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Author Topic: Eliminating the obvious self-destruct aspect of game?  (Read 14039 times)

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timchen

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Eliminating the obvious self-destruct aspect of game?
« on: September 04, 2015, 10:17:06 am »
0

Haven't played IRL for a while. I suddenly realize that it is because to play with casual friends, this game takes some serious time to setup, yet it is pretty easy to for them to screw themselves by buying random things, especially too many terminal actions.

Here's some simple thought: what if the game does not punish as severely too many actions in your deck? Does the game become more interesting or not?

Two ways I come up with:
1. every turn start with 2 actions.
2. At the start of your buy phase, you may set aside action cards from your hand, whenever you set aside a card, draw a card from your deck.
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Mic Qsenoch

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Re: Eliminating the obvious self-destruct aspect of game?
« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2015, 10:31:16 am »
+7

If the problem is disparity between bad players and good players, this is only going to exaggerate that. Good players will be able to exploit the new rules to do way more than any player who just happens to be buying too many terminals.

I mean, being able to play both of my Bureaucrats isn't really going to help me much.
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SCSN

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Re: Eliminating the obvious self-destruct aspect of game?
« Reply #2 on: September 04, 2015, 10:37:30 am »
+13

Do you know whether they are actually bothered by their terminals colliding and by "screwing themselves by buying random things"? Because when I started out I never once thought "damn, terminal collision", but always "yes, options!", and I liked buying lots of different stuff to find out what it did.
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timchen

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Re: Eliminating the obvious self-destruct aspect of game?
« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2015, 11:17:32 am »
0

It's more from my own perspective though. They may be enjoying it, but I am not as much.

@Mic Qsenoch: I don't think it is obvious why it is going to exaggerate the difference. For example if you play base, now you certainly won't be able to play big money-smithy and win. And while play both your bureaucrats probably won't help you all that much, playing one and a smithy will. Also you probably are an expert if you buy two bureaucrats early. Most of the novice I see tend to buy different cards.
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popsofctown

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Re: Eliminating the obvious self-destruct aspect of game?
« Reply #4 on: September 04, 2015, 11:22:42 am »
+3

It'd be interesting to design a new deckbuilder where 5$ terminals that didn't collide properly could always be played as a Silver.  Mage Knights has a system that is a good deal like that, and I love it. 


I think playing designed kingdoms is a better idea than using a dominion variant in your case though.  Try playing with Fishing Village a lot.  Terminals so very rarely slam collide dead in a Fishing Village environment.

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Witherweaver

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Re: Eliminating the obvious self-destruct aspect of game?
« Reply #5 on: September 04, 2015, 11:23:08 am »
+1

If the problem is disparity between bad players and good players, this is only going to exaggerate that. Good players will be able to exploit the new rules to do way more than any player who just happens to be buying too many terminals.

I mean, being able to play both of my Bureaucrats isn't really going to help me much.

It's the most powerful card in the game.. if you could play two of them, it would be like twice the power.
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popsofctown

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Re: Eliminating the obvious self-destruct aspect of game?
« Reply #6 on: September 04, 2015, 11:24:18 am »
+4

Also you probably are an expert if you buy two bureaucrats early.

Can I sig this?
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Also you probably are an expert if you buy two bureaucrats early.

Mic Qsenoch

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Re: Eliminating the obvious self-destruct aspect of game?
« Reply #7 on: September 04, 2015, 11:39:27 am »
+4

@Mic Qsenoch: I don't think it is obvious why it is going to exaggerate the difference. For example if you play base, now you certainly won't be able to play big money-smithy and win. And while play both your bureaucrats probably won't help you all that much, playing one and a smithy will. Also you probably are an expert if you buy two bureaucrats early. Most of the novice I see tend to buy different cards.

I believe that anything which adds more options/complexity will help strong players out more than bad players, and both your suggestions do that. I do think this is obvious.

The Bureaucrat thing was just a joke, you can replace it with any two random terminals (they can even be different). If the new players are just buying terminals randomly their decks are going to be even worse against a deck which is buying terminals purposefully and gets to start with +2 actions.
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drsteelhammer

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Re: Eliminating the obvious self-destruct aspect of game?
« Reply #8 on: September 04, 2015, 12:11:30 pm »
0

You have two different players:

An inexerienced player who buys random terminals and one good player who buys cards a bit closer to the optimal way of playing. What he does is obviously more effective and makes more of his cards when he can play them more frequently. That means he is more efficient.

Now you give both players more rescources and you really think this comes close to benefitting the new player? Obviously not.

If I were to 100games against Mic, my best bets are the weak boards where both can only play 1 terminal+bm because that comes close to a coin flip. If I were to play with your first suggested rule, I'd definitely lose more.
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markusin

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Re: Eliminating the obvious self-destruct aspect of game?
« Reply #9 on: September 04, 2015, 12:51:48 pm »
+1

With 2 actions per turn, stuff like discard + Masquerade/Torturer/Council Room or Cultist chain + terminal will always be possible. Heck, the stronger players will just get more Junkers than usual and crush poor newbies. 1 action per turn limits the potential that players have and I can only see that benefiting newer players.

I think it's better to include villages the first few games. Either they over-terminal and see the value of villages, or they go village idiot and realise they haven't done anything notable with them. Of course you can just warn them about having too many terminals and village idiocy.

My experience with too many terminals early on is similar to SCSN's. I'd get the feeling of having options, while simultaneously getting a sense of the relative value of the cards. I'd think, "Hey, I almost never feel like playing Thief/Chancellor over these other cards. Maybe I should avoid getting them in the first place next time".
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SCSN

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Re: Eliminating the obvious self-destruct aspect of game?
« Reply #10 on: September 04, 2015, 01:03:17 pm »
+2

It's more from my own perspective though. They may be enjoying it, but I am not as much.

