AKA: Game X
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(Worth 3,599 Funagain Points!)
from 8 customer reviews
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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.
Best Family Strategy Game, 2010
Best Card Game, 2009
1st place, 2009
Game of the Year, 2009
Game of the Year, 2009
Best Mind Game, 2009
Multi-Player Nominee, 2009
Best Game Designer, 2008
Best Game of the Year, 2008
Most Innovative Game Nominee, 2008
- 500 cards
- storage tray
- rule booklet
List: $44.95 $33.13 (26% savings!)
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List: $44.95 $35.99 (20% savings!)
List: $29.95 $23.99 (20% savings!)
List: $44.95 $35.99 (20% savings!)
List: $29.95 $23.99 (20% savings!)
FFG FFS04, 50 clear sleeves, 2 5/16 x 3 9/16 in. (59 x 92 mm)
standalone expansion (Preorder)
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stand alone expansion (Restocking)
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standalone expansion (Restocking)
stand alone expansion (Temporarily Out of Stock)
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Average Rating: 4.9 in 8 reviews
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.)
- It has plenty of strategy, and no one strategy works for all kingdom sets. With some games, the options in strategy are much more limited when just 2 people play. Not so with Dominion.
- Due to the number of cards available through expansions, along with the added features of various expansions such as victory point, embargo, or trade route tokens, duration cards, potions, etc., there is a lot of variety in the game. So it doesn’t get old as some 2-player games can where the number of options are limited due to the number of players.
- It doesn’t rely as heavily on chance as some other 2-player games do that I have played. It does play a role, but that factor allows for some miraculous last-minute comebacks.
- It plays fast, allowing for multiple plays in a session, which I personally prefer if there are just 2 people playing.
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.
I recently received the game Dominion for Christmas and both my husband and I love it! We both play boardgames regularly and both rate this particular game HIGH. The games we love the most have simple game mechanics with subtle "key points" to learn and master with experience, providing a constant personal challenge and a sense of development the more you play the game. These types of games require that you maintain a flexible and nimble mind, allowing for a somewhat flexible strategy to win. Dominion has these attributes which in my judgement keeps the game ALIVE. It is comfortably simple in mechanics but exciting in the sense that you are always "tucking and rolling" with all the choices of play in your strategy (which should remain flexible...). Our favorite games include All-fives Dominoes, cribbage, now: Dominion, Lost Cities, and Odin's Ravens. I personally believe that playing good board games is a really good way relieve stress and relax but also it exercises the brain in a way that improves one's ability to take up new information, process this new info, and more effectively work with this new info improving a person's whole experience of life.
I have three boys (age 6, 10 and 12) with the oldest being high functioning autistic and we love playing board games. When I look for games to play, I have criteria I use: (1) I look for games that play at 10 years of age or younger, (2) The directions must be easy to explain, (3) It needs to play in under an hour. This game has all three criteria met... and it is fun.
I wasn't sure how the kids (and I for that matter) would react. But the first game went smoothly, and it only took a turn or two before we all knew what we were doing. As the game progressed, we were all sitting on the edges of our seats.
I am not generally a card game player as I love the magnificent Board games styles, but this game is extremely fun. My kids can't stop talking about this game.
I am the kind of person that loves games, however I never seem to get anyone else "on board" to play. I sit in front of my computer researching day in and day out for a new one that I can play (geek right). When they arrive I open them up, get the bits organized just so, read the instructions again and again and get ready for the next gaming time, which is very scarce to say the least. Anyway so I get dominion, mainly based on its hype I guess. I was once into playing the card game Magic somewhat, however I didn't really take well to it. So I thought I would give this a try, maybe I would like it. Let me say first this is definitely no magic, different than that. This game is great! I tried it our on my kids, usually this helps me understand the game, but usually I am explaining and explaining and my kids really don't "catch the wave" and I have to force them to play (boy I'm a meany). Not this game. They love to play dominion and they understood it right away. They are 9 and 12. I play my heart out and my kids beat the snot out of me. I started playing on the BSW website and probably have played 50 games, they go pretty quick and I win better than half of them. Then I think I'll try a game on my son and really wear him out. Nope, 3 games in a row I am defeated. Get this, I love every minute of it, even with all the bruises. You really don't know if your winning or not till its all over. It stays tense the whole time. Anyways I can't recommend this game enough. Now I can play a game at home and play it often.
I have never written a review before but this game was worth it.
I buy games about once a year or so so that I can get free shipping. I added this game to the mix as a second thought. Wow! Has it been fun. I have played the game twice so far and have not yet played the other games I bought. My friends who don't play board games very often keep asking me when we are going to play the game again and saying that that was fun.
It is an easy game to learn and teach to others. On my second time of playing, it took me only a few moments to setup and a minute or two to describe how to play and then we were playing.
The game has three phases: Action, Buy, and cleanup. In the action phase, you play one of your action cards which may enable you to pick up more cards, play more action cards, convert cards into other cards, or increase buying power. In the buy phase your use your treasure to buy more cards. And in the cleanup phase, you put all used cards and your entire hand into your discard pile and then grab five new cards from your deck. When the deck runs out your shuffle the discard pile to create your new deck.
Now to make things a little difficult. You are only allowed one action and one buy per turn unless you play an action that gives you more. Because of this, you may have a few good actions in your hand but are only able to play one of them before you discard the others at the end of the turn. Victory point cards add another curve ball to the game. During the game, these cards serve no purpose but to reduce the number of playable cards in your hands. So throughout the game you have to decide when to start buying victory point cards or finding creative ways to get rid of the three victory cards you start with (my little trick). You also find out partway through the game that you have several cheaper cards that keep weakening your hand of only 5 cards, like the 7 coppers you start with which gives you only one treasure each. To upgrade those you use the mine card that converts a copper into a silver worth 2 treasure.
There are some of the basics. I have played it twice and already really enjoy it. I actually enjoy it as much or more than Settlers of Catan (one of my favorites) because it has seems to have a large appeal and is easier to teach and begin play with. It doesn't appear to be a game that someone can consistently win, which is good thing for attracting the nonboardgame fanatics.
So far it appears to be an hour long game instead of half hour as advertised. I bet our games will get faster as we play more though.
This is my wife's current favorite game.
There is a simple strategy (big money/thin deck) that comes into play for most kingdom card assortments, that wins most of the time. You must play with certain cards, like Thief or Gardens, to counter this, or else at least make sure there is no way to trash cards. Otherwise the big money deck will win almost always.
So the game is fun IF you select your kingdom cards carefully enough. But do that, and it has high replay value.
It is better with the expansions.