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Rules Questions / Lying Treasurer
« on: June 17, 2019, 10:48:13 am »
What happens if you choose "trash a Treasure" with Treasurer and don't have any in hand?  Or say you don't have any in hand?  The official FAQ explicitly states you can choose to "take the Key" even if you already have it, but can you choose to "trash a Treasure" if you have none in hand?

Let's Discuss ... / Let's Discuss Renaissance Projects: Fleet
« on: May 09, 2019, 11:32:48 am »


* Is it worth it?
* If it is, when should you get it?

Let's Discuss ... / Let's Discuss Renaissance Cards: Scepter
« on: February 11, 2019, 02:22:18 pm »

I dub thee... Dame Anna.  Oh, and you too, I suppose.

* How does this compare to Royal Carriage?
* How many of these do you want?
* Under what conditions (besides the trivial of no Actions in play) do you go for the +?

Let's Discuss ... / Let's Discuss Renaissance Cards: Lackeys
« on: February 06, 2019, 02:04:57 pm »

So, whose wine are we poisoning tonight?

* How good is this as a source of draw?
* How many of these do you want, and how often do you pick them up?
* Would you ever get this purely for the extra Villagers?

Rules Questions / Scepter + Storyteller/BM
« on: November 07, 2018, 08:56:01 am »
If I play Scepter via Storyteller or BM, can it replay the ST/BM that played it, even though it isn't finished being played?

Dominion Articles / Feodum
« on: August 22, 2018, 01:52:39 pm »

Feodum, like its counting Victory card brethren, is a rather niche card.  In a few instances, it can be worth a staggering amount of VP, vastly outweighing Provinces; however, it is also often ignorable, and can sometimes be worth nothing at all.  There does exist a middle ground, though, where it can be treated like a pinata full of Silver, or where it can help add a few tie-breaking points in a sloggier game.

If Feodum is on the board, quickly run through this mental checklist:
* Is there a way to gain Silver very quickly?
* Is there a way to gain Silver more slowly?
* Is there a way to trash Feodum?
Letís look at each of these individually.

Feeding the Feoda

The time Feodum shines brighter than a supernova is when there is a powerful Silver gainer.  Masterpiece and Delve are the cream of the crop here, letting you buy multiple Silvers per turn.  Also noteworthy is Raid, which has the added benefit of hurting your opponent, though it does require you to gain a few Silvers the hard way first.  All of these are helped by any kind of strong draw: Masterpiece and Delve want as much $ as possible to spend on a Buy, while Raid wants you to get as many Silvers into play as you can.

If you find yourself in this optimal situation, your aim should be to empty out the Silver pile as quickly as possible, picking up Feoda along the way (assuming your opponent mirrors).  In this specific combo instance, winning the Silver split is more important than getting more Feoda (though if you donít get any, youíre screwed); if you get 27 Silvers and 3 Feoda (27 VP total), that will beat an opponent with 13 Silvers and 5 Feoda (20 VP total).  If your opponent goes for Provinces instead, emptying the Silver pile isnít strictly necessary; you just need enough to make sure your Feoda give more points than their Provinces, so make sure you actually grab Feoda before the game ends!

In a Masterpiece game, ideally you want to finish with a three pile ending: Silvers, Masterpieces, and Feoda.  However, if the Masterpieces donít quite run out (or youíre using an Event gainer), your deck jammed full of Silver is perfect for buying Provinces, and can easily end the game conventionally.

If your opponent doesnít try to mirror you, youíre looking at a maximum of 8 Feoda worth up to 13VP each - more than Colony!  In such a case, run down the Silver and Feodum piles as quick as you can while your opponent dawdles trying to get Provinces.  Do not buy any Provinces yourself until youíve secured enough VP to trounce them.

The Middle Ground

Unfortunately, most Silver gainers are not as dramatic as those mentioned above.  However, that doesnít mean Feodum is down for the count!  In a game with Bureaucrat or Squire, while emptying the Silver pile entirely is unrealistic, itís perfectly reasonable to expect to have 10 or more Silvers by the end of the game.  In such cases, Feodum becomes a cheaper Duchy, and another option for three-piling.  While itís no longer the star of the show, it can still be a nice supplement to your main VP from Provinces.

