Best Dominion Expansions – Ranked & Reviewed (2019)
After hundreds of Dominion games and your fifth consecutive win using Gardens, you may start to ask yourself, “Is there more?”. The answer is a resounding yes. Dominion has one of the largest libraries of game expansions ever, and have even more in the works. From Tolkien-esque adventures, empire building, alchemical golems, and even werewolves, Dominion literally has something for everyone.
With so much information and data, it can be tricky to figure out where to start but have no fear. We are here to help. Here, we’ll cover each expansion, what it’s like, any major rules changes, and what we think of it. We’ve played countless games, and spent numerous hours getting the low down on every expansion.
Dominion Expansions Ranked
Dominion: Dark Ages
The dark ages have arrived; historically inaccurate perhaps, but they’ve arrived all the same. Dominion: Dark Ages plays upon the theme by introducing the squalor and the hardships that the average people felt during this vaguely-medieval era. The cards all play heavily on this theme and give an overall grim look for the peasants under your rule.
To reinforce the grim atmosphere, Dark Ages amps up card trashing and attacking to a whole new level.
In the Dominion core game, trashing a card was the end, but not here. The card trashing mechanic has been upgraded and given an immense boost. Most cards added all have the ability to trash cards in some way or give you a bonus when you trash a card on your turn, which is a good thing because you’re going to pick up a lot of Ruin cards and junk cards along the way.
There are also a lot of new attack cards in the deck this time around and a lot of setups do not give you a reaction to defend yourself. Luckily, if you pick up a Ruin or Curse, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to trash them.
If you’re not trashing and attacking in Dark Ages then you’ll be left behind very quickly.
Major Rule Changes
There are several card types that you won’t recognize from the Core game of Dominion, other players will be able to pick up and go right from the start.
Shelters are the first card type that you’re going to use in the Dark Ages expansion. They replace Estates in your starting deck, and every player will start with 3 Shelters (1 of each type) instead of Estates in their starting hand. They are all equally annoying. An action card that does nothing but gives you another action is very extremely superfluous and redundant (see what I did there?). Luckily, you will be trashing a lot of cards in Dark Ages and they probably won’t stay in your deck for very long.
Ruins are the next fun little addition. They come into your deck through other players’ attacks like Curses. Unlike Curses, however, they don’t take away points. They fill your deck with useless cards that keep you from drawing the ones you really need.
Knights are the last new type of cards that have special rules associated with them. When you play a game that has Knights in the supply pile, you get to take all of the Knights (Sirs & Dames), shuffle them up, and place them all together in one supply pile. Each Knight has its own special card text and each one has a completely different ability, and if that wasn’t enough, each Knight can be any of the 3 major card types (action, victory, or attack). They are all incredibly useful and fun to play.
Upgradeable cards are first introduced in Dark Ages. With upgradeable cards, you can take a poor little “Urchin” from the street, and then once played, you have the option to upgrade him into a hardened Mercenary. With these types of cards you are allowed to purchase the initial version of the card “Urchin”, and then after you play it from your hand you have the option to trash the “Urchin” card and instead add a “Mercenary” card to your deck in its stead. This mechanic is used in several other expansions as well, but to my knowledge, it started here.
Spoils are a new type of treasure card. You gain a Spoils card whenever you play certain attack cards which represent the wealth you’ve just pillaged from some poor sheep herder (You monster!). They act as a disposable treasure card with a value of $3. After you play a Spoils card for its value it goes back into the Spoils supply and is removed from your deck. It’s an easy way to get a quick buck, but it won’t last forever so make sure you spend it wisely, or just keep attacking until you have more.
last forever so make sure you spend it wisely, or just keep attacking until you have more.
Grim Parade: Armory, Band of Misfits, Catacombs, Cultist, Forager, Fortress, Knights, Market Square, Procession, Hunting Grounds
Playing Chess With Death: Bandit Camp, Graverobber, Junk Dealer, Mystic, Pillage, Rats, Sage, Scavenger, Storeroom, Vagrant
Dark Ages is my personal favorite expansion in the list. I love to trash cards and try and streamline my deck, mechanics that have always been a fun strategy for me. It also has my personal favorite card, Rats. I’ve played this card so many times, and it’s so obnoxious that Kendra’s mom has actually refused to play any game that has Rats in it. It’s that awesome of a card.
