I came up with this set of ten cards from the game Dominion. It is centered around the Tournament card from the expansion Cournucopia, and tries to allow the players to accumulate plenty of money. This makes it a game show of sorts — players compete for earnings while pitting themselves against the other players.

Motivation

The central card in this table is the Tournament, which allows the players to take a powerful and otherwise unobtainable Prize card if they draw the Tournament into the same hand as a Province. The set tries to make it possible to earn Prizes without making the game uncompetitive once a player has won a Prize.

Ideally, the table also includes the Platinum and Colony basic cards from Prosperity, which are more expensive and more valuable versions of the Gold and Province cards in the base game. The presence of the Colony in particular is meant to allow for an interesting alternative to a Province (which is less powerful than the Colony, but compatible with Tournament). According to the rules, whether or not these two cards appear should be random (with a 20% chance, from the number of Prosperity cards included), but I think it will be much more fun with them included…1

I had two goals in creating this set:

  1. No “splitters” (cards which give more than one action), because this enables engine decks which can draw many cards, making the Tournament too powerful.
  2. Easy money to get the players to the point where they can afford the Colony and thus make the trade-off between Colony and Province.

Contents

  1. Candlestick Maker (Action, $2)

    • +1 Action
    • +1 Buy
    • +1 Coffers

    I selected this card to further goal #2 (easy money). Coffers allow players to store money for later, and potentially accumulate a lot to make large purchases. In a hopefully money-rich game, the additional buy doesn’t hurt.

  2. Fool's Gold (Treasure/Reaction, $2)

    Worth $1 if it’s the first time you played a Fool’s Gold this turn, otherwise worth $4.

    When another player gains a Province, you may trash this from your hand, to gain a Gold onto your deck.

    The Reaction ability of this card (gain a Gold when an opponent gains a Province) is intended to keep the game even by allowing players who are behind to catch up on opponents.

  3. Menagerie (Action, $3)

    • +1 Action

    Reveal your hand. If the revealed cards all have different names, +3 Cards. Otherwise, +1 Card.

    This card provides a cheap way to draw cards. It’s fairly resistant to being chained, because the +3 Cards benefit is quite difficult to use twice in a row.

  4. Wishing Well (Action, $3)

    • +1 Card
    • +1 Action

    Name a card, then reveal the top card of your deck. If you named it, put it into your hand.

    This is a cheeky way to attempt to pull a Province to use with a Tournament.

  5. Bridge (Action, $4)

    • +1 Buy
    • +$1

    This turn, cards (everywhere) cost $1 less, but not less than $0.

    This card adds buys and hopefully makes more expensive cards more easily obtainable.

  6. Throne Room (Action, $4)

    You may play an Action card from your hand twice.

    I’m cheating on goal #1 (no splitters) just a little bit to allow two terminal actions to be played in a turn. This can help with money, if used to draw cards, for example.

  7. Tournament (Action, $4)

    • +1 Action

    Each player may reveal a Province from their hand. If you do, discard it and gain any Prize (from the Prize pile) or a Duchy, onto your deck. If no-one else does, +1 Card and +$1.

    The star of the show.

  8. Cartographer (Action, $5)

    • +1 Card
    • +1 Action

    Look at the top 4 cards of your deck. Discard any number of them, then put the rest back on top in any order.

    Meant to synergize with the Tournament, this lets you rearrange your deck to get a Province and/or Tournament in the right spot.

  9. Rabble (Action/Attack, $5)

    • +3 Cards

    Each other player reveals the top 3 cards of their deck, discards the Actions and Treasures, and puts the rest back in any order they choose.

    This card serves double duty. First, it’s the most effective way in this table to draw cards. Second, its dynamic changes over the course of the game. Early on, it hampers opponents’ decks by putting useless VP cards on top. However, once players have Provinces and Tournaments, Rabble becomes somewhat beneficial to opponents by potentially surfacing Provinces.

  10. Bank (Treasure, $7)

    When you play this, it’s worth $1 per Treasure card you have in play (counting this).

    The intended role of this card in the table is to help goal #2 by providing strong money. It may be that goal #1 will hamper the Bank by leading to smaller hands and thus fewer Treasures in play. Plus, it’s nice to have a card that costs $7.

Experience

I played this deck once, in a four-player game. I was the only one who went for the Tournaments, and I successfully used them three times (twice for a Prize, and once for a Duchy). The circumstances of the end of the game were a little suspicious, and I got second, but I think I had a reasonable shot at winning.

The flaw with this deck was actually that the Colonies were too alluring and the money too easily obtainable. The friend who won did so with numerous Colonies. Perhaps another attack or fewer “easy money” cards would have struck a more even balance between Colony and Tournament.

I may play this again, but I would expect a very similar outcome.


  1. I am encouraging you to cheat a little and play with them regardless! ↩︎