362 (35 sets)
Dark Ages is the seventh Dominion expansion. It was released in August, 2012. It is a large expansion, with 500 cards including 35 new kingdom cards, as well as other new types of cards such as Shelters, Ruins, and Spoils. Many cards in Dark Ages have theme related to trashing and upgrading.
Basic Supply Cards
- Ruins are included when at least one of the Kingdom cards (or a card in the Black Market deck) has the Looter type.
- The number of Ruins used depends on the number of players--10 for 2 players, 20 for 3 players, and so on.
- The 5 different Ruins are shuffled together, so none of the players know what number of any given Ruins card is in the Ruins pile.
- Only one card from the pile is visible and may be bought or gained at any time.
Beggar, Squire, Vagrant
Forager, Hermit, Market Square, Sage, Storeroom, Urchin
Armory, Death Cart, Feodum, Fortress, Ironmonger, Marauder, Procession, Rats, Scavenger, Wandering Minstrel
Band of Misfits, Bandit Camp, Catacombs, Count, Counterfeit, Cultist, Graverobber, Junk Dealer, Knights, Mystic, Pillage, Rebuild, Rogue
Altar, Hunting Grounds
- The 10 Knights cards are all different. Only one card from the pile is visible and may be bought or gained at any time.
- The Rats pile has 20 copies of the card instead of the usual 10.
- Madman may be gained only through Hermit.
- Mercenary may be gained only through Urchin.
- Spoils may be gained only through Bandit Camp, Marauder, or Pillage.
- The Spoils pile has 15 copies of the card instead of the usual 10.
- Shelters are not used in every game, unless that game includes only Kingdom Cards from Dark Ages. Otherwise, their use should be determined based on the proportion of Dark Ages and non-Dark Ages cards in use.
- When they are used, Shelters replace Estates in each player's starting deck so that the new starting deck consists of 7 Coppers, 1 Hovel, 1 Necropolis, and 1 Overgrown Estate. The rest of the Shelter cards are not included in the game in any way.
- Dark Ages includes three Shelters - Hovel, Necropolis, and Overgrown Estate. These cards replace starting Estates in some games, as described under Preparation. Shelters have no corresponding Supply pile; they can never be bought, and Ambassador (from Seaside) cannot return one anywhere.
- Dark Ages has two piles of cards that have a variety of cards in them: the Ruins pile has a mix of five different Ruins, and the Knights pile has ten different Knights. These piles should be shuffled before each game, as explained under Preparation. The only card that may be bought or gained or chosen from one of these piles is the card on top. Players cannot look through the piles, only at the top card; the players turn the top card over any time it is face down. If a card is returned to one of these piles with Ambassador (from Seaside), turn over the current top card and the returned card goes on top, turned face-up. Ruins cards with different names, and Knights with different names, count as differently named cards for cards that care about this. For example if Tribute (from Intrigue) reveals two different Ruins cards, it will give +4 Actions. When Contraband (from Prosperity) is played, a player can name a Ruins or Knight, but that only stops that specific Ruins or Knight from being bought. However an Embargo token (from Seaside) placed on the Ruins or Knight pile will affect any cards bought from it.
- Players can buy Ruins even though they normally will not wish to. Ruins cards are Actions; they may be played in the Action phase, and count as Actions for things that refer to Action cards, such as Procession. The Ruins pile, when used, is in the Supply, and if it is empty that counts towards the normal end condition. Cards that try to get specific cards from the Supply fail to get a Ruins or Knight if the correct one is not the top one. For example if you buy a Ruined Market with Talisman (from Prosperity), you only gain another Ruined Market if that is the top Ruins under the one you bought; if you use Ambassador (from Seaside) to return Sir Martin to the Supply, the next player will gain that Sir Martin, but the player after that will not gain a card, as the next Knight will not be Sir Martin.
- Many cards in Dark Ages do something "when you trash" that card. These abilities function no matter whose turn the card is trashed on. The player that a "when you trash this" ability functions for is the player that had that card, regardless of whose card trashed the card. These abilities happen directly after the card is put into the trash, and can function in the middle of resolving effects for an Action card; for example, if a player plays Graverobber and uses it to trash a Cultist, he first draws three cards for trashing Cultist, then continues with resolving Graverobber and gains a card costing up to . Cards can sometimes leave a player's deck without being trashed, such as by being returned to the Supply with Ambassador (from Seaside) or passed to another player with Masquerade (from Intrigue). When two or more cards are trashed at the same time, as with Count, first trash them all, then pick an order to resolve things that happen due to trashing them. A "when you trash" ability is not itself a way to trash a card; some other card will be needed to actually trash the card and make the ability happen.
