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Anon79

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Duke Analysis?
« on: June 13, 2011, 10:49:22 am »
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Currently there isn't an article on Duke on the blog, and my Duke-play has been rather hit-and-miss. Are there any broad strategy tips about Duke? When should I go for a Duchy-Duke strat, and when should I ignore Duke? Do I have to plan this from the start, or is this a reactionary strategy?
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Mean Mr Mustard

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Re: Duke Analysis?
« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2011, 11:28:56 am »
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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.
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theory

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Re: Duke Analysis?
« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2011, 11:36:14 am »
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Suggestion for a Duke article noted!

I very rarely succeed in a hardcore Duke/Duchy strategy from the outset, and when I do it's usually with Hoard.  Usually I treat it as a backup strategy if I fall behind 2-0 on Provinces, but I usually get stopped by an alert opponent who snipes my Duchies.
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Teproc

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Re: Duke Analysis?
« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2011, 11:39:22 am »
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Well that's kind of the usual situation I find myself going Duke, but I'd be interested in which situations Duchy/Duke is an actual strategy, kind of like Gardens. I remember playing one of the proposed sets in the Intrigue rulebook which had Scout, Duke, Nobles, Great Hall, Ironworks and so on and actually going for that strategy (with Scout as a MVP), but I'd like to know if everyone thinks there are some sets if going Duke/Duchy from the get go is worth it, and which ones.

I guess Hoard is a facilitater, Scout too.
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rrenaud

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Re: Duke Analysis?
« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2011, 11:53:28 am »
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This page does the math right on the balance between Dukes and Duchies.

http://blog.gameroom.io/
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keithjgrant

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Re: Duke Analysis?
« Reply #5 on: June 13, 2011, 12:16:32 pm »
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This page does the math right on the balance between Dukes and Duchies.

http://blog.gameroom.io/

Good article, especially the comparison to a province strategy.

Generally, a Duke strategy is best when you can get a) multiple buys and b) good draw power (to get through the more clogged deck).

It's also stronger when few players are going for it; otherwise, there aren't enough to go around.  This, I think, is the crux of the problem. If there is a strong Duke set on the table, most players will notice and go for it, which makes it a much weaker strategy. Seems like the biggest factor then is how your particular group-think works.

I have only gone for it a handful of times in competitive games, and usually only wind up trying Dukes when I'm playing with less experienced players and want to experiment a bit.
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adf

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Re: Duke Analysis?
« Reply #6 on: June 13, 2011, 01:02:34 pm »
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Of all the "I'm going to delay the game by not going primarily Province" strategies, Duke is the most easily countered. The main Duke problem is that Advanced Big Money starts buying Duchies in the absence of 4 or more Provinces in 2p.
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Anon79

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Re: Duke Analysis?
« Reply #7 on: June 13, 2011, 01:33:30 pm »
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Well I don't have much experience countering Dukes either. I'm not even sure of the best way to counter a Duke/Duchy strat, whether I should be ignoring the Duchies and try to power the Provinces away, or should I try to grab 2-3 Duchies off him? Also, does it matter if there's an e.g. Salvager in there? Salvager can help you empty the Provinces faster, but it also allows the Duke player to buy Duchy+Duke by judicious trashing...
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theory

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Re: Duke Analysis?
« Reply #8 on: June 13, 2011, 03:16:23 pm »
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I'd try to snipe some Duchies and return to focusing on Provinces.

I think Salvager really hurts the Duke/Duchy player.  I'll buy your Dukes, then Salvage them into +$5.  Sounds like a good deal!  Similar to how Bishop can crush Gardens players.
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WanderingWinder

