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Subject: From the eyes of a dominion player rss

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itai raccah
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Hey everyone,

I just got my puzzle strike + upgrade pack, and had a few games.
I played three 2-player games and one 3-player game, and after I did, I HAD to write a review.

I'm not going to go over all the rules and components and such, I'm sure there are millions of those out there already. Especially can't really outdo a video review with components.

What I wanted to write about is how I felt about this game, after playing dominion, and what I think sets it apart.
As a disclaimer, I have played dominion only on BSW (online), so I didn't have the social interaction element. However, I don't think this made much of a difference.


So to start it off, I'm mind-blown. This is so much better than dominion, I feel really sorry for the original deck building game.
There are a number of reasons for this, I believe, and I'll go over them in short.

Comeback mechanic.
In dominion the comeback mechanic is the lead player having more point cards in his deck, therefore hindering the effectiveness of the deck, not fun. In Puzzle Strike, the comeback mechanic is that you draw more cards when you're behind, so you get to do more stuff, fun!

Interactive and dynamic win condition
In dominion, you gather up points, and while you can technically remember how many points you have, it's not something the casual player wants to do. Points in dominion serve two purposes, a win condition, and a dead weight to the leading player. There are some special cards that interact with point cards, but it's pretty obvious nothing in the points mechanic is much fun.
In puzzle strike, the win condition is completely different. The stack of gem piles slowly growing and threatening your loss is always there on the table. You can count it, it affects your hand size directly, you can interact with it, and you can interact with your opponent's gem pile.
The win condition is highly dynamic, you swing back and forth between almost dying and being just fine all through the game.

End of the game
Dominion's end game comes when three piles of cards have become depleted. But the end of the game is scary in dominion, since you're often unsure about who's in the lead. What this usually means, is a sort of mind game, where you try to assess if you're leading, and if you make a jump for the points, if you'll be able to pull all the way through (or the points will suffocate you). There are positive aspects to this, it allows players to play more combos, which is fun for the player playing them, but watching another player play his entire deck isn't that much fun.
Puzzle strike's ante means the game is constantly moving forward. Players can (and will) clear out their gem pile, but there is constant pressure to make plays. The game end is always nearing, it's not the player's choice if the end game is coming or not. You stop yourself from losing, and you cause another player to lose. This means that you have less crazy all deck combos (cause you didn't have the time to build them) and that the game is constantly "going-on" there is no passive deck building.
In dominion it's like there are two parts of the game, the deck building, and the rush for victory.

Interactive core mechanic
The core of puzzle strike is very interactive. You send gems to the other player's gem pile, forcing them to react.
Dominion's interactive-ness is dependent on whether you have attack cards to choose to play. Puzzle strike has interactive attack cards aswell, which you can add for even more interactive-ness. I guess some people would prefer to just mine for cards, and play the game out. I personally love the interactive game aspect.

That's it. I'm not going to go into the cards vs chips thing, that's a matter of preference.
Hope you enjoyed this.
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Fede Miguez
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Poet wrote:

End of the game
Dominion's end game comes when three piles of cards have become depleted.
Or when the Province's stack (or Colonies) is depleted. You mention that you have only played BSW online. Well, I have played Dominion only live and from your review I have to say that my experience with it have been quite different.
Other than that, yeah the comparison stands.
 
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Nat Li
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Yeah the idea is better: comebacks and game ends with beating the other guy.

But the mechanics of the game doesnt really encourage exploration with building of decks. With Dominion most cards wil serve a purpose. My experience with Puzzle Strike is that there is no time to search for combos or figure things out, since everyone fiugres out pretty fast that buying purples is key.
 
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Chris G
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The flow sounds kind of like Ascension in that each hand brings you closer to the end of the game and you are just playing what's best at the time since you can't really know what's about to come up. I hate that about Ascension - it's a game pretty much built around a lot of finite decisions with the hope of it working into a bigger plan.
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Fede Miguez
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I played Ascension and liked the tactical approach to deck builders, but that doesn't truly translate to PS. In PS you have a strategy and you react to what your opponent is doing, not to what pops out on the board. So in that sense it is more in a middle ground between Dominion (pure strategy) and Ascension (pure tactics).
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craig dias
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alafter wrote:
Yeah the idea is better: comebacks and game ends with beating the other guy.

But the mechanics of the game doesnt really encourage exploration with building of decks. With Dominion most cards wil serve a purpose. My experience with Puzzle Strike is that there is no time to search for combos or figure things out, since everyone fiugres out pretty fast that buying purples is key.


I've had a lot of experience with Puzzle Strike and I disagree. Before some of the major changes, there were two characters that I can think of that supported an all-purple strategy (Lum and DeGrey). Lum was the only one who truly relied on only purples. DeGrey on the other hand required a delicate balance between trashing and maintaining a strong enough money supply to fund combine and crash purchases (and that's only if you decided to play him that way). Furthermore, slim deck Degrey has a heavy-counter when Stolen Purples is in the pool.

Now, with the new combine chip (-$1 buy), I think characters are encouraged to explore alternative strategies to all-purple decks. You have to weigh the pros/cons of playing combines as you take a hit for every time you play one. Thus, all-purple decks are discouraged even more.

