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Subject: Domionion Buying Guide rss

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David Debien
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I am cross posting this from my geeklist:

Dominion Buying Guide in order to increase the chances that anyone seeking advice on how to start a Dominion collection will run across the article.

So you have decided to start a Dominion collection, but all of the expansions are a little overwhelming. Where to start? Whats is required? Which expansions will best suite your style of play?

Dominion has been my favorite game for a number of years now. I own every expansion and promo card and use them all regularly. As such, I feel I am qualified to present this primer to those looking at possibly building a Dominion collection of their own.

To start, you will need a Dominion set that includes the base cards. These cards include the basic money cards of Copper, Silver and Gold as well as the basic victory cards which include Estates, Duchies and Provinces. In addition, you will need the Curse cards.

The original Dominion is one of the boxes that includes these cards. The Intrigue expansion is the other.

However, it is possible to buy neither of these and still get the required basic cards by instead purchasing Dominion: Base Cards for around $15. To have a playable game, you will need to also purchase at least 1 other expansion from this list.

Dominion


Note: For info about second edition Dominion, see below, near the end.

The original set is the tamest of the lot when it comes to card affects and complexity. As such, this set gets some negative feedback from the Dominion community for being boring. However, it has a high density of the most iconic Dominion cards such as Thief, Library, Village and Militia.

Most of the later sets take the basic ideas presented in base set and combines them in interesting ways with a few new twists here and there.

I think this is a great starting point for anyone wanting to dip their toes into Dominion, but there is a danger that there won't be enough here to keep a regular gamer's attention for long.

A good majority of people who tried Dominion, found it so-so and never gave it another shot are those who only tried cards from the basic set.

That said, this set has a good cross section of most of what the game has to offer from a surface level. There are plenty of powerful card combinations, groan inducing attack cards, and cards that introduce the very important idea of deck thinning.

TLDR, tell me if I should buy this:


For those already familiar with deck building, you can skip this at first but come back to get it if you decide to build out your collection.

IF this is your first foray into deck building, this set is essential.

Dominion: Intrigue


Many people will advise you to go straight to this expansion and skip the basic set, and I endorse this idea as long as you have some idea of what deck building is about or if you will be playing with experienced gamers.

Intrigue is the set most similar to basic Dominion, with the one difference being that it adds quite a few more cards that promote inter-active play, which is a big plus in my book.

Many Dominion fans rate this as their favorite expansion to date and I rate it quite high as well. Intrigue takes the ideas in the base set and kicks everything up a notch.

It should be noted, if you want to play Dominion with more than 4 players, it is advisable to purchase this and Dominion. Alternatively, you could purchase either this or Dominion and also purchase the Base Cards separately.

TLDR Tell me what I want to know:

Experienced gamers and/or deck builders should jump straight to Intrigue and circle back to basic Dominion later if you decide to build out your collection further.

Those who are decided they want to start with vanilla Dominion and want an expansion or two are advised to look elsewhere for their first expansion as Intrigue is more of the same as the base set unless they want to play with 5 or more.

Dominion: Seaside


his is a great first expansion to add to either vanilla Dominion or Intrigue.

Seaside adds a new mechanism via the concept of duration cards. These cards, once played, remain in play after your turn and continue to impact the playing space of the other players. This increases player interaction dramatically and adds an entirely new dimension to strategy.

The non duration cards in seaside are also quite good.

Some collectors have complained that the art in Seaside does not go well with the art in the other sets. This doesn't bother me and it would be a shame to avoid this fantastic expansion for this reason, but if the visual presentation of a game is a top 2 priority for you, it is worth considering. You can browse the image catalog to get an idea.

TLDR:

Seaside is an essential expansion that any Dominion collector will want to add quickly if not immediately. The duration mechanism introduced by this expansion adds a lot of depth, strategy and fun to the game.

Dominion: Prosperity


I am fairly certain this is the most highly rated Dominion expansion.

This is mainly due to the fact that Prosperity completely re-invigorates the somewhat stagnant game end/victory conditions by introducing BIG money cards and even BIGGER victory cards.

Prosperity is all about building crazy powerful card combinations and having the kinds of turns that would make a basic Dominion player's jaw drop in utter shock while they consulted the rules to figure out a way to disallow what they just witnessed.

