Bruno Romano
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So then me and my girlfriend sat down to play our very first game of Dominion.

We are both totally new to boardgames. The only game she`s ever played before is Monopoly. The only game I`ve ever played before with responsibility is Agricola - which was my gateway to games, as this IS very possible and understandable for someone interested in complexity and strategy - so we had very little idea of what we were going to find. We also recently played Dos Rios, by Franz-Benno Delonge, but it`s not a very complex or truly polished and extraordinary designed game.

In her worldview, Puerto Rico is still just a tiny little country somewhere in Latin America, and nothing more. For me, Twilight Struggle is the name of something I must purchase, and nothing more. I`ve also never played Magic: the Gathering, since it scared me in school how people were addicted to it and selling their class break snacks to buy cards from international sellers. It seemed something like drugs. So I have zero experience in card games and I suck at shuffling those things. I just like poker

I didn`t buy Dominion because of anything in it specifically, could have been any other game. I just new it was a basic must-have for every game collection, and I`m sure many other ameatour gamers buy them this way also. Very soon though I was already impressed with how simple the rules are and how thematic it can be. Before we played together, I learned the flow of it by playing a half game against myself. As it dawned on me in that moment, and more later on when we played together, the cards that you can buy, considering the respective names on them and their functions, really looks like something you could be indeed adding to an imaginary kingdom that corresponds to your deck. While many geeks and heavy gamers are fascinated by game mechanic in a way that I`m not and play games almostly by inertia, therefore claims that Dominion is poor in theme application - which is reasonable position - I am, on the other side, a big fan of imagination and relaxing and enjoyed the game`s theme and artwork a lot.

That being said, we began our game with the recommended set of first game. Girlfriend got the rules in 4 minutes and twenty seconds, easily enough. Soon we were buying our first cards.

While I was investigating cards like Remodel and Woodcutter, taking one at a time, she was just following me, believing that I knew what I was doing. I like to appeal myself as being a heavy strategic and experienced person, but that`s just some image that comes along with my beard, my glasses and my hand in my chin. I may look like Henry Kissinger sorting out how to solve the Middle East issue during the Cold War with my expressions, but my learing curve in the first games are very steep, more than in general, I believe. I`m a very distracted person, usually more worried about making sure the other players are having fun with my games than worried about sorting out the best move. In fact, I was just trying to trash my States because I saw somewhere that that`s what experienced people in this game do when they begin. A terrible way play any game shake

Until, of course, I made those two terrible statements that ruined my game. When we were starting to move our eyes to more complex cards, understanding better the different combinations of drawing cards, having more actions and combining more income to buy, I played a Market. And I said "The market is a very good card, see?". She just silently responded "It is." Immediately after, I looked at the Village card in the Supply and said the second killing statement "Oh, look, the Village is also very good". She looked at it, thought for a little while, and silenced. I barely imagine that it was all a shot in the foot.

The only thing I heard from her after it was a very subtle, quiet and potentially very hazardous phrase: "This game is very well designed".

I, of course, moved to other cards. I suddenly discovered how fun it would be to play Militia to screw her game, and started buying them, also buying some Moats occasionally. She kept her attention on Markets, Villages, and Smithy and Cellar.

Suddenly it began. She started to play the Village-Market combination and a very nauseous feeling came to me: she looked like a Magic player. Playing cards, drawing more, playing more, buying more, with a girlie geek expression in her face. Those memories of snacks being sold for cards came to mind. 4 or even 5 actions in one play, big combos, while all I could do was a Militia, a Cellar, and some bunch of Silver that were not able to follow her combos. When I had acquired enough Silvers, she was already in the Golds. I was impressed by that strategy, one that was named after her nickname itself after we played. How didn`t I think of it?

She seemed to be honoring her Dutch nationality in a very interesting way: the ability to develop, organize, build, grow, and trade through markets and cities. When I noticed it, it was one of those moments by which I allow myself to say that Dominion can connect pretty well with is theme: it is like she was in a Kingdom in Holland, developing it very wisely through commerce and population growing, and I was somewhere disorganized (Brazil maybe? haha) worried about fighting other people, try something new always, imitating experienced civilizations. The game appeared like a funny joke-display about country growing.

