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Messages - Polk5440

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26
Dominion General Discussion / Re: Question- What is an Engine
« on: July 26, 2018, 10:47:19 am »
I still like a variant of the definition of engine Wandering Winder used when laying out his 5 deck types. Here's what I entered into the Google doc.

Quote
An "engine" is a deck that aims to use good cards to fill as many of the following roles as possible, but generally in a modular fashion: a) something that lets you play extra cards in a turn, b) something to let you buy or gain more cards a turn, c) something that draws you more cards, d) something to trash or cycle, e) something to attack or slow down your opponent.

Engine decks have the following properties: they aim to 1) draw or cycle through all cards as quickly as possible and 2) play a large number of cards or select key cards with high frequency.

It is usually (but not always) strategically correct when playing an engine deck to lump the gaining of Victory Cards into as few of turns as possible. Sometimes engines will win with one turn of Victory Card purchasing or without having to gain any Victory Cards at all. I think of this last thing as a consequence of engines and correct play rather than a property that defines engine decks, though.

The problem I have with the term "engine" is that with more expansions and better play, it's becoming increasingly clear that the vast majority of the time, an "engine" of some kind is the correct build on a board. That makes the term "engine" and discussing "engine" versus "not engine" mostly strategically useless because what the best engine will look like and the build path to achieve it on any given board could vary widely from kingdom to kingdom and be very complex or unclear.

Saying "build an engine" on a given kingdom almost amounts to saying something generic, like "play well". It's mostly vacuous and minimally useful once you are beyond the point of understanding this type of deck is possible to build and should be built often.

This is a good thing. Dominion is a better, more complex, more fun game when the correct strategy for a kingdom is not something super simple. But it means we should resist using "build an engine" to end, rather than begin, a discussion of strategy.

27
Game Reports / Re: Duchess or Pirate ship?
« on: July 10, 2018, 05:13:53 pm »
So Curses and Royal Carriages emptied? I think Duchess because I think I would buy Duchy....

28
Getting tired of Dominion after (tens of?) thousands of games of Dominion is a testament to how good a game it is and how well the game can hold up over time.

I have definitely taken breaks from Dominion because of the lackluster (to put it mildly) online implementations of the past several years, so I sympathize with some of your points. But the existence of even a bad online implementation is also why Iíve played so many games myself when many of my friends have given up the game for good.

29
Dominion Articles / Re: Making the Most of Your Turns
« on: July 03, 2018, 10:26:17 am »
In general, looks good.

I have a small issue with the Wishing Well section. If you are trying to maximize the number of cards you draw, then playing Wishing Well last is correct because you have more information about the contents remaining in your deck and can maximize the probability of a successful guess. So you're good there.

However, if you are wishing for a SPECIFIC card which is NOT the most common card in your deck, then there is an argument for playing Wishing Well earlier (i.e. second to last) and guessing the most common card remaining in your deck instead of the card you want.

To give a concrete example: assume there's one Goons left in your deck together with a ton of Coppers. Also assume that with just a single WW in hand, optimal play dictates wishing for Goons if you don't draw it. Then with both a WW and a single cantrip in hand, playing the cantrip first would force you to make a "suboptimal" (in the sense of not being most likely to succeed) WW guess, resulting most of the time in you drawing just 2 Coppers. If, on the other hand, you play WW first and now guess for Copper, you'll end up with 3 Coppers rather than 2 if the Goons isn't in the top 3 cards, without risking missing it because if it's revealed you can still draw it with your cantrip.


So by playing the WW second to last and wishing for Copper you still get the Goons when it's in the top three cards, but you also increase the coin you get when it's not.

(This whole thread on this topic is good.)

30
General Discussion / Re: Random Stuff Part IV
« on: May 24, 2018, 05:39:16 pm »
PCA helps one think like blindfolds help one see. Sorry. Just had to get that out of my system.

31
Similarly, I'm uncomfortable with some of the "simplified" wording. "Trash a Copper from your hand for +$3." is only clearer than "Trash a Copper card from your hand. If you do, +$3." if that specialised use of "for" is spelled out somewhere and, so far as I can tell, it isn't.

"If you do" isn't spelled out in the rules anywhere either. Both "if you do" and "for" are spelled out in English, and I have a hard time believing that "for" is causing much confusion.

That's pretty harsh. I prefer the more explicit older wording, too. "For" as it's used here is absolutely more informal. It's not immediately clear that +$3 is something you get as a consequence of deciding to trash a Copper and not a price you pay in order to trash a Copper.

Edit: I get it's not ambiguous, though, because "+" is defined in the instructions. It just takes more parsing for me than the old wording did to get the interpretation right. Without the "+" the instruction would be ambiguous.

