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Author Topic: What do you like/dislike about dominion?  (Read 2575 times)

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dlesar

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What do you like/dislike about dominion?
« on: October 19, 2017, 07:34:59 pm »
+1

I'm thinking about making a card game (what avid gamer hasn't thought about it?).

So I'm wondering, what are things you like about dominion, and more importantly, what things annoy you?
I say "more importantly" not because I'm trying to tear down dominion, which is a great game, but because learning from the past is the best way to improve the future.

Thanks in advance for your input!
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markusin

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Re: What do you like/dislike about dominion?
« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2017, 07:50:19 pm »
+2

A criticism I've heard about Dominion that I think is legitimate is that one can easily lose to the dumb strategy of just buying treasure cards, particularly when you start playing for the first time. New players will look at all the shiny action cards, and feel punished for exploring them if someone else plays the dullest of dull money strategies.

I've played a couple of games of Marvel Legendary for example, and there is no viable to win in that game without making use of the "main attraction" of the game. That is, the cards that vary from game to game (the equivalent of the "kingdom" in Dominion). This is accomplished by having at best an equivalent to Silver, but no equivalent to Gold.

So, basically imagine Dominion, but Gold just flat out does not exist in the game's supply. Perhaps this was more an issue with 1st edition Base and Intrigue, but make sure that if you have a variable setup, that at least a portion of what comes from the varying setup will become central to the game.
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Beyond Awesome

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Re: What do you like/dislike about dominion?
« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2017, 09:35:23 pm »
+1

First player advantage.

Otherwise, I love Dominion.
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Awaclus

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Re: What do you like/dislike about dominion?
« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2017, 09:51:41 pm »
+1

I like 2-player games and dislike the fact that it doesn't scale that well with more than two players.
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Re: What do dislike about dominion?
« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2017, 10:01:37 pm »
+1

losing
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Cave-o-sapien

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Re: What do you like/dislike about dominion?
« Reply #5 on: October 19, 2017, 10:05:43 pm »
+2

That first shuffle.
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Re: What do you like/dislike about dominion?
« Reply #6 on: October 20, 2017, 02:05:57 am »
0

I love how there's like 10^100 different configurations of possible setups -- you never play the same game twice.
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ThetaSigma12

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Re: What do you like/dislike about dominion?
« Reply #7 on: October 20, 2017, 08:18:11 am »
+2

you never play the same game twice.

Well, nobody's stopping you from playing the same setup twice if you like it so much.
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Co0kieL0rd

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Re: What do you like/dislike about dominion?
« Reply #8 on: October 20, 2017, 09:12:03 am »
+1

I'm also trying to design a card game and Dominion is, of course, one of many inspirational games. I've already thought about which aspects of it are great and which I'd try to avoid.

Here's what I like about Dominion, in order from most to least:

  • Modularized games: no game is like the other, unless you want it to; endless possibilities and varying complexity appropriate for the players' level of experience
  • You build your own deck while playing it: this is the base for strategic gameplay, going from zero to full control; This mechanic feels unique and rewarding
  • Dominion feels and looks abstract (not really a problem for me, but may discourage some people from trying it)
  • Second player advantage, although some cards from later expansions turn it on its head
  • Shuffle luck can sometimes feel very bad in a game that rewards good deckbuilding and careful decisions; OTOH, most other card games start just as bad, and stay like this because there is little or no way to control draws or shuffles, like you can do frequently in Dominion
  • Turns may take forever, especially with experienced players playing engines; this is the negative side of being able to chain a vast amout of actions every turn to achieve high control over one's deck
  • The steep learning curve: experienced players playing well will beat new players in almost 100% of games, and this doesn't change after several games, unless the new player is already card game oriented; this makes it somewhat unsuitable for a group (or pair) of players where some of them are casual and some aren't
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Commodore Chuckles

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Re: What do you like/dislike about dominion?
« Reply #9 on: October 20, 2017, 01:11:20 pm »
0

The main thing I dislike is how overpowered a lot of the attacks are. It makes the game more boring when the correct strategy is to always get the junker.
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Re: What do you like/dislike about dominion?
« Reply #10 on: October 20, 2017, 01:18:58 pm »
+1

That first shuffle.

I should clarify that this is something I both like and dislike:

1) It adds a healthy amount of luck to the game. This is great for casual play, because it helps make the game enjoyable by players of different skill levels.

2) On the other hand, when playing competitively, this amount of luck can be frustrating.
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Re: What do you like/dislike about dominion?
« Reply #11 on: October 20, 2017, 04:10:56 pm »
+1

I don't love the fiddly cardboard bits (i.e. +1 Card, +1 Action).
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Re: What do you like/dislike about dominion?
« Reply #12 on: October 20, 2017, 04:14:53 pm »
+2

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josh56

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Re: What do you like/dislike about dominion?
« Reply #13 on: October 20, 2017, 04:47:29 pm »
+2

Games like Mage Knight or Core Worlds that feature deck-building as one among several mechanisms whereas Dominion is a monomechanic game. Such games often feel a bit abstract and are thus fairly skill dependent (the luck vs. skill thing Cookielrod mentioned).

