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Game Reports / Empires Recommended Sets
« on: June 26, 2016, 12:10:47 pm »
So, I've been playing some of the Empires recommended sets of 10 with my friends over the last couple of weekends. I don't log games IRL, so I only have a general description of what happened. Thoughts on strategy for the sets, but also reviews of the sets (how balanced they are, how fun, novel, etc) is what I'm after in this thread. All the games here were played 3p.

Empires only

Basic Intro Tower, Wedding - Castles, Chariot Race, City Quarter, Engineer, Farmers' Market, Forum, Legionary, Patrician/Emporium, Sacrifice, Villa

Both my opponents went for an early Legionary, one picking up Castles along the way and another playing basically money. I opened 3/4, which was unfortunate, as if I had opened 4/3 I could have opened Sacrifice/Engineer and carried a debt into the shuffle. As it was, I opened Silver/Engineer, hoping to pick up a pair of Sacrifices with the Engineer on turns 3/4. As it turns out, I got super punished for this hubris when my Engineer missed the shuffle. The money player connected his Legionary a seemingly inordinate percentage of the time, which slowed me way down as well. I eventually cleaned up, and my deck of 6 Villas (empty pile), 6 Patrician/Emporiums (empty pile) and a couple City Quarters and Chariot Races was beginning to play well. I went for a Tower-induced pileout on Chariot Race (which I had 9 of when the game ended), only to realize that there are in fact, 2 Humble Castles in a 3p game, so I miscounted the Castles player's VP and lost by a few points. More patient play would probably have won me the game.

Advanced Intro Arena, Triumphal Arch - Archive, Capital, Catapult/Rocks, Crown, Enchantress, Gladiator/Fortune, Groundskeeper, Royal Blacksmith, Settlers/Bustling Village, Temple

Trashed down with temple while picking up some Settlers and sadly only one Bustling Village. Got one Royal Blacksmith. My last turn of the game: Crown/Capital, Crown/Capital, Crown/Gold, (Crown - just for the +buy)/Fortune with 5 Groundskeepers in play for an easy pileout with tons of VP. The one player who touched the Gladiator pile and revealed Fortune was also the only one not to pick up on Crown/Capital in time. Made my deck infinitely more explosive.

Empires & Seaside

King of the Sea Delve, Fountain - Archive, Farmers' Market, Overlord, Temple, Wild Hunt - Explorer, Haven, Native Village, Pirate Ship, Sea Hag

Both my opponents open Sea Hag, and I instead open Temple/Native Village. It is clear from the outset that they are all in on Fountain, each picking up their extra coppers relatively early. I eventually set up a Native Village/Wild Hunt engine with very necessary Overlord support; without Overlord this probably isn't consistent enough. Wild Hunt is pretty good; it was both draw and payload, drawing my whole deck and then playing a last one to pick up the VP. I had a Temple on hand to trash the Estate each turn, and I picked up a couple of Pirate Ships and managed to knock both my opponents out of their Fountain VP by the end of the game. One of my opponents had transitioned from Sea Hag into Big Money, and one of my opponents had basically floundered into a complete pile of coppers and Havens.

Empires and Adventures

Area Control Banquet, Keep - Capital, Catapult/Rocks, Charm, Crown, Farmers' Market - Coin of the Realm, Page, Relic, Treasure Trove, Wine Merchant

What a game, a fantastically novel game that felt nothing like any other game of Dominion I've ever played. The 3p dynamic was also great with this set, jockeying for position on treasure piles for most of the game. I ended up using Treasure Trove to win 3 piles, and when both my opponents kept Treasure Hunters to contest Silvers, I went straight to Hero (and then stopped), allowing me to steal a share of the Charm pile. I also won the Relic pile and the game, having picked up a single Province before a Charm, Crown, Capital pile out.

No Money, No Problems Bandit Fort, Mission - Archive, Encampment/Plunder, Royal Blacksmith, Temple, Villa - Dungeon, Duplicate, Hireling, Peasant, Transmogrify

I opened Temple/Peasant here, using a couple of Encampments and Mission to get thin and push my Peasant through to enlightenment. I was able to pick up two Plunders and cover the pile with two encampments (with two others in my deck), and then spread a couple of Teacher tokens onto Villa (+card) and Encampment (+ coin) and nicked a pile out. I actually liked what one of my opponents did, grabbing a ton of Soldiers for economy and annoyance, but he failed to send one through to Teacher and ended up not having a consistent enough deck to play all the Soldiers. The third player was a bit of a non-factor in the game.

