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Survivors, a Ruins card.

Ruins are a type of basic card in Dark Ages. They are weak and undesirable Action cards costing $0 that are typically added to a player's deck as a penalty or attack (though the player is free to buy or gain them by other means if they want). Ruins are added to the Supply whenever a Looter is present in the game. The supply starts with the same number of Ruins as CursesCurse.jpg.

There are 10 copies of each of 5 differently named Ruins cards; however, in games of fewer than 6 players not all 50 will be used. In these cases a random subset of the 50 Ruins are chosen face-down, so players are not aware of the exact contents of the Ruins supply pile. In any event, the Ruins supply pile is shuffled, and only the top card at any given time is face-up and available to be gained or bought.

Four out of five Ruins are cards that give a simple vanilla +1 bonus; these four are named after cards from the base Dominion set that have related effects, and their artwork is based on those or other earlier cards.


List of Ruins

The different ruins cards are:

Additional Rules

The rules for playing with Ruins are described in the Dominion: Dark Ages rulebook. The points specific to Ruins are reproduced here.


  • If any Kingdom card has the type Looter (CultistCultist.jpg, Death CartDeath Cart.jpg, and MarauderMarauder.jpg have this type), then the Ruins pile is used this game.
  • Shuffle the Ruins cards, then count out 10 per player after the first: 10 for two players, 20 for three players, 30 for four players, 40 for five players, or 50 for six players.
  • Put the pile face down with the top card face up.
  • The remaining Ruins are not used this game.

Ruins pile

  • The only card that may be bought or gained or chosen from [the Ruins pile] is the card on top.
  • Players cannot look through the [pile], only at the top card; the players turn the top card over any time it is face down.
  • If a [Ruins] is returned to [the Ruins pile] with AmbassadorAmbassador.jpg (from SeasideSeaside.jpg), the returned card goes on top.
  • Ruins cards with different names […] count as differently named cards for cards that care about this. For example, if MenagerieMenagerie.jpg (from CornucopiaCornucopia.jpg) reveals a hand of CopperCopper.jpg, Ruined MarketRuined Market.jpg, and Ruined LibraryRuined Library.jpg, then it will give +3 Cards.
  • When ContrabandContraband.jpg (from ProsperityProsperity.jpg) is played, a player can name a [Ruins], but that only stops that specific [Ruins] from being bought. However an EmbargoEmbargo.jpg token (from SeasideSeaside.jpg) placed on [the Ruins pile] will affect any cards bought from it.
  • Players can buy Ruins even though they normally will not wish to.
  • Ruins cards are Actions; they may be played in the Action phase, and count as Actions for things that refer to Action cards, such as ProcessionProcession.jpg.
  • The Ruins pile, when used, is in the Supply, and if it is empty that counts towards the normal end condition.
  • Cards that try to get specific cards from the Supply fail to get a [Ruins] if the correct one is not the top one. For example, if you buy a Ruined MarketRuined Market.jpg with TalismanTalisman.jpg (from ProsperityProsperity.jpg), you only gain another Ruined Market if that is the top Ruins under the one you bought; if you use AmbassadorAmbassador.jpg (from SeasideSeaside.jpg) to return [SurvivorsSurvivors.jpg] to the Supply, the next player will gain that [Survivors], but the player after that will not gain a card, [unless the next Ruins is also a Survivors].


Ruins are a type of junk, in the form of Action cards that are so weak you would prefer not to have them in your deck. While they are slightly less harmful than CursesCurse.jpg because they carry no VP penalty and can occasionally be put to some use, they hinder deck control in the same way, and thus share the most significant downside. Occasionally, you can extract some marginal benefit from playing a Ruin; more importantly, there are sometimes Kingdoms in which the fact that they are cheap Action cards can turn them into neutral or even desirable cards rather than junk. Like CursesCurse.jpg, Ruins are commonly a factor in three-pile endings, as they only cost a Buy and can be distributed by Looters.

Certain Action card-specific interactions transform the nature of the entire Ruins pile, making Looters much less powerful as Attacks and occasionally making Ruins actively worth gaining. The most important of these are with Ways; these vary, as the weakest (e.g., Way of the FrogWay of the Frog.jpg) offer little improvement, but the most powerful ones can turn Ruins into harmless cantrips (Way of the PigWay of the Pig.jpg) or powerful one-shot LaboratoriesLaboratory.jpg (Way of the HorseWay of the Horse.jpg). There are also several trash-for-benefit effects that may make Ruins desirable cards for your deck if the opportunity cost of gaining them is low; these include AdvanceAdvance.jpg and SacrificeSacrifice.jpg.

