Village is the informal generic name for the family of cards which offer the ability to play more than one terminal action in a turn — so called because many of them have “village” in their names. They are also sometimes called “splitters.” Typically, villages offer +2 Actions, but there are some villages which give this effect in other ways.
The presence of villages in a given kingdom is important because having a cap on the number of terminal actions that can be played in a turn is a significant limiting factor in the potential of decks that can be built; kingdoms with villages and kingdoms without villages play very differently. Without the presence of villages in a kingdom, the focus of most decks shifts to the non-terminals, plus the most desirable terminal available.
This article is a deep-dive into the villages of Dominion. I will list all of the villages in Dominion and discuss the trickier ones briefly — you can stop reading after this paragraph if you are not interested in that.
Villages with no restrictions
Typically, these offer +2 Actions, but there are some which give this effect in other ways.
Festival, Throne Room, Village
Mining Village, Nobles, Shanty Town
Bazaar, Fishing Village, Native Village
City, King’s Court, Worker’s Village
Farming Village, Hamlet
Border Village, Inn
Bandit Camp, Fortress, Squire, Wandering Minstrel
Champion, Coin of the Realm, Lost Arts, Lost City, Port, Royal Carriage, Teacher
Bustling Village, City Quarter, Crown, Encampment, Villa
Blessed Village, Conclave, Cursed Village, Ghost Town
Hostelry, Hunting Lodge, Village Green, Way of the Ox,
Merchant Camp, Broker, Royal Galley, Town, Capital City, Contract, Specialist, League of Shopkeepers, Market Towns
- Throne Room and its variants (Crown, Royal Carriage, King’s Court) are definitely villages, even though it may not be obvious at first. The effects of these cards will enable the same types of decks that other villages do.
- Lost Arts and Teacher can give the +1 Action token, which gives the same effect, just with a different flavor.
Villages that need a little support
These are definitely villages, but you have to jump through some hoops to get the effect.
For some people it may be useful to think of these cards separately than the above list because you have to go through an explicit check to make sure it actually works on a given kingdom, other people don’t see it that way. Some people might even bring Royal Carriage, Lost Arts, or Peasant/Teacher down to this list because they make more sense here; that’s OK too.
Really, as long as you think through your village effects on each kingdom you see and make sure you can do what you want, you’ll be OK.
- With Prince, Captain, and Summon, there has to be an action that you can make cost $4 or less, or else their effect doesn’t work.
- Delay requires a buy in order to get the extra effective action next turn.
- With Diplomat, you need a way to have 5 or less cards in hand after playing it, or else the effect doesn’t work.
- With Golem, there needs to be some other non-terminal on the board for the effect to work past the first play of your Golem.
- For Herald and Ironmonger you need to have a high enough action density to reveal an Action card often enough to get the effect a useful amount of times.
- Hideout requires trashing a card from hand for each use.
- Mastermind requires setup from previous turns to give the village effect.
- Recruiter needs to trash cards with a nonzero cost to get villager tokens.
Villages with some restrictions
These are definitely villages, but they have some limiting factor that should probably be taken into account when considering the decks that can be built with them.
When given a kingdom with only these villages, it can be useful to go through the line of reasoning you have for when there are no villages, but modify it with the limiting factor — “What can I do when I can only play 2 terminals per turn?” instead of just one per turn, for example.
- Crossroads will only allow two additional terminal actions per turn.
- Necropolis and Trusty Steed will only allow one additional terminal action per turn.
- Procession and Sacrifice can require you to trash cards you might prefer to keep in order to get the village effect.
- Sauna/Avanto, as a split pile, is difficult to get a lot of, so the number of terminals you’ll realistically be able to play is limited by that and the fact that sometimes you may not line them up properly to get maximum value.
- Disciple and Ghost can be hard to get in multiples and there is a limited supply of them.
- Madman works great when played, but it’s a one-shot and in order to get more of them, you have to not buy any cards on a turn, which is a very high cost.
- With Tribute the player on your left needs to have enough Action cards in their deck to reveal an Action card often enough to get the effect a useful amount of times.
- Academy requires a source of extra gains to get a large quantity of Villager tokens.
- Acting Troupe gives a bounded number of Villagers and must be re-bought and replayed in order to get more of them.
- Band of Nomads requires an action-neutral way of gaining a card costing $3 or more to function as a village.
- Barracks, Citadel, and Piazza are limited to giving only one extra action per turn. In addition, Piazza requires you to have a high enough action density to reveal an Action card often enough to get the effect a useful amount of times.
- Capitalism, Crystal Ball, and Scepter can play terminal actions in the Buy phase, which can be very useful for payload but isn’t as useful for deck control.
- Lackeys and Silk Merchant are terminal actions that give their Villagers on-gain, which limits the overall number of times you can make use of the village effect using only these cards.
- Lich has a pretty severe drawback of skipping your next turn when played.
- Patron and Sculptor function in practice as a method of banking an action not used in an earlier turn for later; you’ll need something like a megaturn deck to take advantage of this kind of thing.
- Gamble works well on payload actions that you haven’t drawn, but doesn’t usually give you the ability to choose which actions you’re playing.
- March works well on payload actions that you have discarded, but frequently doesn’t have the ability to play what you want, and costs a buy each time.
- Toil works well on payload actions, but requires narrow synergy to be useful with deck control actions.
- Paddock requires empty piles to give additional actions.
- Snowy Village prevents future +Actions on the turn after it has been played.
- Way of the Turtle is a form of pushing an action from a previous turn off to a future turn
Villages that don’t work out in practice
These fit the definition of village used here, and with just the right circumstances can be useful for this effect. However, it is almost never worth building a deck that relies on getting the village effect from these cards alone.
- Dame Molly only allows for one additional terminal action per turn; and on top of that she can sometimes be lower in the pile or your opponents could get her instead. Plus, she dies to other Knights.
- Tactician only gives one extra action, and it requires playing a Tactician on the previous turn to get it.
- Pixie is also a one-shot and only gives a 1/12 chance of actually getting the village effect each time it’s played (The Field’s Gift)
- Fool gives the state Lost in the Woods which also gives the same 1/12 chance of getting the village effect at the start of your turn.
- Exploration can only give one Villager per turn and this comes with the significant cost of not being able to buy any cards on that turn.
- City-State and Innovation‘s usefulness is usually limited to cards that can be gained in the Action phase. They are both also limited in how many times you can use them per turn.
- Sailor can give an additional play of a terminal duration card, provided it was gained non-terminally, which requires an extremely specific combination of cards in order to be useful.
Conspirator, Cultist, Ruined Village, Vassal
With the definition of village used here, it can be possible to misunderstand and think of certain cards as villages that don’t provide the effect of playing multiple terminal actions in a turn. These cards are not villages. These cards don’t actually give the same effect as other villages; they don’t enable the same types of turns. Without something else present that is actually a village, you are subject to the same limitations as a kingdom with no villages.
- Conspirator, Cultist, Vassal: The logic with these cards is that Cultist, for example, is a terminal action which allows for playing more Cultists in the same turn, so multiple terminals have been played. The argument is similar for Conspirator and Vassal.
The flaw in this logic is that in this case, most of those Cultists that were played weren’t really terminal. It makes more sense to think of these cards as “sometimes non-terminal” or as having a “non-terminal mode” to them. This categorization is more appropriate to the way these cards actually work in games of Dominion
- Ruined Village is is not a village, even though it has “village” in the title.