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trivialknot

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Dominion clones
« on: February 07, 2018, 06:11:46 pm »
+3

Have you played any deck builders besides Dominion?  Did you like them?  Why weren't they as good as Dominion?

I'll start.

Ascension and Star Realms are very similar deck builders, where instead of having supply piles, there's a tableau of randomized cards.  This leads to a much more tactical game than Dominion, which I think is less fun.  Between these two, Star Realms is much better, because it's faster and more balanced.  The card design in Ascension suggests that the creators didn't realize trashing was so powerful.

Puzzle Strike: Bag of Chips is so close to Dominion I would call it an outright ripoff.  Also I heard that the chips and chip artwork was shamelessly stolen from a Dominion fan.  That said, we had some fun with it, and the theme is neat (it's based on a fictional puzzle arcade game).  As for the balance, it kinda seems like the creator thinks the village idiot strategy is OP, so every kingdom is over-terminaled.

Rune Age is a game by Fantasy Flight, in the Rune Wars universe.  It's kinda like Dominion, except that each player chooses one of four factions, and has supply piles that are only available to them.  Also, there are three resource types--money, military, and influence.  And there are several different game modes, including one coop mode.  I liked it, although after playing it a while I started to think some factions were better than others.

Eminent Domain is easily my favorite non-Dominion deck builder, because it's so different.  A major part of the game is about laterally shifting your deck instead of building upwards.  There are five basic card types which comprise most of your deck, and throughout the game you want to shift the relative densities.  Also, there's unlimited saving cards between turns, which adds a whole level of strategic depth.  My one regret is that there's hardly any variable setup, so it tends to be similar from game to game.
« Last Edit: February 07, 2018, 06:14:33 pm by trivialknot »
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Re: Dominion clones
« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2018, 06:21:05 pm »
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A thread like this must definitely mention Japanese French maids.

I have played a number of deckbuilders, but the only ones I'd consider Dominion clones are ascension and star realms (I've never played tanto cuore).

It felt like both missed the point by a mile, but at least star realms was playable.
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GendoIkari

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Re: Dominion clones
« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2018, 06:42:21 pm »
+1

This is all deck-builders; several of them are probably not properly called Dominion clones.

I see Eminent Domain as being 80% Race for the Galaxy and only 20% Dominion. Yeah, it's fun but not one of my favorites.

Clank! (In Space) - Recently learned this. I had fun, but still; the lack of a defined order to your turn and way you use your resources felt really awkward. You play all your cards, generally at once, and then look at see how much of the different things you have. I guess the rules technically say you play them one at a time; but no one did that. Also, rotating supply means random luck who gets the good cards. But there are interesting decisions to make other than how to build your deck.

Ascension - Ugh. The ability to play any number of cards and buy and number of cards removes what's great about Dominion. The 2 separate resource types is ok. Actually Clank feels more like a clone of Ascension than of Dominion. But also, rotating supply. At least it has several cards with abilities that let you mess with the supply; to remove some luck.

Puzzle Strike! - Don't remember too much about this one, but the idea of a deck builder where your deck is a bag of chips is neat. Of course, the design is an actual direct rip-off of a fan-mane Dominion set. The multiple types of action points is good. Fun game; but terrible production with the way they kept coming out with new editions to rebalance things and make the old ones obsolete.

Trains - Tries to add some area control to Dominion. Fails, because whenever I play, I win by just playing Dominion and ignoring the board.

Legendary Encounters - I played the Aliens one. I like the idea of a co-op deck builder. But again the way your turn actually plays out is super fiddly. Play all your cards; then figure out which ones do which things; remembering which you've used or not. The faction icons just add to that mess. Dominion has neat combos like King's Court + Bridge or Tournament + Province without needing to have both cards say right on them "this card gets better if you manage to get this other cad in the same hand".

Quarriors - Again, having a bag of dice as your deck is cool. The supply is actually Dominion-like, which is good. But the main mechanics aren't great. Too much luck involved, and has a huge runaway leader problem.

Thunderstone - I liked this when I first played it, but never play it anymore. Probably the best of the clones. There's a version / variant with a rotating supply like Ascension, so that's bad. And it still has the "play your whole hand" issue.

Concordia - I liked this a lot, but I've only played it once. It feels like it actually is a different type of game completely; with deck building only being one mechanic used.

So anyway... with only a couple exceptions, there's 3 major problems I see with most non-Dominion deck-builders:

1) Rotating supply. One of the reasons Dominion is so good is because of the equal access... all players can choose to do the same strategies and such. Ascension, while not good, is the least bad version of this because some cards are built around this notion. Clank had almost no way to remove a card from the supply other than buying it, and when I finally saw an ability that would let you do this, it still didn't refill until the end of your turn, meaning that using it to get rid of a bad card only helps your opponents.

2) Playing your whole hand. The limited actions is such a brilliant part of Dominion. The decision to buy a terminal card is more interesting than simply "is it better than my starting junk".

3) Lack of a clearly defined turn order. Action then buy makes Dominion so easy to track things. In so many other games, you can play 3 cards, use the resources they gave to buy or kill something, then play another 2 cards and buy another thing. Or, more often, you just lay your whole hand down to start, then try to figure out how many resource you have to do what with. Dominion sort of has this same problem with the buy phase, when players can just play all their treasures. But the fact that those are only showing one type of resource (usually) eliminates most of those issues.
« Last Edit: February 07, 2018, 06:45:36 pm by GendoIkari »
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Holunder9

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Re: Dominion clones
« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2018, 06:52:48 pm »
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I see Eminent Domain as being 80% Race for the Galaxy and only 20% Dominion. Yeah, it's fun but not one of my favorites.
Yeah, it is tableau-building as well as deck-building. The idea sounded neat on paper but the actual game is not good.

Nightfall is a cool deckbuilder with direct battle, a neat chaining mechanism and a constant trade-off between offense and defense. It sometimes feels a bit random though and is sadly out of print.
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werothegreat

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Re: Dominion clones
« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2018, 07:22:16 pm »
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Ugh. The ability to play any number of cards and buy and number of cards removes what's great about Dominion.

So I think this comes down to where you want your complexity, and it's an issue I ran into when I tried designing my own deckbuilder.  I think having restricted Actions works with Dominion, because it has a) 1 resource (most of the time) b) most of the time you're going to play with 10 different Actions c) many Actions have ways around the "1 Action per turn rule".

When you start adding more resources, or adding more types of cards (outside of a basic set in every game), these limitations just stop being feasible or fun.  Limiting yourself to one buy goes from being interesting tactically to frustrating when you have multiple resources to spend.  Limiting yourself to one action becomes silly when your card pool becomes more diverse.

For a while in my deckbuilder I added a "+2 Actions" card to the basic cards, just to guarantee you could play more than one card, since I had two distinct sets of "Action" cards, and removing the "1 Action per turn" rule (and thus the +2 Actions basic card) made things a lot simpler, and gave me a bit more creative freedom with making card effects.  Also card text ended up taking up less space when you don't have to write "+1 Action" on half the cards.
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trivialknot

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Re: Dominion clones
« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2018, 07:37:10 pm »
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LOL I didn't realize that Puzzle Strike was on its third edition.  I suspect that they still have not solved all the balance issues; I see that they still price Necropolis at $4.

I've also played a few of the games that GendoIkari mentioned.

I played Clank! In Space a couple times.  My impression is that you're really at the whims of the rotating supply.  Often you'll want a particular resource (particularly movement) and there just won't be anything for you.

I thought Quarriors was neat when I played it a very long time ago, but the usual randomness of your draw order was compounded by the randomness of the fact that each "card" is a die.

Also now that I think about it, I also played Hyperborea once.  It's more like a territory control game that has a deck building mechanic in it.  The deckbuilding seems to borrow more from Eminent Domain, in that it's all about manipulating ratios of basic cards (in this case colored cubes).  One interesting wrinkle is that there are no midturn shuffles, you just can't draw more cubes until the next turn.  I mean, I'm not sure that's actually a good wrinkle.

Ascension - Ugh. The ability to play any number of cards and buy and number of cards removes what's great about Dominion. The 2 separate resource types is ok. Actually Clank feels more like a clone of Ascension than of Dominion. But also, rotating supply. At least it has several cards with abilities that let you mess with the supply; to remove some luck.
One of the things I don't like about Ascension is that the 2 resource types are not handled very well.  There are important price points to hit with each resource type (runes and power), and sometimes you just draw cards in the wrong order and manage to hit neither price point.  This feels more frustrating than Dominion, where there are important price points but only in one resource type.  In every other deck builder with multiple resource types that I've played, there are either fewer important price points to hit, or there's a way to save resources/cards between turns.

Of course, in Dominion, I guess you could see +Actions as the second resource type.
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Re: Dominion clones
« Reply #6 on: February 07, 2018, 08:41:30 pm »
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Mage Knight? It's more of a Chvatil game than a deckbuilding game though, but still.
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Re: Dominion clones
« Reply #7 on: February 07, 2018, 09:38:28 pm »
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Played Trains and Thunderstone (Advance). Trains is relatively weak and has a lot of cards ripped directly from Dominion, whereas Thunderstone feels very slow in the beginning. The Advance version solves a lot of that and I actually like it quite a bit, to be honest. It's obviously a game that wouldn't exist without Dominion, but it has some own things to offer. I don't mind the "play your hand" thing at all, to be honest. The game is complex enough as is.

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Re: Dominion clones
« Reply #8 on: February 07, 2018, 11:16:37 pm »
+1

I came to Dominion from Puzzle Strike.  I like lots of things about Puzzle Strike.  I think it's a dick move not to put the name of the person who realized that how well the Scrabble bag works for deckbuilders onto the instruction manual or box.  I also think Sirlin is a dick for the way he monetized his game digitally.  I think he's a bad game designer almost all of the time, he is very preoccupied with a very specific interpretation of how hidden information can benefit a game, and I don't think it works well. 

I think it's argument ad hominem to put his game at the top of the list for "rippest offesest" because of these things, though.  He kept 1 action per turn, and copied more than others in that way.  Ok, but everyone is saying that that's a really good choice for a deckbuilder.  It uses a supply.  Again.. the alternative to that is the Black Market games, and those are so definitely worse. 

