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Messages - Elestan

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1
I'd like to thank all of the players who showed up and competed in this year's tournament; it was a great contest, with a very strong field of competitors.

The Kingdoms used in this tournament were:

Set 2019-1: Shelters, Battlefield, Sewers, Crossroads, Lackeys, Squire, Market Square, Swindler, Feodum, Flag Bearer, Fortress, Knights, Old Witch

Set 2019-2: Keep, Fleet, Druid(Earth/Mountain/Field) , Secret Chamber, Secret Cave/Magic Lamp/Wish, Cemetery/Haunted Mirror/Ghost, Bandit, Counterfeit, Crypt, Pooka/Cursed Gold, Treasurer, Capital

Set 2019-3: Tower, Piazza, Prince, Masquerade, Smugglers, Rats, Herald, Hideout, Messenger, Poacher, Scavenger, Ghost Ship

Set 2019-4: Bandit Fort, Dominate, Border Guard, Ducat, Gardens, Inventor, Patron, Taxman, Hoard, Swashbuckler, Hermit/Madman, Raider

Set 2019-5: Shelters, Keep, Mission, Secret Chamber, Watchtower, Duplicate, Herald, Treasure Map, Contraband, Counterfeit, Haunted Woods, Rogue, Stables

Set 2019-6: Shelters, Bandit Fort, Traveling Fair, Lurker, Diplomat, Market Square, Sauna/Avanto, Sea Hag, Villa, Pillage, Tactician, Catacombs, Prince

Set 2019-7: Shelters, Salt The Earth, Road Network, Castles, Ironmonger, Island, Mill, Sacrifice, Courtier, Knights, Rebuild, Harem, Nobles

Set 2019-A: Fountain, Capitalism, Loan, Feodum, Shepherd/Pasture , Silk Road, Taxman, Contraband, Groundskeeper, Mandarin, Storyteller, Treasurer

Set 2019-B: Colony/Platinum, Traveling Fair, Guildhall, Beggar, Embargo, Cutpurse, Temple, Cache, Charm, Mountebank, Grand Market, City Quarter, Royal Blacksmith

Set 2019-C: Colony/Platinum, Inheritance, Canal, Acting Troupe, Baron, Bureaucrat, Farmers' Market, Gardens, Ironmonger, Island, Tragic Hero, Tribute, Wine Merchant

Set 2019-F: Colony/Platinum, Mission, Innovation, Changeling, Research, Artificer, Distant Lands, Haunted Woods, Rogue, Royal Carriage, Tactician, Altar, Border Village

As always, commentary on the play experience of these Kingdoms is most welcome.

Challenge question:  I designed one of these sets to have an infinite loop.  Can anyone (other than those I told) find it?

2
Register
It's that time again!  Join us for another amazing competition between top-tier Dominion players using real cards!

This tournament is sanctioned by Rio Grande, and all players will receive promotional cards!

The competition will feature custom-designed kingdoms drawn from all of the Dominion sets and expansions, and will emphasize strategy and high-level play. 

Tournament seating is limited, so pre-register for the event here; just click on the 'Add' button and proceed through the checkout process.  You'll need a tournament ticket and a convention badge.

If you can, I'd encourage everyone to pick out other games to play in and attend the whole game convention, which runs from Nov 22-24, all day (and late into the night Friday and Saturday).

  I hope to see you there!

IMPORTANT NOTE:  Note that the tournament takes place on the upper floor of the resort's golf clubhouse; we will have the area mostly to ourselves.  You will need to pick up your tickets and badges first, at the con's registration desk in the main convention building.

3
And hearty congratulations to AdamH, our 2015 winner, for pulling off a solid win for 2018 in a tough field of competitors!

