You start the game with a very small deck of cards, consisting of money and victory points.
Your turn is two phases, one is used to take an Action, the other to buy cards to add to your deck. Once you’ve completed your turn, you discard your hand, and draw five new cards from your deck.
Each game has several types of cards available for you to add to your deck, money, victory point and action cards. Each have different costs, different values and can be more or less useful to your strategy.
There are three types of money card, Copper, Silver and Gold (these give 1,2 or 3 coins to spend on cards). There are three types of victory point cards, Estate, Duchy and Province (worth 1, 3 or 6 VPs).
There are ten types of action card available. The Dominion game contains a total of 25 types of action card, so each time you play you can use a new set, leading to a great deal of replayability.
Action cards can let you do many things, draw extra cards, take extra actions, buy more times or more expensive items, or alter your deck (remove or replace cards). It’s important to remember the aim of the game here, it’s not to collect lots of action cards or have a long turn, but to gain the greatest number of VPs.
The game ends when all Provinces have been purchased, or when three stacks of action cards are empty. Each player then counts their victory points, and the player with the highest total wins.
The simplest decent strategy is known as ‘Big Money’. Buy a Province if you can afford it, otherwise buy Gold, otherwise buy Silver. This gets lots of VPs very quickly, and can easily win if other players are too absorbed in gathering action cards.
It’s not the best strategy, but you need to make sure that whatever you plan on using can beat it, otherwise you’ll lose to a Big Money player.
Dominion is for 2-4 players, it’s great fun, easy to teach and quite quick to play. You can easily play several games in an evening, or fit it around a longer game to fill an hour or so. There are a number of expansions that add new cards, so it should stay fresh for a good long while.