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First Expansion for Dominion
The first "expansion" to the euro card game Dominion, the Dominion: Intrigue card game is a standalone game in its own right. It comes with the same breakdown of cards as the original: 25 different kingdom cards in sets of 10, a full complement of coin cards, victory cards, curses, and randomizers (blue backs), for a total of 500 cards.
As a result, Dominion: Intrigue can be played without any help from the original. In fact, when I first got it, our original copy of Dominion gathered dust for a week while we played the pants off of Intrigue all on its own.
Many complaints about Dominion centered on its lack of interaction. Dominion: Intrigue remedies this by including many new attack cards along with cards that can feel like attack cards to their victim (Tribute, I'm looking at you).
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The cardstock is same as the original, which is important when mixing decks between editions. One difference in Intrigue is the artwork on the front of the cards. The art on the original Dominion cards is much more uniform in style, informative and unobtrusive at the same time. Dominion: Intrigue cards' artwork styles — and quality — varies wildly, from the brilliantly minionish Minion to the abominably cartoonish Harem.
In the big picture, this is a small quibble. The quality of the components in Intrigue is identical to Dominion — that is to say, top notch. You will want to consider sleeving your cards if you like to keep them pristine or if you plan to play with children: card-benders extraordinaire (shudder).
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New Card Types: Hybrid Cards and Choice Cards
Dominion: Intrigue introduces hybrid and choice cards to the Dominion lexicon. Hybrid cards are a combination of two or more of the three basic card types. An example of a hybrid card is Nobles, which is +2 actions or +3 cards and is worth 2 victory points (VPs) at the end of the game. Nobles is an Action/Victory hybrid. Another hybrid is Harem, which is 2 coins and worth 2 VPs, a Treasure/Victory hybrid.
Nobles, mentioned above, is also a "choice" card — it gives you two or more play options. Another is the incredibly useful 2-coin cost Pawn, which lets you choose any two of an extra action, coin, buy, or card.
These new card types add an extra layer of complexity to Dominion along with many new strategic options. Bridge, a card that, among other things, reduces the cost of every card available for purchase, can make you want to keep a tally sheet.
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As promised, gameplay in Dominion: Intrigue is much more interactive than in original Dominion. Long combos are pretty common, with Scout, Cellar, Pawn, and even Mining Village contributing to deck cycling just as much as Village combos in the base game.
There are new game-ending strategies in Intrigue. In our first game, we had Dukes in the deck. Telling myself it was just the first game and good to experiment, I decided to acquire my VPs by purchasing Dukes and Duchys rather than Provinces. This turned out to be a good idea because I pulled off a surprise win — surprising myself as much as anyone. You'll probably enjoy coming up with new routes to VPs between Dukes, Harems, and Nobles.
Image credit: http://boardgamegeek.com/image/595501/dominion-intrigue
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There are so many unique and fun cards in the Dominion: Intrigue card game that we've been having a ball putting them through their paces. We've come to learn that games with Ironworks will end with the "three empty piles" game-end condition, for just one example.
On the flip side, some players may find that Intrigue complicates things a bit too much for their taste. Intrigue is also probably a poor choice for a beginner to the Dominion series, even though it's a standalone game.
However, if you've played original Dominion and are itching for more variety, choices, and interactivity, get a copy of Dominion: Intrigue.