Producer-Tasty Minstrel Games
TL;DR-Only a few faults make this game great instead of excellent. 87.5%
Basics- Compete for the Galaxy! In Eminent Domain, players take the roles of different groups trying to conquer the most locations across the galaxy. This is a deck building game with a twist. Each turn players do three things in order. First, they can play a card from their hand as an action. These actions either build fighters, settle planets, produce resources, removes cards from your deck, or other things. Then, players draw one card from the central board as their role. This new card goes into the players deck, hence the deck building aspect. These roles produce/sell resources for points, settle attack or settle planets for points, research advanced cards with new actions, or search for new planets. Here is where things become interesting. When the first player selects a role, all other players may follow that role doing the exact same thing as the lead player. For an example, if the lead player searches for more planets, they draw a card from the center and play as many cards with the search for planets symbol as they can from their hand to draw planets to settle/conquer. All other plays may play as many cards with search for planets symbols from their hands to draw planets off turn. After role selection, then the lead player discards as many cards as they want and draws up to five cards. Play continues until one or two of the role card stacks is empty. Player with the most points wins the galaxy.
Mechanics-As I mentioned above, this is a deck building game. I like those games, but this one has the novel twist of letting all players do the same action as the lead player. Now, if you’re lucky/smart, you can take an action each turn instead of just waiting for your turn like in Dominion. Also, the mechanics are very simple. Play a card, draw a card and play cards that match symbols for more results, and discard/draw. Easy as pie! But, don’t let the simplicity of this game make you think that the game doesn’t have some depth to it. 5/5
Theme-This game has a decent theme, but I don’t think it oozes out of every pore. The different ways to capture planets have diverse enough mechanics that you do feel you’re doing something different when you do them. The art brings you into the game universe as you play cards. However, the game doesn’t really hammer you over the head with space conquest. It’s very subtle. 3.5/5
Instructions-The games instructions are fairly well done, but an extra page or two would really help. You can start playing this game in less than 10 minutes after opening the box for the first time without having played it before. However, even I, an experienced player, still have to check board game geek if some things are allowed or intended. The major issue has to do with symbols. Advanced cards and planets have symbols on them. Lots of people have questions if the advanced cards count as symbols for play. Adding a discussion on that would have really knocked these instructions out of the park. 4.5/5
Execution- This is well put together game. The game has nice plastic ships! In fact they are exactly the same ships as Eclipse. They are as awesome here as they were there. The box is nice, and the main play board is well done. I like the art and card quality. What I would like would be a bit larger play board with spaces for the advanced cards, the points, and the ships. A little bit more would have really made this game excellent. 4.5/5
Summary-This is an awesome game. It’s a quick deck building game that is easy to learn and play. This game gives me a 4X feel without the 4X time or rules depth. This game won’t replace Twilight Imperium, but I promise you will play Eminent Domain far more often than that game! This is another well done game from Tasty Minstrel Games.