Since the golden rule of Dominion is to do as much as you can, when you can, shouldn't you have to reveal your hand to prove you cannot trash a Treasure Map from your hand? Treasure Map doesn't say may or Choose 1, so I doubt that you are supposed to have a choice in whether you trash a Treasure Map from your hand, if you have one.

Treasure Map - Trash this and another copy of Treasure Map from your hand. If you do trash two Treasure Maps, gain 4 Gold cards, putting them on top of your deck.

The rules actually cover an interesting case. Imagine that this is your hand:

Throne Room, 3xTreasure Map, Copper

The rules explain what you do in this situation, and it doesn't mention that you have any choice in the outcome. It would be possible for a cheater to Throne Room the first TM, Trash one from their hand, then when the 2nd copy of TM from Throne Room resolves claim that they don't have one in their hand (if they don't have to reveal their hand), then at the end of their turn hide the TM under the Copper when discarding.

if you Throne Room a Treasure Map, with two more Treasure Maps in hand, then the first time Treasure Map resolves you trash it and another one and gain 4 Golds, and the second time it resolves you trash your other Treasure Map but gain nothing (since you didn't actually trash the played Treasure Map that time).

Is the proper way of resolving Treasure Map when you don't Trash a Treasure Map from your hand to reveal your hand. Is this how they handle this in tournaments or in online implementations?

  • I think the golden rule of Dominion needs a clarification here -- if you must do as much as you can, then why would you not always reveal your hand?
    – Joe
    Commented Apr 6, 2012 at 20:51
  • 2
    @user1873: Your distinction is neither accurate nor supported by the text of the card or the rules. There is nothing in the Treasure Map card or the FAQ that says anything about revealing your hand. Please don't pass on incorrect information. Commented Apr 8, 2012 at 0:49
  • @Joe: the reason you would not reveal your hand is because nothing in the card directions says to reveal your hand. Sometimes cards specify that you have to reveal your hand if you can't take a particular action, but other times they do not. Compare Bureaucrat and Moneylender from the base set, or Cutpurse and Treasure Map from Seaside. The first card in each pair contains a reveal the hand clause, whereas the latter card does not. Commented Apr 8, 2012 at 0:59
  • 5
    If all he has for actions is a Throne Room and 3xTreasure Map, why would he play the Throne Room at all?
    – Powerlord
    Commented Apr 10, 2012 at 15:01
  • Am i missing something here? If the rules play out as described, why would anyone ever play a throne room with a TM as described here. In order to cheat the player would have to know that trashing the second treasure map would not be beneficial so why would he play it that way in the first place?
    – Mykroft
    Commented Apr 17, 2012 at 20:57

4 Answers 4


A very similar question was posed on DominionStrategy.com (although now of course I can't find the link to the specific discussion). The thread was about paradoxes in which you aren't required by the rules to reveal your hand, but then your opponent couldn't verify that you in fact followed the directions on the card. The Treasure Map scenario was one of the examples mentioned in that thread; another example was Moneylender (which requires you to trash a Copper from your hand but has not clause about revealing a hand with no Copper).

Having said that, let me first walk through what must happen in the scenario you outline, and what Donald X. (the game creator) has said about the potential for cheating in that scenario.

Your scenario is having a hand of Throne Room, three Treasure Maps, and a Copper. If you play the Throne Room, you are required to choose an Action card from your hand. The only choice is a Treasure Map, so you play that card twice. Both times, the card directions tell you to trash another Treasure Map from your hand, so you must do so both times because you have Treasure Maps in hand. The if clause is only satisfied the first time, though, so the second play of the original Treasure Map (from the Throne Room) does not cause you to gain the Golds a second time.

As to the potential of cheating, Donald X.'s response (in paraphrase) is that it would be ridiculous to specify absolutely everything about the game, such as what constitutes valid shuffling (yes, this has been an intense discussion on DS.com), what the penalty is for breaking the rules, etc. In short: if you cheat, you're already breaking the rules; what would be the benefit of having a rule for what to do if someone breaks the rules?

The way the Isotropic server implements these situations is that the server requires you to take the actions that a card demands, and so it provides an objective enforcement of the rules. Because Treasure Map doesn't say to reveal your hand if you don't have a second Treasure Map, Isotropic doesn't show your opponent your hand. What your opponent would see is something like:

X plays a Throne Room
…and plays a Treasure Map
……trashing the Treasure Map and a Treasure Map from his hand
……gaining 4 Golds on the top of the deck
…and plays the Treasure Map again
…trashing a Treasure Map from his hand

If you're playing in an environment in which player's honor is not enough of a guarantee to avoid cheating, then that environment could specify additional procedures (such as having an ombudsperson to verify that the hand was played legally or using Isotropic, which would enforce the rules). You could specify a house rule of "reveal the hand if you can't follow part of the directions," although that could potentially give the opponent additional information that they wouldn't have otherwise. But, that's all up to you. What the rules require is that, if you play the Throne Room, all three Treasure Maps will be trashed and if you don't do that then you're cheating.

