Sunday, August 19, 2012

Online Dominion - The Saga

As some of you may be aware, Rio Grande Games signed a contract with Goko to release an official implementation of Dominion using HTML5.  This format allows the game to be multiplatform, meaning Android and iOS software, so all kinds of tablets and phones, as well as an online site, Facebook play, Google play, and a lot of other things.

My thinking was something along the lines of "I'll miss Isotropic, but this is great.  We get official art, the ability to play in a lot more places, and hopefully the ability to introduce a lot more people to the game."

I knew there would be a charge associated, but the initial word was that the base cards would be free to play, and then each expansion would have a cost.  Ok, not great, we all got spoiled with Isotropic being free, but a company has a right to make money.  Coding takes a lot of time and bug checking.  Dominion isn't the easiest game to code, especially with the new Dark Ages cards coming out.

So I asked myself how much I'd be willing to pay for an expansion, and I decided that I'd like to pay around $5, but would go up to about $8.  Even at $8, that was going to amount to $48 for everything, so maybe $50 in total.  I know this sounds like a lot, but for something I can play for an hour or more a day, it's well worth it.  Then word came out that an expansion pack would cost $6.  I said, ok, good that's right where I want to be.  Then word came that a pack would only be 11-13 cards.  Lovely, that means $12 per expansion, $18 for Dark Ages, and a grand total of  $78 not counting promos.  Then the actual pricing model came out, and it's not just buying with money, you have to buy with coins.  But then there's no price point for buying 60 coins to buy a pack, nor is there 120 coins to get 2 packs.  The whole thing is screwy.

As of now, launch has been delayed due to code problems, interface issues, and security loopholes.

For something as high profile as Dominion, the whole thing has been a mess.  I really do hope that they get things working.  I want to see a solid game out there.  This adventure mode they're talking about sounds interesting.  Obviously their first priority is getting the game to a solid point.  It has to be playable before anyone can use it.

A company is entitled to make money, but let's be reasonable.  50 cents/card is not a fair price for a digital implementation.  Cut the price in half or so, make it $3 or $4 for the packs, and I'm interested.  At $6 per pack, I'll put my money elsewhere.  There are a lot of other apps out there with solid support and proven companies running them.


  1. Huh, that's weird. Are you always playing against a computer? If not, then what happens if you have bought cards that I haven't? Could we combine our decks?

    1. This will have AI play, which is good, it gives players a chance to learn new combos and see cards work. If you just play a normal game, you can only play the cards that you or someone else has purchased. There's talk that if player A owns Seaside and player B owns Prosperity that the game could include either, both or neither expansion. So that would work for combining sets. The problem is, you have to play against people who have what you don't have to be able to play everything.