Gameday First Play – Dominion

Posted on by Jesta

I finally had the chance to play Dominion…

The original deck building game*…

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 more pleasant kingdom, with more rivers and a wider variety of 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.

I’ve played a few deck building games with various themes and end game purposes.

Puzzle Strike (Yes it is :-p)
Penny Arcade
Eminent Domain
Heroes of Metro City
Marvel Legendary
The DC Deck Building Game
The Lord of the Rings Deck Building Game
Eaten by Zombies
Resident Evil
Pixel Lincoln
Tanto Cuore

I think that’s all of them. I hadn’t really had a chance to play their Big Daddy until recently.

It’s pretty standard. You start off with 7 ‘Bronze’ cards that are worth 1 Treasure and 3 ‘Estate’ cards that are useless in the game but count towards end game scoring. This makes your starting deck of 10 cards. You shuffle and draw 5.

Dominion Victory and Treasure Cards

The standard Dominion set up.

You randomise the cards you can buy except for the Treasure and Estate cards pictured above.

You play the 5 cards in your hand, at the beginning this will give you treasure and victory cards. You have 1 buy action per turn so you buy a card that cost equal to or less than the total treasure you have.

These cards are other Victory point cards that are worth more points, or higher value treasure cards. There are also action cards.

Bought cards go to the discard pile, cards used and unused are discarded pile and a new hand of 5 is drawn. This continues until you start to draw the actions you have bought.

These actions vary greatly and Dominion has so many expansions that there are Billions of different combinations.

You can play 1 action per turn. Some of these actions allow you to take more actions, draw a card, allow you to buy an extra card each turn, trash cards, buy cards for free or attack opponents.

An action card that gives you an extra action, and extra card AND and extra buy.

An action card that gives you an extra action, and extra card AND and extra buy.

The goal is to score the most points. To do this you need to craft your deck into an engine that allows you go raise 8 Treasure to buy a Province card. These cards are worth the most points while at the same time taking up the smallest amount of room in your deck.

If the Province deck runs out, or 3 other decks run out, the game ends.

It’s good, but let’s compare it to other Deck Building games I have played.

My Favourite right now is Marvel Legendary, which has a more interesting theme, is co-op and just plays very nicely. (Not hard to play but crafting a deck is fun and strategic) It does have the advantage of coming out 4 years after Dominion though.

It more closely resembles Resident Evil/Tanto Cuore in Game play. With the restricted number of buys and actions. Trying to get that chain of cards that will get the end result you want. Again, the Resident Evil theme is more interesting but Dominion is more relaxing.

Overall, I get the hype, I like the game and although I don’t want to commit £200 and all of my spare deck protectors to own it, I will play it when asked.


*It is believed that Arctic Scavengers as first but was withheld to allow Dominion to be released as the original deck building game
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