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Author Topic: Dominion Strategy: Then, Now, and the Future  (Read 4245 times)

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DG

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Re: Dominion Strategy: Then, Now, and the Future
« Reply #25 on: September 05, 2017, 01:46:36 pm »
+2

Maybe we could have a "Game of the week" or "Game of the Month"?
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LastFootnote

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Re: Dominion Strategy: Then, Now, and the Future
« Reply #26 on: September 05, 2017, 01:50:45 pm »
+2

Maybe we could have a "Game of the week" or "Game of the Month"?

The Dominion subreddit does that. Which isn't to say we couldn't do it here too, just thought I'd mention it.
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FemurLemur

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Re: Dominion Strategy: Then, Now, and the Future
« Reply #27 on: September 05, 2017, 02:00:06 pm »
+4

1)
More expansions came out. Cards got more complicated.

This is a big deal. If you view every card as a new rule, then this makes is harder to learn the rules of Dominion before even beginning to play a game in the "big leagues", i.e. full random. Every expansion added makes full random less and less friendly regardless of the strategy advice out there. There are reasons why collectible card games like Magic have cards that come in and out of rotation, and it's not just to force you to buy new cards. It's also to keep the complexity down and make the experience better for new players. When Magic is simpler than Dominion (and we're almost there, if not there already), then we've lost one of the main selling points of Dominion and what certainly attracted me to the game as a new player originally.

This is a good point. The best way to learn is to go one set at a time. The problem is that for most of us who here have gone all-in on Dominion, the most fun way to play is completely random. But completely random would be so intimidating if you just learned the rules to the game.

Imagine being thrown in to Dominion and trying to figure out a kingdom with potions, shelters, debt, a journey token, a tavern mat, split piles, knights, non-Moat reactions, and an overpay card. It's a bit overwhelming when you don't have the benefit of knowing anything about the expansions themselves and are just viewing cards in isolation (which is what an advanced player would do, but is not good for beginners). I for one would be happy to participate in Base Set-only matches if it means improving the experience for new players and helping the game continue to grow.

I don't think that all of this means that Dominion has hit some sort of ceiling or anything though. I get concerned when I hear people talk about the game getting too complex or becoming too much like a CCG. Everything that made us all love this game still exists. Nothing has changed except perception. Before, there was a small handful of boxes. Now there are a lot of them. That just means we need a reliable way to help new players understand that they have direct control over how far they want this game to go for them. They can get one or two sets, or go crazy and get them all. But the only way they can do the latter is if they take it one step at a time.

This is the kind of game that you can crank out a bunch of matches of in short bursts, so it's not like there's some unbridgeable gap where we'll never be able to get new players caught up. Newbies can get games under their belt, the problem is, how do they know that they should be starting out small? A solid mobile app and would be a huge way to keep a continuous stream of interest in the game. For better or worse, Dominion has always had a bit of a bumpy ride on the online front. But this could be resolved at any time, and new players would stumble upon this game and it would see new popularity. It's not like it's too late for Dominion or anything. A fun app is a fun app. New players aren't going to discriminate because it took a few years for it to exist.

Of course, I don't think it'll ever surge to the #1 spot on BGG again. But, the thing is, most board gamers that I know who frequently use BGG can't be content with their already massive collection. They're always hunting for the next new and exciting thing. Plus they aren't really "new" players, because they have already been there and done that back when Dominion first came out. Dominion has serious potential with a mass market though (as was already demonstrated when the game first came out, and has been demonstrated by its inclusion in retail chains like Target). I'm obviously biased, but I don't see the number of expansions as some sort of problem Dominion faces. Really I just think there needs to be a completely solid app and website, and they need to have a very deliberate approach to helping suck new players in one expansion at a time. In the meantime though, suggestions you and others have made would go a long way. Having a good beginner-friendly community and bringing back the blog would make a big difference.
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BBL

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Re: Dominion Strategy: Then, Now, and the Future
« Reply #28 on: September 05, 2017, 03:05:58 pm »
+3

Fantastic first post, fantastic thread. Kudos to everyone involved.

