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(I went to type up some notes for a friend and realized I might as well write an article on how I play 7 Wonders. This article doesn't get into any expansions in particular but holds well for any combination of the game, I think.)

Generally, the diversity strategy is based around the idea that in Age III, a successful strategy will be able to use many different kinds of cards to generate maximum points per turn.

The key goal of this strategy, then, is to develop a tableau (my word for the sum of all your built cards and stages) that will be able to make use of military and science in Age III so you are not limited to blue and purple cards to generate points. I focus on Age III because it’s when most of the points are earned; at least some part of Age II and most of Age I should be focussed on developing a position that will allow you to exploit Age III. (I think this should be true of most strategies but is especially true for this one.)

Of course, everyone would love to be strong in every category. I suppose what I’m suggesting is that it is better to be weak in military and science than to be strong in only one or the other, or certainly better than focussing on blue and purple cards instead.

If it seems strange to you that it might be better to be weak (but not entirely out of the race) in two things than to be strong in only one, consider that playing military and science cards, even when they are marginal for you (3 points, etc.), can often rob an opponent of points if they are focussed on science or military themselves. Moreover, if you completely ignore one or the other, it opens great possibilities for your opponents.

This is one of the most deceptive things about military especially. With military cards, not only are you building up your own threat by playing military, but you are denying opportunities to your opponents. In this light, you can think of a military victory in Age II (for example) as worth more than 3 or 6 points to you, and even more than the -1 points you can serve to your losing opponents: By winning even one conflict (of the two you engage in), you have also ensured that at least one of your opponents can’t get 3/6 points themselves (by definition, since only one of you can win the conflict). I suspect this is why military tops out at 18 points possible for winning all conflicts, even though on paper this is less than what you can get by focussing on science; if military were any stronger, it would just be too powerful.

This is all based on my experience and some reasoning, so some readers are bound to disagree with my points, but I think it’s a fairly coherent system and I’ve done pretty well by it in a rather competitive group that plays 7 Wonders almost exclusively these days.

For details, I’ve come up with a few principles I tend to follow, along with justifications for each.

1. Don’t get locked out of any one resource, but don’t build too many resources.

This might mean you have access to one of every manufactured good (gray) and two or three of every natural resource (brown). But by attempting to build more, you’ll be wasting turns on resources you won’t use. A special warning, though, is that if any of your stages require 3 or 4 of a single resource, you could easily find yourself at the end of Age II unable to build your stages. In that case, you might want to make a conscious decision not to bother spending a turn building resources that you will only use to build one of your stages.

2. In Age I and II, try to find a balance between building your own resources and building cards that allow you to buy others for cheap.

Again, too many resources means you’ve wasted turns building resources you won’t need and no one will need to pay you for. On the other hand, too many commerce cards (yellow cards and the Clandestine Docks cards) mean you won’t ever get paid for your resources and will still have to pay some (albeit reduced) amount to get resources. Also, keep in mind that while a discount card (a trading post or clandestine dock card) can be great, you’ll need some source of money to use it, money you won’t be getting from a resource you might have played instead.

3. In Age II, you should only play a double-resource card hesitantly and with great purpose.

In my experience, you won’t need many of Age II’s double-resource cards if you’ve done Age I correctly (following the principles above). Instead of a double resource in Age II, I would almost always play either the Caravansery or Forum instead (any brown resource or any gray resource), get some cash from another yellow, or build up science or military, unless maybe I had no access to the resource provided or knew I needed to build a stage with 3 or 4 of the same resource.

4. Age II should be as much about getting into military and science as possible.

Yes, Age II could be a time to fix any resource problems left over from Age I, but mostly I think you ought to focus on developing both science and military in Age II, so that you can be a threat to others in these areas. You may need to turn to a yellow card for cash flow, however, or for a weak hand, a blue card could also be an alternative.

5. Toward the end of Age II, consider building your stages with bad hands.

You might find that you seem to have no better play than those double-resource cards in the second half of Age II, but that means it might be a great time to build your stages. If you wait to build your stages in Age III, you’ll most likely be passing up some cards that could give you 3 or more points, whereas at the end of Age II, you’ll only be passing up the opportunity to play resources you don’t need anyway.

