Dominion – Alchemy Card Game Review

The award-winning card game Dominion is back with another expansion called Dominion: Alchemy. A new resource type – potions – is added to the mix, and your battles against fellow land-grabbing monarchs has just become more complicated. With the power of Alchemy in your hands, you are now able to access new powers such as possession, transmutation and golem-making. Things just got a whole lot more explosive in your quest for Dominion!Dominion has been a best-selling card game since its debut in 2008 and winning the prestigious Spiel des Jahres and Deutscher Spiele Preis awards the year after. It has acquired more and more fans every time an expansion was released. We’ve had the chance to submerge ourselves in a bit of Intrigue and had a few naval battles on the Seaside, and now we get to dabble in some Alchemy.The gameplay is shaken up when a new treasure resource is added to the mix, and powerful cards are introduced that can manipulate your decks to a greater degree, and even manipulate other players’ actions! If you want to know more about how the base game is played, please read our Dominion review. This review focuses on the Dominion: Alchemy expansion, which requires either the base Dominion game or the standalone Intrigue expansion to play.As the name implies, Alchemy introduces cards that revolve around alchemical powers and mysterious experiments. More importantly, these powerful cards need more than good old coin to buy. They need a new resource: potions. Not only will you need enough coin in your hand to buy these cards (the most expensive of which cost 6 coins), but you need to have a potion card in hand as well. Interestingly enough, there are still no cards that cost 7 coins as of this expansion.Since potions cost 4 coins apiece, and you are still limited to a base draw of 5 cards a turn, the old cost structure of the game will have to be thrown out the window. You will have to develop a new strategy on how much coin and how many potions you want to buy. It all depends on how heavily you want to focus on potions and the powerful new Alchemy cards.So what are these new cards? Only some of the most game-changing cards to be introduced into the game. One example is the Vineyard card which costs just one potion. Each Vineyard is worth 1 Victory Point for every 3 action cards in your deck. Now you can’t laugh at those action-heavy decks because they have become a great way to produce cool abilities as well as earn VPs! You may ask why there are vineyards in the Alchemy expansion. How else will the alchemists get their inspiration and motivation?There are also powerful deck-management cards such as Transmute. This card lets you turn any victory card in your hand into gold, or any action into a Duchy, or any treasure into another Transmute. There is also the Golem card that lets you go through your deck and play the first 2 actions you see. And there’s the Herbalist who lets you place a treasure card you just used back onto the top of your deck ready for your next turn. Plenty of fun to go around!The star of Dominion: Alchemy will have to be the Possession card. Costing a hefty 6 coins and 1 potion, this card basically lets you take control of another player! You get to use their hand and play their actions, and any card that you gain from this possession goes to you and not them. There’s also the Philosopher’s Stone card which is worth 1 coin for every 5 cards in your deck.Some people have complained that this expansion has slowed down the game unnecessarily, especially with cards like the Philosopher’s Stone that make you keep counting the cards in your deck, or the Possession card that doubles the length of your turn. This may not necessarily be a bad thing, as turns go by so fast as it is anyway, that the game seems like a speed and reflex game. Either way, Dominion: Alchemy has managed to inject lots of new flavor and new mechanics into the game, keeping it fresh and explosive!Complexity: 3.0/5.0
Playing Time: 30 to 45 minutes
Number of Players: 2 to 4 players (up to 6 with the Intrigue expansion)

Video Game Tester Programs – Why They Are Great Programs for Some But Not for Others