Game Reports / This, this is Adventures (+Summon)
« on: June 13, 2016, 08:48:10 pm »

Code: [Select]
Ball, Summon, Ratcatcher, Lookout, Island, Bandit Camp, Bazaar, Bridge Troll, Counterfeit, Royal Carriage, Swamp Hag, Wine Merchant

This game was a blast; I don't even know where to start. You can Summon + cost reduce everything in the world (which I realized a bit late), there's Swamp Hag + Royal Carriage, which allowed me to three pile by picking up a stack of curses on my last turn. My opponent confessed to being in the early stages of learning these cards, but I don't think I even know what the correct path here is. There's so much fun with Summon here.

Dominion General Discussion / Organized Online Play
« on: February 15, 2016, 02:48:36 pm »
Splitting this out from another thread:

Also, on the topic of other tournaments, would anyone be interested in a monthly Swiss tournament with 1 game matches?
I would!

I would play in these, it could be cool. I would say that such things are probably scheduling nightmares; in order to turn around a tournament in a month you would need fairly aggressive scheduling, possibly with the very real threat of forfeiting matches based on scheduling.

Honestly, what I would like more are '8-mans' (to use the MTGO terminology): a place (possibly a Discord channel) with a bot that ran small single elimination or swiss events on-demand when they filled up. Unfortunately, it would need to take self-reported results; there's not a way get those fast enough out of the client and/or logs automagically (unless everyone playing used a currently non-existent MF mod).

I like the League, this isn't about replacing that. This topic is for other organized, competitive online play.

Game Reports / Playing to your outs
« on: January 21, 2016, 06:04:26 pm »

Code: [Select]
Duchess, Pearl Diver, Fishing Village, Scheme, Warehouse, Ironworks, Worker's Village, Contraband, Highway, Outpost

Just finished playing this game. I opened 5/2, Highway/Pearl Diver. My plan was to get Highway/Ironworks going to win Highway split, gain a bunch of Worker's Village, and engineer a pile out. I don't know if I acquired my cards in the wrong order or what, but my opponent quickly won the Highway split 7-3 (after I opened one, damn). I considered conceding when he gained the last Highway. However, I kept playing, and realized he was giving me an opening. I piled Worker's Villages to accumulate +buy, hoping to eventually pile out Estates while he wasn't looking. Turns out, he screwed around getting platina and colonies and not paying any attention to piles, and not even picking up +buys of his own to go with his Highways. I eventually manage to sneak a victory, ending up with 7 Duchies and 11 Estates in my deck.

I'm posting this because of the idea of playing to your outs. I haven't read too much discussion on this type of scenario (perhaps I don't know where to find it?), but the idea that you construct a game plan around maximizing the very small probability to win the game, even if the expected result of the plan is a very bad deck. Here, after the Highway split, I felt like I had a very minimal chance of winning, but constructed a plan around finding that percentage and received help from a misplaying opponent to steal a win from a bad place. This is an aspect of Dominion that I don't feel gets discussed enough: changing plans mid-game to address a bad situation.

Game Reports / Graverobber vs Butcher; Apothecary; fishing for +Buy?
« on: January 08, 2016, 11:53:56 am »

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Apothecary, Death Cart, Ironworks, Procession, Butcher, Counting House, Graverobber, Journeyman, Library, Border Village

I open 5/2 and go for Butcher/- here. My opponent opens Silver/Potion, and I follow on potion with Butcher trashing Estate on t3. I suppose this is listed second in the thread title, but appears first in the thread; oh well. Is Apothecary worth it here? After Stef demonstrated the power of it me by walking me through an Apothecary/Farming Village/Oracle thing in one of my first streams, I usually just go for it. There's plenty of draw here though; Journeyman and Library exist.

On turn 6, I use my Butcher to pick up Procession, which I then don't use and just later trash. Feels like a mistake, but I'm not sure what, if anything, I want to gain here.

The endgame here presents (as I see it) two alternatives: Graverobber and Butcher, both with the aim of getting 2 Provinces a turn. I end up getting 2 Graverobbers, with the aim of using them in tandem to pick up a 5 from the trash and then trash it for a Province. The alternative is Butchering these Border Villages into Provinces, which feels less powerful to me here. I feel like I transitioned from Graverobber to Butcher reasonably correctly this game, but I'm not sure at all. Also, as a side note, I was shocked to see that the card gained from the trash with Graverobber went to the top of my deck; I really need to like, RTFC.

