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Dominion General Discussion / Favorite Action-Reaction Bracket
« on: April 06, 2016, 12:28:47 pm »
Inspired by Witherweaver, I am creating a favorite reaction bracket! I specify Action-Reaction to get rid of Tunnel, Fool's Gold, and Hovel to have exactly 8. If people like those, I could get rid of different ones or have a play-in round. Here's a slightly biased bracket which I didn't spend too long thinking about. You can vote by posting the seed numbers you want to vote for. My vote: 1246

1. Watchtower
8. Secret Chamber        1. Watchtower

6. Caravan Guard          3. Trader
3. Trader                                                1. Watchtower

5. Moat                                                  4. Horse Traders
4. Horse Traders     4. Horse Traders

7. Beggar                  2. Market Square
2. Market Square

Introductions / Hello, bye
« on: September 22, 2015, 11:48:43 pm »
Hello, I'm Julian and I live in Michigan. Some of my non-dominion hobbies are juggling and playing chess. Last summer I went to an extremely rigorous and intense 6-week summer camp which motivated me to think deeply about simple things, and now my classes in school just don't scratch my itch to do proof-based math. As a result I'm also involved in various math activities outside of school which eat up as much time as I want to spend not doing humanities homework.

I'm in 11th grade. Some of you knew how young I was, but I don't think I ever fully admitted it. I think I was around 8th grade when I joined the forum. Since then, I've spent 144 days and 23 hours on this forum. It's been a lot of fun, and I don't regret spending all that time, but I have a lot of other commitments now and I can't afford to spend that sort of time here. 11th grade for me comes with a bunch of classes where I actually have to put in the time to keep up, and I need to make sure I can get things done while still sleeping enough to stay alive. Anyway, being around you all has really been a great experience for me and I've learned many life lessons through Dominion, Forum Games, edgecases and rule technicalities, puzzles, and generally reading and participating in discussions about anything from RSP to how IsoWasBetter with such knowledgeable people. It's pretty special that I sometimes wish my classmates were as mature and civil as some random online community.

I will come back briefly every few months, but I doubt I'll ever be nearly as active as I used to be. For now I'm going to delete my forum bookmark and actually log out for once. You could say I'm revealing Watchtower and trashing a Gold.

Variants and Fan Cards / Liopoil's Small Expansion and Variant
« on: August 04, 2015, 08:03:56 pm »
Hello! As of right now, almost all of these ideas I came up with in the past week, so probably most of them are bad! I have not done any playtesting, nor have I read too much of this subforum or designed cards before so many of my ideas may have been already tried. Many cards do not have names, and I haven't put too much thought into the wording yet. The wording I will fix later, so I'd prefer feedback on the actual ideas unless it is ambiguous.

This expansion is vaguely intend to replace alchemy. No, this is not a parody or redo of that one fan set, but it might be just as bad. I would obviously only ever play with these IRL, and honestly I'm not sure how much of that I will be doing either. I do not own alchemy IRL and I do not plan to, because P-stone and Scrying pool are a pain to play with and I don't think Dominion needs possession or transmute, and so the expansion is by far the worst investment for me. But if you like alchemy, you could totally play with this and Alchemy.

Oh, and the variant bit. That's just house rules which could make the game a fair bit different, hopefully for the better. That is:

-Tweaks to a few existing cards, such as making TR optional.
-Use 5 curses/ruins per player instead of the normal 10 for every player after the first
-Use 16 of the victory cards when possible with 4 players
-Play with a 4-pile rule in 3P and 5-pile rule in 4P.

And finally the biggest change: Curses cost -1. Wow, so thematic, it fits with the VP and all. But how does this work? If you buy a curse, you actually gain a coin; so a bit like borrow, except you still lose a buy. Further, with TfB it's cost is treated as -1. If you salvage it you lose a coin, if you upgrade you gain a copper, if you apprentice it (alchemy!) you have to discard a card. With cost-reduction in play, curses cost 0.

Okay, now to the cards. The expansion, right now unnamed, I think should have 150 cards (that's standard for a small expansion, right?). It doesn't now, but fitting it to 150 I'll do later.

First, there are new base cards in every game, costing 1, 4, 7, and 10. Wow! Surely this messes something up, so please point it out.

Penny Collector - action - $1
+1 card
+1 action

Numismatist - action - $4
Reveal your hand and gain a treasure costing up to twice the number of treasures in your hand, putting it on top of your deck.

Exchange - action - $7
Do this any number of times: Return a card from your hand to the supply and take a card from the supply whose cost in coins is at most that of the returned card and put it into your hand.

Blacksmith - action - $10
+5 cards
(this is only in the game when platinum and colony are in the game)

There are a lot of tweaks to be considered to these. Numismatist doesn't have to topdeck, Exchange could be too crazy. I am thinking that the first should have 20 copies, the second 10, then 6, then 4. They are intended to be generally weak. They probably change the game in a lot of unpleasant ways I haven't anticipated yet. But now there is a base card of every price -1 to 11, with none duplicated!

