Genre: card game
Number of players: 2-4
Objective: to construct a deck with the most victory points

In terms of card games, Dominion takes a rather interesting/innovating approach.  All card games have essentially the same steps to playing the game: buy the game/collect cards (in the case of collectible card games), build your deck, and then find someone to play against (who most likely has their own deck made).  In Dominion, the game actually stops at step one (picking up the game); the game play is the actual act of constructing your deck.  You construct your deck with three main types of cards: Treasure, Action, and Victory cards.  Treasure cards are your resources to purchasing other cards during the game.  The Action cards are your strategic tools to allow you options during your turn; you play an Action card to garner additional benefits (primarily, draw more cards, be able to play more action cards from your hand, and/or be able to acquire more cards in a single turn).  Finally, Victory cards are your way to win; when the game ends, you tally your victory points on your Victory cards and whoever has the most wins.

The game play goes essentially thusly: play an Action card (when applicable) and follow its instructions, buy cards from the stockpile, and then draw your hand from your deck (reshuffling your discard pile if needed); play continues to the next player and so on.  One of the key elements of the game is the fact that you are continually cycling through your deck by drawing your cards and on your turn playing Action cards, many that allow you to draw additional cards; this allows you to cycle the new Action cards into your hand for use in your next turn.  By the way, to my knowledge this cyclical process is called ‘milling’ and it originates from Magic: the Gathering.  The game ends when one specific type of Victory card or three of the cards from the stock have been completely purchased.  Then, as mentioned a couple times, the player total their victory cards and see who wins.

With the Treasure cards, you learn a different kind of resource management.  Rather than learning how much to commit and balancing out the uses of your resources, you actually have to balance out how many resources you have in your deck to other cards.  Not only do you need to have a good ratio (so that on any given draw, you have Treasure cards to purchase more cards), but you need to also concern yourself with acquiring enough Victory cards so that in the end you can come out ahead.  And you are going to want to pick up Action cards because they allow you to get even more cards or help you mill through your deck or anything else that may help you win, or at least gain an edge over your opponents.  Finally, you need to also construct your deck with Action cards in order to properly gain enough cards to trounce your opponent.  It does end up being a repetitive process, but it is enjoyable, I assure you.

Next time: Dominion-Intrigue (Surprise!! This is a three-part review!)

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