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Topics - Matt_Arnold

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Dominion General Discussion / Coffers Poll Question
« on: November 02, 2018, 02:27:35 pm »
Ariel and Baz are A.I.s who play Dominion. For thousands of years they will play with different boards of cards, one board at a time. However, all boards will contain a 7-cost purchase, and Coffers. Ariel always saves every Coffer until they spend them on the 7. Baz always spends all Coffers. They will both buy the 7 as soon as possible. Which option is closest to how often Baz will be the first to get to 7?

The recent article about Coffers left me wondering one detail. If a player intends (whether right or wrong) to make a madcap sprint to buy a high-cost purchase as soon as possible, is saving all their Coffers usually getting them to that price-point slower, on most boards? The article makes it clear that immediately saving Coffers is usually losing the game vs spending them early to strengthen one's deck. But let's put a fine point on it: What about a much earlier race than the one for the overall game? For example, the race to be the first one to start using a Forge, Citadel, or Inheritance?

Hi there, folks! I ran a Dominion tournament at Penguicon for several years, which always had about 28 players. Last year, I skipped a year in order to focus on other work for the convention. Please let me know if you are interested in taking over for 2016. I can send you all of the materials. I will provide the convenient Dominion setup trays, which I make out of vacuum-formed sheet styrene.

Penguicon is a combination of an open source software conference and a science fiction convention, including all nerd interests such as board games, comedy music concerts, molecular gastronomy, science, and much more. It is attended by more than 1337 nerds, and has about 500 events packed into one weekend. Its thirteenth year will be held at the Westin in Southfield, Michigan, USA, from April 29 through May 1, 2016.

You would receive a discounted attendance badge for $25, but don't worry about the cost-- it's on me. As the head of the game track, I can also arrange prize support for you, and Penguicon's special adhesive ribbons for the badges of the contestants, reading "Colony", "Province", "Duchy", and "Estate". I need to set the cutoff for responses at the end of February. Thanks!

Variants and Fan Cards / Solving The Big Money Problem
« on: May 26, 2014, 07:57:05 pm »
I know that the Big Money strategy only predominated when our sets were limited to the cards in the original Dominion box. It's been less powerful since then. But ask yourself: Isn't it still too powerful? Look on Androminion, under "Statistics", and see what the win rate is for Earl, the AI who uses Big Money.

Please post Earl's win rate here. I'll go first. True confessions time: Earl wins 20% of games against me. One in five. I admit that even when I see a set which Big Money will win, I try to challenge myself to beat it. Yes, I could just try to use it and hope to beat Earl. But I would die a little inside.

The Patrick AI plays Big Money plus one card. His win rate against me is 16%. After playing Dominion multiple times per week for years, does this mean I'm a bad player?

Imagine if every game of Dominion started with each player holding twenty victory point chips. Each play of a Silver and Gold costs a victory point chip. A player who has no VP chips may only play a Silver or Gold by gaining a Curse, if there remain any.

What are your ideas for variants that disadvantage Big Money?

Variants and Fan Cards / House Rule: All Ruins Do The Same Thing
« on: April 30, 2013, 05:50:49 pm »
Ruined Market, Ruined Library, Ruined Village, Abandoned Mine, Survivors
Type: Action, Ruins
Cost: $0
You may trash another Ruin from your hand.

Dominion General Discussion / My Ultimate Dominion Carrying Case
« on: September 02, 2012, 01:31:46 pm »

I laser-cut* these card sleeves out of posterboard, with laser-cut/engraved reinforcements for the tabs. It was important to me not to put the card names on fixed locations in the carrying case itself. This way, it doesn't matter what letters of the alphabet Dark Ages and The Guilds will have-- re-alphabetization is a snap.

Until Dark Ages, everything fit in the briefcase shown here which I Remodeled from the original briefcase by ripping out the interior fixtures, then Upgraded with three interior walls. It's time to throw this case in the trash and Expand to the ultimate new one!

The new carrying case will be laser-cut out of 2.07mm chipboard (material used in most die-cut game chips, tiles and boards). It will be finger jointed.

It will sport a pair of wheels and a collapsible handle salvaged from an old backpack. It will be large enough to contain all known or predicted Dominion products, including randomizers, tokens, mats, and promo cards, plus room for my fan expansion (or future promos).

