Kulkmann's G@mebox - www.boardgame.de



Donald X. Vaccarino


No. of Players:
2 - 4

G@mebox Star



Gamebox author Ralf Togler writes about the game:

It was not really a surprise when I got to know that the first expansion for the successful Dominion game by HANS IM GLÜCK was to be published only half a year after the basic game. Probably the publisher already had a hunch after the huge poupularity of Dominion at the SPIEL 08 convention, because shortly after the release of this new "expansion" Dominion got the award for the game of the year (Spiel des Jahres) in Germany. I really loved the basic game, so I was very anxious if the expansion would meet my high expectations and give the game some new impulses.

When I finally got it, my first impression was: Do I really have an expansion in my hand? Everything except the box-graphics and the small text "Intrigue" under the title, seemed to be exactly the same as it was in the basic game, perhaps they only had changed the design of the box after winning the award... And in fact, at least partly I was right. Intrigue is no normal expansion but an independent game that can be played separately or can be mixed with the basic game. This explains why the box contents on first sight look similar, but Dominion-players of course could discover that Intrigue only contains the same cards in terms of money and victory points. However, all action cards are new - and as you will see later on, this is quite a lot!


Because the rules basically remain the same, in this review I will concentrate on these new cards. If you do not know Dominion already, you should read the review of the basic game first.

In contrast to the basic game, a lot of cards in Intrigue allow the players to choose between several alternatives. This gives the players much more possibilities to react to their current cards in hand. So, for an example with a "Nobleman" I may either draw three additional cards or I get two additional actions. The first one I would choose if I do not have enough action cards on my hands or if I need more money cards, the second I would choose if I would like to play more action cards from my hand. Also, we now have some cards that are both victory cards and action or money cards. Although these cards are very expensive (a price of five or six), these cards are very popular, because in contrast to the normal victory cards like "Dukedom" and "Province", they already can be used during the game and do not limit your number of actions. So the card "Harem" gives me two more money in my buying phase during the game and is worth two victory points at the end of the game (although I wonder in what times Dominion takes place, getting money for visiting a Harem....). Another example is the "Great Hall" which allows me to draw another card and to do another action during the game and is worth one victory point in the end game.

As you will already guess, Dominion - Intrigue allows the player to do more in his turn and to play more tactically than in the basic game, using the provided cards even better to create some "chain reactions". All those annoying victory points, that do only limit your possible moves in the basic game, now have another function during the game. Of course that has its price, but it is really worth it. Only in the end game you should concentrate in buying the traditional victory cards. You only have to find the right moment for this!

Some other cards also contribute to the strategic gameplay offered by Intrigue. One of my favourite cards is the "Scout". With this card I can turn the four cards on top of my drawing pile. Then I take all victory cards on my hand and put all other cards in any order back on the drawing pile. Because I also get an additional action I only need another card which lets me draw one or two cards of my drawing pile, because now the cards should lie in the right order. Quite a nice combination!

If you missed more dirty tricks in the basic game, you will make a find in Intrigue when you meet all those nice people who have contributed to the name of this game. "Fiddler", "Flunkey", "Saboteur", "Tribute" and "Turnkey" are cards which you can use for mean tricks. One example: The "Turnkey" gives me three additional cards, but all other players either must put two cards away or they must take a curse card on their hand. The only help against one of this attacks is the "Chamber of Secrets", the first counter-attack card in the Dominion world.


I should also mention, that the game - when mixed with the basic game - can be played by more than four players. Then you need the money and victory cards both from the original game and the expansion. HANS IM GLÜCK recommends six players as a maximum, but only because otherwise the game length would be exhausting. If you do not care, you are free to test it.

All in all Dominion - Intrigue increases the players´ abilities and possible moves. Especially the high number of cards with a choice or a bonus gives the game a new depth if you can meet the card requirements. One last example: The "Conspirer" gives me two additional money and in addition to this one more card and one more action, but the latter two only if I already have played three or more action cards in this turn. This requires the observation of a strict card order, but at the same time offers quite interesting new card combinations. If Dominion would have been a collectible card game the new possibilities offered by Intrigue actually might be too strong for players who just own the basic game to keep a chance to win, but due to the unique rules which give all players access to all cards the new cards can be mixed in with some cards from the basic game without problems.

So what is my result? Dominion - Intrigue is a must have for all fans of the basic game and for those who are looking for more interaction than in the basic game. But remember what I said in my review of the basic game: either you love or you hate the game concept. So if you did not like Dominion, the new expansion might not be enough to convince you from the opposite. But if you should belong to the huge community of Dominion-fans, then the Intrigue is a fascinating expansion which offers really new ways to explore.

Well, now I am off, playing some more rounds of Intrigue, because the next expansion, Dominion - Seaside, already is within the range of sight. Land Ho!!!

[Gamebox Index]

Google Custom Search

Impressum / Contact Info / Disclaimer


Copyright © 2012 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany