Game Review:  Dominion:  Online!

I still think Dominion is one of the most replayable games, that can be fun every time.  Even if you are not winning, you are trying to build an engine that might accomplish something else. 

The Online version has its advantages and disadvantages, but it is not too expensive, and only one person in the group needs to have the paid version.

Game Review: Dominion Online!

Is Dominion still fun after playing hundreds of matches?

Now that I have played hundreds of matches in-person, online, and against the computer, I can honestly say that the game is still fun.  When I find a set that I like, I photograph it for replay, since there is no way to remember all of the good combinations!  

I really love the kingdoms where there are multiple ways to win.  Sometimes I focus on getting cash quickly with lots of buys.  Other times I try to destroy draw piles and end the game before anyone can buy all of the provinces or colonies.  Sometimes there are great combos that let you draw your whole deck.  The most fun is trying to exploit the various ways, events, projects, landmarks, and traits.

I recently played a game with my father and uncle where the Defiled Shrine was the landmark.  It gathers victory points onto the shrine for the first two of each action card that is bought.  The first person to gain a curse gets the victory points on the shrine.  I had randomized the cards with an app and we didn’t have any cards that gave out curses.  The victory points piled up and when they were around 18 points, my dad “bought” a curse for zero money and got 18 victory points (and a -1).  We had all forgotten that you can buy a curse…except my dad eventually remembered!

What are the advantages of playing Dominion Online?

  1. No shuffling.
  2. Computer figures out any actions needed to take from cards and gives you options when necessary.
  3. Computer doesn’t miss obscure card abilities.
  4. Duration cards automatically remain on the table.
  5. You can set Victory Points to visible, so you know where everyone stands without guessing or taking notes.
  6. If one person pays (about $55 annually), you have access to ALL of the cards!
  7. It is easy to set up the games quickly and there is no cleanup.
  8. You can play with friends and family from anywhere!
  9. It is easy to see all of the cards, one box-set at a time, when you need to pick a replacement card.
  10. You can reference the chat to see what each person did if you didn’t see, or forgot.

There are probably more reasons, but top-ten seems good!

What is better about playing with physical cards?

  1. I love holding the physical cards!
  2. Sometimes guessing the other person’s victory point total is more fun.
  3. When you see people start to pick up the victory points, there is usually a rush for others to do the same.  With the online, sometimes people just keep building their engine.
  4. There is more thinking involved, since you don’t have the computer to give you the options.
  5. You can see when stacks are getting low without looking at a number.
  6. It’s fun to sit down at a table with others instead of at the computer; separates work from fun!
  7. The shuffling keeps you busy when you are waiting for the other players, although online games go fast.
  8. It seems easier to keep track of what others are buying, since you see the hands grab for something or they ask if it’s out of reach.
  9. You can share snacks, just not Cheetos…
  10. You can travel with it and play when you don’t have access to a computer.

Which version do I prefer?

I like both versions for different situations:

  • I love to travel with the physical game because it’s easy to teach and people can play within minutes of setup.
  • The physical version makes a great gift.
  • I enjoy playing the online version as an activity with my father and uncle some days, and also with friends across the country!  We usually have Zoom running to have fun chatting while playing, and to keep an eye on people who wander off for snacks.
  • The online version is also more fun when you are tired, since the computer takes over a lot of the work.
  • Online makes more diverse sets for me, since we only have about seven of the boxed sets (roughly half), so I like playing online to get access to all the cards. 

My recommendation is to buy some boxes for when you have visitors and to pay for the online version, unless you know someone who already has!

Share your thoughts in the comments below!

  1. How many games of Dominion have you played?
  2. Do you prefer online or the live version?
  3. What do you love or hate about the online version?
  4. What is your favorite kingdom card?

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