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somnolent

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help with game
« on: November 26, 2011, 01:10:32 pm »
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I'm just learning to play dominion for the first time, and I'm finally getting the hang of it I think (4 wins, 26 losses!)  I was hoping I could ask you all for some strategy advice about a game I just lost:

Courtyard, Forge, Moat, Potion, Scheme, Sea Hag, Shanty Town, Trade Route, Venture, Vineyard, and Worker's Village

Here are my questions about this setup:
1) My opponent and I both went for an early sea hag, is this the best strategy?

2) Neither of us bought a moat.  Is it worth buying one to try to counter sea hag?

3) I wasn't very convinced about the ability to make +Actions/+Cards work here, it has to be something like worker's village/Courtyard/Shantytown.  Is this viable?

4) Only two cards in this setup trash: forge and trade route.  Given the sea hags were filling both our decks with curses, some kind of trashing seems like a good idea.  In the game I opened Sea Hag/Silver, maybe I should have gone Sea Hag/Trade Route?


The record is here: http://councilroom.com/game?game_id=game-20111125-183741-d53a913c.html

If anyone wants to comment on my play, I'd really appreciate it!
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Davio

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Re: help with game
« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2011, 02:11:09 pm »
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1) Yes, buying a Curser early (at the earliest opportunity) is usually the right play.
2) In 2-player, the chances of his Sea Hag colliding with your Moat are not that high, so it's not worth it. With 3p, it's more likely to help and with 4p it's really going to make a difference.
3) If you get stumped by a board like this, try to keep it simple. I think buying Treasure with a Forge to get rid of all the crap (Curses, Coppers and Estates) is pretty good. The always underestimated Courtyard can help a lot by shifting around cards.

Your +A/+C engine is hard to pull of with such a diluted deck, it's too unreliable.
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ehunt

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Re: help with game
« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2011, 02:54:48 pm »
+1

For the record, I think this is a game where vineyards just beat the pants off of a province strategy, but let's ignore vineyards for this analysis, since there are many more bread-and-butter dominion lessons to be learned here.

1. You're absolutely right that an early sea hag is essential - probably so essential that it should be bought even with a five two split.

2. (because we're ignoring vineyards) I agree that moat is not worth it here.

3. Trashing - forge vs. trade route. I think forge is not a good idea on this board. It's expensive, so you can't expect to get one till late. By the time it comes around, it's unlikely you'll have forge AND the ability to draw cards (with + actions) AND a fist full of bad cards. And if you draw forge with a bunch of good cards, you'll REALLY wish it were a gold. So trade route is the way to go; however:

4. Opening sea hag/trade route is a fatal mistake. The problem is that neither of these cards do anything for you on the turn that you play them; they both help you later. Your deck on turns three and four will thus be worse at buying cards than it was on turns one and two - and if your opponent plays a sea hag, it will be even weaker when you reshuffle! So an early silver seems crucial. Buy a trade route later - this has the added benefit of decreasing the chance of drawing trade route with four coppers (which is terrible).

5. (Again since we're ignoring vineyards). I agree with Davio that the village buys are a mistake in this game. If two of your five villages were courtyards and three were silvers, your purchasing power would be much greater and your risk of action conflict would not be much higher.

If we choose not to ignore vineyards, I would open sea hag, moat, afterwards buying (roughly in priority order) worker's villages, trade routes, and moats, shifting to courtyards as the curses run out, and picking up a potion or two roughly around the time the opponent's deck gets two golds.
« Last Edit: November 26, 2011, 02:57:44 pm by ehunt »
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DG

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Re: help with game
« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2011, 03:52:05 pm »
+1

This is a moderately complicated board as there are quite a few options and styles of play. I suspect you'll get a lot of contradictory advice. For instance there is both moat and courtyard and I suspect it is a matter of style which you prefer, so long as you use them correctly. The scheme is very useful and a scheme/sea hag start is probably the best, however if you don't get some silver soon after then your spending might be permanently awful. Late in the game you apply the scheme to a different action and this makes the scheme better than a second sea hag.

