Expansion Buzz – Dominion: Adventures

I have a tradition here.  Whenever there’s a new Dominion set, I go through all the cards and give some preliminary thoughts.  I did it for Prosperity, Cornucopia, Hinterlands, Dark Ages, and Guilds.  And, now that Rio Grande has changed their mind about Guilds being the last expansion (was there any doubt that they would?), here’s my overview of

image by BGG user W Eric Martin
image by BGG user W Eric Martin

Dominion: Adventures is the ninth expansion for Dominion, and the first since 2013.  It’s the sixth big expansion for the series, coming with 400 new cards (including 30 new kingdom cards and 20 events), 60 tokens, and six mats (just in case you for some reason want to play with six players).  If you don’t know anything about Dominion, you probably wont be very interest in this post, but it was the game that defined the deckbuilding genre back in 2008.  Each expansion has added some new mechanisms that didn’t necessarily ever come back, but this set brings back the Duration cards from Seaside.

Enough talk.  Let’s look at the cards. (*Reminder: I have not played this expansion, so take my comments with a grain of salt)

image by BGG user salva
image by BGG user salva
  • Amulet (Action/Duration, costs 3): Now and at the beginning of your next turn, +1 coin OR trash a card from your hand OR gain a Silver.  Duration cards were introduced in Seaside, and are played in front of you.  They are discarded at the end of your next turn.  This seems like a nice versatile card that can be used twice and is relatively cheap to buy.
  • Artificer (Action, costs 5): +1 card, +1 action, +1 coin.  Also, you can discard any number of cards to gain a card worth exactly as much as the number of cards discarded.  This card goes on top of your deck.  So really useful when you find yourself with a hand of victory point cards so you can actually get something.
  • Bridge Troll (Action/Attack/Duration, costs 5): Other players get a -1 token, which means they get one coin less when the acquire a treasure.  So, if they get a Silver, they actually get a Copper.  I think.  You also get an extra buy, and cards cost one less for you.  Seems a little funky, and I’m not sure if I entirely understand how it works.
  • Caravan Guard (Action/Duration/Reaction, costs 3): +1 card, +1 action.  Also, at the start of your next turn, +1 coin.  If another player plays an attack card, you can play this from your hand, though the +1 action has no effect.  That’s a nice reaction to an attack, though you may as well just sit on it for the extra action.
  • Coin of the Realm (Treasure/Reserve, costs 2): Value 1, and placed on your Tavern mat.  Immediately after resolving an action, you may call this for +2 actions.  Calling is a new mechanism for Dominion, where you move a card from your Tavern mat to play, which means it gets discarded as usual.  You don’t get the first effect again, so you don’t get another coin.  It’s like a Duration card that you can save for later rather than using it your next turn.  This one doesn’t give you much money, but seems incredibly useful for giving more actions when you need them.
  • Distant Lands (Action/Reserve/Victory, costs 5): Put this on your Tavern mat.  Worth 4 VP if on your Tavern mat at the end of the game, 0 if not.  This is a victory card you are allowed to keep out of your deck, and probably want to as soon as possible.  You just have to waste an action on it.  I like the sound of this one.
  • Dungeon (Action/Duration, costs 3): +1 action.  Now and at the start of your next turn, +2 cards, then discard 2 cards.  So it’s a draw action that may be very useful if you have a hand full of junk and the possibility of some better cards next.  It’s relatively cheap, so it would probably be good.
  • Duplicate (Action/Reserve, costs 4): Put this on your Tavern mat.  When you gain a card costing up to 6, you may call this to gain a copy of that card.  Looks like a really nice way to gain lots of copies of the same card – you could use it for two Gold, two Duchies, two Artificers, even two more Duplicates!