So you'd like more of a challenge for yourself? In that case I'd just handicap myself rather than change the rules for everyone. The specific handicap you pick should change per board because the same thing can be trivial on one yet impossible on another. E.g. you could go for "every VP I score only counts as 0.6VP", which would be really really tough on a board where BM-Smithy is the best strategy, yet laughably easy on a board with Worker's Village, Junk Dealer, Watchtower and Goons.

Other stuff you could consider are starting with 5 Curses instead of 3 Estates, getting -1VP (or more) per turn you take, all cards being $1 more expensive for you, etc. Just looking at the board and trying to think up a cool challenge for yourself should already add some excitement.
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LastFootnote

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Re: Eliminating the obvious self-destruct aspect of game?
« Reply #11 on: September 04, 2015, 02:55:58 pm »
+10

Rather than changing your scoring or you starting deck, I would suggest creating challenges for yourself that are invisible to other players. For instance, pick a Kingdom card that you think is going to be the key card in this game, then try to win without gaining it.
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timchen

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Re: Eliminating the obvious self-destruct aspect of game?
« Reply #12 on: September 05, 2015, 05:07:07 am »
+1

@pops: you can sig anything you want. :P

@SCSN: it is not that complicated. Maybe it is a subjective thing? Playing with casual friends, I also just want to enjoy the game in a casual way. Usually the way to casually enjoy the game for me is to play loosely and not worry as much who's going to win (while not letting my opponents know.) But the game becomes very boring if I play a big-money-ish loose deck without really counting how many treasure or terminals or VPs I have and I still win because my friends all screw up their deck.

@MicQ: yeah maybe, at the greatest scale of things, the skill differentiation is larger. That is, the player with the highest skill can obtain the highest win percentage vs. some refenence skill player. But I guess I am more interested in the win ratio between some moderate-ish play and mediocre. In this case I think for a lot of boards with 2 starting actions the win ratio will get closer.
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UmbrageOfSnow

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Re: Eliminating the obvious self-destruct aspect of game?
« Reply #13 on: September 05, 2015, 12:26:24 pm »
0

I am a very mediocre Dominion player and I agree with the big dogs, I think that change would increase rather than decrease the difference in winning chances among my real life friends.

But the suggestion about making up a sub-optimal goal is a good one, I've found that to be the most fun way to handicap a lot of board games and Dominion is absolutely rife with potential for worse-but-still-feasible strategies.  Don't play Big Money, play the dumbest engine you can think of.

I also think the using designed kingdoms suggestion is a good one: something we do is I design the first kingdom we use, then we swap out 2 or so cards each game, either whatever got bought the most/least or players' choice.

Why do you think bonus actions will make the win ratio closer?
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gamesou

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Re: Eliminating the obvious self-destruct aspect of game?
« Reply #14 on: September 05, 2015, 12:48:00 pm »
+13

If the goal is to give beginners more chances to win, I suggest setting the number of free Actions to 0 instead of 2.
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JacquesTheBard

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Re: Eliminating the obvious self-destruct aspect of game?
« Reply #15 on: September 05, 2015, 02:37:49 pm »
0

This is an interesting conversation, but I find IRL that when I offer boosts to beginners or volunteer to take a handicap, they often refuse it. Maybe that's because so many of the players are used to board gaming in general or feel they can pick it up. Maybe they don't feel that competitive, or suspect that they might still lose and don't want the embarrassment of losing to a handicapped player. Maybe the best option is just to nerf yourself without telling anyone.
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markusin

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Re: Eliminating the obvious self-destruct aspect of game?
« Reply #16 on: September 05, 2015, 02:37:54 pm »
+13

If the goal is to give beginners more chances to win, I suggest setting the number of free Actions to 0 instead of 2.
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Hertz_Doughnut

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Re: Eliminating the obvious self-destruct aspect of game?
« Reply #17 on: September 05, 2015, 02:50:51 pm »
+1

With brand new players, my first game is just treasures and vp cards. This teaches the flow of the game (actions, buy, clean up) and the importance of using money to get to the province level.

Once this game is "boring", we add smithy. Some people avoid him altogether, others over-buy, but it's important that the game doesn't present too many options so that our friends are overloaded with "analysis paralysis".  Hopefully, some will pick up on the idea that there's a "sweet spot" of just the right # of Smithys.  Next, add Militia and Laboratory.  After that they're probably ready for a 10-card kingdom.

Point being, these practice kingdom games go really quickly,  show the fundamentals of the rules, AND basic dominion strategy.

Then with the 10-card kingdom, I personally always play Basic Big Money (i.e. only buy normal treasures and VPs) until my friends can consistently beat it.  They will figure out that they are over-buying actions once they realize they keep losing to a guy who doesn't buy any.
« Last Edit: September 05, 2015, 02:52:06 pm by Hertz_Doughnut »
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markusin

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Re: Eliminating the obvious self-destruct aspect of game?
« Reply #18 on: September 05, 2015, 03:29:46 pm »
+1

With brand new players, my first game is just treasures and vp cards. This teaches the flow of the game (actions, buy, clean up) and the importance of using money to get to the province level.

Once this game is "boring", we add smithy. Some people avoid him altogether, others over-buy, but it's important that the game doesn't present too many options so that our friends are overloaded with "analysis paralysis".  Hopefully, some will pick up on the idea that there's a "sweet spot" of just the right # of Smithys.  Next, add Militia and Laboratory.  After that they're probably ready for a 10-card kingdom.

Point being, these practice kingdom games go really quickly,  show the fundamentals of the rules, AND basic dominion strategy.

Then with the 10-card kingdom, I personally always play Basic Big Money (i.e. only buy normal treasures and VPs) until my friends can consistently beat it.  They will figure out that they are over-buying actions once they realize they keep losing to a guy who doesn't buy any.

As far as showing the fundamentals of the rules, I like including the 3-card kingdom of Village, Smithy, and Market. Sure Smithy + Big Money might be the most optimal, but these cards show how the basic rules for how vanilla bonuses affect your turn. They also serve as a reminder of the rules. Surely +Buy and +Action wouldn't have meaning unless you had a limited number of buys and actions, right?

