Cost reduction

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Bridge, a cost-reducing card.

Cost reduction is a recurring mechanic in Dominion. Rather than directly fielding coin, cost-reducers decrease the cost of cards, an effect which becomes more valuable with more buys or gainers. Typical cost reduction instructions follow this wording:

[All cards or some subset of cards] (including cards in players' hands) cost $x less this turn.

A general rule prevents costs from going below $0. Prior to the 2019 errata, the stipulation "but not less than $0" was included in the card text of cost reducers themselves, rather than in the general rules, and that clause was never included in any of the cards of this category in MenagerieMenagerie (expansion).jpg.

Reducing a cost in $ does not reduce a cost in D or P. Reducing the cost of cards does not affect the cost of Events or Projects.

Contents

[edit] Rules

There are no official rules for cost reduction in general. But there are official rules for cards that can reduce their own cost, which include PeddlerPeddler.jpg, FishermanFisherman.jpg, DestrierDestrier.jpg, and WayfarerWayfarer.jpg.

  • When these cards change cost, all copies of them change everywhere, for all purposes. For example, when you RemodelRemodel.jpg one of the cards, the changed cost is what matters, not the printed cost. When another player has an effect that cares what the cost of their cards is on your turn (such as the promo GovernorGovernor.jpg), they use the same changed cost that you do.
  • Costs cannot go below $0.
  • [PeddlerPeddler.jpg,] DestrierDestrier.jpg and FishermanFisherman.jpg are also affected by other things that change costs, like BridgeBridge.jpg (from IntrigueIntrigue.jpg).
  • Costs can change in the middle of resolving effects. The key thing is to follow card instructions in order.
    • Example: You buy StonemasonStonemason.jpg (from GuildsGuilds.jpg). If you overpay $2 and have an empty discard pile, you could gain a FishermanFisherman.jpg, but not two copies of it, because after gaining one, Fisherman would cost $5. If you overpay $2, you could gain a SleighSleigh.jpg and then a WayfarerWayfarer.jpg, as WayfarerWayfarer.jpg's cost would then be $2. You could not gain two WayfarerWayfarer.jpgs, as you have not gained the StonemasonStonemason.jpg yet - remember that "when you buy" rules happen before actually gaining the card. If you overpay $6, you could gain DestrierDestrier.jpg, but could not then gain a second DestrierDestrier.jpg, as DestrierDestrier.jpg would then cost $5.
    • Example: You play StonemasonStonemason.jpg to trash a card. If you trash GoldGold.jpg, you could gain a DuchyDuchy.jpg, and then could gain a DestrierDestrier.jpg, since it would then cost $5. You could gain a DuchyDuchy.jpg and then a WayfarerWayfarer.jpg the same way. If you trash a SilverSilver.jpg and have an empty discard pile, you could gain a FishermanFisherman.jpg, but not a second one, as then your discard pile would have a card in it, the Fisherman you gained. If you trash a Destrier, you could first gain a DuchyDuchy.jpg, which costs less than $6; then you would have to gain a card costing up to 5200px, as Destrier would now cost $5.
    • Example: If you use TraderTrader.jpg (from HinterlandsHinterlands.jpg) to trash a DestrierDestrier.jpg, you will gain six SilverSilver.jpgs; first it checks the cost, then you gain that many SilverSilver.jpgs. Similarly you could trash a WayfarerWayfarer.jpg for six SilverSilver.jpgs, and a FishermanFisherman.jpg for two or five SilverSilver.jpgs depending on whether or not your discard pile was empty when you trashed the FishermanFisherman.jpg.
    • These examples all assume no other gains previously in the turn. A StonemasonStonemason.jpg trashing EstateEstate.jpg could gain two DestrierDestrier.jpgs if you gained 5 other cards first; if you gain a card costing $4 and then trash a WayfarerWayfarer.jpg to TraderTrader.jpg, you will gain 4 SilverSilver.jpgs since it costs $4 then, and so on.

[edit] List of cost-reducers

  • BridgeBridge.jpg - the archetypal cost-reducer
  • QuarryQuarry.jpg - reduces Action cards by $2
  • PrincessPrincess.jpg - reduces costs by $2, but only one copy
  • HighwayHighway.jpg - cantrip
  • Bridge TrollBridge Troll.jpg - durational cost-reducer
  • FerryFerry.jpg - reduces a single Supply pile's cost by $2 on your turn
  • InventorInventor.jpg - gains a card costing up to $4 before its cost reduction kicks in
  • CanalCanal.jpg - reduces costs on your turn for the rest of the game
  • Family of InventorsFamily of Inventors.jpg - reduces cost of a supply pile of your choice, for everyone

[edit] List of cards that can change their own cost

These cards have a base cost which can be changed by something that happens during your turn. Of these, three are in the MenagerieMenagerie (expansion).jpg expansion

  • PeddlerPeddler.jpg - cost is reduced by $2 per Action card in play, but only during your buy phase
  • DestrierDestrier.jpg - cost is reduced by the number of cards you gained on that same turn
  • FishermanFisherman.jpg - cost is reduced by $3 if you have no cards in your discard pile
  • WayfarerWayfarer.jpg - cost is equal to the cost of the last-gained card, and can even become more expensive than its base price

Animal FairAnimal Fair.jpg, also from MenagerieMenagerie (expansion).jpg, is an odd case: it can be bought for $0 if you trash an Action card from your hand, but its numerical cost doesn't change as part of this effect.

[edit] Strategy

Most cards that reference a specific cost in $ do well with cost-reducers, as most such cards use the specific cost as an upper limit. For example, WorkshopWorkshop.jpg can gain any card costing up to $4; without cost reduction, this effect is rather weak, but with four Highways in play, a Workshop can gain Provinces. On the other hand, cards that give a scaling effect per cost in $ of another card (most often trash for benefit cards) will do less well with cost-reducers, as their effect will be diminished, and cards that reference a cheaper card will give no effect if their cost has been reduced to $0. For examples, trashing a SilverSilver.jpg to an ApprenticeApprentice.jpg when you have Princess in play will only draw you one card, and with five Highways in play, Band of MisfitsBand of Misfits.jpg can't do anything.

Since cost reduction affects cards but not Events, it is less useful for strategies that depend heavily on buying Events (or Projects).

[edit] Trivia

[edit] Cards that increase costs

It's been tried multiple times. It's been given plenty of chances to somehow produce a fun working card.

Some of the issues - stacking, timing vs. cost reduction - can be solved, but the solutions take words, and you end up with something too complex. There's no special beauty to doing it that has pushed it into existence despite that.

Punishing buys is okay and there's some of that, e.g. EmbargoEmbargo.jpg. ContrabandContraband.jpg and DelusionDelusion.jpg try out limiting buys. And PeddlerPeddler.jpg gives you the positive side, where a card costs more for your Remodels.


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