Now some more random cards, without much of a theme:

Snake Chamber - Snake: see posted in Haddock's thread, idea credit to him. Link and text later.

Alloy - Victory - $6
Worth 1 point at the end of the game for every two different costs which appear in your deck.

^^kind of thematic, but dull as it is almost always worth 4, 5 with just a little work with a curse.

Liquifier - Action - $4

Trash a card from your hand. If it's an...
Action card, gain two victory cards each costing at most one more than the cost of the action.
Treasure card, +1 card, +2 actions
Victory card, +1 buy, +2 coins

^^Intended to replace transmute

Unnamed1 - Action - $3
+2 actions
Reveal the top 3 cards of your deck, put the revealed coppers into your hand and put the rest back on top.

^^I don't really like this card, something will need to change about it.

Unnamed2 - Action - $3

+2 actions
Do this any number of times: Spend an action and draw a card

^^I like this card. I think it's pretty well balanced and interesting enough.

Unnamed3 - Action - $2
Reveal your hand, for each action card, +1 action
When you gain this card, trash your hand.

^^may be too crazy.

Electrician - Action - $5
+2 cards
+1 buy
+1 coin
You may discard any number of cards. For each card discarded this way, take an electricity token.
You may spend any number of electricty tokens. For every two tokens spent (rounded down), draw a card.

^^I doubt this works as-is, but hopefully it can be made to work.

I think I want a treasure, maybe another attack, and something else that uses electricty tokens, maybe for something else.

Anyway, I anticipate editting this post a lot, hopefully it will eventually look nicer and have nicer cards in it!

Game Reports / Pirate Ship Mirror
« on: May 22, 2015, 05:44:59 pm »

Code: [Select]
Native Village, Stonemason, Warehouse, Ironworks, Pirate Ship, Plaza, Talisman, Treasure Map, Counting House, Forge
I look at this board and see no draw, no +buy, weak trashing. No way to build an engine, and I decide that some BM strategy (what would that be here?) would lose to Pirate Ship. I am not sure I am right in that, but I think that it will be easy enough for the PS player to play pirate ship enough that they will pull it out. So I open warehouse/pirate ship. My opponent does too! So the race is on... and it's not simple.

I don't think Talisman, Ironworks, Treasure Map, Counting House, or Forge ever have a reason to be bought in this kingdom, except perhaps forge in weird circumstances. Anyway, I go the route where I try to trash my coppers with stonemason, while he goes for native villages. Despite this my opponent gets an early PS token lead, but I have significantly fewer coppers left. On turn 13 he picks up his mat, which I think was a mistake because he doesn't need to. He also starts to green, but he still has 3 coppers in his deck and only 3 PS tokens! On my turn 13 I get my 4th token and have a 5-card deck with stuff on the mat. On turn 14 I pick it all up, because I want the second pirate ship, and because I can easily get a coin token off the copper and then trash it, and also put two of my estates back on the mat. Now my deck is ready to green, and so that's what I do. From there I am able to play my two pirate ships pretty much every turn and buy a province, while setting aside green with native village. Warehouse was key here. On the one turn where I only have one pirate ship, I use my coin token to get an important duchy. In the end I manage to catch up and win it.

I thought that this board was pretty darn cool, if pirate ship really is the right choice. It's very tricky to play just right. I wonder what would happen if both players went for stonemason to trash the coppers, then each player might only get a couple tokens. That wouldn't really be enough to use pirate ship for economy, but we can't just build back up, so the game might stall out, and maybe even 3-pile on the 2-costs.

Dominion League / Signups - discussion
« on: January 18, 2015, 04:21:10 pm »
more people should sign up because so many people are leaving :(

Dominion Articles / Combo: Doctor/Fool's gold
« on: January 02, 2015, 04:50:25 pm »
This isn't anything super special, but Doctor is excellent support for fool's gold. It trashes quickly while you continue to add FG to your deck. It doesn't have the problem of running out of economy because you only need to hit $2. It is particularly good on 5/2 or 2/5 of course, but is still viable with 3/4 or 4/3. On the 3 or 2 coin hand, buy a fool's gold, and on the 4 or 5 coin hand buy a doctor and overpay. Then, until the FG pile is empty, each turn buy a fool's gold regardless of how many coins you have. When you play doctor, name whatever is more likely to hit more cards. At first this will probably be copper, then later estate (track your deck). Trashing a copper and trashing an estate are virtually just as good, so don't feel biased towards naming estate at all. Then once the fool's gold pile is empty, buy provinces! If you miss 8, buy a helpful kingdom card, a gold, or a duchy. Probably don't get silver, even if that's all you can afford. If you only got 5 fool's gold because your opponent mirrored you may need to build a little more before greening. If your opponent didn't contest FG, you may want to start greening before the FG pile is empty, but keep buying FG when you don't hit 8.

In this game: which inspired me to post this I got 5 provinces and a duchy in 14 turns, which is slightly faster than other BM strategies like double jack. I don't think I had above average luck in this game either.

Game Reports / Forced Tie with coin tokens
« on: November 28, 2014, 03:34:12 pm »
In this game a scenario came up which I've never seen before...

