Dominion cards are classified into several types, which determine how they can be used during gameplay and how they interact with other cards. Every card has at least one type, and all a card's types are listed on the bottom banner of the card.
Cards with multiple types have membership in all of them for all purposes. For instance, Harem is a Treasure–Victory card; cards that have a special interaction with Treasure cards, such as Mine, and cards that have a special interaction with Victory cards, such as Crossroads, will both respond to Harem. One card, Courtier, has abilities that are sensitive to how many types another card possesses.
A card is not a member of types that are not listed on the bottom banner of the card, even if they have abilities that resemble those of cards of that type. For instance, Masquerade can be used to put undesirable cards into an opponent's deck, or to trash desirable cards from it, but it is not an Attack card because it does not have "Attack" listed at the bottom of the card. However, there are a couple of abilities that can change cards' types for gameplay purposes: Inheritance causes Estates (normaliy just a Victory card) to also be Actions, and Capitalism causes some Action cards to also be Treasures.
Many card types are associated with a specific color; on cards of a given type, the background frame surrounding the card art and text are tinted in the appropriate color. Cards with certain combinations of types have two colors.
Cards of these four types occur in all or almost all games of Dominion, and can appear as the only type on a card.
- Action. Action cards may be played during the Action phase of a player's turn. A player may play only one Action card unless some effect provides them with "+ Actions". Action cards may have a variety of different effects when played. The majority of Kingdom cards are Actions, but not all, so it is possible to play a game of Dominion with no Action cards (the probability of this happening by chance is on the order of 10–10). Action cards have white frames unless they are also Reactions, Durations, Ruins, or Reserves. Most Action card Kingdom piles contain 10 cards; Rats and Port contain 20 and 12 cards, respectively. Action-Victory card piles contain 8 or 12 cards.
- Treasure. Treasure cards may be played during the Buy phase of a player's turn. A player may play any number of Treasure cards one at a time, in any order. Black Market and Storyteller allow Treasures to be played during a player's Action phase. Most Treasure cards provide some amount of , and many have other effects when played. All games of Dominion include the basic Treasure cards: Copper, Silver, and Gold. Other basic Treasures are added under certain circumstances, and some Kingdom cards are Treasures as well. Treasure cards have yellow frames. Most Kingdom Treasure card piles contain 10 cards. Treasure-Victory card piles contain 8 or 12 cards.
- Victory. Victory cards are usually worth at the end of the game to a player who has them. All games of Dominion include the basic Victory cards Estate, Duchy, and Province. An additional basic Victory card, Colony, may be included in games using Kingdom cards from Prosperity, and some Kingdom cards are Victory cards as well. Victory cards have green frames. All Victory card piles contain 8 cards in a 2-player game and 12 in a 3- or 4-player game.
- Curse. Curses are worth –1 at the end of the game, and are the only card type to consist of only one card name. All games of Dominion include Curses in the supply, though in many games Curses will never be gained or otherwise interacted with. They have purple frames. The number of Curses in a game is equal to ten times the number of players after the first - 10 Curses for a 2-player game, 20 for a 3-player game, and so forth.
Multi-expansion special types
Cards of these types appear in multiple Dominion expansions but never appear as the only type on a card.
- Attack. The "Attack" type has no special rules of its own, but several cards refer to the type and interact with Attack cards. For instance, several cards have special effects that are triggered when an Attack card is played. Attack cards usually inflict harmful effects on the opponents of the player who plays them, though not all cards that have the potential to harm opponents have the Attack type. Attack cards appear in all expansions, and this type is not associated with a color.
- Duration. Duration cards have effects that often last beyond the turn they are played; they are not discarded from play until the Clean-up phase of the last turn on which they do something. Duration cards were introduced in Seaside, and make in later expansions beginning with Adventures.
- Reaction. Reaction cards have optional effects that are triggered by specified events (e.g., an Attack card being played or a card being gained) when the card is somewhere not visible to players other than its owner (usually its owner's hand). When a Reaction card is triggered, on any turn including the owner's own turn, the owner may reveal it and carry out whatever abilities it has. Reaction cards appear in most expansions, and have blue frames.
Single-expansion special types
Cards of these types occur in only one Dominion expansion; except for Night, these do not appear as the only type on a card.
- Castle. Castles are a Split pile with eight differently-named Victory cards with various and interrelated effects. Castles appear in Empires and are not associated with a color.
- Doom. Doom cards have abilities that cause Hexes to be received. They appear in Nocturne and are not associated with a color.
- Fate. Fate cards have abilities that cause Boons to be received. They appear in Nocturne and are not associated with a color.
- Gathering. Gathering cards collect tokens on their Supply piles, which can be taken after a certain condition is met. Gathering cards appear in Empires and are not associated with a color.