The Kingdoms used in this tournament were:

Set 2018-1:  Wolf Den, Scouting Party, Squire, Castles, Hermit, Cemetery, Feodum, Necromancer, Rats, Shepherd/Pasture, Rogue, Knights
 
Set 2018-2:  Bandit Fort, Conquest, Beggar, Druid(Moon/Sea/Wind), Changeling, Tunnel, Jack, Scout, Noble Brigand, Embassy, Pooka, King's Court
 
Set 2018-3:  Colony/Platinum, Mountain Pass, Dominate, Guardian, Market Square, Dungeon, Ghost Town, Messenger, Taxman, Cobbler, Journeyman, Legionary, Replace
 
Set 2018-4:  Orchard, Lost Arts, Embargo, Vagrant, Diplomat, Cultist, Wine Merchant, Mint, Distant Lands, Fairgrounds, Hireling, Secret Cave

Set 2018-A:  Colony/Platinum, Wall, Triumph, Monastery, Settlers/Bustling Village, Chariot Race, Storeroom, Secret Passage, Artificer, Bandit, Counting House, Pillage, Goons

Set 2018-B:  Colony/Platinum, Triumphal Arch, Bonfire, Gladiator/Fortune, Cemetery, Conclave, Gardens, Jack, Militia, Horn of Plenty, Mandarin, Tragic Hero, Raider

Set 2018-C:  Labyrinth, Ritual, Poorhouse, Changeling, Enchantress, Scheme, Transmogrify, Devil's Workshop, Pillage, Farmland, Prince, Peddler

Set 2018-F:  Colony/Platinum, Shelters, Ritual, Summon, Raze(BANE), Watchtower, Dismantle, Exorcist, Necromancer, Procession, Young Witch, Band of Misfits, Cobbler, Artisan, Prince

As always, commentary on the play experience of these Kingdoms is most welcome.

4
Register
It's that time again!  Join us for the largest in-person gathering of F.DS players in the world!  Compete against all the handles you've gotten to know here, using real cards!

This tournament is sanctioned by Rio Grande, and will be a qualifier for the World Masters, if there is one in 2019.  All players receive promotional cards!

The competition will feature custom-designed kingdoms drawn from all of the Dominion sets and expansions, and will emphasize strategy and high-level play. 

Tournament seating is limited, so pre-register for the event here; just click on the 'Add' button and proceed through the checkout process.  You'll need a tournament ticket and a convention badge.

If you can, I'd encourage everyone to pick out other games to play in and attend the whole game convention, which runs from Nov 9-11, all day (and late into the night Friday and Saturday).

  I hope to see you there!

IMPORTANT NOTE:  For those who have attended in the past, note that this year the tournament has been moved to an outbuilding:  We will be on the upper floor of the resort's golf clubhouse, and will have the area mostly to ourselves.  You will need to pick up your tickets and badges first, at the con's registration desk.

5
Quote
Set A: [Aqueduct, Dominate], Candlestick Maker, Crossroads, Ambassador, Secret Passage, Silk Road, Walled Village, Artificer, Counting House, Patrol, Storyteller

In retrospect, I don't think my strategy here was good.  I built a little-bit-of-everything engine that hit Dominate 4 times.  But I think now that a strategy with Candlestick Maker, Artificer/Secret Passage, and Counting House is extremely hard to beat.  Playing Ambassador against it only helps, in addition to giving away free Aqueduct points.  With Candlestick Maker, you can use the buys to grab extra Coppers.  Artificer/Secret Passage makes sure you get the Counting House at the right time in your deck, and even if the timing isn't perfect, the coin tokens can help make up the difference.  I wouldn't be surprised if Counting House could get up to double Dominate here.

I feel like most of the Kingdom's at this tournament are really balanced.  There are always multiple things you can do but neither one is dominant.  I do not feel like this is the case with this board.  I got owned by the counting house slog.  Completely owned.  I like a good engine, and I thought it could work.  It did not.  It failed miserably.  I opened double ambassador and regretted it very quickly.  It became evident very quickly that counting house was the way to go and that my ambassadors were only fueling that slog.  So I started ambassadoring my ambassador.  I emptied the ambassador pile but it did little good.  The enticement of playing lots of actions got me to make the wrong choice and I paid for it by taking last.  I remain unconvinced that ambassador could ever work against the counting house slog (when played well).

The Engine vs. Slog balance of this Kingdom was probably the most debated topic during the pre-tournament design discussions.  It's supposed to present the conundrum of whether to play an Ambassador strategy when there is a counter-strategy that benefits from the junk you pass them, but it isn't supposed to overwhelmingly favor either strategy.  Out of curiosity, did either of you see anyone buy Curses to use Ambassador as Witch?

