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Topics - timchen

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1
In a recent game I have these four cards available. There is light trashing due to loan.

Not to be stuck with analysis paralysis I sort of just played randomly in that game.

But I have to think,

given you have trashed most of your coppers and have a few of each cards, what is the right way of playing these cards?

2
Dominion Online at Shuffle iT / split piles
« on: March 21, 2017, 03:22:24 pm »
Simple question: how do I view the bottom card of the split piles?

There must be a simple way right? But I couldn't figure out...

3
Haven't played IRL for a while. I suddenly realize that it is because to play with casual friends, this game takes some serious time to setup, yet it is pretty easy to for them to screw themselves by buying random things, especially too many terminal actions.

Here's some simple thought: what if the game does not punish as severely too many actions in your deck? Does the game become more interesting or not?

Two ways I come up with:
1. every turn start with 2 actions.
2. At the start of your buy phase, you may set aside action cards from your hand, whenever you set aside a card, draw a card from your deck.

4
Adventures Previews / Kingdom card count
« on: April 07, 2015, 08:41:06 am »
With so many interesting new mechanics, I wonder if the game will in average be more interesting, if we increase the kingdom card count to be, say, 15?

(I think one certainly does not need 15 useful kingdom cards, but enlarge that number may make a random game more interesting, especially if the cards are drawn among all expansions.)

Or, it becomes more boring because there is more likely always to be a village, and a +buy somewhere, and some draw?

5
Dominion General Discussion / How do you play this kingdom?
« on: August 20, 2014, 07:44:46 pm »
Ok, so here's a kingdom I randomly encountered with androiminion. I think it's an interesting one, especially with more players involved.

Fortune Teller, Swindler, Bridge, Salvager, Counterfeit, Governer, Highway, Knights, Torturer, Nobles

(Sorry, I still haven't figured out how to automatically generate images.)

How would you play this game with 2, 4, or even 6 players? What would you imagine will happen?

6
Innovation General Discussion / Feelings about Figures+Base
« on: August 14, 2013, 05:12:57 pm »
Well... after 10 games or so, I have to say I think the game is just a lot more random with Figures.

First is the thing that you never quite know what's there in the figures deck... technically you can, but in any game the figures deck rarely gets depleted and you always only see a small fraction of them. It is then not very beneficial to plan with them since there is no way to efficiently draw the figure you want. So to me it's more like lottery, with the decree as sort of the last resort/stable income.

That being said, when the situation's right (that is, you happen to draw a figure that is ideal for your/your opponent's current board) some of the figures are just overpowered. The game can be decided by just drawing one of those cards.

For example, today I had a game where I happen to draw a green figure (age 5 or 6) saying INSPIRE: score a top card with crown from anywhere; if you would score a card, first take the achievement of the value of the card ignoring the age requirement. This card is insane. First it is an attack that can not be stopped. Second it attacks, score, achieve at the same time. When the situation is right it is just nuts.

Another example is another card I forgot color and age, saying count the type of icons you have more than two times as your opponent as extra achievements. And my opponent won via clock and castle just by melding this card. It's really a sneak attack as I didn't see him have any way to achieve even a single achievement in a single action much less to say two.

I don't know, I think the game is wacky and fun and sort-of still skillful; I just don't find it as deep as the original (deep in the sense that a lot of play comes from anticipating or planning for the cards in the deck.)

7
Theory's article on the blog made me think of this.

Think about Measurement and Metric System. Their names and functions are very similar. However, in terms of splaying, Measurement is actually the better card. It has lower requirement (one card in hand vs. more than one card in green on the table) is more flexible, (don't need to splay green first) and has more potential (can draw a high age card.) But why is the better card sitting at a lower age?

Truth to be told, between the two cards I actually like the metric system better. And this has everything to do with its symbols. Crowns and Factories are just that much more important in the middle ages. And I think it is more than justified to put the metric system at the higher age just because of its symbols.

There are a few other examples I can think of which also show a similar intricacy.

For example, there are only two factories on Industrialization versus three leaves on reformation. Both cards can tuck and splay. The fact that Industrialization is draw and tuck makes it 2 ages higher and one fewer icon.