Money makes the world go round! In the Prosperity expansion, you’ll have so much money that you’ll have to hire a servant to keep track of all of your servants. It’s a tough life.
Prosperity delivers exactly what the title promises, boundless prosperity. With all that newfound wealth it’s going to seem silly to have $10-$15 to spend on just a $2 card. Luckily Prosperity adds a ton of new cards with increased cost and increased value. It introduces more expensive treasure cards (Platinum) and victory cards (Colony) so that you’ll be sure to find something to spend all that money that’s burning a hole in your pocket.
Major Rule Changes
When setting up the base game you’ll immediately notice two new additions: Colonies and Platinum.
Colony: Whoever thought that Provinces alone win games is in for a rough awakening. Colonies are worth 10 victory points, making them a huge game changer. Be careful though, the game still ends when the Provinces are all gone, so make sure you keep an eye on them.
Platinum: This is your upgraded treasure card. Its value is $5 and costs $9 treasure to buy. If you manage to pick up a Platinum early in the game, your purchasing power will quickly begin to skyrocket as the game goes on, and all of those new expensive cards will easily be in reach.
Prosperity also includes two sets of tokens: Victory tokens which are numbered and are worth the victory points printed on the side, and Treasure tokens which can be saved between rounds and spent in later turns.
Every player will also have their own playing mat, whose only purpose is to set your tokens on top to keep track of them. If you’re playing with multiple expansions it may just be easier to leave them to the side.
Beginners: Bank, Counting House, Expand, Goons, Monument, Rabble, Royal Seal, Venture, Watchtower, Worker’s Village
Friendly Interactive: Bishop, City, Contraband, Forge, Hoard, Peddler, Royal Seal, Trade Route, Vault, Worker’s Village
Big Actions: City, Expand, Grand Market, King’s Court, Loan, Mint, Quarry, Rabble, Talisman, Vault
Prosperity adds some very interesting combos and a lot of room to make your own house rules on setups. It’s also really fun to combine this particular expansion with others. The added Platinums and Colonies can make for some very interesting games.
My favorite card in this expansion is the Counting House. With Counting House you can look through the entirety of your discard pile and put all of your Coppers into your hand for use that turn. This can get out of hand very quickly if used correctly. I’ve had turns where I’ve played enough coppers that I was able to buy 2 Provinces in one turn.
If you like having an insane amount of money in your deck, then Prosperity is definitely for you.
The card motif here is incredible. You may as well crank up the Lord of the Rings soundtrack and put on your LARP gear while playing this expansion. Adventures is where card upgrading really shines. You’ll have several different cards that when used, give you the option to trash a card and draw an upgraded version. You can watch your little recruit Fighter grow up and become a Champion in a few turns. Honestly a wizard and hobbit card would not be out of place in this expansion, however, there is a bridge troll.
Major Rule Changes
Adventuring is tricky work, and the game changes reflect that. This expansion comes with a host of additional pieces that can be a little difficult to keep track of.
Every good adventure starts out at a tavern, and each player will get their own tavern mat. Similar to the mats in Seaside, they only come out for certain cards, and each card can do something different. It’s usually a place to store a card that you can recall for later use.
Players will also have several types of tokens that are associated with some of the cards. Depending on what side of the particular token is facing up (heads or tails) then the card will have different effects.
Card upgrades are a very interesting part of this expansion. There are two sets of upgradeable cards: Page and Peasants.
Peasant upgrades tell a rather interesting story in their upgrade process.
Peasants > Soldiers > Fugitive > Disciple > Teacher
Our upgradeable peasant is drafted into the military, deserts, finds solace at a monastery, and eventually obtains wisdom and becomes a teacher.
Page > Treasure Hunter > Warrior > Hero > Champion
Each upgradeable card functions differently and it may not always be in your best interest to upgrade cards. Some cards will be attacks and some will be actions. The final form of the Page is a duration card that protects you from all attacks, so having at least one of those in your deck is quite the advantage.
If this is one of your first expansions, this also may be your experience with Event cards. Event cards are placed near your supply piles. There is only one of each card and if you pay the cost and use a buy you can use the text of the Event card. It can be anything from gaining victory points, cards, or some even attack other players.
