Dominion Cornucopia was published in June of 2011. It is the sixth overall release in the line of Dominion games. It is a small expansion like Alchemy before it. But, like the rest of the expansion-only games, it requires either the original base game or the Intrigue expansion to play a full game. So, it is required that one either purchase one of the first two games, the Big Box, or get the later-released base cards only set (see below) to use in conjunction with it.
Prior to the release of Cornucopia, the Envoy, Black Market, and Stash promotional cards were released, the single-card release of Walled Village was released in June 2011 as well, and one more followed in October 2011 after its release (see here for the full list of Dominion promotional cards).
The entire series of Dominion games has been designed so that each expansion game adds themes or additional game play concepts to the core principles introduced in the original game and around which it revolves and expands. Dominion Cornucopia adds numerous dynamics and new dimensions to the game, and focuses on building variety into one’s deck. There are cards that reward variety in one’s deck, hand, and in play; and there are cards that help attain that variety. As always, the the original Dominion game is probably the best one to get if you aren’t already very familiar with the game, but Cornucopia can be a starting point as well. See the Buy Dominion page for more on what themes and play concepts are introduced by each expansion set.
Dominion Cornucopia 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 Cornucopia storyline from RioGrandeGames.com reads as follows:
Autumn. It seemed like the summer would never end, but that fortune teller was right. It’s over. Autumn, the time of the harvest. Agriculture has advanced significantly in recent years, ever since the discovery of the maxim, “leaves of three, let it be.” Autumn, a time of celebration. The peasants have spent a hard week scything hay in the fields, but tonight the festivities begin, starting with a sumptuous banquet of roast hay. Then, the annual nose-stealing competition. Then you have two jesters, one who always lies, one who always tells the truth, both hilariously. This celebration will truly have something for everyone.
Dominion Cornucopia Card List
The Dominion Cornucopia expansion comes with 150 cards; all the cards you need to play the game are NOT included. To play with it, you need the base Dominion game or another standalone expansion like Dominion Intrigue. Those provide the basic cards you need to play (Treasure, Victory, and Curse cards), as well as the full rules for setup and game play (or, you can purchase the later-released Base Cards pack – see below). Dominion Cornucopia can be combined with any other expansions you have. There are 132 Kingdom cards, 5 Prize cards, and 13 Randomizer cards.
In alphabetical order, the Kingdom cards included in the Dominion Cornucopia game are: Fairgrounds, Farming Village, Fortune Teller, Hamlet, Harvest, Horn of Plenty, Horse Traders, Hunting Party, Jester, Menagerie, Remake, Tournament, and Young Witch. The Prize cards are: Bag of Gold, Diadem, Followers, Princess, and Trusty Steed.
For card images, how each card functions, and a more detailed Dominion Cornucopia card list, go here: Dominion Cornucopia Cards List
Recommended Dominion Cornucopia Kingdom Sets
Each game that is played centers around building your deck from the (usually) 10 stacks of Kingdom cards. Prior to a new expansion being released, all the cards go through an extensive play-testing trial. This culls out cards that are deemed 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 prove to be detrimental to the game in some way. Also, this play testing is vital in determining the best price point for each of the cards.
With each of the releases, a rules booklet is released to clarify exactly how the cards may be used and played (download Dominion Cornucopia rules below). Usually included in the rules booklets are recommended Kingdom sets. The sets are recommended to highlight specific card interactions, themes, and strategies. However, perhaps due to the tremendous amount of variety that is introduced by Cornucopia, no recommended sets are put forth with this release.
Dominion Cornucopia Rules
You can download all of the rules to the Dominion Cornucopia game here: Dominion Cornucopia Rules. This rules set provides instructions for properly playing each card.
Buy Dominion Cornucopia
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 Cornucopia: Conclusion
The Dominion Cornucopia expansion game is a great addition to an already all-around fantastic game. The additional 13 Kingdom cards and 5 Prize cards increase the possible card combinations and further ensure that the game is virtually always different. This expansion, and the focus on variety it brings, makes it particularly well-suited for experienced players. 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 Cornucopia adds great new thematic and strategic elements to the overall game. It makes the game an even better choice 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.