Dominion and Dominion Intrigue are the only standalone Dominion sets. To play Dominion you thus need to buy one of these sets first, because they’re the only sets that contain the Treasure and Victory cards that you need in every game. Therefore, first time Dominion buyers often ask whether they should first buy Dominion or Dominion Intrigue. In this post we share our recommendation.
Recommendation: Dominion Big Box
We recommend that you buy the Dominion Big Box that contains both Dominion and Dominion Intrigue. This is the biggest bang for your buck as you get a discount compared to if you’d buy both games separately.
For beginners the Dominion Big Box is definitely worth it. You’ll get Dominion, which is very beginner friendly. Once you have some experience, you’ll find that the cards in Dominion Intrigue are a bit more interesting to you. And when you start buying Dominion expansions, you’ll be happy that you can combine those with two sets already. The Big Box thus sets you up for a logical progression through the Dominion games.
|Dominion 2nd edition
|Dominion Big Box
Most Beginner Friendly: Dominion 2nd edition
Dominion 2nd edition the simplest of all the Dominion sets. The cards are all very clear and the game as a whole is clearly designed so that first time payers can understand it easily. Intrigue is still one of the simpler sets, but the 2nd edition is certainly more beginner friendly.
If you want to have the best possible experience during your first few Dominion games, we recommend that you buy Dominion 2nd edition first.
Most Interesting: Dominion Intrigue
For the same reason that Dominion Intrigue is more difficult than Dominion 2nd Edition, it’s also more interesting. The cards of Intrigue enable more interaction between players, and they offer the players choices between different effects.
The card Pawn, for example, lets a player choose two of the following effects: +1 card, +1 action, +1 buy or +1 purchasing power. This card thus gives the player much more room to maneuver than the more vanilla cards of the 2nd edition.
Therefore, if you want the the most interesting game immediately and don’t mind possibly being a little confused in the beginning, we recommend that you buy Dominion Intrigue as your first Dominion game.
Most Expansions Compatibility: Dominion Big Box
The original Dominion was a major success and received many awards, but the reason that Dominion is so immensely popular is because of its expansions. Therefore, it’s important to consider which Dominion set enables the most fun expansion combinations for when you inevitably start adding expansions to your collection.
Both Dominion 2nd edition and Dominion Intrigue are fun to play with the other expansions. If we’re choosing between the two, then Intrigue is more compatible with future expansions. This is because it has more interesting cards that also have more interesting interactions with cards from future expansions.
For example, Intrigue has many cards that are both Treasures and Victory points, such as Harem. These cards have interesting interactions with many cards of the later expansions, that let you for example ‘Gain a Victory card’. You can use such a card to gain Harem which is also a Treasure card, and that can often be very powerful.
However, the 2nd edition is also fun to combine with other expansions and the thing is that Dominion expansions just make each other stronger. The more expansions you have, the more interesting card combinations and unexpected synergies you’ll discover.
That’s why in terms of expansions compatibility we recommend that you buy the Dominion Big Box. The big box just offers the most value and once you start buying expansions you’ll be happy that you already have two sets you can combine them with.
Which Dominion expansions to add?
Even if you’re brand new to Dominion, it’s not a terrible idea to an extra expansion right away. Most people get hooked on Dominion quickly and they soon start buying expansions anyway.
If you haven’t done so already, we recommend that you read our list of the best Dominion expansions. As you’ll see, we recommend getting either Seaside or Prosperity if you don’t have any other expansions yet. Those sets have the best ratio of simplicity to interestingness and compatibility with even further expansions.