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Tabletop Game / Dominion

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You are a monarch, like your parents before you, a ruler of a small pleasant kingdom of rivers and evergreens. Unlike your parents, however, you have hopes and dreams! You want a bigger and more pleasant kingdom, with more rivers and a wider variety of trees. You want a Dominion!
From the instruction manual

A 2008 Card Game designed by Donald X. Vaccarino. It is part of the Euro Game genre (focusing on competition for resources rather than direct player conflict), and is extremely popular. In its wake, the subgenre of Deckbuilding Games was formed.

The game has a (loose) premise: You are a freshly-crowned monarch, leader of a tiny kingdom with a handful of resources. Your parents never made much fuss about expansion, but we wouldn't have a proper game if you felt the same way, or if you were the only upstart monarch.

Dominion is entirely card-based. Compared often to a CCG, each player has a private deck of cards that represent their dominion— the resources, income, and employees that they have access to. Players expand this dominion by purchasing cards from stacks at the center of the table. But each of these cards is in limited supply, and players with more buying power will obviously get them first.

Every player starts with 7 Copper cards (worth 1 coin each) and 3 Estate cards (worth 1 victory point each at the end of the game, but provide no benefit during the game). A turn has three stepsnote :

  1. Play an Action card.
  2. Buy a card from a stack by playing coin cards
  3. Clean-up: discard all the cards you've played and draw 5 cards for your next turn.

Some Action cards give extra actions, extra buys, and/or extra coins, allowing the player to play additional Action cards (which might give even more actions) during the Action phase, buy more than one card during the Buy phase, and/or buy cards that he otherwise couldn't afford. A good combination will allow a player to accomplish quite a bit during one turn; setting up such opportunities is a major element of card-buying strategy.

When you can't draw any more cards, you shuffle your discard pile to make a new deck. When 3 of the stacks of cards run dry, the game ends, and players count up all the victory point cards they've bought. The game can also end if all of the province cards (the highest-ranking victory cards) have been taken.

The meat of the game, however, is in the cards available to you. Every game contains the basic treasure cards (1, 2, and 3 coins) and victory cards (1, 3, and 6 points), but the other 10 purchasable cards (kingdom cards) can be chosen randomly or by player vote. They can range from giving extra buys or draws, to attacking opponents, to manipulating your deck and more.

The base game comes with 26 cards note , and the game already has 13 expansions note .

The game is so popular because, despite the simple turn flow, there are numerous things to consider and many card effects to take into account. The most basic considerations are straightforward: victory points are useful at the end of the game, but during play they clog up your hand and deck, reducing your options. Action cards are helpful, but buying power must be purchased too, in the form of coins, and victory points are expensive, so where do you focus your money in each phase of the game?

Another element of this game praised often is the heavy playtesting that has gone into it— every card cost and effect is well thought out and tested, so the game is very finely balanced. And there are well over 200 different cards.

There is an online version and Steam/mobile app available.

Not to be confused with Dominions.