Also, think about Alchemy. It is a strong card, but the fact that it cannot draw red cards actually somewhat balances it. If it says green instead for example, then it will be a bit overpowered.

Do you find any other examples where small design choices make big differences in the game?

8
Innovation Articles / From level 5 to level 30 (base game)
« on: March 27, 2013, 11:15:47 pm »
There was a time when I thought Innovation is not a very skillful game as it is too swingy and luck dependent. At that time I also had trouble improving my record against the AI which stucked around 50-50, so I figured the game is just like that.

How wrong I was.

As it turns out, there is a healthy skill curve in innovation. Near level 30, now I can beat level 5's probably 6 out of 7 times; on the other hand, my record against lv 40s is miserable. Nevertheless, the game is still very swingy and depends really sometimes on one or two key cards you draw. So, what is the difference between a good player and a bad one?

Here are a few observations I have in the games I've played. They can roughly be categorized in the following three different categories:

1. Understanding the game flow
This part probably makes the most difference. Lots of mistakes are made because the player does not realize that different dogmas are not made to be equal. Here are some typical examples one should probably never do in the early game:

Use Code of Laws when you are still in age one, or when you have no immediate benefit from doing so.
Use Agriculture/Pottery to score in age one or two.
Dogma Writing.
Continue to draw when opponent has Clothing.

To understand why, one can look into three different aspects of the game:

(i) Early scoring and achieving is potent.
An early achievement denies one achievement for your opponent. Furthermore, with enough score teching is achieving. This is why Clothing and Metalworking are the most important scoring cards in age 1. They score the cards in the drawing pile therefore help you tech at the same time. On the other hand:

(ii) Icon dominance is crucial for the mid game.
To be more specific, in order to block/support fermentation and machinery, one needs a few leaves to be on the board. For the mid game compass/enterprise/banking, a few crowns can be helpful too. This is also why Metalworking is potent, as it helps drawing those icons into your hand. For example, pottery is an extremely important age one card that is actually better kept in hand for some time, and Metalworking can just do that for you. If you didn't draw Pottery, Metalworking can score the threatening fermentation (less so for machinery as it is less likely to be dogmaed in age 3.) In contrast, scoring by Pottery or Agriculture does not improve your board at all, and is very slow early on. 

(iii) Don't play for a specific card unless you have it.
Before going into this, we should note a few things. Firstly, splaying left is not very useful. More often than not you just get one more castle, which does very little even on dominating the castles as there are a bunch of cards offering 3 castles. Using one action (and one potentially useful card!) solely for this purpose is probably not a good idea. In fact, splaying left in the base game is mostly only for one specific card: Paper. But using code of laws repeatedly does not help you draw it.

As I have discussed here, starting immediately with Writing and drawing into twos is generally not very promising. At best you can grab Math or Monotheism when your opponent is not going for castles. In addition, leaving your opponent in age one with those two-in-one cards as well as potent cards such as Clothing and Metalworking is just bad.

Going so much into specifics of the early game, let me go back and comment on the generalities of the game flow I perceive. In age 1-3, it's a competition of massive scoring, and icons (especially leaves) on the board. It is probably reasonable to say that if one loses on both front (or just horribly on the first) the game is mostly lost. In the middle ages 3-7, the game is more of a mixture, depending really on what you draw. If the game is more or less tied going into this era, then crowns and factories become more important. On the other hand during this period one hardly has time building up his board, and it is more about better execution and tactics with regard to the specific draw in the game. In the late ages 8-10, there are a few types of competitive games: one is a techie trying to cash in by scoring/achieving or drawing 11 before his opponent can get 6 achievements. Another type is the icon dominating player playing catch up on achievements; in this case he usually tries to kill off his opponent's score pile, gain control, and achieve for himself. His main threat is often from his opponent drawing into those late age nasty clock or non-demand demand cards. If two players enter this era on more or less equal footing, then the game is probably on a coin flip.
 
