What expansions should I get?

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.)

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33 Responses to What expansions should I get?

  1. ackmondual says:

    I’d add that Prosperity also includes Treasure cards with text effects. Those definitely do a solid deal in defining that set. Should also update for promos and Dark Ages at this point.

  2. anonymous says:

    plus one month too…

  3. Anonymous says:

    Guilds adds the new dimensions of collecting coin tokens for later turns, and overpaying for cards to get something more when you buy them.

  4. It’s easy: Prosperity is the set to buy after the initial one.
    Colony and Platinum are reason enough, and most of the other cards are fun to play too.

    Sets to avoid are imho:
    1.) Alchemy (as it makes everything more complicated and lets people wait forever until their opponents finish the action chains)
    2.) Intrigue, as the attacks can be very frustrating and quite random (Saboteur, Swindler, Torturer)

  5. Anonymous says:

    What about Guilds?

  6. petegeo says:

    Am I the only one who loves the play of Alchemy? I started with, Intrigue, Hinterlands, Dark Ages, Cornucopia, Guilds and then Alchemy. I have found Alchemy, Guilds and Dark Ages the most challenging so far. I intend to get Prosperity, Seaside and Dominion last of all. I have played Prosperity and the other two a couple of times, I think Prosperity will work well with guilds as you often have hands with more coins than you can spend without an extra buy. (Unless you add the Candlestick Maker or the Merchant Guild to the deck. If not already present) Guilds is a great add-on. Although, I feel it could have had a few more sets of cards to make it a bigger expansion (unlike Alchemy and Cornucopia, which are about right). I find the game-play of Alchemy to be what Dominion should be about. As a lover of the medieval period. This is what was lacking as it played such a huge part in their lives it had to be an expansion. Magic, warlocks and witches. You gotta love it.

  7. petegeo says:

    Yes!! Prosperity arrives today. Another one to add to my game playing experince.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Bought intrigue as a second expansion. Arrives today. My reasoning behind going this route is to give more variety to regular dominion that we already own. Following intrigue we will purchase seaside, prosperity, hinterlands and dark ages. Alchemy, cornucopia and guilds would be fun to obtain after these bigger expansions.

  9. dbcint says:

    Assuming you started with the base set, I’d go for Intrigue as your first expansion, because of the additional Copper/Silver/Gold. You’re not likely to need them, but there are cards in later expansions that can dish out a horrendous amount of Copper (a four-player game with Jester and Mountebank just about emptied the pile of Copper). I’d then go for Prosperity, for the upgrade to Platinum / Colony. After that, go for whatever takes your fancy.

  10. petegeo says:

    I have just purchased The base cards. The art work is great, I have only found a small detail that irks me, and that is the Estate cards art…. it is a roman villa. It should be more in keeping with the medieval theme, a Tudor mansion would have been more appropriate. I think I would have got Dark Ages last if I had had more knowledge of the game and how it plays, It is the hardest and biggest expansion of all, with 35 kingdom cards, Ruins, Spoils and Settlements. It plays well though. It has a subtleness to it that you don’t appreciate until you have played it many times…and those Rats, are just amazing.
    I just have to get the Promo cards to complete the full Dominion Set. It is not easy to do this in the UK.

  11. Jessica says:

    So I have the original Dominion set. I’m wanting to expand in such a way that more people can play, as we often have more than 4 people (My family alone is 5, and that’s if we have company…and you can only have so many gamemasters!).

    It seems like Prosperity is the simplest/most popular expansion, but based on the above discussion, it doesn’t appear to allow for extra players? Does anyone have any recommendations on this specific area?e

    • theory says:

      Honestly, Prosperity will play just about as well as most of the other expansions, but none of the Dominions really play well with > 4 players. I would consider just splitting into two separate games.

    • Anonymous says:

      Or get intrigue as it expands to 5-6 players.

    • Aaron Cousins says:

      We have 6 in our family and play the base set or base set + intrigue all the time. If you don’t mind spending time together (it takes a lot of time to get from one of your own turns to the next)
      and having smaller point totals it is fine.

  12. petegeo says:

    If you want to play more than 4 persons and want to also play with prosperity, then go for the base cards(these base cards have different artwork, and can get a little confusing for first time players). Or if you want to just play with just more players and another game then go for Intrigue, as it has a set of base cards aswell. So you have double the amount of money, curses and victory cards. You can always get Prosperity later. Personally I have all of the Games, promo cards and two extra sets of Base cards and we often play up to 8 players at a time. We have tweaked some of the rules for it to play better with more players. That is up to individual people playing. Just have fun and if you are like me and my friends. Play often as we never seem to get bored of the game.

