Dominion Beginners Guide Tutorial

By: Dennis B. B. Taylor

Beginner’s Guide to Dominion: A Step-by-Step Tutorial

Hey there! If you’re new to Dominion, welcome to the wonderful world of this strategic card game. Today, I’m going to walk you through the basics, so you can jump right in and start having a blast!

What is Dominion?

Before we dive in, let me quickly explain what Dominion is all about. In Dominion, you play as a monarch, striving to build the best kingdom in the land. To do this, you’ll need to carefully select and play cards from your personal deck. Each turn, you’ll draw a handful of cards, and you’ll use the resources these cards provide to acquire new cards, gain abilities, and ultimately score points. The player with the most points at the end of the game wins!

Getting Started

Now that you have an idea of the game’s objective, it’s time to get started. The first thing you’ll need to do is set up the game board. You’ll see a selection of different cards, representing different types of actions, treasures, and victory cards. These cards will vary from game to game, which adds an exciting element of variety and strategic depth.

Once the game board is set up, each player receives their own deck of cards. This deck will start with a basic set of cards, including money cards and victory point cards. As the game progresses, you’ll have the opportunity to improve and expand your deck by acquiring new and more powerful cards.

Playing the Game

Now that everything is set up, it’s time to jump into the action! At the start of each turn, you’ll draw a hand of five cards from your deck. These cards will determine the actions you can take on your turn. You’ll have the opportunity to play action cards, which often have powerful abilities that can give you an edge. You can also play treasure cards to generate money, which you can then use to purchase new cards from the game board.

As you play the game, you’ll want to think strategically about which cards to play and which cards to acquire. Some cards may give you extra actions or allow you to draw more cards, while others may provide you with extra money or victory points. It’s up to you to decide which cards will best help you achieve your goal of building the most powerful kingdom.

Winning the Game

As the game progresses, players will continue to acquire new cards, gradually improving their decks. Eventually, the game will reach a point where the stack of victory point cards is completely depleted. At this point, the game will end, and each player will count up the victory point cards they have in their deck. The player with the most victory points will be declared the winner!

Final Thoughts

Now that you have a basic understanding of Dominion, it’s time to embark on your own kingdom-building adventure. Remember, each game of Dominion is unique, offering endless possibilities for strategy and excitement. So gather some friends, shuffle those cards, and let the game begin. Good luck, and may your kingdom reign supreme!

When I think about Dominion, I can’t help but get excited. This game, released in 2008, is like no other. It created a whole new way of playing that both hardcore gamers and casual players love.

Before Dominion, if you were playing a card game, you would have to build your deck before the game even started. You would look through your collection of cards and carefully select the ones you wanted to include in your deck. Then, you would shuffle your deck and face off against your opponent. But Dominion changed all of that.

In Dominion, things work a little differently. Instead of building your deck before the game, you build it during the game. You and your opponents sit around a shared pool of cards, and you take turns picking cards from that pool to add to your deck. It’s like building your strategy on the go.

Some people might argue that Dominion can be played with five or six players, but I think it’s best with just two to four players. That’s where the game really shines.

In every game, there are three types of Basic Supply cards that you will always find: Treasure cards, Victory cards, and Curse cards.

Treasure cards are cards that give you coins to spend. They are used to buy other cards during your turn. With enough coins, you can purchase more valuable cards that will help you gain points and ultimately win the game.

On the other hand, Victory cards are the cards you need to win the game. They are worth points, and the player with the most points at the end of the game is the winner. Victory cards do not give you any coins, but they are crucial for securing your victory.

Be careful, though, because there are also Curse cards in the Basic Supply. These cards bring bad luck and subtract points from your total score. Avoid getting too many Curse cards if you want to have a chance at winning the game.



The amount of Coins you need to pay in order to gain a card and add it to your deck is shown on the bottom left corner. For instance, if you want to add a Gold card to your deck, you would need 6 Coins available to buy it.

When you play a Treasure card from your hand, it will provide you with Coins that can be used to buy other cards. A Gold card, when played from your hand, adds 3 Coins to your buying power, while a Copper card only adds 1 Coin.

Victory Cards

Victory cards are added to your deck when you purchase them, but they don’t have any value until the game ends and all players calculate the total number of Victory Points printed on their Victory cards. The player with the most Victory Points at the end of the game wins. This creates an interesting dilemma to consider.

If you buy Victory cards at the beginning of the game, you’ll get cards that don’t do anything to help you get more cards or build a good card-drawing or coin-producing system.

