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Subject: Short Analysis of the 25 Kingdom Cards rss

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Schuk
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First of all, I know I'm not the best Dominion player around. So don't take my opinion for granted. But I love Dominion, I love playing it and I love talking about it, so maybe you'll find something useful there. More importantly, maybe it will make you want to talk about it, too. Exchanges are great!

This is not about all the possible strategies in Dominion. For that, I recommend some excellent posts: one from Alexfrog, Analyzing A Random Cardset, and one from statonv, The Chapel Deck. Another great post is A Look At The Interactive Cards from jschlickbernd.

Still, two words about strategy:
- Kingdom Cards are great and fun. But even in a action-heavy strategy, don't forget to buy Silvers and Golds. You won't go far with only Coppers, especially if Festivals are not available.
- Remember that you have only one action each turn (except with +1-action and +2-action cards). If you have 5 great action cards in your hand with no action bonus, you'll have wasted 4 cards.
- Never be caught unawares by the end of the game. When you plan to buy an action card, ask yourself: "am I likely to play it at least once before the end of the game?" If not, even an Estate is a better buy than a Labo or whatever.

Ok, let's get going!

Adventurer (browse your deck for the next two money cards)
The single most expensive of all the Kingdom Cards. In most cases though, it's a better idea to buy a Gold, or even a Kingdom Card that costs 5. That said, the Adventurer is very powerful when all (or at least, most of) the money cards in your deck are Golds, and the end game approaching, you are beginning to drown in green cards.
Usually I still have some Coppers or/and Silvers at the end of the game, so I don't recruit any Adventurer.

Bureaucrat (take a silver and place it face down on your deck, opponents discard a VP card face down on theirs)
The typical "mild" card. A free Silver is cool, and, when it works, so is the downsizing of the opponents' hands to 4 cards (with a green card on top of their deck, which is always a good thing!). On the other hand... Silvers are only useful in the early game (it is often even possible to skip the Silver phase entirely and purchase Golds directly) and the effect on other players, if any, is far from critical. Usually, there are better 4-cards to grab. Makes the Militia less effective, too. I rarely buy Bureaucrats.

Cellar (discard and re-draw any number of cards, +1 action)
A card that can find its place in any strategy, especially in the end game, when you begin to see green everywhere. It gives your hand another chance, at the cost of 1 card (the Cellar itself). A bargain. Even if you have too many Cellars at the same time, it's not too bad as you can use one to get rid of the others. Combines well with the Throne Room, as if you don't like your new cards, you can get rid of them, too. And the combo gives +2 actions. I like to have one Cellar for every 10 cards in my deck. Thinning that stack is also a good way to shorten the game without clogging your deck.

Chancellor (+2 money, you may discard your deck)
The little brother of the Woodcutter. And one of the few cards that involves a little memory (rather, to pay a little attention). The ability to re-shuffle your discard pile with your deck can be very powerful... provided you know which cards are in which pile. Played after a Workshop or a Feast, it gives you a (small) possibility to find your newly acquired card in your hand on the very next turn. I prefer the +1-buy bonus of the Woodcutter, but, in actions-heavy decks (ie with Villages or/and Festivals) I like to have one Chancellor as well.

Chapel (trash up to 4 cards)
One of the cards that defines a player strategy. If you want to play a Chapel deck, this is the staple (obviously). If you chose another strategy, this card is totally useless. Except if there are Witches around, to get rid of those awful purple cards.

Council Room (draw 5 cards, +1 buy, opponents draw 1 card)
The only Kingdom Card that gives an outright advantage to all your opponents. But that's because it is a very powerful card. Drawing 4 cards can get the engine running again (if the Council Room isn't your last action) or can nicely golden your hand (if you are in a money strategy). But this extra card for my opponents still bothers me (that's because I love it when my opponents give me an extra card, sometimes it improves my hand significantly), so when available I prefer the cheaper Smithy or the Library. Things are different when the Council Room is the only kingdom card available with a +1-buy bonus (after all, there are only 4 of those). Or when the Militia, and the Village or the Festival are available. Because playing a Militia after one (or several) Council Room is always funny.

Feast (take a card worth 5 or less and trash the Feast)
At first, I didn't understand the point of it at all. But in Dominion, there is a gap between 4- and 5-cards (and a wider gap between 7- and 8-, but that's another story). The Feast bridges that gap. It can give you this unreachable, sexy 5-card fairly early. Even in the end game, it's very useful to help you grab Duchies. And, once used, Feast have the curtesy to excuse themselves, thus thinning your deck. They combine well with the Throne Room too, as they give you two 5-cards for the price of one Feast (hey, that could be 6 VP, just like one Province). A Feast buy is a safe buy (enjoy responsibly of course). By the way, the Feast is the only card that you really shouldn't overpay (unless it's the last of the stack and you need the game to end).

