Dominion Hinterlands: Dominion Begins to Wander
Looking at the box cover for Dominion’s 4th big box (and 6th overall) expansion, this looks to be a very intriguing addition. There’s some sort of crazy fantasy monkey, an ancient exotic temple, all within a foreign jungle landscape. Altogether it gives the impression of taking Dominion, one of the gaming communities most popular board games, to strange new places.
However, that doesn’t really turn out to be the case. Now don’t get me wrong, Hinterlands is a good expansion, but it’s certainly not a mind-blowing one. There are some interesting cards but no real overarching theme to the set. Intrigue more than anything seems to be an expansion for the sake of having an expansion. But let’s look closer.
Hinterlands comes with 26 new cards to use in the game, most of which are new action cards. However, there are also some interesting new victory cards, like the Silk Road which gains you points for having victory cards, and the tunnel which Is an interesting victory/reaction card. The Farmland is perhaps the best of these however, since when you buy it you can trash and upgrade another card from your hand.
The new mechanic added to the game is that on many cards, some sort of event or condition is connected to when you purchase the card. For example, when you buy the Embassy, everyone else gains a silver. There are also a lot of cards which requires drawing cards and then discarding a certain amount of them.
The problem here is that there is no real game-changing mechanic along the lines of the Duration cards of Seaside or the Platinum and Colony cards in Prosperity. The card buying conditions is sort of interesting, but not overly exciting. And the cards where you have to draw a large amount and then discard is a little annoying to be honest.
Some of the most interesting cards in this expansion are the Border Village, which is a village which lets you gain another card when you buy it; the Stables which lets you discard a copper for 3 more cards and an action; and Jack of All Trades, which has a whole grocery list of things it does.
There are a lot of interesting roads to travel with this expansion, but it’s certainly not in the realm of some of Dominion’s other sets. The lack of an overall theme which changes the game lets this one slip into obscurity compared to its brother sets, especially Seaside and Prosperity. It is enough to make you wonder if perhaps the Dominion franchise is beginning to drift and run out of steam.
Hinterlands is probably the lesser of the Dominion big box expansions. I won’t speak to how it holds up to the small expansions Alchemy and Cornucopia since I have rarely played with those. For big Dominion fans Hinterlands is still worth getting for some of those really neat cards, but as a complete package it still falls behind the pack.
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.