Top 10 Best Dominion Expansions of 2020 – Reviews By an Expert
Dominion is the game that started the deck-building craze. Ever since its release back in 2008, the game has become a must-have for many board gamers. The base game is enjoyable to play. It is so good, that the game has 10 expansions!
Pretty awesome right?
Dominion is a deck-building game that has rock-solid gameplay. It is a simple game that is easy to learn and appeals to newcomers as well as seasoned board gamers. The mechanics of the game is interesting and you will find yourself playing it for hours.
It can be tricky to get the best dominion expansion as there are so many of them to select from. Don’t worry, we have made the task much easier for you. In this article, we will look at the 10 different sets of Dominion. Every expansion has a theme to them and they feel and play out differently.
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Our Top 10 Dominion Expansion Reviews
1. Rio Grande Games - Dominion: First Edition
Dominion is a game of deck building. Players start with a few weak cards and as the game progresses, the players acquire stronger cards. It is not difficult to play. The game is still sophisticated and offers excellent opportunities for strategy.
The game is played by 2 to 4 players. In this game, players and monarchs compete to build the most valuable kingdom. They are represented by their personal deck of cards. It consists of 25 sets of cards.
The aim of the game is to win and players do that by earning the most victory points. Each game usually takes around 30 minutes to complete.
Players earn victory points from special cards such as Estate, Duchy, and Province. There are also 7 copper cards. Every player at the start will have 5 of these cards. The player then adds up the treasure cards, and then picks one card from the supply and adds it to their deck. They can then buy a better treasure, Victory points, and action cards.
The action cards allow players to do all sorts of things such as draw more cards, or attack other players. Once the player chooses the card they can afford, they gain it and place the card on a discard pile. The player then discards every card on their hand and draws 5 more cards on their draw pile.
The game is completed when the pile of Provinces or the supply becomes empty. The players then count the victory points that are in their decks. The player that has the most victory points wins the game. The game has good replayability and is definitely worth considering.
2. Rio Grande Games Dominion Intrigue
Dominion Intrigue is an expansion that is the most highly recommended compared to other expansions in the series.
The basic reason why most players recommend this over other ones is that the expansion adds more to the game. There are cards with more complexity and new features. One such example is that the treasure and victory are on the same card. Actions and victory are also on the same card.
There are also cards that feel like the original Dominion cards. For example, the mining village card feels more like the village from the original Dominion, but you can trash it for getting two treasures that turn. The expansion comes with 25 kingdom cards. It also features new Treasure cards as well as victory cards.
You also get to choose different cards. For example pawn allows for different play whenever you draw them. Dominion Intrigue also expands on simplicity. The complexity of the cards makes the game more interesting. The expansion mixes well with the original Dominion and adds a lot more excitement to it.
The expansion can be played by up to 8 players. One of the things that stands out, is the high-quality designs of the contents. They look awesome and have a great feel to them. You can expect the game time to be somewhere around 30 minutes. For new players, it may take more time.
The expansion has a great replayability. If you are someone who likes playing Dominion often, this expansion is something you should consider.
3. Rio Grande Games Dominion Prosperity
Prosperity is the 4th expansion for Dominion. It is considered to be one of the top Dominion sets in the series. It can be played by 2 to 6 players. The theme of the expansion is all about making more money.
It has 27 sets of cards including platinum and colony cards. These cards have a hefty amount of points. The platinum card is worth 5 victory points, whereas the colony cards give you a massive 10 victory points!
A player’s turn has two phases. The action phase and the buy phase. The action phase allows players to play an action card. In the buy phase, the player can purchase a card from the supply and play a treasure card.
In Prosperity, there is a slight change in the rules. In the buy phase, players can play multiple treasure cards. They also have to play all the treasure cards before purchasing more cards.
The cards in this expansion are quite powerful. They are very expensive and well balanced. The treasure cards are very interesting in prosperity. They have different effects when the players use them.
