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Dominion: Hinterlands» Forums » Strategy

Subject: Short Analysis of the 26 Kingdom Cards - Hinterlands Version rss

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Schuk
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I rather like the idea of an effect that is triggered when a card is gained. I always feel Dominion is a lot about rhythm, finding the right moment for the right action, and the fact that now you can do things immediately is yet another aspect to be taken into account.

What I like less is the fact that a lot of cards are just new takes on older ones. We have a third version of Thief, a third version of Spy (and even a fourth if we count the Duchess), a fifth version of Militia... (and I don’t even mention Villages or Remodels). Well, it’s not that surprising, considering that we have the seventh box here. And it’s still a great job as these cards are not clones, either, and fortunately we also have plenty of originality. But maybe we are reaching the bottom of the concept ?

Well in doubt, I suppose I’ll still buy the next expansion to make sure...

Border Village (+1 card, +2 actions / upon gain: gain a card costing less than this)
A straightforward card is often a good one in Dominion. Here, we have a basic Village (a staple if there is one) with a very simple bonus: it comes in bundle with a card costing up to 5. No type (Action, Treasure or Victory are all valid choices) nor cost (less than 5 is OK, too) restriction. It is great early to get expensive Actions, it is great late to just grab a last Duchy. A winner!

Cache (worth 3 / upon gain: gain 2 Coppers)
I like powerful cards that come with a drawback. The Cache is very similar to the Contraband, except for the penalty, which is lighter: it is inflicted only once (upon gain), it doesn’t prevent you from buying anything, and it might even be turned into a profit (I still don’t really believe in Copper strategies, but it helps fuel trashing actions like Spice Merchant and piling up cards for Gardens). Generally, I wouldn’t bother with Golds at all if there are other options costing 6.

Cartographer (+1 card, +1 action; among the top 4 cards of your deck, discard any number and put the rest back on top)
Improves your next hand (maybe even your current hand if you have drawing options) and helps create a combo. But still at the lower end of the spectrum of Actions costing 5.

Crossroads (+1 card per Victory card in your hand, +3 actions for your first Crossroads)
Now this card can be insanely powerful (and it costs 2!). The Victory cards are not discarded, so they can be revealed again in the same turn to fuel other Crossroads. And it doesn’t matter that those will be terminal actions: the whooping +3 actions of the first is usually sufficient. Anyway, Dominion is mainly about finding the right moment to start buying Victory cards, and with Crossroads in play your old landmarks won’t help you much.

Develop (trash 1 card from your hand; gain a card costing exactly 1 more and one costing exactly -1 and put them on top of your deck)
The low price, the twin cards bonus and the ability to play your new cards next turn seem alluring. In reality, gaining 2 cards when you trash 1 is not really what you would call “thinning”, the “exactly” restrictions are, as always, very binding, and putting cards on top of your deck isn’t very funny when they are Victory cards. An interesting (but situational) use: creating 2 card combos (for example: develop a card costing 3 to put both an Estate and a Baron on top of your deck).

Duchess (+2 coins; everybody look at the first card of their deck, discard it or put it back / when you gain a Duchy, you may gain a Duchess)
Helping your opponents shouldn’t be considered too lightly (especially when Tunnels are in play). It can be a valid move if you value the knowledge of the top card of your opponents’ decks (if you can chain an Attack like Thief or Swindler) but buying a Duchess on such shallow hopes is optimistic. Just evaluate how much you need the +2 coins boost. The fact that you can get a Duchess for free when you take a Duchy doesn’t make it a better card, by the way.

Embassy (+5 cards; discard 3 cards / upon gain, other players gain a Silver)
The latest addition in the Cellar/Warehouse family. It is a powerful card in a strategy with very few action cards, as in this case you are bound to have a lot of Treasures in hand, even after the discard (which is not very harmful, as finding 3 bad cards among a hand of 9 shouldn’t be very difficult: either Coppers/Estates early or Victory cards late). But once again, carefully evaluate how helpful this extra Silver might be to your opponents: if he’s struggling financially he will welcome the help.

Farmland ( 2 VP / upon buy, trash a card from your hand and gain a card costing exactly 2 more)
The bonus granted upon buy is often worth the 1 VP difference with a Duchy. The best (and most obvious) use of the Farmland is to trash another Farmland to gain a Province.

Fool's Gold (worth 1 for the first one played, worth 4 for the others; when another player gains a Province, you may trash this from your hand to gain a Gold on top of your deck)
The bad news is that it is worthless when it doesn’t combo. The good news is that it combos with itself (that’s always easier). Among all the cards that help creating a combo, for this particular one the best one might well be Venture. The reaction ability is nice if you didn’t buy a lot of Fool’s Golds after all, or if you think the bonus Gold on your deck will be more useful than the Fool’s Gold in your hand (which is sometimes a risky bet).

Haggler (+2 coins; when you buy a card, gain a non-VP card costing less)
I wasn’t very enthusiastic before seeing it in play. The +2 coins bonus makes a big difference because it makes sure the card will (nearly) never be wasted. Remember how sometimes, in the end game, you would like to have more of this or that cheap card in your deck (usually for trashing or +1 buy) but you always end up with 7 coins in hand and only one buy? That’s the kind of problems the Haggler solves. And of course it shines when you need a fat Garden deck.

Highway (+1 card, +1 action; cards cost 1 less)
I usually like original cards, and at first I thought Highway wasn’t really one, this road having already been paved by the Bridge. But actually Highway’s approach is quite different, giving it its own flavour. The chaining ability enables everything you dreamt of doing with Bridge (with Ironworks or Workshop), but at the cost of the very useful +1 buy, which makes it much less powerful when played all by itself.

