What Are Some Great Custom Dominion Supply Card Combinations?
January 28, 2010 5:32 PM   Subscribe

What are some of the best custom decks you've used in Dominion, and why? Feel free to suggest combos from the original as well as the two expansions.

My friends and I love Dominion. So much so that I've gone and bought both expansions (Intrigue and Seaside) and even invested in the two special promo cards (Black Market & Envoy).

We've mostly been playing with the suggested sets in the rule books and they've been great, but I'm wondering if there's some great custom supply card combos outside of these that others have tried and found worked really well in play.

I've looked at Boardgamegeek, and found a few decent set suggestions there, but as a dedicated MeFite, I'm also curious what my fellow MeFite Dominion players have tried.

So please, give me your best Dominion supply card combos, and let me know why you think they worked out so well.
posted by Effigy2000 to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (12 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: This is not quite a direct answer, but: I basically always randomize. Sure it's fun to feel out the best strategies in the suggested sets, but when you randomize across all of the expansions you get something new and surprising every time. The ability to stumble through the *illions of possible configurations is probably the coolest thing about the game.
posted by grobstein at 5:38 PM on January 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: grobstein, I had thought about simply randomizing, but I worry about balance. Has randomizing ever led to a game breaking situation for you?
posted by Effigy2000 at 5:40 PM on January 28, 2010

Playing with a random set of cards, you sometimes come up with a game that gets real slow (no extra actions, or lots of curses or whatever), but that's not very often. Plus you always have the ability to look at the set of cards and reject them. Get rid of a few, replace them with another few...

But it's nice having different pacing and really different games all the time. That's my favorite part about Dominion; playing like that there's always interesting decisions to make, that you haven't made before.
posted by aubilenon at 5:53 PM on January 28, 2010

I tend to randomize, but my wife likes to make sure that certain cards are available some (if not all) of the time. She likes to make sure that there's at least one +1 action card, because she enjoys being able to chain actions together. I don't particularly care about that, but if it's her choice, that's what she usually does.

Like others have said, randomizing is my favorite way to play. Sure, you may get an imbalanced game here and there, but you'll get new situations that you haven't even considered before. [Almost] every card has a use, depending on what other cards are around it.
posted by SNWidget at 5:56 PM on January 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: We've had success with a kind of card draft - start by playing a game with random sets. After that first game, each player gets to choose two cards to get swapped out, replaced with other cards (either chosen by the player or chosen randomly). This allows for player strategies that evolve gradually rather than radically.

Or, as another alternative, swap out all cards that nobody purchased in the game. Or swap out all cards that were purchased in the game.
posted by Paragon at 6:44 PM on January 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

I have both expansion packs (Intrigue and Seaside). We always randomly deal a full 10 cards from Dominion, then each person (we usually play 3 or 4 players) gets to remove a card and replace it with a random draw from one of the expansion packs. So far, we've just done 2-way combo's between the expansion packs, mostly because we don't want to have to deal with putting three sets of cards away at the end of the game.

We've also done the deal-and-replace thing with just the Dominion set. It works well because each player gets to remove cards they don't like to play with, but still makes for lots of interesting games.
posted by rsclark at 6:50 PM on January 28, 2010

What do you mean by game breaking? It seems hard to have an unfair game in Dominion, since there are multiples of each card. With as many of each card as there is, everyone should have a roughly equal chance to acquire the "best" cards. If there were some combo that was super duper awesome, then it is each player's job to figure that out as soon as the cards are randomly chosen. If one player manages to get a majority of those cards before the other players realize the power of them, then that player has won the game by out smarting his or her opponents, which to me is exactly what should happen. Even if you thought all 10 cards are useless, you could still win the game by optimizing your purchase of currency and VP's.
posted by mrgoldenbrown at 9:42 PM on January 28, 2010

The weirdest game of Dominion I ever played involved having two curse cards and no defense. The winner of the game had -4 points. But you know what? It was incredibly fun! I tend to play with the cards that have the ugliest or most remarkable art, but otherwise, randomization is the way to go. I've never run into a combination that's breakable, as long as you're playing with people who have a good attitude and a pinch of imagination.
posted by Mizu at 11:56 PM on January 28, 2010

Mizu: the only time I see a semi-breakable solution involves no curse cards, the chapel, and the blacksmith. The lean, mean deck solution (especially without cards such as the thief or other cards that can mess up the chapeller's progression) is almost impossible to beat. There are very few defenses (at least ones that we can find).
posted by SNWidget at 6:04 AM on January 29, 2010

I agree with the random approach, followed with each player getting to veto one of the cards. The fun is in figuring out the best strategy based on the particular combination of 10 cards.
If you have all 77 cards, there are 1,969,900,000,000 possible 10-card sets you can play with!
posted by mach at 8:34 AM on January 29, 2010

I occasionally get a randomized game where it seems obvious from the beginning that there is a single dominant strategy, which arguably is a "broken" game. (My group believes that "Ramp to the Minion" is sometimes such a strategy.) But very, very rarely is this so clear cut as to take the fun out of the game -- and if it is, you can agree to reshuffle.
posted by grobstein at 11:27 AM on January 29, 2010

Response by poster: OK, I'll give a random supply a go.

Regardless, are there any specific combos people have found work well?
posted by Effigy2000 at 10:39 PM on January 29, 2010

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