There are a whopping fifteen Dominion expansions in total, as of 2023, providing plenty of ways to flesh out the original deck builder board game. Overall, they provide so many new cards, themes, and mechanics that you could play Dominion forever and never run out of new things to see… If you had unlimited cash, and could buy all the Dominion expansions, that is. If you’re working with a more finite budget, our guide will help you find the right Dominion expansion for you.
A deck building game themed around creating your own medieval kingdom, Dominion has attracted many fans since its release all the way back in 2008. It’s considered one of the best board games of all time by its numerous supporters, and its accessible mechanics also make it a great gateway game. We also think of Dominion as one of the best online board games, thanks to the fab web version.
|Expansion||Release Date||New Features||Theme|
|Intrigue||2009 (2e 2016)||Victory cards||Spies, Conspiracy|
|Seaside||2009 (2e 2022)||Duration cards||Nautical/Ocean|
|Prosperity||2010 (2022)||Platinum, Colonies||Making/Spending money|
|Hinterlands||2011 (2022)||Reaction cards||Travelling|
|Dark Ages||2012||Shelters, Ruins, Knights, Rats||The Dark Ages|
|Guilds||2013||Coffers, Cards you can overpay for||Guilds|
|Adventures||2015||Events, Reserve cards, Travellers||Fantasy/Questing|
|Empires||2016||Split piles, Gathering cards, Landmarks, Debt||Rome|
|Nocturne||2017||Night cards, Heirlooms, Boons, Hexes||Supernatural|
|Renaissance||2018||Villagers, Projects, Artifacts||Renaissance|
|Menagerie||2020||Horses, Ways, Exile||Animals|
|Allies||2022||Split piles, Allies||Diplomacy|
Originally released as a standalone box in 2009, Intrigue is an expansion that’s themed around sneaky, unscrupulous behavior, with cards like Secret Passage and Conspirator. This Dominion expansion ups the complexity quite a bit from the base game, for the first time adding cards that give you multiple options when you play them, as well as victory point cards that have another purpose besides increasing your score. Still, it’s child’s play compared to most of the later expansions.
Intrigue received a second edition in 2016 which replaced some of the cards, meaning the two versions are quite different. This pattern was then followed with other reprinted Dominion expansions as well.
This Dominion expansion is focused on seafaring, with nautical cards featuring pirates, pearl divers, and even a ghost ship and a sea witch. Its main innovation is Duration cards. These aren’t immediately discarded when you play them, and have an additional effect on a later turn.
Seaside is one of the most popular Dominion expansions, featuring powerful, thematic cards; the Duration mechanic was also a big hit, and it’s one that has stood the test of time.
An expansion featuring bubbling laboratories and the pursuit of the philosopher’s stone, Alchemy introduces the Potion mechanic, with lots of cards that require a new Potion resource, obtained through a new kind of Potion treasure card.
This is the tiniest Dominion expansion, only introducing 12 new sets of Kingdom cards. It’s also one that has quite a parasitic mechanic, with potions not making a comeback in the thirteen years since Alchemy released.
Money, money, money. Must be funny. It’s a rich man’s world in Dominion Prosperity, a Dominion expansion focused on getting lots of treasure and paying for some extremely expensive and powerful cards with it.
Prosperity introduces the expensive new treasure and victory cards: platinum and colony. Because of the high cost of the colonies, Prosperity games often go long, so it’s a good expansion to try out if you want to experience longer, higher powered games.
Dominion Guilds and Cornucopia
These Dominion expansions were once sold separately, but now they’re packaged in this larger combined box. Cornucopia has a Harvest Festival theme and contains valuable Prize cards that can’t be bought, only won through another card, Tournament. It also features lots of cards that care about having variety (differently named cards) in your deck.
Meanwhile, Guilds has a motley crew of tradespeople touting their crafts, including a butcher, a baker, and a candlestick maker. Coffers is a new mechanic in the set, essentially providing coins you can bank for a later turn. Guilds also has cards you can overpay for, providing additional effects if you spend extra coins on them.
This is an expansion based on distant lands and traveling to them on the open road, with crossroads, highways, souks, and spice merchants. Dominion Hinterlands features lots of Reaction cards, fun for people who like to reveal surprise tricks during other players’ turn. It also has cards that either give you a bonus, or let you play them as soon as you gain them, further shaking up the usual rhythm of a Dominion game.
Dominion Dark Ages
Until recently, Dark Ages was the largest Dominion expansion, adding 35 new Kingdom cards. It features a dark and gritty theme, and is mechanically centred heavily around trashing and upgrading your cards.
Dominion Dark Ages also gets funny with card numbers. For instance, the Rat cards come in a whopping pile of 20, while there are ten Knights, but each one is entirely unique. Then are a bunch of cards that, like Prizes in the Cornucopia set, remain outside the game until another card adds them to your deck. These are Spoils, Madman, Mercenary, and three different Shelter cards.
Dominion Dark Ages is a tricky set to get to grips with, thanks to its numerous game changing mechanics, and cards that require a high skill level. However, if you’re a major fan of Dominion and want a box that adds a lot of new content and interesting cards, this should be on your radar.
