Dominion is a short deck building game with strategies based on the cards selected for that game, but with some commonality I will try to pull out the dominant strategy in the game (Gold Rush!) and the rest of the variants that help.
During The Game:
Gold Rush; Before anything else, you need to take the basic concept of the game to heart. You need to get points, and to get points you will need gold. Gold in one form or another – most of all in the form of Gold cards worth three in purchasing power. Why does this matter? Getting Gold cards will mean more coins in more of your hands – more coins in less cards. Whether you do this by getting other cards that substitute for gold, drawing more cards into your hand, destroying the cards which aren’t gold or points…that’s up to you. However, you need that gold!
Draw the deck; Combinations of the Smithy, Village and all sorts of “+ cards” action cards allow you to draw up cards. Getting it to play out every time is difficult but getting it to play out enough times to win the game is entirely possible. What do I mean? Well, if you draw the wrong starting 5 cards it won’t work. However, as your discard pile recycles into your deck it’s just a matter of waiting and buying more cards that start the pattern. With enough gold and enough chains of actions you will get the provinces!
Trash the lot!; Trash is the non-legacy style destruction of cards, discard them but not to the discard pile. Removing these from the deck is a permanent loss of the card, but if that card was only a copper (only worth 1 purchasing power) well then this is hardly worth having in the deck. It’s not worth having because you have already got silver & gold. The less cards you have the quicker the good ones come back round.
Witch: If the witch (or other negative point card action) is available then watch out as a new strategy comes into play. It’s a strategy to push negative cards into their decks to (a) slow them down and (b) stop them pushing them back into yours. There are only a limited number of these so if you are going for this then do it quickly! Also, take a couple, don’t rely that one will come round regularly enough. Sure, people can block these cards but they often allow you to draw more cards. Combine this with a Gold Rush and you have a potential winning balance.
Gold Substitutes: Some cards allow you to use them instead of gold. If an action card can replace the gold and add more to your hands then that’s even better than the gold. Watch out though, because if it costs more to achieve this then perhaps others will rush past you.
Run out the cards: There is one last strategy to be aware of. Once in a blue moon you all try to buy out action cards that are the same. So what? Well, if three piles run out then the game ends early! So if that’s close, buy up the cheaper points cards and then buy up those piles. You might do this by picking action cards with “+1 Buy” – buying lots of cheap cards together. This surprising rush to the finish line can take others off guard and gaining a cheap win!
So, if you have all those down then this puzzle will just be a case of working out which to play and when. But watch out, you won’t have long before you need to focus on one solution.