My question for you is: Which style of carrying case works best?

A simple clamshell like a briefcase-- This makes a mess when opened upside-down. Don't ask me how I know. Plus, it would be a cumbersome width to have all the cards on the same level. Plus I'd need to hinge it, which I'm not sure how to do.

Korean sliding interlocking leaves-- This has an exceptionally large number of interior walls for individual card stacks, adding to its weight and bulk.

Drawers-- I would need to put clasps on there to secure them.

A lid that just slides off like a normal gamebox with trays stacked inside-- Once i3Detroit's vaccuum-forming machine is done, I could make the trays from sheet styrene.

Cantilever trays (like some toolboxes/tackleboxes)-- Awesome. I like it. Downside: It's complicated. Again: What kind of hinges for chipboard?

Some hinge types:
- Glued cloth tape. Simple, but it might just tear off the outer laminate of the chipboard.
- Laser-cut some circular holes in different walls and string a dowel through them.
- Bolt actual metal hardware on there. How to accommodate the hardware within the interior dimensions and exterior clearances? Doable, but adds design complexities.

I seek your guidance and suggestions. What's your dream case?

* I made these on the laser cutters at a couple of different local hacker spaces: my home hacker space, i3Detroit in Ferndale, which is a member-run nonprofit club, and the TechShop branch in Allen Park, which is a corporate place more in common with a gym membership, but which gave me a free membership as a contest prize. I have happily shared the design files in SVG format with whoever has asked for them.

Dominion General Discussion / Which Cards Are Most Luck-Dependent?
« on: June 04, 2012, 12:35:05 am »
Of course, it's a card game. There will be shuffle luck. Granted. But let's say you're allowed to choose your 2-5 or 3-4 opening split. For purposes of a tournament, which cards cause the outcome to depend on luck the most?

Variants and Fan Cards / Dominion Re-Theme: Habits
« on: March 03, 2012, 04:18:01 pm »
Players attempt to grow out of pain and creature comforts to joy, enlightenment, and fulfillment, by forming good habits, and avoiding mood disorders. Will you self-medicate? Dodge responsibility? Engage in stoic self-denial? These and other tactics are yours to choose.

1. Dominion is by Donald X. Vaccarino, published by Rio Grand Games. The rules to this game are that of Dominion. Only the card names and artwork are different.
2. The actual instructions on the cards ought to remain the same except for the card names, because it would be confusing to say "personality" for "deck" and all these other word substitutions. However, I expect DominionStrategy forum readers to know how the cards work, so I am making the metaphor as explicit as possible in the hopes to better amuse you.
3. You will almost certainly disagree with my assignments, based on how you think people work. I apologize in advance, and own up to the use of my own philosophy.
4. I have not re-themed all the cards yet. This is a draft.

Terminology changes:
+1 Card = +1 Attention.
+1 Action = +1 Will.
+1 Buy = +1 Training.
Gain = Learn.
Trash = Unlearn.
Card = Habit.
Deck = Personality.
Hand = Awareness.


Curse-   Mood Disorder   Worth negative 1 Reward.


Estate-   Comfort   Worth 1 Reward.

Duchy-   Pleasure   Worth 3 Rewards.

Province-   Joy   Worth 6 Rewards.

Colony-   Breakthrough   Worth 10 Rewards.

Point Chip-   Fulfillment   Worth 1 Reward.

Garden-   Slack   Worth 1 Reward for every 10 habits in your personality, rounded down.

Vineyard-   Fame   Worth 1 Reward for every 4 Behavior habits in your personality, rounded down.


Copper-   Pain   +1 Motivation. Illustration: A hand warding off a stick.

Silver-   Hope   +2 Motivation. Illustration: A hand reaching for a carrot dangling from a string.

Gold-   Love   +3 Motivation. Illustration: A hand offering a carrot.

Platinum-   Enlightenment   +5 Motivation. Illustration: An eye.

Potion-   Guilt   +1 Guilt.

Ill-Gotten Gains-   Anger   +1 Motivation. You may learn a Pain, putting
it into your awareness. -- When you learn this, each other player learns a Mood Disorder.

Harem-   Self-Esteem   +2 Motivation. +2 Reward.

Hoard-   Lust   +2 Motivation. When this is in play, when you train to learn a Reward, learn a Love.