Festival (+2 actions, +2 money, +1 buy)
There is a very selfless card. It brings out the best of all the other action cards! When you think, "this card would be cool, if only I could play another one after that" (Smithy anyone?) the Festival is here to oblige. Straight to the point: +2 actions is HUGE. +1 buy is cool. +2 money is great. This card combines well with everything, as everything stacks. It's a top quality fuel for your deck engine. And, virtual money is Thief-proof. It usually doesn't take long for the Festival stack to be empty.

Gardens (brings VP worth a tenth of the number of cards in your whole deck rounded down)
Beware! Danger! Garden (nearly) rhyme with bargain. Think of it: a Duchy costs 5 for 3 VP. A Garden (in a proper Gardens strategy) costs 4 for 5-6 VP. Hence two side effects: 1) you'll want to buy as many Gardens as possible and 2) you'll want to buy as many cards as possible. If you are not cautious, 1) and 2) will clog your deck in no time. That said, if you buy them in the right time and manage to keep your deck flowing (Cellars help) your VP will hit the roof. Workshops are great in Gardens strategies: you can get them for free. I like it when in the ten Kingdom Cards, there are both the Chapel and the Gardens: the fight balance shifts a bit from tactical toward strategic.

Laboratory (+2 cards, +1 action)
One of the best combos in the game is Village + Smithy. But after all, that's only +3 cards, +1 action (the 4th card and 2nd action being the Smithy itself). Labo gives +2 cards, +1 action all by itself. The good thing about drawing cards (if you still have an action available after that) is that, even if those cards are crap (ie, green), they won't annoy you in your next hand. So in the best cases, Labos keep your deck running. In the worst, they clean it (until the next re-shuffle...) Grab those.

Library (draw cards until you have 7 in hand, you may discard drawn action cards)
Another card that can be very powerful or quite useless depending on the circumstances. The availability of the Militia raises its interest a notch. The Village/Feast ditto. The lack of other +x-cards bonusses is also a strong element of consideration. Else (most of the time indeed) forget it. The ability to discard drawn action cards is a nice addition, though, when you play the Library as your last action (especially in money-heavy strategies). Side note: the Library is the only action card that doesn't combine well with the Throne Room. Doesn't combine at all actually, as when you get to play it for the second time, you arleady have seven cards in your hand.

Market (+1 card, +1 action, +1 buy, +1 money)
The Jack-of-all-trades card. Let's face it: one Market is not very useful (unless, once again, Markets are the only available Kingdom Cards with the +1-buy bonus). Don't hurt either, though, they sneak in a little virtual money in the middle of your combo. Several Markets are much better, because... they sneak in a sizeable amount of virtual money in the middle of your combo. I prefer the Festival/+x-cards combo, but when it's not possible, Markets are choice purchases.

Militia (+2 money, opponents discard cards down to 3)
The dreaded card that can make the game last quite longer. Maybe even more interactive than the Witch (which lose their interactive effect fast enough). A real pain for your opponents who will have less possibilities for their next turn. And even if they discard two greens with a grin (hey that's poetic), don't be fooled, inside they are furious because their Cellars are now useless. In addition to that, the +2 money is cool. Combines well with the Council Room, although beware, after discarding 3 cards from 6 they will likely have a better hand than after discarding 2 cards from 5.

Mine (trash a money card and take the higher one in hand)
An asset in any money-heavy strategy. Only Mines give the possitiliby to use a card that you have just got in the same turn (well, Chancellors also, in very special circumstances). Mines are a great way to get rid of the early Coppers, too. Usually though, I prefer the others 5-cards. The Mine combines well with the Throne Room, mining a Copper into a Gold at once, but also with the Remodel: Mine make Golds that are in turn Remodelled into Provinces.

Moat (protects against aggressions, +2 cards)
A very special card. The only action card that is useful when it's not your turn. And avoiding purple cards or hand downsizing is definitely useful. That said, their active effect isn't useless, either. It's a mini-smithy that can help refuelling the engine after a Village or a Festival. If those aren't available, don't clog your hand with Moats though (especially if there are no attack cards, of course!). Moats increase the luck factor: nobody really knows when they will be in your hand. Well, a Chancellor doesn't hurt there.

Moneylender (if you trash a copper, +3 money)
Repeat after me: Coppers are bad. They aren't worth the place they occupy in your hand. Getting rid of them is good. Getting rid of them while being awarded a +3 price reduction is even better. Moneylenders are great buys when Chapels are not available (or when they are, but you don't want to play a Chapel deck strategy). Buy them early: you won't find them in your hand without their friends the Coppers. One Moneylender, maybe two, no more. In the end (as soon as you only have a couple of Coppers left actually) they can be a nuisance: Remodel them into Golds (or Duchies) if you can.

Remodel (trash a card, take any card worth up to its value +2)
The ability to trash a card is priceless (and not always available, only 4 cards allow that, Feast not included). If you want to trash Coppers, Moneylenders and Mines (for Silver, too) are better. If you want to trash several cards at once, only Chapels can do that. But if you want to trash anything, Remodel is the choice action: you get rid of an unwanted card, and you get a better one instead. Best Remodels: Estates into any useful 4-card in the early game (or even into Gardens later on), Curses into any 2-card, including Estates for a +2 VP profit, and of course, Golds into Provinces. If Remodels are available, be sure to buy at least one.