This Board Game provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Ability Mixing: Teacher, the final evolution of the Peasant, and various Events from Dominion: Adventures can add a permanent +1 boost of coin, Card, Action, or Buy to all cards from a given supply pile, allowing players to make up for missing functions, e.g., giving Smithies a +1 Action so they can be played in succession with no help from Villages.
  • Ambadassador: The Ambassador card, if you're the one using it. If you're on the receiving end of its attack, it's more "Ass" in Ambassador.
  • Anachronism Stew: Despite most expansions depicting a more medieval setting, Empires features the Roman Empire, which can be crossed over with the Dark Ages, which can be crossed over with the Renaissance.
  • Angry Guard Dog: Guard Dog (Hinterlands), a Reaction that can draw cards when you're attacked.
  • Art Evolution: As the game's expansions have gone on, the artists hired to work on it have gotten progressively better and more detailed. Comparing the art of Intrigue to Prosperity and Cornucopia is a large leap.
  • Art Shift: While most of the cards have an art style reminiscent of paintings, a few cards (Shanty Town, Navigator, and Harem in particular) use a cartoonish art style.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • The Prize cards are five unique cards with a very difficult condition for gaining them. Without proper planning, the game can be nearing its end by the time you manage to get one.
    • The same applies to very expensive action or treasure cards: If buying them is not part of a bigger strategy, they might very well be wasted buys that could have been used buying victory points. The promo card Prince is an extreme example, since it has a very impressive effect but costs the same as a Province (normally the most valuable victory card in the game).
    • Cards with a potion cost (one potion plus a certain amount of money, from the Alchemy expansion) can fall into this. Every potion represents passing up, at the very least, a silver, meaning that you are overspecializing your treasure pool towards buying a few specific cards instead of accumulating normal treasures to buy more and more expensive normal cards.
    • Traveller cards from Dominion: Adventures have extremely powerful effects once you reach the end of their chains. However, this requires playing previous cards in the sequence four times in order to upgrade them (and the incremental upgrades may have effects you don't want), meaning it will usually be 6 reshuffles before you can play your Teacher or Champion. If you build your deck in a way that lets you draw and play your Traveller cards frequently, though, they'll beef up your deck's power significantly.
  • Awesome, but Temporary: Spoils are a Treasure that can be obtained for free from a variety of Actions in Dark Ages, worth the same amount of coin as Gold, but then must be returned to their pile afterwards.
    • Encampment (Empires) is a rather strong 2-cost card, giving +2 Cards and Actions, but unless you reveal Gold or Plunder (the accompanying split-pile card to Encampment), it returns to the supply.
    • Experiment (Renaissance) is a low-cost Laboratory that comes with a free duplicate, but returns itself to the supply after being played.
    • Horses from Menagerie are obtained and returned in the same fashion as Spoils, through Actions, Treasures, and Events, but imitate the Laboratory rather than Gold.
    • The "Reckless" Trait from Plunder makes any card in the supply double-play itself akin to a free Throne Room, but then it returns to the supply.
  • The Bard: Wandering Minstrel (Dark Ages) and Bard (Nocturne).
  • Black Market: Black Market is a promo card that effectively acts a new game mode: it's a 3-cost, 2-coin terminal Action that opens up a pseudo mini-Buy phase within your Action phase in which you may pick one of three random kingdom cards not in the supply piles. Each card in the Black Market deck is one of a kind, so opponents can't get a duplicate of anything purchased from it.
  • Brainwashed: The power of the Possession (Alchemy) card.
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory: Averted by the way the game is set up— everyone has access to identical resources from the beginning. There are some cards that invoke this with their effects, however.
    • The current online version uses a subscription model, costing around $4/month for full access to every expansion.
      • The previous online implementation, however, did this for everything from buying expansions to changing your starting hand in Adventure Mode.
  • Boring, but Practical: Cards from the base game tend to be much simpler than those from the expansions, but have more direct effects.
    • For a more specific example, the basic treasures. +Coins with no additional effect sounds boring, but you can't do much without them.
    • 'Big Money' strategies are based around buying just silver, gold, and provinces whenever possible, with maybe an action card or two early and a couple of duchies late if you're feeling fancy. Usually dull to play, but since treasure cards are never dead draws, very consistent, and often difficult for new players to beat.
