Seaside: Native Village

Native Village

Dominion: Seaside

The +Actions isn’t what makes this card so interesting—if all you’re looking for is more Actions, any other Village is superior. (The exception is if you have Libraries or Watchtowers and want to take advantage of its handsize-lowering effect.)

Rather, Native Village is nice for its ability to tuck away cards: it can “trash” unwanted cards, hide cards from Pirate Ships/Saboteurs, or just build up for a mega-turn.  Conducting deck-inspection is quite helpful in order to guarantee what you’re drawing; similarly, Native Village is a good soft counter to Ghost Ships, Bureaucrats, and Spies, since the Victory cards they leave on your deck can be tucked away.  In addition, if you can draw your entire deck, you can use Cellar/Warehouse to selectively discard Victory cards such that only Victory cards are left in your draw deck, prime targets for your Native Village to gobble up.

Nevertheless, Native Village’s “trashing” ability is pretty much the worst way to go about deck-thinning.  It’s too slow when you need to single-mindedly focus on trashing, and in a thin-deck monster, Native Village’s drawing ability can more harm than good if you’ll mostly be drawing good cards.  It’s useful as late game storage for Provinces/Colonies, but the chance of drawing a critical Platinum is too much of a risk.

Even without trashing, Native Village is only really viable when there’s also a way to make use of its +Actions (usually +Cards); when there isn’t, Native Village’s pseudo-trash-the-top-card ability is probably too chancy and slow to be worth buying.

If you’re pursuing Native Villages, you’ll need quite a few of them in order to recover from drawing good cards onto the Native Village mat.  This means that a source of +Buy is critical for Native Village, so that you don’t repeatedly overpay for its ability.

Works with:

  • Deck-inspection (Pearl Diver, Wishing Well, Spy, Navigator), including opponents’ Spies
  • Library/Watchtower
  • Pirate Ship wars (both to play your own Pirate Ships, and to hide your Coppers from opponents)
  • Cards that benefit from large handsizes: Bank, Coppersmith, Secret Chamber
  • Opponents’ Ghost Ships/Bureaucrats
  • Opponents’ Saboteurs
  • Good terminals, usually +Cards
  • +Buy

Conflicts with:

  • Strong early trashing/Ambassador
  • Philosopher’s Stone
  • Counting House
  • Embargo (on the Native Villages)
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23 Responses to Seaside: Native Village

  1. Grujah says:

    One word:
    Bridge. If you are going for one-mega-turn this card is what you want with Native Villages. I got 7-Province turn this way once.🙂
    Goons work rather OK, if you get 4 or so of them its quite strong.

    How does it help against Saboteur though?

    • Axxle says:

      The only way I can think of is that it hides your 3+ cost cards until you want to use them with Native Village… Also Saboteur cant hit native villages like it can all the other villages, so if you’re desperate enough for +Actions that you can’t lose them to saboteurs, this is a very good buy.

      I personally never use native village for it’s trashing ability, usually too inconsistent unless you have a deck inspection card. Even then the mega-turn Grujah is referring to is invaluable. Even a small boost in a turn can change the game from what I’ve seen.

    • Detroit Rock City says:

      i just tried this a few times–I was only really successful in this game with a chapel as well:

      http://dominion.isotropic.org/gamelog/201101/10/game-20110110-095004-c8f3f5ec.html.gz

    • theory says:

      Yes, what Axxle said. Normally if your opponent goes Saboteur you just laugh and go on to win the game; but if you’re in multiplayer, or if he’s KCing his Saboteurs, you might need a refuge for your important cards (e.g. save your Golds together, until you can combine them to buy something good).

    • tlloyd says:

      Notice that Bridge is also useful for building the mass native village deck in the first place.

  2. fellowmartian says:

    ‘In addition, if you can draw your entire deck, you can use Cellar/Warehouse to selectively discard Victory cards such that only Victory cards are left in your draw deck, prime targets for your Native Village to gobble up.’

    That’s cool. Cool too is if you can draw almost your whole deck, so you know exactly what the couple of cards left are. If you have two cards left and two NVs you’re sorted either way — poor/worth saving for another turn: set them aside, good/want them now: set aside the first and take the second.

    Off topic, I’m loving the card analysis, but it would be good to see more artciles on here about other aspects of play too. One I think would be awesome is a ‘skills analysis’ — what are the separate skills that make a good Dominion player?

    • theory says:

      I think I can do that. It’s tough to write general strategy articles, but look for a couple coming soon!

      • flymolo says:

        I’d like to see some articles on deck planning. I can often see than It didn’t work when I’m ending turn with a lot of actions, but still not able to buy something good, or when I have a handful of action cards I can’t play. But I’m not sure how to do better.

  3. timchen1017 says:

    I don’t know if people agree, but I feel that for a +action/+draw engine, native village is quite often stronger than shanty town.

    • theory says:

      Oh, absolutely. Shanty Town is the worst source of Actions for +Action/+Cards, since you’re trying to play it with other Actions, after all! It’s much better in decks with non-terminals where you can get rid of your other Actions before playing it.

      • Edward Montgomery says:

        Shanty Town can work well as an adjunct in an action/draw deck. Pairs well with Festival, for instance. You can often arrange to play the Shanty Town after all the other cards are exhausted. If you pull an action card, you’re happy. If you don’t, you still got 2 more cards. You just don’t want to have a whole swarm of the Shanty Towns as the sole source of +action. They can pair well with my favorite card, too. Golem!

