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Game Reports / Fun with Tomb
« on: April 01, 2017, 03:27:17 pm »

At first it looks boring; no +buy or gains, so it's going to be some Upgrade into BM thing, right?

But, of course, there's Tomb. Turns out building an engine that can upgrade a 3$-card all the way to Province each turn is quite fun. This board is probably quite rare in allowing all steps form $3 to $7 in abundance. I could even have gone down to $2 (probably should have in a mirror - winning the Upgrade split would be critical there), but I was worried about long-term stability.

Feedback / ShuffleIT username?
« on: January 04, 2017, 09:14:53 am »
I realize we had a Goko username in our profiles until long after Goko was gone, and we still have Isotropic from some reason (nostalgia? Innovation? I don't know)

But with the new client around, I think we should introduce ShuffleIT usernames, considering that some people may actually use names different from the ones they had on Goko/MF, and new members may not even know what Goko is.

Can this be changed?

Puzzles and Challenges / You can't play them all at once
« on: November 16, 2016, 06:43:38 am »
On a given board, assume that your deck consists of nothing but Treasure cards. No cards in any weird places (Mats, in play, set aside etc.). Your discard is empty.

You can fix any hand of 5 treasure cards that you want to start your turn with. Your challenge is to find a hand of 5 cards, and a fixed ordering of the rest of your deck such that your can maximise the range of $ you are able to cash in if you play all cards in your hand.

In order to preserve our sanity, we will exclude Counterfeit, Crown and Venture from this challenge. And no Villa. Never Villa.

- you have to play every card that ends up in your hand.
- the state your deck is in has to be possible, i.e. you should be able to give a kingdom that allows you to form this deck.
- it is not enough that you can score $4 and $40; you have to be able to score every value in between.

Game Reports / Piledriving Spoils
« on: November 02, 2016, 05:56:58 am »
This was fun.

Code: [Select]
Ferry, Pilgrimage, Advisor, Mining Village, Pirate Ship, Remake, Bandit Camp, Ghost Ship, Giant, Mine, Hireling, Nobles
So this is an interesting board to begin with. There's no +buy, but otherwise the engine components are great. Pilgrimage is a sort of weird pseudo +buy. Also notice the neat interaction of Ferry/Remake.

My opponent was mainly going for a thin engine/BM hybrid deck with lots of Bandit Camps providing ecomony and some other actions, going for Provinces early. I build some more and get a bit behind, and well there isn't a good way to catch up. I go for multi-Giant, but realize that alone is too slow to stop him before he empties the Provinces.

And here it became option to destroy his economy. Just trashing 2 Spoils per turn turned out to be enough to wreck his deck. This is also an example of how the Ferry token can hurt - once I wanted to remake $4-cost into Giant, but my token was on Giant. And my opponent would really have benefitted from Bandit Camp into Gold, but his Ferry token was on Bandit Camp.

Overall, I thought this was a cool board and it's very rare that trashing all the Spoils is a legitimate strategy. Also I love the "screw this" move in my opponent's final turn.

Let's Discuss ... / Let's Discuss Landmarks: Wolf Den
« on: September 19, 2016, 03:45:54 pm »

The Roman Empire theme is exquisitely subtle on this one.

Welcome to the last installment of Let's Discuss Landmarks! And what a ride it has been. The participation has been up and down, mostly down, and my own pace was a bit slowed at times, but now the series stands entered into the forums, for future generations to ponder upon the folly of some and to marvel at the prescience of others; like a beautiful monument that shall endure the ages, like a landmark.

Anyway uh. Let's discuss Wolf Den. This one can really make your life hard. What to do about those cards that you really only want one of? Trashers like Chapel are one of the first things that come to mind -  it will always give you -3 VP, unless you can trash it with yet another card. Potion has similar issues. But often, these -3 VP are not what makes you go for another strategy. It should be noted that Ruins can get extremely swingy with this; if you split 5-5, it may be that you end up with 0 VP and your opponent with -15.

