Shanty Town: +2 Actions, Reveal your hand. If you have no Action cards in hand, +2 Cards

Village: +1 Card, +2 Actions

Occasionally I've had games where both of these are in the kingdom set and I don't really know which one to choose. Village is a sure thing, but Shanty Town offers the potential of getting 2 cards with the downside of sometimes getting none. I tend to prefer Village because you usually only want +2 Action cards in a deck running a fair amount of actions, and if you have a fair amount of actions you'll probably draw one with the Shanty Town and lose the +2 card bonus. In an action-thin deck Shanty Town could be more useful as you'd get the +2 cards more often, but often it would just degrade into a Moat because you don't have many actions to draw with those +2 cards to use the actions it gives you.

When should I take Shanty Town instead of Village? Is my analysis mostly correct? When should I chose to buy/gain a Shanty Town in general if its 2 effects (one being good in action decks, the other other being very bad) seem to have no synergy at all?


2 Answers 2


First, you have a mistake in your question: Shanty can give +2 cards, but sometimes it will only give zero (not the 1 that say in your second sentence).

1) In a standard village+draw engine, the vanilla Village is more useful because you will expect to have other actions in your hand, and so Shanty Town's bonus won't trigger.

2) If there are lots of non-terminals or an easy way to spam +Actions, then Shanty Town becomes more powerful because you have the ability to play the remaining actions in your hand and then use Shanty to trigger the draw.

3) Shanty is useful in early turns for increasing cycling. Shanty Town + Potion is a great opening for Apothecary or University games (less so for Scrying Pool because you'll eventually have lots of actions and not necessarily +Action cards).

4) Finally, Shanty is solid in plain Big Money games. If you have only one or two Shanty Towns in your deck, it is almost guaranteed to be a Lab (which is a $5 card).

  • @Johno - rather than debate in comments, please feel free to enter your own answer. I'm deleting the back and forth comments here.
    – Pat Ludwig
    Commented Nov 18, 2012 at 1:03
  • @shujaa - see above :)
    – Pat Ludwig
    Commented Nov 18, 2012 at 1:04
  • @PatLudwig I don't remember what the comments were! :P
    – Johno
    Commented Nov 18, 2012 at 10:26

I look at it this way:

  • In the early game, I'm unlikely to have many actions in my hand. Shanty is good early.
  • In the late game, the hands will start to fill up with victory cards, so your odds of triggering the draw increase.

Remember: if you have Village and Shanty in your hand, you can play the village and other actions first, then draw two cards with Shanty.

So, I don't really think one is strictly better than the other, but there is some synergy if you have both!

  • That synergy depends on a fair bit of luck, too. You need to have the Village in the initial hand, and have no other actions drawn by the Smithy. Commented Nov 18, 2012 at 1:00
  • @shujaa I don't understand your comment. Did you mean Village not Smithy? If you draw an action with Village, you can just play it before Shanty (Village gives +2 actions). In a 12 card deck with one of each, your odds of drawing both are about 15%; and drawing into both slightly more than 22%. Naturally that increases the more you have so I don't think those are particularly bad odds or a weak synergy.
    – ghoppe
    Commented Nov 19, 2012 at 15:05
  • Sorry, I should have said "and have no actions other than a Shanty Town drawn by the Smithy." And even that isn't all that clear. I think for there to be a better-than-50% chance of synergy, you'll want a few more Villages than Shanty Towns to make sure that you can play all your non-Shanties and still have an action leftover. But if I have enough extra actions, I'd probably prefer another Smithy... Commented Nov 19, 2012 at 18:10

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