Friday, March 20, 2009

My Take on the Dominion Kingdom Cards

I’ve been playing a lot of Dominion online at BrettspeilWelt, so my knowledge is increasing at a pretty good pace. The game changes dramatically depending on which 10 action cards are in play, so I figure the best way to improve is to get a good grip on how and when each card should be used.

My take on the 25 Dominion Kingdom (Action) cards:

Adventurer – (6, Reveal cards in your hand until you reveal 2 treasure cards. Put those two cards in your hand and discard the other revealed cards.) It’s a decent card but not great because of the cost. If you’ve got a big deck and either have eliminated the coppers or have a high percentage of Gold and Silver, this card can net you 4 to 6 treasure. Don’t go overboard, but one in a deck that meets the conditions stated above isn’t too bad.

Bureaucrat – (4, Gain a Silver. Each other player reveals a Victory card and puts in on the top of his deck.) This one isn’t bad, but it never seems to fit into what I want to do with my deck. That being the case, I usually ignore it. It is beneficial, though. If you need a lot of Silver, this card gives it to you while punishing your opponents. It can also help slow up an opponent who’s got a chain deck going.

Cellar – (2, +1 Action, Discard any number of cards and draw cards for each one discarded) Unless I’m building a super efficient Chapel deck, at least one copy of Cellar fits into almost all my decks. It’s a great card drawing engine especially combined with other card drawers. Play a Laboratory or two and use this to get rid of the chaff.

Chancellor – (3, +2 Treasure, You may put your deck into the discard pile.) I have never bought this card. Essentially, it’s a Silver in the guise of an action card with a minor ability. The fact that it’s an action card makes it inferior to the Silver in that only one action can be used per turn, so, unless its ability makes it better or you’re scared of the Thief, you’re better off buying the Silver. The only use that I can see for the ability is if you keep track of every card that you play and that you have remaining in your deck. If so, you’ll know when it’s advantageous to use this card. I don’t know about you, but I don’t put that much mental effort into Dominion.

Chapel – (2, Trash up to 4 cards from you hand.) Doesn’t look like much, does it? Hard to believe that it’s a game changer, right? Believe me, it is. The Chapel allows you to discard all the clutter and, in a game with the Witch, makes the Curses almost worthless. The object when making a Chapel deck is to get rid of all your Coppers and Estates (don’t forget to buy a couple of Silvers before getting rid of your Coppers, though.) in order to make the deck super efficient. In an ideal world, you could cycle through your entire deck every turn while buying Provinces. Be careful, however. The Thief can completely wreck the Chapel deck by stealing all the Gold and Silver. My plan is to write a future post solely devoted to the Chapel Deck. I need a little more practice first, though.

Council Room – (5, +4 Cards, +1 Buy, Each other player draws a card) It’s reasonably priced at 5 and allows you to draw more cards than anything except possibly Library. Then, it let’s you have an additional buy. Slam dunk, right? I haven’t used it that much. There have been too many times when I’m sitting there with 5 cards in my hand, and my opponent uses this thing. That sixth card is almost always exactly what I need to set my hand into action. To me, it’s not worth what I’m giving my opponents.

Feast – (4, Trash this card and gain one costing up to 5) At first, I thought that this card was the most worthless card of all. Now, I see its use, and it’s essential in certain situations. A lot of 4 count cards are good, but most of the cards that drive your engine cost five. For example, if the Witch is out, you NEED to be the first one to start handing out Curses. If you’re not drawing the coin, consider using a Feast to get there.

Festival – (5, +2 Actions, +1 Buy, +2 Treasure) Often, the person with the most Festivals wins. It’s that good. Chain a couple of these together, and you’ve got 4 Treasure and a whole lot of actions left to use some card drawers. It pairs well with any card drawer, but especially well with the Library.

Gardens – (4, Gives 1VP for every 10 cards in your hand) This card is another one that you can build a deck around. I’m still perfecting my Garden deck technique, but a key combination is to use the Workshop and cards that allow you extra buys. Once I gain a bit more experience, I’ll do a post strictly for this deck.

Laboratory – (5, +2 Cards, +1 Action) It’s a card drawer that lets you play another action. That is always a good thing. Some believe that this card is so good that it actually should cost 6 to buy.

Library – (5, Draw until you have 7 cards in your hand. You may discard any Action cards drawn.) This one can be a super card drawer in the right deck. If you’re playing Festivals, for instance, which give you extra actions but not extra cards, Library works perfectly to cycle through your deck. It’s also the only card that I know of that makes you think “Please, please play a Militia…”

Market – (+1 Card, +1 Action, +1 Buy, +1 Treasure) The phrase “Jack of all trades but master of none” aptly describes this card, and, as such, it will fit into almost any deck. Though it’s never bad to draw it, rarely do I think “Yay! A Market!” If you need cycling cards, and none better are available, go ahead and take a few. If you need extra cash that is Thief proof or extra buys for that Garden deck, go ahead and take a few.