Smithy (+3 cards)
A +3-cards bonus is appealing enough, but I am not that fond of the Smithy. Because in most cases, other action cards do the same thing (or short of) better. For example, I prefer a card that has a +2-cards bonus only, but protects me against attacks. Or a Labo for the reasons above. The Smithy alone is frustrating, because you'll often draw actions cards you won't be able to play. That said, if you have a lot of Villages or/and Festivals, if you don't need Moats or Witches, it's a good idea to recruit a couple of Smithies. It's also great if you have few action cards and a lot of money.

Spy (+1 card, chose for every player if they keep or discard the card on top of their deck, +1 action)
On the other hand, I like the Spy (certainly more than it's worth). His impact on your deck, or on the decks of your opponents, isn't overwhelming (though appreciable) but I forgive him because he's free (thanks to his +1 card, +1 action bonus). A network of Spies is quite nice, as you can manage your deck better, increasing your chances of drawing a useful card (and working on the nerves of your opponents). And Spies never clog your hand, so nothing is wrong with them. They are by no way a priority buy though, but a decent 4-card. And sometimes there aren't that many.

Thief (take one of the two cards on top of each deck if it's a money card and trash it or put it in your discard pile)
The Thief is a very interesting card: it might well have the biggest range of usefulness of the whole game.. That is, it can be worse than useless (it can actually help your opponents, getting them rid of their Coppers) to extremely powerful (no other card can give you three Golds in one action). The Thief is great against Chapel decks, agains money-decks indeed. In 2-player games, they are less interesting, but their mere presence on the table is still a threat. If you are not quite sure they will be useful, don't bother buying them because they won't be worth the action. If your opponent's deck has a good Golds/cards ratio, steal away. Don't hesitate to try your opponents beforehand with a Spy, for example, to see whether they show a Moat or not. If you're lucky, they will end up not showing their Moats when you Spy them in hope you'll waste a Thief on them.

Throne Room (play your next action card twice)
So there is the card that combines well with any other. Its only problem is, it only combines with other action cards and is totally useless in a green and yellow hand (purple doesn't help). That said, it's a cool, cool card. The point is, playing another action card twice is often a ticket to free actions. Indeed, when there are no Villages nor Festivals available, Throne Rooms are the only way to get that much wanted +2-actions bonus. And suddenly you look at those poor Cellars or Spies differently (admit it, you were already looking at the Labos and Markets fondly). Better yet: with two Throne Rooms, you can freely play two action cards without any action bonus (for example, Throne Room + Throne Room + Council Room + Militia is a valid move). If there are a lot of action cards in your deck, you'll want between 1 and 3 Throne Rooms. If you have only money and victory points... you'll want 0.

Village (+1 card, +2 actions)
Is this the most underpriced card of the game? It's true that 3 chips sound very cheap to obtain that +2-action privilege. But I think that the answer to my question is no. Firstly, because the most underpriced card of the game is the Gardens (at least I think so). Secondly, because there is no need to have too many Villages. The +1-card bonus is not terrific, and the +2-action, which is, is useless when you have 12 actions and no action card left in your hand. On the other hand, this card is not hugely popular without reason. If you are on a action-heavy strategy, the Village is your turbo.

Witch (+2 cards, all players but you take a curse card)
This card is so special, they had to create a whole different set of (purple) cards to go along. Sometimes, I think the Witch is just too powerful. She gives every opponent a Curse card, which is not only useless to them, it actually costs them one VP each. How nasty is that? Moreover, the Witch gives its owner 2 cards. Try to get one in your deck ASAP (Feasts help). But then I remember... the purple stack is soon empty, or your opponents protect themselves, and that leaves you with an overpriced Moat. Which is why you shouldn't usually buy more than two Witches. After that, trash them if you can, or better, Remodel them into Golds or Duchies. Witches do funny things with the pace of the game, because on one hand Curses clog the hands of the players, thus slowing down things a little, and on the other hand they empty a (purple) stack fairly quickly. Beware.

Woodcutter (+2 money, +1 buy)
Nearly every Kingdom Card has a little peculiarity. That's true for the Woodcutter too, even though it is rather discreet: it's the only one allowing +1 buy that doesn't cost 5. And as it costs 3 indeed, it's a bargain. It would be great just for that, but we can use the +2 virtual money as well. When I have 3 Coppers in my first (or second) hand, I usually buy a Woodcutter (over Villages or Silvers), because his +2-money bonus is likely to help me buy a 5-card (or even a Gold) early. And the +1 buy may be useful later on (I hate it when I have like 12 coins and 1 buy). That said, unless there aren't any other cards with the +1-buy bonus, I only recruit one Woodcutter. If I want another cheap +2-money card, I go for a Chancellor.