The endgame becomes more interesting (as with many Landmarks); if you manage an early 3-pile, then you can be pretty sure that your opponent will still have some uniques in their deck. It also challenges common wisdom about Duchy dancing, because that first Duchy will not yet give you any points.

Let's Discuss ... / Let's Discuss Landmarks: Wall
« on: September 17, 2016, 05:54:05 pm »

I think Donald Trump just wants to build a wall because he has such a small hand size.

It's the landmark that will probably cause you to get the most negative points on average! Because 15 cards is not a lot. Nothing but a Golden Deck and maybe something like Chapel/Treasure Map/BM can win with only 15 cards in the deck.

So basically every card you buy is also a Curse. How do you plan around that? BM is somewhat better with this, since you won't gain as many cards per turn. Or you could build your intricate engine and then try to trash down before the game ends. There could even be trashing megaturns with KC'd Chapels or something, in the right kingdom. Donate is of course very neat for this, but remember you can't actually end the game on Donate. The most viable option is probably Bonfire - you get to play all your actions, and then hopefully have enough buying power to trash them all.

Other thoughts: Junking gets clearly better, as if that was necessary. An kind of low-impact card is suddenly very unattractive, you don't want any of these forgettable cantrips. It's probably a boost to Events, which can do stuff without adding cards to your deck. VP tokens are also a clear winner.

I predict that this will be the Landmark that the community will need the longest to figure out how to play.

Let's Discuss ... / Let's Discuss Landmarks: Triumphal Arch
« on: September 16, 2016, 06:04:29 pm »

Waiting for someone to make a fan card called Tie.

In a similar vein as tower, this card empowers 2-card combos. But this works only with two Action cards. So think Native Village/Brigde rather than Ironworks/Gardens. And, certainly, engines engines engines. We have seen that Bandit Fort makes BM terribly bad, but when you think about it, the point swing from this in an engine vs BM game is almost as bad.

And it's another card that requires lots of tracking to play well. You need the number of your own and your opponent's top two most common Actions (sometimes even the top 3).

There is a comparison to Palace to be made, because this wants you to collect sets of 2. It is in that regard more powerful than Palace, and more flexible as you may choose which cards to collect, but a bit limited. Outside of weird edge cases, this will never score more than 30 VP, and that's already rather unrealistic.

Some interesting cards to interact with this, in no particular order: Rats, Stonemason, Scyring Pool, Ironworks.
The interaction with Triumph is unfortunately rather limited.

Let's Discuss ... / Let's Discuss Landmarks: Tower
« on: September 15, 2016, 06:18:42 pm »

Sorry about the delay. Some annoying cultists and their overlord have occupied my tower and I had to clean them out.

Three-pile endings give you a headache? Then expect to get all green in the face additionally, with the advent of Tower! Now you not only have to align your gains, money and buys in the best possible way, no, you simultaneously have to track how many cards from each supply pile each player has. Have fun!

Aside from such shenenigans, Tower will be most interesting in non-mirror games. It's a big Rush card; Ironworks/Gardens for instance gets a decent boost from this. Combo stuff like Hermit/Market Square gets better too. Anything really that has you depleting piles all by yourself. You probably shouldn't ignore Magpies and Ports now, should you?

It's sad that it doesn't really have any significant combo with Watchtower. But well, you can't have everything I guess.

Let's Discuss ... / Let's Discuss Landmarks: Tomb
« on: September 14, 2016, 12:49:11 pm »

Lara was furious when she raided that tomb and all she found was a bunch of metal chips.

So, in case you didn't know, trashing is good. Now it's even better. Is this really worth it? Is it just encouraging the predominant strategy?

Well, there's a couple of quirks here. First, I rather like that this makes it more realistic to play an engine on a sort of sloggy board with junkers and weak trashing and come out ahead. It's also interesting as a deterrent from trashing attacks. I mean, you probably still can't ignore Knights only because of Tomb, but maybe losing the split 6-4 isn't all bad. It's also nice that certain cards on the weak side like Farmland or Rats get a boost.