I posted it earlier, but I also believe that post-Guilds Dominion changed quite profoundly. This has nothing to do with the quality of the expansion (Adventure is one of my favourite expansion), but with the raw numbers. In pre-Adventures times (and pre-2nd edition) quite often you could see these games with 2-3 overly dominant cards and many ignorable ones. These were perfectly playable just by following the Quist ranking. You felt smart if you picked an unknown combo, but more often than not, someone else had already posted it on the Wiki or on fds. It was a good time for being a beginner, because a few simple rules always remained true (Trash down, Ignore Scout, forget Chancellor, go with Witch, Sea Hag or Rebuild, if nothing works better: Big Money). You could not compete with top players, but you could feel like a beginning expert.

Adventures's cards, events and the 2nd edition shattered these truths: Suddenly you would have 5 to 7 viable roads in any match and tweaking these to the ebbs and flows of the game became even more crucial. It is like Titandrake said: The games revolved less about knowledge of the 'behaviour' of individual cards, but about understanding about the general rules that govern certain card types. It became more interesting, but also more demanding. It is interesting to look at the flow of the expansions:

1) When you played with Base (1st), Intrigue (1st), Seaside and Prosperity you would see certain cards return all the time. Knowledge and application of their combos was essential. This could feel quite repetitive after a while. (Remember the Goko campaigns? ;-) )
2) When you added Hinterlands, Dark Ages, Cornucopia, Alchemy and Guilds, you would see certain strategies return all the time, still with many matches dominated by certain cards. Combos increased in number, but they were still essential to know for good players. This already felt varied and interesting, though after the 100th Rebuild / Witch / Mountebank game you started looking for change.
3) When you added Adventures and 2nd edition, you would see certain strategies return from time to time, but games started to become far more balanced. Combos hardly matter anymore, as now they are both more and less of them in any game: Far more small combos in any given match, but much less chance for an unstoppable combo to appear in you total amount of plays.  You started to begin missing certain cards that you had not seen for quite some days in full random. And basically every game now became a surprise that needed to be studied very closely.
4) Empires just by itself upped the bar further: With Landmarks and all the new events, it became absurd to speak about cards without context. Even Silver now costs 2! It was not possible anymore to 'learn' a card in full random, because it could take weeks until any given card had a chance to appear again in a setup where it mattered. There are classical combos now that are even counter-productive, depending on the Landmark. I also believe that this is the main reason why people do not post more specific card articles anymore: Why bother with any specific strategy if the likelyhood of these specific circumstances to appear is so low?

Do not get me wrong: I do not see this development as a decline from a 'Golden Age' at any given time. The opposite is the case: I can play Dominion for hours and hours and every game is like a new world - to me this is the perfect game. Every new expansion brings this promise closer to fulfillment. Eventually I will get all the mssing expansion and I will spent my life, discovering all the subtle nuances. If you ask which game to bring to a lonely island, I cannot understand anyone saying anything but Dominion in its current state. It is literally millions of games, all in this enjoyable, clean and easy ruleset.

I do not believe that Nocturne CAN reduce the complexity.  It contains at least 30 new cards that will alter each individual game further, separating them from each other, more than they have ever been. By then it might take you MONTHS to see your favorite card again, at least in a relevant context. You could swap any of the expansion in the development mentioned above and you would still have the sam effects in place.

I agree with crj: We are shifting away from this game of knowledge, where the perfect realization of the known priciples determined the better player. Dominion turns into a game, where looking 'behind the Matrix' is key for victory - the most abstract and flexible player wins. On an emotional level I find this a bit sad: It is tough to say goodbye to the wellknown heroes of ye olde time, that you hardly see anymore around: Farewell Chapel, Witch, Library. You had your great heroic deeds in the spotlight, now step back in the row and do your share of work, like all the other cards.

But you know: Just play Nocturne with Base only and you are back in the golden days, where BIG CARDS with BIG COMBOS mattered. (Historical analogy not intended, but now hard to ignore ;-) )
« Last Edit: September 05, 2017, 03:15:09 pm by BBL »
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werothegreat

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Re: Dominion Strategy: Then, Now, and the Future
« Reply #29 on: September 05, 2017, 03:45:19 pm »
+1

I don't know why exactly the blog stopped.

theory got busy.
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Re: Dominion Strategy: Then, Now, and the Future
« Reply #30 on: September 05, 2017, 03:55:32 pm »
+6

I don't know why exactly the blog stopped.

theory got busy.