Ill-Gotten Gains (worth 1; you may gain a Copper in your hand / upon gain: other players gain a Curse)
The first way of giving Curses around without counter possibilities. But gaining a Copper isn’t generally that good an idea, unless part of a dedicated strategy (Copper-based economy with Coppersmith and/or Counting House or Gardens strategy), and the fact that it lands in your hand won’t usually change much. And being worth 1, Ill-Gotten Gains itself is a sort of Copper. Unless of course there are recycling possibilities in the cardset, in which case its value of 5 will prove helpful.

Inn (+2 cards, +2 actions; discard 2 cards / upon gain: shuffle any number of Action cards from your discard pile back into your deck)
A decent cycling tool, especially in the endgame when your deck is “polluted” by a lot of green cards. It’s not broken either, as the discard penalty make big turns (like 2-Province turns) quite difficult to achieve. The upon-gain bonus can be quite funny depending on the Action cards in your discard pile (Grand Market, Nobles, well you get the idea; if there are a lot of them, Throne Room or King’s Court are great choices, too) but it must be timed right.

Jack Of All Trades (gain a Silver; discard the top card of your deck or put it back; draw until you have 5 cards in hand; you may trash a non-Treasure card from your hand)
I like this card because of its versatility. It does a little bit of everything (hence the name...) and this includes the thing you need most (especially as it helps mitigate the effects of nearly any attack that was just played).

Mandarin (+3 coin; discard a card on top of your deck / upon gain: put all Treasures in play on top of your deck)
Again an interesting and original card. +3 coin is awesome, and the penalty (discarding a card on top of your deck) can actually be helpful, especially to save another terminal action for the next turn. Having the money again next turn is a good way to buy another Mandarin straight away, but it is more fun when you have several buys (get a Province and a Mandarin, next turn another Province is guaranteed; or get a Mandarin to remove all Coppers from play and get a Grand Market as second buy... ok maybe buying Victory cards is a more suitable choice!)

Margrave (+3 cards, +1 buy; other players draw a card then discard down to 3 cards in hand)
Yet another take on the old Militia. The active effect is stronger, the attack is weaker (drawing first increases the choice, helps creating combos, and slightly accelerates the cycling of the deck).

Noble Brigand (+1 coin; other players reveal the top 2 cards of their decks and trash a revealed Gold or Silver that you gain, if they didn’t reveal any Treasure they gain a Copper / upon buy: same effect)
And yet another take on the Thief... I’m not a big fan of either the Thief (playing mostly 2-players) or the Pirate Ship, so I’m not very objective about this one either. Apparently, some flaws have been tackled, though. It hits immediately (and reactions are not allowed), so it can still be a valid choice when Thieves and Pirate Ships wouldn’t. It has an active effect, although +1 coin is nothing fancy. And it’s not too powerful, as it ignores Platinum or special Treasures. I’m still not impressed though.

Nomad Camp (+2 coins, +1 buy / upon gain: put this on top of your deck)
Well that’s a Woodcutter for next turn. Okay it can do funny things to the usual 4/3 openings; okay a cheap +1 buy can be quite handy, but I don’t think anybody will dream about that card at night.

Oasis (+1 card, +1 action +1 coin; discard a card)
After the Grand Market, this one is kind of a Small Market. A good, cheap card that takes a new dimension when Tunnels are out.

Oracle (players reveal the 2 top cards of their decks, you chose for each player if they discard them or put them back; +2 cards)
And now another take on the Spy. The novelty is that you get to draw the top cards straight away if you like them. But Oracle being a terminal action, you won’t always have much use for them. I guess there will be more alluring cards costing 3 available in the cardset more often than not.

Scheme (+1 card, +1 action; at the end of your turn you may put one of your Action cards in play back on top of your deck)
A combo maker, that can remain in play without hurt until the 2-card combo is ready (it doesn’t help the Treasure Maps though). Or, it can be played as a kind of Throne Room over two turns, which is especially nice if you have expensive Actions.

Silk Road (1 VP for every 4 Victory cards in your deck)
Making the most of the Silk Road will often be a risky strategy, green card being quite unfriendly during the course of play. But they become much more enticing as soon as Victory cards with another status are in play (Great Halls, Islands, Nobles, Harems, Tunnels...)

Spice Merchant (if you trash a Treasure from your hand: either +2 cards, +1 action or +2 coins, +1 buy)
As I already mentioned, I like versatility in Dominion cards. Spice Merchant has plenty. It is either a Laboratory or a Woodcutter, depending on what you need at the moment, and enables deck thinning on top of that. It is better early game than late though, as the trashing is clearly meant for Coppers.

Stables (if you discard a Treasure: +3 cards, +1 action)
A powerful drawing engine, as long as you have enough low-grade Treasures to fuel it. In a neatly trimmed deck, the harm of discarding a Gold (or better) might be greater than the gain of drawing 3 cards. With cardsets without trashing cards, Stables will often be a good choice.

Trader (trash a card from your hand to gain a number of Silver equal to its cost; when you would gain a card, reveal this to gain a Silver instead)
This is a great opener, to change Estates into Silvers by twos. Even later on it is still quite good if the cardset is not too powerful and Silvers can still play ball. The reaction is great too: of course it is a protection against Curses, but it can also give a Silver for free (buy a Copper, react, gain a Silver).

Tunnel (2 VP; when you discard this other than at the end of your turn, gain a Gold)
This may be my favourite card of the whole box. The VP/cost ratio of 2/3 is interesting already, but in some situations it is an excellent way to gain Golds. Either there are Militia-like attacks that allow to discard Tunnels during opponents turns, or there are Actions with a discarding penalty (Oasis, Inn, Hamlet, Warehouse...) or Spy-like actions (including Duchess) If none of those cards are available, Tunnels can still clog your hand though.
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Well done, as always.
But I believe you should ad the links to your previous Dominion strategy posts, so that first timers (or those who missed the analyses of the other Dominion expansions) get a chance to read through them too.