  • Gear (Action/Duration, costs 3): +2 cards.  Set aside two cards from your hand face down, adding them to your hand at the start of your next turn.  If you have a couple of cards that aren’t doing anything for you now, you can save them for later, which is really nice.
  • Giant (Action/Attack, costs 5): One of the tokens you have in this game is a Journey token, which starts face up.  Play the Giant and flip it over.  If it’s now face down, +1 coin.  If it’s face up, +5 coins.  Also, each other player reveals the top card of their deck.  If it costs 3-6, they trash it.  Otherwise, they discard it and gain a Curse.  This is MEAN.  Seriously.  This is a vicious, vicious card.  Fortunately, it doesn’t hit you every time, but geez.
  • Guide (Action/Reserve, costs 3): +1 card, +1 action.  Put this card on your Tavern mat.  At the start of your turn, you may call this, then discard your hand in favor of a new hand of five.  This will be very useful when you have nothing but junk.
  • Haunted Woods (Action/Attack/Duration, costs 5): Until your next turn, when another player buys a card, he puts his hand on top of his deck in any order.  At the start of your next turn, +3 cards.  I guess the theory here is that players won’t have anything left in their hand but VP cards and Curses, possibly an unplayed action or two and one extra change (like a Copper).  More of a nuisance than the attack of the Giant.
  • Hireling (Action/Duration, costs 6): This is a card that stays in play for the rest of the game, and gives you +1 card at the start of all turns.  It effectively increases your hand size by one for each one in play.  Very useful, but expensive.
  • Lost City (Action, costs 5): +2 cards, +2 actions.  When you gain this, every other player draws a card.  So it’s a little better than a Laboratory (+2 cards, +1 action), but the payoff is that the other players get something.  Vaccarino himself calls this a vanilla card – pretty basic.
  • Magpie (Action, costs 4):  +1 card, +1 action.  Then you reveal the top card of your deck.  If it’s a treasure (ooh, shiny), put it in your hand.  If it’s a victory or action card, gain another Magpie.  This is interesting – one Magpie can turn into a whole flock pretty easily.  This might be super annoying to the others if they let you get too many.
  • Messenger (Action, costs 4): +1 buy, +2 coins, AND you can put your deck into your discard pile.  Also, if this is your first buy on a turn, you gain a card costing up to four, and all of your opponents also gain a copy of that card.  So, ideally, you want to gain this on your second buy.  Or you want to buy this first and gain something useless, like a Copper.  Ooh, or a Curse – if you don’t mind, that could really mess with some people.
  • Miser (Action, costs 4): You can either put a Copper on your Tavern mat or gain +1 coin per Copper on your Tavern mat.  This is both a way to get Copper out of your hand, and still be able to use it.  I like the sound of this one a lot.
  • Page: This is one of two Traveller sets in the game.  I’m identifying them by the first card.  The idea is that you can buy the first card in a set, or you can trade up as the game progresses.  Exchanging (which is not trashing or gaining) involves putting a card back in its pile and taking the next one up the ladder.  It’s an interesting idea – upgrades.
    • Page (Action/Traveller, costs 2): +1 card, +1 action.
    • Treasure Hunter (Action/Traveller): +1 action, +1 coin.  Gain a Silver per card the previous player gained in his last turn.
    • Warrior (Action/Attack/Traveller): +2 cards.  For each Traveller you have in play (including this), each player discards the top player of their deck and trashes it if it costs 3 or 4 (ouch).
    • Hero (Action/Traveller): +2 coins, gain a Treasure.
    • Champion (Action/Duration, costs 2): +1 action.  For the rest of the game, you are protected from attacks by other players.  Whenever you play an action, this card gives you an extra action.  Pretty cool.
  • Peasant: This is the other Traveller set.  I’m really liking how these seem to work.  It’s like your cards evolve as you play.  Pretty neat concept.
