Tag Archive | dominion: prosperity

April 6, 2011

Participants: Jon, Nadine, Jessica, Gili, Mace, Matias

Jessica lives close by in Jerusalem. I was recently introduced to her, and she had never heard of these new games. She dropped by to give them a try and enjoyed herself. She promises to return. Matias lives in Argentina and comes to Israel on business every year; this is the first time he checked out the game scene. He is an experienced player and also plans to return (the next time he is back in Israel).

Boggle

Jon, Jessica, Nadine, Gili

Nadine, Jessica, and I started off with this while waiting for Gili and Mace. We were all on the same level, give or take, which is a new and positive experience for me (I typically win). We played 4 letter minimum. Gili joined us for a second and third game; being a native Israeli, she plays a three letter minimum. We all tied in the second game, but due to the three Americans cancelling out nearly all of each others’ words, Gili won the last game by a reasonable margin.

Tribune

Gili+, Jon, Nadine, Mace, Jessica

First play for Jessica. The trick was to find a game for five that is a good intro game for a brand new player but also not too long or too boring. I usually start new players with Settlers, but I don’t have the 5-6 player expansion (I don’t really like it). I suggested Power Grid, but some of the others thought it would be too long.

Tribune is a little overwhelming at first, but Jessica picked it up quickly enough. For some reason, the rule “you must play either more cards OR cards with a higher value” seems to be very difficult for some players to wrap their head around; Nadine and others corroborate this, though I never understood why. I typically get more confused when two areas of the board have similar but contradictory requirements.

On the first round, Mace mistook the light blue faction for a dark blue. As a result, he had a hand full of dark blue cards and tried to take over the light blue faction. That set him back a bit. There were a few other, lesser, mistakes of that sort. While we were playing, Matias arrived. he spent the second half of the game watching and acting as rules arbiter.

Nadine got to three out of the four required victory conditions by the second round, and looked poised to win by the end of round three. However, she lost the temporary favor of the gods, and stalled the rest of the game. I got to three win conditions in round four, with the same results. I secured the fourth condition in round five and only needed to convert my temporary favor to a permanent one. Although I peeked at the card color I needed on the board, every single card of that color was taken by other players (purely by coincidence), I didn’t have any in my hand, and I couldn’t pick one randomly from the stack of five.

Gili proceeded to win the game at the end of the round.

Settlers of Catan

Jessica 10, Jon 7, Matias 8

First play for Jessica. I shunted Nadine and Mace off to play Dominion so that I could hook Jessica onto the gateway game. As often happens with Settlers, the new player won, which only adds to the hook element. I think she greatly enjoyed the game.

However, I must note that once during the game, while waiting for certain resources, she said, “There’s an element of Go Fish in here.” Probably the most insulting comparison since Gilad said that Cosmic Encounter reminded him strongly of Munchkin.

At the beginning of the game, I warned her of my SoC maxim: when two people fight over the Longest Road, the third player usually wins. Matias started off strongly, getting to five points while Jessica and I were at 3. We both made it to 4 while he jumped to 7 by gaining the Longest Road. Matias then stalled out.

Jessica stole his Longest Road and I encouraged them both to spend the rest of the game fighting over it (humorously, of course, given my opening strategic advice). I made it to 7 points on the board with my third soldier ready to play; Matias made it to 8 points on the board, ready to steal back Longest Road. But Jessica managed to end the game with a settlement.

Dominion/Prosperity

Mace 67, Nadine 53

Mace and Nadine played with mostly Prosperity cards, which is one of the expansions that Mace doesn’t own and that Nadine is less familiar with. The first game appears to have gone typically enough.

Mace 156, Nadine 75

But wow for the second game. Mace took every Colony and tons of additional points by continuously triple playing a card that gave him points every time he bought a card; he kept buying coppers. Somehow that didn’t slow down his hand, though I don’t know why, exactly.

156 is certainly a high score for our group. Around the interwebs, some people have reported scores of 240 or so, and one even claimed a score in the 400s.

R-Eco

Jon 16, Jessica 3, Matias 2

First play for both Matias and Jessica. I played with my usual random point stacks (mixed colors and order) rather than the prescribed color and order stacking.

Matias loved the game and hopes to bring it back to his group. He pulled some early points, but he dumped again and again and again, until he had a deck of illegal dumps; 16 points worth, I think. Jessica and I dumped lightly, but I pulled in far more chips than she did.

February 09, 2011

Participants: Jon, Nadine, Mace, Gili

Quiet game night.

Dominion/Seaside/Prosperity

Nadine 38, Gili 20, Mace 19, Jon 15

Kingdoms: Workshop, Smithy, Council Room, Embargo, Ambassador, Navigator, Vault, Grand Market, King’s Court, Peddler. No other Prosperity cards.

Kingdoms costing from 2 to 8. No bonus actions before 6 cost, and no double actions except for King’s Court. This was our first play for certain Seaside and Prosperity cards. Nadine didn’t understand Ambassador’s value; while it seemed to work for both me and Mace, Nadine’s ultimate victory may be a counter-argument. She ended with 5 provinces and 8 estates.

I passed up the opportunity to buy provinces twice, which was a mistake. Everyone had 8 or more purchasing power quite early, so the game went too few rounds. King’s Court was used three times, and always on Council Room.

Agricola

Jon 53, Mace 40, Nadine 38, Gili 25

The game went for 2:50, which I think was probably pretty quick for us. This time I had a kind of feeling that I was doing well, even though I hadn’t accumulated any points by round 8 or 9.