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to hover and observe the strategies closely because there were two other games running.  So here's a challenge to any bored players here:  Try this Kingdom in a few 3-player games.  I'd be quite interested in some more data points, particularly regarding how the balance shifts depending on whether you have two slog players and one engine, or one engine and two slogs.

Thanks to you both for the commentary, and thanks for playing!

6
...and congratulations to ben_king, who successfully defended his title after waiving his champion's bye in order to play the full set of preliminary games.

I'd also like to thank AdamH for his invaluable assistance in reviewing the kingdoms, and for helping out during the event itself.

The Kingdoms played were:

Preliminary Kingdoms:

Set 1: [Triumphal Arch, Alms], Pearl Diver, Amulet, Tunnel, Vassal, Poacher, Secret Passage, Villa, Wild Hunt, Royal Seal, King's Court
Set 2: [Shelters], [Orchard, Advance], Beggar, Embargo, Peasant, Gear, Menagerie, Miser, Pirate Ship, Hunting Party, Prince, Overlord
Set 3: [Tower, Pathfinding], Beggar, Squire, Hermit, Patrician/Emporium, Magpie, Messenger, Rats, Remake, Trader, Mountebank
Set 4: [Mountain Pass, Bonfire], Encampment/Plunder, Fool's Gold, Gladiator/Fortune, Transmogrify, Crown, Legionary, Treasure Trove, Capital, Hunting Grounds, City
Set 5: [Lost Arts, Obelisk (Ruins)], Vagrant, Enchantress, Death Cart, Sacrifice, Wandering Minstrel, Band of Misfits, Cultist, Horn of Plenty, Jester, Scrying Pool

Semifinal Kingdoms:

Set A: [Aqueduct, Dominate], Candlestick Maker, Crossroads, Ambassador, Secret Passage, Silk Road, Walled Village, Artificer, Counting House, Patrol, Storyteller
Set B: [Museum, Save], Lighthouse, Enchantress, Bishop, Diplomat, Crown, Bridge Troll, Merchant Guild, Swamp Hag, Goons, Overlord
Set C: [Bandit Fort, Conquest], Caravan Guard, Catapult/Rocks, Caravan, Feodum, Jack, Messenger, Taxman, Trader, Embassy, King's Court

Tiebreaker Kingdom:

Set T: [Dominate, Donate], Encampment/Plunder, Castles, Market Square, Crown, Lost City, Gladiator/Fortune, Artisan, Border Village, Hireling, Hunting Grounds

Final Kingdom:

Set F: [Defiled Shrine, Summon], Native Village, Chariot Race, Farmers' Market, Wishing Well, Jack, Secret Passage, Villa, Haunted Woods, Wild Hunt, Forge

As always, player commentary on the Kingdoms, their strategies, and their experience at the tournament are greatly appreciated.

7
Just a reminder that pre-registration closes on Thursday...sign up now to reserve your spot!

8
Register
It's that time again!  Join us for the largest in-person gathering of F.DS players in the world!  Compete against all the handles you've gotten to know here, using real cards!

This tournament is sanctioned by Rio Grande, guest-judged by the current World Champion, and will be a qualifier for the World Masters, if there is one in 2018.  All players receive promotional cards!

The competition will feature custom-designed kingdoms drawn from all of the Dominion sets and expansions, and will emphasize strategy and high-level play. 

Tournament seating is limited, so pre-register for the event here; just click on the 'Add' button and proceed through the checkout process.  You'll need a tournament ticket and a convention badge.

If you can, I'd encourage everyone to pick out other games to play in and attend the whole game convention, which runs from Nov 17-19, all day (and late into the night Friday and Saturday).  Convention members can even sign up for free tutoring sessions with the world champ to polish their game!

  I hope to see you there!

IMPORTANT NOTE:  For those who have attended in the past, note that this year the tournament has been moved to an outbuilding:  We will be on the upper floor of the resort's golf clubhouse, and will have the area mostly to ourselves.  You will need to pick up your tickets and badges first, at the con's registration desk.

9
Dominion: Nocturne Previews / Re: Dominion: Nocturne announced!
« on: September 15, 2017, 07:23:25 pm »
Speaking of Essen, is there a new promo planned for Essen this year?

