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Messages - Titandrake

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Baths + Debt

It's more okay to buy high-Debt cards early if Baths is in the game, because you can get 2 VP on the turn you're paying off the debt. I recently lost a game because I bid too low on Mountain Pass, thinking that it was worth 8 VP. With Baths in the game, it was actually worth 10 VP.

Dominion Articles / Re: Occasionally Relevent Rule Edge-Cases
« on: September 16, 2017, 03:52:52 pm »
I updated the post to

* Elaborate a bit more on costs.
* Add that you can't overpay by $0 or with debt with Stonemason.
* Explain Throne Room + Durations (which are annoyingly hard to explain.)
* Chang the "Hermit + Events" section to just "Events"
* Add something for tokens + Travellers
* Add something for Summon + Border Village (which I didn't even know about.)

Game Reports / Re: Develop>Chapel?(here:)
« on: September 12, 2017, 01:58:57 am »
I think I would open Chapel/Develop, hoping that they don't collide and that Develop gets drawn with at least 1 Estate, with the goal of getting 2 early Urchins. If they collide, you still get to trash 3 with Chapel. If you draw Develop + 4 Copper, you can trash 1 and still have $3, plus there's a good chance you draw the Estates with your Chapel. Then you can either trash Chapel to your Merc or your Develop.

If you get lucky on the trashing, maybe you just go for Silver instead of Merc, to make sure you can still hit $4 for Villa. I do think Develop + Villa is the thing you want to do here. there are a lot of good $5 and a lot of good $3s, but I wouldn't skip Chapel entirely.

Urchin/Urchin is, as always, a valid opening, but here I don't think you want to risk how far behind you'll be if your Urchins don't collide on your 2nd shuffle.

Relic is stronger than it looks, it's hard to appreciate the impact of the -1 Card until you've played against it yourself a few times. That being said I don't think you want more than one.

General Discussion / Re: Brag Board
« on: September 11, 2017, 04:39:21 am »
My respect:post ratio is finally higher than 1:1.

Oh, also a paper I was 2nd author on got accepted to the conference we submitted it to, but clearly the first one is a bigger accomplishment.

Dominion Articles / Re: Occasionally Relevent Rule Edge-Cases
« on: September 10, 2017, 11:02:35 pm »
How about something like "Card A costs more than Card B if Card B's cost is a subset of Card A's cost, for example [examples])"?

That's much better than what I had.

Not that I disagree, but I think that would only sound more clear to the people that wouldn't have a problem understanding how costs work in the first place?

Yeah, that's also my concern. Didn't GendoIkari make a picture explaining costs once? I haven't been able to track it down but I was planning on using that instead of trying to explain it with words.

Dominion Articles / Occasionally Relevent Rule Edge-Cases
« on: September 10, 2017, 04:26:11 am »
Sometimes, Dominion rules can get complicated. Most of the time, they don't matter. In a few scenarios, they matter a lot. Those scenarios are overwhelmingly "gotcha" scenarios: they make sense when you think about them, you always remember them after the first time, but they can be hard to notice on the fly.

I think people shouldn't be unreasonably rewarded for knowing more rules minutiae than the other person, so here are some edge cases. This list certainly isn't complete, but I believe most things off the list are too close to rules trivia - interesting to think about, but not powerful enough to keep in mind. (Several things in this list are already near or past that threshold.)

These are ordered roughly by relevance.

Fundamental Rules Principles

When you play a card, you do exactly what it says, in order. If you can't do something, you do as much as you can. This happens even if the card leaves play for some reason.

If multiple effects trigger at the same time, you choose what order they resolve in. Sometimes the order matter. For the online client in particular, be careful you do things in the right order. For example, if you play Alchemists + Herbalist, you should topdeck all your Alchemists before using Herbalist to put the Potion back.

When buying a card, first you trigger all on-buy events, then you gain the card, then you trigger all on-gain events.

Card Costs

Dominion cards have 3 axes of cost: coins, Potion, and debt. A card costs more than another one if it is greater than or equal on all those axes. So for example, $4P > $3P > $3, and 8 debt > 4 debt, What about $3P vs $4? You can't compare them, neither costs more than the other.

This lets you do several neat things, like

* Remodel Familiar into Golem.
* With Haggler in play, buy City Quarter and gain Engineer off Haggler.
* Play Stonemason, trashing University to gain 2 Vineyards.

If you play Salvager and trash a Familiar, you get +$3, not +$3P, because Salvager specifically says "+$1 per $1 it costs" - it ignores the Potion and debt axes.

Stonemason Overpay

If an action costs $0 (because of Bridge or Highway, for example), you cannot overpay by $0 to gain two copies of that action. You also cannot overpay by debt to gain two copies of an Action that costs debt. You are, however, allowed to overpay by Potion, so with $5P you can buy Stonemason and gain 2 Alchemists.