2. Timing and efficiency
After understanding the game flow, one realizes there are a few actions that are just wrong to take. Beyond that, however, sometimes there are a few reasonable actions to take. To decide between which, it is all about timing and efficiency. For example:

(i) When you want to dogma an action in hand exactly once in the near future, you probably should not meld it using the second action in your turn.
This is because by not melding it you do not give your opponent time to prevent it. Typical examples are Engineering and Machinery, but it also applies to Compass, enterprise and so on. Sure a better opponent would probably prevent it to some extent anyway, sometimes they will still rely on their luck hoping that you have not drawn those cards yet. Melding it just gives those chances away.

(ii) When you achieve, you have just wasted an action if your opponent is not in a position to achieve or to threat your score. This one is pretty simple, but I see this error all the time. In age 1-3, one cannot score more than 4 points using a single action except using Clothing or Metalworking. So if your opponent is more than 4 points away from the achievement you are trying to achieve, he cannot grab the achievement next turn. Achieving here is clearly not the most important thing to do, and one should probably treat it as sort-of a last resort (comparable to draw a card) in this scenario.

(iii) When to claim World via Translation? If you have no better things to do then sure, but often even that is not a good sign. Claiming World (and to a lesser extent, Universe and Empire) using their corresponding special dogma is a good thing if you can just do that along the things you are going to do anyway, but not so much so if you have to spend a few actions for it. This is because World and Universe, and to a lesser extent, Empire are special achievement that are almost impossible to get in early-mid game via the normal ways. Getting them is thus only half as efficient as the regular achievements as the denial part is absent. Monument and Wonder, on the other hands sit somewhere in between as they are more likely to be taken.


3. Do not miss your chances!
Sometimes your opponent cannot help but just have to leave a giant opening for you. Those games are your fair share to win, so do not miss them!

(i) Dogma clothing if it can score two 2's, even if you have nothing to meld. This one is just sooo big.
(ii) If you draw into Coal/Canning early with factory dominance, spam them!
(iii) return a 1 and then share Sailing/Mysticism. Share Domestication when opponent still has useless 1's in hand.
(iv) Compass/Road Building shenanigans.
(v) sharing Alchemy and Physics.

There are probably some little things here and there that I forgot to mention, or I didn't find appropriate places to fit them in. Maybe I'll eat my words when I am at a higher level. But if that is the case I certainly hope those higher ranked players come out and make me eat my words!

9
Innovation Game Reports / Encyclopedia gives me the game!
« on: March 21, 2013, 08:27:16 pm »
http://innovation.isotropic.org/gamelog/201303/21/game-20130321-164519-039e86ba.html

A couple highlights in the game:

(1) as far as I can tell, neither fermenting nor reformation is in the game. I tried some half-baked trick with the wheel and machinery to draw them, but they never showed up.

(2) the end game achiement is 6 vs. 5.

(3) The first time I misclicked and dogma a shared encyclopedia. I let my opponent meld A.I. and myself decided not to meld anything. But this turned out to be the winning move as by sharing it I drew mobility! Then the A.I. he melded quickly came to my score pile as I dogma mobility next turn.

(4) Then in the next turn I dogma encyclopedia again to meld A.I. onto my board. My opponent misplayed by melding his Globalization from his score pile (disabling himself to achieve #9) and allow me to get to my 6th achievement. If he refused to meld Globalization his board would have been wiped down to age 6 after achieve #9 by my mobility though.

The game is probably not played at a very high level but I thought it is one of the more interesting ones I've played.

10
Dominion General Discussion / Does Saboteur cycle through your bad cards?
« on: February 15, 2013, 01:22:04 pm »
Remember some time ago we had a loan discussion going on? I just realized that the Saboteur is in fact equivalent to Loan.

Saboteur: Loan
Card with value >=3: Treasure

I seem to remember that the conclusion for loan is that it in average does not cycle your VP cards any faster than your treasure cards. So is it actually a misnomer that one of the Saboteur's disadvantages is that it cycles bad cards for your opponent?

11
Innovation General Discussion / Random thoughts on card design
« on: February 01, 2013, 04:49:37 pm »
After some number of games which enables me to memorize all the cards (and many of them with the symbols and positions on it!) without too much effort... here is what I found interesting/disgusting about the card design:

1. powerful cards/combos enabled by symbols (Fermenting/reformation/industrialization/etc)
This part is good. The design of the card/mechanics doubly backs up for pursuing the strategy, as even if you do not draw the key card the denial to your opponent is almost as important. In the end this means stacking up the power symbols is always important.

