Board game club: Dominion, Container

Halli Galli Extreme box

Last Sunday I visited the board game club and instead of the quick visit last time, I was able to play games for few hours. We started with a quick round of Halli Galli Extreme for warm-up. It’s a nice little game, quick and entertaining. Some won’t like the extra difficulty from the animals, but I find it attractive.

Dominion was the next game in line. We ended up playing two games in a row, using two setups from the rulebook. The first one was the recommended beginner setup — fairly simple, basic cards with little interactivity or difficult stuff — and the second was the money setup (I don’t know what it’s called in English, because I have a Finnish copy).

Dominion box

The two games were completely different. The first one took almost an hour and had lots of actions played every turn, while the second one only took about 30 minutes and saw plenty of money flowing around and many more scoring cards bought.

So, is it any good? Yeah! Brian Bankler thinks it’s slightly dull (read his review of Dominion), but I found it charming. There’s some luck of the draw, little long-term planning and no direct interaction between players — but it’s fun to see your deck evolve, you can plan your next turn while the other players play and the game usually moves quickly.

It’s fun, that is. Looks like I’ll be trying to find some time to hit BSW — I’ve been away for a long time, but Dominion might be the game that brings me back. I want to play this game, now!

Container box

After that we continued with Container. I got this from a friend who totally hates the game. I suppose I can see why — it’s not for everybody. I’m not sure if I like it!

It’s a business game, with lots of buying and selling. Players have factories that produce goods, which the other players buy to their warehouses, where someone else can buy them to their ship. Ships take the goods to the island, where an auction is held for the goods. Complicated!

There’s quite a few details in it. In the scoring what counts is the containers on your part of the island. The five different colours of containers have different values to different players, everybody loses their most common colour of containers and getting one of each colour doubles the value of one colour. Even more complicated!

In our game the economy was very tight, selling stuff was hard. Only the cheapest possible prices were accepted. So, the only way to make any money was to ship stuff. That paid well, especially as a government subsidy means that whatever the highest bidder pays, bank pays as well.

I made a huge mistake and ran out of money when I had maxed out on loans. The guys didn’t buy anything from me for few turns, which meant the bank confiscated my containers to cover the loan interest. I recovered, eventually, but was completely out of competition for the rest of the game. The final scores were 130-118-52-29.

It’s a tricky game and as I said, I’m not sure if I like it. I get the complaints about boring repetition and dryness. The economy is brutal and in our game probably a bit too tight to be interesting. We’re probably playing the game next Thursday, as there’s some interest for modern-day business games in our group and there aren’t too many of those around.

After that game I’ll be able to say something more definite about the long-term staying power of the game.

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