Gentle Intro: Scouting Party, Amulet, Distant Lands, Dungeon, Duplicate, Giant, Hireling, Port, Ranger, Ratcatcher, Treasure Trove
Expert Intro: Mission, Plan, Caravan Guard, Coin of the Realm, Haunted Woods, Lost City, Magpie, Peasant, Raze, Swamp Hag, Transmogrify, Wine Merchant
Adventures is one of my favorite expansions. The upgradeable cards are extremely useful and are incredibly fun to play. I have a tendency to just work on upgrading cards and ignore a strategy because I think they’re so cool.
The only issue I have with this expansion is that there are so many moving parts with it that it sometimes seems overwhelming or difficult to keep track of it all. The tokens, in particular, took me a minute to figure out which was which because they just don’t seem distinct enough to tell the difference at a quick glance.
Dominion Renaissance is here! With Rio Grande’s 12th expansion of Dominion, comes some fresh blood into the deck builder, and I have nothing but good things to say about it!
The Empire has been built, the werewolves pushed out and promptly forgotten, and the kingdom is flourishing. The Renaissance was a time of new ideas, experimentation, and an explosion of cultural exchange.
Renaissance is a solid expansion and is one of the best that Rio Grande has put out. There are some recurring rules that veterans to the game will immediately recognize (durations), and they’ve simplified and refined some of the concepts of previous games. All together it creates a very enjoyable experience throughout by giving players a little bit of what they originally fell in love with, and also adding a few very exciting rules and cards. It’s beginner friendly while still adding a ton of depth for experienced players.
Major Rule Changes
The coin system that several expansions have used has been expanded upon and streamlined. Renaissance now comes with another player board with 2 sections; coffers and villagers.
Coffers work just like they did in other games, they’re just named now and have a board. Every coin in a player’s coffer can be removed to add extra money to spend on that turn. By adding coins to the coffer, players can effectively save money up money from turn to turn for those big purchases.
Villagers work in a similar way, but instead of money, each villager that is removed from the village section of the board is an extra action.
It’s a similar system used in previous expansions, but having a specific name to call it, and having the boards makes it much easier to keep track of, and does help with explaining the game to newbies.
Artifacts are a new type of card in Renaissance. When certain actions/conditions are played/met players will be prompted to take control of an artifact. The artifact sits in front of that player and gives a bonus until another player meets the conditions and take it away from them.
Each one gives a different bonus, and they can be brutal.
Some examples of what they do:
Key: Gives the controlling player +1 money at the beginning of each turn.
Flag: Gives the controlling player +1 card during their draw phase.
Treasure Chest: Gives the controlling player +1 GOLD at the beginning of the buy phase (HOLY SMOKES!)
As you can see you’re going to want to try and get some of these.
The final major addition to Renaissance is the Projects. These are similar to Event cards from Adventures, but each one can only be purchased once, and then you get the bonus. Projects sit off to the side of the supply pile and can be purchased just like any other card. When purchased players will place a color-coded cube onto the project to indicate which players have bout what. The bonuses can be game-changing.
Fleet has to be my favorite project. When purchased, anyone who has bought Fleet will get an extra turn after the game ends. So when the last Province is taken or the 3rd supply pile empties everyone who has Fleet will basically get a last chance redemption round to scramble and boost their final score.
Cards: Acting Troupe, Experiment, Flag Bearer, Hideout, Improve, Inventor, Lackeys, Old Witch, Seer, Treasurer
Projects: Citadel, Star Chart
Cards: Border Guard, Cargo Ship, Ducat, Mountain Village, Priest, Recruiter, Sculptor, Silk Merchant, Swashbuckler, Villain
Renaissance is an excellent expansion, and if you love Dominion as much as we do, it’s going to see your table often. Each expansion has a few cards that do similar things, but Renaissance manages to take those and rework them so that I don’t feel like I’ve seen this all before. I really like the depth that projects add, and Coffer/Villager system works wonders at keeping the board organized. Renaissance is a must and in my top 5 favorite expansions.
“Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!” It’s time to get your sea legs under you and expand your Dominion to the seas. As with all the major Dominion expansions they fall under a particular theme and Seaside (as you can imagine) is nautically-themed. You’ll have access to pirate ships, hidden islands, and the safety of your own port.
This is a player’s first introduction to duration cards, and introduces noncard elements like coins and playing mats. Overall it’s a lot of new changes, but nothing ever truly feels out of place in this expansion. All of the cards seem to work together and it’s fairly easy to see from the preset card layout how everything is supposed to interact.
Rio Grande Games pushes the nautical theme heavily in this expansion, so fans of pirates and swashbuckling will appreciate the thematic license that’s been taken here.
