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jamuspsi

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Keeping your friends
« on: August 19, 2012, 03:20:31 am »
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I recently bought the whole set (minus DA) physically, and I've been teaching everybody I can get my hands on the beautiful game that is dominion.

I usually open a game by picking the cards and arranging it so that there's a little of everything in it- a caravan or wharf, some kind of trasher, a reaction, terminal draw, a villiage or two... that kind of thing.

The problem is that I usually end up feeling pretty crappy when I end up pile driving the provinces.  It's kind of hard to sandbag myself because then I feel like I'm not giving them a good example.  On the other hand, I don't think it's very fun for them- that first game- to lose horribly.

So, does anyone have any advice on how to introduce your friends to dominion.. and keep them?
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Beyond Awesome

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Re: Keeping your friends
« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2012, 03:25:26 am »
+1

I recently bought the whole set (minus DA) physically, and I've been teaching everybody I can get my hands on the beautiful game that is dominion.

I usually open a game by picking the cards and arranging it so that there's a little of everything in it- a caravan or wharf, some kind of trasher, a reaction, terminal draw, a villiage or two... that kind of thing.

The problem is that I usually end up feeling pretty crappy when I end up pile driving the provinces.  It's kind of hard to sandbag myself because then I feel like I'm not giving them a good example.  On the other hand, I don't think it's very fun for them- that first game- to lose horribly.

So, does anyone have any advice on how to introduce your friends to dominion.. and keep them?

Keep it simple. Introduce base so they can appreciate other concepts later on. If you introduce everything at once, it isn't special. Encourage them to try out different cards so they can learn on their own and grow into good players.
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michaeljb

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Re: Keeping your friends
« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2012, 03:25:56 am »
+1

Use the recommended "First Game" set up from the base set when you're introducing the game, maybe play a couple times with it. Then introduce more cards from the base set, then add one expansion, and so on. Being thrown right into the deep end won't work for everyone.

Alternatively, think back to how you were introduced, and try that. Whatever it was, that method was clearly good enough to get at least one player (you) really into it.
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Beyond Awesome

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Re: Keeping your friends
« Reply #3 on: August 19, 2012, 03:30:20 am »
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Use the recommended "First Game" set up from the base set when you're introducing the game, maybe play a couple times with it. Then introduce more cards from the base set, then add one expansion, and so on. Being thrown right into the deep end won't work for everyone.

Alternatively, think back to how you were introduced, and try that. Whatever it was, that method was clearly good enough to get at least one player (you) really into it.

I agree 100%. My first intro was Base Set "First Game," and I feel in love. I played like four more times that night. Then, I played Base for many months, and then discovered Intrigue and was blown away and a few months later I discovered Isotropic and then was really, really blown away.

Anyway, yah, don't introduce everything at once. Keep it simple.
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Pez

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Re: Keeping your friends
« Reply #4 on: August 19, 2012, 04:44:01 am »
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I just taught my wife dominion. You need to start with the base set recommended cards. Play a handful of games. If your friends hasn't played a deck builder they need time first to understand the concepts. Also it's helpful if you play face up. Tell them exactly why you're doing what you're doing. Remember you have probably hundreds of games worth of experience and they have none.

I think next add seaside because duration cards aren't too bad, they aren't complicated. Add alchemy last. Maybe add prosperity after seaside. It has a lot of fun cards. KC is really fun card to play with.

If you want to add more variety, here's a game I designed myself for beginners: King's Court, Council Room, Lab, Tactician, Thief, Worker's Village, Treasure Map, Look Out, Warehouse, Light House. It works for both a Colony game and a Province game.

I like the game because it adds a lot of fun cards and some simple cards to show some concepts. It has plenty of buys but there will be turns where they can only buy one card. It has a really tame attack but if you KC that thief it will feel like a much worse attack especially to a newbie. Then light house of course can prevent that attack. It has +action but again you can still draw dead actions because you won't be able to always have the WV. It can definitely be augmented, but I've had success with this.
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yudantaiteki

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Re: Keeping your friends
« Reply #5 on: August 19, 2012, 04:50:34 am »
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This is an age old problem that's been discussed on BGG and this forum for a while.

