Dominion Strategy Forum

Dominion => Dominion Articles => Topic started by: Titandrake on August 04, 2020, 05:00:36 pm

Title: Menagerie Hot Takes
Post by: Titandrake on August 04, 2020, 05:00:36 pm
(Is it even a hot take if it's been over 4 months since the expansion came out? Who knows.)

In general, "Gain X Horses" can be treated as "+X cards" for power level. It's different in several ways. You only get the draw 1 shuffle after you play the card, you can save Horses, but you don't always draw all your Horses. But very generally, it's basically +X cards.

Black Cat has an insane reaction that is held back by the terminal +2 Cards. You can definitely skip it, but if your deck can support Black Cat, it puts a lot of pressure on end-game VP.

Sleigh is similarly weak, where 2 Horses is just not great for a $2 cost (remember, it's roughly +2 Cards). The reaction can be nice but I haven't been impressed with buying Sleigh for just its reaction. If you're in the market for both the top and bottom of Sleigh, then you could try it.

Supplies is quite good. Some people say you should usually buy it over Silver. I'm not too far off from that. Topdecking a Horse is pretty nice and if you can draw deck then it's basically a $2 cost Peddler, except you get to frontload the draw to the start of your turn, which is good for reliability.

I have yet to get Camel Train to work for me. You're supposed to view it as a Duplicate, but one big benefit of Duplicate is that it sticks on your Tavern mat outside of your deck until you want to call it, and you can Duplicate Duchies. Camel Train just sits in your deck forever. I might be missing something but I find that it feels bad to play it before I have deck control, and by the time I have deck control I want to be spending my actions on other things.

Goatherd's fine. Sometimes skippable if there's no other trashing, +1 Action trash a card for no benefit isn't always good enough. But otherwise it's worth buying. Just remember the Goatherd draw isn't going to last forever.

Scrap's great, of the early Estate trashers it's one of my favorites. Unless you really need the +1 card now I think you should take the Horse over the card. I generally like turning my first Estate into Silver + Horse early, then the future Estates into card + action or horse + action. If you really need to, you can Scrap Silver --> Silver + action + buy to get a janky non-terminal +buy into your deck.

Sheepdog is another card that lives off its reaction, except you can actually trigger the reaction yourself. Can be inconsistent but the deck is powerful if when it triggers.

Snowy Village's +4 Actions effect is strong enough that I feel you normally buy one, even if you have other villages. If you have lots of cantrips, you think twice about it. Don't get more than 1, unless it's the only +Actions source, in which case you maybe get 2, but even then you want to get away with just 1.

Stockpile is insane, especially in 2 player. I'm still not sure how to play it, all I know is that if you play against someone who skips it you tend to win. My suspicion is that early on, you want to get all your Stockpiles off the mat before your reshuffle, but after you get a few, you only want some in the reshuffle.

Bounty Hunter is a nice thinner. (Or exiler? IDK what the terminology is). Makes it very easy to hit $5 and even $6 the first few times you play it. Usually buy 1, buying 2 can be reasonable, 3rd and up is a waste.

Cardinal is either great or awful and I feel it tends towards the "awful" side more often than not. It's not too rare to have a game where, say, your Village gets Exiled, but you just get it back immediately because you're looking to buy more Villages anyways. But when the attack is good, it's really annoying.

Cavalry's top portion is kinda eh. Its bottom portion is insane. Quite nice with trash-for-benefit.

Groom is great with Alt-VP rushes, and even outside Alt-VP rushes, Horse gains on your actions is good, and double Silver gains for money decks isn't bad either. In engine games it's already worth opening Workshop to gain $4 cost actions, Groom is the same thing except you get Horses along the way.

Hostelry would be fine even without the bottom text, the bottom text makes it interesting. It's basically "overpay for Horses". I will still take key $5s over Hostelry + Horses early, but later on I'm happy with overpaying for some Horses.

Village Green doesn't really need its reaction to be good, but if you have discard synergies, then yeah, go for it.

Barge should usually be played for your current turn, but if it's your last action and you have a decent buy in your current hand, playing for next turn is nice. And turns out a +3 cards +1 buy card is always welcome at $5.

Coven is weird. You can definitely outrace it, but if you get it wrong then you just lose. If you're trying to outrace Coven, skip Coven entirely, you don't want to help them get the Curses into your deck. If you're going for Coven, you want 2-3 as well as whatever other cycling you can get your hands on.

Displace is the standard Remodel tricks, except you also get to do Province --> Gold, Gold --> Province loops. Those loops are quite nice, because even if you don't fully loop the gains, turning a Province-in-deck into a Gold-in-deck (or another Displace) is already a good effect. You usually buy this card, there's something worth doing with it.

Falconer is conditionally good, you need good $2/$3/$4 costs to want it. Unlike Black Cat / Sheepdog, its base effect is good enough that you don't need to exploit the reaction a bunch to get your money's worth. But of course, if you can use the reaction, then you do so.

I've been disappointed by Gatekeeper, it just feels too slow to pick up a lot of the time. It's not Swamp Hag.

Hunting Lodge is the nuts. Like, dang, this card is great. You don't have to go full draw-to-X either, you just have to lean into the draw-to-X a little bit and otherwise just use the reaction when you draw it with a bad hand.

Kiln compares less favorably to Haggler IMO, but Haggler is a great card so that isn't saying much. I find that what happens is that you want to Kiln an Action card, but to do so, you need to go Village-Kiln-Village, or Village-Village-Kiln-DrawCard. It takes a while to get your deck to the point where you can Kiln Action cards, since your starting hand needs to have lots of +Actions in it. So you normally just Kiln Treasure cards...which is fine, free Gold gains are nice! But it's not quite what I hoped for out of the card. This is payload that you use after your deck is built to get more money into your deck, not a deck building accelerant to improve your draw.

By now everyone's praised Livery a bunch. When there's +Buy, Livery can really just turn into a Horse printer. Even without the crazy turns, you only need to gain 2 qualifying cards for Livery to become approximately +2 Cards +$3, which is a great deal for a $5 cost.

Mastermind takes a while to set up, but its effect is so good that you should get it early, it'll be worth it. Generally how Mastermind games play out is that you avoid putting Masterminds under Mastermind, until your last few turns, at which point you try to set up Mastermind-Mastermind-X-Y-Z chains and end the game.

