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Subject: A "My Favorite Game" review rss

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Matt G
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About seven months ago, I decided it was time for a new game. Our toddler had finally (finally!) started going to sleep at a decent time and my wife and I suddenly had time together in the evenings. Not wanting to fill that time with TV or gazing at the internet on separate devices, we thought it would be a good idea to start playing games again. I did my research here and decided Dominion would be the best first choice.

The first night playing, was an “ah-ha” moment. (Ah-ha! this is something fun.) And the next night was, too. (Ah-ha! this is something interesting.) And every night there was a new “ah-ha!” (Ah-ha! getting rid of cards with Chapel is really smart!)

Do I need to give a summary of how the game works? Real quick, each player starts with a simple deck of ten, very plain cards. Seven of them are “coppers” used to buy other cards, three of them are victory point cards that do nothing but take up space until the game is over. With your coppers you can buy more valuable treasure cards, more valuable victory point cards, or one of a random assortment of ten “Kingdom Cards” that perform different sorts of actions. The goal of the game is to have the most victory points when either all of the most expensive victory cards (Provinces) have been bought, or three of any other piles are empty. The biggest trick of the game is that the ten Kingdom Cards are different every game. There are a ton of expansions that change some of the basic rules, but that’s Dominion at its most simple.

Some of the things that made me say “Ah-ha:”
Your entire hand is discarded after every turn and your deck is reshuffled and cycled-through numerous times. Unlike something like Rummy or Magic the Gathering, you’re not staring at the same, slowly-growing hand the entire game. The constant cycling makes you think about your deck as a whole.

The random kingdom cards make each game different with its own feel. Some games are races, some are long battles, some are about coming up with the cleverest trick. You can choose your ten cards any way you want to. We prefer random. For a while I used the Dominion Shuffle App, but we’ve settled on using a big shuffled stack of all the Randomizer cards, working through it to make sure we see every card at least once.

I am not necessarily a fan of dragony things, so I was actually pleased to see that the fantasy theme is not essential to the game. What am I supposed to be in this game, anyway? Who is this person that organizes a Smithy and a Witch to work in a Laboratory? And, why does that Witch’s cursing power not work across moats? I don’t know and I don’t care. The game’s combinations and possibilities keep my mind working.

In the past seven months, we’ve played countless times. We’ve added two expansions (Intrigue and Dark Ages) and have not stopped playing. From a relatively simple premise comes so much possibility. It’s just fun. I can’t say Dominion will be my favorite game forever, but right now it unreservedly is.
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Pete K
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Nice little review. One thing I appreciated about Dominion is that the cards in the base set were just as useful as the cards in the expansions. That Moat is a killer, but since it only costs 2 everybody can get one at almost any time in the beginning.

Sometimes, it seems like base cards get more useful when combined with expansions. Any +buy cards combine well with Peddler from the Prosperity set, and Chancellor gets a lot more fun when it puts you ahead in the race for the first platinum.
 
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