What are the basic rules and mechanics of Dominion?

"Dominion" is a renowned deck-building card game designed by Donald X. Vaccarino. It offers a unique and engaging gaming experience based on the concept of constructing your deck of cards during gameplay. Here are the basic rules and mechanics of "Dominion":

Objective: The objective of "Dominion" is to accumulate Victory Points (VP) in your deck. The player with the most VP at the end of the game wins. Victory Points are represented by Victory cards and certain Kingdom cards.

Components: "Dominion" consists of various types of cards:

  1. Kingdom Cards: These are the primary focus of the game. Kingdom cards are the cards players can purchase and add to their decks. They have various abilities and are at the core of your strategy.
  2. Basic Cards: Every player starts with an identical deck of basic cards, which includes Copper (used for purchasing cards), Silver (for more expensive cards), and Gold (for the most valuable cards).
  3. Victory Cards: Victory cards are worth Victory Points but have no function other than contributing to your final score. The three types of Victory cards are Estate, Duchy, and Province.

Setup: The setup of "Dominion" involves the following steps:

  1. Victory Card Piles: Arrange three piles of Victory cards – Estates, Duchies, and Provinces – in ascending order of VP, with Estates on top, Duchies in the middle, and Provinces at the bottom. The number of cards in each pile depends on the player count (12 for 2 players, 12 for 3 players, or 15 for 4 players).
  2. Kingdom Card Selection: Randomly select 10 Kingdom cards from the available card pool and place them face up. These Kingdom cards will be available for purchase during the game. Ensure that the cards selected create a balanced and interesting game.
  3. Initial Hands: Each player starts with a deck of 7 Copper cards and 3 Estate cards. Players shuffle their decks and draw a starting hand of 5 cards.

Gameplay: "Dominion" is played over a series of turns, with each player taking one turn at a time. A player's turn consists of the following phases:

  1. Action Phase: If you have Action cards in your hand, you can play one of them. Action cards provide various effects, such as extra actions, additional cards drawn, or special abilities. You resolve the card's effect and can play additional Actions if the card text permits.
  2. Buy Phase: During the Buy phase, you can use your Treasure cards (Copper, Silver, and Gold) to purchase one Kingdom card from the supply. The cost of each card is indicated on the card itself. Some Action cards may also provide extra Buys, allowing you to purchase multiple cards in a single turn.
  3. Clean-up Phase: At the end of your turn, you discard any remaining cards in your hand and draw a new hand of 5 cards. If your draw pile is empty, shuffle your discard pile to form a new draw pile.

End of Game: "Dominion" can end in several ways:

  1. If the Province pile is empty, the game ends. The player with the most VP in their deck wins.
  2. If any three piles of Kingdom cards are emptied, the game ends immediately. The player with the most VP in their deck wins.
  3. If both the Province pile and any other Kingdom card pile are empty, the game ends. The player with the most VP in their deck wins.

Scoring: Players count the VP in their deck, which includes Victory cards (Estates, Duchies, Provinces) and any additional VP from selected Kingdom cards. The player with the most VP wins the game.

"Dominion" is known for its strategic depth, as players must build an efficient deck by selecting the right Kingdom cards and managing their resources. The game's replayability is high because you can mix and match different Kingdom card sets for each game, creating diverse strategies and challenges. It's a game that rewards both tactical decision-making and long-term planning, making it a favorite among board gamers worldwide.