This.  I'd like very much to transfer ownership of the blog to others - I haven't played Dominion in a long time and I feel bad that I'm in my position.  But I always hesitated because I don't have faith that whoever takes over isn't going to just fade away himself/herself, and really it feels like something the community should own collectively.

I'd love to hear your thoughts however.
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LastFootnote

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Re: Dominion Strategy: Then, Now, and the Future
« Reply #31 on: September 05, 2017, 04:12:39 pm »
+12

I'd like very much to transfer ownership of the blog to others - I haven't played Dominion in a long time and I feel bad that I'm in my position.  But I always hesitated because I don't have faith that whoever takes over isn't going to just fade away himself/herself, and really it feels like something the community should own collectively.

I'd love to hear your thoughts however.

My thoughts are: Whoever takes over might very well also fade away someday, but that's no reason not to transfer ownership. I mean when that happens the blog will (hopefully) be no worse off than it is now, and someday the new owner can hand it off to someone else. This same line of reasoning applies to the community owning it collectively; I feel like that's already sort of the case and would not be diminished under a new owner.

I nominate wero, if he wants to do it and thinks he has time.
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Re: Dominion Strategy: Then, Now, and the Future
« Reply #32 on: September 05, 2017, 05:21:13 pm »
0

I feel like in its current state the focus of the wiki is on pages for individual cards, but also has pages for concepts (virtual coin, handsize attack etc).

What would be the ideal composition of the wiki, in order to provide useful training to newer players?

My own experience, is that the individual card pages sometimes have useful insights, like pointing out that the card passing bit of masquerade is NOT usually the main use of the card, but it's the abstract concept pages which I found most useful.

If I know how to understand +cards, +coins and trashing in a wider game context, then I should have no need for an article on Steward. Does that make sense? On the other hand, maybe considering Steward is a useful step on the way to getting a good understanding of +cards, +coins and trashing.
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Triumph44

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Re: Dominion Strategy: Then, Now, and the Future
« Reply #33 on: September 05, 2017, 08:14:34 pm »
+1

Fantastic first post, fantastic thread. Kudos to everyone involved.

I posted it earlier, but I also believe that post-Guilds Dominion changed quite profoundly. This has nothing to do with the quality of the expansion (Adventure is one of my favourite expansion), but with the raw numbers. In pre-Adventures times (and pre-2nd edition) quite often you could see these games with 2-3 overly dominant cards and many ignorable ones. These were perfectly playable just by following the Quist ranking. You felt smart if you picked an unknown combo, but more often than not, someone else had already posted it on the Wiki or on fds. It was a good time for being a beginner, because a few simple rules always remained true (Trash down, Ignore Scout, forget Chancellor, go with Witch, Sea Hag or Rebuild, if nothing works better: Big Money). You could not compete with top players, but you could feel like a beginning expert.

Adventures's cards, events and the 2nd edition shattered these truths: Suddenly you would have 5 to 7 viable roads in any match and tweaking these to the ebbs and flows of the game became even more crucial. It is like Titandrake said: The games revolved less about knowledge of the 'behaviour' of individual cards, but about understanding about the general rules that govern certain card types. It became more interesting, but also more demanding. It is interesting to look at the flow of the expansions:

