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Nathaniel Baker
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From the back of the box: "Something's afoot. The steward smiles at you like he has a secret, or like he thinks you have a secret. There are secret plots brewing, you're sure of it. At the very least, there are yours. A passing servant murmurs 'The eggs are on the plate.' You frantically search your codebook for the translation before realizing he means that breakfast is ready. Excellent. Everything is going according to plan.”

Initial Response – 10/10

After playing Dominion and it becoming one of the family and friend’s favorites, we were psyched to hear that we were getting the standalone expansion Intrigue so that we could have a copy of Dominion for ourselves to play (the original Dominion is my Brother-in-law’s). I looked it up on BGG, like any gamer on the path of Geekdo, and was ecstatic to hear that the cards were going to introduce the theme for “Intrigue”. Now this should’ve been obvious considering the title, but what it actually means is that it is based off of Intrigue as an idea: Being two-faced, making choices, and having choices. There will be more on that later.

Wifey’s Response – 10/10

She loves Dominion even more than I, and when she found out we were getting our own copy, she told me she would sleeve them herself (this is a big deal) while I was at work so we could play when I got home. This of course didn’t happen, but she was all glowering with happiness when we finally got to play it.

Unboxing and Components – 9/10

For basic review on Unboxing and Components, see my original Dominion base game review here: Baker's Boards: Dominating Dominion

Here I will list the differences between this and the original set. Otherwise consult the link above. Because it is a Stand-Alone, it comes with another set of Money, Victory Point, Trash, and Curse cards. It also adds another section on the Organizational slat for Randomizers and Blank cards, which can be nice if you are planning to use the Blank cards to make some fan card sets. As there are a couple dual themed cards combining Victory Point with something else (action, treasure, etc.), they are stored next to the Victory Point cards, so you’ll have a nice bigger green section to your Dominion box.

Setup – 6/10 (for more on basic introductory setup see here: Baker's Boards: Dominating Dominion

If playing this as a Stand-alone, use the randomizers as normal to come up with 10 Kingdom cards for use in play. If used as an expansion, combine all Kingdom cards and draw 10 as you normally would, or use your handy-dandy Android/iOS Dominion Shuffle app (free) to come up with decent mixes of Kingdom cards that are guaranteed exciting and fun every time.

Gameplay – 10/10

Whether playing as a Stand-alone or mixed with other Dominion games, I personally find these cards to be my all time favorite. As said before, the theme is Intrigue. It is more abstract then previously mentioned however. By meaning Intrigue can be sly, and while not being utilized in an attack card, you can still cause quite the negative effects to your opponent through under-handed techniques. I enjoy this so much because it makes the game far more interactive between players unlike the base game where you hardly interact at all. For example, we have the card Tribute. Among its abilities, it forces the player to your left to discard the top 2 cards of their deck, giving you rewards for what they discard.

However, Attack cards step it up even more. My wife’s favorite (my least favorite because it’s mean) is Swindler. Using the Swindler, a player, as one of there actions during there turn, trashes the top card of all other players' decks and replaces it with another card of the same cost, and gains two coins for that turn. This allows players to use Swindler to make their opponents' decks weaker, replacing their opponents' chosen cards with far less useful ones. One of the many complaints on deck-builders is the fact that there are cards no one will ever buy. Well if you are one of those, then Swindler has given these “useless” cards use. I can personally find a strategy for every card in the game; all you have to do is try it out.

Then there is my favorite: the Torturer. The Torturer isn’t so bad in 2 player games. However, when playing with 3 or more and multiple Torturers are used, it can bring the game on a rather depressing turn. The Torturer card gives +3 cards. He then gives the other players a choice: either discard 2 cards or gain a curse. This is similar to Militia, minus the curse part. The real killer is the fact that unlike Militia, Torturers don’t have a minimum. If you are playing with 3 other players who all use Torturer and you don’t choose to pick up a Curse, you will have no cards to play the next hand. No drawing more, no using a savior card. Nothing. I love it.

