What Dominion expansions should I get?
Dominion is a game that gets exponentially better with each expansion you add. But deciding which ones to get, and in what order, is a pretty tricky question. Ask ten different people, and they’ll probably give you ten different answers. So take all of this advice with a grain of salt, knowing that whatever you choose in the end will probably be fine. (And as most people on this site can attest to, you’ll probably just end up getting them all anyway.)
First, the game designer’s own thoughts on what order to get the expansions.
The most natural way to get the expansions is in order. However, most players skip Alchemy and save that one for last. The later expansions are more complex and larger. However, Donald X. has gotten better at making expansions, and at one point recommended getting whatever the newest expansion is. Depending on your playgroup and familiarity with other games, this approach might work. If you are worried about complexity, you are probably best off with Intrigue, the first expansion.
Also, knowing what each expansion offers might help you make a better informed decision. The choice you make really depends on your preferences and what game play experience you are looking for. Here is an overview of each expansion:
Dominion 2nd Edition: The base game. Focuses on basic card concepts and lays the foundation for future expansions. Keep an eye out for the 2nd edition which removes 6 “dud” cards from the 1st edition and adds 7 new cards to the mix that greatly improves the expansion. An upgrade pack with the 7 new cards is also available for those who own the 1st edition.
Intrigue: The first expansion, and the most natural. Focuses on interaction and card choices. Keep an eye out for the 2nd edition which removes 6 “dud” cards from the 1st edition and adds 7 new cards to the mix that greatly improves the expansion. An upgrade pack with the 7 new cards is also available for those who own the 1st edition.
Seaside: Focused on duration cards, which last between turns. This set is a favorite among many players, but also has a few “dud” cards due to being one of the first expansions made. Still, though, this expansion holds up nicely.
Alchemy: Introduces Potions, a different kind of “currency”, and emphasizes Action chains, leading to much longer games. Probably not a great first expansion.
Prosperity: Adds Colonies and Platinums, and a lot of other over-the-top (oftentimes expensive) cards. One of the most well-received and popular expansions.
Hinterlands: Introduces cards that have an effect when you gain or buy them.
Dark Ages: A massive 35-kingdom expansion with a big emphasis on card interactions, trashing, and cards that interact with the trash pile. Some players feel this expansion is more complicated than its predecessors.
Cornucopia & Guilds: Originally, sold as two small expansions. Cornucopia focuses on card variety and Guilds introduces coin tokens that allows you to spend money later, and cards that you can overpay for a special effect.
Adventures: Reintroduces the Duration card mechanic from Seaside, tokens which modify kingdom card piles, Reserve cards which can be set aside until activated at the right moment, Traveller cards which can grow more powerful, and Events which are powerful effects that can be directly purchased instead of cards. Adventures includes 30-kingdom cards and 20 Events. A very complex set.
Empires: Reintroduces VP tokens from Prosperity and Events from Adventures, and adds Debt (buy a card now, pay for it later), Split piles (two different cards in one pile), and Landmarks which introduce new ways to get VP. A very complex set.
Nocturne: The newest Dominion expansion coming out in November 2017. Not much is known about it yet, except that it seems to have a horror-theme emphasis.
(This article was originally written by Theory, but was later revised and edited by Beyond Awesome in 2017 to account for newer Dominion expansions and changing player perceptions.)