I think more experience with the game will reveal its nuances. The "all-purple is best" strategy is ultimately a false perception.
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Fede Miguez
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makahalub wrote:
Now, with the new combine chip (-$1 buy), I think characters are encouraged to explore alternative strategies to all-purple decks. You have to weigh the pros/cons of playing combines as you take a hit for every time you play one. Thus, all-purple decks are discouraged even more.
Well, but that's for 3rd edition (which hasn't been released yet) so his point stands for the edition he is writing the review for.
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Tom Howard
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kryyst wrote:
The flow sounds kind of like Ascension in that each hand brings you closer to the end of the game and you are just playing what's best at the time since you can't really know what's about to come up. I hate that about Ascension - it's a game pretty much built around a lot of finite decisions with the hope of it working into a bigger plan.


I feel it greatly differs from Ascension. In Ascension, as you pointed out, you don't know what's going to come up in the center row. In Puzzle Strike, once you set up the game, the bank is static for the rest of the game. So everything's always available to you, it simply becomes a matter of adjusting your strategy to what your opponent is doing, and whether or not you can afford the chip you need.
Also, in Ascension, it's true that you'll know when the game is ending based on how many honor points are left, but you might not know who's winning until you finally add up all your points at the end. In Puzzle Strike, you can easily see how each of your gem piles are filling up, and when one player's reaches 10, he doesn't immediately lose. He still has a turn to play where he can try to get below 10 again and stay alive. This results in some awesome climactic battles where each player might have more than 10 gems when they start their turn, but manage to keep crashing gems back and forth, until one player is unable to retaliate.

------

@Poet, great review!
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craig dias
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PePe QuiCoSE wrote:
makahalub wrote:
Now, with the new combine chip (-$1 buy), I think characters are encouraged to explore alternative strategies to all-purple decks. You have to weigh the pros/cons of playing combines as you take a hit for every time you play one. Thus, all-purple decks are discouraged even more.
Well, but that's for 3rd edition (which hasn't been released yet) so his point stands for the edition he is writing the review for.


I mentioned the newer edition as a side note. I feel like I explained how the point is invalid,at least in my mind, in my first paragraph (which you choose not to quote).
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Darryl with one "R"
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PePe QuiCoSE wrote:
Well, but that's for 3rd edition (which hasn't been released yet) so his point stands for the edition he is writing the review for.

Hey! Nice avatar!
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Fede Miguez
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makahalub wrote:
I mentioned the newer edition as a side note. I feel like I explained how the point is invalid,at least in my mind, in my first paragraph (which you choose not to quote).
Fair enough, I didn't see the relation at first. Still I think it's not the same thing. With PS you are constantly balancing your deck with your gem pile, you don't have a "dead time" where you can build up your deck (like the review points out). The trade off is that if your opponent is rushing you don't get to build up a super combo deck, which is true for every character and I understand that the review was aiming at that.

PD: didn't quoted it to not clutter my own post.

PD2:
nbread wrote:
Hey! Nice avatar!
Haha yours too!
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K
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Good review!

The game is sort of like a strategy game with a tech-tree. There are lots of options available, but you'll only be using some of them each game because you do have to react to your opponent or at least beat them at their own game. It's not a sandbox-type game where you play around with stuff, it's a real in-your-face competition

So if they rush you, yeah, you'll only want to be buying things that will help you counter that. Your opponent's actions really affect your gameplay, and that's why I really like Puzzle Strike -- there's a great balance of interaction, strategy, and tactics
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itai raccah
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I play a lot of dominion, and I initially intended to compare puzzle strike to dominion as well. However, I failed.
I find them very different games.
Like said earlier, one is tactical and one is strategical.
I agree that puzzle strike has a far more tactical feel than dominion, but it's very far from ascension.

Anyway, I feel ascension fills a different niche, while puzzle strike and dominion fill the same one.

GeckoTH wrote:
@Poet, great review!

SirHandsome wrote:
Good review!


thanks!
 
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Nat Li
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makahalub wrote:
alafter wrote:
Yeah the idea is better: comebacks and game ends with beating the other guy.

But the mechanics of the game doesnt really encourage exploration with building of decks. With Dominion most cards wil serve a purpose. My experience with Puzzle Strike is that there is no time to search for combos or figure things out, since everyone fiugres out pretty fast that buying purples is key.


I've had a lot of experience with Puzzle Strike and I disagree. Before some of the major changes, there were two characters that I can think of that supported an all-purple strategy (Lum and DeGrey). Lum was the only one who truly relied on only purples. DeGrey on the other hand required a delicate balance between trashing and maintaining a strong enough money supply to fund combine and crash purchases (and that's only if you decided to play him that way). Furthermore, slim deck Degrey has a heavy-counter when Stolen Purples is in the pool.

Now, with the new combine chip (-$1 buy), I think characters are encouraged to explore alternative strategies to all-purple decks. You have to weigh the pros/cons of playing combines as you take a hit for every time you play one. Thus, all-purple decks are discouraged even more.

I think more experience with the game will reveal its nuances. The "all-purple is best" strategy is ultimately a false perception.


Actually, well, i think i didnt claim that purple is unbeatable. I snooPed around this webboard, and of course its a fact that purple is beatble. But the thing is, it's far from intuitive. While dominion encourage playing with diffrent card combos, base set puzzle strike pushed us, the average player, to purple. To not do Purple and win would require looking up online and learning the deep strategic possibilities outside of purple. If i had to bet, i would bet most players who can play non purple learnt it from here rather than on their own.
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Peter Rabinowitz
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Just got this game and I AM LOVING IT! What a gem. When I've got more brain I want to write up a decent review.
 
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