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Messages - chwhite

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Dominion General Discussion / Re: Cards you hate!
« on: June 03, 2015, 04:02:17 pm »
My least favorite card is Ill-Gotten Gains.  It's okay if there are counters to the rush, but if there aren't those games are as one-dimensional and unfun as it gets.

I'm not entirely sure I get all this fear of Cultist, though.  Maybe we're playing it wrong or there has been some *serious* long-tail probability weirdness involving it just so happening to always show up with its strong counters, but I'm pretty sure that the last five or six games we've had including Cultists have been won by the person who got zero/fewer of them.  It's starting to get a serious aura of "trap card" on our table.

Game Reports / Re: Transmute > Cultist
« on: February 20, 2015, 06:12:09 pm »
I'm not sold on it. If your opponent doesn't contest the silk roads and goes for a big engine, I think they will probably win.

Given how close the Estates were to running out, too... I'm not so sure about that.

That's not to say that either of us necessarily played perfectly– I'm sure neither of us did, in fact– but I'm pretty skeptical that the hardcore engine approach would actually beat a Silk Road-focused slog here.
You will have a lot of trouble ending the game in time, and the engine has double turn potential with outpost. It's tough without trashing, but it can be done. Meanwhile you have the entire silk road stack to get through, and hitting $4 won't be easy. The estates were only low because your GF got three of them.

The engine won't win every time necessarily, but I'd bet it's over half the time.

But you can still three-pile on Duchy, Estate, Ruins without ever really needing more than $2 a turn.  Getting four more estates in time doesn't strike me as an insurmountable climb here.

Game Reports / Re: Transmute > Cultist
« on: February 20, 2015, 05:46:36 pm »
I'm not sold on it. If your opponent doesn't contest the silk roads and goes for a big engine, I think they will probably win.

Given how close the Estates were to running out, too... I'm not so sure about that.

That's not to say that either of us necessarily played perfectly– I'm sure neither of us did, in fact– but I'm pretty skeptical that the hardcore engine approach would actually beat a Silk Road-focused slog here.

Game Reports / Transmute > Cultist
« on: February 20, 2015, 05:23:09 pm »
Hi all.  It's been forever.  But I played a game two days ago with my GF that was sufficiently memorable that I just had to come back and share.  Forgive me if I'm not completely up to speed on the lingo and code here.

$P: Transmute
$2: Herbalist, Pearl Diver, Lighthouse
$3: Village
$4: Scavenger, Silk Road
$5: Cultist, Pillage, Outpost

So, I don't know if the online community has moved beyond thinking this, but Cultist is supposed to be pretty damn good, right?  Especially with the only "trashing" here being the notoriously awful Transmute?  And, of course, Transmute being the only potion card making it even more awful?

Opening silver/potion, instead of just going for the Cultist-BM obvious play would be madness, right?  Well, that's exactly what I did.  Silver/potion, then a Scavenger at the next opportunity, followed by Villages and an Herbalist instead of a Lighthouse.  Meanwhile, the Ruins start rolling in.

Of course, by the second reshuffle, $4 hands (which is about as high as this deck ever gets) are going straight to Silk Roads, the Transmute is either turning Copper into more Transmutes, or Ruins into Duchies, and the idea of ever getting a Province is laughable.  Buying Estates becomes my idea of a good turn.  My opponent, to her credit, is paying attention and making sure I don't run roughshod over the Silk Roads: the pile runs out first with a 4-4 split.  She is of course also buying Cultists, and money, and Provinces, as seems like the obvious thing to do. 

What she does not get, though, is much in the way of Duchies.  Eventually the game ends with a three-pile of Silk Roads, Duchies, and Ruins.  The game ends with me Transmuting a Transmute into a Duchy, and buying an Estate.  And, then, the final tally:

Me: 7 Duchies, 4 Silk Roads, 7 Estates, for 44 points
Opponent: 3 Provinces, 4 Silk Roads, 1 Duchy, 6 Estates, for 39 points

The power of Transmute strikes again!

Dominion General Discussion / Re: What is your favorite village?
« on: April 26, 2013, 12:35:25 am »
Hamlet and Festival are my favorites.  They give you +Buy, and introduce interesting tradeoffs (lack of card for Festival, hand management/discarding for Hamlet) that are sometimes drawbacks but work beautifully in "draw to X" and Menagerie engines, which I'm particularly fond of.

I still think Bazaar is mightily underrated, too; and I'm quite fond of Farming Village's defensive capabilities, even though I know it's not objectively the best Village out there.

