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Dominant Species» Forums » General

Subject: How does DS play with 6? rss

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John Heynes
South Africa
Cape Town
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Hi all.

I know DS plays best with four, but our next game will be with six players. I was wondering how it plays with the maximum player count.

The group will be introducing two new players. We will be playing the 'shorter' game which removes the four (AP related) Dominance cards.

Thanks for the advice.
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Ed Bradley
United Kingdom
Haverhill
Suffolk
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I like it a lot with 6. With so few APs and so much competition for placement spots I find the game a hoot. It's very chaotic too.
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Kristof Bodric
Serbia
Novi Sad
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Here's an opposing opinion. DS is one of my favourite games of all times, but I refuse to play it with more than 3 players and I absolutely hate it with 6 players. The reason for that is that I like to have a degree of control over my moves and to be able to plan them to a reasonable degree (you guessed it, I like 2-player games best) and with 6 players it's total mayhem. Player order plays too great a role and the influence of skill is reduced dramatically. With 2 or 3 players, this randomness is minimised. So if you're like me, you probably won't like it, but if you like a fair deal of chaos and even thrive on it, then go for it :).
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Samuel Hinz
Australia
Brisbane
Queensland
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I played with 6 people once, it was a 6 or 7 hour game.
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Josh
United States
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I like it, but I can tolerate a lot of chaos in my games. I think the new players should be told that the game is likely to go at least four hours after explanation. With six, because each player gets so few APs, expect the game state to change significantly between each move. Because of these reasons, I'd try to encourage everyone to make decisions quickly, as agonizing about each individual move is unlikely to translate into significant gains (with the exception of the endgame).
 
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Ben
United States
Ann Arbor
Michigan
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With 4, I give the game a 10. With 3, an 8. I refuse to play with 6
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Donnie Clark
United States
Arlington
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Seems like hit or miss with the comments above.
I've had one 6-player game and it was competitive. Even with teaching it ran just a bit longer than the expected time.
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Steve Bachman
United States
Colonie
New York
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I've played it with 6 and enjoyed it a great deal, as much as I have with lesser counts. The shortage of APs makes each action that much more valuable and that much more of a tough decision.

I understand the removal of cards makes the game shorter, but I'm not sure I'd want to play with the AP cards removed. The pace seems to quicken as players gain APs and are able to better afford the Dominance action. Perhaps start with an additional AP each or add one after a predetermined round?
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Peter Sommer
United States
Fort Collins
Colorado
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Completely agree with Kristof and Ben. Would NOT recommend with 6.
 
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Lutz
Florida
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It can be OK with 6... but only if all the other players know the game pretty well. With 5 or 4 noobs a 6 player game will be very slow with lots of downtime.

I also agree with most others, this game shines with 4p.

BOb
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Ocean Druen
United States
Buffalo Grove
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It is a much different game with 6, it becomes more about managing chaos and board positions can change dramatically each turn. Personally I like it but if you like playing with three or four go in knowing that it is a much different game.
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Chris Dieckmann
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Bronx
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I also will not play with 6. It is not the same game at all. You don't have enough AP's to plan a strategy. After the 1st pick you are usually stuck with taking whatever is left. I think that this makes starting initiative much more important rather than player skill. I will play with 5 but even then depending on when extra action cards come out came make it into a 4-5 hour game. Best be ready for a very long game with 6 as well.
 
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Harold Coleman
United States
Austin
Texas
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I have played very few games with less than 6 players. Playing with 6 should take about the same time or less than playing with 4 as there are fewer overall actions to begin with (18 vs. 20) each round. And I believe starting with a non-symetrical setup, i.e. certainly with 5p and maybe with 4p depending on how you choose your animals, gives a small edge to one player over another. A six-player game has a perfectly symetrical setup. And for those whining about chaos... folks, that's what this game is about - managing chaos. If you think you can go into a game with a strategy oblivious to the effects of domination cards and other players' actions, well, you're probably not going to fare very well. And I don't believe it's any more chaotic with 6 players than it is with 3 or 4, your animal just evolves a little slower because it has fewer actions each turn. Deal with it. Besides, playing with 6 players gets all of the animal types involved and its more interesting seeing the ways they can interact. My opinion is that 6 players makes for the best game.
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Eleon Forsht
United States
College Park
MD
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I have played DS many times with 6 players and 4 players and I find the game is very different, but no better or worse.

I am semi sure 6 player is how the game was designed to be played and why I enjoy that the most. In a 4 (or less) player game a lot of the elements get wasted (as no animal start with them), and so they mostly just clutter up the Action board. I find that when EVERY element is being protected, it is a much more interesting game.

In way too many 4 player games I play the other 2 elements end up off the board totally by the end of the game and that is a bit of a shame. I would rather have an animal using those extra elements to make it more interesting.

In some ways DS is like a lot of war games. If people target you, you will be hurt badly, so the skill is in surviving this and still winning (or in taking out the leader to pull ahead yourself).

One of the Cons a lot of people list is the length of the game. I actually find both 4 and 6 player games the same length, unless you get really unlucky and the 5 and 6 player are the ones that take 10 mins to thing about each Action Pawn being placed (as then the game slows down too much). Then again if you have those same slow gamers in a 4 player game, it might be worse as they have MORE actions to agonize over.

My last comment thought is I have never hear DS plays best with four. I have only heard it plays faster (sometimes) with 4.
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Mauricio de Souza Fonseca
Brazil
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I love the game with six players. The best configuration in my opiinon!
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Jack Smith
United Kingdom
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In my amateur estimation:

2 Player : Cutthroat and easy to lose badly until experienced.

3 Player: Can have kingmaker issues but still fun.

4 Player: Perfect balance for me of choices and chaos.

5 and 6 player: Not tried yet but I imagine you would need a totally different game play style and approach. I see no reason why the game won't work well but each AP will really count. This is a game of chaos mitigation and optimising so whoever does that best should win. You just need to remember everyone has the same restrictions as you do and just adapt to it rather than moan.

So I think all numbers of players work but they wont always be suitable for everyone.

We also table talk, bribe and coerce in our games and I think that would work well with the 5 or 6 player games.
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Mike Nichols
United States
Florida
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In our game group, we never play it with less than four & the general consensus is that six player is best. At the same time, we recognize it is a longer game & plan for it accordingly. I agree with an earlier poster who stated the game starts more balanced with every element/animal represented.
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