Board Game Review - Dominion

This past week I was finally able to get in a game of Dominion. I had bout this game last year and always got intimidated when I opened the box and looked at all the cards. I tried reading through the rules once or twice but just got discouraged. That all changed when capnwoodrow stopped by the hobby shop the other night.

He saw that I had a copy of Dominion on the shelf and we started talking about it. Turns out he had played it before and the rules and setup weren't bad at all.

We broke it out and set it up and were playing in just a few minutes. Here is a breakdown on the rules and game flow -

The first thing you do is figure out what set of cards you will play with. You choose 10 stacks of cards to build your Kingdom from. You then set these ten stacks in the middle of the board. You also set out stacks of treasure (money) and the victory point cards.

Each player is then given an identical deck - seven copper cards and three estate (1 victory point) cards. This is your starting deck. You then shuffle your deck and draw five cards.

Now to the fun part. Each turn you can take one action and make one purchase. Starting out you only have copper and victory points so you can't take any actions just yet (since you don't have any in your hand or deck.) You play your coins from your hand and may then buy a card. You can choose from buying treasure, victory points, or a kingdom card. All the cards you played as well as the card you just bought go into your discard pile. You also discard any cards remaining in your hand and then draw five new cards. Once you are out of cards you shuffle your discard pile and it then becomes your draw pile.

That is it - easy as that. As the game goes on it gets more and more interesting. You will be adding bigger values of coins to your deck (allowing for bigger victory point card and kingdom card purchases) and you will start playing action cards - these are the meat and potatoes of the game. The kingdom cards are varied in price, power, and ability. You have to look a the cards available and start building out your strategy early on.

The game plays really fast as you are only taking two actions a turn. There is also minimal player interaction (sort of) as you don't really attack your opponent - most of the interaction comes from seeing what types of cards they are buying and how fast they are buying up victory points.

I said that you don't attack your opponent very much - well that kind of depends. Since there are 25 different sets of cards, and I have only played with the starting suggested set, you can have either no direct player interaction, mild player interaction, or extreme player interaction - it just all depends on what you want. In the game I played we only had one stack of cards that did this - it was the militia and if an opponent played this card you had to discard down to three cards in your hand. This didn't come into play but once, so it wasn't a big factor in our game.

If you haven't played Dominion you really owe it to yourself to give it a shot. If you can, find someone who has played it before and get a game in.