I am going to go out on a limb here and say that while Prosperity well deserves its reputation as one of the best if not THE best expansions, I do not recommend it be included in an initial purchase. Prosperity is something to work up to after players have experienced 2 or 3 other sets.

Going straight to Prosperity is like starting your 7 course meal with dessert.

TLDR:

Excellent expansion for intermediate to advanced Dominion players looking to spice up their game. Not recommended as an initial purchase.

Dominion: Alchemy


The lowest rated Dominion expansion introduces an interesting new mechanism via the Potion money card. Certain cards in this set require players to have a Potion card in their hand in addition to the traditional Coin cost.

Why is this an issue? Well, Dominion is a game about building a lean efficient deck. Adding potions to one's deck messes with this concept and not all of the Alchemy cards that require potions are worth this extra cost in time and deck inefficiency.

Also, a big selling point of Dominion especially for experienced players is that you can take cards from all of your sets and bring them together to make a unique gaming experience. The problem with Alchemy cards is in order for Potions to be worth it, you need at least 2 or 3 of them in the basic setup of 10 cards if not more. So, putting Alchemy cards into a setup is usually a commitment to play an Alchemy heavy spread, which is going to cut down on variety.

All that said, there are some amazing cards here that do things you won't find in any other set.

TLDR
Not recommended for an initial or even second or third expansion.

Dominion: Cornucopia

Remember what I said about Dominion being a game about building a lean efficient deck? Cornucopia takes that concept and throws it out the window. This expansion rewards players for having large decks with lots of different cards, a brilliant twist to the game and great new way to liven up the game for players getting fatigued with the general arc most Dominion games tend to take.

Similar to Prosperity, I recommend Cornucopia as an essential expansion for players who have already experienced a decent cross section of what Dominion has to offer.

TLDR

A great expansion that stands regular Dominion play on its head. Not recommended until you have 3-4 sets.

Dominion: Hinterlands

Hinterlands adds cards that reward you immediately when you purchase them rather than waiting to get them into your hand, which can take some time.

This is an overall excellent expansion with cards that add a nice variety of affects. I have been listing the expansions in the order of their release and by now, the card affects and some of the combinations with other cards are starting to get a little complex with outcomes that might not be obvious at first pass. As such, I recommend this as a solid first or second expansion for gamers wanting a little more meat and strategy in their Dominion plays.

TLDR
Great early expansion for someone looking for more depth of strategy.

Dominion: Dark Ages


If Prosperity stood the stale Dominion story arc on its head, then Dark Ages kicked it in the nuts and knocked its teeth out.

Dark Ages is a whole different critter when it comes to Dominion expansions. Gone are your boring starting victory cards, which have no purpose but to clog your hand and give you a few points at game end if you don't manage to do the right thing and dump them from your deck in the opening rounds. In place of Estates you now have hovels which are like anemic versions of other action cards but can be useful in interesting ways. These cards are a great way to shake up the rather scripted opening rounds of most Dominion plays.

And boy will you need those starting hovels, because Dark Ages is brutal and nasty but not short, full of attacks and cards that find other ways to win the game outside of the normal arc of building up your buying power to buy the big victory cards. Plays with a lot of Dark Ages cards are typically much longer and very interactive as players scrap for small advantages here and there. Also, Dark Ages will punish poor play harder than any other expansion.

Not for the weak of heart. That said, this is my favorite expansion!

TLDR
Like Prosperity, this will change your Dominion experience immensely. Recommend getting familiar with that experience first. This or Prosperity should be your first expansion AFTER you have acquired and played with 2-3 sets.

Dominion: Guilds

This is a fun, but small, expansion that adds two new mechanisms. Some cards allow you to overpay for them in exchange for an immediate benefit. I have seen this used to great affect in play and the implications of these benefits can be hard to grasp.

The other mechanism is more straight forward and gives players coin tokens they can spend on future turns creating a new twist on the Duration card mechanism introduced in Seaside.

Guilds also has some of my all time favorite cards that can radically change how you play the game. The Butcher is my #1 favorite card in the game. I won't go into what it does, but hoo boy can it be a game changer. Also, you get to Butcher your other cards, like the Taxman. Who doesn't want to Butcher the Taxman? Amiright?

