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Some really interesting stuff, but toooo loooong. Worker-placement is a really crowded field, and Dominant Species suffers badly because the interesting bit (dominance) takes far too long to compute for too little payoff. You're better off with Tribune (or Agricola or Age of Empires). If you want a long and involved worker-placement odyssey, there's Mecanisburgo. I really wanted to like this, given my great fondness for Combat Commander.
Dominant Species is a deep game of area majorities. And I say majorities not only because there are several spaces in dispute, but also because there are two different majorities at play: number of species and adaptation to the environment. Each player plays as a different animal class with certain specific traits and will try to reach domination over the others via expansion and adaptation. At the start of the round, players will place a variable quantity of workers on an action list that will get resolved later in strict order, from top to bottom. A deck of wildly overpowered dominance cards provides spice and flavor. There are two things I dislike about this magnificent game. First, components are serviceable, with earthy muted colors. I wish there was a more luxurious edition, not necessarily with animal miniatures, but at least with prettier artwork and wood pieces. And second, managing the elements discs is quite fiddly. It is an integral part of the game, so there is no issue way to avoid it. All in all, a fantastic game.
Played on Minnesota Dan's 1st edition copy. I'm not sure what to make of the game. On one hand, it is very involved and I truly think the old chestnut "many paths to victory" apply here. Furthermore, the dynamic of resources being considered both for survival and dominance feel really fresh and interesting. The scoring is almost all tied to the bonus table chart which makes figuring out scores quite easy. On the other hand, the game has moments of being random and quite swingy. For such a long and involved game, I don't know if I can get really excited about a game that relies so heavily on these elements. PROS -High player interaction. -Lots of planning & ways to win. -Player abilities feel thematic. -Nearly all scoring follows the bonus points table, which makes this quite easy to grasp. CONS -Randomness in resource tiles for Adaptation, Abundance, & Wanderlust. (Also randomness in Wanderlust tiles but this is less of an issue.) -Randomness in event cards. -Very swingy. In our first game we had massive lead changes -up to 20 VP - four times. End game scoring can also lead to some crazy scoring. -Nitpick but I'd like to see the board indicate the three actions that get you VP - glaciation, wanderlust, & domination - plus the tundra scoring.
a great brain burner. multiple paths to victory and a flow that matches the theme well (lose parts of the world as the tundra spreads, but the hardy species that can survive on the tundra can gain a lot of vp). having to figure out how the turn will unfold when placing the action tokens can send ap prone players into paralysis.
For some reason the delayed cause-effect relationship the game possesses wreaks havoc on my brain. It's a relatively straightforward action-programming area control game, but the systems are so interlinked, and the whole game feels like it takes an extra half a round or something for the cascading effects of your actions to reveal themselves. I find myself struggling to strategize efficiently. The game also scores way too much at the end of the game compared to during the game. It's a brilliant, fascinating design. I just need to get my brain around it better
This is a war game in all but theme. Why is this in my collection it's not a war game, right? Not that i have anything against them, but my wife doesn't like direct conflict games. Evolution isn't war...(cough)
This is probably the most hardcore Euro I have played to date. My brain physically hurts by the end of this monster 4+ hour game. Viciously confrontational, to boot. Exhausting to play, but in a good way.
Highly confrontational direct competition with a variety of actions for creating and maintaining numerical superiority on the board. Multiple ways to score points mean there are important decisions to make every time you take a turn. The iOS app is a great, portable way to play the game. It keeps track of dominance and other background numbers easily, so you can focus on tactical and strategic considerations. The AI is pretty bad as of July 2015.
(10/17) 9. Heavy, meaty. I really enjoyed playing this game. I might love it even more once I get a chance to play it again. Tremendously tactical but that big final scoring also allows for some strategic play. Wonderful
1 play and I love this game. The dominance mechanics make sense thematically while still providing challenges in gameplay, the rotating placement of actions and action resolution guarantees minimal downtime per player, and allows you to plan ahead to minimize AP. All species have interesting special abilities which can be used advantageously. There are enough different actions available to make it challenging, different, and allow different strategies to win. Overall a great game I can't wait to play again.