Customer Review

222 of 249 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Starts out with a bang, but fades, August 8, 2010
= Durability:3.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:3.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:1.0 out of 5 stars 
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This review is from: Dominion (Toy)
I picked up a copy of Dominion hot off the presses after I played it a few times at GenCon 2008 after it was introduced. I was amazed by the uniqueness of drafting cards into your hand by the way of getting money cards and increasing the size of your deck. The fact there were so many combos available to make the 10 types of cards to buy in the box seemed to offer limitless play. But I quickly began to see the cracks in the game.

While there are a lot of cards you can use to make up the ones you can buy to make your deck, they end up being pretty similar and there will be some you use all the time and some you'll never want to use for personal tastes. There will quickly emerge strategies that if you just work to build up your money cards and skip the majority of action cards you'll win >75% of the time. This cuts down on the fun since if everyone takes this route there isn't much to the game, and if you are the only one to do this, you'll find yourself bored as people try to chain actions after more actions to find they still don't have enough money in hand to buy the top victory point cards. This is the crux of why my love for the game has faded.

I time and again find myself bored as the other players take their turn. Since there only a handful of cards that cause you to interact with other players, you essentially all play 3 or 4 solitaire games at the same table. I don't find this interesting and would rather play strategy games, even light ones, that have some level of interaction, even if it just watching where the other player moves.

I have even tried to renew my interest by trying the expansions that have followed almost every 6 or so months after the release of Dominion in 2008. Some expansions offer more to the game (Seaside is probably one of the best, avoid Alchemy) it still comes down to being bored while everyone plays their own solitaire game until the end when you tally your points.

I rated this game a 3/5 and not lower because there will be some, even many, who will not hold the same boredom with this game and will love it. This game is a great light game that plays quickly, teaches quickly, and offers a lot to casual players. For people who play a lot of board games, particularly deeper strategy or Euro games, or even like the Axis & Allies or even Risk type of player interaction, this game may wear thin faster than for others.

Even though I rated it a 3, I would recommend this as a great game for families and casual gamers. I'd also recommend Ticket to Ride (any of them, but Marklin and Europe are probably the best, USA being the first and simplest), Carcassonne, and Settlers of Catan. These games are quick to learn, easy to play, and offer a good casual experience. For people looking for a little more depth and replayability, I'd recommend Pandemic (terrific cooperative game), Stone Age, Ra, Small World (one of my favorites), and Dixit (one of the best party games out there, the artwork is hands down the best). The rabbit hole of complexity and length goes as far as you are willing, but it is up to you to determine your needs of a game. Dominion is a great start, but if you've been playing other games it may be too thin to offer something for you.
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Comments

Tracked by 2 customers

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Showing 1-9 of 9 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 16, 2011 1:16:08 PM PST
E. Lambeth says:
How much time are you waiting per turn so you have the opportunity to be bored? It sounds like you're not playing with the right people.

You wanna talk boring? How about a 6 player ticket to ride game that lasted 4 F'ing hours!

In reply to an earlier post on May 28, 2011 9:01:44 AM PDT
That's a long ticket game. The longest game I played was a 24 hour Axis & Allies marathon. One game ... 24 hours. No one won. We called it a draw.

Posted on Dec 21, 2011 1:18:37 AM PST
DisplacedMic says:
hello - Risk! i have memories of games of Risk going on with my family as a kid that spanned weeks. we all had notes on who had what in case any midnight sabotage operations were afoot

Posted on Jan 14, 2012 8:57:34 PM PST
thanks for the thoughtful review- especially your observation about the lack of player interaction and the boredom of waiting for your turn. I will look into some other games you suggest and appreciate the tip!

Posted on Jan 29, 2012 12:34:06 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 29, 2012 12:36:26 PM PST
Granted, tastes vary, but your description of being bored between turns sounds like it is the crowd you are playing with. My wife and I typically finish a game in 20 minutes and there is simply no opportunity to get bored.

It also sounds like you have settled into a strategy that is close to "big money", namely buying mostly money along with very few action cards. Big money will beat most beginner strategies, but I understand it should mostly be thought of as a watermark to measure other strategies against. I agree that if you are just playing this strategy, the game won't be any fun.

Posted on Feb 21, 2012 11:32:35 PM PST
I had a similar experience with variable crowds. I gave it 1 star instead, and I agree that tastes vary, but bottom line, we tried this game and no one in our playing group ever asks for repeat games anymore, so its not just my opinion. I can see by all the positive reviews that many people love this game, and I'm happy for them, I'm just not one of them.

Posted on Jun 23, 2013 11:57:06 AM PDT
Paul says:
while i disagree with your opinion on dominion, I definitely agree with your recommendation of games. I really enjoy all those games except settlers of catan (and not crazy about ticket to ride). Ra is a a great game probably one of the favorites of the people i play with, gamers and non-gamers alike.

Posted on Oct 7, 2013 4:55:06 PM PDT
Gravy229 says:
WTB your 3 star "bored, isn't much to the game" dominion games. Thanks for the recommendations, anyway.

Posted on Dec 17, 2013 11:25:02 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 18, 2013 12:33:04 AM PST
Niven says:
Granted, Dominion isn't for everyone, but it certainly sounds like your gaming group is over-thinking the game. Part of the fun of Dominion is the "7-money" dead zone that keeps the Provinces out of peoples' decks until they hit their stride. It also sounds like you're not getting the interest that most people have when introduced to a new game. It may be that deck-building games are "too new" of an idea for your group, or that they don't understand the concept. There is a great deal of strategy involved in Dominion - it's just that playing with the same card set CAN get boring, and that is why the randomizer deck is important.

When introducing the game to new players, I use the card sets that are recommended for beginners. But once they understand how the game is played, it's vital to randomize the drafting pools. Otherwise, yes, the game will get stale. But with over 3 million combinations in the randomizer deck, there are many more strategies other than "acquire most Provinces" in order to win ("Duchy Panic" is actually something to be feared if the game ends up being close).

Edit: There's nothing wrong with "over-thinking" Dominion, as there are many strategies that won't be obvious to players their first time out. There's a great source of hints and general play tactics at http://wiki.dominionstrategy.com/index.php/Main_Page
Some of the things that can be done with even small card combos are astounding!
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