A few other interactions differentiate the harmfulness of Ruins relative to other junk. For example, they don’t disrupt your ability to draw with Scrying PoolScrying Pool.jpg, which can draw them, but do affect Shanty TownShanty Town.jpg, which won’t draw cards if you have a Ruin in hand. The fact that Ruins are often differently named also has a few repercussions: it causes Hunting PartyHunting Party.jpg to draw more junk cards than it otherwise would, allows Bounty HunterBounty Hunter.jpg to generate $ more frequently when thinning, and may be significantly impactful in terms of VP if FairgroundsFairgrounds.jpg, Wolf DenWolf Den.jpg, or MuseumMuseum.jpg is present.

In the absence of significant interactions that affect the whole Ruins pile, you may be able to get some benefit from playing them, although you would usually prefer not to have them in your deck to begin with.

  • Ruined MarketRuined Market.jpg can be worth playing if you can make use of the extra Buy. Occasionally, it is the only source of +Buy in the Kingdom; given an otherwise sufficiently powerful engine, it may be worth gaining deliberately if it's on top of the Ruins pile, or more rarely even fishing for a copy by distributing or gaining the other Ruins. This makes Ruined MarketRuined Market.jpg the most strategically relevant of the five cards.
  • Ruined LibraryRuined Library.jpg is not a stop card, so if you have the spare terminal space, you can at least replace it in your hand with a card that is likely to be more useful.
  • Abandoned MineAbandoned Mine.jpg provides an extra $1 if you happen to have the terminal space to play it.
  • Ruined VillageRuined Village.jpg non-terminally removes a card from your hand, which might be usable with draw-to-X or for activating certain similar cards such as DiplomatDiplomat.jpg.
  • SurvivorsSurvivors.jpg offers a sifting effect that, while weak and inflexible, can be better than nothing, especially if you know you can clear two junk cards off the top of your deck.

Card gallery

Abandoned Mine.jpgRuined Library.jpgRuined Market.jpgRuined Village.jpgSurvivors.jpg


In other languages

  • Czech: Ruina (sg.)
  • Dutch: Ruïne (sg.)
  • Finnish: Raunio (sg.)
  • French: Ruines
  • German: Ruine (sg.)
  • Japanese: 廃墟 (pron. haikyo)
  • Russian: Руины (pron. ruiny)
  • Spanish: Ruinas


Ruinses, it turns out, are a pile of cards like Curses, with three ways to get them, besides just buying them or something. They only show up in games with a Looter, which is a word you may have been wondering about on Cultist. There are five different ones (ten copies each) and they’re shuffled together, I’m not making this up. As with Curses you only use ten total per opponent. Not two of each per opponent, just whatever random mix you got. So when you play Cultist, your opponent will get one of these five cards. You will know which one is on top of the Ruins pile, but not what’s under it. You won’t really care; even though some are worse than others, they’re all bad.

Secret History

Back when, the main set had Confusion—a blank card—and an attack that gave it out. Confusion just wasn't worth the 30 or 50 extra cards it required. It plays so much like CurseCurse.jpg. When I decided to make Dark Ages 500 cards, I of course thought of Confusion. Confusion still wasn't worth doing though. But what about more interesting penalty cards? They wouldn't need to be all the same even. And well there they are, the Ruins. It was always those five. Some people argued that Ruined Village was more funny than worth printing; it's easily the worst one, and in a multiplayer game someone just randomly got handed it while someone else got Abandoned Mine. But I thought that wasn't so bad, and felt that it was important that it be very easy to learn the Ruins. Four are +1's and then there's Survivors. Bam.

I needed a rule for putting out the pile, and so put "Looter" on the bottom of the relevant kingdom cards. It seemed like it would be confusing if the Ruins pile wasn't in the supply, so it is; that meant the top card had to be visible, so that for example if I name it for ContrabandContraband.jpg we know that that's what you'd be buying (and you can't). This means you have to carefully deal them out in turn order and well that was as good as it got.


Eating 50 cards [in an expansion] is certainly a bummer. Aside from that, I still like the premise. Ruinses are more interesting than CursesCurse.jpg. I could see it being Ruinses from the start, no CursesCurse.jpg.

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/FortressDonate/Market SquareHermit/Market SquareLurker/Hunting GroundsMasterpiece/FeodumProcession/FortressTrader/Feodum
Other concepts When trashLooter
Dominion Card types
Basic types ActionTreasureVictoryCurseCurse.jpg
Multi-expansion special types AttackDurationReactionCommand
Single-expansion special types PrizeRewardShelterRuinsLooterKnightReserveTravellerGatheringCastleNightHeirloomFateDoomSpiritZombieAugurClashFortLiaisonOdysseyTownsfolkWizardLoot
Non-card types EventLandmarkBoonHexStateArtifactProjectWayAllyTrait
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