Dominion is the 2009 Spiel des Jahres (Game of the Year) winner and took the gaming world by storm when it was released. Introducing a simple yet elegant deck building mechanism that’s easy to learn and both addictive and full of replayability.
You won’t find a board when playing Dominion as the entire game revolves around three types of cards: Treasure, Action and Victory. There are three phases to the game which you can remember simply as ABC. You can start off by playing one Action card (A for action), then you move onto using your Treasure cards to buy one card (B for buy) and then you finish off with the cleanup phase (C) where you discard your hand and any purchased cards and deal yourself more cards for the next turn.
Players start each game with three Estates (1 point Victory cards) and 7 Coppers (1 value treasure card) and no Action cards. These are shuffled and you deal yourself the top 5 cards. There are 20 different types of Action cards in the base game and a single game of Dominion will include 10 of these. Every card in the game also has a cost value in order to buy it. The Action cards will have abilities on them, giving you things like more actions, drawing more cards into your hand, upgrade a card, give more money to spend that turn or allowing you to buy more than one card that turn. There are also action cards that will let you interact with the other players, making them discard cards, giving them a useless curse card worth -1 Victory, stealing their treasure cards etc. You can also buy more Treasure cards the Silver which costs 3 and gives you 2 to spend and the Gold which cost 6 and give you 3 to spend.
The game ends when all of the Provinces have been purchases (the 6 point Victory card). These are expensive cards that cost 8 to buy, so the aim is to buy cards to add to your deck that will let you chain them in such a way to afford these expensive cards. The Victory point cards act as dead cards in your deck until the end of the game when their victory point values are all added up and whoever has the most is the winner. The game can also end if three of the card piles are exhausted.
Dominion is a fantastic game that everyone should try. The different combinations of all the Action cards can make the game different every time creating a new puzzle to work around. You can also tailor the action cards you use to suit who you are playing with, creating a game focused on money, or games created on interaction and attacks for example. There are also a lot of expansions available to further expand the amount of action cards, new abilities as well as adding greater victory cards like Colonies and the Platinum Treasure card.
The combination that it is simple to both teach and play, games are fairly quick and it offers varied replay value has led to its popularity. Dominion is a game that has inspired many imitators and it comes highly recommended.