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Dominion General Discussion / Re: Musings and Pixie strategy
« on: March 26, 2020, 02:04:29 pm »
This was not a board about hitting $5 reliably, it was a board about getting lots of Destriers ASAP. Then use Destriers to draw, possibly with Patrician support to draw Destriers.

Pixie is especially good for this because it's a cheap cantrip, that will randomly give you +Buy from the +buy boon, or one of the Boons that gains you cards (like Earth's Gift, or the one that gives Will o the Wisp.) Eventually you hit one of these and leverage that to get a good turn.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: Interview with Donald X.
« on: March 24, 2020, 07:06:38 pm »
Any reason Reap says to play the Gold at the start of your next turn, instead of just putting it into your hand? The two are mildly different, but it doesn't feel like there's a good reason for this to play Treasures in your action phase, compared to cards like Storyteller and Black Market.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: Menagerie Bonus Previews
« on: March 13, 2020, 03:03:37 pm »
Animals will become verbs.

A horsed ruin
A turtled moneylender
You could rats a grand market
Ox your smithy

The problem what that is that Horse and Rats are cards. Ratsing a Grand Market could sound like trashing it with a Rats. I guess Horsing a card is clear though.
EDIT: It's actually "Way of the Rat", not "Rats". So it would be Ratting a Grand Market.

My instinct would be to say "I Rats my Grand Market" to mean "play with Way", and "Rats trashing my Grand market" to mean trashing it. I would guess ways are not ambiguous in practice.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: Menagerie Previews 5: More Cards
« on: March 06, 2020, 05:12:20 pm »
Wayfarer is a brave soul in the shrinking realm of big-money enablers

Obviously it depends on the kingdom, but it's felt better in engines than big-money to me. With +Buy you can pick up your +Cards for cheap (this is normally the expensive part of your build), and you can focus on trashing down, using the free Silver gain to add payload when you want it. Silver isn't the best payoff, but when it comes for free and you can choose when to gain it, it gets better.

Mastermind is just straight busted.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: Menagerie Previews 3: Exile
« on: March 04, 2020, 02:08:34 pm »
Nonetheless, I suspect ignoring it will be the correct play quite often. Coven is a silver for most of the game; if other 5$s are sufficiently strong you should win with them even on a clock and with -10VP.

I don't think you can win on that clock in most kingdoms.

If it was just -10 VP, you could win on that clock pretty often. See Defiled Shrine as a reference. The problem is that the -10 VP comes with 10 Curses - when that hits your clock will get much slower, so you need to be fast.

My first impressions are that Coven will be more skippable than most Cursers, but you still want it most of the time. You probably buy 2 copies ASAP and then build draw around it.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: Menagerie Previews 2: Horses
« on: March 03, 2020, 01:50:46 pm »
After playing a bit my impressions are:

* Having Horses be 1-shot Labs that live in your deck is a cool design that removes the stockpiling +Card tokens problems people were worried about in the previews. Now there's cost to keeping the Horses around too long.
* Livery feels good. I'm not sure exactly when you pick it up, but the important part is that it triggers on every gain, not just the 1st gain. You know how Bandit Camp is sort of like a Village that comes with a Gold, as long as you play it every shuffle? Livery is like that, except instead of 1 Lab, you can get multiple Labs if you have +Buy or other gain synergies. Pretty solid payload all around.
* Scrap has felt underwhelming. It's great at trashing Estates but it gets so much worse trashing Copper. It feels like a Develop-tier $3 cost trasher, it's just a bit slow overall, but if there isn't other Estate trashing you are always picking it up.
* Supplies is good. Basically, you give up one card from your current hand to get 1 more card in your next hand. That's definitely worth $2 when you add that it gives +$1, is essentially non-terminal, and extra Horses can be stockpiled. If you can draw your entire deck, it goes from delayed-Peddler to actually-just-Peddler.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: Menagerie Previews 1: 5 Cards
« on: March 02, 2020, 02:59:50 pm »
Hot takes without playing any preview games:

Snowy Village: Looks good, isn't good. Making cantrips and other +1 Action cards terminal will hurt too much. Those non-terminal actions are often the glue that makes engines work. Functions best if you can play it late in your turn, which makes it harder for your deck to go off. However, the fact it comes with a +1 Buy means you'll likely pick it up at some point. Probably average.

