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Some Debt tokens.
Some cardboard Debt tokens from some European versions.
Victory and Debt tokens punchboard, as found in some European versions.

Debt (represented by the symbol Debt.png) is an alternate cost for some cards and Events in EmpiresEmpires.jpg. It allows the buyer to take Debt.png tokens instead of paying the full cost of the card. Players who have Debt.png tokens may not buy cards or Events. Debt.png tokens can only be removed from a player by paying Coin1.png per Debt.png token at any point after playing Treasures or spending Coin tokens during the player's Buy phase, unless otherwise specified (e.g. CapitalCapital.jpg allows paying off Debt.png tokens during the Clean-up phase). A player cannot play any more Treasures or spend any more Coin tokens once they have begun to pay off Debt.png. Debt.png may not be paid off when Black MarketBlack Market.jpg allows you to buy a card from the Black Market deck.

A cost in Debt.png is orthogonal to a cost in a Coin.png; cards with Debt.png in their cost do not cost less or more than cards with a Coin.png cost. Debt.png and Potion.png are similarly not comparable.

Empires comes with 40 Debt.png tokens, but the mechanic is not intended to be component-limited.


[edit] List of Debt cards and Events

Debt4.png EngineerEngineer.jpg
Debt5.png TriumphTriumph.jpg
Debt8.png AnnexAnnex.jpg, City QuarterCity Quarter.jpg, DonateDonate.jpg, OverlordOverlord.jpg, Royal BlacksmithRoyal Blacksmith.jpg
Coin4.pngDebt3.png WeddingWedding.jpg
Coin8.pngDebt8.png FortuneFortune.jpg

  • CapitalCapital.jpg does not incur debt when it is bought, but when it is cleaned up from play—in effect, allowing you to buy other things for Debt.png instead of Coin.png that turn.
  • TaxTax.jpg adds Debt2.png to any Supply pile when bought, and has a Setup rule where all Supply piles start with Debt1.png. When Tax is in the game, when you buy a card, you take the Debt.png on its pile.
  • Mountain PassMountain Pass.jpg is a Landmark where players bid Debt.png for 8VP.png, taking the Debt.png they bid if they win.

[edit] Official Rules

  • Empires has Debt tokens. These are indicated with the Debt.png symbol, usually with a number on it, e.g. Debt8.png.
  • Having Debt tokens prevents a player from buying cards or Events; Debt tokens do nothing else (for example they have no effect at the end of the game).
  • Buying a card or Event with Debt.png in its cost gives the player that many Debt tokens.
  • A player removes Debt tokens in the player's Buy phase by paying Coin1.png per Debt token to remove it; this is done after playing Treasures, but can be done both before and after buying cards.
  • Removing Debt does not use up a Buy.
  • For example, Natalie has Coin4.png and buys City Quarter, which costs Debt8.png. She takes Debt8.png, then immediately pays off Debt4.png with her Coin4.png. She still has Debt4.png. On her next turn, in her Buy phase, she has Coin3.png. She cannot buy any cards; all she can do is pay off Debt3.png, leaving her with Debt1.png. On her next turn, in her Buy phase, she has Coin6.png. She pays off the Debt1.png and has Coin5.png left to spend. She buys an Engineer, taking Debt4.png and immediately paying Coin4.png to get rid of it.
  • Debt.png amounts are something different from Coin.png.
  • An amount of Coin.png and Debt.png is only larger than another if both the Coin.png and Debt.png amounts are larger, or one is larger and one the same.
  • Amounts that do not specify Coin.png have Coin0.png, and amounts that do not specify Debt.png have Debt0.png (including all previous Dominion card costs).
  • Math involving Coin.png amounts does not affect Debt.png amounts.
  • Examples:
    • Debt4.png is not "up to Coin4.png." Debt4.png is not more than Coin4.png and Coin4.png is not more than Debt4.png; both have something the other lacks.
    • BridgeBridge.jpg (from Dominion: Intrigue) lowers the cost of cards by Coin1.png. This lowers Fortune from Coin8.pngDebt8.png to Coin7.pngDebt8.png, but has no effect on Engineer's cost of Debt4.png.
    • PatricianPatrician.jpg checks to see if a card costs "Coin5.png or more." Fortune costs Coin8.pngDebt8.png, so it costs "Coin5.png or more." Overlord costs Debt8.png; that is not "Coin5.png or more."
    • Knights (from Dominion: Dark Ages) trash cards costing from Coin3.png to Coin6.png. That never includes cards with Debt.png in the cost.
    • TraderTrader.jpg (from Dominion: Hinterlands) trashes a card and gives a SilverSilver.jpg per Coin1.png it cost. Trader trashing Fortune would give 8 Silvers for the Coin8.png, and no additional Silvers for the Debt8.png.
  • Players cannot just take Debt tokens for no reason.
  • Players cannot overpay with Debt (for Dominion: Guilds cards).
  • Debt tokens are not counter-limited; players should use a replacement if they run out.
  • PossessionPossession.jpg (from Dominion: Alchemy) now has errata that causes it to also give the Possessing player all tokens the Possessed player would get, which includes Debt tokens.

