Dark Ages Preview #4

This is the fourth preview by Donald X. Vaccarino, introducing the next Dominion expansion: Dark Ages. The community is discussing these new cards in the Dark Ages Preview subforum.

Dark Ages Preview #4

Rats is my favorite Dominion card. Now you know that about me. You give your kingdom a rat problem. Sure, you get rid of some garbage, but now you’ve got Rats, and they don’t get rid of themselves. Isn’t the solution worse than the problem? Plus, let’s not forget, there are twenty Rats, rather than the usual ten. That’s right: today, you didn’t get the whole story just looking at the pictures. Twenty Rats, even in two-player games. Just chewing your deck to pieces. Well secretly there’s probably something you can do with them. Looking over the cards spoiled so far, they seem to be a combo with most of them, what’s up with that.

Pillage is a more conventional attack, in that it attacks your opponents. It’s a one-shot. There haven’t been very many but this is one. You make everyone else discard their best card, which is bound to hurt them, and you get two Spoils, which sounds good at least. It’s a pretty rude attack, but at least it only happens once per copy bought, barring Graverobbers or something. The thing being Pillaged in the art is of course a Village. I remember when that was a peaceful place, with a guy on a horse.

Spoils is a one-shot Gold. That makes Pillage a one-shot that gets you two one-shots. You can’t buy Spoils; there are three different ways to get it, and the other two get you them repeatedly. A one-shot Gold is pretty good if you were only drawing it once anyway, or if you didn’t really want Gold in the long run, and if those things aren’t true well hey it’s still something.

There are 15 Spoils. I have seen them run out (temporarily of course) but it’s rare. A little math reveals that there must therefore be only one victory card pile. Dark Ages has 35 kingdom cards, adding up to 352 cards, and 35 randomizers; 50 Ruins; 10 extra Rats; 10 Madmen and 10 of some other card you upgrade into; 15 Spoils; and 18 Shelters.

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12 Responses to Dark Ages Preview #4

  1. sniffnoy says:

    Hm, only the one victory card? I was hoping that since we had feodums, we might also have fiefs and freeholds as mentioned in the original Dominion flavor paragraph. šŸ™‚ Maybe one or two of those will appear in Guilds. šŸ˜›

  2. Lenoxus says:

    Rats is adorable.

    That’s all I have to say for now.

  3. aaron0013 says:

    I love the idea if graverobbing pillages. People playing and trashing pillagers then racing to graverob them first. It’s going to make some awesome gameplay!

  4. Vaivraza says:

    Rats! They will chew your copper.
    Rats! Eating your curses.
    Rats! Rats! Rats! And no more than rats on your deck!

  5. keaswaran says:

    An interesting low cost deck plan – open Rats/Squire. Have the Rats chew through your deck, using the Squire multi-buys to get Poor Houses. Get any other trasher later to start clearing out the Rats, while you use Squire multi-action and Poor House to buy provinces.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I like the thematic idea of a Bishop coming along and clearing out the Rats from his Cellar.

    Imagine turning over a Rats with a Jester… Maybe there’ll be a pied piper type card for this expansion’s dedicated trasher.

  7. papahav says:

    Rats is not a trasher… its for when you would prefer to have 10 rats, than your 10 starting cards.

    • papahav says:

      i.e. remodel, conspirator, apprentice, poorhouse, etc.
      or just loading up the graveyard whilst collecting on-trash benefits

  8. scrabble says:

    Rats is a great card if you can give it to an opponent.

    • Anonymous says:

      It’s generally not as bad as curse though. It does introduce a very interesting element in Ambassador wars, however.

  9. chris says:


    I like it. To get the best use of it, IMO, you want another card that can benefit from the fact that instead of those 0-cost curses, ruins, coppers, or 2-cost estates, you now have 4-cost rats. Salvage your rats, upgrade or remake them into power $5s, remodel them into gold, forge 2 rats into a province, apprentice them for +5 Card (including the bonus)… I don’t know who would want to live in a province made of forged rats, but apparently it must impress someone since it is worth the same 6 VP as any other province.

    Oh, I forgot trader. Apparently he can’t get anyone to pay good money for ruins or copper, but he’s good enough to sell a rat for 4 silvers. Another trick with trader: play a rat, reveal a trader, gain a silver instead of another rat. It’s like birth control for rats. Watchtower would be good for this too (maybe even better, since you gain and trash the rat, you’ll get the bonus draw).

    Also: Jack and hermit can’t trash copper, but you can have rats trash the copper and then have Jack/hermit trash the rats. I bet rat/Jack would beat double Jack (well, you might still want 2 Jacks, the point is the opportunity to ditch your coppers, and when Jack trashes a rat you even get a replacement card).

    I was going to save rules questions until the rulebook was released, but… what happens if you use rats with lookout, and specifically, use lookout to trash a rat? Do you draw a card in the middle of looking at the top 3 cards of your deck? Does that mean you draw one of those, draw the 4th card, delay the draw until Lookout is finished…?


    I dunno, this looks kinda weak to me. Not the attack itself — it’s pretty nasty aside from the fact that it will usually miss if TR/KC/chained (like feast, although it is a self trasher, it has no anti-TR/KC “if you do” wording so it will work fine with those cards, but because of the attack only hitting people with 5+ cards, probably the only thing that will happen differently is gaining more Spoils) — but the fact that you’re probably taking a turn to buy it, taking the action phase of another turn to play it, just to weaken one opponent turn and gain some one-shot cards.

    The only other “one-shot attack” I can think of atm is IGG, but IGG has several advantages over Pillage: it occurs immediately on buy, instead of after you reshuffle and draw it and then play a terminal action; it’s technically not an attack so it can’t be Moated etc. (imagine how bad it would suck to have a one-shot attack Moated, although I guess you still get the Spoils); and perhaps most importantly it’s a Curse-giver, so even though the “attack” only occurs once it keeps hurting the opponent(s) every time they draw the curse until they manage to trash it, and even gives them -1 VP at the end of the game if they don’t.

    On top of all that, while the attack effect of IGG is one-shot, the card itself sticks around so you can sometimes recover its value with something like Upgrade. That’s never going to work on Pillage. And even with all that going for it, if IGG didn’t empty two piles at once it still usually wouldn’t be all that great.

    Of course, there are a variety of ways to avoid paying full price for Pillage (Squire, Feast — especially TR/KC Feast, Graverobber, University, maybe Smugglers), and Royal Seal or Watchtower will help with the speed, but if it’s dependent on one of those things showing up to be worth playing, it’s just not a very good card.


    There doesn’t seem to be a lot to say about it. It’s weak to Swindler; Saboteur misses it, but then, so does Sage. Clearly not as good as Gold — even at the very end of the game, since that’s the time you might consider remodeling Gold into Province or something like that — but better than nothing.

    Oh, one thing to say about it: if you return it to the pile immediately, which it looks like, it will clash with Bank and Horn of Plenty. I wonder why Donald didn’t delay the return until cleanup and allow it to be “rescued” by Herbalist… maybe we’ll find out in the Secret Histories.

  10. bonedocmtgs says:

    Can’t wait to play the Rats-Garden deck!

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