Complete and All-Encompassing Dominion FAQ
Status as of May 2016: I won't be updating this FAQ anymore, since I improved and expanded it into a document called Complete Rules for Dominion and All Its Expansions, which is now more complete. Anyone else can edit this FAQ of course.
This FAQ lays out all the rules of Dominion pertaining to all released expansions including Adventures. The rules are stated very concisely and the effort has been to include everything – also rules that are implied but not explicitly stated in the official rules – so that any rules question is answered. However, reading the actual official rule books first is probably still a good idea. Also check out the Dominion FAQ for quick answers to common questions, general information about the game and expansions, and strategy questions.
Official rulings given by the designer Donald X. Vaccarino in forums on BGG and dominionstrategy.com are also included here. There are links to posts by Donald; some of these are just examples and explanations, others are rulings that aren't mentioned in the rule books.
List of game FAQs
1. Reading a card
A card's name (e.g. Copper, Duchy, Village) is written on the top of the card. "Differently named cards" means cards with different names. "Naming a card" also refers to this name. "Duplicate cards" are cards with the same name, and a "copy of a card" is a card with the same name. The Knight and Ruins piles are special in that the piles contain differently named cards.
An Event's name is also written on the top of the card.
A card's cost is in the lower left corner. Cards (such as Bridge and Highway) can cause a card to have another cost than the printed cost at periods during the game.
An Event's cost is in the upper left corner.
A card's types (e.g. Action, Treasure, Victory) are written on the bottom of the card. As an example, an Action card is a card that has the type "Action", regardless of whether that card also has other types.
The frame color (on the top and bottom) also indicates the type:
- Action (white frame) – The card may be played in your Action phase, see 3. Your turn.
- Treasure (yellow frame) – The card may be played in your Buy phase, see 3. Your turn.
- Reaction (blue frame) – The card describes when and how it can be used (even outside your turn). See 11. Reaction cards.
- Duration (orange frame) – A Duration card is always an Action card, so it's played in your Action phase. It has special rules regarding when it's discarded, and usually stays in play one extra turn. See 17. Duration cards (from Seaside).
- Victory (green frame) and Curse (purple frame) – These types have no special function during the game, but the card is worth victory points (negative points for the Curse) at the end of the game.
- Attack, Prize, Looter and Knight (not associated with any color) – These types have no special function, but are there so the card can be referred to by other cards or special set-up rules.
- Ruins (brown frame) – This type has no special function during the game, but the card is included if a Looter is in the game.
- Shelter (red frame) – This type has no special function during the game, but the three Shelters may be part of players' starting decks.
- Traveller (not associated with any color) – The card can be upgraded into another card. See 16 – "Exchange".
- Reserve (tan frame) – The card is put on your Tavern mat when played. Most Reserve cards can be called from the Tavern mat. See 16 – "Call".
Note: A card with several types has a frame of mixed color. However, Actions that are also another type are usually only the color of the other type. The exception is Action-Victory and Action-Shelter, to make it clear that these cards can be played as Actions.
Text and symbols in the middle of the card are the card's abilities, which usually come into effect when the card is played. See 16. Terms used on cards and 9. Card abilities.
Treasure cards have their coin worth (e.g. ) in the middle of the card (although not those from the Base Cards expansion), and also in both upper corners. Victory and Curse cards have their victory point worth (e.g. 6 ) in the middle of the card (but those from the Base Cards expansion have it in the lower right corner instead).
Events also have their abilities in the middle of the card, below the picture. These come into effect when the Event is bought. See 18.4 Events
Each player starts with a deck of 7 Coppers and 3 Estates.
Place separate piles of these cards face-up on the table:
- Victory cards: 12 Estates, 12 Duchies, 12 Provinces.
- Treasures: 60 Coppers (minus the cards players start with), 40 Silvers, 30 Golds.
- Curses: Use 10 Curses for two players. For each player beyond two, add 10 Curses to the pile.
- Trash: Place the "Trash" card to indicate the Trash pile.
- Also select (randomly or in any other way) 10 different Kingdom cards, and place these piles on the table, 10 cards in each pile, except cards of the type Victory, which get 12 cards.
- You may also play with Events (from Adventures). No more than two Events per game is recommended. Put the included Event cards separately on the table.
- If any Kingdom card has in its cost, include the 16 Potion cards (from Alchemy).
- If any Kingdom card has the type Looter, include a Ruins pile (from Dark Ages). Shuffle the 50 Ruins cards and use the same number of Ruins as Curses. Place the pile face-down with the top card face-up.
- Determine whether to play with Colonies randomly based on the proportion of cards from Prosperity in this Kingdom. This can be done by checking whether the first Kingdom card drawn is from Prosperity (if drawing Kingdom cards randomly). If Colonies are used, include 12 Colonies and 12 Platinums.
- Determine whether to play with Shelters randomly based on the proportion of cards from Dark Ages in this Kingdom. E.g. check the last Kingdom card drawn (not the same card as for Colonies). If Shelters are used, each player starts with 3 Shelters – a Hovel, a Necropolis, and an Overgrown Estate – instead of the 3 Estates.
- If any Reserve card or any card referring to player tokens (from Adventures) are being used, each player chooses a color and gets a Tavern mat and 10 different cardboard tokens in his color. The Journey token starts the game face-up.
If playing with two players, use 8 cards instead of 12 in all Victory piles.
If playing with 5 or 6 players, use twice as many Coppers, Silvers and Golds; and 3 more Provinces per player (so either 15 or 18).
Some cards have special set-up rules (Black Market, Trade Route, Young Witch, Knight, Rats, Baker, Port). These are written on the cards, or in their own section below (under 21. Clarifications and errata).
The players shuffle their deck and place it face-down, and draw 5 cards from it as their opening hand.