Why video game tester job programs which make some people thousands of dollars leave others with a bad experience. And what determines when these programs are, and are not, right for you.First, let’s look at hunting for a traditional job.Take a step back and look at ways to seek traditional employment. There are different ways to look for work when searching for any job whether it be a secretary, sales representative, or plumber.One way is do it yourself. Search on your own for job openings, write your own resumes, and visit each location (at the expense of gasoline or public transportation) to apply and attend interviews. At the end of the process you keep your full paycheck, pay no one else anything to get a job, and owe nothing to anyone once you have a job. This is the traditional way to obtain employment, and in many situations it’s still the best method today. One consideration if you collect unemployment benefits from a previous job, doing at least some of your job searching this way may be a requirement of the law where you live in order to not lose your unemployment benefits before finding a new job.Another is work with a staffing agency or temporary employment agency. In this approach, they attempt to find employment for you from among hundreds of potential jobs. They may conduct your only interview or a small number of interviews, from which they gather the information needed to find the best matches for you among all the jobs in their database. They may also offer assistance in writing a master resume for their use, or a set of resumes from which they can select the best for each kind of job to submit to multiple companies.Some agencies pay you, while charging the company needing workers both what you are owed and additional money to cover their fees. In this scenario, the agency is charging the business needing staff for providing workers as well as human resource management and other administrative services.Alternatively, placement agencies and organizations which service freelancers may charge the job seeker: either a one-time fee per successful placement, or regular membership fees. One-time fees are more common among agencies providing permanent job placement, while membership fees are more common among providers of freelance work.For example, freelance truckers can subscribe to services which give them access to hundreds of available shipping contracts they can select from. In this example, the agency aggregates and presents as many available contracts as possible to truckers for a fee; and leaves it up to the truckers to accept offers which best meet their personal, scheduling, and financial goals. Taxi drivers may have a similar arrangement with a dispatch agency which charges a regular fee for use of a branded name, the service of forwarding call-in customers to drivers, and possibly use of a vehicle specially equipped to serve as a taxi. Drivers in turn keep the money they collect from their passengers.How are jobs as a video game tester different?
The answer is, they are not any different.With game tester jobs your options are the same.You can do it yourself. Using your own experience, education, and training you can seek employment entirely on your own for free. You can search for opportunities using your own effort just as with any other kind of job. Directly contacting companies like Blizzard, EA Software, Konami, Riot Games, and others on your own will only cost you in your own time and resources. All you need to do is compete directly with other possibly more experienced game testers; some of whom may already understand what hiring managers will be looking for, be familiar with these companies, and have a broader set of experiences to build their resumes and portfolios from. You won’t have to pay anyone to compete directly against other applicants who may be able to respond faster, with more powerful qualifications, and a better idea of what matters and what doesn’t to perspective employers.Or, you could work with a video game tester job program. This arrangement works similar to the arrangement with staffing companies and freelance agencies for more traditional jobs.In some arrangements, membership for the person seeking work is free. When this is the case, the game development company needing games tested is paying the company running the program to provide testers from a pool of applicants. You may, or may not, receive the same payment as when you work directly for the game development company. In either case, if your membership is free it’s because the game development company pays money to the program in addition to the money you receive. In exchange, the company operating the program handles human resources or other tasks – such as screening potential applicants and only selecting those they feel are best suited to the interests of the game development company. These companies do not charge you, because they charge the game development company and that’s who they work for – not you.Other arrangements more closely resemble freelance agencies for taxi drivers, truckers, message specialists, beauticians, and so on. You pay a membership fee and in exchange you receive services, the most basic of which include making available to you as many jobs as you can qualify for. Others may include: helping you develop and present your resume, matching you with the best contracts, and managing your portfolio for you. You pay them, either a monthly fee or a percentage of what you make, and they are working for you – not the gaming company.So, why are video game tester job programs great programs for some but not for others?
And, how do I know when such a program is right for me?The main reason is mismatching between the game tester’s goals and objectives vs. a program’s services and benefits.Experienced game testers often won’t benefit from a program, but could still benefit from books or other resources which some programs come with. They should check first if they could obtain the same books and resources on their own faster, at less cost, or both. A program would only benefit the experienced game tester if paying a fee just to get these kinds of resources would cost less in time and money than going out to find the same resources on their own.If you’re a professional game tester and feel jobs offered through these programs are a step backwards for you, but you still don’t want to search on your own (maybe you average $11/hr. but could average $35/hr. if you had help being more competitive), you could always work with traditional staffing agencies. This is best if you are trying to move from an existing full-time game tester position to a better one, or are also open to other kinds of employment. The down side is they may poorly handle video game tester jobs unless they specialize in gaming. If your qualifications are strong enough, and your portfolio stands well on its own, using a traditional staffing agency is probably still your best choice if you’re serious about moving to a better game development position from one you already have.If you’re new to game related jobs or the job market in general, then you probably would benefit from a program. College education programs are best if you seek degree training in the field. However, college programs seldom offer job placement at the end of the program. If you’re concerned about actually obtaining a job once you get your degree, you may want to augment your college education by participating in a freelance video game tester job program during your off-time from school. Augmenting your college education with time spent participating in a freelance program is probably the best bet for someone new to game development.Another issue is the way these programs are marketed. Matching workers with jobs for a fee is older than the United States; however the video game industry only developed since the advent of the information age. As a result, agencies which match workers with traditional work generally promote themselves by describing their benefits in a strait forward way. There is no need to convince anyone on the concept of a traditional job; they simply need to inform people on reasons they may want to use a staffing service as opposed to seeking employment on their own.By comparison, video game tester job programs need to promote both the concept of being a video game tester and the concept of using a freelance program to do so. This is sometimes done using persuasive language combined with the best examples of potential income which (while accurate) may not reflect the average tester’s typical results. Also some websites promoting these programs are not built by the company operating the program, but instead by 3rd party internet marketers who simply build a website using the most favorable and persuasive information before moving on to another site promoting a different product. It’s not that anyone is running a “scam” per se. The video game tester job program is in the business of matching potential testers with available work, while the affiliate webmaster is in the business of building as many websites for as many products as they can earn income promoting.To make sure the website you’re reading gives you accurate, quality, information look for: citations from well-known game industry writers or trusted sources like Wikipedia, in-depth many paged articles, recently updated articles (indicating a site that’s maintained with the latest information), at least one page being older (an older terms of service or privacy policy shows the site has been around for a while), and so on. Affiliate sites with these characteristics are likely to be providing you information you can trust and make sound decisions on; and to advertise and market proven programs, even if other sites promoting the same programs use more generic sales tactics.What if you are not interested in college or a permanent career, you just want some easy money.If this is the case, you need to look at the kinds of assignments you choose once you sign up for a video game tester job program. Most programs offer consumer experience (CE, UX, or UXA) assignments as well as quality assurance (QA) assignments, even if their website talks mostly about QA. However, when selecting, applying for, and accepting assignments be sure to read carefully what the assignment entails and the requirements you must meet in order to get paid. QA offers generally pay a lot more, but QA assignments are not as easy and nowhere near as fun. QA testing is very tedious, can be frustrating at times, and requires a more committed mindset. Of course, if you see a QA offer which it looks like you’d enjoy doing (and it pays enough) don’t overlook it. Just understand QA assignments are not as easy as CE, UX, and UXA assignments – especially if your mindset is easy money. The upside to QA of course is that it pays more when you do fulfill all its requirements.

