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Subject: Is it normal that first games take more than 90 mins? rss

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Jann Beckers
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I played Dominion four times now, and I like it very much. I read in different reviews that a game should not take longer than 30 minutes. However, all my games were easily 90 minutes long!

Is this normal in your opinion? OK, the first 5 minutes we are still studying the cards because there are always some new ones (to us). But then we are feeling we are playing quite fast and not wasting too much time.

Our decks keep growing and growing, we keep buying and buying... Our decks normally contain 40 cards each at the end of the game. Is this "normal"? Or maybe we have to trash more cards, to build better combos, and to end the game sooner?

Hopefully things will speed up a bit: playing more Dominion games in a row, you know? meeple
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Richard Morris
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You may be playing a rule wrong somewhere: 90 minutes is waaaaay too long. On the other hand, you may be sucked into the "ooohhh shiny" mode. Your decks shold not necessarily keep growing and growing. The aim is NOT to build better combos, but to have more VP when a victory condition is reached than anyone else.
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William Norris
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Yes... I've seen that is normal for the first few games. Once you start to develop strategies, the games will go much faster and decks will be much smaller. My first few games, we had huge decks and never seemed to be able to get the cards we wanted with each draw. Now that we have the hang of the game, we get the right combinations, decks stay small and we can see strategies play out. Welcome to your new addiction!
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You are probably not buying enough money. Try a game buying just silver and gold. It is called the big money strategy, and can be effective. Other strategies can be better, but many new players underestimate the value of silver.
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Matthew Cordeiro
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I've never had a game go that long, even with 6 players.

Are you playing with the recommended beginner setup?

Are you ending the game when either the provinces or ANY 3 piles are depleted?
 
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The Compulsive Completist
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How many players are you playing with?
We play with 4 players and usually are done in 45 minutes, give or take.
If you have certain attacks in play, that can take some extra time too.
 
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Maciej Teległow
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I agree. My few first games were like these. Try to buy money and do not wait for shiny cards to make miracles. The goal is to have 8 money worth in your hand. The rest is just the way to make it happen as often as you can.
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Mark McEvoy
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If you're at 40 cards each at game end, it sounds like your games are a little bit on the long side of normal but not outlandishly so.

So assuming you guys bought approx one card per turn and didn't do megatrashing you had ~30 turns each.

It just seems like your average time per turn is high - lots of time thinking and planning and shuffling and drawing? Usually you should be planning your turn in advance (you got your cards at the end of your previous turn, barring interference from others that's what you'll have at the start of your next turn). Many of your turns should take 10 seconds or less.
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EnderWizard
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My very first game ever against only one other person went for almost an hour but that included reading the rules together and learning it together. I've not had a game go that long since.
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Ian Klinck
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jentinma wrote:
You are probably not buying enough money. Try a game buying just silver and gold. It is called the big money strategy, and can be effective. Other strategies can be better, but many new players underestimate the value of silver.


Yeah, I suspect you're concentrating too much on "cool action cards", and losing sight of the fact that the objective of the game is to get points!
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Makis
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I've only ever played one game that went longer than 90 minutes. It was a weird set of cards with a lot of attacks. People were getting lots of curses and never had enough money to buy anything. Finally after almost two hours the game finished and we all agreed never to play that combination of cards ever again.

Other than that most games last between 30-45 minutes. When we were newer they all lasted 45-60 minutes. It is not uncommon for me to end up with between 35-45 cards at the end of a game.

What it sounds like you and your gaming buddies might be doing is trying to get a nice mix of cards for what you are referring to as a "nice combo". The thing I've run into is that experienced Dominion players will latch onto 2-3 decks and go nuts buying those in an all out race to get more victory points before someone empties out the last pile. If you guys are just buying all sorts of cards to either see what they do for you or try to put together combos then you might be slowing down the game. That's really the only thing I can think of.

My suggestion would be to play a few scenarios where there are either no attacks or few attacks. Play those scenarios where money and point grabbing are promoted. Those games fly and the points at the end are pretty high.
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Nathan Higginbotham
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Yes, this is normal for the first few games. Here's a short list of things that can slow down the game: 1) new players, 2) cards you aren't familiar with in play, 3)number of players in the game (n>2).
Any one of these will add at least fifteen minutes to the average game, having more of these will stretch it even longer. Keep playing with a certain group and you'll notice the games will get quicker as the become accustomed to play and the cards available.
 
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jentinma wrote:
You are probably not buying enough money. Try a game buying just silver and gold. It is called the big money strategy, and can be effective. Other strategies can be better, but many new players underestimate the value of silver.