I like the incredibly replayability. An average Euro might become stale and repetitive after a dozen plays or so. It is still a good game but it doesn't surprise you anymore, you know it inside out and only work on being tactically precise. Not so in the case of Dominion. A good player might be able to evaluate the entire Kingdom more or less correctly after setup but I am not good player and am often surprised by something I did not see or evaluated wrongly at the start of the game.

And while the interaction is moderate and indirect in many Kingdoms the newer expansions have made the game more and more interactive. No more mere pile-watching, now you gotta careful watch your opponents' decks to decide whether Chariot Race is good or bad, now that Battlefield and that nasty opponent who buys and later trashes Estate makes you wanna green far earlier than you would have done otherwise.
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Re: What do you like/dislike about dominion?
« Reply #14 on: October 20, 2017, 05:08:20 pm »
0

I like the incredible Balance. I play a lot of other games, and Dominion is amazingly well-balanced. Yeah, some cards are better then others, but no strictly-worse cards.
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SettingFraming

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Re: What do you like/dislike about dominion?
« Reply #15 on: October 20, 2017, 06:16:49 pm »
+2

I hate the cards that play terribly like Page.

I like the cards that play really well like pretty much all of them.

The overall design of Dominion is wonderful--I don't really hate anything there, and any exacerbation of luck, etc., has more to do with specific cards than the game design itself. And the fact that I only really truly dislike about 4 cards is saying something for a game of this scale.
« Last Edit: October 20, 2017, 06:18:45 pm by SettingFraming »
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markusin

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Re: What do you like/dislike about dominion?
« Reply #16 on: October 20, 2017, 06:52:23 pm »
+3

The main thing I dislike is how overpowered a lot of the attacks are. It makes the game more boring when the correct strategy is to always get the junker.

Trashing cards often feel automatic as well. It seems like it's almost always correct to get a trasher of some sort. I've played Legendary where the only trashing available (depending on the setup) is something like a Bonfire that only trashes one card at a time. Still worth going for, but you really have to think about the opportunity cost now.

Stonemason and Trader feel like the few examples of trashers that feel like you seriously have to weight the benefits of skipping them if you just want them for trashing.
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tim17

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Re: What do you like/dislike about dominion?
« Reply #17 on: October 20, 2017, 09:24:52 pm »
+1

I wish that games less often felt like they were decided by the first shuffle or two (not that this happens all that often, but it's really frustrating when it does). Recently I've been thinking about whether it would work to add some blanket rule to every dominion game that lets you mulligan a hand (shuffle the hand back in and redraw), in exchange for your opponent receiving some number of vp chips. The amount would have to be enough so that you don't just mulligan a bunch of times looking for a great draw; only when you feel like the draw you got makes the game borderline unwinnable or something.
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stechafle

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Re: What do you like/dislike about dominion?
« Reply #18 on: October 21, 2017, 09:29:13 am »
0

I like the variety of game play caused by the variable Kingdom setup. I often come out of a game thinking of a better strategy that may not even apply in the next game.

My biggest dislike is shuffling a lot.
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sonotoridesu

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Re: What do you like/dislike about dominion?
« Reply #19 on: October 21, 2017, 10:41:08 pm »
+1

I'm not an online player so my main complaints boil down to storage and setup. I use a BCW Super Monster with dividers by the same company for Dominion and the thing is extremely large and heavy. It doesn't fit in any of my shelves so I have to put it on the top of a shelf. Luckily my shelves are fairly short so I can get it down with ease but I can't imagine doing the same if I had taller shelves and used one of those Broken Token cases, which probably adds at least 5-10lbs of weight to add to all that cardboard. I also basically can't take it with me anywhere that doesn't have nearby parking since it's so heavy. I'm also afraid of having it stolen or even accidentally dropping it and having all the cards spill out and unsort themselves. That's basically an afternoon that I'm not getting back.

As for setup, I have all my cards alphabetically sorted in the Super Monster but pulling 10 piles out and then later putting them back and then pulling another 10 out is pretty cumbersome. I actually got a few deckboxes with multiple compartments with all the basic cards (Estate, Silver, etc.) in their own compartment so I can just open them up and have all of those set up beforehand so I can skip having to pull them out of the box and put them where they belong. It makes initial setup a lot less painful, but I wish I could figure something out for the kingdom cards too.

Also, a pro that I don't think has been mentioned yet is how the game has so many expansions that add to the depth of the game without much additional complexity. I feel like most eurogames past the first expansion add a bunch of things that distract from what makes the base game fun and Dominion never does that.
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Re: What do you like/dislike about dominion?
« Reply #20 on: October 22, 2017, 03:39:22 pm »
0

Like: it's the best 2p strategy game there is. It's everything I like about Magic minus the cost and the RPS feeling. Multiplayer is also really fun.

My only dislike is that I can't predict how long a game will take before I sit down to it.

