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Subject: El Grande and Dominant Species rss

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benny t
Australia
Melbourne
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The first two or so games I played of EL Grande got me excited, I thought seeing it's age and rank that it must have alot going for it.

Not long after and ever since it has left me cold. Seriously cold.

I like the Castillo but not much else. What gets me is the similarity of the cards and the lack of options (the special scorings over the different decks) many of which no ones wants to play. Play becomes cringe worthy, I don't think I will introduce anyone to this game. The result is that game play strategy and, game play generally seems to be sporadic and short term.

Dominant Species is full of options and is so much more dynamic. It's long but, such a great game that I am happy to sit it out. I love the fact that dominance is based on elements and adaptabilty and, that points is based on no. of species so you have to focus on both! This is so neat!! great, great game. Direct conflict but it doesn't get heated.


after playing Dominant Species I don't understand how you could go back to EL Grande.

I am new to strategy games but no other game has left me negative like El Grande. It may have been hot in 1995 but seriously... shake
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Darryl Boone
Canada
Coquitlam
British Columbia
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Reading your recent posts has been like dipping my bottom over and over into a bath of the silkiest oils and creams.
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They're not exactly comparable, are they? Dominant Species is much longer and heavier than El Grande. I would play the latter over the former for just that reason.

Had to chance to play El Grande again recently after a few years' hiatus. Enjoyed it just as much as before. It's still a great game that my group enjoys, but I understand completely if someone is unimpressed if they try it for the first time after playing many games that were released later.
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Davido
United States
California
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Have both. Love both. In El Grande, the decision points are finely balanced. Do you play a low power card to get caballeros to the court and set up a high power next turn or do you use a high power card to get the action card you need? Do you take the high action card to get cabs to the board or use the low action cards to manipulate the board (very important in the 3,6,9 pre-scoring rounds)? Plenty of opportunities for direct interaction/conflict. It all works perfectly, along w/ the castillo drops.

Dominant species has replaced Age of Empires III for me. I HATED how in AoEIII you could commit 3 soldiers and get hosed by a high value/high defense colony. Or you could guarantee a colonization and get 'rewarded' with a low defense. Either way, those soldiers could have been used elsewhere or other pieces played.

As far as DS itself goes, I love the perfect information. The element and tile draws are random, but once displayed, it is all out there. So you have to decide if YOU want it and how badly (in terms of committing an action pawn) or denial (keep some one else from gaining points or position). I agree the tradeoff between dominance and scoring is just brilliant.

I rate El Grande a 10, and Dominant Species an 8 (since one person w/ Analysis Paralysis issues or lord forbid, a learning game) can REALLY drag this out. With 5 players who know what they are doing and don't have to read all the dominance cards each time, it's a 2.5-3.5 hour game.
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BEAVERTON
Oregon
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Have both, like both.

One thing that might help for El Grande is the expansion deck where everyone gets to "pick their hand" before the games starts. It comes included in the Decennial Edition. Give it a shot!
 
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Miguel
Canada
Toronto
Ontario
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I prefer El Grande, even through Dominant Species is also a game I enjoy. Ultimately, though, El Grande gives you a very similar gaming experience in a fraction of the time. I also find that the length of the game is made worse by the huge scoring swings late in the game (due to tundra scoring, etc), making much of what happened in the first 2-3 hours kind of irrelevant.
 
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