This is the Splendor vs Dominion game comparison showdown. Splendor and Dominion may use different pieces and be in different genres but they are both engine builders at heart. They are both incredible A level games so this will be a clashing of titans. We dive deep into both. Learn a little about the games then check out our Splendor vs Dominion notes and final verdict.
ABOUT THE GAMES
About Splendor (2014): You are a gem trader in the Renaissance starting with nothing in hopes to build up an amazing empire. You need to acquire different goods and services to do this in the form of cards you buy and in turn give you bonuses. There are five different types of gems and turns are very simple, you either take them or you spend them. Buying cards gives you higher gem counts which will let you buy bigger and better cards.
FOR MORE: Splendor Page | How To Play Splendor | Splendor Review | Games Like Splendor | Buy Splendor on Amazon
About Dominion (2008): In Dominion, a new set of 10 action cards each game and the standard treasure/victory cards are available for purchase. Everyone starts with the same basically nothing and has to buy cards and build up a deck to draw more and more powerful cards to get to big victory points. The game ends once any three piles are gone and whoever has the most points in their deck wins.
FOR MORE: Dominion Page | How To Play Dominion | Dominion Review | Games Like Dominion | Buy Dominion on Amazon
SPLENDOR VS DOMINION ANALYSIS
Theme: Both are kind of set in whimsical far back times. Splendor has you as a gem trader in the Renaissance trying to make it big and Dominion has you back in the Medieval times dealing with knights and castles. In both games the theme is just a backdrop and does not influence the game. In Splendor vs Dominion, they are very even here.
Gameplay: Both of these get into the same level of strategic satisfaction, a solid medium, but Splendor is incredibly simple to play and runs quicker and lighter. Both are engine builders (Dominion is a deck builder, a sub-genre of deck building) and have cards as the main component but use them differently. Dominion has cards that do things and choosing what you want to trigger is everything. In Splendor, it is all about higher and higher numbers and the cards are just placeholders.
Mechanics: Dominion invented the deck builder which is where you start with nothing, buy cards to add to your deck to eventually draw and use, and get bigger and better things. Splendor, the most perfectly distilled engine builder out there, uses the same logic but it is about being able to afford more expensive stuff using a combination of 5 resources. Scoring in both is about victory points, but how the ending triggers differs.
Time Commitment: Splendor is very tight and quick so it is going to run you about 50 – 75% quicker than a game of Dominion. Dominion can, however, vary dramatically so it is tough to say. As far as life commitment goes, Splendor is the easiest thing to pick up, play an enriching game, and put down. Dominion takes some investment in knowing what all the cards do and how to approach situations. Neither is better in Splendor vs Dominion, they are just different.
Player Count: Both Splendor and Dominion are for 2 – 4 players and they both do a great job of scaling at each player count. Most of these 2 – 4 player games do not have fun 2 player versions but these two games have the rare distinction as being games that are actually fantastic at that count.
Cost: Both of these games have been around and they have additional content in their respective universes they want you to buy so there are always good deals on both of these. Hop in whenever you are ready.
Verdict For the Shelf: Splendor (50% of the time) vs Dominion (50% of the time). These are two fantastic games that are two different to say one is better than the other. Dominion does have many more expansions and to keep engaged and get the full experience you should but others but you can still play it right out of the box. Splendor uses the same master elements every single time whereas Dominion changes. You probably get more out of the same in Splendor, but have the option to go deeper in Dominion. Just buy both, Splendor vs Dominion over.
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