Ring Side Report-Dual Board Game Review of Eminent Domain: Escalation

Product– Escalation expansion to Eminent Domain

Producer– Tasty Minstrel Games

Price– ~$25  here http://www.amazon.com/Tasty-Minstrel-Games-PSITTT5001-Eminent/dp/1938146808/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1412735641&sr=8-1&keywords=escalation+eminent+domain

Set-up/Play/Clean-up- 45 min (2-now 5 players)

TL; DR– some good, but drastic changes the game 85%

Basics– In the future, there is only war!  Escalation is the five player expansion for Eminent Domain.  The game play doesn’t change from my original write up here https://throatpunchgames.com/2014/05/05/ring-side-report-board-game-review-of-eminent-domain/.  This expansion adds another player as well as character roles, additional research cards, new planets, and roles for the larger ships in the base game.

Mechanics– I really loved the base game, and was excited to get my hands on the expansion.  However, the expansion makes some drastic changes to the base game that severely shift the mechanics of the game.  This expansion allows some research cards to be bought using fighters instead of research.  This means that war cards become the default strategy as now a hand full of red warfare cards can buy you either research or planets.  The roles for larger ships allow fighters to more easily capture planets further enforcing this.  Instead of now trying to balance research, colonization or attack, and survey, any player will now just choose to focus on surveying and warfare.  This changes the flow of the game, and not for the better.  This is chiefly evident in one power that lets a player conquer another player’s planets.  The player who does the conquering doesn’t even have to pay for the planet; the stock of points in the middle pays the person the planet was stolen from.  This shifts the play from light deck building to “get all the red cards first” game.  It makes the game much less fun.  Hands down the best part is the expansion are cards for a fifth player.  The new planets and research cards are interesting, but many of them feed into the problem of war being so dominent.   2.5/5

Theme–   If you like the change in mechanics, then you will love the theme.  I don’t, but I can see how the theme changed.  The universe is at war now, so the cards and mechanics will reflect it.  I might not personally like the change, but it’s done well.  4.5/5

Instructions-The rules are short and get the new changes out to the players pretty well.  It doesn’t have the text book problem, and it gives a great explanation to all the changes.  Well done. 5/5

 

Execution– This is a good expansion for its parts.  The instructions are laid out well.  The cards all have great art and stand up well to shuffling.  The tokens are well done.  I like what I see here.  Heck, even the expansion box can fit in the original box. 5/5

Summary– I’m not a fan of this one.  I love the addition of a fifth player, but the changes to what warfare cards can do are just too drastic.  While you can’t get all the research cards for a victory, you can get enough to easily stomp you opponents.  Also, you can now get research cards and planets that produce new ships each turn, so every turn you will almost be invading two planets a turn feeding this problem even more.  It changes a game with an awesome balance between colonize, trade, and warfare to a hostile game of war.  I didn’t have as much fun playing this.  However, the instructions are well written, the expansion is put together well, and the mechanics, while not my favorite part of this expansion, really do reflect the theme.  If you want Eminent Domain, but need to attack your fellow players, this is the expansion for you. 85%

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