Dominion board game – is the King of deck-building games for 2 to 4 players with an average playtime of 30 minutes that is rather easy to play.
Each player is a lord, a monarch that is controlling its little kingdom – a Dominion. Players aim to expand their kingdom by buying Victory Cards (we like them to call Land and Real Estate cards). Having the highest total score indicated on Victory Cards collected wins you the game. But that is not that easy. At first, you have little money, so to speed up the process you improve your card deck that eventually will increase your purchasing power, allowing you to gain more Victory Cards. Build the best deck and expand your Kingdom!
This is a strategy board game, with lots of variability and replayability. We are reviewing the second edition that was released in 2016, which was evaluated especially positively.
The review will be covered in the following structure:
- Replay value
- Art & parts
- Game price
Feel free to read the review details, or just scroll down to the review summary.
So in this game, every player starts with a super small identical deck of cards. On the tabletop, there are 17 card piles (17 different card types), giving each player equal opportunities to form a unique strategy to construct decks. Typically the more optimal deck will outperform others, but there is a luck factor as well, as players constantly throw their drawn, purchased cards to the discard pile, which becomes their deck all over again, so there is always a question what will you draw, and in what order.
Many different cards
There are lots of different types of cards: Treasure – which is basically money, Victory cards, and curse cards. These sum up the base card types – that are always included in the game. Now there is the 4th type of cards, called Action cards. There are 25 different action card piles in the game, and only 10 are included in each game. Cards provide different effects for yourself, and/or your opponents, such as card drawing, trashing, gaining additional actions, or purchases and so on. So basically each game you get different strategy options, providing players a good basis to test & differentiate their strategies to see what works better, or just to experience something new.
Quick, smooth, no downtime gameplay
Speaking about the feel of gameplay, time passes really, really quickly, yet the game does not have any speed, reaction mechanics, its kind of calm thinking type game. The turn mechanics are basically constructed to be very efficient with as minimum downtime as possible. Each player follows the 3 part-turn – called ABC – which means Action, Buy, Clean up, playing the action cards first, then buying cards from a tabletop, and then you clean your hand, plus everything you purchased/used, by discarding it to the discard pile. It usually takes around 30s for a player to play his turn.
Little player interaction & conflict
The game has yet another feeling of being a non-provoking in terms of conflict. There are very few cards in the game that provide direct “damage” to your opponents, making this game a more pleasant experience for those who do not enjoy conflict. It is still a competitive game but not “fight & defeat” but more like “race & win”. However, this also brings one of the very few CON(negative) factors to the game. A lack of player interaction. It has a little feeling that each player just plays his little game, and players can mostly witness and compare how their opponents are doing, and sometimes, there is nothing you can do to stop others from winning.
Finally, the game set-up is a very, very fun part of the game. It actually is! Just look at that box. It is such a great idea to place those card piles in such a convenient order.
This is why a set-up is so fun – cos it is soooo quick! Literally 2 minutes. Okay, the real fun part of the set-up is a randomizer deck. There is 1 deck with all action cards in it (1 copy of each card). And you shuffle the deck to reveal those 10 action cards that will be included in the game. Always quick, and always fun, as you are eager to see what this TV show episode will bring to the table!
Dominion board game, especially the 2nd edition – has one of the best replay values that we experienced ever. We are not kidding. The variability of the game tactics, actions, and each game session uniqueness rivals games such as Game of Thrones 2nd ed. board game or Eldritch Horror. But this is an easy-medium level, quick to play strategy game! How casual is that? Very, very rare.
There are 25 action card piles (25 different types of them). Taking into consideration that only 10 of these piles are included in the game, it creates a megaton of replayability. And that is only for the base game. There are expansions that will increase your action card types even further ahead (but they are certainly not necessary).
Another thought about replayability is player turns. As I mentioned, they follow the ABC pattern (Actions–>Buy–>Clean-up), which is always the same, every turn, to all the players. I generally think that if you do not have anything against this mechanic, you will certainly enjoy this game.
But there is certainly a feeling of repeatability. I got to take into consideration that many players are often become hyped about the game once they try it. So they play LOTS of game sessions via a very short period of time, becoming bored a lot sooner than naturally.
Art & parts
There are 2 types of game parts in the game – a bunch of cards, and a trash tile. It looks like true trash for lords. You could actually get rich by collecting trash and selling it. This is what we consider a beautiful art that relates to the topic of the game, despite the fact that the game itself does not really have a strong and unique theme, the rulebook kinda describes that, but the cards are pretty much the only component of the game, that do not have large images, and mostly you look at the card text, their values. So immersion into the theme is not really a thing for this game.
However, the art of cards is good and quite detailed. There are different structures, objects, and individuals that are represented in the images of the cards. The quality of cards is good, but we would still recommend getting card sleeves, as this game requires a constant drawing and shuffling, so they will be wearing-off little by little. The dimensions of card sleeves are 59×92 mm. Here is one source of quality card sleeves for the Dominion board game.
For colorblind players – good news – Dominion board game is colorblind-friendly! No issues with this game, since every single card has a written name, written description and number symbols for the purchase price or values provided to the player. We heard that there are some soft issues regarding this with expansions, but the base game is very good in terms of colorblindness.
Lastly, let us compare the board game price and the components that you get for the price. We do not specify the price as it fluctuates due to many reasons. But generally, you are getting 500 CARDS, 1 Trash Mat, 1 Plastic Organiser Tray, 1 Organizing Inlay, and 1 rulebook. And for the price that the game is usually selling, this is so much worth it. If you see any discounts – that’s an absolute steal!