In my experience, Market is pretty satisfying for new players when they can play Market then Smithy and then use their big cash to buy two things like a Market and a Silver or something.
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Donald X.

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Re: Eliminating the obvious self-destruct aspect of game?
« Reply #19 on: September 06, 2015, 04:00:14 am »
+18

With brand new players, my first game is just treasures and vp cards. This teaches the flow of the game (actions, buy, clean up) and the importance of using money to get to the province level.
With brand new players, I have always played the actual game, the actual game that the game is, with a full 10 kingdom cards. That way they get to play the actual game. Furthermore, I have always included whatever cards I was playtesting; no time to lose. Here are the rules, now here are a few extra rules for this expansion. I have made minor concessions towards first-timers, mostly just, not using the very wordiest or trickiest cards in game one.

This has all worked out; I have never failed to teach the game. New players automatically simplify things for themselves by not reading the cards they can't afford, by buying a card after reading it without reading the alternatives.

It's straightforward to explain, as these things come up, that it's bad to buy too many terminals, that they don't want Estate turn one, and so on. They come in last that first game but they were expecting to. The game is still fun.

The game is not hard to teach. There are not many rules. I explain the turn sequence and win condition, what that adds up to overall, I explain the +'s and gain/trash and any expansion mechanics, then I go back and tell them the turn sequence again because it just takes no time.

I always teach the actual game for my other games too. When I teach Nefarious, it's with two Twists and the expansion. If a Twist seemed too much to ask of new players, it's not in the main game.

If a game is too hard for new players it's in trouble, because a lot of people will encounter it in a situation with nothing but new players. Dominion has obv. passed that hurdle.
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Awaclus

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Re: Eliminating the obvious self-destruct aspect of game?
« Reply #20 on: September 06, 2015, 04:11:49 am »
+2

The last time I taught someone Dominion, I cherry picked two kingdoms with pretty complex best strategies (one was a Horn of Plenty engine, the other one was not an engine but I forgot what it was), went for both of them, and won both games. The guy was clearly intrigued by the game, but didn't want to play more of it with me for some reason.
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Hertz_Doughnut

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Re: Eliminating the obvious self-destruct aspect of game?
« Reply #21 on: September 06, 2015, 10:36:28 am »
+3

With brand new players, I have always played the actual game, the actual game that the game is, with a full 10 kingdom cards. That way they get to play the actual game.

Just curious, do you play your hardest, then, too? Or something like my Basic Big Money strategy?

I'm my experience, here are the things that scare a person off of a game:
1) A feeling that the game is too complicated / that they would have to invest too much time to learn (why I've had trouble getting friends to adopt Twilight Struggle and Napoleon's Triumph)
2) A feeling that there is an insurmountable talent/money gap (e.g. if a grandmaster taught you how to play chess, or if you learned Magic with a rich kid who bought the ultra-rare best cards and bragged about their price)
3) A feeling that the game just takes too long (Napoleon's Triumph, Twilight Struggle, Agricola)

For those reasons, I've had better luck with my approach. In the first No Actions kingdom, they find that the game is simple and quick. They always ask how much it cost me to buy all the cards, but they can see that the game itself is democratic... we both can play with Platinum, even though I physically own the Platinums. (It's not like that in many games, consider Magic cards and golf clubs.)


I suppose it also matters who's playing. If your friends are boardgamegeek regulars, that's different from trying to teach a pair of 5-year-olds or old men whose idea of a card game is Pinnochle.

Also in effect, Donald, your name is on the box. People are more generous with their time when playing my original games, just because they personally know me. They feel like they're helping me, giving me suggestions, rooting for it to become a hit, etc.

When I've used your method with Dominion, most people aren't interested in playing a 2nd game. That's why I bothered to come up with my method.  And, empirically, it works.  After a few months, I begged a couple players to try Dominion again, who preiously had a bad taste in their mouth from their original session. We used my method.  Now they like it.

Kind regards,
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Donald X.

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Re: Eliminating the obvious self-destruct aspect of game?
« Reply #22 on: September 06, 2015, 01:51:34 pm »
+7

Just curious, do you play your hardest, then, too? Or something like my Basic Big Money strategy?
I basically never do either of those things, except in the online version. I am too interested in having fun and getting testing done. I am always trying my hardest to win, but it's given the constraint of either testing whatever thing needs testing, or pursuing a strategy that looks fun.

I suppose it also matters who's playing. If your friends are boardgamegeek regulars, that's different from trying to teach a pair of 5-year-olds or old men whose idea of a card game is Pinnochle.
I have taught a significant range of people. They are rarely friends; my friends also learn my games, but you know, just once each, which is a small fraction of the learning going on.

Also in effect, Donald, your name is on the box. People are more generous with their time when playing my original games, just because they personally know me. They feel like they're helping me, giving me suggestions, rooting for it to become a hit, etc.
Those are unrelated things, unless you're telling me that your name is on some boxes. In my experience, from people I've known for years to people I've just met that evening, anyone not having fun is out of there so fast.

When I've used your method with Dominion, most people aren't interested in playing a 2nd game.
Again Dominion has to be learnable by a group of people that do not know the game, zero experienced players, no hand-holding from anyone. The rulebook says how to play and all it gives new players is, here's the 10 to use for your first game. And despite the rulebook's lack of anything easier, Dominion passed this test over and over in the real world, endless new people learned it and enjoyed it, with 10 cards in game one. If your experience is different, well. There's a much bigger pile of evidence to the contrary. You move me not. There are things I would change about the main set if doing it today, but for sure not your awful suggestion of, game one there's no game.
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Re: Eliminating the obvious self-destruct aspect of game?
« Reply #23 on: September 06, 2015, 02:34:09 pm »
+7

@Hertz

Having played dozens of various tabletop games, I don't think this would ever be the good approach if I wanted to attract noobies to any of them. When playing a new game, I have to immediately get (during the course of one game) why is this particular game good and interesting, why this particular game would attract me. If the game is bad or boring, I'd just abandon it and play a different game, the one I know is fun. And I genuinely can't think of many things less boring than playing Dominion with just treasures and VP cards.

