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GendoIkari beat me to it. I agree with his response.

Mainly my concern is with there being no 2-player testing, when this is apparently the most common format. Whether you're doing "full random" or "base plus two sets plus the expansion to be playtested" seems inconsequential.

I'm not sure 2 player is the most common format. Online, yes, but for most dominion players IRL I would be very surprised.

Well, I hedged my statement because I am also uncertain. I have no data on the matter. But there is certainly a vibrant community here that mainly plays 2-player, and I'm sure you could find statistics on the total number of such games played online. So in absolute terms 2-player seems popular, or at least popular enough that I find it weird that it's ignored in playtesting.

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GendoIkari beat me to it. I agree with his response.

Mainly my concern is with there being no 2-player testing, when this is apparently the most common format. It's essentially an entire different game with an entirely different set of choices and meta-game. To essentially not test it and just hope it all works out seems ... weird.

Whether you're doing "full random" or "base plus two sets plus the expansion to be playtested" seems inconsequential.

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Bear in mind that most of the playtesting that gets done is with at least three players, and often with four or more. You don't always have the time or resources to build the perfect Treasure-less engine in those games. For Nocturne specifically, basically 100% of the testing was done at Donald's IRL table or mine, and I bet you could count the number of 2-player testing games on two hands.

This is sort of hair-raising. A huge chunk of Dominion games are played online in a 2-player random kingdom format. I am astonished that this format receives "basically 0%" of the attention in playtesting.

Explain to me how we are meant to do 2-player online playtesting without an online simulator that has the cards being tested? During development the cards are changing all the time, and it's a tall order to ask somebody to create, maintain, and update an online version. We had access to isotropic for Adventures and part of Empires, but eventually even dougz threw in the towel.

I don't think that online vs on tables was the part he was talking about. It was 2-player full random vs 3/4 player set-specific.

Yes, just the "competitive" 2-player all random format.

You’ll be shocked to learn how much playtesting uses an all sets full random format, then.

Seems to work out fine though, doesn’t it?

It does, though perhaps more by accident than by design.

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Bear in mind that most of the playtesting that gets done is with at least three players, and often with four or more. You don't always have the time or resources to build the perfect Treasure-less engine in those games. For Nocturne specifically, basically 100% of the testing was done at Donald's IRL table or mine, and I bet you could count the number of 2-player testing games on two hands.

This is sort of hair-raising. A huge chunk of Dominion games are played online in a 2-player random kingdom format. I am astonished that this format receives "basically 0%" of the attention in playtesting.

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Dominion General Discussion / Re: Fix the worst cards
« on: June 16, 2018, 02:47:22 pm »
Sorry to continue further this meta-discussion, but I want to say that I did not intend to mock anybody with my post. I just wanted to point out that using that strange shorthand makes posts hard to read and confusing for newer players, so perhaps it is best avoided. (For instance, I just picked up this game and jumped in at the end of the thread, and it was not clear to me what card "mute" referred to until someone quoted that post and called it "Transmute.")

What newer players? This board chases the vast majority of them away.

Basically every single thread ends up with a bunch of people posting mockery/off topic/in-jokes/etiquette nitpicking. Rather than being a place where people come to discuss Dominion, this board has a highly unfortunate tendency to become a place about how you should discuss Dominion while fishing for up votes with snark. Most new players are not that invested and will never become posters here because they already have places in their life for making in-jokes and . The people who actually become "regulars" have a clear survivor bias and frankly stopped being "new players" long before they became regular posters.

Thanks for your comments about the cards I listed. You've made a good case that there are sometimes uses for Duchess and Mandarin. However, these are extremely niche, as you admit, and I'm not really sure these uses are common or interesting enough to justify them having a place in the Kingdom compared to another randomly selected card.

Maybe a good solution would just be to replace Mandarin with Count in any Kingdom where it's selected by the app. I'm not sure what to do about Duchess. Potentially it could be replaced by Duke in a similar fashion, if you wish to keep the emphasis on Duchies, though that analogy is much less precise. And Fool could just be replaced with a random card (I'm not sure what a good analogue is).

