Vanilla cards are cards that have no effect other than some combination of +Cards, +Actions, +Buy, and +Kingdom cards are in the base Dominion set, whose overall theme is simplicity of effect. They are often a useful baseline of comparison for the effects of similar cards.. These are the simplest card effects to understand and execute; for this reason the bulk of the game's vanilla
Many cards have vanilla bonuses in addition to their other, seemingly more interesting or unique, effects in order to make them more powerful and interesting to play. For instance, a card saying simply "Each other player gains a Curse" would be weak compared to other cursers, so Witch has a "vanilla" +2 cards bonus in order to make it stronger.
Cards that are the simplest examples of what is seen as a larger family of cards are sometimes referred to specifically as "vanilla". For instance, Village is sometimes referred to as "vanilla Village" to distinguish it from the family of other villages, even though Worker's Village and Bazaar, both in the "village" category, are both vanilla cards themselves.
 List of vanilla cards
Cards in italics have been removed.
- Dominion: Festival, Laboratory, Market, Smithy, Village, Woodcutter
- Seaside: Bazaar
- Prosperity: Worker's Village
- Dark Ages: Abandoned Mine, Necropolis, Ruined Library, Ruined Market, Ruined Village
- Nocturne: Pouch
 Semi-vanilla cards
Certain cards could be considered vanilla under slightly broader criteria:
- Great Hall and Harem (from Intrigue), Monument (from Prosperity), and Plunder (from Empires) are vanilla if victory points are considered a vanilla property along with +Cards, +Actions, and so on.
- Candlestick Maker, from Guilds, is vanilla if Coffers are considered a vanilla property.
- Underling from Allies is vanilla if Favors are considered vanilla.
- Fishing Village, Caravan, Merchant Ship, and Wharf (from Seaside), Hireling (from Adventures), Ghost Town (from Nocturne), and Barge (from Menagerie) are Duration cards that have only vanilla effects, but some or all of them take place on future turns.
- Pawn and Conspirator(from Intrigue), City (from Prosperity), and Town and Emissary (from Allies) have only vanilla effects, but which vanilla effects they have is dependent on the circumstances in which they are played, or the player's choice.
- Grand Market and Peddler (from Prosperity), Nomad Camp, Cache and Border Village (from Hinterlands), Fortress and Hunting Grounds (from Dark Ages), Masterpiece (from Guilds), Port and Lost City (from Adventures), Emporium, Rocks and Villa (from Empires), Blessed Village and Haunted Mirror (from Nocturne), Silk Merchant (from Renaissance), and Hostelry, Fisherman, Destrier, and Animal Fair (from Menagerie) have special properties when you buy, gain, or trash them, or at the beginning of the game, but only vanilla effects while they are actually in your deck.
- Moat (from Dominion), Market Square (from Dark Ages), Faithful Hound (from Nocturne), Sheepdog (from Menagerie) are all Reactions that have only vanilla effects until revealed under the condition of their Reaction.
- Way of the Monkey, Way of the Mule, Way of the Otter, Way of the Ox, Way of the Pig, and Way of the Sheep are considered vanilla if Ways are considered vanilla.
- Nobles (from Intrigue) is vanilla if victory points are considered vanilla and if player's choice is considered vanilla.
- Baker (from Guilds) is vanilla if Coffers are considered vanilla and if at the start of game effects are considered vanilla
- Ducat (from Renaissance) is vanilla if Coffers are considered vanilla and if when gain effects are considered vanilla.
- Village Green (from Menagerie) is vanilla if Duration cards with only vanilla effects are considered vanilla and if it is not revealed under the condition of its Reaction
 Thoughts on design
Donald X. Vaccarino has this to say on the subject of designing vanilla cards and their relationships to similar cards:
 Possibility of future vanilla cards" started out in the