Hinterlands is the sixth Dominion expansion, released in October 2011. The box contains 26 sets of Kingdom Cards. The basic theme of the set is cards that either have or cause effects when you buy or gain them. Hinterlands is a popular expansion, offering a nice balance of engine, Big Money, and alternate VP cards.
Basic Supply Cards
- Hinterlands is only an expansion, so no Basic Supply Cards are included.
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- Many cards in Hinterlands do something "when you gain" or "when you buy" that card or another card. "When you buy" only happens when you buy a card, but "when you gain" happens both when you gain a card directly, such as with , and when you gain a card that you have bought. When you buy a card, you first buy it, then gain it; so for example if you buy and have in hand, you first resolve what Noble Brigand does when you buy it, and then you can choose to use Trader's "when you [would] gain" ability. You can sometimes buy a card without gaining it, such as by using Trader to gain instead, or due to the Dominion: Alchemy card . You can also sometimes gain cards when it is not your turn. The player that "when you buy" things happen for is the player who paid for the card, and the player that "when you gain" things happen for is the player who actually gained the card. "When you gain this" happens directly after you gain the card; the card will be in your discard pile already (or wherever else it was put) when you resolve that ability.
The world is big and your kingdom small. Small when compared to the world, that is; it’s moderate-sized when compared to other kingdoms. But in a big world like this one - big when compared to smaller worlds anyway, if such things exist; it’s moderate-sized when compared to worlds of roughly the same size, and a little small when compared to worlds just a little larger - well, to make a long story short - short when compared to longer stories anyway - it is time to stretch your borders. You’ve heard of far-off places - exotic countries, where they have pancakes but not waffles, where the people wear the wrong number of shirts, and don’t even have a word for the look two people give each other when they each hope that the other will do something that they both want done but which neither of them wants to do. It is to these lands that you now turn your gaze.
Impact of Hinterlands
Hinterlands is a good mix of more advanced play and beginner-friendly cards. Since it was originally conceived as a standalone, it was deliberately kept on the simpler side, but the when-gain mechanic introduced makes the set compelling to novice and experienced players alike.
The release of Hinterlands is perceived as having pushed the strategic center of gravity of Dominion away from heavily streamlined small-deck Action engines toward strategies based on navigating bulky decks: it emphasizes sifting and Silver-gaining, and has no cards that can trash more than one card at a time.
Hinterlands also emphasizes the diversity of Kingdom card types: it is the only expansion to contain more than one Treasure, more than one Reaction, and more than one Victory card among its Kingdom cards.
Hinterlands introduced a number of cards which are popular in building engines. Some of these include:
- - Allows you the ability to top-deck actions played last turn.
- - The -effect encourages megaturn strategies.
- - The card is a cheap source of +Actions.
- - Allows you to gain both a village and a power card.
- - Acts as a pseudo +Buy, giving you a cheaper extra card (perhaps a cantrip or village) to go with your main purchase.
- - A cantrip which allows you to sift through your deck to ensure you hit your key cards.
- - A village which is particularly good when much of the deck is discarded, to play multiple actions in the same turn.
The expansion offered three cards which are relatively effective for Big Money strategies.
- is a solid BM card because of its ability to both gain and trash your starting Estates or Curses.
- offers a combination of both large draw and sifting ability.
- offers weak draw, but offsets that somewhat with its attack and sifting ability.
Hinterlands has two cards which will often lead to rush strategies.
- - An easy rush option with or . The card gains a lot of power with the presence of cheap alternate VP such as or .
- - Another popular rush target, finishing off the IGG's will typically empty the pile at the same time. or are typically the third pile to be finished in these rushes.
There seems to be a consensus in the Dominion community that Hinterlands increased the importance of relative to the other expansions.
- - Displayed the power of gaining silver for simple Big Money strategies.
- - Showed the potential of flooding one's deck with Silver.
- - A way to easily gain Silver is often all that is needed to enable a Silk Road rush.
Hinterlands introduced cards that can, in a broad sense, be considered "better" versions of earlier cards - that is, an attempt was made to "fix" what seemed to be problems with the original cards.
- - A "better" , since it doesn't trash (and in fact distributes them), and gives - however, it cannot gain more exotic Treasures (Thief was later removed from the Base set for the revised edition)
- - A "better" , it is more flexible, both in what it can trash, and what it does after trashing, though it does not field as much
- - A "better" , it discards from your deck instead of drawing Victory cards, and also draws a card, though it costs more (Scout was later removed from Intrigue for the revised editions)
- - A "better" , it brings costs down much more easily given its cantrip nature (and thus is much better for tricks requiring cost-reduction), but is more expensive, can't be Throned, and does not give +Buy
Game designer Donald X. offered some insight into some themes of the set here.
