Thursday, July 16, 2009

Dominion expansion in my hands!

Dominion: Intrigue is now mine. I've sleeved the nearly 500 cards. I've read through most of the manual. Now I just need to play it.

This time around, the art seems a smidgen better than the first Dominion set (which seemed weak artistically to me). Franz Vohwinkel participated in some of the card art this time. It's always a delight to see such excellent artwork as his. Unfortunately, there's still some really bland, uninteresting art.

One thing that mattered to me was the kingdom card balance. Here are the stats on the new kingdom card types:

16 x Action
4 x Action - Attack
2 x Action - Victory
1 x Action - Reaction
1 x Treasure - Victory
1 x Victory

One cool thing I learned from the manual is that when you are attacked, you can play as many reaction cards as you have. So, if you had both, you could play a Moat and a Secret Chamber, gaining both benefits.

Now, I'll just mention a couple cards that caught my attention while I was browsing and sleeving (which reminds me of the movie Roxanne - the scene where Roxanne says to Charlie: "I thought you said 'earn more sessions by sleeving.' " What a classic scene.)

To begin with, we have this nasty masked fellow who calls himself the "Torturer."

The ability text reads:
Each other player chooses one: he discards 2 cards; or he gains a Curse card, putting it in his hand.
This is the Witch of the new set, in that he's the one guy who can give you Curse cards. You'll notice that, like the Witch, he costs 5 money to buy, but whereas the Witch allows you to draw 2 cards, this fiend allows you to draw 3 cards. The only other difference between this card and the Witch is that this guy allows attacked players to choose their poison - discard 2 cards, or pick up a Curse (which goes to the hand rather than the discard pile, so it doesn't sting quite as much as the Witch. Heck, the other player might have a Chapel or Remodel in his hand to deal with that Curse on his very next turn). So, this card seems to be similar to the Witch, but it's better for all parties involved.

Next, we join the blacksmiths in their sweet-looking metal shop.

The ability text reads:
Gain a card costing up to 4. If it is an...
Action card, +1 Action
Treasure card, +1 money
Victory card, +1 Card
Admittedly, the main thing that drew my attention to this card was the art. The only light illuminating the work of these sweaty brutes is the light of their molten swords. It's just a cool-looking picture.

Still, the ability is interesting. This 4-cost card, when played, gains you a free 4-cost card and a choice between three other benefits. This could come in handy as a wild card of sorts. Sometimes you need one ability, but all you have is the wrong ones. This card allows you to choose which benefit you need.

There are a batch of other interesting cards from what I've seen so far, but I'll let you discover them for yourself.

By the way, I must have been out of the loop because I only found out yesterday that Dominion won the 2009 Spiel des Jahres award. I'm glad the judges didn't find the game to be too complicated. I mean, really, the game deserved it. Nice work, Mr. Vaccarino!

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