Prince + Durations

Prince does not work with Durations. When you play the Duration, it stays in play past the end of the turn. Because you didn't discard it the turn you played it, it doesn't go back to the Prince when it finishes resolving.

There is an exception. If you Prince a Gear, and don't set aside any cards with Gear, the Gear won't stay in play and will successfully get Princed next turn. But normally, you should assume it won't work, and Prince something else instead.

Procession + Reserve cards

If you Procession a Reserve card, the Reserve card goes to the Tavern mat. Procession loses track of the Reserve card, so it can't trash it. However, you still get to gain an Action costing $1 more. This also applies to Island.

Band of Misfits / Overlord + Reserve cards

If you play Band of Misfits or Overlord as a Reserve card, you're going to have a bad time. Both cards say "This is that card until it leaves play." Moving to the Tavern mat counts as leaving play. Once it's on the mat, the card doesn't remember what it used to be, so you can't call it and it'll be stuck on the mat forever. Just don't do it.


Buying an event doesn't count as buying a card. Some side effects of this:

1. You can turn Hermits into Madmen while spending your Buys on events.
2. You can buy events on Mission turns.
3. Haggler, Goons, and Swamp Hag will not trigger on buying an event.

Buying an event doesn't count as buying a card, which can make it easier to gain Madmen.

Hermit + Scheme

If you don't buy a card and topdeck Hermit with your Scheme, you can gain a Madman without trashing the Hermit. From the wiki:

In this scenario, two things happen simultaneously, and you get to choose the order :

    (Hermit) Trash the Hermit and gain a Madman.
    (Scheme) Hermit goes on top of your deck.

If you resolve (1) then (2), you gain a Madman, the Hermit goes to the Trash, and then (2) doesn't do anything because Scheme lost track of the Hermit.
If you resolve (2) then (1), you put the Hermit on top of your deck, then Hermit attempts to trash itself but fails because it lost track of itself, then you still gain a Madman because you do as much as you can of the Hermit statement.

Capital Tricks

Capital gives you debt only when you discard it from play. If you can avoid discarding it from play, you don't take debt. You can topdeck it with Herbalist, or trash it with Counterfeit / Bonfire / Mint on-buy. If you Crown it, you get $12 + 2 buys and only take the 6 debt once. Of special note is the Mandarin on-gain. If you play Capital + 4 other Treasures that give at least $7, you can buy Mandarin + Province every turn until the Provinces or Mandarins run out.

Throne Room variants + Durations

The official ruling is that if a Throne Room variant directly applies to a Duration card, that Throne Room stays out until the Duration leaves play.

* You play Throne Room on a Fishing Village. The Throne Room stays out until the Fishing Village gets discarded next turn.
* You play Throne Room on Throne Room, using the doubled-Throne Room to play 2 Caravans twice. The first Throne Room was applied to the 2nd Throne Room, and gets discarded at end of turn. The 2nd Throne Room was applied to both Caravans, so it stays out until next turn.
* You play Throne Room on Hireling. The Throne Room stays out for the rest of the game.

The rule works this way because for IRL play, it's easier to track which Durations are modified. In practice, if you're playing a big King's Court stack, you want to bunch all the Durations under the same King's Court if possible.

The rule gets trickier is with Procession. Because Procession trashes the discarded Duration, it always gets discarded at end of turn. But, you still get the Duration card's effect next turn.

* You play Procession on Caravan. You trash Caravan and gain a $5 cost Action. Procession is discarded at end of turn. On your next turn, you draw 2 cards.
* You play Procession on Hireling. You trash Hireling and gain a $7 cost Action (if one exists). Procession is discarded at end of turn. For the rest of the game, you draw an extra 2 cards.

Adventures Tokens + Travellers

If you have a token on Page, only Page will get that bonus. The other Travellers in the Page line won't. Similarly for Peasant. This is because the other cards in the line are not in the Supply, and didn't come from the Page pile.

Band of Misfits / Overlord + Conspirator

When you play Band of Misfits as another action card, it counts as two action plays for Conspirator. The first action is the Band of Misfits, and the second is the card you copy.

Yes, this means that if all 3 are in the Kingdom, you can play Overlord as Band of Misfits as Conspirator for your first action, and the Conspirator will be activated. Let me know if this ever happens to you.

Band of Misfits / Overlord + Adventures Tokens

Band of Misfits gets the bonuses of both the Band of Misfits pile and the pile it's copying. This happens for the same reason as the Conspirator case.