Kingdom: Chapel, Pearl Diver, Apothecary, Alchemist, Bureaucrat, Quarry, Remake, Taxman, Baker, Journeyman

Pretty weak board with no +action or +buy. I think we both misplayed this slightly (I definitely could have done more with remake stuff (turns out you can remake apothecary into alchemist!) and my second apothecary should have been an alchemist, and his quarry was bad). But that's not what was important.

I'm first player, and buy the first province on turn 12. He follows suit. On turn 15 the score is tied at 18 apiece with 2 provinces left. I'm first player so if I get the province it's a tie. I have a coin token lead so I go for duchies, thinking that he will stall first. Well, it turns out we maybe overbuilt and now we are generating 5 coins a turn easily while buying duchies. So after four more turns all the duchies are gone and it's still tied. He has 15 coin tokens and I have 21 coin tokens. Our decks are pretty bad now but those coin tokens will last a long time. It only takes 16 coins to buy four estates and a province. I buy an estate, he buys an estate. Now I could get more estates and force us to pile the estates, but after that there would be no more VP left and I would be forced to get a province, than he the province, and we tie. Instead I just get the province now and we tie.

This is the first time I've been in a position where the outcome of the game is obviously going to be a tie no matter how the luck swings, as long as each player makes the obvious moves. In fact, with some thinking, one could probably forsee the tie as soon as I bought the first province, back on turn 12! Both of our decks were clearly good enough to play a few bakers each turn and also draw enough treasures to make the necessary buy, so unless there was some truly horrendous luck, the game was going to be a tie.

Now, there were certainly mistakes we each made earlier in the game, and I think with optimal play you should be able to start greening on turn 11.

Game Reports / Endgame analysis paralysis makes me time out
« on: October 31, 2014, 10:17:36 pm »

Code: [Select]
Develop, Trade Route, Cutpurse, Feodum, Salvager, Wandering Minstrel, Outpost, Rabble, Altar, King's Court
What a kingdom! I open 5/2, which is a disadvantage, but my opponent makes some questionable treasure buys over trashing, and I get a big lead. I run into some economy troubles but double turns and trade route/feodum fix that, and I get KCs. Turn 12 I decide I'm going to try to win. I draw my deck, play outpost, and get province, KC, and coppers. I definitely should not have gotten the province, that was stupid. I could have won much more easily without it (getting more engine pieces would let me 3-pile easily on the outpost turn. I suppose I was worried about drawing dead and my opponent 3-piling. I also wanted 4 coin trade route for some reason). On my outpost turn, I am forced to KC a wandering minstrel early to ensure I can draw it all. After I do so, AP sets in. I think and think about how I can empty piles on a win for a long time. Eventually I worry that I will time out, but still can't think of what card to play to avoid timing out (do I start the KC chain or not?) and I actually do time out. I still am not sure if I could have ended the game with a win that turn.

That brings me to the main reason I am posting this, as a puzzle to all of you. I'll tell you what the state was at the end of that turn, and hopefully somebody can find a way to win.

5 actions, 1 buy, 0 coins
Empty deck and discard
Hand: 2 KC, 2 Rabble, 2 silver, 2 copper, Necropolis, Trade Route, Altar, Province, Wandering Minstrel
Trade Route is worth 4 coins, each victory card pile has 7 cards in it, except feodum has 6.
Supply: No piles empty, 1 wandering minstrel, 1 Rabble still in the supply. 7 trade routes, 5 KC in the supply. Other piles have 8 or more cards remaining.

Ideas: Use altar to gain develop(s) which are used to gain other things. I need to empty estates or feoda most likely, though another pile could be possible (?). I can pick up the rabble and wandering minstrel pretty easily. Hmmm, this is looking pretty hard. The buys are hard to get more than 4 of, and it's hard to gain and play too many cards. Developing silver/rabbles seems likely key.

On another note, I don't really like the Goko auto-kick (it doesn't even help against slow rollers really). There should be a way for me to be able to think for as long as I want. If you want to play a game where I don't get as long to think as I want, timed dominion should be implemented, but that's another thread.

Help! / Tricky engine, could I have played it better?
« on: October 21, 2014, 08:37:15 pm »

Code: [Select]
Vagrant, Menagerie, Wishing Well, Armory, Horse Traders, Golem, Rabble, Stables, Tribute, Border Village
Using shelters

Big engine here. I open wishing well/armory against my opponent's menagerie/horse traders, because wishing well is great at the start and menagerie isn't. Turn 4 I opt for a potion, which may be a bit early but I think I have decent chances of hitting 4P so it's worth it. However, I get 3P on turns 6 and 8, so end up not getting golem until turn 11, by which point my opponent already has two golems from a potion he got on turn 8. He gets a province on turns 11 and 12, which I think has to be a mistake, it's better to keep building. Because of this my deck catches up and exceeds his deck in strength, and draw all but one copper on turn 14 for 22 coins. I'm down two provinces, but keep building even though piles are running low. On turn 15 I have enough to take the lead by one point, but piles are low enough that he can win on his turn. My initial instinct is that I got unlucky and he had first player advantage, but I realize there are a lot of places where I could have gone wrong here. Some places where I may have messed up:

- My opening. I still think it's good, but I could be wrong.
- My wishing well guesses. I didn't think about them for too long and maybe could have made smarter guesses
- Early potion
- Tributes probably should have been rabble or something else
- Maybe I should have gotten some points on turn 14
- On my last turn, there were two border villages, 3 vagrants, and 3 horse traders left. Maybe I shouldn't have gained a horse traders, even if it was quite helpful for me on that turn.

