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Dominion Two Player Review

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All board game reviews and ratings from “A Pair of Meeples” are entirely based on the game at two players. You can learn more about our rating system by clicking below.


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Dominion is a game that looks as old as it is, but one that popularized deckbuilding. It didn’t do so because of flashy art, it paved the way for the genre because of its excellent and streamlined gameplay.

Dominion Review

7.5 out of 10
A Pair of Meeples Dominion Two Player Review

Is it Good For Two Players? : One of the better player counts

Dominion is no doubt one of the best pure deckbuilding games of all time (which makes sense because it practically invented it), even though it may not look like it.  Once you get past that lackluster exterior though there’s not much to complain about.

Overall, it’s simple enough for those new to this type of game. It is a great place to start and with its countless expansions, you can go about as deep as you could possibly want to go.

Theme: 2/10
Replayability: 7/10
Components: 6/10
Conflict: 5/10
Fun: 6/10

His Rating
7 out of 10
Her Rating
8 out of 10

Pros

A true and pure deck builder that is great for new and experienced players alike

Quick and fast games once you learn the cards

A good amount of replayability and variety in the base game

Good insert that makes setup less of a hassle

Countless expansions allow you to go as deep as you would possibly ever want to with the game

Cons

Do we have to say it… bland art and theme

The rulebook could be a little better

Gameplay Experience:

Dominion Two Player Board Game Review

We have a very odd and interesting relationship with Dominion in our household.  

It’s a game that sits on our shelf for months at a time, unplayed.  Then when it gets pulled out eventually it goes something like this;

  • First round: Man this game is so simple, boring, and lame, why is it popular again?
  • Second Round: OK, maybe it’s not that bad of a game.
  • Third Round: Actually, this game is sweet, why don’t we play it more often?

Then it gets put away and collects dust.  I couldn’t tell you precisely why we are this way with Dominion, we’d probably need a psychologist for that but hopefully, this review will help you determine whether it’s the right type of game for you.

Dominion is a game that looks just blah, there’s no nice way to say it, and for those who deny it, they’re lying to themselves.  Once you’re a die-hard fan of the game I’m sure it’s easy to look past, but it just looks so old.

I’m sure this is one of the reasons it sits on the shelf in our house (you can judge us for judging a game by its box, it’s fine).  It just looks unappealing, even if it is hiding a great game in there.  When it’s sitting there among a whole bunch of great eye-catching games, it takes some determination to pick it.

Maybe having its own shelf is the solution to playing it more often, but space is limited in a board game reviewer’s house, so that’s probably not going to happen.

So if you make your way past the very bland box and get Dominion to the table, the look of the game doesn’t get much better from there.  The insert is nice and well-appreciated but after the game is all set up, it still looks like just a bunch of cards.

If it’s your first game or it’s been a while since you’ve played you’ll likely play with the recommended first game setup which is great for getting started, but probably why we feel the way we do every time we decide to play this classic deck builder.  

If you give it a second chance and play with a new setup, about halfway through you’ll pick up on the little differences from the first round.  It starts to feel like there is something here. The various Kingdom card combinations matter and your strategies have to change.

Then in the third round, potentially with another unique combination of Kingdom cards, it’s easy to see why Dominion is a great game.  The game is so simple and straightforward but the interactions between cards can be extremely interesting and complex.

The core gameplay doesn’t change much at all from round to round; take action(s), buy cards, and clean up.  The cards are what matters, and once you realize that, maybe the theme, art, and other negatives about this game just fade away. They might even make sense because a fancy theme and vibrant art might be a little distracting and just too much for a game where the fine details are what matter. 

But, if you are like us and let it sit on your shelf for too long without playing it, that old-looking box is probably all you will see again, for some time, not the great deck builder hiding away in it. 

How to Play Dominion:

Dominion’s core gameplay is actually really simple.  The goal of the game is to collect more victory points than your opponent.  These victory points are obtained by purchasing their respective cards.

