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Game Reports / Silliness in a throne room
« on: November 30, 2012, 10:08:58 am »

This is kind of magic, there's a whole lot of fun cards.  I'm pretty sure this should have ended sooner, but we both scored a lot of points.

I know I had no idea who'd won, though having eight vineyards is usually a step on the way to success.

Don't think I've had many games with so many points that's so close.

Anyone have any thoughts?

Most importantly with Knights.  The prospect of Knight + Graverobber leads to UNDEAD KNIGHT HORDES deck.  Which, while pretty poor on paper allows for undead knight hordes.

I think they are a fun idea, similar to Tournament, but they'll fade into the background as I don't think their attack is strong enough.  People who are upset that Dominion is a game with a mixture of luck and skill will be upset by them, but it seems they haven't realised that Dominion is a card game that you can play in about 20 minutes.  If you get beaten due to rotten luck, you can probably play again and get your own back.

I love that Knights make Fairgrounds phenomenal (for certain values of phenomenal). You can have a Jousting Tourney.

General Discussion / I haven't been playing much recently
« on: April 06, 2012, 12:04:11 pm »
My son was born at 2.32 on Tuesday morning.  He's brilliant, and a bit distracting.


Game Reports / Nice idea from Silverback
« on: March 22, 2012, 09:00:24 am »
I was disappointed by this game, it looked for a moment like Worker's Village + Counting House + Bank was going to beat my boring plod with BM+Labs in this Colony game.  Kudos to Silverback for buying a Colony using only copper, but alas, it was not to be.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: Is resigning considered rude?
« on: March 16, 2012, 08:11:11 am »
I generally ask before I resign, if the opponent has an engine that's rolling and takes (what seems like) a couple of minutes per turn, and my turns take 2-5 clicks and I think it will take another 3-4 turns for my opponent to win, I'll ask and usually the opponent will say fine.  In fact, when I've asked, "can I resign," nobody has ever said they'd prefer I didn't.

What's worse, in my opinion is slow-rolling.  When you can buy the last province with what's in hand, are way ahead anyway or only have means to gain 1 province in your deck, and play out your whole engine before buying the province.  That's not fun for the person sitting on the receiving end.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: 4/4 opening
« on: March 16, 2012, 04:59:57 am »
Thief/pirate ship at $3 could lead to some horrible situations in a 4 player game.  Pirate ship is already a very strong card on some multiplayer boards.  I don't think that would be a good idea.

Dominion Articles / Re: A theorem about drawing and density
« on: March 13, 2012, 05:02:44 am »
Slightly off topic, but another good thing about venture in a greening deck is if Venture is played with only dead cards in the draw pile those dead cards miss this shuffle and next shuffle.  (If I'm reading Venture correctly).  Unfortunately, the same is true of action cards, so if they are important to you, you may wish to avoid playing venture.

As an aside, you've convinced me about the mean value of the draw deck, I think the point WanderingWinder makes about the difference between mean value and distribution is very important here.

Dominion Articles / Re: A theorem about drawing and density
« on: March 12, 2012, 05:50:25 am »
I think that looking at a single hand is causing people problems here.  If there are 2 decks with only victory and treasure cards that are the same size, and 1 deck contains ventures.  The deck with the ventures would see more treasure per hand (on average) because each time a venture is played it removes some number (sometimes 0, but probably not always) of victory cards that would be dead cards from subsequent hands.

There is no way that this has no effect on the quality of cards drawn.  If I can discard a victory card without putting it in hand, that is almost always a boon.

If you used a spy and only discarded a card if it were a victory card it would improve the average quality of your hand in the same way.  Maybe not if you look at the single next hand, but on average.  I think the theorem is too specific in it's priors to be useful in Dominion games, and it is therefore misleading.

It probably isn't a whitewash, but I'd guess that a big money bot that buys venture over silver on $5 wins heavily over an optimised basic big money bot.  One of the (I'd say main, but the cycling might be more important) differences is that the venture bot sees fewer victory cards in hand than the big money bot.  On average, this means it's effective money density is higher.

Dominion Articles / Re: A theorem about drawing and density
« on: March 07, 2012, 07:03:11 am »
I think I'm convinced that it doesn't affect your next hand, I'm less convinced that it doesn't affect the hand(s) after that.  If you remove green cards from your draw deck and put them in your discard then you *do* increase the money density in your draw deck.  Of that I have absolutely no doubt.  You remove cards with $0 value and thus the average card value in your draw deck increases.  I'd guess that decks with ventures in typically have better longevity than pure money decks.

Dominion General Discussion / So Jack vs. Jack
« on: March 02, 2012, 08:10:17 am »
It's not a very fun game, it's often (but less often than you might think) the best play.

Could it be called a Jack Off?

I'll get my coat.

