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Author Topic: Why does Dominion have a Predefined End?  (Read 10415 times)

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Piemaster

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Why does Dominion have a Predefined End?
« on: April 04, 2012, 02:23:36 am »
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It has now bee revealed that Guilds, released next year, will be the last expansion for Dominion.  Donald has also, on several occasions, spoken about how all of the Dominion expansions were essentially planned from the start.

To me this seems like a very strange way to run a game.  For most games like this, there is a base game released and then, if it proves successful, expansions will be released until the point there is no longer enough customer demand to warrant the time, money and effort needed to create more content.  While my evidence is entirely anecdotal it seems to me that Dominion is still selling very well, more people seem to be playing it that most other games (some of which still chuck out expansion after expansion).  So why is this Mayan-like predetermined apocalypse being adhered to?  It's not like the game has really reached it's natural conclusion, there are tons of new possibilities that could be explored.  Assuming that there is still a loyal fanbase for the game this time next year, surely something will be there to fill the demand.  Will more expansions suddenly be announced?  Will the rights to game be sold off to another party?  Will Donald and/or RGG attempt to shift the player base onto a new game that they are currently making and want to focus their efforts on?

It just seems hard to believe that this time next year we're basically looking at the end of the game in an evolving form.
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DStu

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Re: Why does Dominion have a Predefined End?
« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2012, 02:29:25 am »
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Can't find the post, but Donald said that at some point more cards don't really add much to the game because there already are so many, so the natural way is not to extemd the game but produce a new one which can explore a different (maybe similar) mechanic.

The nearest one I can find on the fly is maybe
http://forum.dominionstrategy.com/index.php?topic=121.0
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petrie911

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Re: Why does Dominion have a Predefined End?
« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2012, 02:31:36 am »
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On the one hand, you can always invent new mechanics.

On the other hand, you end up with a 180 page rulebook to handle said mechanics.
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Donald X.

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Re: Why does Dominion have a Predefined End?
« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2012, 02:57:06 am »
+1

It has now bee revealed that Guilds, released next year, will be the last expansion for Dominion.  Donald has also, on several occasions, spoken about how all of the Dominion expansions were essentially planned from the start.
Probably what will happen is, some time will pass and RGG / HiG will say, dude how about another expansion, and probably I will make one, because I am friendly. The plan is to not make any more, that is the base plan, but that doesn't mean I definitely won't make one. And if I am making spin-offs then whatever, aren't the spin-offs doing it for you?

The usual speech in two forms is at http://forum.dominionstrategy.com/index.php?topic=73.0
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tlloyd

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Re: Why does Dominion have a Predefined End?
« Reply #4 on: April 04, 2012, 03:24:53 am »
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Probably what will happen is, some time will pass and RGG / HiG will say, dude how about another expansion, and probably I will make one, because I am friendly.

I have two reactions to this. The first is excitement that the fun will keep on coming (although I admit we probably already have so much potential in terms of variety that there is already more game to play than anyone could ever really play). My second reaction is concern that we will never reach a point where I can own all of Dominion, and thus design a custom storage solution.

My third reaction (I said three, right?) is: WHAT'S THE SECRET EXTRA COMPONENT IN THE RE-FORMATTED BASE CARD "EXPANSION"?!?!?!?!?!
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Donald X.

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Re: Why does Dominion have a Predefined End?
« Reply #5 on: April 04, 2012, 03:35:21 am »
+1

My third reaction (I said three, right?) is: WHAT'S THE SECRET EXTRA COMPONENT IN THE RE-FORMATTED BASE CARD "EXPANSION"?!?!?!?!?!
I don't know what it is. So that limits it somewhat.
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tlloyd

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Re: Why does Dominion have a Predefined End?
« Reply #6 on: April 04, 2012, 03:38:31 am »
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My third reaction (I said three, right?) is: WHAT'S THE SECRET EXTRA COMPONENT IN THE RE-FORMATTED BASE CARD "EXPANSION"?!?!?!?!?!
I don't know what it is. So that limits it somewhat.

Any chance you want to fill us in on all of the things it can't be?  ;)
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Piemaster

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Re: Why does Dominion have a Predefined End?
« Reply #7 on: April 04, 2012, 04:09:31 am »
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Thanks for the replies, and especially Donald for giving his explanation.  Intuitively, and from the links people have posted, I understand how Dominion may have a rather finite number of possibilities that adhere to the strict format of the game as it stands.  I can also see why you would want to leave the game 'on a high' with every expansion being good, rather than try to drag it out indefinitely with the game getting more complex without actually getting any better.