6. In Age III, especially early on, play big blue cards.

This might seem puzzling given that I just recommended becoming a threat in military and science. But if you focus on the high-scoring blue near the beginning of Age III, you’re denying those cards to people who can’t use military or science cards. The Palace (8 points) is great for anybody who can build it, but only some people are going to get 5 or more points from another science symbol or military card. So deny them the high-scoring blue card, knowing that the science or military card might well come back to you anyway later in Age III. This strategy is only really possible if you did the work of building science and military in Age II, however.

7. In Age III, look at purple cards and do a quick analysis of how much like a big blue card they are.

Purple cards are harder to eyeball and make a quick decision on. But just remember, if it’s a 5 or 6 pointer for you but an 8-12 pointer for somebody else -- especially somebody who looks strong -- consider playing it. (I’m not sure about those numbers in particular, but you get the idea.) As a bonus note, consider that by being diverse and not having a lot of any one color, it’s less likely a purple card that relies on big mono-color buildups among its neighbors will be valuable to your opponents.

8. If you have too much coins, you might be doing something wrong.

Consider that the coins score relatively little at the end of the game, so if you have more than 5 at a time, they’re not doing you much good. It might mean you built too many resources or cash-producing yellow cards. In Age III, sometimes a rich neighbor will flood you with coins, so maybe you’re not doing anything wrong, although if you can anticipate this at all, that might mean you can forego a turn devoted to getting coins.

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Dominion Strategy Wiki Feedback / draft a rules/rule theory article?
« on: December 25, 2012, 02:55:56 pm »
I think it would be nice to have a wiki page that gives an overview of rules in Dominion -- i.e., common rule issues, disagreements, some pertinent DXV rulings, perhaps some (objectively discussed) rule theory.

Am I missing something, or is there no current article on this in the wiki? I searched "rules" and "rule theory" and didn't see anything about what I'm talking about.

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Warning: This is pure wonkishness that probably will have no effect on how we play the game. But, still...

I've been thinking about how to conceptualize triggered events in Dominion, and I think it'd be useful for the Wiki if we have something up explaining it. I haven't put in references yet because I want to go to lunch, and besides, I feel like people will disagree with this anyway and I want to hear what they have to say -- but go ahead and ask if you want a reference to something.

Okay, so first a draft of the framework for timing questions.

Timing

Almost all events in Dominion are already ordered by the game and thus do not conflict with one another. These happen at what could be called “regular speed.”

Exceptions to this can generally be called triggers, which take timing precedence over anything that would happen at regular speed. They happen at "triggered-speed" and take priority over anything that happens at regular speed.

Many if not most triggers are established by cards as "when" clauses on the bottom half of divided cards. (All Reaction cards have these clauses, but other cards do as well, such as certain Treasures from Prosperity or Actions from Dark Ages. Some cards have "while" clauses that make a when trigger conditional but which do not themselves create triggers.) Some triggers are established by the regular text of a card or even implied by the regular text in a card.

Most triggers involve revealing the card with the trigger, but others do not: Possession creates triggers that are in force for the rest of the following turn (which will be played by another player), and the triggers for Duchess, Embargo, and Trade Route are established by their mere presence in the game.

When two events are triggered and would happen at trigger speed, two considerations are used to order the triggered events.

First, If more than one player would execute triggered events (not necessarily because the cards triggering those events are controlled by them), then the players execute their triggered events in turn order, beginning with the player whose turn it is or whose turn it last was if it isn't currently someone's turn.

Second, if a single player must execute multiple triggered events, he or she chooses the order in which to resolve them.

The trigger is assumed to be operative -- and still triggering reactions -- until such a time as all players have resolved any events triggered by the trigger; new triggered events might actually occur in this span depending on new triggers that have taken place. In practice, this means you can respond to your own triggers.

(At this time, there does not seem to be any conflict between the timing of events triggered by other triggered events.)

This means that a player may in fact reveal a Moat in response to an Attack as many times as he or she wants to, although it has no effect. More importantly, the following might occur: A Secret Chamber can be revealed in response to an Attack that has been played, and, in the course of resolving the Secret Chamber, a Moat may be revealed, then returned (via Secret Chamber) to the deck. Similarly, a player may trash a Curse using Watchtower in hand, then discard a Market Square to gain a Gold in response to that Curse trashing. Or, as another example, a player may trash a Cultist, draw three cards, then discard a Market Square in response to the trashing, even if the Market Square was not in hand before he trashed the Cultist.