Sheepdog: Busted in the right setup, not great otherwise. Kinda like Faithful Hound I guess.

Animal Fair: Man I have no idea. This seems pretty good in cases where you have actions that aren't good anymore, like Moneylender. I foresee this card creating many new 3-pile puzzles where emptying a pile mid-turn gets you enough buys to 3 pile. You don't want to actually pay $7 for this if you can help it, but hey, those +Buys, you never know.

Kiln: Seems great. You get this early, you start by gaining cantrips and Villages, then you can gain draw cards once you have the actions to play Kiln then +Cards, then you get treasure gains late if you want them. I think this will compare slightly worse than Haggler, but not by much. Con: need the card in your deck to gain a copy, instead of buying a more expensive card, takes a bit longer to set up. Pro: gaining immediately opens up reshuffle tricks, gain is optional.

Barge: I also have high hopes for this card. The base rate of +3 Cards +1 Buy for $5 is already a card I'm interested in buying. The option to set up duration draw on top of that makes this go up a lot for me. It's not Wharf tier or top-10 tier, but it's going to be better than Den of Sin and Haunted Woods for sure. This is not a card where you only play it as Duration when you've drawn your deck. This is card where you play it as Duration when you are almost out of actions for the turn, or don't want to trigger a bad reshuffle - both those scenarios are reasonably common and the reliability sounds pretty good to me.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: Is Recruiter too good?
« on: February 23, 2020, 06:02:36 am »
Rebuild is not nearly as one-dimensional and automatic as people make it out to be. A very underrated benefit is as an unorthodox miller. You don't really care whether Rebuild hits Province or Duchy; your goal is to annihilate the Province pile. A very annoying way to bolster your lead, or to punish overbuilding.
I agree, Rebuild is often tricky to play, especially in those asymmetrical situations you mentioned ... and in multiplayer you gotta keep in mind what Victory cards the Rebuild-using players have in their deck which is mentally more tasking than a less interactive card like Recruiter.
Not that Recruiter cannot be tricky, e.g. if it is the only splitter, liquidating good stuff into Villagers well isn't always as straightforward as using it only to trash junk.

There's a difference between how hard a card is to play, and what kinds of play experiences it gives you. Rebuild relies heavily on deck tracking to be played well, but in the end you're still using it to run down Provinces almost all the time, with the exceptions being things like Duchy/Duke. Meanwhile, the heuristic of "trash Estate, then Copper, then trash something I don't need if I need more Villagers" may be less tricky for Recruiter, but the kinds of games you get out of it are more varied.

Basically, Rebuild games turn all your decisions into "how do I Rebuild", and Recruiter games turn some of your decisions into "how do I Recruiter", but also leaves lots of decisions for "okay, now how do I abuse all these Villagers I can get".

Dominion General Discussion / Re: Is Recruiter too good?
« on: February 23, 2020, 12:54:34 am »
Rebuild isn't as good as Recruiter for sure - but to say it has more strategic depth than Recruiter is laughable. There's not zero depth, sure, but almost all Rebuild strategies are highly monolithic. Recruiter plays very differently on different boards.

This was actually part of an article I was planning to write at some point, but I never got around to doing it.

Rebuild combos really poorly with most cards in Dominion, because Rebuild requires buying VP cards early. So Rebuild strategies are monolithic, but they also haven't gotten much better with expansions. Between more VP chips from Empires, more powerful cards from Renaissance, and better play in general, Rebuild has gotten worse relative to other options.

I still think the game would be better if Rebuild didn't exist though, it's pretty boring to play.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: Is Recruiter too good?
« on: February 21, 2020, 01:14:20 pm »
Recruiter is very, very good, but idk if I'd say it's too good. It's more like Chapel IMO, where it's obviously busted but it also makes the game more interesting.

Dominion Articles / Re: Combo: Scheme/Herbalist
« on: February 12, 2020, 02:20:05 pm »
Ah, 2012 strategy. A simpler time, when we had no idea wtf we were doing.

