Prosperity: Venture


Dominion: Prosperity

Venture is one of those $5 “Silver-plus” cards: it’s guaranteed to be at least worth $2, but usually provides a little extra.  It does best in high-quality Treasure decks, and therefore works well with Hoard, Platinum, Mint, Moneylender, and Mine.  Even Loan trashing is normally good enough to justify buying Ventures.  But even with high-value Treasures, Venture really depends on some kind of early trashing to get going: without it, it’s hard to justify buying Venture when so much other good stuff is at $5.  Mine can sometimes be enough to make Ventures the best $5 buy, as can Venture/Bank.  But in general, the card is too weak if you have too many Coppers in your deck.

Assuming you can get the trashing, Venture’s best feature is its chain reaction ability: if you can get to 5 or 6 Ventures and little other Treasure in your deck (a setup most likely achieved via Mint), then playing any Venture will net you at least $5, and probably singlehandedly get you a Province.

Decks that work well with Venture will also benefit strongly from an Adventurer, but in most cases, Venture is probably going to be superior.  Although it draws only one Treasure instead of two, Adventurer requires an Action to play and it doesn’t chain onto itself.  That being said, Adventurer is more helpful early on, when you don’t have enough Ventures in your deck to reliably chain them together.  In addition, Adventurer can be Throned or Kinged (to great effect), but Venture cannot.

Venture doesn’t play particularly well with Alchemy and Potion.  You’ll rarely want your Ventures to be hitting Potions, since Potion has little place in the kind of Big Money deck that Venture is best in.  Although it can be good for Potion-grabbing if you’re desperate to keep your Alchemist chain going, Alchemist/Herbalist is a more reliable way to keep the Potions on your deck.

Finally, Venture’s deck-cycling power is usually a good one.  When you’re improving your deck, you want your cards reshuffled as soon as possible.  It’s a bit weaker when you start buying Victory cards (since reshuffling your deck starts to dilute it), but Venture is still helping you find your Treasures amidst the sea of green cards.  And it can help you against attacks like Ghost Ship or Bureaucrat: just dump your Victory cards on your deck and use Venture to power through them.

Works with:

  • Strong early trashing
  • High-quality Treasure decks (Hoard, Mint, Mine, Platinum, Moneylender)
  • Opponents’ Ghost Ship or Bureaucrat
  • Adventurer

Conflicts with:

  • Grand Market, only in the sense that it might draw an unwanted Copper
  • Contraband, if you didn’t want to draw it
  • Opponents’ Copper-giving attacks (Mountebank, Ambassador)

Sample Game

This game is an example of how good Ventures can be if there isn’t another option at $5.  There’s no good way to trash Coppers other than Salvager, so any other good $5 would have been able to beat the Venture stack.  Instead, because Venture is the only $5, it’s easy to pile up a big stack of them, and with Platinums in play, they trigger for a ton of money.

Sample Game #2

A straightforward Chapel -> Venture setup.  Mountebank is problematic, but Upgrade/Chapel is enough to take care of the Coppers.  See especially the turns toward the end, where my Ventures go five levels deep.

Sample Game #3

Steward and Venture lead to a very fast Province rush, since buying Provinces doesn’t slow down a Venture deck very much.  Here, trashing Coppers with the Steward is more important than trashing Estates, which can be used as the tiebreaker.

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12 Responses to Prosperity: Venture

  1. Grujah says:

    It always struck me as the most elegant strategy ever – buy 8 Ventures and destroy all other treasures so you can have a 100% province in every hand.
    Too bad its practically almost impossible to pull off…

  2. Auroch says:

    Well thought-out. Ventures had been underwhelming for me, but I’ll give them more thought if I see them with good trashers.

    On the subject of Interesting Treasure cards, I’d like to know your thoughts on Contraband. What must be true for you to buy them?

    • theory says:

      Tough to say. Contraband is a really dangerous card, in my mind, and I’d only buy it if there’s a ton of options available. E.g. if both Hoard and Harem are out, I’ll consider it with an early 5/2. But otherwise I hate relying on it.