3. Your turn
You start your turn with 1 Action and 1 Buy. This means you can play one Action card in the Action Phase, and buy one card in the Buy phase. Your turn consists of the Action phase, the Buy phase and the Clean-up phase.
A – Action phase
You may play an Action card from your hand. Follow the instructions on the card. See 8. Playing a card.
After you have fully resolved an Action card, you may play another Action card, but only if you have an unused Action remaining. (Some cards give more Actions.)
B – Buy phase
First, you may play as many Treasure cards as you like from your hand, in any order. For each card, follow the instructions on the card. Treasures produce coins, but may also do other things. See 8. Playing a card.
After you have played your Treasure cards, you may buy a card by using (paying) any of the coins you have produced this turn. The card can cost no more than the unused coins you have left, but may cost less. A card costing 0 coins can be bought even when you have no coins.
You may only buy a card that is available in the Supply (see 4). You then gain it*, see 12. Gaining a card.
(*More accurately, you gain the copy of it which is currently on top of the Supply pile. See also Talisman under 21. Clarifications and errata.)
If you have more Buys, you may buy more cards, for the unused coins you have left. (Some cards give more Buys.)
Also see 18.2 Coin tokens, 18.3 Overpaying and 18.4 Events.
C – Clean-up phase
Discard all the cards in your play area and all the cards left in your hand. Discard these cards in any order, but when you discard your hand, discard it all at once (link). The order in which you discard the cards in your play area can matter for abilities (see 9.1) that trigger on discard. See 13. Discarding cards.
Then draw a new hand of 5 cards from your deck. See 14. Moving cards from your deck.
If other players have cards in their play area in your Clean-up phase, they are discarded now too. See Duplicate in the Adventures rule book. (Duration cards are of course only discarded if their effects have been resolved, see 17. Duration cards.)
- Basic Treasure cards (Copper, Silver, Gold, Platinum, Potion)
- Basic Victory cards (Estate, Duchy, Province, Colony)
- Curse cards
- Ruins cards
- Kingdom cards (ten piles)
The Black Market deck is not in the Supply. Prizes, Spoils, Madman and Mercenary are not in the Supply. The cards that Travellers can be upgraded into are not in the Supply. Shelters are not in the Supply. Events are not in the Supply. Young Witch's Bane card is an 11th Kingdom card and so is in the Supply.
5. Play area/"in play"
The play area is the place on the table in front of you where you place your played card. Your deck, your discard pile, your hand, set-aside cards and your Tavern mat are not in your play area. Cards in your play area are in play until they are moved from there, usually when discarded during Clean-up.
6. Open information
Open information to all players: The number of cards in your hand, the top card in your discard pile, the number of cards in all Supply piles, the cards in Trash. Also the cards you have set aside face-up and on your Tavern mat, the number of cards you have set aside face-down, and your tokens and Coin tokens.
Open information to you only: The cards in your hand, the cards you have set aside face-down, the number of cards in your deck (not in your discard). If a card ability lets you count your discard pile, you're allowed to look through it.
7. Game end
The game ends at the end of a player's turn if either the pile of Provinces is empty, the pile of Colonies is empty (if playing with Colonies) or any 3 Supply piles are empty (4 Supply piles in a 5-6 player game). Any extra turns (e.g. from Possession, Outpost or Mission) after this one are not played.
Your discard pile, your hand, any cards you have in play (such as Durations), and any cards you've set aside (link), are put in your deck before counting victory points. Cards on your Tavern mat also count as being in your Deck. Add the tokens on your player mat. If several players are tied for victory points, the tied player who had the fewest turns wins. Any extra turns during the game are not counted.
8. Playing a card (Action or Treasure)
- Announce the card you are playing.
- Place it in your play area (see 5. Play area).
- Follow the instructions from top to bottom (see 9. Card abilities and 10. Resolving card abilities). Do this even if the card can't be moved to the play area.
Certain cards (like Golem, Throne Room and Venture) let you play other cards. Playing these other cards are then part of resolving the first card. These cards should also be placed in the play area when played, if possible (see 20. The "lose track" rule).
9. Card abilities
9.1 Different abilities, and the dividing line
A card's ability is the set of instructions (or effects) that are triggered when you play the card. Some abilities on certain cards aren't triggered when you play it; these are always found beneath a dividing line (link, link). The ability above the line is triggered when you play the card, the other ability is triggered at other times. For instance, Reaction cards have an ability that only apply to reacting with the card, see 11. Reaction cards. Other examples: Alchemist lets you do something when you discard it from play. Embargo says what happens when a player buys a card from a certain Supply pile. Goons has an ability that triggers when the card is in play and you buy a card. (Harem is missing the dividing line for aesthetic reasons.) See also 19. Timing rules.
9.2 Playing a card multiple times
Throne Room, King's Court, Procession, Counterfeit, Royal Carriage and Disciple let you play a card multiple times. Only the ability that's triggered when you play the card (i.e. above the dividing line), is triggered multiple times.
9.3 Setting up a later ability
Some cards, when you play them, set up an ability to trigger later (like Scheme, Possession and Duration cards). When played with Throne Room, King's Court, Procession, Royal Carriage or Disciple they set up that ability multiple times (link). (The German versions of Duration cards have a dividing line between the immediate ability and the next turn ability, which is strictly wrong, since these effects are set up when you play the card; link)
10. Resolving card abilities
10.1 Effects are immediate
Effects that produce things like Actions, Buys and coins (see 16. Terms used on cards), do this immediately when they are resolved, and the amount produced doesn't change if the card is subsequently moved somewhere else (like to the Trash or to discard) or other conditions are changed. The same goes for effects that do something based on certain conditions (e.g. playing a City, which lets you draw a number of cards), and effects that set up later abilities (see 9.3).