Loan-   Clarity   +1 Motivation. Reveal habits from your personality until you find a Drive. Either discard it or unlearn it, your choice. Put the other revealed habits into your subconscious.

Philosopher's Stone-   Shame   +1 Motivation for every 5 habits in your personality plus subconscious, rounded down.

Cache-   Self-Medication   +3 Motivation. -- When you learn this, learn 2 Pain.


Bureaucrat-   Pray   Learn a Hope, putting it on top of your personality. Each other player reveals habits from his personality until he finds a Reward, puts it on top of his personality, and puts the rest into his subconscious.

Chapel-   Detach   You may unlearn 4 habits from your awareness.

Explorer-   Community   You may reveal a Joy from your awareness. If you do, learn a Love, putting it into your awareness. Otherwise, learn a Hope, putting it into your awareness.

Militia-   Lie   +2 Drive. Each other player puts cards from his awareness into his subconscious until he has 3 habits in his awareness.

Moat-   Lock Your Doors   +2 Attention. -- When another player plays an attack, you may reveal this from your awareness. If you do, you are unaffected by the attack.

Witch-   Blame   +2 Attention. Each other player learns a Mood Disorder.

Baron-   Touch   You may reveal a Comfort from your awareness. If you do, +4 Motivation. Otherwise, learn a Comfort. +1 Training.

Coppersmith-   Fret   This turn, each Pain is worth +1 Motivation.

Masquerade-   Ask For Help   +2 Attention. Each player passes a habit from his awareness to the player on his left. You may unlearn 1 habit.

Saboteur-   Insult   Each other player reveals habits from his personality until he reveals one that cost at least 3 Motivation. He unlearns that habit and discards the rest.

Haven-   Use To-Do List   +1 Attention, +1 Will. Set aside a habit from your awareness under this. At the start of your next turn, put it into your awareness.

Lookout-   Haste   +1 Will. Look at the top 3 habits of your personality. Unlearn one. Discard one. Put one back on your personality.

Merchant Ship-   Excercise   Now and at the start of your next turn, +2 Motivation.

Tactician-   Sleep Early, Rise Early   Discard your awareness. If you discarded any habits this way, at the start of your next turn, +5 Attention, +1 Will, +1 Training.

Warehouse-   Concentrate   +3 Attention. Discard 3 habits. +1 Will.

Wharf-   Keep Records   Now and at the start of your next turn, +2 Attention, +1 Training.

Apprentice- Meditate   +1 Will. Unlearn a habit from your awareness. +1 Attention for each Motivation in its cost.

Apothecary-   Introspect   +1 Attention. Reveal the top 4 habits from your personality. Put any Pains and Guilts into your awareness. Put the others back in any order.

Counting House-   Snoop   Look through your discard pile. You may put any number of Pains from it into your awareness.

Mountebank-   Punish   +2 Drive. Each other player either reveals a Mood Disorder from their awareness, or learns a Pain and a Mood Disorder.

Goons-   Identify With A Group   +2 Drive. Each other player puts cards from his awareness into his subconscious until he has 3 habits in his awareness. +1 Training. - When this is in play, for each habit you learn this turn, +1 Fulfillment.

Monument-   Create   +2 Drive. +1 Fulfillment.

Bishop-   Serve   +1 Drive. Unlearn a habit from your awareness. +1 Fulfillment equal to half its Motivation cost, rounded down. Each other player may unlearn a habit from their awareness.

Fortune Teller-   Threaten   +2 Drive. Each other player reveals habits from the top of their personality until they find a Reward or Mood Disorder, putting it back and discarding the rest.

Dominion General Discussion / Ultimate Dominion Storage Solution
« on: December 10, 2011, 09:45:32 am »
Cornucopia has already overflowed the briefcase which I remodeled with custom plastic dividers.

With the announcement that next year's small and large expansion (plus promo card) will be the end of Dominion, we now know roughly how many Dominion cards there will be. Assuming I wish to also carry a few custom-designed Dominion cards, and further assuming we will not have weird-shaped extra bits with next year's expansions, I can create the last Dominion storage solution that I will ever need to build.

