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Some Debt tokens.
Some cardboard Debt tokens from some European versions.
Victory and Debt tokens punchboard, as found in some European versions.

Debt (represented by the symbol D) is an alternate cost for some cards and Events in EmpiresEmpires.jpg. It allows the buyer to take D tokens instead of paying the full cost of the card. Players who have D tokens may not buy cards, Events, or Projects. D tokens can only be removed from a player by paying $1 per D token at any point after playing Treasures or spending Coffers tokens during the player's Buy phase, unless otherwise specified (e.g. CapitalCapital.jpg allows paying off D tokens during the Clean-up phase). A player cannot play any more Treasures or spend any more Coin tokens once they have begun to pay off D. D may not be paid off when Black MarketBlack Market.jpg allows you to buy a card from the Black Market deck.

A cost in D is orthogonal to a cost in a $; cards with D in their cost do not cost less or more than cards with a $ cost. D and P are similarly not comparable.

Empires comes with 40 D tokens, but the mechanic is not intended to be component-limited.


[edit] List of Debt cards and Events

4D EngineerEngineer.jpg
5D TriumphTriumph.jpg
8D AnnexAnnex.jpg, City QuarterCity Quarter.jpg, DonateDonate.jpg, OverlordOverlord.jpg, Royal BlacksmithRoyal Blacksmith.jpg
$43D WeddingWedding.jpg
$88D FortuneFortune.jpg

  • CapitalCapital.jpg does not incur debt when it is bought, but when it is cleaned up from play—in effect, allowing you to buy other things for D instead of $ that turn.
  • TaxTax.jpg adds 2D to any Supply pile when bought, and has a Setup rule where all Supply piles start with 1D. When Tax is in the game, when you buy a card, you take the D on its pile.
  • Mountain PassMountain Pass.jpg is a Landmark where players bid D for 8VP, taking the D they bid if they win.

[edit] Official Rules

  • Empires has Debt tokens. These are indicated with the D symbol, usually with a number on it, e.g. 8D.
  • Having Debt tokens prevents a player from buying cards or Events; Debt tokens do nothing else (for example they have no effect at the end of the game).
  • Buying a card or Event with D in its cost gives the player that many Debt tokens.
  • A player removes Debt tokens in the player's Buy phase by paying $1 per Debt token to remove it; this is done after playing Treasures, but can be done both before and after buying cards.
  • Removing Debt does not use up a Buy.
  • For example, Natalie has $4 and buys City Quarter, which costs 8D. She takes 8D, then immediately pays off 4D with her $4. She still has 4D. On her next turn, in her Buy phase, she has $3. She cannot buy any cards; all she can do is pay off 3D, leaving her with 1D. On her next turn, in her Buy phase, she has $6. She pays off the 1D and has $5 left to spend. She buys an Engineer, taking 4D and immediately paying $4 to get rid of it.
  • D amounts are something different from $.
  • An amount of $ and D is only larger than another if both the $ and D amounts are larger, or one is larger and one the same.
  • Amounts that do not specify $ have $0, and amounts that do not specify D have 0D (including all previous Dominion card costs).
  • Math involving $ amounts does not affect D amounts.
  • Examples:
    • 4D is not "up to $4." 4D is not more than $4 and $4 is not more than 4D; both have something the other lacks.
    • BridgeBridge.jpg (from Dominion: Intrigue) lowers the cost of cards by $1. This lowers Fortune from $88D to $78D, but has no effect on Engineer's cost of 4D.
    • PatricianPatrician.jpg checks to see if a card costs "$5 or more." Fortune costs $88D, so it costs "$5 or more." Overlord costs 8D; that is not "$5 or more."
    • Knights (from Dominion: Dark Ages) trash cards costing from $3 to $6. That never includes cards with D in the cost.
    • TraderTrader.jpg (from Dominion: Hinterlands) trashes a card and gives a SilverSilver.jpg per $1 it cost. Trader trashing Fortune would give 8 Silvers for the $8, and no additional Silvers for the 8D.
  • Players cannot just take Debt tokens for no reason.
  • Players cannot overpay with Debt (for Dominion: Guilds cards).
  • Debt tokens are not counter-limited; players should use a replacement if they run out.
  • PossessionPossession.jpg (from Dominion: Alchemy) now has errata that causes it to also give the Possessing player all Debt tokens the Possessed player would get.

[edit] Gallery

[edit] Cost debt

Engineer.jpgCity Quarter.jpgOverlord.jpgRoyal Blacksmith.jpgFortune.jpgTriumph.jpgAnnex.jpgDonate.jpgWedding.jpg

[edit] Other uses of debt

Capital.jpgTax.jpgMountain Pass.jpg

[edit] Trivia

[edit] In other languages

  • Finnish: Velka
  • German: Schulden
  • Polish: Dług

[edit] Preview

Okay so Debt. That reddish hexagon means you don't pay for City Quarter or Royal Blacksmith up front. Instead you take some tokens that say how much you owe. While you have the tokens, you can't buy cards or Events. Those are the only things you can't do; you can still play cards, including the one that got you into Debt if you draw that one; you can still trash cards and get attacked and win the game and so on. You can pay off Debt tokens in your Buy phase, before and/or after buying cards, at $1 per token. So, you have $4, you buy City Quarter, you get 8D, you pay off 4D of it immediately, you have 4D left. In your next Buy phase, if you had $6, you could pay off the rest of your D and then have $2 left to spend. Get it? It's pretty simple. The one tricky thing is how these things work when cards compare costs. There it works like P: apples and oranges. A reddish hexagon with an 8 isn't more or less than $3. There's a rulebook, okay? It covers all the tricky things. And uh why a hexagon, why that color? The physical tokens are reddish hexagons.

