Cost

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The artwork used to show cost in coins.
The artwork used to show cost in Potions.
The artwork used to show cost in Debt.

The cost of a card or Event is the amount that must be paid in order to buy it. A card's cost is indicated in its lower left corner, and an Event's cost is indicated in its upper left corner. Usually this is some number of coins, symbolized Coin.png. In order to be able to buy something, you must have generated at least the requisite number of Coin.png and Potion.png earlier in the turn (and not yet spent them on other cards or Events). The principal way of generating Coin.png is by playing Action and Treasure cards; Coin tokens and the Event BorrowBorrow.jpg provide alternative ways of accumulating Coin.png.

Contents

[edit] Other symbols in costs

The costs of some cards from Alchemy include a PotionPotion.jpg, symbolized Potion.png, in addition to some number of Coin.png (possibly 0). The Coin.png and Potion.png components of costs are orthogonal; in order to buy a card with Potion.png in the cost, you must have played a PotionPotion.jpg card in addition to sufficient Actions, Treasures, etc. to produce the requisite number of Coin.png.

An asterisk (e.g., Coin0star.png) indicates a card's cost is not what it seems. Cards belonging to piles not in the Supply have asterisks in their costs to remind players that, despite having a cost, they cannot be bought. PeddlerPeddler.jpg has an asterisk in its cost to remind players it has an effect which changes its cost.

The costs of some cards from Guilds include a plus sign (e.g., Coin3plus.png), which indicates that a card may be overpaid for.

Asterisk and plus signs are only reminders; unless otherwise specified, a card still has its normal cost for all purposes described below.

Some cards in Empires include Debt in their cost, symbolized Debt.png. This means that part or all of the cost of the card can be paid for in Coin.png at a later time. While Coin.png is used to pay off Debt.png, the costs on the cards themselves are orthogonal; a cost in Debt.png is neither more nor less than a cost in Coin.png, for the purposes of effects that care about costs.

[edit] Other functions of costs

Costs can serve other functions in gameplay, outside of their role in buying something. For example, most gainers and several trashing attacks can only gain or trash cards of specified costs; most trash-for-benefit cards have effects that depend on the cost of the trashed card; a card's cost determines whether it is eligible to serve as the Bane for Young WitchYoung Witch.jpg, be imitated by Band of MisfitsBand of Misfits.jpg or OverlordOverlord.jpg, or be set aside by PrincePrince.jpg, InheritanceInheritance.jpg or SummonSummon.jpg. For this reason, all cards have costs, even those that it is never possible to buy, such as Shelters and Prizes.

[edit] Changes in cost

Some cards have effects that temporarily reduce the cost of some or all cards: BridgeBridge.jpg, QuarryQuarry.jpg, PeddlerPeddler.jpg, HighwayHighway.jpg, Bridge TrollBridge Troll.jpg, and PrincessPrincess.jpg, as well as the Event FerryFerry.jpg. When these effects occur, costs are changed for all purposes—not only the cost of buying cards is changed, but so are other effects that depend on cost such as those listed above. These abilities change the costs of cards, but not of Events.

[edit] Strategy

In general, more "powerful" cards and Events have higher costs, but overall power is not the only consideration that goes into determining cost. For example, ChapelChapel.jpg is often cited as a card whose strength is considered disproportionate to its low cost of Coin2.png. Costs between Coin2.png and Coin4.png especially are influenced by how useful a card is as an opening, and how desirable or necessary it is to be able to accumulate multiple copies of a card with extra +Buy. Cards with beneficial on-gain or on-buy effects typically cost more than their on-play effect would seem to require. There are also instances where cards have a different cost than their power level might suggest in order to interact better with other cards: RatsRats.jpg costs Coin4.png to interact favorably with trash-for-benefit cards, while Border VillageBorder Village.jpg costs Coin6.png to give you a wider range of other cards to gain with its when-gain ability.

In general a card will never be strictly better than a similar card with the same or a higher cost.

Most Kingdom cards cost between Coin2.png and Coin6.png; there are only eight piles with cards costing more than Coin6.png (as well as three Events) and one card costing less than Coin2.png (as well as five Events). This means that, in most games of Dominion, there is a gap in the supply at the costs of Coin1.png and Coin7.png. This gap can influence gameplay in subtle but substantial ways: for instance, it means that UpgradeUpgrade.jpg can be used to trash CopperCopper.jpg without gaining anything, but cannot be used to gain ProvinceProvince.jpg. In the rare games when Coin1.png- or Coin7.png-cost cards are in the Supply, therefore, the utility of a card like Upgrade can change dramatically.

[edit] 0 cost

Cards that cost Coin0.png are either meant to be so terrible that they're essentially free (CopperCopper.jpg, CurseCurse.jpg, Ruins), or are non-Supply cards that are meant to be quite powerful. In the latter case, a null cost helps indicate that these are not normal cards, and discourages any other use for them than playing them (such as remodeling them).

Events that cost Coin0.png are meant to be always available, and come with some penalty or restriction to prevent their abuse.

[edit] 1 cost

Cards that cost Coin1.png do so mainly as a gimmick: Poor HousePoor House.jpg has this cost for flavor reasons, and Shelters have it to change early game playstyles.

SaveSave.jpg, the only Event that costs Coin1.png, has a relatively minor effect that is intended to be almost always available.