I guess that's the point really.  Usually it tends to be the case that if there is a market for a product out there, it very rarely goes unfulfilled.  I couldn't really get my head around the idea of a load of Dominion players sitting around next summer with 30 ready to buy a new expansion but no new expansion to buy.  In fact usually you get the opposite problem where fanbases are commercially exploited long after the new content is actually adding anything useful or interesting as anyone who watched Friends after about series 6 will testify. 
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ftl

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Re: Why does Dominion have a Predefined End?
« Reply #8 on: April 04, 2012, 04:56:04 am »
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Any chance you want to fill us in on all of the things it can't be?  ;)

Well, if he doesn't know what it is, at the very least that means it can't be any cards that affect gameplay.

Maybe new VP chips? Like, the current ones it's actually sort of hard to tell the 1s from the 5s, and you run out of them. There's definitely a possibility there. That would fit with the idea of remade base cards, add in remade VP chips.
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tlloyd

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Re: Why does Dominion have a Predefined End?
« Reply #9 on: April 04, 2012, 06:35:49 am »
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Maybe new VP chips? Like, the current ones it's actually sort of hard to tell the 1s from the 5s, and you run out of them.

If the goal is to provide enough VP chips that you'll never run out . . . that's a pretty big box of VP chips. Unless you mean adding in higher currencies like a 100VP chip for Goons games.  :P
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meshuggah42

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Re: Why does Dominion have a Predefined End?
« Reply #10 on: April 04, 2012, 06:52:44 am »
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Maybe new VP chips? Like, the current ones it's actually sort of hard to tell the 1s from the 5s, and you run out of them.

If the goal is to provide enough VP chips that you'll never run out . . . that's a pretty big box of VP chips. Unless you mean adding in higher currencies like a 100VP chip for Goons games.  :P

I don't think that's really necessary, say, 10 VP chips would be sufficient.
I myself use a decimal system to keep track of my points from the chips: I keep the 10s on the left side of the mat, and the 1s on the right. So if I have 8 VP worth tokens on the left and 6 to the right, that means I have 86 VP from tokens.

To not be offtopic: I really look forward for the last two expansions and I agree with Donald that there are already a lot of cards and a lot of possibilities in the game, so one must come to terms with the fact, that after a while new expos will add nothing new or exciting to the game.
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Kuildeous

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Re: Why does Dominion have a Predefined End?
« Reply #11 on: April 04, 2012, 08:54:01 am »
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I can also see why you would want to leave the game 'on a high' with every expansion being good, rather than try to drag it out indefinitely with the game getting more complex without actually getting any better.

I guess that's the point really.  Usually it tends to be the case that if there is a market for a product out there, it very rarely goes unfulfilled.  I couldn't really get my head around the idea of a load of Dominion players sitting around next summer with 30 ready to buy a new expansion but no new expansion to buy.  In fact usually you get the opposite problem where fanbases are commercially exploited long after the new content is actually adding anything useful or interesting as anyone who watched Friends after about series 6 will testify. 

That's how I view it. I'm actually grateful that there is an end in sight. Some games just add expansions which can make an otherwise fine game into something less pleasant. The first Talisman was fun, if swingy. The expansions came out, which enhanced the game at first. Then the expansions made the game even more swingy and not so much fun (I'm looking at you, Timescape). As another example, I love the expansion for Galaxy Trucker, but it added new rules to keep track of, which frustrates some of my local players. It's at the tipping point where anything else added to the game would likely make it unplayable.

I think the comparison to TV shows is apt. I don't expect every show to map out the story arcs (though Babylon 5 did an admirable job, even if they got screwed in the last season), but it'd be nice if the shows end on a high note. That is unrealistic, of course, as networks are perfectly fine throwing money at these shows to keep on going as long as they remain popular. The idea of ending on a high note when there's still money to be made is probably a foreign concept. For the most part, shows have to "jump the shark" before they are slated for retirement, and usually that retirement is really the canceling of the show. I would like board/card games to not jump the shark. Continuing Dominion after Donald's planned ending would be tricky. There'd have to be something new add, which might make the game even worse.

That's not to say that there couldn't be new expansions that are awesome. I would just be wary of them.
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Brando Commando

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Re: Why does Dominion have a Predefined End?
« Reply #12 on: April 04, 2012, 12:53:33 pm »
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Right now the count of kingdom cards is somewhere above 150, and that creates an insane number of possible games. I think with two more expansions -- especially if Dark Ages is extra big -- the space for strategies will grow sufficiently that few people are going to think the game needs to be more complicated. Recent expansions have had a lot more card text...