I've seen the following suggestions:

1. Use a handicap
Counter: People won't like playing handicaps because it won't feel like a true win
Counter: Depending on the handicap you use, people won't learn real Dominion

2. Intentionally play unusual or poor strategies
Counter: New players wanting to learn from a more experienced player won't be able to learn good strategies

3. Try to teach the new players
Counter: If you're playing more casual gamers, they're never going to reach your level even with teaching


I've found that even if you're playing against people who won't get angry or frustrated if you win all the time, they just care about the game less if they think they have no chance of winning.  They may not get mad, but they won't have as much fun nor will they really care that much about whether their strategy is improving or whether they're doing anything right.

In October I'm going to visit my family; my mother likes Dominion but she only plays when my brother or I am down there.  My plan is to try to give my parents some basic advice, but to also handicap myself.  I'm going start with skipping my first 2 turns.  Any time I win a game, I skip one additional turn, and if I come in last place, I skip one less turn.  Not perfect, but I think it can work OK.  I like the changing handicap idea because it gives the newer players a sense that they actually can do something by playing better even if they're not "really" winning.

(EDIT: I'm still vacillating between turn-skipping and adding untrashable blank cards to the deck; originally I liked the blank card idea but someone pointed out that it lowers the value of some attack cards like Militia.  On the other hand, I believe that opening buy strategy is less important when your opponent is skipping multiple turns at the beginning of the game, and opening buy is a really important aspect of the game.)
« Last Edit: August 19, 2012, 04:55:28 am by yudantaiteki »
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carstimon

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Re: Keeping your friends
« Reply #6 on: August 19, 2012, 11:37:36 am »
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It's hard to find a good handicap for dominion.  Skipping the first two turns can actually be too much if there's any attack, I think. 

I like the blank card thing; the only thing it affects from the newbie's end is, as mentioned, it devalues militia.  I think that's not important and the blank cards can be adjusted well. 

Another possibility is restricting the kingdom cards for the handicapped.  Don't allow yourself kings court or hunting party or maybe 4 cards at random.  ("Ok, if I play with scout I can definitely kick your ass, so I'm just gonna not buy it because it won't be fun for you.")  This is a bit more "natural" in that it doesn't really affect the power of cards for the newbie.  The only way it does affect the game is that the newbie can get, say, 8 minions with no contest.  It can also be adjusted pretty well for difficulty; but this requires the person being handicapped to really know the game already.
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ednever

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Re: Keeping your friends
« Reply #7 on: August 19, 2012, 12:15:26 pm »
+7

I introduced 4 people last week and it went very well (my best introduction to date):

1- play "first kingdom". Demo a few hands do they see how it works. Them play the game with no strategic discussion. I played smithy/bm and won easily.

2- debrief. Explain how smithy big money works. Explain the concept of dead draw. Explain the opportunity cost of not buying silver

3- play first kingdom again. Tell everyone that you will be playing a very different strategy. Again, no strategy talk during the game. Play Geronimo's optimized 1st game engine. Watch their faces when you consistently draw your entire deck and buy 2 provinces

4- debrief. Talk about engines. Talk about trashing and the importance of understanding your limits (ie 5 cards, 1 action, 1 buy)

5- game three: introduce a new board. Make sure it has workshop and gardens. As well as engine potential. People have a chance to build an engine, while you rush gardens.

6- debrief: explain "rush" strategies.

7- now just play random set-ups. First game should include a curser, otherwise just randon. We never repeated a card (and I would skip cards like Scout)

8- after a few games, introduce a colony game. Then a potion game

We ended up playing for 7 hours. Everyone loved it.

In 4p games, I won a lot, but came second a few times. One guy came last every game, but it didn't seem to bother him.

Both couples went out and bought 3 sets each immediately afterwards.


These people had all played Catan before, but otherwise were not hard core gamers.

Ed
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Beyond Awesome

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Re: Keeping your friends
« Reply #8 on: August 19, 2012, 12:18:50 pm »
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I introduced 4 people last week and it went very well (my best introduction to date):

1- play "first kingdom". Demo a few hands do they see how it works. Them play the game with no strategic discussion. I played smithy/bm and won easily.

2- debrief. Explain how smithy big money works. Explain the concept of dead draw. Explain the opportunity cost of not buying silver

3- play first kingdom again. Tell everyone that you will be playing a very different strategy. Again, no strategy talk during the game. Play Geronimo's optimized 1st game engine. Watch their faces when you consistently draw your entire deck and buy 2 provinces

4- debrief. Talk about engines. Talk about trashing and the importance of understanding your limits (ie 5 cards, 1 action, 1 buy)

5- game three: introduce a new board. Make sure it has workshop and gardens. As well as engine potential. People have a chance to build an engine, while you rush gardens.