Btw: The cartographer should get a bold title in your article too.
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David Goldfarb
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Schuk wrote:
Spice Merchant (if you trash a Treasure from your hand: either +2 cards, +1 action or +2 coins, +1 buy)
As I already mentioned, I like versatility in Dominion cards. Spice Merchant has plenty. It is either a Laboratory or a Woodcutter, depending on what you need at the moment, and enables deck thinning on top of that. It is better early game than late though, as the trashing is clearly meant for Coppers.

It's actually weaker than either Laboratory or Woodcutter. When you play a Laboratory, you end up with 6 cards in hand; a Spice Merchant only gets you back to 5. Woodcutter gives you +$2, and Spice Merchant only gives you $1. The advantage is the versatility.

Spice Merchant works very nicely with double-Jack to get those Coppers out of your deck; once you have enough Coppers gone, one of the Jacks can kill it.
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Charles Waterman
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I think Develop really makes buying the less attractive $4 cards a lot more fun too, since they can developed into tasty $3 and $5s!

Montebanc
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The Compulsive Completist
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Schuk wrote:

What I like less is the fact that a lot of cards are just new takes on older ones. We have a third version of Thief, a third version of Spy (and even a fourth if we count the Duchess), a fifth version of Militia... (and I don’t even mention Villages or Remodels). Well, it’s not that surprising, considering that we have the seventh box here. And it’s still a great job as these cards are not clones, either, and fortunately we also have plenty of originality. But maybe we are reaching the bottom of the concept?

I think it is important to have multiple versions of the same card so the proportion of cards is corrrect. By having a village in every set the odds of aquiring a village randomly at set up is the same (or close to) as if I were playing with the base Dominion game. I don't need a village or a thief every game but I don't want it to omly appear every 16 games either.
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Quote:
It's actually weaker than either Laboratory or Woodcutter. When you play a Laboratory, you end up with 6 cards in hand; a Spice Merchant only gets you back to 5. Woodcutter gives you +$2, and Spice Merchant only gives you $1. The advantage is the versatility.

Spice Merchant works very nicely with double-Jack to get those Coppers out of your deck; once you have enough Coppers gone, one of the Jacks can kill it.


Of course. But Spice merchant is great because he trash your coppers and give you the choice (when you need action : laboratory effect. When you need +buy : woodcutter effect).

DoubleJack doesn't always need Spice Merchant, because the strategy is sufficiently powerful, you don't always have time to buy a spice merchant (at the begin you buy JoaT, after gold or province).
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Matthew Cordeiro
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Hockey Mask wrote:
Schuk wrote:

What I like less is the fact that a lot of cards are just new takes on older ones. We have a third version of Thief, a third version of Spy (and even a fourth if we count the Duchess), a fifth version of Militia... (and I don’t even mention Villages or Remodels). Well, it’s not that surprising, considering that we have the seventh box here. And it’s still a great job as these cards are not clones, either, and fortunately we also have plenty of originality. But maybe we are reaching the bottom of the concept?

I think it is important to have multiple versions of the same card so the proportion of cards is corrrect. By having a village in every set the odds of aquiring a village randomly at set up is the same (or close to) as if I were playing with the base Dominion game. I don't need a village or a thief every game but I don't want it to appear only every 16 games either.


Plus, not everyone will have every expansion. While this may be the 7th or so "village" for me or you, it may only be the 2nd for someone else.
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Matthew Cordeiro
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Schuk wrote:
Ill-Gotten Gains... The first way of giving Curses around without counter possibilities.

I can see how a Moat or Secret Chamber would be useless, but can't you still react to gaining the curse with a Watchtower or Trader?

Schuk wrote:
Noble Brigand... It hits immediately (and reactions are not allowed), so it can still be a valid choice when Thieves and Pirate Ships wouldn’t.

If it's bought as an opening buy (which is not a great idea for the free deck cycling you give your opponent), I can see how you can't react to it. But after that, isn't it reacted to just like any other attack?

schuk wrote:
Spice Merchant...It is better early game than late though, as the trashing is clearly meant for Coppers.

Or late game for Loan, Talisman, Quarry, and Ill-Gotten Gains.
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cordeiro wrote:
Schuk wrote:
Noble Brigand... It hits immediately (and reactions are not allowed), so it can still be a valid choice when Thieves and Pirate Ships wouldn’t.

If it's bought as an opening buy (which is not a great idea for the free deck cycling you give your opponent), I can see how you can't react to it. But after that, isn't it reacted to just like any other attack?

Not when it's bought, because buying an Attack card is not the same as playing an Attack card, which is what the relevant Reactions trigger on.
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Nice analysis, a few comments:

Schuk wrote:
Border Village (+1 card, +1 action / upon gain: gain a card costing less than this)
A straightforward card is often a good one in Dominion. Here, we have a basic Village (a staple if there is one) with a very simple bonus: it comes in bundle with a card costing up to 5. No type (Action, Treasure or Victory are all valid choices) nor cost (less than 5 is OK, too) restriction. It is great early to get expensive Actions, it is great late to just grab a last Duchy. A winner!


With the right setup, this card is an engine to itself. Any of the 5-cost attacks with +Cards tacked on (Witch, Torturer, Rabble, etc.) makes this amazing.

Also, if you don't really need the village part later, it can possibly be remade/remodeled/etc. into something else.

Schuk wrote:
Cache (worth 3 / upon gain: gain 2 Coppers)
I like powerful cards that come with a drawback. The Cache is very similar to the Contraband, except for the penalty, which is lighter: it is inflicted only once (upon gain), it doesn’t prevent you from buying anything, and it might even be turned into a profit (I still don’t really believe in Copper strategies, but it helps fuel trashing actions like Spice Merchant and piling up cards for Gardens). Generally, I wouldn’t bother with Golds at all if there are other options costing 6.