Also, the greater the number of cards, the more daunting the game looks to newcomers. (Dominion's kingdom selection dynamic makes it much easier in theory but I'm thinking of people who really want a game to sink their teeth into -- which means all the sets.) Massive card sets equal more time spent learning the ins-and-outs rather than getting into deeper strategic/tactical questions, which are really the meat of any game. It's a balance that might get upended if there are 200+ cards to master.
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Copernicus

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Re: Why does Dominion have a Predefined End?
« Reply #13 on: April 05, 2012, 12:32:13 pm »
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There's a diminishing returns for expansions.  Each new expansion will be purchased by fewer and fewer people -- especially when all the previous expansions are still available to be purchased.  To use Settlers for example, I know a lot of people with the base game.  Fewer have the 5-6 player expansion.  And even fewer than that have Seafarers and that 5-6 player expansion and so on down the line.

There's probably a baseline of people that will buy every expansion that comes out, but devoting resources to them is difficult because it also requires keeping things fresh and interesting enough to keep them around (or even worse, a power escalation that then destroys the value of the previous expansions).
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eHalcyon

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Re: Why does Dominion have a Predefined End?
« Reply #14 on: April 06, 2012, 11:07:34 pm »
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There's a diminishing returns for expansions.  Each new expansion will be purchased by fewer and fewer people -- especially when all the previous expansions are still available to be purchased.  To use Settlers for example, I know a lot of people with the base game.  Fewer have the 5-6 player expansion.  And even fewer than that have Seafarers and that 5-6 player expansion and so on down the line.

Do more people have Seafarers than Cities and Knights?  I picked up the latter but not the former because, in my opinion, Seafarers adds much less to the game.
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werothegreat

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Re: Why does Dominion have a Predefined End?
« Reply #15 on: April 07, 2012, 11:19:17 am »
+1

Glancing at the title, my thought was that this thread was going to be about "Why does a game of Dominion end specifically when the Provinces are all bought?  Why can't we just play forever and ever and ever and ever and..."  Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised, but don't actually have anything of value to contribute to the conversation.
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GendoIkari

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Re: Why does Dominion have a Predefined End?
« Reply #16 on: April 07, 2012, 05:16:51 pm »
+2

Glancing at the title, my thought was that this thread was going to be about "Why does a game of Dominion end specifically when the Provinces are all bought?  Why can't we just play forever and ever and ever and ever and..."  Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised, but don't actually have anything of value to contribute to the conversation.

This reminds me of a Donald quote. People were debating about what to do in a stalemate (a situation where both players would put themselves at a disadvantage if they were to buy another card, so no one buys anything). They were complaining that Dominion didn't have an official rule to deal with this situation, and Donald said that what you should do in that case was play forever until one of the players starves to death. ;D
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Ferrouswheel

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Re: Why does Dominion have a Predefined End?
« Reply #17 on: April 08, 2012, 05:08:02 pm »
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Glancing at the title, my thought was that this thread was going to be about "Why does a game of Dominion end specifically when the Provinces are all bought?  Why can't we just play forever and ever and ever and ever and..."  Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised, but don't actually have anything of value to contribute to the conversation.

This reminds me of a Donald quote. People were debating about what to do in a stalemate (a situation where both players would put themselves at a disadvantage if they were to buy another card, so no one buys anything). They were complaining that Dominion didn't have an official rule to deal with this situation, and Donald said that what you should do in that case was play forever until one of the players starves to death. ;D

Do you know where the quote for that is?
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GendoIkari

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Re: Why does Dominion have a Predefined End?
« Reply #18 on: April 08, 2012, 09:25:04 pm »
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Do you know where the quote for that is?

Found it in 2 places:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/475492/draw-game/page/4

Quote
If no-one has a way to end the game, I guess everyone keeps playing until they starve to death. Always play in a 24-hour restaurant, that's my advice. If people could end it by buying Curses but refuse to, well you could always offer them a bribe. A rubber band, a Q-tip - it doesn't need to be much.

http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/534706/is-the-following-scenario-a-draw

Quote
Well man, who cares if I believe it, right? It deserves an answer, and, the last time this question was asked, it got one. The game does not end. The players continue playing until they starve to death. I suppose in some situations they might die of thirst first, or run out of oxygen, or what have you.

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Donald X.

