AKA: Game X
List Price: $44.95
Your Price: $35.99
(Worth 3,599 Funagain Points!)
from 8 customer reviews
Games Magazine Awards
Best Family Strategy Game, 2010
Best Card Game, 2009
Deutscher Spiele Preis
1st place, 2009
Game of the Year, 2009
Spiel des Jahres
Game of the Year, 2009
Mensa Best Mind Game Award
Best Mind Game, 2009
International Gamers Awards
Multi-Player Nominee, 2009
The Dice Tower Awards
Best Game Designer, 2008
The Dice Tower Awards
Best Game of the Year, 2008
The Dice Tower Awards
Most Innovative Game Nominee, 2008
Please Login to use shopping lists.
You are a monarch, like your parents before you, a ruler of a small pleasant kingdom of rivers and evergreens. Unlike your parents, however, you have hopes and dreams! You want a bigger and more pleasant kingdom, with more rivers and a wider variety of trees. You want a Dominion! In all directions lie fiefs, freeholds, and feodums. All are small bits of land, controlled by petty lords and verging on anarchy. You will bring civilization to these people, uniting them under your banner.
But wait! It must be something in the air; several other monarchs have had the exact same idea. You must race to get as much of the unclaimed land as possible, fending them off along the way. To do this you will hire minions, construct buildings, spruce up your castle, and fill the coffers of your treasury. Your parents wouldn't be proud, but your grandparents, would be delighted.
Dominion is not a CCG, but the play of the game is similar to the construction and play of a CCG deck. The game comes complete with roughly 500 cards. You select 10 of the 20+ Kingdom card types to include in any given play -- leading to immense variety.
From a newsletter from game publisher Rio Grande Games comes the startling statistic that Dominion and its expansions have collectively sold more than one million copies when summing sales across all languages. One million plus! Does that make designer Donald X a millionaire? At any rate, with two expansions being released each year, that staggering number is only going to grow, and as Dominion slowly makes inroads into the mainstream, it's surely primed to become a mass market cash cow. Make no mistake, deck-building is in. While Dominion owes a lot to ideas borrowed from the grandfather of CCGs, Magic the Gathering, and other games in that genre, there's no doubt that by successfully taking these concepts to the world of modern board games, Dominion has helped father an entire new genre of its own.
Who would have guessed that the game would have such an impact when it first appeared in 2008? Time is certainly proving to enhance its appeal, and numerous expansions only help consolidate its solid reputation as an excellent card game that is very accessible to a variety of people. Dominion is a great game - but only when it's correctly judged for what it tries to be. It's no complex game with a limited appeal restricted only for die-hard boardgamers, and intended to be a meaty main course, enjoyed slowly over the course of an evening, with much chewing required on the part of those who undertake its consumption. Dominion is more like fast food: quick, and addictive. I should confess to loving the deck-building and gameplay of CCGs, and this has the feel of all of that in 20-30 minutes.
The good and the bad, in a nutshell: Pros: scales well, interesting decisions, synergistic card combos, quick play-time, good replayability, unique mechanics and gameplay Cons: luck element, lots of shuffling, thin theme, minimal interaction
Overall, the pros more than outweigh the cons, and for me the cons are mostly insignificant. The unique mechanics, interesting decisions and potential for synergistic play, combined with quick game-play and remarkable replayability/variety all really make this game the success that it is proving to be. There's no doubt that Dominion is something special, and has already proven that. In an unprecedented fashion, it cracked the BoardGameGeek Top Ten in a matter of less than a month, and hasn't looked back since. Its list of conquests includes the coveted Spiel Des Jahres, and many a Game-of-the-Year-Award in many a country. Now less than three years down the track, it's already a millionaire, and shows no signs of slowing its pace. Congratulations Dominion! And if you're new to modern games, this is an excellent place to start!
I have never written a review before, and generally I would be content to leave it to those with more experience and insight. However, the effect that this game has had on my life has led me to feel that I just have to say something. So I hope that if any are considering this game and are not sure, perhaps this will give them something to think about. In this review, though, I will not discuss game play as this has been done very well on other reviews that people can examine here or at www.boardgamegeek.com.
Over the years I have purchased a number of different games that my wife and I have enjoyed playing together. These include games such as Torres (my first euro game), Ticket To Ride, Puerto Rico, Finca, Thurn and Taxis, Agricola, Aquaretto, Zooloretto, and others. Though I also play these games with others whenever I can, and certainly prefer to play some of them as multiplayer games, they most often get played as two-player games by my wife and me. Therefore, when I consider purchasing a new game, a big concern I have is whether it works as a two-player game or not. With the majority of these games, we generally only get one game out of an evening’s play. This has stopped us more than once from playing a game when we could have done so. The only exception to that rule has been Lost Cities (a 2-player only game) and Bohnanza, which both play quicker with minimal setup.
After looking at the reviews on Dominion, I decided to give the game a try. A number of reviews and comments recommended it as a good two-player game. As recommended in many posts, I also purchased an expansion with it. I chose Prosperity because it looked like it added more to the game than the previous expansions by bringing Colonies and Platinums into the mix. I was torn about getting base Dominion rather than Intrigue, but the comments about analysis paralysis being a problem when you start with Intrigue made me decide to go with base Dominion instead. (I later purchased Intrigue also, which has indeed added great depth to the game.)
The day Dominion arrived, we had guests visit from out of state who also love games. As a result, my first game of Dominion was a five-player game using just base Dominion. (I had looked up the 6-playre rules and used blanks for the missing Estates.) We all loved it right from the start. Since then, though we have also played it a number of times with 3 or 4, we have most often played it with two players.
