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Author Topic: Solving The Big Money Problem  (Read 11012 times)

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Holger

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Re: Solving The Big Money Problem
« Reply #25 on: August 10, 2014, 04:00:27 pm »
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I'm interested in alternative proposals that you can brainstorm, and I'll keep the conversation focused on the proposals.

If you don't want to destroy the game, you need a much smaller anti-BM incentive.
E.g. the German gaming site Hiespielchen (http://www.hiespielchen.de/dominion/index.php?ctl=varianten#geldkauf) has suggested the following back in 2009: Give each player a match for every turn they don't buy a Treasure card; after turn 2, you may only buy a basic Treasure card if you have (and presumably spend) as many matches as the value of the Treasure card is worth (i.e. 2 for Silver, 3 for Gold). This might make for a still playable game, though it ironically increases the incentive to open double Silver.

I don't know if this "match" system is any good, but it's trivial to remove the incentive for double Silver.  Require the match payment from the very first turn instead of after turn 3, but start everybody with 4 matches.  It still makes the first two silvers "free", but it carries on beyond the opening turns (and also gives a step up for people who skip Silver to go directly for Gold.

That would reduce the opening incentive, but would also make it easier to buy Treasures later in the game in the common case where you don't want to open double Silver. Using 2 (or 3) starting matches instead might do the trick, though that would disallow double Silver openings completely.



One tweak I'd suggest is to have this requirement only for basic treasures.
It already is.

Oh, so it is for the actual purchase!  But what about the match-giving?  Holger wrote, "Give each player a match for every turn they don't buy a Treasure card".  That's the part I read; it's a little odd if it isn't consistent between the two.

The variant is indeed "inconsistent" in this regard; probably they just didn't consider kingdom Treasures at all (the variant was published only weeks after Intrigue's release). It's probably okay either way - if you buy non-basic Treasures, you usually don't need Silver or Gold so badly. Of course you can't require matches for kingdom Treasures, because many of them don't have a fixed value.

To avoid making slogs even sloggier, you should probably ignore the stupid Copper disincentive of one match which the variant does include.

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GendoIkari

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Re: Solving The Big Money Problem
« Reply #26 on: August 10, 2014, 04:07:09 pm »
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To avoid making slogs even sloggier, you should probably ignore the stupid Copper disincentive of one match which the variant does include.

You would only need 1 match to buy a Copper... There's no slog where you would have wanted to purchase a treasure every single turn no matter what. And even if there were, you just skip 1 turn of buying the Copper so that you can buy Copper after that... at most it could extend the game by 1 turn.
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Holger

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Re: Solving The Big Money Problem
« Reply #27 on: August 10, 2014, 04:09:06 pm »
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Um, if you start with 4 matches, then you can just buy treasure like normal throughout the game (except Platinum)... you don't spend the matches when you buy treasure, you just have to have the matches.

If you take the variant literally, that's true. But I suspect that the matches are supposed to be spent for buying a Treasure - otherwise you could freely buy any amount of Treasures for the whole game after just three Treasure-less turns, which would only hurt very few BM strategies.
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silverspawn

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Re: Solving The Big Money Problem
« Reply #28 on: August 10, 2014, 04:10:31 pm »
+3

does anyone here actually think the fact that we play BM from time to time is a problem, or why are we discussing this?
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GendoIkari

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Re: Solving The Big Money Problem
« Reply #29 on: August 10, 2014, 04:11:01 pm »
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Um, if you start with 4 matches, then you can just buy treasure like normal throughout the game (except Platinum)... you don't spend the matches when you buy treasure, you just have to have the matches.

If you take the variant literally, that's true. But I suspect that the matches are supposed to be spent for buying a Treasure - otherwise you could freely buy any amount of Treasures for the whole game after just three Treasure-less turns, which would only hurt very few BM strategies.

That's how the rules are written (at least if you can trust Google translate). He also says that this variant is specifically designed to weaken the strategy of 100% ignoring Kingdom cards and buying ONLY money. In other words, pure BM or BMU, not just a Big Money type strategy. The variant was obviously created by someone in "stage 2" of learning Dominion (the stage where you think that the best strategy is to just only buy treasure). So it seems like the only thing this rule is meant to do is to force a player to spend at least 3 total turns buying something other than money.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2014, 04:12:09 pm by GendoIkari »
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GendoIkari

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Re: Solving The Big Money Problem
« Reply #30 on: August 10, 2014, 04:11:26 pm »
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does anyone here actually think the fact that we play BM from time to time is a problem, or why are we discussing this?

The OP does. But yeah, I'm with you.
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Holger

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Re: Solving The Big Money Problem
« Reply #31 on: August 10, 2014, 04:39:21 pm »
+1

Um, if you start with 4 matches, then you can just buy treasure like normal throughout the game (except Platinum)... you don't spend the matches when you buy treasure, you just have to have the matches.

If you take the variant literally, that's true. But I suspect that the matches are supposed to be spent for buying a Treasure - otherwise you could freely buy any amount of Treasures for the whole game after just three Treasure-less turns, which would only hurt very few BM strategies.

That's how the rules are written (at least if you can trust Google translate). He also says that this variant is specifically designed to weaken the strategy of 100% ignoring Kingdom cards and buying ONLY money. In other words, pure BM or BMU, not just a Big Money type strategy. The variant was obviously created by someone in "stage 2" of learning Dominion (the stage where you think that the best strategy is to just only buy treasure). So it seems like the only thing this rule is meant to do is to force a player to spend at least 3 total turns buying something other than money.

