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* {{Card|Remake}} and {{Card|Upgrade}} now give you {{Cost|2}}s instead of {{Cost|3}}s.  Whether this is a plus or minus is entirely dependent on the board: you’re probably happy to pick up more {{Card|Fool's Gold|Fool's Golds}}, but probably not if you’re picking up more {{Card|Secret Chamber|Secret Chambers}}.
* {{Card|Remake}} and {{Card|Upgrade}} now give you {{Cost|2}}s instead of {{Cost|3}}s.  Whether this is a plus or minus is entirely dependent on the board: you’re probably happy to pick up more {{Card|Fool's Gold|Fool's Golds}}, but probably not if you’re picking up more {{Card|Secret Chamber|Secret Chambers}}.
* Cards that depend on variety get stronger: {{Card|Menagerie}} (which didn’t really need the help), and {{Card|Harvest}} (which does)
* Cards that depend on variety get stronger: {{Card|Menagerie}} (which didn’t really need the help), and {{Card|Harvest}} (which does)
* {{Card|Swindler}}, instead of trashing an Estate and replacing an Estate, will just trash it out of your deck (or replace it with a {{Card|Poor House}})
* {{Card|Swindler}}, instead of trashing an Estate and replacing an Estate, will just trash a shelter out of your deck (or replace it with a {{Card|Poor House}})
Later in the game, not having those three Estates has some other effects:
Later in the game, not having those three Estates has some other effects:

Revision as of 17:05, 3 March 2017

Necropolis, a Shelter card.

Shelters are a card type from Dark Ages. In games using Kingdom cards from Dark Ages, Shelters may be used in players' starting decks instead of the EstatesEstate.jpg that starting decks usually contain. Shelters do not have a supply pile; the only ones in the game are the ones that players start with. Although they cannot be bought, Shelters have a cost of $1.

Shelter cards have a red frame—however, since every Shelter card has two types, each Shelter's frame is half red and half the color associated with its other type.

There are three differently-named Shelters; each player's deck starts with one of each:


Additional rules

The rules for playing with Shelters are described in the Dominion: Dark Ages rulebook and are reproduced here.


  • If only Kingdom cards from Dark Ages are being used this game, the Shelter cards replace starting EstatesEstate.jpg - each player's starting deck is seven CoppersCopper.jpg, a HovelHovel.jpg, a NecropolisNecropolis.jpg, and an Overgrown EstateOvergrown Estate.jpg.
  • If a mix of Kingdom cards from Dark Ages and other sets is being used, then the use of Shelters should be determined randomly, based on the proportion of Dark Ages cards in use. For example, choose a random Kingdom card being used - such as the last card dealt from the Randomizer deck - and if it is from Dark Ages, use Shelters in place of starting Estates.
  • Do not use the same card to choose whether or not to use Shelters as you use to choose whether or not to use PlatinumPlatinum.jpg and ColonyColony.jpg (from Prosperity).
  • Using Shelters does not change the Estate Supply pile; it still contains 8 Estates for 2 players and 12 Estates for 3 or more players.


Official FAQ

Other Rules clarifications

  • It is allowed to reveal a Shelter when playing AmbassadorAmbassador.jpg. In that case, it is not returned to the Supply (since it is not in the Supply) and opponents do not gain a copy of it.

Strategy Article

original article by werothegreat, edited by theory

Shelters are the most drastic change made to Dominion by the Dark Ages expansion. They were saved for last in the previews before release, after we saw the trash-gainer, the $1 card, the Ruins and their Looters, the upgrading cards, and SpoilsSpoils.jpg. While each of those do change the game in their own ways, ranging from the subtle to the not-so-subtle, they certainly more or less fit into the game space of Dominion as we know it – at the end of the day, they are simply Kingdom cards with cool, new effects. But Shelters change how we play Dominion at a fundamental level.

As we’ve known since our first game, our deck in Dominion starts off with seven CoppersCopper.jpg and three EstatesEstate.jpg – we’re so used to this concept that we plan our entire strategies around knowing this. We think about the risk of opening with two terminals, we consider whether trashing Estates is worth losing the points they give, we see the power of AmbassadorAmbassador.jpg and BaronBaron.jpg as opening buys, and we rest easy knowing our first Silk RoadSilk Road.jpg will be worth at least 1 point. Shelters throw all those concepts out the window, and give us some new ones.

First, they all cost $1, which affects quite a few cards that depend on other cards’ costs (as you’ll see soon). Next, they all do something – you are now starting the game with cards that have text on them – get out those reading glasses. Third, you no longer start off with 3 VP, so strategies that trash into engines no longer have to worry about a tie-breaking Estate. Finally, only one of them is a Victory card, which has ramifications to be discussed in time.

