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Subject: 5+ players? rss

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Andrey
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Dominion would probably go well in our group if it could accommodate more people. Is there a way to play Dominion with 5 or more players, maybe with expansions?
 
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Richard Morris
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Random_Phobosis wrote:
Dominion would probably go well in our group if it could accommodate more people. Is there a way to play Dominion with 5 or more players, maybe with expansions?
Yes.

But the overwhelming consensus on here is that it doesn't really work, and that if you have 6 players, play 2 games with 3 players each.
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Simon Kamber
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Random_Phobosis wrote:
Dominion would probably go well in our group if it could accommodate more people. Is there a way to play Dominion with 5 or more players, maybe with expansions?


Using both (basic) Dominion and Intrigue, or combining either of them with the standalone Base Cards pack, allows you to play with 5 or 6 players. I believe the rules for this are included in the Intrigue rulebook.

Doing so presents certain problems that make it a less than optimal experience, though. One problem is that the downtime can become rather long. In i 6-player game with the wrong cards, you can end up waiting for a very long time between your turns.

Another, more subtle, problem is that of strategy. Since the 5-6 player rules do not change the number of kingdom cards available, the attractive piles run out a lot faster (relative to the number of turns each player has). This wrecks a lot of strategies, and in my opinion, significantly damages the otherwise excellent game experience. In essense, many games end up being decided by a combination of (more-than-usual) luck and 'who picked the strategy that was not randomly wrecked by other players strategies'.

TL;DR: Yes, there is a way. No, I would not recommend it.

EDIT: As the ninja-post says, splitting up into two games is a much better solution.
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Eric Matthews
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Don't listen to the naysayers!!!!

We play 5 players all the time and occasionally 6. Dominion is awesome for 5 players, but is not that 20 minute game it is with 2 players.

The are a few things to keep in mind:
First --and most importantly--you need enough cards. Easiest solution is to get dominion + intrigue. The other expansions do include enough materials for a 6 player game with every mechanism (special mats, shelters, etc.).

Second, there are technically different setups for 5 and 6 players. Each of the lands stacks should have 15 for 5 players (instead of 12) and 18(!) for a 6 player game. Also, instead of the game ending when you run out of Provinces or 3 other stacks, it only ends when you run out of Provinces or 4 stacks. This is presumably to make sure players have enough rounds to get their engines up and running before the end of the game.

The result of these extra rules and extra player turns is a very long game (for Dominion). We actually played this wrong at first and were adding the appropriate lands but ending the game with 3 stacks just like a 4 player game. We liked it though, and in the end we decided that adding the lands but still ending at Provinces or 3 stacks works fine for us. At 4 stacks the game drags more and we decided to let that go.

The game is totally playable with 5-6 even with standard 12 lands per stack, but keep in mind engines will be less spectacular and it will be a lower scoring game than say 3 player Dominion. Experiment with the setups and game-end conditions to make your 5-6 player games work best for your players.

A 5-6 player game will be much slower than the 2 player game, but it really isn't significantly different in feel from a 4 player game. Expect games to last an hour or even longer and you will be fine. I for one actually prefer 5 players the 2 player game with a 20 minute setup for only 20 minute playtime. Also know that attacks will be more powerful and therefore used a lot when available with more players.
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Maarten Robinson
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We've played with 6 and we've played two tables of 3 ...
As a social event/evening ... it was nicer to play with 6 together and perhaps it depends on the mix of kingdom cards, but "Saboteur" worked well ... for me, that is, since we didn't have "moat" available in that game [nor other defense mechanisms] and then people started buying them too until they ran out. Having said that, it does require people to play their hands fairly niftily otherwise you forget what's been happening. The problem with the 2 x 3 was that the others felt out of it ... as did we, since we had come together to play together. With 6 playing, there are certainly many more curses and ruins available, which is nice!!
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Mike Miller

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You have to pick your cards carefully, if you want to do this. Attacks with a lot of effects should be avoided. Cards that make people reveal cards should be avoided. Anything that chains or explodes should be avoided.

In short, it's going to be a very un-fun board unless it only really supports big money+ strategies. Or a very long game.
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Reverend Redd
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Seconding Ganybyte here. My group plays dominion regularly, and usually with 5 or 6. In fact, we tend to find 2- and 3-player games boring by comparison. It's a different game, and once-underpowered cards like Thief and Ambassador gain a whole new life with that many targets to affect. Be warned, though, that a few cards (like Saboteur and Pirate Ship) become outright annoying at this level, but in trade, you get a damn good social experience, if you can handle a minute or two of extra downtime every turn.

And, by the by, you only add extra Provinces and Colonies (totaling 15 for 5, 18 for 6) - the other VP card stacks should remain at 12, according to Intrigue's rules. If you like group games, Dominion holds up to them just fine, and it plays them in roughly 40-50 minutes.
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Matthew Cordeiro
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Not to nitpick, but I've seen 2 people get this wrong in this thread. In a 5-player game, you use 15 provinces. In a 6-player game, you use 18 provinces. All other victory card piles, including colonies, are 12 cards.

