Dominion the game teaching your kids how to strategize

Dominion the game, teaching your kids strategy



When I wrote my December update I mentioned we spent the end of Christmas break playing lots and lots of board games, in particular Dominion the game.  This is one of those games most gamers know and possibly own.

Dominion the game teaching your kids how to strategize

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What is Dominion the game? (I add the game in because this is how I hear it referred to all the time)


Dominion is a deck-building game.  Each turn you buy the cards you want to get in your deck, and that determines how you will play your hand.

Dominion deck building game common cards

Dominion has 3 types of cards: land, money, and action cards.

Dominion deck building game

Land- earns you points to win the game, in the standard game they are worth 1, 3, or 5 points.

Money- Money comes in the format of copper, silver, and gold, and you can buy these as well with your money, and are a good investment.

Action cards- Each game will have 10 different cards you are playing with.  The cards each have different things you can do with them, and each type of card will lead into different strategies.


Playing Dominion

Dominion starter hand

When your turn starts you have your hand of cards (unless nothing has changed this it will be 5 cards), and you have one action card to play, and one buy with any money you might have in your hand.

Action cards have several different possibilities, they can give you more actions (more cards to play), extra cards, temporary money for that turn, or cause other players to discard their cards.

Buy- your final action of the turn is to buy new cards with whatever money you have in your hand or you gained from cards you played.  You can use your buy to purchase any of the three card types and at different points in the game you will tend towards different things.

When you’re all done, you discard any cards you did not play into your discard pile and draw back up to 5 cards.  If you don’t have enough cards in your draw deck to get 5 cards, then you shuffle your discard pile and finish drawing up to 5 cards.


What’s a sample turn of Dominion the game look like?

I’m glad you asked.  This is a turn that’s part of the way through the game, so I’ve bought several cards that give me more capability.  The first turn generally you have 3 estates (point cards, you just put in the discard pile) and 4 copper, so you buy something that costs 4 in the action card pile until you have more choices.

Dominion the game card play

On this turn I had an action card that carried over to this turn (that’s why it’s sideways), and it gave me an extra action. Next I played a fishing village that gave me 2 extra actions this turn, as well as another copper, AND an action for next turn, then I played embargo which allowed me to get 2 more copper.  I used all of these playing the various cards, and then used the money to buy a 5 cost card.


When does Dominion the game end?

There are two different ways the game ends.  First if you run out of provinces that immediately ends the game.  Next, if 2 piles have been completely emptied that also ends the game.

Usually after a certain point you’ll notice people starting to buy provinces, that is a good signal the game is going to end in the next few rounds as the race to buy the most provinces is on (provinces are worth 6 points each at the end of the game).


Scoring Dominion the game


At the end of the game you add up all of your various cards with green borders (estates, duchies, provinces, and a few other cards in some of the expansions).  Next you subtract all of the curse cards from your total.  If there’s a tie, then you look to see who has the most money, but I’ve never seen that happen in actual game play.

Dominion deck building game strategy

Expanding your Dominion the game

storing Dominion

There are almost 10 expansions for Dominion, we currently have 5 of them (I think).  For Christmas I bought Jeff the great big Broken Token Dominion Organizer to keep the game all put together, and that has been a huge help.


8 responses to “Dominion the game, teaching your kids strategy”

  1. Phyllis at All Things Beautiful Avatar
    Phyllis at All Things Beautiful

    This sounds a lot like Magic The Gathering that my boys are addicted to,

    1. The cards probably work similarly, but from my understanding with Magic you come into the game with your deck already built, and then play. In this game you buy the cards to make your deck as you play.

      Oddly enough I never really got into Magic The Gathering, but I’ve had lots of friends that have.

  2. I really do wish we were a game playing family. We play the odd game of Cluedo, which is great fun. My children all adore Monopoly, which I abhor. And, apart from Gary we all like Scrabble, but that is it. Each time you post about a game I look yearningly, wondering if it is all too late. I guess neither Gary or myself were brought up playing games so to be honest we never really think about it. I enjoyed your post though, very much 🙂

    1. I’m with you on Monopoly, it’s tedious.

      Just buy one and give it a try, I wasn’t a gamer until I met and married Jeff, so you never know how things might change.

  3. I have no patience for strategy games, and I am afraid my children have inherited that trait…

    1. Someday I’ll find a strategy game you must have 🙂

  4. We just got Dominion for Christmas but have not played it yet. The rules seem a bit complicated, but I think we will get into it once we manage to master the basics 🙂

    1. They seem intimidating at first, but they’re really not that hard once you’ve actually played it.

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