More broadly speaking, all opening theory related to Estates goes out the window. For example:

  • Baron gets completely neutered (CrossroadsCrossroads.jpg, too, to a lesser extent)
  • Ambassador is unable to return a Shelter (since they aren’t in the Supply), so it only works on Coppers now
  • BishopBishop.jpg, RemodelRemodel.jpg, SalvagerSalvager.jpg, ApprenticeApprentice.jpg — all the early game “trash for benefit” cards tend to do much worse when they can only trash $1 cards instead of $2.
  • RemakeRemake.jpg and UpgradeUpgrade.jpg now give you $2s instead of $3s. Whether this is a plus or minus is entirely dependent on the board: you’re probably happy to pick up more Fool's GoldsFool's Gold.jpg, but probably not if you’re picking up more Secret ChambersSecret Chamber.jpg.
  • Cards that depend on variety get stronger: MenagerieMenagerie.jpg (which didn’t really need the help), and HarvestHarvest.jpg (which does)
  • SwindlerSwindler.jpg, instead of trashing an Estate and replacing an Estate, will just trash a shelter out of your deck (or replace it with a Poor HousePoor House.jpg)

Later in the game, not having those three Estates has some other effects:

So, in general, cards that interact with Victory cards are weakened in Shelters games, but most cards that deal with trashing, engines or hand/deck variety are bolstered.

Let’s look at each Shelter one by one.


NecropolisNecropolis.jpg is easily the most useful of the Shelters, and, at first glance, would seem to be the only reason why anyone would ever want to use Shelters. It is nice to immediately start off with a card giving +2 Actions, particularly if you are transitioning into an engine with more VillagesVillage.jpg and more Actions. A single Necropolis doesn’t go that far if there are no other Villages on the board, but it can also help if you plan on opening with two terminal Actions. If they collide (probability 30.3%), your odds of also drawing the Necropolis in that hand is about 30%.


HovelHovel.jpg is probably the closest we will ever come to a Dominion card that is just a Reaction and nothing else. Being able to trash a card upon buying a Victory card is not completely new – FarmlandFarmland.jpg introduced us to this concept in Hinterlands. But Hovel allows you to do this when buying any Victory card, so long as the card you’re trashing is Hovel. So what is the point of this? It tilts towards alternative Victory cards. In a vacuum, buying HaremHarem.jpg becomes somewhat stronger than buying GoldGold.jpg with its tiny bit of deck-thinning. It allows that ProvinceProvince.jpg buy to be just a little bit less harmful to your carefully crafted engine, as instead of adding to your deck, it is replacing a card. Perhaps the only time you’ll want to save Hovel from trashing is in a GardensGardens.jpg game, where every extra card counts.

Now, suppose you open $5/$2, and there isn’t anything to buy with $2. Your Hovel is in your hand. Do you buy an Estate to trash the Hovel out of your deck?

This was a heavily-debated question on the forum, and it did not come to a clear consensus. ehunt‘s explanation is quite helpful:

Sarah and Laura play a game. On turn 2, Sarah replaces a Hovel with an Estate. Laura declines to do this, keeping the Hovel and buying nothing.

Now Sarah’s and Laura’s decks are identical (let’s say no card on the board references Estates). We can imagine their decks and draws stay identical hand for hand (except Laura draws her Hovel whenever Sarah draws her Estate). At some point, Sarah will buy a green card with her Estate in hand. Nothing happens. Laura buys a green card with her Hovel in hand; she trashes it. Now their decks are different. Sarah’s got an Estate in her deck that Laura doesn’t have.

So the question is: is the turn on which you expect to buy a green card with Hovel in hand late enough that you’d be willing to take a free Estate?
—ehunt, [1]

It’s important to point out that this might never happen. You may in fact, never draw your Hovel with a Province-buying hand, in which case you certainly would have rather just swapped it out for an Estate early on. But you might be guaranteed to draw your Hovel with a Province-buying hand (let’s say you have a big draw engine), and you might not want an extra dead card in the deck so early.

Note also that alternative green cards (like Great HallGreat Hall.jpg or HaremHarem.jpg) mean that you’ll almost certainly be drawing a green-buying hand with Hovel quite early on, in which case there’s no need to buy an Estate. And of course, quite a few cards depend on Estate, either directly or indirectly: Baron, Crossroads, even Bishop.

Finally, the game might — or might not — be decided by that 1 VP. On boards with +Buy, it’s unlikely, so the advantage of that Estate probably won’t decide the game. But on boards without +Buy, that 1 VP can prove quite valuable (especially as there are no starting Estates in each player’s deck).

Overgrown Estate

Overgrown EstateOvergrown Estate.jpg has a cute little on-trash bonus, but not much else going for it. Its main role is its Victory label, which makes it eligible for cards like Rebuild and Crossroads. You can do tricks like HermitingHermit.jpg an Overgrown Estate from your discard to let you draw a card, or trashing it on your opponent’s Bishop so you can swap it out for a hopefully better card in your hand.


Bear in mind, though, that Shelters are, according to the rules, only supposed to show up in majority Dark Ages games, just like ColonyColony.jpg and PlatinumPlatinum.jpg are only supposed to show up in majority Prosperity games. So Shelters, while game-changing, have not upset the entire Dominion paradigm, and you can choose not to play with them if you wish. But personally, I feel that, other than making Baron a sad panda, Shelters make for a more interesting, enjoyable Dominion experience.