TLDR

Fun expansion with some great cards and 2 new mechanisms that add depth but don't radically alter game-play. A solid choice for an early expansion and relatively inexpensive as well due to its size.

Dominion: Adventures

The first 8 expansions were part of a planned release strategy and for a time, us Dominion fans believed that was going to be all we would ever see.

Fortunately, designer Donald X had more up his sleeve and the first NEW expansion was Adventures.

Adventures adds new Duration cards of Seaside fame. Given that this is one of my favorite mechanisms, these new duration cards were happily received and are all interesting and integrate quite well with the first 9 sets.

The Duration cards were just icing on this cake as Adventures does not scrimp on innovation. Adventures adds more new ideas than any expansion to come before it. In this box, we get reserve cards that can be set aside and then called back just when they are needed most. We also get Events which bend each play of Dominion in a strange new way, sometimes completely changing one's goals and/or strategies.

You also get cards that have variable affects depending on the status of tiles in your tableau.

TLDR
After you play out a few sets and have added Prosperity and/or Dark ages, go straight to Adventures to breathe new life into your Dominion experience. You will not be disappointed.

Dominion: Empires

The second expansion, post planned release phase, Empires adds Debt. With Debt, players can acquire cards they could not normally afford, but at the cost of future buying power. This completely changes the dynamic of the slow build in the early phase of a round of Dominion.

In addition, Empires adds more Events and now we also get Landmarks which give players new ways to score points, offering entirely new paths to victory.

It must be said that with each new expansion, complexity slowly ramps up and Empires is by far the most complex of all the expansions.

TLDR
Great expansion, but wait until you have 4+ sets, including Prosperity and/or Dark Ages.

Dominion (Second Edition)
First off, second edition is completely compatible with any and all expansions on this list. Here you will find updated art and a few of the weakest cards updated to add a little complexity. The new cards replace cards rarely purchased in the base set and provide similar affects but also add a minor welcome twist.

For those owning the base first edition, there is a low cost upgrade kit which I wholeheartedly recommend picking up.

TLDR

If you are starting a Dominion collection and want to start with vanilla Dominion, get this over first edition if available. If not available, then first edition is still great and for about $10 you can always upgrade to this later.

Dominion: Intrigue (Second Edition)

Everything I said about Dominion Second Edition (above) applies here as well.

Note: It seems the second edition of Intrigue does not include the base cards and so is not sufficient to play the game without eithe rbuying the Base Cards or Dominion.

Final analysis on my recommended order of acquisitions.

Initial Purchase - Start by getting either Dominion or Intrigue and add to that at least one of these:

Seaside
Hinterlands
Guilds

Second Round - After you have 2-3 of the above go directly to Prosperity or Dark Ages, depending on whether you want grandiose or gritty. These 2 are almost opposites of each other and equally great for their differences.

Third Round - If you got Intrigue, get Dominion or vice versa. Then get Cornucopia and/or Adventures.

Fourth and beyond - Empires, Dark Ages or Prosperity depending on on your Second Round purchase. Alchemy for the completionist.
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Derek Whaley
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A correction: You have Dominion: Adventures twice – the second one should be Empires. Also, you may want to clarify with the Dominion and Intrigue items at the top that the Second Editions of each are at the bottom of the list, or, more preferably, you could just put those directly beneath the First Edition items.

What about promos?!
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David Debien
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Whaleyland wrote:
A correction: You have Dominion: Adventures twice – the second one should be Empires. Also, you may want to clarify with the Dominion and Intrigue items at the top that the Second Editions of each are at the bottom of the list, or, more preferably, you could just put those directly beneath the First Edition items.

What about promos?!


Go check the geeklist. Someone else responded in regards to promos. I will make the other corrections. Thanks!
 
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Rick Teverbaugh
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You might be qualified, but hardly up to date. Intrigue no longer includes those base cards so it doesn't qualify as a good starting point on its own any more.
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David Debien
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rickert wrote:
You might be qualified, but hardly up to date. Intrigue no longer includes those base cards so it doesn't qualify as a good starting point on its own any more.


Is that in second edition, or in any Dominion Intrigue boxes? I will clarify above. First edition Intrigue for sale via Amazon says "Stand alone or Expansion".
 