The Relevance Of Online Gaming In Today’s Life

Gone are the days when little children played about in parks in the summer. The children of today’s age unwind by playing games on their computers or PlayStations. The gaming culture is no more related to children and has become a rage among all age groups. Internet has taken this world by storm, and the addiction is hard to resist. Online free games can be of various formats, depending on your personal choice. The categories to choose from are action, puzzles, adventure, car racing etc. These are an instant addiction and are hard to get over.Most of these are usually free, but some of these do demand a multiple user policy for which the players need to form a team. These multiple user games can be played using WiFi connections among groups in a particular area or can even be played by users from various different locations. Some of the very interesting features that they offer are state of the art sound quality which almost places the player in a make-believe world. The high technology graphics are other important aspects which attracts the users towards these online games.The games can be downloaded and then played where as some of the games require online assistance to be able to play the games. The games are generally multi level games and thus maintain the attention of the player by varying the difficulty of each level.Online games are becoming a current obsession of the game frenzy and technology savvy users. These players select the best games depending on the quality of the graphics and adventure level. The graphics almost makes it impossible to differentiate between the virtual and real world. With such progress in the online gaming sector, it is also a good prospect for an entrepreneurial venture.Websites to download and play these online games are mushrooming in the market and only the best can sustain the tough competition in terms of popularity. A regular gamer spends at least two to three hours gaming everyday on an average. Although the online gaming scenario is booming, psychiatrist all over the world are apprehensive of the effects of cyber games on the players. With so much of time and energy devoted to these games, the players are losing sight of the real world and slipping into the virtual world of the games. Hate it or enjoy it, cyber gaming is here to stay.


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