6- debrief: explain "rush" strategies.

7- now just play random set-ups. First game should include a curser, otherwise just randon. We never repeated a card (and I would skip cards like Scout)

8- after a few games, introduce a colony game. Then a potion game

We ended up playing for 7 hours. Everyone loved it.

In 4p games, I won a lot, but came second a few times. One guy came last every game, but it didn't seem to bother him.

Both couples went out and bought 3 sets each immediately afterwards.


These people had all played Catan before, but otherwise were not hard core gamers.

Ed

Awesome!
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Tmwinand

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Re: Keeping your friends
« Reply #9 on: August 19, 2012, 01:07:58 pm »
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It's definitely worth doing a set/expansion at a time.  It's hard to play with casual friends because knowing the cards is a huge advantage.  When I play base against my one friend it's always close because she has the unofficial iPhone app and knows those cards, but when I introduce expansion cards she gets overwhelmed and usual sticks to te base cards or attempts to mirror my strategy. That's why I'm excited about Goko, buying half expansions at a time will really help the people I play with learn the cards much more easily.  This way when we play IRL they know the cards an aren't overwhelmed and just copying my buys!
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Beyond Awesome

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Re: Keeping your friends
« Reply #10 on: August 19, 2012, 01:36:41 pm »
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It's definitely worth doing a set/expansion at a time.  It's hard to play with casual friends because knowing the cards is a huge advantage.  When I play base against my one friend it's always close because she has the unofficial iPhone app and knows those cards, but when I introduce expansion cards she gets overwhelmed and usual sticks to te base cards or attempts to mirror my strategy. That's why I'm excited about Goko, buying half expansions at a time will really help the people I play with learn the cards much more easily.  This way when we play IRL they know the cards an aren't overwhelmed and just copying my buys!

I sometimes try a non-optimal strategy at first. I think the important thing about Dominion when someone is new to the game and cards is that they play around with the cards and make mistakes. That is how you grow and learn and become a better player. I mean, honestly, how many of us thought Thief was the most powerful card when we first started playing Dominion.
« Last Edit: August 19, 2012, 02:35:57 pm by Beyond Awesome »
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Tombolo

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Re: Keeping your friends
« Reply #11 on: August 19, 2012, 02:13:37 pm »
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I hit Province with Saboteur two or three times in my first game (which was 3-player).  I STILL think it's underrated, consarnit!
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GendoIkari

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Re: Keeping your friends
« Reply #12 on: August 19, 2012, 02:37:35 pm »
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Here's another thread on this topic, with some helpful hints:

http://forum.dominionstrategy.com/index.php?topic=988.msg15120#msg15120

There might be another thread as well; not sure though.
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Re: Keeping your friends
« Reply #13 on: August 19, 2012, 02:55:25 pm »
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It's hard to find a good handicap for dominion. 

With a beginner, spotting them two Provinces in the "Island zone" would be a decent handicap.  Effectively winning 7-1 isn't always easy.
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Re: Keeping your friends
« Reply #14 on: August 19, 2012, 03:28:36 pm »
+2

Part of the problem, and a very small part, is that you are cherry picking the game cards to make them 'interesting'

This means you know the possibilities of the set waaay better than you do.

Also, if every game has a bit of everything, then you are stifling thier ability to learn somewhat, because there is just too much going.

Try it with some random sets, you will still win, but they will get better faster!
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Re: Keeping your friends
« Reply #15 on: August 19, 2012, 04:38:27 pm »
+1

The best handicap IMO is just not spending all of your money (as in not showing it all).  So maybe you hit 6 on turn 3.  Just lay down 5 and buy a silver.  Now they don't know you aren't playing optimally, and you can do this enough to stay close but once they start getting the hang of it, your "bad luck" ends.
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Re: Keeping your friends
« Reply #16 on: August 19, 2012, 07:20:46 pm »
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I introduced 4 people last week and it went very well (my best introduction to date):

1- play "first kingdom". Demo a few hands do they see how it works. Them play the game with no strategic discussion. I played smithy/bm and won easily.