10
Variants and Fan Cards / Re: Chris's Minor Dominion Tweaks
« on: September 13, 2017, 09:55:37 pm »
"Each other player shuffles their deck" would be an interesting mild attack on a card whose non-attack effect is some kind of deck-stacking (e.g. "Draw 2 extra cards during Clean-up, then put two cards from your hand onto your deck in any order.").

Things like that could be interesting online, but it's too slow for RL play, and could get very hard on people's cards.

11
Variants and Fan Cards / Re: Chris's Minor Dominion Tweaks
« on: September 12, 2017, 11:40:04 pm »
  • I like Manor
  • I'm undecided on the change to Sentry.
  • I like the -1 Card on Bureaucrat, but I think it should keep the topdecking.
  • The Scrying Pool nerf seems fine.
My preferred Transmute variants:

             TRANSMUTE


     Trash a card from your hand.  If it is an...
              Action card, gain a Duchy
                   Treasure card, +($2)
              Victory card, gain a Gold

        Put any gained cards into your hand.

        ($3)          ACTION
             TRANSMUTE

                           +1 Action
     Trash a card from your hand.  If it is an...
              Action card, gain a Duchy
          Treasure card, gain a Transmute
              Victory card, gain a Gold

        Put any gained cards into your hand.

        ($3)          ACTION












EDIT: Added a second variant that I also like.  I like the first version because it lets you get rid of the likely-useless potion.  I like the second version because it's fast enough to get you to several Golds fairly quickly.

12
I've gone to this tournament a couple times. It was lots of fun both times!

...and I hope we'll see you (and liopoil) again!

13
Dominion General Discussion / Re: Any new thoughts on IRL handicapping?
« on: September 03, 2017, 01:56:04 am »
I've been using the Curse for starting Copper handicap for many years, and I think it works as well as a handicap can in Dominion - which is to say, imperfectly, but often good enough.

In the 1st Edition "First Game" Kingdom, one substituted Curse can level a small but noticeable skill difference.  Two can level a moderate difference, and three a significant difference.  In other Kingdoms, its effectiveness depends greatly on the availability of cheap trashing; if Chapel is in the game, even three Curses is not going to slow down a player who knows how to use it effectively.  In those Kingdoms, I usually try to handicap myself by picking out what I think the most useful card or two in the Kingdom are, and then not buying them.

14
General Discussion / Re: Game of Thrones (show) [spoiler warning]
« on: August 28, 2017, 08:36:56 pm »
I find it kind of sad that littlefinger was actually as bad at plotting (since season 5) as he appeared to be.

Lots of things on the show degraded once they outran their source material and had to start writing it themselves.

15
General Discussion / Re: Game of Thrones (show) [spoiler warning]
« on: August 28, 2017, 12:37:51 pm »
I actually wrote a real review of the episode, this time.

https://reason.com/blog/2017/08/28/why-sansa-stark-will-win-the-game-of-thr

I am now fully convinced we are building toward Sansa Stark, Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Protector of the Realm and Ruler of the Seven Kingdoms.
From that review:
Quote
Daeny is infertile. Unless the show undoes this plot point (which would be a fairly obnoxious cheat), a Daeny-Jon partnership could never produce an heir.

The show touched on that this episode; Jon pointed out that the only evidence that she is infertile is the word of the witch who killed her husband and son.  I'm fairly certain she'll end up pregnant next season.

Your article's argument seems to be that if Jon, Dany, and Cersei all die, Sansa is next in line.  I agree (she's the only great house leader left standing except Euron/Theon and the still-underage Robin Arryn, none of whom are remotely viable), but I don't think both Jon and Dany will die; one or both of them will rule Westeros, and Sansa will rule the North.  Whether the North rejoins the rest of Westeros is still not clear.

16
General Discussion / Re: Game of Thrones (show) [spoiler warning]
« on: August 28, 2017, 10:03:22 am »
Think if we had littlefingers pov every once in awhile, hanging out at winterfell dangerously surrounded by those he has betrayed. At the first sign of danger he would be back to the vale safely up in the tower where no one could get him. I think is makes plot sense that Sansa and arya would have to bait littlefinger in to a big meeting full of stark soldiers and supporters.

