only 4 cost cards were bought up in the early rounds by the same two guys. Their turns seemed to take forever! I quickly lost interest this time around in the in the end I finished 7 points behind the winner.

While picking up we decided that next time we wouldn’t allow scout and navigator to be part of the kingdom pile in the same game. These two cards in combination with these two players made for some very long long games.
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Thyme Ludwig
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Wow, you need to learn more patience. Those 2 were playing by the rules, and you wanted to hit them for it!?!?yuk

Also, if you wanted the Sea Hag to stay around instead of Scout, why didn't you buy them? By your own house rule the unbought ones are discarded for the next round. Which is a messed up rule by the way, why keep the ones that were played? The ones that weren't bought are the ones that need a chance to shine! Toss the 6 most used ones instead. Using my suggestion will give your next game far more variety, as you can't just play the same game you did the first time.

Try it out, you just might like it.
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Chris Weeks
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I'm not suggesting they break the rules. I'm suggesting that they look ahead and notice 2 cards in the deck and a scout in their hand. Begin the shuffle while waiting for the player(s) to your right to finish. Then when your turn comes you can play that scout, draw 2, replenish your deck with that newly shuffled discard pile and draw the final 2. This helps to keep the game moving.

When it comes to selecting new kingdom cards for the next game we don't have a hard and fast rule. We do lean toward cards there were not bought but not always. Today for example, our first game included the witch and smithy. The witch was bought and replaced in the second game while the smithy was not purchased in game one yet was kept for game two.
 
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Andrew Snyder
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Minion can make you discard your hand, and sea hag can add the top card of your deck to the discard pile. I only shuffle before my turn when there aren't any cards the can change the contents of my discard pile.
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Chris Weeks
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I still see no harm in preparing your discard pile for your next turn. If a sea hag or minion is played while shuffling then put your discard pile down, do what is required of you and then pick up your cards and prepare for your next turn. So long as everything that should be shuffled into your deck at the time you should resuffle is being included what's the harm in preparing? I'm not asking them to break the rules or change the rules to make the game move faster. I'm saying when your turn comes be ready. We only have an hour and they always want to play two games. If you dilly-dally then 2 games in an hour with 5 people won't happen.
 
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Jeff Wolfe
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Boxatoys wrote:
I still see no harm in preparing your discard pile for your next turn. If a sea hag or minion is played while shuffling then put your discard pile down, do what is required of you and then pick up your cards and prepare for your next turn. So long as everything that should be shuffled into your deck at the time you should resuffle is being included what's the harm in preparing? I'm not asking them to break the rules or change the rules to make the game move faster. I'm saying when your turn comes be ready. We only have an hour and they always want to play two games. If you dilly-dally then 2 games in an hour with 5 people won't happen.


Technically, shuffling before you need to access an empty deck is against the rules, so you are asking them to break the rules. I used to be militant about that, but my stance has softened somewhat in the interest of keeping the game moving.

These days, as long as someone announces that they are pre-shuffling, then I'm okay with it. That way, someone else at the table can remind you to re-shuffle, if you forget, after you get an additional card in your discard pile.
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Chris Weeks
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jeffwolfe wrote:
Boxatoys wrote:
I still see no harm in preparing your discard pile for your next turn. If a sea hag or minion is played while shuffling then put your discard pile down, do what is required of you and then pick up your cards and prepare for your next turn. So long as everything that should be shuffled into your deck at the time you should resuffle is being included what's the harm in preparing? I'm not asking them to break the rules or change the rules to make the game move faster. I'm saying when your turn comes be ready. We only have an hour and they always want to play two games. If you dilly-dally then 2 games in an hour with 5 people won't happen.


Technically, shuffling before you need to access an empty deck is against the rules, so you are asking them to break the rules. I used to be militant about that, but my stance has softened somewhat in the interest of keeping the game moving.

These days, as long as someone announces that they are pre-shuffling, then I'm okay with it. That way, someone else at the table can remind you to re-shuffle, if you forget, after you get an additional card in your discard pile.


Again you guys are right. If this was tournament play I'd agree with you 100%. But all we're winning is bragging rights and that won't take us far in life. So I say lets keep it moving and have some fun. It's not like we yelled at them to pick up the pace. It was just a observation we made after playing yesterday.

On a side note, today went much smoother. We didn't have either of these cards in play.
 
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Steven Metzger
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I think that you guys are damn lucky to be playing Dominion on your lunch break at work with others who actually don't suck at the game.

Personally, I think you should be trying to play two games of 3 players instead of one large game of 5 or 6, if you can manage. Dominion is truly a 3-player game in my mind, and that's where the most interesting scenarios and balances come into play. It'd definitely speed things up if this becomes an issue, but I know you know that already.
 
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Jason Ackerman
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Thought I'd contribute some info from our game group's experience. The rules say you're not supposed to shuffle your discard pile until you are required to draw a card and have no cards from which to pull. Since there may be more cards that will be added to your discard pile between the time you pre-shuffle and you need to draw, it's easy to forget to do so. In fact, I'm pretty sure we've scraped a game because an issue arose specifically as a result of pre-shuffling that was unfixable. (Details escape me atm.)

Have you thought of buying your opponents a deck of poker cards and tell them to practice shuffling.
 
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