My question is, which of the above are actually mistakes? Are there others that I missed maybe?

Puzzles and Challenges / Second Player Advantage
« on: October 18, 2014, 11:46:18 am »
The challenge is simple. Design a kingdom where the second player has a higher chance of winning than the first player with optimal play. You may not pick starting hands, nor can you choose the order of the knights pile, the ruins pile, or the black market deck. You can choose the bane, the contents of the ruins pile, and the contents of the black market deck.

I don't actually have a kingdom in mind, but I have some ideas and I think it could lead to some interesting discussion. Unfortunately it is hard to verify solutions, so try to make the benefit for the second player as large as possible.

Dominion Articles / Watchtower (v3)
« on: October 04, 2014, 02:28:21 pm »
Theory wrote an article back in 2010 on watchtower, before Cornucopia and Hinterlands. Jorbles revised it in 2012 with those expansions. Now, in 2014, I'm going to rewrite it with my own ideas and the knowledge of Dark Ages and Guilds.  You can find the articles of Theory and Jorbles here and here. I'm writing this article as my 1000th post here because watchtower is my favorite card, which is also why it's my avatar on this forum. Most of the things here are common knowledge, but hopefully even the most veteran players will find something that they hadn't really considered before here. Many of the ideas voiced here are just from my own experience, so feedback from players with different experiences are certainly welcome.

Watchtower is one of, if not the most versatile card in Dominion. Watchtower does three different things: Draw up to 6 cards in hand, topdeck a gained card, or trash a gained card. Each of these things are not very strong by themselves, nor even in combination. Without support, Watchtower is a very weak card. All it does is either draw two cards, or topdeck the card that you buy this turn. This is certainly not worth $3, and so Watchtower-BM is an extremely ill-advised strategy. Watchtower, however, is the dominion card which interacts positively with the most other dominion cards. All three of it's abilities can be made much better by another card. I wrote a post here listing all (except for the ones that I forgot) cards that it combos with. Here are what I think the top ten kingdom cards that combo with watchtower are. I chose cards for this list largely because they combo with watchtower in more than one way. If two cards combo in a similar way (e.g., merchant guild and goons), I only included the stronger one (goons). I am interpreting "combo" as making watchtower stronger, so if watchtower counters the card, I could it as combo-ing.

liopoil's Top 10 Cards that Combo with Watchtower:

10. Soothsayer: On play, Soothsayer decreases handsize and also lets you topdeck a gold. When played against you, watchtower trashes the incoming curse, while still getting to draw a card!

9. Hamlet: Watchtower loves +actions and +buys, and hamlet gives you both while decreasing handsize by discarding your two worst cards in hand. With a little payload, it is pretty easy to build an engine with hamlet and watchtower. Their cheap cost makes them easy to get lots of as well.

8. Stonemason: When you overpay for stonemason, you can topdeck the other two gained cards and optionally trash or topdeck the stonemason. When you play stonemason, your handsize is not only decreased, but you can do whatever you want with the two gained cards. If they are good cards, topdeck them. Alternatively, you can safely stonemason an estate and trash the two gained coppers or curses with watchtower.

7. Black market: Black market can decrease your handsize tremendously for a later watchtower play while not losing the benefit of the treasure cards by playing them in your action phase. You can also topdeck the card bought from the black market deck. Plus, chances are there are lots of cards in the black market deck which combo with watchtower!

6. Tournament: When your tournament is blocked, it's okay that you didn't get to draw a card, watchtower can do it instead! When you collide tournament and province with watchtower in hand, it decreases handsize too. But maybe watchtower's best use with tournament is to help them collide. With 12 and two buys, you can topdeck them both, or if you know that one is in your next hand, you can topdeck the other. Watchtower also works with prizes nicely. Followers, arguably the best prize, is hard-countered by watchtower. Watchtower nullifies the discard attack, and can trash the curses (or estates). With trusty steed you can take actions and coins to help your watchtower draw, and princess and bag of gold decrease handsize too.

5. Governor: If you choose the remodeling or the gaining a gold, governor decreases handsize. What's more, you can topdeck the gained  gold or other card. If your opponent plays governor, watchtower is still useful. When you upgrade a card off of an opponent's governor, you can topdeck the gained card while decreasing handsize. If your opponent gains a gold, you can do whatever you like with the silver (sometimes it will be better to topdeck, sometimes to let go to the discard, sometimes to trash). The only trouble is that when the +3 cards option is taken by you or your opponent, the on-play ability of watchtower is weakened.