- 9 Effects when gained/bought: Noble Brigand, Nomad Camp, Cache, Embassy, Ill-Gotten Gains, Inn, Mandarin, Border Village, Farmland
- 4 Other interaction with gain/buy: Duchess, Fool's Gold, Trader, Haggler
- 7 Victory/Treasure/Reaction: Fool's Gold, Tunnel, Silk Road, Trader, Cache, Ill-Gotten Gains, Farmland
- 4 Interact with Victory cards: Crossroads, Duchess, Fool's Gold, Silk Road
- 8 Card filtering: Oasis, Oracle, Jack of all Trades, Cartographer, Embassy, Inn, Margrave, Stables
Hinterlands was the first expansion to not feature any new illustrators, and so far only one other set () hasn't.
In other languages
- Czech: Vzdálené kraje (lit. outlying counties)
- Dutch: Het Achterland
- Finnish: Rajaseudut (lit. border regions)
- French: L'Arrière-Pays (lit. inland countries)
- German: Hinterland
- Italian: Nuovi orizzonti (lit. new horizons)
- Japanese: 異郷 (pron. ikyō, lit. strange land)
- Polish: W głąb lądu (note: as referred to in Polish Empires rulebook)
- Russian: Окраины (pron. okrainy, lit. outskirts)
- Spanish: Comarcas (lit. regions)
Originally, there were just some cards. One day I split up the cards into a main set and two expansions. I divided the expansion cards by themes; the first expansion got one-shots, decision cards, and cards with two types, while the second expansion got cards that did something on your next turn and cards that did something when you gained them.
When I showed the game to RGG, I had five expansions. During development of the main game, I briefly tried out the expansions in 16-card versions. As part of doing this, I split up the second expansion into two expansions - one for the next turn theme, another for the right now theme. Both themes seemed good enough to support an expansion. Later, when I turned everything back into 20-card expansions (which became 25 during work on Intrigue), I kept those two themes separated. The next turn theme came out as the actual second expansion, Seaside, and now finally we have come to the when-you-gain-this expansion.
A few of these cards date back to 2006, and the original expansion with both themes. More are from when I split up the themes, then more got added to get back up to 25, and of course some cards are more recent, due to the usual process of getting rid of duds and trying new things.
For most of its life, this has been an ordinary expansion. For a while there though, I was thinking maybe it would be good to do another standalone. There are various virtures to standalones; someone else can talk them up, as I know there are other people who will argue against them. Anyway it seemed good to me. And so for a bit I focused on trying to make sure the set wasn't as complex as the couple sets before it. It gets some simplicity from the when-gain theme, although some of those cards still look complicated because they need text for both the normal and when-gain abilities. This focus helped protect a few of the simpler cards, and then late in the going Jay decided it would be a normal expansion after all. So the set is 300 cards, with no tokens or anything, and had that extra push towards simplicity, which is nice. And for those of you who were wondering, this is also why the rulebook has an unprecedented number of recommended sets of 10.
Some of you are thinking, simplicity lol. No really; whatever strategic complexity the set has, it does have some simple, easy-to-play cards; it's simpler than Prosperity but more complex than Seaside. You can sit a new player down with and and so forth and while they may not know what they're doing, they won't be confused by their cards.
The when-gain theme was always the focus of the set. A few of the cards are when-buy instead; this was necessary, as I will explain for those cards. I have a few cards that latch onto when-gain from different angles, rather than just doing something when you gain them. And then, when-gain abilities are good fits for victory cards and treasure cards, so the set got three of each. Some of the victory cards died and were replaced by other ones without when-gain abilities, but there are three, see for yourself. With three victory cards and three treasures it seemed cool to have three reactions, and towards the end I managed to squeeze in a third one.
Some of you who are word people or have internet access may note that one meaning of "hinterlands" is, the land behind the coast. So even the flavor is a complement to Seaside.
Odds are I wasn't going to be so unhappy with this one either, given how recent it is. The one thing I can say is, I thought the set was simpler than people think it is, and I would be strongly tempted to simplify it a little given that I know people think it's complex. Basically make it a little more like the standalone it didn't end up being. To that end the obv. changes are to drop the reactions from and , to drop the above-line text on (just leave it + ), and make a version of that just has or on the top. Possibly either or could change, I like them both as-is but they would be some of the wordiest cards left at that point. is wordy but it needs those words. Probably all of these changes sound awful to you, dear reader, but that's the way of the world. It's hard to see the value in the simplicity I'd gain, but there really is value there. Anyway I went with the more complex versions and it's not so bad that I did.
Recommended Sets of 10
Hinterlands & Guilds
Hinterlands on DS.com and F.DS.com
Dominion Strategy Forums