The expansion has point tokens, which are gold coins. They are worth points that pile up to the player's deck. The expnasion also comes with two new sets of cards, Platinum, and Colony. These cards increase the victory point sets.
The expansion adds another dimension to the base game. It increases the replay value and makes the game even more enjoyable.
4. Dominion: Renaissance
Renaissance is the 12th expansion of Dominion. The expansion features 300 cards. It also comes with 25 kingdom cards. The new tokens allow players to save their coins as well as actions for use later.
The expansions grants players great abilities, and artifacts, which makes the expansion incredibly exciting to play. The cards you play with are straight forward. The gameplay itself is easy to grasp, and has a short learning curve.
The expansion features interesting actions that players can play. In a normal game, players get one action per turn. There are some action cards that allow players to go for additional actions.
The game is played using two projects. Projects change the strategy of the game. It enhances the power of some of the action cards. This lets players use a completely new strategy. The projects work great if used with different expansions. They help increase the replayability of the game.
The expansion is different from the others as it brings coffers back. It also introduces villagers. Coffers are coins that make the game interesting. Players can save up the coins and spend them when they want to. Villagers are tokens that have a similar purpose as the coins.
The expansion can be played by 2 to 4 players. Each game will take about 30 to 45 minutes to complete. If you like Dominion and want to make the game more interesting, you should definitely consider Renaissance.
5. Rio Grande Games Dominion: 2nd Edition
Dominion is one of the most widespread deck-building games available. The second edition of Dominion comes with a number of changes that improve the base game and makes it even more enjoyable.
The second edition features many changes. The 6 kingdom cards have been removed that were in the base edition. There are 7 new kingdom cards.
The gameplay is similar to the first edition. Players start with a weak set of cards in their deck. As the game progresses, the players get stronger cards. There are some changes as the Adventurer and Thief are removed. The new cards are fun to play and make the game more interesting.
There are changes in the artwork. The treasure cards, which are the copper, silver, gold, and platinum have all been updated with new designs. Other base cards have new artworks as well.
The cards have much clearer text on them compared to the first edition. The second edition also comes with a revamped rulebook. It looks much nicer, with more improvements. Some of the cards from the first edition have been changed and are much more precise.
Dominion second edition can be played by 2 to 4 players. The second edition has great replayability. The mechanics of the game is fantastic. If you are a fan of deck-building games, then you should definitely consider getting the second edition of Dominion.
6. Rio Grande Games Dominion Seaside
Dominion Seaside is one of the most popular expansions amongst the others. This is mainly due to the variety it adds, and also the expansion requires a good amount of planning to play.
The expansion comes with some interesting content. It has 26 kingdom cards, player mats, and tokens. This enhances the gameplay and makes it more interesting.
It also features duration cards, which is a great addition. In the base Dominion game, every player has 5 cards when they start. Players then improve their cards as the game goes on. Players play an action first, then purchase cards to add them to their deck, clean-up, and then draw 5 new cards from the pile.
Duration cards affect the later turns. Every card that the player purchases will affect what they will be able to do in the next turns. These cards are easy to recognize as they are orange in color. The cards feature many abilities, which allows players to plan their next turns.
The expansion features three player mats, the native village, pirate ship, and island. It can be played by 2 to 4 players. The games usually take about 30 minutes to complete. The seafaring theme is excellent.
The new components add more to the game and ensure its replayability. This is without a doubt the best dominion expansion that will be a great addition to your Dominion library.
7. Rio Grande Games Dominion Dark Ages Expansion
Dark ages is a big expansion. It adds 500 new cards to the game and a theme that makes the game fun to play. The main theme of Dark Ages is to trash and upgrade cards. The new cards are balanced, and the concept itself makes Dark Ages an excellent expansion.
The expansion comes with different types of cards. They are shelter and ruin. It focuses on what happens when players trash the cards. This makes the games more interactive.
