Home > Games > The domain of the eminent Darth B

The domain of the eminent Darth B

March 4, 2013

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.

That's a mighty fine formation of fighters there.  It would be a shame to waste them!

That’s a mighty fine formation of fighters there. It would be a shame to waste them!

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+.

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  1. Barnetto
    March 12, 2013 at 10:42 am

    I have Core Worlds and persuaded my 7 year old to play a learning game with myself. It’s a game that needs quite a lot of thought and planning and can make you very prone to AP however, so since then I’ve just been playing it solo for points. Definitely one for a bit older. Will be interested to hear how you get on with playing more Eminent Domain – keen to play more space themed games with my boys over and above the quite simple Astronauts card game that they both enjoy taking out to the coffee shop.

  2. March 12, 2013 at 11:47 am

    I’ve not tried Core Worlds but it does sound like Eminent Domain is the lighter of the two. I haven’t played ED again with Miss B yet, but I think she is keen to have another go. I guess maybe I should do some posts revisiting games after we have played them more, or time has passed — Miss B’s tastes (and skills) have certainly changed over the last couple of years.

    • Barnetto
      March 13, 2013 at 9:58 am

      As a father in a similar situation to you, I would find that very interesting. I’m enjoying reading through your blog very much btw, particularly as I’m very new to this and I’m quite a long way behind you in terms of the scope of the games we’ve tried – though I’ve so many games now hidden in the loft waiting to come out including many that you’ve already tried out. I would have tried more by now with my 7 year old, but the games really need to be playable with the 5 year old too which is more restrictive.

  3. March 13, 2013 at 11:59 am

    I reckon there are plenty of good games that should work for a 5 and a 7, but I guess the challenge is to find something they are both interested in and then bring them both up to speed. Good luck, I’m sure it’ll be great when you get it all figured out. I just have to worry about Miss B in our games, so my situation is a bit simpler.

    Thanks for the support. It’s great to hear that there are others out there like me!

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