- Six cards in Dark Ages are never part of the Supply: Spoils, Madman, Mercenary, and the three Shelters: Hovel, Necropolis, and Overgrown Estate. Keep these cards handy for when they are needed. These cards cannot be bought, and cannot be gained by cards that gain cards from the Supply, such as Armory. They cannot be returned to the Supply with Ambassador (from Seaside). They can end up in the trash if something trashes them. These piles being empty does not count towards the end condition for the game, or towards the count of empty piles for City (from Prosperity).
Lose Track rule
- In rare circumstances an effect may try to move a card that is not where that effect expects the card to be. In those cases the card does not move - the effect has "lost track" of the card. Losing track of a card prevents it from being moved, but does not stop anything else from happening. For example, if you Procession a Madman, Procession first puts Madman in play; then you resolve Madman, getting +2 Actions and drawing cards and returning Madman to the Madman pile; then Procession fails to put Madman into play again, because Procession expects to find Madman in play, but it is not there, it's in the Madman pile; then you resolve Madman again, only getting +2 Actions this time, since it says "if you do" before the card-drawing, and you did not actually return it to the Madman pile this time; then Procession fails to trash Madman since Procession again expects to find Madman in play and it is not there; and then you gain an Action costing if you can. Cards do not lose track of cards that they move, only cards that other cards move. For example when Procession puts Madman into play, that does not cause Procession to lose track of Madman; it is Madman moving itself that causes Procession to lose track of it. Things lose track of a card if something moves it, if it is the top card of a deck and gets covered up, or if it is the top card of a discard pile and gets covered up.
"No visiting" rule
- When a card is gained to a location other than a discard pile, it does not "visit" the discard pile - it goes directly to where it was gained. For example Armory gains cards directly to the top of a deck.
Impact of Dark Ages
Dark Ages introduced several new cards to Dominion that broke previous unwritten (or even written) rules of card structure and gameplay, substantially broadening the scope of the kinds of things possible in Dominion. Dark Ages contains the only cards that cost Poor House and Shelters), the only supply piles that consist of multiple differently-named cards (Knights and Ruins), the only Action card of which there are more than ten copies (Rats), and more paradigm-breaking effects.(
Shelters games cause many Kingdom cards to work differently, and affects the opening two turns as well.
- Weakened cards:
- Ambassador, since Shelters can't be returned to the supply, and Jester, since Shelters can't be gained from the supply
- Cards that interact with Estates (or Victory cards in general), such as Baron and Silk Road, aren't able to interact with them from the start
- Cards that dislike variety, like Hunting Party and Journeyman
- Strengthened cards:
The addition of Looters can lead to games where twice the normal amount of junk cards are being distributed, leading to longer games. Cultist can also distribute Ruins faster than any Curser due to its chaining. With both a Looter and a Curser present in a kingdom, the game slows down considerably, but three-pile endings are much easier to achieve, since the Ruins count as a supply pile.
Given that it is one of the themes of the set, Dark Ages contains some of the strongest trashers in the game.
- Altar - expensive, but incredibly useful - turning bad cards into Actions in the early game, and gaining Duchies in the late game
- Counterfeit - one of the best Copper trashers, especially since it continues to be useful after your Coppers are all gone
- Death Cart - it gives the highest non-variable + in the game
- Forager - it has to be built up to get the full benefit, but as a non-terminal trasher, it is typically a good opener
- Graverobber - one of only two cards that can gain from the trash, and the more effective of the two - it can also turn Actions (like itself) into Provinces
- Hermit - the best Curse defense behind only Watchtower, since it can trash cards directly from your discard pile, making it as though the Curser hadn't even been played
- Junk Dealer - the Peddler variant trasher
- Knights - while swingy, they can be quite devestating in large numbers
- Mercenary - trashes very quickly while still giving a benefit and harming your opponent
- Procession - while chiefly best with other Dark Ages cards, it can be quite good in engines, especially on boards with Actions of every cost
- Rats - useless on its own, it is a powerhouse when paired with trashers that care about cost (like Bishop) or card type (like Death Cart)
- Rebuild - perhaps the most powerful card in this set (or even all of Dominion), it forgoes both engine and big money to directly turn Estates and Duchies into Provinces
- Rogue - a weak card, but the only one capable of stealing non-Treasure cards from other players
There are also several cards that benefit when trashed by other cards, or simply when another card is trashed.