2- debrief. Explain how smithy big money works. Explain the concept of dead draw. Explain the opportunity cost of not buying silver

3- play first kingdom again. Tell everyone that you will be playing a very different strategy. Again, no strategy talk during the game. Play Geronimo's optimized 1st game engine. Watch their faces when you consistently draw your entire deck and buy 2 provinces

4- debrief. Talk about engines. Talk about trashing and the importance of understanding your limits (ie 5 cards, 1 action, 1 buy)

5- game three: introduce a new board. Make sure it has workshop and gardens. As well as engine potential. People have a chance to build an engine, while you rush gardens.

6- debrief: explain "rush" strategies.

7- now just play random set-ups. First game should include a curser, otherwise just randon. We never repeated a card (and I would skip cards like Scout)

8- after a few games, introduce a colony game. Then a potion game

We ended up playing for 7 hours. Everyone loved it.

In 4p games, I won a lot, but came second a few times. One guy came last every game, but it didn't seem to bother him.

Both couples went out and bought 3 sets each immediately afterwards.


These people had all played Catan before, but otherwise were not hard core gamers.

Ed

This is the way I do it.  I've only gotten the chance to teach 2 people so far (most of my friends thumb their noses at board/card games), but this strategy has worked well in both cases.

Edit: I'm also insanely jealous that you already have a half dozen friends with which to play dominion IRL.
« Last Edit: August 19, 2012, 07:23:57 pm by engineer »
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Beyond Awesome

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Re: Keeping your friends
« Reply #17 on: August 19, 2012, 09:34:38 pm »
+1

Let me tell you a story of how not to teach Dominion.

So, my brother learned from some friends. His first game was Alchemy, Prosperity with Black Market thrown in. I think they were playing with the big box. He told me about that game and said he didn't like Dominion at all. Which is unfortunate because I love Dominion, but now my brother won't play against me. I didn't get a chance to teach him first because he lives in a different state but he is visiting for summer break.

So, don't introduce Black Market in the first ever game. Don't introduce an alternative cost like Potions in the first game. Save that stuff for later.
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yudantaiteki

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Re: Keeping your friends
« Reply #18 on: August 19, 2012, 09:47:11 pm »
+1

This probably goes without saying, but playing slowly is important for new players too.

I remember my first game -- on the third or fourth turn, I made my buy and then had to reshuffle and pick up my five cards.  I was just starting to look at what I had drawn when "Hey Chris, it's your turn, and you need to resolve 2 bureaucrats against you before you go." 
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Re: Keeping your friends
« Reply #19 on: August 19, 2012, 11:35:16 pm »
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I agree with Ozle: By constructing the set yourself, you are making a set that you understand. Try a random set (or one from the back of a rulebook) and then if you see a strategy that is going to lead to degenerate or miserable games, like FV/Torturer or Minion rush, switch a couple cards out for something harmless like Oasis.
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Re: Keeping your friends
« Reply #20 on: August 20, 2012, 11:04:19 am »
+1

I'm starting to think the best way to teach new players is to not play at all.

If you have only have one player, then this is moot. If you have two or more players than have them play against each other and watch. You can give commentary to each player as they decide on what to do...or just leave them alone and let them discover their own combos. After a couple of games, they should have the gist of it and can now learn how to get their asses kicked.
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Kahryl

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Re: Keeping your friends
« Reply #21 on: August 20, 2012, 02:18:38 pm »
+6

Two things.

1. DO NOT TEACH YOUR FRIENDS DOMINION. Ignore advice above that asks you to. When I'm learning a new game the last thing I want is a master player yammering at me about engines and BM and greening phases and cantrips. Stick to clarifying the rules WHERE THERE IS CONFUSION and answering tactical questions WHEN THEY ARE ASKED.  When they open with Estate, bite your tongue. Bite it OFF if you have to.

2. Handicap yourself, then play to win. My favorite way of handicapping is to simply skip a turn every x turns. Have x start at 2, then increase it slowly as friends learn (by thinking for themselves, learning from their mistakes, and watching your plays, not by being lectured at).
« Last Edit: August 20, 2012, 02:21:04 pm by Kahryl »
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Re: Keeping your friends
« Reply #22 on: August 20, 2012, 02:39:30 pm »
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I have to agree with Kahryl, even though I fall prey to the mistake of 'teaching the game' myself. Much of the joy of dominion is the revelation of discovering tactics for yourself anyway, and having some guy tell you what to do all the time just reinforces the idea that you're a novice, which isn't fun.