If youíre aiming to use Feodum in this way, try to get your Silver gainer early.  Not only do the Silvers help your Feoda, they also, as previously discussed, make buying Provinces easier.

Some Silver gainers can also trash.  Jack of All Trades, Hermit, and Amulet can also fill this middle ground role, but donít mind if you get a Feodum early, just to trash for the Silvers inside.  Jack and Hermit are better for this, as they can trash and gain Silver at the same time.  In such cases, if youíre uncontested, the Feodum pile is unlikely to empty, so youíre not really losing any VP, as you can always just pick up another one, now worth 1VP more!

A word of warning, though: in a lot of these cases, thereís usually something better to do on the board than just slowly trickle Silvers into your deck, so keep an eye out for faster or more productive strategies.

Silver Slogs

In junking games, particularly with Cultist, the game can be extended significantly as players wade through Ruins or Curses.  In such cases, you might end up buying 12 or more Silvers throughout the course of the game, making Feodum particularly attractive as the game drags on.  In these cases, try to keep track of how many Silvers you think youíll have by the end of the game; if itís at least 9, start buying Feodum over Duchy, and keeping adding more Silver as you can.

Popping the Pinata

But what about trashers that donít gain Silver?  Mass trashers like Chapel and Donate see Feodum as an early game boost; in this case, you donít really care about the VP, but the 3 Silvers are very nice.  Working with only a single card trasher is a little risky, as itís harder to line them up, but with Remodelers like Upgrade or Remake, or trash for benefit cards like Salvager or Bishop, it can be worth it, especially since a popped Feodum provides three more pieces of fodder for later use.  Upgrade can actually get a significant amount of VP from Feoda, as it can convert Estates into Silvers, Silvers into Feoda, and Feoda into more Upgrades.

Trader is an interesting example: it can generate a lot of Silvers for Feodum, but requires fodder to do so.  Popping open a Feodum gives you 7 Silvers, while Tradering a Silver gives it back to you with two more.  Itís not quite as reliable as Masterpiece or Delve, and you need to make sure you donít trash too many Feoda, but it can be very potent, though you may still want to supplement with Provinces.

If you have a single card trasher that doesnít scale, like Forager or Trade Route, itís probably not worth the trouble.  An exception would be Ratcatcher, as itís cheap, and a lot easier to line up with a target.

Being able to trash a Feodum on gain can also be quite nice - Watchtower and Salt the Earth are prime examples, essentially letting you pay $4 for 3 Silvers, and a little bonus.


Feodum provides a decent defense against trashing Attacks, particularly Knights.  If it gets hit, you still get 3 Silvers, which then in turn are preferred targets of the Attack, keeping your more valuable cards safe.

At first thought, it might seem like Treasure Hunter would be a good Feodum rush enabler, but it can be pretty easy for your opponent to play around letting you gain lots of Silvers with it, and Feodum and Silver are both prime targets for Warriors.

Dominion General Discussion / A Dominion Chronology
« on: August 07, 2018, 11:55:25 am »
What order do Dominion expansions take place in?  I don't mean their release order; I mean how would they be ordered in a way that makes sense historically.  Here's my attempt:

This set clearly takes place first.  It's evoking the Roman empire, and has a lot of ancient/classical references, most pre-Christian.

Dark Ages
The medieval era started with the fall of the Roman empire, beginning what is commonly called the European Dark Ages.

Here we are still in an age full of superstition and paganism, though we have fully left the old Romans behind.

The first set most closely evokes a traditional medieval setting, just starting to pull out of a Dark Age.

The medieval era is in full swing, now with Game of Thrones style backstabbing and political games.

Quality of life has improved enough that a small minority of people have leisure time enough to start exploring their own continent.

More leisure time!  People have started to poke and prod at things and have begun to do what will eventually become science.

All that proto-science has started to do the trick, and farm yields are bigger than ever, sparking a boom in population.

The harvest has been bountiful, and the kingdom is rich.  It might be time to set our sights on other kingdoms...

For the first time since the Romans, European powers can afford to field large navies.

All that prosperity and leisure time means there is now suddenly a middle class.  They form proto-unions.

