|Trash a card from your hand. Gain two cards onto your deck, with one costing exactlymore than it, and one costing exactly less than it, in either order.|
Develop is an Action card from Hinterlands. As a fairly inflexible terminal remodeler that gains more cards than it trashes, it is often considered a relatively weak and situational card that is hard to use optimally. It benefits from having useful cards in the supply at a variety of costs.
 Official FAQ
- First trash a card from your hand, if able.
- If you trashed a card, gain two cards, one costing exactly more than the trashed card, and one costing exactly less than the trashed card.
- The gained cards come from the Supply; gain them in either order, resolving any abilities due to gaining them also in that order.
- If there is no card in the Supply at one of the costs, you still gain the other card if you can.
- Put the gained cards on top of your deck rather than into your discard pile.
- If you trash a Copper, which costs , you will fail to gain a card costing - (and try to gain a card costing ).
 Other Rules clarifications
- If the card would be gained into your hand, such as Guardian, Ghost Town, Night Watchman, or Den of Sin, it is gained onto your deck instead.
 Strategy Article
Original article by dondon151, edited by theory
A quick perusal of the List of Cards by Qvist_Rankings will reveal the community’s general consensus that Develop is among the worst cards in the game. It is not immediately obvious why this is the case, as Develop is an exotic trash-for-benefit card that gets the player two cards at the cost of one and topdecks both for their immediate use on the subsequent turn. Less expert players will either blindly follow this consensus and ignore Develop where it is situationally useful or misjudge its power and use Develop in the wrong contexts.
It is helpful to first cover the main reasons why Develop is generally a weak card. Some of these are similar to other trash for benefit cards, but others are unique Develop weaknesses.
- It’s terminal. You wonder, should this count as a point against Develop? Most other trash-for-benefit cards (Salvager, Remodel, etc.) are terminal. However, one must consider that the opportunity cost of a dead Develop is a Silver or a non-terminal that could have done something useful.
- It doesn’t benefit the current hand. Develop doesn’t produce , nor does it draw cards, and it trashes a card from the player’s hand. Assuming no interference from the opponent, that leaves the player with 3 cards from a 5-card starting hand. Even if the player manages to increase his handsize beforehand, choosing to play Develop renders two cards in hand unusable for the buy phase. Opening with Develop sacrifices a lot of buying power on the turns where it appears in hand.
- It slows deck cycling. Develop gains cards to the top of the deck. Unless Develop topdecked cards that draw cards, this anti-cycling effect inhibits deck momentum by delaying the speed at which the player can get subsequent reshuffles.
- It’s bad at gaining Victory cards. In the final stages of the game, when the player’s deck is in its dying throes (or just choking on Victory cards), most trash-for-benefit cards are useful because they can convert assets to points in some way. Develop can do this too; the problem is that topdecking a Victory card strongly hampers the subsequent turn, and Develop is fickle about what cards it can trash for points in the first place. And while Salvager, Apprentice, Forge, Remodel, and Expand can all perform some variant of trash Province -> gain Province, Develop lacks this function entirely.
- It’s inconsistent between kingdoms. Develop is unlike most traditional TfB’s in that its potential benefit is strongly dependent on the other cards in the Kingdom. In particular, Develop benefits most from there being in the Kingdom good Silver that you don’t necessarily want. This also makes most cards generally bad targets for Develop, as good s will not always be in the Kingdom and Estates are ubiquitous. cards and/or synergistic cards that are exactly apart. Some of the benefit from Develop is negated if, for example, you’re forced to topdeck a
Naturally, by examining Develop’s shortcomings, we can identify the conditions that make Develop much stronger than we normally perceive it.
- When Develop is the best form of trashing in the Kingdom. Develop is a weak trasher, but it’s a trasher nonetheless. It provides no benefit at all upon trashing Coppers and Curses, but sometimes we use other TfB’s, such as Salvager, Trade Route, or Trader for that purpose. In engine games in particular, Develop’s trashing is an important consideration, because there is potential to play Develop more often and the weak trashing goes a long way towards improving engine consistency. For example, Menagerie typically synergizes with Develop because it trashes Estates for Menageries (or other s), and the Copper trashing is also beneficial to this type of deck by reducing the frequency of duplicate cards.
- When cards of cost Fishing Village - Watchtower engine likes a Develop opening because both key cards are at and Watchtower’s draw benefits from Develop’s trashing due to handsize reduction. - in the kingdom are abundant and strong. This is an indicator for Develop in a few ways. First, hands with Develop on turns 3 and 4 will tend to hit - depending on the opening, so being able to buy something useful with those hands is a boon. Second, Develop converts Estates into s. Third, it is not as bad to trash a Copper with Develop in the midgame and knock the player’s buying power from to if he doesn’t mind passing up the in the first place. Note that Develop is not always a must-have if there are Kingdom cards at , nor should it always be ignored if there is only Silver at . Developing Estate to Silver substantially improves the deck’s economy in future shuffles, and the topdecked Silver may very likely let the next hand reach . For example, a
- When there is a combination of surplus +Action and +Card. There is no doubt that most terminal cards are significantly improved given the means to play them frequently and in large numbers. The question is whether this is even worth mentioning with regards to Develop. In these situations, not only is Develop an adequate trasher, but it can also be a potent gainer. Because Develop gains cards to the top of the deck, a drawing engine can easily play the gained cards on the same turn. Or, one can choose to leave the gained cards on top in order to kickstart the next turn. For example, any variant of a Village / Smithy can work here. Several factors are preferable, though: a drawing village, a village, supplementary nonterminal drawing, gainers (Workshop, Ironworks, etc.), and so on. Draw-to-X creates a mild synergy as well, because a play of Develop reduces handsize by 2 cards.
