Enough colons in the title? Last edition of this feature talked about Dominion, so this time we'll discuss its stand-alone expansion, Dominion: Intrigue.
The basic gameplay remains the same for Intrigue, so if you missed it, check out my first review. Assuming you've read that, let's proceed with the expansion.
The cards are all fully compatible. You can mix and match the sets as you please. I have yet to try mixing the two sets, but should you get tired of either one mixing them up would bring new life to the game as it opens up new combos.
Where Intrigue stands better than its predecessor is in the interactivity. As I mentioned before, the biggest problem with the first game is that most games end up running down the same route, and it ends when someone purchases the last province card. In Intrigue, I haven't had that happen yet. Mostly, we run out of other cards first because the strategies are so radically different.
In addition, the cards are much more interactive. This helps more than anything in getting non-gamers to play and enjoy the game. Some of the attack cards are downright nasty, and provide that "screw you" factor that some people enjoy. Since none of the attacks are targeted, you can still screw over your friends without anyone feeling picked on. While many hardcore fans saw this as a drawback, I see it as an advantage. This forces you to change your game and adopt new strategies instead of the same old boring Province decks.
One other area that stands out is the dual-purpose cards. In standard Dominion, money and other cards do nothing for you at the end of the game, while during the game your hand can become clogged with victory cards which do nothing until the end of the game. In Intrigue, several cards have uses beyond victory. For example, one card is both and action and victory card. Another is money and victory. Yet others enhance the value of other victory cards. These cards vary the strategy as they can be more valuable than the Province (though the Province is still worth the most victory points).
This is a stand-alone expansion, unlike Sesaside and the upcoming Alchemy, so you can start with this set. I would recommend doing so, as I have had much more fun with this version than the first, and that's saying something. It is easy to learn (I taught my 9-year-old nephew) but difficult to master. No two play-throughs will be the same as there's the same wide selection of cards as in the first game.
Next time I write this, I'll be looking at some other favorite games of mine. Stay tuned!
Image taken from www.amazon.com