Dominion Board / Innovation Setup

Last year, Dominion was becoming increasingly popular with my group, so as I looked to invest in expansions, I found I would need a storage solution. I decided to go all out and get the Broken Token box, which set me back a bit. But the large box was only a half filled, and when the opportunity arrived to ship an entire Dominion collection here, I took it, remembering how Dominion played a huge part in my college years and getting me into games other than Settlers. With a complete new set, I traded my old set with its two expansions for Twilight Imperium 3rd Edition and some cash (of course no one wants to play TI3 now that TI4 exists…)

Back in college I built a playing board, sort of in response to someone commenting that they’d be much more attracted to the game if it wasn’t a bunch of decks spread out on a table.

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It was made of felt, cardboard and foam core. It was light and it worked, but took up some space, so it wasn’t very portable compared to the small box I kept my cards in.

A major downside of owning a full collection and storing it all together is it weighs about 30 pounds and is certainly not worth bringing to a game night. Better to remove a prepared set of cards and bring that. But the Broken Token box is great. I cut into some of the wood to fit a space for box with all the tokens, as well as tiles and mats.

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I thought it would be cool to make a playing board that would fit inside the top of the lid. My first idea was to use foam core, but cutting parts as thin as they needed to be in order to fit a 4×5 grid did not work. I coated it with duct tape, but it really just doesn’t work…you can place cards on the spots but it doesn’t help at all to hold or separate them.

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Since then, the group I played Dominion with kind of fell apart. With some others, Innovation became the most frequently played game, in part due to its portability and relatively quick play time. After being impressed that the game could still surprise me, I got the Deluxe version just out of curiosity to try the expansions with people ready for that complexity. But it’s also way less portable, and not worth the setup time.

I searched for the perfect size card holders but didn’t find any. Finally, I found some boxes on AliExpress that would be the perfect size if I could make some sort of divider to put in them. So I started designing the divider, looking into 3D print options. Eventually I bought a MP Select Mini V2–the best value small desk 3D printer. Here are the results:

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With this solution, the whole game fits set up inside the box and takes up almost zero table space if using just one set. I played this on the corner of a table, the tableau’s take up more space than the cards.

My printer went through some repairs, and I was unable to use it for stretches of time. But I was able to design, and I designed a board for Dominion that would fit inside the Broken Token box, aligned with the modification I made to fit the tokens and mats. Obviously it was way bigger than my printer, but divided into 12 sections glued together with Duct tape on the bottom, it makes it flexible to bend and fit under the elastics, while sturdy enough to do the job. The millimeter thickness of the walls it just enough to withstand handling and keep the cards separate, and it just barely fits inside. Originally I I had walls all around, but removed them for space concerns. It also makes it way easier to take out the cards on the end, especially Copper.

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So all that’s left is to actually play a game of Dominion with it! I see a lot of people make 3d Inserts for games which I could print, but for most of them I use condiment containers and baggies, and an insert wouldn’t necessarily help setup time or storage space. But This board is great for minimizing game footprint and keeping everything organized. With all the additions in the various expansions it won’t be able to hold every game setup, but it has room for all the basics and an extra card or two depending if Platinum/Colony or Curses or Potions are used.

If you finished reading this, you understand the OCD of board game hobbyists when it comes to storage and organization. Here’s to the beautiful union of form and function.

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September 8th, 2018: Tips and Tricks

Crew Members: Zevvy, Kevin, Yehuda, Eitan, Yitzchak

I was home for the weekend. This is what we played.

Innovation

Metalworking got me to four but then Yehuda pulled ahead with Agriculture and got the one. I got the two, but Kevin got the three and Empire. Yehuda used a lot of cards which gave him and Kevin points, and Kevin picked up the achievements right away as Yehuda had to wait until his next turn. Pirate Code and Combustion robbed me of my points. Yehuda also used Physsics and we all succeeded, getting everyone to level 7 tech but by then Kevin had enough achievements to win.

Odin’s Ravens

Kevin and I played this while we waited for others to show up after lunch. Neither of us really used the Loki cards in a particularly stunning way, and it was pretty close most of the game. I used up my Loki cards before Kevin but we both made it to the end in the same turn, with the same number of cards.

Food ChainĀ Magnate

Eitan got his wish and came prepared. While he rushed waiters, I built up for Guru, not sure what I’d do after that. I helped Yitzchak get started, he got the freezer and eternal marketing, and started to sell beer. Eitan looked at the reserve cards, and his expression made me think there was a 1, 2 and 3 (I placed a 2, he obviously placed a 1). Since I went trainer first, only I had the salary discount, making it difficult for Yitzchak to upgrade until he got some cash. Eitan was nearing $100 but I was ready to sell–I got a Brand Director, built a Radio and advertised burgers to five houses, selling to all of them the following round for $150. Yitzchak started advertising Pizza but was only able to sell to a few houses with some of the burgers he saved up. Eitan just kept using Waitresses, unable to advertise or sell, and after a couple rounds the bank was empty, having only a 100 and two 200s.

