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Dominion Articles / Re: Core Concepts of Dominion Endgames
« on: August 27, 2019, 02:22:12 pm »
In correct play, you want to be spending all your gains on Actions, then flip a switch and spend all your gains on VP until the end of the game. Because of this, the 3rd choice of "do a bit of both" is something you want to do at most once, if you're on a in-between turn between deck improvement and cashing in your deck for points. If you end up doing this multiple times, you're probably playing loose, or the game's just weird.

One common situation when it's correct to keep picking up Actions while also buying cards that give VP has nothing to do with endgame conditions but just the lumpiness of $ that your deck generates.  If your deck generates $12 and 3 buys, there's a period of time (when the game isn't about to end) when you're going to pick up Province and another action (Smithy, Village, etc.), rather than Province and 2 Estates.  Of course, another element of building your deck is planning how much $ you build your deck to generate so that you can do the right amount of buying VP at the right time. In this example, building to $16 so that you can double-Province may be well worth it.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: Interview with Donald X.
« on: August 24, 2019, 11:09:46 am »
The reason why there’s no attack that can inflict a specific hex each time is presumably that some of the hexes wouldn’t work if you could reliably inflict them every turn. For example, Delusion prevents a player from buying actions for their next buy phase. If it was easy to build a deck that inflicted Delusion every turn, that would be no fun.

A high skill multiplier might mean that it's difficult to master the card, or it involves little luck such that small skill differences really matter, or that it's better known to good players (e.g. some players might know the base cards but not the expansions). A single number can't really tell apart 3 reasons, but for Black Market the total effect is that the better player wins more than expected. Hence, even if there was more "luck" involved, there is even more "skill" needed.

To add another possibility: a card isn't that good (or it's fine to get one, but you shouldn't buy a lot), but it takes a more skilled player to recognize that.  For example, less skilled players often overvalue coffers, and therefore go for mass Candlestick Maker strategies (which are usually terrible), and mass Baker strategies (which are often sub-optimal).

Just played 10 games with someone and they all had black market. I'm guessing both of us had market as "liked" and that's why it appeared 100%. Either way, it got pretty dull playing with that card every game, though I usually like it.

Anyway, I'm deleting my "liked" list because of it.

That sounds extremely unlikely. The probabilities are supposed to be multiplicative so you would only have a 4x chance of seeing it each game, which doesn’t yield more than a minuscule chance of 10 in a row. This suggests that either something is going wrong with the feature or Black Market was actually set as a required card in those games.

Let's Discuss ... / Re: Let's Discuss Hinterlands Cards: Develop
« on: July 31, 2019, 01:24:33 pm »
My favorite Develop combo is using it with Fortress and a 5 cost that gives 2 cards and 2 actions to empty Develop and the 5-cost at once (if they have the same number of cards left). Develop Fortress into Lost City and Develop, play a Lost City to draw them, repeat. You can empty piles very suddenly and if you have extra Lost Cities already you can pick up some Duchies for points.

Let's Discuss ... / Re: Let's Discuss Base Set Cards: Mine
« on: July 25, 2019, 07:34:33 pm »
Hard disagree.  I've played many games where I go Rebuild/BM, and maybe once if at all each game do I play multiple Rebuilds in a turn.

In non-mirror situations with Rebuild, you want to buy more Rebuilds than in mirrors. Rebuild would be weaker against engines if you never buy more than, say, 2 Rebuilds. In Wandering Winder's great Rebuild video series, I recall that he almost always buys at least three Rebuilds.

First video here:

Game Reports / Re: Golden Deck with City Gate and Native Village
« on: July 16, 2019, 10:29:56 pm »
Cool interactions, but for most people this might as well be in the "neat combos" thread. This post illustrates how discussion of online Dominion games has been harmed by the lack of a well-formatted log available after Dominion Online games to anyone with the hyperlink, regardless of subscription (like the old log prettifier). It's too much effort to reload games, and you need a subscription as well.

Titandrake, the Smithy-Big Money players may be buying Duchies too early in the simulations. With two of them and one Gardens player, they can probably collectively improve their chances by holding off on Duchies to help empty the Provinces faster. Of course in an actual game they’d find it hard to coordinate in this way.

It appears that Dominion Online will continue to exist and be provided by ShuffleIT in 2020 and 2021. That's great news, and hopefully gives ShuffleIT more incentive to invest in better development of and communication about their product.