It is definitely more unique than Star Realms, because the attack ships in Star Realms all function pretty much like nonterminal Monuments with no $.  And nonterminal Monuments with no $ are a lot like Duchies.  Battlefield Duchies, if the timing is a little different, but mostly Duchies.  Puzzle strike has the whole, offensive or defense use of the military cards thing going on, and how you want a different mixture of them if you want to be more defensive or more offensive, but you can still pick the most aggressive or most defensive mode on them if you want to.  The card design is way less vanilla.  I could probably publish a game and never need to make a second edition if my set was nothing but silvers with faction labels that say "if you have another card with this faction label in play, draw a card" or "+1$" or "+1 card" or "+1 VP"

The ability to choose a character paired with the inability to swap the character out is what made me leave the game.  It reclaims the issue with the Black Market deck in a way that could totally be avoided.  That flaw is unique, too, there's plenty unique. 

Like really guys, the game can't be worse than Dominion in eleventeen ways, and also a carbon copy of Dominion.  Pick one.  I'm pretty sure it's worse than Dominion in eleventeen ways.  That's the one.
The two things I like about Puzzle Strike are saving cards for a later turn (Mage Knights does this too) and that it has a unique "victory condition" zone that interacts with an economic deckbuilder mostly in the way you would want it to, and is in and of itself complex.  Mage Knights also adds some complexity to the way you get victory points, but its biggest flaw is that the victory point cards are all like 5$ Nobles, which creates snowballing.  Mage Knights is pretty fun.  It has sooo many pieces though.  It's a chore to play it physically, yet at the same time seems like it deserves four beer mugs around it.

Clank is a fun game that seems like it might have limited plays to it.  I've enjoyed it the couple times I've played it so far.  Last time I killed everyone with the dragon, but it was pretty random whether that could even work at all, its game-length to RNG ratio make me think I couldn't ever play it very competitively.

I've played some deckbuilder where you bid on the cards you gain, and you are all survivors trying to not starve in the ice.  It was cool that they were trying to do something unique but it had snowballing issues.  But those snowballing issues might have been me crying wolf, I only got to play it once.  It was definitely trying to do something different.

War of Omens is definitely my favorite non-Dominion deckbuilder.  It's a flash game on Kongregate that stopped getting new content like 4 years ago and refuses to die on the basis of its gameplay quality alone.  Each player has their own supply they deckbuild from randomly.  Not getting the best card from your supply is pretty unlucky, but the game length is so short that that's very fine.  It has some cards that generate benefit unless your opponent uses damage to remove them, the one other unique bit to Star Realms I should mention to be fair, I guess.  You collect the cards for your supply like a CCG, but I play the draft mode where you don't do that instead since CCGs suck.

I'm dreaming of the day someone makes a game as well balanced as Dominion, but with a more versatile victory mechanic at the core.  I think there's a space there, and I think it'd be sweet.  It might not really be there, but, I want it to be.
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ipofanes

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Re: Dominion clones
« Reply #9 on: February 08, 2018, 03:40:37 am »
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Clank is nice for the way the deck is thematic. Early greening is like stuffing your pockets with shiny things until you look like a Napoleon soldier in Moscow, unable to run or fight with that longcase clock on your back.

A Few Acres of Snow has also a nice incorporation of theme, in that the acquired cards come into effect later in the game, like military orders arriving from Europe in the New World within a matter of months.

Great Western Trail has deckbuilding with a strong hand building mechanic. I like how trashing is really expensive and cycling is much more accessible. Also, the way to get stop cards out of your deck by committing to fulfil a contract.

In Rococo, the deck-building element is smaller than in GWT, decks are very small, there is no luck of the draw, so incorporating even one trasher (I call them the guys from Human Resources) is a rather strong commitment to trashing.

Orléans has a bag building mechanic with strong incentive to trash because the initial chips you have are not that junky. You will need chips of any kind during the length of the game.
« Last Edit: February 08, 2018, 03:43:10 am by ipofanes »
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Re: Dominion clones
« Reply #10 on: February 08, 2018, 03:54:53 am »
+3

I wouldn't consider Concordia a deckbuilder. You are technically building a deck, but the fact that you draw it all at once and you can trigger your "reshuffles" with an action makes it work completely differently than pretty much any other game mentioned here.
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ipofanes

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Re: Dominion clones
« Reply #11 on: February 08, 2018, 04:05:25 am »
+1

Indeed, if you always draw your whole deck, you have a hand builder like Rummy or (one of my favourites) Monad. I sometimes wonder how Monad would work as a deck builder but I fear that it would take away too much control.
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Holunder9

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Re: Dominion clones
« Reply #12 on: February 08, 2018, 06:16:11 am »
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I think he's a bad game designer almost all of the time, he is very preoccupied with a very specific interpretation of how hidden information can benefit a game, and I don't think it works well. 
I totally disagree. Codex is one of the most brilliant designs of the last years, flawlessly merging the best of Dominion and Magic.
Unlike in Magic you build your deck during the game (except for some starting cards) and unlike in Dominion you don't buy the new cards from a Supply but draft them non-randomly and secretly from your private set, kinda like in Mage Wars. In Mage Wars you pay immediately when you play cards from the binder which makes it a CCG without deck-draw randomness whereas in Codex you only draft from your binder and still have deck-draw randomness. But both games are far less random than an ordinary CCG (Dominion keeps randomness relatively low due to the law of large numbers: you draw far more cards in a game of Dominion than in a CCG).
When you draw cards you have to pay for them with economy being out-of-deck and being correlated with trashing. Game itself is then some normal tactial stuff, familiar from other CCGs or LCGs.
The cool stuff is the secret deck-building, that you don't know what your opponent is going for until you see the card for the first time.

As it is Magic and Dominion inspired it also feels like something that DXV could have come up with instead of Dominion in an alternate universe.
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Re: Dominion clones
« Reply #13 on: February 08, 2018, 07:06:05 am »
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Sirlin is a hack when it comes to game design, but he wrote some pretty decent stuff, most notably the Playing to Win articles.
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Re: Dominion clones
« Reply #14 on: February 08, 2018, 08:08:37 am »
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I wouldn't consider Concordia a deckbuilder. You are technically building a deck, but the fact that you draw it all at once and you can trigger your "reshuffles" with an action makes it work completely differently than pretty much any other game mentioned here.

Agreed - this and Century: Spice Road fall into a category which I've seen called "Hand-builders".  Definitely they owe a debt to Dominion, but it's probably unfair to call them clones.

Edit: sorry, I missed ipofanes' comment.

I recently played Don't Turn Your Back which was definitely a deck-builder, but it felt different to Dominion, and I'd happily play it again.  It certainly didn't have the thing that Legendary has where the other players get annoyed at me for calling things Coppers and Silvers.
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Re: Dominion clones
« Reply #15 on: February 08, 2018, 08:45:35 am »
+1

I'm surprised there's no mention of the DC Superheroes deck-building game, or maybe it's just my brother-in-law that really enjoys it. I've had fun with it. It's got a few mechanics that differentiate it (you randomly draw superheroes at the beginning of the game that give you unique abilities throughout the game), but seems a bit imbalanced.

I believe there's a Marvel deckbuilder also, but I haven't played it. 
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Re: Dominion clones
« Reply #16 on: February 08, 2018, 10:23:22 am »
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I played The Quest for El Dorado (by Reiner Knizia) a few times after it came out last year, and while no other deckbuilder holds a candle to Dominion, I have to say El Dorado is the "Dominion clone" I've enjoyed the most (I've also played Clank, Ascension, and Star Realms). 

It takes a lot of the typical deckbuilder mechanics described in many of these clones: play actions, play resources, buy cards which go in your discard, draw a new hand, shuffle when needed, etc.  Instead of buying victory cards or earning points, players "race" across a variable hexagonal game board (which is randomized each game), passing obstacles and different types of terrain to be the first to reach "El Dorado."  There's a nearly infinite number of different routes to victory, so every player will likely take different routes depending on how they build their deck.  Taking the resource generation of a deckbuilder and applying it to the movement of your piece across a physical board is reminiscent of Clank, though different terrains use different card resources, and the randomization adds to replayability, unlike Clank's few set gameboards. 

There are a total of 18 piles of purchasable different cards besides your starting cards with only 3 copies each.  The market starts with just six of these piles which are the only ones you can buy from until a pile is depleted, and then the next player can buy any card, and thus choose which of the other piles gets added to the market, which adds some tactics of when to empty a pile.  Unlike Ascension and Clank's rotating supply, this mechanic is pretty neat and seems unique among the deckbuilders I've played.  With only 18 cards, it sounds like it might get boring quickly, but the limited numbers of each card and restricted purchase times, means every deck you build will be different and involves some healthy player interaction of when to empty a pile and when not to. 

A few other differences, you only draw 4 cards per hand instead of five.  Another neat thing, you can use excess cards in your hand to help buy cards (each 2 cards=one coin).  Finally, at the end of your turn, you are allowed to put any excess cards onto your deck instead of discarding them, which is poses interesting choices for setting up your next turn (e.g. a have an oar I cant use this turn but next turn I'm probably going over water, so I'll save it).  It's a neat puzzle to try and figure out the best route to the end, which cards to purchase, and how to set up your next hand.  If you haven't played El Dorado, it's definitely worth a try. 