Contact between Europeans and Asians is fully re-established, and the silk road gets into full swing.  Europeans bring back cool new inventions from China and India.

Artists and proto-scientists rediscover techniques known to the ancient Greeks and Romans, and apply them.  The medieval era is officially over.

Other Games / Villainous
« on: August 04, 2018, 11:03:21 am »

Has anyone here played this yet?  Just got my copy today, gonna play it by Tuesday at the latest.

Dominion Articles / Combo/Synergy: Courtier + Werewolf
« on: July 08, 2018, 10:51:20 pm »
(surprised no one else has done this yet)

Pretty straightforward: Werewolf is a full pile of cards with 4 types.  If you reveal one for Courtier, you get all of the choices, turning your Courtier into a "Gold" with +Buy that gains real Golds, which is pretty neat.  I'm not sure if this is game-winning or anything, but it's definitely more than just "cute".

Anyway, it's late at night when I'm posting this, so this is more of a "looking for discussion" thing than a "here is a finished article" thing.


I posted about this a couple years ago, and I've done quite a bit of playtesting on it since then, and I think it's in a pretty good place now.  Good enough that I'd like to try showing it off to the Dominion community and seeing what they think.

Rules document (for reference)

First, to get it out of the way, how is this exactly like Dominion?
  • It is a deckbuilder.
  • 5 card hands, you play "Actions", play "Treasures" and buy stuff, then discard and draw.
  • Some of the cards are pretty similar to Dominion cards, but honestly there's only so many ways you can do "draw 2 cards".
  • There is a fixed Supply each game, rather than a randomized center row like Ascension or Clank.

So, how is it different?
  • Instead of getting Victory cards, you compete for the favor of Gods, who give the player who has them a powerful effect, as well as some points.  Gods can be stolen from other players!  This requires you to spend more resources, though, and a couple Gods are Steadfast, and remain with the first player who takes them.
  • There are four different resources - two for buying cards (Drachmas and Might), two for gaining the favor of Gods (Faith and Blood).
  • Faith and Blood are accumulated, like Coin tokens, and can be saved up for getting the expensive Gods.
  • You can play any number of cards per turn, and buy any number of cards per turn.  There are thus no "Village" or "+Buy" cards, but does mean I can focus interesting decisions elsewhere.
  • You can exchange resources for each other, at an unfavorable rate.  Exchanging Money/Might into Faith/Blood becomes more favorable if other players have more Gods than you do, as a catch-up mechanic.
  • There is an optional Adversary, which makes a rule change for the game, making it more challenging, and can also capture Gods, meaning it's possible for all players to lose, adding a slight bit of cooperative play.
  • Having no terminal Actions means there's no terminal draw, thus no unrestricted cheap draw (like Smithy), which has forced me to get creative with draw cards if I don't want them all to cost or something ridiculous.
  • Instead of Curses, there are Fate cards, which are more like Confusions/Ruins - they don't make you lose points, they just take up space, but you can also get rid of them if you take a penalty (losing 2 Faith, for instance).  So you might get "you are Fated to lose 2 Blood" and you lose your two Blood and you get to trash the card.
  • There are player mats!  Including little spots to put your Faith and Blood tokens.

I've played this with people who are familiar with Dominion, and with deckbuilder novices, and for the most part they've liked it.  I've made lots of changes in response to feedback, and I think the core game right now is pretty solid.

Let's see some of this:

Starting cards - each player starts with 3 Militia and 7 Silver.  These cannot be bought, but can be gained from the Sacrifical Pit (trash) if you're desperate.

These basic cards are in every game.  There are 3 different Fate cards, and the stack is shuffled.

The Agora is the resource exchange I mentioned.  It's also got a spot for the Sacrificial Pit (trash).

Here are some of the cards I've come up with:

And some of the Gods:

And Adversaries:

And here's my mock-up for a player mat:

Please let me know what you think!

Variants and Fan Cards / How much should this cost? Self-cursing lab
« on: April 01, 2018, 12:30:15 pm »
Let's say you have the following card:

+2 Cards
+1 Action

Gain a Curse onto your deck.

