Tips & Strategies (139)

Add your own Tips, Strategies, & House Rules! Vote for tips that you think are useful.

Tips & Strategies (139)

Filter by: Order by:
Gamer Avatar
7
Knight-errant
BoardGaming.com Beta 1.0 Tester
Intermediate Reviewer
The Big Cheese 2012
52 of 54 gamers found this helpful
“Do not overdo the Terminal Action cards”

What is a Terminal Action card?
This is any Action card that does not give the +1 (or more) Action(s).

Do not overload your deck with more of these cards than you can ever possibly use. This is the biggest mistake made by newer players. Even if the Action cards all seem pretty awesome, if you can only play one of them from your hand, they are just as bad as Curse cards .

Counting Cards:
Unless you have cards that give more than just a +1 Action in your deck, you will not want to buy more than 1 Terminal Action card per five cards you have in your deck. This does involve keeping track of how many cards you have.

Gamer Avatar
4
BoardGaming.com Beta 1.0 Tester
Critic - Level 2
Gamer - Level 3
50 of 52 gamers found this helpful
“Know the phases of the game”

Probably the most important skill when playing Dominion is being able to recognize when the game is starting out, when the game is coming to an end and the time in-between.

In the beginning, your deck is small and it needs to grow. You’ll need to buy treasure and kingdom cards that help you buy bigger cards. Take advantage of the fact that your deck will be recycled quickly to play useful cards repeatedly.

In the middle is usually when people focus on making big plays for land or going for cards that help you or hurt your opponents.

Near the end, you should switch your focus to buying as many victory cards as possible; even duchies and estates. Your deck will be large so the chances of drawing a specific card is small so buying new actions isn’t as helpful. Recognizing when to make this shift is the most important of all. Buying lots of victory cards too early can gum up your deck with useless cards.

Gamer Avatar
6
I play yellow
Old Bones
31 of 32 gamers found this helpful
“Have a plan for your first two hands”

Your first and second turns will have copper as either 5/2, 4/3, 3/4 or 2/5. Be certain that your first two buys lead to an opening strategy. If the Chapel card is available, I will always buy it with my 2 or 3 copper hand, then attempt to trash away my estates and coppers while gaining silver or some other card that powers subsequent buys. Getting to a deck with 3-4 silvers, a Chapel, and 1-2 other action cards and nothing else makes for a really strong opening.

Gamer Avatar
3
I play yellow
Detective
44 of 46 gamers found this helpful
“Remodel!”

Late game if you find yourself pulling 7 coins while everyone else is hitting their magic 8 coins and picking up provinces, don’t be afraid to remodel your gold into provinces for a quick and easy VP. Also if you notice the province stack getting a little low (2-3 left) don’t be afraid to switch to duchies, especially if you’re playing +buy cards.

Gamer Avatar
5
41 of 43 gamers found this helpful
“Getting out of a rut”

I notice a lot of comments about this game directed to one strategy that seems to rule them all. To start out this is usually the ‘Big Money’ strategy. To new players getting money and pretty much ignoring the action cards seems to do very well every time. Because of this people seem to lose interest too early.

So, how can you get out of this rut? I think the best way is to try out different things. Sure, they might fail and you will get a horrible score, but I bet you’ll have more fun doing it than your opponents who just buy money every turn. This will bring about a couple of things; first, some of the card combos you try will actually work (just try to avoid letting this be your new win-all strategy); second, other people in your group will start venturing out as well. Once people start experimenting with the cards and learn that there are several things that will easily beat ‘Big Money’, the game will be much more enjoyable.

One very helpful tip that our group has done to encourage exploration is to play with the same setup multiple times. We typically play on our lunch break, so we’ll pick our 10 cards, and then use that same set for the entire lunch hour. We always get 3-5 games in and this gives everybody a good chance to try different things out. Or when they try something that almost works, they can tweak it a little to see if they can make it work better. Doing this I feel brought our group up to a high level quickly and we don’t get stuck in ruts.

Try something new, it might just work!

