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I've heard a lot about the different Dominion expansions, but I'm still not really sure which direction to go.

  • In what order would you suggest I buy the expansions?
  • How does each one change the game?
  • what different behavior/strategies does each one promote?
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4 Answers 4

up vote 11 down vote accepted

I already answered this here.

And the other answers on that page are very good, but specific to Intrigue. If you have a friend you always play with who is getting Intrigue, I would get Seaside first. If not, get Intrigue first.

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Personally, my favorite expansion is Prosperity. My least favorite expansion is Alchemy.

So, if I had to suggest an order, it would be: Prosperity, Dark Ages, Seaside, Intrigue, Hinterlands, Cornucopia, Guilds, Alchemy.

Here are the major new things in each set:

Intrigue

New Mechanic: Multi-type cards (ex. Action – Victory)
Actions tends to be more complicated than Base's actions
Nastier attack cards
Standalone (doesn't require Base)
Emphasis on attacks and special actions

Seaside

New Mechanic: Durations (Multi-turn actions)
New types of Attack cards
Tokens and Mats for use with certain cards
Emphasis on setting up your next turn

Alchemy

Smaller set (12 Kingdom cards instead of 25)
New basic Treasure card: Potion, costs $4 worth 1p
Powerful cards, but 10 of 12 take a Potion to buy
Emphasis on extra actions/action chaining

Prosperity

New basic Treasure Card: Platinum, costs $9 worth $5
New basic Victory Card: Colony, costs $11 worth 10vp
8 Kingdom Treasure cards that act like actions when played during Buy phase
New Victory tokens, worth 1vp or 5vp each
Emphasis on treasure and victory points

Cornucopia

Smaller set (12 Kingdom cards instead of 25)
Emphasis on Actions and Drawing cards
Doesn't mix well with Prosperity
Jester is the real star of this set as it lets you gain one of a card an opponent flips up.

Hinterlands

Several new Kingdom Victory cards with special effects
New Mechanic: On gain, do X
Emphasis on +Cards and gaining cards
Puts a new twist on some existing card ideas (ex. Margrave instead of Militia)

Dark Ages

More new Kingdom cards than any other set
Shelters provide an alternative to starting with 3 Estates
New card type: Ruins. An action card that isn't very useful (brown border)
Emphasis on giving other players junk and action chaining

Guilds

Smaller set (12 Kingdom cards instead of 25)
New Mechanic: Coin tokens that you gain and can spend later
Emphasis on trashing cards and gaining coin tokens

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From what I've found Alchemy seems to be the lowest ranked expansion in almost any category. Are there any hard reasons for this or does it just happen to be less popular? –  Gordon Gustafson Feb 28 '11 at 1:59
    
@CrazyJugglerDrummer: The addition of Potions makes the cards harder to purchase. –  Powerlord Feb 28 '11 at 2:03
    
I do suppose potions make things a fair bit more complex as you have to balance your quantities of 2 different resources. But is this really the only thing? Its very action centered, which could also make things more complex. It seems to be the expansion that's hardest for newer players to like, whether intentional or not. –  Gordon Gustafson Feb 28 '11 at 2:12

Others have answered how each expansion changes the game and what different behavior/strategies exist, so I'll comment on suggested order to buy expansions.

Subjective/situational aspects

I think it depends a lot on personal preference, whether you know anyone else with the game or intend to buy the game and how much money you want to spend.

Personal preference

I don't like Intrigue as much because I prefer peaceful games over attacking/defending, but there are some cards in Intrigue that I definitely would not want to miss out on! My wife likes Prosperity the most because she likes games to last longer (more base victory points available with colony added) and she tends to prefer big money strategies. Neither of us like Alchemy very much. If you are going to buy them all anyways then order of purchase may not matter in the end, but if you only want certain experiences then I suggest you read all the answers/tips/suggestions and familiarize yourself with the cards so you can carefully make your decision.

Friends

If you have a friend who enjoys playing base Dominion with you perhaps they might buy Intrigue so they will have a set of treasure/victory/curse cards themselves and then you could each decide who will buy the other expansions later. You can save money by ensuring you and your friends don't double up on games and expansions. If you are going over to someone else's home to play with them you won't need to carry as many boxes around and vice versa.

Cost

Can you afford to buy them all? Do you want to buy them all? Your choice of expansions may be very situational...

When everything is said and done...

There are great cards in each set and the game has evolved over time so if you're going to buy them all why not buy them in the order they were released? That's what we did and I don't have any complaints, in fact I've enjoyed every minute of our experience with Dominion! :)

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I must admit, I had an advantage when getting them: I bought Base and was given Intrigue as a gift. After which, I bought the remaining 3 sets as each came out. –  Powerlord Jan 7 '11 at 15:02

Necroing as there are several new expansions now.

Adds the least complexity to the game: Base > Intrigue > Cornucopia > Guilds > Seaside > Prosperity > Hinterlands > Alchemy > Dark Ages

Completely personal preference (subjective, obvi)

Guilds > Dark Ages > Prosperity > Hinterlands > Seaside > Alchemy > Intrigue > Cornucopia > Base

Most experienced players like Cornucopia more than I do and Alchemy less; otherwise I think this is close to the general consensus (which of course will vary).

For bang for the buck I would buy Dark Ages if you are into learning new tricks, as it is a huge expansion. I would buy Intrigue if you don't feel like learning too many new rules but just want more cards. Prosperity would be a good compromise between these two goals. My favorite is Guilds, but it is a small expansion.

They're all good!

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