Like your parents before you, you rule a small pleasant kingdom of rivers and evergreens. You, however, have dreams! Ideally, you’d like a bigger and more pleasant kingdom, with more rivers and trees. A Dominion!
All around lie fiefs, freeholds, and feodums, all small pieces of land controlled by petty lords and bordering on chaos. This unfortunate group of people will be unified under your banner as you bring civilization to them. Several monarchs have thought the same thing. The goal is to get as much unclaimed land as you can, fending them off along the way.
To accomplish this, you must hire minions, build buildings, spruce up your castle, and fill your treasury with gold. This game is about building cards. They represent your Dominion. The cards represent your resources, victory points, and the things you can do. The game starts with a small collection of estates and coppers, but by the end, you hope it will be brimming with gold, provinces, and inhabitants and structures of your castle and kingdom.
If you have the most cards in your deck at the end of the game, you win.