Dominion Victory Point Cards

There are three main types of victory point cards with values of 1(estate), 3(duchy), and 6(province). There are also treasure cards ranging from copper(1), Silver(2), and Gold(3) that give their owners more purchasing power.

Dominion Treasure Cards

For each game, there are 10 types of Kingdom Cards available for players to purchase.  These range in value but are the main way to strengthen your deck and give unique actions and benefits when played.  In the base game, there are 25 different Kingdom cards included.

Each player starts with an identical deck of 7 copper and 3 victory point cards and draws up to a hand of five.  Initially, they will be very limited in what they can do as they only have treasure cards which can be used to purchase new cards to add to their deck.

Once a player purchases Kingdom cards they will be able to play them typically as their action.  Some allow them to take additional actions, buy more cards, trash cards, draw new cards, and much more.  

Dominion Action Cards

Some Kingdom Cards are attack cards that can cause your opponents to do things like discard cards or get Curses. Curses get added to players’ decks, and if they are there at the end of the game are worth -1 victory points. In the base game though there are cards like the moat, that can block attack cards if they are in hand.

Dominion Attack Cards

Once a player has taken their action(s) they can now buy a single card, or as many as their played cards allow.   They use any money granted on played cards and any still in hand. After purchasing new cards they discard all played and unplayed cards and draw a new hand of five. 

Players continue taking turns, until either the province pile or any 3 supply piles are empty, at which point the game ends.  The player with the most victory points is the winner.

Dominion is all about strengthening your deck by purchasing the right cards at the right time.  The actual playing of cards sort of takes care of itself.  It’s the choosing of which cards to buy where the game and strategy lie.

Conclusion:

Dominion is no doubt one of the best pure deckbuilding games of all time (which makes sense because it practically invented it), even though it may not look like it.  Once you get past that lackluster exterior though there’s not much to complain about.

The rule book overcomplicates things a little bit, but in general, it is a pretty simple and easy game to learn and get started with, even if you are new to this type of board game.  The recommended initial setup gives you a little taste of everything and how it works.

Don’t stay there too long though, this beginner setup can quickly overstay its welcome and give you the wrong impression of the game.  To realize how good of a game this is, you have to be willing to vary things up, and even use the Kingdom Card randomizers.

Once you play with a few different card combinations, the gameplay starts to shine and show its true colors.  Each new game will have you looking at the market of cards, finding unique interactions, and devising your plan of attack for that specific round.

Out of the box, the game has pretty good replayability and variety, with the 25 Kingdom Cards.  It will take quite a while for them to feel stale.  While the overall game has good replayability and variety, Dominion does suffer a little bit from the round itself feeling a little unvaried.

What we mean by this is your goal, and strategy don’t change much from your initial turn until your last.  There are no surprises or twists that happen throughout a round.  You know the 10 Kingdom cards before the game even starts and as a result kind of know what to expect.

This really isn’t a negative but some may consider the game unexciting or wish there was some more variability within each round itself.  While that is valid, these constants in the game allow for higher levels of strategy and planning.

As with most deck builders, most of the “game” is in the buying of new cards, and trashing of ones you don’t need anymore.  Your actual turns mostly play themselves, but occasionally you will have limited actions and need to decide how to use them.

Dominion plays pretty quickly in length and also in terms of gameplay.  Once you have the card types down, you’ll be placing, flipping, and buying cards fast. Sometimes it might be your turn again before you’re even done redrawing your hand of five cards. This is a great aspect for some but the sheer speed that occasionally happens in this game might be a little stressful for others.

This quick gameplay does result in a perfect game length in our opinion though and allows you to fit multiple rounds into a game night, allowing you to experience a few different combinations of Kingdom cards in one go.  If that wasn’t the case we think the game would not be nearly as good as it is.

This game can occasionally be fairly high in conflict depending on the Kingdom Cards too, but most are not beneficial to use multiple times, so players typically won’t play extremely aggressively to the point where it just feels mean.  