Paddock is interesting. The base effect is close to the mythical +2 Cards +$2 for $5, a card that's very good in a money deck. In an engine deck, you still want Paddock, but you want to get an empty Supply pile fairly early to make it non-terminal. Once it's non-terminal, Paddock is insane.

The biggest difference between Sanctuary and its compatriots Junk Dealer / Upgrade, is that you can maintain a clean deck while greening by Exiling Provinces. Oh and the +Buy. Non-terminal +buy is always a win. I think Sanctuary is right around the same power level as Junk Dealer / Upgrade, they're all great cards and it's hard to go wrong with buying them as your first $5.

Fisherman is unexciting at $5 and you don't always have a good opportunity to buy it at $2, but you'll pick it up in both cases.

Destrier is better than Lab, which is a bit weird since Lab is already a really good card. If you can get +buy and draw then you get into situations where you're buying Destrier for $4 or $3, which is just absurd. You want to make deliberate moves towards getting cheap Destriers, because they snowball very rapidly - more Destriers = easier time drawing your gains or +buys = even more cheap Destrier.

Similarly, Wayfarer is insane - it's arguably the strongest in the set. (Or at least, if you argue it is, you won't be laughed out of the room.) It's just very easy to have some way of making the card cost less than $6, and if there isn't one, then you can pay $6 for your first Wayfarer and use the Silver gain to make your next ones cheaper. In Wayfarer games, focus more on draw. It's very easy to fill your payload space with free Silver gains off Wayfarer, so your aim is to make your payload space big (by getting lots of Wayfarers, wow this card does everything you want, wtf.)

And then there's Animal Fair, which is....eh, it's okay. Sure, it's a funny open with Necropolis. Otherwise, it's just kind of there. I'm not looking to go out of my way to get an Animal Fair, but I will pick one up if the opportunity shows up.
Title: Re: Menagerie Hot Takes
Post by: faust on August 05, 2020, 03:53:10 am
I have yet to get Camel Train to work for me. You're supposed to view it as a Duplicate, but one big benefit of Duplicate is that it sticks on your Tavern mat outside of your deck until you want to call it, and you can Duplicate Duchies. Camel Train just sits in your deck forever. I might be missing something but I find that it feels bad to play it before I have deck control, and by the time I have deck control I want to be spending my actions on other things.
I've felt the same way but recently played a game with Camel Train/Overlord, that was quite something.

Goatherd's fine. Sometimes skippable if there's no other trashing, +1 Action trash a card for no benefit isn't always good enough. But otherwise it's worth buying. Just remember the Goatherd draw isn't going to last forever.
I doubt Goatherd is skippable if it's the only trashing, especially since getting it creates a positive incentive for your opponent to get it as well, so you're likely to get +1 card anyways.

Bounty Hunter is a nice thinner. (Or exiler? IDK what the terminology is). Makes it very easy to hit $5 and even $6 the first few times you play it. Usually buy 1, buying 2 can be reasonable, 3rd and up is a waste.
Bounty Hunter is still insanely strong. I sometimes struggle with the decision of getting rid of another Copper vs exiling an Action I won't play but will immediately buy back in the mid-game.

Cardinal is either great or awful and I feel it tends towards the "awful" side more often than not. It's not too rare to have a game where, say, your Village gets Exiled, but you just get it back immediately because you're looking to buy more Villages anyways. But when the attack is good, it's really annoying.
A lot of Cardinal's potential is in the late game, when the Village pile is empty and you can just wreck your opponent's deck by Exiling them forever.

Barge should usually be played for your current turn, but if it's your last action and you have a decent buy in your current hand, playing for next turn is nice. And turns out a +3 cards +1 buy card is always welcome at $5.
Consistency often makes it worth it to play one Barge per turn for the duration effect.

My personal Menagerie hot take: Exile was a bad idea and should not have been made.
Title: Re: Menagerie Hot Takes
Post by: silverspawn on August 05, 2020, 04:29:32 am
My personal Menagerie hot take: Exile was a bad idea and should not have been made.

I was with you until you said that.

What's wrong with Exile, and is that really about the mechanic and not about the attacks? I find Cardinal and Gatekeeper to be two of the least fun cards in the setup, but I'm a pretty big fan of the friendly exile stuff & of Invest.
Title: Re: Menagerie Hot Takes
Post by: Titandrake on August 05, 2020, 05:16:38 am
The problem I have with Cardinal is that it is best in the late game when cards can get Exiled forever, but when you get to that point you're limited in the damage that Cardinal can do. You need to 1) have a pile that you know will empty early, and 2) know that you'll have time to play your Cardinal enough to hit cards from that pile, and until that point Cardinal isn't doing that much for you.

I don't usually find myself exiling Actions with Bounty Hunter unless I desperately desperately need the +$3. Giving up the action play is a lot. If you buy it back, it basically changes that exiled Action into a Gold for that turn. I guess that could be okay in some situations.

I also don't get what you have against Exile. I think it's neat, albeit very mechanical in its execution. In a flavor sense, why does gaining a copy of card bring back other cards from Exile? Who knows, but people don't play Dominion for the flavor.
Title: Re: Menagerie Hot Takes
Post by: faust on August 05, 2020, 05:49:53 am
My personal Menagerie hot take: Exile was a bad idea and should not have been made.

I was with you until you said that.

What's wrong with Exile, and is that really about the mechanic and not about the attacks? I find Cardinal and Gatekeeper to be two of the least fun cards in the setup, but I'm a pretty big fan of the friendly exile stuff & of Invest.
No, the attacks are totally fine, the problem I have is the way that Exile simplifies the game by completely eliminating the greening phase. Games where you can Exile Provinces often reduce to "build a deck that gains 1-2 Provinces per turn and mindlessly play the same turn until the game ends".

Invest and Transport and stuff is neat, I would probably be fine with Exile if there was an additional rule that Victory cards cannot be Exiled.
Title: Re: Menagerie Hot Takes
Post by: segura on August 05, 2020, 06:31:59 am
This is only the case with Sanctuary. Bounty Hunter is not monotonous due to the one, post first Province spike (and thus also changes the Evaluation of Duchies) and Banish is obviously anything but straightforward.
Title: Re: Menagerie Hot Takes
Post by: silverspawn on August 05, 2020, 06:35:16 am
I see. That's certainly a coherent position.

