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Council Room Feedback / Re: New Method to Rate Cards?
« on: June 24, 2011, 02:59:39 pm »
Because Dominion is, at best, NP-Hard.  :P

I think you're underestimating the complexity of Dominion.

Probably. Dominion is more likely EXPTIME-Complete.

Dominion Articles / Making it to Level 42: Level 1- The Beginnning
« on: June 24, 2011, 02:27:06 pm »
Hello everyone, I have been away for the past week from Isotropic- which seems like forever. In any case, for the past month, I have been writing articles ranging gauged at players with various levels of experience, and I have decided to write my articles in a series called "making it to Level 42". (I should add that I have not reached that plateau yet). I plan to cover things from- in the importance of money, trashing, shuffling, and everything in between. Now, let's do this!


I've been addicted to Dominion Isotropic, and have gone from a mediocre player to a top 40 player in the past 6 months. As I play, I continue to see players misplay and learn from all the concepts I have learned along the way to becoming a top 40 player. And now, I will share some of my wisdom with you.

Making it to Level 42: Level 1- The Beginning

We are going to start at the bottom, for that is where you start. In this article, I am not going to give any gameplay advice because realistically, reaching level 1 does not require any gameplay advice. Instead, I will explain some pointers regarding the mindset you should have when starting from the bottom.

1. Do not get frustrated; you are going to lose sometimes, and sometimes badly.

There are a lot of subtle concepts in Dominion that take time to understand. As you begin to play Dominion, you are going to play against players better than you, and sometimes MUCH better than you. And other times, the cards just will not shuffle your way. If you lose, learn from it. Even if you lose 100-3, pick yourself up, and see what you could have done better. But further, sometimes the score does not tell the whole picture. Even if you lose badly, the game was probably closer than you think.

2. Dominion has a lot of luck- you CAN'T win every game.

The second thing you should understand is that you are not going to win every game. Dominion has a large element of luck. Sometimes you are just going to get unlucky. Even the BEST players on Isotropic lose 36% of the time. Sometimes your buys will be “dead” (I'll explain that in a later article), and so your draws will not be effective. That is simply how it works. Your skill can only take you so far.

3. Dominion has a lot of skill- you CAN win much of the time.

The flip side of the coin is that it is possible to win 64% of the time. Every time you play, win or lose, you should reflect on what moves you made and whether or not they can be made any better. Many times, I see players wrongfully attribute their losses to luck. When you play, you should first ask yourself what you could have done to have improved your performance, and never, blame it on luck. It is easy to blame luck, but rarely is it luck.

4. Practise make purfect, Practize makes perfict, practive makes perfect, practice makes perfect!

Learn by playing. I teach college mathematics, so let me give you an analogy I give my students:
You can watch people do math just as you can watch people lift weights. However, watching people lift weights does not make you any stronger. Similarly, watching people do math, is not going to make you much better at math. In order to improve your muscles, your mind, or your ability, you have to struggle, or in other words, PRACTICE: you have to lift weights YOURSELF. The same is true with Dominion. Many times I will propose a game online with a player of a much lower rank (in part because no one else is on), and they decline- presumably because they are afraid. You should embrace the opportunity to play players better than you, to learn and practice. But further, when you play much higher ranked players, you should never have the mentality that you are going to lose. Take your time, think you can win, and go for it!

The Next step: Level 5- Money Makes Your Deck Go Round.

Until next time,
Keep Dominionating,

Dominion Isotropic / Re: Decline of civility on isotropic?
« on: June 24, 2011, 01:57:34 pm »
A lot of arguments and disagreements come when people speculate on others' motives.  We tend to ascribe negative motives more readily to others than to ourselves.

Here, if you're really upset at what your opponent is doing and you are convinced that he is deliberately trying to make you suffer, it seems like you have a nice solution to this problem: the resign button.  The fact that you don't use it implies that you believe you have some small chance of success, in which case his play is more than justified and you should not ascribe him such malevolent motives.

Sorry, have been away (literally no computer) for the past week, and this justifies a

"+1  :D"

Simulation / Re: Dominion Simulator available for download!
« on: June 24, 2011, 01:54:16 pm »
Silly question:

1) How do you get this to work on Mac OSX?

Feedback / Previous/Next
« on: June 17, 2011, 06:57:08 pm »
I am used to Previous/Next transferring between pages within a topic, so I've been clicking the Previous/Next links on the lower right thinking they will take me from Page 1 to 2 (or vice versa) of a topic but they are actually links between topics. Is anyone running into this and/or finding it unintuitive?

Dominion Isotropic / Re: Decline of civility on isotropic?
« on: June 17, 2011, 06:43:44 pm »
People who don't know about or understand the unwritten rules of being civil are typically people who just are not civil.  Making a list for people to follow wouldn't actually help anything, it would just try to force the issue.  Also, I don't want people to "gg" because they feel they have to, I want them to "gg" because they want to.  If they feel forced, it defeats the purpose.

People who want to be civil and don't know how will learn on their own.

For the most part, I will not disagree- most people who are not civil just don't care. However, there are a small group of people who just do know any better through perhaps no fault of their own. At the very least it would not hurt to have a suggest list of civil "rules" so that those who are in that small group who honestly do not know any better can become informed.