I felt that a 2 players game in Dominion can take a long time, because hardly the kingdom supply cards will end before we have a huge bureaucratic deck in our hands, and we are all too excited to use kingdom cards, being the game something new, that we forgot about Provinces. At the end, after around 1 hour and a half, when it dawned in us that the game had to end, it was a race for victory points. Too late for me.

60 x 31 for her. A distaster.

=D

I think Dominion is a great game, both for card-game addicted people and as a gateway for people at least interested in playing and enjoying something. I`m not sure geeks and experienced players will bother to read a newbie report. Anyhow, we both loved it. We now wonder how to play next: new sets of cards? Play with the same to get to learn more?

This is also my firts big post in the community, which seems a very interesting place to hang out in internet hours. meeple

Brazilian regards,
Bruno


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Rick Teverbaugh
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I think you should just randomly select from all of the cards you have, mix and repeat. It won't take long to understand that just one different card mixed in with 9 of the same 10, could change the entire strategy of that game. Have fun.
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The Compulsive Completist
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Wonderful post. I don't know if I am a "geek" or "experienced" but I have played dominion bunches and still love it. As you introduce expansions the game cards get a wee bit more complicated but nothing overwhelming.

I love to hear new experiences and hope to read more as you evolve with the game.

Thanks for posting.
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K N
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My friends and I always have a lot of fun with the theme of Dominion and thinking what it would be like to realize the way cards interact with each. For example, if you Thief (Base Game) a Bank (Prosperity), we picture the bank owner talking with the detective.

Detective: So what happened?
Bank Owner: He took the entire bank
Detective: ... He what?...
Bank Owner: The entire bank, its gone.
*Both of them turn to look at an empty lot*

Some other of our favorites are:
- Smuggling(Seaside) an entire Duchy
- a Throne Room (Base) filled with Torturers (Intrigue)

I think exploring the theme of Dominion adds a new level of enjoyment to a game that's already great. I'm sure that you and your girlfriend can think of plenty more.

Thanks for the write up. Go and enjoy more Dominion!
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Matthew Cordeiro
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Bruno Romano wrote:
We are both totally new to boardgames.

Welcome, and personally, I think you picked a great couple games to start with. It can be a slippery slope with acquiring new games. There's a lot out there. Take your time, and enjoy the games you have.

Bruno Romano wrote:
I`ve also never played Magic: the Gathering, since it scared me in school how people were addicted to it and selling their class break snacks to buy cards from international sellers. It seemed something like drugs.

I stayed away from Magic for the same reason. It looked quite interesting, but I could picture in my mind all of my money being poured into this game. Dominion is great in that the pool of cards is fixed. That being said, there are a lot of expansions, and you can easily spend hundreds of dollars on the entire Dominion system, sleeves, storage, etc.

Bruno Romano wrote:
I didn`t buy Dominion because of anything in it specifically, could have been any other game. I just new it was a basic must-have for every game collection, and I`m sure many other ameatour gamers buy them this way also.

I'm glad you enjoy Dominion, but be warned - no game is a "must buy" for every gamer. Find the games that fit your preferences. Don't buy a game simply because most people like it.

Bruno Romano wrote:
While many geeks and heavy gamers are fascinated by game mechanic in a way that I`m not and play games almostly by inertia, therefore claims that Dominion is poor in theme application - which is reasonable position - I am, on the other side, a big fan of imagination and relaxing and enjoyed the game`s theme and artwork a lot.

Yeah, the theme gets slammed a lot. I'm with you on this one, though. I like the names and the medievel theme. The artwork can be hit or miss. Some of it is great, some not so much.

