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Author Topic: Eliminating the obvious self-destruct aspect of game?  (Read 13506 times)

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Watno

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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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Fragasnap

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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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Witherweaver

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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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Hertz_Doughnut

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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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Donald X.

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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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Donald X.

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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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Donald X.

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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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Hertz_Doughnut

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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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GendoIkari

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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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Donald X.

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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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SCSN

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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.

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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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liopoil

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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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werothegreat

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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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