10.2 Do as much as you can
You may trigger an ability (such as playing a card) even though you're not able to carry out all the instructions. Likewise, if there's a choice between several options, you can pick any option, even one you're not able to carry out fully. But when the ability is giving you a non-optional instruction, you must do as much of it as you can. (For instance, draw as many cards as you can even though you can't draw the full amount instructed to; or gain the cards you can even though you can't gain all the cards instructed to). See also 12. Gaining a card, second paragraph.
10.3 Effects contingent on other effects
Effects contingent on other effects don't happen if you didn't do the first effect. For instance, if you're not able to trash two cards with Trading Post, you don't get a Silver, because the instruction says "if you do". Feast's second instruction, on the other hand, is not contingent on the first. So even if you can't trash Feast (because it's already trashed), you gain a card.
If an effect refers to a card that isn't defined, then that effect can't be carried out. For instance, if you're not able to trash a card with Remodel or Upgrade, then you can't gain a card. A "gained card" that wasn't gained after all (due to a when-would-gain ability like Trader's or Possession's, see 19.2), is similarly not defined (link, link, link).
10.4 Abilities are cumulative
If multiple cards with the same while-in-play ability are in play, the abilities are cumulative. For instance, if two Hoards are in play and you buy a Victory card, you gain two Golds. (But see 9.2).
10.5 Atomicity of abilities
Once an ability is triggered, resolve all its effects, even if the condition that triggered the ability changes in the meantime, see 19.5 Resolving several concurrent abilities.
This also applies if the card changes, as in a Band of Misfits that leaves play or an Inherited (with Inheritance) Estate that stops being yours: Trashing a Band of Misfits being another card will trigger the when-trash ability of the other card (link), the same applies to discarding it and when-discard abilities; trashing an Inherited Estate will trigger the when-trash ability of the card with the Estate token (link); playing a Band of Misfits as another card will resolve the rest of the play ability even if it reverts to being just Band of Misfists in the middle (link); playing an Inherited Estate as e.g. Feast will similarly resolve all of Feast's ability. However, Transmute looks at the type of the Estate when it's no longer yours (link), and Procession looks at the cost of the Band of Misfits when it's no longer the card you chose (Dark Ages rule book).
An effect can't be carried out if it refers to a card that isn't defined (see 10.3 Effects contingent on other effects), and a card can't be moved if it's not where it's expected to be (see 20. The "lose track" rule).
If the resolution of an ability triggers another ability, resolve this other ability before continuing. (An example is found in the Dark Ages rule book regarding trashing, p. 5.) But if two abilities are triggered at the same time, they each must be resolved separately.
11. Reaction cards
11.1 The Reaction ability
Reaction cards have an ability that you may resolve if certain conditions are met, as described on the card. You can react with a Reaction card even when it's not your turn. Resolving the Reaction ability does not count as playing the card. See also 10. Resolving card abilities.
Some Reaction cards are also Action cards. The Action ability is triggered when playing the card as normal, and is separate from the Reaction ability.
11.2 Revealing Reactions
The Reaction ability is most often resolved by revealing the card. See 15. Revealing or looking at cards. For Reactions to other players playing a card, such as an Attack card, see 19.3 When a player plays a card, and also 19.8 – Steps of playing a card. You can resolve a Reaction when another player plays an Attack card, even if the card doesn't affect you (such as a Minion that doesn't cause you to discard or a Pirate Ship that is just used for +coins).
11.3 Resolving Reactions and timing
Most Reaction abilities first have an optional effect which you do in order to resolve the rest of the ability. This can be revealing it, setting it aside, trashing it or discarding it. This effect is part of resolving it, so you immediately resolve the rest of its ability. Multiple Reactions (and also other abilities) can trigger at the same time. See 19.4 Timing of several concurrent abilities and 19.5 Resolving several concurrent abilities. This means that when a Witch is played, the first player resolves his Reactions (including e.g. revealing them), then the next player, etc. It also means you can reveal Secret Chamber and draw a Moat, and after completely resolving Secret Chamber, reveal the Moat (link).
11.4 A Reaction in your hand can be resolved several times
As long as something allows you to resolve (e.g. by revealing) a Reaction card in your hand, you can do so even if you already resolved that card for the same thing (link, link, link). Each time is treated as a separate ability. See 19.4 Timing of several concurrent abilities.
12. Gaining a card
When you gain a card, it's always taken from the Supply and placed face-up in your discard pile, unless an instruction specifically tells you to gain it from somewhere else than Supply and/or place it somewhere else than your discard (link, link).
When instructed to gain an non-specified card, you must choose an available card in the Supply (see 4). For instance when instructed to gain a card costing up to (3 coins), you must choose an available card as long as there is one of that cost (0 to 3 coins). However, when instructed to gain a card out of a specified set of cards (Smugglers), you may choose to gain a card that's impossible to gain (link).
When gaining from a pile of differently named cards (Knight, Ruins) only the top card can be gained. (So you can't gain a copy of a card, e.g. with Talisman or Ambassador, if that card isn't currently on the top of the pile.) After gaining it, turn the new top card face-up.
When gaining from the Trash, all players can see the gained card.
Buying a card results in gaining it. In this case, gaining happens after buying (link).
12.1 Returning a card to Supply
Only a card that has a Supply pile (even if empty; see 4) can be returned to Supply. When returning to a pile of differently named cards (Knight, Ruins), first turn the current top card face-down, then return the card to the top, face-up.
13. Discarding cards
Discard cards by placing them face-up in your discard pile. When discarding several cards at once, you don't need to show the cards to the other players. You can put these cards in any order when you discard them, but they are discarded all at once, before resolving any triggered abilities (this matters for cards like Tunnel, link). You need to show how many cards you are discarding if an instruction on a card is contingent on this number.