The Vale wouldn't have been any refuge once Sansa revealed that he killed Lysa; Yohn Royce would have happily beheaded him personally given half an excuse.

17
General Discussion / Re: Game of Thrones (show) [spoiler warning]
« on: August 28, 2017, 09:33:46 am »
THAAAAANK GOD my sweet sweet winter children. I could not have been happier about how littlefinger ended. No trickery, no assasination, just called out in front of everyone, "you have been weighed, you have been measured, and you have been found wanting.

Yeah, though the in-character motivation for the entire ruse is a bit lacking.  There was enough to justify it based on Bran and Sansa's knowledge alone; Littlefinger trying to turn Sansa and Arya against each other was more for the reveal effect for the audience.

Agreed...but I forgive them anyway:
* Sansa is being made unbelievably stupid for the purpose of injecting unnecessary dramatic tension.  Caveat:  If she and Arya are playing up their enmity deliberately to sucker Littlefinger, then all will be forgiven.

I am, however, still annoyed by the fact that the whole wight retrieval mission turned out to be an own goal of monumental proportions.

And Sam must have been taking lessons from the Ravens...Oldtown to Winterfell in one episode?  That's what, over 2000 miles in a horse and cart?

18
General Discussion / Re: Game of Thrones (show) [spoiler warning]
« on: August 25, 2017, 03:16:22 pm »
I realized the way they should have worked the raven problem:

End of episode 5: 

The lucky seven step out from the gates of Eastwatch into the frozen North beyond the wall, and vanish into the driving blizzard.

CUT TO: Winterfell Godswood

Bran is sitting beneath the Weirwood tree, eyes open and covered in white.

Bran (turns to his attendant, eyes suddenly normal):

"Fetch Maester Wolkan; I need to send a Raven."

Attendant:

"To where, my Lord?"

Bran (with a distant look):

"Dragonstone"

19
General Discussion / Re: Need Feedback on a New Job
« on: August 22, 2017, 11:42:28 pm »
So, I'm starting a new job soon. One of the things they require of me is to send them via email a password so they can create a company email account for me to use.

I don't feel comfortable with this because
1) sending a password via email is potentially asking for trouble
2) I don't feel comfortable with a company spying on me. I understand that the emails I send will be company emails, but I feel privacy should be respected.

You're right on 1), but in practice the odds of someone other than a government grabbing it en route are fairly low, and the government probably isn't interested in your work email password.  The bigger problem here is that if someone else in the company has your password, they can log in as you, and take nefarious actions while leaving your digital fingerprints behind.  Once you're more established in the company, you might try pointing out that as long as passwords aren't kept private, any digital audit trails the company keeps aren't going to be on solid legal ground if there's a problem.

On 2), I'm afraid you don't have a leg to stand on.  Any emails you send on the company's system are the company's property, which they have every right to look at.  Assume they do, and use your work email only for company business, never for personal messages.

Technically, there's a strong chance that your employment agreements even give the company ownership of your personal emails, if you write them using a company computer, regardless of what email service you use.  I haven't seen a company try to enforce that, but be warned that companies often do install their own security certificates in any web browsers on their machines.  These give them the ability to spy on and record even encrypted (https) web sessions.  I always install my own copy of Firefox, and use that if I want to check my personal mail, or do any shopping or banking from work.

There are usually some other surprises hidden in the fine print of employment agreements.  Feel free to post them here if you can; it's often interesting to compare them.

20
General Discussion / Re: Game of Thrones (show) [spoiler warning]
« on: August 22, 2017, 09:32:33 am »
Agree with most of what's been said. The show's definitely getting worse now, previously it was creative and it made sense, now it's still creative but makes less sense. It was definitely far better than the previous episode.

I think the problems started when they outran GRRM's material.  He took the time and effort to make sure that the timelines of the characters mostly lined up, so the parts of the show drawn from the books benefited from that rigor.  I've done a bit of storyline crafting while working on an RPG, and have a lot of respect for the effort and discipline it takes to do this well; you think of a cool scene or event, get it all pictured in your head, and then sit down to work out the details only to realize that there's a key character who just can't be where you want them.  Do you abandon your cool scene, or give in to the temptation to let reality bend "just this once"?

