In catching up on my blog/post reading today, I came across two negative reviews of Dominion that stuck out to me. It was a bit interesting that they were posted back-to-back on BGG, and that they actually touched on slightly different issues with this top 10 ranked game. Here they are, if you’re interested:
- Dominion – The Most Over-Hyped Game in Existence by Philip Dumala (Quarashi)
- Dominion or How I Discovered BrettSpielWelt and Forever Hated a Game by Camron Earl (wonderflex)
Philip’s review is an excellent and rather comprehensive review that touches on several flaws that he sees in the game. What most of his complaint boiled down to was that there was no real strategy involved in playing your hand of cards, and that the only choice on each turn was what to buy. Some of the many commentors to the article pointed out that Dominion is not supposed to be a “card-playing” game, but rather that it’s whole point is to be a “deck-building” game. I see both sides of this argument, but in general I think that the lack of any real “card-playing” depth makes the game a little too thin for me.
Philip also points out several other things, such as absence of real theme, boring cards and art, and an overreliance on luck, that I also tend to agree with. But some of this other qualms don’t bother me too much, and I definitely don’t agree with his 4/10 rating. But I too am surprised at its top 10 ranking.
Camron then made an observation that playing the game many times on BSW ruined it for him. Mainly, it was because he came to realize that there may be a “one, true strategy” for the game, which would be to almost exclusively buy higher-value treasure and VP cards. This also touches on Philip’s concern over real strategy options as well, and I’ve heard others aound BGG and the internet mention it also in the past. To be honest, I haven’t played the game enough to comment, but this worries me more than anything else, and I’ll probably put this theory to the test the next time I play the game.
Of course, getting the game to the table is proving to be an issue. Back when Dominion was released and as Game of the Month! for December 2008, it saw 18 plays over 6 nights for my game group. But after that, it almost totally disappeared. It’s fallen completely off of everyone’s radar, and on the three nights that I’ve brought it lately, no one at all (including me) has suggested getting it to the table. While it’s a solid game (that I currently rate a 7 on the BGG scale), there’s just nothing inspiring enough about the game to push somebody to be its champion, so it instead gets no love at all. Instead, our group continues its love affair with Race for the Galaxy, which only seems to build in intensity over time. Of course, I really need to get in more games of that as well…