- When important cards are exactly apart. If the player is forced to gain 2 cards that are apart, then obviously the ideal situation is when both cards are important components of the deck. This is another reason why Develop likes Kingdom cards at : power cards are most commonly at but not as common at . cards also tend to be weaker than cards and are easier to gain, so there is less opportunity cost in trashing them instead of playing them.
The best case scenario is if there are good cards at all price points from- . In these circumstances, Develop can be used repeatedly to gain more cards at each of these price points. It is possible, for instance, to trash a into Develop and a , and then to trash the into a and a . The flexibility offered here can prove to be extremely advantageous. A special mention goes to kingdom cards, which can be trashed into a Province and a if the situation calls for it – usually, near the end of a game. Something to watch out for, though, is getting caught in the trap of only trashing your good cards and not playing them. Inexperienced players who get too Develop-crazy end up spinning their wheels instead of building an amazing engine. It is of paramount importance to keep in mind that, though the goal of Develop (in this context) is to gain new cards, the goal of the deck is to play those cards, preferably as often as possible.
Indicators for Develop:
- Engines. There are a few exceptions (e.g., Estate and Silk Road rushes), but Develop is heavily reliant on kingdoms having engine potential in order for it to be worth using.
- Strong cards at - , particularly at . is important because Estates can be trashed into s. Non-terminals are especially desirable here.
- Desirable cards that are apart. Develop’s strength as a gainer is greatest in these circumstances. Even better is if there are good cards at all price points from - .
Counter-indicators for Develop:
- Lack of surplus actions. In the absence of surplus actions, Develop will often be competing with stronger terminals. However, note that it is possible to transition from using Develop as the terminal to using a different card, particularly when there is no need to continue trashing.
- Lack of draw. Without drawing, newly gained cards will be played less often, and Develop’s anti-cycling effect becomes noticeably bad. Hands with Develop will always be burdened by the card slot that it occupies.
- Handsize attacks. This can swing both ways – a handsize attack doesn't matter if someone can draw his deck, and handsize attacks promote engine-building, but hitting a 5-card hand that has Develop will usually deny the receiving player a buy or a Develop play.
- Fast engines and/or power s. Sometimes you just don’t need Develop. Picking up Develop increases the likelihood of being unable to hit until turn 5.
- Stronger trashing. Whether it be Ambassador, Chapel, Jack of all Trades, or Remake, those cards can more or less do what Develop does, but better (or with a bonus). Councilroom.com stats indicate that stronger trashers tend to lower Develop’s winrate the most (thanks DG!).
- Shelters. Even assuming that there are good s, trashing a Shelter forces the player to gain a Copper, Curse, or Ruins. Plus, most s aren’t good enough to be worth opening Develop for anyway.
Develop is a high-skill card, and even with the advice in this article in mind, it can be hard to see exactly when investing in Develop will pay off and when it will flop. One rule of thumb that I generally follow is to consider Develop first as a trasher, and to consider it second as a gainer. Its power is modest as a trasher on certain boards, but Develop’s power truly shows when it can be used effectively as a gainer. Hopefully this article has provided you a better understanding of this card.
 Example games:
In this tournament game, -Stef-‘s Swindler wreaks havoc in dondon151's deck. However, the Develops that -Stef- gives dondon151 let him trash useless s and s for useful cards. Shanty Town and Council Room are gained together at and and help build a massive drawing engine in conjunction with Mining Village and Mint.
Here cbaka uses Develop to build a Menagerie engine. Not much else to say about this game and the previous one.
-Stef- uses Develop to transition into a Grand Market deck supplemented by Farming Villages, Libraries, and Shanty Towns. Here, Library-Shanty Town is a modest / combination, and Spice Merchant is an ideal target for Develop once its role is done. With the surplus actions from Farming Village, Develop synergizes with Library by reducing handsize by 2 cards. The presence of Expand in this Kingdom lets excess Shanty Towns and Silvers be converted into Grand Markets. Expand itself can be trashed into a Province.
- Useful cards of different costs, especially costs separated by , and especially in the - range.
- Deck-drawing engines
- King's Court and other cards
- Border Village
 English versions
|Trash a card from your hand. Gain a card costing exactlymore than it and a card costing exactly less than it, in either order, putting them on top of your deck.||Hinterlands 1st Edition||October 2011|
|Trash a card from your hand. Gain two cards onto your deck, with one costing exactlymore than it, and one costing exactly less than it, in either order.||Hinterlands 2nd Edition||December 2016|
 Other language versions
|Japanese||開発 (pron. kaihatsu)||手札1枚を廃棄する。それよりコストが高いカード1枚、 低いカード1枚を好きな順番で山札の上に獲得する。|
|Polish||Rozwój||Although Polish version is not released, this card is referred to in the Polish version of Empires rulebook|
|Russian||Развитие (pron. razvitiye)|
 Secret History