Other Games / Re: Death of a philomathic
« on: April 20, 2013, 11:07:01 pm »
X is my favourite tile in Scrabble or WWF as it can make a 2 letter word with any vowel. AX EX XI OX XU are all legal.

X is by far and away the best high-value letter to have.

I remember reading at some point that someone had done a computer analysis to see which were the best letters to have in a game of Scrabble, and the top letters were, in order, [Blank], S, E, and X.


Other Games / Re: Death of a philomathic
« on: April 18, 2013, 11:28:02 pm »
It's all about qi.

I don't think this is a legal Dutch word.

It shouldn't be a legal English word either, but hey, Scrabble accepts pretty much any loanword you have lying around, even if only a few dozen people commonly use said loanword.

The idea that we wouldn't be able to use perfectly good loanwords in Scrabble really messes with my qi.  Maybe I should go chew some qat to calm down.  Or maybe order a za for delivery.

I completely agree that Merchant Ship belongs down in this echelon as well.

I remember the last time we did this list, I put Merchant Ship right next to Harvest on the grounds that both were basically just terminal sources of Treasure that give you not quite $4 (on the grounds that the time value of money makes Merchant Ship's duration $2 worth less than $2).  Obviously this is not quite right, the Merchant's duration effect actually significantly improves it, since the next turn effect is actually equivalent to an activated Conspirator, not a terminal silver.

But it's still a fairly boring and mediocre effect.

By far the largest problem with this list is that Outpost is criminally underrated.  Yes, it is a dead card more than half the time.  But it is so crushingly good in many engine games- yes, I would like straight-up double turns in my Minion or Wharf or Scrying Pool or [fill in the powerful card here] engine deck.  And it even has some unexpected corner-case utility as a pseudo-+Buy in Gardens slogs.

Contraband is a bit lower than it should be, too.  Yeah, it mostly sucks, but I really like it as a setup card for decks built on cheap engine parts.  It probably belongs in this tier, but I'd place it a good deal higher within the tier.

Royal Seal is definitely the card that should take Outpost's place, it's pretty unimpressive even when you want to buy it.  I'd be open to throwing Mandarin or maybe the worst Dark Ages card (which I still really have nothing to say about) down here as well.  Explorer still seems a little high; I don't hate it as much as I used to, but it still only seems strong in alt-VP matches to me, and $5 is pricey for that.

As much as I hate to admit it, y'all are probably right that Harvest really unimpressively is near the bottom.  I'd probably put Counting House and Stash behind it, still.

I've got nothing intelligent to say about any of the Dark Ages cards.

EDIT: Actually, I totally dominated multiple IRL games last weekend almost wholly due to deft use of Counting House (first one was, obviously, a Mountebank game, second one was a weird slog with Sea Hag, Ghost Ship, and Native Village where Counting House let me buy the game's only Province). 

Yeah, I feel pretty confident saying that Stash is the worst $5 card, actually.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: Tag-lines for cards
« on: April 06, 2013, 04:51:23 pm »
Hamlet: +Buy or not +Buy, that is the question.

Check my sig. :P

Dominion General Discussion / Re: Tag-lines for cards
« on: April 06, 2013, 04:48:23 pm »
Navigator: As bad as it looks.
It must look pretty good to you! Navigator's not bad.
It's not next to useless like Thief or Scout, but realistically speaking it is pretty bad. It has some nice synergy with Royal Seal, Native Village, Wishing Well, Mystic and probably some others, but that's pretty much it.

Kirian: Not true. KC-Warehouse at the start of your turn leaves you with three cards in hand, because KC is -1 card, Warehouse is -1 card and every Warehouse effect is +3 -3 which is 0.

Navigator's mediocre, but it's better than most people think.

In particular, I like it quite a bit as an early-game accelerant when you're swimming in actions and there's not a whole lot of harmful Attacks which you need to prioritize instead.  (And, in that use, it is indeed quite similar to Chancellor.)

News and Announcements / Re: Board Game Strategy
« on: April 06, 2013, 04:43:13 pm »
I really don't have the time or patience to helm an entire blog, but if enough people are interested in RftG strategy then I'd happily write some guest articles.

I could probably write one or two articles covering the entirety of San Juan strategy, too.  It wouldn't take very long.  :P

News and Announcements / Re: Board Game Strategy
« on: April 03, 2013, 09:39:44 pm »
I feel like Race for the Galaxy would be an obvious candidate.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: What I love about Dominion is...
« on: March 23, 2013, 04:11:16 am »
Anything with Scrying Pool or Vineyards. 