There were ways to "green" without stockpiling dead cards before Ė Bishop (gets rid of province for -1VP) and Island Ė but they were far weaker than Sanctuary and Bounty Hunter.
Title: Re: Menagerie Hot Takes
Post by: Cuzz on August 05, 2020, 02:15:20 pm
Why is that a problem though? It changes the calculus for that game, but you still have to, like, build a deck to line up your exliler (?) with your green cards if you choose to green early. Sanctuary is no Rebuild.
Title: Re: Menagerie Hot Takes
Post by: segura on August 05, 2020, 02:24:37 pm
Yeah, it is not like there is no skill involved with Sanctuary. It is also far from obvious how many Sanctuaries you want as that depends on the draw, trashing and alt+VP power of the Kingdom.

Not to mention that "drawing your deck" situations in which Sanctuary supposedly becomes braindead because you can repeat the same turn over and over again is less likely to occur precisely because the presence of a Sanctuary in your deck decreases the value of (over)drawing (to compensate for soon-to-come green).
Title: Re: Menagerie Hot Takes
Post by: Donald X. on August 05, 2020, 02:48:19 pm
The experience of not getting to exile VP is an experience you get in every game without those cards. Now we also get to have the experience of exiling VP.

For me Exile was a slam dunk, an excellent mechanic. It created some really novel cards.

I'm still enamored with Horses and Ways too, and it was great to revisit Events. The reaction subtheme is great too. The weak point of the set for me is the weird-cost cards. They are nicely novel, but all generate a lot of rules questions. Animal Fair seems worth it; I could have done a few of those, saved other weird costs for another day.
Title: Re: Menagerie Hot Takes
Post by: Chris is me on August 05, 2020, 05:04:35 pm
I'd generally say +2 Horses is better than +2 Cards. It's basically duration draw, kind of like Enchantress.
Title: Re: Menagerie Hot Takes
Post by: segura on August 05, 2020, 05:10:06 pm
I tend to agree but not on non-terminals. Once a Supply pile is empty, Paddock is weaker than the non-Horse equivalent (Lab plus DoublePeddler) would be.
Title: Re: Menagerie Hot Takes
Post by: GendoIkari on August 05, 2020, 07:16:04 pm
I'd generally say +2 Horses is better than +2 Cards. It's basically duration draw, kind of like Enchantress.

Isnít Duration draw generally worse than regular draw? See Caravan vs Laboratory.
Title: Re: Menagerie Hot Takes
Post by: Awaclus on August 05, 2020, 07:44:25 pm
I'd generally say +2 Horses is better than +2 Cards. It's basically duration draw, kind of like Enchantress.

Isnít Duration draw generally worse than regular draw? See Caravan vs Laboratory.

Caravan is worse than Laboratory not because it's delayed, but because you can only play it half as often. Ignoring that, duration draw is substantially better than regular draw, although regular draw also has its advantages. Horses are like a middle ground where you lose all the advantages of regular draw and gain like a half of the advantages of duration draw (but notably, you can play the cards every turn).
Title: Re: Menagerie Hot Takes
Post by: faust on August 06, 2020, 02:16:47 am
The experience of not getting to exile VP is an experience you get in every game without those cards. Now we also get to have the experience of exiling VP.
I mean, sure, that's a way to defend any new mechanic. It doesn't even fully work since we already had that experience with Island.

I just find stuff that uses the Exile mat for non-Victories much more interesting because it forces interesting decisions for when to get the cards back from Exile. Putting bad stuff there is just a no-brainer.

(It also bothers me a little that thematically, Exile seems like a bad fit for Menagerie, but what can you do?)
Title: Re: Menagerie Hot Takes
Post by: pubby on August 06, 2020, 05:03:51 am
I liked most of Menagerie.

- Exile a was great mechanic, but I agree that Sanctuary makes greening too easy.

- Ways are great too. No real complaints other than some occasional unexpected rules.

- Horses are cool, albeit sometimes tedious. I appreciate all the different ways you can use them besides drawing.

- Some really excellent card design in Sheep Dog, Stockpile, Coven, Hunting Lodge, Groom, Sleigh, and Kiln.

- Some really excellent landscape design in Banish, Toil, Alliance

But there are a few things I disliked:

- The cost reduction thing didn't work that well. Fisherman isn't very interesting and overly lucky in who gets to buy it. Destrier and Wayfarer are a pain to track - I'd prefer it if they only counted the first gain.

- Goatherd, and especially black cat are frustratingly lucky. I've had both of these cards on my blacklist because I loathe playing with them. Black Cat gets a second strike for leading to dumb stalemates.

- Gatekeeper is too weak, outside of a few very specific kingdoms.

- Populate just isn't very interesting because everyone ends up with the same deck.

- Invest often feels like it gives an overt advantage to the first player who can buy it, and the bonuses it gives you are too stacked.
Title: Re: Menagerie Hot Takes
Post by: Titandrake on August 06, 2020, 05:16:52 am
Continuing the hot takes, with the Events. These takes are probably worse because I've seen each Event less often.

Delay: Turning a terminal +Cards into duration draw is sick. The problem is that it costs a buy to do so, and usually buys are really valuable. That being said, the fact you can set up a stronger, more reliable next turn means I tend to like using Delay.

Desperation: Hey, remember how annoying Cursed Gold is? Well, if you want to, you can now play with Cursed Gold all the time! Uh, like the name suggests, you really don't want to do that. Save it for the late game, the Curse hurts a lot.

Gamble: Really neat event, rewards decktracking a lot. I find that in many of my Gamble games, I mostly use it to discard junk cards off the top of my deck to get closer to a reshuffle, and any Action hits I happen to get are for furthering that goal. That ends up being good enough.

Pursue: Looks like Scouting Party but it's way better than Scouting Party. Lets you be much more risky with triggering bad reshuffles since you can just Pursue the junk cards away with the extra money you got from triggering that bad shuffle.

Ride: Simple but generally unimpressive. $2 is about the right cost for a Horse, but you usually want your buys to do more than that.