My experience complies with that. A few months ago, for example, I played 3-player game with two guys who just learned Dominion two games ago. After my engine won me the game, two guys were intrigued. They even said So that's one way how to play a game and looked genuinely interested. If I, on the other hand, insisted of playing the board with just e.g. Village, Smithy and Militia, I don't doubt they wouldn't be nearly as hooked up. Same applies for me as well - what drew me to Dominion was seeing stronger players using interesting cards, combos and interactions, not painstakingly learning one or two new cards at a time.

All of that is true for other games, as well. Beginners will e.g. learn to love chess because they are shown how exciting and interesting the game can be; not because someone told them: The first few games we'll play only with king and pawns.


@OP

Not much to add to what others have already said here. If your fellow players face too many terminal collisions, the solution is to improve their game (buy less terminals/more villages), not change the fundamental rule.
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Hertz_Doughnut

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Re: Eliminating the obvious self-destruct aspect of game?
« Reply #24 on: September 06, 2015, 07:31:18 pm »
+8

You move me not. There are things I would change about the main set if doing it today, but for sure not your awful suggestion of, game one there's no game.

Well, I don't know what to say.  I was posting my thoughts to an OP that sounded like the kind of thing I had run into with new players.  So I gave him a "Here, try this.  It worked for me."  My suggestions were not warmly welcomed.

Here's my perspective.  If you want someone to buy a car, you first get them to take a test drive.  That's what the no-action kingdom is.  Nobody considers it a real game, nobody takes it competitively.  It's just a quick exercise of how the flow of the turn and game goes.  After a couple Provinces are bought, they see the gist, and then you add Smithy.  The whole thing goes very quickly.

I agree that not everyone needs this kind of start, but it worked for me, when introducing the game to my wife, my dad, my uncle, my brother-in-law, and my son.  All of said people would be in your "out of there so fast" category... that apparently you are fine leaving be.  I'd rather play Dominion than Pinochle at family gatherings, so I dumbed down the game a bit to make it more accessible.  And it worked.  And I'm catching heck for it.

Life is strange.
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Re: Eliminating the obvious self-destruct aspect of game?
« Reply #25 on: September 06, 2015, 08:32:19 pm »
+7

Here's my perspective.  If you want someone to buy a car, you first get them to take a test drive.  That's what the no-action kingdom is.

But on the test drive, you don't tell them they can only use the first gear, because if you do, they'll think the car is bad.
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Re: Eliminating the obvious self-destruct aspect of game?
« Reply #26 on: September 06, 2015, 08:44:23 pm »
+1

Here's my perspective.  If you want someone to buy a car, you first get them to take a test drive.  That's what the no-action kingdom is.  Nobody considers it a real game, nobody takes it competitively.  It's just a quick exercise of how the flow of the turn and game goes.  After a couple Provinces are bought, they see the gist, and then you add Smithy.  The whole thing goes very quickly.
I would liken it more to "if you want someone to buy a car, you first get them to learn how to drive a car." For a lot of us, we are showing gamers or simply tech-savvy people Dominion: They now how to drive a car, so spending time showing them how the PRNDL works is simply boring to them. They have a hundred other sources of entertainment they haven't tried yet so if one doesn't catch-on fast why bother continuing?

If I wanted to teach my grandfather (who is a perfectly smart person [physicist and a teacher], but not a person to play games or seek out new forms of entertainment) Dominion, I would likely start with a no-Action-Kingdom and probably add a Kingdom Treasure or two. It harkens back to the days of games like Monopoly wherein you have one or two big decisions to make and then the game largely plays itself out.
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Re: Eliminating the obvious self-destruct aspect of game?
« Reply #27 on: September 06, 2015, 08:46:38 pm »
0

But that isn't the kind of game Dominion is.
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Re: Eliminating the obvious self-destruct aspect of game?
« Reply #28 on: September 06, 2015, 09:14:37 pm »
+5

You know what?  If you go to playdominion.com and press Tutorial, the first kingdom with Tutor Thomas is only basic treasures, basic VPs, and Smithy.

How did that "awful suggestion" (aka "only first gear") method make it to the official online version of the game?


Fragasnap hit the nail on the head.  It's all about who you're trying to reach and their previous experience with (Euro-ish) gaming.  I'm not trying to re-write the rulebook or anything, just giving a suggestion of something to try if your recruit looks visibly overwhelmed by a 10-card kingdom.  If they're a Puerto Rico veteran, do it Donald's way.  But if their basic idea of a game is charades, try Tutor Thomas' method.  It's not mutually exclusive.
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Re: Eliminating the obvious self-destruct aspect of game?
« Reply #29 on: September 06, 2015, 09:34:10 pm »
+4

The first few games we'll play only with king and pawns.
Monopoly: No properties.
Cosmic Encounter: No powers.
Magic: The Gathering: Just lands.
Puerto Rico: Just the Mayor.
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Re: Eliminating the obvious self-destruct aspect of game?
« Reply #30 on: September 06, 2015, 09:34:31 pm »
+1

Well, I don't know what to say.  I was posting my thoughts to an OP that sounded like the kind of thing I had run into with new players.  So I gave him a "Here, try this.  It worked for me."  My suggestions were not warmly welcomed.
I'm not here to yell at fans; play the game however you want. I disagree strongly enough with your approach, and the OP suggestion of 2 actions, to report on mine.

