Dark Ages Preview #5

This is the fifth and final 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 #5

Here they are at last, the Shelters. In an all Dark Ages game, your starting deck is 7 Coppers, Necropolis, Overgrown Estate, Hovel. When mixing sets up, the rule for using Shelters is similar to the Platinum / Colony rule.

Shelters may not be worth the 1 VP of an Estate, but they are way better to have in your deck. Necropolis lets you go a little heavier on terminals from the get-go. Overgrown Estate gives you an extra little treat if you ever manage to trash it. And Hovel has a built-in way to get rid of it – you move out of that Hovel, and into a nice Duchy or something.

You can’t buy Shelters, but they cost $1. That’s just to shake up how various cards interact with them. A Remodel doesn’t take you as far as it used to. And with only one being a Victory card, that Crossroads doesn’t go to as many places. Baron doesn’t know what to do with these. And an Ambassador can’t even give them away, since they have no piles to return to. On the other hand, they are fine places to get animals for your Menagerie. And how much exactly can you build Fairgrounds up to now, in games without Black Market? Man. A lot.

Even though I previewed 15 cards, only 9 of them were kingdom cards. There are 26 kingdom cards left that you haven’t seen. That’s as many as a whole set! It’s like there weren’t any previews at all. And yet they’re over. Someone will no doubt post the card list after the set comes out at GenCon next week, and I will post a Secret History shortly afterwards.

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19 Responses to Dark Ages Preview #5

  1. Interesting! Could be pretty fast opening with Remake and Fool’s Gold on the board…

  2. aaron0013 says:

    Haha. Necropolis kind of ruins the idea of ruined village being +2 actions. I so called it! Awesome cards though.

  3. Mads says:

    Why, oh, why isn’t Necropolis red and white. Why is it white and red. My OCD-sense is tingling.

    • Higara says:

      For the same reason every other “Action – (other type)” is white on top. The Action part is the most important part of the player’s decision-making, so the Action color should be most salient.

  4. George Locke says:

    So shelters don’t protect you from anything?

  5. chris says:

    It turns out there is something about the new set that interacts with Scout… too bad it’s a negative interaction for an already very weak card.

    Baron, Silk Road, Develop, and possibly Remake will also be weakened (well, good $2s could soften the blow for Remake, but Develop would still be screwed: instead of developing an estate into silver and nothing, you develop a shelter into something like pawn and copper). And Island in the opening (sure, you could trash your hovel, but there’s nothing there worth putting on an island anyway). Most of those weren’t great cards in the first place; in shelter games they’ll be close to -1 kingdom size.

    Salvager and Trader will be weakened at least a bit, and remodel will still be OK probably (it can at least reach silver, although not more remodels).

    Too bad Hovel says “buy” and not “gain”, so you can’t even upgrade your overgrown estate into a real estate and trash your hovel at the same time. But hey, at least you can trash your hovel on turn 1 with an opening like feodum/chapel.

    And to top it off, you probably still don’t want to open double terminals, because if they collide, chances are necropolis isn’t in the hand with them.

    It’s good news for Jack, though. Necropolis might sometimes come in handy and at least you can draw a replacement, and you get the bonus draw from trashing Overgrown Estate. And Jack doesn’t care about the cost of things he trashes anyway.

    It might also be good for harvest, but contra Donald, I don’t expect menagerie to benefit much — it’s usually stopped by having 2 copper (especially early), and shelters won’t change that.

    • sffc says:

      Another important aspect of a Menagerie deck is that the most effective way to gain a critical mass of Menageries is to remake your Estates into Menageries. With Shelters, you won’t be able to do this, further weakening Menagerie.

      However, Shelters will probably be good for Harvest and especially Fairgrounds, so much so that it may actually hurt you in the long run to trash your Overgrown Estate and Hovel: 10 Kingdom Cards + Prov/Duchy/Estate/Curse + Gold/Silver/Copper + 3 Shelters = 8 Point Fairgrounds! Mix in some Ruins and other extra cards (e.g. Madman, Spoils), and you could easily see a 10 Point Fairgrounds without a Black Market.🙂

  6. brokoli says:

    I like those cards but the artwork is horrible, compared to Hinterlands… unfortunately.

  7. punkernikel says:

    Thank God these cards cost 1, not zero, or Swindler would be unstoppable. I’m sure they thought of that of course, but Swindler is the bane of my existence.

    • chris says:

      Interesting point… I think Swindler would have to trash Shelters and give you nothing, unless Poor House is on the board.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Out of curiosity: does the fact that Ambassador can’t return Shelters also imply that Ambassador couldn’t return Tournament Prizes in case anybody really wanted to? (not that i could imagine a deck where you would want to Ambassador a Bag of Gold or such but still an interesting theoretical question?)

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