Toil: It looks cool but it's very easy to get in the trap of Toiling everything and not actually getting anywhere. Yes, you can Toil a terminal silver and get its effect for net +$0. You could also buy a +Actions card and get net +$2, and to win a Dominion game you eventually need to make money. I've yet to see a game where Toil was central to someone's deck. It's more like a bailout if you didn't draw the +Actions you wanted. I'm sure you can construct a kingdom where Toil is the MVP though.

Enhance: I get why it says "non-Victory", but man, that does limit its power a lot. You'll know when it's good.

March: There are definitely things you can do with this, but it's not as busted as I thought it would be. It has the Swashbuckler problem, if you're triggering shuffles often then it can be hard to have a discard pile with an Action you want to March. It is, however, a bit easier to set up, because you're getting it in Buy phase, so you can buy an Action then March it. I generally haven't found that to be worth the extra $3 buy, but it comes up.

Transport: Just a great event in general. It effectively makes your 2nd copy and up of a card cost $3, but then you can even stack Transports across turns if you want. The simplest use (which still comes up a lot) is to Transport both turns 1 and 2 to effectively open a $5 cost that you always get to draw turn 3.

Banish: Again, you'll know when it's good. You can treat it like Mint where you try to build up a big hand before buying it, but you don't have to do that. I think there are boards where it's totally reasonable to spend a turn Banishing an Estate.

Bargain: I still don't have a good feel for when Bargain is correct, but my heuristic so far is to Bargain for the first $5s you want, then try to hit $5 naturally after you've done so. If Lost City has taught anything, it's that sometimes you just have to help your opponent out to get the right deck.

Invest: Speaking of helping the opponent out....despite the meaty +2 Cards effect, I've found that Invest is better when you take your Investment off early. You should view it less as an Embargo, and more as a baby-Transport. Similarly to Embargo, don't be too scared of giving them +2 Cards for their Invested action. You just gotta do it sometimes.

Seize the Day: By default, you try to save this for pileouts, but sometimes you can use to try to win a key pile split. I think this is one of the more complex Events to play with and I doubt we understand how to use it right now.

Commerce: Not too exciting. It's hard to gain a lot of uniques in one turn - if you can, you're probably building the kind of engine that wants to Commerce just once, or maybe twice.

Demand: A nice event, I get Demand pretty often. One approximation is that it's kind of like Summon, without the implicit +Action, because if you play the Horse, the end result is a 6 card hand where one of those cards is the card you Demanded.

Stampede: ALL THE HORSES. It's good if you have a turn that qualifies for it. It's kind of like Tactician - lose $5 this turn to get 10 cards for your next turn's starting hand. Combos well with the standard "wants a big hand" cards, like Count.

Reap: It's, well it's there. If you were going to buy Gold then go for Reap. I don't find myself buying Gold very often and the play-next-turn effect is not enough to entice me to buy it more often.

Enclave: I think you usually take Enclave instead of your first Province, then you go into Provinces after, but I'm not sure. Another event that's just there.

Alliance: Excellent late game greening card, 10 points for $10 is more efficient than Colony. Pretty messy to buy it anytime before you're greening though, unless you're playing a money deck.

Populate: This was definitely more broken in extra Menagerie, since card quality in Menagerie is pretty high, and Ways gave a way to use Action cards you didn't want to gain. It's still good, and if there are even 2-3 action cards I want, I'm willing to take Populate, since a lot of Actions you wouldn't normally buy are actually fine if you're gaining them for free. This is an effect where you are looking for reasons not to buy it. Better if there's trash for benefit.
Title: Re: Menagerie Hot Takes
Post by: LibraryAdventurer on August 06, 2020, 06:15:15 am
I agree with a lot of what you said, and there are a couple of these I haven't played with yet at all.
Desperation: Hey, remember how annoying Cursed Gold is? Well, if you want to, you can now play with Cursed Gold all the time! Uh, like the name suggests, you really don't want to do that. Save it for the late game, the Curse hurts a lot.
Desperation is the fixed version of Cursed Gold because it's there when you want it without it taking up space in your deck. It's way better than Cursed Gold.

Enclave: I think you usually take Enclave instead of your first Province, then you go into Provinces after, but I'm not sure. Another event that's just there.
Building economy while greening with Enclave can be very strong sometimes.
(Mini-Harem wouldn't be worth existing. Regular Harem is weak for $6. But Big Harem for $8 seems pretty decent.)
Title: Re: Menagerie Hot Takes
Post by: Wizard_Amul on August 06, 2020, 10:47:01 am

March: There are definitely things you can do with this, but it's not as busted as I thought it would be. It has the Swashbuckler problem, if you're triggering shuffles often then it can be hard to have a discard pile with an Action you want to March. It is, however, a bit easier to set up, because you're getting it in Buy phase, so you can buy an Action then March it. I generally haven't found that to be worth the extra $3 buy, but it comes up.



This doesn't make it busted, but I find it's sometimes strong enough to use in your 2nd turn--e.g., opening Remake or Ambassador on turn 1 and then marching it on turn 2.
Title: Re: Menagerie Hot Takes
Post by: spineflu on August 06, 2020, 11:34:08 am
March is a must-use in Traveller games, makes it so you can go into turn 4 with a Fugitive in yr deck.
Title: Re: Menagerie Hot Takes
Post by: Donald X. on August 06, 2020, 01:19:52 pm
The experience of not getting to exile VP is an experience you get in every game without those cards. Now we also get to have the experience of exiling VP.
I mean, sure, that's a way to defend any new mechanic. It doesn't even fully work since we already had that experience with Island.
Hooray for new mechanics! It turns out I wasn't saying something meaningless that justifies anything.

Complaints about "you can exile VP" are just like when people said "nothing should ever cost $7." The game hasn't lost "there's nothing that costs $7"; most games, there isn't. You still get the joy of "oh no I'm drawing Victory cards" in most games; now you also get another experience sometimes. If the experience of "you can exile VP" sucked then sure it would be bad for whatever those reasons are. But it is not made bad just because it changes something sacred-looking. And yet some people view it that way.

And I wasn't commenting on some specific complaint you made, there's no post of you saying "this is bad just because it changes things." I was adding my own thoughts to the thread, which I get to.