- Heirloom. Heirlooms are Treasures that replace players' starting Coppers. Each Heirloom has an associated Kingdom card with a yellow banner across the bottom; when one of these Kingdom cards is being used, all players replace one starting Copper with the indicated Heirloom. Heirlooms appear in Nocturne and are not associated with a color.
- Knight. These are ten differently-named Action–Attack cards with similar but distinct effects. The Knights pile in the Supply is shuffled, so players do not know in what order the Knights will be available. Knights appear in Dark Ages and are not associated with a color.
- Looter. Looter cards have effects that can cause Ruins to be gained; in a game in which one or more Looters are present (in the Supply or via a Black Market deck), Ruins are included in the Supply. All Looters are Action cards. Looters appear in Dark Ages and are not associated with a color.
- Night. Night cards are played during a player's Night phase, which is after the Buy phase. Night cards appear in Nocturne, and have black frames with white text.
- Prize. Prizes are non-Supply cards and may be gained only as an effect of playing Tournament. Prizes appear in Cornucopia and are not associated with a color.
- Reserve. Reserve cards are set aside on a player's Tavern mat when played, and can usually be called back into play to have an additional effect at a later time. Reserves appear in Adventures, and have tan frames.
- Ruins. Ruins are Action cards with very weak (but not harmful) effects that are included in the Supply in games using Looters. There are five differently-named Ruins, but they are shuffled into a single Supply pile. The Supply includes the same number of Ruins as Curses; players do not know which specific Ruins are in the Supply, in what proportions, or in what order. Ruins appear in Dark Ages and have brown frames.
- Shelter. Shelters may replace Estates in players' starting decks in games using Kingdom cards from Dark Ages. There are three differently-named Shelters, and each player starts with one of each. Shelters do not appear in the supply and may not be gained from anywhere; the only Shelters in the game are the ones players start with. Shelters appear in Dark Ages and have red frames.
- Spirit. Spirits are non-Supply cards that can be gained by Exorcist and a few other sources. They appear in Nocturne and are not associated with a color.
- Traveller. Travellers, when discarded from play, can be exchanged for stronger cards. Travellers appear in Adventures and are not associated with a color, but are marked with a large arrow behind the card text.
- Zombie. Zombies are cards that start in the trash when Necromancer is being used. They appear in Nocturne and are not associated with a color.
These types are not "cards" in a gameplay sense, but are printed on physical cards; they are sometimes informally referred to as "card-shaped things". To distinguish them from cards, they are printed in landscape orientation.
- Artifact. Artifacts are unique effects that players may contest ownership of. They appear in Renaissance and have brown frames.
- Boon. There are twelve different Boons that each mark a beneficial effect. Fate cards cause players to receive a random Boon. Boons appear in Nocturne and have golden frames.
- Event. Events mark effects that players can pay for. They appear in Adventures and Empires and have silver frames.
- Hex. There are twelve different Hexes that each mark a harmful effect. Doom cards cause players to receive a random Hex. Hexes appear in Nocturne and have dark purple frames.
- Landmark. Landmarks mark effects that give players additional means to score (or lose) . They appear in Empires and have dark green frames.
- Project. Projects mark permanent effects that players can pay to activate, marking this with one of two wooden cubes. They appear in Renaissance and have pink frames.
- State. There are five different States that each mark a persistent effect, although some States can be removed. They appear in Nocturne and have rust frames.
In early drafts of Dominion, there was a type called "Token", which included Curse and Confusion. When Confusion was cut from the game, the type was renamed after its only remaining member, Curse.
Early expansions rarely introduced new card types; later expansions have introduced multiple new card types in a single expansion. The numbers of card types introduced by each expansion are:
- Dominion: 6 (including the 4 basic card types)
- Intrigue: 0 (although Intrigue notably introduced cards with multiple basic card types)
- Seaside: 1
- Alchemy: 0
- Prosperity: 0
- Cornucopia: 1
- Hinterlands: 0
- Dark Ages: 4
- Guilds: 0
- Adventures: 2 (+ 1 Non-card type)
- Empires: 2 (+ 1 Non-card type)
- Nocturne: 6 (+ 3 Non-card types)
- Renaissance 0 (+ 2 Non-card types)
- There are 22 different card types and 49 different combinations of card types.
- There are 7 non-card types.
- 203 cards have one type, 125 cards have two types, 29 cards have three types, and 2 cards have four types.
- The most common type is Action; 319 of the 403 differently-named cards are Actions (79%). The least common type is Curse; 1 of the 403 differently-named cards is a Curse.
- The only types to appear in multiple sets are Action, Attack, Duration, Reaction, Treasure, and Victory. The only types to appear in every set are Action and Attack.
- Night is the only type other than the main four (Action, Treasure, Victory, Curse) that has appeared as the only type on a card.