Gift Alert! Rio Grande’s Dominion Stands The Test of Time
Have you ever seen or heard of a game you wanted to play and as time goes by it just slips away? In today’s world of never ending everything, it’s easy to let exciting games go unplayed.
2010 saw the release of Dominion, a deck drafting style game that was instantly popular and drew comparisons to one of my favourite games of all time: Magic: The Gathering. A couple days ago, my uncle and his two sons mentioned they were getting together to play a round of Dominion and I swear it was like a lightning bolt had exploded in my head. I had completely forgotten the game even existed! Needless to say, I totally invited myself.
It was just as good as I had hoped it would be.
Easy to learn but hard to master, Dominion is subtle, dynamic and at times, explosive
The heart of Dominion lies in the various action cards which make the game tick. At the start of each game, 10 different stacks of action cards are placed in the center of the play area. Game developer, Donald X. Vaccarino, had the foresight to include a bunch of different action cards and the result is a game that stays fresh even after multiple runs.
So, you’ve got a bunch of action cards but how do you access them? Each game begins with each player receiving eight copper – worth one point of currency – and two estates or victory points. You begin you’re turn by drawing five cards from your deck and using the copper to begin purchasing action cards. It’s so simple! Oh, and you can use your copper to buy up better currency like silver and gold which will add to your buying power!
Lastly, at some point your deck will need to be thinned out. Cards like Chapel and Moneylender allow you to trash cards from your hand so you can get to your new, better cards more quickly.
It’s a race against time to rack up currency, buy up actions and obtain Victory Points!
So we’re getting deeper into the game and now we’ve bought some action cards and we’ve upgraded our currency, so now what? What is the end goal of all this buying? Why are any of us even here?!? I’ll tell you why! Victory Points! Ah yes, the nectar of our fruit… or fruit of our nectar… the old V.P’s are what we’re all after.
Along with Victory Points, there’s also the dreaded Curse! Not only does it lower your total score but it creates a useless card in your hand. Obviously it’s best to avoid it.
Dominion ends when either three of the action card stacks are used up or all the Province cards are purchased. Everyone adds up their V.P’s and a winner is declared. As I mentioned before, this game is simple in design but delivers lots of complexity. Players have to walk a tight wire: deciding when to buy cards and when to trash them. Some cards are suited for early game while others for later. Buying V.P’s too early can slow access to vital cards while waiting too long can leave you out in the cold.
All in all, Dominion is just as good as I thought it would be and seven years hasn’t made this game lose it’s luster. If you have a serious gamer on your shopping list this holiday season, Dominion is a solid choice and gets the Red Falcon stamp of approval.