  4. chesskidnate says:

    Wouldn’t cellar just draw the cards you discarded since you discard then draw? Of course it is perfectly viable if you have one or so cards left in your deck and none in the discard

  5. lemononmars says:

    I feel that Native Village is better than Village. It can be used in various ways as you mentioned above (with forge also, I believe), it slims your deck somewhat, and it also works as psuedo-Tactician in a long run (I used it in a game with Goons but no other +card, and finally succeeded in playing four Goons in a single turn.)

    Moreover, if you do the math, Native Village only gives you a few less cards than Village, depending on how often you choose to draw from your Native Village mat (say if you draw only if you have four cards on the math, then on average it is “+0.8 cards”). So, if you don’t draw from the mat too often, it’s almost equivalent to Village in its draw power, but has many uses.

    • Edward Montgomery says:

      I think “better” is overstating it. If I have 3 to spend and a choice I’d be happy with the Village, but if I only have 2 I’m very happy to get a Native Village.

      The Village doesn’t need a lot of other Villages to be maximally useful, whereas Native Villages get better the more of them you’ve got. If you’re only using Native Village for +action, you’ll need to play one before you can play your Navigator/Scout/Apothecary to set the order of the next card, so there’s a random card on your mat. Sometimes it’s one you can’t live without. If you only have 1 Native Village you may not see that card again for a long time.

      It’s only chance that sets up the top card without spending your own action (except for Secret Chamber/Watchtower). Sea Hag, Bureaucrat, Rabble, Spy, Scrying Pool, etc. Still, I fell in love with Native Village when I was just learning Dominion. Only one of them in my deck, and it came up after a Sea Hag hit me 4 times! Ended the game with nothing on my mat except 4 Curses, having never pulled a card back off the mat. I’d never use it that way now, but it was fun.

      • vidicate says:

        (necro-reply) “If you’re only using Native Village for +action, you’ll need to play one before you can play your […] next card, so there’s a random card on your mat.”

        Not true; you can always return 0 cards from the mat. (just clarifying rules, not giving strategy advice🙂 )

  6. george says:

    native village is one of my favorite cards, altough it needs the support of other cards to work

    The best use in my opinion is not to thin decks, thats too slow and risky, the best is to storge card to make big hands with a lot of actions.

    In order to do u have to buy as many native villages as u can. Two native villages in same hand work as +4 actions, +1 card cause u put the first in mat and return with second. Multiple native villages are sinergetic, so four menas +8 actions +3 cards.

  7. tlloyd says:

    As far as deck-thinning goes, the Native Village – like the Loan – works best if you commit to 3 or 4 of them early.

  8. Asklepios says:

    This might all be obvious advice to the old hands in this game, but I think it might be useful to new players:

    The forums have come up with a few combos where native village suddenly shines, which – as the article suggests – make use of Native Village’s role either as a non-trashing card disposal unit or as a megaturn builder.

    Megaturns:
    Native Village / Bridge has been mentioned.
    chwhite also presented a good case for Native Village / Horn of Plenty

    Storage:
    Native Village / Apothecary is very very strong, as it gets money in hand fast, and then selectively leaves green cards on your deck.

    This got me thinking in more general terms. Native Village is considered weaker than a normal Village in most circumstances because in order to get the extra actions you’re sacrificing a card in hand NOW, in order to gain a card later. That is, you play the card for a net benefit of +/- 0 cards, while getting the same benefit in actions as a Village.

    Of course, the complicator is that when you draw from Native Village it doesn’t have to be for just one or two cards, but can be to draw enough cards for a megaturn.

    That in mind, here’s my checklist for “is Native Village a good Village?”

    1) Are there multiple buys, or some other way to acquire Multiple Province / Colonies in one turn?
    2) Are there ways of mitigating the card loss? (e.g. Watchtower, Library)
    3) Are there enough terminals to make the glut of +actions worthwhile?

    And then, when I’m using native village, and am tempted to pull cards back, I think:

    1) Will I be able to buy a Province/Colony this turn?
    2) Will I be able to buy MORE Provinces/Colonies later if I leave it alone?
    3) Are there action cards in there that I really need back in play?
    4) Is it worth diluting my deck with the dross that is in NV at the moment?

    Thinking in this way has made me buy Native Village a lot less than I used to, and to pull cards back from it a lot less than I use to.

  9. Sabre says:

    I used a single Native Village in a Throne Room/Minion deck once as a way to keep the green I was accumulating out of the way. Since Minions/TRs were the only cards I really cared about, I always played my Native Village after I knew I had played all Minions/TR in my deck each turn. This guaranteed that I would hit something unessential. This actually helped me win the game, as my opponent got some good draws and split the minions 6/4 with me.

  10. DrFlux says:

    I know this is an old article, but I think an important point was missed: Native Village costs two. When a cards/action chain is worth it, it is critically important to have LOTS of villages, ideally more than your +draw cards. If you have a +buy, say from a spice merchant, being able to pick up two NV’s with 4, or a torturer and an NV with 7, is so useful. In these cases I would much rather see NV than the vanilla village, because density is really important. Hamlet is obviously even better because it ITSELF provides the +buy, but you have to work with what you have.

  11. Xelecium says:

    Like DrFlux, I know this is a really old article, and unlikely to be updated, but I recently played a game where I found that Native Village was a really good defense against Fortune Teller (and probably to a lesser extent, Bureaucrat). Since Fortune Teller forces you to go through your deck until you encounter a Victory or Curse card, then put it on top of your deck, on your following turn, when you play Native Village, since you know there’s a card you don’t want on top of your deck, you can put it on your Native Village mat in full confidence.

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