Ridere, ludere, hoc est vivere.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Carthage and Old Dominion

Pondering my next action
in Traders of Carthage
Last night Kathy and I played Traders of Carthage (designer Susumu Kawasaki, artists Peter Gifford and You Satouchi, publisher Z-man), which is quickly making its way onto our "regular" list of cocktail-hour games.  We are each beginning to dive deeper into the tactics and strategy of this little gem of a card game.  I came away with a substantial victory this time, but not for lack of some excellent play on Kathy's part.  ToC can be a real, fun mental exercise.

I recently acquired Dominion (designer Donald X. Vaccarino, artist Matthias Catrein*, publisher Rio Grande) on sale at Tanga.com.  As popular as this particular title is and as widespread as the deck-building genre has become, it's rather surprising that we haven't got into it until now.  It won Spiel des Jahres in 2009, which still isn't as long ago as I thought it might have been.  I think one of our friends introduced us to Dominion a year or two ago, and I vaguely remember enjoying it, but not going any farther than that with it until now.  Since then, the only deck-building game I've played is Salmon Run, Jesse Catron's title that I tried out at Congress of Gamers, and which Gryphon Games expects to ship to its Kickstarter backers sometime in March.  So to all intents and purposes, the deck-building mechanic is a relatively new one to me, even if Dominion did burst onto the scene with it a good three years ago.

Kathy's winning Dominion
So tonight we played it for the first time, and I have to say that we really like it.  This session was certainly a "learning game" for both of us, but the nice thing is that I think we got the rules right the first time (not usually the case for me).  The game has approximately the same feel in terms of depth and complexity as 7 Wonders  - not a brain-burner, exactly, but a nice comfortable level of decision-making, gameplay, and arc of progression.  Kathy won our maiden session this evening, 43 to 33.  We were tied in Province cards, but she outscored me significantly in both Duchies and Estates.  She had made the transition to buying Victory cards a little faster than I did, and I think she also made better use of her action cards.  She certainly frustrated me with the Militia on more than one occasion.

So now both Traders of Carthage and Dominion are on our list of choices for cocktail-hour gaming, which is great, especially as the cold weather has settled in and we won't be sitting outside as often as we'd like.

* Boardgamegeek.com also gives artistic credit to


  1. Lots of fun! I'm sure you'll get me next time! ;)

  2. I think you have to win three in a row before I get you again...