89 of 117 people found the following review helpful
Lots of variety for a non-collectible card game,
This review is from: Dominion (Toy)
Dominion is a non-collectible card game published by the good people at Rio Grande Games. Players accumulate wealth, spend their wealth to make improvements to their town and then use those improvements to acquire more land. Land equals victory points for the most part. Whoever has the most victory points wins.
Dominion, like its evil cousins (collectible card games), is a game where players must manage their decks. If you can count cards, you will have a distinct advantage in Dominion. Counting cards is not necessary to be successful (or even to have fun with Dominion)--but serious, tournament gamers will be of the card counting variety. Because you must count your cards, you must manage which cards you put into your deck. You put cards into your deck through purchases.
Players start with 10 cards: 3 estates and 7 copper. Players draw an initial hand of 5 cards. At the end of your turn, you muck your hand (if you have a hand left) and then draw 5 more cards. Any cards you purchased go in your discard pile. Once your draw pile is empty, shuffle your discard pile and form a new draw pile.
You start the game with a complement of estates and copper. Estates score you 1 VP but otherwise clutter you hands. Copper is the least valuable coin. Using this starting complement you must purchase more valuable coins (silver and gold) and buildings.
Players will want more valuable coins because they only get 5 cards in their hands at one time. So if you happen to draw 5 copper coins, you only have $5 to spend. Each silver card is worth 2 copper and each gold is worth 3.
Players also will need to buy buildings. Buildings allow players to take extra actions (normally players only get 1). Some buildings allow players to make extra purchases (normally players only get 1). And some buildings give players special options like drawing extra cards, causing opponents to discard cards, etc. Deciding which buildings to buy is important. These buildings will be cluttering your hand. Will they give you the necessary economic engine to buy the more valuable land cards?
Acquiring land cards is a double edged sword. On the one hand, they are the primary way to get victory points. On the other hand, they clutter your hand without giving you an "in-game" bonus.
Dominion comes with a huge complement of cards. There are enough cards in the base game to satisfy all but the most diehard CCG fans. Since Dominion has two expansions, this should assuage Dominion's detractors.
I have two main gripes about Dominion.
1. Tedious amounts of shuffling. Players are constantly shuffling their decks. This is both tedious and it causes wear and tear on your cards.
2. There is virtually no player interaction. Dominion is a 4 player solitaire game. There are a few "attack cards". But there is no real interaction. Players can play "Militia" which forces their opponents to discard 2 cards. But that's not player interaction. There is no auction system, no vying for control of the center of the board, no driving up the cost of resources...just 4 player solitaire.
Dominion is a good, quick game. Because of the amount of cards in the base game, there's quite a bit of replayability. With the expansions, there should be replayability for years to come. If you don't mind the lack of player interaction and the excessive shuffling, then Dominion will probably scratch your gaming itch.
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Showing 1-10 of 24 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 29, 2009 11:20:28 AM PST
Stephen R. Thompson says:
Wow, great review. I appreciate your comment about the game being a 4-player solitaire. No one else mentioned this and this is a big deal to me. I much prefer games with intense interaction between the players. Thanks for letting me know.
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 1, 2009 6:54:08 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 11, 2010 11:21:22 AM PST
I think this review leaves a lot of the game out. There is actually quite a bit of interaction involved in the game. The initial starter/learning set of cards is "interaction light" but the more advanced play modes are very competitive. This isn't a game like Catan where you will be trading resources but it does involve interaction.
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 1, 2009 9:02:33 AM PST
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 1, 2009 12:23:24 PM PST
I'm not sure where you got that from. This is my first comment on any of the Dominion reviews. I was just trying to add in that there is more interaction in Dominion than shown by the initial starting deck (Which is what I assume what was played due to the Militia comment)
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 10, 2009 10:10:10 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 10, 2009 10:15:12 AM PST
Bill Goode says:
Christopher: I don't think that this personal attack was necessary at all. It just makes you look bad, and perhaps a bit like an "anti-Dominion fanboy" as it were...
I don't think that it is entirely fair to call this game four player solitaire. Granted that it does not have as much player interaction as a game like chess, but the interaction is definitely still there with the small selection of attack cards in the first set. If you're looking for more interaction I'd suggest looking into the first expansion: Intrigue. It adds a lot more cards that allow you to do some devious things to your opponents.
This game is far from perfect, but on the other hand it takes all of fifteen minutes to play once your group gets the hang of it, so it serves as a great filler game rather than the main course for the night.
In reply to an earlier post on Jan 4, 2010 10:57:22 AM PST
E. Lambeth says:
Wow. At least we know where your frame of mind is. A Dominion "Fan-boy"? I take it you're the type that feels the need to pick something apart just because it's popular, so you can be the smart fish that swims upstream. Four player solitaire? Do they have card stealing in solitaire?
In reply to an earlier post on Jan 4, 2010 3:38:06 PM PST
Bill Goode said, "This game is far from perfect, but on the other hand it takes all of fifteen minutes to play once your group gets the hang of it, so it serves as a great filler game rather than the main course for the night."
I totally agree with this statement. I like Dominion but it is not perfect nor does it always scratch my gaming itch.
E. Lambeth said, "Four player solitaire? Do they have card stealing in solitaire?"
Do they have card stealing in Dominion? Maybe when the "Thief" is in play...but you aren't really "stealing" a card from your opponent--he simply draws the top card from his deck rather than plucking a card from his hand. Really...is anyone going to like Dominion because of the "Thief" card but dislike it otherwise?
I do like Dominion. That's why I gave it 3***. That's "above average". Dominion is a good game but not great. There is limited player interaction when using the expansions and virtually no player interaction when using the base game. No bidding, no auctions, no area control, outmanuevering on the board, no...(etc, etc).
Posted on Mar 11, 2010 9:25:05 AM PST
When all the players are beginners, it's true, it can sometimes feel like 4-player solitaire. Beginners mainly focus on building a good deck and deciding when to purchase victory points.
But it is a novice mistake to claim that this game has no interaction. The more advanced player pays close attention to the cards his opponents are buying, and then modifies his own strategy to work against them. This is a very subtle kind of interaction, so it's not surprising that a less mature player would have missed it. But it is definitely there, and it is the difference between someone who knows how to play Dominion and someone who knows how to win Dominion.
In reply to an earlier post on Mar 11, 2010 11:29:31 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 11, 2010 11:40:45 AM PST
In reply to an earlier post on Mar 24, 2010 2:56:13 PM PDT
E. Lambeth says:
"Do they have card stealing in Dominion? Maybe when the "Thief" is in play...but you aren't really "stealing" a card from your opponent--he simply draws the top card from his deck rather than plucking a card from his hand."
When you play the thief, your opponent has to reveal the top two cards of their deck and discard them. If any are treasure cards, you, who played the thief, have the option of taking one of them. If taking somebody's gold that they bought isn't "stealing", then I don't really know what is. Would "Taking" be a better word for it?