32
Puzzles and Challenges / It's Me, Puzzles and Challenges
« on: March 01, 2018, 11:17:41 am »
It's nice to see new puzzles and challenges being posted. Too bad they are being posted in Articles.

33
Dominion Articles / Re: Shepherd
« on: February 26, 2018, 11:52:36 am »
Yes, Pasture appears to be implemented properly. For example, from a sample game:

Shepherd Simple(Plr 1) has 41 points and took 27 turns
   32 cards : [6 Copper, 1 Silver, 10 Estate (10▼), 7 Duchy (21▼), 1 Pasture (10▼), 7 Shepherd]

Big Money Ultimate(Plr 2) has 59 points and took 28 turns
   38 cards : [6 Copper, 10 Silver, 8 Gold, 4 Estate (4▼), 1 Duchy (3▼), 8 Province (48▼), 1 Pasture (4▼)]

Yes, there are simple Shepherd strategies that can beat BMU. Just not the one outlined in the OP. I quickly built one by buying Gold and Silver like I was playing Smithy-big money but using Shepherd instead for draw. Tweaking to buy Duchies/Estates earlier helped a little. But the results are nothing to write home about (loses to Smithy-big money quite handily). But I did not try too hard. There is space for OP to explore.

34
Dominion Articles / Re: Shepherd
« on: February 26, 2018, 10:18:24 am »
A very simple yet efficient deck for Shepherd is to just add a single Silver, Shepherds whenever you hit $4 and the best green card available otherwise.

Geronimoo has Shephard working in his simulator. This strategy as described loses to big money ultimate (39%-58%-3%). So, I am unconvinced about the claims in this article.

35
Dominion Articles / Re: Cursed Village / Storeroom
« on: February 23, 2018, 02:03:37 pm »
Here are some suggestions if you are editing:

First paragraph is bloated. The following one sentence could replace it:

Quote
Cursed Village and Storeroom have a strong synergy that can form the backbone of a powerful and resilient engine.

The pitfalls section could be cut in half. There are really only two you mention. For example:

Quote
1) Unsupported, Cursed Village Ė Storeroom may be easily outpaced by faster strategies.

2) You can force a bad shuffle causing your next turn to be a dud. Near the end of a big turn, CAREFULLY count how many cards are left in the deck and decide when to discard the rest of your hand for Coin, in lieu of drawing more cards, shuffling, and leaving at least 5 cards of junk for the start of your next turn. Additionally, a few of those Hexes mess with the top of your deck, so don't be afraid to keep a card or two there, particularly if you haven't seen [[name relevant Hexes]] yet and the Hex stack is getting low.

First paragraph in "support" section can be deleted.

The support section maybe could be cleaned up and made a little more general. For example, Summon and Artificer are really just two examples of cards that help you guarantee you start your next hand with the correct engine pieces. I am not sure Tunnel really deserves a special call out.

Suggestion for re-organization:
  • Intro/thesis
  • How does it work? (First two paragraphs only; unclear whether you really want to lead with the "unsupported" version, though, or even have it at all.)
  • How do you support this strategy? (Then it directly follows the section where talk about the unsupported version of the strategy.)
  • Benefits of Cursed Village -- Storeroom (Last paragraph of How does it work?)
  • What are some pitfalls to watch out for?
  • Concluding sentence (?)

Style:
  • CV -> Cursed Village
  • TFB -> trash-for-benefit cards

36
Simulation / Geronimoo's Dominion Simulator: Bug with Number of Ruins
« on: February 20, 2018, 03:49:21 pm »
When playing with 3 or 4 players, the number of Ruins in the game is incorrect. For example, when playing Cultist v. Cultist v. BMU v. BMU, the number of Ruins is 10, according to the sample games. There does not seem to be a problem with number of Curses.

37
Only a few nocturne cards have been implemented. I can prioritize them if you ask for specific cards.

Thanks. Shepherd would be my only request at the moment. I opened the simulator to try out faust's proposed simple strategy ("A very simple yet efficient deck for Shepherd is to just add a single Silver, Shepherds whenever you hit $4 and the best green card available otherwise"). It would be very easy to check against some benchmarks, and it's not clear to me that the simple strategy is all that great.

38
Nocturne cards look like they are in the simulator with Heirlooms, but are they fully implemented? Shephard, for instance, takes the +1 Action but does not discard green to draw cards.

39
Dominion Articles / Re: Band of Misfits and Overlord
« on: February 19, 2018, 02:57:46 pm »
Nice article!

I do wonder what the difference between your two bold highlighted phrases are? If the second and third paragraphs were deleted, I think the article would read just fine. That would leave you a little room to take Chris's suggestion:

I would devote a whole paragraph to the mechanic of an empty pile being uncopyable. Itís the most important drawback of the card and ultimately it determines if itís worth going for, so significant time should be spent figuring out what piles it will be able to emulate at which phases of the game, strategic pile emptying, etc.

and maybe talk a little bit about Overlord in the opening or clarifying why Overlord is such a power card when BoM is often just "meh".

