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Game Reports / On not giving in to temptation
« on: December 01, 2011, 03:13:59 am »
Didn't save the game log. However, here's a lesson I learned the hard way tonight:

If you open Black Market / Potion, and then on Turn 3 you have Black Market plus $2P and the Black Market offers you a Chapel...

you should probably tell the Black Market no thanks, and just get that Familiar anyway.

Puzzles and Challenges / Another what's missing
« on: November 27, 2011, 12:41:23 am »
I thought this one was easyish, but looking it over again maybe it's a little tricky.

Here are some Action and Treasure cards!

Nomad Camp
Royal Seal
Walled Village

Honorable mention: Haggler

Which action or treasure will make this list complete?

EDIT:  And now also Fortress, Masterpiece, and Merchant Guild! Honorable mention: Abandoned Mine. Dishonorable mention: Band of Misfits.

Rules Questions / Reactions are confusing, man
« on: November 21, 2011, 12:30:08 pm »
So as we all know, you can reveal the same Reaction multiple times in response to the same event. So if you reveal Secret Chamber "when another player plays an Attack", and go through the whole draw-and-discard rigmarole, once you're done with that it's still "when another player plays an Attack" and you can reveal the Secret Chamber again if you want to (or some other when-Attack reaction).

Isotropic implements this correctly for Secret Chamber, Moat, and arguably Trader. For Horse Traders and Fool's Gold it's moot, because once you've used it to React once it's no longer available to be revealed again.

For Watchtower, should you be able to (pointlessly) reveal it multiple times for the same when-gain event, bouncing the gained card back and forth between the trash and your deck until you decide where you want it? Does this have something to do with the losing-track principle?

And perhaps more meaningfully, I can't figure out what in the rules prevents you from revealing the same Tunnel more than once as it's being discarded. The losing-track principle can't be involved here; if gaining a Gold caused you to lose track of the discarded Tunnel, it would (since Donald tells us discarding happens simultaneously) cause you to lose track of other discarded Tunnels as well, and we know that's not true since you can reveal multiple distinct Tunnels in reaction to the same discard event. So why can't you reveal the same Tunnel more than once? (Note: I'm not claiming you can; I just don't understand why you can't.)

Game Reports / Missed opportunity for Mandarin opening?
« on: November 18, 2011, 09:50:34 am »
So I'm not really complaining, since I did win this game, by a couple of points over someone who went for a heavy Silk Road strategy. But I realized afterward that maybe I missed an opportunity where a Mandarin opening would have been really strong?

The game's not on CouncilRoom yet, but key cards on the board included Mandarin, Festival, Inn, Menagerie, and Haven (plus Silk Road, Herbalist, Noble Brigand, and a couple more I don't remember). That's Menagerie and like four different enablers for Menagerie right there, so I figured I'd go for a Menagerie-based strategy, and I opened Festival/Haven.

But after the fact I realized, maybe with that $5 opening I should have picked up a Mandarin. Then on the repeat of the $5 I could grab an Inn and stick the Mandarin in my draw pile, and so instead of having a $2 turn I could have made it up to $5 again for a Festival—thus giving me a head start on having a variety of powerful Menagerie support. I'm so used to thinking of Mandarin as a weak card that it didn't even occur to me. I didn't end up buying a single Mandarin all game.

Thoughts? Would Mandarin/Inn/Festival have been a killer opening? What about the more general case, Mandarin/Inn/strong-$5?

Dominion General Discussion / Favorite thematic cards
« on: November 03, 2011, 09:26:08 pm »
So there are several cards in Dominion where the relationship between the name of the card and what it does in the game (or its relationship to other cards) is obscure at best: What does a throne room have to do with doing something twice? Are all the nomads employed as woodcutters? And so on. And on the other hand, there are plenty of cards where the relationship between the name of the card and its effect are pretty transparent: of course you can buy things at a Market; of course a Thief steals your money; of course a Moat protects you from attack; and so on. This post is not about those cards.

What follows are some of my favorite cards in terms of the relationship between name and effect. They're all a bit more subtle than Market and Thief, but really elegant when you stop for a minute to think about it.

Apprentice. What happens in The Sorcerer's Apprentice? When the broom gets out of control, Mickey Mouse chops it into many pieces—and then each piece comes back to life as a full-sized broom. In other words, the apprentice trashes one broom, and gets back many more brooms for his trouble. The same thing happens with Dominion cards.

Caravan. It's harder to see the thematicity of this one on Isotropic. But playing with real cards, when you lay out a whole chain of one after another on one turn, it's easy to visualize your long train of camels and wagons traveling across the desert and back, returning with valuable goods just in time for your next turn.