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Bravo, great Dominion post. Was about to correct you about empires not being there but now it's fixed I see
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Rick Teverbaugh
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casualgod wrote:
rickert wrote:
You might be qualified, but hardly up to date. Intrigue no longer includes those base cards so it doesn't qualify as a good starting point on its own any more.


Is that in second edition, or in any Dominion Intrigue boxes? I will clarify above. First edition Intrigue for sale via Amazon says "Stand alone or Expansion".


2nd ed is no longer standalone for Intrigue. It is strictly an expansion.
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My understanding: (unmarked first edition) Intrigue had base cards and rules for 5/6 players. Second Edition Dominion has rules for 5/6 players and Second Edition [Intrigue] has no base cards or 5/6 player rules; neither has Prosperity Platinum or Colonies. Base Cards has no rules, but does have the cards to play 5/6, even with Prosperity.

I expect DonaldX will be around to confirm or correct me.

Opinion: Your TLDR is more opinion than summary. That's fine, but replace "TLDR" with "Opinion", please.

Edit: [Intrigue]
 
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Whaleyland wrote:

What about promos?!


Order to buy promos:

1st. walled village: a whole new game experience that will make you wonder about the value of our values as we know them
2nd. envoy: adds a lot of depth and twenty new mechanichs, don't even think in buying it if you don't previously own walled vilage
3rd. sauna+avanto: for superadvanced players only, new players won't understand a thing
4rt. stash: buy it only if you previously own governor
5th. governor: buy it only if you previously own stash
6th. Black market: don't buy it in BGG, buy it in the deep internet with bitcoins
7th. summon: buy it only in 7th place if you followed this itinerary, if you followed it in the opposite direction buy it in second place
8th prince: buy it only if you are a completionist of the artist formerly known as the genius of Minneapolis

PS: I bought them in releasing order

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David Debien
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Tall_Walt wrote:
My understanding: (unmarked first edition) Intrigue had base cards and rules for 5/6 players. Second Edition Dominion has rules for 5/6 players and Second Edition has no base cards or 5/6 player rules; neither has Prosperity Platinum or Colonies. Base Cards has no rules, but does have the cards to play 5/6, even with Prosperity.

I expect DonaldX will be around to confirm or correct me.

Opinion: Your TLDR is more opinion than summary. That's fine, but replace "TLDR" with "Opinion", please.


Hi Walt,

The entire article reflects my opinions. How about Summary instead of TLDR? And do you think it might be better if I put the Summaries all together at the bottom?
 
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salva wrote:
Whaleyland wrote:

What about promos?!


Order to buy promos:

1st. walled village: a whole new game experience that will make you wonder about the value of our values as we know them
2nd. envoy: adds a lot of depth and twenty new mechanichs, don't even think in buying it if you don't previously own walled vilage
3rd. sauna+avanto: for superadvanced players only, new players won't understand a thing
4rt. stash: buy it only if you previously own governor
5th. governor: buy it only if you previously own stash
6th. Black market: don't buy it in BGG, buy it in the deep internet with bitcoins
7th. summon: buy it only in 7th place if you followed this itinerary, if you followed it in the opposite direction buy it in second place
8th prince: buy it only if you are a completionist of the artist formerly known as the genius of Minneapolis

PS: I bought them in releasing order



Hi Salva,

Thanks for this, I just havent gotten around to writing this but I mostly agree with your summaries. With your permission I will add to main article and credit you.
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salva wrote:
Whaleyland wrote:

What about promos?!


Order to buy promos:

1st. walled village: a whole new game experience that will make you wonder about the value of our values as we know them
2nd. envoy: adds a lot of depth and twenty new mechanichs, don't even think in buying it if you don't previously own walled vilage
3rd. sauna+avanto: for superadvanced players only, new players won't understand a thing
4rt. stash: buy it only if you previously own governor
5th. governor: buy it only if you previously own stash
6th. Black market: don't buy it in BGG, buy it in the deep internet with bitcoins
7th. summon: buy it only in 7th place if you followed this itinerary, if you followed it in the opposite direction buy it in second place
8th prince: buy it only if you are a completionist of the artist formerly known as the genius of Minneapolis

PS: I bought them in releasing order



I don't agree with any of this, unless it is a joke, in which case: Kudos.
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Walt
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casualgod wrote:
The entire article reflects my opinions. How about Summary instead of TLDR? And do you think it might be better if I put the Summaries all together at the bottom?