How much do you think that should cost?  My initial thought is , but that might be too expensive.  Is gaining the Curse onto your deck too much of a penalty?  Does this seem like a card you would ever buy?

Edit: added pic

Pretty straightforward: design a Kingdom where you'd actually want Harvest.  Extra points for creativity!

Dominion Articles / Leprechaun
« on: February 15, 2018, 10:23:37 pm »

Playing Leprechaun is a lot like being at a casino.  Sometimes you win a little bit, and sometimes you just screw yourself over, but the house always wins in the end.  Unless you cheat by counting cards and make off with a jackpot.

First and foremost, Leprechaun is a Gold gainer, and a cheap one at that.  To compensate for this, the spiteful fairy Hexes you for stealing from it.  Sometimes this does absolutely nothing, like if you get Fear, and Leprechaun was the only Action you played this turn.  Other times you wish you really hadn't played the card, like hitting Locusts.  So what are the odds of getting a good or bad Leprechaun?  Considering purely playing just Leprechaun from a five card hand, we have:

* 1 ignorable Hex (Fear)
* 3 that aren't too bad (Bad Omens, Famine, Greed)
* 4 that swing depending on what else you have in hand (Delusion, Envy, Haunting, Poverty)
* 4 that you want to avoid (Locusts, Misery, Plague, War)

So if you have a hand of Coppers and an Estate, that's 2/3 of the time that you don't really care what the Hex is.  If the rest of your hand is Silvers, maybe just play those instead.  But on average, you're running about a half chance of a good (or at least not that bad) outcome.

But if you're counting cards, none of this matters.  Get Leprechaun down as your 7th card, and you get the pot of gold AND the rainbow, and the mischievous little cobbler even lets you get off scot-free.  A Wish is a powerful thing, and if you have an engine that can reliably play Leprechaun at the right time, it is a worthy addition to your deck.

However, you have to make sure it's your 7th card.  This requires careful planning - if you want to play more Actions after, you have to get in at least one village first.  Prioritize sifting and draw to get to your Leprechaun in time.  If he's already in hand, it's okay to get some terminals down to fulfill the 7th card condition.  The main thing is to just keep track of what you're doing, and not just throw down cards without thinking.

A nice thing to look out for are Throne Room variants - while you can't normally play multiple Leprechauns in a turn for multiple Wishes, Throne Room can!  Though not Royal Carriage.  And maybe stay away from Prince.  And Golem and Ghost.

Dominion General Discussion / Nocturne: Yay or nay?
« on: January 02, 2018, 05:46:46 pm »
So Nocturne has been out for about two months now, and we've all had a decent chance to play around with it.  There have been some threads about certain cards, and there was Tom Vasel's pouty review.  So I figured, let's put it to a poll.  Do you like Nocturne?

Personally, I do like it.

Variants and Fan Cards / Banshee
« on: November 26, 2017, 03:19:59 pm »
I felt one of the missed opportunities in Nocturne was a Banshee card, so I made one!  I'm still toying with it, and not settled on the effects each card type should give.

(this article is definitely not finished - commentary invited!)

To some, itís the only Dominion experience they will ever have; to others, itís the boring introductory hurdle they have to get past before they can play with the fun stuff in the expansions.  But the Base Set has a lot to offer any Dominion player (particularly after the changes made in the Second Edition) - thereís a reason why each of these cards, which for the most part might seem pretty simple, were included in this first set.  Where CCGs like Magic or Hearthstone have a Core Set or Classic Set, Dominion has the Base Set, and it serves a similar function.  Letís explore it!

First off, yes, in case youíve been living under a rock for the past year or so, Dominion has been revised into a Second Edition.  For the most part, that has simply meant a tidying up of wordings on cards, nicer-looking formatting, and a switch from masculine pronouns to gender neutral pronouns.  But a couple cards have seen functional changes, and twelve cards from the first two sets (this one and Intrigue) have been removed entirely, and replaced with new ones.  So that means no more Chancellor, Woodcutter, Feast, Spy, Thief, or Adventurer; they have been replaced with Harbinger, Merchant, Vassal, Poacher, Bandit, Sentry, and Artisan.  If youíre not familiar with the new cards, you can find images of them and transcriptions of their card texts on the DominionStrategy Wiki.