When you inherit an action, your Estates gain the types and the card text of that action, but they're still called Estate and still cost $2. This has a bunch of follow-on effects. Among them are:

* If an Adventures token is on the pile you inherit, your Estates will not gain those effects, because your Estates did not come from that pile.
* You cannot put Adventures tokens on the Estate pile, because the Estates in the supply are not actions - they aren't your Estates.
* Estate as Crossroads can never give +Actions, because Estate keeps its name. When you play an Estate, it can never be "the first time you played Crossroads this turn". For similar reasons, Estate as Treasure Map doesn't work.

Charm + Knights

If you play Charm in gain mode, you cannot buy a Knight, then gain the Knight underneath it with Charm. The on-buy happens first, and at the time you're picking a card to gain with Charm, the top Knight hasn't been gained yet.

Split Piles + Adventures Tokens

The official ruling is that if a token is on a split pile, it applies to all cards in that pile. When deciding whether you can put a token on that pile, you decide based on the card type of the randomizer. For Castles, the randomizer is a Victory card, and for everything else it's an action.

What that means in practice:

* You can place a +Card token on the Encampment/Plunder pile, even if the top card is a Plunder. Both your Encampments and Plunders will draw you one card.
* You cannot place a +Card token on the Castles pile, even if the top Castle is an Action.

The one way a token can get on the Castles pile is if the top Castle is an Action, it costs $4 or less through cost reduction, and you gain it with Seaway.

Playing Treasures During the Action Phase

So far, you can do this with Black Market and Storyteller.

* If you play a Silver, then play a Merchant after, the Merchant will not give $1 if you play another Silver. Merchant only triggers the first time you play a Silver, and a Silver was already played.
* If you play a Crown during Black Market / Storyteller, it's played as a Throne Room because it's still the Action phase. You resolve the Crown in the middle of Black Market / Storyteller.
* If you gain a Mandarin during your Action phase, treasures played by Black Market or Storyteller go on top of your deck.

Summon + Cards that Gain Other Cards on Gain

(I learned about this interaction very recently.)

If you Summon Border Village or Death Cart, Summon won't play it next turn.

Wait, what?

Here's how Summon works, if you spell it all out.
* Gain an Action card costing up to $4.
* (The gained card goes to discard, or on top of the deck if you gain Nomad Camp.)
* (Summon looks for the card where it expects it to be, the discard or top of the deck for Nomad Camp.)
* It sets it aside, and if it did, it sets it aside next turn.

So what happens with the cards above? To quote the wiki:

Summoning a card that gains other cards when gained (such as Border Village or Death Cart) will cause the Summoned card to not be set aside, and thus not played at the start of your next turn. This is because the extra cards gained cover up the Summoned card in the discard pile (since the Summoned card is not set aside immediately), causing the Summoned card to be lost track of.

What you can do, however, is Summon a Border Village, then reveal Watchtower to topdeck the card gained from Border Village. Then Summon will successfully find the Border Village and set it aside.

Sentry interacts quite well with sifting effects like Cellar and Warehouse. You get to discard your bad cards, dig for Sentry, then play Sentry and trash the bad cards.

When there's a way to ensure that Sentry hits bad cards, I think it is one of the most powerful trashing options in the game.

I want to emphasize that this only works if you sequence things correctly.

In the best case scenario, you're at the start of the shuffle, and you have enough actions to draw through your entire deck. If you can do that, you can then do this.

1. Play your actions, using Cellar/Warehouse to find your Sentry.
2. Hold your Sentry until the end of the shuffle.
3. Play Sentry. You reshuffle - now your draw pile is all the bad cards you discarded to Cellar/Warehouse. You reveal for Sentry - now you can guarantee trashing 2 bad cards.

Just be careful not to discard too many bad cards, if you do your next hand is going to be all bad cards because your actions have missed the reshuffle. (But given how fast you're trashing, you won't have bad cards in your deck for long.)

You know, when I started this thread, all I wanted was for it not to cause drama. And when the drama did start, I tried really really hard to stay out of it, but bleh, I can't.

My two cents:

I think if you have to discuss checks and balances for the governing system behind a Dominion blog, something very weird has happened. Like, wow what is even going on.

Re this quote:
If people are worried about Adam being a dictator, why can't there just be a committee of people administering the blog, and Adam could be a part of the committee? This seems fair to me- Adam can do his good ideas, and no one has absolute or even higher power than the others.

I think "dictator" is far too strong of a word choice. Roughly, what LF + wero seem to be worried about is that if Adam was in charge, he would be too obstinate to consider other viewpoints on how the blog should be run. And if he weren't in charge, but was on a committee of people in charge, he would get snarky and annoying to interact with if people decided not to implement some of his ideas. (@LF + wero, let me know if this seems fair.)

