I've come to the point where I buy and maintain my collection based around niches. If I have a game that fills that niche, I'm not going to buy another one, unless the unanimous word on it is that it makes all other games in that niche obsolete. So yeah, Euro-centric DoaM for 4-5 is a niche, and Chaos in the Old World is sitting mighty pretty on top of that niche.
I think DS is pretty awesome. But then I like the heavy analytical games like Power Grid, Caylus, and such. You can cut the play time simply by removing cards. I've not played CitOW but if it is anything like DS then I'll have to check it out when I can.
Dominant Species is a great game. Very deep, very brain burning, and the cards involved can change the game in very significant ways.
The randomness in the game (through cards) is actually quite minimal. The cards take effect at the end of the turn so you know what's coming. You can adjust your position to minimize harmful effects and amplify good ones.
End game scoring is powerful but a good player can position himself to take advantage of that.
Game length is an issue. 3.5 hours is about average as long as you have a game shepherd to move things along. I, as an unrepentant wargamer, am un-phased by a game length of this nature. But people who get itchy after an hour on one game will probably get irked by this game.
This game rewards repeated plays as a knowledge of the entire card deck is helpful and there is just no way to grasp all the strategies and options in just one game.
The people I have found that like this game the least are those who hate to adjust a game strategy half way through a game. If their initial strategy doesn't pan out they get pissed and can't form a new one. It is possible to have an initial strategy get squashed in this game, adapt to the new situation, and end up winning but it takes an agile mindset.
I recently traded DS away. It is well designed...but ultimately I did not have Fun with it. just alittle too long, and too many moving pieces for me. I liked how much it allows people to screw with each other. I dislike end-game scoring being half your points for the game.
Exactly, my feelings about DS. Well designed but...