Ah, Dominion. What can I say about a game that essentially defines the non-collectible deck-building card game genre? It’s not only a must for any serious board game fan, but it’s also an excellent entry point to the gaming universe.
The basic concept is simple: you start out with a small deck that grows as you buy cards. You can buy action cards (which allow you do lots of fun things) and money cards (which are essential to winning the game). Like most great games, Dominion runs on a blend of luck and skill, although there is usually more luck than skill involved. And after you’ve played enough games, you can start to tell who will win quite early on; the player who gets a big card (like a Gold) on their second or third round almost always wins in the end. But again, part of playing this game is watching how the cards unfold in all their unexpected (and sometimes frustrating) glory.
- Decisions: 3/5. One of the best things about Dominion is buying different cards in the hopes that the will trigger together (like Throne Room and the Adventurer). It’s your deck, so stack it well—and then let blind luck take over from there.
- Artwork: 4/5. I do like the artwork in Dominion; the variety of illustrations is pleasing, and the simple graphic design approach makes the game easy to understand.
- Replayability: 4/5. Because the layout is modular, you can choose a new set of Kingdom cards every time. There are enough in the base game to allow for a wide variety of layouts.
- Awesomeness: 5/5. Truth be told, I have played this game so much (150+ games or so) that I’m a wee bit sick of it by now. But the fact that I was willing to play it that many times should tell you something.
TOTAL SCORE: 16/20
Bottom line: This is a brilliant game. If you haven’t played Dominion yet, then put down your blast visor, stretch out with your feelings, and take your first step into a larger world.