Fundamentally, when Adam left the forums a while ago, there were a lot of burnt bridges, and people closest to the argument lost a lot of respect for him. Adam's argument has mostly been about his credentials and past experience with Dominion. He has made sure to emphasize that he's run several in-person tournaments, has written several good articles, has connections to other Dominion communities, etc., and in his view this should be a good enough argument for anyone. (@Adam, let me know if this seems fair.)

The thing is that the disagreement is not about qualifications. It's about who people trust to be a good leader. It's only natural that the people who lost respect for Adam don't trust him to be a good leader. It certainly doesn't help that Adam's arguments have done little to assuage the fears of people who don't trust him. And it doesn't matter that other people do trust Adam - that's not particularly convincing to the people who don't.

Game Reports / Here's a surprisingly tricky Base-only board.
« on: September 08, 2017, 02:06:44 am »

The numbers spoil what I went for - a Village/Moat/Witch engine. I was mostly uncontested, I got 7 of the Villages.

I thought this board was neat because it has a lot of subtleties to it. I think Festival and Bandit are both traps, you really don't want to lose any draw on your +Actions card and gaining Gold makes it too difficult to draw your actions.

Without Moat I wouldn't go for engine, because the Curses will slow you down too much. If Remodel was Workshop I wouldn't go for engine, because you couldn't get rid of your Estates. But with both, it's just barely past the bar where I go for it. The way it plays out is that you use mostly Village + Moat for draw, laugh as your Moats block any attacks your opponent plays, then you play a Witch every turn and drown them in Curses. Remodel turns Estate --> Village or Harbinger and Copper/Curse --> Moat.

I wanted to pick up Mine but by the time my deck felt consistent enough for it I had to worry about 3 piles.

Things I would want behind a blog:

- Someone to "keep the lights running", who can ask other people for help, but takes responsibility for doing all the admin stuff that keeps things from falling apart. Should probably be a single person.
- Content on a schedule, or updates that are frequent enough to make a schedule not matter. This isn't a requirement but in my experience having a regular update schedule does wonders for engagement.

That's pretty much all I care about?

I think it would be nice if the person running the blog is able to write things, because it makes it a lot easier to keep a schedule going, but it's not a requirement.

What's wrong with dominion having more strategic depth?

I actually had a similar feeling about Empires at first.

Empires forces you to make more on-the-fly decisions because of things like:

  • Landmarks that influence when to buy certain cards, like Defiled Shrine.
  • Split piles that force hard decisions on when to "unlock" the bottom half and how many of the top half to buy.
  • Castles, a pile that changes literally every buy, where the top card depends both on your opponent's strategy and who gets enough money first.
  • The Gathering cards (Temple and Farmer's Market), where again, the VP depends on your opponent's strategy and who draws which actions first.

All of this was present in the game before, but Empires pushed this angle of the game a lot more heavily. It makes it much harder to plan everything in advance, because you keep getting the question of "VP or better action card", "get the last card in the top half or wait for my opponent to buy it first", "play Temple and add VP or don't play Temple", etc. If you thought of Dominion as a game where you execute a plan you devised at the start of the game with little interruption, Empires might not be for you, because all the short-term tactical decisions mess with your plan, and those decisions are more explicit, important, and obvious.

It's not that depth is bad, it's that Empires adds depth in a very different way.

Dominion General Discussion / Dominion Strategy: Then, Now, and the Future
« on: September 04, 2017, 05:02:08 am »
(This is part history, part strategy advice, and part opinion piece. Although I intended it to be an article's worth of content, I don't feel like it fits in Articles or Feedback. So I'm putting it here.)

I've been around Dominion for over 7 years. In those 7 years, Dominion discussion has changed a lot.

Let's start at 2010, back when the main DominionStrategy blog had regular updates. There was a heavy focus on understanding Big Money play. People knew that on average, Smithy-BM got 4 Provinces in 14-16 turns, Masquerade-BM could do it in 13 turns, and Courtyard-BM was similarly quick. The Big Money rule-of-thumbs were known by heart: buy Gold over the first Province, Duchy over Gold when there are 5 Provinces left, and Estate over Silver when there are 2-3 Provinces left. This was also the heyday of people using simulators to guide decision making.

Of course, people didn't only talk about Big Money. There was plenty of discussion about things we now call engines. But when you re-read many of the articles from the main site, they follow a similar format: a few paragraphs about the card's objective power level, and then a list of relevant synergies and anti-synergies at the end. Take the Cutpurse article, for example. It focuses mostly on the strength of its opening attack, then gives some token references to cards that make Copper discard more relevant.