So what does being a Base Set mean, other than simply being first?  Firstly, the set contains the simplest forms of most categories of card: village, terminal draw, gainer, trasher, all the various attacks, et cetera.  These cards are so basic that many other cards from the expansions are considered ďvariantsĒ of them; we have Workshop variants, Remodel variants, Throne Room variants, and most cards that give +1 Card and +2 Actions have ďVillageĒ in their name.  These cards are here not just because they are simple, but so that players can get used to these simple forms, and recognize when later cards are variations on their theme.  Itís a little easier to see a pattern when your first terminal draw card is Smithy, rather than, say, Journeyman.

It also means that the broad deck archetypes can be found here in their simplest forms: you have draw and payload for engines, you can go for a Workshop/Gardens rush, you can turn games into a slog with Witch, and if all else fails, you can always use Smithy or Council Room for big money.

Letís take a quick look at the stand-out cards of the Base Set:

Chapel: Often cited as the most powerful card relative to its cost in the game.  As was discussed in the trashing article, trashing is very useful, and this is one of the best trashers in the game.  One of the key turning points in becoming a good player is recognizing the benefit of trashing, and that discovery is most often made when playing with Chapel, and seeing what happens when you just trash away all your starting Estates and Coppers.  Even with the release of newer trashers, Chapel remains dominant, and there are very few instances where you wonít want to open with Chapel.

Witch: Most playersí first encounter with Curses, and one of the strongest cursing cards.  Even though it only draws 2 cards, Witch can still be used for a big money deck, simply because of much it stymies your opponent.  The only reason you shouldnít get a Witch as soon as possible is if there is an even more powerful junking attack on the board (and there are a couple out there).

Artisan: Added in the Second Edition, Artisan is a quite powerful gainer, especially if you can grab one early.  If thereís an engine to be made on a board, Artisan will get it up and running a lot faster.  Failing that, it can at least gain Duchies.

Throne Room: The ability to play another Action twice might seem innocuous at first, but Throne Rooms (and other cards like them) can form the backbone of an engine.  Consider that Throne Room on a Smithy has the same effect as playing two Smithies, but only costs one Action.  It can also be more cost efficient when you use it on more expensive Actions (like Artisan).  And when you start Throning Throne Rooms, the card acts almost like a Village.

Laboratory: The simplest form of non-terminal draw.  Winning the Laboratory split can often win you the game, as enough of them can easily draw most of your deck.

Village: The simplest Kingdom card to give +2 Actions, and thus also one of the cheaper ones.  Most engines require a Village-type card, and the original is still one of the better ones, if only for how cheaply you can get it.

An exhaustive look at each of the remaining cards would take far too long, and many of them have their own individual articles you can take a gander at.  Hopefully you at least have an appreciation for the solid foundation the Base Set provides.

Variants and Fan Cards / Night village: Candle
« on: November 25, 2017, 03:49:19 pm »
The idea was to have a Night card that let you play more Actions.  Flavor - you light a candle at night to let you do more stuff.

Variants and Fan Cards / Split pile: Attendants/Old God
« on: November 19, 2017, 11:46:24 am »
Attendants go on top of Old God.

I wanted a card that let you gain cards to your hand, and it only made sense to have it as a split pile, so you could guarantee having a gainer in the kingdom.  Well, I also made the gainer expensive and have an Attack.

EDIT: Quick change to Old God so it can't gain itself.

Puzzles and Challenges / Courtier's Wet Dream Kingdom
« on: November 18, 2017, 08:05:18 pm »
Can you set up a Kingdom that uses every possible card type for Kingdom cards?  (I'm pretty certain it's impossible to have one Kingdom cover every card type, including non-Supply card types like Spirit and Prize)

One rule: no Black Market.

Rules Questions / Vassal/Faithful Hound
« on: November 16, 2017, 10:10:40 pm »
So if you choose to set aside Faithful Hound when it's discarded by Vassal, Vassal will lose track of it and won't put it into your play area, but can you still "play" it?  I.e. get the +2 Cards?  Is "playing" and getting a card's on-play effect contingent on moving it into the play area?