Workshop (take any card worth 4 or less)
The very first card I bought in my very first game in Essen! Now I know better... More seriously, I'm not a big fan of the Workshop because of the gap between 4-cards and 5-cards I mentioned earlier. They might be useful in the early game to grab Silvers (but Bureaucrats do that better) or Villages or Throne Rooms or Spies... But those cards are cheap so you can buy them easily anyway, and once you have enough of them your Workshops are useless (worse, with their puppy eyes, they induce you into taking cards you don't need). Remodel them into Golds or Duchies. If Gardens are available, that's a completely different matter, because Workshops are a great way to get them. Still, even then, I never buy more than two Workshops.

That's all folks! Enjoy your games of Dominion!
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Tony Chen
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Quote:
The Thief is a very interesting card: it might well have the biggest usefulness range of the whole game.

I think you meant to say, it has the biggest range of usefulness of the whole game.
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Mikkel Øberg
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Great, short to-the-point guide Schuk.

I got this for Christmas, and have been playing it the solitaire out of it since. It is good to get this quick overview, thank you.
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Schuk
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Thank you drunkenKOALA.
English is still a foreign language for me, so don't hesitate to point out the worst mistakes, so that I can edit them!
And thanks Gregaria for the kind comment. I hope you'll enjoy Dominion!
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Schuk wrote:

Adventurer
The single most expensive of all the Kingdom Cards. In most cases though, it's a better idea to buy a Gold, or even a Kingdom Card that costs 5. That said, the Adventurer is very powerful when all (or at least, most of) the money cards in your deck are Golds, and the end game approaching, you are beginning to drown in green cards.
Usually I still have some Coppers or/and Silvers at the end of the game, so I don't recruit any Adventurer.

Adventurer costs 6. He takes an action to play. How much is he worth?
1+1 = 2
1+2 = 3
1+3 = 4
2+2 = 4
2+3 = 5
3+3 = 6

Gold costs 6 and is worth 3. Adventurer, unless you hit 2 coppers, is worth at least that much. If you consistantly have actions left over in your turn, the Adventurer is a no-brainer. Unless you have ONLY coppers, he'll probably be worth his weight in the (cost) of gold.

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Bureaucrat
The typical "mild" card. A free Silver is cool, and, when it works, so is the downsizing of the opponents' hands to 4 cards (with a green card on top of their deck, which is always a good thing!). On the other hand... Silvers are only useful in the early game (it is often even possible to skip the Silver phase entirely and purchase Golds directly) and the effect on other players, if any, is far from critical. Usually, there are better 4-cards to grab. Makes the Militia less effective, too. I rarely buy Bureaucrats.

Silvers are only useful in the beginning of the game? If your goal is to drop the province deck down, sure... But if you seek to end the game faster on a three deck draw out, the Bureaucrat means two things:
1) You have at least 2 buying power next turn, which is an estate, or part of a duchy.
2) Everyone else's next draw is a VP card if they had one to put on top of their deck. You're sped up, they're slowed down.

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Cellar
A card that can find its place in any strategy, especially in the end game, when you begin to see green everywhere. It gives your hand another chance, at the cost of 1 card (the Cellar itself). A bargain. Even if you have too many Cellars at the same time, it's not too bad as you can use one to get rid of the others. Combines well with the Throne Room, as if you don't like your new cards, you can get rid of them, too. And the combo gives +2 actions. I like to have one Cellar for every 10 cards in my deck. Thinning that stack is also a good way to shorten the game without clogging your deck.

Cellars have their place. Be willing to cycle more than just the VP cards out of your deck. Be willing to cycle the more common actions in your hand as well - they'll come back, and get you to a reshuffle faster. Remember to use those laboratories BEFORE using the chapel in order to get a more sizeable draw.

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Chancellor
The little brother of the Woodcutter. And one of the few cards that involves a little memory (rather, to pay a little attention). The ability to re-shuffle your discard pile with your deck can be very powerful... provided you know which cards are in which pile. Played after a Workshop or a Feast, it gives you a (small) possibility to find your newly acquired card in your hand on the very next turn. I prefer the +1-buy bonus of the Woodcutter, but, in actions-heavy decks (ie with Villages or/and Festivals) I like to have one Chancellor as well.

Remember that the Chancellor's power is optional. If you've just reshuffled and the Chancellor shows up, it's often more powerful to let the deck run than force another reshuffle.

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Chapel
One of the cards that defines a player strategy. If you want to play a Chapel deck, this is the staple (obviously). If you chose another strategy, this card is totally useless. Except if there are Witches around, to get rid of those awful purple cards.

This card is not useless in other strategies, the Chapel is not the only way to dispose of Curses and there are ways to slow or foil the Chapel Deck strategies, depending on the other card draws available.

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Council Room
The only Kingdom Card that gives an outright advantage to all your opponents. But that's because it is a very powerful card. Drawing 4 cards can get the engine running again (if the Council Room isn't your last action) or can nicely golden your hand (if you are in a money strategy). But this extra card for my opponents still bothers me (that's because I love it when my opponents give me an extra card, sometimes it improves my hand significantly), so when available I prefer the cheaper Smithy or the Library. Things are different when the Council Room is the only kingdom card available with a +1-buy bonus (after all, there are only 4 of those). Or when the Militia, and the Village or the Festival are available. Because playing a Militia after one (or several) Council Room is always funny.

