Governor- relevant text- each player may trash a card from his hand and gain a card cost exactly 1(2) more.
My question is can my opponent trash a copper or a curse and gain nothing if there are no 1 value cards in play? If so should I choose to use this option as it would allow my opponent to thin their deck?


Yes, they can.

You always follow all instructions in order, only skipping things that are impossible. If you choose this option, your opponent has 2 instructions to follow:

  • They may trash a card from their hand
  • They gain a card costing exactly $1 more

They follow the first instruction, and then the second one is impossible, so it is ignored.

Note that this is common to use as a benefit for yourself, with cards like Remake or Upgrade; where you can trash Coppers away.

Yes, this does mean that this option will help your opponent.. however, it would help in general anyway; that's the whole concept behind Governor. While they do have the ability to trash a Copper and gain nothing in return, they would still be better off trashing an Estate and gaining a $3 cost card. Or later in the game, trashing a $4 and getting a Duchy.

If they happen to have nothing in their hand that is worth trashing, then you lucked out and they don't get a benefit. But in general, any of the three options on Governor are designed to help your opponents a little, and help yourself even more.

  • We are still learn how to trash effectively and are not completely sure on some of the rules. Thank you for the help
    – Styxsksu
    Dec 18 '18 at 18:29
  • Well one of the most effective ways to trash cards is to do it as a free action during your opponents' turns! Dec 18 '18 at 23:07
  • And if you're playing with the witch, you can trash a curse card. Dec 18 '18 at 23:12

They can do this, and since most Kingdom setups do NOT have a 1-cost card that's in the Supply (one exception is Poor House from Dark Ages), they try to gain a 1-cost card, cannot, and that's that.

Later on, it can be worth it to Trash one of your Gold, and gain a Province from it. It's possible your opponents can leech off that as well to some good effect, but converting a Gold to Province is nothing to sneer at!

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