How To Play: Dominion (Second Edition) – Setup, rule summary and strategy

Quick Summary

Domination (Second Edition) is a highly strategic and engaging deck-building game that demands tactical decision-making, clever card combinations, and efficient resource management. With its diverse card selection, players can explore numerous paths to victory while adapting to ever-changing circumstances and opponents' strategies.

Mastering the art of deck building allows players to create powerful and synergistic card combinations, gaining a significant advantage over their opponents. Efficient resource management ensures a steady flow of coins and actions, maximizing the effectiveness of each turn and paving the way for victory.

Adaptability is key, as players must analyze and counter their opponents' strategies while leveraging scoring opportunities unique to the game layout. Successful long-term planning adds the necessary foresight to secure the most valuable victory cards and claim victory in the end.

With captivating gameplay dynamics, endless possibilities for tactical maneuvering, and a continually evolving strategic landscape, Dominion (Second Edition) provides both experienced and novice players with an immersive and rewarding gaming experience.

Engaging in Dominion offers a world of captivating strategies and exhilarating competition where quick thinking, adaptivity, and carefully honed skills are handsomely rewarded. Venture forth into the world of Dominion and prepare for a thrilling journey guided by strategy and wit.


Welcome to our comprehensive strategy guide for Dominion (Second Edition)! Whether you’re a seasoned player looking to up your game or a newcomer seeking valuable insights, this guide will provide you with the tools and knowledge you need to navigate the realm of Dominion and emerge victorious. Our guide covers everything from a brief outline of the game rules to the most effective strategies for securing triumph.

In the following sections, we will explore essential aspects such as deck building techniques, optimal card combinations, resource management, adapting to opponents’ strategies, and long-term planning for scoring. Each section delves into specific strategies and tips, offering guidance that will help elevate your gameplay and enhance your chances of success.

Whether you’re an aspiring master tactician or simply looking to improve your chances of winning, our strategy guide is here to assist you. Dominion offers a rich and immersive world of strategic possibilities, and this guide aims to equip you with the insights and understanding necessary to flourish within it. So, prepare yourself for an in-depth exploration of the game’s intricacies and get ready to forge your path to dominion!

What’s in the box

  • 500+ unique cards
  • Estate cards: 12
  • Duchy cards: 12
  • Province cards: 12
  • Curse cards: 30
  • Copper cards: 60
  • Silver cards: 40
  • Gold cards: 30
  • Province cards: 12
  • Embargo tokens: 26
  • Curse tokens: 34
  • Village mats: 6
  • Trash mats: 2
  • Rulebook

How To Play Dominion (Second Edition): Rules Summary

Setting Up

  1. Start by selecting 10 kingdom cards from the available card sets and place them in the play area.
  2. Count out the appropriate number of copper, silver, and gold cards based on the number of players.
  3. Shuffle the copper, silver, and gold cards together to form the treasure deck.
  4. Place the victory point cards (Estates, Duchies, Provinces, Curses) in separate piles so that they are visible to all players.
  5. Create a starting deck for each player containing 7 copper cards and 3 estate cards.
  6. The starting player receives 3 additional estates and 7 additional copper cards. Each subsequent player receives only 10 starting cards.


  1. On your turn, carry out the following phases in order: Action, Buy, Clean-up.
  2. Action Phase: Play an Action card from your hand, resolve its effects, then place it in your discard pile.
  3. Buy Phase: Use the coins from your Treasure cards to buy additional Action, Treasure, or Victory Point cards, placing them in your discard pile.
  4. Clean-up Phase: Discard the remaining cards in your play area, including any unplayed Action or Treasure cards.
  5. Draw a new hand of 5 cards to start your next turn.
  6. Repeat these steps until the game ends.

Game End and Scoring

  1. The game ends when either all the Province cards are depleted, or any three supply piles are emptied.
  2. Players then count the victory points in their decks, with each card showing a value.
  3. The player with the highest victory point total wins the game!

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Action and Treasure Card Abilities

  1. Action cards have different effects and abilities when played. Follow the instructions on the card and resolve its effects before moving on.
  2. Treasure cards represent coins that can be spent during the Buy phase to acquire additional cards.
  3. Certain cards may have special abilities, including allowing you to draw additional cards, gain extra actions, or attack other players.

Mastering the rules of Dominion will provide you with a strong foundation for exploring the strategic depths of the game. Keep these rules in mind as you delve into the realm of Dominion to secure a path to victory!