Major Rule Changes
Seaside introduces several new mechanics to your Dominion game. Several cards will have small mats associated with their use and allow you to hold cards on your mat (instead of your deck) or keep track of their effects throughout the game.
The Native village and Island card both place cards on mats that keep unwanted cards out of the rotation, freeing up your hands for more useful cards.
Pirate ship allows you to put a coin token on the mat that alters the effectiveness of future pirate ships played.
What goes around comes around. Duration cards (marked orange) will stay in play after you first play them and will activate another effect on your next turn. This makes planning your deck and future steps even more important.
Haven, for example, when first played allows you to draw an additional card, and gain +1 action. You must then take a card from your hand and hide it under the Haven card and the card cannot be used this turn. On your next turn you pick up the hidden card and it goes into your hand.
With something like this a card that won’t help you on this turn could make a huge difference if you had it the next turn.
Tokens and Coins
Two types of tokens are added with Seaside, Embargo tokens, and Coin tokens. Embargo tokens are used by several cards to track different uses and are all spelled out on the individual cards when needed. Coin tokens are the same way, but instead of being used for tracking are used for additional treasure which can be saved from turn to turn to build up your wealth in the hopes of a large purchase later on.
High Seas: Bazaar, Caravan, Embargo, Explorer, Haven, Island, Lookout, Pirate Ship, Smugglers, Wharf
Buried Treasure: Ambassador, Cutpurse, Fishing Village, Lighthouse, Outpost, Pearl Diver, Tactician, Treasure Map, Warehouse, Wharf
Shipwrecks: Ghost Ship, Merchant Ship, Native Village, Navigator, Pearl Diver, Salvager, Sea Hag, Smugglers, Treasury, Warehouse
Seaside is an excellent expansion that introduces quite a lot of new elements for just one box. Being a former sailor, I think I may be a little partial, but it’s a fantastic game. The island and the Native village add a lot of new strategies to the game, but personally, I’ve never been too successful with them. I always get outmaneuvered. I have had some awesome success using the pirate ship. There’s nothing quite like the ability to trash an opponent’s gold.
It’s time to expand into a mighty Empire. Your enemies have been conquered and all that remains is your empire, with all the struggles that come along with it; like taxes, national debt, and whose turn is it to cut the ribbon at the grand opening of the 100th mega-mart in the kingdom.
Empires in an excellent expansion. It adds several elements that once again don’t feel out of place, and unlike Adventures, I never felt overwhelmed at any point with new rules. It has a decent amount of attack cards, but it also adds some new interesting victory cards and some very powerful cards that can only be purchased with new special rules.
Major Rule Changes
Empires introduces several new elements and one of the most glaring is the idea of debt (Too soon!)
With the Copper debt tokens, players can purchase specific cards with the Copper symbol without having the treasure to actually pay for it. The player then can’t buy anything else until they use treasure to pay off their accumulated coins. I actually enjoy the debt cards so I usually have a large pile of them in front of me.
Split Supply Cards
Split supply cards are also a new feature that’s seen in this expansion. With the split cards, there will be 2 separate cards in a single supply pile.
For an example, we’ll use Catapult and Rocks. To set them up you’ll take all the Catapult cards and place them on top of the Rocks cards. You won’t be able to purchase any of the rock cards until all of the Catapult cards have been purchased first. This adds some mid-game strategies that come into play, and can drastically alter your decisions.
There’s one other special Split deck pile and that is the Castles. The castle deck is similar to the Knights from Adventure, but they aren’t stacked in random order. They’re placed with the cheapest (Humble Castle) on top and as you work your way down the supply pile they become more expensive, but also much more lucrative the closer you get to the bottom.
New Event Cards
New events also make their appearance here and each one represents something new happening in your empire. You play events by paying the treasure cost on the card and using one of your buys that turn. Then you simply follow the text on the card. Event cards stay on the table and every player may continue to purchase them on their turn (unless otherwise stated on the card). Probably my favorite event is “Salt the Earth”. It’s useful as a field control card, and it also is just a horrifying concept (Google “salt the earth”).
Landmarks are another new set of cards that pop up in Empires. They’re similar to Events in that they sit off to the side, however, players can’t purchase them. Landmarks change or add to scoring at the end of the game and can drastically affect the outcome of a game.