See also 3. Your turn – C – Clean-up phase.
14. Moving cards from your deck
When you draw cards from your deck, each card is added to your hand as you draw it, and you may look at it (link).
The following applies to drawing, revealing, looking at, trashing, setting aside or discarding cards from your deck:
If there are not enough cards in your deck, move the cards you can, then shuffle the cards in your discard pile and form a new deck, then move the rest. If there still aren't enough cards, move the cards you can.
15. Revealing or looking at cards
When you reveal cards, you show them to all players and then return them to where they came from. When you look at cards, you look at them without showing them to the other players.
This does not count as the cards moving anywhere; the cards are still in the same place when you're revealing/looking at them (link). (So for instance, cards revealed from your hand don't leave your hand.)
However, when resolving an instruction to reveal or look at cards from your deck, they are set aside (face-down if you're looking at cards) until you've finished revealing/looking at all the cards (link). You then return them to where they came from (unless instructed otherwise). See 14. Moving cards from your deck.
16. Terms used on cards
"Reveal", "Look at" – See 15. Revealing or looking at cards.
"Set aside" – When setting aside a card, place it face-up on the table outside of your play area (unless instructed otherwise). This card is not in play (see 5).
"Discard" – Unless otherwise specified, cards are discarded from your hand. See 13. Discarding cards.
"Trash" – When trashing a card, place it face-up in the Trash pile. When one instruction tells you to trash several cards, they are trashed all at once, before resolving any triggered abilities. See 19.4 Timing of several concurrent abilities.
"Gain" – See 12. Gaining a card.
"Return to Supply" – See 12.1 Returning a card to Supply.
"+2 Actions" (example) – You get 2 more available Actions this turn. These Actions may be used to play more Action cards, after you have fully resolved the current Action card.
"+2 Cards" or "draw 2 cards" (example) – You immediately draw 2 cards from your deck. See 14. Moving cards from your deck.
"+" (or on Treasure cards: "" or "worth ") (example) – 3 coins are produced. These can be used in the Buy phase.
"+1 Buy" (example) – A Buy is produced. This can be used in the Buy phase to buy an additional card.
"+1 " (example) – You get 1 (victory point) token, which you put on your player mat.
"Pass" – You pass a card to another player by giving it to him face-down so that no other players can see it. This card is not considered to be trashed, discarded or gained.
"Cards cost 2 coins less" (example) – This applies to all cards in the game (Supply, all players' cards, Trash, etc). It does not apply to Events.
"Exchange" – You exchange a Traveller card by returning it and taking the new card (the card you exchange the Traveller for), putting it in your Discard. You can only exchange if you're able to both return the Traveller card to its proper pile (not the Black Market deck, link) and take the new card from its proper pile (link). This is not considered as gaining a card. Also see the entry on Band of Misfits and Inheritance below.
"Call" – You call a Reserve card by moving it from your Tavern mat to your play area. This is not playing it. You can only call it if it's on your Tavern mat. Also see 19.5 Resolving several concurrent abilities.
"Any number", or "Up to x" – This includes zero (link).
17. Duration cards (from Seaside and Adventures)
17.1 Setting up later effects
When you play a Duration card, it sets up effects to trigger later, usually after your current turn. See 9.3 Setting up a later ability. When you get to the Clean-up phase, leave the card in play instead of discarding it if the effects haven't been resolved yet at that point (link). Usually a Duration will be discarded in the Clean-up of your next turn.
17.2 Playing a Duration card multiple times
If you use a card to play a Duration multiple times, setting up a future ability each time, leave the other card in play. Do this even if the Duration was trashed (e.g. by Procession) and is no longer in play. (Dark Ages rule book.) As of now this pertains to Throne Room, King's Court, Procession, Royal Carriage and Disciple. Only cards that directly played a Duration stay in play. For instance if you play a Throne Room on a Throne Room, and play that Throne Room on a Duration and then on another Duration, only the second Throne Room stays in play since that was the card that directly played the two Durations. (link, link)
The card, e.g. Throne Room, stays in play as long as it caused the Duration to set up a future ability an extra time this turn, even if it wasn't the Throne Room that caused it the first time. This is always the case when Royal Carriage plays a Duration. Also see the entry on Band of Misfits below. If you use Throne Room to play a Gear or a Haven, only leave the Throne Room in play if you set aside cards both times.
17.3 When do you discard a Duration?
Durations set up an ability to trigger after your current turn. If that doesn't happen when you play the card (such as a Tactician played when you're unable to discard any cards or a Gear without setting aside any cards) it doesn't stay in play beyond the current turn. If you play a Throne Room on a Tactician, you can't normally discard any cards the second time, so the Throne Room gets discarded in Clean-up this turn, since it didn't cause Tactician to set up a future ability the second time. However, If you play a Throne Room on an Outpost, or play two Outposts, leave both cards in play, since both plays cause you to draw only 3 cards in Clean-up (and drawing a new hand comes after discarding, so Outpost effects aren't resolved yet), and furthermore you're given an extra turn both times. (The number of consecutive turns is only checked when the extra turn ability is resolved.) (link, link, link.)
In rare cases a Duration is first done resolving in another player's Clean-up phase, so you discard it then. (This is similar to how Duplicate can be discarded in another player's Clean-up, see the Adventures rule book.) If you play two Outposts, one is discarded in the Clean-up of your extra turn, and the other is discarded in the following Clean-up, which is that of the next player. If you play Throne Room and Outpost, both stay in play until the next player's Clean-up (link).
18. Potions, Coin tokens, overpaying, Events and player tokens
18.2 Coin tokens (from Guilds)
When you get a Coin token, you put it in a pile in your play area, and keep it until you want to spend it.
Any Coin tokens can be spent in the Buy phase before buying any cards, each one giving you +1 coin. Spent Coin tokens are immediately returned to the general supply.
