Saturday, January 16, 2010

Dominion: Okay, we can throw out all other games now

Image taken from Rio Grande Games and used to link there.

Tanya received the card game Dominion for Christmas from her brother. It's a pretty amazing game. I like so many things about it I hardly know where to start.

He chose it, he said, because at "bring your lady" night at his game shop, the ladies liked it a lot.

I figured it must be pretty popular, but I didn't know how much until I mentioned it to Allen Varney and got a link to this article that Allen wrote for the Escapist, about the way the game swoops into gaming groups and takes over.

What to like? Well, I really like that this game takes the pre-game deck-building mechanic that swept through the gaming world when Magic brought it in, and turns it around to be an in-game mechanic. You start with a small deck, and you use the cards in your hand every turn to buy more cards, which go in your discard pile, to be quickly recycled into your deck.

This means you don't have to build a deck before you play, and there's no random card purchase factor, and no incentive to buy stacks of cards either.

More than that, you win or lose based on the cards you buy during the game...where you're effectively choosing the rules that you want to play by this time around. It's endlessly fascinating.

Also, the game builds on just a few concepts, and a game can be played in about thirty minutes.

So it's got lots of great advantages. But Varney does a better job of explaining all this than I do; go check his article out.

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