Usually when I get a new game, the first few times I play it, I find myself thinking about it along with different strategies to try. Dominion, though, has affected both of us like no game we have ever had before. Despite over 100 games played, I still find myself almost daily thinking about strategies and looking online (BoardGameGeek forums and Dominion Strategy.com) for ideas and information more so than any previous game I had purchased. In addition, I have never seen my wife so excited about a game. In the past, with other games I have usually been the one to suggest playing a game that night, but with Dominion, she asks to play it more than I do.
The biggest difference with this game compared to others I own has been how often we play it. Before Dominion, if we played 1 or 2 games a week, we were doing good. With Dominion, we easily play it on average three days each week, and usually we play 2 or 3 games in a session. It is extremely rare for us to play just one game and stop there. We especially like to play the same set of cards at least 2 or 3 times (sometimes more) before we pick a new set. That gives us a chance to try to different strategies with each new kingdom set, or just try to improve on the original strategy we attempted.
As mentioned by another reviewer, a very simple way of play called Big Money is common with just Base Domininon. However, all of the expansions that are available add a great amount of depth and variety to the point that no one strategy is every guaranteed to be successful. Using Prosperity, we also like to play with Colonies and Platinums whenever we can since it adds more options to the game. Probably because of this fact along with some other factors, some of our games go over 30 minutes, but we don’t mind at all. It is still much quicker than many other games that we play.
So what is that makes this game so great for us? I would say it boils down to 5 things: 1) Replayability: I imagine that if I only had base Dominion, it might eventually grow old for me, but having three expansions means this game is always changing whenever we pull a new kingdom set. Each new random set has its own personality that you have to recognize and work to your advantage. So after 1000 games or more in about 7 months, this game is not feeling old at all. (I can only think of one or two other games that I can say with confidence that I have played that many times.) We still eagerly look forward to each new card set. And with more expansions to buy, I don’t see how it will ever lose that shine.
2) Equal Opportunity: Let’s face it. No offense to our opponents, but there are some games we just really grasp better than others. So if 2 people play a game a number of times, and the other person wins 90% of the time, we are likely not going to want to play that game as often as one that we can win more. We might still play it at times because we like certain aspects of the game, or we like the challenge of trying to beat our opponent, or we want to experience the exhilaration that comes when we do get that elusive win. Dominion, though, is a game where any reasonably experienced player can win on a regular basis. Even someone new to the game can win over a more experienced player from time to time. The good thing is that it only takes a few games to become a reasonably experienced player. My wife and I are very evenly matched in this game, and it shows in that we are just about dead even in the number of wins between us. There are certain kingdom sets where one or the other of us does better, but because we usually play the same set more than once, we get to try different strategies and if we didn’t win it the first time, we usually do the second or third try.
3) It’s Not Rocket Science: From posts that I have read on other websites, it appears that some people feel that it’s not a real game if it doesn’t require the Rosetta Stone to decipher how to play it, or that it has so much depth, it takes you many hours of play to even begin to master its nuances. I do like those kinds of games also. However, if that is your idea of a great game, then you will most likely not be fully satisfied by Dominion. But I did not buy Dominion with that idea in mind. So I am not disappointed at all. Though it has depth to it, especially as you add expansions to the mix, the learning curve tor Dominion is not that large. It is easy to teach and easy to learn the basics. You do continue to learn and adapt as you go along. That helps keep it enjoyable and interesting, but it is easily understood by those who are more casual gamers. Everyone we have taught the game has had no difficulty grasping the game concepts.
4) The WOW Factor: I love how various cards in combination can create surprising results. I have to admit that I have found out about many of these combinations through BGG forums and DominionStrategy.com, but it is so cool when you get to try them in a game. No matter how I discovered these combos, there has been so many times where I said to myself: “I can’t believe how well that card works in this game!” Certain cards, when they are in play, are always game changers. However, because a certain card may work great with the cards in one deck, but be of marginal use in a totally different deck, you get the chance to discover new ways to play and use these cards again and again.
5) 2-Player Heaven: This game is the perfect mix of all the things that make a great 2-player game. (I am not in any way inferring that this is a bad game for more than 2 players. I merely have come to appreciate its excellence for 2 players.)
6) Interaction: Yes, I know that there are a number of people that feel this game is just multiplayer solitaire, some vehemently so, but I don’t agree. For my wife and I, there is plenty of interaction in the game. Obviously, any time there are attack cards in the kingdom set, you are going to be affected by what the other players play. And there are a great number of other cards that result in interaction with your opponent, such as Tribute, Bishop, Masquerade, and many others. On the other hand, if you think that all you have to worry about is attack cards, you are going to quickly find yourself in trouble. Though it is possible to devise a plan and play it, sometimes even with little interference, if you ignore your competitors and concentrate too much just on what you are doing, you will get surprised more often than you may think. You have to be alert to what the other person is doing and react accordingly. If not, well let me say that I have made that mistake one too many times, and I paid for it. On the other hand, if your idea of interaction is a game where every move someone makes affects another player and you have to constantly reevaluate your strategy, then this may not be your game.
So, to summarize: I highly recommend this game for anyone who is considering it, but is not yet sure. And if you are particularly looking for a great 2-player game, I believe you will be very satisfied. The one caveat is that though that base game is very enjoyable, you will probably want to buy at least one or two of the expansions to make it a game that you will want to keep playing again and again for many years. And be warned, it can be very addictive.
We have been playing this game routinely since Christmas. It deserves all of the recognition it has been getting. There are many routes to winning a game and you have to adjust as time goes on. The additional action cards available in the expansions make this game endlessly entertaining and fun.
After purchasing the game and learning how to play we play this game on-line as our family is spread across many cities. Since we started playing this game no one wants to play anything else. You can have high scoring games that go very quickly, but some times you get a set (we like to randomly select the action cards) where points are hard to come by. Either way the games are a boat load of fun.