1) When you played with Base (1st), Intrigue (1st), Seaside and Prosperity you would see certain cards return all the time. Knowledge and application of their combos was essential. This could feel quite repetitive after a while. (Remember the Goko campaigns? ;-) )
2) When you added Hinterlands, Dark Ages, Cornucopia, Alchemy and Guilds, you would see certain strategies return all the time, still with many matches dominated by certain cards. Combos increased in number, but they were still essential to know for good players. This already felt varied and interesting, though after the 100th Rebuild / Witch / Mountebank game you started looking for change.
3) When you added Adventures and 2nd edition, you would see certain strategies return from time to time, but games started to become far more balanced. Combos hardly matter anymore, as now they are both more and less of them in any game: Far more small combos in any given match, but much less chance for an unstoppable combo to appear in you total amount of plays.  You started to begin missing certain cards that you had not seen for quite some days in full random. And basically every game now became a surprise that needed to be studied very closely.
4) Empires just by itself upped the bar further: With Landmarks and all the new events, it became absurd to speak about cards without context. Even Silver now costs 2! It was not possible anymore to 'learn' a card in full random, because it could take weeks until any given card had a chance to appear again in a setup where it mattered. There are classical combos now that are even counter-productive, depending on the Landmark. I also believe that this is the main reason why people do not post more specific card articles anymore: Why bother with any specific strategy if the likelyhood of these specific circumstances to appear is so low?

This is why I think learning the game slowly, one set at a time, is the best way for newer players to enjoy themselves and to not be overwhelmed by the complexity of the whole thing.  Dominion as an IRL game has a nice limiting factor - it's just really challenging to play more than say, 5 different sets at a time.  I've done it and setup takes forever - you just want to play.  I think you can still get a fine game with 3 sets.  If it's 3 pre-Dark Ages sets, it might be a little bland and the strategy might be obvious.  That's the thing, though - I think newer players need to play those kinds of games to understand the fundamentals.  I'm glad that spamming one card is seldom the path to victory anymore in full random.  But newer players need to have that time with those cards to see them in those more limited situations to see their power.   

If I could recommend a way to start the game, I would recommend 20 Base only games first, then work in some Seaside over the next 20 games, then play 10 Seaside only, then work in some Intrigue with Base+Seaside, etc, play some Intrigue only, then widen the scope again.  Something like that, anyway. 

This discussion does have me a little concerned that only people who picked up the game before 2015 and have played thousands of games will be the only people to carry the torch for it.
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werothegreat

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Re: Dominion Strategy: Then, Now, and the Future
« Reply #34 on: September 05, 2017, 09:38:25 pm »
+7

I nominate wero, if he wants to do it and thinks he has time.

Beyond Awesome had a similar idea, but more of me being a co-runner with himself.  He has quite a few ideas about doing podcasts and game commentaries.  I guess my idea would be a bit more prosaic - I was thinking of having two weekly posts: one aimed at newer players (which I could write myself), and one aimed at expert players (which I would not be comfortable writing, mainly as I've found expert players tend to say my expert advice is bad), which could be a rotating guest post.

Ideas for new player posts:
-basic strategic concepts (why is it good to trash, how do I engine)
-individual card articles
-Let's Explore [expansion of the week] - go through a set's themes and mechanics, what's interesting about it, the impact it's had, why you should add it to your collection, etc.
« Last Edit: September 05, 2017, 09:41:47 pm by werothegreat »
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Re: Dominion Strategy: Then, Now, and the Future
« Reply #35 on: September 05, 2017, 10:52:21 pm »
+4

Hi everyone, first post.

I'd like to echo what a lot of people are saying here about limiting the number of sets beginners are exposed to, so that they don't get overwhelmed. This might have been unsaid because it's obvious, but I also think the order in which you introduce sets can also be important, and not just the base set. I personally was introduced to Dominion very late compared to most people here, I think in 2014, and the first set I played with after Base was Prosperity. Now Prosperity is a very good set (although with a lot of duds, ironically a lot of the Treasures) but looking back on it I think it might hampered my development as a player to have been introduced to it before the other sets. The set is very Treasure-based (obviously, given its theme) so it took me a long time to truly grasp the power of treasureless engines. I think a lot of early players go through a "just buy treasures; that always works" phase after their Village Idiot phase, but for me I think that phase was especially long because Base and Prosperity had shaped my paradigms so much. I remember when I first saw Masterpiece, I thought it was a great card because of all the Silvers it gave.

