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How fast can a pure Menagerie kingdom buy out all the Provinces? I'm reasonably confident it's possible in 6 turns, maybe even in 5. I haven't worked out the details, but getting the key ideas is the fun part.

You're allowed kingdoms that Dominion Online allows (meaning up to 4 landscapes).

Here's my idea:

The optimistic plan:

Turn 1: Buy Stampede.
Turn 2: Play the Horses using Way of the Chameleon. Buy Populate. Because of Cavalry, clean-up triggers a reshuffle.
Turn 3: Buy 2 Populates.
Turn 4: Buy 4 Populates.
Turn 5: Buy all Provinces.

I'm not sure buying 2 Populates on turn 3 is actually possible, so maybe it takes 6 turns to do it. Shouldn't take longer than that though.

The 10 action cards (tentative):
Wayfarer, Livery, Displace, Barge, Hunting Lodge, Hostelry, Village Green, Animal Fair, Scrap, Cavalry

Include also Way of the Horse.

On Dominion Online, I used these action cards (except Cavalry was Supplies) to try exponential growth of Populate later in the game. So either this works as-is or should work with some tweaking.

Hearthstone / Rise of Shadows: The Great Dalaran Heist
« on: May 18, 2019, 11:26:20 pm »
So the first instalment of the new singleplayer content is out as of Thursday. It's like Dungeon Run, but more. It's very good.

My only complaint is that it's a little bit too easy on Heroic. (Normal is a cakewalk, but that's expected.) That could be just because it's chapter 1, though.

Topic says it all. I was surprised not to easily find the answer by searching. The earliest hit is Aug 15, 2010, but it's hard to tell much about the site from that.

Other Games / Baba Is You
« on: March 30, 2019, 02:22:12 am »
Baba Is You is a block-pushing puzzle game. The twist is that the rules of the puzzle are also blocks that can be pushed around.

I just picked up the game so I'm not too far into it, but so far it's great. The twist is fresh and the puzzle design is based around insight, so when I get stuck on a puzzle, I afterwards feel silly for not seeing the obvious solution.

Hearthstone / Monster Hunt
« on: April 28, 2018, 03:42:55 am »
This is the follow-up to Dungeon Run in the newest expansion. It was released just a couple days ago (about a week after the expansion release).

It's good. Better than Dungeon Run, in my opinion. As with Dungeon Run, it's free. I play fairly little Hearthstone now, but I'm glad I stuck around for this content.

It fixes up some of Dungeon Run's flaws. The final bosses are actually fair. The treasures and passives seem a bit better balanced (strong ones weaker, weak ones stronger).

Instead of playing the 9 base classes, you pick from 4 special classes just for this mode: Tracker, Cannoneer, Houndmaster, Time-Tinker. The cards are collectible cards, but the hero powers are new. The design of the hero powers to me signals a new direction for Hearthstone: acceptance of higher complexity. In particular, the hero powers for Cannoneer and Time-Tinker are very challenging to use optimally. The thing I enjoy most about Hearthstone is planning out a good play in a turn, and those two classes strongly emphasize that task.

Once you finish a run with all 4 classes, a Final Challenge opens up. I enjoyed it a lot.

The difficulty level is lower than Dungeon Run. I won first attempt with a couple of the classes, and beat the Final Challenge on first attempt too. That said, I don't think it's too easy, since you need to think a lot about your plays to do well. But replayability might not be as good as Dungeon Run.

Hearthstone / Dungeon Run
« on: November 08, 2017, 12:23:10 am »
The next expansion of Hearthstone will introduce a PvE deck-building mode called Dungeon Run. (Oddly, I can't find an official announcement to link, but there's been plenty of third-party coverage over the past few days.)

I assume Peter Whalen (of Dream Quest fame) was involved. I'm looking forward to trying it, although the demo makes it look like every run starts with a few boringly easy bosses, so that's not great.

Other Games / Duelyst
« on: November 03, 2015, 04:33:38 pm »
It's a computer CCG very much like Hearthstone, but on a board. They started their open beta just a few days ago (Windows/Mac). I've only played the tutorial and a couple online games, but so far I'm impressed. The production values are comparable to Hearthstone's (beautiful native client, good tutorial, working automatch, etc.), and while the combat mechanics themselves are almost identical to Hearthstone's, the board gives you something extra you can do on your turn apart from just playing a card and hoping for the best, which has often bothered me in Hearthstone.