    • Peasant (Action/Traveller, costs 2): +1 buy, +1 coin.
    • Soldier (Action/Attack/Traveller): +2 coins, +1 coin per other Attack you have in play.  Each other player with four or more cards in hand must discard one.
    • Fugitive (Action/Traveller): +2 cards, +1 action, discard a card.
    • Disciple (Action/Traveller): You may play an action card from your hand twice, then gain a copy of it.
    • Teacher (Action/Reserve): Put this on your Tavern mat.  At the start of your turn, you may call this to move your +1 card, +1 action, +1 buy, or +1 coin token to an action supply pile you don’t have a token on yet.  Now, when you play one of those cards, you first get that bonus.  A very nice bonus there.
  • Port (Action, costs 4): +1 card, +2 actions.  When you buy this, you get another Port.  A two-fer deal.  There are 12 cards in this supply pile, but I would imagine they run out quickly since they disappear twice as quickly.
  • Ranger (Action, costs 4): +1 buy and turn your Journey token over.  If it’s now face up, +5 cards.  This is a different effect than the Giant, which also uses the Journey token, and if both are in play, that would turn into an interesting decision – do you need the cards, or do you want to attack.
  • Ratcatcher (Action/Reserve, costs 2): +1 card, +1 action, and put this on your Tavern mat.  You can call this at the start of your turn to trash a card in your hand.  This is a little more useful than, say, the Chapel which can only be used in the hand it’s drawn.  The Ratcatcher can be saved to get rid of those Curses.  Or rats, I guess.
  • Raze (Action, costs 2): +1 action.  Trash this card or another card from your hand, then look at a number of cards from your deck equal to its cost.  Put one in your hand and discard the rest.  This doesn’t seem incredibly useful to me because you’d have to trash something with some value in order to get the full benefit – Coppers and Curses wouldn’t get you anything.  Still, it probably will have its fans.
  • Relic (Treasure/Attack, costs 5): Worth 2.  When you play it, each player puts their -1 card token on their deck.  This means that the next time they draw a card, they discard this token instead.  So if they’re drawing a hand of five, they only get four.  A nice attack there.
  • Royal Carriage (Action/Reserve, costs 5): +1 action and put it on your Tavern mat.  After resolving an action, if it’s still in play, call this to replay that action.  So this will help you repeat some effects, which could be quite beneficial.  It’s expensive, but it might be worth it.
  • Storyteller (Action, costs 5): +1 action, +1 coin.  Then play up to three Treasures from your hand, discard them and gain one card per coin.  So if you played Treasures valued a total of 4 coins, you’d draw four cards and those four coins are not available to you for purchasing later.  Seems like an interesting way to cycle more through your deck.
  • Swamp Hag (Action/Attack/Duration, costs 5): Until your next turn, when any other player buys a card, he gains a Curse.  At the start of your next turn, +3 coins.  So it’s like the Witch, but with a longer term effect and some extra coin next turn rather than two cards now.
  • Transmogrify (Action/Reserve, costs 4): +1 action and put on your Tavern mat.  On your turn, you can call this to trash a card from your hand, then gain a card costing 1 more to your hand.  This is like Remodel, except you can use it whenever you want instead of just on the hand you draw it.
  • Treasure Trove (Treasure, costs 5): Worth 2.  When you play this, you also gain a Gold and a Copper.  Gold, yay.  Copper, boo.  Still, probably worth it, especially with all the ways to trash stuff.
  • Wine Merchant (Action/Reserve, costs 5): +1 buy, +4 coins, place on your Tavern mat.  At the end of your buy phase, if you still have 2 coins unspent, you can discard this.  This is an different take on the reserve cards – the benefit is actually having it in your hand rather than being able to bring it out later.  So once it’s in the Tavern, it won’t be in your deck until you can discard it.  I like it.

