Dominion Cards: Adventurer

dominion cards adventurerAdventurer Overview

Adventurer is one of the Kingdom cards included with the original Dominion game (full list here: Original Dominion Cards).  For the basic information and themes of Dominion and all the other releases, start here: Dominion Expansions.  If you are new to the game, see the How to Play Dominion page first before continuing.

To begin, the rules for the Adventurer card are as follows: “Reveal cards from your deck until you reveal 2 Treasure cards. Put those Treasure cards in your hand and discard the other revealed cards.”  Further clarifying instructions are delineated in the rules booklet that comes with the game.  For the aforementioned card, the following clarifying rules apply:

Adventurer – If you have to shuffle in the middle, shuffle. Don’t shuffle in the revealed cards as these cards do not go to the Discard pile until you have finished revealing cards. If you run out of cards after shuffling and still only have one Treasure, you get just that one Treasure.

Adventurer is a mediocre card at best in most situations.  Its high cost (6 Coin) makes it a burden to purchase and rarely better than Gold.  If you have an engine built, you are likely going to draw your whole deck anyway, and, if you do not have an engine strategy in place, it is a terminal action and can be drawn dead.

Adventurer: General Strategy

Adventurer does best in a terminal draw Big Money strategy but can also be useful in games with high trashing or Colony games.  With all the expansions now available, most games will have better options on the board and usually for less Coin.  The similar Venture can draw more Ventures and increases your overall buying power (which an Adventurer buy does not).  Other terminal drawers have much higher win rates (e.g. Wharf) and are much more flexible.  Even if playing with only the original game, Council Room will often out-perform Adventurer (albeit while benefiting your opponents as well).

Trashing options, however, make Adventurer a little less awful than it normally is.  Chapel can thin out the Coppers and increase the value per card in your deck.  This makes the likelihood of drawing treasures other than the 7 starting Coppers much more likely and, consequently, increases the value of Adventurer.  Also, since it costs 6 Coin, it is only a step away from a Province using trash-for-benefit cards like Remodel or Expand.  Even here, though, Gold would usually be a better buy at the same price point.

Colony games also provide occasional buy indicators for Adventurers.  With Platinums to pick up, the potential value gained buy buying them instead of Gold at $6 can pay off.  With well-crafted decks, playing an Adventurer could yield 10 Coin – powerful indeed!  Also, Colony games tend to take longer due to the presence of higher-cost, higher-value cards.  The longer games allow for more flexibility and creativity in crafting your strategy and can find more uses for the normally mediocre card.

When should you buy or trash an Adventurer?  Buy: not usually.  But, in those instances where you can actually use them it will be after you’ve purchased a couple of Golds.  If you’ve been junked up with Victory cards, an Adventurer can be purchased late in the game to bypass the junk and get to 8 Coin to buy the last one or two Provinces.  Trashing it is almost a must if you have a good trasher in hand with it.  Remodeling into a Province, Expanding into a Province or Platinum, or even using a Remake to snag a 7 Coin card will often be the best move.

Interactions with Other Dominion Cards

As with all other cards, Adventurer has unique combinations that make the best use of its functions.  And, there are others that diminish its usefulness.  Here are some of each.  If you know of others, leave a comment below and share your thoughts.

Dominion Cards that Combine to HELP Adventurer

Adventurer / Tunnel – Adventurer only cares about Treasures.  It will discard your entire deck if it doesn’t find two.  But, you start the game with 7 Coppers, and spending 6 Coin is a steep price to pay for a non-Gold…unless the card can produce Golds.  Tunnel can do just that when paired with Adventurer.  If you can avoid hitting the Coppers, each time Adventurer goes looking for Treasure and discards a Tunnel, you get a Gold that both increases your overall deck value and the likelihood that you will pull a Gold into your hand the next time you play it.  The variability makes this approach somewhat risky, but it can be a powerful combo if everything hits just right.

Adventurer / Village / Mine – If both Village and Mine are present when you also have Adventurer in your hand, you have a winning combo.  Village (or another Actions giver) lets you use the Mine to upgrade the newly-drawn Treasure into the next best one and keep it in your hand for immediate use.

Adventurer / Strong Trashers – Culling the Coppers from your deck or turning Estates into Silvers (or Silvers into Golds, for that matter), all help Adventurer by increasing the average card value in your deck and increasing the probability that the two Treasures you draw will make it worth the 6 Coin you spent on it.  Expand and Mine turn less-valuable Treasures into better ones, and Chapel just eliminates the Coppers from your hand.  Also worthy of note here is Moneylender.  If you have no other means of trashing, and can combo it with a +Actions card, Moneylender can augment Adventurer’s usefulness by simultaneously trashing the Copper that was drawn into the hand while converting it to value identical to Gold.

Adventurer / Pearl Diver – This is somewhat of a weaker synergism, but, since it discards until it finds a Treasures, Pearl Diver can be used to place junk cards (Victory cards or Curses, usually) from the bottom of your deck to the top.  Adventurer then discards them as it goes treasure hunting.  This also works as a very mild defense against top card junk attacks like Sea Hag and Spy.

Adventurer / Potion – Occasionally (i.e. not very often), Adventurer can be a benefit by searching for and pulling a Potion into your hand.  This tactic can keep an Alchemist chain functioning by playing the Potion that wouldn’t have otherwise been in play, thereby allowing the Alchemists to be placed on top of the deck.  And, it can allow for the purchase of a Vineyard as well.

Dominion Cards that Combine to HURT Adventurer

Mountebank/Ambassador – Mountebank is brutally efficient at nullifying any benefit you would receive from buying an Adventurer.  It not only gums up your deck with Coppers, but it adds Curses as well.  So, you will get to play the Adventurer much less often as your deck clogs, AND you’ll only pull Coppers when you do play it.  Skip the Adventurer and buy a Mountebank instead if it is on the board.  Ambassador functions to the same end, albeit with Estates first and Coppers later.  And, since both Mountebank and Ambassador cost less that Adventurer, by the time you get to 6 Coin to buy your Adventurer, you’ll likely be buried in junk and on your way to a loss if you ignore these Attacks in the process.

Adventurer: Summary / Conclusion

Overall, Adventurer is a mediocre to poor card with limited uses, and it is rarely better than Gold at a cost of 6 Coin.  It has some niche uses where it excels and makes the cost worthwhile.  To maximize its use, remember to review the board at the beginning of each game and have a plan to take you to the last Province (or Colony).  Remembering these can help you determine if it should be a part of your strategy:

Synergisms with Adventurer

1.  Tunnel (and other non-Treasure discard-for-benefit cards)
2.  Village + Mine
3.  Strong trashers
4.  Pearl Diver (weak)
5.  Cards that benefit from Potion (weak)

Antagonisms with Adventurer

1.  Better options at 6 Coin
2.  Junk Attacks

Of course, with so many card combinations possible, if you have experienced a different synergism or antagonism with a Dominion card Adventurer interacts with, be sure to leave a comment and share your knowledge.  And, keep playing!

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