In brief, Dominion is a deck-building card game where players accumulate cards that dictate the manner of play through actions, and that afford each player values which, when calculated at the end, determine the winner of the game. Unlike Magic: The Gathering, I found Dominion to be complex but interesting, as opposed intricate and inaccessible. My enjoyment of the game was due, I believe, to my personal experience of its play. For example, communication between players doesn't seem to be very necessary. I could think about my next turn while my opponent took his, and I didn't really need to focus on what he was doing. We had the same goal and we were striving to win in the exact same manner, using the same strategy: get money, buy provinces. Therefore, how we chose to arrive at the end point wasn't really a matter of closely observing the other's turns. When I did get tired of consistently losing, however, I started to observe his play and I attempted to at least mimic his strategy and approach my turns the way he approached his. I haven't beat him yet, but I have beaten other players that I have taught.
If I were more competitive, I would probably want to watch my opponents' moves very carefully. The fact that I'm not competitive, however, does not hamper the play or prevent other players' progress. As I mentioned in my previous post about motivation and engagement, I am very much affected by a "master/sympathy" emotional play state, ie. I want the other players to enjoy the game and my enjoyment is never really a motivating factor for me. During Dominion, my enjoyment was due to a few elements that I could identify:
- the play is fast enough to avoid tedium, but not too fast that it's intimidating while learning the rules
- the play does not rely on communication between players
- the length of a game is under 90 minutes
- the rules are simple and easy to execute
There are many expansions to the basic Dominion game which can be bought separately. Having played five or so rounds of the game, and being familiar enough with the cards that I am no longer in the learning stage but in the refinement stage, I can see how playing with an expansion could be fun. It's almost like learning the game all over again because, while the goal remains the same, the means to get there become more challenging and intricate. I've introduced Dominion to a few of my friends and they all agree that it's a really fun game. I definitely look forward to playing more Dominion, and I hope the class chooses it for our next in-person play session.