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Dominion General Discussion / Re: Shelters exacerbate 5/2
« on: September 02, 2012, 01:22:03 pm »
From the dozen or so games I have played with Shelters, I can safely say the optimal strategy is to not buy an estate when Hovel is in the hand. In almost every game, if not every game, the Hovel ended up being trashed when I bought either a Province or Duchy at some point.

Ok, but what's the advantage of waiting to trash the hovel? Both Hovel and Estate are dead cards in hand. Estate gives 1vp, Hovel doesn't. Estate can be drawn by Scout (yay Scout!), Hovel can't. The only card I can think of where the Estate/Hovel difference matters during the game is Jester, but that's a pretty niche situation.

Estate vs Hovel matters a great deal when purchasing a Province or Duchy.

1/2.  Include Silver and Gold.  Don't include any other base cards.  You might include Platinum, but I'd suspect it would be boring because it would be auto #1 in $6+ cards.

3. Mercenary and Madman are included in their respective card rankings.  The Prizes, Shelters, and Ruins could be ranked by comparing them to each other (i.e. 1-5, 1-3, and 1-5 respectively).  It'd be amusing so why not.

Poor House should be included in the $2 category.

4.  No Potions.

5. Knights should go in the $5 list.  You might want to throw int he $4 Knight on the $4 list, just because it is something unique.  Also, the Knights themselves should get a 1-10 ranking because that's also fun.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: Best $0-$1 cards?
« on: August 30, 2012, 01:06:13 pm »
I think Ruined Library is definitely better than ruined market in most situations. If you have actions it's just as if it wasn't there. Ruined Market might be really useful in rare situations, but these are even more rare if your deck is clogged with ruins.

Ruined Library is less harmful than Ruined Market, but Ruined Market is more useful than Ruined Library.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: X-with-a-bonus!
« on: August 29, 2012, 02:02:16 pm »
Silver -> Stash, Harem, Royal Seal

90% of the tim when I get those cards, it really does feel like I'm getting a Silver with a bonus.

Laboratory -> Alchemist

Did you ever try out having Spoils just be purchasable for $3? 

I was amused that two "Gain silver" cards were turned into "Gain spoils" since I've been struggling to compare Silver to Spoils in terms of how valuable it is.  And I kind of want to play a game where someone can choose to gain either Silver or Spoils for any card that gains silver...

Dominion: Dark Ages Previews / Re: Count v. Mandarin?
« on: August 19, 2012, 12:25:55 pm »
Mandarin is mostly useful for it's "on-gain" ability.  Especially in late-games where a Gold/Silver this hand means a possible Province next hand.

My terrible predictions!

---Six Dollars---

Altar -- Probably very powerful in any kingdom where you would want multiple $5 over a gold.  Or a cursing or ruins kingdom (Curse -> Duchy is pretty good for the end game).  The only annoying thing is the terminal action -- copper to silver isn't bad if I run out of cantrips, but my preference would be to make the coppers into good cantrips.

Hunting Grounds -- That's a lot of cards.  If a Big Money deck is sufficiently Big Money, +4 cards should average out to way more than $3 so it's a good buy.  Probably the toughest question is if it should be purchased before or after the first gold.

--Five dollars---

Band of Misfits -- I can see it being useful if there's a strong starting $4 or cheaper that gets weaker as the game goes on.  Sea Hag, Chapel, Remake, etc.  It would need a second useful thing to turn into.  And it would also need weak competition at $5 -- there are a lot of cards I'd prefer having over this.

Bandit Camp -- I think this is good if your deck needs a village.  I don't think just using it just to gain Spoils is worthwhile.

Catacombs -- I have no idea.  I think it's a lot like Harvest or Rabble.  Perfectly reasonable for the cost, but rarely a card that causes me to look at the board and think "This is going to be awesome".

Count -- I think it's good?  With so many choices it's possible that strong players will be able to use it very effectively.

Counterfeit -- Seems like the best $5 Silver.  I'm never going to out of my way to get it, but if a deck needs +buy (Goons!) or minor trashing it's useful.

Cultist -- Really good.  It might be the best $5 ever -- I'd hate to be at the receiving end of my opponent chaining even two of these together.  And it works insanely well with trashers after the ruins pile runs out.

Graverobber -- It depends heavily on the other trashers in a deck, unless it can be slipped into a fast enough engine.  Trying to line up Graverobber and other actions in the same hand is a bit too luck-dependent for me, and a $5 should do more than nothing if it doesn't meet the requirements in the early game.

