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04 Oct 2021
Temple Gates Games
About Dominion - Empires
The world is big and your kingdom gigantic. It’s no longer a kingdom really; it’s an empire. Which makes you the emperor. This entitles you to a better chair, plus you can name a salad after yourself. It’s not easy being emperor.
The day starts early, when you light the sacred flame; then it’s hours of committee meetings, trying to establish exactly why the sacred flame keeps going out. Sometimes your armies take over a continent and you just have no idea where to put it.
And there’s the risk of assassination; you have a food taster, who tastes anything before you eat it, and a dagger tester, who gets stabbed by anything before it stabs you. You’ve taken to staying at home whenever it’s the Ides of anything. Still overall it’s a great job. You wouldn’t trade it for the world – especially given how much of the world you already have.
MechanicsTwo major innovations in this expansion are the introduction of Split piles and Landmarks. With the additions of Debt and VP tokens, this may be the most complex expansion to date. Designed as a spiritual sequel to Prosperity, it offers opportunities for engine building and alternative paths to victory.
Empires pushes the price of cards as high as $10 and $14, it prolongs a Duration card to last three turns, it offers a way to bounce from your Buy phase back to your Action phase, a deep handsize Attack that reduces opponents hands to two cards, a strategy preventing further purchases for the rest of the game, bidding, new ways to lose VP, and an Action-Treasure.
Players can buy some pricey cards early by taking on Debt. This spreads the cost into future turns, but lets players ramp up quickly.
Empires revisits VP tokens previously introduced in Prosperity, but with less abandon. About half of all Empires cards interact with VP tokens - allowing for many alternate routes to victory other than Province accumulation.
Split piles offer combos that reward repeatedly revisiting a particular pile. With half the pile on top, and half the pile on the bottom, players must dig through to unlock the rest of the set. If many players are digging on the same pile, there can be tension to grab the less expensive top cards before they run out.
Similar to Events, only two Landmark cards are available per game. A landmark card offers a new way to score VP. Landmarks are not bought, they passively apply to all players and are either triggered through the game or applied during scoring. These cards can dramatically alter strategies of the games they're applied to.
Empires adds quite a lot of cards and Events that are friendly to engines:
- Engineer - Card gainer that removes self
- City Quarter - Village with high drawing potential
- Overlord - Powerful emulator
- Royal Blacksmith - The highest terminal drawer across sets
- Encampment - An fickle Lost City
- Patrician - Combos with pricey actions
- Emporium - Amasses VP tokens in Action decks
- Bustling Village - Consistently high +Actions
- Chariot Race - Rewards pricey cards in deck
- Fortune - An expensive treasure that can amplify money
- Sacrifice - Versatile VP gaining trasher
- Temple - VP gaining trasher
- Villa - Bounce from Buy back to Action phase
- Archive - Extended card draw reduced need for trashing
- Capital - Early money for quick ramp
- Charm - Gain extra card
- Crown - Versatile Treasure Action
- Groundskeeper - VP Accumulator
- Wild Hunt - VP gaining drawer
- Triumph - Rewards variety with VP
- Donate - Unique, powerful culler, trash any of your cards
- Advance - Upgrade cheap Actions directly to pricey ones
- Salt the Earth - Deplete a VP pile
- Windfall - Rewards drawing your full deck
- Dominate - Huge VP windfall if player can build a way to get it
- Colonnade - Rewards decks centered on an Action
- Labyrinth - Rewards multiple buys
- Orchard - Rewards a plethora of different Actions
- Tomb - Rewards trashing
- Tower - Rewards alternate VP cards
- Triumphal Arch - Rewards bilateral focus
Empires has strong Big Money offerings.
- Plunder - VP bonus on a Treasure
- Crown - Flexible Action Treasure
- Legionary - Attack that rewards having Gold
- Delve - Discount on Silver
- Wedding - Gold more attainable
- Conquest - Rewards for Silver
- Aqueduct - Rewards for early greening, Treasure gain
- Fountain - Rewards Copper
- Palace - Rewards sets of Treasure
But some Empires cards push away from Big Money.
- Bandit Fort - Penalties for Silver and Gold
- Wall - Penalties for Treasure bloat
- 6 Debt cards: Engineer, City Quarter, Overlord, Royal Blacksmith, Fortune, Capital
- 9 Victory token cards: Plunder, Emporium, Castles, Chariot Race, Farmers' Market, Sacrifice, Temple, Groundskeeper, Wild Hunt
- 6 Split piles: Encampment/Plunder, Patrician/Emporium, Settlers/Bustling Village, Castles, Catapult/Rocks, Gladiator/Fortune
- 7 Special Treasures: Plunder, Humble Castle, Rocks, Fortune, Capital, Charm, Crown
- 5 off-theme cards: Enchantress, Villa, Archive, Forum, Legionary
Empires includes 13 Events.
- 5 use Debt: Triumph, Annex, Donate, Tax, Wedding
- 6 use Victory tokens: Triumph, Ritual, Salt the Earth, Wedding, Conquest, Dominate
Empires includes 21 Landmarks:
- 1 uses Debt: Mountain Pass
- 10 use Victory tokens: Aqueduct, Arena, Basilica, Baths, Battlefield, Colonnade, Defiled Shrine, Labyrinth, Mountain Pass, Tomb
Digital Optimizations and Custom Settings
- Arena - You can opt to never be prompted to discard an Action once there are zero VP on Arena
- Bustling Village - You can opt to automatically always return a Settlers
- Crown - You can opt to automatically enter your Buy phase if you don't have an Action to Crown, allowing you to Crown a Treasure
- Settlers - You can opt to automatically always return a Copper
- OS: Windows 7 or higher
- Processor: Intel Core i3 2.00 GHz or AMD equivalent
- Memory: 256 MB RAM
- Storage: 200 MB available space
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