Maybe turn the "final points"/rules clarifications into bullets?

40
Dominion Articles / Re: Masquerade - Market Square is Not a Combo
« on: February 16, 2018, 10:14:29 pm »
I would advise against trying to optimize these bots against each other and instead try to focus on a bigger picture - if the takeaway from this article is that when you play Masq money and there is Market Square present you should buy a few, well, that might not be very valuable.

Thanks for the comments.

The takeaway is not that when you play Masq money and there is Market Square present you should buy a few. The takeaway is that something that at first blush appears to be very strong is not (hence the title: it is not a combo). Masq MS needs more.

Not wanting to bury this point is why I kept the sims simple. But several people seemed to give the impression that by not presenting the most optimal bot I am some how changing the story. And this is simply not the case. Masq is great. MS with Masq is not that much better than Masq with several other cards. And certainly not a killer combo.

Maybe itís obvious to everyone that itís not super strong, but I donít think so. I see a lot of people go overkill with Masq and MS when there are lots more viable things going on. So I feel like there is a false allure of these two cards together. I mean when Dark Ages came out I would have bet on Masq working better with MS than Hermit, but the opposite is true.

Quote
Masq/MS will still beat Masq if it doesn't have this +buy advantage.

The buy matters a lot. Thatís partly why I present simulations of Masq-Market that run equal with Masq MS.

Quote
- Run these bots (slightly optimized) against some junking money, like Witch or Cultist. One of the nicer things about Masq money is that it is fairly resistant to junking attacks - if I start trying to mess around with MS does this still hold?

This does fit in with what I am trying to talk about. Thanks.

Quote
Now you have an article more generally about sticking Market Squares into your money strategies which is applicable on more boards.

This is not a direction I would like to go because I am trying to focus simply on the idea that not every synergy makes a great combo.

Edit: I changed my mind. I like this suggestion.

41
Dominion Articles / Re: Leprechaun
« on: February 16, 2018, 10:08:21 am »
I feel like I am being conned every time I play with Leprechaun...

The strategy comments others are giving are good. I have nothing to add on that front. I have one style comment (though in general the style is good). The last two paragraphs can probably be combined and reordered a little. The sentence

Quote
The main thing is to just keep track of what you're doing, and not just throw down cards without thinking.

would be a good one to end on.

42
Dominion Articles / Re: Masquerade - Market Square is Not a Combo
« on: February 16, 2018, 08:56:52 am »
It looks like there is a general desire to see what this article looks like focusing on a more ďoptimizedĒ two Masq case. I will work on it.

43
Dominion Articles / Re: Masquerade - Market Square is Not a Combo
« on: February 15, 2018, 11:09:22 pm »
Yes, thatís about what I was finding. I did not find that compelling enough to include in the article because to me the general story was about the same. I think it changes the max number of MS a little.

44
Dominion Articles / Re: Masquerade - Market Square is Not a Combo
« on: February 15, 2018, 08:44:01 pm »
This was really short. There's so much more to explore here. Mess with buy rules, optimize.

Well, I am not going to show you all the failures! I make no guarantee that I looked at all possible alternatives, but I did mess around with buy rules and optimization and did not come up with anything specific to the comparison of these two strategies that justified the additional complexity or significantly overturned the main point that Masq-MS is not that much better than Masq alone nor better than other more vanilla-seeming alternatives.

I would be interested if you have any sims that do significantly change the story.

45
Dominion Articles / Re: Masquerade - Market Square is Not a Combo
« on: February 15, 2018, 08:35:57 pm »
What is the play rule for Market Square? Early on you want to keep it in a Masq hand to get the free Gold, but later on you want to play it to maximize coin in hand.

How do I adjust play rules based on early/late game?

I would be surprised if playing a Market Square in hand first after point X in the game makes a significant difference to the comparison of Masq versus Masq-MS other than maybe you can buy one or two more MS. I would be interested in sims adjusting the play rule if they do significantly change the relative win percentages.

46
Dominion Articles / Re: Masquerade - Market Square is Not a Combo
« on: February 15, 2018, 08:28:16 pm »
Why not buy two Masquerades?

I could not obviously significantly improve either the Masquerade alone or the Masquerade-MS strategy with a second Masquerade to make a difference in the above comparison. If you can do so, I would be interested in seeing.