2. powerful cards/combos enabled by tableau position (alchemy/road building/monotheism/etc)
This part is also good. While one cannot really play for this kind of strategy, this very often creates good catching up or even reverse opportunity. And it's even more interesting when the opponent realizes those possibilities and thinks about how to prevent or defend. One particular combo that came to me the other night is Coal+Monotheism. Works very well to attack opponent's board from behind and scoring a lot at the same time!

3.powerful cards/combos enabled by splaying (code of laws/philosophy/paper/invention)
Not a fan. The problem is that if you play for it specifically (say starting to splay left early), you are screwed if you didn't draw the key card (paper). There isn't so much denial effect there as to reach the effect you need both the symbols and splay. In the end this makes light bulbs in general not so important. If those cards come to me, then good; otherwise I usually don't bother.

4. Filler cards: (medicine/feudalism/encyclopedia/refrigeration/santination/suberbia/stem cells/miniaturization/maybe something else I don't recall right now)
This is shame. These card are almost actively bad, especially for those higher age cards which might cover your useful cards when you blindly tech up. They are almost never actively useful, especially when you are behind. I really don't understand the design principle behind those. It feels almost like the game designer is apologizing for the power of the leaves early on to make the late yellow cards completely a dud.

Maybe their purpose is just to nerf the tech up strategies. But it is definitely not the fun way to balance it. Just think when you use lots of tempo with evolution or education to just draw into a higher age and get these...

12
Variants and Fan Cards / Province Dancing
« on: January 03, 2013, 10:09:31 pm »
I think this card is quite funny yet does have some utility:

Province Dancing
Action $8

+1 Card, +1 Action
You may trash this card. If you do, gain a card cost up to $8.

13
Game Reports / Beating Duke without engine
« on: December 21, 2012, 07:21:12 pm »
In this game today, I am surprised that WW's more-or-less straightforward Jester/Duke deck did not beat my strange, half minded Province deck.

Relevant Kingdom cards: Jester, Masquerade, Duke, Hoard, Inn, Spice Merchant

In the game I thought my draw was not as good as WW's early on. For example, my turn 4 masquerade missed the shuffle because he jestered me; and I cannot make it to $6 until turn 8, where he already had 2 jesters and a hoard and started on Duchies. I played a somewhat weird denial game, getting some duchies and dukes myself and hoped to come up later with the Provinces and it somehow worked.

Questions:
1. Will a straight Province-only strategy here beat Duke? Or say more precisely, can a strategy getting Provinces whenever it can, instead of getting duchies/dukes to block win out?

2. Can the Duke strategy be enhanced on this board, by NOT taking so many coppers with the Jester? With the hoard, one might still have a shot at Provinces without those coppers.

14
Dominion General Discussion / Combo: Poor House+Bank
« on: December 02, 2012, 11:57:33 pm »
Together, they will guarantee you +4!

Not really a combo... just find it amusing that their effect can cancel each other.


15
Dominion General Discussion / DA is out on androminion!
« on: November 27, 2012, 08:49:53 pm »
Admittedly, it's not the best interface to play with when you don't exactly know what the cards do...

16
Dominion General Discussion / House rule for reducing luck factors?
« on: November 24, 2012, 03:56:00 am »
How about a house rule stating that
"You may reshuffle all the cards from your discard into your deck in your clean up phase, before you draw the cards for your next turn, if you have shuffled in this turn."

This rule will help on those unfortunate situations where the victory is determined by unlucky reshuffle misses, such as drawing the witch at the bottom of a deck.

For a casual game this rule might be too bothersome to implement, but I think in a competitive environment it is worthwhile.

Thoughts?

17
Puzzles and Challenges / An exotic opening
« on: November 04, 2012, 05:42:46 am »
Can you propose a kingdom where on 5-2, Outpost/Pearl Diver is a reasonable opening?