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Re: Duke Analysis?
« Reply #9 on: June 13, 2011, 03:17:35 pm »
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THE way to counter duchy/duke is to buy a few duchies, but you want to let him commit to the strat first, and then steal like 3. You can just power through to provinces, but in less you've got a super-fast deck, it's not going to hold up. This is especially true if you aren't paying attention and act like it's still a province-v-province game. What I mean by this is that you usually need to do some more deck set-up before you turn for green; otherwise, your deck will tend to stall somewhere around the 5th-6th province.
Obviously in a colony game it's a lot different, you pretty much just go for the colonies and nab a duchy or two if they're hardcore into the D/D.
One card I want to mention as a facilitator of Duchy/Duke is feast. Action collision isn't such a big deal with all the green in your deck, and it's one of your key cards for 4 rather than 5. Also, Bureaucrat is actually pretty good in such decks, as you WANT to be flooded with silver.
Also, most of the articles about duchy/duke math neglect to focus on the fact that you should pretty much buy straight-up duchies for the first huge stretch of the game (I get at least 5 before my first duke) because any reasonable opponent is going to start buying them up as a block. Sure, they can buy the dukes to block as well, but that nets them fewer VPs than the duchy. In fact I usually go to 6-7 duchies before I duke, though around the 6 range it's about tallying points, how fast your opponent's deck is, and how many more times you think you'll get $5.

Blaeu

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Re: Duke Analysis?
« Reply #10 on: June 13, 2011, 03:19:20 pm »
+1

That article really overcomplicated matters with its math.  However, the results were correct in that you want three more Duchys compared to Dukes.

That said, the biggest flaw I have seen in people who try to execute this strategy (besides them being too slow) is that they attempt to keep that "+3" ratio the entire game.  That is not needed and in some cases very bad.  You should buy your Duchys first, then buy your Dukes.  Duchys will run out much more quickly than Dukes if two people are attempting to do this, and since you want three more, they become much more important.

If you happen to split the Duchys 4/4, you both want one Duke, so there are plenty.  If you happen to snag a fifth Duchy, then you want a second Duke, still plenty.  Basically, you still want to end the game with a "+3" Duchy to Duke ratio, but get your Duchys first.

There are many other problems with this strategy too.  If you want to pull off a successful Duke strategy in a 2P game, here are some things to keep in mind.

1. Is your opponent going Dukes as well?  If so, you will most likely tie in "Duke" points and you'll need to change your plan to include Provinces.

2.  Are there Colonies in play?  If so, Dukes will never (practically) at up to enough points to beat out Colonies... unless...

3.  How do you plan to end the game?  It is usually bad for you if the game ends by Province or Colony, so you need to figure out the three piles you are going to empty and how you will do so.  Duchy should always be one of them, and the other two will most likely cost four or less (exceptions being piles your opponent really likes).  Are there any cards that will help you empty those piles such as Bridge, Ironworks, etc.  For example, using an Ironworks to get other Ironworks.  It doesn't eat up your action and it actually serves a purpose of trying to end the game more quickly for you.

4.  How do you plan to actually buy your Duchys?  Buying one each turn is too slow if yo start at the same time as your opponent (lets say round 8).  This means you will either need to start buying early or find a way to get more than one a turn.  If you start early, support from Kingdom cards like Scout can make or break your game.  Your strategy here should really be based on what your table looks like.

5.  Last, but not least, what other Kingdom Victory cards are on the table?  It would be really lame for you to pull off your Duke game just to lose to Gardens.

To many players the Duke seems like a mysteriously powerful card if they can just figure out how to use it properly.  The problem is, there actually isn't a great way to use it.  Most other Kingdom Victory cards are better (some just because they are easier to use) and many times big money is faster with provinces.  In my experience, Dukes can win, but it is not because the Dukes are good, it is because what the other player did ended up being bad.
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WanderingWinder

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Re: Duke Analysis?
« Reply #11 on: June 13, 2011, 04:21:26 pm »
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Blaeu, I think that's some mis-analysis. Yes, the +3 formula maximizes your points off Duchy/Duke, but in the case where you're both going for it and you split the duchies 4/4, you don't only want one Duke... you want as many as you can get. Sure, it's less efficient than having more duchies, but them's the breaks, and at that point, it's the best you can do. It's also virtually never a good idea to hop the train for provinces. They'll end up ending the game on provinces faster, which you don't want (unless you've already gotten all of the duchy/dukes, in which case you've probably already won), and you'll be too slow to get many because your deck is too bloated with green to get up to 8 with any consistency whatsoever. I think a more interesting question is whether to pop for that Gold when you get an early 6 or plow on into your VP - I think it's usually gold early, duchy later (sometime around turn 7). Finally, on the question of three-piling it, it's usually not SO important, as you'll want to keep going for duchies/dukes, and if you can get all of both of those before your opponent ends the game, you're in good shape (unless it's a colony game and they can go colony+province, but then I'd basically never suggest going for dukes in a colony game). But if you need to find something after duchy+duke are both gone, I'd suggest estate. The extra VP will put you over on the off chance that it matters, and at $2 it's one of the few things you can still grab reliably with all that green floating around your deck. Also buy copper late (maybe early too) any time you have an extra buy you aren't going to use. It'll actually help you increase your money density in a VP-heavy deck.