Cards I dislike for different reasons:

With all of the options to click through, it makes games take much longer.

Against a skilled player, you can count on an Ambassador game taking 25+ turns.

This card creates a positive feedback loop to the extreme.

Tell you what, I'll go to the bar while you take your turn, when you are done, I'll be too smashed to resume playing.

I still love them!  :-*

Dominion Isotropic / Re: Decline of civility on isotropic?
« on: June 17, 2011, 06:18:59 pm »
Silly idea 1:

Why don't we create a simple list of "civility" rules that people can read and understand. Perhaps one of the issues about civility is that people don't know about or understand the unwritten rules. If we write them someone where people can find and read them, I suspect more people will be willing to follow them.

Question 2:

What are the civility issues regarding suggestions and advice? When is it okay to tell a player: Thief is a bad card (in 2 players), etc.?

Puzzles and Challenges / Re: When do you need a plural for Diadem?
« on: June 17, 2011, 05:54:37 pm »
Contraband proscribing?

Is this actually allowed?

+shuffle speed = more use for all cards including itself

That is actually not true. For example, suppose Masquerade drew 3, and you played it on turn 4 (when you only have 2 remaining cards in your deck), then you would shuffle your previous hand from turn 3 to form your deck resulting in 4 card remaining. Hence, you delay the next shuffle which has a Masquerade available by 1 turn. In the early game this actually translates into about 20% less usage.

Council Room Feedback / Re: New Method to Rate Cards?
« on: June 16, 2011, 06:45:52 pm »
And then if you are going to make a complicated model, why not just solve Dominion?

Because Dominion is, at best, NP-Hard.  :P

Dominion General Discussion / Re: Popular Buys Analysis
« on: June 16, 2011, 06:37:35 pm »
My hypothesis (may be very wrong):
I think in most games with (insert powerful $5 card here), both player's will buy it which skews the win rate towards 50%, overall meaning top players like theory have a lower win rate than usual if a powerful card is in the setup, which hurts the effect with. I'm not easily going to accept an explanation of "some of the top player's need to work on how they play powerful $5 attacks".

 8) +1

What if it cost $5?

Variants and Fan Cards / What would you like to see in Dominion?
« on: June 16, 2011, 05:32:30 pm »
Just curious.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: Duke Analysis?
« on: June 16, 2011, 05:31:22 pm »
I find that the Duke strategy is usually best in a catch-up scenario when your opponent has stalled and hasn't mathematically eliminated you.


It is a silly question; however, consider that drawing 3 cards causes more shuffling and hence, less use.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: Optimal Deck Size
« on: June 16, 2011, 05:25:17 pm »
I've only been playing Dominion with my newbie friends, so I don't have any experience related to this question. What is a good "optimal" deck size?

The smaller the better. Chapel, Lookout, Loan, and Ambassador are some of the best cards in the game.

This question is prompted by my games of Dominion last night, where my newbies and I played a few 3-person games and I'd always end the game with the largest deck. Most of the time I'd end with 40-60 cards, while my friends would always have 5-10 fewer cards than me.

I can't help but think that maybe you guys (the more experienced players) are playing with decks of 15-20 cards for super optimized engines.  :o

The key is not the quantity of cards, but the average relative value ("goodness") of your cards. If you have a bigger deck because you are buying more bigger and better cards, that is okay. A typical (2-player) game is roughly 20-24 turns. If you buy one card each turn, you would expect a 25-30 card deck- which is roughly slightly below a typical game.

With this board, Minion is still a good buy. While you may give your opponents a free draw here and there, Minion combined with Farming Village, and the +$ actions and Pawns/Horse Traders for buys would make for some pretty big turns.

All in all, I am not a big fan of Horse Trader, in general, at best it is like a Silver with a +1 buy that costs you an action. The boast it gives in the early game is enough to justify buying one in your opening, but all in all, I do not find it a reasonable deterrent for playing attack cards.

The Horse Trader is probably MOST effective about a slew of Minions. But in a game with no trashing, the Horse traders are not going to hit that often.

The key thing about this board, however, is that there is a Hunting Party which is often superior to Minion (because it fetches up your cool cards faster). I would go with Hunting Party of as the first $5 buy, and problem stick with it.

Verdict: Avoid the Minion because you have slightly better options.

Council Room Feedback / New Method to Rate Cards?
« on: June 16, 2011, 05:10:39 pm »
The "Win Rate" is an okay measure regarding how good a card is, but it just does not seem to do it here is why:

Every game where each player buys a particular card, that will automatically contribute 1.00 toward the "Win Rate" of a card. Hence the "Win Rate with" columns really measure underrated yet effective cards and the "win rate without" effectively measures overrated ineffective cards. The question remains, how does one accurately measure just effective cards regardless of overratedness?

Here are some ideas, none of which are to be taken too serious, just bouncing ideas:

Top 100 +% (The +% but only among the Top 100 players)
Top 100 Win Rate With
Top 100 Win Rate Without

Average number of points per copy.
Average score difference(s).

Average number of Turns until first Province/Colony buy when bought
Average number of Turns until first opposing Province/Colony buy when bought

Any thoughts?

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