|Type(s)||Action - Duration|
Now and at the start of your next turn:|
Merchant Ship is an Action-Duration card from Seaside. It is a terminal Silver since it gives + and no +Action on the turn you play it, but it also gives + on the turn after - a total of + from just one card!
 Official FAQ
- You get to spend this turn, and more on your next turn.
- Leave this in front of you until the Clean-up phase of your next turn.
 Other Rules clarifications
 Strategy Article
original article on the forums by WanderingWinder
It's a great card. But I think it's often underrated, because it's such a simple card. It's a solid card. Let's break it down.
First of all, it's a duration card, which has a big impact on how you look at it. Beyond this, it's a terminal action. And it provides virtual coins. Now, being a non-drawing terminal duration tells you a good idea of how many of these you can sustain. But how good of a card is it, when do you want it, and apart from how many you CAN have, how many do you want?
Well, the effect of giving Gold, which gives in one turn. Yes, concentration can help things, but that's a whole extra money. The big drawback, and THE reason you want Gold over Merchant Ship sometimes, even with the higher cost, is that Merchant Ship is terminal. But, being a duration card, and being non-drawing, you can sneak some more of these into your deck than you would with normal terminals.split up over two turns is typically stronger than
And just by itself, Big Money-wise, you can get it to be roughly on par with BM-Smithy, BM-Envoy, BM-Oracle, these kinds of decks. It can form the backbone of an economy. Most Big Money decks rely mostly on Golds to be able to get to that Province. Jack of all Trades decks rely on a billion Silvers, but even there, Gold is important. In Merchant Ship decks, Gold is very nice, but the Ships are key. 2 Ships (you can have 2 in play at once - the benefits of duration terminals!), and 4 Copper or more commonly a Silver and 2 Copper, there's your Province. And a 2-coin head start next turn.
Of course, like many duration cards, the Merchant Ship effect is the same now and later - which makes it better on your next turn than it is now. Now, it's just a terminal silver. Next turn, it's like you've played two Treasury cards before your turn starts. Which hey, ain't bad.
But the real strength of Merchant Ship, I think, is in how it plays with other actions. BM-Smithy, it's really hard to add other actions and have them help you out. BM-Merchant Ship, on the other hand, you can add all kinds of other stuff to. Swindler on the board? Slide over to opening that, and ease up on the Merchant Ships a little bit later. The same is true with lots of other good opening terminals. And Merchant Ship also plays nicely with cantrips, which a card like Smithy won't. So a lot of times, this non-engine deck that still relies on a good number of actions, but plays more like a money deck, is possible. And Merchant Ship is great here. Especially since those Ships you shave off, you can usually do by getting Gold over Merchant Ship when you have (in BM-Merchant ship, you want to prioritize Merchant Ship>Gold a good bit).
I would be remiss, of course, if I didn't mention how it plays in engines. It plays fine in engines, but not great. I mean, it's a terminal, and one which doesn't give +buy or +actions or +cards or any kind of attack to slow the opponents down. In short, it doesn't really give you any of the things engines really need to be viable. BUT, if there's an engine already around that you want to play, and you can spare an action here and there, 1-2 Merchant Ships are a great addition to provide coins, not needing as many actions or taking as much space up as other terminals, while still providing coin at least on par with Gold.
Overall, a very nice card, not so often super-stellar, but most often a strong, nice addition to your deck.
 Alternate versions
Digital version for Dominion Online
 In other languages
- Chinese: 商船 (pron. shāngchuán)
- Czech: Obchodní loď
- Dutch: Handelsschip (lit. trading ship)
- Finnish: Kauppalaiva
- French: Navire marchand
- German: Handelsschiff
- Italian: Nave Mercantile
- Japanese: 商船 (pron. shōsen)
- Korean: 상선 (pron. sangseon)
- Polish: Okręt kupiecki
- Russian: Торговый Корабль (pron. torgovy korabl')
- Spanish: Barco Mercante
 Secret History