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Re: What do you like/dislike about dominion?
« Reply #21 on: October 22, 2017, 05:01:25 pm »
0

I also basically can't take it with me anywhere that doesn't have nearby parking since it's so heavy.

Sometimes when I'm in the mood to play Dominion but not carry it I draw a few random kingdoms at home, and bring those in deckboxes rather than bringing the whole binder.  It's a little annoying putting them away afterwards as I sort by set, if your whole collection is alphabetical it's not so bad.

I like the variability, and as sonotoridesu mentioned the expansions generally don't mangle the game.  I like that when playing with less experienced players it's not hard to adjust the kingdom complexity either by not choosing certain sets, or removing drawn cards, and they only need to know how 10 cards work not how every card works.  There's generally low downtime, and non-political attacks.

I don't like the 4p game (randomness, short piles, kingmaking) and to a lesser extent 3p. I also don't like Adventures.  Cards that self-synergize can be annoying (I'd have liked Minion to be replaced in Intrigue 2, with a version that doesn't have the +$2 choice for a few reasons).  I don't like that the online version has no bots and can't generate random kingdoms as well as some phone or web solutions.
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Re: What do you like/dislike about dominion?
« Reply #22 on: October 22, 2017, 06:35:01 pm »
+3

Pro:
- Non-political
- Mechanically clean
- Just the right amount of luck
- Never the same

Con:
- Downtime (not always)
- Very abstract
- Lack of interaction (not always)
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ackmondual

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Re: What do you like/dislike about dominion?
« Reply #23 on: October 23, 2017, 01:18:10 am »
+1

======================== LIKES
+if you only have 1 buy, then you don't need to keep track of coins left after a buy

+It inspired the creation of many other DBG.  Not all of them are great, but not all of them are trash either.  Ascension is awesome, especially since it has 9 expansions on digital with 5 promos to boot.  I also enjoy Thunderstone, Nightfall, ad Puzzle Strike

+can be played by experts, and newcomers alike

+Eurogame type where there's no player elimination, and direct politicking
+getting Victory cards naturally stunts your engine and slows down leaders*+
+Interesting decision point of when to go green, or continue engine
+Some unique setups where interesting decision points at times lead you to question if you should be going green even earlier in the game, and getting engine even late game

+Very modular
+leave out cards you don't particularly like
+sets still have some central theme and mechanics
+you have the option to bring a subset of cards, and leave the rest at home.  Will only last for 1 to 7 unique games, but the box/containter to carry them is only the size of a "Magic long box", a rectangular box like Thunderstone, or even a regular square bg box (like Ticket To Ride)

+not a CCG
+2 to 4 expansions are still affordable, easy to store and carry, but still provide a lot of options

+It's popular enough that you can typically just play someone else's copy

+Freeware or ad-supported randomizer apps help a lot with setup.  Multiplatform too! (And., iOS, web)

+very well playtested
+rules are thorough - It's much easier to talk about all the things they did wrong, as opposed to all the things they did correctly

+it's 200% of a game!

======================== DIS LIKES
-keeping track of actions can be very cumbersome.  If not that, but a combo of the 3.. Actions, buys, and coins

-Some legit complaints from gamers include that it really feels dry... an exercise to optimize and draw as many cards as possible, while keeping in mind factors like Buys and Actions
-Theme is quite lacking

-There are games where someone's already won.  But you still need to play out the other half of the game for it to end.  (luckily games go by fairly quickly, so it only feels relatively long)

-not a game for both beginners AND experts, together
Vets need to coach newbies, need to give newbies handicaps, or both parties need to be OK with the skills gap (vets need to be OK that newbies are going to do things like buy Saboteurs, and not provide enough challenge and balance to things that require some player intervention.  Newbies need to be OK that vets are going to know the combos, and do some amazing things)

-soo many, freaking cards
if you have all expansions, you're looking at 2200 to 3000 cards to store
-it's not a CCG, but it can still feel like one with all 11 expansions, 8 promos, and 2 second editions
-other card games manage to get in a great experience too in fewer cards

-if you play a lot, you "sort of" have to get sleeves.
Adds to cost of the game, and storage space woes (as mentioned in the bullet point above)

-Some "elitist groups" formed within the Dominion community
Someone asked why Victory cards that you gained can't be set aside.  The response could've been clean and direct, citing something similar to what I said above (go to *+).  Instead, his response was "Is this even a real question?".  Another comment citing he's been teaching Dominion for years at conventions, and has never heard anybody ask that question. Well, you know what they say in Dominion... you can play for a long time and still learn new things. I guess it's too taboo to be able to accept that you can teach the game for a long time and still hear all sorts of questions

-due to natural "expansion fatigue" with any game, players are less likely to have later expansions

-randomizer app is needed to avoid lugging around an extra 200-something randomizer cards


-Unfortunately, it's 200% of a game because half the game is setting it up, the other half is shuffling, another half is playing the actual game, and the last 50% of the game is putting it away!
« Last Edit: October 23, 2017, 01:21:20 am by ackmondual »
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