Do note that, unlike what some posters below have said, the Treasure Map card should not have been written with a "may." Donald X. deliberately made the effect non-voluntary. He is very careful about getting card directions right, and that's one area where there's no ambiguity. Claims about the "templates" for other cards in the set miss the point; when Donald wants an effect to be voluntary, he uses, "You may." Because he has a clear template he uses for other cards, you can rest assured that, since he didn't put that into Treasure Map, he didn't want that direction to be optional.

  • 2
    Does the may really matter? What is the probability that you play a tmap, with another tmap in hand, and you don't actually want the golds?
    – rrenaud
    Commented Apr 10, 2012 at 0:53
  • I am sorry I (unintentionally) dissed Donald X. Vaccarino's precision-tooled game design skills. I remain unconvinced it's a massive issue whether trashing the second Treasure Map is compulsory or optional though, and aesthetically the latter would have been more pleasing to me, and seemingly the OP too... Commented Apr 10, 2012 at 12:03
  • @RobRenaud: Probably low, but I can imagine corner cases involving Menagerie (you're about to draw some cards and don't want to draw Golds), Fairgrounds (you need a Treasure Map for the diversity but you want to get rid of one of your remaining two to cycle more effectively), Scrying Pool (topdecking Golds might disrupt your drawing), etc. Commented Apr 10, 2012 at 13:46
  • @thesunneversets: I don't mean to imply that the card is perfect, or that it wouldn't have been better with the may clause. When I said that it should not have been written with a "may," I meant in response to the answer below that says essentially "Donald X. really meant to write may but didn't, so we should read it as if it had a may." Sorry if I came off too strongly. Commented Apr 10, 2012 at 13:53
  • @philosophyguy: No worries. You're absolutely correct that it's a functionally different card with a "may". I'm just not sure that's a good enough reason for strenuously denying that it could still work with that wording. This has turned into a really interesting discussion, all things considered... Commented Apr 10, 2012 at 15:24

While a strict reading of the rules suggests that the player must trash the 3rd treasure map if they play Throne Room + Treasure Map, there's no particular reason to enforce it, as if the player does not want to trash the third treasure map, they need only refrain from playing the Throne Room in the first place. In that case, they would simply play the Treasure map (trashing a second), and discard the Throne Room and 3rd Treasure map unplayed.

So it really doesn't matter -- what happens is entirely up to the player, as they get to decide which cards to play in the first place. The only point of playing the Throne Room in this case is to allow the player to trash the 3rd Treasure Map.

  • The example given was only used because it was listed within the Seaside rules. You might possibly imagine another situation where you would like to play multiple action cards and not want to trash your Treasure Maps. The example is highly convoluted, but it exposes an issue with the game design when being played in a tournament setting where cheaters might exist. In those situations, the only way to handle the card would be to call a judge or other 3rd party to verify that you don't have a TM to trash from your hand.
    – user1873
    Commented Apr 10, 2012 at 2:28
  • @user1873 That's just being pedantic. You call it cheating, but there's nothing in the Treasure Map card that says they have to reveal their hand, so unless it's the top card in their discard pile or you're sorting through their discard pile (which iirc is against the rules), there's no way for you to know if they did have one.
    – Powerlord
    Commented Apr 10, 2012 at 15:09

Taking the card at face value, your reading of it seems to be correct. But digging a little deeper, it turns out the Seaside rules say otherwise (on page 4). Let me quote them for you:

Treasure Map - You can play this without another Treasure Map in your hand; if you do, you trash this and gain nothing. You have to actually trash two copies of Treasure Map to gain the Golds...

  • I don't think that rules statement is definitive. It only clarifies that you can play TM as your action card, even if you do not have another in hand. I suppose you could argue that if the rules explicitly tell you everything you do, but I don't think that is the intent. I suppose I will have to find an example where they do not spell every step out.
    – user1873
    Commented Apr 6, 2012 at 19:45

My intuition is that this card is just badly worded - Dominion hasn't had the many years that Magic the Gathering has had, to nail every single potential rules loophole down. I think the card would probably be better off reading:

Trash this, then you may also trash another copy of Treasure Map from your hand. If you do...

As things stand, I agree with you that the rule that Joe cites proves nothing: it only clarifies how to resolve Treasure Map when you don't have another copy in your hand, not when you do.

I think allowing players to trash Treasure Maps for the cost of an action is probably a lesser evil than forcing players to reveal their hands for good behaviour. Dominion is a game based on honour amongst gentlemen (and ladies as well of course), and a gentleman's private hand is his castle... not to be invaded lightly!

  • @user1873: You are absolutely wrong about not including the may. That it not unfortunate; it is deliberate. Your rewording of Treasure Map is a different card. Commented Apr 8, 2012 at 0:47
  • @philosophyguy: Yes, it is a different card. But is it a dramatically worse one? I'm reading your answer and finding it difficult to get worked up about the corner case. As opposed to the ugliness of providing players with an easy way to "cheat". While it obviously proves nothing about how we should play Dominion, MtG is always VERY rigorous about limiting players' ability to conceal or misrepresent this kind of thing, and it's a better game for it, IMO. Commented Apr 10, 2012 at 11:59
  • In short, I stand by this answer 100%. I'm not claiming it was unintentionally badly worded. Just that the wording is aesthetically displeasing, and the card reengineered to include a "may" would indeed work differently, but not differently enough for it to wreck the game of Dominion. Commented Apr 10, 2012 at 12:11

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