Regarding your comments about newer players, I can only speak for myself, but I've found the forum and related Discord quite friendly and welcoming. I can get extremely quick feedback on my plays and answers to my questions on the chat at any time of day, and the thread I started about a kingdom here got several very helpful replies within 24 hours. The in-jokes seem infrequent and are easily recognizable as such (imo). For me, a much greater barrier to participation is deciphering shorthand like "Hop" and "GSSHop." I think I was able to decode the rest of your post, but I honestly still have no clue about those. (And I fear the situation would be much worse if I were not already somewhat familiar with all the expansions.)



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Dominion General Discussion / Re: Fix the worst cards
« on: June 16, 2018, 12:07:25 am »
But that's not really a helpful answer for what you asked. Cards to consider excluding for weakness (with the caveat that you'll miss out on those rare shining moments they have):

-Harvest-- top of the list for sure
-Transmute
-Counting House
-Navigator
-Fortune Teller
-Beggar
-Pirate Ship
-And obviously any of the cards cut out of base and Intrigue for being too weak

What about Mandarin? Without Capital on the board, it never seems attractive.

Maybe Dutchess? Possibly Fool just because it's so awkward?

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Dominion General Discussion / Re: Fix the worst cards
« on: June 14, 2018, 12:32:39 pm »
Sorry to continue further this meta-discussion, but I want to say that I did not intend to mock anybody with my post. I just wanted to point out that using that strange shorthand makes posts hard to read and confusing for newer players, so perhaps it is best avoided. (For instance, I just picked up this game and jumped in at the end of the thread, and it was not clear to me what card "mute" referred to until someone quoted that post and called it "Transmute.")

Here's a more on-topic question. Given my group won't want to house-rule cards, what bad cards are so bad that the average quality of the game goes up when you exclude them from being chosen for the kingdom? (Define "quality" however you please.) Assume an otherwise all-random kingdom chosen via some app, with all expansions included.

I was thinking at least Harvest and Navigator, perhaps.

8
Dominion General Discussion / Re: Fix the worst cards
« on: June 12, 2018, 08:10:22 pm »
Is it really that hard to type "Transmute" instead of omitting the first 5 letters? It's not even a good abbreviation; it's an entirely different word.

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Dominion General Discussion / Re: Question- which one tilts you?
« on: May 30, 2018, 07:48:45 pm »
I'm a much, much worse player than you. However, let me suggest that if you regularly get very emotional about bad draws (or your opponent's good draws), you would be a better player if were able to eliminate that impulse (perhaps using some techniques from cognitive behavioral therapy). At least, I don't think it helps you, and it takes away mental energy from more important things.

More or less you're playing a coin flip simulator, with some ability to bias the coin with good play. Getting mad at bad draws seems about as sensible and useful as getting mad at a coin for coming up heads.

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Help! / Re: Base game kingdom with no trashing
« on: May 22, 2018, 08:39:24 pm »
If there's just Village and Smithy and literally nothing else on the board, the best strategy is big money.

I just had a kingdom on Dominion Online somewhat like this that I wanted to ask about. Similar to the kingdom in the OP, it is a base game kingdom with no trashing.

3: Harbinger, Merchant, Vassal, Village
4: Bureaucrat, Poacher, Throne Room
5: Council Room, Laboratory, Market

I opened silver/silver and tried to put together a Village+Council Room engine, using Poacher for money. Somewhat unsurprisingly, this much too slow. With no trashing or gaining, I simply couldn't get enough buying power in time. The bot destroyed me with council room and treasures. It seems like without gaining or trashing (and lacking Cellar), an engine is much too slow.

Is CR-BM best here, or is there a better strategy?

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Oh, I see now. Each expansion is indeed in alphabetical order (I was not looking very closely  :-[).

The big box was what primarily confused me, but it too is in alphabetical order by set. I was confused because I have not learned to distinguish between base set and Intrigue cards (since I got them all at once, in one box).

