Updated on 08.01.14

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Dominion Edition

Trent Hamm

For Father’s Day, my children gave me a copy of the game Dominion, and it would be an understatement to say that it’s a big hit around here. It’s actually a card game that two, three, or four people can play and you can get a game in in about half an hour, but it’s the creative thinking that really makes it stand out.

My wife and I have played it quite a bit on random, and we played it over and over again on our game night. In fact, I’m not ashamed to admit, my wife is quite good at the game and she figured out the first “killer strategy” (if you have the game, that strategy was taking tons of Villages as fast as possible) and then has figured out how to stay ahead of everyone else figuring out how to thump that strategy (our first counter-strategy was lots of Militias, and the response to that was lots of Moats).

It’s a blast – if you like games like Settlers of Catan and Ticket to Ride, it’s well worth trying.

Anyway, here are some great personal finance articles from the past week.

Inside the ‘Circle of Competence’: Buy What You Know Peter Lynch, Benjamin Graham, and Warren Buffett all subscribe to one basic idea: buy what you know. These individuals surrounded themselves with competent information and competent people and if they didn’t know an investment top to bottom, they didn’t invest. Seemed to work for them… (@ newsweek via seth’s blog)

The Benefits of a Gap Year A “gap year” – or a year of following other activities and interests between high school and college – is something I really believe in, and this article sets the case strongly for it. I think a year or two of real-world experience makes college much more worthwhile for many students. (@ art of manliness)

Your Locus of Control Who’s in control in your life? Are you? Or do you jump to attention when someone else hollers? Hint: it’s a lot easier to find personal finance success if you have an internal locus of control. (@ productivity 501)

7 Reasons to Stop Tracking Your Finances I don’t track my finances with the detail and fervor that I once did. I find that it’s useful for teaching good habits, but after a while, those good habits are so ingrained that you don’t need the teacher as much any more. (@ saving for serenity)

Be Prepared This is a heart-wrenching story and one that really outlines the need to get your estate planning in order sooner rather than later. (@ gather little by little)

‘Certified Organic’ May Not Be 100% No certification program is perfect, but the “certified organic” label may be further than most. I’m tending more and more towards buying local than just trusting the “organic” label for quality foods. Vive la Picket Fence Creamery! (@ sfgate via bitten)

Ten Things You Should Do When You Get Laid Off This is an excellent checklist to follow if you’ve recently lost your job. (@ consumerism commentary)

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  1. Carol C says:

    We love Dominion, as well as Settlers and Ticket, but Dominion is our current favorite!

  2. K. B. says:

    How topical this appeared today, Canada Day, previously known as Dominion Day :)

  3. MLR says:

    Gap years are a great idea, indeed.

    One thing of note: The 7 reasons to stop tracking your finances is satirical in nature, just wanted to make sure no one took it seriously. I know how the internet goes ;)

  4. Jica says:

    My husband and I just discovered “Munchkin”. It’s a card game similar to D&D but sillier. It’s a whole lot of fun.

  5. Lisa says:

    I had no clue you were a Boardgamer!! And to see you mention several of my favorite games was cool!!

    BTW, Dominion won Spiel des Jahres (German board game award) this year. Awesome game and a great expansion coming out very soon.

  6. Alan Schram says:

    Thanks MLR for pointing that out! I tricked a number of people with that title, and I expect many more will fall for it as well!

  7. J says:

    “A gap year should not be about extending one’s adolescence; instead, it should serve as a rite of passage, propelling you from boy to man.”

    “Gap years used to be the privilege of the rich; a man could wander around Europe while living off his trust fund.”

    The author may have these high aspirations to the “gap year”, but most people I’ve encountered who took them ended up with a low paying job, hanging around their parents house (playing video games, drinking, smoking pot), or being lucky enough (meaning their parents paid) to be able to go without income for a year and/or having no obligations to student loans.

    Something that would make FAR more sense is more advocacy of programs at colleges that let you study somewhere else for a semester or year (and keep financial aid/transfer credits), summer programs (which he mentions), and so on.