Quote from: jsh
I don't know everything that's going to happen, but this was posted in Discord today:

"StefToday at 11:54 AM
I just signed a new contract with RGG! will continue in 2020 and 2021."

Sadly, ShuffleIT appears to be purely in maintenance mode, and other than updating to add cards from new sets (and some accompanying interface changes that came with that), no meaningful work appears to have been done on Dominion Online in more than a year. The bots have no intelligence to them, and even though the creator of Dominion has complained, nothing has changed.

The way to think of it is, there isn't really an AI yet. There is a placeholder bot that has no intelligence to it.

Here is ShuffleIT's forum, but I doubt posting there will do any good:

Puzzles and Challenges / Re: Easy Puzzles
« on: June 11, 2019, 10:32:49 am »
On my opponent's turn, he played a Village and two Attack cards. I had a Lighthouse which protected me from the first attack, but not the second. What happened?

The second attack was Rogue. Rogue gained a Black Market from the trash, played Black Market with Innovation, and bought a Noble Brigand out of the Black Market.  Alternately, substitute Dame Natalie for Rogue!

My guess: At the start of your turn, you may trash a card from your hand. If you do not, trash this.

All the fun of Cathedral, plus added protection against Militias.

Misery and Envy are complex?  I never would have thought so, not on their own.  Anyway, it doesn't seem like you should constrain yourself to copying the hexes exactly.  For Leprechaun, you could ignore the "envious" state, and just say "for the rest of this turn, golds give only $1".  -1 VP is probably a close-enough approximation of Misery. I doubt that it's too large, given my experience with landmarks like Obelisk.

Misery is complex (because it uses a double-sided state to avoid endless stacking), but "-1 VP" is simple. Good point on Envy, Leprechaun could just be "For the rest of this turn, Silver and Gold make $1" to imitate Envy.

I don't really think Cobbler needs a buff, and adding +Action is probably very strong.  I'd be worried that if it's too strong then it 3-piles too fast.

How strong is adding +Action to Cobbler? Gaining a $4 to the top of your deck is the effect of Armory, a $4 cost action. Drawing a card is the effect of playing a Laboratory from your hand, a $5 cost action. So Cobbler's effect can be thought of as non-terminal Armory + Laboratory. In contrast, getting an extra action is the effect of a Village. So the revision improves Cobbler's effect to that of non-terminal Armory + Laboratory + Village.  I also doubt this take on Cobbler would lead to particularly fast 3-piles, because you need two Cobblers to gain one card per turn.

I'd pair Leprechaun with Poverty or Envy, preserving the phenomenon where you're afraid to play Leprechaun if you're not getting a wish because it might ruin your turn.

I'd pair Cursed Village with Misery or Envy.  Misery only really hurts if you're the only player getting Cursed Village.  Envy probably doesn't hurt at all in the kind of deck that likes Cursed Village, but sometimes it might.  Or maybe just forget hexes and take your -1 coin token.

The point of removing Hexes is to reduce the complexity of the cards. With that in mind, Envy and Misery are out. Cursed Village could be worth -1 VP, if that doesn't cause rules confusion. That may be too large a penalty.  Leprechaun giving Poverty would make its drawback more severe in decks that draw and want to play it for the Wish than in money-heavy decks that never intend to play it for the Wish. That seems backwards.

I've noticed there is no Cursed Village replacement. This one seems hardest to give a fixed effect since it makes it trivial to play around it and ignore the penalty.

Yes. The thematic choice for Cursed Village would be to gain a curse when you gain it. But that or even gaining a copper would dramatically weaken the card because Cursed Village wants action heavy decks. Most non-junking hexes can be played around such that you’d be able to know that you’ll be able to avoid them. Locusts is an exception but that’s too harsh, because if you bought Cursed Village after having drawn your deck it would be immediately trashed!  Maybe “when you gain Cursed Village, you may reveal a Curse from your hand. If you don’t, gain a Curse” could work, but would still probably be too harsh. 

Maybe Crypt? It interacts with treasures so maybe it'd be okay?

