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Subject: Played our first game with suggested kingdom last night... rss

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Dave
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My friend and I play Dominion *a lot*. We're certainly not Isotropic/tournament level players, but we know our way around the game. I got D.A. from my LFGS, and we proceeded to play the first suggested kingdom listed in the back of the rule booklet.

What a drag. Least fun game of Dominion - ever.
- Ruins are very effective - just as much as curses. They don't remove points from your score at the end, but we all know that's not what curses are for
- Cultists are a very effective way to dole out ruins
- the kingdom has some interesting combos letting you draw lots of cards early on, but you end up glutting your deck with victory cards too early, and then ruins add to the glut
- Ruins are very effective, especially when given out by cultists. Did I say that already?

I'm really not sure what happened. Probably there are smarter ways to play it, but it seems to me the suggested kingdoms should highlight the interesting combos and at the very least be fun/entertaining. This wasn't.

The game dragged on and on and on as we were struggling to buy the last couple provinces. We had to go back to buying golds - or silver in some cases! - as we had loaded up on victory cards (too early I guess), ruins, and other terminal cards (very few non-terminal in this setup IIRC). I was *so* looking forward to D.A., this felt like a cold shower: the game we played was simply NOT fun. I'm not giving up, we're giving it another go tonight. I'm hoping the second suggested kingdom, and the rest of them (with the other expansions) will give us a better play experience.

FYI: typically we play out of all the expansions and I use a randomizer app for the setup, but when getting a new expansion I like to try the suggested kingdoms, and had never been disappointed by those before. I really hope we missed something obvious, but the fact that both of us fell into that 'trap' makes me think that's not the case.

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Rick Teverbaugh
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Not trying to be too harsh here, but it is possible that you've played a lot of Dominion without really understanding a lot about playing Dominion beyond the rules of the game. Dark Ages is, by design I think, a set that when played alone will give the foe the chance to mess with your plans to a great degree but will also punish you for each misstep.

After doing three full days of demos at GenCon for Rio Grande and with six tables active all the time, there were less than a handful of tables who expressed a reaction like yours. Most loved it and the others liked it. Every table we had was set up with one of the two suggested setups for Dark Ages alone.

It is also possible that you just don't care for this dreary theme or that you really prefer Dominion to feel like solitaire for two. Since I returned from GenCon I have played it numerous times and have greatly enjoyed the fun and challenge of each game.
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Dave
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rickert wrote:
Not trying to be too harsh here, but it is possible that you've played a lot of Dominion without really understanding a lot about playing Dominion beyond the rules of the game. Dark Ages is, by design I think, a set that when played alone will give the foe the chance to mess with your plans to a great degree but will also punish you for each misstep.


It's quite possible. What I'm saying is that the opening kingdom should have been a little more welcoming.
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Rick Teverbaugh
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I understand that was your reaction, but what I'm saying is that most people at GenCon had a more welcoming reaction to the 2 suggested sets. Did you try the second one? Did you say which suggested set you tried? I don't recall.
 
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Vince Lupo
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Considering that dominion is like a random or build-your-own card game every time, I consider this to be a mini-review of the "suggested first dark ages setup" instead of a mini review of dark ages in general.


edit: also, I guess we have ended up skipping most of the suggested setups. I have been meaning to try the ones in hinterlands. Perhaps I would more likely if an ios app had been released already... :P
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Dave
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Neo42 wrote:
Considering that dominion is like a random or build-your-own card game every time, I consider this to be a mini-review of the "suggested first dark ages setup" instead of a mini review of dark ages in general.


Absolutely. I didn't mean it any other way - this is why I didn't post it in the review section.
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Henry Allen
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I occasionally have a brutal slow/long game of Dominion. This always happens due to one or more attack cards being present AND the players not realizing how brutal it is going to be to get provinces. If everyone spends too much time trying to make their deck better while other factors are making the decks/turns worse, a lot of time is spent and no progress is really made. In this case the winning strategy is generally rushing estates and duchies instead of trying to make provinces work. If we play the same set again it is always much faster and more fun as we adapt and don't try to hold out for provinces.

ScoobyG wrote:
The game dragged on and on and on as we were struggling to buy the last couple provinces.


That's what I'm talking about. Probably if one of you had started rushing Duchies and/or Estates the other would have been forced to follow and the game would end much quicker due to 3 piles emptying.