Puzzles and Challenges / Puzzle: Smuggler's Choice
« on: November 15, 2017, 11:06:31 am »
You want to give the player to your left their pick of anything in the Supply (costing or less) to gain with their Smuggler.  Can you construct a turn where you gain every card in the Supply that Smuggler is allowed to gain?  Bonus points given for efficiency and creativity (so not just, I have a billion coins and a billion buys).

Your choice of Kingdom, though obviously Smuggler has to be included.

Dominion General Discussion / What do you forget IRL?
« on: October 28, 2017, 07:48:12 am »
Personally, I always forget the when-gain Gold-gain on Fortune.

Dominion Articles / Dominion 101: What is an engine?
« on: October 11, 2017, 11:54:22 pm »
Dominion 101 is a series geared toward newer players.

What is an engine?

One of the most important strategic concepts in Dominion is the engine.  Most experienced Dominion players will spend their first few moments of a game looking at the Kingdom and figuring out if an engine is possible, and if so, how they can cobble one together.  Engine strategies can reliably beat most decks that just buy bigger and bigger Treasures (called Big Money decks), and getting an engine running is for many players one of the most satisfying and rewarding parts of playing the game.

So what exactly is an engine?  An engine is characterized by two main features:
  • Strong draw, typically being able to draw your entire deck in a single turn
  • Payload, powerful cards that either help your deck, hinder your opponent, or let you gain multiple Victory cards in a turn
If the strong draw and/or payload is terminal (that is, not giving any +Action when played), an engine will also require a card that gives at least +2 Actions (usually called Villages, after the simplest Kingdom card that gives this effect).

For an example of each of these, we need look no further than the recommended First Game from the Base Set: Cellar, Moat, Merchant, Village, Workshop, Militia, Remodel, Smithy, Market, Mine.  (If you donít recognize Merchant, it was added in the Second Edition, which weíll discuss next time, and replaces Woodcutter in this game.)  For our strong draw, we have Smithy, which gives a snazzy +3 Cards for the low, low price of .  However, it is also terminal - if you play Smithy as your first Action on a turn, you canít play any more Actions afterwards, which undermines the whole point of making an engine in the first place.  So weíll also rely on Village to give us the extra Actions necessary to play enough Smithies to draw our entire deck.

But we canít stop here; one of the common pitfalls newer players experience is grabbing a bunch of Villages and Smithies, but not adding in anything else to the mix other than maybe a couple Treasures.  That kind of deck can pretty reliably draw itself, but then youíre stuck with a bunch of coins and only one Buy, and now youíre not doing any better than the Big Money deck, except youíre actually a few turns behind; while you were picking up the Villages and Smithies, the Big Money player was picking up Silvers and Golds and has already bought a Province or two, and thereís no way youíll catch up to them at this point.  What you need is the final, and most crucial, engine ingredient: payload.

Payload is just a fancy word for ďwhatever makes your engine worth itĒ.  This can be a +Buy card like Market, or an Attack like Militia.  An engine may have several different payloads, and the engine from the First Game has room for a few.  You could pick up a Mine, which increases the overall buying power of your Treasures.  Youíll also need Markets, so that you have the extra Buys necessary to gain multiple Provinces a turn near the end of the game, and a Militia would certainly be recommended, to slow down your opponent.

Engines do take a bit of time to get going, and an opponent thatís more focused on Treasures will probably start buying Provinces while youíre still building.  This process can be helped along by ďengine enablersĒ: essentially any card that speeds up your engine construction.  In the First Game, both Workshop and Remodel serve this role, as both can help you add more than one engine piece to your deck per turn.  Remodel is also the only way to get rid of your Estates on this board, and as we discussed last time, thatís quite important to do, particularly so for an engine, which canít afford to hit a snag like drawing an Estate instead of a card that can actually draw.  Besides gainers and trashers, enablers can include sifters (cards that cycle through your deck) like Cellar, and +Buy cards like Market.  There is a bit of overlap with payload cards, as many payload cards, like Market, also function as enablers.