All of said people would be in your "out of there so fast" category... that apparently you are fine leaving be.
I don't know them, you don't know me. It's just not a good direction for a conversation.
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Re: Eliminating the obvious self-destruct aspect of game?
« Reply #31 on: September 06, 2015, 09:36:00 pm »
+23

You know what?  If you go to playdominion.com and press Tutorial, the first kingdom with Tutor Thomas is only basic treasures, basic VPs, and Smithy.

How did that "awful suggestion" (aka "only first gear") method make it to the official online version of the game?
You are making an Argument from Authority using Making Fun as your authority.

I mean.
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Re: Eliminating the obvious self-destruct aspect of game?
« Reply #32 on: September 07, 2015, 12:20:41 am »
+10

Donald,

I love your game.  Apparently I unintentionally wandered into something you have strong feelings about.  Sorry for that.  I also assumed that playdominion.com created Tutor Thomas with your input.  Guess I was wrong, and sorry for making that assumption.

If I were in your shoes, I would have been delighted to hear of a method of introducing my game to people that were not grabbed by the normal method.  I'd be totally supportive of anything that created more potential Dominion fans.  I mean, I own a business, and when someone brings me a new customer, I don't care how they brought them in, I love that people are spreading the word about my products.  And if it's a method I'm not used to, I inquire about it to see if I can repeat that success.

But you're not me, and that was not your reaction.  I'm not saying that judgmentally, just by way of explaining why I've been so dumbfounded on my end today.  I mean I had zero expectation that my first post would even be noticed by you.  Then to wake up this morning and find you criticizing it, my only thought was that I must have been misunderstood... so I continued to politely explain my method, only to incur further criticism.

You've made yourself clear.  Thanks for sharing your input.  I hope you understand that I had no intention of making you upset or even bothering you at all.

Kind regards,
David
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Re: Eliminating the obvious self-destruct aspect of game?
« Reply #33 on: September 07, 2015, 12:51:01 am »
0


If a game is too hard for new players it's in trouble, because a lot of people will encounter it in a situation with nothing but new players. Dominion has obv. passed that hurdle.

Quote
Again Dominion has to be learnable by a group of people that do not know the game, zero experienced players, no hand-holding from anyone. The rulebook says how to play and all it gives new players is, here's the 10 to use for your first game. And despite the rulebook's lack of anything easier, Dominion passed this test over and over in the real world, endless new people learned it and enjoyed it, with 10 cards in game one. If your experience is different, well. There's a much bigger pile of evidence to the contrary. You move me not. There are things I would change about the main set if doing it today, but for sure not your awful suggestion of, game one there's no game.

On one hand, this makes a lot of sense. But on the other hand, a great number of my favorite games are things I wouldn't have ever wanted to have learned from reading a rulebook, nor would I want to teach them by telling people to go read the rulebook. Most of the Eurogames I play are in this category. And when it's a game where the person teaching it has only played once or twice, then often some minor things will be taught wrong. After I learn a game from someone else, I like to then read through the rulebook to see if there's anything we did wrong, and often there is.  But these are still great games, and games that have been quite successful.
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Re: Eliminating the obvious self-destruct aspect of game?
« Reply #34 on: September 07, 2015, 07:20:39 am »
0

Honestly, I think Ascension is a better intro to deckbuilders.

-don't have to worry about restricted actions/buys
-fewer cards to memorize (there are only 5 that are always out, and the rest are ever-changing anyway)

It lets players whose previous board game experience is only Monopoly to get a feel for play-play-shuffle-shuffle.

Once they've played a round or two of that, THEN show them Dominion.  Say it's a little more complicated, a bit more restrictive, but a much deeper and much more fulfilling game.
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Re: Eliminating the obvious self-destruct aspect of game?
« Reply #35 on: September 07, 2015, 09:57:19 am »
+3

Except if your intro to deckbuilders is Ascension, you may well decide that deckbuilders aren't very fun, and won't be as willing to learn other ones like Dominion.
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Re: Eliminating the obvious self-destruct aspect of game?
« Reply #36 on: September 07, 2015, 11:13:18 am »
0

It'd be interesting to design a new deckbuilder where 5$ terminals that didn't collide properly could always be played as a Silver.  Mage Knights has a system that is a good deal like that, and I love it.
Quote
Honestly, I think Ascension is a better intro to deckbuilders.
I like the Mage Knights idea. Not to derail the conversation, I really enjoy Star Realms, which is similar to Ascension (5 cards out, no "+action" limit). Though I feel the strategy is plenty deep, I never felt like "oh that entire playstyle I used as a novice is obviously counter-productive". Compared to ascension, I feel I learned it more quickly - how the factions are themed, and the importance of theming your deck.

Quote
I think playing designed kingdoms is a better idea than using a dominion variant in your case though.  Try playing with Fishing Village a lot.  Terminals so very rarely slam collide dead in a Fishing Village environment.
I agree with this - carefully constructed kingdoms can be good with new players. The balancing point is some players like the random factor, so that's worth assessing on a per-case basis.
« Last Edit: September 07, 2015, 11:16:33 am by ancientcampus »
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Re: Eliminating the obvious self-destruct aspect of game?
« Reply #37 on: September 07, 2015, 12:45:02 pm »
+1

You've made yourself clear.  Thanks for sharing your input.  I hope you understand that I had no intention of making you upset or even bothering you at all.
I'm not mad; I just posted to say how I teach Dominion and how it's gone.
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Re: Eliminating the obvious self-destruct aspect of game?
« Reply #38 on: September 07, 2015, 12:52:10 pm »
+1

On one hand, this makes a lot of sense. But on the other hand, a great number of my favorite games are things I wouldn't have ever wanted to have learned from reading a rulebook, nor would I want to teach them by telling people to go read the rulebook. Most of the Eurogames I play are in this category. And when it's a game where the person teaching it has only played once or twice, then often some minor things will be taught wrong. After I learn a game from someone else, I like to then read through the rulebook to see if there's anything we did wrong, and often there is.  But these are still great games, and games that have been quite successful.
I'm not quite sure how to connect this up with the rest of the conversation. It's always better to have a player teach you a game rather than learn it from a rulebook; sadly the box can't include an experienced player. It is unlikely to benefit a game if people get the rules wrong. The most successful game ever (Magic: The Gathering) has too many rules to learn them all; only high-level judges actually know all the rules. It's not that that makes Magic better though; it's strictly bad.
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Re: Eliminating the obvious self-destruct aspect of game?
« Reply #39 on: September 07, 2015, 01:52:44 pm »
+1

The first few games we'll play only with king and pawns.
Monopoly: No properties.
Cosmic Encounter: No powers.
Magic: The Gathering: Just lands.
Puerto Rico: Just the Mayor.