    • 'Rush' strategies tend to be very monotonous but effective, aiming for a quick three-pile ending before anyone can build up their deck. The Ur-Example is Workshop-Gardens. Buy or gain a bunch of Workshops, and use them to drain the piles of Gardens, Workshops, and then a third $4-or-less pile (oftentimes Estates). The Workshop and Gardens are interchangeable with other gainers (Ironworks note  and especially Groom note  are actually much better) and cheap Victory cards, respectively.
  • Card Cycling: There's multiple cards that let the player cycle cards, with the most straight-forward being Cellar ("Discard any number of cards. +1 Card per card discarded."). The purpose of these is to help players find the cards they want, or at least replace mediocre draws or Deck Cloggers with something better.
  • Cats Are Mean: Black Cat (Menagerie) draws two cards, which on its own is not terribly useful; however, if an opponent gains any Victory card on their turn, Black Cat can react by drawing two and cursing that player, and what's worse, if you draw more Black Cats with a Black Cat, you get to play those, too, compounding the effect.
  • Charged Attack: Native Village (Seaside) often functions as this: each time you play a Native Village, you may choose whether to put the next card in your deck onto the dedicated Native Village mat, or put all cards from that mat into your hand.
  • Common Place Rare: The Loot pile in Dominion: Plunder includes many rare and magical artifacts like Spell Scroll and Endless Chalice and moderately prestigious items like Prize Goat or Insignia. Then there's Sword and Shield, objects clearly seen or implied in numerous standard Action cards.
  • Company Cross References: The card Walled Village is a reference to Carcassonne, and the card Governor is a reference to Puerto Rico, also published by Rio Grande Games.
  • Counter-Attack: Invoked: Replace (Intrigue) is like Remodel except if you gain a Victory card with it, each foe gains a Curse; in retaliation to that, other players often use Replace on said Curses to turn them into Estates, thus cursing the first player, and so on.
  • Courier: Courier (Allies) gives +1 coin then can play a card directly from your discard pile, including another Courier.
  • Creepy Crows: Depicted on the Curse cards, which lower your property value.
  • Curse: Each Curse card in your deck at the end of the game costs you 1 victory point. Technically, every game has Curse cards available, but they generally don't come into play unless some other card lets players inflict them on their opponents.
  • Deck Clogger: Quite a few cards that can be undesirable. Getting rid of the junk clogging up your deck is an important part of most games, and it's often useful to give your opponents junk. Specific examples include:
    • Many attack cards give out Curse cards, which have no effect (thus shutting down a draw) and give -1 Victory Point each. A few cards also curse their user as a drawback.
    • The Dark Ages Expansion Pack introduces Ruins, which aim to be more interesting penalty cards by consisting of five possible Action cards with very weak effects. Two attack cards give each other players a Ruins, and one card gives its user Ruins as a drawback.
    • The starting Coppers, while vital for your first few buys, quickly become outclassed and worth getting rid of. A few attack cards specifically give opponents Coppers, and several cards can potentially saddle others with Coppers.
    • The three starting Estates are almost always junk, as they have no immediate effect on the game when drawn, and their mere 1 point does not make up for how many draws they shut down. At least they cost 2, which is relevant for cards that can replace a card with a better one. No junking attack specifically gives out Estates, but there are some ways to force them on opponents.
  • Defend Command: The Moat, which lets the player protect themselves from attacks. It's not useless if the player doesn't get attacked, either— it has a weak secondary effect of allowing the player to draw two cards.
    • Most "Reaction" type cards are not actually defensive in nature. The ones that are don't usually stop an attack outright, but may mitigate the possible damage it does, such as the Diplomat, who preempts enemy attacks by drawing 2 then discarding 3 (sifting), thus disqualifying you from being subject to an attack that only affects players with 5 or more cards in hand, and qualifying you for her +2 Action bonus (like a Village).
    • Lighthouse (Seaside) and Guardian (Nocturne) are a 2-cost Action-Duration and Night-Duration respectively, both of which prevent attacks from landing until your next turn, as well as providing +1 coin to start your next turn. The Guardian even jumps into your hand upon being gained so you can defend immediately.
    • If Young Witch (Cornucopia) is in the supply, she adds an extra low-cost card to the game (for 11 instead of the usual 10) labeled "Bane," which simply means you can use that card like a Moat that blocks only her particular attack.