So, several new mechanisms there – Reserve, Tokens, and Travellers are all pretty different.  But there is one more new mechanism – Events.  Events can be shuffled into the randomizer deck when choosing the kingdom cards, but are not kingdom cards.  You just draw until you get 10 kingdom cards, setting out any events you come across.  They don’t recommend using more than two in a game.  These are purchased using a Buy, but they don’t go into your deck.  You just use the effect and leave it on the table.  You can buy the same event multiple times if you have enough buys and coins.  Let’s take a look at them.

image by BGG user salva
image by BGG user salva
  • Alms (cost 0): Once per turn, if you have no Treasures in play, gain a card costing up to 4.  A nice way to get something for free if you have a hand of victory cards.
  • Ball (cost 5): Take your -1 coin token, which means you get one coin less next time you get coin.  Then gain two cards costing up to 4 each.  So for 5 coin, you get 8 coin worth of merchandise and a one coin penalty on your next turn.  Could be worth it.
  • Bonfire (cost 3): Trash up to two cards you have in play.  Another way to thin that deck, especially if you used Copper to buy this.
  • Borrow (cost 0): +1 buy.  Once per turn, if your -1 token isn’t on your deck, put it there and gain +1 coin.  So you’re borrowing from the next hand for this one.  Since you have to buy this, I’m glad they included the +1 buy so you can actually spend that extra coin.
  • Expedition (cost 3): Draw two extra cards for your next hand.  Simple and straightforward.
  • Ferry (cost 3): Move your -2 coin cost token to an action supply pile.  These cards cost you 2 less on your turns.  A really good way to make stuff cheaper.  You only have one of these tokens, so it’s not like you can spread them out over all the pile.
  • Inheritance (cost 7): Hey, something to do with 7 coins!  Once per game, you can set aside a non-victory action card from the supply costing up to 4 coins.  Put your Estate token on it, and your Estates gain the abilities and types of that card.  That is cool.  Estates are no longer worthless and trash fodder!
  • Lost Arts (cost 6): Move your +1 action token to an action supply pile.  When you play a card from that pile, you first get +1 action.  Extra actions are always nice to have.
  • Mission (cost 4): Once per turn, you get an extra turn, though you can’t buy cards.  You can only do this if the previous turn was NOT yours, so you can’t create an infinite loop.  If you can’t buy, the only purpose here would be possible attacks, possible gains, possible trashing, and the ability to cycle through your deck a bit quicker.
  • Pathfinding (cost 8): Move your +1 card token to an action supply pile.  When you play a card from that pile, you first get +1 card.  Extra cards are good, but that is REALLY expensive.  For the cost of a Province, you get an extra card when you play a card from that action set.  I don’t know if I’d want to do that.
  • Pilgrimage (cost 4): Once per turn, flip your Journey token.  If it’s face up, choose up to three differently named cards you have in play and gain a copy of each.  That’s really nice, and another way the Journey token comes into play.
  • Plan (cost 3): Move your Trashing token to an action supply pile.  When you buy a card from that pile, you may trash a card from your hand.  Good idea.
  • Quest (cost 0): You may discard an Attack, two Curses, or six cards.  If you do, gain a Gold.  Very nice if you have a junky hand.
  • Raid (cost 5): Gain a Silver per Silver you have in play.  Each other player puts his -1 card token on his deck.  A nice attack there that can get you some extra change.
  • Save (cost 1): +1 buy.  Once per turn, you can set aside a card from your hand, then put it back into your hand after drawing the next one.  So if you have a card that won’t help this time, you can save it for a turn.
  • Scouting Party (cost 2): +1 buy.  Look at the top 5 cards of your deck.  Discard three, and put the rest back in any order.  This helps you look ahead and maybe get rid of some junk that’s coming.
  • Seaway (cost 5): Gain an action card costing up to 4.  Move your +1 buy token to that pile, which gives you an extra buy every time you play that card.  Which is good – you get something for free and the ability to buy more when you play it.
  • Trade (cost 5): Trash up to 2 cards from your hand, gaining a Silver per trashed card.  Get rid of junk, get money.  Good one.
  • Training (cost 6): Move your +1 coin token to an action supply pile.  You get an extra coin whenever you play it.  Seems overpriced to me.
  • Travelling Fair (cost 2): +2 buys.  When you gain a card this turn, you may put it on top of your deck.  Love it.

So, overall, what are my initial impressions?  As I said, I haven’t played this expansion, but just from looking at the cards, this seems like the most varied expansion yet.  They’ve had two years to think about it, and I think there’s a lot of stuff here that will really change up how the game plays.  I’m glad they’re revisiting Duration cards, and I hope this means that future expansions (no one believes this will be it) will come back to some of the concepts in other expansions.  I’m excited to see how this turns out – I haven’t played Dominion very much at all in recent times, but I still think very highly of it and am happy to see it return, even though it means they were lying through their teeth when they said Guilds was the end.  Thanks for reading!


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