If there's Gardens or a good Copper-trasher/cycler/user, this card is better than Gold.

Schuk wrote:
Cartographer (+1 card, +1 action; among the top 4 cards of your deck, discard any number and put the rest back on top)
Improves your next hand (maybe even your current hand if you have drawing options) and helps create a combo. But still at the lower end of the spectrum of Actions costing 5.


If there's not a good trasher in the setup, this card is amazingly good. It also combos GREAT with a lot of other cards which rely on what's on top of your deck.

Schuk wrote:
Duchess (+2 coins; everybody look at the first card of their deck, discard it or put it back / when you gain a Duchy, you may gain a Duchess)
Helping your opponents shouldn’t be considered too lightly (especially when Tunnels are in play). It can be a valid move if you value the knowledge of the top card of your opponents’ decks (if you can chain an Attack like Thief or Swindler) but buying a Duchess on such shallow hopes is optimistic. Just evaluate how much you need the +2 coins boost. The fact that you can get a Duchess for free when you take a Duchy doesn’t make it a better card, by the way.


People don't reveal the cards, so that won't help you at all. Unless I'm in a spot where I have tons of +actions and not enough terminal ones, I'll NEVER buy this or even accept it for free with a Duchy (well, unless Gardens are involved)

Schuk wrote:
Embassy (+5 cards; discard 3 cards / upon gain, other players gain a Silver)
The latest addition in the Cellar/Warehouse family. It is a powerful card in a strategy with very few action cards, as in this case you are bound to have a lot of Treasures in hand, even after the discard (which is not very harmful, as finding 3 bad cards among a hand of 9 shouldn’t be very difficult: either Coppers/Estates early or Victory cards late). But once again, carefully evaluate how helpful this extra Silver might be to your opponents: if he’s struggling financially he will welcome the help.


Not really a Cellar/Warehouse at all, since it doesn't have +action to it, so it can't be used to cycle past bad stuff and keep playing other cards unless combo'd with a Village-type. It's more like a Smithy. In fact, given that you only net 2 cards and give everyone else a Silver, I'd unless there's no good trasher or you've bogged your deck down for Gardens, I'd say it's almost exactly on par with Smithy, only costing $1 more.

Schuk wrote:
Fool's Gold (worth 1 for the first one played, worth 4 for the others; when another player gains a Province, you may trash this from your hand to gain a Gold on top of your deck)
The bad news is that it is worthless when it doesn’t combo. The good news is that it combos with itself (that’s always easier). Among all the cards that help creating a combo, for this particular one the best one might well be Venture. The reaction ability is nice if you didn’t buy a lot of Fool’s Golds after all, or if you think the bonus Gold on your deck will be more useful than the Fool’s Gold in your hand (which is sometimes a risky bet).


Possibly the most stupidly overpowered card in the set. A cheap +buy or especially an Ironworks and this card is just amazing.

Schuk wrote:
Highway (+1 card, +1 action; cards cost 1 less)
I usually like original cards, and at first I thought Highway wasn’t really one, this road having already been paved by the Bridge. But actually Highway’s approach is quite different, giving it its own flavour. The chaining ability enables everything you dreamt of doing with Bridge (with Ironworks or Workshop), but at the cost of the very useful +1 buy, which makes it much less powerful when played all by itself.


Highway + any card which gives +Buy or any cards which revolve around the cost of a card can be huge. Even if it's something like Expand, if you can get enough Highways fast enough, you can trash a Copper and get the cost of what you actually want down low enough to get it. Copper->Duchy isn't too difficult. In an extreme case, I've seen Copper->Providence.

Schuk wrote:
Ill-Gotten Gains (worth 1; you may gain a Copper in your hand / upon gain: other players gain a Curse)
The first way of giving Curses around without counter possibilities. But gaining a Copper isn’t generally that good an idea, unless part of a dedicated strategy (Copper-based economy with Coppersmith and/or Counting House or Gardens strategy), and the fact that it lands in your hand won’t usually change much. And being worth 1, Ill-Gotten Gains itself is a sort of Copper. Unless of course there are recycling possibilities in the cardset, in which case its value of 5 will prove helpful.


If Fool's Gold isn't the most overpowered card in the set, this is. Strategy: Buy these out faster than your opponents, which will run out the curses, that's 2 sets down. Buy out the Duchies from there (remember, you can take a copper every time you play one, so getting to 5 should be simple enough) and the game ends.

Schuk wrote:
Nomad Camp (+2 coins, +1 buy / upon gain: put this on top of your deck)
Well that’s a Woodcutter for next turn. Okay it can do funny things to the usual 4/3 openings; okay a cheap +1 buy can be quite handy, but I don’t think anybody will dream about that card at night.


It's a dream of mine to open 3/4 with this on the table. Buy a Silver, then turn 2, buy this, and if you luck out a tiny drop, you get a Gold on turn 3. If not, you get a 5-cost. After that, it's a Woodcutter, which you probably want in your deck for later-game anyway.

Schuk wrote:
Oasis (+1 card, +1 action +1 coin; discard a card)
After the Grand Market, this one is kind of a Small Market. A good, cheap card that takes a new dimension when Tunnels are out.


More than that, if there's not a good trasher, this lets you cycle your deck VERY well. Also can nicely work with Menagerie (use this, draw a card, discard a duplicate you have, use Menagerie and draw 3) and other cards which rely on having certain things in/not in your hand to work.