What I really love about Dominion are the equal starting positions and that all cards are (usually) available to all players--rotating supplies add a bit too much randomness to me, and I never like seeing certain options suddenly closed off from other players just because it wasn't their turn when a specific card became available.  I've yet to play another deck-builder that emulates these principles of always available cards, yet also infinite replayability, as simply and as elegantly as Dominion. 
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Witherweaver

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Re: Dominion clones
« Reply #17 on: February 08, 2018, 10:39:18 am »
+2

Magic clones:

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Re: Dominion clones
« Reply #18 on: February 08, 2018, 10:42:14 am »
+1

I've been enjoying Slay the spire video game.
Is a deck building dungeon run.
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Re: Dominion clones
« Reply #19 on: February 08, 2018, 11:38:11 am »
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I think he's a bad game designer almost all of the time, he is very preoccupied with a very specific interpretation of how hidden information can benefit a game, and I don't think it works well. 
I totally disagree. Codex is one of the most brilliant designs of the last years, flawlessly merging the best of Dominion and Magic.
Unlike in Magic you build your deck during the game (except for some starting cards) and unlike in Dominion you don't buy the new cards from a Supply but draft them non-randomly and secretly from your private set, kinda like in Mage Wars. In Mage Wars you pay immediately when you play cards from the binder which makes it a CCG without deck-draw randomness whereas in Codex you only draft from your binder and still have deck-draw randomness. But both games are far less random than an ordinary CCG (Dominion keeps randomness relatively low due to the law of large numbers: you draw far more cards in a game of Dominion than in a CCG).
When you draw cards you have to pay for them with economy being out-of-deck and being correlated with trashing. Game itself is then some normal tactial stuff, familiar from other CCGs or LCGs.
The cool stuff is the secret deck-building, that you don't know what your opponent is going for until you see the card for the first time.

As it is Magic and Dominion inspired it also feels like something that DXV could have come up with instead of Dominion in an alternate universe.
Well, I said almost all of the time.  If I know about that one, I know about Chess 2, Puzzle Strike, Yomi, and that shitty Magic card he got to guest design too.

I doubt I'll get another warm body for trying Codex, but good to hear and all.
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Re: Dominion clones
« Reply #20 on: February 08, 2018, 11:42:09 am »
0

I either enjoy deck building as part of a bigger game as in Mage Knight or in a total different way like in Kashgar. Both excellent games.

The only "Dominion clone" that I quite enjoyed is Friday a solitaire deck builder filler game.

I also quite enjoyed Automobiles which is a Bag Building game.
« Last Edit: February 08, 2018, 11:47:49 am by Qvist »
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Re: Dominion clones
« Reply #21 on: February 08, 2018, 11:50:17 am »
0

I think he's a bad game designer almost all of the time, he is very preoccupied with a very specific interpretation of how hidden information can benefit a game, and I don't think it works well. 
I totally disagree. Codex is one of the most brilliant designs of the last years, flawlessly merging the best of Dominion and Magic.
Unlike in Magic you build your deck during the game (except for some starting cards) and unlike in Dominion you don't buy the new cards from a Supply but draft them non-randomly and secretly from your private set, kinda like in Mage Wars. In Mage Wars you pay immediately when you play cards from the binder which makes it a CCG without deck-draw randomness whereas in Codex you only draft from your binder and still have deck-draw randomness. But both games are far less random than an ordinary CCG (Dominion keeps randomness relatively low due to the law of large numbers: you draw far more cards in a game of Dominion than in a CCG).
When you draw cards you have to pay for them with economy being out-of-deck and being correlated with trashing. Game itself is then some normal tactial stuff, familiar from other CCGs or LCGs.
The cool stuff is the secret deck-building, that you don't know what your opponent is going for until you see the card for the first time.

As it is Magic and Dominion inspired it also feels like something that DXV could have come up with instead of Dominion in an alternate universe.
Well, I said almost all of the time.  If I know about that one, I know about Chess 2, Puzzle Strike, Yomi, and that shitty Magic card he got to guest design too.

I doubt I'll get another warm body for trying Codex, but good to hear and all.
The net is full of pretty rude stuff about Sirlin so I take it with a grain of salt.

Perhaps the guys is a jerk (who cares, I am in it for the design, not the designer), perhaps he "ripped off" (a dubious notion in the first place given that boardgames constantly inspire each other; deckbuilders are not per se Dominion clone just like worker placement games are not per se Caylus clones) some games and ideas, perhaps he has designed some stinkers (even the greatest designers have) but the only game of him I know is utterly brilliant.
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Mic Qsenoch

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Re: Dominion clones
« Reply #22 on: February 08, 2018, 11:50:45 am »
+3

For me, the appeal of Dominion is to look out at the Kingdom and have a dream of a radically different deck from the one I currently hold in my hand. Then I get to try and make that dream a reality. Usually it works! Sometimes it doesn't, and that's fun too. But if I can't "radically" change my deck, it's just a boring exercise in shuffling cards and getting slightly better ones, something like BMU.

The games where there's some small deckbuilding tacked onto something else are just the worst, well, at least the deckbuilding part makes me miserable.
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trivialknot

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Re: Dominion clones
« Reply #23 on: February 08, 2018, 12:47:18 pm »
+2

When I said Puzzle Strike was a ripoff of Dominion, I didn't mean it like it was an unforgivably bad thing.  Honestly, Star Realms is even more of a ripoff of Ascension, and I like Star Realms.

The more problematic aspect of Puzzle Strike was the other part I mentioned, lifting the art design from a Dominion fan.  If you've never seen it before, behold. We liked Puzzle Strike early on, even though we thought of it as a Dominion knock-off with balance issues (we played 1st ed).  But learning about how Sirlin stole the art design made it less enjoyable for me.
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Kuildeous

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Re: Dominion clones
« Reply #24 on: February 08, 2018, 12:56:36 pm »
+1

I do like Dominion for its set kingdoms. I have some players who prefer Ascension because of its chaotic pool of cards. I'm not overly fond of those, but I deal with them. I find myself annoyed more with Ascension than I do with Clank. Probably because Clank's prices seem about okay. And if there is nothing you want to buy or fight in the middle of Clank, the "Silvers" are pretty good. It's easy to screw yourself in that game and ignore boots, which is how you move around on the board.

I still have a soft spot for Thunderstone. It's slow and clunky, but that theme works so well. It has a lot of values to track (light, strength, cost, attack), so it's not accessible to nongamers, but it tickles the puzzle-solving part of my brain. It's very Dominion-like in that you have set cards in your kingdom. You have randomness in what monsters come out, and that can be unfortunate. If the first three monsters are all just super tough, then you're all spending your turns buying cards with no fighting.

Trains is pretty good, but that's because it really is Dominion. There are some neat kingdom cards, and the province is worth fewer points, but the base is almost letter by letter the same as Dominion. The board is a neat idea, and I wish it was done a bit better. In order to build on the board, you usually have to take some debris into your deck. They just clog your hand, so it better be worth it pointswise to take them. I feel that Trains doesn't put enough emphasis on the board points to justify clogging your hand. IIRC, there is a rule where you can skip your turn and trash all the debris from your hand. Thunderstone has something similar, but I can't remember it very well. I think you discard your hand but top-deck the ones you want to keep so that you strengthen your next hand. Honestly, I think all deckbuilders could benefit from a rule like this.

My latest fun has been with Mystic Vale. It's technically not a deckbuilder in that you start with 20 cards and end with 20 cards. Instead, you build up the cards. All your cards are sleeved, and you can improve your card with clear inserts. They are clear like in Gloom. The main currency is mana, which is spent much like Dominion. There is also another commodity that lets you buy cards that don't go in your deck but will give you special abilities or victory points. One complaint I hear about Mystic Vale is that it gets stale with the same cards. I can's disagree with that. I have all expansions so far, and they've eliminated the staleness. It's a pool of cards like Ascension, which should annoy me, but it doesn't.

Adding leaders to Mystic Vale is fun. You add the leader to one of your cards, and you have a unique ability no one else has. Imagine playing Dominion where one Copper is replaced by a guy that gives you $1 and +1 Buy. Another player may have one that gives him +2 Cards. You could even upgrade that card so that you now get $1, +1 Buy, and +3 Actions. Such cards could be unbalanced, but they give each leader different victory points at the end and varying costs to upgrade. I can't say for certain if they hit a good balance or not.

Anyway, I love Mystic Vale, though I can't say if it's for the novelty or the game. Since I see a lot of naysayers of the game, maybe it's the former, but whatever. I'm having fun with it.
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ben_king

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Re: Dominion clones
« Reply #25 on: February 08, 2018, 01:05:48 pm »
+3

My experience with other deck-building games has typically been that they remove most of what's fun about Dominion.  They don't usually have good trashing, they get rid of the limitations on actions and/or buys, and in a typical turn you play the five cards that you happened to draw that turn and not much else.

With all the people claiming that these other deck-building games are more fun/better than Dominion, I've come up with a theory.  I think if you're not good at Dominion, it tends to play like "try to play as many cards in my five card hand as possible" because you don't know how to get control of your deck and do much beyond your starting five cards.  These people get frustrated that they can't play their Woodcutter and their Militia in the same turn, frustrated that they drew Throne Room with four Coppers, and claim that Big Money solves Dominion.  So these other games have sprouted up that make "play these five cards" more fun than in Dominion.  And people who are awful at Dominion say these new games are better, and anyone who knows how to play Dominion thinks they're crazy.
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Re: Dominion clones
« Reply #26 on: February 08, 2018, 02:02:08 pm »
0

The more problematic aspect of Puzzle Strike was the other part I mentioned, lifting the art design from a Dominion fan.  If you've never seen it before, behold. We liked Puzzle Strike early on, even though we thought of it as a Dominion knock-off with balance issues (we played 1st ed).  But learning about how Sirlin stole the art design made it less enjoyable for me.
Why? Intellectual property rights are only a matter for however came up with the idea and wants to make money from it.
For all other people it is beneficial when ideas are shared or "stolen". It might be rude to not give kudos to whoever came up with stuff that inspired you but that's just a matter of the personality of a designer, a guy you don't have any personal dealings with anyway.
If it weren't for Sirlin the idea to put data on large cardboard tokens instead of cards would have remained an idea and never let to something you could and actually did play.

I think it is important to differentiate between design and designer. If I ever meet Vlaada, which isn't going to happen, and he turns out to be a jerk I am still going to play Through the Ages.
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Re: Dominion clones
« Reply #27 on: February 08, 2018, 02:41:38 pm »
+2

I think it is important to differentiate between design and designer.

Why? If I thought David Sirlin was an asshole (and I do), I think it's perfectly reasonable to avoid putting money in his pocket by buying his derivative games.
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Re: Dominion clones
« Reply #28 on: February 08, 2018, 03:11:08 pm »
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Why? Intellectual property rights are only a matter for however came up with the idea and wants to make money from it.

That's kinda like saying murder only matters to people who get killed.
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Kuildeous

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Re: Dominion clones
« Reply #29 on: February 08, 2018, 03:18:11 pm »
0

If it weren't for Sirlin the idea to put data on large cardboard tokens instead of cards would have remained an idea and never let to something you could and actually did play.
 