Anyone tried it?

Edit: Fixed OSes because I can't brain correctly. (Although they do call Windows "PC" on their site, what.)

Hearthstone / Hearthstone's tracker problem
« on: October 25, 2015, 07:51:40 pm »
I was reminded of this because of (yet again) discussions about Dominion VP counting.

In my opinion, Hearthstone has a much more unfair tracking situation than Dominion ever had. Hearthstone is playable on several platforms (Windows, Mac, iOS, Android) but the trackers can't exist on mobile and barely exist on Mac (last time I tried one, it didn't work for me). Blizzard has given the OK to trackers, so although you can't use them at in-person tournaments as far as I know, there's no reason not to use a tracker on ladder. Unless, of course, you can't because of the platform you play on.

I'm not arguing that Blizzard is doing anything wrong here. I assume (without evidence) that most competitive Hearthstone players play on Windows and they all have equal benefit from trackers. Having trackers available makes the experience better for those players. If you play casually on mobile, maybe you don't care if you're unfairly disadvantaged by lack of tracker. Anyway, it's not like Blizzard can realistically ban trackers given how cheaty the Hearthstone community can be (Personman has nothing on 'em), and it'd be a big UI headache to build a tracker into the official client, so that's never going to happen. Am I happy playing sans tracker? No, but I'm glad that Hearthstone is available cross-platform at all, so I can't complain overall.

I just think it's funny how drama sometimes erupts on f.ds over trackers that arguably give similar or less advantage than the Hearthstone trackers, are available on all desktop platforms (not the case in Hearthstone), tell the opponent that the tracker is being used (not the case in Hearthstone), offer tracking functionality to the opponent even if the opponent isn't running a tracker (not the case in Hearthstone), and either can be turned off by opponent request or advertise their presence in the game name or automatch settings (also not the case in Hearthstone).

  • Assume the client quality is at least as good as Goko+Salvager.
  • If you've paid for Dominion Online already, imagine that you haven't.
  • Large expansion = Intrigue/Seaside/Prosperity/Hinterlands. Larger and smaller expansions would cost proportionately more or less, respectively.
  • Currency is USD.

Hearthstone / Blackrock Mountain Adventure Discussion
« on: April 02, 2015, 05:18:14 pm »
(Since the other thread has discussion of the new cards in constructed and arena, I thought it'd be nice to have a thread specifically for discussing the adventure.)

Mage class challenge is fun.

Post your strategies for the heroic bosses.


Grim Guzzler -- Mage, many cheap spells, handful of hard-hitting late game drops. Survival spells: Mirror Image, Ice Barrier, Frost Nova, Ice Block. Won first try despite drawing Antonidas in hand. Ragnaros is great here, too bad there's only one of him in the game.

Dark Iron Arena -- Only deck that didn't work first try, but I was lucky enough to win second try. The archetype is Ultra-Miracle Druid, to exploit Millhouse Manastorm. Problem is that Auctioneer needs to be in hand with enough mana when Millhouse is played, but if Millhouse is played too late, I'm already dead. When things line up, just cycle through deck to play double FoN double Roar.

Emperor Thaurissan -- Bloodlust Shaman, first try win. Thaurissan didn't play any removal. The only problem was him dropping an Abomination just before my Bloodlust turn, but enough survived for lethal anyway.

Other Games / Catchup
« on: January 30, 2015, 04:09:57 pm »
(Edit: Thanks theory for the move!)

Has anyone played this game?

It's an abstract strategy game that in feel reminds me of 9x9 Go, but it's a new-ish design and app (released August 2014). I've been playing a lot of the iOS app but mostly just against the AI because the async multiplayer scene is not very active. The nice thing about playing this game vs, say, Go, is that I can play through a whole game against the AI in about 2 minutes. I also like that nobody has published much about strategy for this game yet, so you can figure it out from scratch.

Other Games / Probability applied to one aspect of "luck vs skill"
« on: November 14, 2014, 10:20:50 pm »
(Edit: Added a paragraph to clarify what I mean by "high impact". Added another footnote.)