But once you bend the rules the first time, you're on the slippery slope to do it more and more often, until you end up with things like 500kph ravens.  So, while I understand the temptation, I will always reserve my greatest praise for the writers who can craft a great story with cool scenes without taking such shortcuts.

21
General Discussion / Re: Game of Thrones (show) [spoiler warning]
« on: August 21, 2017, 07:40:27 pm »
My own view on this:

It seems to me that most TV writers are far more creative than they are analytical.  In keeping with this, they place a high priority on the beauty and emotion of a scene, and are not particularly bothered by inconsistencies in timelines or continuity.  Presumably, much of the audience also falls into this mindset.  But for those of us of a more analytical bent, those problems fly at our brains like a murder of three-eyed ravens, shattering the verisimilitude of the show in a cacophony of contradictions.  Sadly, in most genres other than hard SF, we are either in a small minority, or the writers don't understand how we think, or they just don't care.  So we get to keep sighing at all the mediocre drek that Hollywood keeps vomiting out, doing our best to turn off the analytical sides of our brains so that we can just enjoy the pretty special effects.

22
Dominion World Masters / Re: World championship 2017
« on: August 21, 2017, 03:25:35 pm »
...either Tristan or a troll...
[-1] Repetitive

23
Dominion World Masters / Re: World championship 2017
« on: August 21, 2017, 09:52:46 am »
You are asserting that "fair" means "every country has an equal representation in the finals".  By that logic, if Tuvalu has only one Dominion player, that player should automatically be given a a place in the finals, alongside those who had to fight their way through larger national fields of competitors.  That doesn't sound very fair, really.
I'm not talking about "competitions", but world championships, and yes I think the general definition is that they are divided along national borders.

This is essentially the same tension between region-based and population-based representation that is common in governmental structures.  Should each predefined region (state, country, etc.) get equal representation, or should each person (citizen, game player/owner, etc.) get equal representation?  Both approaches are fair or unfair (in opposite ways) depending on how much weight you want to place on regional (national) identity.  I like the idea of game competitions transcending national identities, so I favor the population-based method, but I can see how you could reach the other view.

In the end, if you want your region or country to be better represented, you should organize one or more tournaments in your part of the world, and contact Rio Grande about giving them official status.  As jsh357 said, Rio Grande isn't particularly fond of tournaments, so they are unlikely to pro-actively organize qualifiers at any level, national or otherwise.  If fans don't do it themselves, RGG will probably just hold the World Championships once a year somewhere (Usually GenCon, maybe Essen) without any pre-qualified players.

24
Dominion World Masters / Re: World championship 2017
« on: August 21, 2017, 12:34:27 am »
Seems pretty unfair. It's like one country being allowed to send several teams to the world cup of a sport just because that sport is especially popular there.
And it's not just that there are several tournaments in the US as opposed to one; it seems there are also at least one tournament where several players qualify, namely GenCon, where apparently 5 people qualified. The end result is of course that the chance of the world champion being from the US in a given year is many times bigger than any other country.

You are asserting that "fair" means "every country has an equal representation in the finals".  By that logic, if Tuvalu has only one Dominion player, that player should automatically be given a a place in the finals, alongside those who had to fight their way through larger national fields of competitors.  That doesn't sound very fair, really.  Competitions do not have to be divided along national borders.  Even when they are, such as in the Olympics, countries with larger numbers of participants in a sport generally get to send larger teams.

I suspect that the truth of it, however, is that those were the only four sanctioned tournament representatives who actually made it to GenCon.  So they took those four, and then took the top five from GenCon to round out the nine players they needed to have a three-table finals field.

25
Dominion World Masters / Re: World championship 2017
« on: August 20, 2017, 11:38:06 pm »
I see that I still don't understand how this championship works. This was part of my initial question. If someone qualifies a national championship, only the winner is allowed to go to the world championship (or runner-up if winner can't go etc, but just one person). But it seems like there were several Americans in this championship, why is that? The way I understood it was that there is one person from each country. That's also how it was in the world championship in Essen that I attended.

Perhaps due to the size of the American market, there is not a single U.S. championship, but rather multiple sanctioned subtournaments.  It's all up to Rio Grande, really.

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