Crypt is mainly used as a draw card that also temporarily removes Copper from your deck. The problem with Crypt usually isn't that in a hand of Crypt and 4 other cards, too few of those other cards are treasures. That's what Lucky Coin would fix. The problem with Crypt is that if you can't get a hand size bigger than 5 on the turn in which you play Crypt, Crypt generally doesn't do enough. So adding Lucky Coin to Crypt would make it harder to construct a deck that both draws well and finds the Crypt on that same turn, which would weaken Crypt. The reason I put Lucky Coin with Sacred Grove isn't that they're a particularly good fit, but rather because Lucky Coin seems to anti-synergize with the other available options.

An alternative fix to Cobbler would be for it to be gained to hand like Den of Sin. That's simpler than my proposed fix but I think that would make it too strong. It would be a Summon-variant.

I should mention that my original idea for Cobbler was to gain and play an Action (instead of just gaining it to hand). But that doesn't work because Cobbler can gain cards of any type, not just actions. +1 Action and gaining an action to hand lets you play a terminal action gained with Cobbler immediately, as if it had the "gain and play" wording.

Variants and Fan Cards / Re: Nocturne without Hexes or duds
« on: March 08, 2019, 02:23:12 pm »
Anyhow, I'm not sure what I think about pairing Vampire with Fear. Bat trashes, and I'm not sure how well that goes with that attack. You know, you get rid of your Coppers, just to have discard your precious Actions more often. I dunno... It kind of feels more appropriate for one of the Gold gainers, like Skulk or Leprechaun.

Mechanically, I like Fear with Skulk and Bad Omens with Vampire (currently it's the reverse above). That way Bat helps to eventually protect you from Bad Omens by trashing your coppers. As actual replacements this might make Vampire too wordy, but in practice I'd probably just implement this by putting the hex associated with the attack on top of the pile.

Cobbler is fine as is, not the best card ever but not the worst. An extra +Action seems like a lot more than a slight boost in power.

Cobbler is not good as is. That doesn't mean you'll never use it, but it's slow and heavily reliant on being able to gain cards with +Actions. An extra +Action is more than a slight boost in power, but it needs at least a slight boost. Adding an extra +Action doesn't seem to make it a power card.

Do you have an alternate suggestions for where Lucky Coin should go?

Variants and Fan Cards / Nocturne simplified, without Hexes or duds
« on: March 08, 2019, 11:17:15 am »
Nocturne has a lot of interesting cards but as Donald X mentions it’s too complex in large part because it requires reading too many cards. Specifically, Hexes and Fool are too slow to resolve, and there are too many Boon cards given that some are not that interesting. In addition, some cards could use boosts in power. Thus, the following proposed changes.

Fool and Bard are cut.  Sacred Grove now comes with Lucky Coin (and maybe Sacred Grove gets a theme change to “Bard”).

Cobbler gives +Action as well. So it now reads “At the start of your next turn, +1 Action and gain a card to your hand costing up to $4.”  Cobbler could use a slight boost in power, and giving +Action in addition to gaining a $4 to hand makes it more flexible.

Raider gives +Buy as well. So it now reads, “At the start of your next turn, +$3 and +1 Buy.”  By the time your deck hits $6 to afford Raider, you often don’t need more coins right away. This means that all of those extra coins from Raider are less likely to go to waste. 

Remove the hexes. Instead:
Vampire causes Fear.  That is, each opponent with at least 5 cards in hand discards an Action or Treasure (or reveals they can't). Vampire is an easy attack to get hit with multiple times because it’s a Night card, is strong and is a trasher (so it tends to be bought early). So I wanted Vampire to be an attack that is quick to resolve and doesn’t stack with itself.

Skulk causes Bad Omens. That is, each opponent puts their deck into their discard pile, looks through it and puts 2 Coppers from it onto their deck (or reveals they can't). Bad Omens is wordy and time-consuming to resolve, so it needs to go on a card that is otherwise very simple.

Leprechaun causes Greed instead of giving a hex. That is, you gain a Copper onto your deck. Leprechaun needs to punish you in a way that you can’t be confident won’t hurt at all, so that there’s a downside to getting that sweet, sweet Gold (okay, gaining Gold isn’t that great, but don’t tell Leprechaun that!). Greed is a great Hex for this because Copper almost never runs out, it fits the theme that the angry Leprechaun punishes you for taking Gold by forcing Copper on you, and the original name of Greed is themed perfectly.