Counting House, Warehouse, Worker's Village, Colony.

Building an Engine when it doesn't look like it should work, and being behind the whole game till the last turn.

Opening Loan/Potion on a board where the only Potion card is Transmute, and winning.

Do you have the log for this Transmute/Loan board?  That sounds pretty fun.

I know I've pulled it off at least one other time, but can't find the link at the moment.

General Discussion / Re: DominionStrategy Forum Members Map!
« on: March 22, 2013, 12:36:03 am »
Added my new location in Brooklyn (well, not *that* new anymore).

Dominion General Discussion / Re: What I love about Dominion is...
« on: March 21, 2013, 04:07:15 pm »
I love how "bad cards" can be very good counters against "good cards", like thief vs chapel

Eh, I think this is actually a pretty mediocre example of that phenomenon.  Chapel is at its best when you're building a heavy engine that (often) gets its money from Actions and doesn't need all that many Treasure cards anyway (Vault and Fool's Gold are obvious exceptions, even I acknowledge that Thief can be a good FG counter). 

Counting House vs. Mountebank is my personal favorite example.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: What I love about Dominion is...
« on: March 21, 2013, 01:44:44 pm »
Opening Loan/Potion on a board where the only Potion card is Transmute, and winning.

King's Courting a Coppersmith.

Using Native Village to set up a Horn of Plenty megaturn.

Actually putting Scout to marginally good use in Scrying Pool games (especially those with Vineyard, too).

Menageries, always Menageries.

Vetoing Duke.  :P

And so, so much more.

Introductions / Re: Hello goodbye
« on: March 20, 2013, 06:19:39 pm »
Sorry to see you go.  Do you play any other board games nowadays?

*hint hint* Innovation?

I played it once and it didn't really grab me, but I'd be happy to try it again at some point.  Also, I think that avoiding online gaming in general is probably better for my health going forward. :P

Introductions / Re: Hello goodbye
« on: March 20, 2013, 06:18:32 pm »
Sorry to see you go.  Do you play any other board games nowadays?

Yeah!  I'd been a boardgamer for several years pre-Dominion, and that's not changing.  I tend to like heavier Euros, but my all-time favorites are Scrabble and Twilight Struggle (which I know is also a favorite of yours), neither of which fall in that category.  (And I normally get more of a chance to play lighter stuff than I'd ideally prefer, c'est la vie.)

I suspect that going forward I'll actually hang around this forum more than I did in the past few months, where I really was just gone.

Introductions / Hello goodbye
« on: March 20, 2013, 05:37:02 pm »
Hi all!  It's chwhite.  Some of the old-timers might remember me.  :P

So I was informed by a fellow Dominion fan at a real-life game meetup that Isotropic had finally shut down, and I realized that it was way past time to put up the valedictory introduction I meant to write here in January.

I wasn't around for when isotropic first went up, but I started playing it in early 2011.  And I kept playing it.  A lot.  A really unhealthy lot- something like 9,000 games over two years.  In the process, I got pretty good at the game.  Not quite as consistently good as the really top luminaries like jonts, -Stef-, and WanderingWinder, but good enough to eventually stay up in the 40s and hit the #1 rank once or twice on a fluke.  Cornucopia was good to me, Hinterlands not as much (I tended to fall on the engine side of things, though I was far from the most extreme engine player).  Through it all there were many, many great games played (WW and I alone played hundreds against each other), and many strategic depths plumbed, and I had a lot of fun.  And I had a lot of fun on the forum too, of course, defending Transmute and slagging on Thief at every opportunity (among other things).

But it was also an addiction, an obsession, and was cutting into time that I should have spent being a productive member of society.  And, well, at a certain point further strategic depths became harder and harder to come by, especially as Dark Ages wasn't on iso.  I tried scaling back a few times, it didn't work.  So, at the end of last year I decided to put down online Dominion for good, make it my New Year's resolution.  This is the final game I ever played on isotropic:

I figured that beating Stef with that powerhouse of a card, Counting House, was a good way to go out.   :P

I was going to write up this post then, but I got lazy and distracted, and eventually stopped even remembering to visit to chime in on Qvist's lists (though I see that the $5 cards still haven't been listed, so maybe I'll remember to go there and be a lonely voice ragging on Duke).  I'm sure many folks have stopped visiting entirely post-Iso.  But to those of you who are still around, I'm still alive, and I'm still happy to play Dominion with the real cards.  (I actually don't have anything against Goko- but I need to stay away from the online game, and not paying any $$ for it is a good way to prevent backsliding.)


