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A Birthday Dominion Tournament

Submitted by Joel on Thu, 05/23/2024 - 08:46

Bethany and I share a love for board games, and one game that has particularly captured her heart is Dominion. For her birthday this year, I wanted to do something special that combined her love for the game with a fun, competitive twist. Thus, the idea of a Dominion tournament was born. We invited friends over and embarked on a journey through a series of custom-designed kingdoms, each one more challenging and intriguing than the last. Here’s how I set it all up, and how you can replicate this memorable event. 

These Dominion cards range from the Base Set to Plunder (and promos) and can use first or second edition cards. Basically, we have all the cards, so I pretty much use cards from everywhere.

I acted as Game Master, so we had Bethany and 3 friends play. While this isn't absolutely necessary, having a Game Master does help with catching mistakes like missed Durations or similar.

Expect an hour per round with extra time for the epic final round! Around 10-12 hours total (depending on player experience)!

Before the event, I explained the rules to everyone. Since we are usually quite casual, I had to remind them that this is a tournament, so we have to be a bit more rigid on the rules and play. Here is what I explained to them:

Tournament Rules and Structure

  1. Have Fun, but Stay Meticulous

    • Enjoy the games, but be precise in your actions. Announce every card you play, reveal, or gain.
    • Example: "I play three coppers and buy a silver," or "I play a Witch. (Each other player) I gain a curse."
  2. Playing Decisively

    • To ensure we get through all ten games, plan your turns in advance while others are playing. Quick decision-making is key!
  3. Play Order

    • Determined by the previous round's results. The winner goes last, and the loser goes first, with others in between. Players change seats as needed.
  4. Scoring System

    • The winner of each round earns 4 points, second place receives 2 points, third place gets 1 point, and the last place gets 0 points.
    • The final round is worth double points to keep things exciting!
  5. Game Interaction and Questions

    • No interaction rules will be provided before a game, but you can ask about interactions during the game by saying "JUDGE" and raising your hand. Questions must be public, but can be cryptic.
    • Each player gets one decision take-back per round, to be used before any real game implications.
  6. Correcting Mistakes

    • Mistakes will be corrected as best as possible. Everyone is responsible for watching for errors and pointing them out. If you see something, say something.
  7. Shuffling

    • At the beginning of the round, set your starting ten cards in ANY order (choose the 5 cards in your starting hand and put the remaining cards in any order). When shuffling, give a quick mix and then pile shuffle into three or more piles to ensure a good shuffle.
  8. Slow Play

    • Slow play will be met with a warning. In extreme cases, penalties, including giving curses, may be imposed.

The Kingdoms

Only the Game Master sees each Kingdom before setup (or ensure that EVERYONE can see each kingdom, to make it fair). Platinum + Colonies are used in every kingdom. Cards marked (*) will also be used in the next kingdom, so don't put them away when the round is over. The Final Round uses Black Market and the deck is made of one of each of the cards from the previous 9 kingdoms, so set one aside when finished with the round.

Round 1: Easiest - Sharing is Caring

Bridge (Intrigue), *Masquerade (Intrigue), Nobles (Intrigue), Replace (Intrigue), Smugglers (Seaside), Watchtower (Prosperity), Weaver (Hinterlands), Wheelwright (Hinterlands), Jester (Cornucopia), Squire (Dark Ages)

Round 2: A Dash of Domination

Chapel (Base), *Thief (Base), Masquerade (Intrigue), Festival (Base), Village (Base), Smithy (Base), Prince (Promo), Herald (Guilds), Wharf (Seaside), Hireling (Adventures) + Dominate (Event)

Round 3: Hi Ho Silver!

Masterpiece (Guilds), Thief (Base), Storyteller (Adventures), Feodum (Dark Ages), Trader (Hinterlands), *Hamlet (Cornucopia), Wishing Well (Intrigue), Trading Post (Intrigue), Border Village (Hinterlands), Margrave (Hinterlands) + Raid (Event), Conquest (Event)

Round 4: The Road Less Traveled

Ill Gotten Gains (Hinterlands), Taxman (Guilds), *Coin of the Realm (Adventures), Ironworks (Intrigue), Mill (Intrigue), Stockpile (Menagerie), Bank (Prosperity), Harem (Intrigue), Magnate (Prosperity) + Keep (Land), Museum (Land)

Round 5: Infested Inheritance

Rats (Inherited Trait) (Dark Ages), Coin of the Realm (Adventures), Shaman (Plunder), Lurker (Intrigue), Hunting Grounds (Dark Ages), Fortress (Dark Ages), Catacombs (Dark Ages), Nomad Camp (Hinterlands), Trail (Hinterlands), *Urchin/Mercenary (Dark Ages) + Travelling Fair (Event), Shelters

Round 6: Level Up!

Upgrade (Intrigue), Page (Adventures), Tournament (Cornucopia), Spy (Base), Urchin/Mercenary (Dark Ages), Captain (Promo), Diplomat (Intrigue), *Crown (Empires), Experiment (Renaissance), Animal Fair (Menagerie) + Way of the Monkey, Alliance (Event)

Round 7: Royal Capitalists

Charm (Empires), Crown (Empires), City Quarter (Empires), Overlord (Empires), Royal Blacksmith (Empires), Count (Dark Ages), *Quarry (Prosperity), Village Green (Menagerie), Herbalist (Alchemy), Marquis (Allies) + Capitalism (Proj), Launch (Event)

Round 8: Royal Inheritance

Grand Market (Prosperity), Goons (Prosperity), Bridge Troll (Adventures), Quarry (Prosperity), Baron (Intrigue), *King's Court (Prosperity), Fishing Village (Seaside), Conspirator (Intrigue), Gladiator/Fortune (Empires), Wild Hunt (Empires) + Inheritance (Event), Maelstrom (Event)

Round 9: The Rise and Fall

Villa (Empires), Wine Merchant (Adventures), Merchant Guild (Guild), King's Court (Prosperity), Black Cat (Menagerie), Patron (Renaissance), Enchantress (Empires), Rabble (Prosperity), Guard Dog (Hinterlands), Monastery (Nocturne) + Tax (Event), Triumph (Event)

Final Round: Everything, Everywhere, All at Once

Black Market (Promo), Tactician (Seaside), Baker (Guild), Port (Adventures), Throne Room (Base), Haggler (Hinterlands), Peddler (Prosperity), Jewelled Egg (Plunder), Lighthouse (Seaside), Bounty Hunter (Menagerie) + Dominate (Event), Donate (Event)
 - Extra rules for the final round: NO THREE PILE and the game ends when BOTH Colonies and Provinces are depleted. Player who ends the game gets +20VP! For cards that have extra piles, such as Urchin and Page, the bonus piles are also included and when used, they return to the Black Market deck. Setup rules in the Black Market deck are ignored (such as Shaman). 

What do you think of our idea for a Dominion tournament? Perhaps it's something you might consider doing for your next game night. Happy gaming!