Catan:  No robber, no development cards, no longest road, no trading
Lords of Waterdeep:  No lords, no buildings, no intrigue cards
Pandemic: No Epidemic cards

----

All of those having been said, I want to mention the odd exception, which is CGE in general, and Vlaaaaaada Chvatil in particular.  Through the Ages, Tash-Kalar, Mage Knight, Alchemists, even Galaxy Trucker all have truncated "first play" versions.

However, I've never played, nor would I teach, the truncated versions.
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Re: Eliminating the obvious self-destruct aspect of game?
« Reply #40 on: September 07, 2015, 03:14:05 pm »
0

Even Agricola has a truncated first game version.
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Re: Eliminating the obvious self-destruct aspect of game?
« Reply #41 on: September 07, 2015, 03:31:47 pm »
+17

Being a fan of keeping things simple, I like to introduce people to chess by means of an empty board. It forces them to focus on the only questions that really matter: why are we here on planet earth? What is the nature of space and time, the nature of nature, the nature of thought?
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Re: Eliminating the obvious self-destruct aspect of game?
« Reply #42 on: September 07, 2015, 05:44:30 pm »
+7

Personally, I love it when I try to learn a game but find the meaning of life instead.
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Re: Eliminating the obvious self-destruct aspect of game?
« Reply #43 on: September 07, 2015, 06:25:00 pm »
+2

The first few games we'll play only with king and pawns.
Monopoly: No properties.
Cosmic Encounter: No powers.
Magic: The Gathering: Just lands.
Puerto Rico: Just the Mayor.


Catan:  No robber, no development cards, no longest road, no trading
Lords of Waterdeep:  No lords, no buildings, no intrigue cards
Pandemic: No Epidemic cards

----

All of those having been said, I want to mention the odd exception, which is CGE in general, and Vlaaaaaada Chvatil in particular.  Through the Ages, Tash-Kalar, Mage Knight, Alchemists, even Galaxy Trucker all have truncated "first play" versions.

However, I've never played, nor would I teach, the truncated versions.

Forum Mafia: No Mafia
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Re: Eliminating the obvious self-destruct aspect of game?
« Reply #44 on: September 07, 2015, 06:42:01 pm »
+1

Personally, I love it when I try to learn a game but find the meaning of life instead.

You're not alone: my gamenight brought the local church to the brink of bankruptcy. I even went as far as donating them a copy of the Dominion base set to make amends, but the only thing they liked was the purifying effect of Chapel, especially in battles against Witch.
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Re: Eliminating the obvious self-destruct aspect of game?
« Reply #45 on: September 07, 2015, 10:44:15 pm »
+2

Beginners will e.g. learn to love chess because they are shown how exciting and interesting the game can be; not because someone told them: The first few games we'll play only with king and pawns.
This is actually how I learned chess. First just pawns with the goal being just to get a pawn to the other side, then kings were added, then swapped out for bishops, knights, etc. I was hooked immediately. However, I was 4 or 5 years old at the time, so teaching somebody how to play like this would be to treat them as a 4 or 5 year-old.
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Re: Eliminating the obvious self-destruct aspect of game?
« Reply #46 on: September 07, 2015, 11:46:09 pm »
0

Beginners will e.g. learn to love chess because they are shown how exciting and interesting the game can be; not because someone told them: The first few games we'll play only with king and pawns.
This is actually how I learned chess. First just pawns with the goal being just to get a pawn to the other side, then kings were added, then swapped out for bishops, knights, etc. I was hooked immediately. However, I was 4 or 5 years old at the time, so teaching somebody how to play like this would be to treat them as a 4 or 5 year-old.

It really all depends on the context of you teaching someone the game.  If someone comes to you knowing you're good at a game, wanting to learn to be a competitive player, you might want to bring down the complexity and start with the simple stuff, to make sure they have a solid grasp on everything, particularly since you know they'll stick around for multiple games.  On the other hand, if you're trying to convince a friend to play your favorite game, it's probably best to throw them into a full game, though not necessarily with all the optional bells and whistles (in the instance of Dominion, don't start off with Durations and Potions and Goons and...).
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Re: Eliminating the obvious self-destruct aspect of game?
« Reply #47 on: September 08, 2015, 12:15:22 pm »
+3

I have used methods similar to Hertz_Doughnut's method before.  Not as extreme as removing all action cards, but I taught a game with 3 kingdom cards once.  And I've played Smithy BM against someone for a first game while they were learning.

The kinds of people I have taught in this way are not hardcore gamers.  They are, like, friends, and family members.  People I want to convince to play some Dominion with me as a way to spend time together, and also as a favor to me, because I know I would hate Monopoly more than they will hate Dominion, as long as I make Dominion easy enough on them.  Is it the way to engender passion and love for the game and inspire a player who will play me in hundreds of deep, strategic games of Dominion? No, I guess not.  But I can't make anyone do that anyway.  Dominion is too much of an inbetweener.  The kind of people that would be willing to play the card game hundreds of time also play magic, and would rather play magic.  All the breadth board gamers I know liked playing it a couple times and don't want to play it anymore.  My best chance to play the game is by simplifying it at first and getting to play against people like my mom who would be intimidated by a game 1 true First Game engine, but will later offer me some enjoyment to see whether I can beat her Catacombs BM with Crossroads-Festival-Oracle while on family vacation. 