The best thing you can do is foster an environment where they enjoy playing it, however you manage that, because the only way you're going to get a good match is if somebody becomes passionate about the game but of course this depends greatly on the people involved, and you may find you simply don't have any mates who will do that. If they are the right sort of player then they will be curious about advanced strategies and naturally be inquisitive. If they do not go in this direction then really what can you say other than they are not the opponent you are looking for.

Two tips:
1. If you really think someone will like dominion, then consider just buying the damn thing for them to let them find out for themselves. "Oh, yeah, you should check this out by the way, I think you'll like it." Don't hype it up, just let them discover it.
2. I would second the consideration of not playing, simply moderating/refereeing - this lets two people relax a lot more both competitively and also in terms of getting the rules right because they know you'll step in if something is amiss.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2012, 02:41:13 pm by Octo »
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Ozle

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Re: Keeping your friends
« Reply #23 on: August 20, 2012, 03:41:05 pm »
+1

Also, teach them by playing the basic kingdoms, they are perfect, completely not flashy and easy to grasp.

I dont agree with the idea of handicapping yourself, you do that and they win then they think their way of playing is good, thus stunting further growth.

Play the base sample games until they get the hang of it, it'll be boring for you, but not for them!
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Re: Keeping your friends
« Reply #24 on: August 20, 2012, 04:20:42 pm »
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Also, teach them by playing the basic kingdoms, they are perfect, completely not flashy and easy to grasp.

I dont agree with the idea of handicapping yourself, you do that and they win then they think their way of playing is good, thus stunting further growth.

Play the base sample games until they get the hang of it, it'll be boring for you, but not for them!

If they win easily you're handicapping yourself too much. Do just enough that they gotta rethink.

Not handicapping yourself is a bad way to teach, too; no matter what they do they'll lose by a landslide. How are they going to judge what's better in that environment?
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Re: Keeping your friends
« Reply #25 on: August 20, 2012, 04:26:32 pm »
0

Two things.

1. DO NOT TEACH YOUR FRIENDS DOMINION. Ignore advice above that asks you to. When I'm learning a new game the last thing I want is a master player yammering at me about engines and BM and greening phases and cantrips. Stick to clarifying the rules WHERE THERE IS CONFUSION and answering tactical questions WHEN THEY ARE ASKED.  When they open with Estate, bite your tongue. Bite it OFF if you have to.

2. Handicap yourself, then play to win. My favorite way of handicapping is to simply skip a turn every x turns. Have x start at 2, then increase it slowly as friends learn (by thinking for themselves, learning from their mistakes, and watching your plays, not by being lectured at).

I agree. Don't talk strategy when teaching someone Dominion. That comes later. I also agree about opening Estate. I think I did that a couple of times, maybe more. It is better for the other players to make mistakes and learn. They will still enjoy the game even if they are far behind.
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Re: Keeping your friends
« Reply #26 on: August 20, 2012, 04:28:16 pm »
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try doing what geronimoo suggests in this article. play with the "first game" set from base and play smithy big money, then play it again and do the engine.

http://dominionstrategy.com/2012/07/30/building-the-first-game-engine/
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Re: Keeping your friends
« Reply #27 on: August 20, 2012, 04:29:43 pm »
+1

You get better by playing the game and watching someone do the 'right' things.

When they moan about having too many dead cards they cant play in thier hands, you point out that they might not want so mean 'non-action' cards
And so on.

I have taught 5 people from scratch now, and while they are not up to my level, they certainly good enough to win a fair amount of games.

Just play normally, with the base sets, and then when you plan, explain why you are doing things.
'im tashing all these rubbish cards so i can get to my better cards more frequently'
'im buying a second witch so i can give out curses quicker'
'im overpaying for this silver because my deck is short on money and i dont want too many terminals'
'im not buying that province this turn because id rather buy more money/actions as otherwise it will slow me down'
And so on.

Playing sub optimally wont teach them the right way to play, they will think what they are doing is close to what you are doing if they come close to winning, and so wont try to find what they are doing wrong
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Hockey Mask

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Re: Keeping your friends
« Reply #28 on: August 21, 2012, 11:11:16 am »
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Don't choose the cards.  You already have an advantage by knowing the game.  Picking the cards and you're already picking favorites and thinking strategy before anyone else.  Go random and go in blindly with them.
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Kuildeous

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Re: Keeping your friends
« Reply #29 on: August 21, 2012, 11:17:48 am »
+1

Don't choose the cards.  You already have an advantage by knowing the game.  Picking the cards and you're already picking favorites and thinking strategy before anyone else.  Go random and go in blindly with them.