The most interesting question is how much do you cannibalize your deck during the endgame? Imagine you have junk-dealt away all starting cards, the Province pile goes goes - when do you start playing that Junk Dealer again?

Let's Discuss ... / Let's Discuss Landmarks: Palace
« on: September 12, 2016, 02:07:32 pm »

Trust me, your palace would be a lot more magnificent if you replaced those golden statue by copper!

In the right deck, all (very) basic treasures get 1 VP. Which is, you know, nice, but not great. The maximum you could possibly reach with this is 90 VP if you get all 30 Golds. Not very impressive compared to what some alt-VP cards can do. Palace will never be your main source of VP.

It also has the problem that most decks that you flood with Treasures you only flood with one type. Think Trader, Masterpiece, Raid, Tunnel, Market Square, Hoard. Okay, you already have 7 Coppers. The main thing that happens in such treasure floods is that whichever treasure you don't spam basically becomes worth 3 VP, which is nice, and obviously better in Gold floods.

In a more standard BM, you can probably expect to get around 9 VP from this (3 Golds seems like a usual amount), which does give the BM player a slight edge, but a good engine often wins by more points.

Which cards do you think work well with this? Explorer is the only one I can think of that somewhat reliably gains both Silver and Gold, and well that's not the best combo ever.

Let's Discuss ... / Let's Discuss Landmarks: Orchard
« on: September 11, 2016, 11:17:53 am »

If you take the lift down, you will find the hidden time machine.

In some way it is like Obelisk. This gives the first three actions you buy from a pile like 1.33 VP each. Of course it doesn't really work that way. Orchard is pretty interesting strategy-wise. With stuff like Museum or Fairgrounds, you can easily get away with just buying a single copy from a pile that just sits around in your deck being mostly dead. Orchard forces you to change your strategy much more; if you're going to have 3 copies of a card in your deck, you better have some plan for what to do with them.

The easiest thing to get for this are cheap cantrips. It gets interesting with many payload cards. If you think Cursers, Haggler, Altar, all kinds of things, the sweet spot for how many you want is frequently 2, sometimes 1, but rarely 3. So do you change the structure of your deck early to accomodate another copy, or do you hope to pick the missing piece up while greening?

Let's Discuss ... / Let's Discuss Landmarks: Obelisk
« on: September 08, 2016, 03:58:32 pm »

Secret Secret History: Originally, Donald wanted to name this Brothel, for the Harem flavor tie-in. For some reason RGG didn't want that. So instead he went for a phallus symbol.

Obelisk haremizes one Action pile in the game. As we know from Harem, adding 2 VP is roughly worth $3. As we know from Nobles, that's not actually true since Nobles is already better than Smithy without the VP. The chosen card also doesn't get Victory type, which disables some cute interactions. Fun fact: Since it chooses a random Action supply pile, it could theoretically end up on the Ruins pile. That seems weird.

This will probably be at its most interesting when it ends up on a card that belong to the sightly weaker strategy of the board. Then you have to ask yourself, do I want to go for the other strategy just for the additional VP? Of course strategy 1 player can always pick some of those cards up for themselves. It probably mostly prevents rush strategies like Rebuild or Ironworks/Gardens, since it makes it much easier to get a couple VP for the countering player.

And then of course there is the most important question, the elephant in the room: How do you randomize the Action supply pile? Most of the discussion in this thread should be dedicated to this question.

Let's Discuss ... / Let's Discuss Landmarks: Museum
« on: September 07, 2016, 04:06:15 pm »

Dominion life advice: If you want to run a profitable museum, best buy your exhibits on the black market!

Here it is, the Fairgrounds-turned-Landmark. Only it is a lot more powerful than a meager Fairgrounds. More like 5 Fairgrounds at once. That means you really want those differently-named cards. We already know all the tricks of differently-named card collecting. Empires adds some more with split piles and Castles.