If the forge comes early then it is good. If it comes late then it isn't worth it and it will probably arrive late. The game could well finish with 3 empty piles. Curses will be one of them but vineyards or duchies will be another. Getting trade routes just before the vp cards are bought would be a very good idea. You could certainly aim to trash down and get a draw deck with many worker's villages, courtyards, and vineyards. The problem here is that you need to buy the actions and buy the vineyards but you do have enough extra buys to make it work. You could alternatively skip the villages entirely and try to run with one or two trade routes, a number of schemes, and try to buy in duchies. So there are potential variations in this kingdom in the opening, mid game, and end game.
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somnolent

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Re: help with game
« Reply #4 on: November 26, 2011, 04:42:53 pm »
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Thanks for all the comments!  About the vineyard, I've only tried to run vineyard once before and got killed, so I haven't tried it since.  It seems like if the other player can get even a single province before you run out the piles, you're in big trouble.  And since it's the only card on the board that costs a potion, you have to time buying the potion just right.

I didn't really think about scheme, is it a strong buy?
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guided

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Re: help with game
« Reply #5 on: November 26, 2011, 04:54:31 pm »
+1

For a Vineyard deck, you want to look for +Buys and cheap actions you can buy lots of without grinding your deck to a halt. Scheme and Worker's Village are quite helpful here. You can probably afford to buy Moats too (since you don't really have other terminals you need to buy), and in the endgame if you get most of the Vineyards and want to keep buying action cards to overcome an opponent's Province advantage you could buy some Shanty Towns too.

The strength of a typical Vineyard strategy is that if you get most of the Vineyards, you can pump them up to 8 or more VPs apiece by giving no help to your opponent in emptying the Province pile while they struggle to end the game with a thoroughly clogged deck.
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popsofctown

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Re: help with game
« Reply #6 on: November 26, 2011, 06:07:01 pm »
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Yes, thinking of Vineyards as a rush strategy is a terrible idea because potions, by design, don't let you accumulate any particular Alchemy card rapidly.  Vineyards is a very slow strategy. 


ehunt, are you sure moat is a good idea for the vineyards approach? Sure it's worth some VP if your opponent doesn't go vineyards, but it's only one VP if they do, which seems like you're opening Great Hall if you don't actually want the moat. 
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Geronimoo

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Re: help with game
« Reply #7 on: November 26, 2011, 07:42:29 pm »
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Played a bit with the simulator and I'd conclude a Vineyard strategy is quite dominant here. The Province player is going to have a very hard time finishing the Provinces before the Vineyards get to 6VP.

Here's a walkthrough how to play the Vineyard strategy:
-Open Sea Hag/Scheme
-Get a Trade Route and some money (if you get a Gold, that's nice, but a 3-4 Silvers is enough)
-also start to collect the Worker's Village/Courtyard engine
-Buy 2 Potions as soon as you've got a few engine pieces
-Buy Schemes when possible
-don't buy Provinces, Duchies or Estates (you'd only be helping your opponent finish the game faster before your Vineyards reach critical VP)
-Moat is a LOT worse than Courtyard and you'll be using Trade Routes to get rid of Curses
(-Forge and Shanty Town might be ok buys, but that's impossible to simulate. I'd suspect as DG said that an early Forge is going to be good)

Here are the bots I've been tuning (one Vineyard bot for this board and one Province bot):
Code: [Select]
<player name="Scheme/Sea Hag into Vineyard" author="Geronimoo" description="Tuned for best results against the Province deck">
 <type name="Competitive"/>
 <type name="Combo"/>
 <type name="Engine"/>
 <type name="UserCreated"/>
 <type name="Bot"/>
 <type name="TwoPlayer"/>
 <type name="Province"/>
 <type name="Attacking"/>
   <buy name="Vineyard"/>
   <buy name="Gold">
      <condition>
         <left type="getTotalMoney"/>
         <operator type="smallerThan" />
         <right type="constant" attribute="13.0"/>
      </condition>
   </buy>
   <buy name="Potion">
      <condition>
         <left type="countCardTypeInDeck" attribute="Action"/>
         <operator type="greaterThan" />
         <right type="constant" attribute="6.0"/>
      </condition>
      <condition>
         <left type="countCardsInDeck" attribute="Potion"/>
         <operator type="smallerThan" />
         <right type="constant" attribute="2.0"/>
      </condition>
   </buy>
   <buy name="Sea_Hag">
      <condition>
         <left type="countCardsInDeck" attribute="Sea_Hag"/>
         <operator type="smallerThan" />
         <right type="constant" attribute="1.0"/>
      </condition>
      <condition>
         <left type="countCardsInSupply" attribute="Curse"/>
         <operator type="greaterThan" />
         <right type="constant" attribute="4.0"/>
      </condition>
   </buy>
   <buy name="Scheme">
      <condition>
         <left type="countCardsInDeck" attribute="Scheme"/>
         <operator type="smallerThan" />
         <right type="constant" attribute="1.0"/>
      </condition>
   </buy>
   <buy name="Silver">
      <condition>
         <left type="getTotalMoney"/>
         <operator type="smallerThan" />
         <right type="constant" attribute="13.0"/>
      </condition>
   </buy>
   <buy name="Trade_Route">
      <condition>
         <left type="countCardsInDeck" attribute="Trade_Route"/>
         <operator type="smallerThan" />
         <right type="constant" attribute="1.0"/>
      </condition>
   </buy>
   <buy name="Courtyard">
      <condition>
         <left type="countCardTypeInDeck" attribute="Terminal"/>
         <operator type="smallerThan" />
         <right type="countCardTypeInDeck" attribute="Village"/>
         <extra_operation type="minus" attribute="1.0" />
      </condition>
   </buy>
   <buy name="Worker$s_Village"/>
   <buy name="Scheme"/>
</player>