The guy at my local meetup board gaming group stopped bringing his dominion set because he is personally tired of it.  Yet I have 4 sets and never brought them to game night, never tried to teach a few uninitiated players dominion.  With those types of people I would be using a ten card kingdom and not pulling many punches for sure.  But I never did that because it's not worth the effort.  I would go to all this effort to teach the new players.  We'd play maybe 3 games.  Maybe next week, remember Dominion, isn't it cool? 2 more games.  After that, it would be 3 months before they'd touch it again, because they'd want to go back to breadth gaming.  And do the sales figures disprove that expectation? Not at all, those kinds of people would buy the game and two expansions and play it twice more.  It's what breadth gamers do, I don't know where they get all the money from. 

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Re: Eliminating the obvious self-destruct aspect of game?
« Reply #48 on: September 08, 2015, 01:07:46 pm »
+7

The way I see it, the primary goal when playing with a fresh recruit is to make Dominion attractive to them.  Thus, I try to tailor the experience to their personality.

Some people have prior experience with Eurogames, others don't.
Some people like to have a solid grasp of the fundamentals before moving on, others like being thrown into the deep end.
Some people expect to lose their first time playing a new game, others never want to play again if they lose the first time.  (Usually, because they assume that the game is "too hard" for them.)
Some people only have about a 30 minute attention span for a game, others are happy to play a 5-hour game of chess.
Some people learn best by reading a rulebook, others are kinesthetic learners and catch on faster by going through practice motions.
Some people are only 5-years-old and can barely read the cards.  ("Daddy, what does reveal mean?")
My sister-in-law hated the Witch, because she thought it was mean that her husband was giving her -1 curses.  (So we don't play with cursers when she's in the game.  If Witch was in the first game she played, she may not have ever played again.)



Generally speaking, "complexity" in a game is attractive to some people, while it scares off others.  Some people see complexity and start engaging with it, asking questions, make an attempt to grok it.  (I gather that just about everyone who reads this forum has this trait.)  Other people respond to complexity with a sense of being overwhelmed, and therefore not interested (like someone explaining differential equations to a person who doesn't know algebra).  Still others may be capable of understanding, but, seeing too much complexity, dismiss the subject with an "I don't have time for this" kind of approach. 

I'm a huge fan of complexity, and thoroughly enjoy the variant of Dominion where all kingdom cards are in play.  But pretend Magnus Carlsen was my recruit.  He definitely has a mind capable of learning all aspects of Dominion, has the patience to play a long game, and excels in complexity.  However, let's say I decided to introduce him to Dominion using the all-kingdom-cards variant for his first game.  And then I proceeded to pulverize him before turn 10 with a Band of Misfits combo.  I think we'd all understand if Magnus wasn't interested in a rematch.

My point is that for some people, the 10-card kingdom can have a similar initial effect as the 250-card kingdom.  If you see that deer-in-the-headlights look on the recruits face, and they aren't asking questions... you're giving them too much, too quickly.  Ask them if they want to play a practice round with just the fundamentals.  Since we can scale the amount of complexity present in the player's first game of Dominion, we can hit that sweet spot of "enough complexity to be interesting, but not so much that it turns them off of the game".

Kind regards,
David

PS For anyone who cares, my preferred way of learning a game is like how my brother taught me Terra Mystica.  He had played it before, so I told him to just start off playing the full game with me a few turns, and tell me when I screw up.  Once I felt like I had a grasp on all the mechanics involved (the power, the turn bonuses, etc.) we aborted that game, and started over playing a "real" game.

I learned Dominion by Donald's method.

I learned chess by rook-and-king vs king.
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Re: Eliminating the obvious self-destruct aspect of game?
« Reply #49 on: September 08, 2015, 01:33:56 pm »
+2

Just to share, I was introduced to Dominion by a friend.  When he introduces new players, especially those not familiar with games in general, he uses a simplified Kingdom (maybe up to five cards from the base set) to make it simpler to handle the game mechanics, then he adds in more cards and plays a couple more times until they get to a full 10-card kingdom.  Then he might do a specific kingdom (e.g., with a Witch to show Curses) or one of the recommended ones, or full random.  He might speed up or slow down the progression depending on if the person is a gamer or not. 

I think the idea is to not have new players get caught up with what all the cards do, since they really don't understand what those things mean anyway.  Once they get a handle on how a certain card operates ("Oh, Smithy is the one that gives me more cards."), then add on a couple new cards for them to digest.

I find this way of teaching very slow.  I think he did something similar when he first taught me.  I prefer just playing the full version from the beginning (as Donald suggest), and this is what I do when I teach people.  Though I might not do a fully randomized kingdom; I may select the beginner recommended one, or randomize but replace Attacks with something else, or something to that effect. 
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Re: Eliminating the obvious self-destruct aspect of game?
« Reply #50 on: September 08, 2015, 01:35:00 pm »
0

PS For anyone who cares, my preferred way of learning a game is like how my brother taught me Terra Mystica.  He had played it before, so I told him to just start off playing the full game with me a few turns, and tell me when I screw up.  Once I felt like I had a grasp on all the mechanics involved (the power, the turn bonuses, etc.) we aborted that game, and started over playing a "real" game.

This is basically how I prefer. 
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Re: Eliminating the obvious self-destruct aspect of game?
« Reply #51 on: September 08, 2015, 04:40:56 pm »
0

If I were teaching Dominion to someone prone to analysis paralysis, or who wasn't familiar with strategy games I'd consider using fewer than 10 cards for the first game kingdom.

For example: Workshop, Village, Smithy, Cutpurse, Festival, Junk Dealer.

