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The Boon card back.

Boons, introduced in Nocturne, are small bonuses that may be useful to the player receiving them. They are bestowed by Fate cards.

The pile of Boons is shuffled, and when a Fate card instructs you to receive a Boon, you draw the next one and get whatever bonus it tells you, and return it to the Boon discard pile when you've resolved it. DruidDruid.jpg is an exception; it selects three Boons at the beginning of the game and gives access to only those three. When the Boon pile is exhausted, the discarded Boons are reshuffled.

Boons are not "cards"; any text referring to a "card" does not apply to Boons. However, for reference, the Boon effects are printed on cards in a landscape orientation with golden frames.


Official Rules

  • Boons are a face-down deck of cards that are revealed as needed.
  • The phrase "receive a Boon" means, turn over the top Boon, and follow the instructions on it. If the Boons deck is empty, first shuffle the discarded Boons to reform the deck; you may also do this any time all Boons are in their discard pile.
  • Received Boons normally go to the Boons discard pile, but three (The Field's Gift, The Forest's Gift, and The River's Gift) go in front of a player until that turn's Clean-up.


  • If any Kingdom cards being used have the Fate type, shuffle the Boons and put them near the Supply, and put the Will-o'-WispWill-o'-Wisp.jpg pile near the Supply also.

Other rules clarifications

  • In the unlikely event that all the Boons are set aside or otherwise occupied at the same time, so there are no Boons in the Boons deck or discard pile when you are told to receive a Boon, you don't receive one.

List of Boons


The Earth's Gift.jpgThe Field's Gift.jpgThe Flame's Gift.jpgThe Forest's Gift.jpgThe Moon's Gift.jpgThe Mountain's Gift.jpgThe River's Gift.jpgThe Sea's Gift.jpgThe Sky's Gift.jpgThe Sun's Gift.jpgThe Swamp's Gift.jpgThe Wind's Gift.jpg


The different Boons vary greatly in power, and their utility also depends on when you receive them, in terms of both the stage of your turn and the stage of the game. Consequently, receiving a single random Boon is a high variance effect that can range from highly valuable to detrimental, and since this is the most common way to receive them, it is generally hard to plan around Boons or make them a central component of your strategy. A few Fate cards mitigate this problem by allowing you to choose your Boons to varying extents or by offering multiple Boons at once or in quick succession, thereby decreasing variance and increasing the chance you'll get meaningful benefits from them; however, in most cases, Boons are best thought of as small unreliable bonuses.

When playing cards that let you receive Boons, it is often preferable to play those cards somewhat early during your turn, for two reasons:

  1. Knowing the effect of the Boon lets you make more informed decisions during the rest of your turn. For example, if you receive The Field's GiftThe Field's Gift.jpg, you might be able to use your PawnPawn.jpg terminally.
  2. Certain Boons draw cards or manipulate your deck (e.g. The Sun's GiftThe Sun's Gift.jpg), which means they increase your chances of drawing your deck if you receive them earlier, but are useless after drawing your deck.

However, other Boons that affect cards in your hand (e.g. The Earth's GiftThe Earth's Gift.jpg) can make it desirable to try and draw as much as possible before receiving a Boon. In the absence of much information about which Boon you'll get, it's usually a good idea to play your Fate cards after most of your other draw, but before your other payload cards.

Sometimes, you might be able to situationally optimize your play order and other decisions (such as whether to play a Fate card at all) by tracking both your deck and the Boon pile, especially when the latter gets lower as the game proceeds. For example, if you know most of the remaining Boons affect cards in your hand, it might make sense to delay playing your PixiePixie.jpg until after your other draw. More importantly, Boon tracking can tell whether you can still receive a particular Boon. For example, if you haven't seen The Forest's GiftThe Forest's Gift.jpg yet, you might be able to go for a pileout using your Fate card as a source of +Buy.

While it is difficult to plan around a specific Boon given the low odds of finding any particular one, it is important to understand each one's potential impact. In cases where a Boon or class of Boons is particularly desirable, it may be worth trying to receive a large number of Boons to increase your odds of receiving a particular one.


While Boons were still part of EmpiresEmpires.jpg, they were named after Roman deities.