I think that Museum will nevertheless play differently from Fairgrounds. The reason is thus: In Fairgrounds games, you first get a lot of differently-named cards and try to build a working deck. Then you buy Fairgrounds with that deck. Wiht Museum, the second part is gone. This means you're more likely to build a normal deck first, only adding the differently-named cards towards the end. I think it will overall have a smaller effect on how you build your deck.

Let's Discuss ... / Let's Discuss Landmarks: Mountain Pass
« on: September 05, 2016, 12:32:17 pm »

I really hate Scout, *** you nerds, girls and booze - that is what matters

Okay, I realize there has already been a thread about this here. It was all about the bidding though. We want to discuss the larger issues here. Like, how does your greening strategy change with this around? Which kind of decks get the largest benefit from the auction (i.e. can handle the debt better)? What kind of credit institute sets up shop on a Mountain Pass to give debt to people climbing through that cold, unforgiving place? Talk about subprime lendings. One day, that Mountain Pass bubble will burst, sending the whole Dominion into a deep recession until inflation runs so high that you have to pay $12 just to get a Village (Scout will still cost $4 though).

Let's Discuss ... / Let's Discuss Landmarks: Labyrinth
« on: September 04, 2016, 12:58:17 pm »

The depicted structure is actually a maze. Boo!

This seems a lot like Basilica. It has no potential for multi-VP gain, but on the other hand you do not necessarily need +buys. Is it kinda boring? Yeah. Sorry.

- Is it different enough from Basilica to warrant being its own Landmark?
- Does it make you want to open Stonemason+2 $2-costs?
- Wouldn't it be more interesting if you needed like 3 gains, from the reward was higher? Or like "once per turn: when you gain a card, take 1 VP per card you gained this turn"? What, are you telling me this isn't the Variants subforum?

Let's Discuss ... / Let's Discuss Landmarks: Keep
« on: September 02, 2016, 01:09:16 pm »

And the threads just Keep on coming...

Okay, let's face it, that first bunch of Landmarks did not really stir excitement. But now, in the bottom half, things really got interesting. Defiled Shrine, Fountain, now Keep - all those are much more unique than the tenth "get 2 VP for some random thing". Good news is, the remaining Landmarks are all more on the exciting side.

This is like a little sub-game of Dominion - in Dominion, you aim to get more Provinces than your opponent, and now there's a bunch of other cards you aim to get more of than your opponent. And these piles are pretty large, man.

It makes controlling the game state pretty hard. It's easy-ish to calculate how many VP your opponent is away from you, but now you also have to Keep in mind how many Golds, Silvers, Coppers they are away. It only gets worse with Kingdom treasures, and this is one of the only Empires card-shaped thing where Kingdom treasures didn't get excluded because nobody knows what a Kingdom card is, so yay for that.

This card probably won't affect BM games a lot, except that it makes them more viable. Things are more interesting in an engine mirror, which might devolve into a more BM-ish deck in the mid-late game. Oh, and if you ever thought losing the Fool's Gold or IGG split sucked: You knew nothing.

- Which Kingdom treasure cards do you think will be most interesting with this? Hoard, Horn of Plenty, maybe even Treasure Trove?
- How does engine vs BM play with this around? Does the engine player try to win one of the splits while ignoring the other two?
- Is this Landmark better suited for multiplayer?

Let's Discuss ... / Let's Discuss Landmarks: Fountain
« on: September 01, 2016, 03:36:58 pm »

The kind of fountain you'll find in Scrooge McDuck's Money Bin, with Coppers sprawling out.

But really, this is again a cute flavor connection - if you throw enough Coppers into the fountain, you will be blessed.

It warps the game in a major way. 15 VP is a hefty load of points. 2.5 Provinces right there. In games without trashing, that means every Copper you buy is effectively worth 5 VP. So it really seems like a no-brainer to pick up Coppers as soon as you're greening.

