Board Game Reviews: Dominion Intrigue

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Nikhil Vyas

A game of Dominion using only kingdom cards from the Dominion Intrigue expansion.

Dominion is one of my favorite games of all time and one of the few games that received a 10 out of 10 rating.  It has many expansions and we’re about to take a look at the first one, Dominion Intrigue.  If you don’t know how to play Dominion, you should read my review on Dominion before reading this one.

Dominion Intrigue includes 26 new kingdom cards based on the theme of making choices.  Four of these cards are victory cards, like Gardens from Dominion, and some of these victory cards are action or treasure cards.  These multi-purpose cards have multiple types, which is also interesting because there is a sub-theme related to that.  Now, let’s get further into the game!

How to Play

Dominion Intrigue does not add any new rules to Dominion.  Because of that, I am going to show you all the new cards from this expansion in the slideshow below.  You’ll need to read the text on the photos of the cards, and the captions will include my thoughts on them.

Final Thoughts

So that is everything that comes with Dominion Intrigue!  First and foremost, this expansion doubles the number of kingdom card combinations you can play with.  There already was a ton of replayability, and this version adds more.  The cards in this expansion are slightly more complex than the ones in the base game, but that’s because this is an expansion, and the base game is supposed to have easy-to-understand cards.  Even though the Intrigue cards tend to be more complicated, they mix extremely well with the base game.  The game experience is amazing when playing with just Intrigue or with a mix of cards from the base set and Intrigue.

The artwork is the same as in Dominion.  That means there are some cards that have great artwork and others that are mediocre.  The style of art on each of the cards is also different, but none of this is any different than the base game.

Now the first major thing with these cards are the choose one cards, like Steward and Pawn.  I like having more choices because you are going to want different things as the game progresses, and each time you get the card, the rest of your hand will be different.  However, these cards seem to be on the weaker side because the flexibility they offer comes at a price.  That’s more like an observation rather than criticism since that adds another layer of strategy.  If I want to get the Steward, I might want its trashing ability at the beginning of the game or when I have curses in my hand and want to use its +$2 or +2 cards when I am trying to get a lot of money for the turn.  Furthermore, having to make these choices does not seem to add any time to the game.

Torturer is an interesting attack since it makes your opponents choose whether they want to discard cards or gain a curse.  Because there is no discard limit, you will have to sometimes take curses, so you have cards left to play.  Along similar lines, Courtier is an interesting decision card because the number of items you choose is based on how many types are on the card you reveal.  Additionally, some of the choices on Courtier, like +$3 and gain a gold are a lot better than the +1 action and +1 buy, but you might need the action or buy based on your situation.

Ironworks and Replace both let you gain a card and then have abilities that are based on what types the gained card has.  I think that’s an interesting idea and really stands out when there are other cards that have multiple types, such as the reaction cards and multi-purpose victory cards.

Duke is a good, simple victory card that shines light on the Duchy strategy.  The other victory cards, Mill, Harem, and Nobles, do something else besides giving victory points at the end of the game.  Harem is a treasure that gives $2 during your buy phase and Mill has a basic discard for money effect.  These victory cards are my favorite cards from the set because I like how they change up some of the strategies.  I also like seeing the combinations between cards with multiple types and the cards that interact with types.  If I wanted to pick one card that summarizes the set, I would choose Nobles because it has two types, action and victory, and gives you a choose one ability.

Most Dominion games and expansions come with an insert like this to store the cards. (Nikhil Vyas)

To sum up, Dominion Intrigue is a good expansion for Dominion.  It doesn’t do anything ground-breaking, but it does add more variety to your games.  If you like Dominion and feel like you need more cards, this is a great choice for you.  You can find a copy of Dominion Intrigue online for about $25-35.

When I rate expansions, I rate them based on how essential they are to the game, so a 10 would mean you absolutely need this expansion if you like the original game or you’ll like the game because of this expansion even if you didn’t like the base game.  A zero would mean that the expansion is unnecessary and isn’t worth adding to the game.  In this case, Dominion Intrigue adds a lot of simple but clever ideas to Dominion and gets a solid 8 out of 10 rating, which means you should pick this up if you want more cards, but you aren’t missing anything huge if you don’t.