Spreading the love of board games one meeple at a time
Dominion is a theme card based game, and one of my Top 3 Must Own games. The general basis behind it is that you and your fellow monarchs are trying to make a bigger, better kingdom under your own banner. You attempt to do this by acquiring Kingdom cards that help you better improve your dominion, and earn you victory points.
At the start of the game each player has a 10 card deck. (7 coppers & 3 estates/VP)
Players draw 5 cards from his deck his turn.
With those 5 cards the player gets 1 Action Phase and 1 Buy Phase.
The player uses money to buy actions cards (Kingdom cards), more money, or victory points which then go into building his deck. Each card has a different purpose or use including attack cards, action cards and defense cards. Once incorporated into a deck, the cards are played from a players hand to help players make more moves per turn. Some cards are only beneficial if they’re used in combination with a certain type of play or another card.
The game ends when 3 piles of the Kingdom cards, or the entire stack of Province victory point cards are depleted . The Lord of the Board (or in this case the Lord of the Cards) is the person with the most victory points when game play ends.
The main reason Dominion is a must own board game is that it is a quick game to learn and when the game begins, each player (new or experienced) is able to get right into gameplay. New players are able to quickly grasp the rules and gameplay and also immediately get into strategy and technique. The key factors of games on my Must Own list is that it is easy to learn, involves varying strategies, and must have re-playability – and Dominion is excellent in all these regards.
The game is set up by picking 10 Kingdom cards to play with. These cards could be 10 cards of the 24 included as suggested by the game creator, they can be agreed upon by the players, or they can be randomly selected. Each set of 10 Kingdom cards creates a totally different dynamic for gameplay. When a player understands how the game is played, he or she is able to play with any 10 cards. The diversity in the actual game cards, and the various combinations, make this a great game for experienced and new players. Gameplay is simple, but the strategies a player uses will vary greatly depending on which Kingdom cards are being used. A new player who understands the rules will be at nearly the same strategic advantage as a player who has played before. If you play the same combination of cards, however, it can take several games to figure out the ideal strategy to win!
Another great thing about this game is it is a relatively short game to play. On average it takes 30 minutes to play, and more experienced players, especially if it is being played as a two player game, can finish even faster. Whenever I sit down to play this game with friends it is not uncommon for us to play it several times in a night.
Throughout the game, it can be tough to tell who the winner is going be since each player’s point total is hidden in his or her deck. So unless you happen to be paying really close attention to what you and everyone else has been buying, sometimes the winner can be a bit of a surprise. I really like games where the winner is not obvious, because it keeps other players from feeling discouraged or disinterested.
Dominion can be played with 2-4 players or up to 6 players with an expansion. It holds its own as a two player game, without getting becoming boring, as some games do as you get to know your opponent’s strategies and gameplay techniques. The changing Kingdom cards keep it fresh and interesting. My wife and I often play it while waiting for dinner to be ready. It’s quick, easy and fun.
Dominion is great game to play and own. It’s a simple game to learn or teach, but it’s totally addicting. It’s a good way to introduce someone to card-based games, or games in general.