PAX East

I’ll be attending PAX East this weekend.  You’ll probably spot me at at least one of the Dominion tournaments, grumbling about having to play 4-player base Dominion.  Email me if you’re interested in meeting and playing some glorious pure 2-player games.

The blog schedule should (mostly) be uninterrupted; there’s an amusing Annotated Game coming up, with a preview tomorrow and the actual game probably sometime on Tuesday.

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10 Responses to PAX East

  1. Captain_Frisk says:

    I’m also going for anyone else who wants to see me crush theory in person.

  2. guided says:

    4-player base set? Now that takes me back….

  3. timchen1017 says:

    All you guys are in Boston? I wish I could go…

  4. Matt Ryan says:

    I was at the first tournament — did pretty well, but didn’t win the tiebreaker to get into the 4th chair of the final round.

    • theory says:

      Think it’s worth playing in? I haven’t participated thus far since … you know … 4p base Dominion. (I actually think the 4p bothers me much more than the base.)

  5. holyyakker says:

    In fairness, PAX is not about high end amazing tournaments (in my opinion). It is about sharing a love of gaming and good times. You’ll get people playing a 4p base game that have never played before, and in general more people playing is cool.

    I’d be nice if they could do both.

  6. Lackey says:

    Given that I’m the PAX Enforcer who emcees Dominion tournaments at PAX Prime (Not at PAX East, I could not attend), I’d love your opinions on how we could improve/tweak our tournament structure.

    I haven’t had a chance to confirm how the PAX East tournaments were conducted yet, but if they used the rules I provided them, then they were 32 person tournaments, all using base Dominion, 4-player, no expansions, with points assigned based on your rank, with VPs recorded purely for tiebreaker purposes.

    Given the popularity of Dominion, and that we regularly run out of room not only in our signup sheets, but also on our wait lists, having less than 4 player games simply isn’t an option to accommodate everyone.

    However, I’d like to hear from the Dominion experts — how can we improve? What lessons learned should we be applying to future Dominion tournaments (keeping in mind that our primary focus is on people playing and having a good time, not on crowning the best of the best at all costs).

    Much appreciated,
    PAX Tabletop Tournament Enforcer

    • rrenaud says:

      I’d guess theory is a lot more interested in having a fair/accurate tournament than a tournament that maximizes sum of fun of the individuals. One bad tradeoff (IMO) taken for these kind of tournaments is allowing different versions of the game to be chosen at a given round by the players, which optimizes the latter over the former. Relatively new players all stick together and play the base game, where the experts crowd each other out of the tournament by opting to play with all of the versions. OTOH, I’ve never gone to PAX, so feel free to disregard.

      What are the actual limiting constraints? Space/number of Dominion sets/time? If you have an ample quantity of Dominion sets, but are limited in time, having 4 players playing 2 games simultaneously is going to result in faster games than to having 4 players playing a single game at a time.

      The WBC ran a pretty good Dominion tournament last year.

      Each round consisted of two games between 4 players. Turn order reversed from game to game. It used wins, and then ranks for advancement, and only score differential as a tertiary tiebreaker. The Kingdom sets were pre-selected. Every table plays the same set, which limits some of the variance in game lengths.

      I’d recommend that perhaps the first game or two is all base game, but then having the later games with the advancers mix in the expansions. That way you avoid the expert self-selection problems with giving the players choice of game version, and still keep the barrier to entry low for relatively new players and let the experts battle it out in the later stages in the most interesting setting.

    • Yariv says:

      I do not fancy myself an expert, but I would suggest using more than the base set. 4-player games are best for human interaction, and reduce the competitiveness of the game (it’s harder to track the status of all other players, so you’re more likely to just try to advance yours as much as possible). Using positions and not VPs is essential, both because VP differences vary between sets, and because it can cause unnatural behaviour for a leading player (leading in the overall competition). The basic set, however, is quite dull. As was noted here several times, Big Money tends to be the best approach, and (IMHO) action chains are the best part of dominion. The worst problem is lack of trashing, and if there’s chapel then really everyone just play chapel-enhanced Big Money decks. Seaside seems like a nice addition, intrigue tends to be too complex for beginners.

    • theory says:

      To be perfectly honest, I think you don’t really have much choice. I think broadening the appeal is better than trying to run high-level tournaments, and what you guys did at East was ideal in terms of getting more people to play and introducing them to this wonderful game 🙂

      One option I’d consider is an “expert-level” Dominion tournament, built on 2p, with more expansions, and ran separately from the main tournament.

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