I remember a conversation on these forums about converting Dominion cards into tiles and putting them into a bag. I honestly couldn't tell you if this conversation predates Puzzle Strike or not, but I figure that if Puzzle Strike was a thing at the time, someone would've said, "Oh, like Puzzle Strike."

So the idea was already out there. Apparently Puzzle Strike put it into practice first.

Oh, and I forgot to mention Dice Forge. I've only played it twice, but I like it. Maybe it's the novelty of building your dice. As I understand it, DF wasn't the first one to do this, but reviewers seem to think that it does it better.

It's hard to compare dicebuilding to deckbuilding. There's no cycling since you just hope you roll the good faces and improve your luck that way.
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Holunder9

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Re: Dominion clones
« Reply #30 on: February 08, 2018, 03:19:30 pm »
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Why? Intellectual property rights are only a matter for however came up with the idea and wants to make money from it.

That's kinda like saying murder only matters to people who get killed.
An inappropriate comparison. Murder is heinous crime and not comparable to far too tight intellectual property rights whose relaxation helps everybody, except for the folks who wanna monetize their ideas.


I think it is important to differentiate between design and designer.

Why? If I thought David Sirlin was an asshole (and I do), I think it's perfectly reasonable to avoid putting money in his pocket by buying his derivative games.
Ethical consumer choices are fine. When it comes to stuff that matters, like whether a product you purchase is produced in sweat shops or whether it was tested on animals. If you really cared about the behaviour of folks behind products you want you'd probably have to stop buying anything from multinational corporations.

In the case of a trivial product like boardgames I only care about the game, not the designer.

I wonder what Sirlin did to rationalize all these rude comments on the net. Not giving props to a guy who came up with the chips idea doesn't justify insulting him.
About how innovative his games are, Puzzle Strike might be very similar to Dominion but Codex is pretty innovative.
« Last Edit: February 08, 2018, 03:22:49 pm by Holunder9 »
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GendoIkari

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Re: Dominion clones
« Reply #31 on: February 08, 2018, 03:20:26 pm »
0


Nightfall is a cool deckbuilder with direct battle, a neat chaining mechanism and a constant trade-off between offense and defense. It sometimes feels a bit random though and is sadly out of print.

Interesting, turns out I own Nightfall. Never played it... got lumped in with several other games I got from a friend when he moved. I'll have to check it out.
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Holunder9

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Re: Dominion clones
« Reply #32 on: February 08, 2018, 03:26:43 pm »
0


Nightfall is a cool deckbuilder with direct battle, a neat chaining mechanism and a constant trade-off between offense and defense. It sometimes feels a bit random though and is sadly out of print.

Interesting, turns out I own Nightfall. Never played it... got lumped in with several other games I got from a friend when he moved. I'll have to check it out.
Yeah, check it out. I don't think it is as good as Dominion by a long shot: it feels random and there are some imbalances concerning the "Wound" (basically like Curses with a discard Wounds to draw extra cards mechanism, whoever has most once the pile is empty loses) distribution.
But if you like direct confrontation games and a trashy postapocyptic undead theme it is OKish. Unlike Dominion It is political though if you play with more than 2.
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Re: Dominion clones
« Reply #33 on: February 08, 2018, 03:57:11 pm »
0

I'm guessing no one has played Tanto Cuore (myself included). I am genuinely curious as to how good that game is, because it looks to me like one of the most blatant rip-offs of Dominion, mainly just adding Anime style Maids as the theme. It seems to keep most of the vanilla resources of Dominion.

The only other deckbuilder I have played besides Dominion is Marvel Legendary. My Dominion knowledge fails me there, as the trashing is typically on the level of a Bonfire that only trashes one card at a time and only shows up on occasion and there is much more emphasis on power cards than synergies. Also it has that dual currency problem where you tend to either spike on both currencies or neither one.

I guess it's good for more casual groups thanks to theme and simplicity in figuring out what cards are good. It also has semi-coop gameplay where you fight against the board but try to get the highest score. But wow, the setup and teardown is super tedious in Marvel Legendary, way worse than what you'd expect from Dominion.
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Re: Dominion clones
« Reply #34 on: February 08, 2018, 04:16:27 pm »
0

Somehow I heard of and learned Thunderstone before I knew about Dominion.  I really enjoyed Thunderstone, and I bought most of the expansions.  I have never played advance, and I don't even know what it involves, but either way, Thunderstone is probably my favorite deck builder other than Dominion, although several cards aren't balanced at all.  Upgrading heros is fun, and I like the ability to skip your turn and trash one card. 

I also like Star Realms.  I mostly play that one because it is quick and portable, and I have fun with it.  I like the ally effect thing. I also like the epic space art.  when I want to do any serious gaming though, I leave it behind.
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Re: Dominion clones
« Reply #35 on: February 08, 2018, 05:45:27 pm »
+1

I wonder what Sirlin did to rationalize all these rude comments on the net. Not giving props to a guy who came up with the chips idea doesn't justify insulting him.

He wrote a terrible essay called "Playing to Win" which lots of annoying Smogon people used (or misused) to somehow argue that their ridiculous metagame was the only valid one because it was the one that "everybody" was playing. And then he also rips off a lot of games and publishes them with his own "yomi" crap tacked on.

About how innovative his games are, Puzzle Strike might be very similar to Dominion but Codex is pretty innovative.

Puzzle Strike is Dominion with player powers.
Flash Duel is En Guarde with player powers.
The arrogantly named Chess 2 is chess with player powers.

And so on.
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blueblimp

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Re: Dominion clones
« Reply #36 on: February 08, 2018, 05:53:13 pm »
+1

Something I'd like to see more games copy from Dominion is the random kingdom mechanic. In card games, typically you either have extremely simple cards (as in traditional card games like Poker), or a key element of gaining skill is memorizing every card in the game so that you can anticipate what might show up later. Dominion manages to have interesting cards while not requiring any memorization, by restricting the relevant cards to a small subset of all cards and showing you them at the beginning of each match.

In a way, this is more about what mechanic Dominion doesn't have: a big face-down deck of all cards. What's clever about Dominion is that it's a very interesting game despite omitting this mechanic. As such, gaining skill in Dominion feels more satisfying, because the skill gains come only from learning how to think about the cards more effectively, instead of having a significant memorization component.

For me, the appeal of Dominion is to look out at the Kingdom and have a dream of a radically different deck from the one I currently hold in my hand. Then I get to try and make that dream a reality. Usually it works! Sometimes it doesn't, and that's fun too. But if I can't "radically" change my deck, it's just a boring exercise in shuffling cards and getting slightly better ones, something like BMU.

I also feel this way. And it's not just that you can build different types of decks, it's that you can make your deck extreme in its execution of your vision, instead of just being a modest deviation from average. CCGs have a similar aspect in that you can build totally different kinds of decks, but there, the deck-building is a metagame activity instead of being part of the game itself, which makes it less interesting to me.
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GendoIkari

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Re: Dominion clones
« Reply #37 on: February 08, 2018, 06:13:12 pm »
0

I wonder what Sirlin did to rationalize all these rude comments on the net. Not giving props to a guy who came up with the chips idea doesn't justify insulting him.

He wrote a terrible essay called "Playing to Win" which lots of annoying Smogon people used (or misused) to somehow argue that their ridiculous metagame was the only valid one because it was the one that "everybody" was playing. And then he also rips off a lot of games and publishes them with his own "yomi" crap tacked on.

About how innovative his games are, Puzzle Strike might be very similar to Dominion but Codex is pretty innovative.

Puzzle Strike is Dominion with player powers.
Flash Duel is En Guarde with player powers.
The arrogantly named Chess 2 is chess with player powers.

And so on.

From what I understand, a lot of the flack he gets is about him personally at least as much as his games. For example: https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/854583/david-sirlin-asks-solforge-ccg-supporters-leave-hi/page/1

He apparently just said on his forum / website that if you disagree with his opinions about CCGs, then you should get out.
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Donald X.

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Re: Dominion clones
« Reply #38 on: February 08, 2018, 06:16:51 pm »
+2

A BGG thread with images from the fan-made chip version of Dominion from Nov. 2008, and also some game, so you can compare them and think about how pro-humanity it all is.

https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/854583/david-sirlin-asks-solforge-ccg-supporters-leave-hi/page/9
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Re: Dominion clones
« Reply #39 on: February 08, 2018, 06:39:35 pm »
+1

From what I understand, a lot of the flack he gets is about him personally at least as much as his games. For example: https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/854583/david-sirlin-asks-solforge-ccg-supporters-leave-hi/page/1

He apparently just said on his forum / website that if you disagree with his opinions about CCGs, then you should get out.
Seems a bit immature to force your opinion on other people but it is his site and his rules. While such behaviour is questionable I agree with the opinion that CCGs with random content are a rip-off and the recent trend thankfully goes towards what FFG calls LCGs, i.e. non-random content.


A BGG thread with images from the fan-made chip version of Dominion from Nov. 2008, and also some game, so you can compare them and think about how pro-humanity it all is.

https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/854583/david-sirlin-asks-solforge-ccg-supporters-leave-hi/page/9
Not giving credit when credit is due is of course not decent beaviour but as a player I am not really that interested about such trivial behind the scenes stuff. His Codex is nearly as innovative as your Dominion (never played Puzzle Strike as it seemed far too similar to Dominion).
My point is basically only that if you ate babies with garlic sauce and Hannibal Lector provided the fava beans it wouldn't stop me from loving and playing Dominion. Except for the Zombies, they'd feel kind of weird then.
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Donald X.

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Re: Dominion clones
« Reply #40 on: February 08, 2018, 07:40:48 pm »
0

My point is
I think you've made that point already dude. Man, I guess this thread is about ethics now? theory, please move it to the Religion Sex Politics subforum.
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Re: Dominion clones
« Reply #41 on: February 08, 2018, 08:05:04 pm »
+4

Puzzle Strike is Dominion with player powers.
Flash Duel is En Guarde with player powers.
The arrogantly named Chess 2 is chess with player powers.
I get the impression from people who've played both that Codex is Magic: The Gathering. Presumably, with player powers.
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theory

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Re: Dominion clones
« Reply #42 on: February 08, 2018, 08:33:49 pm »
+3

Sirlin is a terrible person.  And sure, judge the person not his works, but his games are non grata because the reason he is a terrible person is because of his terrible actions involving his games.  If Hannibal Lecter's board game existed solely because of his cannibalism, I wouldn't play it even if it was the most finely-designed deckbuilder of all time, because I would be encouraging and subsidizing terrible behavior.

