We played a new game to us recently and after that first play, I have decided that this is a game I like. Domination: Road to Civilization, is a 2-4 player game from 2019. It is designed by Eric Dubus, and Oliver Melison, and released through Holy Grail Games. Several games end up in my collection because when we do our news episodes, and we talk about Kickstarters, and newer games, they sound like something our group will enjoy. These games are sometimes ordered and then are placed on the shelf of shame because, dare I say, there are too many games and not enough time to play them all.
We are always glad when we have someone who will come to our game night and who has played games off the shelf of shame and is willing to teach or who is like our friend Cory, who has been very awesome and each week will take one of the games off the shelf of shame, and read rules and prep and teach the game the following week. The latest game Cory taught us was Domination.
In Domination, players take on the role of a primitive tribe and transform it into a nation whose influence will echo through the ages. Players build out the common game area by adding triangular domino camp pieces to the board and expanding out from there. Each of the three corners of the camp tiles have one of six different color dots that represent the six forms of knowledge your civilization will need to grow and become the most advanced civilization in the land. Those knowledges are Government, Religion, Art, Trade, Science, and Craftsmanship.
Each player's turn is broken up into three separate phases that will all be completed on the player's turn.
First, the grow phase. This is where playersl add tiles to the common board. After a camp tile is placed the player will gain knowledge equal to the dots on the new tile that are now adjacent to the dots that were already part of the board, plus they will gain one for the color of the camp tile that was placed. If a player connects two knowledge dots that are the same color, that player gains an additional bonus knowledge. All knowledge is tracked on the personal player board.
Second, the build phase. During this phase players can construct cities or contribute to a monument. To build a city, a player will place one of their 15 city discs anywhere on the common board that does not already have a city on it. The cost of this city is three knowledge of the knowledge that matches the camp tile the city is to be built on. In a later turn a player may increase one of their cities again by paying six of the matching knowledge for a level two city or nine knowledge for a level three city.
If, during the growing phase, the sixth knowledge dot is added to a section, closing it off from any further growth, a locus is formed. On the locus is where players will place most of the monuments. Monuments are common objectives that all players can take part in. A player pays the required knowledge and adds that contribution to their personal tech tree.
Each player has a tech tree that they build out throughout the game. Each tile has a color, representing one of the six knowledges on each of the four edges of the card. Cards must match the color it is connected to in order to be added to the tech tree. Monument cards are added this way along with the development cards that are purchased in the third phase.
Third, the develop phase. In this phase players are able to buy mastery cards and add these cards to that player’s tech tree. Each mastery card comes with new abilities and opportunities to gain and increase knowledge.
The game is played over three ages and each age has five turns, where each player will complete all three phases. The game goes fast at first but as each civilization grows, turns will naturally take longer. I liked this a lot because even as turns took longer I was not distracted, I was always looking and watching for ways to increase my knowledge and grow my civilization. There are so many ways to advance one’s score and there are age end bonuses for the player who ends the age with the most of each knowledge. I am very much looking forward to playing this game again and again.
There are also four expansions out to further your options and a fifth expansion that is due out this year.
If you have backed this on Kickstarter, or picked it up, we would love to hear your thoughts on the game.