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Eminent Domain

Posted by admin On September - 16 - 2011

Guest reviewer Scott Linde gives his thoughts & opinion on Eminent Domain.

Eminent Domain is a clever and quick deck building game initially funded as a Kickstarter project and later published by Tasty Minstrel Games.  Its well trodden theme of space exploration and expansion is recognizable and comfortable for most game players, but this is no war game.  The players are at odds only in trying to vacuum up the limited number of victory points as quickly as possible.

The box and components of the game are good quality as is the card artwork.  A number of other tokens  representing ships and resources are used in combination with the cards during the game.  The game design supports a number a strategies.

All players must act to survey and acquire planets.  Planets can either be conquered or colonized.  The cost of both options are printed on one side of the card, and the planets characteristics are printed on the other side.  Some planets provide victory points while other act as cards indirectly increasing your hand size.  Some even directly increase your hand size.  Planet types determine which technologies you can research, if you decide to follow the research path.  Finally, some planets may allow you produce and trade resources for additional victory points.

Ok, so you have decided on the path of conquest or colonization and have claimed several planets, but what you really need is victory points.  Planets provide some, and conquest decks may focus solely on

conquering as many planets as possible.  Colonizing decks, on the other hand, may want to produce and trade resources instead.  Several planets can produce many victory points this way.

The game ends when a certain number of victory points is claimed or when a number of card stacks are depleted ñ the number of stacks set by the number of players.  When a end condition is met, other players keep playing until the last player finishes their turn.

While it’s not quite fair to compare Eminent Domain to Dominion, I will anyway.  In my opinion, Eminent Domain is checkers while Dominion is chess.  It is a fun, quick, light deck-building game that is well suited for teaching deck-building technique, and it is accessible for new gamers as well as veterans.  I do not see how it could be easily expanded like Dominion has been, so I expect the game could feel a bit stale after many games.  It is, however, a worthy addition to any game collection.

Fun: 5/5

Substance: 4/5

Re-playability:  3/5 (could get a bit stale…)