One of the best game systems released in the last ten years was the Dominion deck building game from Rio Grande Games. Taking a different approach from TCG’s like Magic, Yu-Gi-Oh, and Pokemon or LCG’s like Netrunner, Game of Thrones, or Warhammer Invasion, Dominion doesn’t require players to bring a deck to the table. In that sense it’s more like a board game since everything you need to play comes in one box. Of course adding several expansions since its initial release provides greater diversity, contingencies, and probabilities.
The initial game setup involves choosing ten random cards to accompany the treasure cards, victory point cards, and curse cards. These ten cards with the others are added to player’s decks making them more efficient and able to purchase higher level of victory point cards. The cards can add victory points but mostly have the following functions:
- Add actions
- Add Treasure
- Add purchase options (Buys)
- Add cards to hand
- Attack other players’ hands or decks
As players end each turn with five cards, starts each turn with one Action and one Buy, building a deck with new Action and Attack cards is important to buying better Action, money, and Victory point cards.Each player’s deck begins with seven Copper cards and three Estate cards. Drawing five cards provides different potential opening two hands. 5-0, 4-1, 3-2, and 2-3. Each of these draws will be followed by its opposite. No player’s initial two turns can be disrupted by their opponents. Knowing your initial draw allows players to choose an attacking stance, defensive posture, or constructive route. Each of these can be an effective avenue to victory. The game ends when three Action or Victory point card stacks have been exhausted. At that time players count their victory points and determine a victor.
The game box design is also very useful. The tray helps keep each of the cards separated and easy to find.
Dominion won the Spiel des Jahres in 2009. They were also named a Mensa Select game in 2009. Along with several expansions Dominion has won several other awards. Similar games have been released by companies like Paizo Publishing and Alderac Entertainment. Order a copy today from Malta Comics.