[edit] 2 cost

Coin2.png is the lowest normal cost for Kingdom cards; they are priced so that players can always open with them, and can easily pick up extra copies of them with spare +Buys. This includes cards whose effects are usually relatively weak or inconsequential (such as Pearl DiverPearl Diver.jpg or DuchessDuchess.jpg); cards that can be strong, but only if you can accumulate many copies of them, so the low cost is necessary to make that possible (such as Fool's GoldFool's Gold.jpg or Native VillageNative Village.jpg); and cards that are strong individually but offer diminishing returns for accumulating extra copies, so it doesn't overbalance the game too much to be able to buy up many of them (such as CourtyardCourtyard.jpg or HamletHamlet.jpg). The most extreme example of this last class is ChapelChapel.jpg: it's often described as the strongest card in the game relative to its cost, but rarely does anyone need more than one copy of it; therefore the fact that additional copies are easy to get has little effect on gameplay.

The Coin2.png Events mostly give +Buy and a small but useful bonus, offering another use for extra Coin.png the player may have in their Buy phase.

[edit] 3 cost

Cards and Events that cost Coin3.png are priced so that players can open with two of them, but cannot, in general, open with one of them and a card costing Coin5.png. They are typically more powerful than Coin2.png cards and Events. Cards and Events at this price point also directly compete with SilverSilver.jpg.

[edit] 4 cost

Cards and Events that cost Coin4.png are priced so that players can usually open with one of them, but cannot, in general, open with more than that. Coin4.png cards are often relatively powerful early-game Attacks or trashers.

[edit] 5 cost

Coin5.png is considered to be the most important cost in Dominion, and it is the price point with the most cards and Events. Most cards at this cost are considered to be quite powerful, so much so that, in general, players may not open with them unless their other opener is a Coin2.png; the difference in power between a typical Coin5.png card and Coin4.png card is substantially wider than between Coin4.png and Coin3.png. Therefore "reaching Coin5.png" is an important part of early game strategy, and players must decide whether they want to, for example, trash early, or focus their buys on cards and Events that will help them field Coin5.png so they can access these powerful cards. Most cursers and many powerful terminal draw cards are at this price point.

[edit] 6 cost

Cards and Events that cost Coin6.png directly compete with GoldGold.jpg, and as such tend to be exceptionally powerful; so much so that, in general, players may not open with them.

[edit] 7 cost

Cards and Events that cost Coin7.png still compete with Gold, but the extra Coin1.png in cost means these few cards and Events are just that much harder to acquire. Cards at this price point can be seen as a consolation prize for not making Coin8.png, but also interact nicely with remodelers with an "exactly Coin1.png more than" specification on the card they gain, allowing them to move smoothly from Gold to Province. King's CourtKing's Court.jpg, perhaps the most powerful card in the game, is at this price point.

[edit] 8 cost

Cards and Events that cost Coin8.png directly compete with ProvinceProvince.jpg, and thus have to be worth giving up a Province buy to acquire. PeddlerPeddler.jpg, while nominally costing Coin8.png, is more often paid for by playing Actions, often picked up with extra buys at Coin0.png. By coincidence, until the release of Empires, all cards and Events that cost Coin8.png had names starting with the letter "P".

[edit] 9+ cost

PlatinumPlatinum.jpg, at Coin9.png, and ColonyColony.jpg, at Coin11.png, have the most expensive Coin.png cost of cards in the game, and DominateDominate.jpg, at Coin14.png, is the most expensive Event in the game. The two most expensive Castles also fall into this price range, and all the cards and Events in this category can be extremely powerful. Their high cost usually leads to games including them lasting longer than usual as players build their decks up to field enough Coin.png to buy them.

[edit] Potion cost

Since the only way to buy a card with Potion.png in the cost is the relatively inflexible PotionPotion.jpg card, such cards are generally more inconvenient to acquire than comparable cards with Coin.png costs. To motivate the player to go to the trouble, such cards are typically fairly powerful and reward accumulating multiple copies of them.

[edit] Debt cost

Debt allows players to pay some or all of a card or Event's cost at a later time. Cards and Events with solely Debt.png in their cost can be bought at any time, provided the player does not already have Debt.png. Thus, while they may be expensive, they can be bought on a player's opening turns, though this may mean that they can't buy anything else for the next turn or turns. As such, Debt.png cards and Events with no other cost tend to have some feature or penalty that makes them not worth buying in the first few turns.

One card (FortuneFortune.jpg) and one Event (WeddingWedding.jpg) have both a Coin.png cost and a Debt.png cost; the same concepts from the purely Debt.png-costing cards and Events apply, but now these two have an additional Coin.png threshold that must be met as well, rather than being able to buy them at any time. At Coin8.pngDebt8.png, Fortune is the most expensive object in the game, though since only half of that cost has to be paid up front, it is easier to access than Platinum, Colony, and Dominate.


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Strategic concepts CollisionCounterCyclingDeadDuchy dancingEndgameGreeningMegaturnMirrorOpeningOpportunity costPenultimate Province RulePayloadPinPiledrivingReshuffleSilver testStop cardSplit advantageStrictly betterSynergyTerminalityThree-pile endingTurn advantageVictory pointVillage idiot
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