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Re: Why does Dominion have a Predefined End?
« Reply #19 on: April 09, 2012, 04:58:50 am »
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Quote
User Details for NeoProcrustes
Registration Date:   2010-06-13
Last Profile Update:   2010-06-13
Last Login:   2010-06-17
Let the record show that NeoProcrustes was in fact an account created just to ask that one question, almost as if the person who made the first thread thought that pretending his scenario had actually happened would get him a better response. Which is what I thought at the time so I guess I am just defending my response to DdJ here. If you hang around on forums for years, you will find that accusing someone of making a new account to post something is more common than people actually doing it, but still, it does happen.
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Kirian

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Re: Why does Dominion have a Predefined End?
« Reply #20 on: April 09, 2012, 09:41:57 am »
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Quote
User Details for NeoProcrustes
Registration Date:   2010-06-13
Last Profile Update:   2010-06-13
Last Login:   2010-06-17
Let the record show that NeoProcrustes was in fact an account created just to ask that one question, almost as if the person who made the first thread thought that pretending his scenario had actually happened would get him a better response. Which is what I thought at the time so I guess I am just defending my response to DdJ here. If you hang around on forums for years, you will find that accusing someone of making a new account to post something is more common than people actually doing it, but still, it does happen.

I'd go so far as to suggest that in an established community--one year or more with 100 active members--that such accusations are up to 95% accurate, though mainly if you expand "to post one thing" into "to troll."
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Gamer_2k4

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Re: Why does Dominion have a Predefined End?
« Reply #21 on: April 12, 2012, 12:28:46 pm »
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I wouldn't mind the "Dominion has an end" thing so much if there weren't so many unexplored opportunities.  Everyone I play with loves duration cards; why were they only produced in one set? Alchemy got worse reviews than the other expansions because it introduced potions without a lot of cards that used them; why not make more cards that benefit from them?

Adding to that, it seems many sets have some sort of "gimmick" that isn't a part of the core game.  Seaside and Prosperity both had game tiles and tokens, and Cornucopia had Tournament prizes and Young Witch's Bane pile.  Alchemy, as mentioned above, introduced potions.  If you're going to add new game mechanics with each set anyway, why not continue to make new sets with new mechanics?

The core mechanics may be simple (and that's admittedly the primary draw of the game), but there's still a lot of opportunity for expansion.  You play around with unorthodox concepts like controlling other players' turns (Possesion), taking additional turns (Tactician and Outpost), stealing cards (Masquerade and Thief), using additional Supply piles (Black Market, Young Witch, Tournament), free but limited action use (Throne Room, King's Court, Golem), etc., but you never really explore them as much as you could.  At the same time, there are too many "one-offs" like the cases mentioned about to give the "we've run out of ways to modify the game" argument any validity.

People make and play fan expansions, so clearly there are ways to add to the game that you haven't considered yet.  Why not continue developing and let the game evolve?
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Ferrouswheel

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Re: Why does Dominion have a Predefined End?
« Reply #22 on: April 13, 2012, 12:06:55 pm »
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Quote
User Details for NeoProcrustes
Registration Date:   2010-06-13
Last Profile Update:   2010-06-13
Last Login:   2010-06-17
Let the record show that NeoProcrustes was in fact an account created just to ask that one question, almost as if the person who made the first thread thought that pretending his scenario had actually happened would get him a better response. Which is what I thought at the time so I guess I am just defending my response to DdJ here. If you hang around on forums for years, you will find that accusing someone of making a new account to post something is more common than people actually doing it, but still, it does happen.

No need to defend your response, I thought it was hilarious.
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Voltgloss

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Re: Why does Dominion have a Predefined End?
« Reply #23 on: April 13, 2012, 12:28:36 pm »
+1

Quote
User Details for NeoProcrustes
Registration Date:   2010-06-13
Last Profile Update:   2010-06-13
Last Login:   2010-06-17
Let the record show that NeoProcrustes was in fact an account created just to ask that one question, almost as if the person who made the first thread thought that pretending his scenario had actually happened would get him a better response. Which is what I thought at the time so I guess I am just defending my response to DdJ here. If you hang around on forums for years, you will find that accusing someone of making a new account to post something is more common than people actually doing it, but still, it does happen.

I find it vastly amusing that the poster chose the name "NeoProcrustes" to ask whether an excessively long game of Dominion should be arbitrarily shortened.

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Procrustes
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NeoProcrustes

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Re: Why does Dominion have a Predefined End?
« Reply #24 on: May 13, 2012, 01:52:36 am »
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It appears vicious rumors are being spread about me!

-The scenario in question *did* happen as described and the photograph is of our game table. (Its been a while now so I forget the exact details but I think my friend took the picture to remember it and then later suggested we should post it online).
-I did create the account just to make the one post... I don't know what is so strange about that.

Anyways we just thought it was an interesting outcome and after debating what the outcome should be we figured we might take it public. But in the end it was a game played among friends... we didn't seriously care about the outcome... it was more of a for-fun discussion.

Now if you all would just sleep in my inn I am sure we can sort everything out :)
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