Does Noble Brigand Jump the Moat?

Okay, article over, now I have a question to ask. It's kind of niggling, but I think it's logical based on recent rulings and discussions.
I feel like somebody will probably find something I'm missing, but I've thought this over and I don't know what it is.

Problem: How do you defend against a Noble Brigand?

On the one hand, we've decided that the triggered events of Possession are at the same speed as the triggered events of Fortress. So regular card text can establish triggered-speed events. [http://forum.dominionstrategy.com/index.php?topic=5007.0]

But now, looking at the wording of Noble Brigand, I think it can be reasonably inferred that its entire text is actually a triggered event. This Noble Brigand problem has one boring but weird implication and one more significant implication.

The boring implication seems to me that the “when” events of Brigand actually happen before the attacking player get +$1. This has, as far as I can tell, no practical effect on the game, but unlike any other attack, technically the attacking would happen before the +$1.

The significant implication seems to me that since Noble Brigand's triggered event is triggered by playing itself, and the current player has turn-order priority, Noble Brigand’s attack ought to happen before any reactions can be exposed to defend against it. In other words, Noble Brigand jumps the Moat. In this thread -- http://forum.dominionstrategy.com/index.php?topic=4535.msg104666#msg104666 -- DXV says that if you play another Attack after Urchin, you must decide whether you'll trash Urchin before anyone else can play a Reaction to the Attack, and that seems like the same situation here. (In short: "Urchin goes first - same trigger, different player, use turn order.") In fact, the only difference that I can see is that Noble Brigand doesn't have a line dividing it's "when" clause from the rest of the card text.

Clearly, this Noble-Brigand-can't-be-defended-against thing isn’t what DXV intended, so maybe he'll just make an ad hoc rule against it … but as is, this seems a little inconsistent to me. I notice the rules for Noble Brigand specifically say that certain Reaction cards can be used in response...but not that they necessarily have an effect before the Brigand's attack resolves. (Clearly not what he meant...but still...)

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Rules Questions / Did I play Procession + Lighthouse per the rules?
« on: October 18, 2012, 10:54:24 am »
I've been meaning to ask this for days, but I'm at work and can't look at the rulebook. Anyway...

If I use Procession on a Lighthouse, I think that means that I play the Lighthouse twice (getting +$2 and +2 actions), trash it for a $3 card, and then leave the Procession out through my next turn. During that time between turns, I won't have Lighthouse protection, but at the beginning of my next turn, I will get +$2.

Right?

5
Dominion Articles / Farmland (v 2.0)
« on: October 17, 2012, 11:08:58 pm »
Farmland is the kind of card that is unusual enough that it’s hard to imagine what other card would take its place. This means it can also be hard to strategize around.

Is There a Bigger Strategy with Farmland?

There’s some disagreement whether Farmland is worth thinking about in your overall strategy. It certainly can’t hurt, though. Here are some reasons (2-4 courtesy of HiveMindEmulator):

1. Buying a Farmland at $6 on lets you buy what amounts to a $6 Province later on if you trash the first Farmland to remodel it into a Province. More on this later.

2. There are more total VPs on the board to buy, so “you need more than 44 VPs to clinch a win. So it may make Big Money rushes less effective.”

3. If there’s no other way to trash an Estate or a juicy Dark Ages trash-benefit card, this might be pretty good, relatively.

4. It enables a lot of end game tactics where you can do stuff like getting 5 VP without draining a Province, or get 8 VP with one buy. (Discussed further below.)

You’ll notice, these are not game-busting issues, and I’m not sure they even qualify as “strategy.” To my mind, Farmland works strategically if it happens to do something worthwhile both with its on-buy trash benefit and afterward, when it’s in your deck ready to be trashed for benefit or remodeled into a Province. So the thesis of this article is that if you are considering a Farmland buy, you probably want to get advantage from it both coming and going. This, in effect, is strategy, since it asks how your Farmland fits into the larger game and not just the hand you happen to have.

Question 1: What are you going to trash by buying Farmland?

Keep in mind, you’re probably forgoing a Gold when you buy a Farmland, which is a big hurdle.

a) You’re not trashing anything, but you can gain a Gold with Farmland through Hoard or Market Square.

This is probably superior to anything that follows.

b) You're trashing nothing.

Surely you can do better than this with your $6.

c) You’re remodeling a Gold into a Province.

