Nadine came over for dinner and we ended early enough to convince Rachel to try another game besides Puerto Rico (or Scrabble). We would have tried Agricola, but we wanted something quicker so that we could also play Puerto Rico afterward.
So I taught both Rachel and Nadine how to play Dominion (Amazon's price right now: $159 ???).
We used the basic set; I've yet to play with any other. One of the problems with the basic set is the lack of interactivity. Aside from the very remote possibility of cards running out in a stack (unlikely, unless everyone is following the exact same strategy), there's only the Militia kingdom.
As a result, Rachel found the game rather boring. Nadine liked it, although she is also looking forward to sets with higher interactivity. I beat her 40 to 39; pretty close.
It shouldn't be hard to increase the interactivity. Instead of 10 cards in 10 kingdoms and the game ends when 3 piles run out, why not 3 cards in 20 kingdoms and the game ends when 12 piles run out? This way, you get the interactivity of running out of piles quicker, more strategic options, and less of the game running out really quickly (if it still does, make it 14 or 15 piles).
Of course, you can't buy tons of all the same card. And there's less variance in the game, but once the first few expansions come along, that won't be a problem.
Anyway, after Dominion we played Puerto Rico. I started the game really well, so well that I though victory would be a piece of cake. I traded tobacco early, pulled two corn plantations with a Hacienda and got a Wharf (we don't play with Harbor). All well and good, but Nadine's coffee, Factory, and Discretionary Hold managed to trump me. If I had gotten a Factory before my Wharf and I would have done much better.
Nadine won with 54, to my 48 and Rachel's 39.