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Subject: Simultaneous Dominion rss

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Eshan Shah jahan
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I have been thinking of how to have each player play his hand simultaneously in Dominion while keeping the original gameplay relatively intact. Since I typically play online, I have no easy way of testing this, but I would appreciate any feedback on the concept.

Typically, Dominion proceeds as follows, one player at a time:

Action
Buy
Clean up
Draw

where the Action can include Interaction cards with effects on other players' hands. (There are a few other special cases I will discuss below.) My major revision is to have all players simultaneously play the phases like so:

Action (Action cards but delaying any included Interactions, such as attacks)
Buy
Clean up (excluding Interaction cards, leave those out)
Draw (back up to 5, ignore any Interaction cards left out)
Wait (until everyone has drawn back up to 5)
Interaction (perform Interactions from any cards left out)
Wait (until all Interactions are resolved)
Clean up (all Interaction cards left out)


Then repeat. Interaction cards include Attack cards but also cards such as Governor, Duchess, or any other cards which interact with other players. As you can see, I am alternating "regular" and "interaction" phases. To accomplish this, we need to separate out each interaction card into its "regular action" and "interaction" effects. Regular actions are resolved during the regular Action phase, but interactions are only resolved later in the Interaction phase.

For example, let's consider the Militia card in a traditional 3 player game. Militia has a regular action of +$2 and an interaction of forcing other players' hands down to 3 cards.

Round 4:
Player 1 Acts, Buys, Cleans up, and Draws to 5.
Player 2 Acts, Buys, Cleans up, and Draws to 5 including a Moat.
Player 3 plays Militia getting +$2 and forcing Player 1 to discard two cards (Player 2 reveals the Moat), Buys, Cleans up, and Draws to 5.

Round 5:
Players 1 begins the round with only 3 cards, but Player 2 has 5 including the Moat.

Now, consider the analogous situation played simultaneously.

Round 4:
Player 2 Acts, Buys, Cleans up, Draws to 5 including a Moat, and Waits.
Players 3 plays Militia getting his +$2 (but not yet interacting), Buys, Cleans up (but leaves Militia out), Draws to 5, and Waits.
Player 1 Acts, Buys, Cleans up, and Draws to 5.
Once everyone is ready, Player 3 resolves the Interaction (Attack) portion of Militia, and Players 1 discards two cards, but Player 2 reveals the Moat. After all Interactions are resolved, Militia is Cleaned up.

Round 5:
Players 1 begins the round with only 3 cards, but Player 2 has 5 including the Moat.

So, the outcome is essentially the same. Some more details:

If there are multiple Interactions played, resolve them in clockwise order starting from your left. That's what would have happened in regular Dominion.

When you are Drawing back up to 5, you may need to shuffle your deck. If at this time you have an Interaction card out waiting to be resolved, that card "misses the shuffle." After resolving it, shuffle it back into the deck so it doesn't miss a full deck's worth of play.

One thing I don't know is, if two people want to buy the last of some card, what happens? In general, this variant removes the first player advantage, which I like. I don't want to replace it with an advantage for the player's who is quicker to snatch a card.

Finally, there are at least a few cards where it's not obvious how they would, if at all, because the action and interaction need to occur at the same time.

Masquerade - you need to receive the card immediately, which is a problem since the other player is busy doing things with it
Tribute - you need see the discarded cards immediately, which may not be a problem
Possession - this is probably fine
Fool's Gold - this is reacting to someone buying a Province

Possibly some others, but the vast majority seem like they would work fine. I would love some feedback on the concept and whether it seems mechanically sound, because I really like simultaneous action selection in other games like RftG or 7 Wonders and how it reduces downtime.

If you made it down this far, thanks for reading!
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D Stu
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I think attacks become much weaker this way.

First, at least for first player, they resolve one turn later. Player 2 can play the hand he has while you would play your Milita undisturbed. OK, that might be intended behaviour, as you said you like how it reduces first player bias.

Second, attacks will miss reshuffles much more frequently. Say you open Milita/Silver, in a regular game the Milita will miss the first reshuffle if it is card 11 or 12 in your deck. In this case, you will only play it once in shuffle 2 and 3.
With your variante, if I understand it right, it will miss the reshuffle if it is card 6 or higher. If the Milita is in hand 2, you would play it, leave it out, buy something, and then clean-up. In this clean-up phase you reshuffle, drawing 5 new cards, while your Milita is still left out, and goes to the discard after it is cleaned up.
 
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Eshan Shah jahan
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I may not have explained it very well, but I did try to avoid the problem of interaction cards missing the shuffle. Here's what would happen in your example:

I play Militia in hand 2, leave it out, buy something, discard the rest of my hand and start drawing. I can't draw back up to 5, so I shuffle the deck and finish drawing to 5. At this point, I note that Militia has missed the shuffle, so after I resolve it, I don't put it in the discard pile, I put it back into the deck and re-shuffle.