This could well be a strong move; it really just begs the question, can you get that many Golds to begin with? This especially might be a good move if you aren’t going to have +buys to convert them into anything else later or in late game when you won’t see the Gold again anyway.

d) You’re remodeling a previously bought Farmland into a Province.

Sounds great: a net 6 VP for $6. The real trick is only that you need to have bought Farmland in the first place, back when you didn’t have one. This, indeed, is a bit of strategy. If Harem isn’t out, then you might think of it as a Harem that can only buy a Province. (Think about it: You only need to get to $6 in hand and you can Farmland your Farmland into a Province for 6 VP. Special thanks to WheresMyElephant for these observations.)

The other reason to do this, of course, is if you’re not planning to buy any more Provinces and just plan to remodel the rest of your deck into whatever you can get it to -- that is, you’ve given up on improving economy and are, most likely, in the home stretch trying to get as many points as possible.

But remember, using Farmland like this might be more trouble than it’s worth. As ecq put it: “Buying a Farmland and trashing a Farmland for a Province only nets 6 VP.  Any time you do that, you could have just bought a Province if you had any other source of $2 instead of a Farmland.  Further, other sources of $2 aren't nearly as bad to have in your hand as Farmland when you only have $5.”

So that Farmland you have in hand? Maybe it should just have been a Gold, unless you’re so full up with Gold you can pull off both a Farmland and Province in a single buy (by remodeling a Gold into a Province when you buy a Farmland).

Also, another important warning: If you're cycling Farmlands like this, and especially if your opponent is too, you have to watch the Farmland pile carefully, since (absent Remodel, etc.) you're only going to be able to pull off this trick with future Farmlands if there are still Farmlands to buy.

e) You're remodeling Silver for a Duchy.

This might be a good idea. As ftl notes, “The Farmland and the Duchy together are 5 VP — a province is 6 VP. It's one dead card more and one VP less, but it seems like a pretty solid PPR play. Especially if the $3 card you're trashing isn't a silver but something that wouldn't have given you the +$2 that would have let you buy a province.”

So, in sum, this might work late game when you’re hitting the wall. Think on it.

f) You're remodeling a <$5 card into something better.

One more bit of strategy: If Farmland is in the kingdom, decide early if you’re going to make use of it later, because a bunch of $5 cards in your deck are not going to be very useful with it.

Trashing Coppers and Shelters into $2 or $3 cards:

Stop. Do not pass Go. Do not collect a $2 card. A general rule of thumb is that remodeling or expanding Coppers or Shelters into cards to improve your economy is too slow in most kingdoms. Even if you use an Expand, the differential between a Copper and Silver is just too little to justify the economy and time that goes into swapping the Copper for a Silver. So this isn’t a strong reason on-buy use of Farmland.

Trashing an Estate into a $4:

This is more likely, especially if you plan to get to a point where you’re just using Farmland on itself and can generate $6 in order to turn a Farmland into a Province.

“Trashing a Curse into a $2 card, especially a late-game Estate.”

…as ecq put it. “Buying a Duchy gives you 3VP, +1 dead card.  Trashing a Curse to, say, a Lighthouse is 3VP, +0 dead cards. 
Trashing a Curse to an Estate is 4VP, +1 dead card.”

Trashing $3 or $4 cards into better $5 or $6 cards.

This can be a way to set yourself up for the endgame when you aren’t yet hitting $8 but have already developed infrastructure/economy and want to start cashing in by getting VP.

There are any number of cards that work well in the early game but not so well later, and these are your ripest targets for trashing.

  • $4 cards that want Coppers or Estates in your hand/deck:
    Baron, Moneylender, Remake, Spice Merchant, Rats. (This might include more Dark Ages cards when we figure out which ones are weakest  in late game.)
  • $3 cards that want Coppers or Estates in your hand/deck:
    Masquerade, Lookout, Loan.
  • Attacks that are less relevant mid to late game:
    Sea Hag, Young Witch, Cutpurse, Ambassador.
  • Low-grade gainers (better for building mid-game economy than buying Provinces):
    Trader, Jack of All Trades, Bureaucrat, Ironworks, Workshop, Talisman.
  • Miscellaneous cards that are better in early or mid-game:
    Smugglers, Potion, Quarry, Tunnel.
  • Cards you shouldn’t have bought in the first place:
    Sometimes you have a dud card in your deck that’s not synergizing the way you thought it would, or maybe it’s just not doing much in this hand, maybe a dead Throne Room, dead Conspirator, or dead Nobles.