I can't agree with that just because some cards are not that newbie-friendly. I only need to point to Dark Ages for illustration.

Also, some cards can turn off newbies. Witches and Mountebanks, for example.

Besides, if you're a skilled Dominion player, then you're going to know all the cards anyway and can whip up a good strategy that'll trounce the newbies. A random configuration won't be a handicap for you, and you run the risk of souring the game for someone else.
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wrathofmine

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Re: Keeping your friends
« Reply #30 on: August 21, 2012, 12:59:23 pm »
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Don't choose the cards.  You already have an advantage by knowing the game.  Picking the cards and you're already picking favorites and thinking strategy before anyone else.  Go random and go in blindly with them.

I can't agree with that just because some cards are not that newbie-friendly. I only need to point to Dark Ages for illustration.

Also, some cards can turn off newbies. Witches and Mountebanks, for example.

Besides, if you're a skilled Dominion player, then you're going to know all the cards anyway and can whip up a good strategy that'll trounce the newbies. A random configuration won't be a handicap for you, and you run the risk of souring the game for someone else.


To avoid that I take all the randomizers and look one card at a time. And I see if it fits on the board, if it's too complicated etc... When I have a card like mountebank in hand "hey look at that, believe me you don't want to try it now"
It permit to have a game somehow random but with no hard cards. And I remember a game where we had Harvest, Lighthouse and Bank: not too complicated and you can explain what are the expansions themes.

My priorities for the first game are :
- easy to play/understand cards
- some expansions variety
- no powerhouse combo "oh what a shame you didn't see the KC/Wharf/Goons combo, sorry for you"
- no obvious alternate way to game than province buys. And I explain dominion is so rich, that's not the best way to win on every game
- at least one attack but no curser (except jester), no pirate ship and no ghost ship

And I only explain a little strategy things:
- the too many terminal thing if an opponent goes that way
- if he wants to buy the first province I tell him "it can be a good idea to fasten the tempo of the game, but are you sure you want to do that ? you are the best to know if you have 8$ by luck or if you deck is able to do that regularly".

I always try to play optimal, I don't want my opponent to think Dominion has no learning curve, and I remember my first games when I saw my opponent draw his deck and I was like "I need to be able to do that one day"

For the moment nearly everyone called my one week after "hey I bought the base game, (what's the point of chancellor ?)". I think that prooves it's a good way to learn.
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Kahryl

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Re: Keeping your friends
« Reply #31 on: August 21, 2012, 01:16:09 pm »
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Actually I think Dark Ages is pretty newbie friendly. We see DA as complicated because we think "gosh, Ruins! Trash interaction! New opening decks! This changes everything!" Yeah, it forces veterans out of the super-comfortable zone they knew, but newbies will have no such problem - they weren't in a comfortable zone to begin with.
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eHalcyon

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Re: Keeping your friends
« Reply #32 on: August 21, 2012, 01:23:00 pm »
+2

Actually I think Dark Ages is pretty newbie friendly. We see DA as complicated because we think "gosh, Ruins! Trash interaction! New opening decks! This changes everything!" Yeah, it forces veterans out of the super-comfortable zone they knew, but newbies will have no such problem - they weren't in a comfortable zone to begin with.

I disagree.  There are lots of interactions that are not quite intuitive, as far as what happens when.  This is the expansion where the Lose Track rule finally had to be included in the official rule book.  DA is the crazy combos expansion, and newbies should really learn the basics before they start trying to piece together crazy combos.
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Octo

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Re: Keeping your friends
« Reply #33 on: August 21, 2012, 06:41:47 pm »
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Yeah, in their early games people still miss details like the difference between remodel and upgrade ('up to' and 'exactly'). Even once they've got what all the cards do nailed, they still need to figure out what the cards are for if you see what I mean. Playing with Dark Ages with new players would just involve too many rules clarifications. Things that you've forgotten like how at first you would just throw all your money down - trying to explain to new players that you have to play your money (when you first use Bank for example), but also that it's not an action - that kind of stuff gets complicated.