If there are enablers on the board, youíll most likely want to open with them, to get your engine going as quickly as possible.  Look specifically for trashers (like Remodel), and gainers (like Workshop).  Notice that Mine, despite being a trasher, is not an enabler, but only payload; this is because it replaces a trashed Treasure with another Treasure, keeping the number of ďstop cardsĒ (cards that donít draw) in your deck constant.  While an engine will usually need a couple stop cards to serve as payload, most cards in an engine should be helping you draw the rest of your deck.  Once youíve picked up your enablers, focus on getting your engine pieces (your draw and Villages), before starting to pick up payload.  Once your engine is mostly drawing your entire deck, and has enough payload to gain more than one Province per turn, you should start grabbing some Victory cards.  Be careful, though: start buying Provinces too soon, and your engine will sputter, and you will lose.  But hold off buying Provinces too long, and your opponent will get more Victory cards than you, and you will lose.  Knowing exactly when to start doing each step is not an exact art, and will take some practice to get right. 

Specifically for the First Game, my preferred method would be to open Silver/Remodel (or Workshop/Remodel, if Iím feeling lucky), then pick up a Mine with my first , and Markets with each subsequent , getting Villages, Smithies, and a single Militia as I can along the way.  Remodel turns my starting Estates into Villages and/or Smithies, then a Silver or two into an extra Market, and later in the game can turn Golds I get from Mine into Provinces.  A typical late game turn should see me draw my entire deck, play my Militia, Mine a Silver into a Gold, then immediately Remodel that Gold into a Province, then buy 2 more Provinces and maybe one other cheap card (usually Cellar).

Remember that, unless youíre pulling off a particularly wacky strategy, youíre still going to need some coins in order to buy everything.  The First Game provides this rather naturally, sticking it onto Market and Militia in addition to their +Buy and Attack payload.  Mine also serves this purpose in slowly upgrading your Treasures.  If a Kingdom has draw, +Action, and other sources of payload, but no useful Actions that give extra coins, then itís perfectly fine to pick up a couple Golds to help serve as a payload.  However, in general, your engine should be made up almost entirely of Action cards, if possible.

So now when you see a board with good draw, a Village, and some cool payload cards, youíll think to yourself, ďItís engine time.Ē

Dominion Articles / Why is trashing good? (Newb-oriented)
« on: September 30, 2017, 04:01:49 pm »
This article is aimed at newer players.  It is intended to be the first in an ongoing series entitled "Dominion 101".

Why is trashing good?

Dominion is a rich, complex game, whose strategic depths continue to be plumbed by even the most experienced of players.  But there are certain aspects of playing this deckbuilder that are considered fundamental to understanding it.  Once youíve gotten a handle on the basic mechanics of the game, there are a few strategic concepts that must be mastered before you can start to become a better player.  It is the exploration of these fundamentals that will be the focus of this series, and our first topic is a concept that, when it clicks, can immediately improve how you play the game: the benefit of trashing.

Not every game of Dominion will have a card that lets you trash (hereafter referred to as a ďtrasherĒ), but quite a few do.  Some trash a single card, others multiple, some do other things in addition to trashing, but all of them trash.  The mechanic is simple: trashing removes one or more cards from your deck.  The difficulty lies in understanding whether or not itís a good idea to trash.  New players usually understand the benefit of getting rid of Curses, which do nothing and detract from your point total.  Of course you want to get rid of those, who wouldnít?  But often when a player is first told that they should trash their starting Estates and Coppers, they balk.  Estates are worth points!  And Copper is needed to buy cards!

So here we come to an idea of efficiency.  Yes, you need points to win the game.  Yes, you need coins to buy more cards.  But each Estate in your hand is wasted space.  That Estate could have been a Silver, or a Village, or a Market.  But because you didnít want to trash it, itís in your hand, giving you effectively 4 cards to work with instead of 5.  Would you rather have a hand of Estate, three Coppers, and Smithy, or a hand of Village, three Coppers, and Smithy?  Substituting one card can make a huge difference.  By getting rid of your starting Estates, you reduce the opportunities of wasted space in your hands from three to zero.

