Game Title: Dominion
Designer: Donald X. Vaccarino
Manufacturer: Rio Grande
We were first introduced to Dominion before our craze for board games took off. My housemate enjoyed collecting the Spiel des Jahres winners and introduced us to this one. We played it once, got a bit confused, got comprehensively beaten, but the game did stick in our minds. We asked Santa for a copy in 2014 and because we’re very good, he came through for us. We possibly played this 3 or 4 times on Christmas day alone as a 2-player game.
Needless to say this is still one of my favourite games and it’s hard to put my finger on why. It certainly can’t be described as thematic, however I have consulted the instructions and I understand that in Dominion, you are a monarch with hopes and dreams of ruling far and wide, capturing small hamlets and their people within your Dominion. To do so you must hire minions and construct buildings, and of course collect enough money to do so, along the way building decadent Provinces. Other monarchs have the same idea and are trying to do the same. The monarch with the most decadent kingdom will reign supreme.
Please disregard the paragraph above, this is a fast-paced deck building game. All players start with the same hand of low value cards and have the same choice of cards on the table which they can buy using copper, silver and gold. Strangely gold, silver and copper must also be bought. Each game includes a random choice of ten action cards, which may just be an Action, but may also be an Attack or Reaction. The game is about making good combos, having a streamlined, awesome hand and racing towards victory with the high value Victory Point cards.
Each turn players draw a hand of 5 cards and may play one Action and then have one Buy. Actions may of course give additional Actions, additional Buys, or allow players to draw additional cards from their hand or discard or switch cards from their hand to improve their deck. Players will then have an amount of money to spend on either more money, more Action cards or Victory cards.
At the end of the game, when either all Provinces have been purchased, or when 3 of the central piles have run-out, the winner is the player with the most victory points. Within 30 minutes the winner is the ruler of the most awesome Dominion.
So long as you do not need theme in a game to play it then Dominion is, in my opinion, an awesome game, that is often played multiple times in one session and is loved by many of my gaming and non-gaming friends. I wish we’d sleeved the cards given how much play it gets, but it is well worth the price, even though all you receive is a box full of cards. Look out for future reviews of the expansions to this game, we are definitely addicted enough to buy more.
I’m still holding out on giving a game a perfect ten, but this one receives a solid 9/10.