Nadine’s major mission in Agricola is to be the first to expand her family, and that’s what she did. Mace followed, and I came next. However, the two rounds I was waiting to expand gave me time to add a fourth room onto my house. Thus, after Gili expanded, I expanded again.

Nadine had an early fireplace (her other top priority) and a pasture with several cattle. Mace had what looked like over 20 grain by mid-to-end game. Gili had 5 empty field spaces and only three family members at game end. I also had 12 points in bonus cards.

January 05, 2011

Participants: Jon, Nadine, Gili

Another small game night, and all these new games to play, too.

Dominion/Prosperity

Jon 95, Nadine 85, Gili 65

First play of all the new Prosperity kingdoms for me. We had the treasure that lets you get a Gold, but then we also had Thief. Ouch. Nadine and Gili took early thieves and nearly emptied me out. I had to take one just to take back some of my stuff. However, since they weren’t trashing Coppers like I was, my Golds and Platinums didn’t help them as much as they helped me.

One nifty combo I had was the new Reaction card that let you take cards you gained and put them onto the top of your deck + Thief to take the cards + Castle to give two actions so I could play them both.

Carson City

Nadine 41+, Jon 41-, Gili 35ish.

None of us had played, or even read the rules. We punched out the game and I read the rules quickly to set us up. The game looked a hell of a lot like Caylus, and it played a little like it, but nowhere near enough to bother me.

In CC, you have the Caylus-like track of spaces on which to put workers. The middle spaces of the track get buildings that, if you place your workers, you can place onto the plots you own on the grid-like board. A round consists of: taking a role (like Age of Steam), placing your workers, executing the spaces one at a time (losing your placed workers in the process), returning money in excess of what you can keep to the bank (every $10 returned = 1 point), getting new workers.

The roles give you free money, or plots, or discounts on buildings, or extra guns.

You can place your workers on the game board; if you do, then when the “get plots” action happens, you can buy the plot.

You can place your worker on someone’s building; if you do, when the “collect income” action happens, you steal half of that building’s income.

You can place a worker on the same place that other people have their worker(s); if you do, when it is time to get the benefit for the space, you each roll a d6 and add your guns and unplaced workers to see who gets the space; the loser gets his worker back as if it was unplaced, the winner loses his worker but gets the space. So, as you lose fights, your strength grows (you gain in unplaced workers).

During income, your buildings generate income based on how many specific board features they are near or that you own. From $0 to $40.

How do you get points? The last actions in the track are taking points for various things that you have (guns, plots, etc…) or in exchange for paying $2/1, $3/1, $4/1, or $5/1. The cheaper options disappear as the game goes on, and people can fight over them like they can fight over other space.

After four rounds, the game ends. Toss out the money you are forced to toss at $10/1 points, and the remaining money at $6/1 point. Gain 2 points for every occupied plot you have on the board. That’s about it.

It looked complicated, as these things do, but execution was smooth and intuitive for the most part. The surprising part was figuring out how to get points efficiently, and how the gun battles worked.

Nadine took the point conversion space in round 2, when neither Gili nor I did; we didn’t “get” it. As a result, she was a round ahead of us in scoring. That we caught up as much as we did was amazing.

Gun battles are kind of a problem, and not only because they involve dice and I don’t like dice-based combat. There is a role that gives you a 3 gun advantage for the turn; as you can see, that’s essentially automatic victory for all battles, all else being equal.

There is also a space that allows you to get a 3 gun advantage for the turn. You would think that this would cancel out the one given by the role, except that acquiring this space may involve a battle, which will be won by the guy with the most guns already, which means the guy who took the role that gives the 3 gun advantage. That’s weird. It seems to me that a 2 gun advantage for both of these would have been better.

On the other hand, there were turns where none of us actually fought any battles; on the third hand, we were only three players. That won’t happen in a five player game.

So, with this reservation, we all liked the game. Like many such games, you really want to do a whole lot more each round than you have workers for.

December 29, 2010

Participants: Jon, Gili, Nechama

Slow game nights for some reason. A pity, because I have new games to play.

Dominion/Prosperity

Jon 58, Nechama 44, Gili 44

Such as Dominion Prosperity. I played with 5 cards from the basic set and 5 from Prosperity, and included Platinum and Colonies. The Prosperity cards included 3 treasures, a 5 cost card that gave curses, and the 7 cost boosted upgrade.

The set is fun and interesting, which is what I expected it to be. The addition of colonies meant that getting to “only 8” was now not good enough, although it was still better than “only 7” was before Prosperity. It also raised the expected number of end-game victory points. However, I now have Intrigue, Seaside, and Prosperity, and I am not interested in Alchemy or any other expansion for a long time. It will take years to play through the cards we already have.

Unfortunately, this was (equivalently) the first play for Nechama, who struggles with English and is not a fast game learner in general, so in retrospect a first game with several complicated cards was not my best choice. The game took 2 hours.

I love trashing cards, especially when I can Throne Room and do it twice in one go. I didn’t get to 11 often, but I traded some Provinces up to Colonies. Gili thought she was much further behind than she was because she didn’t get any Colonies. However, Nechama actually alternated between Colony picks and garbage on alternate rounds.

Settlers of Catan

Nechama 10, Gili 9, Jon 9

I suggested this, since Nechama had played it before. However, we had to explain the rules to her as if it were her first play. This one took 1.5 hours, and Nechama was surprised at how little time it took.

Ore was in short supply; However I managed to find two complementary spots, each next to the harbor for the good that the other one produced. Gili started with an early army. We underestimated Nechama’s position; she had good brick and wood and used them well to get to five settlements and Longest Road. A city and another settlement and then game.