If you wait too long to buy Victory cards, the game might end before you can get enough Victory Points to win.

Curse Cards

When you play Dominion, you have the option to purchase Curse cards, but typically you wouldn’t want to include them in your deck. This is because, at the end of the game, Curse cards actually deduct Victory Points from your total. During the game, they act like dead cards, similar to Victory cards, that can clutter your deck and make it more difficult to draw useful cards.

However, Curse cards do serve a purpose. They are available as support for certain special Attack cards that allow you to add Curses to your opponents’ decks. This can be a sneaky strategy to hinder your opponents’ progress and tip the game in your favor.

In addition to the basic Supply cards, you’ll also include 10 random piles of Kingdom Cards in each game of Dominion. These Kingdom Cards are what make the game exciting and offer opportunities for strategic thinking and clever combos. With 25 different Kingdom Cards available in the base game, the combination of 10 cards you play with will always be different, adding to the replay value and keeping the game fresh and engaging.

When you play {KEYWORDS}, it’s like diving into a vast ocean of possibilities. With just the initial set of cards alone, you have a mind-boggling number of combinations to explore – a whopping 3,268,760, to be precise! And the fun doesn’t stop there. Once you include all the expansions, the number of combinations skyrockets even further.

As that wise person once put it, “variety is what keeps us coming back for more.” That’s why {KEYWORDS} is such a fantastic game. It offers an endless array of choices and strategies, ensuring that every time you play, it’s a unique and exciting experience.

Let me give you a taste of what awaits you in the world of {KEYWORDS}. Here are some simple Action Kingdom cards to whet your appetite:

In the world of Dominion, there are special cards known as Kingdom cards. These cards can be a type of Treasure or Victory card.

Let me break it down for you: your deck will consist of 3 piles of Treasure cards (Gold, Silver, and Copper), 3 piles of Victory cards (Estates, Duchys, and Provinces), 1 pile of Curses, and 10 piles of Kingdom cards. Each pile of Kingdom cards contains 10 copies of the same card, ensuring fairness for everyone.

The number of Curse and Victory cards in their respective piles depends on the number of players. The amount of Victory Kingdom cards is scaled to match the Basic Victories.

As for the Treasure cards, it’s ideal to have enough of each so they don’t run out during a game, but it can happen. This brings me to the two ways the game can end: if any three supply piles run out of cards or if the pile of Provinces is depleted, the game is over.

So, you’re curious about how to play the game now that we’ve gone over the board setup. Well, I’ve got you covered. Let me explain.

Each player starts with a deck of 10 cards. This deck includes 3 Estates and 7 Coppers. Once you shuffle your deck, you’ll draw 5 cards to start your turn. Pay attention because I’ll be teaching you the ABCs of the game:


At the beginning of your turn, you can play 1 Action card. This card will give you a special ability that you can use to strategize.


Next, it’s time to Buy! During this step, you have the opportunity to purchase any 1 card from the supply piles. Here’s a tip: you can also play Treasure cards to add Coins to your pool. The more Coins you have, the better your options.

Keep in mind, any Coins you gained from Action Cards earlier in your turn also count towards your purchasing power. And remember, any card you acquire during your Buy step will go straight to the top of your discard pile.

Clean Up

When I’m playing the game, here’s what happens: I discard all the cards I’ve played and any remaining cards in my hand. All of these go into my discard pile. Then, I draw 5 new cards from my deck. But what if there aren’t enough cards in my deck? No worries, I just draw as many as I can and then shuffle my discard pile to create a new deck. I draw the remaining needed cards from this new deck.

It’s really simple, you know? Each turn, I get 1 Action and 1 Buy. Drawing 5 new cards per turn allows me to cycle through my deck quickly. This means that I’ll soon be able to draw and play the cards I’ve purchased.

Let me explain a bit about Dominion shorthand. When it comes to those Action cards I mentioned earlier, you always do what the card says, following the order it’s written in. The Market card is a great example of this shorthand:

Hey there! Let’s dive into some key terms you’ll come across while playing the game.

+1 Card: Got it! This means you draw 1 card right away. Keep in mind that some Action cards can give you even more, like +2 Cards or +3 Cards.

+1 Action: This one’s cool! It lets you play another Action card during your turn. If you have a Village, it gives you +2 Actions, so you can play 2 extra Action cards. Just remember, any unused Actions are lost when your turn ends.