Schuk wrote:
Scheme (+1 card, +1 action; at the end of your turn you may put one of your Action cards in play back on top of your deck)
A combo maker, that can remain in play without hurt until the 2-card combo is ready (it doesn’t help the Treasure Maps though). Or, it can be played as a kind of Throne Room over two turns, which is especially nice if you have expensive Actions.


Works great in a lot of circumstances. One of the more fun ones I had the other day was Young Witch was out and I didn't want more than 1 copy of the Bane card, so I used Scheme to keep the Bane card in my hand most turns till the curses ran out.

Schuk wrote:
Silk Road (1 VP for every 4 Victory cards in your deck)
Making the most of the Silk Road will often be a risky strategy, green card being quite unfriendly during the course of play. But they become much more enticing as soon as Victory cards with another status are in play (Great Halls, Islands, Nobles, Harems, Tunnels...)


Silk Road + Crossroads = quick win (run out the Estates as your third pile for even more hijinks).
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Matthew Cordeiro
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Squidd wrote:
cordeiro wrote:
Schuk wrote:
Noble Brigand... It hits immediately (and reactions are not allowed), so it can still be a valid choice when Thieves and Pirate Ships wouldn’t.

If it's bought as an opening buy (which is not a great idea for the free deck cycling you give your opponent), I can see how you can't react to it. But after that, isn't it reacted to just like any other attack?

Not when it's bought, because buying an Attack card is not the same as playing an Attack card, which is what the relevant Reactions trigger on.

Yeah, I see the difference now. Thanks.
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sybrwookie wrote:
Schuk wrote:
Embassy (+5 cards; discard 3 cards / upon gain, other players gain a Silver)
The latest addition in the Cellar/Warehouse family. It is a powerful card in a strategy with very few action cards, as in this case you are bound to have a lot of Treasures in hand, even after the discard (which is not very harmful, as finding 3 bad cards among a hand of 9 shouldn’t be very difficult: either Coppers/Estates early or Victory cards late). But once again, carefully evaluate how helpful this extra Silver might be to your opponents: if he’s struggling financially he will welcome the help.


Not really a Cellar/Warehouse at all, since it doesn't have +action to it, so it can't be used to cycle past bad stuff and keep playing other cards unless combo'd with a Village-type. It's more like a Smithy. In fact, given that you only net 2 cards and give everyone else a Silver, I'd unless there's no good trasher or you've bogged your deck down for Gardens, I'd say it's almost exactly on par with Smithy, only costing $1 more.

I agree that it's in the Smithy family rather than the Cellar family. I will say that "Draw 5, discard 3 from your hand" is really quite a lot better than just "Draw 3" -- enough better to make the on-gain penalty needed.
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David Murray
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Border Village is +2 Actions.
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David Murray
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Schuk wrote:

Border Village (+1 card, +1 action / upon gain: gain a card costing less than this)
A straightforward card is often a good one in Dominion. Here, we have a basic Village (a staple if there is one) with a very simple bonus: it comes in bundle with a card costing up to 5. No type (Action, Treasure or Victory are all valid choices) nor cost (less than 5 is OK, too) restriction. It is great early to get expensive Actions, it is great late to just grab a last Duchy. A winner!

I often find with border village getting gold is the better option, of course I have brought it several times and it's sometimes quite good. Remember that unless your get proper use out of the village (use both actions) all you really did was buy a 5 cost card for 6. Border Village is good in situations were you'd want to buy a 5 for 6 anyway (Witch, Mountebank etc). A winner sometimes, but often when compared to gold it comes 2nd place.

Schuk wrote:

Cache (worth 3 / upon gain: gain 2 Coppers)
I like powerful cards that come with a drawback. The Cache is very similar to the Contraband, except for the penalty, which is lighter: it is inflicted only once (upon gain), it doesn’t prevent you from buying anything, and it might even be turned into a profit (I still don’t really believe in Copper strategies, but it helps fuel trashing actions like Spice Merchant and piling up cards for Gardens). Generally, I wouldn’t bother with Golds at all if there are other options costing 6.

I don't think I've played a game with Cache and a non gold 6 cost card (except maybe BV), but I'm going to have to disagree and say bother with golds, unless you have heavy trashing (Chapel) then gaining two coppers is quite a big drawback, the average value of the cards you gain is 1.67, in other words buying cache without trashing is actually worse than buying Silver. Basically Cache is quite nice with a trasher like chapel, spice merchant (you'd probably want two in your deck), etc, but even then I'd still be buying golds at 6.

Schuk wrote:

Cartographer (+1 card, +1 action; among the top 4 cards of your deck, discard any number and put the rest back on top)
Improves your next hand (maybe even your current hand if you have drawing options) and helps create a combo. But still at the lower end of the spectrum of Actions costing 5.

I agree mostly here, but would just like to say this can be good against attacks that mess up the top of your deck.

Schuk wrote:

Crossroads (+1 card per Victory card in your hand, +3 actions for your first Crossroads)
Now this card can be insanely powerful (and it costs 2!). The Victory cards are not discarded, so they can be revealed again in the same turn to fuel other Crossroads. And it doesn’t matter that those will be terminal actions: the whooping +3 actions of the first is usually sufficient. Anyway, Dominion is mainly about finding the right moment to start buying Victory cards, and with Crossroads in play your old landmarks won’t help you much.

I've never witnessed Crossroads be insanely powerful, but it can be quite nice as an action provider for draw engine.


Schuk wrote:

Develop (trash 1 card from your hand; gain a card costing exactly 1 more and one costing exactly -1 and put them on top of your deck)
The low price, the twin cards bonus and the ability to play your new cards next turn seem alluring. In reality, gaining 2 cards when you trash 1 is not really what you would call “thinning”, the “exactly” restrictions are, as always, very binding, and putting cards on top of your deck isn’t very funny when they are Victory cards. An interesting (but situational) use: creating 2 card combos (for example: develop a card costing 3 to put both an Estate and a Baron on top of your deck).

