Eminent Domain is a sci-fi deck building card game for 2-4 players, designed by Seth Jaffee and published by Tasty Minstrel Games. Players try to have the most influence by controlling planets, producing/trading, and researching technology.
Players begin with a starting deck and the player with the first player token on their reference card goes first. The player first optionally plays an action using a card from their hand, then chooses a role card to add it to their hand and then does the role ability. Each other player has a chance to dissent (draw a card) or follow (do the role ability). Then, the player can discard as many cards as they want from their hand and draw up to a hand of 5 cards. Play continues until a pre-determined number of role card stacks is empty (depends on number of players) and every player has done the same number of rounds. Whoever has the most influence (victory points) wins!
At first glance, Eminent Domain just seems like San Juan or Race for the Galaxy because of choosing a role as a main mechanic of the game. However, Eminent Domain is not just a copy of the aforementioned games. It’s very different in the fact that you are ultimately building a deck to be efficient in your strategy. Picking roles also is the deck building part of the game, as the role you chose, you also get the role card put into your hand.
Another great aspect of Eminent Domain is the many viable strategies that players can do. One player can focus on colonize and research, while another player may do warfare and producing/trading. A player can try to have a small deck by using the research action, or a player can have a big deck capable of drawing many cards.
Eminent Domain also boasts great components and artwork. The sci-fi theme works very well, and the artwork reflects that. The iconography and text on cards is easy to understand and read. The starship pieces and resource tokens are high quality, and work well in the game.
Eminent Domain has a good game pace and usually is played within 45-60 minutes. There are many strategic decisions to make, but not so much as to cause analysis paralysis. Sometimes players choosing a research may take time, but the next player can usually start their turn while a player is choosing a research card. Overall, there isn’t too much downtime and players can plan their turns while opponents’ are playing.
For gamers that enjoy a medium strategy, sci-fi deck building game with some different mechanics, Eminent Domain is one we’d recommend. Good replay value, coupled with many viable strategies to victory, makes this a great game.
2 Player Experience
- Limited Downtime
- More obvious strategic choices
- Gameplay closer to 30 minutes
- Don’t have to be as concerned with opponent on their strategy
4 Player Experience
- With the follow/dissent options on opponent’s turns, may lose track whose turn it is
- Have to balance between following own strategy and optimizing abilities during opponent’s turns
- More downtime in between turns, especially if dissenting
- Less obvious strategy to go for, so gives more of a challenge than 2 player
We received a review copy from Tasty Minstrel Games.