List Price: $40.00
Your Price: $31.99
(Worth 3,199 Funagain Points!)
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Build your empire! Survey the galaxy to expand your empire. Will you colonize nearby planets, or take them by force? Harvest resources for trade, and do research to improve your technology. Build the best empire to win this space civilization/empire deck building game!
Eminent Domain is an empire building game in which your empire’s abilities are based on a deck of Role cards. At the beginning of the game each player has the same deck of cards, with just 2 cards for each Role in it. Every turn you must choose a Role to execute (your opponents will get a chance to follow suit) and in doing so you will add one of those Role cards to your deck. When executing a Role, you can boost its effect by playing cards out of your hand matching the Role you have chosen. So for example, the more you Research, the better you get at Researching (because you’ll have more Research cards in your deck).
Eminent Domain made a big splash when it appeared on the gaming scene in 2011, after a successful Kickstarter campaign run by publisher Tasty Minstrel Games. This space-themed civilization building and exploration game builds upon the deck-building and role-selection mechanics of several successful card games that have preceded it. Suitable for 2, 3 or 4 players, this card game from Seth Jaffee plays in about 45 minutes, and proved to be a big hit. Are you ready for the challenge of venturing into space with the cards that Fortuna deals you?
Yes, it’s a deck-building game! No wait, it’s a role-selection game! So which is then? The correct answer is: both. Like Dominion, it’s a deck-building game - but with other elements. And like Race for the Galaxy, it’s a space-themed role-selection game - but is simpler to play. The role-selection elements also evoke comparisons with Glory to Rome. This does mean that the main mechanics are derivative, and feature a mixture of elements from other games, notably Dominion, Race for the Galaxy, and Glory to Rome. This isn’t necessarily a criticism, because the blend works well and makes it sufficiently different to stand on its own.
Game-play is smooth and flows quickly, with very little down-time, and the varied actions, roles, and cards enable players to pursue multiple strategies on the road to success. The exploration of these different strategies rewards repeated play and enhances replayability, although a small minority of critics would beg to disagree. Interaction is primarily through the subtlety of the role-selection mechanic, and while some consider this somewhat multi-player solitaire, it is present. The space theme is welcome and much appreciated by many gamers, and the matching art is also generally received very positively, and enhances the theme. While Eminent Domain has been the subject of lukewarm reactions from some, overall it’s a game that has received rave praise.
The bottom line: Eminent Domain is certainly indebted to its respected ancestors, such as Dominion, Race for the Galaxy, and Glory to Rome, and unmistakably bears their influence in its design, in terms of the deck-building and role-selection mechanics, and also the space theme that it shares with Race for the Galaxy. But this blend of mechanics and influences does result in a product that is quite different from anything we've seen before, and allows it to stand on its own despite being constructed on a foundation that is largely derivative. If you enjoy these other titles, there's a very good chance you'll love the card-play and dynamics of Eminent Domain enough for it to earn a place in your collection on the basis of its own merits.