4 Strategies for Newbies to Dominion Intrigue

A handful of years back a colleague of ours used to host card game nights at his condo and he taught us how-to play the original card game: Dominion. Ever since our departure from Seoul, South Korea, my wife has been thinking about us purchasing this deck building card game. I did not have found memories of playing this game, and put it to the back of my mind. My wife’s patience and persistence paid off, as recently a new colleague explained how-to get card and boardgames from other “players” through an exchange group on Facebook called Edmonton Board Game Exchange.

Through the exchange group, I was able to find a handful of people selling the deck building card game Dominion for $50 to $60 CAD [a new set costs $59.95] and I patiently waited for someone to reduce their price. Hey, we were not looking until recently. Then I saw Sean’s post for Dominion: Intrigue. Intrigued, I was and contacted Sean. Sean explained it was an expansion set and that it was the only expansion set that you can play on its own. He wanted $30. Needless to say, I met up with Sean later that day.

Great Hall.jpg


I brought the game home. Read the instructions and thought; this game is lame. These instructions are a pain to understand. Needless to say, I did not trash the Tuesday surprise. I left it on the kitchen table and headed out for a bite of Gluten-free food to eat.

An extremely “surprised” and very “grateful” wife came into the den to tell me “you are the best! Thanks for picking up the game.” My response, “you read the directions and explain how-to play it. Then we will.”

This past weekend, we re-learned how-to play Dominion the deck building game. And to be honest with you, it was pretty fantastic. It’s got a bunch of Action, a bit of Treasure, a handful of Victory points and fairly simple concept to understand and enjoy.


Intrigue is the first expansion to Dominion designed by Donald X. Vaccarino, released in 2009 by publisher Rio Grande Games. The box contains 25 sets of Kingdom Cards and Basic Supply Cards to support up to 4 players, or up to 6 players when combined with those from base Dominion. A second edition was released in Fall 2016, updating wording and formatting on cards, removing the basic cards, and replacing 6 first edition cards with 7 new ones. The new cards are also available in an update pack provided to allow existing Intrigue sets to be updated to the second edition form.[1]

Now you have a both bit of my own history with Dominion and a bit of history about the first expansion game; Intrigue. Now let’s get down into the nitty gritty of Aaron’s 4 Strategies for Newbies to Dominion Intrigue!  I will start with the simplest strategy to the most complex.

  1. On your first 2-turns, choose to buy Treasure Cards Silver (worth 2 coins) or Gold (worth 3 coins). By purchasing these items, you will build a strong deck very quickly and it will increase your odds and percentages of purchasing high priced Action cards quicker. Remember its very early in the game and you will have plenty of time to increase your victory points later in the game. 
  2.  Purchase “Action Cards” which give you extra or residual turns. For example, the Conspirator card gives you +2 coins and as long as you play it in sequence with 2-other Action Cards it will give you an additional card and an additional action.
  3. After a few turns, begin to purchase Estate (1 Victory point, cost 2 coins), Duchy (3 Victory point, cost 5 coins) and any of the following Action-Victory point cards which are available in the Kingdom Supply; Great Hall (1 Victory point, 3 coins), Mill (1 Victory point, 4 coins), Duke (1 Victory point-multiplier, 5 coins), Harem (2 Victory points, 6 coins) and/or Nobles (2 Victory points, 6 coins).
  4. Approximately 10-minutes into the game ignite your deckhand by trying to play 2 or more Action Phases consecutively and always try to add an additional +Buy Phase. By extending your turn with additional Actions you will likely increase the total number of cards in your playing hand. And by adding additional +Buy Phases to your turn, you give yourself the opportunity to purchase multiple cards. If/when you are able to accumulate more than 1 Buy Phase, always buy a Victory Point card and something Action Cards which give you residual turns.

note: Many people will tell you, that you need to purchase Provinces to win a game of Dominion. This is not true. Provinces give you an advantage but you can catch people off guard by purchasing the smaller easier to obtain Victory point cards. 

In conclusion, the card games Dominion, Dominion Intrigue and the other expansion sets by Rio Grande Games are all about having fun with friends and/or family, enjoying those peoples company, having great conversations and playing the game. As for my parting shot on “how to win” the game. It’s simple. Come up with a strategy for the game while the 10-stacks of Kingdom supply cards are being sorted and placed into the playing field. And stick to your strategy throughout the entire game. If you lose, then change up your strategy and play again.

Baron.jpg  Copper.jpgDuchy.jpg


[1] http://wiki.dominionstrategy.com/index.php/Intrigue