As others have said, to get the extra cards you need for 5-6 players, you'll need 2 of the following: Dominion (base game), Intrigue, or Base Cards.

With the 2 sets, you can play 1 game up to 6 players or 2 simultaneous games up to 4 players each (for a total of up to 8 players at once).

Personally, I prefer 2 smaller games over 1 larger game, but the 5-6 player games are doable. The biggest benefits I see from a 6-player game vs. 2 3-player games is faster setup, and everyone gets to play in the same game. Yes, the games will take longer. Yes, there will be more downtime. Yes, piles will run out faster (but remember, the game ends when you draw down 4 piles instead of 3). Also, attacks tend to be more potent since you could get attacked by 5 players before your next turn.

It's a different feel, but it's still Dominion, and I'd say give it a shot before you decide whether or not it works for your group.
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Random_Phobosis wrote:
Dominion would probably go well in our group if it could accommodate more people. Is there a way to play Dominion with 5 or more players, maybe with expansions?
For just the base game, used blanks and card sleeves as proxies for extra needed cards. BTW, only Provinces go up to 15 or 18 in quantity. Estates and DUchies in supply remain the same.
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Simon Kamber
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cordeiro wrote:
Yes, piles will run out faster (but remember, the game ends when you draw down 4 piles instead of 3).


Whether or not 5-6 players work for you is a matter of taste, as this thread will demonstrate. I also think the arguments for and against have been summed up nicely.

But just to correct one potential misunderstanding: The problem with piles running out is not because of a shorter game (I think game length is about the same) but because the openings are shorter. If there is only one village among the kingdom cards, and most players need villages, you only get as many villages as you can buy in the first few shuffles, which is not enough to depend on them. This, in my opinion, skews the game from the strategic towards the kind of whimsy.

If you are in it (just) for the social experience, of course, that doesn't matter, and many people enjoy large dominion games. But some of the finesse of dominion IS lost with more players.
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Jeff Wolfe
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With 5 people I prefer one game of 5, with 6 people I prefer two games of 3. I'm clearly in the minority in that my preferences are different for 5 and for 6. YMMV.

The strategies are different for different numbers of players. That's not just true for 5 and 6, but also for 2, 3 and 4. Don't expect to take your favorite 4-player strategy to a 6 player game and be successful. You might be, but in many cases you'll have to make adjustments.
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Tables
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I will say, there is a much bigger difference from 2 to 3 player, or 3 to 4 player, than there is from 4 to even 6 players. The big houserule we play with is adding two more kingdom card piles in 5-6 player - 12 is still a reasonable number to consider, and it means there's more likely to be 'backup' options for when a key pile runs out. It also increases players ability to choose a wildly different strategy from others and be successful.

Honestly, I think that for all the complaining about 5-6 player, it should really be extended down to 4 players as well. 4 player is really not that different from 5-6, especially due to it being 3 Provinces per player instead of 2-3 player's 4. I think 2 or 3 player is better, but 4-6 is acceptable.
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Fred Snertz
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I have never enjoyed a 5+ player game of Dominion due only to the excessive downtime. Maybe I've gotten unlucky with the boards (and opponents) the 3 or 4 times I've tried this. Building a set that minimizes downtime would help but would also seem to take away some of the fun.
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Dave Daley
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Random_Phobosis wrote:
Dominion would probably go well in our group if it could accommodate more people. Is there a way to play Dominion with 5 or more players, maybe with expansions?

Despite all the negativity you will get (I'm not even going to bother to read down, I know what I will see), we regularly play with 5P, and, as long as we don't pick any slow cards (multiple discards / decisions etc), it is a really really fun game.

If you are especially careful with card selection, 6P an be just as fun, but you CANNOT do a random-card-selection game, and expect it to be playable with 6 - it just won't be.
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Matt N

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I'd add that a lot of "random" bad luck in bigger games is rather predictable based on what cards are out. If your gold gets trashed randomly when thief/pirate ship are out, that's not random. If the game ends on piles when only six provinces are gone and witch is out with no trashing, that's not random.

Bigger games of Dominion are generally more dynamic than the smaller games. Many people will not like this. I happen to like the extra challenge.
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Worth noting is that long games definitely occur in 2p to 4p games (ppl's decks get over cursed that u struggle to buy Duchies, or even Silver; some goes through their entire deck per turn; or plays alot of cards tha require other players' input such Spy or Militia)... It's just that there r more players between turns.
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Eric Matthews
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pinkymadigan wrote:
You have to pick your cards carefully, if you want to do this. Attacks with a lot of effects should be avoided. Cards that make people reveal cards should be avoided. Anything that chains or explodes should be avoided.