Council followed by Militia just means that the opponents get to draw their best 3 of (x) cards -- what they discard is most likely VPs, coppers and unwanted actions that wouldn't have been played anyway.

There is also a phenomenon where if one person takes a Council Room, others will follow suit, thus gilding your hand later. Council Rooms are a good foil to Libraries as well.

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Feast
At first, I didn't understand the point of it at all. But in Dominion, there is a gap between 4- and 5-cards (and a wider gap between 7- and 8-, but that's another story). The Feast bridges that gap. It can give you this unreachable, sexy 5-card fairly early. Even in the end game, it's very useful to help you grab Duchies. And, once used, Feast have the curtesy to excuse themselves, thus thinning your deck. They combine well with the Throne Room too, as they give you two 5-cards for the price of one Feast (hey, that could be 6 VP, just like one Province). A Feast buy is a safe buy (enjoy responsibly of course). By the way, the Feast is the only card that you really shouldn't overpay (unless it's the last of the stack and you need the game to end).

I'll gladly pay you tuesday for a hamburger today.

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Festival
There is a very selfless card. It brings out the best of all the other action cards! When you think, "this card would be cool, if only I could play another one after that" (Smithy anyone?) the Festival is here to oblige. Straight to the point: +2 actions is HUGE. +1 buy is cool. +2 money is great. This card combines well with everything, as everything stacks. It's a top quality fuel for your deck engine. And, virtual money is Thief-proof. It usually doesn't take long for the Festival stack to be empty.

Without +draw cards in proper proportion in the stack, the Festival can turn into an expensive Silver card. Watch out for those clowns.

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Gardens
Beware! Danger! Garden (nearly) rhyme with bargain. Think of it: a Duchy costs 5 for 3 VP. A Garden (in a proper Gardens strategy) costs 4 for 5-6 VP. Hence two side effects: 1) you'll want to buy as many Gardens as possible and 2) you'll want to buy as many cards as possible. If you are not cautious, 1) and 2) will clog your deck in no time. That said, if you buy them in the right time and manage to keep your deck flowing (Cellars help) your VP will hit the roof. Workshops are great in Gardens strategies: you can get them for free. I like it when in the ten Kingdom Cards, there are both the Chapel and the Gardens: the fight balance shifts a bit from tactical toward strategic.

Gardens, being the only variable VP card, also have a tactical use... Does one spend $4 to buy a garden, worth only 2 VP to you, in order to deprive it from an opponent to whom it might be worth 4-5 VP?

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Laboratory
One of the best combos in the game is Village + Smithy. But after all, that's only +3 cards, +1 action (the 4th card and 2nd action being the Smithy itself). Labo gives +2 cards, +1 action all by itself. The good thing about drawing cards (if you still have an action available after that) is that, even if those cards are crap (ie, green), they won't annoy you in your next hand. So in the best cases, Labos keep your deck running. In the worst, they clean it (until the next re-shuffle...) Grab those.

A self replacing card which effectively increases your hand size by one per Laboratory played.

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Library
Another card that can be very powerful or quite useless depending on the circumstances. The availability of the Militia raises its interest a notch. The Village/Feast ditto. The lack of other +x-cards bonusses is also a strong element of consideration. Else (most of the time indeed) forget it. The ability to discard drawn action cards is a nice addition, though, when you play the Library as your last action (especially in money-heavy strategies). Side note: the Library is the only action card that doesn't combine well with the Throne Room. Doesn't combine at all actually, as when you get to play it for the second time, you arleady have seven cards in your hand.

Throne Room 'combines' in that the throne room can be disposed of before drawing out the library. At least that's another card.

Also consider thet you get choices on the draw. VPs/Coins you have to take, but actions you can cherry pick. This is a strong +draw card, even if it's only worth 3 cards.

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Market
The Jack-of-all-trades card. Let's face it: one Market is not very useful (unless, once again, Markets are the only available Kingdom Cards with the +1-buy bonus). Don't hurt either, though, they sneak in a little virtual money in the middle of your combo. Several Markets are much better, because... they sneak in a sizeable amount of virtual money in the middle of your combo. I prefer the Festival/+x-cards combo, but when it's not possible, Markets are choice purchases.

Markets self replace, and when you need lots of cards in the deck, a proper chain can allow one to pick up a few Estates and a handful of copper, or a Garden and two handfuls of copper.

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Militia
The dreaded card that can make the game last quite longer. Maybe even more interactive than the Witch (which lose their interactive effect fast enough). A real pain for your opponents who will have less possibilities for their next turn. And even if they discard two greens with a grin (hey that's poetic), don't be fooled, inside they are furious because their Cellars are now useless. In addition to that, the +2 money is cool. Combines well with the Council Room, although beware, after discarding 3 cards from 6 they will likely have a better hand than after discarding 2 cards from 5.