18
Dominion General Discussion / Combo or Numbo? Death Cart/Rats
« on: October 19, 2012, 04:35:51 pm »
Ok, So Death Cart is actually not a particular good +5 card since it cost you 2 cards in your hand to produce $5. Does rats give it enough support, that early on you can use rats to get rid off coppers and estates, and later on trash it with Death Cart and draw a card back, suppose there are some villages on the board to avoid drawing dead?

19
Dominion General Discussion / procession, officially breaking dominion IRL?
« on: September 01, 2012, 05:18:22 pm »
I haven't got to play DA IRL, but from a few discussions on the forum:

Procession can play cards twice then trash them from play. So how do we keep track of the +coin/action/buy from those trashed cards? The situation is worsened when that trashed card can be brought back immediately (and played again. Say Fortress) I would imagine it to be a real mess say if I played a Procession on a Festival or something.

Previously similar things only happen with mining village and manderin as far as I can recall. And there the situation is quite isolated. Procession makes it that you have to memorize potentially every kind of card bonuses.

20
General Discussion / Concentrating
« on: July 07, 2012, 06:20:59 pm »
... is very hard as you can see from me posting this.

21
Puzzles and Challenges / Points per click on isotropic
« on: June 21, 2012, 12:35:06 am »
So it comes across my mind when I saw that it takes 162 clicks to get 810 points...

How many points per click can you get in a turn?

Conditions: No duration played last turn. Turn starts with a 5-card hand. 2 player game. No alternate VP cards that counts cards in your deck; i.e., no Gardens, Fairgrounds, Silk Road, Vineyard, etc. Click counts as how it happens on isotropic: one click per action played, one click per special treasure, ordinary treasure can be played in one click if there is no grand market, etc. One click per choice. Automated choices do not take clicks. (say if you were hit by a militia with 5 coppers in hand, then it does not take a click to discard)

EDIT: Oh, when you buy a card it takes a click too.

I currently can manage 24 points per click.

22
Solo Challenges / allfail's solo challenge #3: A Factor of Two.
« on: June 14, 2012, 09:46:48 pm »
To Celebrate I have got rid of a factor of two which has been bothering me in the past 6 months, I decide to do a solo challenge!

Goal: end the game as soon as possible, points as tie breaker.

Constraint: After the first two turns, in every subsequent turn, for every differently named card you gain, you have to gain an even number of copies of them.

Hard mode: In addition to the constraint, in each turn (including the first two), you can only play an even number of each differently named treasure.

Insane Mode: In addition to the hard mode constraint, in each turn (including the first two), you can only play an even number of each differently named action.

Deadline: 6/24 Sun
Prize: Honor!, In addition, if the winner wishes so, I can send my paper draft for you to read at your leisure (and comment).

One entry per mode per person by PM. 

23
How did we all start to like Dominion? We were attracted by the deck building. We liked those fancy Kingdom cards and we could never get enough. Only until later we realized that not always the more the better. Still, building an efficient and capable deck is the key enjoyable element of Dominion I would say.

One day you met an extraordinary friend. A Dominion Hater. He says: "Every time I play this game I wish to get it over with as soon as possible. Building the deck is so trivial that I find no enjoyment at building my deck at all. Now I even put every effort to make my deck as weak as possible in every game I play. In fact, in a solo game I can finish the game on my own in X turns with my deck contain only Y cards."

Trying to convince him otherwise, you tries to tell him how skillful and strategic the game is. Well, he challenges you: is building a deck harder than getting rid of one? Can you finish the game faster then I do with a smaller deck at the end?

Challenge: End the game as fast as possible. At the end of game, have a deck as small as possible.
Criteria: the sum of the number of turns and the number of cards in your deck at end game. The smaller the better.

Hard mode: No Potions.
 
Deadline: 5/12 12PM EST

24
Solo Challenges / allfail's solo challenge: I like VPs!
« on: April 21, 2012, 03:15:55 pm »
I actually have PMed this idea to Ozle when he is the only one doing solo challenges; now that more people are doing it I guess I'll just post it myself.

Victory points win you games! Usually the more the better, but in the thermodynamic limit, isn't density something more important?

challenge: end the game (not by resigning) with your deck consists entirely of VP cards. Dual types are fine as long as one of the types is victory; but as per rule, cards on the island or native village mat are counted as in your deck when the game ends (so that putting non-victory cards on the mat is not going to work.) Please design the kingdom as you please, but no Bishops, Monuments, or Goons.

