The following is a session report that I'm attempting to post on geekdo:
So, I had played Dominion once before, at a con: 2 sessions, once with the basic cards ("hmm.. interesting") and once with a random choice from everything including Black Market ("ack! no! make it stop! what the heck is going on?!").
Months later, the Father's Day present "from my 2 year old son" would include Dominion and Seaside.
So, naturally, I was thankful and willing to give the game a try, and so was my wife who didn't really know anything about the game except that it was on my amazon wishlist. She has played and enjoyed several eurogames with me in the past: Settlers, Carcassonne, San Juan, Bohnanza, to name a few.
For our first game together, we used the basic ten cards. Neither of us had much of an early-game strategy, but I was coaching her along without railroading her. By mid-game I had a little engine of Mine + Remodel going to be able to have 3 gold in my hand pretty consistently, so I won that game: I had 6 of the Provinces, and the final score was 46 to 29. Really not that much a blowout.
Our second game was a random selection of Kingdom Cards just from the basic set: Chapel, Feast, Festival, Gardens, Mine, Moat, Spy, Thief, Throne Room, Witch.
With 3 Attacks on the table, the Moat was definitely a popular choice. And we were both quick to pick up on the nuances of Throne Room. Throne Rooming the Witch was a popular gambit, of course. We both bought a few Chapels, but neither of us used them.
My wife ended up buying a few more Duchies than I had realized, so the game ended with us both having 4 Provinces, but she won the game 42 to 36.
For our third game we finally opened up Seaside. Still using the cards for randomization, I was a little worried I hadn't shuffled the randomizers well. Witch.. Throne Room.. this looks familiar.
But the other eight Kingdom Cards were all from Seaside.
Ambassador, Caravan, Cutpurse, Embargo, Fishing Village, Ghost Ship, Haven, Island (plus the aforementioned Throne Room and Witch).
We were rightfully worried about no defense and some annoying Attacks.
I started with 5 monies (Side note: we keep calling the units of currency "Gold", which is confusing with the actual "Gold" card; what is the common word for the currency?) and so I bought a Witch, then an Embargo, and was able to immediately Embargo Witches, which never got bought again. And Throne Room + Witch many times throughout the game.
After my wife's Ambassador served some Curses back to me, I ended up Embargoing the Ambassador as well. But my wife ended the game with eight curses.
It was my wife who correctly ruled on Throne Room + Island before I went to look it up (I thought maybe the Throne Room got set aside too), so it made me a little proud of my rules lawyer :)
Unfortunately for her, the game did not end well. I had 52 points; she stopped counting out of (friendly, in-game) frustration as her Curses started dropping her below 20.
And incidentally, this was also our first game to end with the "3 empty piles" rule: Curses, Islands, and Duchies.
In the end, most importantly, we both enjoyed the game.
I can't wait for some sessions with 3 or 4 people (with my wife or otherwise); should get a chance at that soon.