I claim this is representative of a larger trend: strategy discussion was focused primarily on explaining cards in isolation. It turns out that's good enough to beat a lot of players! Telling players not to buy Pirate Ship in 2 player is actually pretty effective advice when people are still usually bad at the game, and showing Courtyard-BM is faster than Smithy-BM ended up giving people (including me) a few free wins over people who bought the "Smithy-BM is unbeatable" meme. Engine play was a lot worse, and Silver was better than many of the removed cards from Base + Intrigue 1st edition.

Then, things changed. More expansions came out. Cards got more complicated. Compare the Cutpurse article to the one about Procession about 2 years later. Although the article still talks about specific pairs, like Procession-Ironworks, it mostly talks in more abstract terms. In the Cutpurse article, interactions are listed at the end, but for Procession they're the focus of the entire article.

It's like starting chess discussion by pointing out that knights can attack queens without getting attacked back, and then the discussion evolves into one about material and position. Concrete pieces --> abstract generalizations.

This eventually came to a head with the most influential Dominion articles of all time: The Five Fundamental Deck Types, written by WanderingWinder. This codified strategy discussion for years. It's a framework for thinking about the game, that everything else can be funneled through, and soon it became expected that everybody knew what engine, slog, and rush meant.

It's probably a heavy case of nostalgia, but I consider those years to be a Golden Age of Dominion discussion. It was a wonderful time to get into the game, if you were looking to play competitively. And I'm no longer sure that's true. Everything's been on a gradual decline since those days.

There were a few catalysts for this (the biggest one being the end of Isotropic), but in retrospect I blame the decline on two things. The first:

It depends on the kingdom.

This meme took over the forums for a while. It's true, but it's also supremely unhelpful advice. People would say that Dominion is too big to describe all the nuances, and the best way to get better at Dominion is to just play more Dominion, watch more Dominion, and get better at reviewing your old matches. Again, very true, but people don't want to read forum posts that state the obvious. For all that the early card articles get wrong, they still form a helpful flotation device for novice players to hold on to before jumping into the deep, seemingly endless strategy pool.

I'm very glad that the "depends on the kingdom" meme has mostly died, because the joke got old fast, and any strategic value in the statement shriveled away long ago.

The second thing I'd like to blame doesn't have as pithy of a quote. I think people spent a long time getting hung up on classification and categorization, at the cost of doing useful things.

First off, why categorize in the first place? If we categorize things, it helps offset mental load. The single word "slog" represents several concepts, like a large deck that wants the game to go long to accumulate more points. It's very useful to have these definitions! But I feel like there was a point where people started to overcategorize and overgeneralize, and would only talk about Dominion within the Five Deck Types framework. That led to debates over whether a deck was Big Money or Engine, whether something was a combo or just a synergy, and all sorts of other arguments. The distinctions between the labels matter a bit, but what matters overwhelmingly more is your opponent buying lots of Provinces or drawing lots of cards. Deciding on a True Name for what they're doing doesn't always help you understand why it's working, and I think arguing about the definitions too much distracts from actually understanding the game.

Dominion players are a group predisposed to pedantry, and these arguments gave plenty of topics people could be pedantic about. I participated in my fair share of this - pedantry can be eerily fun. But in retrospect, it messed with strategy discussion in surprising ways. I once played a game shortly after writing the Beatdown vs Control article. It was a ridiculously fast rush, where the game ended in 10 turns. At the end, my opponent asked who was beatdown and who was control. Although I tried to answer, in retrospect the correct answer was that the game was so weird that Beatdown vs Control didn't apply, and trying to make it apply was a waste of time. Frameworks are great, right up until they stop working.

(To forestall some obvious complaints: I think pedantry is part of f.ds culture, and I don't think the forums need heavier moderation. If the forums were meant to discuss just strategy for Dominion, then they would need heavier moderation. But they aren't. Your off-topic derailment is my community building. I'm just calling for people to stop taking the pedantry arguments so seriously.)

* * *

Let's assume you buy my argument that we're no longer in a Golden Age of discussion. If you don't, treat it as an assumption that everything after this depends on.

The natural question is: can we bring the Golden Age back?

Well, what is the Golden Age? Is it the concentration of Dominion discussion in a single place? Is it the rapid production of content? I think those are elements of it, but the most important one is the experience of the new player. Can we make it easier for new players to get into the game, and grow the Dominion community?

I think that the answer is yes, but it's going to require explaining a bunch more Dominion theory.

Dominion is simply a very different game from what it used to be. I now view Dominion like a bag of interactions. Each card has certain properties, which interact with other properties in positive or negative ways. The strategy comes from identifying which interactions are most important to the game, and from doing small optimizations that make the interactions point in similar directions.

I know this is very abstract. so let me give an example. Take Marauder.

Marauder gives you Spoils and gives your opponents Ruins. So far all we've done is read the card text. How does Marauder interact with the rest of the game?