Splendor

We needed something quick to learn and play, and Splendor was it. Kevin, Eitan and I all started collecting mines, no one really going for the tier 2 cards yet. We had some reserve wars with the 1 point mines. All the nobles required 3 rubies so I got rubies when available, but later Kevin ended up getting 3 of the nobles while I only got 1. Eitan was set up to get all the tier two Sapphires but I denied him one. In the end Kevin and I were both at 14, all of us having got at least one tier 3 card. Then he got one more tier 2 for the win, since he went last the game was over.

The afternoons are getting shorter, but FCM didn’t take as long as I thought it might.

August 25th, 2018: The Best Laid Plans

Crew Members: Kevin, Zevvy, Eitan, Yehuda, Daniel

Great Western Trail

This time we were only three players, after dinner. The first employee row was one of each, I took the Engineer, Kevin the Cowboy, and Eitan the Builder. The neutral building setup was randomized and we used the ‘a’ side private buildings. Using certificates I made sure not to deliver below 8, except one Kansas city delivery. Eitan delivered to KC right away, while Kevin never did. Moving my train saved me delivery costs and I also claimed four of the Station Masters, while getting a few cows including a purple. Kevin and Eitan clogged the map with buildings, but I soon upgraded my movement. I never delivered to San Francisco, but still ended with 114 points. Kevin had 74 and Eitan had 65, constructing some expensive buildings. So far the building strategy hasn’t been the most successful, but the ‘b’ sides might affect that. Eitan did perform an extraordinary delivery to San Francisco though.

Istanbul

After lunch we started light, Kevin, Yehuda and myself with Istanbul. Kevin went for the red mosque tile, Yehuda also did some gambling. I took my time around the post office, eventually getting the yellow and blue mosque tiles. Kevin spent his resources early getting two Rubies but I soon caught up. I got the other mosque tiles for 3 resources each, and a gemstone dealer, but was one resource short from getting my 5th Ruby in the round Kevin got his. Yehuda managed to get his third in the final round.

Innovation

First time playing a team game. I finagled Construction over to Daniel to claim Empire, but Kevin wrecked the score piles with anatomy and it was a long time before someone claimed the 3. When Daniel and I had four and Kevin and Yehuda had three achievements, We were digging into the 8’s and 9’s. I claimed Empire, but it wasn’t long before Kevin set off Fission after a failed attempt. In the aftermath, Kevin got a few points, and as the decks were running out Daniel had no choice but to activate Computers. This made Kevin play Robotics, getting even more points and activating A.I., which I had though would make us win with the least points, but first it draws a 10, which ended the game before the A.I. takeover. I was wrong anyway I realize because we had Computers out, not Software, but it was an exciting potential ending nonetheless. Oddly, Kevin’s society had access to the Satellites which thematically survived the devastation on Earth.

Keyflower

We finally played this, four players. Though I didn’t have the Green Worker Winter tile I focused on Greens and workers, but passed too soon and didn’t get any Spring tiles. Kevin got a Workshop and Eitan some other wood producer, but those were the only sources of wood the whole game. Kevin also got the Quarry while Yehuda bid high for dibs on the boats. Summer I took four tiles, but Eitan got both the boats (double transport and bid any color), which at the end of the game gave him a lot of points (he got all the winter boats as well). In fall I got the Inn for more workers, and while I had the Craftsman Guild for each set, I used all my blues in Winter and got 15 points for my Yellows instead from a different tile. Eitan had the Jeweler as well, and ended with 80 something points, I had 59 thanks to Blacksmith and Cathedral, which I outbid Yehuda using Greens. Kevin mostly did Mercer’s Guild and got 54 points, and Yehuda had skill tiles but didn’t realize he needed different tiles.

Hanabi

Yehuda and I played a quick round, but blew up after getting two level 3, one level 5, one level 4, and red was stuck at 2 as I discarded both red 3’s. Yehuda had some playable fours but we didn’t have more fives and were running on one hint token at at time.

I have nothing to say in the postscript except that self-reference often contradicts itself.

July 7th, 2018: Thank You, Come Again!