I think that Intrigue is the best expansion to introduce after Base, and not just because of chronology, but because it has some of the best treasureless deck enablers in the game. It took me a long time to warm up to Intrigue because so many of the cards blew my synapses in terms of what I thought was a good card. The first time I read Minion's text, I just did not get it at all. "+ $2 and +1 action? Isn't that just the same as a Silver? And why on earth would I want to discard my whole hand and then draw a puny 4 cards? How will I play my treasures then?" It only clicked for me after I played someone on a Minion board (and they crushed me, of course.) I think Intrigue is one of the best expansions, period, now that Scout and co. were shown the door while the set still has classic cards that open up new strategies.
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werothegreat

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Re: Dominion Strategy: Then, Now, and the Future
« Reply #36 on: September 05, 2017, 10:59:50 pm »
+2

I think that Intrigue is the best expansion to introduce after Base, and not just because of chronology

Personally I'd advocate for a total chronological introduction of sets, shifting Alchemy as necessary.  Maybe introduce it around Dark Ages, either just before or just after.
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Re: Dominion Strategy: Then, Now, and the Future
« Reply #37 on: September 05, 2017, 11:57:58 pm »
+4

Beyond Awesome had a similar idea, but more of me being a co-runner with himself.  He has quite a few ideas about doing podcasts and game commentaries.  I guess my idea would be a bit more prosaic - I was thinking of having two weekly posts: one aimed at newer players (which I could write myself), and one aimed at expert players (which I would not be comfortable writing, mainly as I've found expert players tend to say my expert advice is bad), which could be a rotating guest post.

Ideas for new player posts:
-basic strategic concepts (why is it good to trash, how do I engine)
-individual card articles
-Let's Explore [expansion of the week] - go through a set's themes and mechanics, what's interesting about it, the impact it's had, why you should add it to your collection, etc.

Well, I cannot speak for others, but I would also be interested in writing the occasional beginner's article. I think I would have been doing so over the last couple years if the blog had been active.
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Donald X.

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Re: Dominion Strategy: Then, Now, and the Future
« Reply #38 on: September 06, 2017, 12:03:39 am »
+21

You know if this changeover happens in a timely fashion, the front page could have Nocturne previews.
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Re: Dominion Strategy: Then, Now, and the Future
« Reply #39 on: September 06, 2017, 01:09:30 am »
+1

Well, I cannot speak for others, but I would also be interested in writing the occasional beginner's article. I think I would have been doing so over the last couple years if the blog had been active.

Your Poacher "article" was a great example of how a paragraph or two can be accessible and useful for beginners. The blog could use more of it.

I think the problem is that the standard for articles is too "high" these days. I think articles should mostly be for novice players like you, but most players here are not novices and so would prefer very complex articles with lots of exceptions and simulation data.

Like, for instance, what would I say about Poacher. Probably I would say, it's a good early buy. Be careful about buying too many, since once the pile runs out they get worse. It's better in 2-player games because piles don't run out as quickly. Try to gauge if there's another pile that's likely to run out early, and if there is then don't get many Poachers.   Then I might talk about some combos for when Poachers do start discarding cards, like Tunnel or Diplomat. This is all really basic stuff, though; not useful for most of the people who actually post on the forum.

Oh, another thing I'd say about Poacher: it's fun to snipe the last couple if your opponent has most of them. Take that!
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Re: Dominion Strategy: Then, Now, and the Future
« Reply #40 on: September 06, 2017, 07:03:19 am »
+1

You know if this changeover happens in a timely fashion, the front page could have Nocturne previews.

And there could be a blog post right now pointing people to the ShuffleIT tournament.

The menu tabs could be updated (card lists, youtube, glossery, New to Dominion? page, etc.).

I liked it when the blog highlighted choice material from the forum and filed it under General Strategy, Annotated Games, etc.

Beyond Awesome had a similar idea, but more of me being a co-runner with himself.  He has quite a few ideas about doing podcasts and game commentaries.  I guess my idea would be a bit more prosaic - I was thinking of having two weekly posts: one aimed at newer players (which I could write myself), and one aimed at expert players (which I would not be comfortable writing, mainly as I've found expert players tend to say my expert advice is bad), which could be a rotating guest post.

Ideas for new player posts:
-basic strategic concepts (why is it good to trash, how do I engine)
-individual card articles
-Let's Explore [expansion of the week] - go through a set's themes and mechanics, what's interesting about it, the impact it's had, why you should add it to your collection, etc.