Gamer Avatar
6
I play blue
Spread the Word
16 of 16 gamers found this helpful
“Limit your action cards...make sure they work together”

While it’s really fun to play action upon action upon action, think about what you could spend your resources on. Finding a couple action cards that work really well together (example: the ever famous village/smithy combo). And instead of filling your deck with those, focus more on money. If you have lots of money in your hand, you won’t need to go through your whole deck to get it. Try the bureaucrat/mine combo…the bureaucrat gives you a silver for free when you play it, and it influences your opponents. The mine allows you to upgrade your money. Growing your money faster than your opponents will get you those valuable provinces before others.

Of course, there are counter-strategies to this, but that is for another time…that’s what makes this game great!

Gamer Avatar
8
BoardGaming.com Beta 2.0 Tester
Went to Gen Con 2012
BoardGaming.com Bronze Supporter
Advanced Reviewer
26 of 27 gamers found this helpful
“Moneylender 101”

Trash a Copper card from your hand.
If you do, +3 Copper.

This is one of my favorite cards in the original deck as I can find the most use for it. First, it lets you easily get the cannon fodder of copper out of your hand and always replace it with silver. At the very least this is what you will reap.

You may be thinking, “Hey, the Mine also does that?” Yes, this is true, but here is the extra benefits of the Moneylender. One, it cost lest allowing you to get it into your hand earlier in most cases. And two, it allows you to trade it in for NOT a silver. Perhaps you have already added enough money to your hand, or you are really in need of a certain Action card, or best of all, it will add three Copper to your hand to allow you to grab the last Providence. The Mine will not allow you to do any of those and it cost more.

Especially, the Moneylender allows you to keep your deck slim while building better cards into your hand. This is always the first card I put into my hand once I can afford it!

Gamer Avatar
7
USA
Book Lover
Novice Reviewer
Cooperative Game Explorer
25 of 26 gamers found this helpful
“You Don't always have to purchase a card”

When you first read all the kingdom cards make a base strategy that you will be using in the game and be willing to be flexible. If it comes to your buy phase it is important to know what you want and if you can’t afford it money or nothing can be valid options.

Gamer Avatar
6
Tactician
Professional Advisor
Tinkerer
Senior
73 of 78 gamers found this helpful
“Follow Your Own Schedule”

I hear many people say that when other players start buying victory cards, you have to do the same. I think this is a misconception, perpetuated by players who wait too long and only realize it when their opponents get the jump on them. If your original plan was sound, an opponent buying a Province shouldn’t ordinarily cause you to change it.

Basically, you should be taking the shortest path that gives you “enough” victory points to win (typically one more than your fair share of Provinces). The “shortest path” does not change just because the other guy buys an early Province, and if you are already on the shortest path, any change to your plans will only slow you down.

Put another way, falling behind in points may be bad, but panicking and ruining your economy is worse. If your opponent is making a mistake by greening too early, you should capitalize on that error, not duplicate it. If your opponent is greening before you because he’s ahead of you (or perhaps just using a different strategy), trying to match him but running out of steam before you have enough points is just going to guarantee his win. And if your deck is good enough to get enough points, you should start buying them whether your opponents have started or not.

So buy green cards when it’s right for you–not when it’s right for your opponent.

Gamer Avatar
6
Tactician
Professional Advisor
Tinkerer
Senior
59 of 63 gamers found this helpful
“Misleading Card: Remodel”

Remodel trashes a card from your hand and gives you a card costing up to $2 more. So, it basically adds $2 to the cost of one card in your deck. Taken at face value, that sounds like a way to gradually improve your cards.

But playing a Silver adds $2 to the cost of one card, too–the one you buy that turn. Remodel costs more, requires an action to play, and removes a card from your hand that you could otherwise have played that turn. Described in those terms, it sounds terrible to the point of comedy.

But it’s actually quite a respectable card, once you realize that +$2 is incidental to its real purpose: virtually the entire value of Remodel comes from exploiting a mismatch between a card’s cost and that card’s value (in the sense of utility).

