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Gerardo

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9
Go to the Dominion: Prosperity page
67 out of 74 gamers thought this was helpful

Why don’t you make 10 louder and make 10 be the top? Why do you need a Colony when you have a Province, or a King’s Court when you have the Throne Room? Well, going to 11 is way more than that. Dominion: Prosperity offers tons of new combos and ways of interacting with other players; and, all in all, makes for a more dynamic and strategic experience. It’s a very complete expansion that offers a little of everything that could be found in other implementations, wrapped in such an appealing theme as is richness.

Pros: does everything that Dominion: Vanilla does, just better. It adds new mechanics, more interesting decisions, crazy combos and new options to indirectly interact with your opponent(s). It has better art and you could even argue that it’s somewhat more thematic than the base game

Cons: it’s not a standalone game (which can be easily fixed by purchasing the base cards expansion)

What does it add?:

Treasures that do things
Prosperity introduces 8 kingdom cards that are treasures. This doesn’t only increase the relevance of the card type while playing, making cards such as Thief or Adventurer from the base game more interesting to play; but allows you to do extra things during your buy phase. This gives a valid alternative to relying in +1 action cards, and helps to make the game more dynamic and give you the feel that you do more things each turn.

Victory points that don’t clutter your hand
Three new action cards give victory point tokens, that count towards your final total without occupying space in your deck. These cards are a blast to play and introduce a new path to victory, that makes amassing points since the beginning of the game a viable and fun strategy.

Cards that do something without being played
As a matter of fact, it wasn’t Hinterlands, but Prosperity, that introduced the “when you buy it” mechanic. Mint is a quite interesting card that trashes all treasures in play when you buy it. Which can be a bad thing… or a very good one. Furthermore, Peddler varies its cost depending on the amount of actions you’ve played, and Grand Market won’t allow you to buy it if you have coppers in play. These new rules spice up the game and make for more interesting and varied card interactions.

A reaction that doesn’t respond to an attack
Again, a mechanic that many think was introduced in Hinterlands was already present in Prosperity. Watchtower is a reaction card that can be shown when you gain a card to trash it or put it on your deck. This allows you not only to get rid of a curse you were supposed to gain, but to plan your next turn by pilling new cards that combo between each other on top of your deck.

Cards that do something while in play
Several cards of prosperity do something while in play: they give you points when you buy a card, or give you gold, or reduce the cost of other cards. This, again, is a great opportunity for interesting combos and dynamic play styles to shine.

Cards that allow you planning your next turn
Another feature that was thought to be unique of other expansions such as Seaside an its duration cards. The already mentioned Watchtower, and Royal Seal, allow you to put some of the cards you gain on top of your deck, thus planning your next turn and adding a new strategic layer.

A card that searches your discard pile
Counting House might not be the most exciting card in this set, but it does allow for something you could not do with the base set: get cards from your discard piles. Even if, in this case, they are just coppers, this adds a new dimension to your deck.

New kinds of indirect interaction
This is my favorite one. Dominion is often seen as a “multiplayer solitaire”, and there is some truth in this accusation. The new attacks, reactions and cards that involve other players do something to alleviate this problem; but is the subtle way in which cards such as City, Trade Route or Contraband allow players to influence the strategy of their opponents that I love. At first, City is nothing more than a expensive Village, but as piles get depleted, its value increases (which, by the way, is quite thematic in how the city develops, becoming more and more important as time goes by). Trade Route is next to worthless before players start buying victory cards. And Contraband is a +1 buy cheap Gold that allows your opponent to stop you from buying the card he choses, opening some space to bluffing and direct player interaction.

Platinum and Colonies
These are new cards that can be added to the supply when playing with Prosperity cards. A new treasure with a value of 5 and a new victory card giving 10 points, at first it might seem that they simply extend the game, becoming the new de facto Gold and Province. But they are much more than that: they offer new choices and open space for new, long term strategies. The duration of the game is not affected that much as it could be thought, and the earlier turns are, if something, more intense and interesting than before.

