Horse is an Action card from Menagerie. It is a one-shot non-terminal draw card, similar to Experiment from Renaissance, but unlike Experiment, it is not in the Supply, and must instead be gained using a card or Event that names it.
- Menagerie adds the Horse pile, and ways to get Horses.
- When you play a Horse, you get +2 Cards, +1 Action, and return the Horse to the Horse pile.
- "Gain a Horse" causes you to gain a Horse from the pile.
- This is a non-Supply pile; you can only gain a Horse from it when a card tells you to gain a Horse, not with cards like Falconer or Displace.
- If told to gain a Horse with none left in the pile, you fail to gain one.
- If you use a card like Mastermind to play a Horse multiple times, you get +2 Cards and +1 Action for each play, even though you can only return the Horse once.
List of cards and Events that gain Horses
There are 8 Kingdom cards that use Horse:
In addition, there are 4 Events that use Horse:
Way of the Horse does not use Horse, but lets any Action card give the effect of a Horse instead.
Horse is a strong non-Supply source of one-shot non-terminal draw. While draw is generally one of the fundamental components in building a deck-drawing engine, the one-shot nature of Horse means you’ll usually have to consider how to resupply enough of them to maintain deck control, particularly if you’re using them as your primary source of draw. In most cases, this requires extra terminal space–not to play Horses, but to gain them–because most Horse gainers are terminal, for example Sleigh, Groom, and Livery. Aside from their need for sufficient terminal space, terminal Horse gainers have other characteristics similar to terminal Duration draw in that they create draw in a delayed manner and do not have the downside of drawing Actions dead. If such gainers are not available, and your only Horse-gaining options are instead Events such as Ride or Stampede, it is important to consider the opportunity cost of skipping a more permanent improvement to your deck. More generally, however, the temporary addition of draw can allow you to spike strong turns, for example by facilitating collisions, helping you hit early price points (e.g., for Inheritance), or providing enough draw for a game-ending megaturn.
Because each Horse is functionally equivalent to a Laboratory, increasing your hand size by one, and the Horse gainer is itself usually a stop card, it is often worth calculating the net draw of a given effect. Supplies, for instance, is roughly equivalent to a Peddler, while Sleigh is somewhat similar to a Moat. More broadly, it can be worth calculating the draw of entire shuffles. Most Horses are gained to your discard pile, which means that your next shuffle will have more draw, often offsetting the stop card Horse gainer you had to play this shuffle. This means that it’s usually a good idea to trigger a shuffle after putting as many Horses as possible into it, and late in the game can allow you to reliably start your subsequent turn with a hand full of Horses by playing all your Horse gainers with an empty deck and discard pile, then triggering the shuffle.
As easily amassable cards, and often specifically as Action cards that are easy to gain, Horses can be useful as fodder for a variety of effects:
- Horses are excellent targets for Throne Room variants (other than those such as Royal Carriage that cannot replay the Horse after it leaves play) because using them this way creates strong draw and generates net +Actions.
- With many trash-for-benefit effects, Horses can be used in place of Silvers, for example to gain strong cards costing with Remodel, but with the advantage that a Horse can instead be used for deck control as needed. Horses are also very useful for trash-for-benefit (and similar) effects that require an Action card, such as Advance and Way of the Butterfly. Similarly, with Exile for benefit effects—Displace and Bounty Hunter—you can use Horses as targets and discard them from Exile the next time you play your Horse gainer.
- If you need a large number of Action cards for use with a Way such as Way of the Mouse, Horse gainers are an easy method to achieve that. Way of the Pig is helpful with Horses because it lets you save them for future turns without forcing them to act as stop cards.
- Horses can be swapped for Changelings, allowing Horse gainers to indirectly act as more general gainers, while also quickly emptying the Changeling pile and facilitating pileouts.
- Horse gainers can be the primary source of extra terminal space in games with Academy because Horses are so easy to gain in bulk.
- Although Horses usually do not stay in your deck long, it’s not unusual to end the game with a large amount of them in your deck (e.g., because Paddock is your primary payload). This means they may be useful with effects that care about how many copies of an Action card you have, for example Vineyard or Triumphal Arch, or for increasing your deck size for Gardens.
Procession synergizes exceptionally well with Horses, as it is both a Throne Room variant and trash-for-benefit card. In addition to the benefits of such effects mentioned above, the fact that Horse costs means that when you target a Horse you can gain a Procession, allowing you to repeat the process in an explosive manner.
Gallery of cards and Events that gain Horses
Other language versions
The other idea was for a particular way to do "+1 Card tokens." I considered them for Renaissance, but it didn't sound great to have a pile of tokens you could constantly consider cashing in for cards. What I ended up doing for Renaissance was Sinister Plot, which just happens at the start of a turn. But another approach was to have a pile of one-use Labs you could gain. It was like a +1 Card token, except different in all the ways it's different - you can only use it when drawing it, you can Remodel it, and so on. There wasn't room for a big pile of those in Renaissance, though it got Experiment. So this was another thing to try right away, and right away I liked it. Horse itself started and ended costing , but I tried having it cost , to make it weaker with trash-for-benefit. I preferred it being stronger there.The first two cards using Horses were "Gain 3 Horses" and "+1 Action, discard any number of cards for that many Horses." They both immediately showcased the beauty of Horses. "Gain 3 Horses" is like Smithy... but it doesn't draw dead cards, and doesn't draw at all the first time you play it, and well more differences, Remodel and stuff. It was a pretty neat variation on Smithy and still really simple. And then the Cellar variant was nothing like Cellar. It was pretty neat too. Well as you may have noticed, these cards aren't in the set. They both just produced too many Horses. Another way "Gain 3 Horses" is different from Smithy is, it takes longer to resolve - not just playing it, but playing it and playing the three Horses. So in the end there are "Gain 2 Horses" cards, but no 3, and only Livery gets to really go nuts gaining Horses.
Why does it cost 3?
Originally I put non-supply cards at Exorcist work.The realistic cost for Horse is , thinking that would help clarify that they can't be bought. Later I decided that they should have semi-realistic costs, so that they interacted better with cards that care about costs. Sometimes there's a reason to stray from that, e.g. the Spirits have costs that make , same as Ride (yes it's worse than Encampment; that is the nature of a game where most things cost – ). They cost to be more generous to trash-for-benefit, which is especially relevant with Horse.