Game Reports / My first success with HoP!
« on: March 02, 2012, 05:37:24 am »
I had fun in this game, sorry to Thou for my time of play but I finally made HoP click for me.  I think this board was neatly set up for it, the Inn helps a lot and the Inn + menagerie combo is quite strong.  I found the HoP benefits a lot from Highway.  Nearly got beaten by the much simpler bunch of stables game played by my opponent.  Won in the end by a couple of megaturns.  When the first one didn't quite come off I thought I was done for, but it was late enough in the game that I had to take my chances with a bunch of dead cards.

You can't realistically pin with Bureaucrats - if you successfully hit with 5 bureaucrats, your next hand is 5 silvers.  An engine that wants to play 5 (non-drawing) terminals per turn doesn't want all that silver.  I guess if you try really hard you could trash the silver with a Watchtower, or put it in your discard pile with Trader, but bureaucrats can't be used to pin your opponents.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: Cards you only need one copy of
« on: February 24, 2012, 10:19:18 am »
I've often wondered if, when dealing with the Mountebank's attack, you aren't better off trashing the copper than the curse (if you can only trash one), so that you have the curse to react to more Mountebanks being played.  Sure, copper is better than curse, but if it's a pseudo-moat as well, then there is a discussion to be had.  Also, copper isn't terrible if you're aiming at Duchies, but if there are curses around then you need better than just copper to buy even duchies, and more still if you want to have a chance at provinces.  I think in a Mountebank game, a couple of Moneylenders might not be the worst idea in the world.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: Help for Beginners
« on: February 21, 2012, 09:21:59 am »
In the base set, big money is semi-regularly the right answer.  It can be easily improved by the addition of either a smithy or a council room (terminal drawer).  I think that most of the joy of Dominion comes from reading a board and working out which strategy is strong in a particular ecosystem.

The gamechangers in the base set are chapel, witch, (workshop + gardens), smithy or council room.

The sets recommended in the rulebook by Donald X. are, I think, pretty good introductory sets which have a variety of valid strategies.  As a selection of cards that might be interesting, what about:

Chapel, Festival, Library, Militia, Moat, Remodel, Smithy, Village, Witch, Workshop

I still think that a random set is usually more interesting.

Dominion Articles / Re: Reasons for the 1st-player vs 2nd-player advantage
« on: February 20, 2012, 05:29:36 am »
I still think that player 2 should get a "free turn" after p1 ends the game, even if he doesn't get to buy phantom provinces a-la ascension.

I like this idea, on most boards it probably doesn't swing the pendulum too far the other way.  In fact there is probably still a slight first player advantage.  It does detract from the simplicity of dominion somewhat, which in many ways is its biggest selling point.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: THE Dominion Card List(s): $6 cards
« on: February 14, 2012, 12:46:35 pm »
And my larger point is that familiar is a lot more ignorable than a lot of people realize. Decently strong BM can deal with it.

I'm surprised by this, if the familiar player gets his familiar into the 3rd shuffle (I've seen how likely that is somewhere before, I think it's more often than not).  BM is swimming upstream, especially if there are any alternative VPs on the table.  I think you can only ignore familiar in the presence of other cursers or good trashing (steward or better).  If there are multiple potion cost cards on the table, you probably can't ever ignore familiar.

When it shines, I'd say scrying pool shines brightest of the potion cost cards.  Maybe that's just because it wins the time it takes to have a turn battle, clouding my judgement.

One thought is to open silver/silver and then you are up 3 silvers to 0 after the first shuffle.  Your odds of then taking a Gold and an embassy of your own into the third shuffle aren't too shabby and then you're off to the races.  I think that in this sort of BM game I'd take haven over courtyard at 2 and embassy over rabble at 5.  Embassy is a fairly handy counter to the attack component of Rabble anyway.  I think playing 2nd, and with your opponent opening with the (correct) 5/2 split you're looking at about 35/65 against, ho hum.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: What is the worst card in Dominion?
« on: February 08, 2012, 08:52:24 am »
I think transmute gets worse rep than it deserves.  Trashing an estate to gain a gold is an awesome power.  If there are no other potion cost cards, then it's bad, you don't want to buy a potion just to pick up a transmute, but otherwise it is ok.  It's not a super card, but it costs just 1 potion, so no one expected it to be.  I would have thought it a reasonable play in a vineyards game, though that might be a trap.
The problem is that it's too slow to be an early game trasher.  Buy Potion on Turn 1, buy Transmute on Turn 3, and the absolute earliest you can play it is Turn 5.  With a different choice of $4 you could have had that Gold on Turn 3.

Transmute isn't an early game trasher.  But it's quite late in the game before I would choose not to trash an estate for a gold.  Especially if later I can trash an action card for a duchy to get that point back.  Like I said, if you are buying a potion to buy a transmute, you're doing it wrong.  If you have a potion in hand, especially if you have +buy, then transmute can be handy.  It isn't the worse card in the game.  I can't think of any strategies that rely on it, but it isn't terrible.  e.g. if familiars are about, it's a (significantly) better than nothing booby prize if you draw P+$2 on the first shuffle.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: What is the worst card in Dominion?
« on: February 08, 2012, 05:46:43 am »
Isotropic biases this list towards 2 player games using all expansions.  In that environment thief is the worst card, closely followed by transmute.