The pen is mightier than the sword, so scholars in libraries often laugh at the Militia's feeble attempts.
With no moat and militias in play, it is best to know what three cards form your next hand, with the possibility of a bonus pair of cards in the event that the guards are not summoned.

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Mine
An asset in any money-heavy strategy. Only Mines give the possitiliby to use a card that you have just got in the same turn (well, Chancellors also, in very special circumstances). Mines are a great way to get rid of the early Coppers, too. Usually though, I prefer the others 5-cards. The Mine combines well with the Throne Room, mining a Copper into a Gold at once, but also with the Remodel: Mine make Golds that are in turn Remodelled into Provinces.

Mines have another effect when mining silver to gold, which is the possibility of repurchasing the lost silver immediately if needed. This is akin to having simply taken a gold.

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Moat
A very special card. The only action card that is useful when it's not your turn. And avoiding purple cards or hand downsizing is definitely useful. That said, their active effect isn't useless, either. It's a mini-smithy that can help refuelling the engine after a Village or a Festival. If those aren't available, don't clog your hand with Moats though (especially if there are no attack cards, of course!). Moats increase the luck factor: nobody really knows when they will be in your hand. Well, a Chancellor doesn't hurt there.

Just don't get wet.

Quote:

Moneylender
Repeat after me: Coppers are bad. They aren't worth the place they occupy in your hand. Getting rid of them is good. Getting rid of them while being awarded a +3 price reduction is even better. Moneylenders are great buys when Chapels are not available (or when they are, but you don't want to play a Chapel deck strategy). Buy them early: you won't find them in your hand without their friends the Coppers. One Moneylender, maybe two, no more. In the end (as soon as you only have a couple of Coppers left actually) they can be a nuisance: Remodel them into Golds (or Duchies) if you can.

One nice trick... even if you do NOT need the funds, give him the copper anyway.

But... if you're not upgrading to shinier coins, be sure to continually supply your money lenders with fresh pennies.

Quote:

Remodel
The ability to trash a card is priceless (and not always available, only 4 cards allow that, Feast not included). If you want to trash Coppers, Moneylenders and Mines (for Silver, too) are better. If you want to trash several cards at once, only Chapels can do that. But if you want to trash anything, Remodel is the choice action: you get rid of an unwanted card, and you get a better one instead. Best Remodels: Estates into any useful 4-card in the early game (or even into Gardens later on), Curses into any 2-card, including Estates for a +2 VP profit, and of course, Golds into Provinces. If Remodels are available, be sure to buy at least one.

Remodels -> Golds too... Buying only one isn't as useful as a stack.

Quote:

Smithy
A +3-cards bonus is appealing enough, but I am not that fond of the Smithy. Because in most cases, other action cards do the same thing (or short of) better. For example, I prefer a card that has a +2-cards bonus only, but protects me against attacks. Or a Labo for the reasons above. The Smithy alone is frustrating, because you'll often draw actions cards you won't be able to play. That said, if you have a lot of Villages or/and Festivals, if you don't need Moats or Witches, it's a good idea to recruit a couple of Smithies. It's also great if you have few action cards and a lot of money.

They can make the tools you need - but be sure you have the time to use them. Sometimes the most powerful play that can be made with a smithy is to not play the card at all.

Quote:

Spy
On the other hand, I like the Spy (certainly more than it's worth). His impact on your deck, or on the decks of your opponents, isn't overwhelming (though appreciable) but I forgive him because he's free (thanks to his +1 card, +1 action bonus). A network of Spies is quite nice, as you can manage your deck better, increasing your chances of drawing a useful card (and working on the nerves of your opponents). And Spies never clog your hand, so nothing is wrong with them. They are by no way a priority buy though, but a decent 4-card. And sometimes there aren't that many.

A self replacer that can do so much more...
You can cherry pick through you deck to skip unwanted items while drawing to useful ones.
You can cherry pick your opponents deck, leaving him with an unwanted VP card as his next draw.
And then... Follow up with a Bureacrat to give them only three useful cards in hand next turn!

Quote:

Thief
The Thief is a very interesting card: it might well have the biggest range of usefulness of the whole game.. That is, it can be worse than useless (it can actually help your opponents, getting them rid of their Coppers) to extremely powerful (no other card can give you three Golds in one action). The Thief is great against Chapel decks, agains money-decks indeed. In 2-player games, they are less interesting, but their mere presence on the table is still a threat. If you are not quite sure they will be useful, don't bother buying them because they won't be worth the action. If your opponent's deck has a good Golds/cards ratio, steal away. Don't hesitate to try your opponents beforehand with a Spy, for example, to see whether they show a Moat or not. If you're lucky, they will end up not showing their Moats when you Spy them in hope you'll waste a Thief on them.

Further, use that spy to leave a juicy gold coin on top of their deck and follow up with the thief. Forewarned is forearmed.