Junk Dealer -- It seems good.  Probably most comparable to Upgrade, which I usually use to get rid of Coppers or Curses.  And this is slightly better in that instance.

Mystic -- Seems pretty good.  If the deck is light on trashing, it will be a gold more often than not.  It also does all the tricks you wished Wishing Well could do.

Pillage -- I have no idea.  It really depends on how good Spoils are.

Rebuild -- Good in a deck that isn't going to trash the Estates and doesn't have other alternate victory points.  Also lets someone green earlier because Duchy purchases aren't as bad.

Rogue -- I have no idea.

Knights -- I have no idea.

---Four Dollars---

Armory -- If I was purchasing a Workshop for the purposes of spamming something besides alternate Victory Points, it's worth it.  I think it would not work for a Gardens/Silk Roads/etc strategy.

Death Cart -- Who is buying corpses for that much?  It feels like a pseudo-Feast, and its value will probably depend on how easily it is to get +buys or other actions to trash.  Or a sufficiently small deck.  Also reasonably strong in the end-game struggle.  I'd probably grab it over a Duchy when the Province pile is at 4 or 5.

Feodum -- I have no idea.  Feels bad in a deck that can't spam silver.  Might be insane in a deck that can spam silver.

Fortress -- It's a village.  Very strong against trashing attacks. Should be good with any trash for benefit cards.  I can see purchasing it for any of the three options.

Ironmonger -- I would actually take a cantrip that gave me those options randomly.  So it's pretty good.  And with Ironworks, Dominion has taught me that Iron is a magical metal that assumes properties of nearby things.

Marauder -- One of the best $4 actions.  I'd put it just below Jack of All Trades and Sea Hag, and that's close.

Procession -- It's the Throne Room/Upgrade combo that I never wanted.  Probably the biggest weakness is that it needs good enough actions that I would want to trash them at each level.

Rats -- Someone will break a game with these, but it probably won't be me since I'm never going to touch them.

Scavenger -- It's the Chancellor I never knew I wanted, but am now happy that it exists.  Really strong with any deck that needs a specific card to start its combo -- like a Scrying Pool or a Village.

Wandering Minstrel -- It's a good village for decks that like villages.

---Three dollars---

Forager -- I think it's comparable to Trade Route both in function and how it will be used.

Hermit -- Sure why not, seems good.  Great Silver flooder and Madmen are pretty awesome.

Market Square -- I will probably buy this if a kingdom has any form of trashing in it.  Except for Rats.

Sage -- Really good until a deck starts greening.  Probably useful in the same way Scheme is useful, where a powerful attack is the most important consideration when purchasing it.

Storeroom -- Seems ideal for late-game when a deck struggles to put together hands due to greening.  Otherwise... meh.

Urchin -- I suspect I'll open Urchin/Urchin pretty much every time it's on the board unless there's an Ambassador or good $4.  Gets really fun if there's any village available.

---Two Dollars---

Beggar -- I think it's good, for a $2.  Pretty much depends on the deck -- I won't buy it if it doesn't combo or defend, but if it combos or defends it's great!

Squire -- This is good.  I'm half-expecting that the majority of my purchases of it will be for the +2 Actions.  Everything beyond a $2 +2 Actions/+$1 is great. 

Vagrant -- Sure, a Pearl Diver.  It's not great and I'll never want to purchase it, but if it's there for $2 I'll take it when I have $2 to spend.

---One Dollar---

Poor House -- Beggars hate the Poor House.  It needs to combo, but if it does it's good.

I started looking through Secret Histories for cards that were from Dark Ages and ran across this quote.

"Council Room: Originally the 4th expansion had a "non-attack player interaction" sub-theme. It was easily the best expansion, and it became clear that I should split that sucker up. The main set got this card."

Dark Ages always was the best expansion!

Dominion Articles / Re: Possible Combo: Scrying Pool - Secret Chamber
« on: July 14, 2012, 06:45:28 pm »
The main problem with this combo is that Secret Chamber's reaction to Scrying pool is so painfully slow that I'll refuse to play in a game with both cards.