To be serious, the answer we'd use now is, "if you want to draw an action-treasure combo, just get a lot of actions and draw the treasure you want, instead of topdecking it, because topdecking it increases risk that you dud"

Tournaments and Events / Re: Dominion World Cup 2020
« on: January 31, 2020, 07:58:29 pm »
What on earth has one to do to join the Belgian team?

There was a sign-up form posted to this forum and the Dominion Discord in November. You filled it out, including what country you wanted to play for. The top 4 players for each country, as decided by your rating in Shuffle IT, were formed into a team. Countries that didn't get 4 sign-ups were merged when possible - for example, there's a West Europe team.

General Discussion / Re: Random Stuff Part IV
« on: January 16, 2020, 01:58:35 pm »
Okay, so you asked

"Does the current system work this way?"

And I believe the answer is yes, it combines the games for the past day into the single update. I'm not 100% sure of this, but DomBot on the Discord gives you estimates of what your next rating will be, and I believe it's always been accurate to the hundredths place. So if it does process 1 game at a time, then the difference between doing that and 1 day worth of update at once is negligible.

As for whether 1 loss should be repairable by at most 2 wins against an evenly matched opponent - that definitely seems more game dependent. From what I heard, in StarCraft, the gap in win rates between tiers is really big due to less inherent luck. So, if you lose to a low ranked player, it could be fair to say that you genuinely don't belong in your current skill tier, even if you perform well in games at your skill level.

General Discussion / Re: Random Stuff Part IV
« on: January 16, 2020, 11:55:24 am »
It seems that every match would basically influence the rating of every player within the system

Uh, why?

In the current system, we treat games as a stream of information of the form "Player A just beat Player B", and that gets updated into the existing skill estimates. The entire stream of games so far is summarized into the (mu, phi) that each player has, or in other words, after N games, the only information we need to care about is the rating system's current (mu, phi) estimate for each player.

In your proposed system, you want game order to not matter. So suppose Player A just beat Player B. This affects the skill estimate for A and B. However, consider all the people Player A has played against in the past. Like X1, X2, X3, X4, ..., X1000, for example. If game order doesn't matter, then these two orders should give equivalent rating.

(1000 games between A and Xi)
(game bewteen A and B)


(game between A and B)
(1000 games between A and Xi)

In order to do this, we need to retroactively update the skill estimate of every player X1, ..., X1000, to account for the information "A just beat B", because this indirectly influences how much we care about the information "A beat X1, lost to X2, beat X3, beat X4, ..."

Game order also matters because player skill isn't static, it changes over time. If the skill changes over time then it makes sense to consider the chronological order. I don't think you want to say something like, "Magnus Carlsen's rating should go down because he lost to a 1600 player when he was 5 years old". This is an absurd example because in reality such a rating system would probably not look back that far, but if you want to assume player skill is static over the time window used, using "time window = 1 game" seems reasonable enough, and even if you used a slightly larger time window, I would expect your ratings to be almost identical to using a time window of 1 game.

General Discussion / Re: STAR WARS
« on: January 13, 2020, 04:33:39 pm »
qntm has a take here which I like with.

Some cool ideas, bundled inside a bunch of weird writing.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: Dominion: Menagerie
« on: January 13, 2020, 04:31:32 pm »
"Your menagerie got off to a poor start, with just a goat, two rats, and the advisor who suggested starting a menagerie."

I took this to be just a reference to earlier sets, not a clue about this one. After all, there can't be a Rats or Goat card in this one.

I mean, if your hand starts with 2 Rats in it, your Menagerie isn't going to activate. Meanwhile your Advisor is going to increase the odds you have duplicate cards, if your opponent is keeping track of what cards they gave you from previous Advisors. Sounds like a poor start to me.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: Dominion: Menagerie
« on: January 09, 2020, 02:12:09 am »
It's card draw where you choose how much of it you want to use. Stockpiling extra draw you don't need, only drawing up to the end of your shuffle, etc. all sounds really strong. Non-terminal isn't the most precise word for it, but I would guess that in practice you usually use Horses when you have a free action available, or you're confident you won't draw an action dead.