But they also happen to be terrible games, though, which makes it all much easier.  They fall into that particularly pernicious modern cluster of games designed by people who are excellent at marketing but not excellent at design.  See, e.g., Secret Hitler.
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Re: Dominion clones
« Reply #43 on: February 08, 2018, 08:53:23 pm »
+1

A couple years ago I posted my opinions about other deckbuilders in another thread, which I'll just link here:

http://forum.dominionstrategy.com/index.php?topic=9014.msg276179#msg276179

I still maintain that the scoring of Puzzle Strike is fairly innovative but Sirlin loses all benefit of the doubt, ever, for the art-style ripoff.

Star Realms is the game that Ascension wanted to be. This isn't to say it's as good as good as Dominion but it feels much more satisfying to play than Ascension. The games aren't as different that Dominion games but there's a lot going on strategy-wise, and 2p is the only way that the "shared shuffled pool" supply feels fair.

Trains started off strong but, fundamentally, was underdeveloped. The game offers these exciting ways to get points and make your deck bigger and smaller, but the crushingly dominant strategy is to ignore the board, build your deck, and buy everything at the very end, like if every Dominion game had Highway, Wharf, and Colony. I wrote an extensive strategy article on BGG here: https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1072266/strategy-guide
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Re: Dominion clones
« Reply #44 on: February 08, 2018, 08:57:24 pm »
+4

I don't know anything about Codex beyond what's been said in this thread, but here's why I would never buy a David Sirlin game: If people continue to support designers like him, we might stop getting good games in the future. The game itself isn't what matters; if he published one single amazingly innovative and fantastic game, I still wouldn't buy it, unless he was also willing to give back credit to all the designers he has ripped off from in the past. Most designers are not in it for the money, they are just in it to be able to share their ideas with the world. Sirlin leeches the main motivator for designers to publish their games, by copying them, out-marketing them, and claiming they were his ideas. It is incredibly demoralizing for a designer to watch someone else claim credit for your ideas, and then watch the general population buy into his claims when you not only had the idea in the first place, but you also executed it much better.

In a world where designers like Sirlin sell well, innovation in game design stops because the designers lose their motivation to put out good new designs. This is why if you want to see new, innovative games in the future, it's not sufficient to just buy individual games that you like; you have to care about what goes into them as well, and show the market that you're not interested in good games made by bad people.
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crj

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Re: Dominion clones
« Reply #45 on: February 08, 2018, 09:00:55 pm »
+1

...games designed by people who are excellent at marketing but not excellent at design.  See, e.g., Secret Hitler.
There's not much wrong with Secret Hitler. It builds on Resistance, sure, but it adds a lot, and the things it adds are mainly improvements. The one aspect I'm not so sure about is player elimination, but the game is at least engineered so it can only happen when things are almost over.

Edit: Exploding Kittens, on the other hand...
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Re: Dominion clones
« Reply #46 on: February 08, 2018, 09:12:22 pm »
+1

I couldn't agree more to what scott_pilgrim said. Some people create things because they want to leave something good behind. Stealing those good things from such creators, claiming it was your own, and then using your position to overshadow them, means not only gaining something dishonestly, it also very much strips the people who put their heart into something from achieving their own little happiness. It's just cruel and cold.

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Re: Dominion clones
« Reply #47 on: February 08, 2018, 10:25:40 pm »
+2

I'm guessing no one has played Tanto Cuore (myself included). I am genuinely curious as to how good that game is, because it looks to me like one of the most blatant rip-offs of Dominion, mainly just adding Anime style Maids as the theme. It seems to keep most of the vanilla resources of Dominion.
I've played it, and I think it's a decent game - questionable theme and art aside. It's probably the closest thing out there to an actual Dominion clone (not counting the official Touhou Dominion release that literally just renamed cards) - it's probably the one Donald often refers to when he talks about clones where the main innovation is apparently "make the Treasures cost $1 more". While it's one of the first things you might notice, the game does also have:

1. "Private chambers" that act a little like the Tavern/Island mats (some cards let you put them there, often ones that score points, although typically there's no way to retrieve them mid-game)

2. "Private maids" which is a pile of unique cards that usually give you a bonus at start of turn, but which you can only have one active at a time

3. Some interesting scoring cards - cards that are worth different values depending on whether you have an even or odd number of them, cards that score differently if you manage to chamber them (like Distant Lands), etc. Each expansion actually has a different set of basic point cards that score slightly differently, too, so it would be like if Hinterlands had replacement Estates and Provinces with different values.

4. The expansions add other new ideas, like a pile of cards that you have to meet certain conditions to claim.

Is TC a game as well-designed as Dominion? Probably not. I enjoy it, but it is very obviously a more "fluffy" game than Dominion in more ways than one. And there's definitely an essay or two you could write about the theme and art and the portrayal of women (and while some of the art is borderline pornographic, plenty of it is work-safe and downright cute). I'd also point out that it doesn't change a lot of the things that are causes for complaint when Dominion players play other games - it kept the one Action/one Buy rules (and has cards to let you do more of both), it has a fixed supply with only a few special piles that contain unique cards, it doesn't have much in the way of deck thinning (which relates to the more expensive base currency - if you could trash your deck you could potentially stalemate yourself) but it does have some means of replacing cards with better ones and/or taking cards out of your deck.
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Re: Dominion clones
« Reply #48 on: February 09, 2018, 03:04:07 am »
0

I've been enjoying Slay the spire video game.
Is a deck building dungeon run.
I'm giving this one a try. I don't think I'd consider this type of game a deck-builder in the Dominion sense. It's more like fixed-deck encounters interlaced with a draft, which as far as I know was invented by Dream Quest. (Another notable example is Hearthstone's Dungeon Run mode.) This genre really has more in common with CCG draft formats than it does with Dominion.
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Re: Dominion clones
« Reply #49 on: February 09, 2018, 05:38:29 am »
0

Sirlin is a terrible person.  And sure, judge the person not his works, but his games are non grata because the reason he is a terrible person is because of his terrible actions involving his games.  If Hannibal Lecter's board game existed solely because of his cannibalism, I wouldn't play it even if it was the most finely-designed deckbuilder of all time, because I would be encouraging and subsidizing terrible behavior.

But they also happen to be terrible games, though, which makes it all much easier.  They fall into that particularly pernicious modern cluster of games designed by people who are excellent at marketing but not excellent at design.  See, e.g., Secret Hitler.

I read the rules to Secret Hitler and they seemed an overly complex version of the Resistance, but I've never played it. What's up with that game?

I feel like your description fits perfectly the "Tiny Epic" series, though. I've only played Kingdoms, but it was a sad underdeveloped clunky thing.
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Re: Dominion clones
« Reply #50 on: February 09, 2018, 06:05:31 am »
0

I've been enjoying Slay the spire video game.
Is a deck building dungeon run.
I'm giving this one a try. I don't think I'd consider this type of game a deck-builder in the Dominion sense. It's more like fixed-deck encounters interlaced with a draft, which as far as I know was invented by Dream Quest. (Another notable example is Hearthstone's Dungeon Run mode.) This genre really has more in common with CCG draft formats than it does with Dominion.
Certainly not a clone.
But has similarities to several games that I like:
Deck shuffle dominion.
Card play reminds me most of star realms.
Cards collection Hearthstone draft.
And map and death remind me of FTL
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Kuildeous

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Re: Dominion clones
« Reply #51 on: February 09, 2018, 09:19:11 am »
+1

Something I'd like to see more games copy from Dominion is the random kingdom mechanic. In card games, typically you either have extremely simple cards (as in traditional card games like Poker), or a key element of gaining skill is memorizing every card in the game so that you can anticipate what might show up later. Dominion manages to have interesting cards while not requiring any memorization, by restricting the relevant cards to a small subset of all cards and showing you them at the beginning of each match.

In a way, this is more about what mechanic Dominion doesn't have: a big face-down deck of all cards. What's clever about Dominion is that it's a very interesting game despite omitting this mechanic. As such, gaining skill in Dominion feels more satisfying, because the skill gains come only from learning how to think about the cards more effectively, instead of having a significant memorization component.
 

An excellent observation. I realized that the thrill of playing Dominion wasn't quite there with Ascension and Marvel Legendary. With the former, I just have to process the cards once at the beginning of the game. Maybe I give myself a periodic refresher, but since I rarely want more than three or four of the cards in a game, I easily absorb those cards into my brain and play without interruption. With the latter, I have to read each card as they come out, and that slows the game down. This is made worse by the fact that Legendary has cards with the same art but different text. In Dominion, you can expect each card that looks alike to act the same (disclaimer: I've not played anything past Guilds, so prove me wrong if you must). Even Knights were different IIRC. Trains has the same benefit as Dominion, but unless you're really into trains, you'll probably get confused by the artwork even though it's consistent too. Thunderstone has an interesting mix of the two.

But I guess it's not that I hate the pool. Or maybe there are ways for me to overcome that. Two deckbuilders I really like, Mystic Vale and Clank!, both have a common pool of cards. And yes, when it comes to my turn, I have to examine each one. Their purchases tend to be slower perhaps, so over half the cards are usually still out there when it's my turn. I do less scrutinizing of the cards. It's also why I don't like Smash-Up—I have to read each card that I play and that others play.

But yeah, with the exception of the Ruins pile and the Knights, you pretty much know what you're getting in Dominion. And even those cards are not a huge surprise since they're face up, and you can read them on your turn. It's what makes Dominion more of a strategic game while Mystic Vale is more of a tactical game. My wife prefers reacting to the pool more than planning out her entire game. I'm pretty happy with plotting my moves 6 turns in advance (if shuffle luck is with me).
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Re: Dominion clones
« Reply #52 on: February 09, 2018, 09:30:59 am »
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I read the rules to Secret Hitler and they seemed an overly complex version of the Resistance, but I've never played it. What's up with that game?

