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dominion revisited.

a couple of years ago i played dominion with kate and bryson. Since then i've played the game maybe twice in two years.

Very recently a very good clone of the original came out for the iOS, so i downloaded it and started playing it as a time waster, something that i've been needing for the past couple of days as a post-mardi gras detox.

after playing a handful of games with random decks with computer players, i've come to the conclusion that some of the fundamental flaws of the deck construction outweighs the potential strength of the gameplay. The game is either not interactive enough or too interactive, gardens is an absolutely ridiculous card, and festival and adventurer isn't too far behind. of course i could just be exploiting the computer's weakness in play and not be aware that i'm doing so, but even when i was playing it with friends there was a general sense of imbalance about the whole thing.

i'm betting that the expansion packs take care of the flaws by balancing out the play "mo' better", but as the few local friends i have that are potentially into that sort of thing are kind of lazy about trying to put together gatherings, i doubt i'll ever find out unless i go visit some of my old DDR friends on the west coast or visit Kate in Hawaii which is a long distance to go just to play a card game that doesn't involve winning money.

mo.

mo better.

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c_wraith
Feb. 24th, 2012 08:37 am (UTC)
The game's become better with later expansions, but still suffers the fundamental flaw that it's not interactive. Even the attacks are not really interactive. Almost all of them are designed to not be.

Where it's good, especially with all the expansions, is variety. Any time a card gets too boring, swap it out for something that's less obvious how to use. Cards in the last two expansions are especially good for adding a puzzle element to gameplay. But it's still mostly a single-player puzzle game, where your opponents occasionally influence your plan. (Also, it's a single-player puzzle game with a small search space if you want to brute-force it. Not especially interesting for high-level play, when the optimization problem is small.)

In the genre, I much prefer Puzzle Strike. Though I'd like it more if it actually used cards - that's on the table as an eventual option. From the beginning, Puzzle Strike was designed to be completely interactive, especially in the win condition. I wouldn't recommend buying the physical version of it at the moment. There's a major rebalancing effort in effect, almost starting over from the beginning. The online version has all the updates, and all the content that was was in development when the rebalancing started. The downsides are that it uses the Unity plugin, limiting what platforms it can be played on, and that free play is limited to two characters per week. (Though play against other humans gives points that can eventually unlock characters permanently.)
lifeofmendel
Feb. 24th, 2012 03:49 pm (UTC)
right, the lack of true interaction is definitely the game's biggest weakness, and the interactive elements that do exist take too much maintenance for all of the little good that they actually do. that's what i mean really by being "too interactive", in that the interactive cards are too high maintenance for too little return.

i'll look at puzzle strike at some point.
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