Hey folks. Today, we’re flying in our zeppelins, casing the joint, and then stealing stuff. We’re super villains fighting to steal the best stuff before the other players can get it. This is Word Domination. It’s a tile placement, area control, word game. It’s 2-4 players and takes around 30 minutes or so depending on your players. It started as a Kickstarter game, but looks like you can still buy a copy from Uproarious or Fowers games.
The game comes in this small, brick shaped box. It contains the rule book, a round tracker board, police badge token, 120 zeppelin tokens (30 for each player), 8 villain player cards, 105 letter tiles. The letter tiles come in blue and black colors. The black letters have special abilities once you use that letter in a word.
Game set up varies based on the number of players. You’ll create the grid to start by drawing letter tiles and making the following grid. 2 players start with a 4×4 grid, 3 players start with a 5×5 grid, and 4 players start with a 5×6 grid. Each player starts with a villain player card. The games we played didn’t use the player powers side. I’ll explain that after the rules for the initial game. Now, each player draws a letter tile and places it face up on top of their villain card. Take the round tracker board and place the badge token on the 1 spot. Once first player is selected, you’re ready to begin.
On each players turn, they must spell a word using their face up tile. Place your tile next to the grid. You’ll study the board, then place your zeppelins on the letters used. Think of this as Boggle. You can use any letters on the grid. They don’t need to be connected together. Though, at the end of the game you get more points for groups of letters. You can only use a tile once, so no doubling up on letters to make words unless there are two of those letters on the grid. To steal a letter, you need to place another on on that letter tile again. However, you or anyone else can’t use the word you just spelled or a variant the rest of the game. This makes things a little more difficult. Oh, and the other players. They can kick your zeppelins off the tiles by using it in their words. You then steal any letter tiles you have two zeppelins on top. You end your turn by drawing a new tile and placing it face up on your villain board.
When placing your zeppelins there are black arsenal letters that have special abilities. If you place a zeppelin on a black letter tile, you can choose to use the arsenal ability. There are 9 arsenal tiles in the game. There are 2 Fs, 1 J, 1 K, 1 Q, 1 V, 1 W, 1 X, and 1 Z in this game. Each player card will have a run down of what each letter’s arsenal ability does on the blue side. They range from using the same letter twice in one turn to placing one of your zeppelins on a tile you didn’t use.
Once a tile is stolen by a player, that player takes the tile from the grid. They then take a tile from tile deck and place it face down in the grid. They then place one of their zeppelins on top to claim it. The tiles a player has stolen can still be used to spell words. Only the player who has stolen it can use it though. Any arsenal tiles can still be used for the arsenal ability.
At the end of the 6th round, players will calculate their points. Each player will get 1 point for each tile stolen. If any of those tiles are in groups of 3 or more, connecting letters, then each one will be worth 2 points instead. So three tiles together will be 6 points. This is where the area control part comes into play. You’ll want to try and group your stolen tiles together for maximum points. The player with the most points wins.
There are two other variants to this game that I have not played yet. One is using each villain character board on the yellow side. This is the advanced side. Each villain has a superpower and a weakness word. Their abilities each cost tiles. You’ll use the stolen tiles you have to pay the cost. Once you used a tile to pay the cost, you can’t use those tiles in the game again. They are removed, but since you replaced the tiles on the grid and marked them with your zeppelins, you’ll still get the points at the end of the game. Now for the weakness. The letters in the listed word are your weakness. If you steal any tiles that are in this word you can’t steal tiles next turn. This is big when it comes to trying to think of what words to make. Now you have letters that you want to try and avoid.
The other variant is a co-op mode. Your team of banded villains are trying to steal the Eiffel Tower. There’s a set of grids that you’ll be using. Each turn you have to try and avoid the badge token that is moving around.
Fowers Games also sells a player mat for this game. It has a place for the turn tracker, a place to set tiles to draw, the arsenal abilities, and a space to place your starting grid. I like mats that make game play easier, faster, and cleaner. I feel like while this mat isn’t necessary, it is a nice addition. I haven’t purchased it yet, but if this continues to be my go to word game, I’ll probably end up buying one.
Overall, I really like this word game. I always loved games like Scrabble and Boggle. This one reminds me more of Boggle, but it adds a theme and some what of a worker placement to the game using the lack tiles. You’re trying to block other players, steal tiles, and group your letters together. It’s fun at two players and can get more cutthroat at higher counts. The grid and letters change each game so it’s going to be different every time. The art work works really nicely with the theme. Each letter tile is some place, invention, or item of high value that super villains would try to be stealing. Even the zeppelins are a nice touch. I like the idea of just one zeppelin appearing to case the joint, then another one appearing to steal the object. It’s a word game, so if you don’t like word games then this one probably won’t be for you. If you like Boggle, I think you’ll enjoy this game. Even just writing this review I want to play it now. I highly recommend this one, and can even see it as a gateway game for people who like word games but are tired of the typical ones.
This review ends some of my Spy Themed games. I’m always looking for similar themed games. If anyone has a suggestion for any other spy games, please feel free to let me know. Eventually, it would be cool to have themed game nights where we only play the themed games, and have food and drinks based around the theme. I started with spies, but I can also see Westerns, Pirates, or even video games being viable themes to go with.