  • Marauders give Spoils. Spoils give $3. Thus your money distribution is naturally a bit spikier - it's a bit more likely you'll hit $6 or $7 early.
  • Marauders give Ruins as junk, which interacts with things that care about actions, like Vineyard and Library.
  • There are several different Ruins, which makes them interact with things that care about names, like Fairgrounds and Wishing Well.

How have I used these interactions?

  • I've once chosen to open Marauder specifically because I wanted to spike an early Forge.
  • I've considered not picking up Marauder because I knew we were both going to go for Vineyards, or for Fairgrounds.
  • In a game with Wolf Den and no trashing, I opened Marauder and carefully making sure my opponent only got unique Ruins. I got lucky and gave out -12 VP before my opponent resigned.

Ruins weren't designed with Wolf Den in mind, and I assume Wolf Den wasn't designed specifically to make Ruins stronger. It's emergent gameplay that arises from the interactions between different game components.

In this view, the way you become a better player is by

  • Memorizing the very powerful interactions.
  • Getting a deep understanding of the remaining interactions.
  • Use that understanding to devise an argument for what to do on the current board.

In GokoDom III (the finals between JOG and Andrew Iannaconne), Stef submitted this designed kingdom.

Kingdom Cards: Scheme, Storeroom, Trade Route, Gardens, Plaza, Throne Room, Counting House, Festival, Inn, Mountebank, with Platinum/Colony

Everybody loves this kingdom, because it turns out there's actually an engine here. You use Counting House to draw lots of Copper, Storeroom to discard the Coppers for $$$, then play Counting House again and repeat. To make the deck work despite having all those Coppers, you use TR-Scheme and Inn to avoid ever shuffling the Coppers back into your draw pile. It only works because of all the pieces working together perfectly - Storeroom turning cards into money, and Counting House letting you draw lots of cards, and Scheme/Inn to let you skip shuffling. In the stream, there was a magical moment where you can see Andrew literally figure out on the fly that this deck is possible. Those are the moments that make Dominion such an interesting game - seeing a web of interactions come together so elegantly and beautifully. And that board certainly isn't something you could base a whole article about.

To a lesser degree, the same is true of Marauder. Sure, the things I said apply to Marauder, but parts also apply to any Spoils giving card and any Ruins giving card. The only unique part is that Marauder does both, but that's a pretty minor distinction. If I was trying to write an article about Marauder, I could repeat what I said...but it wouldn't really be an article about Marauder. It would be an article about Spoils and Ruins.

Unless a card does something super, super unique, I don't think there's a point in writing an article about it, and most cards just aren't unique enough to justify an entire article.

So instead, it would make more sense to explain how you find these interactions, what the most common ones are, how you decide on a plan and adapt to new scenarios and avoid treating the game as a memorization of all two-card combos. If I had the time, I'd write more content from this angle, and would point players looking to get better in that direction...except I don't have the time.

It feels like the same is true of f.ds in general. People are less interested in talking about principles they find obvious, because obvious things aren't interesting. Unfortunately, those principles are the most important for new players. The end result is that f.ds has turned into a place where experienced players talk to other experienced players, useful ideas get scattered across 10 threads in 3 subforums, and no one bothers condensing them into useful Dominion lessons, because again, who's got time for that?

* * *

Please don't mistake this as me declaring that Dominion is dying. The community has been through a lot and the game is still going fine. I just think it could be more than it is. I do think there's cause for optimism. Intentionally or not, there's been some really good recent articles in this direction. (For example, Dan's 20 questions post and Adam's blog post about openings.)

Consider this more as a call to action. The game doesn't flourish unless new blood joins the scene, and I don't think we're doing a good job at making that easy.

Feel free to prove me wrong.

(Edited September 5, 2017 to fix minor typos and some poor phrasing.)

Dominion General Discussion / Re: Banning 5 Cards
« on: September 03, 2017, 03:55:17 am »

I'm not doing it for the upvotes, I'm doing it for the lulz.

Not to derail too much, but I found the contrast interesting.

Awaclus on Discord today:

Quote from: Awaclus
but yeah, basically I agree that if you're looking for actual Dominion strategy discussion that helps you improve as a player, this discord server is the only option

f.ds is too focused on upvote fishing and all the other communities are too anti-competitive

Awaclus on f.ds today: "I'm going to post Mine/Mint jokes."

Just saying, "for the lulz" isn't very different from "doing it for the upvotes".

Hm, sorry, but sometimes you joke for the sake of joke, not for the upvotes. I mean, if I come up with a good pun, I want to share it with people and I definitely don't think about the upvotes. Why is here a different situation?

Sure, that's fair. I just don't like Mine/Mint jokes. They've been done enough that it's hard not to see them coming, so they all preemptively fall flat.

