Bimmy Jim
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If you have all (or most) of the expansions, from my experience.. this is the best way to play: (The Prosperity expansion is required):

Kingdom Cards

Expansions are generally meant to work in synergy with other cards from the same expansion. Due to this fact, we find it ineffective to mix every expansion together at complete random (this results in many cards being useless (EX: Spice Merchant), or certain cards being much too overpowered).

Of the 10 piles of kingdom cards, 2 of them will always be from the base set (or promo cards) - chosen at random.

Then, 2 expansions are chosen at random, and 4 kingdom cards are used for each of them (we randomize Alchemy and Cornucopia less often because they're smaller sets).

When playing with 6 or more players, we add 2 more kingdom card piles (12 instead of 10).

---

Treasure, Curses and Victory cards

We play with 4 of each green card per player. This includes Colony (even when not playing with the Prosperity expansion). Therefore, with 4 players, we have 16 of each victory card available for purchase.

We play with 10 curses per player beyond the first. (30 for a 4 player match, 40 for a 5 player match, etc.)

When playing with 2-4 players we use 60 copper, 40 silver, 30 gold, 10 platinum.
When playing with 5-6 players we use 120 copper, 80 silver, 60 gold, 20 platinum.
When playing with 7-8 players we use 180 copper, 120 silver, 90 gold, 30 platinum.

---

Winning the Game

To get people thinking of more complex strategies, we do NOT end the game when all the provinces are gone. The game ONLY ends as follows:

2-4 players: When ANY 3 piles are gone.
5-6 players: When any 4 piles are gone.
7-8 players: When any 5 piles are gone.

This allows for much more intricate gameplay (rather than being rushed to purchase provinces - you can make a better deck to save up for colonies, etc.)

---

Dark Ages

We play with all 50 ruins, regardless of the # of players.

If Dark Ages is one of the expansions being used, we replace the starting estates with 3 ruins.

-----

As you can see, there aren't many rule changes here, mainly just how the game ends and the fact that we play with colonies and platinum all the time... it really does make for more intricate games!

I hope you enjoy! Any feedback would be great! Thanks!
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Re: I enlighten you on the best way to play dominion with multiple (all) expansions and 4 or more players.
Cards are designed to work when mixed together with any number of expansions. Playing with only two expansions means you can often miss interesting interactions and combos between multiple expansions.

That said, using 2-3 expansions is also good, as many cards work nicer with a higher density of cards from their own expansion.

Changing the game end condition away from Provinces is a bad idea. It sometimes makes games more interesting, but much more often makes it less, especially when there are no alternate victory cards. This has been discussed at length, you can see why most people think it's a bad idea and also even why Donald X himself has explained the game end conditions.

Also 4 victory cards per player is bad beyond 4 players. The game takes too long.

Using all the Ruins sounds like a bad idea with fewer players, it makes Marauder and Cultist much nastier, and they don't really need that.

Ultimately, it's your game and if this is how your group wants to play, so be it. But IMO Dominion is one of the most refined games I've played, and these changes would make it less fun for me and I suspect most other gamers, not to mention making it awkward for you and your group if you did decide to play with other people who knew the game.
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Re: I enlighten you on the best way to play dominion with multiple (all) expansions and 4 or more players.
First, welcome to BGG. I'm a huge Dominion fan and these are some interesting suggestions, but none that I will use.

I find your new endgame idea to be one that significantly changes the game. A major part of the strategy in Dominion is knowing when to transition from building your deck to buying VP cards. That decision largely disappears here and the game becomes worse for it. Shouldn't the player who builds his deck most efficiently be rewarded? Not sure what you mean by "more intricate games," but this suggestion does not sound fun to me at all. What do you do in your eight-player games when all the colonies, provinces, and duckies are sold out? Keep racing of the estates?