+1. And, even after you've played a few games, you can fall into the "groupthink" trap of "our strategy is the only strategy", where you think the strategy that wins *your* group's games is the *only* strategy the Dominion has. This particularly happens with "veto" setups, where players don't allow certain cards on the tableau (and players who only play the base set).
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Matthew Loves Happiness!!!
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Our games lasted this long at first, but as we've played more(even with expansions) our times have gone down to sometimes less than ten minutes, not including set up time. We've only been playing for two weeks, too, but probably about two games or more a day since we opened the box. So much for the rest of life. laugh
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Are you sure you're observing the Second "Game End" rule: The game ends when "...any 3 Supply piles are empty." Supply piles include Kingdom Cards. I bring this up because it's a mistake I made the first time my group played. The illustration in the hand book suggests it's just the treasure, victory and curse cards, but it's all card piles. I find it hard to believe you have 40 card decks with out depleting 3 of them. I know it's possible, but it's just unlikely.

Otherwise, the first game, played wrong, lasted about an hour and a half. Three player games with tutorial usually last 45 - 60 minutes.
Two player games with experienced players, 20 - 30 minutes.
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Chris Kern
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Ajere wrote:
Are you sure you're observing the Second "Game End" rule: The game ends when "...any 3 Supply piles are empty." Supply piles include Kingdom Cards. I bring this up because it's a mistake I made the first time my group played. The illustration in the hand book suggests it's just the treasure, victory and curse cards, but it's all card piles. I find it hard to believe you have 40 card decks with out depleting 3 of them. I know it's possible, but it's just unlikely.


It's not that unlikely because another common mistake that beginners make is trying to buy every action card rather than focusing on a strategy with a few. If you have 3 or 4 players buying all 10 action cards and not that much money, plus they're all new to the game, the game can easily take 90 minutes.
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Jann Beckers
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yudantaiteki wrote:
Ajere wrote:
Are you sure you're observing the Second "Game End" rule: The game ends when "...any 3 Supply piles are empty." Supply piles include Kingdom Cards. I bring this up because it's a mistake I made the first time my group played. The illustration in the hand book suggests it's just the treasure, victory and curse cards, but it's all card piles. I find it hard to believe you have 40 card decks with out depleting 3 of them. I know it's possible, but it's just unlikely.


It's not that unlikely because another common mistake that beginners make is trying to buy every action card rather than focusing on a strategy with a few. If you have 3 or 4 players buying all 10 action cards and not that much money, plus they're all new to the game, the game can easily take 90 minutes.


Exactly. I think that's our problem. Thanks for all your replies.

To answer to some of your questions: our games were always 2/3 players. And yes, we understand the rule that the game ends when any 3 piles get depleted, OR the provinces are gone. Most of the time, it is the latter condition that ends our game, only 1 time we ended the game when 3 Kingdom piles were empty.

The longest game was 100 minutes, and it is true that there were a lot of action cards, like Witch and Thief. Thief was the first pile that was gone, and the result was that money went from one player to another. In the end, nobody wanted to buy money anymore .

OK so my conclusion is: buy less action cards, just focus on a few to develop a strategy. And buy money from time to time. A string of "+X cards" and "+ X actions" should make money appear in my hand in no time to buy all those "precioussss provincesss".

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jeff marner
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Beckie wrote:
And buy money from time to time.
In the base game buy lots money not just 'from time to time.' Brainwash yourself into believing that a hand with 6 coins is a gold purchase and a hand with 8 coins is a province puchase regardless the number of buys you may have available. At 5 coins or less make actual decisions with what to do with the money. This should be a good starting ground, though, for you.
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Vince Lupo
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First 2 games were about 90. After that we usually take 30 to 60.


However, it may depend on what you're doing during the game. If you bought coppers and played with lots of attacks you could end up extending the length of the game.
 
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Vince Lupo
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Beckie wrote:
yudantaiteki wrote:
Ajere wrote:
Are you sure you're observing the Second "Game End" rule: The game ends when "...any 3 Supply piles are empty." Supply piles include Kingdom Cards. I bring this up because it's a mistake I made the first time my group played. The illustration in the hand book suggests it's just the treasure, victory and curse cards, but it's all card piles. I find it hard to believe you have 40 card decks with out depleting 3 of them. I know it's possible, but it's just unlikely.


