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Revision as of 16:59, 4 March 2021
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Duchy is a basic Victory card included in all games of Dominion. In most games, it is (at ) the second most expensive Victory card and (at 3 ) the one worth the second largest number of victory points. In the average Dominion game, Duchies are typically not bought until after a few Provinces have been bought.
Importance of Duchies
Though they are often the alternative to a Province with a bad hand late in the game, there are a few cases where Duchies tend to stand out.
- Duchy dancing - Late in the game, players will often choose to buy Duchies (even in cases where they might have + to spend) in an attempt to adhere to the Penultimate Province Rule.
- Rush Strategies - Duchies often play a key role in rush strategies. Duchies are typically the 3rd pile to be emptied during IGG rushes, and the ability to grab a Duchy or two is often enough to prove the difference in a Gardens or Silk Road rush.
- Playing From Behind - A player who is behind in the game will sometimes turn to buying Duchies (often more than 1 per turn) in an attempt to gain ground on the player with the lead. This is fairly common when a stronger engine is pitted against a weaker engine or more straightforward BM strategy. The BM player will often jump out to an early lead and then stall, allowing the engine player to buy Duchies to erase the deficit and then use the stronger engine to obtain Provinces to end the game.
- Slogs and 3 Pile Endings - Duchies are invaluable in games where it is not likely that either player will ever be able to empty the Province pile. This is regularly the case in slog games in which both players have poor decks, such as games involving Sea Hag or Ambassador. Another related case is in games likely to end on 3 piles, especially when Curses are likely to empty or in Kingdoms involving popular low cost cards such as Caravan or Hamlet.
- Multiplayer games - If you have only two players, the player who ends up with fewer Provinces needs 4 Duchies to make up that difference, whereas in 3 to 6 player games, a disadvantage in Provinces can be made up by having as little as two Duchies.
Just as there are instances where Duchies can be made more valuable, there are some situations where the value of the Duchy is diminished.
- Colony games - Boards featuring Colonies means that Provinces will often step up to fill the role that a Duchy would normally fill. At only 3VP, a Duchy is rarely worth buying in a Colony game.
- Alternate VP sources - The presence of Alt-VP can decrease the value of Duchies. Fairgrounds, Gardens, and Silk Road are all similarly priced, and all three options are typically worth just as many points (if not more) late in the game. Similarly, the presence of VP chips can shift away from the need to purchase Duchies.
- Lack of +Buy or gainers - Without alternative options for gaining a Duchy, players might be less willing to use their lone buy on a Duchy. A lack of +Buy or gainers makes each of the situations listed above in the Increased Importance section more difficult to achieve.
Cards that interact with Duchy
- Duke - Duke is an Alt-VP card whose value is tied directly to the number of Duchies present in your deck.
- Transmute - When you trash an Action card with Transmute you gain a Duchy.
- Tournament - You may gain a Duchy as a Prize for winning a tournament.
- Duchess - In games featuring Duchess, you may gain a Duchess at no cost whenever you gain a Duchy. Though it is overall a weak card, Duchess is often a more useful card in the situations where you would be purchasing Duchies.
- Count - One of the benefit options available when playing a Count is the ability to gain a Duchy.
- Hunting Grounds - Trashing a Hunting Grounds allows you the option of gaining a Duchy.
- Sprawling Castle - Can gain a Duchy when gained.
- Annex and Alliance - Gains a Duchy when bought.
- Enclave - Exiles a Duchy when bought.
- Border Village - Spending the extra on a Border Village can allow you to gain a bonus Village along with your late game Duchy.
- Feast, Smugglers, Trash for Benefit cards, Duplicate - These cards provide easy ways to gain a late-game Duchy.
- Crossroads, Hoard, Scout - Duchy's Victory card type makes these cards more valuable.
- Saboteur - A saboteured Province will often be turned into a Duchy, especially late in the game.
- Swindler - A lucky early Swindler hit will often turn a powerful Action card into a largely useless early game Duchy.
- Ill-Gotten Gains, Gardens, Silk Road - Duchies are often solid complementary cards to these rush strategies.
- Rebuild - Often requires buying additional Duchies for this card to turn into Provinces.
|3||Dominion 1st Edition||October 2008|
|never implemented||3||Base Cards||June 2012|
|3||Dominion 2nd Edition||October 2016|
Other language versions
(Duchy content borrowed from the Province entry)to 6 during development, as part of the fix to the Duchy rush. The Duchy rush was, you buy nothing but Silver and Duchies. At the time the game ended when any Victory pile ran out. If one person went for the Duchy rush you could beat them, but if two people did, you had to join them. My friends found this strategy, but it didn't seem like a problem. It was a boring strategy, so the only reason to play it was if you thought it would win for you. It wouldn't though; it would win for someone at random, since we would all follow suit. You could make the game suck but that's it. So we never did it. Well would you believe, being able to make the game suck is not so hot. Furthermore, if you're a new player, the Duchy rush may elevate your chance of winning from zero to even. So it was in fact a problem. An anonymous playtester realized this, Valerie and Dale raised the alarm, and in the end, Province changed from 5 to 6 and the end condition changed from "any empty victory pile" (the end condition we were using at the time, but not the original one, which was "any empty pile") to the one you know.