Well, I cannot speak for others, but I would also be interested in writing the occasional beginner's article. I think I would have been doing so over the last couple years if the blog had been active.

I would be interested in helping out, writing, curating content, editing/reviewing before publishing, etc. if the main blog runner needed it.

Once a week, twice a week, at most, seems like an ideal frequency for new blog posts.
« Last Edit: September 06, 2017, 07:04:44 am by Polk5440 »
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Re: Dominion Strategy: Then, Now, and the Future
« Reply #41 on: September 06, 2017, 08:32:04 am »
+4

I'd give wero control of the blog. He's clearly not going anywhere, he writes stuff on Dominion far more consistently than any of us, etc. This doesn't mean he has to be the only author, or even the primary author, of articles - just that he's the person who is here to do it.

I need to write more. It was a lot easier to write when it wasn't so easy to instead play Dominion.
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Re: Dominion Strategy: Then, Now, and the Future
« Reply #42 on: September 06, 2017, 08:47:19 am »
0

I'd give wero control of the blog.

Agreed.
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Re: Dominion Strategy: Then, Now, and the Future
« Reply #43 on: September 06, 2017, 11:52:13 am »
+2

AdamH has also expressed interest.

If others are interested in taking on an administrative role please let me know.  I'll reach out to a few people.
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Re: Dominion Strategy: Then, Now, and the Future
« Reply #44 on: September 06, 2017, 11:56:40 am »
+5

AdamH has also expressed interest.

If others are interested in taking on an administrative role please let me know.  I'll reach out to a few people.

Oh god, please do NOT give AdamH control of f.DS. He will impose his ridiculously strict posting standards on everybody and the forum will suck.
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Re: Dominion Strategy: Then, Now, and the Future
« Reply #45 on: September 06, 2017, 12:07:01 pm »
+3

Why not put it up to a vote and let them both make their cases?

Personally, I am in favor of wero. All personal feelings about both players aside, wero has put a ton of work into the wiki and I trust him to stay active or find a replacement that will when the time comes. From a historical standpoint, he's an obvious choice.

On the other hand, as lf ninjad, Adam has had a bumpy history with the users here. It's not necessarily a deal breaker, but it's something to consider. If it's a question of capability, he's certainly qualified.
« Last Edit: September 06, 2017, 12:16:01 pm by jsh357 »
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Re: Dominion Strategy: Then, Now, and the Future
« Reply #46 on: September 06, 2017, 12:13:34 pm »
0

Why not put it up to a vote and let them both make their cases?

Well I mean nobody's stopping them from making their own cases. Except Adam's self-imposed exile, I guess. Because he left after he couldn't convince anybody that the forum should be much more heavily moderated. NEVER FORGET.

As for a vote, I guess we should wait on that until theory reaches out to whoever else he wants to.
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Re: Dominion Strategy: Then, Now, and the Future
« Reply #47 on: September 06, 2017, 12:17:36 pm »
0

On the other hand, as lf ninjad, Adam has had a bumpy history with the users here. It's not necessarily a deal breaker, but it's something to consider. If it's a question of capability, he's certainly qualified.

Please explain his qualifications to me.
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Re: Dominion Strategy: Then, Now, and the Future
« Reply #48 on: September 06, 2017, 12:25:20 pm »
+3

On the other hand, as lf ninjad, Adam has had a bumpy history with the users here. It's not necessarily a deal breaker, but it's something to consider. If it's a question of capability, he's certainly qualified.

Please explain his qualifications to me.

He knows how to run a blog, works in software, and has even done some community outreach for dominion in his area. I'm not saying those qualify him for sure, but they are considerations.

For the record, if I didn't run discord already, I'd enter the race.

Btw, big respect for theory on being willing to make this change. It's really hard to give up your digital baby, especially when it's been so successful.
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Re: Dominion Strategy: Then, Now, and the Future
« Reply #49 on: September 06, 2017, 12:35:36 pm »
+16

To be clear - the forum need not go with the blog.  The blog is a Wordpress-hosted site where various people can become "authors" and contribute content on their own.  The forum is its own universe and honestly I'm OK handling that for now.  I like power.
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