Militia – (4, +2 Treasure, Each other player discards down to 3 cards.) For me, the attack feature of this card is minimally useful. Sometimes, it deals real damage, but usually it’s not that great of an impact. The attack combined with giving you essentially an extra Silver on the board makes it worthy of play.

Mine – (5, Trash a Treasure card from your hand and gain one costing up to 3 more and put it into your hand.) Any card that makes your deck more efficient is good. This one turns Copper to Silver and Silver to Gold. Unless you have a Chapel to get rid of unwanted cards, you probably want at least one or two of these.

Moat – (2, +2 Cards, Reveal to counter an attack) I screwed up the rules on this one for my first several games. I thought that you had to discard it to counter an attack. Not true. All you have to do is reveal it; you still have use of it for that turn. The difference makes this one almost essential if your opponents are utilizing Witches, Thieves, or Militia.

Moneylender – (4, Trash a copper card and gain 3) This one isn’t the most powerful of the conversion cards because you have to draw it and a copper at the same time, but it does have it’s uses. Unless you’re going for a Gardens deck, you want to be as efficient as possible, and getting rid of Coppers helps to make you much more efficient.

Remodel – (4, Trash a card from your hand and gain a card worth up to 2 more) Note that Gold costs 6, and Provinces cost 8. See a connection between that fact and this card? Think about it. Seriously, it helps make your deck more efficient, can get rid of Curses, and helps to win in the late game. Nice.

Smithy – (4, +3 Cards) I was completely enamored with this card when I first started. Draw 3 extra cards? Sweet! I still like it, but it does have a big drawback in that it doesn’t provide you with another action. Late in the game, I like long combos, and the Smithy can stop a chain cold. I usually want one or two in my deck, more possibly if Villages are involved, but that’s about it.

Spy – (4, +1 Card, +1 Action, Each player reveals the top card. Player of the Thief chooses whether the card stays on top or goes to the discard pile.) This one isn’t super powerful, but it can be useful if there are no Markets, Laboratories, etc. It will keep a chain going, give you some control over what cards are coming up, and possibly harm your opponents. It’s not a card that I seek out, but I’ll use it if I feel it’s my best choice.

Thief – (4, Each opponent reveals two cards from the top of their deck. If any Treasures are revealed, one of your choice goes to the Trash pile. You may choose to steal any cards sent to the trash this way.) This card can stop an efficient Chapel deck cold. Other than that, it’s a bit hit or miss. Obviously, it gains value if you’re playing 4 player, and your opponents have a lot of Silver and Gold. Basically, it has situational usage at best.

Throne Room – (4, Choose an action card from your hand. Play it twice.) You have to be careful, because this card is worthless by itself. If you’re playing lots of action cards, however, Throne Room can supercharge your engine. I usually end up with 2 of these in the appropriate deck but never more than 3.

Village – (3, +1 Card, +2 Action) I think that I tend to misuse this card. Since it’s so cheap, I tend to buy too many too early. Is it really that useful to buy it on one of your first two turns? Without many extra actions to play, all it really does is draw either another Copper or another Estate. It is a useful card that belongs in most decks, though.

Witch – (5, +2 Cards, Each other player gains a Curse.) This one is another key card that changes the game. You may be able to ignore it if you’re playing a Chapel deck. Otherwise, you usually want to get these and start handing out Curses to your opponents faster than they hand them to you.

Woodcutter - (3, +1 Buy, +2) No card in Dominion is worthless; some are more situation than others, though. This one is good if a) you’re scared of thieves stealing Silver from your Chapel deck, b) you’re running a Garden deck because it gives you extra cash and an extra buy, or c) there are no other extra buy cards to give your chain deck the ability to pick up multiple Provinces per turn.

Workshop – (3, Gain a card costing up to 4) I use this one primarily in Garden decks. It gives you a Garden and still leaves you your buy to gain an extra card.


Anonymous said...

Great post! It's been really helpful to me. Have you thought about doing a similar write-up for the expansion?

Anonymous said...

Good write up. Do some more!

Rick said...

You're vastly underestimating Chancellor. Sometimes it's "just" a silver that costs an action. Most times (that is, the right times) it enables you to buy a card and immediately have that card be in your deck rather than needing to wait more turns for the shuffle.

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