OBJECTIVE OF DOMINION: The objective of Dominion is to have the most victory points in your deck at the end of the game.


MATERIALS: 500 cards including 

  • 130 Treasure cards
    • 60 Copper
    • 40 Silver
    • 30 Gold
  • 48 Victory cards
    • 24 Domains
    • 12 Duchies
    • 12 Provinces
  • 252 Kingdom cards
  • 30 Curse cards
  • 1 Trash card

TYPE OF GAME: Precursory deckbuilding card game

AUDIENCE: Confirmed card game players


In Dominion, you build a deck that represents your Dominion. It is made up of your resources, victory points and the many actions you can perform. Initially it is just a poor collection of properties and copper coins, but your ambition will ensure that by the end of the game it will be teeming with gold coins, provinces and the many citizens and buildings that make up your castle and kingdom.


Randomly choose a first player. Each player receives 7 Copper cards and 3 Domain cards. These 10 cards are shuffled and placed face down in the playing area in front of the player. These cards constitute the starting deck of the player. Each player draws 5 cards from their deck to form their starting hand.

In a Dominion game, you never use all the cards. In addition to the initial player decks, the other cards constitute the Supply and are all placed in the centre of the table. 

Copper, Silver and Gold cards are always available at each game. After dealing 7 copper cards to each player, place all remaining Copper cards in the centre of the table.

The Domain, Duchy and Province cards are available at each game. After dealing 3 Domain cards to each player, form a pile of 12 Domain cards, 12 Duchy cards and 12 Province cards (or only 8 of each in a 2 player game). The Curse cards are also available at each game. In a 2 player games, place 10 Curse cards in the Supply (20 for 3 players, 30 for 4 players).

In addition to the 7 piles of cards that are used in each game, choose 10 Kingdom cards at random from the box, and place 10 of each in face-up piles in the Supply (or 8 of each in a 2 player game).

Finally, place the Trash card in the Supply.

Example of 2 player setup


Each round consists of the following three phases

  • Action: you can play an Action card
  • Buy: you can buy a card
  • Clean-up: you have to discard the played cards and any cards remaining in your hand, and draw 5 new cards

When a player has finished these 3 steps, the next player in clockwise direction plays his turn.

Phase 1 – Action

During the Action phase you can play an Action card. Action cards are the Kingdom cards with the Action word at their bottom. Since you don’t have any Action cards in your initial deck of 10, you won’t have any Action cards to play during your first two turns. In general you can only play one Action card but it is possible to increase this number with the Action cards you play.

Take an Action card from your hand, put it face up in front of you, and follow the instructions on the card starting from the top. You can play an action card even if you’re not able to do everything that is described on it. However, you must do everything you can. Furthermore you must resolve an Action card completely before playing another one. All Action cards played remain in front of you until the Clean-up phase unless otherwise stated on the card.

Here is a list of the most frequent terms used on Action cards:

  • +X Actions: You can play x additional actions this round. You must complete all your actions before proceeding to the Buy phase of your turn. If a card gives you more than one additional action it is useful to count the number of remaining actions aloud.
  • +X Cards: immediately draw x cards from your deck. If there are not enough cards in your deck draw as many cards as you can, then shuffle your discard pile to make a new deck and draw the missing cards.
  • +X Coins: You have x extra coins during the Buy phase. You do not take extra Treasure cards for these coins.
  • +X Buys: You can purchase an additional card during the Buy phase of your turn.

The Action phase ends when you can no longer or choose not to play any more Action cards. Usually it is only possible to play Action cards during the Action Phase of your turn. However, Reaction cards are an exception to this rule as they can be used at other times.

Phase 2 Buy

During the Buy phase, you can buy one card from the Supply by paying its cost. Any card that is in the Supply can be purchased: Treasure, Victory, Kingdom and even Curse cards. It is not possible to buy cards from the Trash. You can only buy one card unless you have played one or more Action cards in the Action phase that increase the number of buys allowed.

You can play one or all of your Treasure cards in front of you and add their value to the coins obtained from the Action cards played this turn. You can then choose a card from the Supply if you have enough coins. The cost of a card is shown in the bottom-left corner. Treasure cards played remain in front of the player until the Clean-up phase.

Phase 3 Clean-up

Place all the cards that are in front of you and any cards that may remain in your hand in your discard pile. Draw 5 cards from your deck to form a new hand. If there are not enough cards in your deck, draw as many cards as possible and reform your deck by shuffling your discard pile, then draw to complete your hand.

Once your new 5-card hand has been dealt, the next player plays his turn.

The bottom player combined 3 Action cards in order to draw more cards and gain more coins, thus being able to buy a Gold Treasure card

Other keywords that can be seen on Action cards

  • Discard: Discard cards from your hand to your discard pile.
  • Trash: When you trash a card, it is placed face up in the Trash pile and not in your discard pile. Cards in the Trash pile are no longer part of the game and cannot be purchased.
  • Receive: Take the card you receive (usually from the Supply) and place it in your discard pile. You cannot use the effects of a card that has just been received.
  • Reveal: When you reveal a card, you show it to all your opponents and then put it back where it came from. If you need to reveal a card from your deck and you don’t have enough cards, shuffle your discard pile to reform your deck.
  • Set aside: when you set a card aside, place it face up on the table without following the card’s instructions. An action asking you to set aside cards always specifies what needs to be done with them.


The game ends at the end of a player’s turn, regardless of remaining players in the turn order, where one of the following situations occurs:

  1. the Province cards pile is empty
  2. 3 piles from Kingdom cards are empty

Players then count victory points on all the cards in their deck, including the cards in their hand and discard pile.


The top player has bought the last Province, and wins the game by 4 points (46-42)


Dominion has two starter boxes that you can combine to play with up to 6 players. Moreover, there are also many expansion boxes that add more cards and rules for hundreds of deckbuilding hours.

Nakoa Davis