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on January 7, 2009
Dominion is a deceptively simple game which encompasses endless variation. The basic game contains the following major components:

1. 25 groups of action cards, victory cards, and money cards, in total over 250 cards.
2. Card storage and organizer box designed specifically for organizing the game components.
3. The Rules.

Game Play:
A game starts with each player holding an identical 10 card deck. As the game begins a group of 10 special action cards are selected from the 25 categories in the box. The rules outline specific selections for scenario play or you can design your own lay out. There is no banker or moderator; all players start entirely equal with access to the exact same cards.
During each player's turn they may take actions and purchase new cards from the communal decks. Each player has to balance the need to buy new cards and money with the purchase of victory points (which remain in the player's deck but don't help them until points are totaled.) The decision of when to stop building one's deck and start buying victory points is one of the most critical choices the player will make. Too early, and you'll find yourself bogged down with a deck full of moderate victory cards while other players' resources have increased to the point where they blow by you. If you wait too long, all of the good cards will have been bought out and you won't have anything to spend your resources on.

I have to be honest, when I first heard about Dominion I didn't understand why my wife and several of our friends were so worked up over the thing. It sounded terribly dry, particularly to a person like myself who has played collectable card games like magic the gathering for many years. Nothing could have been farther from the truth.
Dominion has something for everyone, from the collectable card game nut, to the poker player, to the family looking for an alternative to trivial pursuit. Since everyone starts out with access to the same selection of cards and the same resources for advancement, everyone has an equal chance of victory. Because there are 10 different categories of action cards with each category having at least 10 cards in its pile, there is plenty of room for strategy as the game progresses and certain resources are bought up to the point of extinction.
The game is set up in such a way so that you can play cut throat games with lots of player-vs.-player actions or less interactive games where the victory is determined by who fields the most effective resource acquisition strategy. Those familiar with CCG drafting will feel right at home in this environment, while those with no card based gaming experience won't be at a disadvantage.

My only criticism of dominion (as has been said on several other forums) is that while the game is entirely self contained, I can easily see the cards (which are essential in exactly the numbers provided) wearing out or being lost. Because there are so many of them I recommend using card sleeves (available at most hobby stores from companies like rook and ultra pro.)

I started out one night thoroughly expecting to dislike this game and found myself 3 hours later wondering where the evening had gone. Dominion is completely addictive and doesn't loose its fun factor after the player has played multiple scenarios in one sitting.

Simply put, this is the best interactive casual game I've played in 32 years.

It's four years later and I still endorse this game without reservation. The basic set is still just as fun as when I played for the first time, while the addition of other optional sets have magnified the enjoyment.
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Dominion is a game that I still enjoy and still look forward to every opportunity to play even after 50+ plays. Other deck builders have attracted my attention, but none has the legs that Dominion has. (Even Star Realms, a game I gave a strong recommendation to, has fallen off the map for me.) Even if I like other deck builders, I still acknowledge that Dominion is one of the best.

It’s fashionable these days to be “over” Dominion. Been there, done that, bought the expansions. But Dominion is truly a powerhouse game, one that casts a long shadow and still outshines the competition. And the latest expansions, rather than a cash grab or crawling across the finish line, are truly worthy of the game that has preceded them. Dominion deserves the awards it has won, and it deserves its place in my and most other game collections.
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on December 7, 2014
I've watched nerds pour nearly as much time and energy into this game as they might invest in a tabletop RPG campaign. So I'm impressed by Dominion. It is slim, but mighty. Why?

Though you can play with a crowd, this is also one of the relatively few good games out there that can be played with only two people. Unlike many other games you can play with two, Dominion doesn't get stale quickly. This game comes with built-in modularity, thanks to your ability to randomize or choose what cards you play with. As if this weren't enough, there are loads of fun expansions to build up those possibilities even further. The card concepts and artwork further enhance the interesting dynamics.

All of this fun comes pretty easily; it's very simple to learn how to play this game. Each turn has three simple steps, and every card tells you exactly what you need to know to play it, so folks who are normally daunted by complex games can play a pretty sophisticated hand without much of the usual frustration. Meanwhile serious game nerds can fuss with the finer points of strategy.