At this point a lot of Provinces have been exiled, and the loud voices on the internet have been pretty positive. If I want to please those players, for sure Exile was the move. You can't please everyone, and it's great if you ever manage to please as great a percentage as Exile does.
Title: Re: Menagerie Hot Takes
Post by: Wizard_Amul on August 06, 2020, 11:15:35 pm
The experience of not getting to exile VP is an experience you get in every game without those cards. Now we also get to have the experience of exiling VP.
I mean, sure, that's a way to defend any new mechanic. It doesn't even fully work since we already had that experience with Island.
Hooray for new mechanics! It turns out I wasn't saying something meaningless that justifies anything.

Complaints about "you can exile VP" are just like when people said "nothing should ever cost $7." The game hasn't lost "there's nothing that costs $7"; most games, there isn't. You still get the joy of "oh no I'm drawing Victory cards" in most games; now you also get another experience sometimes. If the experience of "you can exile VP" sucked then sure it would be bad for whatever those reasons are. But it is not made bad just because it changes something sacred-looking. And yet some people view it that way.

And I wasn't commenting on some specific complaint you made, there's no post of you saying "this is bad just because it changes things." I was adding my own thoughts to the thread, which I get to.

At this point a lot of Provinces have been exiled, and the loud voices on the internet have been pretty positive. If I want to please those players, for sure Exile was the move. You can't please everyone, and it's great if you ever manage to please as great a percentage as Exile does.

Yeah, I mean there will always be people who don't like individual cards, but that doesn't mean you don't make those cards, especially if most people will like them. There are centralizing cards like Ambassador, Donate, Wharf, Keep sometimes, Rebuild sometimes, etc. that can all drastically change how the game is played--if you don't like the particular gameplay that some cards result in, don't play with them or accept that a game you like can have cards you don't like. There are only 4 cards that can exile your own victory cards--if someone really dislikes that mechanic, they can ban/dislike them online and just not play with them in person.
Title: Re: Menagerie Hot Takes
Post by: Titandrake on August 07, 2020, 04:58:21 pm
The last batch of hot takes is short because there isn't a lot to say about the Ways. In general, they make double Action openings better.

Butterfly: fancy but eh, outside of weird costs like Animal Fair.

Camel: Also generally uninspuring in my experience.

Chameleon: Now we're getting somewhere. Very useful and very tricky to play with. The obvious combos are cards like Poor House, but another benefit is playing a +$ card for +Cards when you know that you will draw into the same amount of money, getting through your shuffles faster. Rewards the better skilled player a lot. In a Chameleon game you can build more than you normally would, because all excess draw can be turned into +$, and it's more likely that the Kingdom has draw to make it worth building, because Chameleon turns some actions into draw cards. Long story short, it's good and I think it's pretty fun.

Frog: You don't have to Frog every leftover action you have. Sometimes you should just let it go.

Goat: Goating away an Estate is deceptively useful early on.

Horse: horse. Good for Hail Mary plays.

Mole: Tricky to find a good use for it, but can really help you cycle.

Monkey: Random +buy is random +buy

Mouse: Depends entirely on the set-aside Action, but if the set-Aside action is good, you can get away with some incredibly heinous buys. The Mouse action is your floor, so you can buy cards with high-ceiling low-floor (like Baron, for example), and play them as Mouse if the draws don't line up with the high-ceiling outcome.

Mule: I have literally never played with this.

Otter: I usually don't find a use for Otter, it's pretty easy to find something better to do with your actions, but sometimes you just gotta draw.

Owl: Draw-to-X is bad in general, outside of effects like Cursed Village, but a conditional draw-to-X can be nice because you only use the draw-to-X option if it's going to be good for you.

Ox: If this is the only +Actions source, you're sad. You really want a better village than Necropolis, but sometimes Necropolis is good enough.

Pig: Pretty good

Rat: A lot harder to find a good time to play it than I expected. Having a treasure to discard is easy. Passing up the Action play this turn is hard - the cards you most want to Rats are the cards you most want to play. That being said, I think you do play as Rat 1-3 times in most games.

Seal: I really like Seal. The topdeck effect is great, and unlike Tracker, it doesn't have to be a terminal sitting in your deck. Is it as powerful as Chameleon? Absolutely not, but it's still fun.

Sheep: lol terminal silver. I mean, it's still good at smoothing out bad luck on hitting price points.

Squirrel: Using this as the centerpiece of your draw is possible, but hard and I wouldn't recommend it on most boards. You may be reminded of Enchantress, but remember Enchantress comes with an attack, the card is much worse without the attack.

Turtle: Turtle-Bridge is the notable megaturn, but in general Turtle is very useful. Turtling cantrips to get a +Actions source and turtling draw cards to get +Cards at the start of your turn comes up the most.

Worm: Enables Estate pileouts much more easily, especially when players are playing as Worm just because they have the spare actions. Watch out for that.
Title: Re: Menagerie Hot Takes
Post by: Wizard_Amul on August 07, 2020, 05:49:27 pm

Sheep: lol terminal silver. I mean, it's still good at smoothing out bad luck on hitting price points.



This lets you open with a village if you know it's going to be a heavily contested pile while still allowing you to have a good chance of hitting 5 your second shuffle. Also, similar to how Way of the Chameleon turns overdraw into coins, this lets you turn overdraw (if you have extra actions) or excess villages into coins.
Title: Re: Menagerie Hot Takes
Post by: faust on August 08, 2020, 04:21:22 am
I think Ways can be evaluated along three axes,which I am calling Core, i.e. when the Way is a central piece of your strategy, Casual, when you just opportunistically play the Way because it's better then whatever else you card would be doing, and Junk i.e. how well it deals with unwanted actions like Ruins, Necropolis, Rats, outdated trashers etc.

With that in mind, my Ways rating would go something like this:

Butterfly: Core 1/5, Casual 2/5, Junk 3/5 - have not seen a board where this really takes center stage, but at least effectively gets rid of Ruins etc.

Camel: Core 2/5, Casual 1/5, Junk 2/5 - pretty useless unless you need a bunch of Golds for TfB.

Chameleon: Core 4/5, Casual 5/5, Junk 1/5 - pretty good and versatile.

