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Domaine; The Lesser Known Brother to Catan

Domaine is the ugly step child to Catan. Designed by Klaus Tauber, it's an excellent game that never quite saw the success that Catan did. Perhaps it's a bit too cutthroat. A little less elegant. I'm not sure really....but I can tell you that Domaine is still in my collection where Catan has long faded. 


In Domaine, you and up to 3 opponents stake your claim on the land, and then start building out your domaines. You place walls, expand your armies and slowly but surely as the game starts advancing...you come to a point where you start expanding your domaines into theirs. And this is where the game is amazingly fun. 


Do you build up your armies to make yourself unassailable? Do you build out a giant domain that's weak, hoping that your sheer size will give you a certain degree of defense? Perhaps you go the monetary route and get access to the various mines as quickly as possible. Or perhaps you strike an alliance, or play a deserter. The options are on the table, and they all rely on a handful of easily taught and easily executable game actions that ultimately come down to one thing. How do you ensure that your domain's eclipse your opponents?


Domaine is a game that plays well at all player counts and plays well at various ages and skill levels. Sadly the major strikes against it are the lesser accessibility compared to newer games, the somewhat dated components (I mean really....those are walls?) and the fact that it can be a bit cutthroat to new players if you don't make sure to warn them as often as you encroach on their territory. The wide expanse of the land is appealing, it calls to everyone, and a few common missteps need to be called out lest the eyes be bigger than your ability to hold onto what you've taken.


Domaine has reliably stayed in my collection through multiple purges since 2012...and it's a game I recommend checking out.


14 comments

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    Joan Jordan
  • Love this game – A reprint is way overdue, with a solo, AND a good two-player helper system. It’s a game that shines at 3 & 4, but struggles at two imo. Well-designed endgame on this one that sneaks up on you too.

    Brad Rowe
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