As its name suggests, this Dominion expansion is focused on going on an adventure. Though not every card is fantastical in nature, the pack borrows a handful of tropes from both fairytales and Dungeons and Dragons, giving it a distinctive feel.
In terms of gameplay, well the Duration mechanic from Seaside is back in a big way. There’s also a Reserve mechanic, with certain cards you can stick in your ‘Tavern’ instead of your hand, to use when the moment is right. It also adds two Travellers, cards that can be upgraded over the course of a game and can go from very weak to very strong.
The biggest new mechanic, however, is Events. These are effects that you can activate during your buy phase, but are not cards that go in your deck. You can include any number of them in a game, allowing for potentially limitless complexity… probably just a few makes for the best experience though.
We’re firmly into the more complex side of Dominion expansions now with Empires, which adds a bit of Roman flavor to the usual medieval theme, with chariot races and gladiators. In terms of new mechanics, the big ones are Debt and Landmarks.
The first, Debt, adds the option of taking cards you can’t actually afford, then paying for them over the next few turns, which adds a lot more decision-making to the early game. Landmarks are cards you don’t purchase, which sit there providing an alternative way for players to gain victory points – swaying their strategies.
Empires is probably the most complex Dominion expansion of all, despite its average size in terms of new cards. In fact, we’ve only scratched the surface of its additions – there are also Castles, a pile of different cards that get bigger and more expensive, with new effects, as they’re depleted. It also provides even more of the popular Events from the last expansion, and Gathering cards, which accumulate victory tokens that you pick up when you grab them. A strong expansion if you care about replayability, and aren’t daunted by the additional complexity.
Full of skeletons, leprechauns, and supernatural things that go bump in the night, Nocturne has quite a dark theme, which is why it adds Night cards, a special card type that you play in a new Night phase once you’re done Buying for the turn. There are also special Heirlooms (like a haunted mirror) you can have in place of your starting coppers, and special cards that dish out bountiful Boons or horrendous Hexes you can place on your opponents.
The flavor of Nocturne is appealing to many players, but the fiddliness is high – despite the designer’s plans for Nocturne to cater to less-experienced players. Hexes and Boons are also considered rather random and swingy by lots of Dominion fans – some are extremely impactful, whereas others are very minor.
As you might have guessed, Dominion Renaissance brings the Renaissance to Dominion, with cargo ships, patrons, and experiments. While its theme is more modern, Dominion Renaissance marks a return to simpler times – as it doesn’t add any new card types to the game, and is relatively sparing on new features.
This expansion does introduce two non-card type objects (commonly referred to as Landscapes) though, Artifacts, which provide a bonus when you obtain them until they’re snatched by another player, and Projects, permanent effects that anyone can buy. Coffers are also back, and there’s a new, related mechanic, Villagers. Whereas Coffers lets you bank coins for a future turn, Villagers lets you bank actions. If you’re after a less complex modern expansion, Dominion Renaissance is a good place to turn.
From sheepdogs to animal fairs, Menagerie adds all the animal fun you’re likely to find find in a medieval kingdom – though we much lament the absence of a king’s menagerie, filled with more exotic fare. There are Horses though, a special Action card which you can gain more of through other cards to fill your stables.
For the cooler beasts, you’ll have to rely on the expansion’s headline new mechanic, ‘Ways’, a Landscape which provides a new way to use Action cards. Instead of using an Action as instructed, you can instead activate the effect on a Way that’s in play. These are each based on animals, from the Way of the Butterfly, to the Way of the Mole.
Some of Dominion’s most popular mechanics, Events and Duration cards, also make another return in this expansion.
Pick your Allies! Will you tie yourselves to the league of bankers, some enigmatic cave dwellers, or perhaps a coven of witches? In Allies games, each player is given a single Ally Landscape, and must gain a resource called Favor to spend with that Ally to gain some kind of mechanical advantage.
Another addition is a series of split piles, piles of different-but-related cards like Wizards or Townsfolk. Like Empire’s Castles, they must be depleted in order, and get stronger as you move through the pile. Unlike Castles, many of Allies’ split piles include a way for players to ‘rotate’ them, moving the top, weakest cards to the bottom.
Though it has far fewer new mechanics than other Dominion expansions, one notable feature of Allies is how much choice many of the cards give you. There are lots of cards with quite complicated effects, or multiple effects that you can choose between – so we’d probably rank this an ‘intermediate’ expansion.
The most recent Dominion expansion initially grew out of Seaside’s second edition, and the leftover cards designed for it. Where Seaside is all things nautical and coastal, Plunder is specifically themed around piracy, swashing buckles, and terror on the high seas.
As well as some new Events (which, like Duration cards, have become so ubiquitous in Dominion expansions that it hardly seems worth mentioning them) Plunder adds a new card type, Loot. These are treasure cards with additional effects that all go in one big face-down pile, so you never know what treasure you’re likely to stumble across. The new Landscape, meanwhile is Traits, which go under a pile of Kingdom cards and modify the whole lot of them.
And for now, that’s your lot! For more expansions to the very best board games, check out our guide to Wingspan expansions, Disney Villainous expansions, and Carcassonne expansions. We’ve also got plenty of other great strategy board game suggestions you could try.