In other languages

  • Dutch: Gunsten
  • French: Aubaine
  • German: Gaben
  • Japanese: 祝福 (pron. shukufuku)
  • Polish: Łaska
  • Russian: Благодеяние (pron. blagodyeyaniye)


My gift for you today: a preview.

Nocturne has Boons. It's a deck of 12 landscape-style cards that give small beneficial effects. You play a card that says "receive a Boon" or some such, and turn over the top Boon and see what you get. You shuffle the cards when needed, they don't run out.

Secret History

The first thing in the set, leftover from EmpiresEmpires.jpg. It was an old idea waiting for its day, and then it got its day and then I cut it. The Boons required 24 extra cards at the time, and Empires as published only managed to fit in 24 kingdom cards, what with having Landmarks and Events. It would have been 22. And Empires wanted to do plenty of things with its other mechanics too. Something had to go, and the Boons felt the least like the rest of the set, and required extra space.

The idea was to have 12 different ones, and there were always 12. At first there were two copies of each, in the end there's one. Some Boons went the distance while others were tweaked or replaced; I'll get to that. What you can do with a mechanic varies with the rest of the set; in Empires one Boon gave +1VP, and here one gives you a Will-o'-WispWill-o'-Wisp.jpg.

Originally the top Boon was revealed; you'd know what was coming up. One day Matt Engel suggested having a choice of 3, and initially I liked that, and for a while it worked like that. One day I tried a card that gave you a random one, and I liked it a lot better, and in the end I switched it back to random only you don't even get to know what's coming. It's much faster; there's no first player advantage; it takes less table space.

A big issue with Boons was making sure they didn't make the game too slow. There were cards that gave +Cards and gave you a Boon; they did not work out. The cantrip that gave you a Boon is gone. Even the Treasure only gives you a Boon half the time (in multiples).


The goal was always to have 12 Boons that were reasonably close in power level. Obv. they vary with the circumstance. They also wanted to be simple, you do not want to spend a while poring over them. Because of IdolIdol.jpg, it seemed bad if any were just dead in the Buy phase. It would have been nice to have them all work for the other players for Sacred GroveSacred Grove.jpg, but that was too much to ask. Too much I say.

Empires had had +1VP; this set got a Will-o'-Wisp. There were several versions of Sky, trying to be hard enough but not too hard. The Moon's Gift started out also letting you flip your deck; it lost that when you got to choose your Boon, then didn't get it back somehow. I tried different versions of the basic +'s, trying to get the best mix and then to also keep Idol happy.

There was a RemodelRemodel.jpg, it was too good. There was discard X cards, gain a card for X+$2, also strong. There was "each other player gains a CopperCopper.jpg"; it wasn't great to have an Attack in there. I tried out a BridgeBridge.jpg and a twist on Bridge. I tried "+$2, put a card from your hand on your deck" and a HavenHaven.jpg. I tried "draw up to 6." In Empires some tried gaining a copy of a card.

At one point when you could choose your Boon from 3, it started to seem bad that Boons people didn't want would pile up. A few Boons tried to fix that, refresh Boons somehow. One replaced the Boons and then gave you a random one.

Revisiting Boons

It was hard getting that set of Boons. If I wanted to revisit them, I suspect I would just reprint them. Conceivably the set could have a mechanic that lent itself to adding a Boon, e.g. VP tokens. But we would still need to reprint all the old Boons, it's not like the set would have new mechanics that generated 12 new Boons. So if somehow there was a new Boon, it would just be, if you're playing with Nocturne, well now there are 13 Boons there too.

Why are some Boons not optional?

It's strictly for simplicity. It's normally simpler to not make something optional. Things only want to be optional when it's actually simpler that way for some reason (e.g. we will need an honesty clause otherwise), or when you really want to only sometimes do them. I do imagine that today I would do IdolIdol.jpg in a way that doesn't involve Boons, as it's the main case for being sad about what Boon you get.

I shouldn't have done Hexes; I'm happy to have done Boons, though I should have only done ~5 cards that used them, avoiding situations that make some Boons worse e.g. IdolIdol.jpg.