Victory cards are very bad in the early game–if you look only at the economic value of an Estate, it should probably be worth around -3 (since it generates $1 less than a Copper). But it costs 2, so if you Remodel it you get a card worth up to $4, instead of a card worth, say, $-1. The cost only went up by $2, but the value went up by more like $6 or $7!

Conversely, victory cards become very valuable near the end of the game, and Remodeling your Silver or Gold into Duchies or Provinces (respectively) can earn you a lot more points than if that Remodel had only given you +$2…depending on what else is in your hand, of course.

Deck-thinning cards drop in value once you’ve finished trashing your unwanted cards, sometimes making them candidates for Remodeling. Some expansion cards (particularly in Hinterlands) have high prices because they do special things when you gain them, rather than because of their value once they’re in your deck–they’re great cards to Remodel, too.

But if you’re Remodeling a card that’s still useful to you (relative to its cost), Remodel is effectively just a Silver with -1 Card and -1 Action that turn. In the early game, you probably shouldn’t aim to Remodel anything except Estates and maybe Curses. Even Remodeling a Copper is usually a consolation prize at best, and can actually hurt you in a lot of cases.

Gamer Avatar
7
Advanced Reviewer
It's All About Me
I'm a Real Person
I'm Completely Obsessed
71 of 76 gamers found this helpful
“Like the expansions, but your friend already has the base sets?”

In April, Rio Grande Games came out with their Base Cards, which are simply the Treasure, Victory, and Curse cards from either of the base sets. While one use for these is to replace some of your worn out older cards, this also allows you to play any of the expansion sets as standalone games.

IMPORTANT: This means that your gaming group only needs one copy of the base set. If you want to be “The Friend Who Owns Prosperity,” you can just buy that and the Base Cards and be ready to go. If someone else already owns Intrigue and the Core Set, great! You can be a specialist instead.

Gamer Avatar
3
Gamer - Level 3
Copper Supporter
56 of 60 gamers found this helpful
“Silver!”

Do not ever underestimate the value of simply puchasing silver. While action cards can be very tempting, remember that you are generally limited to a single action every turn. Even if you are able to get a great turn and chain actions together, you need to be able to draw money to make those big buys.

When in doubt, buy silver! This will enable you to buy gold faster, which in turn allows you to purchase Provinces, which allows you to control the overall flow of the game.

Plan on purchasing 2 Silver (or Gold) for every action.

Gamer Avatar
6
Tactician
Professional Advisor
Tinkerer
Senior
69 of 74 gamers found this helpful
“The Silver Rule”

Most games are won with Provinces. A Province costs $8, which means that with a 5-card hand, you need your average card to provide at least $1.6 in order to afford a Province that turn.

Thus, as a rule of thumb, gaining a Silver is generally better than gaining nothing (it will push your average value towards $2/card, which is above the magic threshold), while any card noticeably weaker than Silver (in particular, Copper) is likely a card you’d rather not have in your deck.

Buying Silver when you don’t want anything else is generally safe. There are also several cards that lend themselves to quickly amassing a large deck full of Silver (e.g. Bureaucrat), and this is an effective strategy in some games.

However, beware the exceptions!

1) If your opponents are regularly playing Militia (or similar cards), leaving you with only 3 cards in your hand, you need to average $2.67/card for a Province.

2) In a game with Colonies (from the Prosperity expansion), you’re probably targeting $11 instead of $8, which moves the threshold to $2.2/card–just a hair above a Silver.

3) Some strategies depend on drawing a specific card (or combination of cards) more than on having a certain amount of money.

In these situations, a Silver may become worse than nothing before the end of the game. You will probably still need a few to get your economy going at the beginning, but judge carefully when to stop, and avoid cards like Bureaucrat that will continue gaining Silvers forever.

Gamer Avatar
7
Knight-errant
BoardGaming.com Beta 1.0 Tester
Intermediate Reviewer
The Big Cheese 2012
43 of 46 gamers found this helpful
“Booster draft style!”

My friends and I have come to the opinion often that during random card draws for kingdom cards, there are only a couple of cards that make a viable deck. This means that each of us have a very similar deck in the end and it is all down to luck.