Best Dominion Second Edition Strategies

Mastering Deck Building Techniques for Victory

One of the key strategies to achieving success in Dominion (Second Edition) is mastering the art of deck building. Here are some crucial techniques to consider when constructing your deck:

Focus on purchasing action cards

  1. Select action cards that provide immediate advantages, such as drawing extra cards or gaining extra actions.
  2. Look for action cards that grant you bonuses, such as adding more resources or allowing further card interactions.

Prioritize acquiring high-value victory cards

  1. Invest in victory cards, particularly Province cards, as they contribute heavily to your final score.
  2. Consider the optimal timing for purchasing victory cards to ensure an efficient balance between acquiring more resources and gaining victory points.

Beware of card density

  1. Avoid acquiring too many action or treasure cards, as it may lead to an unbalanced deck with limited variety and potential for synergy.
  2. Find the sweet spot between having enough resource-generating cards and action cards to guarantee consistently effective turns.

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Card thinning and trashing

  1. Utilize cards with trashing abilities to remove weaker cards from your deck, streamlining it for more efficient and powerful turns.
  2. Consider obtaining cards that allow you to replace weaker cards with more advantageous ones, further improving your deck’s effectiveness.

Fine-tuning your deck-building techniques requires practice, adaptability, and skilled decision-making. By implementing these strategies, you will be well-equipped to construct a powerful and streamlined deck that propels you towards victory in Dominion!

Making Magic Happen: Utilizing Optimal Card Combinations for Victory

Optimal card combinations can turn the tide in Dominion (Second Edition), enhancing your chances of success. Here are some key strategies to employ when seeking those game-changing card synergies:

Identify powerful combo cards

  1. Look for action cards that have inherent synergies within their abilities.
  2. Search for cards that work well together, such as those that allow you to chain actions or multiply resources.

Construct an engine deck

  1. Build a deck focused on generating a consistent influx of resources and actions.
  2. Combine action cards that allow you to draw additional cards and play more actions in a single turn.

Exploit attack card combinations

  1. Combine attack cards with cards that allow you to draw additional cards. This increases the likelihood of drawing attack cards consecutively and putting additional pressure on opponents.
  2. Pair attack cards with cards that offer defenses, such as cards that allow you to discard or trash cards from your hand.

Utilize powerful card-trashers

  1. Consider cards that allow you to remove weaker cards from your deck, increasing the chances of drawing more desirable cards.
  2. Combine trashers with cards that provide you with benefits when certain cards are trashed, amplifying the advantageous effects of strategic card trashing.

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Diversify your deck

  1. Acquire a variety of card types to ensure flexibility and adaptability in different gameplay situations.
  2. Balance your deck by retaining a mixture of action cards, treasure cards, and victory point cards, capitalizing on their individual strengths when needed.

By keenly observing card synergy and effectively implementing optimal combinations, you will unlock the potential for game-changing moves and pave your way to dominion over your opponents.

The Art of Adaptation: Countering and Capitalizing on Opponents’ Strategies

Becoming a formidable Dominion (Second Edition) player involves the crucial skill of adapting to your opponents’ strategies. Here are some key strategies to consider when analyzing and responding to your opponents’ moves:

Observe and interpret your opponents’ card acquisitions

  1. Pay attention to the types of cards your opponents are purchasing and adding to their decks.
  2. Interpret the choices they make to anticipate their preferred strategies and adjust your own accordingly.

React with cards that counter your opponents’ tactics

  1. Identify key weaknesses in your opponents’ strategies and acquire specific cards that counter their strengths.
  2. Consider action cards that obstruct card drawing or provide defense against attacks commonly used by your opponents.

Seize opportunities arising from opponents’ actions

  1. Look for chances to exploit cards or strategies your opponents may have overlooked.
  2. Incorporate cards into your deck that can benefit from or react to your opponents’ actions.

Adjust your purchasing decisions based on your opponents’ game progress

  1. Monitor the scores and victory point advantages of your opponents.
  2. Modify your approach by strategizing tactical card purchases and focusing on victory point accumulation if necessary.

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Predict your opponents’ next moves

  1. Anticipate your opponents’ imminent actions and consider potential consequences.
  2. Think several moves ahead to formulate tactics that counter or outpace your opponents’ strategies.

Mastery of the art of adaptation and understanding your opponents’ playstyles is the key to gaining an edge in Dominion. By keenly assessing their choices and strategically adjusting your own gameplay, you’ll position yourself for triumph over even the most challenging opponents.

