The Raider from Dominion Nocturne (Plünderer in German) has a value of 6 (the same as the Gold card). It gives you +3 coins, and you may play as many as you have in your hand since it's a night card. It's essentially the same as Gold, except that the Raider also includes an attack against the other players. This makes it significantly more valuable than Gold, yet it has the same price. In my opinion, the +3 coins the Raider gives which are delayed until the next round does not diminish the Raider's usefulness.

Is Raider just a more powerful version of Gold that costs the same, or am I misunderstanding something about Raider’s strength?

  • 2
    This is not opinion based; there are multiple objective ways to analyze the strength and reasoning for costs of Dominion cards. I specifically suggested that this question be asked.
    – GendoIkari
    Commented Nov 17, 2020 at 22:38
  • @GendoIkari I am not sure how we are supposed to get in the head of the developers and figure out why they priced a card like they did.
    – Joe W
    Commented Nov 17, 2020 at 23:00
  • @JoeW aside from the fact that the creator of the game has talked at length about specifics of various strategy-related things and card design decisions; there are also general objective things that apply to Dominion as a whole which are relevant here. Perhaps the question wording could be improved; but he’s not asking what the designer was thinking. The question is whether or not Raider is strictly better than Gold.
    – GendoIkari
    Commented Nov 17, 2020 at 23:24
  • 1
    @GendoIkari I would agree that whether or not the Raider or is better than Gold is a valid question but it still seems to be asking why the Raider and Gold have the same price. If the question was edited to no longer be asking about the card price and just card power I could see it being answered.
    – Joe W
    Commented Nov 17, 2020 at 23:38
  • 1
    @GendoIkari Works for me.
    – Joe W
    Commented Nov 17, 2020 at 23:46

2 Answers 2


There are 3 main factors at play which make it so that a Gold may the right choice over Raider sometimes.

  1. Duration cards are inherently weaker than non-duration cards for 2 reasons:

    • First off, because you cannot play the same duration card every turn. If you have an engine that lets you draw through your deck most turns, which isn’t all that uncommon, then a single Gold will provide you with $3 to spend every turn. But a single Raider will not; you would need 2 Raiders in your deck to get the same $3 per turn.

    • The other reason is that Duration cards miss the shuffle more often, and thus get played fewer times on average throughout the game. If a card is in play when you shuffle your discard pile to make a new draw deck, then that card is said to “miss the shuffle”. This means that you don’t get to play that card this trip through the deck; you need to wait until you shuffle again. With treasure cards, it is very rare for them to miss the shuffle, because you don’t normally draw any cards while treasures are in play (of course there are many cards that can still cause this to happen). But with Duration cards, you will draw your next hand, as well as any cards you draw next turn, while the duration is in play. This makes it much more likely to miss the shuffle.

  1. As mentioned in another answer, delaying the +$3 does hurt. Dominion has a snowball effect that makes it so that improving your deck early matters more than improving it later. You see this with trashing, where it is much better to trash bad cards early than it is to trash them later. If you play a Gold on turn 6, for example, then that means getting another Gold or a good $5 cost card into your deck on turn 6. Playing a Raider on turn 6 means getting that next good card into your deck on turn 7, which may or may not be one shuffle later, meaning 1 less time you play that good card throughout the game. Also, a Raider played on the final turn of the game gives you no money to spend at all, which means that even outside of missing the shuffle, the Raider is likely to help at least 1 fewer time than a Gold.

  2. This one doesn’t impact things quite as much, but simply having the Treasure type has advantages over having the Night type in terms of various combos and interactions. Cards like Mint, Storyteller, Venture, and Ironmonger all combo with Gold while basically nothing combos with Night cards.

You can see other examples of Duration cards costing less due to the delay of their effects. Caravan is just like Laboratory except the +1 card is delayed. This difference is enough for it to cost $4 instead of $5. Similar with Caravan Guard vs Poacher, and Mastermind vs King's Court.

Finally, keep in mind that while Dominion does avoid ever having one card be strictly better than another card, it is true that some cards are generally stronger than others, and that’s part of the design. So it may in fact be that even despite all 3 points above, Raider is simply a better card than Gold most of the time.


The primary mitigating factor is that the +3 coin is delayed by a turn compare to Gold. This is obviously more important closer to the end of the game (cf. Tactician). Similarly, one could argue that Fishing Village is strictly better than Silver (but you'd have to ignore the delayed payout, and in FV's case, you also have to worry about having an action left to play it).

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