Develop is generally a weak card but there are some situations were you can combo with it and it works quite well.

Schuk wrote:

Duchess (+2 coins; everybody look at the first card of their deck, discard it or put it back / when you gain a Duchy, you may gain a Duchess)
Helping your opponents shouldn’t be considered too lightly (especially when Tunnels are in play). It can be a valid move if you value the knowledge of the top card of your opponents’ decks (if you can chain an Attack like Thief or Swindler) but buying a Duchess on such shallow hopes is optimistic. Just evaluate how much you need the +2 coins boost. The fact that you can get a Duchess for free when you take a Duchy doesn’t make it a better card, by the way.

Duchess is quite bad and often you do not want it even for free.

Schuk wrote:

Embassy (+5 cards; discard 3 cards / upon gain, other players gain a Silver)
The latest addition in the Cellar/Warehouse family. It is a powerful card in a strategy with very few action cards, as in this case you are bound to have a lot of Treasures in hand, even after the discard (which is not very harmful, as finding 3 bad cards among a hand of 9 shouldn’t be very difficult: either Coppers/Estates early or Victory cards late). But once again, carefully evaluate how helpful this extra Silver might be to your opponents: if he’s struggling financially he will welcome the help.

Embassy is a powerful draw card with a minor downside when you gain it, often worth getting.

Schuk wrote:

Farmland ( 2 VP / upon buy, trash a card from your hand and gain a card costing exactly 2 more)
The bonus granted upon buy is often worth the 1 VP difference with a Duchy. The best (and most obvious) use of the Farmland is to trash another Farmland to gain a Province.

Agree, also pretty awesome card when in the same set up as Remodel. Remember to turn golds into provinces late game.

Schuk wrote:

Fool's Gold (worth 1 for the first one played, worth 4 for the others; when another player gains a Province, you may trash this from your hand to gain a Gold on top of your deck)
The bad news is that it is worthless when it doesn’t combo. The good news is that it combos with itself (that’s always easier). Among all the cards that help creating a combo, for this particular one the best one might well be Venture. The reaction ability is nice if you didn’t buy a lot of Fool’s Golds after all, or if you think the bonus Gold on your deck will be more useful than the Fool’s Gold in your hand (which is sometimes a risky bet).

As I said in another thread, this is one of the most aptly named cards in Dominion. The card best to compare it with is treasure map as you want to get two in the same hand, so similar cards will help, trashers, haven etc.
I haven't seen an FG strategy work out yet, but it seems doable guven the right enabler(s).

Schuk wrote:

Haggler (+2 coins; when you buy a card, gain a non-VP card costing less)
I wasn’t very enthusiastic before seeing it in play. The +2 coins bonus makes a big difference because it makes sure the card will (nearly) never be wasted. Remember how sometimes, in the end game, you would like to have more of this or that cheap card in your deck (usually for trashing or +1 buy) but you always end up with 7 coins in hand and only one buy? That’s the kind of problems the Haggler solves. And of course it shines when you need a fat Garden deck.

Haggler is quite nice, but I don't think Hagglers/Gardens would work without some other support card since Hagglers is quite expensive.

Schuk wrote:

Highway (+1 card, +1 action; cards cost 1 less)
I usually like original cards, and at first I thought Highway wasn’t really one, this road having already been paved by the Bridge. But actually Highway’s approach is quite different, giving it its own flavour. The chaining ability enables everything you dreamt of doing with Bridge (with Ironworks or Workshop), but at the cost of the very useful +1 buy, which makes it much less powerful when played all by itself.

Yes, note that without +buy or an action that allows card gaining Highway is effectively +1 Action, +1 Card, +1 Coin. With +buys or card gaining from workshop and similar, it works really quite well.


Schuk wrote:

Ill-Gotten Gains (worth 1; you may gain a Copper in your hand / upon gain: other players gain a Curse)
The first way of giving Curses around without counter possibilities. But gaining a Copper isn’t generally that good an idea, unless part of a dedicated strategy (Copper-based economy with Coppersmith and/or Counting House or Gardens strategy), and the fact that it lands in your hand won’t usually change much. And being worth 1, Ill-Gotten Gains itself is a sort of Copper. Unless of course there are recycling possibilities in the cardset, in which case its value of 5 will prove helpful.

There are counter possibilities, namely Watchtower (I'll trash that card) and Trader (thanks for the free Silver). Also trashing tends to work against curse givers. In some setups though, IGG rush is a very good strategy.

Schuk wrote:

Inn (+2 cards, +2 actions; discard 2 cards / upon gain: shuffle any number of Action cards from your discard pile back into your deck)
A decent cycling tool, especially in the endgame when your deck is “polluted” by a lot of green cards. It’s not broken either, as the discard penalty make big turns (like 2-Province turns) quite difficult to achieve. The upon-gain bonus can be quite funny depending on the Action cards in your discard pile (Grand Market, Nobles, well you get the idea; if there are a lot of them, Throne Room or King’s Court are great choices, too) but it must be timed right.

I like to buy Inn when there are 0 or a low number of cards in my deck resulting in a turn or 2 with powerful action cards and Inn even gives the actions to play them.

Schuk wrote:

Jack Of All Trades (gain a Silver; discard the top card of your deck or put it back; draw until you have 5 cards in hand; you may trash a non-Treasure card from your hand)
I like this card because of its versatility. It does a little bit of everything (hence the name...) and this includes the thing you need most (especially as it helps mitigate the effects of nearly any attack that was just played).

Double Jack is a powerful strategy that's hard to disrupt with attacks, but is beatable.