  3. rod says:

    The beauty of contraband is that you don’t have to rely on it. You don’t want it when you’re trying to buy provinces every turn, but for the other 11-14 early turns, it’s (pseudo)-golden. Forcing your opponent to choose between preventing you from buying a good 5, a real gold, and provinces, in the absence of any additional knowledge except your hand size and likely cards is means your opponent is unlikely to even choose ‘correctly’ even 1/2 of the time, and when they do choose correctly, you have a +buy and can get 2 silvers instead of the gold you wanted, or 2 good fours instead of the too-early province.

    Especially in games that are low on +buys otherwise, contraband is a house. I share the distrust of the card, and want to avoid it every time it’s in the kingdom, but lose to it without fail. **I only get to play 3-4player, so in 1v1 it might be different.

    • Trevor says:

      I used to shy away from Contraband, but embrace it now, especially if it’s a low-cost smorgasbord of cards available. Really, I use it like a Talisman, and it can help me get gold or better the first turn after the first reshuffle, how can that be a bad thing? Of course, if there’s only one logical target there for you to purchase with your Contraband, you venture into some murky territory, but that’s not the fault of Contraband. That’s the shoddy luck that got you bad cards on the board to choose from.

    • Bill says:

      not really. If you have 6, block the gold unless there’s a grand market out. If you have 8, block the province. 5 is a little tricky but there’s usually only 2 non-victory 5 cards out and it’s often obvious which one you would want/need after like turn 6-7. 4 or less is unlikely. If it’s greening time, block the highest victory card you can afford. I would expect blocking efficacy to be at least 70%, possibly over 80% over the course of the game.

  4. Zaphod says:

    The Trading Post does a nice job of eliminating your Coppers two at a time while putting Silver in your deck, making the Venture into a cheap Gold, at least. I discovered this quite by accident, but it’s worked to my advantage in many games.

  5. Zen Yan says:

    I think venture should also work well with tunnels, since discarding tunnels with venture nets more Golds which subsequently improves ventures.

  6. Alex Zorach says:

    I recently had good luck with Venture+Loan. Not only does loan thin the deck, but if venture hits the loan, then you get the trashing too, so you trash more often than with loan alone. I’d be curious to see a simulated analysis of how many loans are too many. The loans don’t trash themselves, and when a venture pulls one, it only results in $2 total. But when Venture pulls a loan, it still does result in a lot of deck-cycling, so I can see that being an additional benefit of this combo.

    • Anonymous says:

      I have found that something like 2 loans is good early on. Then once lots of copper is gone, if you get the chance try to buy mint. Then you trash loan(s) when you buy mint, and mint subsequently gets you more ventures/golds

  7. PK9 says:

    One conflict you didn’t mention: Venture doesn’t work if you draw your whole deck (or at least draw all your treasures). In that case, the Venture actually isn’t guaranteed to be worth at least $2. So basically I’d say it conflicts with a strong engine with trashing.

    However, it can be great. I just won a four player Colony game where Bishop and Rabble were on the board, as well as Bank. I was the only one to open 5-2, and I actually misclicked with my opening buy, taking a Venture instead of what I had originally intended, a Royal Seal. The other three players went Bishop. Once I screwed up my original plan to get into the Bishop game, I just spammed Ventures instead, using their Bishops to trash my Coppers. I even held on to two of my Estates, realizing that green wouldn’t really affect me (There was one amazing turn where I was hit by Rabble and ended up top-decking 3 green cards, which I immediately skipped with my Venture) The other players had between 7 and 15 VP chips, but I ended up with 6 Colonies to crush them. The only thing was each turn for me was pretty mindless, since I had a card to buy for every price point: $2 Pawn $3 Shanty Town $4 Island (never hit $4), $5 Venture, $6 Gold, $7 Bank, $8 Province, $9-10 Platinum, $11+ Colony.

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