It's nice, too, that this is interactive, in-game deck-building, and not a collect-em-all, money-sucking gamble like (in my humble opinion) MTG. MTG is great, but this style of deck-building is more democratic, and for my money, more fun.
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on August 12, 2013
It involves a LOT of card-shuffling. Sometimes gameplay will come to a completely standstill as everyone around the table is busy shuffling their decks.

Also, in many cases, the best strategy in many playings of the game with the basic deck is to simply go with a money-only strategy. You need expansion packs before it starts to really pay off to get into the action card strategies.

But overall, I like this game a lot. It has been extremely addictive at times. Furthermore we have been able to convince basically ALL of our non-gaming friends to enjoy playing it even though they may hate all our other strategy games.

I never played Magic, but based on what I know of Magic, I can say this one is somewhat similar BUT you do not come to the game with your own deck. Instead, you build your own deck (your "Dominion") throughout the game. Everyone else is trying to do the same, given the same resources that you are given. So everyone starts as equals and it's only through superior strategy that you can win, not just by coming to the game with a better deck like many other similar card games.
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Dominion is a truly awesome deck-building card game, it's rather easy to learn and almost everyone I've played it with has quite enjoyed it. While there are quite a number of cards and rules (and even more cards in the expansions) the game is rather streamlined and it only takes 1 or 2 games for just about anyone to understand and have fun with Dominion. While it’s not a hard game per se, there’s almost no luck about it and it might be one of the most fair games I’ve had the pleasure of playing. Being that there’s no dice, it’s up to the individual to purchase and play cards to their advantage, and through this most people will enjoy developing their own strategy. Highly recommended for just about anyone! It's 2-4 players and I recommend the first expansion ("Intrigue") to make it 2-6 players.
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on April 14, 2014
I will divert from the mechanics of the game and deliver on the game and how it relates to me.

There are many other great reviews that explain how to play the game in great detail and I suggest that you continue reading those other reviews for that reason. However, this review is to explain how this game relates to my family and my friends.

I have 3 daughters between the ages of 6 and 10, they are advanced academically, however, they all love this game. I know the game reads like it'd be too advanced for my youngest 6 and 8 year olds. However, my 8 year old won the first 3 games we've played, beating everyone else, no handicap or reduced play on my part!

My 6 year old feels this is her favorite game of all time, on the honest side, she only lasts about 3/4 of the game and then begins to lose focus on the game. If we could reduce the amount of options (reduce game play time) it may increase her ability to stay in the game. Typically she starts off strong and then towards the end we're having to coach her and/or make decisions for her. This is not a fault of the game, or the length of the game, but rather due to the fact that my daughter is only 6 years old and she is of the mindset that she must live life to the fullest. The game typically takes 1.5-2 hours with my young children due to the fact that we try to teach them the strategy and rationale for making their decisions, but when playing with my buddies typically takes about 45 minutes at the most. Eventually, I truly believe my 6 year old will be able to play a game from start to finish w/out any assistance.

This game is an amazing game, it's baffling that a bunch of cards could lend to so much replay-ability and so much fun. It gives us an excuse to all gather around the same patch of floor or table and work together towards a common goal - building the best kingdom!

The possibilities are endless with this game. We've played multiple games and each time you're still left with other options to build around. This is one of the only games that I can sit and play with my 6 year old and have as much fun as I do playing with my 30-50 something old friends. I promise this lends credence to the game, it is not indicative to the banality of my friends.

My core group of friends tend to gravitate toward video gaming. We meet at least once a month for a game day in which we typically do nothing but drink and play video games. I have tried for the last 8 years to get them to play more than video games, with board games, 'scene-it' type games, card games, and everything in between...but nothing has ever worked as well as video games. This game was the first time that i've ever been able to get them to come back to a game, ever.

Dominion is great family fun and great 'Man Fun' too! Definitely worth the buy.
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VINE VOICEon May 18, 2015
This game is a blast. My husband and I play it a lot together. We brought it on vacation and played a half dozen games with friends and family. Every single person got hooked somewhere in the middle of the first game.