+1 Buy: Now we’re talking shopping! This allows you to buy an extra card during your Buy step. You could even have +2 Buys or +3 Buys, adding to the fun. And yes, these are cumulative, so if you play two Villages, you’ll have 3 Buys left.

+Coin: Cha-ching! This one is all about the money. You get an extra Coin to use during your Buy step. Sometimes, the Coin icon will have a number inside, telling you how many Coins you get. For example, Militia gives you 2 extra Coins for your buy step.

So, when it comes to militias, there are a few different types of actions that they can take: Attacks and Reactions. Let’s dive in and explore what these actions entail.

Attack Cards: Wrecking Havoc!

Attack cards are like little troublemakers that wreak havoc on your opponents’ plans. They’re the perfect way to ruin their day and pave your path to sweet victory. And don’t worry, there are cards out there that can help you defend against these sneaky attacks.

Reaction Cards: Play Your Defense!

Reaction cards are your secret weapon against Attack cards. When an Attack card comes your way, you can play a Reaction card to fight back. Picture it like a counter-attack that catches your opponent off guard. Take Moat for example – if you play it during your turn, it not only acts as a regular Action card but also grants you +2 more cards. It’s a win-win!

When you’re playing a card game and someone tries to attack you by playing an Attack card, you have a secret weapon: the Moat card. Moat is a special card that has a reaction effect (the reaction effect is below the line). Unlike other cards, Moat can be played from your hand to counter any attack and prevent its effects. The best part is that Moat stays in your hand so you can use it again if someone tries to attack you again.

As someone who loves playing collectible card games, Dominion is a game that really hits the spot. It reminds me of those combo decks I used to play with in the past. You know, the ones where you can play a bunch of cards and draw more cards until you play your whole deck in just one turn. It’s a super satisfying feeling, even if you end up losing the game (although, hopefully, you can still buy some victory cards with the extra turns).

But Dominion isn’t just about basic action cards. It goes deeper than that. There are special cards in the game that can really change the way you play and require some serious strategy.

Ah, let me tell you, my young apprentice, this is a question worth pondering. What if I were to ask you: Is Silver truly superior to Copper? And, in turn, is Gold not superior to Silver? Now, picture this: at the beginning of the game, your deck is filled with these bland Copper cards, diluting your chances of achieving greatness.

Take a moment to imagine this scenario: with a hand of five cards, the maximum number of Coins you can obtain is merely five Coins. Despite the option of adding more Gold cards to your deck, the presence of Copper continues to impede your ability to draw that coveted Gold card consistently. However, worry not, for Chapel holds the solution to your troubles.

My friend, it is time to rid yourself of that cheap metal called Copper, and while you’re at it, bid farewell to those underwhelming Estates as soon as possible. During the early stage of the game, these cards do nothing but burden you with pointless draws. By constructing a formidable deck, you will acquire more valuable treasures such as Gold and Provinces, offering far greater benefits in the long run.

When you get a card, it is placed at the top of your discard pile, as if you had just bought it.

Hey there! Ready for some awesome combos? Well, hold on tight because I’ve got a killer combo that blew my mind. It was so epic that I won the game with only 5 cards left in my deck. Sounds incredible, right?

Let me break it down for you. In this particular game, I had access to three powerful cards: Chapel, Throne Room, and Remodel. Now, on my first two turns, I decided to purchase a Remodel and a Chapel. Little did I know that these cards were about to give me an unstoppable advantage.

With each subsequent turn, I used the Chapel to remove all the Copper cards from my deck. Those little buggers were not serving any purpose, and I wanted to optimize my chances of drawing the good stuff. Then, I got down to business. I transformed a couple of Estates into a Throne Room and another Remodel using the powerful Remodel card.

But here’s where things got really interesting. I kept using the Chapel to thin out my deck until I was left with only 5 cards. And thanks to my trusty Throne Room, I was able to turbo-charge my Remodels and gain two Provinces every turn. Can you believe that? I was swimming in Provinces!

Eventually, I reached the ultimate combo: Throne Room, Remodel, Province, Province, Province. Every single turn, like clockwork, I drew these exact 5 cards. And you know what that means? I was able to use my Throne Room to duplicate my Remodel every single time. I was unstoppable.

At that point, I went on a rampage. I started remodeling my Provinces into even more Provinces. It was like a never-ending cycle of wealth and power. And before I knew it, I was milling out the Province pile, one Remodel at a time.