It's not that unlikely because another common mistake that beginners make is trying to buy every action card rather than focusing on a strategy with a few. If you have 3 or 4 players buying all 10 action cards and not that much money, plus they're all new to the game, the game can easily take 90 minutes.


Exactly. I think that's our problem. Thanks for all your replies.

To answer to some of your questions: our games were always 2/3 players. And yes, we understand the rule that the game ends when any 3 piles get depleted, OR the provinces are gone. Most of the time, it is the latter condition that ends our game, only 1 time we ended the game when 3 Kingdom piles were empty.

The longest game was 100 minutes, and it is true that there were a lot of action cards, like Witch and Thief. Thief was the first pile that was gone, and the result was that money went from one player to another. In the end, nobody wanted to buy money anymore :p.

OK so my conclusion is: buy less action cards, just focus on a few to develop a strategy. And buy money from time to time. A string of "+X cards" and "+ X actions" should make money appear in my hand in no time to buy all those "precioussss provincesss".




Thief and Witch easily slow down the game.

But once you play it more, even a long game should be only about an hour.
 
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Michael Link
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Beckie wrote:
our games were always 2/3 players...Thief was the first pile that was gone, and the result was that money went from one player to another. In the end, nobody wanted to buy money anymore .


If you were playing max 3 players, and thief was the first pile gone, that is a serious red flag. At 4+ players, groupthink Thiefing can be a serious problem (as will Pirate Ship, only worse), but at 2-3 players, the best Thief defense is simply ignoring it. Let them trash your coppers, keep refilling with treasure and cards like Market that give you virtual cash.

In order to not waste all their Thief cards, they will also need to bloat on Village. While they take all that time to set up, you build a bona fide engine and buy provinces + card draw. Or be real cute and, if you notice that the other players are draining the Thief and Village stacks, just start buying Estates. You'll make the Thief miss more, and end the game on 3 piles, winning with a low score.

Against 1-2 noobs, you should beat them with regularity. Let them mock you if they pilfer a gold. Gold is worth absolutely nothing at game end.
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Jann Beckers
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Beckie wrote:
OK so my conclusion is: buy less action cards, just focus on a few to develop a strategy. And buy money from time to time. A string of "+X cards" and "+ X actions" should make money appear in my hand in no time to buy all those "precioussss provincesss".



Hi again. I played three games in succession today with another player who already played some games with his gaming group. It was interesting to see some of his strategies, like trashing his Estates with a Chapel in the first turns, and doing other weird stuff (at first sight).

As promised, I sticked to my "game plan", and with just some Villages, Laboratoriums and Silver/Gold, I bought 6 of the 8 Provinces in no time. The first game ended in 25 minutes. The second game involved Throne Room, Festival, Market, and another card of which I don't know the English name (+ 4 Cards, + 1 Buy, all other players + 1 Card). With some combinations of these, I won again in under 30 minutes! Only the last game I lost.

But, finally: 3 games in 90 minutes instead of 1. Hoezeey whistle Thanks for the tips & tricks!
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Mike S.
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My first game (4 player) was about an hour. 2 Players however, had played the game 1 or 2 times before.
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Henrik Hermansen
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Quote:
And another card of which I don't know the English name (+ 4 Cards, + 1 Buy, all other players + 1 Card).

That is the Council Room card you are thinking of
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I don't know if they were quite THAT slow, but the first bunch of games I played were MUCH slower than my games now. Much has been mentioned already, but a couple of things which changed the game drastically:

1) Realize that you don't often need multiple copies of "terminal" actions (ones without at least +1 Action)
2) Realize that you don't need many, if any Village-type cards
3) Realize that you don't need to just go for all the attacks, you can also defend, too
4) Realize that by 10 turns into the game at the latest, unless there's a lot of attacks slowing things down, you should probably be thinking about Provinces. Keep that goal in mind when you are buying other cards.




Beckie wrote:
Hi again. I played three games in succession today with another player who already played some games with his gaming group. It was interesting to see some of his strategies, like trashing his Estates with a Chapel in the first turns, and doing other weird stuff (at first sight).

As promised, I sticked to my "game plan", and with just some Villages, Laboratoriums and Silver/Gold, I bought 6 of the 8 Provinces in no time.


Just so you know, trashing everything from your opening deck with Chapel isn't a weird move at all. In fact, it's quite useful.

Also, just something to keep in mind, if the only actions you bought were Lab and Village, then you didn't really need those Villages, since their only use is to play more actions. You probably could have won even faster and easier if you had purchased Silver instead.

I'm not saying you screwed anything up, it's just things like that which end up making the game move faster.
 
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