Cleanup – 8/10

By now, unless this is your first game of Dominion, this should be fairly easy. Just place the cards in their respective slots within the insert, and you should be good to go. If your cards are sleeved, not all Copper and Silver will fit in their spots. I use the extra spaces to place them in. If you have none, simply keep the randomizers elsewhere and place the extras there. To conserve space, you only need to sleeve 20 of the 30 curses offered as only 20 are used a game. You can also place the extra treasure there. For other storage solutions, search the BGG forums for a multitude of beautiful ideas I need to take up myself.

Thoughts and Criticisms

I am flummoxed with this one. Besides the problem with sleeved cards not fitting into inserts, there isn’t much to this expansion/standalone that is very negative. It fits its theme beautifully and the fact that most of you didn’t catch the theme there or knew what it meant fits the theme of Intrigue in and of itself. It has solved all issues presented with “useless” cards to the unknowing player and has also given the veteran more choices to choose from. What is wrong with it?

The Final Countdown – 9/10

As a Euro game, it is a gem. As a deck-builder, it is a god. As an expansion and standalone to its father base game of Dominion, it is an improvement. I would recommend it to all Dominion fans. I would recommend it to any gamer. I would go as far as to say to buy this stand alone first before the original Dominion to give you the feel of this game being awesome and the original being an expansion. Even if you know better, I know by experience that it subconsciously makes the game even more enjoyable and replayable.

Needless to say, it is a very solid game. While it will have its haters, it all depends on your preferences. When it comes down to basic game play, however, it reigns supreme.

Happy Playing! (let all “I’m quite Intrigued” jokes rain down now.)

Nate meeple

For more reviews from moi, check out Baker's Boards: Review Platter


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The Compulsive Completist
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Because of this...
knatebaker wrote:

Initial Response – 10/10

Wifey’s Response – 10/10


This won't be a problem...
knatebaker wrote:

Thoughts and Criticisms
Besides the problem with sleeved cards not fitting into inserts


...because you will be buying much more Dominion in the future and have to come up with your own storage solution anyway.


Glad you loved Intrigue. There is much more in the Dominion universe to be excited for.
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Nathaniel Baker
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Hockey Mask wrote:
Because of this...
knatebaker wrote:

Initial Response – 10/10

Wifey’s Response – 10/10


This won't be a problem...
knatebaker wrote:

Thoughts and Criticisms
Besides the problem with sleeved cards not fitting into inserts


...because you will be buying much more Dominion in the future and have to come up with your own storage solution anyway.


Glad you loved Intrigue. There is much more in the Dominion universe to be excited for.


I know...Ill be getting there with more exansion reviews to come. Its funny, the only two I don't have are the Original Base Game and Prosperity. I really need to get them...

I personally wish I had used more pictures in this review!
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Jim Andrew
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well i have no problem with placing sleeved card to the insert.. only need a little adjustment (sleeved silver takes copper's slot, sleeved gold takes silver's, sleeved copper takes the middle slot.. and bit of minor adjustment)

i agree that Intrigue is very good. still, i wont recommend it over the base game for new players, 'cause as the name implies, Intrigue means more complexity. i have problem teaching this to new player, but not with the base game

personally i prefer base game over Intrigue.. but it's much better to play with both. obviously
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Pseudo Pserious
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CLAP CLAP CLAP-CLAP-CLAP!
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I dislike the Canadiens. (The hockey team, that is, not people from Canada in general.)
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knatebaker wrote:

Cleanup – 8/10

... To conserve space, you only need to sleeve 20 of the 30 curses offered as only 20 are used a game. ...


I'm a little confused by this line. I thought it was 10 curses for 2p, 20 curses for 3p, and 30 curses for 4p.

PP
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Nathaniel Baker
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PseudoPserious wrote:
knatebaker wrote:

Cleanup – 8/10

... To conserve space, you only need to sleeve 20 of the 30 curses offered as only 20 are used a game. ...


I'm a little confused by this line. I thought it was 10 curses for 2p, 20 curses for 3p, and 30 curses for 4p.

PP


I've only ever read 20...I shall consult the rules.
 
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Agent J
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He's looking real sharp in his 1940's fedora. He's got nerves of steel, an iron will, and several other metal-themed attributes. His fur is water tight and he's always up for a fight.
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He's a semi-aquatic egg-laying mammal of action. He's a furry little flat-foot who'll never flinch from a fray. He's got more than just mad skills, he's got a beaver tail and a bill.
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This review is very intriguing.
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