Wow! I managed to end the game so quickly that my opponents couldn’t keep up. I only needed 18 Victory Points to secure the win!

Okay, let me tell you about my second favorite Combo of all time, and it’s the exact opposite of the Turbo Remodel. It totally contradicts what I said earlier about getting rid of those crummy Copper and Estates cards. Here’s how it works:

For the first two turns, all you do is buy two Workshops.

After that, you can pretty much go on autopilot: whenever you play a Workshop, use it to get more Workshops or Gardens, and use your Buy to grab even more Gardens and Workshops. And hey, if you don’t have enough money for a Workshop or Gardens, just get an Estate instead. Simple, right?

If you don’t have enough money to buy an Estate, you can get a Copper card for free. It’s that simple. Just make sure your opponents aren’t smart enough to start taking Gardens from the supply. If they don’t catch on, you’ll be able to build up a massive deck, gaining two cards every turn and making your Gardens worth a ton of Victory Points. The game ends when the Workshop, Gardens, and Estates piles are empty. I’ve had decks with 50-60 cards when the game is over.

What’s great about Dominion is that I can convince anyone to play it. Even my girlfriend, who absolutely hates Magic, was willing to give Dominion a try. I made the mistake of comparing it to Magic’s deck building mechanics, and she wanted nothing to do with it. But once she started playing, she couldn’t get enough!

When my friend first told me about Dominion, she was adamant that she would never play it. But after some convincing, she gave it a shot, and to her surprise, she became completely hooked. And it’s not just her; everyone I’ve introduced to the game, whether they’re seasoned CCG players or non-gamers who think Monopoly is the epitome of tabletop gaming, has thoroughly enjoyed it.

And here’s the best part: Dominion has a whole array of expansions! Being the very first deck-building game on the market and incredibly successful, it comes as no surprise that numerous expansions have been released. However, you don’t need to own them all to enjoy Dominion. Personally, I’ve played hundreds of games using just the original set, and each one has been an absolute blast.

Of course, if and when you’re ready, the expansions can introduce some fresh new concepts. You can pick and choose which ones appeal to you the most, gradually expanding your collection with a box or two.

Here are some expansions of Dominion:

Dominion: Intrigue

So, check this out: Intrigue shook things up by adding cards that had two types. You know, a card that could be both a Victory card and an Action card, or a Treasure card and a Victory card, and so on. And it didn’t stop there – the expansion also brought in more exciting and interactive cards. We’re talking about cards that let you swap things around, or cards that hit your opponents hard with some serious attacks.

It’s funny, my girlfriend doesn’t like certain Attack cards from this set. She doesn’t enjoy the conflict they bring. On the other hand, my more competitive friends actually look forward to these cards. They see them as an opportunity to mess with each other.

That’s what makes Dominion so fascinating. It offers enough variety that there’s always something for everyone. You never have to play with cards you don’t want to. The Intrigue expansion even introduced a whole new set of Basic Supply cards, allowing you to play with more people or run multiple games simultaneously.

Dominion: Seaside

Hi there! I want to talk to you about an awesome expansion called Seaside. It adds some really cool stuff to the game like metal embargo and coin tokens. These tokens help you keep track of new effects from certain cards. But that’s not all! Seaside also introduces Duration Cards, which are different from other cards because they don’t get discarded after you play them. Instead, they stay in play and give you extra benefits on your next turn. It’s like getting two cards for the price of one!

I really love playing with the Duration cards in Dominion. They add a whole new level of excitement to the game. And let me tell you, there are some new cards in the mix that really shake things up. One of my favorites is the Pirate Ship card. It’s a blast to play with, but man, it can be frustrating when someone else uses it against you.

By the way, if you’re not familiar with Dominion, it’s a card game that comes with different expansions. One of those expansions is called Seaside. And let me tell you, once you start playing with the Seaside expansion, you won’t want to go back to just the basic cards. It really takes the game to a whole new level.

Oh, and speaking of expansions, there’s another one called Dominion: Prosperity. This one is all about making it big in the Dominion world. It’s all about wealth and luxury. If you’re into that kind of thing, you’ll love it.

But here’s the thing, you can’t just jump into Dominion: Prosperity. You’ll need either the original Dominion game or the Dominion: Intrigue expansion to play with it. So keep that in mind if you’re looking to expand your Dominion collection.

When it comes to card sets in the game, Prosperity is my absolute favorite. It brings an exciting and thrilling element, where everything is taken to the extreme. In fact, it takes the original 7 Basic Supply cards and adds two more when you’re playing with only Prosperity in your deck of 10 Kingdom cards.