Tormentor causes Plague (gain a curse to hand) if you have an Imp in play, and gains an Imp if you have no Imp in play. Making Tormentor a better Imp gainer and less frequent attack fits with my early take on it.  Tormentor was a weak card to begin with, so that it becomes a better Imp gainer and an irregular cursing attack still leaves it at a reasonable power level. Tormentor would now read "If you have an Imp in play, each other player gains a Curse to their hand. Otherwise, gain an Imp from its pile."

Werewolf causes Haunting. That is, if it's your Night phase, each other player with at least 4 cards in hand puts one of them onto their deck.  Werewolf wants an attack that you can stack at least twice, but that’s quick to resolve. And because Werewolf has +3 cards, this reduces the odds of ending up as locked down by its attack as happens with Ghost Ship. Taken directly from my earlier thread on the topic.


Dominion General Discussion / Re: A Question About First-Player Advantage
« on: February 26, 2019, 07:50:11 pm »

I'm probably dumb, I don't get these stats. They seem to say that out of 43,898 games, P1 won 3,419 games. But that would be crazy.

Many people will only end the game on their turn on a win, as opposed to ending the game on their turn in a loss. So when the game ends on player 2's turn, it means that player 2 ended the game on a win. Situations when you don't know if you'll win or lose (e.g., will Vineyards go up enough from buying that one last action) are pretty rare.

I think that for the history of Dominion releases, every new (full-sized) set has become my favorite. That streak stopped with Renaissance. Nocturne remains top of the heap for me, having a lot of the most interesting and flavorful cards in the game. Renaissance is still a very good expansion, but I don't find it as exciting as…oh probably any of the last three sets.

Which is to say, everybody is entitled to their own opinion.

Yes, but Nocturne has too many additional cards to read, in a way that can be overwhelming.

Thanks; we had a lot of fun playtesting Nocturne, but I would change it a lot at this point, which is not true of Adventures or Empires. I would probably split it into two sets, one with Night, Spirits, and Boons, and the other with Heirlooms and some other new mechanic. I wouldn't do Hexes (too slow). I would only do ~5 Fate cards.

I made some rankings based on Markus' statistics, using the winner's gain percentage (or buy percentage in the case of projects/events), and I'm going to compare them to the Qvist rankings.

Forum - Qvist 59, Markus 13, 80% gain

Fleet - Qvist 52, Markus 81, 48% buy
Groundskeeper - Qvist 22, Markus 36, 69% gain

Because Markus's statistics end when someone resigns, Groundskeeper and Fleet may be part of the winning strategy but never get bought if someone resigns too early. Forum presumably does particularly well in gain percentage metrics because it does not cost a buy, so there are times when it is effectively free.

Kudos to Donald for posting this. That said, Donald seems not favorable enough to Renaissance and too favorable to Nocturne. Renaissance sets a new standard in terms of adding a lot to the game without as much complexity as some other recent sets. For the high degree of complexity, Nocturne does not add as much to the game as the other recent sets (and the card pool isn’t as favorable to decks that draw cards, that is, what I and many others perceive as the most fun decks) as other recent sets).

I think Pizza is pretty accurately rated.  It's basically an expensive Herald, which is fine because sometimes you pay $5 for a Herald even if the overpay doesn't help you.

Effectively getting to play a Herald at the start of each turn is pretty tasty.

Game Reports / Re: Unfair Opponent
« on: February 08, 2019, 04:40:05 pm »
You should resign and blacklist them. When people do this, they get banned after a short time (ShuffleIT detects it, and bans them). Games played by banned players don’t count in the ratings. So save your time and resign.  Once they are banned the game won’t count towards your rating regardless.

Black Market favors the more skilled player far more than most cards, based on an analysis from 2012. I'm not sure how Black Market was implemented at the time (I believe 25-cards, and you get to see them at the start of the game). Given the increase in player skill (so that players are better at building decks that can take advantage of it) and the 60-card Black Market in the current implementation, I'd assume that Black Market favors the skilled player even more in the current implementation.

This is from sample of 2.5 M iso games. 

The measure is how hard a time trueskill had at predicting the winner, measured in conditional entropy given a card was in the supply.

Goons 0.689 ± 0.002
Colony 0.694 ± 0.001
Platinum 0.694 ± 0.001
Bishop 0.695 ± 0.002
Ambassador 0.695 ± 0.002
Grand Market 0.696 ± 0.002
Black Market 0.696 ± 0.002
Cache 0.714 ± 0.003
Jack of All Trades 0.714 ± 0.003
Embassy 0.714 ± 0.003

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