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Topics - vsiewnar

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To begin, let us recall what the PPR states:

If you are trailing, do not buy the second-to-last Province if you can instead purchase lesser Victory card(s) to take the lead (taken from the blog in an article dated 2011)

While concise, the PPR is only applicable in a few circumstances and can result in sub-optimal choices when used outside of those circumstances. Consequently, let us look at the idea or the motivation behind the PPR with the intention of developing a greater understanding and a more general statement about endgames.

At its heart, the PPR is really warning you against putting the game in a position that allows your opponent to win i.e. meet a condition to end the game and have a victory point (VP) lead on their next turn(s). Note that in addition to an empty Province/Colony pile or an empty third supply pile, getting more than 50% of the VP (on finite VP kingdoms) is another effective end condition.

To determine whether your opponent can end the game, you should look at their ‘pile-emptying power’. ‘Pile-emptying power’ refers to their ability to move cards out of the supply i.e. empty piles which can be done by some combination of buying, gaining and trashing out of the supply. Accurately determining your opponent’s ‘pile-emptying power’ is not always easy but often manageable.

Another drawback of the PPR is that it encourages a defensive mindset for the endgame since you may end up mostly thinking about how to not lose the game. However, thinking about how to win the game is (at least) equally important. Thinking about how to win the game can start from turn 1 but let us concentrate on the endgame here. How to win may involve assessing your own ‘pile-emptying power’ and how to increase it so that you can win in the next turn(s) without allowing your opponent to win.

Another important aspect of how to win is knowing when you must take a risk to give yourself a winning chance. The risk here refers to giving your opponent some non-zero chance of winning on their next turn based on the decisions you make on your turn. The idea is that you should always give yourself the best chance of winning, regardless of how small, if a 100% win is not possible. Sometimes your best chance of winning is tiny and sometimes it is large; in both cases, you should make the appropriate decision(s) to achieve this. This decision is affected by numerous factors such as number of cards in play (especially Duration and Reserve cards), tracking the position of critical (maybe pile-emptying) cards and understanding how decks deteriorate while greening to name a few.

To summarise, perhaps a more general and more widely applicable statement of the PPR is to not put the game in a position that allows your opponent to win unless doing so gives you the best chance of winning.

Dominion Articles / Mission basics
« on: October 20, 2016, 08:47:42 pm »

(Image from guidobass)

Below is a list of things to keep in mind whenever Mission is on the board. This is not meant to have deep analysis about the event but rather just things to keep in mind when it shows up. Additionally, whatever feedback is left about this write-up will be incorporated into the article so that, hopefully, it can be a collection of ideas from the community rather than just one person. Without further ado, here is the list (in no particular order of importance).

•   Gaining – This is the first thing that jumped out to me when reading the text of Mission. If I can’t buy things, I will just gain them instead. Even if the Mission turn is used just to use Workshop for a Herald, say, I feel like it is worth it do so because it also cycles you (which is usually good while building the deck). Other notable gainers include Horn of Plenty, Procession, Graverobber, Artificer, University and Artisan (more exist but this is off the top of my head).

•   Trashing – It might be worth it to spend that 4 coin to go looking for Steward, Junk Dealer or Chapel. Also in this section are the cards that trash for benefit like Upgrade, Governor and Forge. Also, see Dingan's idea down below.
•   VP tokens – You can get Monument down or play Bishop a second time. Empires also includes Gathering piles so you can either sweeten the pot or clear the pile (e.g. Farmer’s Market) on the Mission turn.

•   Attacking – On the Mission turn, you find attacks that have not shown up yet but you think would be quite important to get in like Militia or Ghost Ship (for that constant pressure), say. Naturally, there are some attacks that have no effect the second time (like those aforementioned). However, there are some that do hit twice. The most notable of those are the junkers (e.g. Young Witch, Cultist, Familiar, Torturer (by Jimmmmm)) and the trashers (e.g. Knights). Also included here is Mission’s ability to evade hand-size attacks; you get another turn but with 5 cards this time (though you forgo buying). Additionally, only one copy of duration attacks is needed to keep your opponent under constant pressure since you can potentially replay that same copy during the Mission turn. Included here is Possession.