  13. petegeo says:

    Yesssss!!!!
    Dominion Adventures comes out this year. Can’t wait. Here is a little taster.
    “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. You’re not sure which, but at least you’ve narrowed it down. You are rich with life experiences, but have had trouble trading them for goods and services. It’s time to seek your fortune, or anyone’s really, whoever’s is closest. To the west there’s a land of milk and honey, full of giant bees and monstrous cows. To the east, a land of eggs and licorice. To the north, treacherous swamps; to the south, loyal jungles. But all of them have been thoroughly pillaged. You’ve heard legends though of a fifth direction, as yet unspoiled, with its treasures conveniently gathered into troves. You have your sword and your trail mix, handed down from your father, and his father before him. You’ve recruited some recruits and hired some hirelings; you’ve shined your armor and distressed a damsel. You put up a sign saying “Gone Adventuring.” Then you put up another sign, saying “Beware of Dog,” in case people get any ideas. You’re ready. You saddle up your trusty steed, and head florst.

    This is the 9th addition to the game of Dominion. It has 400 cards, 6 mats, and 60 tokens. There are 30 new Kingdom cards, including the return of Duration cards that do things on future turns, plus Reserve cards that can be saved for the right moment. There are also 20 Event cards that give you something to buy besides cards, including tokens that modify cards.”
    It sounds really cool especially the Reserve and Event Cards.

  14. Doug Brunson says:

    i also like alchemy. i am going to get prosperity next. 🙂

  15. Alex Iron says:

    If I had money only for 3 Dominion boxes, I would buy Base, Prosperity and Dark Ages. I think it’s the best choice!

  16. Anonymous says:

    All of them!

  17. Ronnie O. says:

    Intrigue and Seaside – in either order – would be my choices for the first two expansions. The cards are fun, the attacks are formidable. These both blend nicely with the original base set, usually producing a well-balanced game. Games that mix Intrigue AND Seaside can be a bit more intense, too, if you like that kind of thing (I DO).
    From there, there are three ways you can go. Pick and choose the ones you’d like based on how you want the game to grow. I recommend getting all three of these at some point. Here’s the order I’d pick them up in…yours may be different. Note: The new “Adventures” is not included as I am not yet familiar with it.

    Hinterlands – This expansion enlarges the game all around by small increments. Contains some very powerful cards, and some cards allow you to do things when you buy or gain them. The overall feel of the set is that it gave me some new ways to view – and use – many cards from the older sets.

    Cornucopia – In my opinion, the best of the small sets. The focus is that this set promotes having a diverse selection of cards in your deck. Though I enjoy including this with any other expansion, the ‘differently named’ features in this set pair exceedingly well with Dark Ages.

    Prosperity – You’ll want this set for the Platinum treasures and the Colony victory cards for sure. Beyond that, you’ll probably love the VP tokens, which help to get VP during the game without clogging up your deck, and the treasure cards that can act sort of like action cards. Overall, this set is geared toward big money. I really don’t like playing this set stand-alone, but when combined with another set this really comes to life.

    These final three are what I call the ‘optional’ expansions. You might love ’em or hate ’em, and each will add something unique – but non-essential – to the game.

    Guilds – this is probably the blandest of the small sets. It’s coin-gaining and overspending are decent mechanics to add to the game, and many of the cards are solid.

    Dark Ages – a huge set of 500 cards, this expansion includes self-replicating Rats, 10 different Knight cards, deck-clogging Ruins, and near-worthless Shelter cards, which replace the 3 Estates you’d normally have at the beginning of the game. Oh, and many cards will give you something when you trash other cards. Probably the biggest game-changing expansion, this is sort of the “Anti-Prosperity” edition.

    Alchemy – With it’s non-money treasure card (the Potion) needed to buy a majority of the action cards in the set, critics had a good time flogging this expansion after its release. The focus is on action cards, and the theme touches a bit on the mystical (Golem, Possession, Philosopher’s Stone). Probably the least popular expansion, but some people REALLY love it.

  18. Anonymous says:

    I have seaside prosperity and base

  19. anonymous says:

    There are some really nice cards like Idol and Pride. In Which decks are they?

  20. Pingback: Review: Dominion Prosperity - Gameruman

  21. Cedric Chin says:

    Most Eurogamers seem to prefer the base game and Prosperity or Seaside. If you’ve played CCG’s or Ameritrash games, Intrigue and Hinterlands or Cornucopia would work. The later expansions, starting with Dark Ages are, imo, for experienced players. Of course, if an expansion is on sale and the reviews look good to you, buy it!

  22. Anonymous says:

    I am new to dominion but I have played base seaside intriuge cornucopia guilds alchemy and prosperity I love the game overall even just the base and alchemy is an eh but there is just no ruining this game from the gods

  23. Anonymous says:

    I don’t need the extra victory and treasure cards but want the action cards. What do I do?

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