This suggestion has been made before on BGG, so I've considered it previously and it just wouldn't make the game better. I'm sure this is something the game designer considered and rejected Bt I'm glad you and your group have found a way to play that you enjoy, even if it has introduced a major change into the game.
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Stephen Rochelle
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Re: I enlighten you on the best way to play dominion with multiple (all) expansions and 4 or more players.
Eh... I think you're overstating the need for expansion commonality from a play perspective (from a transport and setup perspective is another matter). For example, you call out Spice Merchant. Spice Merchant says "you may trash a treasure from your hand". How is that tied to Hinterlands cards?

I can't fathom why you grasp the value of limiting stack size on Curses but ignore that on Ruins.

The main concept, though, that I think you're missing relates to your Platinum/Colony and end condition ideas. You're calling it "more intricate", but it's quite the opposite: you have artificially restricted the space of the game, and by extension restricted the useful choices available to the players.

It's your game, play how you like. But consider dropping the "I enlighten you" air of superiority.
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Re: I enlighten you on the best way to play dominion with multiple (all) expansions and 4 or more players.
I Eat Tables wrote:
Cards are designed to work when mixed together with any number of expansions. Playing with only two expansions means you can often miss interesting interactions and combos between multiple expansions.

That said, using 2-3 expansions is also good, as many cards work nicer with a higher density of cards from their own expansion.

Changing the game end condition away from Provinces is a bad idea. It sometimes makes games more interesting, but much more often makes it less, especially when there are no alternate victory cards. This has been discussed at length, you can see why most people think it's a bad idea and also even why Donald X himself has explained the game end conditions.

Using all the Ruins sounds like a bad idea with fewer players, it makes Marauder and Cultist much nastier, and they don't really need that.

Ultimately, it's your game and if this is how your group wants to play, so be it. But IMO Dominion is one of the most refined games I've played, and these changes would make it less fun for me and I suspect most other gamers, not to mention making it awkward for you and your group if you did decide to play with other people who knew the game.


Thanks for the feedback!

Well when we play with new players we revert to the 'rules' rules, and sometimes we play with the standard rules amongst ourselves.. We just find (for the most part) the most intricate games are when we take out the province win condition (people can take their time to build a good deck, rather than rushing to get provinces).

We generally never play with less than 4 players so I can see how the "use all ruins" thing would be a bad idea if playing with 2 or 3 players.


I Eat Tables wrote:
Also 4 victory cards per player is bad beyond 4 players. The game takes too long.


This may be true under normal circumstances - but when removing the province win condition - people make much better decks (rather than diluting their deck by rushing to get provinces / victory cards). I do agree that the games take longer, but I suppose that's how we like it

---

It may not be the best thing to play all the time - but if you and your friends want to try something new - try my suggestions out a few times! You might be pleasantly impressed
 
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Re: I enlighten you on the best way to play dominion with multiple (all) expansions and 4 or more players.
BimmyJim wrote:
This may be true under normal circumstances - but when removing the province win condition - people make much better decks (rather than diluting their deck by rushing to get provinces / victory cards). Because people have much better decks, I find the game is often determined earlier.
The better deck is the one that wins. If the "much better deck" can win despite the Province win condition, then it is indeed better. But if it can't, if it only wins because you've changed the rules, then it's not a very good deck, and you're not learning anything about what good decks are.

//edit: I will note, though, that this is in some ways just a matter of semantics. If you replace "better" with "more complicated", and just note that your group likes playing the "more complicated decks" that a piles-only ending allows, then hey, that's great (and accurate).
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lomn wrote:
For example, you call out Spice Merchant. Spice Merchant says "you may trash a treasure from your hand". How is that tied to Hinterlands cards?


Spice Merchant still can have its uses.. but many cards in hinterlands work with it well.. and if Spice Merchant is mixed with a bunch of cards from, say Alchemy and the base set (for example).. it will hardly ever be looked at.

Quote:
I can't fathom why you grasp the value of limiting stack size on Curses but ignore that on Ruins.


As mentioned above, I haven't played with 2 or 3 players in a very long time, so the rules stated above are more for 4+ players.