Question 2: What are you going to do with that Farmland now that you’ve trashed something with it?

Here’s the rub: Now you’ve got this lame green card that isn’t going to do much and is only worth 2 VP. If it’s not interesting to you now that you’ve gotten the trashing benefit out of it…then you probably shouldn’t have bought it. Like Border Village, you probably shouldn’t buy Farmland just because it gives you a fun on-buy effect. So which of these are you going to use it for?

a) Remodel the Farmland itself into a Province

This is more or less covered above. With regards to trashing Farmland itself, however, the big note is that this use of Farmland only gets better when you have actions that can do that so you don't even have to spend the $6 to get the benefit, like Remodel, Expand, Governor, or Rebuild.

b) Use the Farmland for its greenness.

An unlikely case. You might be using some combination of Crossroads and Scout, which sounds pretty bad to begin with, but Farmland would slow your deck down a little less this way. More plausibly, you’re doing Silk Road, in which case it really comes down to the math.

c) Just use it for the 2 VP, absent any other advantage listed here.

This might be fine if your on-buy advantage was big and you’re really going for the green. Consider its effects on your game position, especially relative to the PPR.

d) Remodel/expand it into a nice fat $7 or Platinum

Look for this combo mid-game, especially with a Remake, Upgrade, or Develop. First, use the Farmland for one of the answers to Question 1 above, then turn it into a good $7.

e) Trash it for benefit.

One of its best uses. Asklepios puts it this way: “When a card has some of its benefit on buy/gain (or just on buy in Farmland's case), then once it’s in your deck it’s less valuable to you than a card of its price ought to be. This makes it a good target for trash-for-benefit like Apprentice or Bishop.” Or Salvager, for that matter.

Sounds great, right? But you need to be able to draw that Farmland and your trasher together, so you’ll be wanting a deck that draws a lot of itself on a given turn to get your Farmland together with something that can trash it.

Notes:

Thanks to everyone quoted, but also to everybody who participated in my original thread post on Farmland and these threads, which I've taken a lot of these ideas from:

http://forum.dominionstrategy.com/index.php?topic=2503.0

http://forum.dominionstrategy.com/index.php?topic=1228.0

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Dominion Articles / suggestions on article writing: a manifesto
« on: October 16, 2012, 10:41:36 am »
I think my favorite part of the forum and the dominionstrategy site is probably the articles. I've learned a lot of tricks from them and still feel like there's a ton to learn.

That said, I think the quality of the articles could be much better if people only followed a few simple suggestions. Feel free to disagree...but I think a lot of these are intuitive enough and certainly feel like a good idea to me.

1. Back up your claims.


A lot of threads about strategy are filled with one-off comments asserting something. Sometimes these are refuted by other people. I have no real way of figuring out how might be right.

Articles should provide a deeper look and more reasoning. So take a hard look at your assumptions and try to give me some evidence to back up what you're saying. At the very least, show me your logic.

Maybe the biggest point here is, if you're not high-level, your personal experience may not provide a good guide, so look to comments from more advanced players to check it. (This clause applies to me, BTW.)

But more to the point....

2. Do a draft, and maybe even two or more, before publishing an "article"

This is all toward improving the quality of your advice. And one of the best ways to do that is to subject it to public scrutiny.
I noticed a recent article on Remake was titled "Remake (draft)" That's great (and follows a precedent I think I might have set myself...) because it lets us know that you're (hopefully?) going to go back, look at all the criticism and then incorporate back into a new version of the article, so that each future individual reader doesn't have to go back and read the entire thread to pick out the useful from the inane, etc. That just helps us, as a community, avoid duplication of effort.

3. Read previous threads on the same subject and try to take the best advice from there.

'Nuff said.

4. Break your paragraphs up and give them subheadings.

Personally, I find it hard to read long paragraphs on a computer screen, so this is nice in general for anything that isn't supposed to be a narrative.

But this goes doubly true for advice like this. Remember, as a player I'm going to have to integrate your advice into a complex web of knowledge I already have in place in whatever implicit decision tree I'm already using. It's a lot easier if your advice is broken into discreet chunks. (It also makes it easier for people to critique.) And using bold for these subheaders is always welcome.