If you’re not a fan of direct conflict though, be aware that Dominion definitely does have some.  In our opinion, even if you aren’t it’s bearable in this game due to the extremely short nature of turns.  Sure you had to discard cards this turn, but the next turn comes so fast you don’t care too much.

Overall, Dominion is a great deck builder and one simple enough for those new to this type of game. It is a great place to start and with its countless expansions, you can go about as deep as you could possibly want to go.  It may be hard to look past its unexciting and bland theme and art but for most, it’s probably worth doing so.   

Is Dominion Good For 2 Players?

Dominion is pretty good with two players, but this player count does come with some weaknesses.  

We didn’t mention earlier that this game has a lot of shuffling, but you typically can’t fault a “deck builder” for shuffling, can you?  When you combine that with how quickly it plays though it does start to become a problem.

Most games suffer from too much downtime between turns, but with two player games of Dominion, you could argue it almost needs more.  Often your opponent isn’t just waiting for you to take a turn, they are waiting for you to finish shuffling before you even start your turn.

This might make you feel rushed on your actual turn, and like you don’t have much time to think at all when playing with only two players.

This really isn’t a big deal, but it’s a pretty interesting problem and one fairly unique to this game.  As long as you aren’t compounding the problem by taking slow turns, most shouldn’t be bothered by this issue.  It does come with the upside of quick and fast games.

Another weak point of this game with two players is just based on the fact that you only have one player to interact with.  If you buy a lot of attack cards, you both know who’s going to suffer the consequences.

For many, that’s just part of the game, but some players may not appreciate it and have a terrible time because of it.  You can of course fight fire with fire but depending on differences in player preferences this game might not just be enjoyable for both parties.

If you do play with more players the game will likely be just a bit more chaotic.  With more competition, certain supply piles may run out quickly.  There will also likely be a wider variety of strategies pursued, resulting in more varied and unique games and situations.

Other than those things the game works extremely well with two players and in our opinion is a great way to enjoy Dominion.

Pros:

  • A true and pure deck builder that is great for new and experienced players alike
  • Quick and fast games once you learn the cards
  • A good amount of replayability and variety in the base game
  • Good insert that makes setup less of a hassle 
  • Countless expansions allow you to go as deep as you would possibly ever want to with the game

Cons:

  • Do we have to say it… lackluster art and theme
  • The rulebook could be a little better

Rio Grande Games Dominion 2nd Edition | Deckbuilding Strategy Game for 2-4 Players, Ages 13+ | Updated Cards, Artwork, Streamlined Rules
Rio Grande Games Dominion 2nd Edition | Deckbuilding Strategy Game for 2-4 Players, Ages 13+ | Updated Cards, Artwork, Streamlined Rules
Rio Grande Games Dominion 2nd Edition | Deckbuilding Strategy Game for 2-4 Players, Ages 13+ | Updated Cards, Artwork, Streamlined Rules

We hope this Dominion two player review has helped you.

Our reviews are not paid reviews, but some games are given to us, we do not let this affect our opinions in any way. This post may contain affiliate links so we might receive compensation if you sign up for or purchase products linked to. As an Amazon Associate, we can earn from qualifying purchases. This helps cover our site's costs and allows us to continue reviewing games.


Rio Grande Games: Dominion Big Box 2nd Edition: Strategy Board Game, Comes with Extra Base Cards for 5-6 Players, Compatible with All Dominion Expansions
Rio Grande Games: Dominion Big Box 2nd Edition: Strategy Board Game, Comes with Extra Base Cards for 5-6 Players, Compatible with All Dominion Expansions
Rio Grande Games: Dominion Big Box 2nd Edition: Strategy Board Game, Comes with Extra Base Cards for 5-6 Players, Compatible with All Dominion Expansions

Dominion Big Box

If Dominion sounds like a game you'd like, you might prefer to go right ahead with the big box version.  The base game should be enough for most to start, but if you want even more content this edition comes with one of the most popular expansions for the game.

This version of the game also includes enough extra base cards to play with up to 6 players as opposed to 4.


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