4. University: When you have university and watchtower in hand, you can count on a good turn. Play the university first. This does three things for you: It gives you two actions so that you can play the watchtower and be able to play any action cards you draw, it decreases your handsize so that you draw one more card when you play the watchtower, and it gains an action card costing up to $5, which you can topdeck with watchtower to then draw with watchtower along with at least two other cards and play. If there are lots of action cards you want to play with watchtower and university on the board, going for both will be a good idea. You can open with potion and watchtower on a 3/4 opening even, and hope to topdeck a university on turn 3 or 4. If your potion and watchtower don't collide, it is a still a fine opening.

3. Squire: With squire and watchtower in the kingdom, attack cards are cheaper! To get any attack card you want, all you need is two coins and a watchtower in hand. Buy a squire, trash it, gain an attack card, topdeck the attack card. This attack card can even be scrying pool or familiar, two very powerful potion-cost cards. Don't get a potion there, get a watchtower or two! Squire also is useful with watchtower on-play, if there aren't any attack cards you want in the kingdom. Squire can give you two actions and a coin, all while decreasing handsize so your watchtower draws more cards. If you have enough actions, topdecking a silver or getting two extra buys can be nice. The extra buys can be used to topdeck more cards in your buy phase or to trash curses to lower the pile.

2. Rats: My favorite combo in dominion. A rats with a watchtower in hand reads: "+1 action, +2 cards, trash a card from your hand", which is usually better than a laboratory. Not only that, but Rats can gain more rats (if you don't have watchtower in hand or if you do, you can choose to topdeck the rats or let it go to the discard) for you to play with watchtower in hand later. Rats and watchtower can draw lots of cards non-terminally while trashing all of your bad cards. The only risk is that once you run out of cards to trash your rats become dead cards. Make sure you have either another way to trash rats or a way to gain lots more junk cards for rats to trash.

1. Goons: With watchtower in hand, you can use your extra buys to buy curses or coppers and trash them right away with watchtower, while still getting VPs for them. This can lead to getting a lot of VPs while not slowing down the engine at all. You can also topdeck any good cards you might buy that turn. When hit by a goons attack, you can use watchtower to draw back up to 6 cards in hand as well. In a kingdom with goons and watchtower in it, if goons is a good buy, you can bet that watchtower is a good buy (and goons is almost always a good buy).

These are the combos which can make getting watchtower useful all by themselves. If you see any of these cards with watchtower, strongly consider building a deck centered around that combo. Watchtower combos with many other cards too, but not quite as well. Other cards that make watchtower better include:

Cards that decrease handsize (on play, not attack cards), while also doing something else good:

fishing village
native village
shanty town
candlestick maker
horse traders

These are the sorts of card which would be useful to using watchtower as the main source of draw in an engine. To use watchtower as the main source of draw you will need a lot of villages for sure. You also will need a way to get treasures and victory cards either out of your deck or out of your hand, which the +1 action and terminals do. In all draw-to-X engines, it is super-important to get lots of villages. Even if you are not using Watchtower just for the draw, it is important to remember that if you are ever going to be playing the watchtower (and sometimes you may want to get the watchtower even if you don't plan on playing it), you need villages.

Cards which interact positively with the reaction (may also decrease handsize, still not including things watchtower counters):

trade route (buy and trash estate/duchy)
hoard (buy and trash estate/duchy)
market square
death cart
feodum (3 silvers on the deck for 4 coins!)
fortress (get in hand mid-turn)
bandit camp
count (trash gained copper)
hunting grounds (pile estates without needing as many +buy)
merchant guild
wishing well (topdeck two cards mid-turn?)
treasure map (help collide)
border village
farmland (if you don't want the farmland)
catacombs ("exactly 5 coins, huh?")
graverobber (only for trashing action, not gaining from trash)

These cards are mostly cards that, when combined with watchtower, let you gain and play a card mid-turn without needing to draw your whole deck. However it also includes cards which make you gain more cards in your buy phase, and cards with an overpay ability or on-trash ability. Usually you don't build decks around these combos, they are more cute tricks you can do with watchtower.

Cards countered by watchtower:

ill-gotten gains
sea hag
ghost ship
young witch
jester (when it gives you cards you don't want)

These are all either cards that junk you or make you discard cards. Watchtower stops them all dead in their tracks, sometimes even benefiting the attacked player.

Each card that combos with watchtower is in exactly one category (top 10, reducing handsize, reaction, counter). Many would fit in multiple (or even all), but I only put each in the one that made the most sense. It is hard to decide where exactly to draw the line at what makes the lists and what doesn't, hopefully I am not too inconsistent.

In General

Any time that watchtower shows up in one of your games, before you decide what to do look at each of the other 9 kingdom cards and consider how that card interacts with watchtower. Watchtower has three general interactions with cards.