Schuk wrote:

Mandarin (+3 coin; discard a card on top of your deck / upon gain: put all Treasures in play on top of your deck)
Again an interesting and original card. +3 coin is awesome, and the penalty (discarding a card on top of your deck) can actually be helpful, especially to save another terminal action for the next turn. Having the money again next turn is a good way to buy another Mandarin straight away, but it is more fun when you have several buys (get a Province and a Mandarin, next turn another Province is guaranteed; or get a Mandarin to remove all Coppers from play and get a Grand Market as second buy... ok maybe buying Victory cards is a more suitable choice!)

I agree mostly, but note that for a 5 cost card it lacks a bit unless you make good use of its when gain ability.

Schuk wrote:

Margrave (+3 cards, +1 buy; other players draw a card then discard down to 3 cards in hand)
Yet another take on the old Militia. The active effect is stronger, the attack is weaker (drawing first increases the choice, helps creating combos, and slightly accelerates the cycling of the deck).

A powerful draw card that can be used for Draw Engine or Margrave/Money, especially since it provides the +buy that draw engine often needs and has a reasonably attack attached.

Schuk wrote:

Noble Brigand (+1 coin; other players reveal the top 2 cards of their decks and trash a revealed Gold or Silver that you gain, if they didn’t reveal any Treasure they gain a Copper / upon buy: same effect)
And yet another take on the Thief... I’m not a big fan of either the Thief (playing mostly 2-players) or the Pirate Ship, so I’m not very objective about this one either. Apparently, some flaws have been tackled, though. It hits immediately (and reactions are not allowed), so it can still be a valid choice when Thieves and Pirate Ships wouldn’t. It has an active effect, although +1 coin is nothing fancy. And it’s not too powerful, as it ignores Platinum or special Treasures. I’m still not impressed though.

Mostly Agree here.

Schuk wrote:

Nomad Camp (+2 coins, +1 buy / upon gain: put this on top of your deck)
Well that’s a Woodcutter for next turn. Okay it can do funny things to the usual 4/3 openings; okay a cheap +1 buy can be quite handy, but I don’t think anybody will dream about that card at night.

Worth at least considering in a 4/3 opening but often beaten by a better 4 cost card, can be useful when you need the +buy or hope to boost your next turn.

Schuk wrote:

Oasis (+1 card, +1 action +1 coin; discard a card)
After the Grand Market, this one is kind of a Small Market. A good, cheap card that takes a new dimension when Tunnels are out.

Earlier Silver is better, but later this is better than Silver, as you said, combos with Tunnel.

Schuk wrote:

Oracle (players reveal the 2 top cards of their decks, you chose for each player if they discard them or put them back; +2 cards)
And now another take on the Spy. The novelty is that you get to draw the top cards straight away if you like them. But Oracle being a terminal action, you won’t always have much use for them. I guess there will be more alluring cards costing 3 available in the cardset more often than not.

I'm not massively impressed by Oracle, and often Silver just seems the better buy.

Schuk wrote:

Scheme (+1 card, +1 action; at the end of your turn you may put one of your Action cards in play back on top of your deck)
A combo maker, that can remain in play without hurt until the 2-card combo is ready (it doesn’t help the Treasure Maps though). Or, it can be played as a kind of Throne Room over two turns, which is especially nice if you have expensive Actions.

Pretty much agree here, Silver is better earlier, but this one quickly becomes better than Silver as you get 5 cost actions or combo actions.

Schuk wrote:

Silk Road (1 VP for every 4 Victory cards in your deck)
Making the most of the Silk Road will often be a risky strategy, green card being quite unfriendly during the course of play. But they become much more enticing as soon as Victory cards with another status are in play (Great Halls, Islands, Nobles, Harems, Tunnels...)

Also works well in similar situations to when Gardens works well (Ironworks, Workshop, etc).

Schuk wrote:

Spice Merchant (if you trash a Treasure from your hand: either +2 cards, +1 action or +2 coins, +1 buy)
As I already mentioned, I like versatility in Dominion cards. Spice Merchant has plenty. It is either a Laboratory or a Woodcutter, depending on what you need at the moment, and enables deck thinning on top of that. It is better early game than late though, as the trashing is clearly meant for Coppers.

Compared to Lab, trashing a copper is a benefit not a cost. Better earlier and you don't want too many. It's pretty rare that I use it for the woodcutter effect.

Schuk wrote:

Stables (if you discard a Treasure: +3 cards, +1 action)
A powerful drawing engine, as long as you have enough low-grade Treasures to fuel it. In a neatly trimmed deck, the harm of discarding a Gold (or better) might be greater than the gain of drawing 3 cards. With cardsets without trashing cards, Stables will often be a good choice.

Pretty much agree here, discarding a copper is worth it, silver roughly breaks even, but I probably wouldn't discard gold to it.

Schuk wrote:

Trader (trash a card from your hand to gain a number of Silver equal to its cost; when you would gain a card, reveal this to gain a Silver instead)
This is a great opener, to change Estates into Silvers by twos. Even later on it is still quite good if the cardset is not too powerful and Silvers can still play ball. The reaction is great too: of course it is a protection against Curses, but it can also give a Silver for free (buy a Copper, react, gain a Silver).

The reaction also works when buying cards, spend your money and have no coins left and still have a buy? Buy a copper, getting a Silver instead. Can combo with Fool's Gold, Peddler and Border Village.

Schuk wrote:

Tunnel (2 VP; when you discard this other than at the end of your turn, gain a Gold)
This may be my favourite card of the whole box. The VP/cost ratio of 2/3 is interesting already, but in some situations it is an excellent way to gain Golds. Either there are Militia-like attacks that allow to discard Tunnels during opponents turns, or there are Actions with a discarding penalty (Oasis, Inn, Hamlet, Warehouse...) or Spy-like actions (including Duchess) If none of those cards are available, Tunnels can still clog your hand though.