It is exactly that.
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Re: Dominion clones
« Reply #53 on: February 09, 2018, 10:22:29 am »
0

Sirlin is a terrible person.  And sure, judge the person not his works, but his games are non grata because the reason he is a terrible person is because of his terrible actions involving his games.  If Hannibal Lecter's board game existed solely because of his cannibalism, I wouldn't play it even if it was the most finely-designed deckbuilder of all time, because I would be encouraging and subsidizing terrible behavior.

But they also happen to be terrible games, though, which makes it all much easier.  They fall into that particularly pernicious modern cluster of games designed by people who are excellent at marketing but not excellent at design.  See, e.g., Secret Hitler.

I read the rules to Secret Hitler and they seemed an overly complex version of the Resistance, but I've never played it. What's up with that game?

I feel like your description fits perfectly the "Tiny Epic" series, though. I've only played Kingdoms, but it was a sad underdeveloped clunky thing.

I've played Tiny Epic Galaxies once. It reminded me of Roll for the Galaxy a lot, to give you an idea of what it's like.

Edit: got the name of the game wrong.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2018, 01:53:44 pm by markusin »
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Re: Dominion clones
« Reply #54 on: February 09, 2018, 11:46:05 am »
0

I read the rules to Secret Hitler and they seemed an overly complex version of the Resistance, but I've never played it. What's up with that game?
Well, the first thing to get clear is that Resistance is an underly complex version of the Resistance. I'll sometimes play base Resistance to introduce a new player to the game, but even then only if I'm sure they'll need it. Otherwise, you need to add the Commander and Assassin (Merlin and Assassin in the Avalon re-skin) at the very least to give the game adequate depth.

In my group, we tend to add either Bodyguard and False Commander or the Reversers to spice things up further.

That's what Resistance is, to us. So for us Secret Hitler is considerably pared down before adding comparable complexity in a different direction.

Right now, I'd say Resistance, Secret Hitler, One Night Ultimate Werewolf, Secrets, Spyfall and Mafia de Cuba are the best hidden-role games. Yes, Resistance and Secret Hitler have more in common than the others, but they're still a very long way from being the same game.
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Re: Dominion clones
« Reply #55 on: February 09, 2018, 11:57:26 am »
0

Does no one find Thunderstone too expensive to acquire these days if you don't live in the U.S. and so can't just take advantage of the BGG prices? That's been a big deterrent for me and one of my friends to get it.
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Re: Dominion clones
« Reply #56 on: February 09, 2018, 01:05:07 pm »
0

I read the rules to Secret Hitler and they seemed an overly complex version of the Resistance, but I've never played it. What's up with that game?
Well, the first thing to get clear is that Resistance is an underly complex version of the Resistance. I'll sometimes play base Resistance to introduce a new player to the game, but even then only if I'm sure they'll need it. Otherwise, you need to add the Commander and Assassin (Merlin and Assassin in the Avalon re-skin) at the very least to give the game adequate depth.

In my group, we tend to add either Bodyguard and False Commander or the Reversers to spice things up further.

That's what Resistance is, to us. So for us Secret Hitler is considerably pared down before adding comparable complexity in a different direction.

Right now, I'd say Resistance, Secret Hitler, One Night Ultimate Werewolf, Secrets, Spyfall and Mafia de Cuba are the best hidden-role games. Yes, Resistance and Secret Hitler have more in common than the others, but they're still a very long way from being the same game.

I find base resistance (with plot cards if more than six players) perfectly fine in level of depth. You just need to play with the right group. It’s a social game, at the end of the day it’s going to be the most persuasive player (group) that will win.
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Re: Dominion clones
« Reply #57 on: February 09, 2018, 07:02:48 pm »
0

Ascension:  This game has a horrid snowball problem, where if you happen to hit a "breakpoint" hand at the right time to purchase a card you get an insane advantage.  Which might be okay, except that there's no way to control what's out.  So one player might hit $8 and have a few mediocre cards to buy, while the next player with $8 gets a card that's basically a cantrip Hunting Grounds.  That's the drawback of the entire "middle market" mechanic.  With no VP cards, buying expensive cards (With both currencies) is your entire endgame, so the rich tend to get richer, and the poor end up in the gutter.  Like monopoly, but with more shuffling. 

Star Realms:  So if you just make this a VP race, it's basically non-interactive outside of stations.  It actually has considerably lower interaction than Dominion.  A lot of the center row flaws of Ascension, but the card design is so overwhelmingly bland it is more balanced, but far less interesting. 

Thunderstone: So what if Dominion had random events that could do things like "reveal the top 5 cards of your deck, trash all actions that cost $5 or more there"?  Wait, that'd be horrible, you say?  Well now there's a gazillion action types, so you need "heroes" to play "weapons" and "rations" to give heroes the strength to use "weapons" and "light" to reduce the strength of the monsters and... oh god what an absolute clusterfuck. 

Nightfall: Innovative mechanic I like where you need to chain actions, but a lot of time it feels incredibly random.  Like you get a 50/50 to leave yellow or green up for your opponent (based on the cards you know are in their deck) and you guess wrong and they can go off.  Or the weird way you get your own private reserve of cards.   Good playtesting might have made something out of this, but good playtesting it doesn't have.

Eminent Domain: A cool mix of race for the galaxy and dominion.  It's definitely a "one more turn" game where you are just always so close when the game ends.  The expansions added a lot too, with a variety of ways to win.  It's actually very hard to compare to Dominion due to the tableau, it compares better to Race for the Galaxy - I find I like it much more than race, as the deckbuilding adds to the phase picking in a neat way.

Tanto Cuore: So Market and Silver cost the same.  Other than that, Dominion clone with nothing to recommend for it, and artwork that guarantees it's an embarrassment.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2018, 07:04:48 pm by Sharajat »
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Re: Dominion clones
« Reply #58 on: February 09, 2018, 10:53:37 pm »
0

I think he's a bad game designer almost all of the time, he is very preoccupied with a very specific interpretation of how hidden information can benefit a game, and I don't think it works well. 
I totally disagree. Codex is one of the most brilliant designs of the last years, flawlessly merging the best of Dominion and Magic.
Unlike in Magic you build your deck during the game (except for some starting cards) and unlike in Dominion you don't buy the new cards from a Supply but draft them non-randomly and secretly from your private set, kinda like in Mage Wars. In Mage Wars you pay immediately when you play cards from the binder which makes it a CCG without deck-draw randomness whereas in Codex you only draft from your binder and still have deck-draw randomness. But both games are far less random than an ordinary CCG (Dominion keeps randomness relatively low due to the law of large numbers: you draw far more cards in a game of Dominion than in a CCG).
When you draw cards you have to pay for them with economy being out-of-deck and being correlated with trashing. Game itself is then some normal tactial stuff, familiar from other CCGs or LCGs.
The cool stuff is the secret deck-building, that you don't know what your opponent is going for until you see the card for the first time.

As it is Magic and Dominion inspired it also feels like something that DXV could have come up with instead of Dominion in an alternate universe.
Well, I said almost all of the time.  If I know about that one, I know about Chess 2, Puzzle Strike, Yomi, and that shitty Magic card he got to guest design too.

I doubt I'll get another warm body for trying Codex, but good to hear and all.
The net is full of pretty rude stuff about Sirlin so I take it with a grain of salt.

Perhaps the guys is a jerk (who cares, I am in it for the design, not the designer), perhaps he "ripped off" (a dubious notion in the first place given that boardgames constantly inspire each other; deckbuilders are not per se Dominion clone just like worker placement games are not per se Caylus clones) some games and ideas, perhaps he has designed some stinkers (even the greatest designers have) but the only game of him I know is utterly brilliant.

I think we're in violent agreement.  I think he spends a lot of time making bad designs - not that he's incapable of making good designs.  The gem crashing mechanics, the component of Puzzle Strike I praised, were all his ingenuity.

He has an above average stinker ratio, but yeah, so does Mark Macguire (i'm attempting a baseball reference I think that was the guy who struck out lots and home runned lots)
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Re: Dominion clones
« Reply #59 on: February 10, 2018, 11:11:26 am »
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Secret Hitler is fun, but it isn't terribly elegant. I made a P&P copy for myself, I think it's worth it.

EDIT: thought the last post on page 1 was the last ITT
« Last Edit: February 10, 2018, 11:12:34 am by Awaclus »
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Kuildeous

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Re: Dominion clones
« Reply #60 on: February 12, 2018, 01:45:09 pm »
+3

As I think more on Friday, I really like the trashing mechanism. I think it could be fun in a multiplayer game, but it does work perfectly for Friday. It's quite thematic, actually. You're teaching Crusoe how to survive. If he passes a task, he learns a new skill. If he fails a task, he eliminates bad habits. It's quite clever.

It's hard to put it into Dominion terms. Basically imagine your starting deck consists of Curses and Copper. On each turn, you flip over two Kingdom cards and choose one to try to buy. Let's say it's a Silver. You need to try to get 3 coins to buy the Silver with 5 card flips. If you hit 3 coins, then you gain the Silver. If you do not, then you lose the Silver and a VP (life) for each coin you're short. But for each coin you're short, you can trash one of your played cards. So that deck with a bunch of Curses will get trimmed down so you eventually may have treasure left. Furthermore, if you do gain that Silver, then you could likely get that Gold after flipping 9 cards.

I like that method a lot. Friday doesn't count as a Dominion clone IMO. It has cards, and it builds a deck, but that's about all the similarity the two games have.

My local board game pub has it, and I played it all the way through once. I pull it out when I show up alone, but I usually see someone I know arriving before I finish the game. First-world problems.
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Re: Dominion clones
« Reply #61 on: March 19, 2018, 01:00:11 am »
0

My latest fun has been with Mystic Vale. It's technically not a deckbuilder in that you start with 20 cards and end with 20 cards. Instead, you build up the cards. All your cards are sleeved, and you can improve your card with clear inserts. They are clear like in Gloom. The main currency is mana, which is spent much like Dominion. There is also another commodity that lets you buy cards that don't go in your deck but will give you special abilities or victory points. One complaint I hear about Mystic Vale is that it gets stale with the same cards. I can's disagree with that. I have all expansions so far, and they've eliminated the staleness. It's a pool of cards like Ascension, which should annoy me, but it doesn't.