Like most expansions, Dark Ages has two phases. They are the action and buy phases. Trashing allows players to remove cards from the play. It is then placed in the trash pile. There are some cards that have certain effects after they are trashed.
The expansion has 35 kingdom cards and doesn’t feature any boards and counters. Ruins are simply deck-clogging cards that are similar to curses. Shelters are starting cards. It gives players a way to make various choices during the early moves of the game. The set also features many special cards, which can be acquired by other cards.
Dark Ages adds more fun to the base game. It can be played by 2 to 4 players. Each game takes approximately 30 minutes to play. It is a great expansion to have in your dominion collection.
8. Rio Grande Games Dominion: Hinterlands
Hinterlands is another great expansion in the Dominion line. It is the 6th expansion that adds a new series of cards. The theme of Hinterlands has elements of distant travel, discovery, and exploration.
The expansion is quite large as it consists of 26 new kingdom cards. It includes a wide variety of action and victory cards. It has some powerful cards that are properly balanced.
The cards have a thematic element to them. The interesting feature about Hinterlands is that the new cards have special actions when played. Increasing the size of the deck is very easy. It also features some powerful cards.
There are new cards that provide interesting interactions. The set includes lots of new reaction, treasure, and victory cards. It is also a diverse set as there is a wide variety of cards. Some cards basically do something when a player gains or buys that card. The gain effects on the cards make the game more enjoyable.
The expansion features two new card combinations. The victory-reaction card is a type of victory card that can also be classified as a reaction card. The other card combination is the Treasure-Reaction card. Hinterlands also include cards that are variations of older cards.
Hinterlands is a great expansion that adds a lot of card varieties. If you are looking for something that is fun to play, Hinterlands is the expansion to consider. It is not as popular as the other expansion, but it is still an honorable mention.
9. Rio Grande Games Dominion Base Cards
The base cards pack are cards that come in their own set. It is not a complete game or an expansion. The cards that come in the set are reprinted versions of the expansion cards, but with new artwork.
The treasure cards have completely different artwork. The set consists of 250 cards. They are all the base cards that you would get in the base game. These are the Victory, treasure, and Curse cards. It also includes a trash card which has a new design.
One of the best features of this set is that you can easily tell the difference between the four treasure cards. The copper, silver, gold, and platinum all have unique artwork which makes this a great set.
The cards can be used with any Dominion expansions. If you don't have the base game, simply get an expansion like Property or Hinterlands and get this base card pack. This way you will have a full game of Dominion. This set can be played with 5 to 6 players.
Constantly shuffling of the cards or just playing can wear the cards out. These base cards are an excellent replacement for torn or worn-out cards. If you are looking for a fresh new look, or just want to replace your old cards, then this set is worth considering.
10. Rio Grande Games Dominion Adventures Game
Dominion Adventures is the 9th expansion in the series. It is a complex expansion that features a lot of cards that are interesting and enjoyable to play.
The expansion includes 400 cards, along with 60 tokens, and 6 mats. It also features 30 new kingdom cards, three new card types. This adds a lot of complexity to the game, but also makes it more fun.
Duration cards are included in this expansion. This was an interesting mechanic that was in the Seaside expansion as well. These cards affect the next turns of a player. They feature a range of abilities.
Another great set of cards in this expansion is the traveler cards. These cards are fairly cheap as they cost 2 points to purchase. The cards become much better as the game progresses. Traveler cards are exchanged in the game for much better cards. They also fit very well with the adventure theme.
The set consists of a new type of card known as Events. These cards have an effect on what you can purchase in the game. Adventures also feature Reserve cards. These cards are kept aside by the players when they play. They are played only during specific conditions.
The game can be played by 2 to 6 players. Events are a great addition to Dominion as it adds a more to the base game. If you like Dominion, then Adventures is a must-have expansion.
