Well, I’m breaking chronological order a bit to run a tiny bit rogue, as I wasn’t really ready to review Dominion: Alchemy since I haven’t actually played it all that much. Secret’s out.
Moving on. Dominion: Prosperity is one of the more well-known expansions for Dominion, as it both comes in the Dominion: Big Box (containing Base Dominion and Alchemy as well) and is generally highly-recommended. But where Intrigue is known for cards with choices and dual actions and Seaside is known for Duration cards, Prosperity has one major theme to its expansion: money. (Also, Victory Point tokens!) So much money, in fact, that Golds and Provinces seem almost beneath you in favor of Platinums and the mysterious Colony cards. But can you earn enough money to guarantee your dominion prosperity forever?
Mostly because it adds some new Base Cards — the 9-cost Platinum (worth 5), and the 11-cost Colony (worth 10 Victory Points):
I’m going to use the Base Cards ones because I think that the Colony in that set is absolutely beautiful, but the set itself comes with the plainer-looking ones. To each their own.
Some notes about Platinum and Colony:
- Platinum and Colony are required if you’re only playing with Prosperity cards. This means you must have both Platinum and Colony in play.
- If you play with Platinum, you must play with Colony, and vice-versa. I mean, you’re welcome to play however you want, but these are the rules as written. Don’t blame me if your game gets weird if you play without Platinum.
- If you are mixing sets, your odds of playing with Platinum and Colony should be proportional to the amount of Prosperity cards you’re playing with. That sounds like gibberish, so lemme break it down. If you’re not using only Prosperity cards, you should have X / 10 Prosperity cards that you are using in your Kingdom. Shuffle the randomizer cards for that set (Randominion does this for you, just FYI), and flip the top one. If it’s a Prosperity card, use Platinum and Colony. If it’s not, don’t. Pretty straightforward, I think?
Anyways, give each player 3 Estates and 7 Copper, and set up the base cards, like so:
As always, remove certain amounts of cards, depending on your number of players:
- For 2 players:
- Use 8 Estate, Duchy, Province, Colony, and any other Victory (green) cards.
- Use 10 Curse cards.
- For 3 players:
- Use all 12 Estate, Duchy, Province, Colony, and any other Victory (green) cards.
- Use 20 Curse cards.
- For 4 Players:
- Use 12 Estate, Duchy, Province, Colony, and any other Victory (green) cards.
- Use all 30 Curse cards.
Next use the Randomizer cards (with an even more forceful recommendation for Randominion or another app if you’re playing with more than one set, since I’ve covered four sets at this point) to pick 10 Kingdom card sets for the Supply:
Finally, take the Victory Point tokens and set them somewhere where all players can reach them. Once your setup looks like this, you’re ready to begin:
I’ve explained the general workings of a deckbuilder in other reviews, but as a quick recap that is fairly similar to my other explanations of this in previous reviews:
Your turn has two phases: the Action Phase and the Buy Phase. During the Action Phase, you can play one Action card. During the Buy Phase, you can reveal and play Treasure Cards and then buy one card from the Supply (the Kingdom cards + Treasure cards + Victory cards + Curses, if you want), provided you can pay its cost (bottom-left number). As a rule change for Prosperity, you may play as many Treasures as you want during the Buy Phase, but you must play all your Treasures before buying any cards. This is due to some Treasure cards in Prosperity that have effects on them when played during the Buy Phase.All cards have a title (top), a cost (bottom-left), and their type or types (bottom-center), but their effects are very different. Generally, along with some optional explanatory text, Action cards will have some effects that could enhance the rest of your turn:
- +X Card[s]: Draw X extra cards into your hand.
- +X Action[s]: You may play X additional Action cards during the current Action Phase.
- +X Buy[s]: You may buy X additional cards during your Buy Phase, provided you have the money to pay for all the cards you buy.
- +X Coin[s]: You have X additional money to spend during your Buy Phase.
- +X VP[s]: Take X Victory Point tokens and add them to your playing area. These will be worth additional points at the end of the game.
