Aug 13 2011 Published by under Uncategorized

I wanted a board game to play on the way to Def Con, so I got a copy of the iPad version of Ascension. Which certainly did its job of amusing us while traveling, and I’ve dipped into it a reasonable amount since then. (Zippy has had several achy nights recently, and Ascension is a nice way to pass the time while cuddling with him.)

I’m still trying to figure it out, though I’m slowly getting better. For a while, it seemed like I had a greater than 50% success rate playing against one AI but a worse than 33% success rate playing against two AIs; this suggests to me that I’m okay at executing on a fixed long-term plan but not very good at adapting to changing circumstances? (Both because you see fewer cards in a larger game and because more changes on the board between turns.) Recently, though, my success rate on matches against two AIs has increased; part of that is that I understand Mechana Constructs better (I’ve started to think of them as monsters that you can beat with the non-attack currency), and also maybe I’m getting a bit better at dealing with different scenarios in the start of the game? Or it could just be luck of the draw…

I’m still trying to figure out the start of the game, though: I like 5/3 starting hands much more than 4/4 starts (and the difference seems more pronounced and more banal than the difference between 4/3 and 5/2 starts in Dominion), and in particular I’m not at all comfortable with either being flooded with Heavy Infantry or with avoiding them and leaving points on the board during the opening. I’ve gotten a lot more comfortable with trashing cards from my hand (these days I generally actively seek out cards that let me do so, possibly more so than is wise), but I’m not very good with cards that let you trash something on the board.

That latter bit also relates to an effect of playing on the iPad: I don’t pay nearly as much attention to what my opponents are up to as I do when playing games with physical cards. Definitely a drawback, though it got a lot better (when playing against humans) when we changed our seating arrangement so we could all see the machine instead of passing it along a row.

Glad to have bought it, glad to have it around, but right now I’m thinking I like Dominion a fair amount more. But, sadly, there’s no iPad version of Dominion, so I’ll make do with what’s available.

One response so far

Dominion: Il Barone Rampante

Jan 18 2011 Published by under Uncategorized

The Baron

I play board games over lunch at work most Tuesdays, and Dominion is a frequent choice. (Well, I suppose technically it’s a card game instead of a board game, but you know what I mean.) When I first started playing the game, I loved to chain together strings of action cards, but recently I’ve been buying treasure cards more.

Last week’s game was a whole different experience, though. It was a two-player Intrigue-only game; I had a 3-4 opening, so I bought a Silver and a Baron, on the theory that the latter was particularly valuable at the start of the game when most hands would naturally contain an Estate. And boy howdy was it ever valuable – if I’m remembering correctly, my very next hand consisted of a Silver, two Bronzes, an Estate, and a Baron, which got me a Province right off the bat. And for several subsequent hands, while I didn’t end up with quite that quantity of wealth, they were rich enough to get me a gold, so pretty soon I was flowing with money. (It didn’t hurt that I got a Torturer soon on, whose benefit wasn’t so much to force my opponent to discard as to give me three extra draws.)

My opponent bought a Duke, so I started buying Duchies, since I had at least five points almost every hand. Once those ran out, I went for Dukes as well. (As did my opponent, we came out to close to even on those two types, though I was slightly ahead.) I snagged several more Provinces, and as all those victory cards started clogging my hand, I switched to Estates, clearing out a third pile in short order.

I ended up buying a grand total of four action cards (two Barons, a Torturer, and a Shanty Town, if I’m remembering correctly), and finished with 60 victory points. Completely ridiculous, and it certainly suggests that I should experiment more with focusing on rich hands over action-laden hands. (And perhaps pairing those rich hands with a quick run on victory point cards, to force an early end before others’ machinery gets rolling.)

Comments Off on Dominion: Il Barone Rampante