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Dominion Hot
Board Games 4364
A mechanical kick in the pants. Draft cards to build an efficiency engine to hit the magical 8+ coins per hand and then start buying the big victory points... the rub being that once you start buying VPs they will clog up your machine and make it run all choppy.

Other than committing to a strategy the game really comes down to timing the switch from deck building to buying VPs. Come in too soon and you bloat the machine with crap. Come in too late and you're behind the curve and will lose, maddeningly, by something as stupid as a single card-buy.

It's fascinating to watch the different solutions grind away at the problem and to see who had the most efficient engine—and best timing—at the end.

The only knock is for the flaccid theme, which is, perhaps, thankfully thin, given how mechanical the game is and how fast it plays with experienced players. (It's not unusual for your turn to come back around before you're done shuffling from the last one.) A narrative layer would probably just slow everything down.

That said, I like to think of it as scratch-building a Ferrari and then seeing how much cocaine I can hide in the gas tank while still getting it across the border. And then maybe something about fire-breathing pimps.
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