City. Every city starts out as a village, of course. But over time, it might grow to be the major economic engine of the kingdom.

Conspirator. Obviously someone acting alone is no conspirator. It's only a conspiracy when you have three or more people, all engaging in actions toward the same goal.

Herbalist. What do you call someone whose occupation is to go out into the forest and harvest wild plants and bring them back to sell? Well, if the plants are trees, they're a woodcutter; but if the plants are smaller (and less profitable), they're an herbalist.

Highway. The modern highway will get you where you're going a lot faster than that rickety old bridge! On the other hand, it's a freeway and doesn't bring in any money from tolls.

Noble Brigand. Okay, it's a little obvious; but the implementation of "steal from the rich and give to the poor" as a Dominion card is just so slick.

Torturer. Torture isn't just about inflicting harm—it's about breaking the victim's spirit. One way to do this is to make the victim feel responsible for their own ill-treatment, like by offering them a sadistic choice about how they're going to be punished. (When the job gets too much for him, and he can't handle it anymore, the torturer retires and becomes a blacksmith.)

What are other people's favorite examples of card thematicity?

Game Reports / Proud of this one
« on: November 01, 2011, 02:01:53 am »
Posting because I'm proud of having been able to pull off the win in this one:

I came back from a 8/2 deficit in Curses against a substantially higher-ranked player—mainly by using King's Court more effectively, it looks like. This was also my first time using Develop effectively at all, but it was an unusually good board for Develop, since there were good engine cards at all price points except $2.

Dominion General Discussion / What cards are still unique?
« on: October 27, 2011, 12:20:19 am »
So okay, all Dominion cards are unique in that none of them are exactly the same as any others. But most of them are made up of more or less the same atoms, as Donald once put it: +cards, +actions, +buy, +$, +VP; discard, trash, reveal, set aside, gain, top-deck, look at; etc. But there are a few cards that do things unlike anything any other card does. Now that Hinterlands is out, several cards that were unique for a long time are no longer unique—Mint is obviously no longer the only card with an on-buy effect; thanks to Inn, Counting House is no longer the only card that allows you to remove cards from your discard pile. But there are new unique features to some of the cards in Hinterlands, and some of the unique features of other cards are still unique:

Ambassador is the only card that can return a card to the Supply.
Coppersmith is the only card that changes the effect of playing another card.
Duchess is the only card that changes the effect of gaining another card.
Embargo is the only card that changes the effect of buying another card.
Inn is the only card that allows you to shuffle your non-empty deck.
Masquerade is the only card that allows cards to be passed between players.
Outpost is the only card that changes how many cards you draw in cleanup.
Pearl Diver is the only card that causes you to interact with a card in your deck other than the top card.
Philosopher's Stone is the only card that allows you to count your discard pile.
Possession is the only card that allows one player to make decisions for another player's turn.
Stash is the only card that allows you to stack the deck while shuffling.
Tunnel is the only card sensitive to when something is being discarded.
Young Witch is the only card that changes the number of Kingdom piles in the game.

Are there any other cards with totally unique properties? Note that even some cards with oddball features, like Grand Market, have atoms that exist in other card properties. (Grand Market and Contraband both have effects that can forbid you from buying something; Grand Market and lots of other cards have effects that are sensitive to what is in play at the moment.) Note that I don't discriminate between what triggers the effects; in the case of Young Witch and Duchess, it's simply their presence in the game. What triggers an effect (on play, on buy, on gain, when in play, when present, etc.) is just another atom.

Puzzles and Challenges / Dominon analogies
« on: October 25, 2011, 12:36:45 am »
Not really a puzzle so much as a game. I occasionally enjoy constructing analogies based on Dominion cards, in the "A is to B as X is to Y" form. Sometimes this can be done through exact shuffling around of vanilla bonuses—the most trivial examples I can think of are

Village:Worker's Village :: Peddler:Market
Village:Bazaar :: Market:Grand Market

Similarly precise analogies are

Highway:Bridge :: Peddler:Woodcutter
Laboratory:Smithy :: Familiar:Witch
Laboratory:Caravan :: Bazaar:Fishing Village
Apprentice:Laboratory :: Salvager:Woodcutter (if you ignore Apprentice's effect on Potion costs)
Contraband:Gold :: Envoy:Smithy (think about it)

However, it's hard to come up with pairs of cards that match up quite so precisely as those. Are there any other good ones?

