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Subject: Approachable for Non-Hardcore Gamers? rss

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Troy Creamer
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Hi All,

Been reading up on Dominant Species and really interested in the game. However I am curious how approachable this is for the more casual gamer? I get this is a very deep game but does the 3.9 weight come from the rules or from things to think about? I have read a few reviews and still haven't gotten a sense of this. I think maybe i just need to read through the rules but would love some thoughts. Also is it pretty easy to teach new people and can a new person have fun playing it their first time even if they don't do that well.
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Matt Shinners
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The rules are fairly straight-forward, and as long as you have one person who knows the ins-and-outs very well, you could drag casual gamers through it.

That being said, I think casual gamers would think this game was completely random and chaotic, with their actions having little input into the outcome. Additionally, I think it would be easy for someone to be quickly eliminated (or eliminated from contention, at least). It's also fairly long if you don't remove any of the cards.
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Jeff Kayati
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I'm hardly experienced with Dominant Species, just two plays, but I don't think the weight comes for the difficulty in the rules. I think those are straightforward and easy enough to grasp/teach.

I think the weigh comes from the game play itself. Specifically, the constant need to track Dominance and the interplay each action can have on the board and all the actions to come.

I found the first annoying, but the second the best part of this game.
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Lutz
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The mechanics are fairly easy to learn and after a few rounds you know what each AP spot does. The ramifications of your choice and preparing for the cards that will be played that round probably take several plays.

Also, the game can be 4 hours, especially with new players. So, for my definition of casual gamer (Ticket to Ride is a long complex game) I would say no, this game is too deep and long for them.

BOb
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Ben
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Most of the weight comes from the fact that every small decision has numerous consequences that ripple across the board like in that Ashton Kutcher movie.

I don't think the game would be fun for people who have only ever played Catan or Ticket to Ride. Not is it ideal for gamers who prefer colorful flavor text and sculpted plastic bits. The game is long, somewhat abstract, and provides a lot to think about. but if youve got a group that can handle Agricola or Power Grid, it should not be a problem to introduce DS.
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Troy Creamer
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Maybe I will play it first at the next Con or board game night at my local FLGS.
 
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Mark Buetow
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New players will adapt or die trying.
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Lutz
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Malacandra wrote:
New players will adapt or die trying.


There's an abundance of domination in that statement. Glad to see you took the initiative. But I regress.

BOb
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Jason Hinchliffe
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gecko1919 wrote:
Maybe I will play it first at the next Con or board game night at my local FLGS.


Nah. The game is easy. My 17 year old daughter who plays nothing heavier than Dominion really liked it.

The rules are easy. There IS a lot to think about, but I find it really depends on how much the people you play with enjoy more brain burning games. Besides, even if the players don't play well, they will still have fun as there is a lot of interaction.

I've played 2,3 and 4 player so far, with 5 different people.

I love it, because I love deeper games.
My wife, who's not much into deeper games, really likes it to (she gave it an 8 out of 10).
My daughter, 17, casual gamer, concurred with her mom.
My friend, who doesn't mind heavier games, but hasn't played too many thought it was great.
His wife didn't like it. However, she also doesn't like words with more than two syllables.

One thing that is good about the game for casual players I think, are the massive swings. About 3 turns in the game will "click" for them, and they'll start looking for where they can do maximum damage. Because casual players tend to be less worried about winning and more concerned about fun, these swings are cause for enjoyment. It makes the experience seem "big", like landing on a hotel on Boardwalk in Monopoly, except not random and shitty, but rather carefully concocted and clever.

I say jump in. If it totally bombs you'll have NO trouble trading it away for virtually anything you want.
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Richard Morris
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Luke Stirling
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Game length is probably the big decider.
 
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Jack Smith
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I've introduced it to several non gamers and they enjoyed it. I agree with what people have said here but as long as you tell people it will be chaotic for them at first they should be fine.

The rules are simple and the player aid cards are great reminders for new players. I would restrict it to 4 or less players though and children of 10+ should have no issue with it from my experience.

Like all games I think the biggest mistake is labouring over the rules for ages before you play. Just spend a few minutes on outline and get on with it, explaining things as you go. I think a lot of non or casual gamers get put off by having to listen to rules explanations that drone on for ages.
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pilotbob wrote:
Malacandra wrote:
New players will adapt or die trying.


There's an abundance of domination in that statement. Glad to see you took the initiative. But I regress.