I think transmute gets worse rep than it deserves.  Trashing an estate to gain a gold is an awesome power.  If there are no other potion cost cards, then it's bad, you don't want to buy a potion just to pick up a transmute, but otherwise it is ok.  It's not a super card, but it costs just 1 potion, so no one expected it to be.  I would have thought it a reasonable play in a vineyards game, though that might be a trap.

Thief is pretty poor, but gets stronger the more people you play with.  It's neat that it discourages thin decks with high value treasure. Even in the few cases where it's a good idea, it isn't often a great play.  Though I think it's stronger than people give it credit for in multiplayer games with gardens present.

Adventurer stands alone in being almost never a good move at $6 in my opinion.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: Some hypothetical questions about cards
« on: February 03, 2012, 11:10:56 am »
Another relatively minor, but (in my opinion) game enhancing change we've toyed with in my local play group.

King's Court
You may not King's Court a King's Court.

Makes KC a little more swingy, but it means that it doesn't dominate the games it is present in like it does at the moment.

I like all of Tables' suggestions, though I think that maybe just adding +buy to the Merchant Ship makes it competitive. You still can't make an engine with it, without some alternative form of +cards.  I think adventurer would be a very strong $5, the same as it's currently a (very?) weak $6.  That gap is large, which is why there are so few $6+ cards.

One thought I had about Ambassador, is on boards where Ambassador is a strong card, if it cost $4 you increase the shuffle luck problem a little.  You probably want to pick up your second ambassador sometime in the second shuffle, there's a chance you have to make a rotten decision if you open Ambassador-Silver and draw (Accc(S/c) - (c/S)cEEE), not likely, but possible.

Dominion Articles / Re: Everyday I'm Shuffling
« on: February 03, 2012, 08:52:22 am »
Pearl Diver really isn't all that bad, it generally doesn't hurt and there are a number of situations where a dirt cheap cantrip is all you want, that's what it is, a dirt cheap cantrip.  It has some neat combos with a few things and occasionally helps with shuffle luck.

Native Village + PD is fun, sift through the bottom of your deck til you find a victory card, then pseudo-trash it.
PD are friends to the goons, the peddlers and the conspirators of the world, they help menageries, HoP, are ok in gardens and especially vineyards rushes.  It's true, they're very rarely better than a pawn or hamlet, but ho hum, cards can't all be as good as each other. In real life, PD are a little easier, cos once you know that you don't care about the bottom card on your deck, you just play them for +1 card, +1 action to speed things up a little.

Improving it slightly and making it $3 misses the point of it in my opinion.

Game Reports / Re: 5/2: Open Explorer?
« on: January 30, 2012, 10:09:59 am »
Don't most conspirators work for nobles?  I like nobles, perhaps a little too much, they aren't an engine on their own, but the flexibility to be a smithy or a weak village means they probably turbocharge conspirators.  Does farming village skip nobles?  It would be a pain if it did.

I'm probably very wrong, but that's what I'd have thought.

Explorer first up seems like an ok move, might well win in this case.

Game Reports / Interesting board - University => Minions
« on: January 30, 2012, 10:02:21 am »
I enjoyed this one, even though 16 turns took about half an hour to play.

I think I was just a bit luckier than my opponent, though I think I was right to choose university before gollum (I'm not sure if I've ever been right about gollum though, so I don't expect to start today).  Really enjoyed this board!  Should save it and see about playing in real life with friends.

Game Reports / Good play or good luck?
« on: January 26, 2012, 09:14:15 am »
The game was [Ambassador, Cutpurse, Goons, Haggler, Menagerie, Mine, Minion, Moneylender, Remodel, and Swindler].  I chose to open cutpurse/silver and forgo the Ambassador, instead playing fairly straight down the line big money.  Did I get away with one, or was it in fact the right play?  I picked up a bunch of minions on $5 to try to stop my opponent gaining a critical mass of those.  If I did it again, I might go swindler over cutpurse.  Though given my opponent picked up a curse anyway maybe that would have been a bad move.

I think it may have been good fortune, but I didn't ever feel particularly behind in the game.  I've always considered Ambassador to be a must buy card, but having watched a few of WanderingWinder's videos, I decided that there wasn't an engine worth developing in this game.


Simulation / Re: machine learning on Isotropic logs
« on: January 25, 2012, 11:26:14 am »
I think it's a fun project, it's hard, but you probably already knew that.

One thing that might be interesting is to see if your machine learning technique can make the "is there a viable engine in this setup" decision effectively.  One could try to correlate the number of actions played per turn with whether or not a player won in a particular kingdom. 

One of the toughest things with a dominion learning bot is the phase space it has to work in.  Despite the large number of games played on Isotropic, there can only be a handful of games played with any particular kingdom set.  You may have to give your machine learner some assistance grouping cards into categories.  The problem you have then is that the information you get from the bot is highly dependent on the info you give it.

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