But what about the points?  Letís look at a scenario.  Billy didnít want to trash his Estates; he held onto them like an old woman onto her horde of near-feral cats, and that wasted space that keeps popping up in his hand means he keeps getting when he could have gotten or when he could have gotten .  His sister Lisa, on the other hand, has smartly cleared out her Estates with a trashing card, and that extra or in each hand because she drew a Copper or Silver instead of a worthless Estate means she was able to pick up a key Action, or a Province.  Now Lisa has three Provinces, and Billy still has his three starting Estates.  Thatís 18 points to 3.  Having 6 points in one useless card is a lot better than only 1 point.  Itís more efficient.

Also consider that by the time youíre buying Provinces, your deck is probably a lot larger, and will be able to better handle a Victory card that just takes up space, compared to your first two turns, when you have 10-15 cards in your deck.

For fun, imagine that instead of starting with 3 Estates and 7 Coppers, you start the game with just 7 Coppers.  Youíre guaranteed to buy a card costing $5 on your first turn, and have a chance to play it on your second turn!  Thatís insane, isnít it?  Thatís how much those starting Estates slow you down.

But what about the Coppers?  They actually do somethingÖ donít they?  Well, sure, they give you .  But there are better cards out there, and youíd rather be drawing those than a Copper.  Imagine replacing your starting 7 Coppers with 3 Silvers.  Or 3 Golds.  Not ďadd to your deckĒ.  ďReplace withĒ.  Thatís only possible with trashing.

Letís check in again with Billy and Lisa.  Billy has finally figured out he needs to trash his starting Estates, but heís holding onto his Coppers for dear life.  Meanwhile, Lisa has trashed all her starting cards, and has a deck of 5 Markets, 3 Silvers, 2 Golds, 3 Villages, and 2 Smithies, in addition to her trasher.  She is essentially guaranteed to draw her deck every turn, which will give her the ability to buy 2 Provinces.  Billy has (somehow) managed to get the same cards, in addition to his starting Coppers.  Theoretically, this gives him a higher coin output, even potentially buying 3 Provinces in one turn, but in practice, thereís almost no way that will happen.  Itís far more likely heíll have a hand of 3 Coppers, Silver, and Village, and then his Village will draw another Copper, and his turn will be over.  While Lisa gets to draw her deck every turn and buy multiple Victory cards, Billy is stuck playing maybe one Action per turn.

Now to be fair, there are a few styles of deck that donít really want to trash.  You could be going for Gardens, and want your deck to be as big and bloated as possible, and arenít really too concerned about making more than .  Or maybe you just want to buy Silvers and Golds (and maybe one Action) and run a Big Money deck.  But Gardens needs certain other enabling cards to be present to give you more points than Provinces, and a Big Money strategy can never do better than buying one Province per turn.  These strategies are usually beaten by an engine, which weíll cover next time.

In conclusion: trash early; trash often.  Trashing is your friend.  (Coppers and Estates are not, they hate you, they say nasty things about you behind your back.  KILL THEM ALL)  Ahem.  At the very least, trashing away your starting cards can give you an edge over your friends, and maybe then you can teach them something about how to play Dominion.

Dominion Articles / Cartographer vs. Forum
« on: September 24, 2017, 10:25:46 pm »

Cartographer and Forum are both doing similar things - sifting through your deck.  In a very general sense, you could argue that Forum is better (not strictly better, just better), as it puts more cards from your deck into your hand, and allows discarding from both the new cards and old ones in your hand.  However, I think it's worth considering:

- Cartographer has a reach of 2 more cards
- Cartographer interacts with your deck
- Cartographer does not require discarding

The first point doesn't matter too much, but the second is quite important.  Cartographer can activate Mystics, Doctors, Vassals, Heralds, Wishing Wells...  Now granted, a few of those could be argued as not mattering too much since Forum just draws the cards you would have been guessing with Mystic or Wishing Well, but being able to trash non-blindly with Doctor, and being able to set up Vassal and Herald chains, is quite nice.  And if you don't have a source of +Buy, maybe you don't really want too much going into your hand, and would rather set up for next turn.

Anyway, I don't really know where I'm going with this, just something I was thinking of, particularly with a lot of talk during the last Qvist rankings about how Forum was a lot better than Cartographer, or that Forum even makes Cartographer obsolete.  I think Forum is probably a better card in a broad sense, but if you do have the particular interactions described above, I think Cartographer does still have value.

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