For example, the Fountain card gives a player 15 extra points if they have at least 10 coppers in their deck, or The Wall that takes away 1 point for every card above 15 in your deck (ouch).
Basic Intro: Tower, Wedding, Castles, Chariot Race, City Quarter, Engineer, Farmers’ Market,
Forum, Legionary, Patrician/Emporium, Sacrifice, Villa
Advanced Intro: Arena, Triumphal Arch, Archive, Capital, Catapult/Rocks, Crown,
Enchantress, Gladiator/Fortune, Groundskeeper, Royal Blacksmith, Settlers/Bustling Village, Temple
I really enjoyed Empires. It meshes really well with Adventures and the two combined are extremely fun to play. I really enjoyed the upgrade mechanics of Adventures, and Empires seems like a natural progression from there. If you’re thinking of an order I would personally go Adventures first and then Empires. I think they just go really well together.
Guilds were invented to promote the welfare and training of a particular trade. They created their own societies and rules to keep good standing with the guild, and if you were unlucky enough to ever raise the ire of the guild you’d never find work. Dominion Guilds works very similarly by adding new action cards that deal with craftsman and some nasty attack cards if your craftsmen are caught unawares.
Guilds offers quite a lot of new strategy while keeping the rules very similar to the Dominion core game. If you’re looking for your first expansion then Guilds will feel very natural. There are not too many additional rules and all of the cards work well not only with the Dominion core game but with most other expansions as well.
Major Rule Changes
Coin tokens are used for the Guilds expansion and represent money that can be saved or spent on subsequent turns. There are also several cards that can alter the first 2 turns of the game. For example, if you are playing with the Baker, then every player starts the game with a coin token. You can gain an additional token if you manage to get lucky and get a hand of all coppers on your first turn. This, in essence, will give you an extra $2 to spend on the first two turns which are crucial to the game, making it very interesting indeed.
Arts and Crafts: Stonemason, Advisor, Baker, Journeyman, Merchant Guild / Laboratory,
Cellar, Workshop, Festival, Moneylender
Clean Living: Butcher, Baker, Candlestick Maker, Doctor, Soothsayer / Militia, Thief,
Moneylender, Gardens, Village
Gilding the Lily: Plaza, Masterpiece, Candlestick Maker, Taxman, Herald / Library, Remodel,
Adventurer, Market, Chancellor
It’s a bit goofy, but my favorite set of cards in this expansion is the Butcher, Baker, and Candlestick Maker. I always try to play them together and grin like an idiot at the table. Usually, something is thrown at me.
The Guilds expansion is very impressive for a small box expansion. There’s a lot of fun elements that add a ton of depth to the game. It’s an excellent choice if you are looking for the next logical step up from the Dominion core game. The value is even better, considering that Rio Grande Games has started to combine the Guilds & Cornucopia expansions together, giving you even more bang for your box.
It is a time for celebration and excess. Good fortunes are on the way and it’s time to celebrate your kingdom’s wealth. The Cornucopia establishes your Dominion at the end of a good harvest, a time of plenty, and the card rules and the new cards (prizes) all fit the theme well.
In Cornucopia, you’re going to be burning through your deck. There are quite a few cards that require you to continuously discard cards from your deck until you find a particular card. This pushes the theme of excess and allows you to build your decks with the idea that your going to be constantly discarding cards.
Major Rule Changes
The biggest change you’ll notice is the Prize cards. Certain cards will allow you to perform an action, and if the right conditions are met you will have the opportunity to draw 1 of 5 the special Prize cards.
- Bag of Gold
- Trusty Steed
There are only 5 Prizes in the entire game, with only 1 of each type, and they all have incredible abilities. Prizes are probably some of the strongest cards in any Dominion Expansion, and they are also rather difficult to get.
Tournament is a card that gives you one way of obtaining a Prize. Once a turn that you play a Tournament, you can reveal a province from your hand. If you do, you can discard a Province for one of the coveted prizes.
Cornucopia & Dominion Presets
Bounty of the Hunt: Harvest, Horn of Plenty, Hunting Party, Menagerie, Tournament, Cellar,
Festival, Militia, Moneylender, Smithy
Bad Omens: Fortune Teller, Hamlet, Horn of Plenty, Jester, Remake, Adventurer, Bureaucrat,
Laboratory, Spy, Throne Room
The Jester’s Workshop: Fairgrounds, Farming Village, Horse Traders, Jester, Young Witch,
Feast, Laboratory, Market, Remodel, Workshop; Bane: Chancellor
I really enjoyed Cornucopia. The Prize cards are absolutely fantastic and Kendra and I always seem to race to see who can get our favorite card (Trusty Steed). They seem completely overpowered, but with only 1 copy of any Prize in the game, it’s definitely worth trying to get one as early as possible.