Frog: Core 2/5, Casual 3/5, Junk 1/5 - can be cute with "while in play" effects, otherwise just a way to save an Action

Goat: Core 5/5, Casual 1/5, Junk 4/5 - very strong as the only trasher, and can also speed up your deck with other trashing around.

Horse: Core 2/5, Casual 2/5, Junk 5/5

Mole: Core 3/5, Casual 2/5, Junk 2/5 - good when it works as a mini-Minion

Monkey: Core 3/5, Casual 1/5, Junk 2/5 - if it's the only buy it's good

Mouse: ???

Mule: Core 1/5, Casual 2/5, Junk 2/5 - for the most part not worth it

Otter: Core 3/5, Casual 2/5, Junk 2/5

Owl: Core 5/5, Casual 2/5, Junk 2/5 - easily enables draw-to-X engines

Ox: Core 4/5, Casual 2/5, Junk 1/5

Pig: Core 1/5, Casual 2/5, Junk 5/5

Rat: Core 2/5, Casual 3/5, Junk 1/5 - I'm sure there is a board out there where this leads into a megaturn, but I haven't found it.

Seal: Core 1/5, Casual 3/5, Junk 2/5

Sheep: Core 2/5, Casual 4/5, Junk 3/5 - terminal Silver can be quite useful with some overdraw.

Squirrel: Core 3/5, Casual 4/5, Junk 3/5

Turtle: Core 3/5, Casual 5/5, Junk 4/5 - pretty good and can keep bad cards out of your deck, albeit with a lot of clicking

Worm: Core 2/5, Casual 3/5, Junk 2/5
Title: Re: Menagerie Hot Takes
Post by: segura on August 08, 2020, 05:11:07 am
The last batch of hot takes is short because there isn't a lot to say about the Ways. In general, they make double Action openings better.

Butterfly: fancy but eh, outside of weird costs like Animal Fair.

Camel: Also generally uninspuring in my experience.

Chameleon: Now we're getting somewhere. Very useful and very tricky to play with. The obvious combos are cards like Poor House, but another benefit is playing a +$ card for +Cards when you know that you will draw into the same amount of money, getting through your shuffles faster. Rewards the better skilled player a lot. In a Chameleon game you can build more than you normally would, because all excess draw can be turned into +$, and it's more likely that the Kingdom has draw to make it worth building, because Chameleon turns some actions into draw cards. Long story short, it's good and I think it's pretty fun.

Frog: You don't have to Frog every leftover action you have. Sometimes you should just let it go.

Goat: Goating away an Estate is deceptively useful early on.

Horse: horse. Good for Hail Mary plays.

Mole: Tricky to find a good use for it, but can really help you cycle.

Monkey: Random +buy is random +buy

Mouse: Depends entirely on the set-aside Action, but if the set-Aside action is good, you can get away with some incredibly heinous buys. The Mouse action is your floor, so you can buy cards with high-ceiling low-floor (like Baron, for example), and play them as Mouse if the draws don't line up with the high-ceiling outcome.

Mule: I have literally never played with this.

Otter: I usually don't find a use for Otter, it's pretty easy to find something better to do with your actions, but sometimes you just gotta draw.

Owl: Draw-to-X is bad in general, outside of effects like Cursed Village, but a conditional draw-to-X can be nice because you only use the draw-to-X option if it's going to be good for you.

Ox: If this is the only +Actions source, you're sad. You really want a better village than Necropolis, but sometimes Necropolis is good enough.

Pig: Pretty good

Rat: A lot harder to find a good time to play it than I expected. Having a treasure to discard is easy. Passing up the Action play this turn is hard - the cards you most want to Rats are the cards you most want to play. That being said, I think you do play as Rat 1-3 times in most games.

Seal: I really like Seal. The topdeck effect is great, and unlike Tracker, it doesn't have to be a terminal sitting in your deck. Is it as powerful as Chameleon? Absolutely not, but it's still fun.

Sheep: lol terminal silver. I mean, it's still good at smoothing out bad luck on hitting price points.

Squirrel: Using this as the centerpiece of your draw is possible, but hard and I wouldn't recommend it on most boards. You may be reminded of Enchantress, but remember Enchantress comes with an attack, the card is much worse without the attack.

Turtle: Turtle-Bridge is the notable megaturn, but in general Turtle is very useful. Turtling cantrips to get a +Actions source and turtling draw cards to get +Cards at the start of your turn comes up the most.

Worm: Enables Estate pileouts much more easily, especially when players are playing as Worm just because they have the spare actions. Watch out for that.
I basically disagree with everything here. Otter is absolutely essential in Kingdoms without draw, Mule deals very well with terminal collision, Monkey is also essential if there is no extra Buy (it can literally make an engine viable) and Horse is an obvious way to get of unneeded Actions or use cheap Actions as one shots.
Title: Re: Menagerie Hot Takes
Post by: mxdata on August 08, 2020, 02:23:52 pm
The last batch of hot takes is short because there isn't a lot to say about the Ways. In general, they make double Action openings better.

Butterfly: fancy but eh, outside of weird costs like Animal Fair.

Camel: Also generally uninspuring in my experience.

Chameleon: Now we're getting somewhere. Very useful and very tricky to play with. The obvious combos are cards like Poor House, but another benefit is playing a +$ card for +Cards when you know that you will draw into the same amount of money, getting through your shuffles faster. Rewards the better skilled player a lot. In a Chameleon game you can build more than you normally would, because all excess draw can be turned into +$, and it's more likely that the Kingdom has draw to make it worth building, because Chameleon turns some actions into draw cards. Long story short, it's good and I think it's pretty fun.

Frog: You don't have to Frog every leftover action you have. Sometimes you should just let it go.

Goat: Goating away an Estate is deceptively useful early on.

Horse: horse. Good for Hail Mary plays.

Mole: Tricky to find a good use for it, but can really help you cycle.

Monkey: Random +buy is random +buy

Mouse: Depends entirely on the set-aside Action, but if the set-Aside action is good, you can get away with some incredibly heinous buys. The Mouse action is your floor, so you can buy cards with high-ceiling low-floor (like Baron, for example), and play them as Mouse if the draws don't line up with the high-ceiling outcome.

Mule: I have literally never played with this.