Yes, the rules don't actually mention spending the matches, that's what I was trying to say.  (I'm a German native.) You may be right that it's actually meant that way, which would indeed make the variant almost useless.


does anyone here actually think the fact that we play BM from time to time is a problem, or why are we discussing this?

Matt does, and I was just making some suggestions for those who want to weaken BM, as he requested.
(Personally, I would like BM to be weaker in all-base games (or in Rebuild games ::)), but in general I agree that it doesn't need nerfing.)
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A Drowned Kernel

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Re: Solving The Big Money Problem
« Reply #32 on: August 10, 2014, 10:13:05 pm »
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For the $1 rule, you can't really do that for the $5 cards, and I think most of the <$4 less are fine where they are. Remodel is arguably weaker at $3 because you can't do Remodel=>Gold=>Province.
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Holger

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Re: Solving The Big Money Problem
« Reply #33 on: August 11, 2014, 06:37:46 am »
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For the $1 rule, you can't really do that for the $5 cards, and I think most of the <$4 less are fine where they are. Remodel is arguably weaker at $3 because you can't do Remodel=>Gold=>Province.

Agreed about Remodel. But Moat, Workshop, Woodcutter, Chancellor, Bureaucrat, Spy, Feast, Thief and Adventurer are all among the very weakest cards of their price points (see Qvist's rankings) and could certainly profit a little from the $1 decrease; that's 75% of the $3 cards and 40% of the $4 cards, and 36% of all the game's kingdom cards. (Donald said that he put the weak attacks at $4 in order to prevent newbies opening double attack, but they're much weaker than later $3 attacks like Swindler or Ambassador.)

Among the $5 cards, Mine is the only very weak card, and I think it could also work at $4, in the absence of Platinum. All the other $5 cards are okay IMO; Market and Festival would actually profit quite a bit from the $1 decrease of the cheaper cards.
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Matt_Arnold

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Re: Solving The Big Money Problem
« Reply #34 on: August 17, 2014, 10:08:45 am »
+1

does anyone here actually think the fact that we play BM from time to time is a problem, or why are we discussing this?
The OP does. But yeah, I'm with you.
...and so does every fifth newbie who refuses to play Dominion with me.

There comes a point of expertise, after which we tend to forget that it's possible for any human being to not have that expertise. This thread has been a classic example. We actually saw someone speak as if he expected me to correctly predict the output of a complex system-- as if it were obvious in advance.

Perception matters-- even incorrect perceptions. Not just what you find out after your three hundredth game.
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Holger

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Re: Solving The Big Money Problem
« Reply #35 on: September 04, 2014, 07:36:54 am »
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does anyone here actually think the fact that we play BM from time to time is a problem, or why are we discussing this?
The OP does. But yeah, I'm with you.
...and so does every fifth newbie who refuses to play Dominion with me.

There comes a point of expertise, after which we tend to forget that it's possible for any human being to not have that expertise. This thread has been a classic example. We actually saw someone speak as if he expected me to correctly predict the output of a complex system-- as if it were obvious in advance.

Perception matters-- even incorrect perceptions. Not just what you find out after your three hundredth game.

Funnily, none of the people I introduced the game to has ever complained about, or even played, pure Big Money, as far as I remember. It could be because I usually try to make "balanced" semi-random kingdoms IRL, so that BM is almost never competitive; or could "overpowered BM" be a group-think thing?

I agree that a casual player can't be expected to completely predict the output like LF did. But IMO it's still quite evident that your variant was very drastic: A Treasure bought in the early game is usually played at least 5-6 times, so each such Treasure would have a "negative Province" attached to it. Every Province bought using three Silver/Gold would effectively only be a Duchy, even in engines when there are no kingdom cards that give $.
Contrary to what LF said, giving a 1VP on-buy penalty for treasures might work IMO, at least if you allow the first 4-6 treasure buys to be free. It would hurt Silver and Gold less than an Embargo token on the pile does, which can easily happen in regular games.

I realize that "my" Hiespielchen proposal has a similar problem as your suggestion (on a smaller scale): It makes engines more competitive against BM on boards where both are possible, but it also drags out games where BM is the only viable strategy.

In principle, the best way to weaken BM would be to strengthen Action cards. Apart from reducing some cards' prices, as I suggested above, one might also give small amounts of VPs for gaining Action cards, e.g. by giving each player a "virtual Vineyard" (i.e. 1 extra VP for every 3 Actions) at the end. Since Vineyard doesn't break the game at all, this should make for a reasonable game, if skewed towards Action-heavy strategies.
« Last Edit: September 04, 2014, 07:39:34 am by Holger »
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Awaclus

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Re: Solving The Big Money Problem
« Reply #36 on: September 04, 2014, 08:09:29 am »
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Funnily, none of the people I introduced the game to has ever complained about, or even played, pure Big Money, as far as I remember. It could be because I usually try to make "balanced" semi-random kingdoms IRL, so that BM is almost never competitive; or could "overpowered BM" be a group-think thing?
It's mostly a result of nobody in the group knowing how to build decks that beat BM/X, someone trying it out and always beating everyone else with it. If there's at least one experienced player in the group who can beat BM/X, then it will never be a problem. I mean, I just introduced someone to Dominion this summer and beat him with different kinds of engines, why would he complain about big money?
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