I'm assuming you've seen Richard Garfield's excellent talk about why luck and skill are not necessarily in conflict: Ben Brode (one of Hearthstone's designers) also said some words about this recently at Blizzcon:

I'd like to focus specifically on one benefit of luck in games: the possibility for a bad player to beat a good player. This is good to prevent new players from becoming discouraged. It turns out that if you look at this from a mathematical perspective, it helps clarify what exactly the goal is here and which forms of luck help achieve it. (Not all kinds of randomness help achieve this goal!) I know there are a handful of math nerds on this forum, so you may enjoy this take.

My view is that there are fundamentally two goals here, which initially appear in conflict but actually aren't:
  • Accessibility: A bad player should have at least some base chance to beat a good player in a single match. Let's say 20% for concreteness.
  • Discrimination: When two good players play each other, the outcome of a match should be mostly determined by how well they play in that match.
These can be formulated mathematically as follows. Consider the function w that maps skill difference to win probability. "Accessibility" wants w to be bounded below by 20%. "Discrimination" wants w to have a large derivative at zero. These can both be satisfied by a sigmoid function ( that is appropriately scaled and translated [1].

Now that we know what we want w to look like, there is some trickiness in how to achieve it. First, think about what happens if each source of randomness in the game is low-impact. If there are just a few, they won't significantly affect the outcome in any case (failing to bound w below), and if there are many of these, then by the central limit theorem, w looks like a normal CDF, which although sigmoidal drops to near-zero very quickly and so can't be made to be bounded below by 20% like we wanted [2]. Instead of bounding w below for all skill differences, an alternative approach could be to make the normal distribution's variance so high that for all practical skill differences w is bounded below, but then the randomness will dominate matches between skilled players, failing "discrimination".

That means a small number of sources of high-impact randomness are necessary to be both accessible and discriminative. I believe that in all games that are sufficiently accessible and discriminative in this sense, you can find examples of this kind of randomness. For example, in Dominion, a crucial opening buy missing the first shuffle can sometimes put you so far behind that it's very difficult to win even against a player who makes relatively many misplays. Note though that if it's usually possible to recover from the high-impact randomness with skilled play, then it wasn't high-impact enough! To truly promote accessibility, the impact has to be so strong that even optimal play from you and bad play from your opponent still has them winning often.

To be clear, by "high impact" I mean something more specific than simply "high variance". I mean a source of randomness that with small probability produces a large swing in win probability, and the rest of the time the swing is negligible. High-impact randomness in this sense is inherently high variance, but as an example of high-variance randomness that isn't high impact in this sense, consider flipping a coin to decide the game outcome. In the coin-flip case, there is no possibility to not have a huge swing in win probability. (I called this kind of randomness lotteries/anti-lotteries in an earlier post:

This is all fine for matches between players of mismatched skill. The better player will still usually win, but often enough get unlucky so the worse player can pick up some wins too. It also doesn't prevent matches between players of similar skill to be decided by skill the 80% of the time that the high-impact randomness doesn't decide the match. In a tournament, using a BoX format can amplify this to discriminate between similarly skilled players with high probability.

The trouble is that when two good players play each other, they don't want 20% of their games to be decided by a purely random element, because they want to feel like how they play matters in every game. This concern isn't about the win probability, which may be fine. The concern is that deciding a match by variance of goodness of play feels better than deciding a match by variance of goodness of luck, even if the win probability is equal. An example from Dominion is how Tournament can decide matches simply by who gets Followers, even if play up to that point was similarly skilled. I think this is where a lot of games go astray, falling into the pitfall of having high-impact randomness decide games between skilled players, such as in Hearthstone where Ramp Druid's strength varies wildly depending on whether Wild Growth is drawn early on.

One solution here is to only inject the high-impact randomness into games involving players of mismatched skill. How? In a strategy game, coax bad players into strategies that have a single source of high-impact randomness but poor win probability, and allow good players to choose strategies where the randomness has relatively low impact. When two good players face each other, as long as their skill is similar enough, it's optimal for them to choose the strategies that will cause the match to always be decided mostly by variance of goodness of play.

