Gameday First Play – Dominare
One of the Tempest Series from AEG.
I already like Love Letter and Courtier so what would I think of this?
The City-State of Tempest is a lively metropolis – some say the largest in the world – yet behind the city’s cultured exterior, age-old cabals vie for power, fighting one another for dominance in a society ripe with political and economic turmoil. Led by shadowy figures who command a small cadre of loyal followers, these secret societies work in concert to seize the wealth and power of the fabled City-State of Tempest.
In Dominare, you are the puppet master of a conspiracy seeking to control Tempest. Agents are the key to Dominare. Use your agents to spread your influence through the city, building a network of hidden power to control the most valuable districts and blocks.
Courtier was a game I liked and it involved playing cards to place influence cubes on individuals to control their area. (Royalty, Ministry, Commerce etc)
Dominare takes this a step further by using Agents to control areas of Tempest.
Each player chooses a card from their hand to add tot heir ranks. At the start of the game this Agent will go into Rank 1. Each of the Agent cards has several abilities and each of these abilities can only be played if they are in a rank equal to or lower than that ability. Example: A Rank 5 ability can be used by an Agent in rank 5, 6 or 7.
In turn order, plays activate any “when played” abilities.
Each of these Agents has an exposure level. You increase your level on the exposure track depending on what that Agents exposure level is. The exposure track is great, it helps balance the game as more powerful Agents have higher exposure but high exposure leads to loss of points and becoming the ‘Scapegoat’ (Explained next) The exposure track also determines turn order.
Agents can give each other a bonus if they are next to another Agent in your ranks with the same class.
The Scapegoat reads aloud the next Event card. This usually has a negative effect on all players and a doubly negative effect on the Scapegoat. It will ask you to remove influence from the board etc As the game progresses you may be resolving 2 or 3 events per Event card.
The Event card does allow the Scapegoat to increase the points value of one District and decrease another.
Each player in turn order, starting with their rank 1 Agent, collects the Crowns they give and add the number of influence on the board into the area they influence as determined by their card.
When each player has resolved Rank 1, in turn order players resolve Rank 2. So, as you can imagine, by the time you are resolving Rank 7 in the last round of the game, it will be the 7th time you have used Rank 1.
Actions x2 (x3 in Round 7)
Again, in turn order, players get 2 actions, 3 in Round 7.
You can use an Agents ability, use the ability of a district if you control that district, draw new Agents, reduce exposure, Add influence to the board etc
You get Points for controlled Districts. This varies game to game as the points value of each district is determined by a points track which can be effected by the Event card and Agent abilities.
Some areas of each District has a printed points value of -1 to 3. You get points for each of these you control.
You then lose points for your exposure level. The highest player loses 1 point for every 3 points of exposure they have. The lowest player loses nothing. Everyone else loses 1 point for each 5 exposure they have.
Most points win, the Tie Break goes tot he person with the most Crowns.
I like this game. It’s a brain burner but adds to that basic Courtier game that I like,. The artwork is the standard AEG ‘Tempest’ artwork and it all looks nice.
Game play is simple yet requires a lot of work and planning and the ‘take that’ element that comes with area control is just right.
Not a game I would like to own but definitely one I would play again.