The intention is to not do errata, unless it's really really helping. So, "now boons are optional" has no shot. It's great that I get to do errata at all; Jay's initial stance was very anti-errata. If you errata something, you might get a mix of players who know about it and don't, and have a bad argument that makes them hate that game. That is the basic reason to not do errata. It's less important now, when everyone has the combined knowledge of humanity in their pocket, but it's still a thing. My strategy depended on the card doing what it says, and now you're saying no it's got errata, suck it up.

Anyway. There are of course cases where this seems super not a thing, and there are cases where the errata is too important to pass on. But still, the basic stance is, the errata needs more of a reason than "boo hoo I didn't want that SilverSilver.jpg."

If NocturneNocturne.jpg weren't out yet and someone said, Boons could be optional, well, it's something we could have tried. It wouldn't have saved e.g. IdolIdol.jpg (typically the worst case for Wind's GiftThe Wind's Gift.jpg), and mostly you should just take the SilverSilver.jpg. I like rules to be worth their weight. But it's an example of a case where it's about as much weight either way; people will sometimes ask, do I have to, so you have to answer that, so saying "yes" or "no" isn't much different. Instead what would matter is, if you don't know this rule, what would you guess from the cards. If they don't all say "you may" I am betting more people would guess it's mandatory.

Cards $0star Will-o'-WispWill-o'-Wisp.jpgWishWish.jpg $2 DruidDruid.jpgFaithful HoundFaithful Hound.jpgGuardianGuardian.jpgMonasteryMonastery.jpgPixiePixie.jpg (GoatGoat.jpg) • TrackerTracker.jpg (PouchPouch.jpg) $2star ImpImp.jpg $3 ChangelingChangeling.jpgFoolFool.jpg (Lost in the WoodsLost in the Woods.jpgLucky CoinLucky Coin.jpg) • Ghost TownGhost Town.jpgLeprechaunLeprechaun.jpgNight WatchmanNight Watchman.jpgSecret CaveSecret Cave.jpg (Magic LampMagic Lamp.jpg) $4 BardBard.jpgBlessed VillageBlessed Village.jpgCemeteryCemetery.jpg (Haunted MirrorHaunted Mirror.jpg) • ConclaveConclave.jpgDevil's WorkshopDevil's Workshop.jpgExorcistExorcist.jpgNecromancerNecromancer.jpg (Zombies: ApprenticeZombie Apprentice.jpgMasonZombie Mason.jpgSpyZombie Spy.jpg) • ShepherdShepherd.jpg (PasturePasture.jpg) • SkulkSkulk.jpg $4star GhostGhost.jpg $5 CobblerCobbler.jpgCryptCrypt.jpgCursed VillageCursed Village.jpgDen of SinDen of Sin.jpgIdolIdol.jpgPookaPooka.jpg (Cursed GoldCursed Gold.jpg) • Sacred GroveSacred Grove.jpgTormentorTormentor.jpgTragic HeroTragic Hero.jpgVampireVampire.jpg (BatBat.jpg) • WerewolfWerewolf.jpg $6 RaiderRaider.jpg
Boons EarthThe Earth's Gift.jpgFieldThe Field's Gift.jpgFlameThe Flame's Gift.jpgForestThe Forest's Gift.jpgMoonThe Moon's Gift.jpgMountainThe Mountain's Gift.jpgRiverThe River's Gift.jpgSeaThe Sea's Gift.jpgSkyThe Sky's Gift.jpgSunThe Sun's Gift.jpgSwampThe Swamp's Gift.jpgWindThe Wind's Gift.jpg
Hexes Bad OmensBad Omens.jpgDelusionDelusion.jpg (DeludedDeluded.jpg) • EnvyEnvy.jpg (EnviousEnvious.jpg) • FamineFamine.jpgFearFear.jpgGreedGreed.jpgHauntingHaunting.jpgLocustsLocusts.jpgMiseryMisery.jpg (MiserableMiserable.jpg/Twice MiserableTwice Miserable.jpg) • PlaguePlague.jpgPovertyPoverty.jpgWarWar.jpg
Other concepts NightHeirloomFateDoomSpiritState
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