    • Shield (Plunder) is one of the various randomly-obtainable Loot cards. It has the same defensive function as Moat, but is a Treasure worth as much as Gold with a +Buy on top.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: Combining Nocturne and Plunder can result in a "Cursed Cursed Village," which will both Curse and Hex players upon obtaining it.
  • Deserted Island: Island (Seaside) is a 4-cost, 2-VP Action-Victory that, when played, puts itself and one other card from your hand away for the rest of the game. Unlike the later "Exile" mechanic, you can never reclaim these cards, though they do remain part of your score.
  • The Determinator: Certain Reaction cards have the effect of playing (Weaver) or salvaging (Faithful Hound, etc.) themselves upon being discarded. One card, Trail, can even play itself upon being trashed (though strangely, not the Zombies).
  • Difficult, but Awesome: 'Engine' decks are the strongest deck archetype, but they also take the most skill to play. They involve making a carefully balanced deck that ideally draws and plays every card in the deck. Engines start off slowly, but in the late game, they will usually gain multiple Victory cards per turn. In extreme cases, a "Megaturn" engine will gain all its victory points in a single, game-ending turn note . It is however, easy to mess up when constructing an Engine, and a badly constructed one will easily be beaten by a Big Money deck.
  • Digital Tabletop Game Adaptation: The game was originally available on Board Game Arena, but it was eventually replaced with a dedicated website and a dedicated application. Both are free-to-play — you have free access to the base game and limited access to the expansions, but you have to pay for accessing the expansions as you please.
  • Diminishing Returns for Balance: Double-playing (such as with Throne Room) any card that "draws up to X" or any attack that forces opponents to "discard down to X" have no further benefit once that number has been reached. Similarly, attacks that only affect players with 5 or more cards in hand will cease working once that 5th card is discarded/topdecked/trashed. (Other effects, such as the +2 coins on Militia, will still work.)
    • Enforced by the creator note .
  • Disc-One Nuke: Trashing a Jeweled Egg (2-cost card from Plunder) will give you a Loot. If you're lucky enough to score the Endless Chalice early on, you will easily overtake the competition. The other Loot are strong too, but not as persistent.
  • Discount Card: Starting with Bridge (Intrigue), a number of cards can lower the cost of either a specific type of card, or all the cards in all parts of the game (to a minimum of 0). Paired with +Buys, this is can be an essential part of a Megaturn.
    • Peddler (Prosperity) discounts herself by 2 from an initial cost of 8 (twice as much as her play function is worth) for every Action you play before the Buy phase.
  • Doomed Hometown: The Ruins (Dark Ages) depict "Ruined" versions of the Market, Mine, Library, and Walled Village, as well as the new Survivors card, showing villagers fleeing their burning town.
  • Draw Extra Cards:
    • The Smithy card from 1st edition. It allowed the player to draw 3 cards. But it came with the inherent cost of being an Action, which a player can normally only use once per turn, and did not give the player to use another Action- so if the player did not draw non-Action cards, it was effectively a waste.
    • The Moat card had the weaker effect allowing the player to draw 2 cards, and combined it with a Defend Command.
  • Evil Counterpart: Rabble (Prosperity) to Patrol (Intrigue). Both are 5-cost Actions that draw three cards, then check the top three cards of either your opponents' decks to weed out the good cards, or your deck to weed out the bad ones, respectively.
  • Evolving Attack: Certain cards replace themselves with a better card when certain conditions are met.
    • Improve (Renaissance) trashes an Action played that turn with one slightly more expensive, and can target itself.
  • Expansion Pack: Each with a different theme.
  • Extra Turn: Several variations— Tactician, Possession, Outpost, and Mission each give you one in different ways. See the trope page.
    • Inverted with Lich (Allies), the bottom of the Wizards split pile, who draws a boatload of cards along with +2 Actions at the cost of your next turn (and the effect can stack).
  • Familiar: Familiar (Alchemy), a card with a Potion cost, is a version of the Witch that provides +1 Card and Action rather than +2 Cards and no +Actions.
  • Flavor Text: The rulebook for each expansion begins with a brief drily humorous description of the realm's current situation, fitting the expansion's theme. For example, the "Intrigue" rulebook begins:
    Something's afoot. The steward smiles at you like he has a secret, or like he thinks you have a secret, or like you think he thinks you have a secret.
  • Forced Transformation: Enchantress (Empires) appears to temporarily transform an opponent's first Action card played on their turn into a pig, providing +1 Card +1 Action and nothing else. A bit funny since while most Action cards are people, many are places or objects. Curiously, Way of the Pig (Menagerie) allows you to do this to yourself at will, ensuring terminal or other unwanted actions are never dead draws.
    • The Ways in general are non-baleful polymorphs.
