Dominion’s final big box expansion was Dark Ages in late 2012. When it was released it was met with some criticism in the board game community as being too convoluted and landing outside the realm of regular Dominion. But personally, I find Dark Ages to be one of the most interesting sets in Dominion’s library.
Dark Ages is sort of the opposite of Prosperity; where the latter focused on expensive cards and lots of money, Dark Ages focuses on cheap cards and the prospect of being poor. And I think it hits this theme very well. Let’s see why.
There are a lot of new and interesting cards in the Dark Ages set. The first of which are the shelters. These are basically next-to-useless properties which every players starts with in place of Estates. I think that they are neat, in that you still want to get rid of them eventually, but in the meantime at least they do something for you. And the pink banner is pretty cool.
Another neat addition are Ruins, which are like lesser curses. They are more interesting curses, since they actually do things for you. Weak things mind your, like an Abandoned Mine which is only +1 coin. On the flip side, there are spoils, which are one-shot gold cards which you can gain for doing other things throughout the game.
Another nifty idea are the Knight cards. They are a basic set of ten cards, like all other action cards, but each one of these specific ten is a different knight which has their own action on top of the basic knight action. Awesome little twist there.
And there are all kinds of great cards on top of these, including Rats, which start out good for you but will multiply in your deck, Hermits which can be upgraded to Madmen when you discard it, and a few cards which actually allow you to take cards from the trash.
As you can see, there are all sorts of new ideas present in Dark Ages, all of which work together well. The ruins provide a different experience than curses and a lot of the cards involve trashing in a number of interesting ways.
One reason I really like this expansion is that it slows the game of Dominion down quite a bit. With less money going around, the race to victory point cards doesn’t go so fast. I really appreciate this, as I feel like I can sink my teeth into the game a little more. Sometimes with regular Dominion, it can go to fast and you don’t really have a good opportunity to try all your options and see what your deck can do. Dark Ages will add on that extra ten or fifteen minutes to really make you feel like you’ve played the game well.
Don’t listen to the naysayers. Dark Ages is a great expansion and well worthy of the Dominion line.
Base Game -
Base Game & Expansion -
My Expansion Ratings
-- The expansion improves upon the original base game.
-- The expansion provides a differing experience than the base game but neither improves or detracts from the base game.
-- The expansion is effective and provides an interesting new aspect, but the base game is still preferred.
-- The expansion detracts from the base game.
I protect the sheep in our society from the wolves.
I am a huge Dominion fan, own every expansion, and totally agree with your review of Dark Ages. It is one of my favorite sets.
because it's all I ever wanted to be..
Cloning gamers since 2003
It was the best to end on as it totally refreshed the game for us.