I just didn't find the TLDRs to be summaries, but more of your personal take on the expansions. You're generally not stating facts but offering opinions, frex Prosperity, "Excellent expansion for intermediate to advanced Dominion players looking to spice up their game. Not recommended as an initial purchase." Facts would be something like, "Prosperity offers Platinum and Colonies for longer games and a variety of special treasure cards."
 
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darthnice wrote:
salva wrote:
Whaleyland wrote:

What about promos?!


Order to buy promos:

1st. walled village: a whole new game experience that will make you wonder about the value of our values as we know them
2nd. envoy: adds a lot of depth and twenty new mechanichs, don't even think in buying it if you don't previously own walled vilage
3rd. sauna+avanto: for superadvanced players only, new players won't understand a thing
4rt. stash: buy it only if you previously own governor
5th. governor: buy it only if you previously own stash
6th. Black market: don't buy it in BGG, buy it in the deep internet with bitcoins
7th. summon: buy it only in 7th place if you followed this itinerary, if you followed it in the opposite direction buy it in second place
8th prince: buy it only if you are a completionist of the artist formerly known as the genius of Minneapolis

PS: I bought them in releasing order



I don't agree with any of this, unless it is a joke, in which case: Kudos.




For a more serious analysis, user
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posted this to the actual geeklist:

Good list, I think I agree with most everything you said...

For the Promos

Envoy - When it comes out I almost never buy it. Draw a bunch of cards, you don't get the best one? Not a fan

Governor - The Puerto Rico promo card! A fun little card that has a lot of neat ways to use it. I like it

Prince - I know I own it but I can't think of if I've ever used it. Costs 8 so that might be the reason? I can see where it might be fun though

Stash - Might be my favorite promo! I think it is just a fun card to use and it has a different back art which is fun!

Walled Village - The Carcassonne promo card! Can you have enough villages? No, you can never have enough! Fun for an action light deck

Black Market - Doesn't appear to be in the store anymore? That's fine, it is a pain in the rear and causes so many problems. pass

Summoner - I don't own it so it must be garbage
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Kent Carson

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Thanks for this post. It has been helpful to me as someone newish to dominion. Quick question:

I have Dominion 2nd Edition. To make it compatible for 5-6 players do I need to buy Intrigue 1st Edition since the 2nd Edition no longer comes with the base cards?

Thanks!
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akccarson wrote:
Thanks for this post. It has been helpful to me as someone newish to dominion. Quick question:

I have Dominion 2nd Edition. To make it compatible for 5-6 players do I need to buy Intrigue 1st Edition since the 2nd Edition no longer comes with the base cards?

Thanks!

You need anything that gives you another copy of the base cards. That could be another copy of the base game (1st or 2nd edition), the Base Cards product, or Intrigue 1st edition.
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Kent Carson

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jeffwolfe wrote:

You need anything that gives you another copy of the base cards. That could be another copy of the base game (1st or 2nd edition), the Base Cards product, or Intrigue 1st edition.


Thank you very much for your help!
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jeffwolfe wrote:
akccarson wrote:
Thanks for this post. It has been helpful to me as someone newish to dominion. Quick question:

I have Dominion 2nd Edition. To make it compatible for 5-6 players do I need to buy Intrigue 1st Edition since the 2nd Edition no longer comes with the base cards?

Thanks!

You need anything that gives you another copy of the base cards. That could be another copy of the base game (1st or 2nd edition), the Base Cards product, or Intrigue 1st edition.


This is good advice. I recommend the Base Cards product so that you can get Intrigue second edition and keep your collection consistent. I am at the point where I am looking at buying the Base Cards over again as I never sleeved my Dominion set and my coppers, estates, duchies and provinces are getting a bit worn.
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jeffwolfe wrote:
You need anything that gives you another copy of the base cards. That could be another copy of the base game (1st or 2nd edition), the Base Cards product, or Intrigue 1st edition.

Or the Big Box. 1st or 2nd Edition will do.

1st edition has Dominion, Alchemy, and Prosperity. This would give you one more set of base cards.

2nd edition has Dominion 2d and Intrigue 2d and enough base cards to play with 5-6 players, or TWO more sets of base cards. This is coming in January 2017.
 
