Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Highly Recommended: Dominion and its Expansions

The Review Crew's Take on

# Players . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-4*
Game time . . . . . . . . 25-35 minutes
Set up . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 minutes
Luck . . . . . . . . . 8. . .Strategy
*Interplay . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . varies
Visual Appeal . . . . . . . . . . . .9
Component Quality . .. . . . . 8
*Replayability . . . . . . . . . . . 9.8

*See "How we Rate" for a definition.

Dominion is a little hard to pin down. With its buying and action phases, it feels like a European-style board game (think Settlers of Cataan or Puerto Rico). However, there's no board--everything's done with cards. So, card or board game? We don't know, but we can tell you this--we LOVE this game. If you check out our top tens, you'll find Dominion on every list. 
Here's how it works: the cards are placed in stacks on your playing surface, right where a board would be. You'll have coin cards, victory point cards and ten stacks of kingdom cards--cards that provide various benefits when they're played. The ingenious thing about Dominion is that the kingdom cards can be switched out from game to game. There are twenty four different options in Dominion alone. Add in the expansions and you never have to play the same game twice--unless you want to.  
As noted above, interplay varies, depending on the kingdom cards you choose. If you want a game with lots of player interaction, add more attack and react cards. Want a high scoring game? Use more victory point cards and others that will help you get money. The variations are practically limitless.
Another thing we like--Dominion is fast to play. We can often zip through a game in 15-20 minutes rather than the 25-35 the box predicts. Replayability is sky high, then, because you can play multiple games in one sitting and completely different ones at that.
*Here's one more thing and then the gushing will end. We're always looking for games that play six (since there are six of us) and Dominion can do that, too. Dominion and Dominion: Intrigue are both stand-alone games that play up to four. Combine the victory point and coin cards from both and you have a five to six-player game. Play time is a little longer with six, but still relatively short.
The cards are fairly sturdy and nice to look at, but they're still cards. We recommend plastic sleeves for them. You'll be shuffling a lot.
There. The effusive praise is done. Now go out and get a Dominion of your own.

Here we are, playing Dominion. Everyone looks happy, too, even the Spy and the Saboteur. Hmmm.

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