Quote:
You're calling it "more intricate", but it's quite the opposite: you have artificially restricted the space of the game, and by extension restricted the useful choices available to the players.


I wouldn't call it the opposite... different of course.. It is a different style of gameplay.. If you play MTG, it's like comparing Vintage to Legacy.. completely different things.

EDIT: Like you said, 'better' is an inappropriate word.. more complicated fits.

Quote:
It's your game, play how you like. But consider dropping the "I enlighten you" air of superiority.


Done as requested
 
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BimmyJim wrote:
lomn wrote:
For example, you call out Spice Merchant. Spice Merchant says "you may trash a treasure from your hand". How is that tied to Hinterlands cards?


Spice Merchant still can have its uses.. but many cards in hinterlands work with it well.. and if Spice Merchant is mixed with a bunch of cards from, say Alchemy and the base set (for example).. it will hardly ever be looked at.
Copper Trashers are always looked at. Give me a set of Base and Alchemy (which are low on rapid trashers) and Spice Merchant probably rises in value. CouncilRoom's best openings puts Spice Merchant in the 6th best 4/3 opening buy.
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lomn wrote:
BimmyJim wrote:
lomn wrote:
For example, you call out Spice Merchant. Spice Merchant says "you may trash a treasure from your hand". How is that tied to Hinterlands cards?


Spice Merchant still can have its uses.. but many cards in hinterlands work with it well.. and if Spice Merchant is mixed with a bunch of cards from, say Alchemy and the base set (for example).. it will hardly ever be looked at.
Copper Trashers are always looked at. Give me a set of Base and Alchemy (which are low on rapid trashers) and Spice Merchant probably rises in value. CouncilRoom's best openings puts Spice Merchant in the 6th best 4/3 opening buy.


Maybe I just suck at giving good examples then haha.
 
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Ironically, the set Spice Merchant works best with is Prosperity. Mainly because copper trashers are better with Colonies. Then again, this might be down to you playing such long games. But playing by the official rules, look here. Basically, it shows how much better or worse a card is on average when another card is in the game, as taken from the millions (10 million?) of games of Dominion on Isotropic.

The 10 cards that Spice Merchant is improved most by are, in order:
Grand Market
Bishop
Colony/Platinum
Peddler
King's Court
Goons
Worker's Village
City
Governor
Menagerie

8 Prosperity cards at the top! And the next two aren't even Hinterlands. The next card (Crossroads) is Hinterlands though, but then it's kinda mixed before we see more Hinterlands in there.
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Actually, what's likely going on here is it depends on how you're playing. If you are playing the games the way you do, games are generally going to go much longer, which throws off the natural balance of many cards, and makes copper trashers that much better.

What most people like about Dominion is it's speed. Games are generally quick - 20 minutes or less - and take around 12-20 turns depending on luck, and the cards available (cards like Governor lead to quick games, while cards like Sea Hag to long ones)
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BimmyJim wrote:
Maybe I just suck at giving good examples then haha.
Mostly I think it's what Martin just said above -- you've significantly skewed the game by changing the victory conditions. That will likewise skew the value of cards as well as your ability to evaluate them.

Maybe he's right that long games further increase the value of trashers. What I suspect, though, is that by penalizing fast-peaking decks, your group has by association devalued the cards that enable those decks.

I read Spice Merchant and see "trashes a Copper and does more stuff". In particular, "trashes a Copper and lets me play a Terminal". That's powerful early almost without regard to what's on the board. When you've said, though, that nobody wants it unless other Hinterlands cards are around (and when nothing in Spice Merchant cares about other cards or any of the "when buying/gaining" theme of Hinterlands), it suggests to me that your group is stuck in some pretty firm groupthink about how Dominion is played and what cards are good. That's not really a bad thing; I suspect that the vast majority of groups do that. But I also suspect that your house rules inform and reinforce that groupthink.
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I agree with everyone else. Your suggestions change the game, I don't see them improving things in the general sense. They may improve them for you group, that's fine. But your assumptions on how cards inter operate I disagree with almost every card from every set works well with cards in every other set. I can't see at all how Spice Merchant becomes useless when used in any combination. You may randomly come up with a set of kingdoms where there are better options then Spice Merchant. However that can happen to any card.