BOb


Nothing better than quippy DS humor.

MArk(!)
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Chris Berger
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Troy - 2 of the last 3 Thursday nights that I have been to Games Plus in Mount Prospect, there have been tables playing Dominant Species. I never join them because I'd rather try new games or else play several games in the 4 hours that it would take to play, but I think if you have Thursday nights free, you should be able to get into a game of it. (For others reading this thread - I mention this because I played a game of Eclipse with the OP at that location a few weeks ago.)

Personally, I would have a hard time trying to introduce it to casual gamers. The rules aren't hard, but there are so many different actions to take that anyone that's not invested in it is going to be confused. And the strategy, on the other hand, actually is pretty difficult to pick up. So if losing badly is going to ruin someone's enjoyment, that's a problem. (A new player can lose badly even if everyone else playing is also new - there's enough chaos that 2 players who don't know what they're doing can have wildly different results.)
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Ira Kalina
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As someone who was introduced to the game by my game group (including Chris/Arkayn), I got absolutely thumped the only time I played it because it was one of the first euro/victory point style games I'd played and there was so damn much going on with so many options (and so many ways other, more knowledgeable players can box you in). I would have a tough time introducing it to casual gamers unless they are ready or looking for a more complex experience (again, I think its the variety of options not the complexity of the rules).

That said, its the one game that I want to go back and play again because: (a) I think it is very cool/fun; and (b) I want to see if I can vindicate the thumping I took (so losing badly did not ruin my enjoyment)...
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Jack Smith
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Kalii wrote:
As someone who was introduced to the game by my game group (including Chris/Arkayn), I got absolutely thumped the only time I played it because it was one of the first euro/victory point style games I'd played and there was so damn much going on with so many options (and so many ways other, more knowledgeable players can box you in). I would have a tough time introducing it to casual gamers unless they are ready or looking for a more complex experience (again, I think its the variety of options not the complexity of the rules).

That said, its the one game that I want to go back and play again because: (a) I think it is very cool/fun; and (b) I want to see if I can vindicate the thumping I took (so losing badly did not ruin my enjoyment)...


Just to reinforce what you and others have said, if a new player is sensitive to losing hard or gives up easily they will not enjoy DS unless this possibility is made clear to them. You can always recover from being smashed early in the game and strategies can take time to work out.

This remains our favourite game but we are all people who love a strategically hard game which can be brutal. Others may hate that. As a group we also try and avoid Kingmaking which can ruin a 3 player game if you have a couple.

I also read from time to time games where Vets pick on new players. In DS as well as other games new players should be given a bit of leeway at the start. Assuming the new player wants to hear it I tell them the reasons for my actions in the first few turns and makes sure they are aware of the danger cards that may come up.
 
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Jeff Binning
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Since the designer has provided an excellent variant that neutralizes the sometimes powerful Dominance cards, it might be good to use that when introducing new players to the game.

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/722588/official-cardless...
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Troy Creamer
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Wow thanks everyone for all the information and thanks for the heads up about the official variant. I think I am going to wait for the new edition but everyone has pushed me over the edge to purchase this game. I am super interested in this game and my game group loves beating on each other mercilessly. (They hate co-ops) This is why i love the BGG community everyone is willing to provide great perspectives and help each other out enjoy the hobby even more!
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Jason Hinchliffe
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gecko1919 wrote:
Wow thanks everyone for all the information and thanks for the heads up about the official variant. I think I am going to wait for the new edition but everyone has pushed me over the edge to purchase this game. I am super interested in this game and my game group loves beating on each other mercilessly. (They hate co-ops) This is why i love the BGG community everyone is willing to provide great perspectives and help each other out enjoy the hobby even more!


If they love beating each other mercilessly this is the game for you.

I introduced DS to my group after they complained that Agricola lacked interaction (I disagree, but hey, that's their opinion).

I sold it as follows:

"If Agricola were DS, you would be able to raid other farms, salt their earth, eat their animals, rob them of their tools drive them from their farms and then dance and sing and urinate on the ashes of their homestead".

Needless to say, DS was well received where the 'Gric failed.
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Troy Creamer
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Yeah they love games like Survive because its mean all the time. I am excited to give this a try and excited I have it on pre-order through the P500 for the new edition.
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Lance G
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Malacandra wrote:
New players will adapt or die trying.


Extremely well placed statement!
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