I have cheap access to a laser cutter at my local hacker space. The case will have wheels and an extendable handle, containing two shelves of vertically-stacked cards. It will be mostly 1/8" acrylic which I will buy from Alba Plastic. I considered birch plywood, but decided in favor of acrylic's strength.

One of the design challenges is the alphabet. I don't know what letters the forthcoming cards will start with.  I think I should laser-perforate/cut posterboard, engraved with the names of the cards, to make an individual sleeve for each stack of cards, so that they can be re-ordered. Laser-cut foam spacers will stand in for future expansions.

I tried architect modeling board (as most game boards are made from) and extra-thin mat board for the sleeves, but they didn't perforate well, or even fold well when scored. Besides, they're too heavy. I figure I can always just laser-cut more extra posterboard sleeves in case I need to replace them. They're cheap.

I can't laser any styrene or any other plastic with chlorine in it.


Dominion General Discussion / Which First? Duchies or Dukes?
« on: November 29, 2011, 12:37:34 pm »
When going for a Duke victory, should you buy up all the Duchies first?  Or all the Dukes? Or alternate between them? Or buy four Duchies, then all Dukes, then the rest of the Duchies?

Variants and Fan Cards / Cards That Care About The Trash
« on: November 24, 2011, 04:30:26 pm »
No, seriously. Let's try.

SerikosiaKunigund came up with this one. I tweaked it a bit.

River Ford
Cost: 3
Type Action-Victory
Trash a Treasure from your hand.
If you do, +2 Actions.
Worth 1 VP for every $3 in the trash, rounded down.

Dominion General Discussion / Cards That Combo With Tunnel Reaction
« on: October 22, 2011, 02:02:45 am »
"The Tunnel reaction seems excessively situational." Thus sayeth some of my compatriots at game night. Oh, not so, my friend.

Cards that can discard from your hand:
Secret Chamber
Horse Traders
Young Witch

Cards that can discard from your opponents' hand:

Cards that can discard from your deck:
Scrying Pool
Farming Village
Hunting Party
Jack of All Trades

Cards that can discard from your opponents' deck:
Pirate Ship
Sea Hag
Scrying Pool
Noble Brigand

I guess Saboteur, if Bridge has been played?

<Edited: Thanks for reminding me of Pirate Ship!>

Dominion General Discussion / Any Gossip About Fall 2011 Expansion?
« on: July 24, 2011, 11:25:41 pm »
Text often fails to convey tone-- I am not complaining or criticizing (which would be odd), but curious enough to wonder if there is any gossip.

Correct me if I'm wrong on any of these details. It has been previously mentioned that Rio Grande plans to publish two Dominion expansions per year: a half-size set in the spring, and a full-size set in the fall. This process is supposed to end in 2012, with the final planned expansion (although some more cards might come out in the unforeseeable future).

Last year, Dominion: Prosperity was discussed on as early as March, revealed its theme and color text around May 25, It was announced as an "August/September" release, Jay Tummelson revealed Counting House and Contraband around August 1, I bought it at GenCon, and by August 11 we actually had DXV's Secret History of Prosperity.

Naturally, many (if not perhaps most) highly-anticipated games arrive a couple of months later than the predicted date. That's normal. What piques my curiosity is that, nearing the end of July, we do not even know the name of this year's large Dominion expansion.

I find myself, as if an expectant uncle, at a loss for what name to call the fetus, and perhaps even its pronoun, despite that the parents have presumably had an ultrasound like they did with all their previous pregnancies. It is one of the foremost topics of discussion by the extended family, because they already know they love this person who they have not met, and yet they all circumlocute awkwardly for lack of language. That is what my game group is like now. Forgive my amazingly rubbish metaphor!

What strikes me as out of the ordinary is that the process has not publicly begun its first step. Perhaps a different, more mysterious and dramatic marketing strategy on the part of Rio Grande?

If it takes as long as previous timetables, would that not mean Dominion: 2011 will not arrive until perhaps February 2012? Has any "Dominion meteorologist" tracked how long most previous expansions have taken from name announcement to store shelves, so that we can make forecasts as foolhardy as any weatherman?

Game Reports / For Everything Else, There's Dominioncard
« on: July 18, 2011, 12:26:18 pm »
Black Market. Three dollars.

King's Court. Seven dollars.

Buying the only Fairgrounds in the Black Market deck? Priceless.

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