Crew Members: Zevvy, Kevin, Avi, Nechama

Avi requested Civ, and so it was. I really though he would win with Military, but that’s notĀ  quite what happened in the end…

Innovation

Kevin and I played Innovation after dinner, using my new 3D printed card holder, which saved table space. I got 1 and 2 with Agriculture and Metal Working. Kevin used Pottery for 3. Canal Building helped me get 20 points but I forgot to take the 4 as it was hiding behind the box of cards… then Kevin started using Statistics to empty my score pile. He also had Gunpowder so I lost most of my Castles. Kevin got 5 and 6 but Bicycle got me 27 points, then I managed to get the 7. I used a lot more “exchanging” then usual. I had five achievements but Kevin managed to hold the line using Physics and Electricity, returning cards and keeping anyone from melding higher tech. I hoped maybe to get Empire, but my castles were hidden…and I gave away Encyclopedia which could’ve melded my score pile. Eventually I got Industrialization and was about to get Monument when Kevin stole my top Yellow card, but this revealed Domestication giving me the Castles I needed.

Once again, 2-player base Innovation was exciting, tactical back and forth. Expansions are nice for a change, but not needed. Setup for them is much easier now though.

Sid Meier’s Civilization: The Board Game

I was India, Kevin was Spain, Nechama Egypt again, and Avi Germany. I opened with devote to the arts for first step on the track. Atilla’s Village was near me but Avi ended up getting it, while I built a city. I only collected one or two huts the whole game, and no villages. Kevin as Spain got off to an impressive looking start, exploring and building for free. Nechama started with Hanging Gardens so was good for figures, but for some reason didn’t fight her barbarians or build a city until several turns in. Avi spammed military but by being nice and trading with him he didn’t raid me early on. Kevin also had military buildup. Fortunately he skirmished with Nechama and I fortified my city so I had no figures to attack. Also my first great person was Leonides, giving me +4 and +8 if attacked by stronger opponent, so I wasn’t a completely easy target. Wonders went faster than usual, and when Big Ben showed up I got it and then Education and started rushing tech victory. Still sure someone would attack me, but no one did so I got Flight and bought two planes. I also built the UN which prevented culture events affecting me. I got cards that let me change social policy a couple times which was also critical. Isaac Newton filled in a spot on my pyramid and I finally got Space Flight just before Avi was ready to invade a Capital. I did use my “any resource” ability a few times as well.

Even though Spain seems OP, the disadvantage is that everyone wants to gang up. The military tension in this game also made it feel like there was a lot of interaction and politics, and while I usually don’t like too much politics it was very thematic–pitting my opponents against each other, “currying” favor and being pacifist as Ghandi.

I mentioned the “tie-breaker” suggestion where we play out the turn to the end. Avi then could have won by Military victory, but I wasn’t there for the final battle which he says he lost, though he didn’t draw as many cards as he should have, so maybe he would have won.

I also recently played Galaxy Trucker with one totally new person and one familiar. We did level one and two flight but the new player still felt lost. It’s odd, either I can’t teach this game well or can’t present it well, or people just aren’t interested. The familiar player likes this though and is building faster, though I still need a handicap or something.

June 16th, 2018: 60% of the Time

Crew Members: Zevvy, Kevin

It works every time. These games, that is. Always fun.

Innovation

Back to basic innovation. Optics gave us both four points but Metalworking failed and Kevin got the 1 achievement. I managed to snag the two using pottery a few times in a row, but Kevin got Democracy early one and had points for the 3, 4, 5 and 6. I managed to force him to cover his 6s with 4s so he hard a hard time getting to 7, and I finally made it to 7 first, scoring lots of points with Perspective. We also vied to be the first to meld an 8, which I also got, having 40 points. But it was only a matter of time before Kevin would claim Empire or Wonder, I was one castle short for Empire. I used Empiricism over and over hoping to get lucky, but Kevin just used flight to splay up and claim Wonder.

Castles of Burgundy

We played on the same board, but with two players things are more limited. An early tech giving silver for gaining workers let Kevin also buy a black market mine, having two mines by the end of Year One. He also got more useful goods through shipping, while I had the green castles and useless technology. A lot of workshops came out but I used the workers pretty quickly. We missed the rule about not having two of the same building in a city but it wouldn’t have mattered much. Having no way to get silver, I was unable to use the black market until Year 3. I picked up some pigs but each round the animals that came out were completely different–again with two players, fewer animals to choose from. In the end Kevin scored around 180 while I was down around 140.

I heard Castles is excellent two players–while it’s definitely faster, I think it will shine more when we have different maps. The setup made it obvious that having access to silver first meant earlier black market access, meaning more tiles overall.

May 26th, 2018: May 26th, 2018

Crew Members: Kevin, Zevvy, Simcha, Nechama

Technically this is a write-up of games played Friday Night / Shabbat Day, but the Friday Night game took place mostly on the 26th.