Adding leaders to Mystic Vale is fun. You add the leader to one of your cards, and you have a unique ability no one else has. Imagine playing Dominion where one Copper is replaced by a guy that gives you $1 and +1 Buy. Another player may have one that gives him +2 Cards. You could even upgrade that card so that you now get $1, +1 Buy, and +3 Actions. Such cards could be unbalanced, but they give each leader different victory points at the end and varying costs to upgrade. I can't say for certain if they hit a good balance or not.

Anyway, I love Mystic Vale, though I can't say if it's for the novelty or the game. Since I see a lot of naysayers of the game, maybe it's the former, but whatever. I'm having fun with it.

Just tried Mystic Vale the other day. We didn't have much time, so we only played one game, but I liked it. The push your luck aspect turned me off when I read about it here, but when I played the game, it didn't bother me at all. It always seemed pretty clear whether it was a good idea to push or not that turn.
(Haven't tried any of the other games mention in this thread.)

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Re: Dominion clones
« Reply #62 on: March 19, 2018, 02:16:58 am »
0

The two deckbuilders that I think are worth it for a few plays, even if you are a dominion fan, are these:

Arctic Scavengers: this game is so full of interaction.  and not just direct interaction like using a sniper to shoot the guy they are trying to play, but also bluffing interaction, since at the end of each round, you compete for a rare resource.  it boasts multiple routes to victories, a nice theme, and two decks that function similarly to the black market in dominion.
It's great fun for about 6-10 games, but even with expansions, it doesn't have the best replay value. 

Valley of the Kings: this is one of those deckbuilders where the cards available rotate...but they do it in the most thematic possible way for an Egyptian game: you buy from the bottom row of a pyramid, and then the top cards "crumble" down, and new cards appear at the top.  yeah, it's not the best way to build a deckbuilder, but i give them a pass in this instance because choosing the crumbling direction and manipulating the pyramid with your cards is so much fun. 
the other thing this game has is cards that are powerful are also very valuable points wise....but not until you cull them out of your deck by entombing them in your pyramid. so the tension in this game is figuring out how long to use the cards before you start the race to fill your tomb with the best cards.  it's a neat puzzle.  unfortunately, there is NO variety, since you use the same cards every time, and you go through the entire deck every time.  good for about 4 matches. 

to be a truly great deckbuilder, you need to manage variety sufficient enough to hold your attention long enough to get over the hump of learning what all the cards do.
dominion really opens up once you get it, and it really simplifies once you are recognizing cards by the pictures.  arctic scavengers has thematic art that all looks exactly the same, and by the time you've figured out the cards, you are pretty much done.  valley of the kings is chock full of unique cards with tons of text, so you end up thinking "i'm done with this game" LONG before you've memorized what the cards do.
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werothegreat

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Re: Dominion clones
« Reply #63 on: March 19, 2018, 08:41:31 am »
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I've actually been working on my own Dominion clone, inspired by mythology, which I posted about on here years ago.  I think it's come a long way since then (changed quite a bit), and most of that has been making it less like Dominion, and more of its own thing.  I might make a post about it later today.
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Re: Dominion clones
« Reply #64 on: March 21, 2018, 01:05:07 am »
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My latest fun has been with Mystic Vale. It's technically not a deckbuilder in that you start with 20 cards and end with 20 cards. Instead, you build up the cards. All your cards are sleeved, and you can improve your card with clear inserts. They are clear like in Gloom. The main currency is mana, which is spent much like Dominion. There is also another commodity that lets you buy cards that don't go in your deck but will give you special abilities or victory points. One complaint I hear about Mystic Vale is that it gets stale with the same cards. I can's disagree with that. I have all expansions so far, and they've eliminated the staleness. It's a pool of cards like Ascension, which should annoy me, but it doesn't.

Adding leaders to Mystic Vale is fun. You add the leader to one of your cards, and you have a unique ability no one else has. Imagine playing Dominion where one Copper is replaced by a guy that gives you $1 and +1 Buy. Another player may have one that gives him +2 Cards. You could even upgrade that card so that you now get $1, +1 Buy, and +3 Actions. Such cards could be unbalanced, but they give each leader different victory points at the end and varying costs to upgrade. I can't say for certain if they hit a good balance or not.

Anyway, I love Mystic Vale, though I can't say if it's for the novelty or the game. Since I see a lot of naysayers of the game, maybe it's the former, but whatever. I'm having fun with it.

Just tried Mystic Vale the other day. We didn't have much time, so we only played one game, but I liked it. The push your luck aspect turned me off when I read about it here, but when I played the game, it didn't bother me at all. It always seemed pretty clear whether it was a good idea to push or not that turn.
(Haven't tried any of the other games mention in this thread.)

The push your luck aspect is fine.  The whole assembling a card thing is really dumb when there is little difference between playing a Gold-Copper-Pouch and Pouch-Silver-Silver on the same turn versus a Gold-Silver-Copper and Pouch-Pouch-Silver on the same turn.  It ends up having a bad ratio between, this is adding something to the game vs. I have to pull this little plastic sleeve open and stick something in.  Like Dominion but half the cards have Chancellor text and technically the Chancellor text adds a little strategy but...no.
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Re: Dominion clones
« Reply #65 on: March 21, 2018, 04:46:21 am »
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Mystic Vale suffers from being a bit too simple. But card crafting is a brilliant new mechanism and I expect it to shine in the more elaborate upcoming Edge of Darkness.
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Re: Dominion clones
« Reply #66 on: March 21, 2018, 08:51:51 am »
+1


The push your luck aspect turned me off when I read about it here, but when I played the game, it didn't bother me at all. It always seemed pretty clear whether it was a good idea to push or not that turn.

I hadn't even considered how the push-your-luck aspect might be unappealing to someone hearing about the game. I'll have to keep in mind when talking about it that you're never forced to push your luck (with the exception of an amulet in one of the expansions, but you're not forced to keep that amulet either). When I teach the game, I tell people not to fear spoiling. Sometimes you just want to do it to mill through your deck and flip over your mana token. 

The push your luck aspect is fine.  The whole assembling a card thing is really dumb when there is little difference between playing a Gold-Copper-Pouch and Pouch-Silver-Silver on the same turn versus a Gold-Silver-Copper and Pouch-Pouch-Silver on the same turn.  It ends up having a bad ratio between, this is adding something to the game vs. I have to pull this little plastic sleeve open and stick something in.  Like Dominion but half the cards have Chancellor text and technically the Chancellor text adds a little strategy but...no.

If you're looking at just mana production, then I see the coin analogy, but there are other resources to consider. The spirit symbols are usually best to put all on one card since it helps to afford a vale card with one card rather than spread across two cards that may not come up together. There are also cards that benefit from having more helmets, so you have to place those with care. And well, I'd prefer to load a lot of mana onto one card because then I may get 5 mana from that one card rather than have it spread out. It also makes it easy to know that it is not the time to push my luck.

I have no idea where you're going with the Chancellor analogy though.

Mystic Vale suffers from being a bit too simple. But card crafting is a brilliant new mechanism and I expect it to shine in the more elaborate upcoming Edge of Darkness.

The base game is pretty simple. On top of that, you see the same cards over and over. The expansions provide additional variety. The expansions also introduced leaders—one of which takes up a blank card, has a unique special ability, and can be upgraded—and amulets—one of which replaces your mana token and gives you a unique ability when flipped. I don't feel that these things are all balanced, but they suggest a draft system where each player picks a leader in order. Then in reverse order, each player picks an amulet. So, the player with the best leader likely has the worst amulet and vice versa. That's the theory, at least, though one leader is quite potent. My wife stomped me 60-something to 30-something. I think she would've won anyway, but that leader really catapulted her into the lead. I'm okay with the swinginess of leaders and amulets, but it is good that these additions are optional.

But I am looking forward to a new game with a finely honed card-crafting system. Mystic Vale was the first of its kind, and I think it's a good entry. A better version of it would interest me greatly.
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crj

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Re: Dominion clones
« Reply #67 on: March 21, 2018, 03:51:50 pm »
0

Complexity-wise, basic Mystic Vale feels like Dominion with three or four expansions thrown in. Which may not be a bad place to reach, but doesn't feel like a good place to start out. Especially as it doesn't feel as carefully designed as Dominion.

Physically, there's a glaring flaw, which is that upgraded cards can be distinguished by feel, and cards of varying thickness don't shuffle properly.

In terms of gameplay, the restriction of caring whether an upgrade fits in the top, middle or bottom feels like it was forced by the physrep and then turned into a feature that complicates and frustrates more than it challenges delights.
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Kuildeous

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Re: Dominion clones
« Reply #68 on: March 21, 2018, 04:31:55 pm »
0

Physically, there's a glaring flaw, which is that upgraded cards can be distinguished by feel, and cards of varying thickness don't shuffle properly.

Yeah, there is that. I try to be as forgetful as possible when shuffling. The most I've had in a card was 4, but you could technically have 6, not that you'd want to. Imagine how obvious that card would be.

Are you talking riffle shuffle? If so, I would have to agree with you. I slide the cards together since they're sleeved. Maybe that makes a difference?

In terms of gameplay, the restriction of caring whether an upgrade fits in the top, middle or bottom feels like it was forced by the physrep and then turned into a feature that complicates and frustrates more than it challenges delights.

It can be frustrating to find that one card you want only to have no available slots that turn or end up putting 2+ spoils on one card, but many games have limitations to make things challenging. It'd be like finding 1 Buy per turn in Dominion frustrating, though I'm amazed at how many deck-building games don't have a buy limit. Since Dominion was my first deck-builder, this feels very odd to me.
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weesh

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Re: Dominion clones
« Reply #69 on: March 21, 2018, 06:16:47 pm »
+2

I'm amazed at how many deck-building games don't have a buy limit. Since Dominion was my first deck-builder, this feels very odd to me.

Most deck builders are REALLY shy about letting you draw your whole deck.  And without that, you can't get great use out of your trashers, and there is no way to snowball to the equivalent of 16$.