While it might be a little bit of a drag to wait while others play their hand, it is still fun to watch people you know and see how they think. My friend's 8 year-old watched rather than played. I think it would be a doable game for a kid around 10 if they weren't too squirmy or lacking in attention. It does take a bit of an attention span to learn, so younger kids might just take longer to teach, but I really believe kids would enjoy the game if you put in the time.

I can't wait to get some of the extensions.
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on August 9, 2016
First off I want to discredit any review saying this game comes with blank cards because of poor quality control. The game does come with a few blank cards. My guess is as good as yours but it's perfectly normal. Don't sweat it. I held onto mine so I can make replacement cards if one goes missing or gets damaged. Second of all you will find that each card has one copy with a blue border back, don't mix these with the rest. The kingdom cards with blue backs are used as a method of random decks to be used in game play as well as place holders and the victory cards and coin cards with blue backs are used as place holders.

Let me say simply that Dominion is an awesome game. Plain and simple. The game at it's core is very simple and easy to get into. My girlfriend and I learned to play in about twenty minutes and played our first game in a little under an hour, this was due to us getting used to the mechanics and how all of the different cards worked. After the first game though we averaged about a half hour (the approximate time given by the manufacturer) for our next couple games and our turns became a lot more fluid and the game only became more fun.

The replay value of this game is very high. Not only does the game come with tons of card, there are 500 in the base game with lots of expansion available. If 500 cards sounds intimidating don't sweat, you won't be using all of them during any given game. The game set up only requires about half. The remaining cards are used for different set ups.

If you're looking for a well balanced game that has a lot of replay value, is easy to learn and has a lot of room for growth with expansions as well as strategy development then this game is for you. This game with suit casual and experienced gamers alike.
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on August 26, 2015
Coming from Magic The Gathering (MtG), I was looking for game that 3-4 (family) can play together. This looks "promising". This is my first review, after two games.
The rules is simple to learn and remember for my nine year old, my six year old after 2 games still need reminder. A sheet outlining the steps, included in package would have been a plus - instead, I printed my own.
The box is great looking. Probably the game box I've bought. Unfortunately, not as much thought put into "content".
Family spent first 15-20 minutes putting cards into sleeves - YAY!
Box came with some kind of molder plastic "divider" to hold cards in some wacky order, or lack of. Of course, dividers not set for card sleeves. I tossed divider and made my own out of cardboard - ugly looking, but does the job. Would have liked to get some "Dominion dividers" - am sure cheaper to make cardboard dividers than the molded plastic ones.
The cards (~500 I think) are visually "simple" - compared to MtG, they are downright primitive.
For price charged, RG Games can certainly improve on this product.

EASE to LEARN: 4/5
VALUE: 4/5
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on May 27, 2014
My wife and I are always looking for different games to play. We love playing board games, both competitive and cooperative styles. I came across Dominion, but I wasn't sure if it would be fun for us. After reading all of the positive reviews for Dominion, we finally decided to give it a try.

Upon opening the box, all of the cards have slots to place them in alphabetical order, with a cardboard tile that sits in the middle showing what cards are where. The organization of this game is excellent.

Instructions were good to get us started. They even provide an example of the first couple rounds of play in a two-person game, which helped us understand how to play Dominion. There are descriptions of all of the cards included, and they recommend certain sets of cards for your first play, as well as for various styles of gameplay. Otherwise, the randomizer cards certainly offer some interesting combinations of cards when you want to mix things up.

Gameplay is very easy, once you learn Dominion. But it all comes down to strategy. What cards do you buy? How do you combine them? Do you buy actions, more money, or points? With each game, the strategy varies with the different action cards you play with. And Dominion certainly provides quite a few action cards so the games are never the same. Strategies also can change when more players are involved, especially once someone starts taking advantage of the "Action - Attack" cards in the set to attack the other players at the table.

Dominion is a great game that doesn't take long to play. (It takes us maybe 30 minutes or so to play.) Now we're looking at the expansions to see how they can enhance an already-great game. We highly recommend Dominion, not just for experienced gamers, but also for introducing new players into the world of euro-style games. If you know the game already, it should be fairly simple to teach others how to play, even if they don't really play games much.
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