Even worse, there's a bit of reason and strategy to playing it each time, as it's possible to try to trick your opponent into letting you pseudo-dig for cards.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: Alternate (pure) VP Cards
« on: July 06, 2012, 03:13:06 pm »
But there are some kingdoms in which making Fairgrounds worth 6 is viable because you can use amost all the kingdom cards: Jester (particularly in multi-player games), Menagerie, mostly non-terminal cards, or terminals with villages.  Then you want to play a different strategy: get a diverse set of useful cards, load up on Fairgrounds, and try to get one province so that you don't need a curse or useless card to get to 15 different ones.

Black Market also makes Fairgrounds a very powerful option.

I also find Fairgrounds to be useful in Familiar or Young Witch games, because the additional card and the likely curse make them much easier to get up to 15.

Dominion Articles / Re: Mine
« on: June 18, 2012, 06:09:31 pm »
Is Mine/Grand Market a trap or a strategy?

Dominion Articles / Re: Wharf
« on: June 13, 2012, 04:35:45 pm »
Does University/Wharf deserve a mention?  Is it actually good? -- I find that I like University a bit too much so I always go for it with Wharf out.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: Sea Hag/Fool's Gold
« on: June 12, 2012, 05:42:39 pm »
I forget what happens in a mirror opening, if that counts. If mirrors don't count, then the person who opens Sea Hag either has it unopposed or is already winning the Fool'sGold race.

Dominion Articles / Re: The truth about Jack of All Trades
« on: May 21, 2012, 07:14:40 pm »
I've seen Jack fuel a complicated Bishops/Villages engine.  It was basically Village like crazy, Bishop the money, Jack to refill hand and fuel Bishop.

I am interested in how to value Jack in a Platinum game.  Getting a few Silver early on and trashing Estates has to be useful, but there's obviously a limit to how useful it is.

Dominion Articles / Re: Noble Brigand
« on: April 10, 2012, 09:03:16 pm »
Noble Brigand (like Thief and Pirate Ship) is primarily useful where it hits consistently.  There are two basic situations where they hit consistently--

* 3-4 player games.  Most 4-card or 6-card hands will have treasure in them, so it's the same with multi-player games.
* Big-money games.  If you look at the board and think "I only really want to buy 2-3 actions and the rest is money", then one of the treasure trashers would be useful.

They have other uses based on the individual quirks of the card.  But their basic power comes from being able to hit your opponent frequently.

There's a diminishing returns for expansions.  Each new expansion will be purchased by fewer and fewer people -- especially when all the previous expansions are still available to be purchased.  To use Settlers for example, I know a lot of people with the base game.  Fewer have the 5-6 player expansion.  And even fewer than that have Seafarers and that 5-6 player expansion and so on down the line.

There's probably a baseline of people that will buy every expansion that comes out, but devoting resources to them is difficult because it also requires keeping things fresh and interesting enough to keep them around (or even worse, a power escalation that then destroys the value of the previous expansions).

Dominion General Discussion / Re: The best 2-card combo
« on: February 21, 2012, 01:41:30 pm »
I nominate Council Room + Fool's Gold -- Fool's Gold decks love buys and card draw, and this does both.
I nominate King's Court + Scheme -- Replay the same action three times each turn.
I nominate Scheme + Scrying Pool -- Solves the Scrying Pool problem of making sure the engine fires each turn.
I nominate Tournament + Province -- What?  It is a combo.
I nominate Chapel + Governor -- Best set up for the insane Governor turn of drawing the deck and turning Gold into Provinces.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: What combos with JoaT?
« on: January 13, 2012, 06:05:49 pm »
Ok. Well... Any non-terminal, Non-drawer, particularly a village (fishing village, native village possibly, festival, to a lesser extent lighthouse....). Sifters, most prominently warehouse, but also inn (which sorta fits both these categories) and cellar. Hamlet is pretty big-time good. Lookout maybe.
I'm sure there's more stuff too.....

Oasis also works well.  Native Village is effective with a +buy.  I've tried Lookout, it just didn't work that well.  All it does is get rid of copper, and it requires a Jack in hand in order to power up.  Most of the time that could have been a Silver and used to get a Gold instead.

I've never had Jack/Nobles, that might be a useful option after the first Gold.

Jack also works well with the not-Cache $5 money, just because it's slightly more powerful than more Silver.


Bad cards with Jack are +hand cards (Wharf might be the exception) and other terminals.  It just plays poorly with actions in general, because the sifting ability of Jack is actually part of its power.

I also have no idea how Jack does in Colony games.