This shows trashing, gaining, +Actions, +Buy, +Cards, and attacks, and has only simple cards.
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Re: Eliminating the obvious self-destruct aspect of game?
« Reply #52 on: September 08, 2015, 05:51:34 pm »
0

I really want to say, I don't think restricting the number of cards in the kingdom is all that different from running with the expectation that players will buy cards without reading all of the options available to them.
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Re: Eliminating the obvious self-destruct aspect of game?
« Reply #53 on: September 08, 2015, 08:05:58 pm »
+4

I really want to say, I don't think restricting the number of cards in the kingdom is all that different from running with the expectation that players will buy cards without reading all of the options available to them.

That's why he specified that he would make that rule change for people prone to analysis paralysis - people that would read every word of every card and agonize over every decision, even if you suggested they shouldn't. It can be really difficult to play games if you're tempted to think about everything, but the people who think this much also tend to really like Dominion once they get the hang of it. I think it's not a bad idea in certain circumstances.

---

In general, I like to teach people by putting the Base Cards on the table and then playing a few fake solitaire turns of Big Money, showing how the deck gets stronger with more money. Then I show how it gets better with a Smithy, then Village, then something to trash. All of this takes like two minutes - this isn't like a serious game or anything, just showing the mechanics. Then i set up the First Game and we play that. So nobody has to sit through a super boring "let's all take turns buying money and maybe a Smithy" fake game, but I can still show people the principle of Big Money, dangers of terminal collision, etc.
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zipppy

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Re: Eliminating the obvious self-destruct aspect of game?
« Reply #54 on: September 09, 2015, 07:44:52 pm »
+1

[...] And despite the rulebook's lack of anything easier, Dominion passed this test over and over in the real world, endless new people learned it and enjoyed it, with 10 cards in game one. If your experience is different, well. There's a much bigger pile of evidence to the contrary. [...]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Survivorship_bias

I'm not sure why you're being so defensive over this. Of course using a full kingdom works just fine with many/most people -- then again, many/most people trying out dominion are already game players. For all those that aren't, sometimes it works well to introduce new mechanics slowly.

Unless you're going to make a case that the most complicated cards are just as easy to learn in game#1 as basic mechanics, then it should follow that fewer mechanics=easier to learn.
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Donald X.

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Re: Eliminating the obvious self-destruct aspect of game?
« Reply #55 on: September 09, 2015, 11:13:32 pm »
0

[...] And despite the rulebook's lack of anything easier, Dominion passed this test over and over in the real world, endless new people learned it and enjoyed it, with 10 cards in game one. If your experience is different, well. There's a much bigger pile of evidence to the contrary. [...]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Survivorship_bias

I'm not sure why you're being so defensive over this. Of course using a full kingdom works just fine with many/most people -- then again, many/most people trying out dominion are already game players. For all those that aren't, sometimes it works well to introduce new mechanics slowly.

Unless you're going to make a case that the most complicated cards are just as easy to learn in game#1 as basic mechanics, then it should follow that fewer mechanics=easier to learn.
Maybe you're reading emotions into it that you enjoy reading into it, zipppy. I'm not sure why you're being so however you're being about this that's insulting.

Feel free to do a study of games that have simplified rules with half the components, and then the full game, and games that don't, desperately trying to control for everything that you can. Over here, time does not permit. If it helps you I'm content to leave it as "those obviously stupid things are obviously stupid," with no evidence. I don't need to convince anyone; you're not getting at the rulebook.

Easier mechanics makes it easier to learn those easier mechanics. It doesn't make it easier to learn things you aren't actually learning. What you must have meant then, is, that learning things piecemeal is easy than learning them all at once? Thankfully Dominion both has "easier mechanics" and teaches you them piecemeal. I'm way ahead of you there.
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timchen

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Re: Eliminating the obvious self-destruct aspect of game?
« Reply #56 on: September 11, 2015, 01:19:53 am »
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I'm not here to yell at fans; play the game however you want. I disagree strongly enough with your approach, and the OP suggestion of 2 actions, to report on mine.


Hmm. I guess the discussion in this thread took a strange turn when I was absent.

My proposal was not meant as a way to teach people the game. It was meant for my own enjoyment when playing with casual players. I think with such help their "naive" play without as much consideration of terminal collision is more effective. Certainly on the rule side there is drawback (more complicated) but that was not the concern.

But yeah, I agree with Donald's way of teaching the game. What I usually do is that if there is enough people I'll teach the game and watch them play. It's just that I do not enjoy as much playing among them this way. I can pursue a certain interesting strategy for my own satisfaction, but I don't want my friends to have the feeling that I am intentionally playing suboptimally.
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Witherweaver

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Re: Eliminating the obvious self-destruct aspect of game?
« Reply #57 on: September 11, 2015, 11:49:49 am »
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I think the entire topic (the original one) is a nonstarter.  I'm sure that adjusting the rules to "idiotproof" (so to speak) Dominion would just introduce new ways for people to make mistakes and play badly.  The only way to remove strategic errors from a game would be to make the game completely random, right?
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Deadlock39

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Re: Eliminating the obvious self-destruct aspect of game?
« Reply #58 on: September 11, 2015, 12:37:18 pm »
+2

I think the entire topic (the original one) is a nonstarter.  I'm sure that adjusting the rules to "idiotproof" (so to speak) Dominion would just introduce new ways for people to make mistakes and play badly.  The only way to remove strategic errors from a game would be to make the game completely random, right?

JSH was playing dominion randomly before it was cool.

GendoIkari

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Re: Eliminating the obvious self-destruct aspect of game?
« Reply #59 on: September 11, 2015, 12:42:45 pm »
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I think the entire topic (the original one) is a nonstarter.  I'm sure that adjusting the rules to "idiotproof" (so to speak) Dominion would just introduce new ways for people to make mistakes and play badly.  The only way to remove strategic errors from a game would be to make the game completely random, right?

JSH was playing dominion randomly before it was cool.


Eating while recording is a bad idea. I was trying to listen to the video with my headphones, but I actually had to stop it because it sounded like someone was chewing in my ear.
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