by Gary Walts
(Montreal Board Game Meetup)
Board game manufacturer:
Rio Grande Games
Number of players:
Dominion invented a whole new genre of game. How? By being simple to learn and fun to play! It takes the best elements of collectible card games and is a worthy winner of the Spiel des Jahres.
The game and gameplay
Amazon customers are very discerning, and for more than 200 of them to award Domnion five stars, you know it’s something special.
There are dozens of CCGs (Collectable Card Games) on the market. Magic the Gathering, Yu-Gi-Oh, Pokemon and Warhammer are prominent examples.
Dominion, like those aforementioned games, requires players to build and run a deck of cards against one or more other players. The differences are key. With CCGs, you pick cards from an ever-growing number that’s available and build decks in advance of playing the game. With Dominion, you build your deck from a limited selection of cards as you play the game!
Dominion comes with 500 cards. This includes Treasures (Coins for ‘buying’ cards), Actions, Victory Cards (which score at the end of the game), and Curses (negative score at the end of the game). There are also Randomizer cards, which are used to select which cards will be in the game.
Each player begins with ten card decks, and as the game progresses, players will be able to purchase additional cards to improve their score and hinder other players.
The gameplay is as easy as your ABCs… play an Action card, Buy a card, Cleanup (discard your hand and any played cards, then draw five). You can’t win just by buying Victory cards from the start. You need Treasure cards that give you more coin, and the Action cards to help you get big coin consistently.
Some of those Action cards are Attack cards that help you by hindering your opponents. Some will reduce their hand size to three, others will add a Curse to their deck, worth -1 victory point. Other action cards let you ‘Trash’ cards from your hand, helping to reduce your deck size and bettering your odds of drawing the cards you need.
Pros and cons
The game is deep in terms of strategy. Every card combination has a different outcome on the game, and the players’ relative skill decides the outcome of games, not luck of the draw.
Lots of replay value, as you can only use ten stacks for each game, a small fraction of the available decks. Adding Dominion expansions will make the game even more compelling.
There is very little player interaction. You are racing the other players for the best cards and the most Victory points, but that’s it. Your attack cards affect the oppositions’ decks more then they affect the players.
Dominion game is a staple in any gaming group. Plenty of replay value is there just with the base set, and those who want more Kingdom cards can pick up as few or as many expansions as they wish to add more variety. Highly recommended, it gets five footprints from me!
If you’ve played Dominion, please leave a rating and comments using the link below.