Code: [Select]
<player name="Scheme/Sea Hag into Province" author="Geronimoo" description="Tuned for best results against the Vineyard deck">
 <type name="Competitive"/>
 <type name="Combo"/>
 <type name="UserCreated"/>
 <type name="Bot"/>
 <type name="BigMoney"/>
 <type name="TwoPlayer"/>
 <type name="Province"/>
 <type name="Attacking"/>
   <buy name="Province"/>
   <buy name="Duchy">
      <condition>
         <left type="gainsNeededToEndGame"/>
         <operator type="smallerOrEqualThan" />
         <right type="constant" attribute="2.0"/>
      </condition>
   </buy>
   <buy name="Estate">
      <condition>
         <left type="gainsNeededToEndGame"/>
         <operator type="smallerOrEqualThan" />
         <right type="constant" attribute="2.0"/>
      </condition>
   </buy>
   <buy name="Venture">
      <condition>
         <left type="countCardsInDeck" attribute="Venture"/>
         <operator type="greaterThan" />
         <right type="constant" attribute="3.0"/>
      </condition>
   </buy>
   <buy name="Venture">
      <condition>
         <left type="countCardsInDeck" attribute="Gold"/>
         <operator type="greaterThan" />
         <right type="constant" attribute="3.0"/>
      </condition>
   </buy>
   <buy name="Gold"/>
   <buy name="Venture"/>
   <buy name="Sea_Hag">
      <condition>
         <left type="countCardsInDeck" attribute="Sea_Hag"/>
         <operator type="smallerThan" />
         <right type="constant" attribute="1.0"/>
      </condition>
      <condition>
         <left type="countCardsInSupply" attribute="Curse"/>
         <operator type="greaterThan" />
         <right type="constant" attribute="3.0"/>
      </condition>
   </buy>
   <buy name="Scheme">
      <condition>
         <left type="countCardsInDeck" attribute="Scheme"/>
         <operator type="smallerThan" />
         <right type="constant" attribute="1.0"/>
      </condition>
   </buy>
   <buy name="Trade_Route">
      <condition>
         <left type="countCardTypeInDeck" attribute="Curse"/>
         <operator type="greaterThan" />
         <right type="constant" attribute="0.0"/>
      </condition>
      <condition>
         <left type="countCardsInDeck" attribute="Trade_Route"/>
         <operator type="smallerThan" />
         <right type="constant" attribute="1.0"/>
      </condition>
   </buy>
   <buy name="Courtyard">
      <condition>
         <left type="getTotalMoney"/>
         <operator type="greaterThan" />
         <right type="constant" attribute="13.0"/>
      </condition>
      <condition>
         <left type="countCardsInDeck" attribute="Courtyard"/>
         <operator type="smallerThan" />
         <right type="countCardTypeInDeck" attribute="Treasure"/>
         <extra_operation type="divideBy" attribute="10.0" />
      </condition>
   </buy>
   <buy name="Silver"/>
</player>
« Last Edit: November 26, 2011, 07:51:00 pm by Geronimoo »
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guided

