Shannon Appelcline Dissects Dominion

Posted: September 13, 2012 in Uncategorized

Dominion is certainly one of the most popular games  to come out in the last decade, so it makes sense that people would want to deconstruct it.  And who better to do it than Shannon Appelcline?  Here’s an excerpt from his first in a series of articles on Dominion.

The Real Basics

A Deck of Cards: Since Dominion is a (the) deckbuilding game, you need to start off with a deck of cards. Or, to be more precise, a personal deck of cards. I think this has to be one of the core definitions of deckbuilding in general, because without it … well you’d have something-else-building games.

The idea that all players start the game with the same decks is, however, a basic idea from Dominion that doesn’t have to be the case in all deckbuilding games (but usually is).

A Hand of Cards: You start out each turn of Dominion with a small number of cards in your hand — typically, 5. Again, I think the idea of  having a hand of cards is crucial to the definition of deckbuilding, because buying new cards, placing them into your deck, then having them reappear in a randomized way is pretty much the heart of the genre. Certainly, other games allow the occasional card to be left out after it’s played (Dominion: Seaside) or even to enter play already out (Eminent Domain), but those are pretty small variants of the main idea.

I will say that I’m pretty surprised that most games have stuck with hand sizes of either 5 or 6. It seems to me like there’s more opportunity for variety here, but the only notable change that we’ve seen is that games with higher requirements for cards working together have typically allowed a one larger handsize (e.g., 6). The one exception I’m aware of is Pergamemnon which has a hand size of 3.

Read the rest of the article here!



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