So, a couple personal things before I go.  My name's Chris.  I'm in my late 20s, moved up to Brooklyn from Philadelphia a few months ago to live with my GF*.  My non-boardgame interests include classical music, the environment, and useless trivia (back in my pre-Dominion days my main obsession was quizbowl), and one of the best things about living in NYC is not being surrounded by Eagles fans anymore.  I have plenty of education and no job right now, which is something I'm trying to fix (and not being distracted by iso is hopefully helping, but not as much as I'd hoped).  If you're in the NYC area (or Philly, I still visit there every once in a while), I'm always up for some good boardgaming, Dominion or otherwise.  You can see my favorite games here.

Anyway, aloha.  I'll keep checking in occasionally.  I hope.  Thanks for all the memories!

*She actually just played Dominion for the first time a couple months ago after being scared of it for so long, and has rapidly become addicted.  And even beat me last week with Chapel-Treasure Map.  I think that trading endless online hours for this is an obviously good development.  :D

This... is not a particularly good list.  I mean, a lot of these cards do belong around here, but the order is pretty much all wrong.

I continue to think Scout is probably a better card than Thief; granted 2p bias plays a part, but I've never seen Thief work particularly well in my 3 or 4 player games either.  Glad I've convinced Robz of its utility in Scrying Pool games at least (and using Scout as an SP helper is definitely my favorite use of the card).

Coppersmith is scandalously low.  It is very often useless, but just that good in low-trash engine games where it's frequently up to $7 cash in the endgame.  It absolutely deserves to be above most of these cards.  I was considering a Coppersmith article at some point and on the off-chance I get back into posting more it may yet happen.

Spy is also way too low; yeah, it's on the weak end, but it's a better lubricant than you think in engine decks with mediocre draw (cantrip engines like Conspirator and Peddler come to mind in particular).  It gets slagged on so much because it basically requires engine to be good, and it's in base, which is a bad setup for it, and DXV doesn't like the concept so much anymore.  And, sure, it's mediocre.  But so many of the bad $4s, like Scout and Thief and Pirate Ship and Treasure Map, are just so actively bad, that a card that is basically the $4 price point equivalent of Pearl Diver (cantrip that might help with future draw) is obviously not Bottom 5 in my mind.  I think people would think much more highly of it if Spy was an Intrigue card, because there are some real synergies there, and it would be more on-theme.

Oh, yeah, Pirate Ship and Treasure Map.  They blow chunks.  Talisman is also bad, but the writeup seems to miss the best aspect of Talisman, which is that you can use it to soak up the Peddler stack.

Navigator deserves better, and the B-crat probably does as well.  I'd put Feast down here for sure at least.  I'm undecided on Nomad Camp, but do think it deserves a relatively better rank than Woodcutter- not because the top-decking is so good, but because the rest of the bad $4s are much worse than the bad $3s.

The top of this list seems good.  No idea on the Dark Ages cards, I might put them ahead of Scheme and Watchtower actually, and I might even consider Lookout up in this echelon.  But the top seven are obviously exactly right, and probably in that order too.

Lookout is criminally low here.  Non-terminal trashing is great, folks, and the fear of "having" to trash your good cards is way overblown.

Oracle rising and Tunnel falling to this level are both expected, and are both correct.  But I probably wouldn't move either of them further.

I haven't played with it, but Urchin feels high to me- it looks like it's just not that useful on its own, and lining things up to get a Marauder is pretty kludgy.

5.) There is another village, but no good trashing, so the early game boost from Shanty Town will get your deck going quicker.

This is, I think, really where Shanty Town does its best work.  On a board with ST, other village, and engine potential, you almost always want that Shanty first.  (And, later on, you'll still usually be able to use it as a $3 Lab).

Shanty Town is also of course also decent as a primary village in "draw to X" scenarios and as a soft counter in the face of hand reduction.

I think I remember that discussion. Wasn't the conclusion that the best option was to open shanty for the lab, and then get regular villages after that?

OK, I'm exaggerating how bad shanty is, I think it's appropriately placed at 35% here, and you might argue me up a spot or two, but not more than that. It's still worse than vanilla village by a decent bit. 

Yeah, Shanty first then regular Villages would be best, but that experiment also proved, I think, that ST doesn't actually "kill engines" as much as one would expect.  You can use it by its lonesome if you have to the majority of the time. 

But, sure, it does work better in conjunction with other Villages, where you can get it first for the Lab effect and then mix other things in.

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