Scout/Great Hall just doesn't work.  I've also have had poor results with Geat Hall/Crossroads.  Great Hall by itself is too weak and with other cards it doesn't enable them enough.

I've had minor success with a late Scout after Harem-spam.  But it's not something anyone wants early in the game.

I've had occasional success with Great Hall/Ironworks -- usually I only go for that with another reason to use one or the other.

The best use I ever had for Scout was in a Scrying Pool deck with no trashing.  It was mostly useful for rearranging the top of the deck instead of the VP fetching.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: More Fun With (Un)popular Buys
« on: January 04, 2012, 05:46:08 pm »
Most bought:

$2 Chapel, Crossroads
$3 Ambassador, Fishing Village
$4 Tournament, Remake, Jack of All Trades
$5 Wharf
$6 Border Village, Goons


That... is going to be a very fast game.  I think I would go Fishing Village/Remake -> Fishing Village/Wharf/Goons.  I have no idea how that would compete with an Ambassador, Chapel, or Jack based engine.

Least bought:

$0P Transmute
$3P Philosopher's Stone
$4 Thief, Bureaucrat
$5 Harvest, Explorer, Counting House, Contraband, Outpost
$6 Adventurer

-- Probably Bureaucrat and Explorer spam for a flood of Silver.

One thing that I would sort of like to see, while at the same time think it's probably a bad idea... alternate win conditions. Some of my favorite cards in Magic are the ones that let you win the game without killing your opponent. "At the start of your turn, if such and such conditions are met, you win the game." In Dominion, this of course poses the problem of what can your opponents do to stop you? There is no enchantment destruction! So I don't think it could ever work, but it would be fun to see.

Goons and variable-point Victory cards both offer alternate win conditions.


The main problem with any drawback-themed set is that standard game players hate drawbacks.  For the obvious Dominion example, look at how difficult it is to get people to start using Chapel.

It's certainly interesting territory to explore with a lot of options, but I'd expect a sub-theme along the lines of Embassy or Council Room and not a full-blown set.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: Boneheaded plays
« on: January 01, 2012, 09:24:48 pm »
Buying Jack of All Trades before noticing it's a Colony game.

Another approach to trying to predict the next expansion would be to try to predict it thematically. Where do you go beyond the Hinterlands?

 * Permanent cards.  Probably unbalanced for Dominion, but basically a purchased card that is replayed every turn.
 * Rules-changers.  A "kingdom" that is only one card and changes the starting or ending rules or whatever.  Would easily work as filler for a small expansion, like the prizes.
 * Unemptying piles.  A card that, instead of being purchased and added to the deck, does something else when purchased. Could also not use a buy or give an additional buy.

Variables (cards that directly change in power based on game state)-
 * Like Peddler or Crossroads, cards that have different costs or effects depending on other things happening in the game.
 * Mini-kingdoms.  The first X cards in a stack do something, then the next X do something else.  For example, a kingdom where the first 5 cards are Village knockoffs while the next 5 are Smithy copies.
 * City knockoffs.

Dominion Articles / Re: Rank the Promo Cards
« on: December 10, 2011, 12:10:55 am »
Walled Village, Stash, and Black Market are all usually lousy cards that are valuable based on the lack of cards that surround them.  If the deck desperately needs Villages, the only curser is in the Black Market deck, or the $5 buys are unimpressive -- then those cards become playable and useful.  Most of the time, they aren't.

Envoy and Governor are powerful cards.  Governor is interesting since it can lead to explosive games and has insane power in certain combinations.  It does require an engine to be built around it, but unlike the other three cards it fits into an engine instead of just being the best of bad options.

Envoy by itself can enable a standard big money deck.  It's also a useful tool in a Village/Draw decks, if that can be built on the board.

Dominion Articles / Not Combos -- Cards that don't work well together
« on: December 06, 2011, 12:02:56 pm »
Simple stuff really -- cards that don't work quite as well together as they initially appear to, usually because of what is directly written on the card and ignored.

King's Court/Throne Room and Goons/Highway -- They have a "While in play" clause that means the +VP or -cost effects are not duplicated.  Still an ok combo, just not as insane as it could be.

Masquerade and Throne Room -- In 2-player games, you'll almost always get back the first card that was passed to the opponent.

Treasure Map and Scheme -- Treasure Map will always self-trash when played.

Alchemist and Mandarin/Mint -- Purchasing the Mandarin or Mint will get rid of the Potion which Alchemist requires to be in play.

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