    • Invoked with Remodel and its variants— turning any card into any other card that costs slightly more can result in turning people or animals into money or land and vice-versa. It depends on players' interpretation of the events, as it could simply stand for trading/commerce.
  • Forgot to Pay the Bill: Wine Merchant (Adventures) is a 5-cost Action-Reserve that gives you +4 coins and +1 Buy— much better than Gold! But, he remains stuck at the Tavern unless you end a turn with 2 coins unspent. (It can be the same turn.)
  • Gladiator Games: Gladiator (Empires) has you pick a card from your hand then challenges the next player to reveal the same from their hand; if they cannot, the next Gladiator in the supply will die, and yours is worth $1 extra. Once all the Gladiators are gone, Plunder (not to be confused with the expansion of the same name) becomes available.
  • Invincibility Power-Up: Champion (Adventures), the final evolution of Page, once played, renders the player impervious to all attacks akin to a permanent Moat. Moreover, every Action played while she's up results in an extra +1 Action, so you can use terminal Actions with impunity.
  • Jack of All Trades: The Jack of all Trades (Hinterlands) card, of course— a mid-cost card that gives you numerous small benefits when played.
  • Magikarp Power: The Traveller cards from Adventures; initially, they are cheap cards with lackluster effects. Each time you use them, they can become a different, better card at the end of the turn. If you manage to do this four times, they become very powerful.
    • City (Prosperity) is an overpriced Village unless supply piles start going empty— then it gets +1 Card with one down and +1 Buy, +1 coin with another one down, making it a sort of Village-Laboratory-Market hybrid by the end.
    • A lesser example is Fool's Gold, a 2-cost, +1 coin Treasure that gets replaced with real Gold if you're holding it when an opponent takes a Province, but playing multiple Fool's Golds during your turn results in each one after the first being worth 4 coins, more than Gold individually, but altogether on average still lessnote .
    • Search (Plunder), at a cost of 2, will yield a Loot (a random Treasure better than Gold) for each one you can play before a supply pile empties. Jeweled Egg could be seen as this too, as a Treasure with a +Buy that unleashes its full potential upon being trashed.
  • Manipulating the Opponent's Deck: Most attacks do this, by (for example) making other players gain a Curse, discard cards from their hands, put cards back on top of their decks, or even trash cards.
  • Master of None: The Market card. It gives the player +1 to everything— an extra card, an extra coin, an extra action, and an extra buy. Making full use of all of these is difficult, but at the same time the card is never fully useless.
    • A straighter example is the 2-cost Pawn (Intrigue), who has all four of the Market's functions, but is only allowed to use two (of your choosing) at a time.
  • Mayincatec: A few cards feature art inspired by these cultures, notably Lost City (Adventures) and Idol (Nocturne).
  • Mechanically Unusual Fighter: Lurker (Intrigue) has two functions: one is to trash an Action card from the supply, which on its own is already a rare ability; the other is to gain any Action from the trash, which allows a Lurker to obtain any action in just two uses (or one with Elder). However, as (outside of a Black Market game) your opponents can also get Lurkers, it's possible for you to hand a powerful Action to your opponents with an odd number of plays, and vice-versa.
    • Charlatan (Prosperity Second Edition), when in the supply, makes Curses (whether or not she's the one who dishes them out) part Treasure, giving +1 coin similar to Copper, so the standard Deck Clogger is Not Completely Useless.
    • Trail (Hinterlands Second Edition) only gives +1 Card and Action, but can be played upon gaining, discarding, or even trashing it, resulting in a myriad of strange combos (see Not the Intended Use).
    • Shaman (Plunder), when in the supply, whether or not any player actually gains or plays her, makes players start their turn by gaining a 6-or-lower-cost card from the trash, so nothing remains permanently out of players' decks.
  • Merging Machine: Forge (Prosperity) trashes any number of cards in your hand, then gains one of a cost equal to the sum of the trashed cards' costs.
  • Me's a Crowd: Way of the Rat (Menagerie) allows any Action card to clone itself instead of doing what it would normally.
    • Rats (Dark Ages) and, conditionally, Magpie (Adventures) duplicate themselves upon being played.
  • Meta Game: Debatable. Because a large point is that the cards vary for each game, strategies tend to fall into general categories, rather than specific moves.
    • This article argues that there are five such broad categories, although it does admit that there is a lot of overlap between them.
  • Money for Nothing: Downplayed: being Deluded (a state from Nocturne) prohibits you from buying Actions that turn.
    • Without any +Buys, having more than $8 ($11 with Colonies, $10 with the final Castle) is worthless.
  • Money Grinding: The near-singular focus of the 'Big Money' strategy.