Edit: Okay I just realized it was Kirian that made the Mine/Mint joke, so this whole thing was a waste of time. I'll accept that "for the lulz" isn't the same as "doing it for the upvotes", but I stand by them being similar.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: Banning 5 Cards
« on: September 03, 2017, 03:48:22 am »

I'm not doing it for the upvotes, I'm doing it for the lulz.

Not to derail too much, but I found the contrast interesting.

Awaclus on Discord today:

Quote from: Awaclus
but yeah, basically I agree that if you're looking for actual Dominion strategy discussion that helps you improve as a player, this discord server is the only option

f.ds is too focused on upvote fishing and all the other communities are too anti-competitive

Awaclus on f.ds today: "I'm going to post Mine/Mint jokes."

Just saying, "for the lulz" isn't very different from "doing it for the upvotes".

Dominion Articles / Stop buying Duchy over Gardens
« on: August 29, 2017, 03:32:02 am »
I've been playing a decent amount of Base-only games, and I'm surprised at how often people are messing this up.

It's okay to buy Gardens over Duchy when your deck has fewer than 30 cards. As long as your deck is 30 cards [by the end of the game, you'll break even. And on the off-chance the game turns into an endgame slog, your Gardens could tick up to 4 VP. If you know you'll hit 30 cards, buy the Gardens instead.

You judge cards not by how good they are right now, but by how much value they'll give you over the course of the game. It's easiest to get an appreciation for this by opening Monument. The 1st Monument play only gives 1 VP, which is okay but not great. By the end of the game, that Monument is usually worth 4-5 VP in money-based games and potentially more in engines.

Figuring out when to buy one card over the other is hard, but for Duchy vs Gardens it shouldn't be hard to make the right choice.

(In similar veins: it's okay to buy Silk Road before you have 12 Victory cards, and it's okay to buy Fairgrounds when they're worth 2 VP, as long as you have a plan to meet the requirements in time.)

General Discussion / Re: Random Stuff Part III
« on: August 05, 2017, 09:06:32 pm »
I'm about to start playing Chrono Trigger for the first time, something I probably should have done about 10 years ago if not more. I'm excited. I know small amounts about the game, like something tragic happens to someone called Frog - from the context it sounds like he gets killed and Lavos is the final boss and causing chaos throughout time but mostly, I know very little. I've also heard one or two of the music tracks before and enjoyed them.

Chrono Trigger is a pretty great game - it's just a really solid JRPG that doesn't drag on for too long.

I liked that after a certain point, you got to pick when the game ended, and got different endings depending on when you did so.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: The bad luck thread
« on: July 30, 2017, 12:48:53 am »
Opponent opened 5/2 and got to open Sentry/Page. Sentry is the only trasher, except for Jack of All Trades. I opened Page/Jack, maybe a mistake in retrospect, but none of the alternatives seemed very appealing.
My Page was at the end of my 2nd shuffle so it misses reshuffle. At least I bought a 2nd page on turn 3.
My Treasure Hunter gains 3 Silvers, which I don't want because Sentry + Market Square is enough to gain all the Golds you want, after you get Champion online.
My two Warriors collide, but at least they don't miss the shuffle.
My opponent's Warrior discards the Hero I gained, delaying my Champion by another shuffle.
By the time I get Champion in play the game is resignable.

Some of these are old.

In IGG rush games, Triumph almost always gives more points than Duchy because it counts the Coppers you gain from IGG.

Upgrade-Fortress: if you draw your deck, and have 2 Upgrades in hand + a Fortress in hand, you can empty the Upgrades in a single turn, and then next turn use Upgrade to gain tons of Duchies off your Fortress. You lose very fast if you don't have a plan against this.

Scrying Pool-Peasant line: Scrying Pool is an attack, which makes Soldiers give tons of money. Teacher gives you a way to get enough Actions and Buys to use all the money you can get.

Rats-Watchtower: Gets you thin very quickly. If you have both in hand and trash the Rats you gain, it's close to "+2 Cards, +1 Action, trash a card from your hand." This is nuts and is worth going for even if you don't have any other way to trash Rats.

Trader-Death Cart: Gaining Death Cart + 2 Silver for $4 is a pretty great deal, if it's the type of game where you want Silvers. This may be competitive with fast engines but I've never tried timing it.

General Discussion / Re: Song of the day
« on: July 20, 2017, 11:59:50 pm »

Dominion is full of glorious edge-cases. Obviously I can see picking up cards that give benefits other than trashing. Getting Steward for draw, for example. I can also see the addition of trash for benefit cards. Maybe a single trasher to activate Market Squares mid-turn. But cards where thinning is the whole point, like Chapel? They're borderline obsolete.
There actually are cases to get 2 Chapels, so why not?