Bruno Romano wrote:
I felt that a 2 players game in Dominion can take a long time, because hardly the kingdom supply cards will end before we have a huge bureaucratic deck in our hands, and we are all too excited to use kingdom cards, being the game something new, that we forgot about Provinces. At the end, after around 1 hour and a half, when it dawned in us that the game had to end, it was a race for victory points.

This will change with experience. You'll get a better grasp on how many actions/treasure/victories to buy and when to buy them. Your decks will become more manageable. You'll become more familiar with the cards. In time, you can expect face-to-face 2-player games to take about 15 minutes (not including setup).

Bruno Romano wrote:
I think Dominion is a great game, both for card-game addicted people and as a gateway for people at least interested in playing and enjoying something.

Spot on. I've had more success introducing people to games with Dominion than I have with other popular gateways, including Settlers. Plus, my gamer friends love it.

Bruno Romano wrote:
We now wonder how to play next: new sets of cards? Play with the same to get to learn more?

Play the other pre-made sets a couple times each. There's really a lot to discover. Then, you can randomly select any 10 kingdom decks. This should keep you entertained for a while. After that, pick up an expansion. (I recommend one at a time.)
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The Compulsive Completist
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cordeiro wrote:
Bruno Romano wrote:
We are both totally new to boardgames.

After that, pick up an expansion. (I recommend one at a time.)

I would also recommend getting the expansions in release order when you go down that road (and you will). It worked four everyone who bought initially.
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I'm an experienced dominion player and gamer in general and I enjoyed your post. Gave you geekgold too.


It won't take you 1.5 hours each time you play. You'll likely get it down to about 45 to 60 minutes within 5 more sessions. 2 player, 3 player or even 4 player.


Choosing which cards to play each game is fun. Either try the setups listed in the manual or just start randomly selecting them or even custom designing a setup that you think will be fun. Eventually most people just play random setups.


If you expand dominion with more cards, consider going in release date order or simply whatever expansion appeals to you.



Also, while we're here talking about new gamers, may I suggest you check out 7 Wonders. Another fantastic game.
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The Compulsive Completist
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I agree that Dominion lovers will often like 7 Wonders.

One important thing...Dominion has great text on the cards and is easy for just about anyone to catch on. 7 Wonders has only icons and there are a lot of them. I have run into problems with some wanting to not put in the effort of the icons.
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Ben Bateson
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This is a nice read.

But I'm going to do a very geeky thing and remind you that the 2P games is only played with 8 of each Victory Point card, not all 12.

I don't think you could have scored a total of 91 points between you with a 2-player layout from the base game. Even with Gardens, it's quite unlikely.

Sorry.
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Bruno Romano
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cordeiro wrote:
Bruno Romano wrote:
We are both totally new to boardgames.

Welcome, and personally, I think you picked a great couple games to start with. It can be a slippery slope with acquiring new games. There's a lot out there. Take your time, and enjoy the games you have.


Thanks for the welcome! Did you meant in "couple of games" also Dos Rios?. I think it`s a bit underrated around here. It is superficial, but it has it`s good moments, especially in a 2P game. I got if for almost nothing from I guy from Amsterdam.

It`s hard to balance how often should I look for new things. As I`m new, I totally dive into purchasing many all of the sudden, but now I`m slowing down. It matters a lot also that I pay almost two times the price of the game to get them shipped, and that I even might have to pay customs.

cordeiro wrote:
Bruno Romano wrote:
I didn`t buy Dominion because of anything in it specifically, could have been any other game. I just new it was a basic must-have for every game collection, and I`m sure many other ameatour gamers buy them this way also.

I'm glad you enjoy Dominion, but be warned - no game is a "must buy" for every gamer. Find the games that fit your preferences. Don't buy a game simply because most people like it.


I agree, but there is also a bit more to this. Board games require other people, and I must consider also my public when getting games. The reason I`m really going into boardgames is that they are a very social hobby, it requires people, and often different profiles of people. At least for me, I always want to be the guy that goes to the family meeting for Christmas and take some games, make people have fun. I must consider also what my different groups would like to play.