18.3 Overpaying (from Guilds)
When you buy a card where the cost is followed by a "+", you can overpay for it, and you will then get an effect as specified on the card. (So this is a when-buy ability (19.8).) To overpay, you must spend more than the cost of the card. The cost of the card (for any effect that refers to costs of cards) is not affected by the "+" or what you actually paid for it.
18.4 Events (from Adventures)
In your Buy phase, instead of buying a card, you can buy an Event. This does not count as buying a card, and it will not get you a card, just the immediate effect of the Event.
"Once per turn"/"Once per game" on an Event card means that you can only buy the Event once per turn/game.
18.5 Player tokens (from Adventures)
The rules for the different tokens are given on the cards or Events that let you place them or use them, except for the -1 Card token and the -1 coin token; the rules for those tokens are given on the tokens themselves.
Tokens that are placed on Supply piles, may be placed on an empty Supply pile.
When you play a card from a pile with one of your tokens, you get the bonus first, before any when-play ability of another card is triggered (link).
The -1 Card token is in effect when it's been placed on your deck. It's not removed when you reveal or look at cards from your deck, only when you would draw a card.
The -1 coin token is in effect when you've been instructed to take it. It's only removed when you actually get 1 coin or more.
19. Timing rules
See 9. Card abilities.
An ability that is triggered when something occurs (such as when you gain a card), is always resolved after that thing has occurred (so you have already gained the card when the ability is resolved).
19.2 "When would"
An ability that is triggered when something would occur (such as when you would gain a card), is resolved before that thing actually occurs (before you gain the card). Note however that this ability can only trigger if the thing would have otherwise occurred, i.e. if it would have occurred if no when-would abilities had interfered (so you cannot for instance trigger a when-would-gain ability when "trying" to gain a card that's not available in Supply; link). See also 19.8 – Steps of gaining a card.
19.3 When a player plays another card
An ability that is triggered when a player plays another card (such as an Attack card), is resolved after the card is placed in the play area, but before any of the card instructions are resolved.
19.4 Timing of several concurrent abilities
When an ability affects several players at the same time, the effect is resolved in turn order starting with the current player.
When multiple abilities trigger at the same time, first the current player resolves all his abilities, and then each player in turn does. Optional abilities (currently only including other players' Reactions) are resolved by the player who has the choice to resolve it. Other triggered abilities are resolved by the player who triggered it (link, link).
Between turns, the player who last had a turn is considered to be the current player (link).
When a player has several concurrent abilities to resolve, he chooses which to resolve first. After resolving it, he chooses witch to resolve next, etc (link).
When a Duration (see 17) was played by a card such as Throne Room, the later abilities of the two (or more) plays don't have to be resolved right after each other. Other abilities occuring at the same time can be resolved in between. (link.)
19.5 Resolving several concurrent abilities
When several abilities are triggered at the same time, resolve all of them (in a certain order, see 19.4), even if the condition that triggered an ability changes before that ability is resolved (link). See also 10.5 Atomicity of abilities.
While resolving concurrent abilities, if a condition changes so that another ability also can be triggered at this point, it will be triggered. For instance, when resolving abilities that triggered when an Attack was played, if you resolve Secret Chamber and draw a Moat (which you didn't have in your hand when starting to resolve the abilities), the Moat's Reaction ability is triggered and you may resolve it at any point between, or after, the other abilities that were triggered. Also, when resolving start-of-turn abilities, if you put a Reserve card on your Tavern mat that may be called at the start of your turn, you may call it at any point between, or after, the other abilities that were triggered at start of this turn (link).
When resolving several concurrent abilities, resolve each in full before starting the next, even if an ability itself consists of several effects. E.g. if you buy a card which has two Embargo tokens and you have a Haggler in play, Embargo's ability (gain two Curses) must be resolved in full before or after Haggler's ability (gain a card). (link)
19.6 Abilities with several effects for each player
An ability like "each player does A and based on that B happens" means that each player does A and then B happens for that player, before the next player starts with A (link). (See Thief, Spy, Swindler, Saboteur, Jester, etc.) This timing usually only matters for the sake of tactical decisions.
19.7 Several instructions in one sentence
"Do A and B" means "do A, then do B". A and B are two effects that are resolved after each other. Similarly "gain A and B" means "gain A, then gain B." Examples: "Set this and another card aside" (Island), "he gains a Curse and a Copper" (Mountebank, link), "gains a Curse and discards down to 3 cards in hand" (Followers, link).
"Do X twice" or "gain two X" also means that two effects are resolved after each other. Examples: "Gain two Coppers" (Cache, link), "gain two cards" (Stone Mason), and also Remake (link), Throne Room.
Discarding several cards is done all at once (see 13), and so is trashing several cards (see 16 – "Trash").
19.8 Steps of playing, gaining and buying a card
Steps of playing a card
1. The card is announced and placed in the play area.
2. You get the bonuses of any of your player tokens (from Adventures) placed on the pile that the card is from.
3. Other cards' when-play abilities are triggered (such as Reactions to Attacks).
4. The played card's abilities are triggered.
Steps of gaining a card
1. When-would-gain abilities are triggered.
2. The card is gained, going to the player's discard pile, or to another place if specified in the gain instruction.
3. When-gain abilities are triggered. (Watchtower or Royal Seal might now move the card.)
If a when-would-gain ability cancels the gain, the process stops after step 1. This also applies if the gain is replaced with another gain – such as with Possession or Trader – in which case we start on step 1 again for the new gain. See 10.3 Effects contingent on other effects.
1. The card is bought.
2. When-buy abilities are triggered.
3. (The card is gained – continue to Steps of gaining a card, step 1).