Trashing cards to get VP from Tomb. 
Buying Estates to get VP from Battlefield, then trash those. 
TfB trashers.
Buying Copper to get VP from Basilica or Labyrinth

I've sometimes bought a 2nd Chapel when I've had awful shuffle luck, like drawing Chapel turn 5 with my turn 3 and turn 4 buy. I don't know if it's correct, since normally those games are so far gone that I lose anyways.

General Discussion / Re: Maths thread.
« on: July 13, 2017, 09:10:48 pm »
It's motivated by turning a constrained problem into an unconstrained one. Instead of thinking about positive A,B,C that satisfy the triangle inequality, you can think about x,y,z that are positive with no other constraints.

You have the right answer but there are some missing edge cases in the proof you gave.

x,y, and z are not necessarily integers. If the perimeter is odd, then S is a half-integer, and x = S-A is also a half integer. For example, if A=B=C=1, then the values for x,y,z are x=y=z=0.5. So you need to argue about that case as well. Additionally, from 4(x + y + z) = xyz, at least one of x,y,z has to share factors with 4, but that doesn't mean it has to divide 4. For example, if x,y,z are all even, then both sides are divisible by 8, and you could have x = 8. You need to argue something about the smallest value of x,y,z.

General Discussion / Re: Maths thread.
« on: July 12, 2017, 10:44:49 pm »
I asked some other people with experience with contest math and they solved it pretty quickly. There are   5  triangles.

A hint that should help unblock things: Given any triangle with side lengths a, b, c, you can find positive x, y, z such that a = x+y, b = y+z, and c = x+z. Try working in (x,y,z) space instead.

General Discussion / Re: Maths thread.
« on: July 10, 2017, 12:50:52 am »
Not sure if it helps / if trying to solve the Diophantine equation is the right path, but lets suppose A = dA', B = dB', and C = dC', where d is some common divisor of all 3. Then you get

16 * d * (A' + B' + C') = d^3 * (-A' + B' + C')(A' - B' + C')(A' + B' - C')
==> 16 * (A' + B' + C') = d^2 * (-A' + B' + C')(A' - B' + C')(A' + B' - C')

So the number of solutions is equivalent to the number of solutions to the above, where d is some integer and gcd(A', B', C') = 1.

You can also apply a similar thing to original statement. Suppose we have a triangle where perim = area and all side lengths share a common factor d. To remove any worries about integer-ness I'll work with the perimeter instead of the semiperimeter, then convert back.

2 * semiperimeter = sqrt(s * (s-a) * (s-b) * (s-c))
4 * (a+b+c) = 8 * semiperimeter = sqrt(p * (p-2a) * (p-2b) * (p-2c)) = sqrt((a+b+c)(-a+b+c)(a-b+c)(a+b-c))
Let a', b', c' be the side lengths of the scaled down triangle, with p' and s' defined similarly.
4 * d * (a'+b'+c') = d^2 * sqrt((a'+b'+c')(-a'+b'+c')(a'-b'+c')(a'+b'-c'))
4 * d * p' = d^2 * sqrt(p' * (p'-2a') * (p'-2b') * (p'-2c'))
(perimeter of scaled down triangle) = p' = d * sqrt(s' * (s'-a') * (s' - b') * (s' - c')) = d * (area of scaled down triangle)

This shows the problem is equivalent to finding all triangles such that
1. Their side lengths are integers
2. Their side lengths have no common factors.
3. For some integer d, perimeter = d * area.

I think you should be able to argue something about the number of solutions for a given d, but I got stuck there.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: Golden Sombrero question
« on: July 09, 2017, 02:08:30 pm »
I thought I was pretty thourough with reading this forum, but I've never heard that term before.

I know it was coined by AdamH.  I still haven't a clue what it means.

At least I have a general idea what TfB means.

Golden Sombrero = when all your opening buys miss the reshuffle. I have no idea why it's called that.

It's unlikely that you will ever lose a game just because someone Donated more optimally than you

This is basically how all Donate games are lost.

Also, if you don't buy Donate on a board that it is on, you lose (unless opponent does something stupid), meanwhile there are boards where buying KC is losing.

That seems awfully glib on Donate - you and your opponent may not even be pursuing the same strategy, Dominion being what it is, not to mention the large mitigating factor of shuffle luck which can still manifest itself even after a Donate.

Sure, there's still shuffle luck, but what you just said applies to any card/event - Goons, King's Court, etc. So it's not a good argument against Donate in particular.

When people pursue different strategies, it's because they don't agree on which one the right one is. Donate has a habit of turning even small mistakes into decisive ones because it chops out massive amounts of shuffle luck.

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