Posted by: Zach Smith | October 21, 2011

New Deck-builders: Eminent Domain and Eaten by Zombies!

Last game night I was able to try two new games in the quickly expanding deck-building genre.

Eminent Domain has a sci-fi theme and a role selection mechanic very similar to Race for the Galaxy.  Players colozine planets, trade goods, and build technologies.  However, this game feels much more like a standard Euro-game since since there is much less card variability and luck than Race for the Galaxy.  The cards in Eminent Domain are the same in each and every game, and they are available to all players, whoever can buy them first.  It is the lack of variability, though, that makes this game less enjoyable for me than Race for the Galaxy.  Eminent Domain is easier to teach than Race for the Galaxy, and it involves fewer symbols on the cards.  All deck-builders are judged against Dominion, and Eminent Domain really feels different.  While your deck does grow as you play, it hardly shares any mechanics with Dominion.  I am curious to see how this game is expanded, if at all.  My initial rating is a 6/10.

Eaten by Zombies! is an original take on the deck-building game.  While its theme is certainly nothing new, the game play mechanics are unique.  Each turn the players must use the cards in his hand to either fight or run from the zombies that were drawn from the zombie deck.  Successful fights/flights are rewarded with new cards from the supply decks – more powerful cards to help the player run and fight more effectively.  The first half of the game the players build their decks, then as the zombie hordes grow, the game turns against the players.  At this point, the players’ decks begin to be destroyed by the zombies.  When a player loses all their cards, they become a zombie.  Last player left as a human is the winner.  I guess this game could be classified as a deck-demolisher.  This game has cool artwork and sturdy cards.  It is a nice touch that the box is shaped like a box of ammo!  In my play, we accidentally did not follow the rules correctly.  So I need to play again with correct rules before I rate this game.  It was loads of fun, and I look forward to again being eaten by zombies.

It is great to see the deck-building genre grow in new directions. I felt that early games were too similar to Dominion, and these included Thunderstone, Ascension, and Puzzle Strike.  2011 has seen more distinct deck-builders like Quarriors, Eminent Domain, Eaten by Zombies, and A Few Acres of Snow.  It is has been a great year in this regard.

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Responses

  1. I also played Eminent Domain for the first time on Thursday, and I liked the experience. Unlike Zach, I think it has great potential as a game precisely because it has the same set of cards available every game, and that set is not enormous, so you can think through strategies to use, while also keeping a weather eye on your opponents options. I wouldn’t mind a few extra cards that could be purchased by Research, but let’s keep it reasonable!
    There’s nothing new under the sun here, borrowing a few things each from recognized icons (Dominion, Puerto Rico, San Juan, Race for the Galaxy) yet being different from all of these in that the role you select turns into a card that goes in to your deck–which in turn is the game clock.
    This is going to take several plays to try out differing strategies (and how they interact with other strategies) before any pronouncement can be made on replayability. I look forward to playing again with any number of players. (Jim F.)

  2. Eminent Domain has been on my “want to play” list for a while now, but I still haven’t actually seen a copy. I miss my old game group…bet they’re playing it every week right now :p

  3. I played Eaten by Zombies again with the correct rules. It certainly helped streamline the gameplay. My current rating for this game is 7/10. I look forward to trying different swag cards. I am uncertain whether I like the mechanic for playing a zombie once you are eliminated.


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