With good players, because they are skilled, no special effort is needed to encourage them to pick appropriate strategies. But how can bad players be persuaded to pick a strategy that's best for them, given that their lack of skill makes it hard to evaluate the strength of strategies? One way to accomplish this is with "trap cards" (cards which appear better than they are) and "fun cards" (cards that are simply fun to play regardless of how good they are), which players initially like and good players don't mind skipping to win more. By injecting a single high-impact source of randomness into such a card, bad players automatically get a strategy that will win them some proportion of games against good players. For example, in Dominion, unassisted Treasure Map can fulfill this purpose in some kingdoms, by looking better than it is, being fun through the theme, and sometimes winning games through fluke collision. The key is that good players won't choose to play unassisted Treasure Map, so for their games the high-impact randomness of that strategy won't be relevant. Compare with low-assistance Tournament, which is a strong strategy and has a single high-impact source of randomness (who connects Province first).

I intentionally didn't touch on the many other uses of randomness in games. Randomness definitely has a place in matches between skilled players too, just not single-source high-impact randomness. I also didn't say much about actually achieving the ideal of high variance of player skill within matches, which is arguably required to make matches between good players interesting. I think that's some combination of the intuitive concepts of "variety" and "depth", and is one reason that Dominion's random kingdom mechanic keeps the game interesting for thousands of plays.

Hopefully the analysis above helps with understanding why some randomness feels good and other randomness feels bad. It has for me, at least.


[1] Think about what w is for Richard Garfield's toy example of Rando Chess. It's an extreme case of exactly this sort of sigmoid function, essentially a step function from 1/6 to 5/6. That's one reason that I think this model captures part of what he refers to as high-luck high-skill games. Not all high-luck high-skill games fall into this category though: a single hand of poker is relatively low-discrimination.

[2] TrueSkill uses a normal distribution in its model, so maybe TrueSkill can't simultaneously be a good model of the discrimination of a game and the accessibility of a game. If the matches are exclusively between players of similar skill, then TS can still do okay because the accessibility is mostly irrelevant.

Game Reports / Nice double tactician combo kingdom
« on: October 22, 2014, 08:49:06 pm »

Code: [Select]
Moat, Shanty Town, Bishop, Salvager, Golem, Butcher, Festival, Rogue, Tactician, Border Village
Neither of us played this perfectly, but there are some nice combos here: Double Tactician with Festival+Moat to generate coin while churning through cards (though not increasing handsize); Butcher/Salvager on Border Village; and gaining BVs with Rogue that were trashed earlier in the same turn. The only irrelevant card is Golem.

With so much TfB, the skill ceiling for tactical play is very high. My opponent made an error (running out of actions) when trying to close out the game on his turn, but I suspect he couldn't have managed it with his deck that turn, anyway.

Other Games / Temporum
« on: September 02, 2014, 01:31:23 am »
The rulebook is uploaded now (PDF): I'm hyped.

Hearthstone / Tracking could easily be a Dominion card
« on: August 30, 2014, 12:40:33 am »
$3 - Action

+1 Action
Look at the top 3 cards of your deck. Put one into your hand. Discard the other cards.

It sounds like a more fun version of Sage to me.

Rules Questions / Goko Prince Scheme bug?
« on: August 29, 2014, 11:31:20 pm »
On Goko, if a card set aside with Prince is named for Scheme's effect, it will go on top of your deck and not continue to be set aside. (There is no choice.) The log prettifier is currently not working for me but the log would be here:

Here's what I think the rules specify.

Scheme reads: "At the start of Clean-up this turn, you may choose an Action card you have in play. If you discard it from play this turn, put it on your deck." The Scheme-Hermit ruling implies that Scheme triggers from the card being discarded.

Prince reads: "...set aside an Action card from your hand costing up to $4. At the start of each of your turns, play that Action, setting it aside again when you discard it from play. (Stop playing it if you fail to set it aside on a turn you play it.)"

Since the two when-discard effects occur simultaneously, I should be able to choose which happens first. If I choose Prince to happen first, then the card should be set aside, causing Scheme to lose track of it so that the card doesn't go on the top of my deck. If I choose Scheme to happen first, then the card should go on top of my deck, causing Prince to lose track of it, so that the card doesn't get set aside. That means there are two legal outcomes (setting aside the card, and putting on top of the deck), but Goko only resolves to one, which happens to be the less favourable outcome for the player in most situations.

Hearthstone / Best 30-of deck?
« on: June 29, 2014, 05:01:12 pm »
Hypothetically, if you had 30 of the same card in a deck, what would be the best deck? Or would there be no one best deck because of a rock-paper-scissors effect? I'm sure this has been discussed on other Hearthstone forums but it's a fun puzzle.