- It can redraw up to 6 if your handsize has been decreased in some way, perhaps intentionally by yourself.
- It counters some of the most hated attacks, discard attacks and junking attacks. However in the case of junking, watchtower usually cannot provide complete coverage and you will need to get a trasher or the junker yourself as well.
- It can top deck and trash cards you gain on purpose, even mid-turn, to pull all sorts of fancy tricks with gainers, on-gain effects and on-trash effect. Of course, it can also set up your next turn during your buy phase, but usually this is not enough of a reason to get watchtower by itself.

One really important thing for a deck that is using watchtower for draw is villages, especially ones that don't draw a card or let you discard (fishing village, university, hamlet, plaza, festival, shanty town, native village, inn). In most draw engines you need just 1 village per draw card, on average. In a watchtower deck you will usually want to play other terminals before your watchtower(s) so that you can lower your handsize more first. Playing, for example, a workshop just before a watchtower is a very nice thing to do because you get to gain and play a 4-cost of your choice in one turn, but you need 3 actions to do it.

Draw-to-X engines in general also don't like stop cards, even more than some other engines. Copper (or even silver or gold) often is just taking up space in your hand that is preventing watchtower from drawing more. Cards that let you discard your stop cards that you can't get out of your hand normally (and there are a lot more of these than you might think) are quite nice in a draw-to-X engine. Of course, better still would be to simply trash them.

There are two other miscellaneous things regarding watchtower. When you have extra buys and no coins left with a watchtower in hand, consider buying and trashing curses or ruins. This can either make there fewer curses or ruins to be given out with a junker, or it can accelerate the end of the game. If this would be beneficial to you, do it! Even if it is highly unlikely to matter, for instance if there are 10 curses left and no curser, but you are the only one who bought a watchtower, still do it! If you end up winning by emptying the curse pile as the third pile, which you were only able to do because you lowered the pile previously, it will feel awesome.

Remember that you don't have to reveal watchtower! When you gain a card with watchtower in hand, you have 3 options not 2. You can put it in the trash, on top of your deck, or... you can let it go to the discard as normal. Most commonly you would do this when greening, but it can also sometimes apply to cards you don't want to draw until the end of your turn, like treasure cards in big engines.

A comparison to Moat

Watchtower is a very unique card. If there is a card it is most similar to though, that card has to be moat. Both, when played, draw two cards, unless handsize is altered. In terms of draw, Moat is better when you have a large handsize already, watchtower is better when you have a small handsize. Watchtower can topdeck or trash intentionally gained cards, moat cannot. That is the one big way in which they differ. In terms of reactions to attacks, they are quite similar. Moat simply stops all attacks. Watchtower stops attacks more indirectly. Against junking attacks, watchtower trashes the junk, instead of just not gaining it. This is often better than blocking the attack because now that pile is one card lower, which means one fewer piece of junk that will be given to you. With discard attacks, watchtower just draws however many cards were discarded right back up when played. This is better than moat in most cases, though it certainly varies. Pillage for example is much better against watchtower. Other discard attacks can be better when the watchtower player wasn't planning on playing the watchtower, or will have to play the watchtower without an action remaining. Watchtower can also defend against ill-gotten gains, which moat cannot. Watchtower also cannot protect against trashing attacks such as saboteur, knight, thief, noble brigand, or pirate ship. These are mostly weak attacks though, so watchtower is not much worse off for it. Attacks such as rabble, or other various spy-type attacks are not stopped by watchtower, and these can sometimes be quite severe, especially in the case of rabble. Overall, watchtower is almost always preferable over moat. The vast majority of times I would choose a moat instead would be when I am planning on regularly having large hands, and don't see a way to use the reaction to intentionally gained cards effectively. The relationship between watchtower and moat is similar to the relationship between warehouse and cellar. The price ratios are the same, and in each case the effects are similar. Warehouse is almost always better than cellar, except for in very large handsizes.

By my count at the time of this writing, 88/206 cards kingdom cards combo with watchtower. The chance that none of them show up with watchtower in the kingdom... is less than 1%. There is a 36.1% chance one of the top 10 show up.

Please leave any and all questions, comment, and suggestions.

Game Reports / Strange strategy in weak kingdom
« on: September 10, 2014, 08:45:15 pm »

In this game the board was very very weak. Only source of +actions was golem into spy. No draw except for moat and golem. Colony board though, so building is encouraged. For trashing there is forge and trading post, but with no draw forge is weak. There is sea hag which makes it sloggy. Goons are there but hardly any support. The other cards in the kingdom were pirate ship, outpost, and contraband. I think I am finding very weak kingdoms to be some of the most interesting, unless it's just a simple smithy BM or something like that.

My opponent goes the big money route with sea hag and trading post as the most useful cards. He threw in some spies, a goons, and a forge. I'm not sure the forge was a good choice. I wasn't paying too much attention to his play so I'm not sure if he really made any mistakes with his strategy.

I went for something crazy with golem. By the end (well, when he resigned) my deck was made mostly of cards that are generally weak, including golem, contraband, outpost, spy, and trading post. Oh and there were 11 silver, 4 copper, 3 curses, and an estate. The only "good" cards were the two goons, which were really key.