Should you get it?: Well, yes! If you are browsing the web trying to decide which expansion to get next, do yourself a favor: go and buy Prosperity. You will have more time for doing something fun such as playing, and you won’t be disappointed.
Although quite often described as “a bunch of cards that are more expensive and bigger versions of those from the base game”, that only stands true for a very limited number of cards (I’m looking at you, King’s Court). Most of the cards on this expansion add some unique and interesting mechanic, without being all flashy about it like others are, such as Dominion: Seaside and its orange duration cards; which might be the reason that said mechanics are sometimes overlooked.
On the other hand, if you are new to Dominion and just exploring the expandability of the game, do yourself a favor and forget the base game: get the base cards expansion and Prosperity. You’ll get the same simple and elegant mechanics from the vanilla implementation, together with a ton of interesting card interactions and huge replayability.

TL;DR: if old basic Dominion has become stale, or you are new to it and would like to get introduced to this classic masterpiece of a deck builder, Prosperity is what you are looking for.

7
Go to the Dominion page

Dominion

76 out of 83 gamers thought this was helpful

Pros: expandable, classic, great mechanics, easy to set up, fast, elegant, complex in its simplicity

Cons: dry, lacking in interaction, lacking in theme, too simple compared to its expansions

You’ll like it: if you like deck building, if you enjoy elegant mechanics, if you like puzzles, if you have never played Dominion before

You won’t like it: if you have played the expansions, if you seek direct interaction, if you don’t like games that make you think, if you hate cards

Difficulty: Dominion is one of those easy-to-learn hard-to-master games that can get you thinking for days about strategies and combos. It can be taught in five to ten minutes and it’s really easy to grasp. A few core mechanics, together with the variability of a random setup and the different interactions among an ever-increasing number of cards, unfold in a complex, brainy experience that, more often than not, will make you feel like a freaking genius when you manage to develop your very own winning engine.

Theme: You are supposed to be some medieval lord struggling to develop your kingdom by amassing riches and expanding your land. But nor the art nor the mechanics help to convey that feeling. Ultimately, you feel like a player devising strategies, buying and playing cards. That’s not a bad thing per se, and it could be argued that the real theme in Dominion is deck building itself. Further expansions, with improved and more focused artwork, can give a somewhat better thematic experience.

Mechanics: There is much written about Dominion’s mechanics. They are simple, effective and innovative. Each turn, you can play one action card and any number of treasure cards to buy just one new card. The goal is to amass more points than the opponent(s) before the game ends. Point cards are otherwise useless, so they just clutter your deck. There is, then, a trade-off: at the beginning of the game, buying the cards that would allow you to win is the best path to losing. You must first buy different action and treasure cards that might allow you to do better and more significant purchases. Each game, there will be, at least, 3 kinds of point cards and 3 kinds of treasure cards to buy; plus 10 random cards that are usually action cards. These action cards allow you to do different things, by giving you extra buys, coins or actions, or allowing you to throw useless cards from your deck or to add useless cards to you opponent(s) deck. It’s through the complex interactions between those kingdom cards that the game emerges: all players start the game in the same condition and are offered the same choices, so the first one in finding the best and fastest interactions will, most likely, be the winner (although the randomness of the card draw might have a say in the final result).

Interaction: Dominion has been termed a “multiplayer solitaire”. Although this is quite an exaggeration, it is true that the base game lacks in player interaction. Still, there are attack cards that offer direct conflict by allowing you to mess with you opponent(s) decks; while, at the same time, the game ending when certain card piles are depleted is an indirect, ever-present way of influencing other player’s gameplay and forcing them to reconsider their strategies. Still, if you are seeking for a more dynamic interaction among players, you’d do better by purchasing Dominion: Intrigue or getting the base cards plus some other expansion.

