Dominion Hinterlands was published in October of 2011. It is the seventh overall release in the line of Dominion games. It is a large expansion but, like most of the expansions before it, 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. October of 2011 also marked the release of the last single-card promotional card expansion sets. You can 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 Hinterlands central theme is cards that do something immediately when they are bought or gained. This adds speed to games and again expands the overall Dominion world. 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 Hinterlands 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 Hinterlands 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 Hinterlands storyline from RioGrandeGames.com reads as follows:
The world is big and your kingdom small. Small when compared to the world, that is; it’s moderate-sized when compared to other kingdoms. But in a big world like this one – big when compared to smaller worlds anyway, if such things exist; it’s moderate-sized when compared to worlds of roughly the same size, and a little small when compared to worlds just a little larger – well, to make a long story short – short when compared to longer stories anyway – it is time to stretch your borders. You’ve heard of far-off places – exotic countries, where they have pancakes but not waffles, where the people wear the wrong number of shirts, and don’t even have a word for the look two people give each other when they each hope that the other will do something that they both want done but which neither of them wants to do. It is to these lands that you now turn your gaze.
Dominion Hinterlands Card List
The Dominion Hinterlands expansion comes with 300 cards; all the cards you need to play the game are NOT included. To play with it, you need the base Dominion game or a standalone expansion to Dominion (Dominion Intrigue, for example). 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 Hinterlands can be combined with any other expansions you have. There are 266 Kingdom cards, 26 Randomizer cards, and 8 blank cards (7 standard and 1 randomizer).
In alphabetical order, the Kingdom cards included in the Dominion Hinterlands game are: Border Village, Cache, Cartographer, Crossroads, Develop, Duchess, Embassy, Farmland, Fool’s Gold, Haggler, Highway, Ill-Gotten Gains, Inn, Jack of All Trades, Mandarin, Margrave, Noble Brigand, Nomad Camp, Oasis, Oracle, Scheme, Silk Road, Spice Merchant, Stables, Trader, and Tunnel.
For card images, how each card functions, and a more detailed Dominion Hinterlands card list, go here: Dominion Hinterlands Cards List
Recommended Dominion Hinterlands 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 Hinterlands rules below). Also included in the rules are recommended Kingdom sets. The sets are recommended to highlight specific card interactions, themes, and strategies. The recommended sets involving Dominion Hinterlands are as follows:
Recommended Sets, Dominion Hinterlands Only
Introduction: Cache, Crossroads, Develop, Haggler, Jack of All Trades, Margrave, Nomad Camp, Oasis, Spice Merchant, Stables
Fair Trades: Border Village, Cartographer, Develop, Duchess, Farmland, Ill-Gotten Gains, Noble Brigand, Silk Road, Stables, Trader
Bargains: Border Village, Cache, Duchess, Fool’s Gold, Haggler, Highway, Nomad Camp, Scheme, Spice Merchant, Trader
Gambits: Cartographer, Crossroads, Embassy, Inn, Jack of All Trades, Mandarin, Nomad Camp, Oasis, Oracle, Tunnel
Recommended Sets, Original Dominion & Dominion Hinterlands
Highway Robbery: Cellar, Library, Moneylender, Throne Room, Workshop / Highway, Inn, Margrave, Noble Brigand, Oasis
Adventures Abroad: Adventurer, Chancellor, Festival, Laboratory, Remodel / Crossroads, Farmland, Fool’s Gold, Oracle, Spice Merchant
Recommended Sets, Dominion Hinterlands & Dominion Intrigue
Money for Nothing: Coppersmith, Great Hall, Pawn, Shanty Town, Torturer / Cache, Cartographer, Jack of All Trades, Silk Road, Tunnel
The Duke’s Ball: Conspirator, Duke, Harem, Masquerade, Upgrade / Duchess, Haggler, Inn, Noble Brigand, Scheme
Recommended Sets, Dominion Alchemy & Dominion Hinterlands
Schemes and Dreams: Apothecary, Apprentice, Herbalist, Philosopher’s Stone, Transmute / Duchess, Fool’s Gold, Ill-Gotten Gains, Jack of All Trades, Scheme
Wine Country: Apprentice, Familiar, Golem, University, Vineyard / Crossroads, Farmland, Haggler, Highway, Nomad Camp
Recommended Sets, Dominion Hinterlands & Dominion Prosperity
Instant Gratification: Bishop, Expand, Hoard, Mint, Watchtower / Farmland, Haggler, Ill-Gotten Gains, Noble Brigand, Trader
Treasure Trove: Bank, Monument, Royal Seal, Trade Route, Venture / Cache, Develop, Fool’s Gold, Ill-Gotten Gains, Mandarin
Recommended Sets, Dominion Hinterlands & Dominion Cornucopia
Blue Harvest: Hamlet, Horn of Plenty, Horse Traders, Jester, Tournament / Fool’s Gold, Mandarin, Noble Brigand, Trader, Tunnel
Traveling Circus: Fairgrounds, Farming Village, Hunting Party, Jester, Menagerie / Border Village, Embassy, Fool’s Gold, Nomad Camp, Oasis
Dominion Hinterlands Rules
You can download all of the rules to the Dominion Hinterlands game here: Dominion Hinterlands Rules. This rules set provides instructions for properly playing each card.
Buy Dominion Hinterlands
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 Hinterlands: Conclusion
The Dominion Hinterlands expansion game is a great addition to an already all-around fantastic game. The additional 26 Kingdom cards increase the possible card combinations and further ensure that the game is virtually always different, and the additional Treasure and Victory cards included in that number increase end-game strategies. 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 Hinterlands 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.