I think even donald mentioned something about being shy regarding the ability to draw your whole deck but found that "drawing your whole deck was fun, so we left that in". 

limiting you to 1 buy is kind of a safety valve on dominion that is just not necessary on games less explosive.

---

i remember using "leaders" on a "sled team" in Arctic scavengers and being WOW'D that i had SEVEN cards in my hand. 
Of the slow deckbuilders, I still like arctic scavengers and valley of the kings because the ability to cull a card out of your deck every turn means you can actually sculpt the deck and see the cards often because the severely limited draw would not otherwise be enough.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2018, 06:23:51 pm by weesh »
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crj

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Re: Dominion clones
« Reply #70 on: March 21, 2018, 06:23:13 pm »
0

It can be frustrating to find that one card you want only to have no available slots that turn or end up putting 2+ spoils on one card, but many games have limitations to make things challenging. It'd be like finding 1 Buy per turn in Dominion frustrating
It would be more like Dominion having red, green and yellow money, and you had to have the right kind of money as well as the right amount in order to buy stuff. I seem to remember Donald X. having discussed the early Dominion design decisions and the importance he placed on not having that complication. Even Potions in Alchemy are regarded by many as a step too far down that path.
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Holunder9

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Re: Dominion clones
« Reply #71 on: March 21, 2018, 07:20:49 pm »
0

It can be frustrating to find that one card you want only to have no available slots that turn or end up putting 2+ spoils on one card, but many games have limitations to make things challenging. It'd be like finding 1 Buy per turn in Dominion frustrating
It would be more like Dominion having red, green and yellow money, and you had to have the right kind of money as well as the right amount in order to buy stuff. I seem to remember Donald X. having discussed the early Dominion design decisions and the importance he placed on not having that complication. Even Potions in Alchemy are regarded by many as a step too far down that path.
That's not really an issue as there are 8 cards with all kinds of combos of red, green and yellow cost available so if you produce enough you will most likely be able to buy something. The whole thing works basically like in Splendor but less harshly due to the second dimension of resources, mana.

The 3 slot thing on other other hand that Kuildeous referred to feels pretty random and can really hurt you if you try to build combos on one card.
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crj

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Re: Dominion clones
« Reply #72 on: March 21, 2018, 08:17:31 pm »
+1

The whole thing works basically like in Splendor
Yes, Splendor has 5 kinds of money.

On the other hand, Splendor has no deck building or hand management. If some sources of complexity are completely absent, you have more licence to feature others.

(Please don't mention Century: Spice Road. I'm not at all a fan of Century: Spice Road.)
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markusin

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Re: Dominion clones
« Reply #73 on: March 21, 2018, 09:06:34 pm »
0

The whole thing works basically like in Splendor
Yes, Splendor has 5 kinds of money.

On the other hand, Splendor has no deck building or hand management. If some sources of complexity are completely absent, you have more licence to feature others.

(Please don't mention Century: Spice Road. I'm not at all a fan of Century: Spice Road.)

Sorry, I'm going to mention Century: Spice Road for a moment here.

I played it once. It was described to me as something like "Splendor evolved". Except, I can't imagine my dad, who happens to love Splendor, have the patience to deal with Century: Spice Road. Mechanically it's fairly simple, but it feels dense in regards to all the gameplay elements you have to think about at once.
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ipofanes

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Re: Dominion clones
« Reply #74 on: March 22, 2018, 04:13:01 am »
0

The whole thing works basically like in Splendor
On the other hand, Splendor has no deck building or hand management.

There's a tiny bit of hand management in the three hand cards limit.
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crj

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Re: Dominion clones
« Reply #75 on: March 22, 2018, 01:37:53 pm »
0

*points*

Edge case!!!!!1!1!!
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Tombolo

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Re: Dominion clones
« Reply #76 on: March 23, 2018, 06:02:35 pm »
0

Am I the only one who likes Ascension at all more than Star Realms? I can't quite figure out why- might just be because I played Ascension first and they feel kinda same-y.

I wouldn't describe it quite as a deckbuilder (even though it was pitched to me as one) but I've been having a lot of fun lately with Baseball Highlights 2045, which has a deckbuilding/drafting element.  The back and forth interactive feel of the mini-game is quite satisfying.

I own Tanto Cuore and am not particularly proud of that fact.  Never actually played it.
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popsofctown

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Re: Dominion clones
« Reply #77 on: March 25, 2018, 03:24:39 am »
0

Am I the only one who likes Ascension at all more than Star Realms? I can't quite figure out why- might just be because I played Ascension first and they feel kinda same-y.

I wouldn't describe it quite as a deckbuilder (even though it was pitched to me as one) but I've been having a lot of fun lately with Baseball Highlights 2045, which has a deckbuilding/drafting element.  The back and forth interactive feel of the mini-game is quite satisfying.

I own Tanto Cuore and am not particularly proud of that fact.  Never actually played it.

I would be proud if I owned Tanto Cuore and you heard it here.

Star Realms sucks, I can't imagine Ascension is worse.
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weesh

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Re: Dominion clones
« Reply #78 on: March 25, 2018, 12:18:17 pm »
+4

Star Realms sucks, I can't imagine Ascension is worse.

To answer this, you need to first understand that many of the things that makes Star Realms bad also makes Ascension bad:
1) weak, unreliable trashing, that one person is lucky to get, while the other player is SOL.
2) there are often only 1-2 cards that you can afford, so the strategic choices are unsatisfying.
3) you often just get whatever the strongest card is, because in bulky/weak decks, putting together synergies is tougher and less reliable and less rewarding than you'd hope.

I don't like either, but star realms is:
1) much simpler, easier to teach (both the base rules, and the rules on each card)
2) has much more interaction since you are attacking each other, rather than random monsters, and you are given tools to defend yourself.
3) a shitty turn on SR is "this card doesn't improve my deck much" and a shitty turn on Ascension is "i get points for killing the cultist, but my deck isn't any better"
4) shorter (generally, but ESPECIALLY on your first game)
5) actually kinda nice to look at, and the colors help you identify the cards well

When my friend that likes Star Realms asks me to play I think "i guess"
When my friend that likes Ascension asks me to play, I try to convince him to play something else.
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blueblimp

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Re: Dominion clones
« Reply #79 on: March 25, 2018, 10:47:34 pm »
+2

About Ascension, this isn't something that matters, but I found the game's over-the-top card names amusing (in a bad way). For example, "Ascetic of the Lidless Eye", which just draws two cards. The name has more words in it than the card text does...
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popsofctown

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Re: Dominion clones
« Reply #80 on: March 26, 2018, 01:02:02 am »
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How do you decide how to value interaction?  Dominion has some edge case boards/games with truly no interaction at all, bridge mega turn mirrors where not enough tension results over anyone pile and the player who dips into VP does it in a turn that ends the game.  It's a spectrum, and some games get decently close to that, then on the other end sometimes it matters intensely what I pass with Masquerade, or there's this one cool game where I noticed my opponent committed to too many terminals and I can harm myself taking the Port split to make his deck really bad and get 'em.

A lot of these clones don't add any interaction, Arctic Scavengers undeniably has massive amounts of interaction but isn't getting market share for it, and no one wants to give Puzzle Strike any mitigating positive points for its heavy interaction.

I feel like interactivity is something people claim to care about but actually don't.
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markusin

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Re: Dominion clones
« Reply #81 on: March 26, 2018, 07:56:25 am »
0

I feel like interactivity is something people claim to care about but actually don't.

I have that same question towards games that are "innovative". Really, good execution and/or brand power seems to be more important for a game's success on a mass scale than how original the game happens to be.
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weesh

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Re: Dominion clones
« Reply #82 on: March 26, 2018, 11:37:04 am »
+1

How do you decide how to value interaction?  Dominion has some edge case boards/games with truly no interaction at all, bridge mega turn mirrors where not enough tension results over anyone pile and the player who dips into VP does it in a turn that ends the game.  It's a spectrum, and some games get decently close to that, then on the other end sometimes it matters intensely what I pass with Masquerade, or there's this one cool game where I noticed my opponent committed to too many terminals and I can harm myself taking the Port split to make his deck really bad and get 'em.

A lot of these clones don't add any interaction, Arctic Scavengers undeniably has massive amounts of interaction but isn't getting market share for it, and no one wants to give Puzzle Strike any mitigating positive points for its heavy interaction.

I feel like interactivity is something people claim to care about but actually don't.

Interaction exists on a continuum, and the target for a strategy game is probably "enough that forms counter strategies against you, and you can form counter-counter strategies against them, etc....but not so much that the game is bogged down by it"

But interaction is probably valued in plateaus.
1) insufficient interaction
2) sufficient interaction
3) excessive interaction

For many people, as long as you aren't on the extreme plateaus, it really isn't going to be something that they notice or care about.  And if the game is amazing on other fronts, completely botching the interaction could be forgivable.

"Tales of the Arabian Nights" is just an incredible game on all counts...except that there is no interactions, and that does tangibly hurt the game.  It's better to think of it as a storytelling activity than a game, since each player's stories are divorced from each other.  And people DO care about this one.  There are several fan rulesets addressing this.

But just because interaction isn't valued as highly as it could be, that doesn't mean that changing the amount of interaction is incapable of improving a game.
For instance, the new version of "Roborally" actively increased the interaction between the players, and the game is WAY better for it.  It already had sufficient interaction, but by increasing the likely hood that robots will be near each other, they improved the best part of the game.

I don't think it's fair to say the Arctic Scavengers interaction is not actually valuable because it isn't flying off the shelves.
It has variety problems that keep it from being an interesting game past the 10th play, but the reason I got to 10+ was because the interaction is wickedly fun. Every single turn has you thinking about your opponent, what they are doing, or what they will do.  The contest at the end of each round is wonderfully exciting. 

Paper dominion exists in a place where it has both too much, and too little interactions.  More soft interaction cards like chariot race would be great, but at the same time, these cards get played and the game grinds to a halt while the next player finishes shuffling their deck and drawing.  And a player with 2 cards left in their deck has to wait to see if their discard pile gets further junked before they complete the shuffle of it for their next turn.

Fortunately, sub-par interaction doesn't have a terribly detrimental effect on a game. 
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