Otter: I usually don't find a use for Otter, it's pretty easy to find something better to do with your actions, but sometimes you just gotta draw.

Owl: Draw-to-X is bad in general, outside of effects like Cursed Village, but a conditional draw-to-X can be nice because you only use the draw-to-X option if it's going to be good for you.

Ox: If this is the only +Actions source, you're sad. You really want a better village than Necropolis, but sometimes Necropolis is good enough.

Pig: Pretty good

Rat: A lot harder to find a good time to play it than I expected. Having a treasure to discard is easy. Passing up the Action play this turn is hard - the cards you most want to Rats are the cards you most want to play. That being said, I think you do play as Rat 1-3 times in most games.

Seal: I really like Seal. The topdeck effect is great, and unlike Tracker, it doesn't have to be a terminal sitting in your deck. Is it as powerful as Chameleon? Absolutely not, but it's still fun.

Sheep: lol terminal silver. I mean, it's still good at smoothing out bad luck on hitting price points.

Squirrel: Using this as the centerpiece of your draw is possible, but hard and I wouldn't recommend it on most boards. You may be reminded of Enchantress, but remember Enchantress comes with an attack, the card is much worse without the attack.

Turtle: Turtle-Bridge is the notable megaturn, but in general Turtle is very useful. Turtling cantrips to get a +Actions source and turtling draw cards to get +Cards at the start of your turn comes up the most.

Worm: Enables Estate pileouts much more easily, especially when players are playing as Worm just because they have the spare actions. Watch out for that.
I basically disagree with everything here. Otter is absolutely essential in Kingdoms without draw, Mule deals very well with terminal collision, Monkey is also essential if there is no extra Buy (it can literally make an engine viable) and Horse is an obvious way to get of unneeded Actions or use cheap Actions as one shots.

Yeah, Horse is especially useful for cards with a good on-gain effect that aren't useful in your hand.  Flag Bearer, for example, basically becomes equivalent to "gain a Horse and the Flag for $4".  And it's amazing when you have Ruins in the game and a source of extra buys - pick up free Horses with those extra buys!  It also really messes up Cultist and Marauder's attacks.  Giving your opponents a free Horse isn't exactly a devastating attack to put it mildly

Way of the Worm is interesting with Shelters games.  You typically don't need Necropolis' +2 Actions your first few turns, so you're basically just Exiling an Estate every turn you get your Necropolis in your hand in the early game.  Games I've had with Shelters and Worm end up emptying the Estates pile rather quickly
Title: Re: Menagerie Hot Takes
Post by: Titandrake on August 08, 2020, 07:13:09 pm
To clarify, by "I have never played with this" for Mule, I mean I've never had a game with it, not that it's bad. I think it's pretty good as a backup option.

I think it's rare that you have a kingdom with no draw these days - it's been a while since I played a Village-Moat engine and that is basically what Otter boards are. Similarly I think that boards where Monkey are the only +Buy are not that common, if it's the only +buy then of course it's more important to thin kabout.

Title: Re: Menagerie Hot Takes
Post by: segura on August 09, 2020, 03:42:07 am
I have recently played a Colony game with Oracle. Colony, as in Platinum is fairly dominating. Yet Oracle was absolutely essential to win.
So I find the notion that cards that net draw only 1 card are somehow bad or wrong for engine play quite dubious.

Title: Re: Menagerie Hot Takes
Post by: Titandrake on August 09, 2020, 09:02:00 pm
I have recently played a Colony game with Oracle. Colony, as in Platinum is fairly dominating. Yet Oracle was absolutely essential to win.
So I find the notion that cards that net draw only 1 card are somehow bad or wrong for engine play quite dubious.

When did I ever say that?

Quote
Otter: I usually don't find a use for Otter, it's pretty easy to find something better to do with your actions, but sometimes you just gotta draw.

I'm not sure if you think this, but we don't disagree that you can build an engine out of +2 Cards. Nor do we disagree that doing so can be the right play. Nor have I ever claimed that playing with a +2 Cards action is bad or wrong for engine play. I'm saying

1. That it isn't where you want to be, but sometimes you have to if the board has nothing else.
2. It isn't very common that the board has nothing else.
3. Therefore it isn't that common that you have to use Otter for draw.

And based on how you're arguing, I think you misunderstood my position.
Title: Re: Menagerie Hot Takes
Post by: segura on August 10, 2020, 12:56:31 am
You claimed that Kingdoms without Smithy variants are rare and that does not match my experience.
Otter is pretty brilliant precisely because the presence of draw or no draw changes the entire Kingdom. It is thus a far more significant Way than many others.
Title: Re: Menagerie Hot Takes
Post by: Jonatan Djurachkovitch on August 12, 2020, 05:14:28 am
(Is it even a hot take if it's been over 4 months since the expansion came out? Who knows.)

I've been disappointed by Gatekeeper, it just feels too slow to pick up a lot of the time. It's not Swamp Hag.

I once played a game with Gatekeeper and Tournament and it was really frustrating getting my Princess in exile, especially since I didn't notice it at first. Still pretty funny thematically; bribing the city guards to put the princess herself into exile!?
Title: Re: Menagerie Hot Takes
Post by: ipofanes on August 12, 2020, 06:03:36 am
Mini-Harem wouldn't be worth existing.

Pasture looking sad.
Title: Re: Menagerie Hot Takes
Post by: ipofanes on August 12, 2020, 06:09:28 am
To clarify, by "I have never played with this" for Mule, I mean I've never had a game with it, not that it's bad. I think it's pretty good as a backup option.

Mule, as a Vault with a flexible ceiling, quite nicely enhances cards like Diplomat, Shanty Town, Horn of Plenty, Menagerie the card, Draw-to-X, and in general encourages taking the risk of terminal collisions. It's one of  my walked most often Ways.
Title: Re: Menagerie Hot Takes
Post by: LastFootnote on August 12, 2020, 11:18:07 am
faust, if it makes you feel any better, I was right there with you, complaining about Sanctuary during testing. But uh, like Donald X. said, most games don't have it, and it provides a novel experience. And at the level I play at (54-ish), most games with it don't have golden decks. So I've come around on it, and enjoy using it to do what it does.