I wonder sometimes about Death Cart and fishing for a Ruined Market with no other +Buy available. In this game, I don't think my deck could handle the ruins particularly well, and the Death Cart wasn't necessary for money until I spiked the Ruined Market (if ever). Is fishing for Ruined Market ever correct? I remember playing a game where Ruined Market was was top of the ruins stack; I ended up "buying it for $9" at one point the game, Princed it (this was obviously incorrect in that game; I should have princed an Ironmonger to facilitate drawing my deck to play the Ruined Market naturally every turn), and ended up losing handily to my opponent who managed fine with just one buy. Would you have bought a Death Cart or Ruined Market this game if Ruined Market was on top of the stack?

Game Reports / Lost the Grand Market split 9-1; Won the game
« on: November 27, 2015, 06:58:02 pm »

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Apothecary, Masquerade, Oracle, Alchemist, Death Cart, Gardens, Pirate Ship, Catacombs, Wharf, Grand Market

Not sure what my opponent was doing, as he gets Grand Market after Grand Market and I flounder around with my Apothecaries and Alchemists without a plan. I eventually pick up a Pirate Ship (?!) to attack his flood of Golds and Platina with. He doesn't really do anything, until he decides to pile the Gardens (?!) and I buy two Colonies a turn to win.

Not convinced either of us played this sanely, but it does feel like a thing worth highlighting that I lost the Grand Market split 9-1 and still managed to win the game.

Variants and Fan Cards / Treacherous Tonic
« on: November 19, 2015, 11:18:06 am »
Treacherous Tonic

+2 Cards

Trash a card at random from your hand.

Art direction: Dark alleyway, two people, one pulling a (focus of art) bottle of liquid from the inside of his coat, the other (slightly desperate looking) reaching with feeble hands.

I'm aware that +P cards don't exist because they are useless in isolation, but this one can at the very least help pick up additional copies of itself (flavor!). The trash a card at random is the inherent risk of the tonic. I'm not sure what the coin component of the cost should be.

Game Reports / What to take away from reviews
« on: November 16, 2015, 12:53:44 pm »
I'm having trouble determining what I should take away from reviewing my game logs, particularly when I think my plan was OK and then I get smashed, or when it seems like there is an obvious reason why I lost, but it may hide (or even be caused by) earlier mistakes. I also have trouble reviewing logs from victories, because the question: "How could I have lost to a better player if I play this way?" is extremely difficult to answer (because I'm not a better player than myself). I'm going to post 4 game logs here, with the questions I asked myself and what I think I should learn from the game. The idea here is primarily getting better at analysis, but specific insight into the actual mistakes made would be appreciated as well.

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Duchess, Herbalist, Native Village, University, Coppersmith, Contraband, Counterfeit, Mint, Vault, Nobles

I look at this board and decide I want to draw my deck each turn with Native Village and Nobles. I open Silver/Silver, get a Counterfeit, and start acquiring Nobles. My opponent plays Big Money with Vault. Its tempting to just look at the leaderboard and conclude that Vault-BM was the correct strategy here and move on, but that doesn't actually help me here. I don't think I built my deck properly; it feels like a Vault would have been good, both early to hit 6 and then later when I can discard some cards and redraw them with Nobles afterwards. I feel like I waited too long to pick up a second source of +buy, which felt like my only way to get back in the game after I got into a VP hole. I asked myself whether the engine approach here is worthwhile, and I don't see great payload (as an aside, as someone new to "organized strategy" but who has played for years at a "pretty good for someone who never thought too hard about it" level, I find the terminology difficult to adapt to, as I had phrases mentally for some of these concepts), so its possible that its not worth it and that Vault-BM is too good. There isn't any variable-VP either, which means that a Nobles advantage will only get me so far. This one is honestly hard; I really want there to be something other than Vault-BM here.

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Fool's Gold, Ambassador, Horse Traders, Throne Room, Walled Village, Catacombs, Jester, Mine, Mountebank, Saboteur

I open 5/2 here, which is possibly the conclusion. It doesn't necessarily feel that way to me (although Rabid seemed to think so in chat, possibly he was trying to be nice). At about turn 8/9, I felt like I was in the game. I hit 5 and buy a Catacombs, which for several "hand-occurrences" feels incorrect to play, so I don't. Rabid picks up a Throne Room at this time, which I hadn't really considered and didn't until it was far, far too late. I also picked up a Saboteur when I felt I was so far behind that I needed a miracle, but it was way too late by that point as well. Again, its tempting to be reductive and say that the opening killed me here, but that doesn't seem right for a game where it felt like with better buys turns 9-11 or so that I could have been in it.