Here are some good ideas for subsections for articles about single cards that you might include when appropriate (thanks to GendoIkari for this list):

Lists of cards/types of games that the card does and doesn't work with.
Comparisons to other cards.
Common traps/pitfalls that people fall for with the card.
Example games.
Statistics (when councilroom is up)

...That's it. Happy writing.

7
Dominion Articles / Farmland (draft)
« on: October 11, 2012, 11:10:06 pm »
Since Farmland does something on-buy, there are really two big questions for it, and you probably want to have a good answer to both before buying it.

Question 1: What are you going to trash by buying Farmland?

More to the point, why do you want to buy this lame green card instead of Gold or some other snazzy $6 card?
If you can gain a Gold by buying the Farmland and trashing something from your hand, either through Hoard or Market Square, then this is pretty great. But let's assume you're doing it for the on-trash ability itself:

a) You're trashing nothing.

Surely you can do better than this with your $6.

b) You’re remodeling a Gold into a Province.

You have, egad, too many Golds and aren’t going to have +buys to convert them into anything else later. Really, most times, if you’re able to get 3 Silvers and 1 Gold in hand to get both a Farmland and Province on a single turn, you’re probably ready to do just that.

c) You’re remodeling a Farmland into a Province.

This will net you 4 VP for $6 while inching you closer to the end game. This is an easy choice over the Duchy if you have the $6 or $7 to buy it (barring considerations that make the Duchy better, a Duke-Duchy strategy being the most obvious).

But you might also ask yourself, if pushing toward the endgame and/or possibly break the PPR is to your advantage. It's a tough question with its own complications, but we won’t get into them now. It’s enough to note that the situation is essentially like buying a Fairgrounds (pumped up to 4 VP, of course) that also happens to reduce the Province pile by 1.

The other reason to do this, of course, is if you’re not planning to buy any more Provinces and just plan to remodel the rest of your deck into whatever you can get it to -- that is, you’ve given up on improving economy and are, most likely, in the home stretch trying to get as many points as possible.

Here’s how ecq put it: “Buying a Farmland and trashing a Farmland for a Province only nets 6 VP.  Any time you do that, you could have just bought a Province if you had any other source of $2 instead of a Farmland.  Further, other sources of $2 aren't nearly as bad to have in your hand as Farmland when you only have $5.”

d) You're remodeling Silver for a Duchy.

Using Farmland to remodel Silver into a Duchy is unlikely to be a good play unless you’re really hitting the wall and trying to squeeze out every last possible point before the end of the game.

e) You're remodeling a <$5 card into something better.

If Farmland is in the kingdom, decide early if you’re going to make use of it later, because a bunch of $5 cards in your deck are not going to be very useful with it.

Trashing Coppers, Estates, and Shelters into $2, $3, and $4 cards:

Stop. Do not pass Go. Do not collect a $2 card. A general rule of thumb is that remodeling or expanding Coppers, Estates, and Shelters into cards to improve your economy is too slow in most kingdoms -- the differential between a Copper and Silver is just too little to justify the economy and time that goes into swapping the Copper for a Silver. So you especially won’t want to buy a Farmland for $6 just to remodel these little guys, unless you really love the idea of having that Farmland available later to turn into a Province. And for the record, you should not love that thought enough to blow $6 on an early Farmland.

“Trashing a Curse into a $2 card, especially a late-game Estate.”

…as ecq put it. “Buying a Duchy gives you 3VP, +1 dead card.  Trashing a Curse to, say, a Lighthouse is 3VP, +0 dead cards.  Trashing a Curse to an Estate is 4VP, +1 dead card.”

Trashing $3 or $4 cards into better $5 or $6 cards.

What Farmland can be good for in the midgame is to be useful when you hit that $6 or $7 one time too many. Notice a theme here? It’s a way to set yourself up for the endgame when you aren’t yet hitting $8 but have already developed infrastructure/economy and want to start cashing in.

There are any number of cards that work well in the early game but not so well later; these are your ripest targets for trashing.