47
Dominion Articles / Masquerade - Market Square is Not a Combo
« on: February 15, 2018, 08:20:25 pm »
Trying my hand at a short, simulation-based article. What do you think?
----

Masquerade and Market Square seem like they should be an absolutely unstoppable combination because Market Square gives out Gold for doing what Masquerade does naturally: trash cards! The extra buy on play is an added bonus that can help out late game, as well. What could possibly go wrong?

It turns out that a strategy that always buys Market Square over Silver after getting one Masquerade actually loses to buying no Market Squares at all[1]. At some point, the Market Squares stop colliding with the Masquerade as frequently and money density is almost always going to be less than $2/card[2], so beyond about 2 Market Squares, Silver actually becomes the better buy[3].


Figure. Each data point represents 10,000 simulated games in Geronimoo's Dominion Simulator. The graph displays the percentage point difference in win rate between a Masquerade - Market Square strategy and a Masquerade alone strategy.
   
Masquerade with two Market Squares does beat Masquerade alone, but only just barely[4]. Masquerade alone is a strong strategy, and while Market Square helps, it is not that special. For example, Masquerade with two Markets does about as well as Masquerade with two Market Squares, even though Market costs $5[5]. Also, Masquerade with two Market Squares still gets beat by other strong money strategies like Courtyard[6].

Masquerade and Market Square is not a killer combo, but the two cards do have a good synergy that can be easily supplemented to create some very fast strategies. Look out for ways of getting extra actions, extra draw, or an additional attack. It does not take much more than what Masquerade and Market Square already provide to create a deck that will come together really quickly and beat any money-based strategy!

Footnotes:

[1] See Figure. The "Masquerade alone" strategy is the default two-player Province Masquerade strategy with one change: the strategy buys Province if the number of Golds in deck is greater than 0 (rather than greater than 1). This change slightly improves the bot and is consistent with the Gold buying rule of the "Courtyard" strategy, which is used later. The "Masquerade - Market Square" strategy augments the "Masquerade alone" strategy by buying the given number of Market Squares after one Masquerade but before buying Silvers.
[2] Simulation results show that average coin generated per turn does not ever exceed $8, which is less than $2 per card in a five card hand.
[3] See Figure.
[4] See Figure.
[5] Based on 10,000 simulations of a Masquerade with 2 Market Squares strategy versus a similar Masquerade with 2 Markets strategy that buys 2 Markets after buying one Masquerade but before buying Silver (if the Markets are affordable). Masquerade with two Markets wins 49% of the time while Masquerade with two Market Squares wins 46% of the time.
[6] Based on 10,000 simulations of Masquerade with two Market Squares versus the default Courtyard strategy. Courtyard wins 53% of the time while Masquerade with two Market Squares wins 43% of the time.

48
Dominion Articles / Re: Monastery
« on: February 12, 2018, 12:06:03 pm »
Hmm. I've only played with Monastery three or four times so far, but I've tended to find I want two, unless there's a good early gainer available.

I do also wonder about this, but I have so little experience with the card.... Anyone with more experience have thoughts on this? 

49
Dominion Articles / Re: Monastery
« on: February 12, 2018, 12:01:08 pm »
Nice! I think the scope of the article and the advice is very good. I have a couple of comments.

I. Maybe just stick with the Forager example in paragraph two for cleaner reading?

Quote
... Consider an opening of Smithy / Forager. Normally this is a bit risky - the Smithy could draw Forager dead, wasting a shuffleís worth of trashing, but with Monastery, there is no such risk as it is played after the Buy phase....

II. Is the following the right way to read the article?

Intro into thesis: "Where Monastery shines is that it allows you to trash without sacrificing momentum at all - you donít give up economy, you donít have to worry about drawing it dead, and it even trashes faster when used in tandem with gainers or +Buy."

Now you tell us how to achieve this magical state of trashing without sacrificing momentum:
1. Open more aggressively.
2. Utilize gainers.
3. Avoid opening with two copies of Monastery.

If this is the intended structure, I would strike the first sentence of the last paragraph (because it seemed like either a thesis or a concluding sentence) and reword the rest a little:

Quote
In games where you need to get very thin very quickly, opening two trashers is often wise, but that is usually incorrect with Monastery because if two copies of Monastery collide, you may not be able to gain a desirable card which sacrifices momentum. You do often want two copies of Monastery, but try to stagger buying each Monastery with buying more aggressive cards that draw or gain to keep things moving.

50
Dominion Articles / Re: Underrated Cards in 2018
« on: January 23, 2018, 04:31:54 pm »
Feel free to add or dispute anything on this list.[/i]

I dispute the existence of this list in Articles. Please move to General Discussion.

Also, is there a ranking of all the cards up for 2018 that you are referring to that I missed somewhere?

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