    • Mine, Taxman, etc. can trade your existing Treasures up for more valuable ones.
    • Silver Mine (Plunder) is a Treasure that gains a cheaper Treasure to your hand (meaning you can play it immediately) each time it's played. As the name implies, if there's nothing fancy on the table, you'd just go for Silver.
  • Money Multiplier: The Fortune cardnote  from Empires will double the current amount of money a player has, the first time it is played in a turn.
    • To a lesser extent, the now-defunct Coppersmith card makes Coppers worth an extra $1 apiecenote .
  • Monster Mash: Dominion: Nocturne features many classic monsters and fairytale creatures among its Kingdom cards, often of the new "Night" type.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Thief in the original version of the Base game could trash opponents' Coppers, providing a much-needed service for them. Downplayed with the Thief's replacement, Bandit, who only helps opponents if Charlatan (Prosperity) is in the supplynote .
  • Not the Intended Use:
    • A meta example is the blank cards the game comes with. They literally had no intended use, they were just included since they get printed anyway. Fans realized they could be used to mark blank piles well, and could be used to work custom cards into the game.
    • The promo card Black Market lets the player buy cards that are not part of the current game's 10-card kingdom. However, it also has the side effect of letting the player play treasure cards during the Action phase— something they're normally not allowed to do. This makes certain other cards very powerful, and arguably turns the card Tacticiannote  into a gamebreaker.
    • Deliberately buying or gaining Curses to trigger a three-pile ending when a player has enough of a lead to incur the point penalty and still end up ahead.
    • A well-known example is to Remodel (a card typically used to replace a card with a slightly more expensive one) a Province into another Province when your score is (or will be) ahead of the others', thus running down the clock on the game without altering your score. While many of them can, note that not every variant of the Remodel is capable of returning the same card.
    • Battle Plan (Allies), the topmost card on the "Clashes" split pile, has the unique ability to rotate any Supply Pile, not just its own, as is the pattern with other Allies split piles. It doesn't specify the "split pile" has to be from Allies— two-way splits from Empires can have their valuable bottom halves unearthed early, and large stacks like Castles (which are initially sorted by cost), Knights, and Ruins can even have their top cards put to the bottom.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: The Bureaucrat card which forces other players to put a card useless for play on the top of their deck, ensuring it will quickly return to their hand.
    • The Taxman blends the effects of Bureaucrat and Mine, upgrading a Treasure you have on-hand while opponents discard the same Treasure.
  • One Person, One Power: Teacher (Adventures), the final evolution of the Peasant, when called from the Tavern Mat, adds a permanent +1 boost of coin, Card, Action, or Buy to all cards from a given supply pile, but you cannot stack more than one token on a single pile this way.
  • Only in It for the Money: Encampment (Empires) is a rather strong 2-cost card, but unless you reveal Gold or Plunder (the accompanying split-pile card to Encampment), the encampment returns to the supply.
  • Pirate Episode: Dominion: Seaside and Plunder.
  • Pirate Girl: The "Pirate" card from Dominion: Seaside depicts one.
  • Power at a Price: Council Room draws a whopping 4 cards (and gives a +Buy so you can use all that coin you're about to have), but your opponents will all draw a card too. It's best to wait until you're confident you can end the game quickly before using it too much.
    • "Cursed Gold," Pooka's Heirloom from Nocturne, has the same coin value as Gold but gives you a Curse upon playing it.
    • Leprechaun (Nocturne) gives you both Gold and (unless you manage to make him your 7th card) a Curse.
    • Lich (Allies), the bottom of the Wizards split pile, draws a boatload of cards along with +2 Actions, but you lose your next turn (and the effect can stack)— essentially a reverse Tactician.
    • Siren (Plunder) is a low-cost alternative to Witch, but upon gaining her, the card trashes itself unless you sacrifice an Action in your hand. Subverted if you use a topdeck function such as those on Tiara (Prosperity) or Insignia (Plunder) to move the Siren to your deck, skipping the part where someone dies.
    • A card with the "Cursed" trait (from Plunder, though the target card need not be from Plunder) will give you both a free Loot (better than Gold) and a Curse.
  • Power Copying: Smugglers (Seaside) gain a card that the previous player did.
    • "Command" type Actions often have players choose an Action from the supply to play without keeping it.
  • Randomized Damage Attack: Attacks and other penalties in Nocturne often involve players taking a Hex, which have a variety of negative effects that, depending on timing or the cards available, can range from devastating to harmless to helpful.