This was the first of the two games I played against Rabid, the first log presented here being the second, but I swapped the orders of them for the post because I feel like the first log is more interesting as a review.

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Haven, Pawn, Squire, Scrying Pool, Masquerade, Tunnel, Advisor, Counterfeit, Festival, Rogue

I win this game when my opponent concedes when I "get so far ahead" according to his chat. I open Masquerade/Potion and pick up Advisor/Scrying Pool on 3/4. Its hard for me to gauge the effectiveness of the Advisor here, as the first time playing it I get denied a Potion (opponent's choice over Masquerade, not sure there, felt correct to me), but that motivates me to pick up a Counterfeit, which turns out to be great (predictably). I start getting Festivals and Pawns, but I also buy a second Advisor, which was terrible. Shortly thereafter, I have enough Scrying Pools where its irrelevant to play Advisor and I feel like it was probably better off just being a Pawn. My opponent concedes after I Counterfeit my Potion to pick up the last to Scrying Pools; I actually prefer to continue playing, as I really need the practice on pile control and actually winning the game from that spot without bricking my deck with VP. The questions here involve the Advisor buys, and whether or not the game actually swung on my opponent buying Silver and Squire and polluting his deck. It feels like the second Advisor was wrong, but I'm not sure on that first one, would Pawn have been better? I'm also not sure whether the game actually hinged on discarding his potion with Scrying Pool on turn 6 and his own Scrying Pool on turn 8. That feels like a big source of my subsequent advantage, but that's difficult to gauge.

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University, Masquerade, Tunnel, Philosopher's Stone, Bridge, Farming Village, Monument, Taxman, Merchant Ship, Vault

This game bears some similarity to the first log. I try to play an engine, which is almost certainly overrun with terminals. My opponent plays Taxman-BM, and crushes me. This one feels more like a misbuilt deck; although it could be Vault/Masquerade just aren't good enough at card drawing to get the job done. I also wonder whether I should have picked up a Monument earlier than I did, I knew pretty early that I needed a lot of VP chips to beat an unfavorable Province split. Between this game and the first log, it really looks like l need to improve my ability to judge the available engine strength versus the relevant BM strategy. This one feels particularly bad to me, as surely Vault-BM is better than Taxman-BM? It also feels like between Monument and Bridge that something other than Big Money was viable here. That or I just don't understand the power of Vault.

What types of questions ought I to be asking myself after these kinds of games? Is my analysis way off base, or is it on the right track and I need to improve what I think I need to improve? Concluding that I need to work on something when that wasn't the primary (or secondary, etc) takeaway from a game leads to wasted time.

Game Reports / Opening poor house / mint in this kingdom?
« on: November 06, 2015, 09:25:01 am »

Code: [Select]
Transmute, Poor House, Storeroom, Swindler, Graverobber, Inn, Library, Merchant Guild, Mint, King's Court

Played this yesterday, opened 2/5. I decided to open poor house / mint, with the plan of graverobbering my mint into KC, and using KC/Inn to filter though to KC/Poor house + Merchant guild. The actual game log isn't that interesting, I make quite a few mistakes (including missing a crucial $5 in my hand, playing it as a $4) and eventually get there in the end. My opponent... well, I dunno. But I'm interested to hear if that opening makes sense with 2/5 on this board. There's no strong trash, which I think is a prerequisite for going for something like this.

Help! / Which mistake (turn 4 or turn 8) hurt me the most?
« on: November 05, 2015, 01:29:25 pm »
Played this game yesterday. Kingdom:

Code: [Select]
Loan, Steward, Bureaucrat, Death Cart, Pirate Ship, Butcher, Junk Dealer, Merchant Guild, Minion, Farmland

I open silver/steward and then hit 2C3E on turn 3. Turn 4 I have SCCCC. I'm reasonably sure that buying a gold here is bad, and that I should have bought a Junk Dealer.

Turns 5&7, I again decline to buy Junk Dealer, and instead buy Minion. It occurs to me now that if my plan was to buy a ton of Minions, I should have bought one on turn 4 as well. Anyway, I'm reasonably sure on turn 8 I throw the game for sure: With 6 coins and an estate, I buy a Farmland to ditch my estate, but I have to gain a 4: which I don't want. I choose Death Cart, and proceed to lose the game pretty handily.

So my question here is which mistake cost my chances of winning this game more: the turn 4 Gold, or the turn 8 nonsense given the turn 4 mistake?

Also, my opponent here is apparently a stronger player than the average opponent in MF random match, lol.

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