  • $4 cards that want Coppers or Estates in your hand/deck:
Baron, Moneylender, Remake, Spice Merchant, Rats. (This might include more Dark Ages cards when we figure out which ones are weakest  in late game.)
  • $3 cards that want Coppers or Estates in your hand/deck:
Masquerade, Lookout, Loan.
  • Attacks that are less relevant mid to late game:
Sea Hag. Young Witch. Cutpurse. Ambassador.
  • Low-grade gainers (better for building mid-game economy than buying Provinces):
Trader, Jack of All Trades. Bureaucrat. Ironworks. Workshop. Talisman.
  • Miscellaneous cards that are better in early or mid-game:
Smugglers. Potion. Quarry. Tunnel.
  • Cards you shouldn’t have bought in the first place:
Sometimes you have a dud card in your deck that’s not synergizing the way you thought it would, or maybe it’s just not doing much in this hand: dead Throne Room, dead Conspirator, dead Nobles.


Question 2: What are you going to do with that Farmland now that you’ve trashed something with it?

Here’s the rub: Now you’ve got this lame green card that isn’t going to do much and is only worth 2 VP. If it’s not interesting to you now that you’ve gotten the trashing benefit out of it…then you probably shouldn’t have bought it. Like Border Village, you probably shouldn’t buy Farmland just because it gives you a fun on-buy effect. It really ought to be doing something for you coming and going, unless, of course, you’re at the very end of the game.

a) Use the Farmland for its greenness.

An unlikely case. You might be using some combination of Crossroads and Scout, which sounds pretty bad to begin with, but Farmland would slow your deck down a little less this way. More plausibly, you’re doing silk road, in which case it really comes down to the math.

b) Just use it for the 2 VP.

Weak. If this is what you plan to do with the Farmland, it better be last ditch.

c) Trash it for benefit.

One of its best uses. Asklepios puts it this way: “When a card has some of its benefit on buy/gain (or just on buy in Farmland's case), then once it’s in your deck it’s less valuable to you than a card of its price ought to be. This makes it a good target for trash-for-benefit like Apprentice or Bishop.” Or Salvager, for that matter.

d) Remodel the Farmland itself into a Province

Of course, Farmland synergizes with itself to a limited degree by being a perfect target for future Farmlands to trash when you buy them. But this only gets better when you have actions that can do that for you without you wasting $6, like Remodel, Expand, Governor, or Rebuild. Otherwise, only if you’re desperate and squeezing the last few points out.

e) Remodel/expand it into a nice fat $7 or Platinum

Look for this combo mid-game, especially with a Remake, Upgrade, or Develop. First, use the Farmland for one of the reasons described in Part I above to trash something janky, then turn this over into a good $7.
Sounds great, right? But you need to be able to draw that Farmland and your trasher together…so a thinned deck of 15 with some cantrips is a better bet than a thicker BM or engine deck.

Notes:

Thanks to ecq and Askpelios, but also to everybody who participated in these threads on Farmland, which I've taken a lot of these ideas from:
 
HYPERLINK "http://forum.dominionstrategy.com/index.php?topic=2503.0" http://forum.dominionstrategy.com/index.php?topic=2503.0

http://forum.dominionstrategy.com/index.php?topic=1228.0

8
Rules Questions / Watchtower and Fortress
« on: September 01, 2012, 08:01:42 am »
Fortress is interesting because it's wording suggests that, once you trash it, when you get it back, you are not "gaining" it again, since the wording says to "put it your hand". I take it this to mean that I can't trash Fortress then use a Watchtower to trash it again, since I am not gaining the Fortress when it boomerangs back into my hand, I am "putting" it in my hand again.

Is this right?

If so, then this seems to me only the second way -- after Masquerade -- that someone can get a card added to their deck/hand/discard without "gaining" it.

9
This came up this evening: I play Swindler, and my friend, who has Beggar in hand, reveals and discards it. She gains a Silver on top of her deck and gains another to her discard; with that resolved, the Swindler now reveals her top deck card...a Silver, which is trashed allowing me to force her to gain Something Crappy costing $3.

Or, I play Urchin, and my friend reveals Beggar from her hand and discards it, getting two Silvers (one top-decked the other normally gained) and now has only 4 cards in hand, so the Urchin has no effect on her hand.

Right?

