I leant my three Dominion games to my brother Ben while I was in the US, and it took him an extra few weeks to get them back to me after I returned. He and his three kids, aged 6 to 10 or so, played around 40 games, probably more. They loved it. Now he has to find a way to get these bulky games to Israel.
I went to him and his wife for Yom Haazmaut, and so did my other brother David and his wife and kids. Turns out that one of David's kids had played Dominion: Intrigue at one of his friend's, and had told David about the game, but David hadn't played it yet.
After pulling random kingdoms, and then looking at David, I decided instead to play with the suggested ten basic kingdoms from the base set. Wise choice.
David took what is, I am fairly sure, the longest first turn in Dominion ever, by anyone. It must have been fifteen minutes. The rest of the first game was fairly similar: go, go, go, .... tap, tap, tap as David thought out loud about what the best card was. No amount of telling him that they were all good choices helped.
For all that thinking, he managed to achieve a singular lack of cohesion or synergy in his deck, and ended far away in last place. Ben and I tied at 35, while David's eldest (also first play) had 24, and David had 18.
However, David felt like he had a better handle on the game, and so we played a second game using the same cards. He did much better (and played a mite faster) this game. David was still in last, but this time David's eldest won the game by one point. However, the scores were all close - within 7 points of each other.
There was some talk of playing Taj Mahal, but I talked them into playing Antike, a game I dearly love and which doesn't hit my game group's table often enough. First play for everyone except for me, and this time two of David's kids joined in for a five player game.
In the first game, I gave some advice, but not an overabundance, I suppose; Nadine would probably have scolded me. I pretty much had double the second player's points, right through to when they all gave up when I was one point from winning (as usual, I suggested that we play until one point less than the suggested winning criteria, which is a Good Idea). I played the Phonecians in the corner, which I think is somewhat of an advantagous starting position.
I didn't think there was enough time for a second game, but David once again felt like he was getting the hang of it and inisisted that we play one more time.
The second game was near the quickest game of Antike I've even played, and everyone proved that they were up to speed. Now I trailed a point or two behind the leaders. By end-game, it was down to the wire. Ben was the first to be one point away from winning, and the quick game suddenly bogged down while he tried in vain to figure out how to win within a round or two. Finally he played, and then David and David's eldest also made it to one point away from winning.
Several times, either Ben, or David, or I were one resource away from gaining and extra victory point (which wouldn't have made me win, but would have made me feel better). A few temples fell. In the end, David's eldest once again pulled off the victory. He had played Greece and a strong naval strategy, and he won by destroying a temple (mine, I think). Ben was the player after him, and he had two ways he would have won on his turn. David was one additional turn away from winning (take gold, followed by a complete set of Know-Hows).
David enjoyed both games, as did everyone else, although David's eldest complained about the slow-down in the last game of Antike as Ben struggled to find his win condition.