March Game of the Month – Dominion

The Game of the Month series highlights one of the many games in our libraries at Ravenwood Castle and The Malted Meeple. We will briefly describe the game, how to play it, and why we like it.

Game: Dominion

Publisher: Rio Grande Games

Not many board games can claim the distinction of having created an entirely new genre. Our March Game of the Month is one.

When Dominion was published in 2008 by Rio Grande Games, it took the board game world by storm. Within its first eighteen months it had won numerous awards – including the prestigious Spiel de Jahres – and sold more than a million copies. Perhaps most importantly, its mechanic inspired a myriad of board game designers, and so the deck building genre was born.

After 6 years, countless expansions, and a multitude of competing games, Dominion remains one of the top rated board games of all time – and one of our favorite deck builders.

The goal of the game is straight forward – obtain more victory points than your opponents. The tools at your disposal are a variety of cards with different values, abilities and worth. Each player starts with an identical ten card deck, seven with monetary value and three with victory point value. Players use these cards to customize their decks by purchasing additional currency and victory point cards, as well as action cards with a variety of abilities.

Dominion is elegant in its simplicity, yet offers many strategic avenues to explore. Each turn the players start with a five card hand. They may play one action card, and use currency cards to buy one card from the table. Action cards may allow a player to draw extra cards, take extra actions, or purchase more than one card from the table.

Which cards the player chooses to purchase, and how they combine, allow for immense variety in play styles. Should you focus on acquiring currency in order to buy victory points as quickly as possible? Or is it better to spend a few turns purchasing complementary ability cards in order to build a powerful “engine” to rule the late game? The most efficient route to victory will depend on the cards available to you as well as the strategies adopted by your opponents.

In the years since its release, the base game of Dominion has been supplemented with no less than nine expansions, each offering additional twists and modifications to game play. Fans can argue the relative merits of the various expansions for hours, but with such a selection there is something to please nearly everybody.

The next time you visit Ravenwood Castle or The Malted Meeple, take a moment to try out a game of Dominion. You’ll be glad you did!

Jim Reed

Jim Reed is a lifelong gamer who started with the original red box Dungeons & Dragons. After spending 20 years in the corporate world, he decided it was high time that work be fun and struck out on his own. Jim now owns and operates Ravenwood Castle, and spends his days ensuring his guests have as much fun as he does.