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Donald X. Vaccarino: Dominion

Dominion is a card game that came out last year. I heard it was the hot new game, got to play it this spring at the Game Developers Conference, immediately tried to buy it but found out that the first printing had sold out, finally bought it a month ago, and since then Liza and I have probably played an average of one game a night. So the short version is that it is awesome and I wholeheartedly recommend it, but I should probably go into a little more detail than that.

It is basically a deck-building collectible card game, only you build your decks in real time and the universe of cards to collect is randomly generated (25 varieties of cards come with the game but any given session only uses a random subset of 10). Like Settlers of Catan or Puerto Rico, it has the casual-gamer-friendly aspect of each player building up their little individual empire/deck/etc; even if your opponent beat you, you get a sense of accomplishment from your deck being cooler than it was at the start of the game. As with most CCGs, the base rules are incredibly simple and the cards add interesting exceptions on top of them.

I was originally a little concerned about the strategies becoming too obvious or the cards becoming boring, but we’re still enjoying it a ton and regularly having post-game discussions of how well our strategies worked and the various tough decisions we had to make during the game.

It plays great for 2 player but apparently plays well up to groups of 4 as well. And in a month or so an expansion set with 25 new card types will come out! Yes, we are well and truly hooked.

Highly recommended, especially for people who like more casual boardgames that they can think moderately hard about for 30 minutes as opposed to ones that you bust your brain over for two hours.