In other languages

  • Finnish: Suoja
  • Japanese: 避難所 (pron. hinanjo)
  • Russian: Убежище (pron. ubyezhishshye)


Here they are at last, the Shelters. In an all Dark Ages game, your starting deck is 7 CoppersCopper.jpg, Necropolis, Overgrown Estate, Hovel. When mixing sets up, the rule for using Shelters is similar to the PlatinumPlatinum.jpg / ColonyColony.jpg rule.

Shelters may not be worth the 1 VP of an Estate, but they are way better to have in your deck. Necropolis lets you go a little heavier on terminals from the get-go. Overgrown Estate gives you an extra little treat if you ever manage to trash it. And Hovel has a built-in way to get rid of it - you move out of that Hovel, and into a nice DuchyDuchy.jpg or something.

You can't buy Shelters, but they cost $1. That's just to shake up how various cards interact with them. A RemodelRemodel.jpg doesn't take you as far as it used to. And with only one being a Victory card, that CrossroadsCrossroads.jpg doesn't go to as many places. BaronBaron.jpg doesn't know what to do with these. And an AmbassadorAmbassador.jpg can't even give them away, since they have no piles to return to. On the other hand, they are fine places to get animals for your MenagerieMenagerie.jpg. And how much exactly can you build FairgroundsFairgrounds.jpg up to now, in games without Black MarketBlack Market.jpg? Man. A lot.

Secret History

Tom Lehmann suggested replacing starting Estates with something else, to make the environment feel more Dark Ages-y. I thought this was a great idea. Ruins obv. doesn't work, because some people would make out, unless we picked specific ones. And Curse isn't very interesting. But I could just make up three new cards, which is what I did. NecropolisNecropolis.jpg shakes up early turns, since you can stomach more in the way of terminal actions; Overgrown EstateOvergrown Estate.jpg gives you a little prize if you crack it open eventually; and HovelHovel.jpg tempts you into buying a victory card when you might not have.

Hovel is the only one that changed. Originally it was an action you could trash by discarding your hand. It turned out that trashing it turn 1-2 usually seemed like the correct play, even if you drew it with four Coppers. So that was no good. Hovel as printed has nice flavor going for it; you move out of your old Hovel and into a nice Duchy.

Cards $0 Ruins (Abandoned MineAbandoned Mine.jpgRuined LibraryRuined Library.jpgRuined MarketRuined Market.jpgRuined VillageRuined Village.jpgSurvivorsSurvivors.jpg) $0star SpoilsSpoils.jpg $1 Poor HousePoor House.jpgShelters (HovelHovel.jpgNecropolisNecropolis.jpgOvergrown EstateOvergrown Estate.jpg) $2 BeggarBeggar.jpgSquireSquire.jpgVagrantVagrant.jpg $3 ForagerForager.jpgHermitHermit.jpg (MadmanMadman.jpg) • Market SquareMarket Square.jpgSageSage.jpgStoreroomStoreroom.jpgUrchinUrchin.jpg (MercenaryMercenary.jpg) $4 ArmoryArmory.jpgDeath CartDeath Cart.jpgFeodumFeodum.jpgFortressFortress.jpgIronmongerIronmonger.jpgMarauderMarauder.jpgProcessionProcession.jpgRatsRats.jpgScavengerScavenger.jpgWandering MinstrelWandering Minstrel.jpg $5 Band of MisfitsBand of Misfits.jpgBandit CampBandit Camp.jpgCatacombsCatacombs.jpgCountCount.jpgCounterfeitCounterfeit.jpgCultistCultist.jpgGraverobberGraverobber.jpgJunk DealerJunk Dealer.jpgKnightsKnights.jpg (Dames AnnaDame Anna.jpgJosephineDame Josephine.jpgMollyDame Molly.jpgNatalieDame Natalie.jpgSylviaDame Sylvia.jpg • Sirs BaileySir Bailey.jpgDestrySir Destry.jpgMartinSir Martin.jpgMichaelSir Michael.jpgVanderSir Vander.jpg) • MysticMystic.jpgPillagePillage.jpgRebuildRebuild.jpgRogueRogue.jpg $6 AltarAltar.jpgHunting GroundsHunting Grounds.jpg
Combos and Counters Apprentice/Market SquareBeggar/GardensBishop/FortressDeath Cart/RatsDonate/Market SquareHermit/Market SquareLurker/Hunting GroundsMasterpiece/FeodumProcession/FortressRebuild/TunnelStoreroom/TunnelTrader/FeodumCultist vs JourneymanFortress vs Knights
Other concepts When trashLooter
Dominion Card types
Basic types ActionTreasureVictoryCurseCurse.jpg
Multi-expansion special types AttackDurationReactionCommand
Single-expansion special types PrizeShelterRuinsLooterKnightReserveTravellerGatheringCastleNightHeirloomFateDoomSpiritZombie
Non-card types EventLandmarkBoonHexStateArtifactProjectWay
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