We have 1 or 2 new people who are interested in joining our lunch Dominion games where I work.

We'd like to teach them about the various rules unique to each of these sets: Base, Intrigue, Seaside, and Prosperity.

Can anyone recommend a card set that will teach all the important game rules?

Note: We've stopped using Alchemy's potions in our games and instead replace a card's potion cost with a 3-coin cost.

  • In addition to picking a good "beginner" set of cards--nothing too complicated--I also try to not play too competitively when playing with new players, which generally means buying more actions than I would otherwise or trying a more questionable tactic. New players tend to buy way too many actions, and I'll point out at the end of the first game (once they see how things work) that generally actions are fun, but money is effective. Feb 1, 2012 at 2:25

3 Answers 3


I would not recommend any one card set to teach all the important rules from each expansion. That may be too much.

For brand new beginners, I recommend the "Big Money" set from the first game. I use this before the one recommended by the base set rules ("First Play"?) because it teaches the trade off between money and actions. First Play is really a preview of all the different card abilities, which may give the erroneous impression that the game is all about actions.

Otherwise, I'd play random sets (with some drafting) from the combined sets and teach the rules as they come up.


I'd suggest avoid extra actions for the first game... Only use Throne Room/Expand if you have no +1 action cards, and don't use any +2 action cards. Combos can be fun, but they can both extend the length of the game, and are harder to grasp for a newbie, often leaving them wondering why their turns are always short and boring while yours take forever.

  • Obviously no list is "best". I'd say having them read the rules and then play with a veteran (or better, play online with a veteran by their side) is the best way to learn the rules.

Chapel - While not a rule, your friends need to learn about deck management. Mint would be a good substitute here.

Moat - Action/Reaction, defense for Saboteur or useful in combos with City.

Ironworks - a good Intrigue "choice" card. I also had the Island in mind when selecting this.

Saboteur - token attack card. Also chosen with Bridge in mind.

Caravan - Simple duration, pairs well with Throne Room.

Island - of the three "mats", this one has least room for error/misinterpretation by new players.

City - might as well teach them that letting the veteran get all 10 of these is a bad idea!

Quarry/Bridge - for learning about the changing values of cards (esp. with Ironworks and Saboteur in the mix).

Tactician - for combos, also to teach them to know what cards say (e.g. "If you discarded at least one card...")!

Throne Room - debatable. I'm big into combos :)

Added: If you're playing with Prosperity a lot, then I would replace City, Quarry/Bridge, Throne Room with Venture, Bank, Grand Market.

  • Is this set something you've done with new players?
    – Pat Ludwig
    Jan 31, 2012 at 19:16
  • @Pat: Not to my knowledge. We usually veto cards that might make a first play overly painful (eg Black Market) rather than handpick sets. Feb 1, 2012 at 1:23

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