[edit] Trivia

[edit] In other languages

  • Finnish: Velka
  • Polish: Dług

[edit] Preview

Okay so Debt. That reddish hexagon means you don't pay for City Quarter or Royal Blacksmith up front. Instead you take some tokens that say how much you owe. While you have the tokens, you can't buy cards or Events. Those are the only things you can't do; you can still play cards, including the one that got you into Debt if you draw that one; you can still trash cards and get attacked and win the game and so on. You can pay off Debt tokens in your Buy phase, before and/or after buying cards, at Coin1.png per token. So, you have Coin4.png, you buy City Quarter, you get Debt8.png, you pay off Debt4.png of it immediately, you have Debt4.png left. In your next Buy phase, if you had Coin6.png, you could pay off the rest of your Debt.png and then have Coin2.png left to spend. Get it? It's pretty simple. The one tricky thing is how these things work when cards compare costs. There it works like Potion.png: apples and oranges. A reddish hexagon with an 8 isn't more or less than Coin3.png. There's a rulebook, okay? It covers all the tricky things. And uh why a hexagon, why that color? The physical tokens are reddish hexagons.

[edit] Secret History

I had Debt from the start (and it had been in the ideas file for years). The first version though was a word on cards, "Debt," that meant you didn't need the Coin.png to buy the card, but went into Debt. The Debt tokens worked the same way as they do now. One day I thought of using a symbol, and the cards changed to things like "When you gain this during your turn, take [red coin with a 10 on it]." They were like that for a while, before finally I put the symbol into the cost. With Debt a significant concern was that you could just buy the card turn one, and if that was good it seemed like the game could be too scripted. So the big Debt cards always tried to not be good turn one, although it took a while to really get there. Originally the cards could all be bought with Coin0.png, and in the end some have Coin.png costs too.

Cards Debt4.png EngineerEngineer.jpg Debt8.png City QuarterCity Quarter.jpgOverlordOverlord.jpgRoyal BlacksmithRoyal Blacksmith.jpg Coin2.png EncampmentEncampment.jpg/PlunderPlunder.jpgPatricianPatrician.jpg/EmporiumEmporium.jpgSettlersSettlers.jpg/Bustling VillageBustling Village.jpg Coin3.png Castles (HumbleHumble Castle.jpgCrumblingCrumbling Castle.jpgSmallSmall Castle.jpgHauntedHaunted Castle.jpgOpulentOpulent Castle.jpgSprawlingSprawling Castle.jpgGrandGrand Castle.jpgKing'sKing's Castle.jpg) • CatapultCatapult.jpg/RocksRocks.jpgChariot RaceChariot Race.jpgEnchantressEnchantress.jpgFarmers' MarketFarmers' Market.jpgGladiatorGladiator.jpg/FortuneFortune.jpg Coin4.png SacrificeSacrifice.jpgTempleTemple.jpgVillaVilla.jpg Coin5.png ArchiveArchive.jpgCapitalCapital.jpgCharmCharm.jpgCrownCrown.jpgForumForum.jpgGroundskeeperGroundskeeper.jpgLegionaryLegionary.jpgWild HuntWild Hunt.jpg
Events Debt5.png TriumphTriumph.jpg Debt8.png AnnexAnnex.jpgDonateDonate.jpg Coin0.png AdvanceAdvance.jpg Coin2.png DelveDelve.jpgTaxTax.jpg Coin3.png BanquetBanquet.jpg Coin4.png RitualRitual.jpgSalt the EarthSalt the Earth.jpg Coin4.pngDebt3.png WeddingWedding.jpg Coin5.png WindfallWindfall.jpg Coin6.png ConquestConquest.jpg Coin14.png DominateDominate.jpg
Landmarks AqueductAqueduct.jpgArenaArena.jpgBandit FortBandit Fort.jpgBasilicaBasilica.jpgBathsBaths.jpgBattlefieldBattlefield.jpgColonnadeColonnade.jpgDefiled ShrineDefiled Shrine.jpgFountainFountain.jpgKeepKeep.jpgLabyrinthLabyrinth.jpgMountain PassMountain Pass.jpgMuseumMuseum.jpgObeliskObelisk.jpgOrchardOrchard.jpgPalacePalace.jpgTombTomb.jpgTowerTower.jpgTriumphal ArchTriumphal Arch.jpgWallWall.jpgWolf DenWolf Den.jpg
Combos and Counters Capital/HerbalistCapital/MandarinDonate/DelveDonate/Market Square
Other concepts DebtGatheringSplit pilesVictory tokens
Dominion Game Mechanics
Turn Phases ActionBuyClean-up
Vanilla Bonuses +Card • +Action+Buy • +Coin
Tokens AdventuresCoinDebtVictory
Other mechanics CallCost reductionDiscardExchangeGainOverpayPassPayResolveRevealSet asideTrash
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