  • The Red Mage: Purchasing the Project "Capitalism" makes all Action cards with a +coin function part-Treasure, meaning they can be played during the Buy phase with no regard to +Action limits, have an additional type for cards that check number of types, etc.
    • Crown (Empires) and Specialist (Allies) are variations on Throne Room that can be used on Actions or Treasures, so the odds they end up as duds are greatly reduced.
  • Reimagining the Artifact: The Second Edition releases of the Base Set, Intrigue, Seaside, Prosperity, and Hinterlands replaced cards that were of inferior quality with better versions of the same card, e.g., Bandit replacing Thief, Mill replacing Great Hall, Blockade replacing Embargo, Charlatan replacing Mountebank, and Cauldron replacing Ill-Gotten Gains.
  • Sadistic Choice: The Torturer card makes you choose whether to discard cards or take a Curse.
  • Sequel Escalation: Several expansions escalate existing mechanics or introduce new ones.
    • Intrigue introduces dual-type cards such as Harem (a 2-coin Treasure that is also a 2 VP Victory) and Nobles (an Action providing either +3 Cards or +2 Actions, player's choice, and is also a 2 VP Victory), as well as a variety of cards offering multiple choices for what they do when played.
    • Seaside introduces "Duration" cards which do something when played and also do something (perhaps the same thing again, perhaps not) on the player's next turn.
    • Alchemy introduces potions, a new standard treasure card. Certain Alchemy cards have costs of X coins + Potion, and several of them have interactions specific to cards with this type of cost.
    • Prosperity introduces new money and victory cards worth 5 coins and 10 points, respectively, whereas the base game only goes as high as 3 coins or 6 points.
    • Cornucopia primarily focuses on engine building and deck variety; it also adds the Tournament card, with which you can win five unique Prize cards that are extremely powerful.
    • Hinterlands introduces cards that have effects only when they are gained or bought, rather than when they are played during one's turn. The second edition switches gears to being primarily Reaction-based, where a lot of cards can be played upon being discarded (or even trashed!).
    • Dark Ages introduces Shelters, cards replacing your starting estates which have different effects and cost 1 coin. It also introduces Ruins, crappy Action cards that are handed out by Looter-type cards, usually as an attack.
    • Guilds introduces "Coffers" which are coin tokens that can be used at any time as actual currency, and cards that you can overpay for, granting you certain effects when you do.
    • Adventures introduces "Event" cards which stay on the table and may be used by any player, and "Reserve" cards, which go on the "Tavern Mat" when played to (typically) be called upon for their secondary use at a later turn.
    • Empires introduces "Landmark" cards which have a persistent effect on the game (specifically when scoring), and "Debt" that lets you buy cards and pay off the cost later (which you must do before you can buy anything else). It also includes an Event called Dominate, which effectively functions as a 15-point Victory card above even the Colony from the Prosperity expansion.
    • Nocturne introduces a lot of new features: "Night" cards which operate under different rules compared to other cards and are played in between the Buy and Clean-Up phase, Boons which reward you with positive effects through certain actions that are played, Hexes which cause negative effects, States which are status effects that are given through Hexes, Spirits which are cards that can only be gained through certain means, Heirlooms which replace your starting coppers when a certain Action card is used, and Zombies which are Action cards that start the game in the trash.
    • Renaissance reintroduced Coffers and introduced a few new concepts: Villagers which allow you to use free actions when you need them most, Artifacts which operate like States but have more positive effects, and Projects which are upgrades that you can purchase which provide a permanent effect throughout the game.
    • Menagerie introduces the Exile mat and Ways. Cards in Exile still belong to you and are considered part of your deck when scoring, but are kept on their own mat during normal gameplay unless removed. Ways give you an extra option when playing any Action card; instead of following the card's instructions, you may instead follow the instructions on any Way in the kingdom. Additionally, Horses (temporary Laboratories) may be obtained through a number of means.
    • Allies introduces Allies, characters off to the side of the supply who can offer help (or hindrance) at the cost of Favors, a currency obtained through new Liaison-type Actions and Treasures.
    • Plunder introduces Traits, modifications to random supply piles that can alter how they're played or gained; Loot, a randomized pile of 7-cost Treasures with a plethora of effects obtained similarly to Boons or Horses; Duration cards that stay in play (usually with no additional effect) until a certain condition is or is not met; and adds more new Events, some involving Loot.