    Also, it would be GREAT if the idea of “sabbatical” would come back. I would certainly appreciate a large block of time to study, travel, refresh myself while not having to worry about keeping my job. Or if we could get some European-style vacation time where we could make longer visits. Not to mention sick time policies that actually treat people like humans, instead of the horrible “PTO” schemes that makes people trade vacation for sick time.

  8. Steve says:

    Dominion recently won the Spiel de Jarhes (“game of the year” in Germany). Also the first expansion, Dominion: Intrigue is coming out any day now. Though only having had the game for a week (and from your description of the “killer” stragegies) you’ve still got a ton of mileage left in the base game!

  9. Cassie says:

    Hi! I’ve been a subscriber on your site for a few months now, and I really love all the advice you give. I was wondering what credit card company you suggest for some one to build there credit if they have no credit. I’m a very responsible person with my money but am now finding there is a lot I can not do with out credit, so I am now looking to build it up, but I find there is a lot of company’s who are not willing to give me a credit card because I have no credit.

  10. Jean says:

    We just got Dominion as well, and it’s a big hit with us and friends. The most impressive strategy was shown to us by my cousin, who whittled down his deck with Chapels to get rid of all coppers and silvers and estates, and left him only with golds, villages and some other cards. I think he ended up with a 10-card deck, and was able to consistently buy two provinces every single turn at the end (going through his entire deck at each turn).

  11. Papa Charley says:

    Dominion and the Card version of Settlers of Catan saved many a dull and depressing nite when my wife recently spent six weeks on hospital bed rest during her pregnancy. It re-kindled my love for board games and, to be honest, brought back some of that one-on-one intimacy that can be lost during the day today routines of life.

  12. Lissa says:

    We just bought a friend of ours Dominion for his birthday, but have yet to play it. I don’t always enjoy the board games he likes, but with your recommendation I’ll have to give it a try.

    I too enjoy Ticket to Ride, but prefer playing it on the XBox 360 against the computer. :)

    I do want to recommend a board game called Stone Age. It has a lot of pieces and seemed too complicated to me at first, but it has become a favorite among our friends. There are a number of ways to create your own secret advantage and come from behind to win.

    I also recommend Ingenius – it’s a really simple tile game for up to 4 players. It’s a great quickie game.

  13. Craft Stew says:

    We play Dominion all the time. We love the fact that by varying the decks, the game is slightly different each time. Other popular games around our house are Stone Age and Arkham Horror.

    We actually make a lot of our own board games, since they are so expensive to buy. I have a url with some information up on my website. The url is http://craftstew.com/print-and-cut/craft-your-own-board-games

  14. Flexo says:

    Thanks for the mention!

    About gap years — I think they *can* be beneficial, and for some highly motivated individuals they are. But for many young people, it’s a waste of time. They don’t gain the experiences that grant them more understanding of the world, they don’t discover more about themselves. So it depends on the individual. And I’m wiling to bet the young adults most likely to make the most out of their gap year would be just as fine without it.

  15. Anna says:

    Umm… Trent, did you miss the IRONY in the article about not tracking your finances or did you just fail to read it before you posted it?

    Your text does not fit the article AT ALL.


  16. honestb says:

    “The author may have these high aspirations to the “gap year”, but most people I’ve encountered who took them ended up with a low paying job, hanging around their parents house (playing video games, drinking, smoking pot), or being lucky enough (meaning their parents paid) to be able to go without income for a year and/or having no obligations to student loans.”

    J, you make that sound like a bad thing.

    I spent my gap year working a low paying job, and I’d definitely recomend it to anyone. While I didn’t have much money, I was able to devote my free time to political activism and volunteering, and reading, figuring out what I was interested in.

    Would I want to work at a burger joint ever again? No. The job sucked, plain and simple, and that in and of itself made me a lot more motivated when I got to University. Right out of high school I didn’t really have much of a concept of what a good job was, everyone I knew worked crappy service industry jobs.

    More importantly, the gap year gave me time to sort out my other priorities before jumping into post-secondary school. Wealthy people travel – I just explored my own city, volunteering with and meeting homeless people and hanging out with them, going for bike rides, seeing lots of live music.

  17. Pierre says:

    why would you stack villages? they are pretty pointless unless you have other action cards to back them up with. you’re going to end up with a hand full of villages and copper.

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