Quote:

Throne Room
So there is the card that combines well with any other. Its only problem is, it only combines with other action cards and is totally useless in a green and yellow hand (purple doesn't help). That said, it's a cool, cool card. The point is, playing another action card twice is often a ticket to free actions. Indeed, when there are no Villages nor Festivals available, Throne Rooms are the only way to get that much wanted +2-actions bonus. And suddenly you look at those poor Cellars or Spies differently (admit it, you were already looking at the Labos and Markets fondly). Better yet: with two Throne Rooms, you can freely play two action cards without any action bonus (for example, Throne Room + Throne Room + Council Room + Militia is a valid move). If there are a lot of action cards in your deck, you'll want between 1 and 3 Throne Rooms. If you have only money and victory points... you'll want 0.

When there are no +action cards at all on the table, Throne Rooms can be the only way to turbo up a deck. Don't overload, but make it so when they do appear, they are welcomed.

Quote:

Village
Is this the most underpriced card of the game? It's true that 3 chips sound very cheap to obtain that +2-action privilege. But I think that the answer to my question is no. Firstly, because the most underpriced card of the game is the Gardens (at least I think so). Secondly, because there is no need to have too many Villages. The +1-card bonus is not terrific, and the +2-action, which is, is useless when you have 12 actions and no action card left in your hand. On the other hand, this card is not hugely popular without reason. If you are on a action-heavy strategy, the Village is your turbo.

Actions don't buy cards. Villages without support just waste time.

Quote:

Witch
This card is so special, they had to create a whole different set of (purple) cards to go along. Sometimes, I think the Witch is just too powerful. She gives every opponent a Curse card, which is not only useless to them, it actually costs them one VP each. How nasty is that? Moreover, the Witch gives its owner 2 cards. Try to get one in your deck ASAP (Feasts help). But then I remember... the purple stack is soon empty, or your opponents protect themselves, and that leaves you with an overpriced Moat. Which is why you shouldn't usually buy more than two Witches. After that, trash them if you can, or better, Remodel them into Golds or Duchies. Witches do funny things with the pace of the game, because on one hand Curses clog the hands of the players, thus slowing down things a little, and on the other hand they empty a (purple) stack fairly quickly. Beware.

People often overlook the +2 card draw and focus solely on the curses. If there are no moats, smithies, council rooms or libraries available, Witches are needed to move your own hand forward. That it hurts opponents is just a bonus.

Quote:

Woodcutter
Nearly every Kingdom Card has a little peculiarity. That's true for the Woodcutter too, even though it is rather discreet: it's the only one allowing +1 buy that doesn't cost 5. And as it costs 3 indeed, it's a bargain. It would be great just for that, but we can use the +2 virtual money as well. When I have 3 Coppers in my first (or second) hand, I usually buy a Woodcutter (over Villages or Silvers), because his +2-money bonus is likely to help me buy a 5-card (or even a Gold) early. And the +1 buy may be useful later on (I hate it when I have like 12 coins and 1 buy). That said, unless there aren't any other cards with the +1-buy bonus, I only recruit one Woodcutter. If I want another cheap +2-money card, I go for a Chancellor.

What do Woodcutters become when they grow up? Festivals.

Quote:

Workshop
The very first card I bought in my very first game in Essen! Now I know better... More seriously, I'm not a big fan of the Workshop because of the gap between 4-cards and 5-cards I mentioned earlier. They might be useful in the early game to grab Silvers (but Bureaucrats do that better) or Villages or Throne Rooms or Spies... But those cards are cheap so you can buy them easily anyway, and once you have enough of them your Workshops are useless (worse, with their puppy eyes, they induce you into taking cards you don't need). Remodel them into Golds or Duchies. If Gardens are available, that's a completely different matter, because Workshops are a great way to get them. Still, even then, I never buy more than two Workshops.

When there aren't a lot of 5-cost cards in rotation, the Workshop is a guarenteed new card. Workshops often indicate that the game will end on a 3-pile draw-out, not on Provinces. Embrace that and use the Workshops to make drawing down those piles on your own terms easier.
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Lee Price
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Question - If I have more than one Garden card can each card score points for me or just one.
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Devin Smith
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Each garden is worth ceilingfloor(number in cards in your deck/10).

Edited for correctness.
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Kirkwb
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There is a Rules Forum, Lee, but to answer: each Gardens is worth the number of Cards in your deck (including themselves).

Example: I have a 43 card Deck and 5 of those cards are gardens. That makes each Gardens worth 4 Points. 4 Points each times 5 Gardens is 20 Points + any other Victory Points cards you have.
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Lee Price
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Thanks for the answer!
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David Gibbs
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Excalabur wrote:
Each garden is worth ceiling(number in cards in your deck/10).


Actually, it would be floor(cards in deck /10).

Garden Card wrote:
Worth 1 (VP symbol) for every 10 cards in your deck (rounded down).
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jack raten
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I would say the Bureaucrat is a very useful early action card buy. I often buy one in my first two hands and it usually pays off. It will get used multiple times during the game, especially in the beginning, and gives the owner a free source of silver, also hurting other players hands.
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Edward
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Schuk wrote:
Bureaucrat
The typical "mild" card. A free Silver is cool, and, when it works, so is the downsizing of the opponents' hands to 4 cards (with a green card on top of their deck, which is always a good thing!). On the other hand... Silvers are only useful in the early game (it is often even possible to skip the Silver phase entirely and purchase Golds directly) and the effect on other players, if any, is far from critical. Usually, there are better 4-cards to grab. Makes the Militia less effective, too. I rarely buy Bureaucrats.

