Overview of the Original Dominion Game
The Dominion base game was the first release that started the entire craze and paved the way for the deck-building card game as a viable, mainstream game platform. It was initially released in October of 2008 at the annual 4-day game trade fair Spiel (Internationale Spieltage) in Essen, Germany, and vaulted into prominence nearly instantly among gamers. In 2009, Dominion began winning numerous awards and gaining even more prominence. It was the recipient of such prestigious awards as Spiel des Jahres and Deutscher Spiele Preis awards, and it was one of five winning games in American Mensa’s 2009 MindGame competition. Since then it has accrued many more awards.
One of the key components to its widespread appeal is the simplicity of the basic rules. Virtually anyone can get the hang of the game in a short period of time. But, the strategic interactions make it a game that is mentally challenging as well. Even the most brilliant minds are challenged and pushed if mastery is to be attained. In this sense, the game is similar to chess. Anyone can play, but skill is learned and honed through practice and mental development. This site is dedicated to that developmental process! But, if you are new, be sure to check out the Dominion Card Game Basics first.
The entire series of Dominion games has been designed so that the game has core concepts around which it revolves and expands. The core concepts are all present in the base game, and they are also represented in their simplest forms. This makes the original Dominion game the best one to get when you are ready own the game. See the Buy Dominion page for more on what those core concepts are.
Dominion Base Game Narrative
Oftentimes, game publishers will set the context for their games by releasing a narrative that introduces the thematic “environment” for game play. Each Dominion game or expansion has such a narrative. The original Dominion storyline from RioGrandeGames.com reads as follows:
You are a monarch, like your parents before you, a ruler of a small pleasant kingdom of rivers and evergreens. Unlike your parents, however, you have hopes and dreams! You want a bigger and more pleasant kingdom, with more rivers and a wider variety of trees. You want a Dominion! In all directions lie fiefs, freeholds, and feodums. All are small bits of land, controlled by petty lords and verging on anarchy. You will bring civilization to these people, uniting them under your banner.
But wait! It must be something in the air; several other monarchs have had the exact same idea. You must race to get as much of the unclaimed land as possible, fending them off along the way. To do this you will hire minions, construct buildings, spruce up your castle, and fill the coffers of your treasury. Your parents wouldn’t be proud, but your grandparents, would be delighted.
Dominion Base Game Card List
The Dominion base game comes with 500 cards; all the cards you need to play the game are included. There are 25 Kingdom Cards, 3 standard Victory cards, 3 standard Treasure cards, Curse cards and a Trash card to mark the trash pile.
In alphabetical order, the cards included in the original Dominion game are: Adventurer, Bureaucrat, Cellar, Chancellor, Chapel, Copper, Council Room, Curse, Duchy, Estate, Feast, Festival, Gardens, Gold, Laboratory, Library, Market, Militia, Mine, Moat, Moneylender, Province, Remodel, Silver, Smithy, Spy, Thief, Throne Room, Trash, Village, Witch, Woodcutter, and Workshop.
For card images, how each card functions, and a more detailed Dominion base game card list, go here: Original Dominion Cards List
Also, with so many cards, it can be confusing to keep them all organized. To save time with setup and clean-up before and after you have played your games, you can download this inlay to lay inside your box to help with the process of finding and organizing your cards: Dominion Box Inlay.
Recommended Dominion Kingdom Sets
Each game that is played using only the first Dominion game centers around building your deck from the 10 stacks of Kingdom cards. Prior to being released, all the cards went through an extensive play-testing trial. This culled out cards that were too powerful, useless for much of anything, too “swingy” (meaning that their presence or use causes the game to swing inordinately for or against a player), or that proved to be detrimental to the game in some way. Also, this play testing was vital in determining the best price point for each of the cards.
With the release of the game, a rules booklet is included to clarify exactly how the cards may be used and played (download Dominion rules below). Also included in the rules are recommended Kingdom sets. The sets are recommended to highlight specific card interactions and themes and strategies. The recommended sets for the Dominion base game are as follows:
Recommended Sets, Original Dominion
First Game: Cellar, Market, Militia, Mine, Moat, Remodel, Smithy, Village, Woodcutter, Workshop.
Big Money: Adventurer, Bureaucrat, Chancellor, Chapel, Feast, Laboratory, Market, Mine, Moneylender, Throne Room
Interaction: Bureaucrat, Chancellor, Council Room, Festival, Library, Militia, Moat, Spy, Thief, Village
Size Distortion: Cellar, Chapel, Feast, Gardens, Laboratory, Thief, Village, Witch, Woodcutter, Workshop
Village Square: Bureaucrat, Cellar, Festival, Library, Market, Remodel, Smithy, Throne Room, Village, Woodcutter
(People new to the game should use the First Game setup to facilitate learning how to play)
Original Dominion Rules
You can download all of the rules to the original Dominion game here: Dominion Rules.
Buy the Dominion Base Game
When Dominion was first released, there were no options. You could buy the game or not. There were no expansions. There was no confusion. Now, however, there are many options available. It is generally considered best to buy and learn the first released game prior to moving on to subsequent ones. You can do that directly here: Dominion Base Game. If you aren’t sure, or if you just want more information prior to deciding on which boxed sets you want to get, this page will help walk you through the process and give you a better grasp of what you get with each one: Buy Dominion.
Also, with the release of the expansion-only boxed sets, a new artistic rendering has been applied to the common cards that are present in every Dominion game. They are also available on the above-linked page for those familiar with Dominion already and who wish to buy an expansion set to play as a stand-alone game.
Dominion Base Game: Conclusion
Dominion is an all-around fantastic game. The game is virtually always different, especially when you start adding in more Kingdom Cards through expansions. With all the expansions, there are millions upon millions of possible game combinations. Since every card is different, every card interacts with the others in varying ways. The initial analysis strategic component is important! But, the game is interactive, and how you play is affected by what your opponent(s) does(do), so your ability to adjust and implement mid-game tactics is equally important!
The bottom line is that Dominion is worthy of the awards it has won. It is a great game for families, friends, and the über-competitive alike. Because of the variability, every game presents a unique challenge, an opportunity to improve and learn something new, and a guarantee of a good time.