Horses probably don't have an additional cost, but I do expect that cards with Horses will look overcosted until you play with them.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: Dominion: Menagerie
« on: January 08, 2020, 09:48:49 pm »
Given that the description says "Horses that save a draw for later", I wonder if the way they'll work is that you actually draw one less card when you receive the Horse.  So, when you initially receive the Horse token it's like the -card token in Adventures, but then later when you use them, you get +1 card per token used (maybe you use them anytime you'd draw to get +1 card?  So, you couldn't simply use it before your buy phase to get another treasure, but you could use it before playing, say, a village to instead get +2 cards +2 actions, or at clean-up to get 6 cards in your next hand).  So you're saving the draw you would've gotten for later

This is what I thought based on "save a draw," too. However, I wouldn't think you'd have to use a Horse token only when you are drawing cards but rather just any time in your action phase (like how you spend a villager).

Based on this being more complicated, I think Horses are just going to be +1 Card (possibly costing an action to use), and cards that give Horses will not give +Cards. This is how all the Coffers cards have worked in the past - they didn't give you +$1 but they gave you the option to use +$1.

I'm guessing Horses may have an added cost because non-terminal card draw has proven to be really good, and deferring your card draw until you have spare actions sounds strong and hard to balance.

The part I find funny is that back in 2012, I made a My Little Pony fan expansion whose central mechanic was "cards that let each opponent draw an extra card", and 7.5 years later Dominion canonically has Horses that let you draw cards.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: Defining the difference between levels
« on: December 21, 2019, 03:31:01 pm »
L47 and below: Often doesn't see the combo at all.
Under 50: what are you even doing

Wow. I mean, I can usually beat anyone I play with in person. It's only the competitive players who play online who beat me a lot. You must understand the spectrum of how good someone is at this game is a lot wider than levels 50-60...
(I'm currently at level 47 if I remember correctly. I made it to level 50 once.)

Sure, but if you're posting on a forum called "Dominion Strategy", it shouldn't be surprising that you can probably beat most people who play IRL.

Top of the leaderboard is about 65 these days. I didn't comment on 65 vs 60 because I don't think I can explain the difference there, but skill wise that's the same diff as 45-50. There are levels to this thing, the last time I spectated a high 40s game I was disagreeing with the buys about every other turn. I'm sure if a 60 watched me they'd complain half the time too. In fact I know this for a fact, since some 60s spectated my shuffle IT match and they told me they were just complaining about both players the whole time.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: Defining the difference between levels
« on: December 20, 2019, 02:14:37 pm »
The difference between a higher rated player and a lower rated one is that the higher rated player does everything slightly to a lot better.

If you're able to attribute certain actions to higher rated players you already do them you're just worse at them.

Yes, pretty much this. When I was active I peaked at about level 60 and I certainly didn't "plan for turn 7 on turn 1". Right now I'm about level 55 and I'd describe it as

Under 50: what are you even doing
50-53: you kinda get what's going on here, but you make big blunders that don't get punished at your level
53-55: you usually get a strategy that's reasonable but may miss a better one, and also still make big blunders
55-60: you get what's going on but still make lots of small mistakes, and one or two huge ones
60 and up: you get what's going on and make fewer small mistakes, but you still make plenty of them and the space of potential mistakes is much bigger at your level.

Based on watching streams, people in the level 54-58 see almost all the same strategies top players do, they're just worse at executing them in every way possible.

Generally the consistently-better wins come from better shuffle management early, better endgame play late, and better buy decisions for everything in between. The buy decisions are the biggest factor but it's hard to make general statements about this. The shuffles can be summed up as "have you thought about whether you want to trigger this shuffle", and the endgame can be summed up as "have you thought about 3-piles and what buys are safe and unsafe given your opponent's potential".

General Discussion / Re: Maths thread.
« on: December 04, 2019, 03:29:58 pm »
The Putnam is something where you generally don't need that much college-level math to understand the proofs of all the questions, but figuring the proofs out is a different story.

Tip-wise, scoring on the Putnam is very bimodal, it's basically 10/9/8 if you get it or 0/1 if you don't get it. If you want full credit, you'll need to be careful to describe all the edge cases and how your proof handles them, and given how bimodal it is, you really want to get the full 10 points if you know how the proof works.