If you’re a fan of mixing cards from different sets like me, you might want to consider including the Colonies and Platinum cards when playing with Prosperity. This is especially true if there are 2 or 3 Prosperity cards in the mix, as they tend to have higher costs or interact with Colonies and Platinum in some way. Plus, Prosperity also introduces Victory Point tokens made of metal, which can be obtained through certain Actions. And let’s not forget about the extra coin tokens it brings to the table!

Dominion: Alchemy

Guess what? I’m here to tell you all about Alchemy, which happens to be one of the smaller expansions for Dominion. It adds a cool and exciting twist to the game by giving you 12 new Kingdom Cards to play with. But that’s not all – there’s also a new type of Treasure called Potions that fits right into the magical theme.

Hey there! Did you know that some of the Alchemy cards have a little extra special something? Yep, they require you to also have a Potion in addition to coins in order to buy them. So, if any of the cards in the bunch you randomly got also need a Potion, you’ll need to make sure you include the pile of Potions as part of your Basic Supplies.

Now, why is this important? Well, the Alchemy cards have this special cost requirement for a reason. They offer stronger effects compared to cards in other sets. Pretty neat, huh? It’s kind of like a puzzle, trying to figure out whether the power of an Alchemy card is worth the extra effort of getting a Potion and having enough coins to buy it later.

Let’s Talk About Dominion: Cornucopia

Cornucopia revolves around a fascinating concept – cards that offer rewards for diversifying your deck. Some of these cards require you to reveal cards from your hand or deck, searching for ones with unique names. They do this in order to grant you bigger and more impactful effects, just like the Menagerie card mentioned earlier.

Hey there! Let me tell you about an exciting addition to the Dominion card game: the Hinterlands expansion. This expansion brought something new to the table – Prize cards! These are a set of 5 special cards that are separate from the regular Supply pile.

Now, here’s the interesting part. You can’t just grab these Prize cards through normal gameplay. The only way to get your hands on them is by playing the Tournament card. It’s not an easy feat, but if you manage to win a Tournament, you’ll earn the privilege of diving into the Prize pile and choosing one of these prized cards to add to your own deck.

Welcome to Dominion: Hinterlands!

So, let me tell you about these cool new cards I found! They’re called “Immediate Effect Cards” and they’re super interesting. I just got my hands on some info about them, although it’s a bit vague at the moment.

One of these cards that caught my attention costs 5 Coins and is an Action card. The twist is, when you buy it, your opponents get a Silver card too. But wait, there’s more! When you actually play this card, you get to draw a whopping 5 cards! Sounds amazing, right? Well, there’s a catch. You have to discard 3 cards as well.

So, what’s the deal with this card? Well, it seems like it’s a bit of a double-edged sword. On one hand, you have to pay the price for it when you buy it, with your opponents getting a little bonus. But on the other hand, when you play the card, you get a huge boost in power, drawing 5 cards in one go.

I have a feeling that there will be more cards like this in the Hinterlands set. Cards that give you a great benefit when you buy them, but maybe have a downside to balance things out. It’s all about finding that perfect balance, right?

When the designer first mentioned Dominion, he let slip that he had already planned 7 expansion sets. We’ve already seen 4 complete expansions and 2 smaller sets, but who knows if there will be 1, 2, or even more to come?

I really admire David’s attention to detail when it comes to game design. Even though Dominion was the pioneer of the Deck Building genre, he managed to get a lot of things right from the start. He created a simple rule set that’s not only easy to teach, but also leaves plenty of room for creativity in card design. He understands the challenge of accommodating different player counts and made design choices with that in mind.

Let me give you an example of how discard attacks work in the game. They can make a player discard cards, but there’s a limit to how many cards you have to discard. For instance, if you’re playing with five or six players and everyone is using Militias, you only have to discard down to three cards. This means you’ll still have some cards left to play on your turn, so you won’t be completely out of the game.

Some other game designers who jumped on the Deck Building game bandwagon missed these little details. They rushed to get their games on the market while the genre was popular, and they overlooked things like the importance of limiting discard attacks. That’s why I really appreciate the way this game handles Kingdom cards. Every player has access to the same options right from the start. There’s no luck involved in drawing powerful cards or combinations. It’s a fair playing field for everyone.

If you’re interested, you should also check out our article on how to become a better player.

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