Closing thoughts: Dominion is a modern classic that has gotten better with each expansion. Sadly, those improvements have ended up making the base game appear stale and lacking. If you have never played a deck building game, you will still find the experience interesting and it will grant you endless hours of enjoyment. But, if you have the chance, it would be probably better to get yourself the base cards plus Prosperity or Hinterlands. These expansions are complex and interesting enough, while at the same time retaining the simplicity and elegance of the core mechanics that can be found in the base game. Or, if you are a few bucks short and can deal with a few mind-blowingly ugly cards, you could opt for the standalone expansion Dominion: Intrigue.

9
Go to the The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game page
273 out of 280 gamers thought this was helpful

Pros: challenging, complex, thematic, scalable, portable, easy to set, fast, expandable, cheaper than ccg

Cons: core set doesn’t include 3 copies of all the cards, cards could be thicker, not so cheap when you want to keep up with the expansions. And believe me, once you get your hands on it, you’ll want!

You’ll like it: if you like the Lord of the Rings or similar settings, if you enjoy playing solo and/or coop, if you enjoy complex card games, if you want a challenge.

You won’t like it: if you hate the theme, if you seek a competitive game, if you get overwhelmed when having to track complex rules, if you don’t have fun losing.

Difficulty: The core set includes 3 adventures. One is a piece of cake, thought for introductory games. The second one is quite challenging, specially if you have not mastered deck building yet. The last one was designed by the Dark Lord himself and it’s just cruel.
This is not an easy game, and you will find yourself losing 50% of the time, if not more often; but that’ll give you a nice feeling of achievement when you finally manage to beat the Shadows, making solo play interesting and rewarding.

Theme: As a matter of fact, the theme kept me away from this game for some time. I expected it to be some cheap franchise-milking scenario; plus, even though I used to like LOTR as a teenager, I had grown to find elves, dragons and the such a little cheesy. Still, sthis game somehow managed to suck me in and bring me back those feelings of adventure and magic I had forgotten. The purist won’t be happy with a few inconsistencies (but when are they, anyway?), but the card art, together with the quest mechanics, manage to bring the most theme you could get from a card game.
The game has all these little details, such as when Gandalf enters play to help and then just leaves you when you need him most; or when you use a torch for exploring a dark passage, under the risk of bringing new enemies to the staging area*; or playing the sword that was broken on a hooded Aragorn, so he gains the leadership sphere icon* (leadership being the sphere of noble characters).

Mechanics: As there is plenty written about it, I won’t get into details, but the mechanics are well thought and fun. They manage to make a solo game difficult and surprising, while it scales perfectly well when adding other players. For instance, the shadow effects during combat are a random way of surrogating the events (instants, if you play Magic) that an oponent would play on you when you thought you had his minions under control. The threat counter is not just a way of losing, but it also gives Sauron a reason and time for sending his forces upon you. And so on.

Interaction: For a game that plays so well solo, it has a good deal of interaction. Some cards have special abilities that won’t be useful unless more players are at the table, and they do work really well. It’s not the most interactive game ever, but it’s not a multiplayer solo. There are decisions to take together, cards to play on other players and strategies to devise in order to defend and attack the minions as a team. My best deck is a multiplayer support deck.

Closing thoughts: I feel this game is sometimes overlooked because of its theme, because of being a LCG or because of its solo/cooperative nature. Yet the theme is nicely developed and interwoven with the mechanics; the LCG system, if a tad expensive, is still cheaper than games such as Magic; and the solo and coop mechanics work quite nicely, offering something different to bring down to the table.

LCG addendum: You may be thinking about getting just the core game, but are afraid of an endless number of expansions. Well, don’t! When you start enjoying the game, you’ll probably want to add some, but you don’t need them to have a good time, nor do you need to get all of them. I got Khazad Dûm and then bought a couple of minis from the Dwarrowdelf cycle. Now the Hobbit is on its way… and that will be enough for some time. Also, the fact that every expansion comes with some new quest, makes the purchasing of new expansions quite similar in price and experience to getting some adventure book each month, or going to the cinema every other week… plus you end up with a bunch of new cards for your decks!

*These two last examples I got from cards not on the core set; but that doesn’t mean there are no such details on them, I just couldn’t trouble myself to find them.

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