Ian's Movie Reviews
Short Reviews of Movies, Board Games, and Other Stuff

Dominion – Intrigue: Intriguing Possibilities

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Dominion has a massive reputation in the board gaming world for being highly innovative and influential. However, it Is also known for something else: expansions. Perhaps the only other game that has a bigger reputation when it comes to massive amounts of expansions is Carcassonne. Like most games, Dominion began its expansion run in the year after its release with Intrigue.
Dominion is one of those games which is naturally suited to expansions. Part of Dominion’s brilliance is its variability in action cards, so adding more action cards seems like a natural progression. And so in 2009, two expansions were released, the first of which was Intrigue. In fact, Intrigue is one of those weird hybrids which is both an expansion to and a sequel of the original game, since it contains all the cards needed to play within its own box. But for the purpose of this review, I am treating it like an expansion.
Intrigue showed the gaming world where the true heart of Dominion really lay. Dominion is an ever evolving, ever changing game and its expansions work to strengthen its replayability and its dominance over all other card games. Intrigue proved to gamers that Dominion wasn’t going away any time soon, but would only grow more diverse and more interesting.

Additions

Intrigue adds 26 new action cards as well as the basic treasure and victory cards needed to play. Donald Vaccharino, the designer, wisely developed themes in gameplay to go along with each expansion, though this is stronger in the later expansions than it is in Intrigue (expect perhaps Hinterlands).
Intrigue attempts to add more player interaction with new attack cards, like torturer, and cards such as Masquerade which has players passing cards to each other. It also introduces more choice in your actions, so when you play a card you can choose action A or action B. For example, the Steward allows you to choose between drawing 2 cards, getting 2 coin, or trashing 2 cards. This adds a little more strategy to the game and makes your turn a little more interesting.
My favourite of the new cards is the introducing of the victory card hybrids, such as Nobles, Great Hall, and Harem. These cards allow you to have green victory cards which aren’t actually useless and allow you to use them otherwise. For example, Harem gives you two points as well as 2 coin. Very cool additions.

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Critique

Intrigue has added a lot of great cards into the Dominion canon and has managed to step up the interaction and strategizing of the game as well. In the spectrum of Dominion expansions, I would have to place Intrigue more around the middle of the pack. It has quite a bit of that “more of the same” feel when compared to the base game where as expansions like Seaside and Prosperity are more divergent. The cards here are still very interesting and work well as a simple addition to the game for when your group isn’t up for a lot of change.
As the first expansion, Intrigue proved that there was a lot more to Dominion than the cards in the original box. Dominion could go different places, do different things, and still remain the same great game that gamers fell in love with. Intrigue opened the door for all the great additions to come and is a great supplement of one of the gaming world’s treasures.

Expansion –
Base Game –
Base Game & Expansion –

My Expansion Ratings
– The expansion improves upon the original base game.
– The expansion provides a differing experience than the base game but neither improves or detracts from the base game.
– The expansion is effective and provides an interesting new aspect, but the base game is still preferred.
– The expansion detracts from the base game.

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