Sunday, January 10, 2010

Dominion - Best Game Ever

I know it's been a while since I last posted. The first reason is that I started posting articles for, a multi-discipline gaming website. They've got areas on MMOs, Console, Table-Top, and LARP games. So far, I wrote an expanded review of Borderlands as well as a few LARP plot tips. If you're interested, check them out here.

The other reason is that I've been away from raiding for the most part. The reason for that?

Holy shit this game is good. Let me start at the beginning.

Have you ever played Magic the CCG? I mean really played it? The truth is that there's just as much strategy in the Metagame as there is in the game (the only exception was Affinity decks back in the days of Artifact Land). Sure, your deck could be amazing, given the right circumstances. Too bad half the tournament is playing a deck that counters yours.

I've strayed far away from topic. In a nutshell, Dominion is Magic the Gathering with two caveats.

1) Everyone uses the same cards
2) You build your deck as you go along

When it was first explained to me on building the deck, I thought the nerd at the gaming store was just trying to sell me the latest piece of shit by comparing it to magic. Here's the summary.

You start with a deck with 7 copper cards and 3 estate cards. Estates are worth victory points at the end, while coppers let you buy cards to add to your deck. You can buy cards that give you extra gold, extra cards, extra money, etc. You can even buy some that affect other players by giving them negative victory points or reducing their hand. After you've played your actions and bought a card, you discard the rest of your hand and draw a new 5 cards. If you run out of cards in the deck, you reshuffle your discard pile.

There's 26 different "Kingdom" cards in the basic game - these are various cards you can buy apart from the standard money and victory point. However, you only ever use 10 of those 26, and you determine which cards you'll be playing with using a deck with a single copy of each kingdom card. This means no two games will be exactly the same (probability wise).

On the meta, this game is sick. When do you start buying victory cards instead of function cards? Is it better to have a large, average power deck or a small condensed power deck? Do you buy cards to ramp your deck or cards to attack your opponents? It changes every game.

The only small complaint is that there are a few unbalanced cards (Smuggler, Saboteur) and the boxes take up a lot of space for the cards it holds. A lot of people online have made custom boxes for the game, and I'll probably take a stab at something like that in the next couple of weeks.

Dominion is designed to be played with 2-4 players, but you could probably make it work up to 6 players. There are currently two expansions out for the game. Dominion: Intrigue is completely standalone and Dominion: Seaside requires either the basic game or Intrigue. You'll probably be able to find these games for $40-$50 at any major gaming store.

There is a reason Donald X. Vaccarino and Rio Grande Games's Dominion won a ton of awards, including the Golden Geek "Card Game of the Year" and "Game of the Year." I've said it before - Germans make ridiculous board games.

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