Here's the all-around strongest I can think of:

30 Soulfires.

Because of life tap, starting turn 2 you can draw soulfire, play soulfire, draw soulfire, play soulfire, for 8 damage every turn.

As player 1, on turn 1 you have 4 soulfires in hand and can play 2 of them, so every turn of the game you do 8 damage. As player 2, on turn 1 you have 5 soulfires and 1 coin, so on turn 1 you can: coin, soulfire, soulfire, soulfire, tap, soulfire, to do 16 damage. Then 8 damage on each subsequent turn.

Absent opponent healing, that gives player 1 lethal on turn 4 and player 2 lethal on turn 3.

Counters: Because the soulfire deck has a per-turn damage cap, decks focusing on healing have hope, but they need to be very fast.

Healing touch is a certain counter, because beginning on player 1 turn 3 or player 2 turn 2, you can restore 8 health once per turn, completely negating the soulfires. If the warlock chooses not to soulfire then you win easily via hero power plus fatigue. If the warlock collects soulfires in hand, the most burst possible is playing 6 soulfires in a turn for 24 damage, not enough.

Hearthstone / Commons-only play
« on: June 22, 2014, 04:13:23 pm »
If anyone wants to try out commons-only decks, ping me if I'm online. If we end up doing a tournament with them, it'll be nice to have some practice, and Play mode is a pretty poor substitute because your opponents may be running all sorts of crazy stuff.

Goko Dominion Online / Katie_Mi and the eternal game
« on: November 25, 2013, 08:08:35 pm »
In Gardens, there is a 2-player pro game hosted by Katie_Mi entitled "#vpon all 4700+". I'm sure that game has been there for at least a few days. I've joined it at least a couple times and got confused why she didn't start the game. I assume it just got stuck there somehow.

Puzzles and Challenges / Play well, lose on your turn
« on: November 17, 2013, 08:04:35 pm »
I just played a game where my opponent made a good play that resulted in him losing on his turn. How can this happen?

Game Reports / Wherein I gain 9 Scouts
« on: November 03, 2013, 03:51:35 pm »

Code: [Select]
Vineyard, Apothecary, University, Wishing Well, Scout, Taxman, Bandit Camp, Contraband, Hunting Party, Trading Post
Dream Vineyards kingdom. The only thing restraining the insanity here is lack of +Buy. Contraband has it, but it'd be annoying to have University blocked early or Vineyards blocked late. I'm pretty sure the ideal order of University gaining here (after getting a Trading Post) is Hunting Party -> Wishing Well -> Scout.

My opponent recognizes Potion as important but doesn't seem to structure around Vineyards early enough, so it's a pretty easy win. For example, he opens Silver/Potion, when WW/Potion seems to me much better for this deck. Also, grabbing an Apothecary before the first University seems like a no-brainer for the cycling.

Once it's clear that I'm pretty far ahead, I get a bit lazy with my play. Main room for improvement would be setting up my next hand at the end of each turn, which would be doable (but tricky) by triggering a reshuffle when I know there are good cards in the discard, then not drawing all of them. That requires paying careful attention to what's in the discard pile.

Goko Dominion Online / Most annoying card interface?
« on: November 02, 2013, 12:13:18 am »
For me it's got to be Urchin. Combining King's Court and Urchin is strategically reasonable (since KC+cantrip provides some mild drawing power) but so much clicking.

Edit: The last KC-Urchin play in took 24 clicks to resolve. Yikes.

Dominion Articles / When to think
« on: August 10, 2013, 04:13:53 am »

(Disclaimer: This is mainly intended for playing 2-player games in a non-tournament setting.)

Some players seem to think about the same amount each turn. This is wrong. In Dominion, you sometimes want to think a long time, but in most situations not much. This is a brief guide to when you should think a lot, and when not to bother. Some of it will be obvious, but doing these things has helped me play better, and when I ignore them I do badly.

Like how one big turn is often better than two smaller turns, one big think is often better than two smaller thinks. It pays to spend enough time thinking when you need to, so that you have a better idea what to focus on in subsequent turns.

For that reason, the time you should think most is at the beginning of the game. The other important moment is when entering the endgame.

Before the game

Never, ever buy anything before reading the entire kingdom and doing some basic analysis. Even if you have $3, and the only <=$3 card is Silver, resist the urge to buy it, because you want to form a good habit. (I know I'm in for an easy win when the other player buys a card before I've even read the kingdom!)