michaeljb

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Re: Duke Analysis?
« Reply #12 on: June 13, 2011, 05:22:58 pm »
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I love playing Duke focused strategies from the beginning, but of course it isn't always plausible. Talisman is great for getting a lot of Silvers. Baron is a good for reaching $5 often, and using them for gaining Estates is also useful; ensuring they'll pair up in your hand more often and driving another empty pile. Dukes are obviously weaker with Colonies available, but I've still pulled off a Duke-driven <a href="http://councilroom.com/game?game_id=game-20110429-153714-cd93e60a.html">win with Colonies available</a>. Looking back through my logged games with Duke, it doesn't look like I've had many Duke games against high rated Isotropic players, so I guess it's still possible bad play by my opponents is a major contributing factor, like Blaeu suggested at the end of the post.
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drg

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Re: Duke Analysis?
« Reply #13 on: June 13, 2011, 07:50:12 pm »
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Duke works well when you have extra ways of getting at least duchies, if not also dukes - examples: transmute, ironworks + bridge, horn of plenty, etc.  Also when you have a lot of bridges, you can get really cheap and plentiful dukes and duchies.

It usually isn't something you focus on from the start, but switch to if your deck allows for it and you fall behind.  You can also go for them if you are cycling a big deck with lots of buys, but if the game isn't almost over, they bog you down more than provinces.   I've seen them beat colonies only once, it is not a common occurrence, although your opponent is more apt to let you get all of the duchies if colonies are in play.
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LastFootnote

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Re: Duke Analysis?
« Reply #14 on: June 13, 2011, 11:49:22 pm »
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In a game with 3 players where you're the only one going for Duchy/Duke, it's a little different. On the one hand, you have to move faster because each of your opponents only has to buy 6 Provinces, rather than 8. On the other hand, they have to work together if they want to deny you Duchies, since there are 12 of them.
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papaHav

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Re: Duke Analysis?
« Reply #15 on: June 14, 2011, 01:05:39 am »
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Straight up. It must be said that "monopolised Duke/Ducky" has more VP potential upside than provinces alone. You only need 11 total 5$ greens before the entire set of 8 provinces isn't good enough for the win.

Monopolised here is clearly the problem has you need 7duchys of the 8 for those dukes to really kick in (7/4split is the target for beating 8 provinces).
I.e. only 2 duchys is very damaging in capping that upside...

not to mention that you're behind in the race the entire time before you hit your 11th green!


I find duke to only shine in extreme examples.
e.g. - solo player emptying cities whilst big money rushes for 4/8 provinces then gums up. Dukes unlock available VP for the brooding city engine
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Silverback

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Re: Duke Analysis?
« Reply #16 on: June 14, 2011, 06:47:08 am »
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Duchies and Dukes clog up your deck. You definitely want something like bureaucrat, Ironworks or Workshop to gain some free silvers + some way to filter through your green cards like Warehous, Cellar, Adventurer, Farming Village...
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DG

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Re: Duke Analysis?
« Reply #17 on: June 14, 2011, 12:55:54 pm »
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I find that dukes and duchies work ok. If I need to, I'll beat people with just duchies even without dukes in the supply.

With dukes in the kingdom I'd usually consider them as an option rather than a necessity. I'd perhaps look at whether there is a reasonable strategy for the kingdom that has a lot of wealth in a largish deck, something that could take dukes if needed, and play that in preference to a cut down deck. If my opponents can win on just provinces alone then I wouldn't want to play duchy/duke anyway, so the alternative is that they're forced to compete in the duchies and then dukes. Their decks should clog with green cards that are of less value to them and often hinder them more.