20. The "lose track" rule
This rule is found in the Dark Ages rule book. See also here for its pre-Dark Ages significance.
An ability (see 9. Card abilities) that refers to a card, always expects that card to be in a certain location. This is the case until the ability is fully resolved. If the card is moved from that location by another ability, the first ability loses track of it. An ability cannot move a card if it has lost track of it. For instance if an ability refers to a played card, it expects the card to be in play. (A card that has been played expects to find itself in play; link, link.) If an ability refers to a gained card, it expects the card to be where the gaining effect put it (link). If an ability moves a card, it subsequently expects the card to be where it moved it.
Example 1: When you play Throne Room on Mining Village, and trash the Mining Village the first time Throne Room plays it, then when Throne Room plays it the second time, the Mining Village should normally be placed in the play area (see 8). But Throne Room expects it to already be in the play area. Since it's not there, Throne Room has lost track of it and can't move it. Therefore it stays in the trash (which means it can't be trashed again when played this time).
Example 2: You Develop a card costing 4 coins into an Inn (and another card costing 3). The Inn is gained to the top of your deck, and you have a Watchtower in your hand. You can now resolve Inn's when-gain ability and Watchtower's Reaction ability in any order. If you do Inn's first, the Inn is shuffled into your deck. Watchtower has now lost track of the Inn (it's expected to be on top of your deck), so you can't reveal Watchtower to move the Inn to the top of your deck. (link)
A simpler example here.
An ability loses track of a card if it’s on top of a deck or a discard pile and gets covered up. A card that is moved from the expected location and then moved back again, is nevertheless lost track of (link).
Also see the entry on Watchtower below.
Note that a card that has been lost track of can still be played; it just can't be moved.
21. Clarifications and errata
- "Erratum" – Correction.
- "Clarification" – Rules not stated in the card text or anywhere in the rule book.
- "From description" – Rules not stated in the card text or the general rules, but are stated in the card descriptions (the printed Kingdom card explanations or "FAQs" that come with each Dominion game or expansion).
- Rules that aren't marked with any labels are stated in or can be deduced from the card text or general rules, but I chose to include them anyway.
- Note: Some of the rules marked "Clarification" or "From description" could arguably be deduced from the card text or rule book, but are generally unclear enough that a separate explanation is needed.
Band of Misfits
- From description: You can only choose a card that is visible in the Supply.
- Clarification: When you play Band of Misfits, you choose an Action card in Supply, and then the Band of Misfits becomes the chosen card and is played. This means that you will have played two Action cards (link). This reverses a previous ruling.
- Clarification: Regarding Band of Misfits no longer being in play, see 10.5 Atomicity of abilities. If you use Throne Room to play Band of Misfits twice, it will be the chosen card the second time you play it, so you will play it as the same card twice. However, if the card is removed from play (like a Feast), it will be just a Band of Misfits again the second time. You can then choose another Action card from Supply to play it as. The card will stay where it is, and the chosen card's abilities will trigger even as the Band of Misfits will immediately revert back to being just Band of Misfits (since it's not in play), but you will resolve the triggered abilities of the card (link, link). This reverses a previous ruling.
- Clarification: If you use Throne Room to play Band of Misfits as a Duration, Throne Room will stay in play. First Band of Misfits will play the Duration, but the second time it will be Throne Room playing the Duration and causing it to set up a future ability once more that turn, causing the Throne Room to stay in play that turn. However, if you use Throne Room or King's Court to play Band of Misfits as a Feast (or other card being removed from play, see above), then choose to play it as a Duration the second and/or third time, Throne Room/King's Court played Band of Misfits in each instance, never the Duration directly, so Throne Room/King's Court is discarded that turn. (link, link, link.)
- Clarification: If you put a player token (from Adventures) on Band of Misfits, you will get the bonus from the token when you play Band of Misfits. If you choose to play Band of Misfits as a card which also has a token on its pile, you will also get the bonus from that token (link). Given this situation, if you play Throne Room on Band of Misfits, the first time you will get the bonus from both piles, but the second time you will only get the bonus from the chosen pile (link).
- Clarification: If you play Band of Misfits and choose Page or Peasant, you may exchange it when you discard it. Return it to the Band of Misfits pile. (link)
- See also Prince.
- From description: Set-up: You can select the Kingdom cards for the Black Market deck however you want. Before the game begins all players can see the cards. Then shuffle them into a face-down deck.
- From rules: Set-up: If any card requiring special set-up (see 2. Set-up) is in the Black Market deck, do this set-up.
- From description (Dark Ages): Set-up: If Knight is in the Black Market deck, draw one Knight card randomly.
- From description: You can play any Treasures before buying from the Black Market deck, even if you don't buy anything.
- Clarification: If you buy a card from the Black Market deck and reveal Trader, the card you bought (but ended up not gaining), is put back on top of the Black Market deck. (link).
- From description: Even if you get Actions, Buys or coins during other players' turns, you start your next turn with just 1 Action and 1 Buy as normal.
- Erratum: The description says "discard your deck", but should instead say "put your deck in your discard pile". Discarding the deck would trigger when-discard abilities, which Chancellor does not do (link).
Coin of the Realm
- From description: Resolving an Action means resolving the ability that triggers when you play the Action card (link).
- Each time you've played an Action card this turn counts as having played an Action, regardless of whether those Action cards are still in play. Playing an Action card twice with Throne Room is two played Actions, plus one for the Throne Room.
- Clarification: Each card is put on top of your deck as you gain it (see 12. Gaining a card).
- See also 20. The "lose track" rule, example 2.
- Everything that applies to Throne Room in this FAQ also applies to Disciple (except the note under "Mine" about a card text flaw).
- From description: The meaning is: "When this is in Supply, when you gain a Duchy, you may gain a Duchess" (link).
