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Subject: Merchants & Marauders or Dominant Species rss

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Adam Hibbard

Middletown
Ohio
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I'm trying to decide between picking up one of these two games. Please help me with the following:

Which one seems like it plays longer?
Is either one a good 2-player option?
Which one incorporates its theme better?


If you could also help me decide between In the Year of the Dragon, Glen More, and Thebes, I'd appreciate it.
 
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Greg S
United States
Gloucester
Massachusetts
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1. Both are fairly long. Both feel even longer. Merchants & Marauders begins to drag a bit as it gets somewhat repetitive. Dominant Species grows more and more chaotic as it goes along - some (including me) think it gets way too chaotic to be enjoyable.

2. Merchants & Marauders is fine 2-player, haven't played D.S. 2-player.

3. Merchants & Marauders by far. The bits and pieces and the overall feel of the game are both far more thematic. Dominant Species has a lot of theme at the meta-level, but didn't feel immersive at all while playing it.

In the Year of the Dragon and Thebes are both good games. All of them are very different from each other. ITYOTD is very tight, and has a lot of direct interaction (blocking). Thebes has interesting mechanisms, and is light-medium in weight.
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Chris Ferejohn
United States
Mountain View
California
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Merchants and Marauders is about telling a story. The theme really comes through, but it's not terribly strategic. You can of course make better or worse decisions, but it's not really a game about coming up with new and clever strategies and plans, just about doing the best you can and getting involved in the story.

Dominant Species is a deeply strategic game that you will try and learn new strategies for every time you play. There is a ton of room for clever tactical and strategic gambits - the stories you tell after this will be about someone's clever strategy or series of moves that got them the win.

It's a matter of opinion which of those styles you prefer.

Oh, Merchants and Marauders is fine with 2, but better with more (since you can interact with each other more). Haven't played DS with 2 (but I've heard most folks prefer to play with each person playing 2 species, which seems like it would be pretty complex.
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Jenny Nguyen
Australia
Bungarribee
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Dominant Species plays way longer. They're both alright 2p but I am loathe to play them with less than 3 or 4. For DS with 2p we will usually control 2 species each. They are both thematic, in my opinion. In DS, I really did feel as though I was following the rise and/or decline of my species and in M&M I felt piratey or merchanty depending on how I played. However, I'd say M&M is much more themey.

They're both two very different types of games though and I'm not sure what your usual bread and butter is.

I have also played the last three games you've mentioned. My order of preference is Year of the Dragon, Thebes then Glen More. The first is quite fun and probably the most gripping and 'deep' as you try to meet each year's demands. Thebes has a random draw element which I was okay with but the game hasn't been played after the initial hype died down. Glen More...ack. It's an alright light tile laying game but not worth owning. You try to set up a bunch of tiles that will produce the right goods for scoring...very light and bleh...good for inbetween heavy titles, maybe.

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