5. Dominion (w/ expansions)
Dominion may be a game that you have heard of. Like Settlers of Catan, Ticket to Ride, and Carcassonne, this game has continued to get more and more popular, even among an audience of people who may not be very familiar with the strategy board gaming hobby.
In short, the finest aspect about this game is this: it is simple to learn but hard to master. As the game rules say, knowing what to do on your turn is as easy as ABC (Play action cards, buy new cards from the display, and clean up the cards in front of you). This smooth design for the game makes it easy to finish a game within 30-45 minutes, but also requires quite a bit of thinking for how to make an edge over your opponent and optimize card combinations and deck management.
This game was remarkably innovative by introducing a new in-game mechanic: deck building. This takes the concept of creating your own personal deck in a collectible card game and improves upon in by having the same selection of cards available to everyone, therefore better balancing the game and making building your deck part of the focus of the competition.
However, one thing I would like to address is that the full enjoyment of this game comes from the incorporation of different expansions (even if it is just the Dominion Intrigue set). After playing with many different sets of cards, I have determined that the base set does offer very limited player interaction and often creates very straightforward strategies with the cards. Don’t get me wrong, the base set, by itself, is still a great way to start with the game, but in order to list this game as #5 on my list, I have to acknowledge that the large contributing factor for the replayablility of this game is the addition of cards from expansions.
Now, even with the introduction of other deck-building games lately, I think this game still stands out for its simple elegance. I have to say, I have probably found more people to play this game with than I have with any of the other games in my top ten list.