  • Snake Oil Salesman: Swindler (Intrigue) trashes an opponent's card, then gives back a card of the same cost, but not necessarily the same usefulness, chosen by you. How nasty he is depends on what's available vs. what the top card of each other player's deck is.
  • Sorting Algorithm of Weapon Effectiveness: Castles (Empires) are sorted in ascending cost from 3 to 10, with a variety of effects in-between and the King's Castle having double the same effect as the Humble Castle. Other split piles in Empires have some strong card hidden behind a weak or middling one.
    • Averted by Knights (Dark Ages), all of whom are about equivalent in capabilities and put in random order.
  • All the split piles in Allies are collated by cost, rising one coin at a time. The cheapest card in each has the ability to rotate matching pile, bringing out the next-cheapest card.
  • Averted by Loot (Plunder), similar to the Knights example but outside of the supply piles.
  • Status Buff: The Peasant's final form, Teacher, and a number of Events from Dominion: Adventures allow players to add tokens to supply piles that give various extra bonuses when those cards are played, such as +1 Action (great for terminal cards), +1 Buy, a cost reduction, etc.
  • Status Effects: Some of the Hexes from Nocturne function as these— Deluded prevents a player from buying any Action cards for one turn. Envious makes Silvers and Golds worth only $1 each for one turn.
    • Dominion: Adventures has -1 Coin and -1 Card tokens that certain Attacks and Events can dish out as penalties, preventing the next coin from being generated or card from being drawn respectively. (Drawing multiple only results in one fewer.)
    • Highwayman (Allies) is an attack who makes the next Treasure played by each foe worthless.
  • Swap Fighter: Necromancer (Nocturne) allows you to play an Action from the trash (it remains in the trash), but to ensure he's usable from the get-go, games using the Necromancer also come with a trio of Zombie versions of various Actions.
  • Swarm of Rats: The Rats (Dark Ages) card. It can trash your bad cards, but unless you're careful, they'll overrun your deck. This is because when you play one, you must take another Rats, and Rats cannot trash themselves. There are also twice as many of these as normal in the supply.
  • Taking You with Me: The Knights from Dark Ages. If a Knight attacks another Knight, both Knights get trashed.
  • Theme Naming: The Butcher, Baker, and Candlestick Maker are all cards from the Guilds expansion that involve Coffers in some way.
    • Cards that give +2 or more Actions will typically have some variant of "Village" or "City" in the name, following from the vanilla Village note  from the Base Set.
    • Cards, Events, etc. referencing religious figures or places of worship (Chapel, Cathedral, Sacrifice, Altar, Bishop, Priest, etc.) all involve trashing in some way, sometimes providing benefits on the side.
    • Anything with "goat" in the name is capable of trashing.
  • Three Wishes: The Magic Lamp card is a Treasure that, when trashed note , naturally gives three Wish cardsnote .
  • Torches and Pitchforks: Action card Rabble (Prosperity) and Tournament prize, Followers (Cornucopia).
  • Transformation Is a Free Action: Taken literally as Transmogrify (Adventures) provides +1 Action upon being played; played straight on any subsequent turn, as it can be called from the Tavern to change any card in your hand to one costing up to 1 more.
  • Treasure Map: Treasure Maps (Seaside) can yield four Gold cards if played as a pair, but is useless otherwise.
    • Old Map (Allies) is the topmost card in the "Odysseys" split pile, and can lead players on a Voyage to find Sunken Treasure and Distant Shores (then another Old Map).
  • Uncanceled: Originally, Guilds was going to be the last expansion. When the designer's next game flopped, however, they ended up making a new expansion (Adventures).
  • Vanilla Unit:
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: "Ways" from Menagerie offer a variety of effects named after animals, which may be used instead of any Action card's intended function.
  • Voodoo Zombie: Implied by the Shaman's (Plunder) unique ability to continuously raise cards from the trash. Taken literally if paired with Necromancer (Nocturne), whose presence places three "Zombie" cards in the trash by default, which the Shaman will put directly into players' decks.
  • Weapon Jr.: Urchin (Dark Ages) has an attack similar to the Militia's, but instead of discarding down to 3, opponents only discard down to 4. Following up with another attack (including a second Urchin) allows Urchin to grow up into a Mercenary, whose attack will go down to the standard 3.
    • Jeweled Egg (Plunder) is a 2-cost Treasure that gives +1 coin and Buy. When trashed, it's replaced by a random Loot, most of which are some variation of +3 coin, +1 Buy (or in the case of Endless Chalice, a permanent Jeweled Egg).
  • Where It All Began: Rotating split piles after the bottom-most option is available returns them to their starting position; "Odysseys" and to a lesser extent "Forts" and "Clashes" (Allies) depict a variety of locations, resulting in a circular journey.