The domain of the eminent Darth B
Over the last couple of years or so, there seem to have been a few space empire building card games released, probably the top rated of these being the trio of Race for the Galaxy, Eminent Domain, and Core Worlds. We finally have a copy of one of these, Eminent Domain, and Miss B was good enough to play with me as we learned how it works.
Eminent Domain is a deck building game like Dominion, but in most senses completely unlike Dominion. The main part of your turn is that you choose one “role” from a selection of six (Survey, Warfare, Colonise, Produce, Trade, or Research), and doing so adds a card for that role to your deck, effectively making you better at that role in future. Furthermore, when you choose a role, the other players have the option of playing cards to also follow that role (sometimes with reduced effectiveness). There’s a little other stuff like special technology cards, but this is the real core of the game. You earn victory points for controlling planets and having certain technologies at the end of the game, and for trading resources during the game. There is also no direct conflict between players during the game, which suits us fine.
The two of us followed very basic but very different strategies: I colonised a few worlds and then started producing and trading resources, while Miss B spent her efforts surveying new worlds and sending waves of invading spacecraft to subjugate the indigenous populations (she loved arranging the plastic spaceships that represent military resources into formations). Who knew she was such a warmonger?
The game took a lot longer than the advertised 45 minutes. Something closer to 2 hours this time. I don’t think future plays will be as long, but this game will be a major undertaking for a little while. Part of the problem this time was Miss B getting the hang of the difference between taking an action (which is a minor effect related to the roles, which other players are not permitted to follow) and selecting a role (which can be followed). This is a little weird at first, but we both got the hang of it eventually.
Something to note here is that Miss B played with her hand open most of the time, which meant that I could help her if necessary, but I also generally had a good idea of what cards she had available. This could be a problem in a “proper” adult game as knowing what cards another player holds may affect your role selection, but when playing with Miss B I did my best to not take advantage of this knowledge.
When the game was finally over, we counted up the victory (sorry, influence) points and found that it was close. Miss B had won by just a few points and was appropriately delighted. No, I didn’t deliberately throw the game. My excuse is that I was just learning the game, and I’m sticking with that.
So, I like the game and Miss B seemed to get on well with it. I think this will be high up on the playlist for when we want to spend over an hour on a game.
The verdict from Miss B (aged 6): “When I win the first time I play a game, I call it a really good game.”
The game: Eminent Domain (Tasty Minstrel Games), 2 to 4 players aged 10+.