As you might guess, being able to play more Action cards can be pretty useful, especially if you have more than one Action card in your hand. If you have no +Action cards, you only get to play one Action card before your Action Phase ends. Action cards that lack a +Action are generally referred to as terminal Actions, and you generally will see a fair number of those. Actions that provide +1 Action, +1 Card (and potentially other effects) are generally referred to as Cantrips, in case that interests you. Note that a +2 Action, +1 Card is not considered a Cantrip, generally.
After the Action Phase comes your Buy Phase, in which you play Treasure cards to accumulate money, and then spend that money on cards from the Supply. Generally, Treasure cards can be Copper (value 1), Silver (value 2), Gold (value 3) or Platinum (value 5), but there are 8 additional Treasures in Prosperity, so there will be a variety in most games. You should also count +Coins you got during the Action Phase. As usual, unless you got +Buys in the Action Phase, you can only buy one card.
And that’s the end of your turn! Well, almost. You still have your Clean-Up Phase. As mentioned previously, discard everything in front of you from play and discard any cards left in your hand. If your Duration card has been completely spent (for instance, you’ve played two turns with Wharf in play), then you can discard that. Then, the next player takes their turn and so on / so forth until the game ends.
There are two possible ways to end Dominion:
- The Province or Colony pile is exhausted (there are no more Province cards or no more Colony cards).
- Any three piles in the Supply are exhausted.
Note that the second case includes Coppers, Silvers, Golds, Platinums, Curses, Duchies, and Estates, in addition to the normal Kingdom cards.
And that’s about it! Don’t forget to count your Victory Point tokens that you’ve earned, and Player with the most points wins!
Player Count Differences
As I’ve said a few times, 2 > 3 > 4 for me, though I’ll play Dominion at pretty much any player count.
Generally, the major difference in this specific set is that Mountebank (+2 money, each other player may discard a Curse. If they don’t, they gain a Curse and a Copper) is actually made worse by increasing a player count, since you get rid of the Curse that’s protecting you from additional Curses, so you end up potentially taking a lot of Curses if every other player is playing Mountebank.
One of the other attacks, Goons, isn’t affected too much, since it forces players to discard down to three cards in hand, meaning that you can really only be hit by that card once.
Outside of those two things, generally, game just takes a bit longer with more players and piles can be depleted more quickly since there are more people vying for the same number of Kingdom Cards (with the exception of the increased number of Victory cards between a 2- and 3-player game).
Not an exhaustive list of strategies, just some emergent ones I’ve seen from games of Prosperity I’ve played, as well as some mixes with other, previous sets I’ve reviewed, if I can remember any good ones.
- If you have to choose between Victory Cards and Victory Point Tokens, ALWAYS go for the tokens. Remember, tokens aren’t cards in your deck, so having them is always better than having the equivalent Victory Card in your deck, since it’s effectively dead weight. This might change slightly if the Victory Cards have effects, but … probably not.
- King’s Court is generally a game-changer. Like Base Dominion’s Chapel, it is a card that can focus the game around it if it’s present in your Kingdom. That said, it’s very different from Chapel. It lets you play any Action Card in your hand three times. This can let you set up disturbing combos, especially if you King’s Court another King’s Court, letting you perform that King’s Court action three times with three separate cards. When combined with Intrigue‘s Bridge it can enable a mega-turn that can let you buy every Province (or many Colonies) in one fell swoop; combined with Goons and Intrigue‘s Mascarade, on the other hand, it can literally render your opponent incapable of playing. It’s a very interesting card, and I’d recommend trying it a few times to see what cool combos you can set up with it.
- Bishoping your Estates might be a good idea, but be careful. Getting to trade an Estate in for two Victory Point tokens seems like a really good deal, but you are also letting your opponents trash cards from their hands, so it might not always be prudent to play it all the time. Bishoping a Duchy will also let you break even, so that might also be worth it? Your call. It can be really helpful if your opponent doesn’t want to trash their cards, though.