- Catacombs - it gains a cheaper card when trashed, mirroring Border Village
- Cultist - draws 3 cards when trashed
- Feodum - can be trashed as part of a big money strategy, or as a means to get more Silvers to increase your point total from your other Feoda
- Fortress - the only card that can never be removed from your deck - as it can be infinitely trashed, it does great with cost-caring trashers
- Hunting Grounds - gains a Duchy or three Estates when trashed
- Market Square - the trashing analogue to Tunnel, it is very effective at gaining Gold in heavy trashing games, and then putting that Gold to use with its +Buy
- Rats - though it does trash, its main role is to be trashed, similarly to Fortress
- Overgrown Estate - draws a single card when trashed
- Sir Vander - gains a Gold when trashed
- Squire - can gain any Attack, no matter its cost, when trashed
Because of its minor theme of card combinations, many Dark Ages cards are well suited for engines.
- Bandit Camp - is a Village, and Spoils are practically virtual coin, not clogging up an engine
- Cultist - in high enough density, is almost a Laboratory, and helps slow down your opponent, giving more time to build your engine
- Hunting Grounds - gives the highest card draw in the game without drawback
- Ironmonger - it's a sifter, and can be a Laboratory, Peddler or Village, depending on which card is revealed, all of which are useful to engines
- Mystic - gives non-terminal virtual coin, and in combination with deck inspectors, is an activated Conspirator
- Necropolis - as stated above, the addition of a Village to your starting cards is a boon to engines
- Poor House - engines usually don't have many Treasures, ensuring that Poor House is most effective - it serves as an excellent source of virtual coin in these instances
- Scavenger - helps setup your next turn, similarly to Scheme
- Squire - it is virtual coin, and can alternate between Village and +Buy, the latter of which engines often lack
- Wandering Minstrel - the perfect engine Village, as it ensures you only ever draw Actions
Recommended Sets of 10
Dark Ages Only
- Grim Parade: Armory, Band of Misfits, Catacombs, Cultist, Forager, Fortress, Knights, Market Square, Procession, Hunting Grounds
- Playing Chess With Death: Bandit Camp, Graverobber, Junk Dealer, Mystic, Pillage, Rats, Sage, Scavenger, Storeroom, Vagrant
Dark Ages & Dominion
- High and Low: Hermit, Hunting Grounds, Mystic, Poor House, Wandering Minstrel, Cellar, Moneylender, Throne Room, Witch, Workshop
- Chivalry and Revelry: Altar, Knights, Rats, Scavenger, Squire, Festival, Gardens, Laboratory, Library, Remodel
Dark Ages & Intrigue
- Prophecy: Armory, Ironmonger, Mystic, Rebuild, Vagrant, Baron, Conspirator, Great Hall, Nobles, Wishing Well
- Invasion: Beggar, Marauder, Rogue, Squire, Urchin, Harem, Mining Village, Swindler, Torturer, Upgrade
Dark Ages & Seaside
- Watery Graves: Count, Graverobber, Hermit, Scavenger, Urchin, Native Village, Pirate Ship, Salvager, Treasure Map, Treasury
- Peasants: Death Cart, Feodum, Poor House, Urchin, Vagrant, Fishing Village, Haven, Island, Lookout, Warehouse
Dark Ages & Alchemy
- Infestations: Armory, Cultist, Feodum, Market Square, Rats, Wandering Minstrel, Apprentice, Scrying Pool, Transmute, Vineyard
- Lamentations: Beggar, Catacombs, Counterfeit, Forager, Ironmonger, Pillage, Apothecary, Golem, Herbalist, University
Dark Ages & Prosperity
- One Man's Trash: Counterfeit, Forager, Graverobber, Market Square, Rogue, City, Grand Market, Monument, Talisman, Venture
- Honor Among Thieves: Bandit Camp, Procession, Rebuild, Rogue, Squire, Forge, Hoard, Peddler, Quarry, Watchtower
Dark Ages & Cornucopia
- Dark Carnival: Band of Misfits, Cultist, Fortress, Hermit, Junk Dealer, Knights, Fairgrounds, Hamlet, Horn of Plenty, Menagerie
- To the Victor: Bandit Camp, Counterfeit, Death Cart, Marauder, Pillage, Sage, Harvest, Hunting Party, Remake, Tournament
Dark Ages & Hinterlands
- Far From Home: Beggar, Count, Feodum, Marauder, Wandering Minstrel, Cartographer, Develop, Embassy, Fool's Gold, Haggler
- Expeditions: Altar, Catacombs, Ironmonger, Poor House, Storeroom, Crossroads, Farmland, Highway, Spice Merchant, Tunnel