•   Duration cards – Nearly every duration card can benefit from a Mission turn (Outpost may be the only exception). You can use your Mission turn to set up Wharves, Caravans, Archives and, most notably perhaps, Tactician so that you can reap the rewards on the next turn. 

•   Buy events – This comes along with the expansion that introduced Mission. Whenever there is another event with Mission on board, this something to keep in mind. Alms is an excellent partner for Mission for instance. Also, the usual one-time buy events like Inheritance and Pathfinding can be bought on your Mission so that you can use the first turn to buy cards.

•   Travellers – You can upgrade your Travellers on your Mission turn allowing for a faster turnover. Notably, you can either call or set aside your Teacher on the Mission turn allowing you to get a full cycle from Teacher in just one turn potentially. Speaking of Teacher…

•   Tavern mat – Cards can be called from the Tavern (Transmogrify, Wine Merchant, Teacher) or set aside (Guide, Transmogrify) during Missions.

•   Coin tokens – Laying down Baker or Candlestick Maker a second time is obviously good. Butcher, as always, is great gaining tokens and gaining potentially.

•   Debt – Pay off your debt if the occasion presents itself

•   Set-up (from DG) - Mission can help to set up your turn to be a good one. You can rid yourself of the Haunted Woods attack or use something like Apothecary, Scouting Party or Cartographer to top-deck good cards (and potentially remove worse cards).

A natural comparison to make is with Outpost since Outpost turns can do all of the above things. In fact, in the late game of an engine, Outpost will often out-class Mission. However, Mission’s main advantage (outside of not using an Action or a deck slot) is that it is always there. For example, you may want an extra turn to gain the first Prize but won’t usually have an Outpost there to get you there. You want to use Transmogrify or Rebuild to close out the game but won’t have Outpost in deck because it doesn’t fit well; Mission can get you there. You may want to play Young Witch a second time especially since there is no bane in the way; Mission. These examples also highlight another advantage of Mission: the extra 2 cards (useful with Governors also, for example).

However, the main point is that it is there whenever you want it (and have the money). This can be useful particularly in the mid-game where Outpost isn’t usually seen.

Another point worth consideration is that Mission potentially involves not buying cards on both turns not just the one. If you buy Mission, you are saying that it is more useful to have potentially two turns not buying cards (or one turn not buying as many cards) than it is to buy cards for the one turn. Knowing when this is useful can guide you on purchasing Mission. (from Chris is me)

Rules Questions / More Adventures questions
« on: May 01, 2016, 04:20:24 pm »
A few questions came up today on this kingdom: Herbalist, Page, Lighthouse, Smugglers, Herald, Spy, Golem, Inn, Tactician, Possession.

1. If I play Possession, then buy Mission, do I get the Possession turn first, the Mission turn first or is it my choice?

2. When do you get the Actions benefit from Champion? Is it as soon as it's played?

3. If my opponent's last turn was a Mission turn, gained nothing on the Mission turn and I then played Smugglers on my turn, do I gain nothing? (Fairly certain the answer to this one is to gain nothing but double-checking regardless)

4. When possessed, if my opponent tells me to exchange a Page for a Treasure Hunter, does the Treasure Hunter still remain in my deck?

5. Is it possible to return a Page if the Treasure Hunter pile is empty?

Thanks in advance for your help!

Game Reports / Inheritance empowers Silk Road
« on: April 24, 2016, 10:21:25 pm »
Kingdom: Amulet, Village, Silk Road, Bureaucrat, Miser, Swamp Hag, Merchant Guild, Count, Counterfeit, Mint, Inheritance, Province.