EDIT: as Mazwa suggests, it seems VP/2 is a bit too kind for strategies that just gather points and pay no attention to trying to end the game as early as possible. I will modify as he suggests to VP/10. You are welcome to submit another solution if you feel like you have better ways to optimize against the new criteria.

ranking criteria: (the number of turns - total VP/10, round down), the fewer the better; if there is a tie, the solution with more total VP wins.

deadline: 4/28 3:00 PM EST

Please PM me your solution; one entry per person.

To spice things up, I am going to offer prizes! 
First place: 5 BBO$
Second place: 3 BBO$
Third place: 1 BBO$

BBO$ can be used on Bridge Base Online for bridge players. Unfortunately I only have spare BBO$ so if it is of no use to you, the only thing I can offer is honor. If you are interested in the prizes please let me know your BBO user name in the PM. I'll give the prize to the top three entries that are interested.


25
Dominion Articles / Noble Brigand
« on: April 08, 2012, 02:59:30 am »


EDIT: modified as suggested.

Noble Brigand is one of the cards that I grow to like more and more in Hinterlands. I didn't quite realize he is using a bow though.

The initial buzz of the card is basically "Wow! Thief is officially admitted as an under-powered card!" This is quite a sound statement, as Noble Brigand is pretty much better in every way except one:

Thief trashes copper and helps your opponent. Noble Brigand does not; it even stuffs coppers to your opponent. Thief offers no immediate benefit to yourself; there is +1 coin from the Noble Brigand. Thief only works when you reshuffle and draw it, but Noble Brigand acts a full reshuffle earlier, right at when you buy it. The only potential downfall is that he cannot steal kingdom treasure and platinum.

With so many reinforcements, however, the Noble Brigand is still not a power card at $4. It is still a terminal action that does not draw any card. It provide less virtual money than Militia, and does not attack as reliably either. Therefore, it is not a card you will always consider to buy. To put it more directly, it is probably one of those cards that you will never make a fatal mistake by ignoring it.

That being said, in many situations, the Noble Brigand can bring a marginal benefit to your deck, usually just by the on-buy effect. In a BM-ish deck, a middle-to-late-game $4 turn can be better spent on a Noble Brigand than a silver or an estate, simply in the hope of flipping one of your opponent's important gold/silver. It isn't bad at all even to skip over his actions or cause a reshuffle at the wrong time for him. An early Noble brigand, however, when flipped the opponent's coppers, may prove to slow yourself down from that gold or $5 card a bit too much and accelerates your opponent at the same time. (Or according to WanderingWinder, Geronimoo, and the simulator, maybe not?)

There is a niche use of the card as a opener. When you are second player with $4 in hand in your first turn and when the first player have bought a silver, you will have 2/6 chance of getting that silver and trigger a reshuffle with the initial crappy cards at the same time. It is fun to use and see it works, but when it doesn't, you are facing quite an up-hill battle. The situation improves significantly with more players though, and it helps negate the disadvantage of the third or the fourth player quite a bit. They still have to have $4 in their first hand though.

Similar to Thief, the Noble Brigand can be quite important in a chapel game with no virtual money. But it proves to be a lot more dangerous in this case. To an unsuspecting opponent, getting one of his critical silver and gold can be fatal. And you don't need to buy it and use it, so he has no alert prior to the attack. Also the on-buy attack cannot be stopped. In addition, one can allow to buy multiple Noble Brigands to keep the pressure in such game, as extras can be chapeled away. This is one of the rare situations when I would say overlooking this card can be fatal.

That's probably it. There is no magic to make the card suddenly powerful. I like what Donald said about the card though: it is designed to be fun. It is indeed fun to attack when you are buying a card, especially when it does not force a degenerate game like IGG does. For myself, better yet, it is just powerful enough to try to win using it, and still underpowered enough that when I lose with it I won't be mad about my own luck.

Work with: Chapel, Gold, Silver, deck inspection attacks
Work against: powerful terminals, Venture, Platinum, Bank, cards that offer virtual coins

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