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Domaine

remake of Löwenherz


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Product Awards:  

Ages Play Time Players
12+ 60 minutes 2-4

Designer(s): Klaus Teuber

Manufacturer(s): Mayfair Games, Kosmos

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Product Description

An intriguing new game of domain building by the creator of The Settlers of Catan.

The king shall return...

But before he does, the realm falls into anarchy and chaos. The lords of the kingdom struggle to improve their place and standing. New borders are drawn, and expanded through strength of arms and subtle maneuver. Each duke seeks to establish a claim over the most valuable parts of the kingdom before the king finally returns...

In the dark of the Middle Ages, control of the land was the key to wealth and power. Can you control enough territory to become the most prestigious duke before the kings return?

With the love for detail that has distinguished all of his designs, Klaus Teuber has created a game that is easy to learn, yet offers enough strategic depth to draw players back again and again. Are you clever enough to control the land, marshal your wealth, and seize the power and prestige of your own Domaine?

Product Awards

Deutscher Spiele Preis
5th Place, 2003
International Gamers Awards
Best Strategy Game Nominee, 2003

Product Information

Contents:

  • 4 Board Edge Pieces
  • 9 Land Tiles
  • 60 Action Cards
  • 60 Knight Figures
  • 16 Castles
  • 100 Border Markers
  • 47 Gold Ducat Tokens
  • 4 Crest Tokens
  • 1 King Token
  • 1 Rulebook
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Product Reviews

 
 
 
 
 

Average Rating: 4.4 in 15 reviews

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by Karthik
Lots of replay value
August 11, 2006

Disclaimer: I have not played Lowenherz, but I have played numerous other games that I classify as strategy games.

Favorite Game: Tigris and Euphrates. I mention this for others to get a sense of my taste.

The first few times we played Domaine, we seemed to find it a bit boring. We lost interest and it soon joined others (like Traders of Genoa) on the shelf. However, I later brought it out to play a 2- player game for lack of any other choices. Since then, I have discovered the various intricacies of this game that have made me want to play it over and over again.

Essentially, the game has a good number of elements that contribute to making decision-making non-trivial. Placement, economy, long-term planning, cutting losses, military strength are all aspects that must be closely monitored.

The foremost one is of course placement of castles. This is the most important one and has profound effects that keep showing up throughout the game. In regards to placement, the instructions suggest placing castles at the corners, to take advantage of the natural borders of the board. As players get more aggressive (and especially in the 2-player game where a neutral color is "sacrificed" to mess with someone else's plan), one will soon realize the fallacy in this strategy. Why? Because you get blocked out by other players and end up with a kingdom that can only ever have one or two knights. Not a problem for early game (its actually good early game since you can get an economy quickly)... but all that goes away mid-game when your neighbor collects more knights and simply expands into your domaine.

There are two things about this game that I don't enjoy. The first is the end-game. It becomes an arduous procedure of each player trying to hyper-optimize each and every move to maximize points. You might think that is not a bad thing - but it does slow down the game considerably.

The second thing is the luck factor. Your fate is in your cards. If you need an expansion card but don't get one, there is little you can do about it. Maybe bidding would solve this problem - at the expense of slowing down gameplay significantly.

There are some games that manage to be trememdous fun inspite of considerable luck involved - Union Pacific being an example. Others are good at providing gameplay to alleviate the pain of bad luck - Tigris and Euphrates. And others still just plain bug the life out of me - Settlers of Catan (glorified Monopoly) being my main example. Domaine is somewhere between Union Pacific and Tigris in terms of the amount of luck involved; and somewhere in between Settlers of Catan and Tigris in terms of the things you can do to alleviate bad luck.

 
 
 
 
 
Lowenherz light. NOT Game of the Year.
November 24, 2003

It is at this point I wish that there was a 3 1/2 stars rating available. Domaine is above average, but NOT Game of the Year material (worthy of the Games 100 list though). It is a stripped down version of Lowenherz, which speeds up the game, but removes some of the meat of Lowenherz. There isn't the tough negotiating/auction for cards phase (replaced it with the Chancelory) and the scoring is simplified. Still, it is a solid game. I took it out of the big box and put it in with my copy of Lowenherz.

I personally think it makes for a good intro to Lowenherz, or a game for non-gamers. It is also a good game if you want to play a lighter version of Lowenherz.

 
 
 
 
 
Not the 'Game of the Year'?!! What were they smoking?
November 22, 2003

Hats off to Herr Teuber, who keeps getting it right. O.K., I've only played it a couple times, but Domaine is a great game. It is hands-down better than other games chosen by Games Magazine in the 2004 Buyers Guide in the Advanced Strategy category. It is leaps and bounds ahead of New England, the Game of the Year, which I find to be merely mediocre. I hope this brief review can do this great game justice.

The rules are simple. The rule book is a mere 4 pages long, much of which is pictures. Each turn a player may sell a card, or pay to play a card. Take the action on the card you played to expand or protect one of your domaines. Draw to replenish your hand. That is it. To be completely honest I wasn't expecting much after reading the rules. What a pleasant surprise I was in for.

Players must make hard choices. You have to predict what your opponents will do and try to use that to your advantage. There is never enough time or money to do everything you want to do. There is quite a bit of conflict and a screw your opponent factor, as players compete for mines to gain money, and villages and forests for victory points.

I love games that offer the choice of screwing your opponent or solidifying your position. Now that makes for a great game.

Is it as good Puerto Rico or Settlers or Princes of Florence? (I do not hesitate to put Domaine in such company). There is much more conflict in Domaine, which turns off some players, but it is certainly up there in some rarified air. Only time will tell if it takes its rightful place in the gaming community. Domaine makes me wish I had played Lowenhertz, the original version of this game. I plan to buy it just to see what I've been missing.


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