Dominion Card Game Review

Dominion is a fast-paced card game in which you race and fight with other monarchs in your quest to gain control of as much land as possible. To do this, you will hire minions, construct buildings, spruce up your castle, and fill the coffers of your treasury. All in the name of creating the largest Dominion in the known world!

You are a monarch, like your parents before you, a ruler of a small pleasant kingdom of rivers and evergreens. Unlike your parents however, you have hopes and dreams! You want a bigger and better kingdom, with more rivers and trees. You want a Dominion! In all directions lie fiefs, freeholds, and feodums. All are small bits of land, controlled by petty lords and verging on anarchy. You will bring civilization to these people, uniting them under your banner. But several other monarchs have had the exact same idea. You must race to get as much of the unclaimed land as possible, fending your competition off along the way.

In Dominion, each player starts with an identical, very small deck of cards representing the starting power of their nation. In the center of the table is a selection of other cards such as money, land, minions and buildings that you can buy. Through your selection of cards to buy, and how you play your hands as you draw them, you construct your deck on the fly, striving for the most efficient path to the land cards which contain the victory points needed to win the game.

The gameplay in Dominion is pretty unique, yet is a surprisingly simple concept to learn. The core of the game is deck construction: building your deck of cards as you progress through the game, creating a fine-tuned engine that will help you accumulate the most victory points by the end.

You start each round with a handful of cards from your customized and in-progress deck. In order for you to win the game, you have to make sure that the hands that you draw are efficient and effective. You do that by buying cards from the set of cards available on the table, each of which costs a certain amount of copper (ingame cash) to buy. As an example, it would not be wise to buy land cards (that give you victory points) early in the game, since they will just clog up your hand and prevent you from buying more cards or playing powerful actions.

The available stacks of cards on the table usually contain a whole variety of card types. I say “usually” because 10 of those stacks are randomly selected from a much larger pool of cards, allowing for more replay value. You will have 3 types of land cards with different victory point amounts and 3 types of treasury cards that provide different amounts of cash. And the 10 random cards may include passive action cards, attack cards, reaction cards and cards that last for long durations.

These cards will have a huge variety of effects that you can use to advance your strategy. You could buy cards that allow you to perform more actions, or cards that will let you draw more cards, or even cards that provides you with more cash in order to buy the very expensive cards. You could get attack cards that will interfere with your opponents’ strategy. There’s nothing wrong with stealing money from your opponents or forcing them to discard good cards. After all, all’s fair in love and land-grabbing!

In the end, the player who constructs and uses his deck most efficiently will be able to accumulate the most amount of land and win the game. As you can tell, there is a lot of randomness in Dominion, from the random cards that are used to set the table to the randomness of your hand draws. This is therefore not a game where you can plan the perfect opening move etc, and might not appeal to every player. It is however a game that can be learnt and mastered very quickly, and a great way of easing new players into the Eurogames which require more strategy and planning.

Overall, Dominion introduces a great concept in constructing your own play deck. With a couple of expansions already in hand (and with more to come), a whole lot of interesting cards are added to the mix all the time. With so many available cards with interesting abilities, each combination of cards will create a whole new type of game with different strategies, keeping the game fresh and entertaining. In addition, games very seldom last more than an hour, making it a great game for that odd hour of spare time.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Dominion Card Game Review

Dominion – Intrigue Card Game Review

The world of Dominion is about to get way darker and more sinister in Dominion: Intrigue, the first standalone expansion for the hit card game that took the world by storm. Mingle with shady conspirators, torturers and swindlers. Meet your contacts in the secret chamber or the shanty town. Make sure everyone knows who’s in charge around here. As they say, nice guys finish last. And the race for Dominion is about to get really dirty!

Dominion: Intrigue is a standalone expansion for the award-winning Dominion card game that shook the gaming world in 2008. Being a standalone expansion, it can be played together with the base game, but it can also be played just as well on its own. This review focuses on the Dominion: Intrigue expansion. If you want to know more about how the base game is played, please read our Dominion review.

As the name implies, the theme in Dominion: Intrigue is all about underhanded dealings and mysterious agents using covert tactics to help you achieve control. A large number of the cards in this set support that theme, actively tampering with your opponents’ hands and decks, and forcing them to trash valuable cards. A new card type is also introduced: cards that act as both victory cards as well as either treasure or action cards.

There are a number of dangerous-sounding cards in the set, with names like swindler, minion, saboteur and torturer. They also have dangerous abilities to match. The Saboteur is able to force opponents to trash an expensive card and replace it with something cheaper. For the same cost as a Silver, the Swindler lets you swap a card from opponents’ decks with another card of your choosing, in addition to providing you with 2 coins. The Torturer forces opponents to either discard 2 cards or draw a curse card, in addition to letting you draw 3 cards! These action-attack cards are just a few examples of the cards that will make life really difficult for your opponents. Some people have complained that Dominion is like a game of solitaire where you just focus on your own deck. Well, it’s evident that there’s going to be a whole lot more interaction in this expansion!

There is also a new type of card that was introduced in this expansion, or more accurately a new combination of card types. There are now cards that are a combination of a victory card and either an action or treasure card. Previously, players were hesitant (with good reason) to buy victory cards early, as drawing too many of them would mean you wouldn’t be able to play or buy anything. These new cards solve that problem. The Great Hall gives you an extra card and action in addition to a victory point, while the Harem gives you 2 coins and 2 victory points. These cards are a bit more expensive than comparable cards, but that’s the price you have to pay for flexibility!

There are plenty of other interesting cards in the set, including the Duke who is worth more victory points the more Duchies you have. There is also the Coppersmith that doubles the value of coppers, and the Bridge that makes every card cost 1 less. There is also the Wishing Well that rewards you if you can correctly guess the top card of your deck, and the Masquerade card that makes players give cards to each other. Plenty of fun to go around!

It is great to see Dominion grow with expansions like this, adding new themes and mechanics to an already-strong core game. The theme idea is really nice, allowing players to roleplay their quest for dominion, whether it be via open war or through subterfuge and stealth. There are also more thematic expansions coming our way; as of mid-2010, the Seaside and Alchemy expansions are available, and the Prosperity expansion is just round the corner.

Being a standalone expansion set with so many new game-changing cards, Dominion: Intrigue is awesome for both beginners and experienced players alike. You don’t need the base game to play it, but mixing the cards here with the core cards gives you so many more game variations and opens up very interesting strategies. And last but by no means least, this expansion allows up to 6 players to play the game!

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Dominion – Intrigue Card Game Review