10
Unfortunately, the log doesn't represent the issue, but I'll try to walk you through it:

I'm playing as MeOhMy against MrEevee. Possession and Masquerade are both in the kingdom, and he has two Masquerades in his deck. On my turn 16, I play Possession. Here's the long, though you won't see the problem:

http://dominion.isotropic.org/gamelog/201208/03/game-20120803-070728-9462fe1d.html

Some of the following might be inaccurate as to the actual cards used -- it was happening fast and I didn't want to stop to document the details, but here's the nature of the problem:

As I play MrEevee's hand, I get to a point where I can play two Masquerades. I use MrEevee's first Masq. to pass myself an estate; playing as myself I pass MrEevee a copper.  I play the second Masq. and pass the copper back to myself but I find that AS MYSELF I cannot pass MrEevee that same estate (just passed to me) because the list of cards I have to choose from (for passing) doesn't represent the cards in my hand (although the icons do seem to, IIRC).

The problem here, at the very least, is that the icons for cards in hand and the list for choosing a card to pass did not match -- I may be confused as to whether it was the icons or the list that did not accurately represent my current hand.

Let me know if a) this isn't clear b) it's already well documented and c) whether I'm wasting my time because problems are no longer being fixed on Iso.

11
Dominion Isotropic / Is this really a thing?
« on: July 16, 2012, 11:42:38 am »
Quick note: I've been playing as MeOhMy recently.

Anyway, this guy made a weird assertion that I hadn't ever thought of before:

11:26 xxx: !disable
11:26 MeOhMy: >> Point counter disabled.
11:26 MeOhMy: strategizing a sec.
11:26 xxx: Please tell me you're not using an online analyzer.
11:26 MeOhMy: man, if there were such a thing, it would be the second coming
11:26 xxx: There is.
11:27 MeOhMy: ?
11:27 MeOhMy: that's the first I've heard about it
11:27 MeOhMy: what is it called?
11:27 xxx: It's not like a 'This is the best strategy for this kingdom' analyzer, but you can input cards and rules and run a few hundred games to see what strategies are most effective
11:28 MeOhMy: really? never heard of it, and I read the boards a fair amount
11:31 xxx: This one
11:31 xxx: http://forum.dominionstrategy.com/index.php?topic=144.0
11:31 xxx: I've run into some people that will be really slow starting because they're plugging stuff into that
11:31 xxx: Or something similar

I've totally heard of Geronimoo's simulator...it's just that it hadn't occurred to me anybody would use it at the beginning of a game.

Is this really something people are doing, or is this guy just paranoid? I mean, I disagree with this if it's happening...but I don't think it is. Nobody I know takes anywhere near the time it would take to use the simulator to simulate games before their first turn.

12
Dominion Isotropic / How to get around "verification failed"
« on: June 24, 2012, 04:37:13 pm »
I have both a google and a yahoo account I've used with isotropic, but right now only my google account is working -- with my yahoo account, when I click on the yahoo button (on the page you normally land on with dominion.isotropic.org/play), I directed to a page that simply says "verification failed." I'm logged into my yahoo e-mail account already, so it seems like I should be able to get on, no problem. What should I do?

13
Other Games / suggestions for a fun military-themed game?
« on: April 27, 2012, 04:00:18 pm »
Recently I've had the hankering for a new game, but I don't know what it would be exactly. Here's what I'm looking for:

1. It can be played in about 1.5 hours on average.
2. It's military-themed and you have armies of some sort that you move around the board and with which you invade other people's territories or battle their armies.
3. The rules aren't too complex -- maybe about as complicated as Dominion -- and don't assume a bunch of investment beyond the game itself and maybe some expansions.

I think the kicker would be if it were as replayable and interesting as Dominion...but that's probably a wish too far.

Any ideas? I guess I'll post at BGG, too, but I know this forum better.

14
Call me old-fashioned, but I still use the Chrome-based point counter, partly because it's always on screen and partly because it provides stats the built-in counter doesn't.

So yesterday, I'm playing someone with the handle You, and it quickly becomes clear that the Chrome counter doesn't understand that we are two separate players, because it's only reporting one score, which seems to be the sum of both of our scores.

(http://councilroom.com/game?game_id=game-20110915-162921-e0a0412b.html)

Weird.

Anyway, the other funny thing about using the Chrome-based point counter is that people often turn it off, even though my automatch settings are set to require point counter ... so I get the built-in counter anyway.

Am I required to remind people that there's still an active counter in the game? I did it the first time this happened, but just got berated for using a counter, so I haven't bothered again, considering the only two possibilities are a) these people just hate the Chrome counter and not the built-in one (inexplicably) or b) they don't really get how automatch works.

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