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Re: help with game
« Reply #8 on: November 26, 2011, 08:44:07 pm »
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Durrrrr, when I suggested Moat I hadn't noticed Courtyard :-X
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DG

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Re: help with game
« Reply #9 on: November 26, 2011, 09:05:05 pm »
0

Strangely enough I'd been doing simulations at the same time as Geronimoo and this sea hag/moat/duchy deck is an even match for the vineyard deck, or it was once I made it buy a potion to deny some vineyards. It isn't greatly optimized and although it starts as a duchy rush, the game logs seem to show it beating vineyards by emptying the provinces. The simulator does a fair job in playing the scheme, moat, and courtyard but I suspect a human player will make better decisions in this complex set with close competing strategies. It is probably also a reactive kingdom where you need to change based on your opponent's play, such as possibly not trying to scheme your sea hag when your opponent has a deck full of moats.

Code: [Select]
<player name="Sea Hag/moat" author="DG" description="">
 <type name="Bot"/>
 <type name="TwoPlayer"/>
 <type name="Province"/>
 <type name="UserCreated"/>
   <buy name="Province"/>
   <buy name="Vineyard"/>
   <buy name="Duchy">
      <condition>
         <left type="countCardsInSupply" attribute="Province"/>
         <operator type="smallerOrEqualThan" />
         <right type="constant" attribute="6.0"/>
      </condition>
   </buy>
   <buy name="Duchy">
      <condition>
         <left type="countEmptyPiles"/>
         <operator type="greaterThan" />
         <right type="constant" attribute="0.0"/>
      </condition>
   </buy>
   <buy name="Estate">
      <condition>
         <left type="countCardsInSupply" attribute="Province"/>
         <operator type="smallerOrEqualThan" />
         <right type="constant" attribute="2.0"/>
      </condition>
   </buy>
   <buy name="Estate">
      <condition>
         <left type="countEmptyPiles"/>
         <operator type="greaterThan" />
         <right type="constant" attribute="1.0"/>
      </condition>
   </buy>
   <buy name="Gold"/>
   <buy name="Potion">
      <condition>
         <left type="countCardsInDeck" attribute="Potion"/>
         <operator type="equalTo" />
         <right type="constant" attribute="0.0"/>
      </condition>
      <condition>
         <left type="countCardsInOpponentsDecks" attribute="Potion"/>
         <operator type="greaterThan" />
         <right type="constant" attribute="0.0"/>
      </condition>
   </buy>
   <buy name="Venture"/>
   <buy name="Sea_Hag">
      <condition>
         <left type="countCardsInDeck" attribute="Sea_Hag"/>
         <operator type="equalTo" />
         <right type="constant" attribute="0.0"/>
      </condition>
      <condition>
         <left type="countCardsInSupply" attribute="Curse"/>
         <operator type="greaterThan" />
         <right type="constant" attribute="2.0"/>
      </condition>
   </buy>
   <buy name="Trade_Route">
      <condition>
         <left type="countCardsInSupply" attribute="Curse"/>
         <operator type="smallerOrEqualThan" />
         <right type="constant" attribute="4.0"/>
      </condition>
      <condition>
         <left type="countCardsInDeck" attribute="Trade_Route"/>
         <operator type="smallerThan" />
         <right type="constant" attribute="3.0"/>
      </condition>
   </buy>
   <buy name="Moat">
      <condition>
         <left type="countCardsInDeck" attribute="Moat"/>
         <operator type="equalTo" />
         <right type="constant" attribute="0.0"/>
      </condition>
   </buy>
   <buy name="Silver"/>
   <buy name="Moat">
      <condition>
         <left type="countCardsInDeck" attribute="Moat"/>
         <operator type="smallerThan" />
         <right type="constant" attribute="2.0"/>
      </condition>
   </buy>
   <buy name="Courtyard">
      <condition>
         <left type="countCardsInDeck" attribute="Potion"/>
         <operator type="greaterThan" />
         <right type="constant" attribute="0.0"/>
      </condition>
   </buy>
</player>

The forge may need a health warning in the simulator at the moment :( . The trade route was also trashing a silver for +2 coins and a buy. I'd like to say it shouldn't do that but I suppose this is the deck where it probably should do that (with potentially a potion in hand).
« Last Edit: November 26, 2011, 09:07:16 pm by DG »
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