- Erratum: The description says to deal out Silvers in turn order, starting with the player to the left of the player who gained Embassy. This is only correct if the current player gained Embassy. When another player gains Embassy, the current player gains a Silver first, then the next player, etc, skipping the player who gained Embassy. (See 19.4 Timing of several concurrent abilities.) This mistake is also made on page 4 of the Hinterlands rule book. (link)
- Erratum: The card says "draw the rest", but it should say "put the rest into your hand". (From the Adventures rule book.) This matters for the -1 Card token.
- From description: Reveal until you hit a card which is an Action or a Treasure.
- From description: Each player reveals until he hits a card which is a Victory or a Curse.
- From description: If you don't set aside any cards, Gear does not stay in play beyond the current turn. (link)
- Clarification: If you play Haven but have no card to set aside, the Haven does not stay in play beyond the current turn. (link)
- Erratum: The description says, "If Hermit is not discarded from play during Clean-up – for example, if you put it on your deck with Scheme – then the ability that trashes it won't trigger." This description of Scheme is wrong: Scheme doesn't prevent a card from being discarded; it puts the card on the deck when the card is discarded. You can choose whether to resolve Scheme's or Hermit's ability first. If Scheme first, Hermit isn't trashed (the "lose track" rule) but you still gain a Madman. (link)
Horn of Plenty
- Clarification: "It" refers to the gained card. So if you didn't gain the card, you don't trash the Horn of Plenty. (Confer Ironworks.)
- Erratum: The description says to deal out Curses in turn order, starting with the player to the left of the player who gained Ill-Gotten Gains. This is only correct if the current player gained Ill-Gotten Gains. When another player gains Ill-Gotten Gains, the current player gains a Curse first, then the next player, etc, skipping the player who gained Ill-Gotten Gains. (See 19.4 Timing of several concurrent abilities.) (link)
- Clarification: An Estate is yours from the moment you buy it (link), even if you don't gain it due to Possession or Trader (which would make it stop being yours again). Besides this, an Estate is yours when it’s in your deck, hand, discard pile or play area, or when you set it aside or put it on your Tavern mat (link).
- Clarification: Regarding an Inherited Estate no longer being yours, see 10.5 Atomicity of abilities.
- Clarification: If you have your token on a card that refers to itself (with the term "this"), your Estate will refer to itself. If you have your token on a card that refers to a copy of itself (Treasure Map, Crossroads, Duchess), your Estate will refer to that card, not a copy of Estate. However, Pirate Ship should refer to putting Coin tokens on the Pirate Ship mat, and getting +1 coin per token on the Pirate Ship mat (link).
- Clarification: If you play an Estate with your token on Page or Peasant, you may exchange the Estate when you discard it. Return it to the Estate pile. (link)
- Clarification: If you have your token on a Grand Market, you may buy an Estate with Copper in play, since the Estate isn't yours yet (link).
- Clarification: The text "(including this)" in the card text only applies when Inn is gained to discard as normal. If it's gained to somewhere else, it doesn't apply (link).
- Clarification: If you shuffle zero cards into your deck when gaining Inn, you still shuffle (link).
- See also Watchtower.
- See also 20. The "lose track" rule, example 2.
- Clarification: "It" refers to the gained card. So if you didn't gain the card, you don't get anything from the second part of Ironworks (see 10.3 Effects contingent on other effects; link).
- Everything that applies to Throne Room in this FAQ also applies to King's Court (except the note below under "Mine" about a card text flaw).
- From rules: Set-up: If Knights are being used, shuffle the Knight cards and place the pile face-down with the top card face-up.
- See also Black Market and Trade Route.
- Clarification: "It" refers to the gained card. So if you didn't gain the card, the other players don't gain anything (link).
Mine, Moneylender, Throne Room, Graverobber
- These card texts have a flaw in that they don't follow the usual Dominion maxim of "keeping you honest". When playing the card, you're only allowed to not do the instruction if you don't have a Treasure/Copper/Action/Action (respectively) in your hand. The cards should either have told you to reveal your hand to confirm this, or should have been optional ("you may..."). Like all cards they are nevertheless to be played as written, so players either have to trust each other not to make mistakes or cheat, or have an impartial judge look at the players' hands. (link, link, link)
- Clarification: When Throne Roomed: see 20. The "lose track" rule, example 1.
- Clarification: When Throne Roomed in a turn when you're Possessed (with Possession), if trashed the first time, Mining Village is set aside (per the Possession rules). Although Throne Room has lost track of it, it can now be trashed since it's not already in Trash. But Mining Village has now lost track of itself. It tries to trash itself from play, but since it's not in play the second time, it can't trash itself (link, link).
- Clarification: When you reveal Moat to an Attack card, you are not automatically unaffected by other cards (link).
- From description: This card is gained directly to your deck, so this is not strictly a when-gain ability (link).
- See also Transmogrify.
- Clarification: See 17.3 When do you discard a Duration?.
- If you play Outpost, you only draw 3 cards in Clean-up, even if you didn't get an extra turn.
- See Possession for more rules.
- From description: Choose the two options before doing them.
- From description: You can do the options in any order, unlike with Trusty Steed.
- Clarification: During the active player's Buy phase, Peddler's cost is modified for all players (link).
- Clarification: Put the Coin token on your Pirate Ship mat. These tokens are not considered "Coin tokens" as referenced on any other card or in 18.2. They can only be used by Pirate Ship. (link)
- Erratum: Pirate Ship should refer to putting Coin tokens on the Pirate Ship mat, and getting +$1 per Coin token on the Pirate Ship mat (link). This matters for Inheritance, see that card.
- From rules: Set-up: This Kingdom pile has 12 cards rather than 10.
- Clarification: You gain another Port before you gain the Port you buy. If there is only one Port available in the supply, with a Trader you can gain a Silver and a Port. See Talisman for the explanation.