I hope that is clearer. Thanks for reading!
 
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Roberta Yang
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Looks like an awful lot of work for precious little benefit.
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Mike Miller

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Interesting, but you definitely need to resolve buy order some how, and you need to work out extra turns, nested Possessions, probably a few other things - what about Tournament, does the Province show wait? If so, that cripples the ability to draw the card from the top of your deck that you just gained.

Also as mentioned, reactions to non-attacks and Masquerade need tweaked. You would essentially be needing a rewrite of those cards.

Why not spin off the idea into your own game? Seems like you could start with cards similar to Dominion, change the sequencing, see what ideas work the best, which ones need tweaked, start to introduce new cards/mechanics that work better for a more synchronous style game, then start to remove the Dominion cards in favor of your new cards...

Bam, you have a new kickstarter idea, and thanks to pinkymadigan.
 
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Steven Metzger
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I asked Donald X. about this a while ago. He said he'd never actually tried to do simultaneous Dominion, but wasn't opposed to me (or anyone else, I assume) testing it out.

Ultimately, I came to the same conclusion as Mike - if you do it, you might as well just make a new game out of it and reap further benefit. Of course, I've been slowly working on a simultaneous deckbuilder for a couple years now...

If you decide to start on anything, let me know first I'm itching for a game design project.
 
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Vince Lupo
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metzgerism wrote:
I asked Donald X. about this a while ago. He said he'd never actually tried to do simultaneous Dominion, but wasn't opposed to me (or anyone else, I assume) testing it out.

Ultimately, I came to the same conclusion as Mike - if you do it, you might as well just make a new game out of it and reap further benefit. Of course, I've been slowly working on a simultaneous deckbuilder for a couple years now...

If you decide to start on anything, let me know first :) I'm itching for a game design project.



I tried making my own as well. Ended up going back to turn based. The "two people buying only one copy of something at the same time" issue is pretty big. But I still think there's a way to handle it
 
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Eshan Shah jahan
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I think a fair, but not practical, solution to the buying problem is to have extra cards in each pile and let everyone buy as many as they want. If at the end of the phase the pile has handed out 10 or more cards, it is now closed. You could do it in an online version, but in real life, you'd need a second copy of each box, which isn't exactly realistic. I haven't yet figured a good solution.

As for designing my own game, well, we all have ambitions!
 
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Mike Miller

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Interesting.

Extra cards beyond the 'closed' limit solves it neatly. Definitely a good mechanic for your own game...

I was also thinking you could go with a bidding system for cards once they become contested. Not sure the specifics, but feel free to use it if you like it.
 
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Mike Sokalski
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Neo42 wrote:
metzgerism wrote:
I asked Donald X. about this a while ago. He said he'd never actually tried to do simultaneous Dominion, but wasn't opposed to me (or anyone else, I assume) testing it out.

Ultimately, I came to the same conclusion as Mike - if you do it, you might as well just make a new game out of it and reap further benefit. Of course, I've been slowly working on a simultaneous deckbuilder for a couple years now...

If you decide to start on anything, let me know first I'm itching for a game design project.



I tried making my own as well. Ended up going back to turn based. The "two people buying only one copy of something at the same time" issue is pretty big. But I still think there's a way to handle it

How about this: have a 'first player' token that is passed to the left after each round. The person with the token is the 'first player' for that round, the player to his left is the second player, etc. If two players contend for the last card in a pile then the card goes to the highest player in the turn order. First player beats second player, second player beats third player, and so on.

All in all, I like the sound of this simultaneous Dominion. I'm going to see if my family wants to try this out
 
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Eshan Shah jahan
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Cool, please let me know how it goes!

I thought of auctions as well, but it seemed too far from the regular rules. Plus, how do you determine who gets to bid at regular price, and who has to outbid?

Unfortunately, it looks like the new Dark Ages expansion that's about to come out will add new problems. It seems that the trash pile is turning into more of a shared discard pile that other players can draw from in certain situations. Although, maybe the rotating 'first player' (or 'governor' like in Puerto Rico) token will be good enough for that as well.
 
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Gerald Katz
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What happens when players play action chains and several of those actions require interactions with others?
 
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Eshan Shah jahan
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hadsil wrote:
What happens when players play action chains and several of those actions require interactions with others?


You resolve the personal effects immediately and keep going, leaving those cards with pending interactions to resolved afterwards. For example, say you play a Familiar (+1 Action, +1 Card, Each other player gains a Curse). You draw the next card right away, which is a Militia. You can play that right away as well and gain the +$2, and then buy something, ending your turn. When everyone has ended their turn, you then resolve the Familiar and Militia interactions on the other players.

Did you have a different scenario in mind that doesn't work this way?
 
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