In short, it's going to be a very un-fun board unless it only really supports big money+ strategies. Or a very long game.


Absolutely not true.

The only card I'd leave out of a big Dominion group is Possession. "Turn over card" games will slow up the game, just as they do in a two player game. You get the same variety of slow and fast boards that you would in a 2 or 3 player game, you will just feel it a bit more (obviously!) with more players.

We play with turn over attacks all the time and while the popularity of these cards varies I've never heard someone say "wow I normally love pirate ship when it's in our three player games, but in this 5 player game it sucks".

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Mike Miller

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Ganybyte wrote:
pinkymadigan wrote:
You have to pick your cards carefully, if you want to do this. Attacks with a lot of effects should be avoided. Cards that make people reveal cards should be avoided. Anything that chains or explodes should be avoided.

In short, it's going to be a very un-fun board unless it only really supports big money+ strategies. Or a very long game.


Absolutely not true.

The only card I'd leave out of a big Dominion group is Possession. "Turn over card" games will slow up the game, just as they do in a two player game. You get the same variety of slow and fast boards that you would in a 2 or 3 player game, you will just feel it a bit more (obviously!) with more players.

We play with turn over attacks all the time and while the popularity of these cards varies I've never heard someone say "wow I normally love pirate ship when it's in our three player games, but in this 5 player game it sucks".



Not sure how you could say it is absolutely not true, it is very true for us. We have a slow player or two, and if we have 5 or 6 players at the table, the slow players are in there.

If you like Dominion as a fast game, 5-6 player setups need thought out to avoid the grueling turns where the slowest player at the table hits their stride and draws their deck and turns over cards and makes everyone make decisions.

It may not be an absolute truth, but it absolutely lengthens the game, and if you are used to normal paced Dominion, it is very aggravating. It may not bother you, but that doesn't make what I said any less true.
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Chris L
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We regularly play with 4, 5 and 6 players. Yes, as players go up the play slows down a little, But we'd rather play all together than 2 separate games. For us, it's still fun, even with 6, or we wouldn't play!

It's definitely true that the strategies change with the number of players and this is true whether it's 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6 players. Whether one likes it at any particular number of players is totally up to the players.

Personally, I don't like playing with only 2 players... I find it less dynamic and more predictable, but as I said, each player is different.

Chris
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Chris Schumann
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One more thing to know: If you use all the cards, you can actually play 7 players by using 21 Provinces and 60 curses. It's house rules, of course, but there are enough cards.
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Greg Pratt
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I've played a number of games with 5-6 players. As others have noted, yes the game will be a bit slower. Yes, you could split into two games, but I've always found that part of the point of playing a game against live opponents is the social aspect - it's more fun to have all of your friends playing in a single game than being split up.

Something to keep in mind is that come cards to play a bit differently than they do in smaller groups. Not better or worse (IMO), but differently. You'll find attack cards that affect multiple players (thief, saboteur, swindler, etc.) to have more of an impact on the game than they usually do. (This is similar to the increased impact they have in a 4-player game vs. a 2-player game.) This in turn makes some of the defensive cards a better proposition too.

With more players, the likelihood of getting smacked by a particular offensive card each round is generally higher. Players may need to shift their strategies to deal with this (which is why I suspect that a number of players don't like playing with 5-6).
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Richard Morris
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I have never managed to get more than 3 real live people sitting down to play dominion at the same time. . Most of my games are on the computer. If we have 4 or 5 or more players, there are other games that people would prefer to play.
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Phill Webb
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Whizkid wrote:
One more thing to know: If you use all the cards, you can actually play 7 players by using 21 Provinces and 60 curses. It's house rules, of course, but there are enough cards.

And 5 pile emptying.
That's what we've done a couple of times.

My group has a much bigger preference for an all in game than the "fast game is good" preference.

Phill
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Simon Kamber
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jeffwolfe wrote:
The strategies are different for different numbers of players. That's not just true for 5 and 6, but also for 2, 3 and 4. Don't expect to take your favorite 4-player strategy to a 6 player game and be successful. You might be, but in many cases you'll have to make adjustments.


I Eat Tables wrote:
I will say, there is a much bigger difference from 2 to 3 player, or 3 to 4 player, than there is from 4 to even 6 players.


That's a good point. It's probably not so much that the 5-6 player games are fundamentally different from other player counts. It is a sliding scale from the wits-against-wits strategic feel of the two-player game to the 'navigating a stormy ocean in a rowboat without oars' of the 6-player game.
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Alejandro G.
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I'll throw in my here.

The max our group will ever play Dominion with is 4, or we'll break up into smaller groups. 5+ players slows the game down, especially when someone keeps spamming (+Action +Card) cards... Geez.

I could probably make dinner by the time it was my turn again. kiss
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