- The player being Possessed is the one taking the extra turn.
- The extra turn from Possession or Outpost is the player's "next turn" after his previous turn, so "next turn" abilities from Duration cards are triggered now.
- Playing a Possession only lets you possess one turn; Outpost or Possession played (or Mission bought) on the Possessed player's turn gives an extra turn just as if that player weren't Possessed.
- From description: Outpost and Mission don't give you an extra turn if you already played two consecutive turns, including turns where you were Possessed. But they don't prevent Possession from giving you more turns.
- Clarification: If an extra turn is produced (from Outpost, Possession or Mission) on a Possession turn, and another turn is in queue to happen for the same player, the current player decides which turn to do first. In between turns this is the player who last had a turn. If the player was Possessed on that turn, he himself (not the Possessor) makes decisions between turns, (such as whether to play an Outpost turn or Possession turn first). This reverses a previous ruling. (link)
- After being Possessed, and any resulting extra turns from Outposts or more Possessions, you in any case get your regular turn.
- Clarification: When Throne Roomed: see 9.3 Setting up a later ability.
- See also Mining Village and Trader. See also 10.3 Effects contingent on other effects.
- From description: "Stop playing it if you fail to set it aside on a turn you play it". This only refers to setting it aside with this Prince. If the Prince cannot set the card aside during Clean-up, it will stop playing it. If you for example use Prince on an Island, when the Island has set itself aside Prince will stop playing it. The same happens if you use Prince on another Prince (so this will waste the first Prince). (link)
- From description: "...setting it aside again when you discard it from play". This refers to discarding it from play this turn. So if you use Prince on a Duration, the Duration will be played next turn but won't normally be discarded (since it's a Duration) and therefore Prince fails to set it aside again that turn and so will stop playing it. The Duration will be discarded later as usual. (link)
- Prince used on Band of Misfits: You can choose a new card for Band of Misfits each turn. (link)
- Everything that applies to Throne Room in this FAQ also applies to Procession (except the note under "Mine" about a card text flaw).
- From rules: Set-up: This Kingdom pile has 20 cards rather than 10.
- From description: Resolving an Action means resolving the ability that triggers when you play the Action card (link).
- Everything that applies to Throne Room in this FAQ also applies to Royal Carriage (except the note under "Mine" about a card text flaw).
- From rules (Alchemy): The meaning is: "+Coins equal to its cost in coins".
- From description: The card is set aside face-down.
- Clarification: When Throne Roomed: see 9.3 Setting up a later ability.
- See also Hermit.
- Clarification: "It" refers to the gained card. So if you didn't gain the card, you don't move your +1 Buy token. (Confer Ironworks.)
- Clarification: Looks at the current cost of cards (link).
- Clarification: The meaning is: "When you shuffle this in your deck, you may put it anywhere in your deck" (link).
- Clarification: See 17.3 When do you discard a Duration?.
- Clarification: You gain the copy from Talisman before you gain the card you bought (link). This means that even if the card you buy is the only copy available (either the last in the pile or a Knight or Ruins where the next card is different), you can reveal Trader to gain a Silver instead of the copy from Talisman, and then afterwards gain the card you bought, since a copy is still in the Supply pile (link, link).
- Clarification: "They" is used here as a singular pronoun, and should actually have been "he" to be consistent with all other cards. The meaning is that the cards are revealed (and one Treasure possibly trashed) for each player in turn, and then at the end you may gain any of them from the Trash (link).
- See 9.2 Playing a card multiple times and 9.3 Setting up a later ability.
- See 17.2 Modifying a Duration card.
- See also Mine, Mining Village, Band of Misfits and Urchin.
- From description: Players reveal any Provinces first, before you decide what Prize to gain (if you revealed one). This is different from the timing of cards like Spy, see 19.6 Cards with several effect for each player.
- From description: When you gain a Prize, you gain whichever you want from the Prize pile.
- From description: Gaining a Duchy and gaining a Prize are two options you can choose between. (See 10.2 Do as much as you can; link.)
- From rules (Dark Ages): Set-up: Don't place a token on the Knight pile, even if the top Knight is a Victory card.
- Clarification: The card you would have gained isn't replaced with a Silver, rather you gain a Silver instead of gaining the card (link). This means anything contingent on the first gain doesn't happen (see 10.3 Effects contingent on other effects).
- If you have a Trader in hand in a turn when you're Possessed (with Possession): The Possessor chooses which to resolve first: Possession's when-would-gain ability or Trader's. (See 19.4 Timing of several concurrent abilities; link, link.)
- See also Black Market, Port and Talisman.
- Clarification: The card is gained directly to your hand. If you gain a Nomad Camp, you can choose if it goes to your hand or your deck (link).
- From description: Choose the two options before doing them.
- From description: You must do the options in the order listed, unlike with Pawn.
- Clarification: See 13. Discarding cards.
- If an opponent plays Warrior and you discard a Tunnel, you may gain a Gold. The Gold will be placed on top of Tunnel, so Warrior loses track of Tunnel and can’t trash it.
- From description: The ability below the dividing line only triggers if you play another card, not this card again (e.g. with Throne Room).
- See 20. The "lose track" rule, example 2.
- Clarification: This pertains to the "lose track" rule: If you have Watchtower in your hand when you gain a Border Village, you can choose to resolve Border Village's when-gain ability first. You then gain another card, placing it atop the Border Village in the discard and causing the Border Village to be lost track of. If you reveal Watchtower to put the last-gained card on your deck, you cannot then reveal Watchtower to put the Border Village on your deck (link).
- Clarification: If you gain an Inn and choose to shuffle some cards into your deck, but leave the Inn on top of your discard pile, you can reveal Watchtower to put the Inn on top of your deck. (link)