- Mountebank can just wreck games if bought early enough. If you open 5-2 (you draw 5 Copper on your first turn) and buy Mountebank, I generally just recommend that every other player resign. It means the game is going to be long, curse-filled, and generally pretty terrible for almost everyone involved, unless you’re running a trashing-heavy deck (and we’re not even to my Dark Ages review, yet). It’s generally a pretty tough attack.
- Royal Seal can be a pretty useful card. Being able to top-deck the card you just bought generally can be useful, if you want to immediately play it next turn, at least.
- Talisman is pretty fun in certain games as well. Since you gain an extra copy of every non-Victory card that costs less than 4 that you buy, it’s great for cheap cards that have useful effects (or even better in games where you can lower the cost of other cards). Furthermore, if you’re trying to drain piles to end the game more quickly, Talisman is REALLY helpful there. Just make sure you’re not using it and gaining junk into your deck.
- Goons. Goons is a particularly interesting card since you both ruin your opponent’s hand (which you can further exploit with the Masquerade Pin I mentioned in my Intrigue review) AND you get a Victory Point token every time you buy a card. You may actually want to try to get a ton of +Buys and just buy a lot of Copper or Curses, even though you’ll junk up your deck, since they cost nothing and give you +1 VP. The only thing that would make it better is if there were a way to trash a card rather than gaining it…
Pros, Mehs, and Cons
- I love King’s Court. Generally, I love action-chaining in every game I play and I love megaturns, and King’s Court does a great job of enabling both. It’s very sad to draw them dead (as in you draw it in a hand with 0 Actions), but when you get an awesome turn with it it’s just amazing. Highly recommend.
- The extra progression from Province to Colony and Gold to Platinum feels well-balanced for the priciness of cards in this set. It lacks any cards costing 2, so it’s actually the priciest Dominion expansion in terms of per-card average cost, so having a card that can give you 5 when played is actually pretty helpful. That said, it doesn’t feel forced or clunky; it just generally works.
- Makes Treasure cards much more interesting. I think with the exception of Platinum, each of the other eight Treasures introduced has a different effect when played, which is pretty cool! This set is completely themed around money, and it shows.
- Most of the cards are pretty powerful. This is to be expected, since the cards are also generally more expensive. That said, the cards themselves feel balanced against other cards of a similar price, although the expansion feels more powerful than others (up with Alchemy and Empires, in my opinion).
- Colony games tend to be longer. Just an FYI, it can take a bit longer with Colony and Platinum in play, since they cost more, especially with cards that attack opponents by junking up their deck so they can’t buy high-cost cards. Forewarned is forearmed, as this might be a Con for some people.
- Maybe a tiny bit of power creep? Not a huge deal, but like I said, the cards tend to be more powerful since they’re more expensive, which means that Prosperity tends to be a more powerful than other expansions. Just a heads-up.
- Other players having powerful megaturns can be a real bummer when / if yours doesn’t work out. It’s just a minor bummer to see someone say “oh yeah with 55 money and 5 buys I’ll buy 5 Colonies” and you’re like “I have 3 money and buy a Silver”. Some of these cards enable ridiculous megaturns, so you might do well to leave those out if you’re playing Dominion with someone for the first time and want to play more than one game of Dominion with them, ever.
Overall: 9 / 10
Overall, I think Prosperity adds so much to Dominion. The addition of Colony and Platinum as the upper-bound of Victory Points(at least, until Empires…) and Treasures really gives the game some extra legs if you’d like to go a bit deeper in with Dominion strategy, though it can extend it a bit longer than you might like, depending on your preferences. While I wouldn’t say it’s essential in the same way that Inns & Cathedrals is essential to Carcassonne (since I play non-Prosperity games frequently), I think it’s probably one of the best expansions currently available for Dominion. I also love the high-cost cards in this set, as they change the game in interesting ways and enable really cool combos if done well (especially King’s Court). I’d call this a great Dominion expansion, and if you’re looking for one to pick up, you cannot go wrong with this one.
Unless you hate money.