Where things get really interesting is when you can trash your starting Coppers. Will you? Here it works somewhat similar to Inheritance, making you consider to keep your starting Coppers. I predict that in most cases, you still want to trash at least some of them.

- How does this landmark play with Thief on the board? Is it actually something that makes you want to go for Thief?
- in an engine with trashing, how often do you think you want to re-buy Coppers towards the endgame?
- Overall, which cards are better support for this - cheap +buys or cards that care about Copper?

Let's Discuss ... / Let's Discuss Landmarks: Defiled Shrine
« on: August 31, 2016, 05:29:59 pm »

Have you ever played Knights of the Old Republic? This reminds me of the final planet you land on there.

It's the other part of Curse Empowerment Movement (also known as Purple Cards Matter)! Unfortunately, it doesn't combo very well with its sister in spirit, Ritual, because the bonus is only on-buy.

In a standard game, you'll have maybe 9 action supply piles if you're lucky, which makes this get 18 VP, or three Provinces. Of course often there's Scout or something and the pile is never touched. But it's reasonable to assume it will be at least a double-digit number of VP usually. Which means there will be at least 2 times someone buys a Curse during the game. Chances are this will make a heavy impact in almost every game it's in, excluding maybe games with other Cursers that make the pile run out before you can get the VP.

- At which value would you start picking this up with a spare buy in a trashing game? How about a non-trashing game?
- How often can you do the "gain several actions, then buy a Curse" move?
- Just how often does it matter with Cursers? Like, you buy the last Curse if you know that your opponent would give it to you anyway?

Let's Discuss ... / Let's Discuss Landmarks: Colonnade
« on: August 30, 2016, 11:35:48 am »

Architecture pro tip: Add a mirror to each end of a colonnade.

While I love how the name fits the thing it does, I'm really not sure if this leads to interesting games. It mainly seems to encourage monolithic strategies - Minion, Hunting Party, that kind of stuff. Oh boy, can it get crazy with Peddlers. I think it's just too often "Hey cool, I get to do that thing I wanted to do anyways and even get VP for it" rather than "Now I could do this one thing that isn't just as good for my deck as the other things, but I would get VP for it". I guess it pushes engine strategies, so that's something.

- Is this a Village idiot's new second favorite card-shaped thing?
- Which are the kind of cards that you get more of with Colonnade around than you would without?
- Can you think up any weird edge cases that work with the "when you buy" trigger?

Let's Discuss ... / Let's Discuss Landmarks: Battlefield
« on: August 29, 2016, 01:49:00 pm »

Why are all the guys with shields not in the front row?

In terms of epicness, this battle is sorely lacking. It's more like you and your D&D buddies encountering some random bandits than a clash of armies to control the first Province. Anyway, the card encourages early greening and makes Rebuild games even more atrocious. Now you're like, am I really going to give my opponent a Duchy for this $5 card I just swindled? It does a bunch of interesting stuff because unlike some other "take 2 VP" landmarks, you have pretty good control over when to take them.

Some interactions are quite weird. Swindler was mentioned, but Ambassador has a similar issue. I can't really imagine deciding not to ambassador your Estates because that seems bad too, but there's definitely some impact. Obivously it's pretty good with hybrid VP cards and Inheritance, plus all that stuff that makes you gain Estates.

- Would you buy an Estate over nothing on a 5/2 Shelters opening with this around?
- Which deck type benefits the most? Probably the rush deck, but after this?
- Does Battlefield change the optimal ultimate big money strategy?

Let's Discuss ... / Let's Discuss Landmarks: Baths
« on: August 28, 2016, 08:11:59 am »

I meant to write some illuminating blob, but then it was really hot and I went to the lake instead.

- How much money would you "spend" for this?
- Does this ever change your strategy, or do you just pick up some VP on a dud turn?

Let's Discuss ... / Let's Discuss Landmarks: Basilica
« on: August 26, 2016, 09:53:20 am »

Did you know that Basilica translates to "King's Court"? Those poor Greek Dominion players must be so confused.

