Eminent Domain is a two to four player deck-building game from Tasty Minstrel Games. Your goal is to build the most successful empire in the galaxy. You’ll need to research and survey the various planets in order to colonize or attack them.
Central Card Display – This is the center of the game and where you organize your role cards.
Role Cards – Each role card can be used to either take an action in the Action Phase, or you can acquire them into your deck during the Role Selection Phase.
Planet Cards – These are the planets you will be colonizing or conquering. Each one has a cost and is worth victory points. Some planets will give you a special bonus or let you produce a good.
Technology Cards – If you control a planet and have enough research cards you can acquire these cards which bend the rules and give you an edge. Some even give you victory points.
Fighter Tokens – You can collect these when taking on the Warfare role. Your fleet of ships lets you attack planets. To attack, you trade in the number of ships equal to the attack cost on the back of a planet.
Resource Tokens – There is one color for each of the planet types. You may produce or trade these when taking the Produce/Trade role.
Influence Tokens – These help you keep track of how many points you have for end game scoring.
On a turn you:
- Take an action – Actions are taken by using cards in hand.
- Select a role – Take a role card from the Central Card Display and see if anyone else will follow (take same action) or dissent (draw a card).
- Clean up – Discard any used or unwanted cards and draw back up to your hand limit.
Play continues until one or two Role Card stacks are empty (depends on number of players) or all the influence tokens are claimed.
The winner is the one with the most influence.
Eminent Domain at its core is a role selection game. The roles you select let you take specific actions. It also uses a deck-building mechanic to cycle the cards/roles you chose. In this aspect it is quite unique as no other game to my knowledge has combined these two mechanics to create a single board game (as of yet). But in many ways it feels very similar to Glory to Rome. That is not a criticism, just an observation. I can’t help but feel as if the developer was inspired, at least in part, to make a similar role selection game without the wild swings that GtR is known for. (Again, not a criticism just an observation.)
If that in fact was the case, then the designer was successful. This feels like a meticulously well balanced role selection game polished to a mirror sheen. Every game I have played has been extremely tight. So tight that the last turn usually decides who wins or loses. This is the type of card game that will probably please the min/max crowd who dislikes losing games because another player “got lucky”. Although the inclusion of a deck-building mechanic may have turned them off already.
The artwork is one of my favorite aspects of Eminent Domain. The dark backgrounds and bright logo colors really make this game and it’s components quite a sight when set up and ready to play. I’ve had a few people comment on pictures I posted while I was playing Eminent Domain and the look of the game is what sparked their curiosity. Even if you’re not a science fiction fan the neat looking logos and colored planets will still impress you with their rich color.
Eminent Domain has a style of gameplay that is familiar and welcome as far as I’m concerned. But there were times I did feel that Eminent Domain was a touch dry when comparing it to other titles like Dominion, Ascension, or GtR. Your deck will only ever contain the five role cards and maybe a technology card or two so each turn will probably play out one of five (or six) ways. And most of the time players will play either Colonize, or Warfare which can be a bit repetitive. And to be honest whether you’re colonizing, or attacking you’re pretty much just paying with a resource. There is no player conflict of any kind in Eminent Domain. That may actually be one of it’s selling points but if you’re a fan of insane combos, come from behind victories or “in your face!” moves, you will not find them in ED.
With all that said I do enjoy playing Eminent Domain. One person in my game group even said it was “kinda kickback”. I think that comment is pretty spot on. It’s a kickback, deck-builder with a unique twist that can be great for the gamer that isn’t keen on direct player conflict. If the Witch card in Dominion made your best friend quit game night, Eminent Domain may help bring them back.
To purchase Eminent Domain: