This article was written by Polk5440 and briefly reviewed by the rest of the Dominion Strategy blog team. Stay tuned for Renaissance spoilers in the next few days, as the new expansion is likely to be available in stores and online as soon as Monday.
Coffers (née Coin Tokens) have been around since Guilds was first released in 2013. With the upcoming release of Renaissance, which once again utilizes Coffers, now is a good time to review some of what we know about how and when to use Coffers.
Save Coffers to Hit Key Price Points
One Coffers is equivalent to $1 which can be used on any turn. Coffers can be saved for later; coins can’t. This added ability makes +1 Coffers better than +$1.
For example, if you have $4 and buy a Silver, you waste $1. With Coffers, you don’t waste the extra money and save it for hitting key price points later. Getting a hand of two Coppers, one Potion, and two Estates is a complete waste if you are looking to buy a Familiar. Avoid this bad luck by using a well-saved Coffers.
Because of the added ability to save Coffers, cards that give +1 Coffers are generally weaker in their other abilities than cards that give +$1. Additionally, for most of the game, no more than one or two Coffers is usually needed to be kept on the mat to hit key price price points. Therefore, while there is a huge benefit to acquiring that first card that gives Coffers, the marginal benefit of a second or third card that give Coffers to your deck is much lower.
Spend Coffers Early
Just because Coffers can be saved for the future does not mean they should. Spending Coffers earlier leads to a compounding effect. Better cards now help you get more, even better cards sooner.
A good rule of thumb is that Coffers acquired early in the game should be spent as soon as possible to buy better cards. For example, while Baker starts you off with just one Coffers, if your opening draw is $3/$4, that one Coffers can get you a key $5 card in your deck an entire shuffle earlier than otherwise. Saving that one Coffers for later has a very high opportunity cost of not getting that better card now.
Beyond a Coffers, or maybe two, there really isn’t a lot of reason to keep more Coffers around in the early to mid game for smoothing out your buys. The extra Coffers should probably be spent on better stuff for your deck.
Hoard Coffers Late
Should you ever hang onto more than a couple of Coffers? Yes. Late in the game, keeping a handful of Coffers can be used for hitting key price when your deck starts to sputter from gaining lots of green cards and is unable to consistently produce the same amount of money per turn. For example, you might want to consistently hit $8 for Province. With three Coffers stored, a sequence of turns that yields $8, $7, and $6 scores three Provinces, but no Coffers and a sequence of $8, $7, and $6 only scores one Province and two Duchies.
Additionally you can hoard Coffers late to threaten bigger buys. If you have a lot of Coffers, say 8 or more, sitting on the mat, and your deck can generate extra buys (or gains that allow using Coffers, like via Butcher), you are threatening to pick up multiple Provinces or other big Victory cards at your convenience. This can give you a lot of control in the endgame.
How many Coffers you need and how you use them in the endgame depends on how long the greening phase will be drawn out.
Coffers are a unique resource in Dominion. Hoard them late, spend them early, and save them to hit key price points. With the upcoming release of Renaissance, it will be fun to see all the interactions and strategies the new Coffers cards will bring.