That said, there are some almost-perfect analogies that are pretty good:

Scheme:Golem :: Herbalist:Adventurer
Apprentice:Bishop :: Laboratory:Monument
Walled Village:Village :: Treasury:Peddler

For the following analogies to work, you have to ignore some of the details of the effects of the cards involved, but the analogies are based on the main interesting things about the cards:

Followers:Torturer :: Trusty Steed:Pawn
Silk Road:Scout :: Vineyard:Scrying Pool
Scrying Pool:Apothecary : Throne Room:Coppersmith
Minion:Cellar :: Horse Traders:Secret Chamber
Crossroads:Menagerie :: Scout:Hunting Party :: Silk Road:Fairgrounds
Scout:Rabble :: Farming Village:Fortune Teller
Moat:Lighthouse :: Horse Traders:Caravan
Outpost:Possession :: Workshop:Smugglers

And here are a few card pairs that I think must have some other pair of cards with the same relationship, but I just can't think of any good comparisons. Thoughts?

Courtyard:Mandarin :: ??
Upgrade:Remake :: ??
Conspirator:Peddler :: ??
Border Village:Haggler :: ??

What good card analogies have I  missed?

Dominion Isotropic / Alchemist (Treasury) / Scheme bug
« on: October 22, 2011, 03:52:10 pm »
There seems to be a bug in that if I have both Alchemists or Treasuries and a Schemed card to return to the top of my deck, Isotropic won't allow me to return the Schemed card first. See this thread for discussion:

Rules Questions / Alchemist/Scheme interaction
« on: October 20, 2011, 04:15:08 pm »
So okay, how do Alchemist (or Treasury) and Scheme's top-decking ability interact?

Scheme: "...If you discard it from play this turn, put it on your deck."
Alchemist: "When you discard this from play, you may put this on top of your deck..."

Given that they're both "when discard" effects, and you can choose the order in which to discard your cards during cleanup, you should be able to put the card you Scheme above, below, or between your Alchemists, right? I'm pretty sure that's right; I just want to double-check.

Game Reports / Five-player Dominion is weird, man
« on: October 04, 2011, 01:21:58 am »
So I played this five-player game of Seaside a couple days ago:

Haven, Lighthouse, Native Village, Pearl Diver; Ambassador, Fishing Village; Cutpurse, Island, Pirate Ship; Merchant Ship

There's a lot of cool synergy in this board. In a many-player game Pirate Ship becomes more valuable because each time you play it it has a higher probability of hitting someone. And ordinarily if you're going for a Pirate Ship strategy you want a lot of Pirate Ships, so you can play them more often and build up their value faster (Fishing Village will help with that!). But of course in a five-player game you can't get a lot of Pirate Ships, since there's only two per person to go around anyway. And there's a lot of +$ actions, so maybe you can get away with a non–Pirate Ship–based strategy anyway. At the same time, Ambassador becomes a little dangerous to use, since passing out Estates with it can empty a supply pile very quickly and end the game before you're ready.

What I ended up doing was opening Pirate Ship / Fishing Village and constructing a very thin deck. Obviously everyone else's Pirate Ships did a good job of trashing my copper, and after the second or third reshuffle I picked up an Ambassador and finished the job for them. (I Ambassadored a pair of Estates once, but left the third in my deck because I was worried about premature pile-emptying.) Also, the large number of Duration cards meant a lot of them would be regularly missing reshuffles, reducing the effective size of the deck; as a result of this, by mid-game, although I only had one Pirate Ship I was able to play it almost every turn, compensating for my inability to get more than one. Once I got it up to $4 I stopped attacking with it, and together with my Fishing Villages and one Merchant Ship I started having $8 hands regularly. When I didn't have $8 I'd buy an Island to clean out my Provinces and keep the deck running smoothly. I ended the game by noticing there were only three Islands left in the supply and Ambassadoring them to empty the fourth pile.

Puzzles and Challenges / Think outside the box: what's missing?
« on: September 26, 2011, 08:59:03 pm »
I don't mean "think outside the box" as in, like, outside the box of Dominion cards or anything. I just mean, you know, the thing these cards have in common is sort of an offbeat property.

What one card will make this list complete?


Update: also Baker, Cache, Rats, Rogue, and, appropriately, Count!

Puzzles and Challenges / An easy "what's missing"
« on: September 26, 2011, 12:47:40 am »
This one's intended to be pretty easy but I think it's fun. What one card is missing that would complete this list?

Horse Traders

Honorable mention: Ironworks

Hunting Grounds
Ill-Gotten Gains

Honorable mention: Crossroads

Puzzles and Challenges / So what else is missing?
« on: September 24, 2011, 01:51:45 am »
This one is a bit of a toughie, I think. What one card can be added to complete this list?