I disagree. Any VP card the Bureaucrat affects (which would have otherwise been discarded by the Militia) instead goes onto the draw deck, to be drawn next turn.
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Matthew M
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theory wrote:
Schuk wrote:
Bureaucrat
The typical "mild" card. A free Silver is cool, and, when it works, so is the downsizing of the opponents' hands to 4 cards (with a green card on top of their deck, which is always a good thing!). On the other hand... Silvers are only useful in the early game (it is often even possible to skip the Silver phase entirely and purchase Golds directly) and the effect on other players, if any, is far from critical. Usually, there are better 4-cards to grab. Makes the Militia less effective, too. I rarely buy Bureaucrats.

I disagree. Any VP card the Bureaucrat affects (which would have otherwise been discarded by the Militia) instead goes onto the draw deck, to be drawn next turn.


Agreed. Schuk actually has it backwards. The Militia makes the Bureaucrat less effective, not the other way around. The Bureaucrat doesn't adversely affect the Militia at all, as the VP card was an auto discard when attacked by the Militia anyways.

-MMM
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Mark McEvoy
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byronczimmer wrote:

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Feast
At first, I didn't understand the point of it at all. But in Dominion, there is a gap between 4- and 5-cards (and a wider gap between 7- and 8-, but that's another story). The Feast bridges that gap. It can give you this unreachable, sexy 5-card fairly early. Even in the end game, it's very useful to help you grab Duchies. And, once used, Feast have the curtesy to excuse themselves, thus thinning your deck. They combine well with the Throne Room too, as they give you two 5-cards for the price of one Feast (hey, that could be 6 VP, just like one Province). A Feast buy is a safe buy (enjoy responsibly of course). By the way, the Feast is the only card that you really shouldn't overpay (unless it's the last of the stack and you need the game to end).

I'll gladly pay you tuesday for a hamburger today.


But isn't Feast the other way around? I'll gladly pay you today (albeit with a 20% discount) for a hamburger Tuesday.

IMHO, without a two-for-one coupon (Throne Room), that kind of burger establishment just isn't for me.
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Werner Bär
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Schuk wrote:
Chancellor
The little brother of the Woodcutter. And one of the few cards that involves a little memory (rather, to pay a little attention). The ability to re-shuffle your discard pile with your deck can be very powerful... provided you know which cards are in which pile. Played after a Workshop or a Feast, it gives you a (small) possibility to find your newly acquired card in your hand on the very next turn.

It sounds like you got it a bit wrong, and the chancellor is stronger than you think.

You don't shuffle immediately after you play the chancellor. You shuffle when you need new cards. Unless you play other actions with +cards after your chancellor, your current buy (and all cards played) will be included in the shuffle.
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Schuk
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Thanks everybody for your insights! That is what this post was all about

Octavian wrote:
Agreed. Schuk actually has it backwards. The Militia makes the Bureaucrat less effective, not the other way around. The Bureaucrat doesn't adversely affect the Militia at all, as the VP card was an auto discard when attacked by the Militia anyways.

I only wanted to point out that after a Bureaucrat, when a Militia is played, only one card is discarded (instead of the usual two). But it's true that in the end, altogether, there are anyway 2 cards less in the hand, and of course, it's worse to have a victory card on top of one's desk than in one's discard pile...

Werbaer wrote:
You don't shuffle immediately after you play the chancellor. You shuffle when you need new cards. Unless you play other actions with +cards after your chancellor, your current buy (and all cards played) will be included in the shuffle.

Well... if you include all your cards in the shuffle, that gives you a (small) possibility to find your newly acquired card(s) in your hand on the very next turn, doesn't it?
The point is, if you play a Chancellor after a Feast or a Worshop and can still play after that a card that says "+x card(s)", you might even draw your new card on the same turn!
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Mike M
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Good post shuck!

Can I make a suggestion? How about editing it for us newbies so that the line with the title of the card also has a quick summary of it. eg "Village: +1 Card, +2 Actions"
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Schuk
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theycallmemorty wrote:
How about editing it for us newbies so that the line with the title of the card also has a quick summary of it. eg "Village: +1 Card, +2 Actions"


Done! (finally)
But it's a short description just to make sure which card I'm talking about. For a more precise explaination, nothing replaces the rules booklet! (or maybe BGG forums)

Next step: The Envoy and the Black Market... I just need to play them another couple of times...
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Schuk
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Still no Envoy and no Black Market, but the Intrigue version is available! Short Analysis of the 25 Kingdom Cards - Intrigue Version
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Schuk
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For those who are still interested, please have a look at the Short Analysis of the 25 Kingdom Cards - Seaside Version
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