That being said, I concur that if a recommended set is going to be a tough one it would be nice if it was at least name 'Kick in the nuts' or something to give you a heads-up.

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Dave
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rickert wrote:
I understand that was your reaction, but what I'm saying is that most people at GenCon had a more welcoming reaction to the 2 suggested sets. Did you try the second one? Did you say which suggested set you tried? I don't recall.


It was the very first one listed. Tonight we will try the other ones, including the second Dark Ages only.

PS: Dominion is my very favorite game. I'm not throwing the baby with the bath water It's just we've always had so much fun with the suggested kingdoms in the other expansions, this one seemed weirdly unwelcoming. And I realize too, that it's just OUR reaction. Hopefully other folks will find it more fun.
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Dave
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Agree with everything you say. I'm sure if we gave it another go we'd adapt our strategy. We rarely play with the same setup twice though.

KlydeFrog wrote:
I occasionally have a brutal slow/long game of Dominion. This always happens due to one or more attack cards being present AND the players not realizing how brutal it is going to be to get provinces. If everyone spends too much time trying to make their deck better while other factors are making the decks/turns worse, a lot of time is spent and no progress is really made. In this case the winning strategy is generally rushing estates and duchies instead of trying to make provinces work. If we play the same set again it is always much faster and more fun as we adapt and don't try to hold out for provinces.

ScoobyG wrote:
The game dragged on and on and on as we were struggling to buy the last couple provinces.


That's what I'm talking about. Probably if one of you had started rushing Duchies and/or Estates the other would have been forced to follow and the game would end much quicker due to 3 piles emptying.

That being said, I concur that if a recommended set is going to be a tough one it would be nice if it was at least name 'Kick in the nuts' or something to give you a heads-up.

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Steve Duff
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(Howdy brother!)

I think this is just how Dominion is sometimes.

A couple of days ago, I had the same experience. A friend came over, we introduced her to Dominion. The first game was rollicking fun, fill with laughs, we had Barons and Festivals and lots of money and points and no attacks and the game was over quickly.

Did another random setup for the second game, we had Witch and Saboteur, and the game was a long painful slog. All of us wanted the game to be over, we started to cooperatively empty 3 piles instead of trying to buy Provinces.

Given that the title of the game setup you played was "Grim Parade", I would expect it to be a slow painful slog, as you experienced.

"Playing Chess With Death" also doesn't sound like it's going to be very fun, it will be interesting to see your report.
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Dylan Shakespeare
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The fact that you said that both of you fell into the "trap" makes me think that you might have suffered from group think. My brother and I have played a few horrendously slow games. So horrendous in fact that we decide to play the set again. We discovered loopholes that weren't there before and ways of getting around the strategy that seemed to scream from the set-up. So I feel confident that you'll notice something you didn't before.

P.S. I haven't played the set yet.
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Jeremy Mueller
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I'm going to disagree. I played this board twice yesterday and it was a blast. The Market Square/Forager combo is great and a way to get Gold in your deck rather early. Procession/Band of Misfits/Fortress is also a great trick.

This was a good combo setup that had a couple of ways of dealing with the ruins. One of the marks of a good player is knowing when to start buying victory cards, it seems like you started purchasing too early and choked on them.
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Chris Linneman
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How about this for a strategy that doesn't get mired in Ruins. Mind you, I haven't tried it since I don't own the game yet, but here it is:

Procession Fortresses into Cultists, then Procession Cultists into Hunting Grounds, use Fortresses plus Hunting Grounds to get insane card draw to plow through all the crap in your deck. Buy a little bit of money as well.

Looking at the above post, I realize Procession/Band of Misfits as a Fortress would be faster because you could turn the Band of Misfits directly into Hunting Grounds. It would still be nice to get a couple Cultists to hurt your opponent, of course.
 
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Nick Fleece
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I just played this recommended set today and found it very enjoyable. It was a bit slow and did feel like a beating but I kind of enjoy games like that. Procession and fortress FTW!
 
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Steven Metzger
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RogertheDumpling wrote:
I just played this recommended set today and found it very enjoyable. It was a bit slow and did feel like a beating but I kind of enjoy games like that. Procession and fortress FTW!
I also played the set last night and rocked my opponents. Yay for Iso.

Fortress...Fortress...Fortress...

Hunting Grounds

Fortress...

Hunting Grounds
 
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Dave
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Right... I'm not saying there isn't a good way to play this; I was just expecting a lighter out of the box experience. I like it gentle, you know, the first time.

