Dominion Card Game Review
After a few months of playing, I feel confident that I can give you an accurate Dominion Card Game Review. I had seen Dominion on the shelves at the game store for a few years now, but for some stupid reason was hesitant to pick it up. Maybe it was the description, “You are a monarch…. “”You will bring civilization to these people, uniting them under your banner”. By building a deck of cards.
Don’t know why that didn’t draw me in.
Would there be battles? Miniatures? Were there at least groovy little meeples?
Nope, just cards.
But, then I watched the film “Going Cardboard”, and listened to Donald Daccarino describe how rabid the fans of this game are. Who am I to be dismissive?
The 12 year old and I bought Dominion (the basic edition)… read the instructions… watched an online instruction video… And started to play, and play and play….
The verdict? Dominion is a GREAT game. Interesting and engaging, and best of all, it has loads of replay value.
Dominion Card Game Review-
The ultimate goal of the game is straight forward; you want to have more Victory points at the end than your opponents. It’s how you choose to get there that makes it interesting.
The basic game comes with-
– Treasure cards of three denominations- Gold, Silver, Copper
-Victory Cards of different values- Estates, Duchy, Province
-Kingdom Cards– 24 different types of actions (with 10 cards each type), that can be mixed or matched depending on how you set up the game.
When the new Game begins, you choose 10 sets of Kingdom Cards. The Instruction Booklet gives you some good examples of Kingdom Card mixes to use. Some emphasize balance, others money, others trade…. You will see what you like as you play. Some cards will definitely become favorites (I love the Mine), others will leave you scratching your head wondering who the heck would use them (Chapel?).
At the start the game you are given 10 cards… 7 copper coins and 3 (1 point) Victory cards.
When it is your turn, you take 5 cards from your shuffled deck (and by the way, get used to shuffling, it is a constant activity for this game) and decide what you want to do according to what you have…. Play an action card? Buy something? In the early rounds, you have very little money, and the victory cards are just hand fillers, so you spend a lot of time trying to build up a plan of sorts.
At the end of your turn, the entire hand goes into your discard pile, where it will eventually be shuffled back in to your deck. You see, you never really get RID of cards (unless you purchase an action card that allows you to trash cards. ) So, it’s a good idea to buy Kingdom cards that add money, action and cards to your hands.
The balance is tricky… you want to buy Kingdom Cards that build your hand and make you stronger… but you also need that money to buy Victory points. Is it better to buy a Market? Which gives you extra actions and cards on your turn? Or should you buy a Duchy? Which is useless in your hand, but ultimately, the path to victory?
The game moves along quickly, especially after you get used to the cards. It was going so fast in our house that we INSIST on the “SAY IT OUT LOUD” rule. No more flip flip flip… everyone needs to hear exactly what you are plotting!
The game is over when all of the Province cards have been bought up. The one with the most Victory points wins… all that gold you bought is only useful if the game is a tie….
How easy is Dominion to Learn?
Honestly, the 12 year old loves games, and pays attention to rules, so we picked it up pretty fast. Her older sister (who hates reading rules and refused to watch the video) watched us play one round, and was in for the next hand. This is not an overly difficult game on the surface. The difficulty and re-play value lies in choosing a strategy. Do you go out strong and buy gold? Do you buy villages? Do you Curse other players? Or do you hire a Milita and attack your opponent (sadly, no blood… they just have to discard some cards). And because there are 24 different Kingdom cards, there is constant variation, so strategy will shift.
As for the Physical Quality of the Game itself?
Dominion is a card game, so the only components are cards. Extra Cards are included, in case of unfortunate accidents….) But what I love is that the box contains a rack to divide and sort out the cards so that they are easy to find, and to clear away.
Who Would Enjoy Dominion?
The game box says 14 and up, but I find that if you have a younger player who likes games, they should have no problem enjoying Dominion. New game players will enjoy this, and I can see seasoned Gamers pulling this one off the shelf (especially when they aren’t in the mood for 3 hours of RPG battles.)
Games last 30 to 45 minutes, depending on who is playing.
Added bonus… there are enough expansion packs and Dominion variations that you could probably play Dominion every day of the year… three times… and still never play the same game!
You Can Buy Dominion on Amazon
Here are some Favorite Dominion Expansions