I don’t normally like the small box expansions, however Guilds and Cornucopia are my favorites of the three, and Rio Grande Games (fortunately) started packaging the two of them together.
The lands are bigger than you once thought. Once you’ve administered your empire, it’s time to branch out and look further. The Hinterlands are the last unexplored areas of your Dominion and they’re just begging to be conquered.
The Hinterlands theme focuses on trading and exploring foreign trade routes outside the normal domain of your ruler. In keeping with the trade route theme, many of the cards allow you to gain additional cards for various reasons, either when you purchase a new card or when you play a specific action card. You may find yourself gaining several cards in one turn, even if you’ve only had one buy.
Major Rule Changes
Hinterlands has very simple game mechanics that make it an easy game to jump right into. There’s no little mats, tokens, or coins to deal with and everything is basically a normal game of Dominion. The complexity of this particular expansion comes in on the card text. Each card has rules that allow you to gain multiple cards from your actions. The opportunities for combos are excellent, intertwining quite well not only within this expansion, but combined with others as well.
Introduction: Cache, Crossroads, Develop, Haggler, Jack of all Trades, Margrave, Nomad Camp, Oasis, Spice Merchant, Stables
Fair Trades: Border Village, Cartographer, Develop, Duchess, Farmland, Ill-Gotten Gains,
Noble Brigand, Silk Road, Stables, Trader
Bargains: Border Village, Cache, Duchess, Fool’s Gold, Haggler, Highway, Nomad Camp, Scheme, Spice Merchant, Trader
Gambits: Cartographer, Crossroads, Embassy, Inn, Jack of All Trades, Mandarin, Nomad Camp, Oasis, Oracle, Tunnel
The Hinterlands expansion is great. Thematically it’s very bland. Standing side by side next to Dark Ages or Prosperity it looks very “vanilla”. Don’t misunderstand, I really like vanilla flavor. All of the cards work well together and there’s no real terrible card that makes you want to smack your head against the table, but there’s also no big “Ah ha!” moments with this expansion either.
We’ve had plenty of playthroughs with our Hinterlands expansion, and we’ve had a great time with it. We’ve also tried mixing it with other expansions, and haven’t played an only-Hinterlands game since we bought it. I personally enjoy it, but think it’s best mixed with one of the more thematically-sound expansions. What it lacks in theme, it makes up for in technically-sound cards.
Fear the night! Vampires and werewolves are coming to your Dominion. In fact, they’re already here, and it’s still a better love story than Twilight.
Nocturne adds some very thematic elements that are perfect for a spooky night. If it’s Halloween or if anyone in your game group has a Nightmare Before Christmas tattoo you’ll feel right at home.
Major Rule Changes
The rule changes in Nocturne really make the expansion shine. It introduces an entirely new phase called the Night phase.
Night comes after your action and buy phases and you can play any number of Night cards in your hand. This is where all your creepy crawlies can be used to really wreak havoc on your game.
Nocturne also adds some new events, but keeping with the theme calls them Boons, Hexes, and States. They play basically like any other event, and the States (when played on you) stay in front of you for a few turns and alter your turn by adding some extra coins or canceling your entire buy phase, stopping you from gaining any cards that turn.
Dusk: Blessed Village, Cobbler, Den of Sin, Faithful Hound, Fool, Monastery, Night Watchman, Shepherd, Tormentor, Tragic Hero
Midnight: Conclave, Crypt, Cursed Village, Devil’s Workshop, Druid (The Swamp’s Gift, The Flame’s Gift, The Wind’s Gift), Exorcist, Leprechaun, Pooka, Raider, Secret Cave
Dominion expansions usually follow a specific theme, and with Nocturne, they’ve dialed it up to 11. Everything has been altered to fit the theme and it’s rather fun. I’ve really enjoyed all of the horror-themed cards, and Halloween is one of Kendra’s favorite times of the year.
With that in mind, I don’t think it meshes well with the other expansion. I personally like to play Nocturne by itself or with Dark Ages. I have a tendency to get bogged down when there are two expansions with drastic rule changes fighting for attention. As a standalone expansion, I absolutely love Nocturne. I do not like mixing it with too many of the other rule-heavy expansions.