This was played as a 2-player game IRL. Before the game, my friendly opponent pointed out the Inheritance aids some kind of Silk Road strategy. It's obvious to me in retrospect and people may have already realised this synergy but, at the time, my mind was blown. Instead, my observation was that Inheritance severely weakens Bureaucrat's attack...not exactly mind-blowing.

We gave this two tries. The first one was done in a slog style. I opened with Amulet/Silver, got a Count, Inheritance (on Village), a couple Merchant Guilds and then bought nothing but green cards after that. This game was quite close. It also made me think about whether I should buy Duchy before Silk Road or if I should directly target the Silk Roads.

On the second try, I tried to get thin and use Swamp Hag to pressure my opponent while picking up heaps of coin tokens through multiple Merchant Guilds. That strategy got utterly wrecked against the slog.

I'm not sure about the optimal way to play this board. After the couple of games, it seems that you want to build up a bit more so that you could nick a Province or two. I'm not sure though; your thoughts?

Rules Questions / Cultist and Market Square
« on: April 09, 2016, 12:44:25 pm »
Online, I trashed a Cultist and then drew into a Market Square. The game then asked if I wanted to trigger Market Square's gain of Gold. Is this how this interaction is supposed to work?

Game Reports / Engine or Money or a hybrid?
« on: March 25, 2016, 12:47:01 am »
Supply cards: Fishing Village, Tunnel, Herald, Ironmonger, Navigator, Nomad Camp, Walled Village, Embassy, Hunting Grounds, Prince, Copper, Silver, Gold, Estate, Duchy, Province, Curse

This game was recently played and it made me think for a while. The main source of doubt was whether Embassy-BM is fast enough to collect more than 50% of the VP. Maybe the question is trivial.

I think that if you choose to play more engine-like here, you have to commit early (I think I did with a Nomad Camp Turn 1). I was slightly in favour of the engine mostly because there was a pile of Tunnels to get extra points.

In retrospect there are a couple things that make the engine slightly more viable. An overpaid Herald can pair useful cards together (Prince/anything or Village/draw). This is an aspect of the card that I feel is underused (by me, anyway). The second thing is that Embassy can get you to 6 and 8 coin somewhat reliably even if played dead.

The log itself isn't really that important. I would just like to hear people's thoughts are on the most optimal way to play this board.


Dominion Articles / Rebuild w/ Scouting Party (and Mission)
« on: January 30, 2016, 07:48:58 pm »
I recently played a game with Rebuild, Scouting Party and Mission (Provinces). I initially pursued the Rebuild strategy on this board without casting too much thought into the events at hand.

Eventually, I realised that I could buy Mission on four coin hands just to get back to Rebuild faster. However, there was the drawback that I couldn't buy cards on the Mission turns. Wait, I can buy events! How about another Mission? Nope, that doesn't work.

I'll get a Scouting Party; that should help get me back to my Rebuilds even faster. Wait again, I can buy more than one Scouting Party on these turns! Even more cycling. Not only that, but Scouting Party helps prevent drawing Rebuild with too many green cards (one of the more unpleasant things to see playing with Rebuild obviously).

Combined, these two events made the Rebuild plan much quicker that game. I think that Scouting Party is the more important of the two events mentioned. With 4 coin, you can go through 6 cards and pair Rebuild with a Silver, for example, which will at least buy you an Estate should you want it. Mission goes through less cards (4) but may let you play Rebuild(s) again in one turn.

Because, you know, Rebuild needed other cards/events to make it a strong option.

Dominion General Discussion / When to buy Vineyards
« on: January 06, 2016, 03:13:02 pm »
I make reference here to boards that encourage an engine-type deck to built. I am not referring to Vineyard rushes (emptying Squires, Moats and Vineyards, say)

I recently looked at Mic Qsenoch's first match of Season 12. In the last game, I observed that he started buying the Vineyards in the middle of the game and then proceeded to increase their value.