Terra Mystica

This was the only game I brought to dinner, realizing that at 11pm its unlikely that we would play. Nechama insisted and everyone agreed, thinking we might be done by 1am–not too bad. I was Changelings, Kevin was Halflings, Simcha was Dwarves and Nechama the Auren, her first time playing–I recommended Witches but Auren we’re prettier? Idk. Simcha had played before once or twice a while back.

Kevin got the first town and an early lead. We all had a clump of dwellings together while our other dwellings were all separated. Kevin expanded his second town in the top corner, while Simcha eventually connected his tunneled dwellings to make a town in the round with the bonus. Nechama also managed to spread out a bit and got two towns by the end, though she and Simcha contested over some space. Most of my points were earned by building and entire town of dwellings during the bonus round with a favor tile for 4 points each. So while I got first for most connected buildings, it was still a close final score between me and Kevin around 120, and Simcha and Nechama around 90.

Galaxy Trucker

We finally got to play a full three rounds. While Nechama still was last to finish her ship, she made sure to have as few exposed connectors as possible. In the final round she got 25 points for selling goods, enough to pull the lead. Simcha lost some goods to a meteor shower, but overall the game did not take as long now that people are more familiar with the parts. Still, had we accounted for the timer, everyone else’s ship would have been only half built. Maybe next time we’ll add missions just to make it more interesting.

Innovation

Played a few rounds of this throughout the day. One game was with Figures, quite confusing, though the most balanced overall–we all had 5 achievements when the game ended by emptying the 10s. Nechama had 65 to my 55 and won, but it was still quite interesting. My Rivalry decree slowed down Kevin, and Albert Einstein is how I got to 10 to end the game.

One Artifacts game ended too fast when I used Shroud of Turin to get three acheivements. Our next one ended when I had 5 achievements and used Self Service–win if you have the most achievements.

I think we also played an Echoes game but I don’t remember. That might of been our first game after lunch at which point I was still probably under the influence…

Some other people played Settlers.

May 20th, 2018: To the Last Breath!

Crew Members: Miriam, Daria, Zevvy, Nissim, Kevin, Lily, Elisheva

After a late lunch folks played games.

Ca$h ‘n Gun$

Daria, Nissim and Miriam decided to try something new, and had a blast. Daria got the godfather token and wouldn’t let it go, claiming loot every round. Even so, I had a decent amount of loot, but she still won 269 to 215 to 150 to 55. Nissim unfortunately got shot a lot, and though he healed up and survived, didn’t have much loot. Even still, he said this was the most fun game he’s played in Givat Shmuel. Impressive. Miriam had most diamonds, and also had to heal from two wounds, but made it to the end. We did not play another round with powers though.

Innovation

Kevin and I played Innovation while the rest had what sounded like a lot of fun at Codenames. First game we added Cities of Destiny, and Kevin got a bit of a runaway game, as well as the Legend Achievement. I forgot about Endorsing until pretty late in the game, and it did allow me to get Wonder via splay and some other interesting effects, but I couldn’t catch up with Kevin’s lead.

Next we played with Echoes, and again Kevin got the lead though I claimed the 1 jsut before he stole all my points. Homing Pigeons kept me pretty low in points, but I got Destiny by Foreshadowing a lot with Liquid Fire, though Kevin got Supremacy with Novel. Fortunately, I stole Printing Press, drawing a purple 7 and jumping to Genetics level 9. This got me Bio-Engineering which I used the next turn to score Kevin’s leaves, reducing him to 2 leaves against my 3, claiming victory while he just needed the 6 achievement.

Sentinels of the Multiverse

Miriam joined as Naturalist with me as Fixer and Kevin as Parse against Citizen Dawn. She got out Blinding Blast and Tears early, neutering our hands. Combined with her many Ongoings, it seemed hopeless. Fixer has no Ongoing control, Naturalist didn’t have Crafty Assault, and Parse only had Data Mining. By the time Parse got Segmentation Fault, we were all nearly dead. The Atlantean Throne room kept us alive a bit, but Parse got hit just as we were getting going. Fixed point led to Fixer and Naturalist having two styles / forms out for a bit, until Devastating Aurora ruined our setup. Not long later I was hit, despire Naturalists tanking. Still, Naturalist managed to survive until another Fixed point, and combined Crocodile / Gazelle began striking Dawn as fast as she could. Dawn was at 27 when the Aurora’s showed up again at the end of her deck, once again resetting our build up. Before Naturalist could get out enough defenses to survive until the next Fixed Point, she just barely was killed, leaving the Victory to the Citizens of the Sun.

A lot of people (myself included) got to enjoy new games this weekend. So often do people refuse to learn new games, but so rarely have I seen someone regret learning once they’ve committed to do so.