It’s time to tap into the forbidden arts. Spin straw into gold or spin your servants into gold. Alchemy is all about altering the laws of exchange and it’s not all equivalent.
Alchemy is a small expansion. It feels as if it’s a little under half the size of one of the big box expansions. As you can imagine, it uses the lore of alchemical mythology. Turning lead into gold, transmutation, and the coveted Philosopher’s Stone.
Major Rule Changes
The only major rule change is the introduction of Potions as a treasure card. Certain cards have a small blue potion icon and can only be purchased by using a Potion card. Potions are added to the treasure supply pile and cost $4 to purchase. They work just like any other treasure.
Alchemy & Dominion Presets
Forbidden Arts: Apprentice, Familiar, Possession, University, Bandit, Cellar, Council Room, Gardens, Laboratory, Throne Room
Potion Mixers: Alchemist, Apothecary, Golem, Herbalist, Transmute, Cellar, Festival, Militia, Poacher, Smithy
Chemistry Lesson: Alchemist, Golem, Philosopher’s Stone, University, Bureaucrat, Market, Moat, Remodel, Vassal, Witch
As a standalone expansion, Alchemy adds some interesting elements, but never quite stands up on its own. Potions add a bit of flare to the game and can really change up the strategy, but no other expansions use it, and with that alone in mind it seems to limit the combinations that can be done with the expansion.
The cards that you do get do offer some variety, however. Transmute is probably the best example where you can trash certain cards and “Transmute” them into other cards. It’s an interesting concept but compared to everything else I would place it lower on my priorities of expansions.
There is a dark shadow fallen over the court in your Dominion. Poisoners and conspiracy lurk in every shadow. Trust is rare and you never know if your friends are your enemies or if your enemies are super enemies.
Dominion Intrigue feels very much like the core game of Dominion with thematic leanings towards royal court plots and conspiracies, and there’s a reason for that. Dominion Intrigue isn’t really an expansion in the traditional sense. It’s a standalone game in that it comes with all of the base cards, but it feels like an expansion. (Note: The Second Edition of the game is an expansion.)
Major Rule Changes
There is only one major rule change from Core Dominion and Intrigue. Intrigue introduces several cards with variable effects.
The Pawn, for example, gives players the option to choose 2 different bonuses from the following.
Intrigue does introduce one other new game mechanic. Victory cards aren’t just for points anymore. Intrigue introduces victory cards that actually do things besides offer end-game points.
The Harem card is worth 2 points at the end of the game and during the game can be played for 2 treasure.
The Great Hall card gives +1 action and +1 card while also being worth 1 victory point at the end of the game.
It does change up when players start buying victory cards and they do count as part of the supply pile for ending the game.
Victory Dance: Bridge, Duke, Great Hall, Harem, Ironworks, Masquerade, Nobles, Pawn, Scout, Upgrade
Secret Schemes: Conspirator, Harem, Ironworks, Pawn, Saboteur, Shanty Town, Steward, Swindler, Trading Post, Tribute
Best Wishes: Coppersmith, Courtyard, Masquerade, Scout, Shanty Town, Steward, Torturer, Trading Post, Upgrade, Wishing Well
Dominion Intrigue (First Edition) isn’t technically an expansion. It’s a standalone version of the game that comes with all of the base cards (copper, province, etc). That being said it’s more of an alternate starting point into the world of Dominion. The Second Edition has been released with a lot of clarification and streamlining. Personally, I didn’t like the cards as much as the Dominion core game. They’re not bad and they offer some interesting combinations, but I just always find myself comparing it to the Core game whenever I play, and for me, it just doesn’t hold up as a standalone, and I personally think it doesn’t offer enough to be a really cool expansion.
Now go out there and seize your Dominion!
With (literally) years of expansions on the market today, it might be hard to find the right one for your gaming group. Dominion is such an incredible game with a ton of replayability.
When you start to add expansions, you might find it’s hard to stop. Not only do you get an entirely new set of cards, but they all can be combined to play off the strengths of several expansions. My favorite combo is Prosperity and Dark Ages.
With a nearly endless set of card combinations, these games have a staggeringly high amount of options. Get out there and seize your Dominion!
What expansions have you played? What are your favorite combos? Drop a comment below and let us know what you think!