When I first saw this, I thought I must have read it wrong. Then I read again. It works each time you buy something? Like in, multiple times per turn? But that's broken!

Well is it? Probably not, or the card would not exist. One interesting parallel is Goons; like there, you get a VP bonus for buying multiple cheap things. Goons has taught us that you don't usually want to buy Copper even for 2 VP except in the late game, so I think that is something to keep in mind when playing with this. Of course Basilica works slightly differenty because every 2 VP you take you also deny your opponent, so it's slightly stronger. It also combos nicely with Wine Merchant.

- Would the Landmark be better with a "Once per turn"? Why not?
- In which ways do you think this will play differently from Goons?
- There's a neat trick with overpaying where you get the 2 VP, and the value for your money. Jut make sure to resolve on-buys in the right order. Yes, this is not a question. Sorry.

Let's Discuss ... / Let's Discuss Landmarks: Bandit Fort
« on: August 24, 2016, 05:42:25 pm »

I once tried to play a game of Dominion in Skyrim. It did not end well.

Once I was at an f.ds meetup, and we were all playing Dominion. The rest of us had finished their games and waited for the last group to end as well so we could switch. The last group was ehunt and tuffteah (I think), playing a game with Bandit Fort and no real economy other than Silver or Gold, and no trashing. It was fun watching them scramble to get to $5 just so they could grab a Duchy. ehunt was just plowing through the castles with Small Castle, making a sad face when he realized he had to gain a Gold off the Haunted Castle.

The point is, Bandit Fort games can be a real pain when there is no other income available. But most of the time, I think it will just push you a bit more away from Big Money, which is not usually something you want to play anyway.

- How big of an issue do you think situations where you get a couple of money cards and then try to trash them before the game ends will become?
- How much fun will it be to use Embassy as a pseudo-IGG?
- Can you still pull off Masterpiece/Feodum with Bandit Fort present?

Let's Discuss ... / Let's Discuss Landmarks: Arena
« on: August 23, 2016, 05:34:32 pm »

"Look, I'm sorry I couldn't do my job... but can't we talk about this?" "No way, Steward! You're facing the lions!"

This opens our long series of "do special stuff you wouldn't normally do and get 2VP for it". Does opening with 2 terminals suddenly become more appealing? No. What are you even talking about? Who needs 2VP chip in their second shuffle? That's right. Are you done talking to youself yet? Good. You know, I have an post-inspiring blurb to write here, and it has to go better than last time. Ha, as if!

So is this ever more than a consolation prize? Probably not. It's still nice to have a consolation prize.

Let's move on to the really important questions:
- Would you ever not play an action you'd normally play in order to get more VP?
- How much weaker does this make Looters?
- What is the fastest way to drain the VP from this, and is "draining VP from Landmarks" now a new puzzle category?

Let's Discuss ... / Let's Discuss Landmarks: Aqueduct
« on: August 22, 2016, 06:01:03 pm »

With Aqueduct, you get to keep 40% of your money when you buy something... wait, I must have switched my notes with some other game.

Am I the new schadd? Probably not, I'm not funny enough and look at all the Caps! Anyway someone's gotta do the dirty work.

So, Aqueduct. It's like turning every Victory card pile into a Feodum, except it's not. Imagine if the Victory pile already was Feodum to begin with! Craziness ensues. Here's that delicate decision again that's present virtually everywhere in Empires: Do I hurt my deck earlier than I want to deny my opponent the VP? At some point we're going to figure it out, and it will be glorious. You simulator geeks can get working on the question when to grab the points in a standard BM game.

We'll end on some questions because I'm not creative enough to come up with a new format:
- Will you ever choose not to gain a Silver or Gold because of this?
- Can you figure out if the effect has anything to do with an actual aqueduct? Maybe in form of fanfiction?
- Will I have the perseverance to post a new one of these each day?

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