Neo42 wrote:
I'm an experienced dominion player and gamer in general and I enjoyed your post. Gave you geekgold too.


Also, while we're here talking about new gamers, may I suggest you check out 7 Wonders. Another fantastic game.


Great! Actually with your tip I just actually discovered that this was possible... Much appreciated!

I`ll certainly check 7 wonders.

Hockey Mask wrote:
I agree that Dominion lovers will often like 7 Wonders.

One important thing...Dominion has great text on the cards and is easy for just about anyone to catch on. 7 Wonders has only icons and there are a lot of them. I have run into problems with some wanting to not put in the effort of the icons.


I`ll keep that in mind. There is something in the text of Dominion cards that make them indeed appealing... It all seems so logical and precise.

ousgg wrote:
This is a nice read.

But I'm going to do a very geeky thing and remind you that the 2P games is only played with 8 of each Victory Point card, not all 12.

I don't think you could have scored a total of 91 points between you with a 2-player layout from the base game. Even with Gardens, it's quite unlikely.

Sorry.


Dude, thanks for that. Really, we`ll play again tomorrow I would have messed up the rules again if it weren`t for your message. Funny is that many times I read in this forums people forgetting rules - what I read about Forbidden Island comes to mind - and always thought "hahaha how people can be distracted... why don`t they read the rules with more care?" And now me shake
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Allen Michaels
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Well...this is a great post. Have fun!
And yes...you should be able to get your games down to close to 30mins if you're both pretty fast.
 
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Shawn George
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Hockey Mask wrote:
I agree that Dominion lovers will often like 7 Wonders.

One important thing...Dominion has great text on the cards and is easy for just about anyone to catch on. 7 Wonders has only icons and there are a lot of them. I have run into problems with some wanting to not put in the effort of the icons.


Fortunately, the iconography of 7 Wonders is fairly intuitive. You still need to learn what everything means the first game or two (there are some wonderful player aids available that can help with that), but soon after that, it's second nature. I can't say the same for other games, though (I'm looking at you, Race for the Galaxy).

However, a word of caution: I can't personally recommend 7 Wonders as a 2 player game. The game was clearly designed with 3 or more in mind, and the 2 player rules just feel like a bandaid over a gaping hole to me. I only bring this up because I worry that the OP will be primarily gaming with two for now.
 
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I think this is a great review of one of my favourite games - having played for a while, it's always good to see what someone new to the game experiences. As for what direction to go for your next few games, I don't have much in the way of suggestions past what others have already said, but here are some thoughts:

* As mentioned, replacing just one of the Kingdom cards can decimate any strategy. Something that relies on having a few "+2 Actions" cards, so you can play multiple terminals, absolutely falls apart without that Village or Bazaar; similarly, a strategy that gets you to $16 two turns out of three is *fantastic* with "+1 Buy", but without it you're losing to the person who just manages a reliable $8/turn.

* Strategies can play differently depending on how your opponent plays - try mirroring your girlfriend sometimes, and sometimes try playing in direct opposition to her (if she's going peaceful, why not throw a Witch or two into your deck?)

* Don't forget that the game ends when either all Provinces are gone, or any three Supply piles - if you have even a 1 Province lead you can take the win by buying the last Cellar (just make sure that she hasn't grabbed all the Gardens while you weren't looking)!

* Each expansion adds something different to the game, and all of them have their fans and detractors. The complexity increases, very roughly, as time goes on, so the simplest sets are probably Base (which introduces the game, of course), Intrigue (which is a standalone, and really only adds cards with multiple types and choices of action), and Prosperity (with expensive cards), while the most complex are Hinterlands (where cards have effects that trigger when you buy/gain them or other cards, and you can start with something other than 2&5 or 3&4 coppers in your first two turns as a result) and Dark Ages (with lots of cards that interact with the trash, so once something's gone it isn't necessarily out of the game). If you want to build up to the tricky stuff, the suggestion of going in release order is best, but if you want to dive in head first, grab something newer.
 
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