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Dominion General Discussion / Wait, you can DO that?
« on: December 06, 2012, 11:52:24 am »
So the other day I played a Dark Ages (with Base and Hinterlands) game in person, I think we did this correctly but please let me know if we violated any rules. If it is legit, this is perhaps my newest favorite "wait, you can DO THAT" moment.

The board had Fortress, Procession, Band of Misfits, Border Village, Witch, Rogue, Margrave, Farmland, and Chapel.

Both my opponent and I had elected to go into engine building and we trashed down and were killing curses every turn while playing 3 card hands. In any event, I had drawn my entire deck and given my opponent 1 curse (so I was leading 0 to -1). I then played Prssn -> Prssn -> Prssn -> Fort. This allowed me to gain two Bom (1 from the second Prssn, 1 from the Fortress), and process the Fort again (drawing two Bom, and gaining a Bom each from the Fort and the third Prssn). Now I played the Bom as Prssn, again I draw my new shiny cards with Fort (gaining a Bom), and my Boms are trashed to become Bv/Prssn.

Needless to say, we were pretty close to a 3 pile when I ran that loop down. So I gained a Rogue or three to gain the last of the Bv/Prssn/Bom. This let me 3 pile off of having just a few cards in deck (I believe I had Silver, Silver, Chap, Witch, Prssn, Prssn, Prssn, Margave, Fort, Fort, and Rogue when this turn started). I think with Prssn, Fortress, Bom, Rogue and Bv you really can auto-3-pile with just 4 cards worth 12 coin, if you have no discard/draw deck - and I've not sure if you need all 4 =)

I have been finding that Dark Ages just has huge numbers of games where you can do something whack (like autopile the Rats, Kc/Forge/Fortress/Fortress, or trash a curse with an Altar, discard a Market Square, gain Cultist, and auto-trash it with a Watchtower to draw the gold you just top decked) that you first don't suspect. Does anyone else have some other stories about Dark Ages fun where you or your opponent totally didn't see something and then had some craziness result?

Puzzles and Challenges / How many golds can you gain?
« on: November 28, 2012, 01:36:46 pm »
You play one card (no Kc, Tr, Procession, Golem or Band of Misfits) and resolve it. What is the maximum number of gold you can gain from playing a single card?

My best shot is:

Find a second play that let's you hit 22

Dominion Articles / A novel Pin
« on: September 14, 2012, 03:23:48 pm »
This article is mostly theory at this point, Iíve only beat up a couple of Goko bots using this, but it seems solid enough to post for feedback.

So the classic pin relies on playing dead masqs. Dead masqs are masqs played when you have no other cards in hand, discard, or on deck to pass; if you trash cards as you receive them you can then play additional dead masqs (i.e. using Kc/Tr/Golem/Opst). The most commonly described pin would be Kc/Kc/Goons/Masq where the goons drop the opponent to 3 cards and the masq is played dead thrice. A related pin is Kc/Kc/Mntbk/Ctpur/Masq. In this pin the Mntbk is used to load up the victim with curses and coppers so that they eventually will have to discard coppers to triple play of Ctpur; once they have enough copper in their deck this will happen every turn. After they discard 2 or 3 coppers, the three dead masq plays leave them without a hand.

A new downside to either of these pins is the need to trash incoming cards. With Dark Ages a lot of cards can now break the pin when you pass them over: feodum (gains silvers and you can protect your other cards and force them to pass a silver first next turn), squire (revive one masq that has to pass an attack), fortress (revive up to two masqs), and catacombs all break the traditional pin varieties.

Thinking about this and looking over beggarís strategy space, I started thinking if there was, perhaps an alternative pin that didnít require the masqs to be played dead. My idea was simple Ė use masq to pass my opponent a copper, ctpur it out of his hand, pass another copper, ctpur, etc. After 5 cycles of that, the opponent has no cards left and plays an empty hand.  So say you play your deck (itís an engine) and you come out with +13 actions and the following hand:
Masq x5, Ctpur x5, Bggr x2

Play the Bggrís to gain 6 C. Then play the following sequence 5 times Masq (pass C) -> Ctpur (opponent discards a C). This leaves you with your opponentís hand to play (or trash). As long as your engine keeps hitting, you can keep giving your opponent unplayable copper and stealing ever more of his deck. Worst case scenario is that you add one copper to your deck (you canít keep any of your opponentís cards and canít trash the last copper gained from the beggars). Eventually, you will run out of copper, but by then your opponent has nothing but copper in their deck (usually), which you can just ctpur out.

The question then became - do you really need the beggars? Sure they make it easier and cleaner, but, in theory, you could just use 5 buys and a strong, reliable engine to still draw everything and play the 5 masqs. Playing on Goko with strong boards for it (masq, tr, nobles, wv, quarry, nv, courtyard), it took me around 15-18 turns to setup and was reasonably reliable with a Tr/Wv/Nobles/Courtyard/Nv engine. From there are on out, it seemed like it would work most of the time with careful play. This suggests that the minimum needed to make this work is: a strong engine, lots of +actions, a source of copper (beggars or +buys), cutpurse, and masq.

Iím not sure how this will play in real matchups and I donít have time to try it myself heavily on Isotropic. So Iím posting this article in the hopes of getting feedback about viability and strategic implications.

Implications already known include:
1.   Moat and lighthouse can completely hose the strategy. Without the ctpurís hitting, you just get one card swap (often a C for a C).
2.   Duration cards can break the pin a bit. E.g. tactician gives you a chance to muck up my deck. However, unlike the classic ultra-lean deck pin deck, I can still hand over a lot of cards from deck because I can either buy replacements or gain them back from your deck later so key masq play wonít save you. Likewise, I can likely afford getting hit with militia.
3.   Discard attacks, like militia, make this far easier to pull off. Right now you need 10 cheapish cards and an engine strong enough to keep hitting them. With militia (or any other discard attack) that number falls down to 7. Discard attacks also let the game last longer so you have more time to setup.
4.   Even if the pin misses for a turn, you really have to end the game quickly, because instead of burning VP cards, the victim is giving them away. Leadís evaporate 2x as quickly and as noted this is not an easy pin to disrupt.
5.   Haven, Scrying pool, Scheme, Count, and any other engine reliability boosts are extremely useful for making the pin more reliable.
6.   Cards that let you mass cheap things easily are quite useful Ė talisman, quarry, haggler, etc. can very quickly let you transition from a strong engine to the full pin in just a couple of turns.
7.     Secret chamber makes the pin more difficult and can require an additional 2 plays masq (pass a C) to hit the pin. (Thanks to Young Nick).
8.     Currently the only reactions that have any effect on this pin are: moat (stops it cold), secret chamber (can hide 2 coppers on top deck), and horse traders (can give you a card to play to break the pin).

Puzzles and Challenges / Bob's winning deck
« on: June 02, 2012, 04:59:33 pm »
Bob is playing Dominion and losing badly; each of his two opponents has a 54 VP lead on Bob. There are no VP chip cards nor any alternate VP cards (no colonies) in the kingdom; there is no black market in the kingdom. Only the duchy pile has been exhausted. All mats and play areas are empty. Bob shuffles his deck and draws a random hand, face down. At the start of his turn, Bob looks at his hand, smiles and says "Good game" assured he will win regardless of what luck happens next.

What is Bob's deck?

The other players can have ANY cards (barring alternate VP/black market) in their hands/decks/discards; it doesn't matter they will still lose.
The other players can use their actions and buys in ANY legal fashion; it doesn't matter they will still lose.

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