Three pile depletions are also important to look out for and can work for or against the dukes. Getting duchies from feasts, upgrades, and so on will also be helpful.

I would certainly look to take many more duchies than dukes. Taking 6 duchies and 2 dukes to an opponent's 2 duchies and 4 dukes should be enough to win.
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fp

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Re: Duke Analysis?
« Reply #18 on: June 16, 2011, 05:31:22 pm »
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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.

+1
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WanderingWinder

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Re: Duke Analysis?
« Reply #19 on: June 27, 2011, 02:44:18 pm »
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Horse Traders is pretty darn good for Duchy/Duke, as it lets you get to five quite often.

rrenaud

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Re: Duke Analysis?
« Reply #20 on: June 27, 2011, 03:41:03 pm »
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Horse Traders is pretty darn good for Duchy/Duke, as it lets you get to five quite often.

Wow, yeah.  Horse traders almost guarantees a $5 turn, even if you get hit by a goons/militia style attack. I haven't yet tried Horse traders with duke/duchy.  I did try talisman/feast/duke/duchy, but it sucks.  Maybe talismen!! needs to make a comeback with a talisman/horse traders/duke/duchy strategy.
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Nagetier

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Re: Duke Analysis?
« Reply #21 on: June 27, 2011, 03:43:23 pm »
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The main purpose of the Duke is to have an excellent Swindler replacement at $5.

The second purpose of the Duke is that it faciliates an okay comeback route in Province games.
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HiveMindEmulator

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Re: Duke Analysis?
« Reply #22 on: June 27, 2011, 05:02:05 pm »
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Horse Traders is pretty darn good for Duchy/Duke, as it lets you get to five quite often.
It sounds appealing, but is not really that good, because to make a duke/duchy strategy work, you need to do more than "get to five quite often". You need to get *multiple* duchies per turn, or your opponent will just respond by buying half the duchies and be just fine.
The most likely card to make duke/duchy work, imo, is horn of plenty. Get a bunch of horns (using them to gain each other), and then turn them all into duchies, not giving your opponent a chance to block your duchies. Since you haven't committed to the duchies early, he can't really do it pre-emptively, or you can just switch into something else.
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rrenaud

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Re: Duke Analysis?
« Reply #23 on: June 27, 2011, 05:17:20 pm »
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Horse Traders is pretty darn good for Duchy/Duke, as it lets you get to five quite often.
It sounds appealing, but is not really that good, because to make a duke/duchy strategy work, you need to do more than "get to five quite often". You need to get *multiple* duchies per turn, or your opponent will just respond by buying half the duchies and be just fine.
The most likely card to make duke/duchy work, imo, is horn of plenty. Get a bunch of horns (using them to gain each other), and then turn them all into duchies, not giving your opponent a chance to block your duchies. Since you haven't committed to the duchies early, he can't really do it pre-emptively, or you can just switch into something else.

I think the focus on duke vs duke strategies is mostly red herring.  I am not sure I've ever seen a duke vs duke game, it's almost always a province vs duke game when at least one player goes for duke/duchy.  So presumably as a duke player, you should be able to handily beat your opponent in the duchy race (opp went from provs, after all).  As the duke player, you want to be able to consistently churn out 5s for a long while.  While most province decks are optimized to churn out 8s for a short period (just enough to hit 4 provs and change).
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WanderingWinder

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Re: Duke Analysis?
« Reply #24 on: June 27, 2011, 05:40:20 pm »
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Horse Traders is pretty darn good for Duchy/Duke, as it lets you get to five quite often.
It sounds appealing, but is not really that good, because to make a duke/duchy strategy work, you need to do more than "get to five quite often". You need to get *multiple* duchies per turn, or your opponent will just respond by buying half the duchies and be just fine.
The most likely card to make duke/duchy work, imo, is horn of plenty. Get a bunch of horns (using them to gain each other), and then turn them all into duchies, not giving your opponent a chance to block your duchies. Since you haven't committed to the duchies early, he can't really do it pre-emptively, or you can just switch into something else.
Actually the game that prompted this was me beating Blooki who went money, looked to be heading toward Provinces, slowed down to block me by getting 4 duchies, and I still won with HT/Duchy/Duke/Estate.
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