I think that this strategy probably wasn't the best one here though. I think I got relatively lucky draws. Yes, it was a colony board with curses and no strong strategy, but after 27 turns I had 44 total points on a goons and colony board, which seems very low. I guess maybe the goons discard attack is really strong?

I feel like sea hag and goons BM would probably beat this on average, but I'm not sure. A simulator would probably play the golem strategy poorly, so that's no good.

Another thought is that pirate ship could be viable somehow. Anyway, thoughts on how to scrape a half-decent deck out of this very weak kingdom?

Dominion League / to Black Market or not to Black Market
« on: September 10, 2014, 04:48:42 pm »
Liopoil was pretty adamant in the chat that I should get Rats. I can't tell if he was kidding.
I wasn't kidding. Though after a bit it was too late to go for rats and wasn't relevant. But I totally would have gotten rats at some point in turns 3-7 or so if I were playing.

Variants and Fan Cards / Variant: 4 player Dominion with only 2 players
« on: September 07, 2014, 01:54:00 pm »
Note: this isn't so much a variant as it is a thought experiment. The point is largely to illustrate how horrible 4-player is. For me, this variant would almost always be less fun than normal Dominion.

4 player Dominion is essentially two-player dominion with the following changes:

-victory card piles have 6 copies instead of 8
-kingdom card piles have 5 copies instead of 10
-the curse pile has 15 cards instead of 10
-the attack portion of attack cards are king's courted

Now, the above game doesn't sound very fun, but 4-player dominion is actually even worse. It also has the additional changes from the above variant that are harder to emulate with just 2 players:

-discard down to X attack cards (and attack cards in general) are played more reliably instead of 3 times one turn and none the others
-Much less endgame control
-3 players take their turns in between each of your turns instead of just 1
-Pile splits can be more lopsided
-There are 3 different decks you are playing, which matters for things like tribute, and also makes things harder to keep track of.
-Only 1/4 chance of winning as opposed to 1/2 chance!

There are plenty of other card-specific edge cases (e.g., masquerade).

Pretty much everyone on this forum prefers 2 player over 4 player anyway, but this really showed at least to me, as someone who hasn't played much 4-player, just how bad (relative to 2-player) 4-player is.

What purpose could this variant have? The only use I can think of is to use it as a way to practice for a 4-player game with only 2 players, for an IRL tournament or something. I can also imagine it being more fun on some big money boards.

Unrelated idea I just came up with, which could actually be fun. Play with normal 4-player rules, but with only two players. Each player controls two decks and can see the hands of both. Seating is such that play alternates between players. At the end of the game the player who controls the deck with the lowest score loses. Alternatively you could just add the VP totals.

Challenge: Empty the supply in three turns, in a two-player game. You may assume that both you and your opponent may order your cards however you want when you shuffle them. You control both players. You pick the kingdom, and the order/what is included in the Black Market deck, Ruins, bane card, and Knights, if applicable. Possession and Outpost turns both count towards the turn limit. At the end of the second player's third turn the supply must be empty.

Hard Modes:

1) Include Colony and Platinum in the Kingdom.
2) No masquerade or ambassador Edit: I don't think it's even possible with masquerade or ambassador
3) Get over 200 points
4) Overpay for one of herald, doctor, stonemason, or masterpiece by 100 coins
5) Do all of the above

My solution is a work in progress, but I am at the point that I am sure that is possible to do, with at least one of the hard modes. I'll post my solution within 2 weeks, or sooner if people would prefer. No spoiler tags are necessary, I see these sort of puzzles generally as a group effort sort of thing.

EDIT: Finished my solution, which achieves all Hard modes comfortably. My solution does a lot of weird things in it that are suboptimal, but at the time I thought might be necessary (e.g., going out of my way to make sure I have enough money when in reality I have plenty). I have it all written up, but should probably edit it and check for errors. It's over 1000 words long. Well, I finished my project for today...

EDIT2: Solution Posted, and improved a lot from the above, but may still have errors. 967 VP.

Game Reports / Pearl Diver Shines!
« on: April 24, 2014, 07:44:17 pm »

Code: [Select]
Embargo, Pearl Diver, Island, Noble Brigand, Counterfeit, Counting House, Merchant Guild, Pillage, Tactician, Peddler

This is the first time I've had pearl diver play an important role in my deck. Without pearl diver, my deck would have been much slower and harder to build. And no, Vineyards were not on the board. In this kingdom, there are only two cards that allow you to play more actions that turn: peddler and pearl diver (sort of tactician). Therefore, the only way to get peddler to cost 0 (without previously purchasing peddlers for 2+) is with pearl diver. Pearl diver was also good as fodder to get coin tokens with merchant guild with. There is +buy in the form of tactician, counterfeit, and merchant guild, so it is easy to stock up on $0 peddlers. Stacking up of $0 peddlers is especially good because of merchant guild, another generally below average card that was good here. I don't know if I would call my deck an engine (My hand size never increases except with tactician), but I don't know of any BM deck that can get 5 colonies and a Province in 16 turns! My deck is a sort of double-tactician, except I don't always play tactician on my tactician turn, so it is a hybrid of double and single tact. My economy comes from merchant guild and peddler, which is really quite a combo. Island and counterfeit provide a little bit of necessary thinning. Counterfeit isn't ideal because I can't play it on turns where I play tactician, but it does give me another +buy, which is nice with merchant guild and peddler. I buy a couple early silvers, which I don't really want, but I need to hit five early. Turn 8 is really important, because it lets me get 3 pearl divers which will be plenty to get peddlers, and I get 3 coin tokens as well. It allows me on turn 10 to get 10 coin tokens, a tactician, and 4 peddlers.