One suggestion I often use is keeping the kingdom the same, and just letting them pick out 2 or 3 cards they want to swap out that they didn't like or that felt dominated the game. I also definitely curate the kingdom to make it work too. Cards like masquerade are great for newbies, but I find duration cards etc. not so much as they continually clear them away by accident. Cursers are okay, but heavy cursing can be really off-putting. I think I tend to go easy on the attacks with new players because having your deck pinned down repeatedly can be really un-fun (even for experienced players actually).
« Last Edit: August 21, 2012, 06:43:22 pm by Octo »
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Tdog

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Re: Keeping your friends
« Reply #34 on: August 21, 2012, 06:42:45 pm »
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People like treasure map. Lots of em.
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wrathofmine

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Re: Keeping your friends
« Reply #35 on: August 22, 2012, 02:48:24 am »
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Cursers are okay, but heavy cursing can be really off-putting. I think I tend to go easy on the attacks with new players because having your deck pinned down repeatedly can be really un-fun (even for experienced players actually).

I remember the first day I played dominion, after a fey games my opponent added the Witch, he did'nt know we only have 10 curses for 2 players. He managed to do a village/witch/moneylender engine against my beginner's deck. 24 curses in my deck... it was definitely not fun.
That's only after I read the rules that I wanted to let a second chance to the game.
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Rhombus

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Re: Keeping your friends
« Reply #36 on: August 22, 2012, 03:59:39 am »
+1

To echo a bit from above:

Always start with the recommended first game.  Now, when I first started, playing the first game once was enough - I instantly understood most of the combos.  Playing the same setup was terribly boring the 2nd time (and Dominion was my first deck builder).

It depends who you're explaining to.  With some people, explain big money, terminal actions, terminal draw, cantrips, villages, and engines (after you've played the first game).  With others, introduce each concept slowly and show by demonstration.

Once you've played 2 or 3 recommended game setups, do randoms.  As you play, discuss board strategy.  "I'm thinking of opening Smithy/Silver, because I see village on the board, and a Smithy engine appears to be the best strategy.  I'm going to end up purchasing another Smithy and more villages, then perhaps more Smithies and Villages and then some money.  In the middle I'll purchase a Market or two so I can buy multiple cards on the same turn with the +buy."  Explain things like "I notice Sea Hag on the board, which is typically considered the strongest $4 card, so I think I will open with that.  Lookout is also on the board, which is a very strong counter because ..."  I've never played with any sort of handicap.

Then they'll ask questions for the next handful of games and rules questions will arise every once in a while, but now you have a new Dominion player!  The most frustrating thing to me is explaining to a player why their weaker strategy beat your stronger strategy due to the shuffle luck and/or probability that they can't comprehend.
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Asklepios

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Re: Keeping your friends
« Reply #37 on: August 22, 2012, 05:27:12 am »
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Unfortunately my RL friends won't play Dominion with me anymore, as I win almost every game against them. This would bother me more if I owned the game, but actually its a friend of mine who owns it and every expansion before Hinterlands.

I've only offered them strategy advice when they've asked for it, and I've pointed them in the direction of dominionstrategy.com. Unfortunately, their philosophy is that "if you analyse a game too much you take the fun out of it." They are in no way interested in knowing how many points they've scored so far, nor even how many provinces are left in the pile. They just want to have fun buying cards that sound interesting, and seeing what happens. Even with the full knowledge that 2 Smithys + Big Money is stronger than a Village Idiot deck, they'll play the Village Idiot deck because "playing villages is fun, because I get a longer turn".

Thats all fine, except when I play, I play to win, and I enjoy mastering the game as best as I am able towards that goal.

The weird thing is they're quite keen to master other games, just not Dominion, which they regard as a fun beer-and-pretzels game, and not a strategy game.

Gaming with them isn't a problem - we game regularly playing a lot of other stuff. They just won't play Dominion with me.
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Octo

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Re: Keeping your friends
« Reply #38 on: August 22, 2012, 06:24:59 am »
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Hm, yeah, that IS weird - with Dominion it very quickly seems apparent (to me at least) that it's a deep, skillful game - there's clearly powerful combos lurking all over the place that you just can't see yet, you have lots of control over your deck, and there's the space for wildly divergent strategies. What seems even stranger is both that they get deep into other games - so they're not only playing games in a lightweight/fun way - and also that they've clearly watched you pull off superior strategy repeatedly - making the presence of strategy/skill in the game undeniable. Odd.

Do they say why? Sometimes it's a way of distancing yourself from having to learn something, by not taking seriously and sort of dismissing it, particularly if someone is already loads better than you.
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