No. of Cards
Dominion: First Edition
Dominion Game Rules
Dominion is a game of deckbuilding where players and monarchs compete to build the most valuable kingdom. This is represented by their personal deck of cards.
Players need to purchase various cards and add them to their personal decks. As the game progresses, the deck becomes more powerful. The goal of the game is to win. To do that, a player needs to earn the most victory points.
Let’s have a look at how the game is played.
There are several components in Dominion. The base game comes with 500 cards, divided into multiple categories. It features three sets of treasure cards, which are silver, copper, and gold. Victory cards are also divided into three segments. They are duchies, estates, and provinces.
The other components are 30 curse cards, 250 kingdom cards, trash-pile card, and a placeholder card for all the card types.
2. Setting Up The Game
The first step is to place the treasure cards on a table. Make sure to place the cards in a row. Then place the victory cards next to the treasure cards. If the game is played by two players, 8 victory cards need to be placed. For 3 or more players, 12 victory cards have to be placed. After keeping the cards, place the curses card.
Players then have to select 10 kingdom cards and then keep them on the table. They will then get seven copper cards and three estate cards as a start. The players have to shuffle their cards. Every player will draw five cards. The game then starts and the starting player is chosen randomly.
3. Taking A Turn
A player's turn consists of 4 phases. They are:
Players can play an action card every turn. Action cards have instructions on them which the player has to follow. The instruction may allow players to draw another card, increase the power of the buying phase, or provide them with more actions that allow them to play more action cards.
In the Buy phase, players can purchase one of the cards that are on the pile. To do that, they have to play the treasure cards until the value is as much as the buy price of the cards that they want to purchase.
all the cards of the player are placed on the discard pile. These cards are those that the player has bought, the cards that were played, and the cards remaining on the players have.
After the clean-up phase, the player needs to replenish the cards. They will have to draw 5 cards from the deck. If there are not enough cards on the pile to draw, the player will shuffle the discarded cards and draw the cards from the pile.
4. Ending The Game
When the pile of cards is empty, or the last province is bought, the game will come to an end. Every player will count the victory points. The player that has the highest points wins the game.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are The Expansions Standalone Games?
Apart from Dominion Intrigue, none of the other expansions are standalone sets. This means that even the best dominion expansion requires the base Dominion game or Dominion Intrigue to be played.
So, if you are planning to get a dominion expansion, make sure that you have the base game as well. The expansion adds more features to the base game.
On the contrary, the standalone sets can be played without any expansions as they contain all the cards required to play the game.
In this article, we covered both kinds. Among the standalone games, popular expansions and honorable mentions here, hopefully you’ll find the ideal one that resonates with you.
When Do I Have To Shuffle The Cards That Are Discarded?
Cards are picked up from the deck or the draw pile when required. They are drawn when the player is instructed to, or when refreshing the player's hand when after their turn ends.
When a player needs to draw a card and their personal deck is empty, they need to shuffle their discarded pile to form a new personal deck.
What Does Gaining Cards Mean?
When a player gains a card, they have to take it from the supply and then put it face up in the discarded pile. There can also be certain instruction in cards that allows players to acquire the card from someplace.
If the player gains a card from the trash pile, all the other players will be able to see the cards that are gained. When a player buys a card, it will result in the card being gained.
What Does Revealing A Card Mean?
Revealing means showing the card to all the players. After the card has been revealed, the player needs to return the card from where it was taken.
Looking at cards is slightly different. When a player looks at a card, they do so by not showing the card to other players. The cards will stay in the same place.
There you have it. Dominion is one of the games in its category. The base game of dominion is great because of the gameplay mechanics and simplicity. It is a game that any board gamers will enjoy.
When you get an expansion, it enhances the gameplay experience as it brings new rules, mechanics, and a different theme. The game gets better with every expansion.
When it comes to the expansions, you may not like all of them. So make sure you consider the theme of the expansion, the mechanics, and other factors before making the purchase.
We hope you liked the reviews of the best dominion expansions.