You play how you like, but it's not better. I find it worse in almost every way to be honest.
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lomn wrote:
BimmyJim wrote:
Maybe I just suck at giving good examples then haha.
Mostly I think it's what Martin just said above -- you've significantly skewed the game by changing the victory conditions. That will likewise skew the value of cards as well as your ability to evaluate them.

Maybe he's right that long games further increase the value of trashers. What I suspect, though, is that by penalizing fast-peaking decks, your group has by association devalued the cards that enable those decks.


Pretty much. And as I mentioned earlier, our group still plays with standard rules at times.. but it's nice sometimes to play a longer game, where you can over time make a near-perfect deck (rather than having to worry about getting provinces pretty much ASAP)
 
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Actually, if you just ignore that the game doesn't end when the Provinces are gone, rush to 5 Provinces and buy Duchies/Estates after that, you probably win nearly as often as if the game would have just ended when the Provinces are gone.
It just takes some more time and is really ugly in the end.
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Can we get this moved to Variants?
(I have that forum blocked for a reason...)
 
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DStu wrote:
Actually, if you just ignore that the game doesn't end when the Provinces are gone, rush to 5 Provinces and buy Duchies/Estates after that, you probably win nearly as often as if the game would have just ended when the Provinces are gone.
It just takes some more time and is really ugly in the end.


In a 2 player game, yes. In 4 player with 16 Provinces, you probably want to get well over 25% of the available points to win, because the other three players aren't going to score equally well. You probably want to aim for about 1/3rd or so - 6 Provinces, 6 Duchies perhaps (roughly 53 points).
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Moved from Rules to Variants


darthnice wrote:
Can we get this moved to Variants?
(I have that forum blocked for a reason...)


Please just flag thread that you think would be better recived in other forums are 'wrong forum' - telling the author often results in double posts and more work for the admins. Thanks

(Also that's borderline rude ; ) )
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I truly am glad that you enjoy Dominion on any level. Also, impressed by your bold statements and innovation.

BimmyJim wrote:
Pretty much. And as I mentioned earlier, our group still plays with standard rules at times.. but it's nice sometimes to play a longer game, where you can over time make a near-perfect deck (rather than having to worry about getting provinces pretty much ASAP)

Yet, you keep saying that your variant allows for the construction of better or near-perfect decks instead of decks that just focus on quickly getting Provinces. The hallmark of a good Dominion deck is that it acquires the most victory points faster than the others. Your idea of a near-perfect deck doesn't change the fact that it still must win by getting more victory points faster than the rest; all you did was change the upper limit of available points and the time allowed to get them.

The rest of your changes limit the almost-infinite possibilities of the entire game and upset the modular inherent values of many, many individual cards. That isn't a bad thing. It will help to keep each game of your Dominion variant feeling like each other instead of a completely different game (where mainstream Dominion feels more like a system and each kingdom a different game). I can see how a group of players would appreciate that cards they know won't suddenly become like total strangers when in mixed company. I think you'll find that you sacrifice a great deal of the game's re-playable nature this way, though.

But when you tire of it, you can always revert to playing the rules as-printed and it'll be almost like an entirely new game to you (except that you do, on occasion, already play this way). Even if that just means not using Colonies & Platinums in every game or completely randomizing the kingdom between all boxed sets with no predetermined distribution. So, in the end, you probably really are lengthening your potential enjoyment of the game, merely by postponing the best for last.

For the record, the cards in each boxed set were not created to play best among themselves. They were all designed as a whole and portioned out into various boxes so that each box of cards would be playable without requiring all the rest. Many cards have been moved from one box to the other before final production and most boxes started out much larger than they are as we know them before being divided for economic reasons and thematic ties.
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