I'm not usually this much of an idiot, I swear.

12
I have the base game (2nd edition big box) and a few expansions. Included in each box is a paper organizer insert with the names of the cards on it. You stick the insert in the middle of the box and it tells you where to put each card.

The problem is that I don't understand the organization scheme used by the insert, which makes it a headache to set up games. What is the logic behind the insert? I ask so I can find cards more efficiently. (And why is it not simply in alphabetical order in each box?)

(Almost certainly this has been asked before, but I could not find an explanation using Google or the search feature on this forum. My apologies, and thanks in advance for the help.)

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Help! / Re: Base game kingdom with no trashing
« on: May 22, 2018, 02:43:24 pm »
Trashing just means you don't need to draw so many cards. In this case, it's not a problem to draw a lot of cards so it's not a problem if trashing isn't there.

And yeah Drowning Skull is Burning Skull's alt.

Thanks, this is an interesting heuristic. So whenever I see +3 or better draw, and something that gives +actions, I should be thinking about how to make a +draw/+action engine work even without trashing (or with weak trashing) on the board? (See also my question to DG below; there are some overlapping concerns.)

Just looking at the kingdom, there is laboratory, market, artisan, cellar, merchant, throne room, council room, gardens, festival and library. What's bad about an engine here is unreliability. The coppers and estates slow you down. What's good about an engine here is fast gaining of many engine cards each turn using artisans, possibly throned, plus plenty of money and buys too. All those gained cards can help the engine. The draw is good too with laboratory and cellar. Cellar is really good when you have big hands to play with.

Against a money player, the only limit on how big you can build this engine is emptying three piles. Apart from that, you can build the engine up as large as you can with merchants, labs, markets, thrones and then play 4 throned artisans to empty the gardens on the last turn and buy up whatever vp and coppers you can to score a win. The garden scoring suits the engine player perfectly.

Is this fast enough to beat someone just playing council room + money, I'd expect so. In multiplayer you get two problems though. There will be less engine cards for each engine deck if more players use the engine. Council room + money gets faster when more than one person does it in multiplayer. So in multiplayer the money option looks somewhat safer.

Thank you for this breakdown. I'm mainly concerned about the 2 player game in the following questions, though I appreciate the comment about multiplayer.

So, the tip off for the engine here is the good draw, gaining, and presence of cycling?

(Quick question about cellar: is it mostly wrong to have more than 2 or -- for a quite big deck -- 3? This is the impression I get from watching people play.)

If the gaining were not there, it seems an engine would be worse because assembling the components would take much longer. Is this intuition correct, and would we prefer CR-BM in that case?

Skull wins without needing to do gardens tricks. If gardens were not there and you had to rely on provinces, would the engine still be fast enough most of the time?

Also, a question for anyone reading: I'm looking at the "suggested sets" in the back of the rules of both the base set and some expansions, playing through them with friends, and attempting to find the best build on them. I have some questions about most of them, since I don't know the expansion cards very well. I assume it would be unwelcome to create a new thread for each setup, since it would clog the forum. Would a "suggested setup strategy megathread" be OK? (Perhaps one per expansion?)

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Help! / Base game kingdom with no trashing
« on: May 22, 2018, 06:49:12 am »
Hi, I'm new to the game and trying to learn to construct engines.

In the following YouTube video, Burning Skull builds an engine on a 2nd Edition base game kingdom that entirely lacks trashing. This is somewhat surprising to me, since often I've heard the advice that engine building is typically bad without trashing (or a way to exchange the starting cards for more useful ones).

The deck operates by chaining laboratories and merchants. This seems like it would be unreliable and slow but ends up working. However, while he manages to pull it off, I don't think his opponent provided very stiff resistance.

I'm wondering the following: Does his engine strategy beat a big money strategy based on council room? If so, is it more or less the optimal strategy on the board? If not, is big money optimal, or is there something better?

Thanks in advance for your help.


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