I agree here and love the comboness of Tunnel. In a setup where nothing combos with it or it's not worth building the combo its still good in the late game VP rush.
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David Goldfarb
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david707 wrote:
I'm going to have to disagree and say bother with golds, unless you have heavy trashing (Chapel) then gaining two coppers is quite a big drawback, the average value of the cards you gain is 1.67, in other words buying cache without trashing is actually worse than buying Silver.

But the variance is higher. You'd much rather have 8 this turn and 5 next turn than 7 this turn and 6 next. I don't know if that effect is enough to counterbalance the lower average.
david707 wrote:
Schuk wrote:

Cartographer (+1 card, +1 action; among the top 4 cards of your deck, discard any number and put the rest back on top)
Improves your next hand (maybe even your current hand if you have drawing options) and helps create a combo. But still at the lower end of the spectrum of Actions costing 5.

I agree mostly here, but would just like to say this can be good against attacks that mess up the top of your deck.

Not really, because the Cartographer draws a card before you get to discard.
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david707 wrote:
the average value of the cards you gain is 1.67, in other words buying cache without trashing is actually worse than buying Silver.

What you're failing to take into account here is that when you buy a Silver, you're getting one card with an average value of $2. When you buy a Cache, you're getting three cards with an average value of $1.67. The average value may be lower, but because you're getting three cards, your deck will approach that average value much more quickly. If your hand is filled with cards worth $1.67 apiece, you can buy a Province.

EDIT: I should point out that I'm not suggesting buying Cache if you're shooting for a deck that can reach $8 reliably, but I couldn't let the faulty Silver comparison fly.
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sybrwookie wrote:

Schuk wrote:
Nomad Camp (+2 coins, +1 buy / upon gain: put this on top of your deck)
Well that’s a Woodcutter for next turn. Okay it can do funny things to the usual 4/3 openings; okay a cheap +1 buy can be quite handy, but I don’t think anybody will dream about that card at night.


It's a dream of mine to open 3/4 with this on the table. Buy a Silver, then turn 2, buy this, and if you luck out a tiny drop, you get a Gold on turn 3. If not, you get a 5-cost. After that, it's a Woodcutter, which you probably want in your deck for later-game anyway.

Huh? Why would you want it on turn 2?

Its benefit is negligible on turn 2 because all your cards are about to get reshuffled, and although this one will be on top, it will miss the reshuffle. So you're just pulling it to the top of your second run through your deck. Any other card you would have purchased is still going to be in that run of your deck. The only real benefit in that situation is ensuring that Nomad Camp is not one of the bottom 2 cards (which will miss the second reshuffle).
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LastFootnote wrote:
david707 wrote:
the average value of the cards you gain is 1.67, in other words buying cache without trashing is actually worse than buying Silver.

What you're failing to take into account here is that when you buy a Silver, you're getting one card with an average value of $2. When you buy a Cache, you're getting three cards with an average value of $1.67. The average value may be lower, but because you're getting three cards, your deck will approach that average value much more quickly. If your hand is filled with cards worth $1.67 apiece, you can buy a Province.

EDIT: I should point out that I'm not suggesting buying Cache if you're shooting for a deck that can reach $8 reliably, but I couldn't let the faulty Silver comparison fly.

Or look at it this way:

If the first treasure you buy is a Cache, your deck treasure will consist of 9 Copper and a Cache - 10 treasure, total value of $12, average value of $1.2 each.

If the first treasure you buy is a Silver, you deck treasure will consist of 7 Copper and a Silver - 8 treasure, total value of $9, average value of $1.125 each.

You would need to buy at least 7 Silver for the average value of treasure in you deck to equal the average value with the same number of Cache (without trashing).

If you only trash one Copper, that number drops to 6 Silver to equal the same average as 6 Cache; 5 Silver with 2 Coppers trashed; 4 Silver with 3 Coppers trashed; etc.
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David Murray
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Appears I was wrong about Cache, but I still think compared to other £5 cards its weak without a way to trash coppers and I'll definitely hold my ground that just because Cache is in the set doesn't mean you should always buy a non gold cost 6 card when you have 6.
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david707 wrote:
just because Cache is in the set doesn't mean you should always buy a non gold cost 6 card when you have 6.


That's what I like most with Dominion: there is no such word as "always"
 
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this list isn't very helpful without knowng each card's COST ! hard to evaluate the card's worth without that. just saying...
 
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Thanks again for another interesting review of the cards.

Schuk wrote:
Haggler (+2 coins; when you buy a card, gain a non-VP card costing less)
I wasn’t very enthusiastic before seeing it in play. The +2 coins bonus makes a big difference because it makes sure the card will (nearly) never be wasted. Remember how sometimes, in the end game, you would like to have more of this or that cheap card in your deck (usually for trashing or +1 buy) but you always end up with 7 coins in hand and only one buy? That’s the kind of problems the Haggler solves. And of course it shines when you need a fat Garden deck.


My wife and I were playing a Colony game the other night where she bought a Province with a Haggler in play and got a Platinum as her free card. I obtained an even greater respect for that card when I saw it used that way.

 
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willvon wrote:

My wife and I were playing a Colony game the other night where she bought a Province with a Haggler in play and got a Platinum as her free card. I obtained an even greater respect for that card when I saw it used that way.

Don't you mean that she bought a Colony and got a free Platinum? Or that she bought a Province and got a free Gold? There are no cards currently that just reduce the cost of treasure cards, so if she got a free Platinum with the purchase of a Province, you must be playing Haggler wrong.

Now if you were playing with Quarry, you could do some interesting things. For example, buy a Gold (cost $6) with Quarry and Haggler in play and get a free Expand (usual cost $7, reduced to $5 with Quarry).
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