So, pearl diver isn't the real power card here, the real deck is around merchant guild/tactician/peddler, but it makes the deck a lot easier to build. Without it, I would have had a much harder time getting peddlers to start. And I did use the topdecking in a helpful way a couple times.

I think I did get above average luck here, but regardless, I think it is the optimal strategy for sure. Embargo could have really hurt it though... my opponent also got unlucky, not hitting $5 until T8. Perhaps we should have ignored island?

Other Games / Carcassonne Expansions
« on: February 13, 2014, 05:27:58 pm »
I got carcassonne fairly recently and have been really enjoying it. It was just the base game, but it came with the river and we also have the 6 windrose tiles that came with an issue of the spielbox magazine. Those are just really small additions to the game though. My games are starting to be a bit similar and so a bit dull because the strategy is always the same. I know there are a lot of expansions to the game and so am considering getting one to increase replay ability. So I'm asking anyone here who has played with some of the expansions for advice. Are the expansions worth getting? Are they like dominion in that they make it a whole new game? Which one is good to start with? Will I likely be sucked into getting most or all of the expansions eventually? Is it worth getting sucked into getting all of the expansions like it was with dominion? I haven't done a whole lot of research into what each one adds yet.

Why have the solo challenges stopped? Here's one:

What is the fastest you end the game with all 8 provinces in your deck, using only cards from the base set?

I picked this so that people who haven't bought any cards can participate too, including myself. Also so that you can't do KC stuff, we've already done all that. You can choose the kingdom, but only base cards allowed. You can play solo games in the secret chamber room on goko.

After about 5 attempts, I can get all 8 provinces in 16 turns.

I think it would be cool if we started doing a lot of solo challenges again - one idea from another thread was how many menageries can you activate in a row.

Puzzles and Challenges / Guilds openings
« on: June 13, 2013, 02:19:58 pm »
So, as we know, guilds effects your opening buys. In most games, after two turns, you have 12 cards in your deck. But with guilds, you can get much more than that. In a solitaire game, what is the biggest deck you can have after two turns with perfect shuffle luck? You choose the kingdom. You may get a different answer depending on how you interpret one of the cards in guilds.

in regard to emptying the supply in 3 turns, which is the obvious guilds puzzle, I'm not seeing it. CC bought 2 processions, a watchtower, a hamlet, a nomad camp, and a peddler before T4. There's no way to come close to doing that in 2 turns. But, I hope it's possible :)

Dominion General Discussion / Combo: Tactician-Vault
« on: June 09, 2013, 11:08:51 am »
I played a game with Tactician and Vault recently. They combo really well together. The main idea is to play a tactician, then on the tactician turn, play a vault drawing up to 11 cards. Discard 8 of them, then play another tactician discarding the rest, then buying a province. Repeat. This doesn't need very much support I found. A bit of trashing is necessary, and if there are attack cards this strategy can easily get destroyed. But otherwise, just open trasher-silver, then trash a few cards, and buy 2 tacticians and 1 vault, and you're good to go. This can choke on green if you don't draw your vault and tactician because your deck got too big. Adding in exactly one sifter can be huge. In this case, cellar is probably better than warehouse, but both work great. The trasher can be pretty much anything I think. Lookout in particular I think would be good because it doesn't trash from your hand, so you can play it and still have enough cards to play vault and tactician. Also, when trashing, once you have gotten your vault and tacticians, you should prioritize trashing treasures over estates. You are never going to play the treasures again, while the estates may give you the crucial couple extra points at the end of the game.

I looked and didn't find an article on the combo yet, which was surprising. I feel like I remember this being talked about before on these forums.

Puzzles and Challenges / Most money possible with no cards in play
« on: December 30, 2012, 02:23:32 pm »
In a solitaire game, what is the most money you can have in one turn at some point during your buy phase, without having any cards in play. You can choose the kingdom, and assume perfect shuffle luck. The BM deck can have as many cards in it as you like, but they all must be there to serve a purpose (putting more cards in supply, playing in big turn, for use in previous turns to make deck state possible.) NOT to make Pstone worth more.  No possession, though I'm not sure how you would use it. At the beginning of your turn you choose what your deck state is, as long as it is legal based on the kingdom. Dark ages cards are allowed.

I have a specific Kingdom in mind which I think is nearly optimal a good baseline. It is posted in spoilers near the bottom of page one.

Feel free to post your answers on this thread, but use spoiler tags please. Challenge has no fixed end date.

Hint to get started; Mint/Mandarin and Madman...

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