Sunday, November 30, 2008

Game of the Month

November's game of the month is Dominion. Yep, the same super over-hyped Dominion. November's game of the month for me was again between Agricola and the eventual winner. Though I picked Agricola to play twice (as opposed to playing at the suggestion of others), Dominion was interesting enough to pass the big "A". Dominion is about building a victory point engine. You get VPs by actually building a money engine which you can use to buy actions that let you do more/buy more, or purchase VPs. The twist being that you build your engine through a deck of cards. Each player has their own deck. At first, you cards are nothing more than a combination of VPs and money and you pretty much are buying specialty cards to try and get the big VP cards. The downside to actually purchasing VP cards is that they get in the way! Whatever you purchase goes back into your deck and when you have played through all your cards, you shuffle them together and start back through them - meaning if you buy a lot of little VPs, your chances of getting good hands later starts to diminish. If you hold out for only the big VP cards, you won't win. There is a fine balancing act in collecting money, actions and victory points. What makes this interesting, is that the game scales well and is SHORT. You only draw 5 cards each hand, so typically, you've figured out your play while the other player/players are going. There is very very little downtime and the action is quick and yet still interesting. Its a fine game. If it has a flaw, it is that the shortness of the game means that you'll play through the card combinations fairly quickly. I fully expect that heavy players of the game will be bored and onto something else in a month or two. In fact a number of folks have logged huge numbers of plays online at Brettspielwelt. However, what I saw was that it really is a decent filler - you can get in three games easily while others finish off their games or in waiting for your group to show up. This is worth having JUST to have a filler worth playing. After having played it, I feel that I'll likely pick this up next year, along with card sleeves - you have to have sleeves for the cards. The cards are handled, shuffled and re-shuffled A LOT. I like this one a lot better than Race For The Galaxy. Though the only real similarity is that both of these are card games, they have a similar sort of feel in that you are building a points engine. Dominion however, is easier to learn. You'll only have the "overwhelmed with options and card text" feeling for about 5 minutes, then 5 minutes later the first game is done and you get it and are ready to play again. On the flip side, with Race For the Galaxy, you feel overwhelmed the entire first game. The second game you get it, but have no idea what combinations of cards work well. By the third or forth time through the cards, you start to get the picture, but by then you could have played about 16 games of Dominion. Competitively.


Jason Maxwell said...

I come down on the other side of the dominion-Race for the Galaxy divide. Dominion was OK, but it will get old fast (especially the shuffling). I expect Race for the Galaxy will entertain me as much as San Juan has.

Tatsu said...

I thought the shuffling would drive me nuts - especially after I saw that the constant shuffling wasn't being exaggerated. But I really didn't notice (except the one game where my deck was freaking huge).

Mike G. said...

Dominion generally does not last long enough for the shuffling to bother me. Not to mention I have played enough CCGs in the my lifetime that I do not even notice shuffling.

I think Race for the Galaxy is an ok game. I find it a bit luck driven.

Bobby said...

I'm with Jason. The rest of you are wrong and losers. :)

Really, both games are terrific fun, but I would rather play Race for the Galaxy over Dominion most of the time, but Dominion is easier to teach and seems like it will be easier to get played.

The shuffling doesn't bother me at all, except when you end up waiting on someone to shuffle their cards when it is their turn. Move it, people!!! :)

The most luck-driven game is Tichu. That game's nothing but luck. No skill is involved in it at all. None. Nada. :-D