[edit] Secret History

I had Debt from the start (and it had been in the ideas file for years). The first version though was a word on cards, "Debt," that meant you didn't need the $ to buy the card, but went into Debt. The Debt tokens worked the same way as they do now. One day I thought of using a symbol, and the cards changed to things like "When you gain this during your turn, take [red coin with a 10 on it]." They were like that for a while, before finally I put the symbol into the cost. With Debt a significant concern was that you could just buy the card turn one, and if that was good it seemed like the game could be too scripted. So the big Debt cards always tried to not be good turn one, although it took a while to really get there. Originally the cards could all be bought with $0, and in the end some have $ costs too.

[edit] Why are there no Debt attacks?

It was obvious that you could try to give out D with an attack. You want it to be like Swamp HagSwamp Hag.jpg, because otherwise, you could lock players out, and if you tone it down enough that you aren't doing that, it looks like Bridge TrollBridge Troll.jpg giving out the -$1 token, which we already have; the big difference is it's cumulative with Bridge TrollBridge Troll.jpg, which isn't great. And well I did do TaxTax.jpg. It's kind of a dud though I enjoy the set-up, the set-up is what kept it alive.

[edit] Why aren't there more cards that refer to debt?

A card that referred to D would most games be referring to nothing, except to the degree that the card itself also provided debt. I mean you deal out 10 random cards and mostly don't get one with D. Whereas ApothecaryApothecary.jpg knows PotionPotion.jpg is in the game, because it put it there. ApprenticeApprentice.jpg, the P clause there was a mistake; it was the only card in the set that didn't involve P, so I put on that clause, which doubles as answering the rules question that comes up there. But mostly it just makes the card more complex. There were Remodels that involved debt; they didn't work out. See the Secret History.

[edit] Applications to past cards

If I had tried debt earlier, or made 10 expansions before any were published, I could have given some other things D. Debt is tricky so probably very few cards would make the leap. It would be more about "let's have a few more D cards" than "this card would be better with D." Nothing stands out as an obvious good fit.

Yes this is better-to-use than the -$1 token, though BallBall.jpg would be $5 and 1D, not $4. I don't imagine D would find a lot of other use; those 8D cards were tricky. However the EngineerEngineer.jpg trick could come in handy elsewhere (since it costs D, it can't gain itself).

Cards 4D EngineerEngineer.jpg 8D City QuarterCity Quarter.jpgOverlordOverlord.jpgRoyal BlacksmithRoyal Blacksmith.jpg $2 EncampmentEncampment.jpg/PlunderPlunder.jpgPatricianPatrician.jpg/EmporiumEmporium.jpgSettlersSettlers.jpg/Bustling VillageBustling Village.jpg $3 Castles (HumbleHumble Castle.jpgCrumblingCrumbling Castle.jpgSmallSmall Castle.jpgHauntedHaunted Castle.jpgOpulentOpulent Castle.jpgSprawlingSprawling Castle.jpgGrandGrand Castle.jpgKing'sKing's Castle.jpg) • CatapultCatapult.jpg/RocksRocks.jpgChariot RaceChariot Race.jpgEnchantressEnchantress.jpgFarmers' MarketFarmers' Market.jpgGladiatorGladiator.jpg/FortuneFortune.jpg $4 SacrificeSacrifice.jpgTempleTemple.jpgVillaVilla.jpg $5 ArchiveArchive.jpgCapitalCapital.jpgCharmCharm.jpgCrownCrown.jpgForumForum.jpgGroundskeeperGroundskeeper.jpgLegionaryLegionary.jpgWild HuntWild Hunt.jpg
Events 5D TriumphTriumph.jpg 8D AnnexAnnex.jpgDonateDonate.jpg $0 AdvanceAdvance.jpg $2 DelveDelve.jpgTaxTax.jpg $3 BanquetBanquet.jpg $4 RitualRitual.jpgSalt the EarthSalt the Earth.jpg $43D WeddingWedding.jpg $5 WindfallWindfall.jpg $6 ConquestConquest.jpg $14 DominateDominate.jpg
Landmarks AqueductAqueduct.jpgArenaArena.jpgBandit FortBandit Fort.jpgBasilicaBasilica.jpgBathsBaths.jpgBattlefieldBattlefield.jpgColonnadeColonnade.jpgDefiled ShrineDefiled Shrine.jpgFountainFountain.jpgKeepKeep.jpgLabyrinthLabyrinth.jpgMountain PassMountain Pass.jpgMuseumMuseum.jpgObeliskObelisk.jpgOrchardOrchard.jpgPalacePalace.jpgTombTomb.jpgTowerTower.jpgTriumphal ArchTriumphal Arch.jpgWallWall.jpgWolf DenWolf Den.jpg
Combos and Counters Capital/HerbalistCapital/MandarinDonate/Market Square
Other concepts DebtGatheringSplit pilesVictory tokens
Dominion Game Mechanics
Turn Phases ActionBuyNightClean-up
Vanilla Bonuses +Card • +Action+Buy • +Coin
Tokens AdventuresCoin (Coffers, Villager, Favors) • DebtVictory
Other mechanics CallCost reductionDiscardExchangeExileGainOverpayPassPayRevealRotateSet asideTrash
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