Mastering Resource Management: Efficiently Utilizing Your Assets for Victory

Managing resources efficiently is a crucial component of success in Dominion (Second Edition). Here are some key strategies to optimize your resource utilization:

Focus on Treasure Cards

  1. Prioritize acquiring treasure cards early in the game to generate a steady flow of resources.
  2. Consider purchasing higher-value treasure cards, such as Gold, to increase your purchasing power and accelerate your progress.

Strategically Invest in Action Cards

  1. Select action cards that provide you with additional actions, allowing you to further utilize your available resources.
  2. Acquire action cards that generate extra purchases or allow you to draw additional cards, maximizing your resource potential.

Balance Actions and Resources

  1. Achieve a harmonious equilibrium between acquiring action cards and generating resources to ensure maximum efficiency.
  2. Strive for a deck that offers a balanced blend of action cards and treasure cards for strategic flexibility.

Utilize Resource-Generation Abilities

  1. Exploit cards with special abilities that allow you to generate additional resources or draw extra cards.
  2. Make intelligent card choices that produce ongoing benefits to continuously bolster your resource reserves.

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Adapt to Changing Resource Needs

  1. Analyze the shifting dynamics of the game and adjust your resource allocation accordingly.
  2. Modify your purchasing decisions based on changing circumstances and the availability of more favorable cards.

By applying efficient resource management techniques, you will optimize your gameplay potential and pave the way to dominance in Dominion.

Thinking Ahead: The Importance of Long-Term Planning and Scoring

In Dominion (Second Edition), long-term planning and scoring play a critical role in achieving victory. Here are key strategies to consider when mapping your path to success:

Balance Card Acquisitions

  1. Maintain a balance between acquiring powerful action cards and accumulating victory point cards.
  2. Strategize how many victory point cards to include in your deck without compromising its effectiveness too early in the game.

Consider Potential Scoring Opportunities

  1. Assess the Kingdom card selection and identify victory point avenues available.
  2. Focus on specific card combinations or card interactions that generate substantial victory points.

Calculate the Optimal Timing for Estate Acquisition

  1. Bide your time when purchasing Estate cards, considering their lower value in comparison to higher-tier victory point cards.
  2. Judge when it’s appropriate to prioritize gaining additional victory cards based on their availability and their potential impact on final scoring.

Adapt Your Scoring Strategy

  1. Analyze opponents’ deck composition and their scoring potential to adjust and fortify your own scoring strategy.
  2. React to opponents’ moves by refocusing your scoring efforts, leveraging missed opportunities, or neutralizing threats.

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Hedge Your Bets

  1. Act conservatively whenever necessary, considering multiple long-term strategies or contingency plans for scoring dominance.
  2. Anticipate end-game scenarios and plan your deck construction to make the most of victory point acquisition opportunities.

By implementing careful long-term planning and maintaining a vigilant eye on scoring opportunities, you’ll pave the way to secure victory in Dominion.

Conclusion: Mastering The Dominion (Second Edition)

Congratulations on becoming well-versed in the strategies and rules of Dominion (Second Edition)! By exploring the key elements of deck building, optimal card combinations, resource management, adapting to opponents’ strategies, and long-term planning, you now possess the knowledge and skills to dominate the game.

Remember that Dominion offers a dynamic and ever-evolving experience. Embrace the freedom to experiment with different tactics, adapt to challenging opponents, and continually refine your strategies. With each game, you have the opportunity to sharpen your decision-making, explore new card synergies, and finely tune your deck to perfection.

Whether you’re navigating the complex world of deck construction or capitalizing on opponents’ weaknesses, Dominion invites you to immerse yourself in a world of strategic possibilities. Your understanding of the game’s mechanics, combined with well-crafted strategies, will pave the way to consistent success and unforgettable gameplay.

Now, it’s time to gather your cards, gather your friends, and embark on your dominion quest. May your strategies lead you to victories, your cunning outwit your opponents, and your deck-building prowess be unmatched. The realm of Dominion eagerly awaits your conquest!

Want to know what we think of Dominion (Second Edition)? Read our detailed review of Dominion (Second Edition) here

Jamie in his proper element: With all of his board games
Jamie Hopkins

With years of dice-rolling, card-flipping, and strategic planning under my belt, I've transformed my passion into expertise. I thrive on dissecting the mechanics and social dynamics of board games, sharing insights from countless game nights with friends. I dive deep into gameplay mechanics, while emphasizing the social joys of gaming. While I appreciate themes and visuals, it's the strategy and camaraderie that truly capture my heart.