By contrast, I never complained about Bounty Hunter and Displace being able to exile Provinces, since you're sacrificing more in order to make that happen. In fact I believe I was one of Bounty Hunter's biggest cheerleaders ever since it was introduced in Renaissance testing and the Exile mat was the Cell mat.
Title: Re: Menagerie Hot Takes
Post by: mxdata on August 12, 2020, 03:19:17 pm
(Is it even a hot take if it's been over 4 months since the expansion came out? Who knows.)

I've been disappointed by Gatekeeper, it just feels too slow to pick up a lot of the time. It's not Swamp Hag.

I once played a game with Gatekeeper and Tournament and it was really frustrating getting my Princess in exile, especially since I didn't notice it at first. Still pretty funny thematically; bribing the city guards to put the princess herself into exile!?
Viva la revolucion!
Title: Re: Menagerie Hot Takes
Post by: Titandrake on March 14, 2021, 12:53:10 am
I figured I would revisit this to correct some of the worse comments I made.

Quote
In general, "Gain X Horses" can be treated as "+X cards" for power level.

Horses are better than +X cards. The benefit of saving extra Horses makes up for the 1 shuffle delay in getting your draw.

Quote
Stockpile is insane, especially in 2 player. I'm still not sure how to play it, all I know is that if you play against someone who skips it you tend to win. My suspicion is that early on, you want to get all your Stockpiles off the mat before your reshuffle, but after you get a few, you only want some in the reshuffle.

Stockpile is still insane. I also still have no idea idea how to play it, but your goal is much closer to trying to get all your Stockpiles into the shuffle.

Quote
Cavalry's top portion is kinda eh. Its bottom portion is insane. Quite nice with trash-for-benefit.

Still true but I don't think I conveyed how good the on-buy effect is. It's really good. $4 and 0 net buys is a low price for getting to try to save your turn by drawing a card you need, or shuffling in cards you just bought. And the top half of 2 Horses isn't as bad as I thought it was. In Cavalry games, you tend to be overterminaled because you buy Cavs to rescue your turn, but another way to put it is that you will always use up your available actions and those actions will, at worst, turn into 2 Horses each when you play your leftover Cavs.

Quote
Groom is great with Alt-VP rushes, and even outside Alt-VP rushes, Horse gains on your actions is good, and double Silver gains for money decks isn't bad either. In engine games it's already worth opening Workshop to gain $4 cost actions, Groom is the same thing except you get Horses along the way.

Understates how good Groom + alt-VP is. It's not just good, it's centralizing. It's almost disgusting how fast mass Grooms can empty the Estate pile, or itself. Given 1 Groom + 1 Horse in hand, and an empty draw + discard pile, you can do Groom -> gain Groom + Horse -> play Horse, which loops, converting 1 action into 1 Groom gain. It's a very easy setup that makes it possible to end games out of nowhere.

Quote
Barge should usually be played for your current turn, but if it's your last action and you have a decent buy in your current hand, playing for next turn is nice.

I think that if Barge is your last action, you should default to playing it as duration and be looking for reasons why you want to play it this turn instead (normally the answer is that you really want the +Buy).

Quote
Similarly, Wayfarer is insane - it's arguably the strongest in the set. (Or at least, if you argue it is, you won't be laughed out of the room.)

Hahahahaha no if you argue Wayfarer is the strongest card in Menagerie, you'll be laughed out of the room. I blame playing too many Wayfarer-Counterfeit games at the time of writing. In terms of power, Cavalry, Stockpile, Groom is a clear top 3, and then Wayfarer vs Scrap are competing for 4th and 5th.
Title: Re: Menagerie Hot Takes
Post by: segura on March 14, 2021, 04:36:37 am
Horses are not better, or worse, than drawing immediately. Paddock is the natural example: once the card is nonterminal the disadvantage of not drawing immediately sharply increases.
Horses also partly rely on intra-expansion synergies, Mastermind being the most obvious one.
Title: Re: Menagerie Hot Takes
Post by: anordinaryman on April 13, 2021, 04:55:48 pm
My hot take is that Menagerie is one of the most fun expansions. Horses are dang fun to gain and play. Playing actions outside of the action phase feels kind of naughty and it's very fun, as does buying cards for cheaper/alternate costs it feels like you're getting away with something.

Exile is fun too, though not as immediately gripping as the other themes I've mentioned.
Title: Re: Menagerie Hot Takes
Post by: Willvon on December 01, 2021, 04:37:23 pm
The experience of not getting to exile VP is an experience you get in every game without those cards. Now we also get to have the experience of exiling VP.

For me Exile was a slam dunk, an excellent mechanic. It created some really novel cards.

I'm still enamored with Horses and Ways too, and it was great to revisit Events. The reaction subtheme is great too. The weak point of the set for me is the weird-cost cards. They are nicely novel, but all generate a lot of rules questions. Animal Fair seems worth it; I could have done a few of those, saved other weird costs for another day.

I absolutely love the Exile mechanic. Though it does simplify things some, I find it to be very satisfying to Exile rather than always trash.  And as Donald says, itís not going to be in most games unless you are always playing Menagerie games. I just view it as another variation, like Night, Duration, or Reserve.  I like variety in my games that makes me have to adjust my strategy based on whatís available in the kingdom.
Title: Re: Menagerie Hot Takes
Post by: ahyangyi on January 05, 2022, 11:35:28 am
I don't really care about centralizing cards of this kind.

Sure, Chapel is centralizing, in most kingdoms with them everyone just opens with Chapel and spend their first turns trashing lots of coppers and estates. It was the best 2-cost card for years (until Peasant happened). But so what? Chapel doesn't stop us from buying other kingdom cards. In fact it encourages and accelerates engine building. Its presence makes the game very different, but that's not wrong.

See that point? You prioritize the Chapel over the Village or the Smithy, but in the end you still need to build your Village-Smithy-Woodcutter engine. Chapel does not make the game less interesting.

Ditto for exiling one's own Provinces. Sure you can do it and greening becomes much less an issue, but the game still has the depth and the complexity. Sometimes you don't want a Sanctuary because you have better early trashes, but then when you constantly hit $13 you don't have the +buy to grab the much needed Sanctuary. And sometimes you carefully exile your greens only to lose to a megaturn that cares nothing about greening.