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Whizkid wrote:
jeffwolfe wrote:
You need anything that gives you another copy of the base cards. That could be another copy of the base game (1st or 2nd edition), the Base Cards product, or Intrigue 1st edition.

Or the Big Box. 1st or 2nd Edition will do.

1st edition has Dominion, Alchemy, and Prosperity. This would give you one more set of base cards.

2nd edition has Dominion 2d and Intrigue 2d and enough base cards to play with 5-6 players, or TWO more sets of base cards. This is coming in January 2017.

I think the big box will have enough cards to play with 6 players, but not actually two whole sets of the base cards. For instance, it might have 18 Provinces, not 24 of them.
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salva wrote:
Whaleyland wrote:

What about promos?!


Order to buy promos:

1st. walled village: a whole new game experience that will make you wonder about the value of our values as we know them
2nd. envoy: adds a lot of depth and twenty new mechanichs, don't even think in buying it if you don't previously own walled vilage
3rd. sauna+avanto: for superadvanced players only, new players won't understand a thing
4rt. stash: buy it only if you previously own governor
5th. governor: buy it only if you previously own stash
6th. Black market: don't buy it in BGG, buy it in the deep internet with bitcoins
7th. summon: buy it only in 7th place if you followed this itinerary, if you followed it in the opposite direction buy it in second place
8th prince: buy it only if you are a completionist of the artist formerly known as the genius of Minneapolis

PS: I bought them in releasing order



Black Market - What's the geekgold to bit coin conversion rate these days?

 
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Thanks for this David. I just got Dominion (2nd edition). After three plays last night I was already thinking about expansions and what I should maybe buy. This has been very helpful.
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Craig Liken
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Billy_Whizz wrote:
Thanks for this David. I just got Dominion (2nd edition). After three plays last night I was already thinking about expansions and what I should maybe buy. This has been very helpful.


I would tend to recommend giving the base game quite a few more plays before expanding it. think it is important to get a grasp of the mechanics, possibilities, and key strategies of just base Dominion before you go further. Just a personal opinion - I felt I expanded too soon without getting the key concepts of the game.
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David Debien
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liken@xtra.co.nz wrote:
Billy_Whizz wrote:
Thanks for this David. I just got Dominion (2nd edition). After three plays last night I was already thinking about expansions and what I should maybe buy. This has been very helpful.


I would tend to recommend giving the base game quite a few more plays before expanding it. think it is important to get a grasp of the mechanics, possibilities, and key strategies of just base Dominion before you go further. Just a personal opinion - I felt I expanded too soon without getting the key concepts of the game.


I cautiously disagree. There isn't a whole lot to learn from base Dominion, aside from the importance of trashing/deck thinning and at some point someone will figure out that having 8 villages and nothing else in your deck is a good way to just spin your tires. For a lot of people base Dominion is just too boring.

On the other hand, I definitely agree that you can quickly get in over your head and end up missing all that Dominion has to offer by over expanding too early. This is why I recommend base +1 to start off, then play the heck out of those. Then buy 1 expansion at a time to savor the changes each box brings.

The other night I played a full random. We had cards from base, dark ages, empires, intrigue, and adventures. We also had 2 events and a landmark. Silvers and golds were -2 points each at the end of the game. However, there were marauders which gives SPoils, which are a one shot Gold. I made the mistake of buying 1 Silver and the other players got Jesters and forced me to copy my silvers until I had 8 of them! This game ended with 3 empty supply piles. Final scores? 3-3-4. I love that Dominion can do this! However, for someone who has just bought the base set and then plunged into the deep end to run into a Kingdom like this in one of their early plays? They might never play DOminion again after an experience like that.
 
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Matt E
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casualgod wrote:
I cautiously disagree. There isn't a whole lot to learn from base Dominion, aside from the importance of trashing/deck thinning and at some point someone will figure out that having 8 villages and nothing else in your deck is a good way to just spin your tires. For a lot of people base Dominion is just too boring.

I would agree completely if we were talking about Dominion 1st Edition, but John has the 2nd Edition. One of the primary goals when creating the new edition was to give you many more things to do; to extend the gameplay so that you'd get more value before having to reach for an expansion. Now it's probably too early to tell how well the second edition succeeds at this goal, but I don't think the old assumptions of the base game getting boring quickly are necessarily still valid.
 
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