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.