Important things to do:
  • Check what all the cards are. Is there a second page of cards? Are you playing with Estates or Shelters?
  • Do kingdom analysis. (There are other articles on how to do that well.) Imagine playing the best strategy you see. Roughly what order do you think you'll want to buy the components? This will guide your thinking in buying phases later on.
  • Figure out when you'll need to think later. That way you'll avoid auto-playing yourself to death, but at the same time not waste time on decisions that don't matter. For example, if your game plan involves Expand on Peddlers and there's no village available, then on most turns you'll want to auto-play all but 1 Peddler, then check whether you have Expand in hand. The important thing is that you can know that well before reaching a turn where it actually matters.


When is the endgame? Roughly, when the game could end by the end of your next turn. There's no single guideline for when that is, so as the game progresses, develop an idea of how to tell it's approaching the end. Like in the previous section, figure out ahead of time when you'll need to think.

The reason it's important to slow down and think here is that the endgame is pure tactics and breaks a lot of the rules you'll have been following throughout the rest of the game. It's your opportunity to be clever and steal games you shouldn't have won--or conversely throw games away.

Goko Dominion Online / Misc. things that still bug me about Goko
« on: February 09, 2013, 09:21:54 pm »
I gave a go at signing up for Goko recently and was reminded of why I still play on isotropic. So here are some things that bugged me going through the sign-up process & initial games, with suggestions about what to do instead (because hey, being constructive is good).

At registration time, as far as I know it's still true that if I don't sign up with Google+, then I can't ever get Walled Village. I prefer not to use my social media accounts for sign-ups in general, but that's not really the point. It displays a lack of respect for your users to not let them pay you money for the game. Same goes for the unlockable promos, for that matter. I suggest making a promo pack available for purchase.

It's apparently still not possible to buy, in one purchase, exactly the number of Goko coins needed for the mega pack. Why not? Seriously guys, don't make it awkward to buy your stuff. Maybe some combination of smaller clumps of coins can do it, but why even make it that complicated? I suggest allowing Goko coins to be bought in any quantity, or failing that, at least in the quantities that correspond to stuff you want to spend them on.

Text layout on cards is messed up. For example, Ironmonger. Compare side-by-side the Goko version and the IRL card. I have attached both for your convenience. The Goko version has not enough space between lines of text. For example, the d in "discard" overlaps the y in "your". Also the options at the bottom are not grouped together like they are in the real card. This is super minor, I admit, but hey. I suggest tweaking the display to look like the real cards, or even better, getting someone with typography knowledge to have a crack at making them nice.

The log button still doesn't toggle the log. Clicking the button shows the log, but clicking it again doesn't hide the log. In my opinion, it would make the log a ton more usable for this to be a toggle.

Game Reports / Tactician / Remodel / Treasure Map
« on: October 10, 2012, 11:08:50 pm »

cards in supply: Bazaar, Explorer, Native Village, Outpost, Pearl Diver, Remodel, Tactician, Treasure Map, Walled Village, and Warehouse

Nearly every card can be relevant here. I open Tactician/Native Village with some vague intent for double Tactician, while my opponent goes for Warehouse/Treasure Map. The WH/TMap goes nearly perfectly, with a hit on turn 5, and suddenly the heat is on--I don't have as much time to fashion my engine as I'd like!

I get a couple Remodels on turn 4/5, then convert two Estates to Treasure Maps on turn 7. On turn 10, I cash them in for 4 Golds, drawing 3 of those on the same turn, and remodeling two to Provinces. I think I'm in okay shape then, but on turn 11 I don't draw my 2nd Tactician, putting me in great danger as my opponent takes the 2nd-last province on his turn 11, putting me 9 points down.

I'm lucky in that he can only afford an Estate on turn 12, making the gap 10 points--and then on turn 13, I barely cross it, remodeling a gold to a Province, a Tactician to a Duchy, and buying 2 Estates with $4.

All-in-all: in my 13 turns, I gained 4 Provinces, 2 Duchies, and 2 Estates; while he bought 4 Provinces, a Duchy and an Estate. Very fast game!

On reflection, Outpost could have helped me a lot, and I should have been in less of a hurry to take Provinces, since (with Warehouse aid) the engine should be strong enough to take a bunch of Duchies too. Thank goodness for first player advantage!

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