Game Night:  Dominion:  Renaissance Expansion

Dominion is one of the most replayable games I have ever played.  It is fun to mix all of the sets together for random combinations, but also fun to play the introductory or “proscribed” sets of ten that are listed in the rulebooks.

It has been a long time since we played Dominion with the physical cards instead of online.  There are some differences that make the live game more appealing.  Also, we have had two unopened expansions on the shelf for a long time and finally opened up Renaissance.  There were three new mechanics in the game that added some interesting tactics.

Game Night: Dominion: Renaissance Expansion!

Dominion continues to be a fun game to play again and again!

I have mentioned in previous posts why Dominion has so much replayability.  Partly that is because even when they add new cards that are similar to old ones, there is enough difference that most of the cards remain relevant.  In total, there are over 20 QUADRILLION combinations of starting cards, so games may seem similar, but you can easily randomly generate new combinations every time.

Another bonus is that most of the expansions add a new mechanic, and so far none of them seem to wreck the game.  Some game expansions just give you more cards or different scenarios.  These expansions give you new options for tactics.

What is different about the Renaissance expansion?

Three new mechanics appear in Dominion Renaissance:

  1. One of them is the concept of villagers, which are tokens that you gather on a mat and can exchange at any time for additional action(s) as you need them.  It is really handy for card sets that are low on actions, or for situations where the right card just doesn’t come up in the deck when you need it!  In effect, they end up either not being used, or being used a lot and speeding up the game.

  2. The second new mechanic is the introduction of project cards.  These are horizontal cards like “events” that appeared in Adventures and “ways” that appeared in Menagerie.  “Projects” are cards that appear with the supply stacks, but there is just one or two of them.  They have a cost and can be purchased during a buy phase.  When you buy them, you put your token on that card and then you have that ability for the rest of the game.  Some of them are powerful and some are situational.

  3. The third mechanic is the addition of “artifacts”.  These are also horizontal cards.  There is only one of each artifact and there are conditions to “earn” them.  Each one is tied to one of the Renaissance supply cards.  For example when you purchase a +2 coin Flag Bearer card, or when you trash it, you take the Flag Artifact.  Whoever has it at the beginning of their turn gets to draw an extra card.

There are also “coffers” in this set, but those were introduced in the Guilds expansion.  They let you earn coins that can be saved to spend on future buy phases.

Were there any cards that were just really useful or fun to play?

Yes!  Mountain Village, with +2 Actions was versatile and a good deal at a cost of 4.  Each time you play it, you can either take a card from your discard pile, or draw an extra card if there’s nothing in the discard.  

If you like trimming your deck, then Priest is a great card, because in addition to +2 coins for your buy phase, you (must) trash a card and then it gives you a bonus +2 coins for each additional card trashed that turn (by other means).  

Finally, I found the Seer to be really useful and it could be super powerful depending on your deck build.  It gives you +1 Card and +1 Action to start, then you get to look at the top 3 cards and put any that cost between 2 and 4 into your hand, then the rest back on the draw pile in any order.  If you built a deck with just action cards that were 2-4 cost and threw in some silver and special treasures (there are many in that cost range), you could have a powerful card in the Seer that essentially gives you +1 Action and +4 cards every time!

Cally’s winning count on the second game with 63 points.

How did the matches end up?

I managed to scrape by with narrow wins in the first and third game.  Cally trounced me in the second round.  She usually insists on replaying a card set if it doesn’t go well for her, and on this night, she easily mastered the first recommended set and destroyed my tactics.

All around I think it’s a great expansion with a good mix of action cards, draw cards, treasures, new featured tactics, and even a couple of new duration cards.  It’s worth the purchase!

Share your thoughts in the comments below!

  1. What do you think of Dominion?
  2. Do you prefer online or the live version?
  3. Have you played the Renaissance expansion, and what did you think of it?
  4. What cards would you want from this expansion in any set of 10 supply cards?

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