Black Market
Pirate Ship
Trade Route
Treasure Map

Honorable mention: Curse

(Hope I haven't missed any....)

And now also: Crossroads, Cultist, Duchess, Fool's Gold, Madman, Rats, Spoils

Dominion General Discussion / Card types
« on: September 11, 2011, 09:33:30 pm »
Is it just me, or does it seem to be more or less the case that each expansion focuses on or emphasizes the role of one of the card types, compared to the other expansions?

  • Intrigue: has more Victory cards than any other set, and a few cards (Scout, Baron, Duke) that interact specifically with Victory cards.
  • Seaside: introduces Duration cards, and has eight of them.
  • Alchemy: has several cards (Vineyard, University, Scrying Pool, Golem) that interact specifically with Action cards, and lots of +action to play them all.
  • Prosperity: has far more Treasure cards than any other set, and several cards (Loan, Counting House, Mint, Mountebank, Venture, Grand Market, Hoard, Bank) interact specifically with Treasure.
  • Cornucopia: seems to break the pattern, but it does introduce Prize as a new card type.
  • Hinterlands, according to the promotional material, has more Reaction cards than any other set.
So, what do you think? Am I imagining this tendency?

Game Reports / A not-overpowering engine
« on: September 05, 2011, 04:00:45 pm »
So I'm posting this game because I think it exhibits a bunch of strategic points that I've picked up from Dominion Strategy; I played this game a lot better than I would have if not for this community.

Some key points:

  • Several powerful engine cards with synergy—King's Court, Vault, Scrying Pool, plus Steward to trash what the Scrying Pools can't draw—but no source of +buy. So, tempting as it was to keep powering up my engine, once I had a couple of each of the power cards I realized there was no need for more Vaults to King's Court and just switched immediately to Provinces.
  • With an odd $7 turn after my first two Provinces, I picked up a Duchy instead of worrying that my engine was slowing down and getting another Gold or Vault; this swapped the tempo and put my opponent on the defensive while keeping me on the fair side of the Penultimate Province.
  • I was paying enough attention on turn 15 to know that the four cards left in my deck included my Gold and one Vault. So instead of getting to $8 on that turn by playing my other Vault and tampering with my deck, I got to $8 by KCing my Steward and throwing in my last two coppers, leaving my Gold and Vault where they could guarantee me a Province next turn.

These are all things I learned from Dominion Strategy, so—thanks! Any thoughts or comments? Should I have started in on Provinces as early as turn 10, or was getting the second Vault the right way to go?—i.e., did I overbuild my engine after all?

Puzzles and Challenges / Another What's Missing? puzzle
« on: September 03, 2011, 02:01:21 am »
I think this one is pretty easy. What one card is missing from this list?


Honorable mention: Masquerade.

EDIT: And now, Squire! And I guess Band of Misfits?

Rules Questions / Another rules quandary
« on: August 22, 2011, 11:53:33 am »
This is the opposite of the standard newbie Goons question.

What in the rules makes it clear that, when you have multiple Goons in play, you get multiple VP per buy? The card says "while this is in play, when you buy a card, +1VP". The correct interpretation is that if you have two Goons in play, the +1VP effects are cumulative. But what in the rules (other than the Goons FAQ entry, which does make this clear) rules out the non-cumulative interpretation:

"This card tells me that while it's in play, I get +1VP for buying a card. This other card also tells me that while it's in play I get +1VP for buying a card. I guess I definitely get +1VP for buying a card, then!"

I'm asking this because of the often-stated principle of Dominion that the card FAQs should be redundant; everything you  need to know how to carry out the effect of a card is on the card itself and the main rules (and expansion rules). Do the rules clear up this ambiguity? There are a couple of other cards which could be subject to the same misinterpretation—Hoard, I guess?

Puzzles and Challenges / What's missing?
« on: August 21, 2011, 07:05:55 am »
What one action card can be added to the following list to make it complete?

Secret Chamber

The answer isn't Counting House, but it gets an honorable mention.

(I hope I haven't missed any.)

And we can now add: Mercenary, Prince, Procession, Spice Merchant, Stables, Taxman

Puzzles and Challenges / Easy trivia question
« on: July 10, 2011, 01:50:31 pm »
Here is a list of action cards. What one other action card can be added to the list to make it complete?

Secret Chamber

The answer isn't Treasure Map, but it gets an honorable mention.

(I hope I haven't forgotten any.)

EDIT: And also Prince!

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