Instead, why not play like a booster draft. Each player in a 4 player game is allowed to choose 2 kingdom cards that they want to have in the game. The last two cards are chosen at random. This method allows you to try out certain strategies you have contemplated after looking at the cards and ensures that there are multiple strategies to choose from.

Gamer Avatar
5
Gamer - Level 5
BoardGaming.com Beta 1.0 Tester
43 of 46 gamers found this helpful
“Teaching Others”

When teaching Dominion to new players, play with the same kingdom cards at least twice so they can familiarize themselves with the card text and combinations. Changing the kingdom cards too soon can overwhelm a new player, particularly if they don’t typically play cards games with lots of text.

Gamer Avatar
2
Noble
47 of 51 gamers found this helpful
“Turn Order for Newbies”

I have found that the easiest way to describe turn order to new players is ABCD.
A: Action
B: Buy
C: Cleanup
D: Draw
The simple alphabet mnemonic keeps things straight and simple and always reminds players to draw new cards at the end of their turn!

Gamer Avatar
3
Amateur Reviewer
Strategist
Amateur Advisor
47 of 51 gamers found this helpful
“KICK OUTS - A Fast and Fun Way To Set Up a Random Game”

So there’s an iPhone app that works great for setting up random games, but for those without this handy app, here’s what my group does.

1. Start by picking 2 sets you want to play with (Prosperity and Seaside for example).

2. Using the randomizer cards, randomly determine 5 cards from each set to play with.

3. Then, each player going around in a circle gets to choose one of these cards to keep in the game or kick out.

KEEP: If a player chooses a card to keep, it is set aside and will be in the game for sure (No one can kick it out).

KICK OUT: If a player chooses to kick a card out, that card is removed and will not be in the game. Then, 2 more random cards from the same set as the kicked out card are turned over. The player who kicked out the card picks one of these cards to be in the game. It is set aside and will be in the game for sure (No one can kick it out).

4. After every player has chosen 1 card to keep or kick out, you’re done.

This set up goes pretty fast (you can set up a game in about 5-10 minutes depending on how picky your players are). The advantage is that you get a random variety of cards to play with without lengthy discussion, but the players can still tailor the game a little towards their personal interest or preferred strategy.

Gamer Avatar
8
Rosetta Stone
Football Fan
Explorer - Level 5
Junior
47 of 51 gamers found this helpful
“Choosing cards”

We always have an argument about what cards to use in the game, and the random option doesn’t always give a good mix.

Our House Rule is that each person can choose 2 or 3 cards to play in the game, depending on the total number of players (4 players: 2 each, 3 players: 3 each) then the remaining cards are filled up with cards that fill a gap, or something that’s missing. We always want to have at least one card with Buy, one card with Action, etc.

There are two caveats to this House Rule:
1. Each person picks all their cards from the same expansion. For example, we can have 3 cards from Prosperity and 3 cards from Hinterlands, but players can’t split up their choices. This helps bring the flavor of each expansion.

2. We don’t do this for Alchemy or Seaside, because they have too many cards dependent on other cards from those sets.

Gamer Avatar
7
Book Lover
Knight-errant
Tinkerer
Novice Reviewer
45 of 49 gamers found this helpful
“Use the recommendations when learning the game”

The recommended sets of ten found at the end of the rules are very useful for highlighting different game strategies and mechanics, particularly if you have several new players or are adding in an unfamiliar/new expansion. It’s easier to form strategies in random games if you have some experience working with a more optimal setup for a particular mechanic or strategy. The recommended sets can also help level the playing field between experienced and new players.

Gamer Avatar
9
Z-Man Games fan
Plaid Hat Games fan
Ireland
Stone of the Sun
19 of 20 gamers found this helpful
“Discarding Coppers”

Don’t be afraid to discard coppers later in the game as you buy more Gold and silver. Doing this will streamline your deck and make it more effective bringing your higher value money into your hand quicker.

Add your own Tip, Strategy, or House Rule

You must be to add a comment.

× Visit Your Profile