Tonight = DA binge - we're going to play all as many as we can of the other kingdoms
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Corey Ellis
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Neo42 wrote:
Considering that dominion is like a random or build-your-own card game every time, I consider this to be a mini-review of the "suggested first dark ages setup" instead of a mini review of dark ages in general.


edit: also, I guess we have ended up skipping most of the suggested setups. I have been meaning to try the ones in hinterlands. Perhaps I would more likely if an ios app had been released already...


The d-vault app is only .99 cents and its an awesome randomized with a ton of features including an update that includes dark ages
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Michael Edwards
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Played the first suggested set of cards twice now, with two different groups. Both games dragged quite a bit, and left folks with a mixed impression - everyone saw that various individual cards looked interesting, but all agreed that the game - with that set of cards - developed slowly. Money came in very slowly (perhaps due to everyone being distracted buying the new cards). Many of the new cards required additional thought/decisions, yet didn't directly bring in the buying power.

My second group then went on to play a few different mixes (2nd suggested all Dark Ages set, a round full of other not-played yet Dark Ages cards, a mixed round). All of those games seemed much more dynamic and more in-line with past Dominion experiences. Folks enjoyed themselves more.

It could just be that the first suggested Dark Ages only set takes some getting used to, to deal with the way new cards work, knowing when to concentrate on money, etc. But, it may well be not the best intro to the new set.
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Rick Teverbaugh
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I don't believe the suggested sets should be the ones that are the most fun necessarily. They should be ones that work together in showing off what the new cards do that set them apart from previous sets. Just my opinion.
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Dylan Shakespeare
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Chanfan wrote:
Played the first suggested set of cards twice now, with two different groups. Both games dragged quite a bit, and left folks with a mixed impression - everyone saw that various individual cards looked interesting, but all agreed that the game - with that set of cards - developed slowly. Money came in very slowly (perhaps due to everyone being distracted buying the new cards). Many of the new cards required additional thought/decisions, yet didn't directly bring in the buying power.

My second group then went on to play a few different mixes (2nd suggested all Dark Ages set, a round full of other not-played yet Dark Ages cards, a mixed round). All of those games seemed much more dynamic and more in-line with past Dominion experiences. Folks enjoyed themselves more.

It could just be that the first suggested Dark Ages only set takes some getting used to, to deal with the way new cards work, knowing when to concentrate on money, etc. But, it may well be not the best intro to the new set.

Bold text says it all. My brother and I have had this same experience a lot. Hence, my post above.
 
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Chris Linneman
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Yeah, the first thing I notice when playing a new set is how horrible at Dominion I suddenly become. It's almost like my goal changes from "get the most points" to "try out the most new cards."
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Kent O.
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I presume that you only put out 10 ruins and not all 50...?

Although yes, the ruins can slow you down a bit, even so, if you split them evenly that's only 5 cards each.
 
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Kent O.
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...also if the Ruin pile went out so quickly (10 per player after the first), then maybe emptying out a couple of the other piles rather than going after the Provinces would be the way to go. The winner in such a game could be the one who emptied out the Estate pile first (only 8 in a two player game).

And yes, it can be tempting to dump the Hovel for an Estate early on. Generally, that doesn't strike me as a good idea.
 
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Michael Edwards
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Abstractite wrote:
Chanfan wrote:
snippitty Money came in very slowly (perhaps due to everyone being distracted buying the new cards). snip

Bold text says it all. My brother and I have had this same experience a lot. Hence, my post above.


Sure, excepting (I imagine) that most folks who are likely to be playing that first suggested set, and then getting a bad impression for it, are those playing with the new set for the first time. So, it still makes for a bad set, at least to have been put as the first suggestion.
 
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Rick Teverbaugh
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Chanfan wrote:
Abstractite wrote:
Chanfan wrote:
snippitty Money came in very slowly (perhaps due to everyone being distracted buying the new cards). snip

Bold text says it all. My brother and I have had this same experience a lot. Hence, my post above.


Sure, excepting (I imagine) that most folks who are likely to be playing that first suggested set, and then getting a bad impression for it, are those playing with the new set for the first time. So, it still makes for a bad set, at least to have been put as the first suggestion.


How can someone possibly put together a first set that reveals the feel for the set and yet allows that first time players often buy too many action cards? The first set is fine as is.
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