This order of buying Vineyards is something that I have observed in some of my games as well. Sometimes, it is to prevent my opponent from having more than half the Vineyards. Other times, they are apparently so tempting that I begin to purchase them mid-game too.

This is contrary to buying most other Victory cards though (ignoring the early Island, say). The usual manner is to buy them on your last turns. Little to no deck-building goes on once you start buying green cards (ignoring Haggler gains, say).

Why is it that buying Vineyards follow a different rule (sometimes, at least)? Is this the correct thing to do in these situations?

I posted this here and not on Mic Qsenoch's video to possibly hear more ideas on this issue.

Dominion Articles / Apothecary in Adventures
« on: October 17, 2015, 01:23:29 am »
Apothecary in Adventures

Apothecary is a card that I have grown to like over many games of Dominion. The learning curve for this card was steep for me but I was always encouraged when I saw some of the extremely elegant uses for it. There are two very good articles on the forum about Apothecary and they outline different uses of the card. I wish to contribute somewhat to the knowledge that is currently available on Apothecary. This contribution seeks to speculate what cards and events from the latest expansion, Adventures, will interact well with Apothecary. These thoughts are only based on my experience of numerous games with Apothecary and some games with the new expansion.


Raze fits the role of removing the starting estates (or shelters) uniquely. Raze is non-terminal and, when trashing estates, there is some cycling. What sets Raze apart (from Lookout, say) is that it can remove itself from the deck by trashing itself once the starting estates (or shelters) have been removed. This is one less card to reduce Apothecary's drawing power. Also, Apothecary can help pair Raze with an estate (or shelter). Ratcatcher can also be used to trash estates to clear the path for the Apothecary. However, pairing Raze, in particular, with Potion in an opening can lead to rapid deck development.


Artificer is the card from Adventures that intrigued me the most. With Apothecary, it is possible to have an enlarged handsize from all the drawn coppers. Artificer can then make use of this increased hand-size to gain and top-deck expensive cards easily (say, Grand Market). This becomes more potent if there are enough Apothecaries in one's deck to re-draw the discarded coppers and play the gained card immediately or if there are multiple Artificers to gain cards. Additionally, Artificer is a cantrip so it works well with Apothecary.

Apothecary/Distant Lands

Distant Lands is good for the Apothecary-intensive deck. It disappears from the deck allowing the Apothecary to draw through more of the deck after it has been set aside. I have played a game with Apothecary and Distant Lands on the board and my deck had more longevity than other kinds of decks because Distant Lands were set aside once played. This is reminiscent of the Apothecary/Native Village interaction.


Apothecary decks run into the problem of stalling hard because they eventually reveal a 'wall of green' thus seeding their next hand with numerous green cards (similar to Rabble's attack). Being able to overcome this problem is what can make an Apothecary deck viable for a game. Guide allows you to discard this 'wall of green' for one that has more options. Events that can circumvent this 'wall of green' in your next hand are Scouting Party and Mission.

These are my thoughts on Apothecary's interaction with Adventures cards/events and you are welcome to share yours and leave feedback.

Rules Questions / Storyteller with Bank
« on: June 21, 2015, 12:57:49 pm »
Let's say I play a Storyteller and chose to play 3 copper from my hand. Then, I would draw 4 cards with Storyteller. Suppose I end my Actions phase here and then play only 1 Bank in my Buy phase. Is the Bank worth 1 coin or 4 coin (from the coppers in play due to Storyteller)?

Intuition tells me the Bank is worth 1 coin but I'm not sure about this. Thanks for your response(s) in advance.

Rules Questions / Alms with Spoils
« on: April 26, 2015, 08:41:17 pm »
When Spoils are played, they return to their respective pile.

Does this mean that if there is a turn where, say, two Spoils are played (and there are two buys) then one can buy something with the coin from Spoils and still beg Alms (since the Spoils are no longer in play)?

This may be an elementary question but there was some discussion among my group of friends about this and we seek clarification.

Thanks in advance for contributing.

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