Dominion Articles / Re: A Different Way To Look at Dominion
« on: November 18, 2019, 05:37:19 pm »
I think this article is getting at the right idea, it's just using more words than necessary to explain it.

One criticism is that personally, I've found that worse players tend to green earlier than I do and better players green later than I do, so it's very easy for me to "wait for the first move" when it comes to greening: I win when worse players start greening before me and lose when I start greening before them. But the problem here is that it isn't really about when the greening happens. It's that better players build their decks faster and then put me in a position where I don't think I can catch up in time if I keep building - the mistakes happened well before any VP cards were bought. It may be a mistake to start greening first in the worse position, but often it's an induced mistake that's the least bad out of the many bad options.

Dominion FAQ / Re: +Actions - Now or never?
« on: November 09, 2019, 02:09:23 am »
Worth noting that this is probably the most common rules mistake for new players; the question pops up all the time. But as quoted above, the rulebook does try to be clear on this point.

I've also seen "+" means you gain a copper" and "play cards to your discard pile" a lot, maybe more than this.

"Play cards to your discard pile" happens super super often.

General Discussion / Re: Movies: Any movie buffs?
« on: October 22, 2019, 02:27:47 am »
I feel like many movies are slipping sideways into an alternate reality where communication is just extraordinarily difficult. X wants to say something important to Y but then Y says something at the wrong moment and so X doesn't get to say the important thing. Not something that ever happens in real life, but common in movies. Or something super weird happens and for some reason, the characters only talk about it for half a minute. And various stuff similar to that. Particularly common in movies that start from a fairly normal situation in the present.

I don't think I'm super hard to please, I mostly just want my characters to not be doing obviously stupid and unrealistic things. But often that's too much to ask!

There should be like a test for this. A movie fails this test when there's a situation where it would obviously be a good idea to sit down and have a real discussion and yet that's not happening. A shocking amount of stuff would fail that test. Or maybe I'm just watching the wrong things.

I think this is an easy trap to fall into writing-wise, where you can manufacture a lot of conflict if people fail to communicate with each other, and writers want the conflict for the plot, so they make people act like fake people instead of real people.

I feel the problem is that writing real people is hard.

Dominion Articles / Clean Shuffles
« on: October 19, 2019, 10:34:06 pm »
Renaissance introduced 2 cards that are useful in the opening: Lackeys, and Silk Merchant. They both draw 2 cards, while coming with some Villagers.

These are useful opening cards because they heavily increase your odds of a clean shuffle: ending your turn with 0 cards left in your draw deck. Assuming you gain 2 cards on turns 1 + 2, and the other card you gain doesn't draw cards, then you are guaranteed to see all 12 cards in your deck by the end of turn 4 as long as either Lackeys or Silk Merchant is drawn on turns 3 or 4, and the Villagers guarantees you can play the other card you bought if it's terminal.

I mean, you still have the Lackeys or Silk Merchant left over, and the Villagers won't last forever, so you have to be a bit careful, but it's part of what plays into their power level.

You don't have to go all the way to a clean shuffle either. Think of it this way: what sucks the most is when cards you open miss the reshuffle. This happens if they're near the bottom of your deck and you don't draw down far enough. Let's say there's one card you really want to draw before the reshuffle (say a trasher like Steward, or a gainer like Ironworks). Assuming it's terminal, there's a 1/6 chance the card misses the reshuffle (2 out of 12 cards).

Let's say you open Cantrip/Steward. Now, if you draw that cantrip on turn 3 or 4, you draw down 11 cards instead of 10. The math is a bit nontrivial, but it works out to about a 1/11 chance of missing the Steward. breppert has the exact number in their Opening Probabilities article, if you are curious.

Everyone knows that Ironmonger is a great opening card. I mean, this is obvious if you open it a few times and notice that your deck just feels cleaner. But now I'm thinking the reason it's good is because you usually reveal and discard a Copper, and that effectively lets you see all 12 cards unless the Ironmonger is bottom decked.

I don't know if this is something you should be thinking about past the opening, but it's neat.

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