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jomini

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Re: Island
« Reply #25 on: January 21, 2015, 10:55:05 pm »
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I'm really not seeing how Island is a trap on Garden or Silk Road boards. Let's say it's a mirror. You get the optimal number of enablers (e.g. IW), and then you race to split the Alt-VP 4:4. At this point you have a deck that is setup to gain VP cards that cost $4. Why on earth would you gain anything other than VP cards that cost $4? Even if the Island is just a dead card, it is a dead card worth 2 VP that makes your alt-VP stronger. Sure with Gardens you might race back to the enablers for a 5:5 split ... but now you have 5 enablers for gaining $4 cards and you have one that gives you 2VP and ones that give you 1VP or fewer; why exactly would you not get the 2 VP ones?

I cannot fathom a case where I'm in a Silk Roads or Gardens mirror where "not getting Islands" is the right play. I mean how Silk Roads/Gardens mirrors end up with an estate rush already? At the very least Island should be gained instead of Estate whenever possible most of the time in a mirror.

So what about non-mirrors?
Okay, well say it is a slog. In that case, you want each gain (which will be limited) to give you as much VP as possible. You have no interest in ending the game early so you are basically looking at enablers, Payload, and then either Duchies, Islands, or Estates. If your deck is good at $5 (e.g. Horse Traders) then you likely want to split Islands/Duchies to prolong the game & score max points (particularly when you hit just $4). If your deck can hit $4 and not $5 then it is Estates vs Islands. Estates are much, much easier for an engine player to clear out and they score fewer points -> take the Islands to the bank. As you want the game to last long enough to build up your deck to some beastly proportion, then you might even consider splitting buys between 2 (or 3) piles of VP cards to maximize points per gain AND gains left in game.

Okay well what about the rush? Well, yes, here we will see a bias towards Estates. While you can gain Islands as easily as Gardens, some enablers work better at fast clearing out the estates themselves (e.g. Horse traders) or are likely to leave you with $2 in coin, but not $4 (e.g. Workshop).


In short, Islands should be gained after Gardens/Silk Roads if you are looking at a mirror (and possibly after Duchies) or a non-mirror slog. They can be traps for non-mirror rushes ... but only if you can more quickly finish the game on something else (e.g. Estates; or random actions with Gardens/Talisman).

You cannot be serious that having another cheap VP pile out for Silk Road makes Silk Road worse. At worst Islands are just slightly more expensive Tunnels on a discardless board. If I'm guessing if I should go Workshop/Silk Road either Tunnel or Island opens up a lot of slog potential.

Sure don't buy Islands first if there is any danger it will cut into your Sr/Gardens count, but otherwise, why exactly wouldn't you vacuum them up afterwards?
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jaketheyak

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Re: Island
« Reply #26 on: January 22, 2015, 12:18:24 am »
+2

Yeah, I think the advice that Island competes on price with Gardens/Silk Roads indicates that the trap is supposed to be "buying Islands before all the Gardens/Silk Roads are gone" not "buying Islands after all the Gardens/Silk Roads are gone".

I guess what they are saying is not to be fooled into thinking that it's a good plan to alternate between buying Gardens/Silk Roads and buying Islands, in the vain hope that you can use your Islands on your Gardens/Silk Roads and stop the green from clogging your deck.
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Asper

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Re: Island
« Reply #27 on: February 09, 2015, 10:39:02 am »
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Very informative article. I found it truly helpful. Kudos.

popsofctown

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Re: Island
« Reply #28 on: February 14, 2015, 05:44:29 pm »
+2

I think it'd be nice to emphasize that to consider opening an Island, the 5$ cards in particular are the part of the board you want to consider weak.  It seems to me that a lot of lower players are forgetful about the relationship with the power level of the 5$ cards and how acceptable openers that produces less $ than Silver are.  Of course, any board with weak 5's in, in turn, a weak board, so silverspawn already covered that, but I think it was in a way that's a tad less accessible.

It's a really good article and there was stuff I hadn't thought about in it
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c4master

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Re: Island
« Reply #29 on: February 15, 2015, 09:22:10 am »
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Yeah, I think the advice that Island competes on price with Gardens/Silk Roads indicates that the trap is supposed to be "buying Islands before all the Gardens/Silk Roads are gone" not "buying Islands after all the Gardens/Silk Roads are gone".

I guess what they are saying is not to be fooled into thinking that it's a good plan to alternate between buying Gardens/Silk Roads and buying Islands, in the vain hope that you can use your Islands on your Gardens/Silk Roads and stop the green from clogging your deck.

I agree on that.

So, there's the question whether or not Islands ENABLE slogs or rushes.

I'm pretty sure, Islands never enable rushes at all. Either it's possible in the first place, or Island doesn't help you "rushing" anything.
For the slogs, I think, Islands are fine. It's more VP, which is espacially nice in Silk Road slogs. You might see your first two Islands before the game ends (maybe), but having another shuffle before the end, so that the "place aside"-effect can do any benefit, is very questionable. So, in a slog, an Island is basically just 2VP for $4. Which is nice, because usually there are no other options to spend $4 once the Silk Roads or Gardens are gone. If I hit $5, I would still buy Duchy over Island most of the time, unless I'm willing to end the game by piling Islands (if that's possible).
So I'd say, Islands don't actually enable slogs. They don't even actively help them. It's just a card worth 2VP once your slog targets are gone.

Btw: On Duchy/Duke games, Islands would be nice, but they have to compete with Silver or maybe even better cards like Smithy. So I don't quite see a place for it on these games - at least not early on.

Man, that article just showed me how much I overvalued Islands.
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Minotaur

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Re: Island
« Reply #30 on: September 26, 2018, 06:27:15 am »
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So X years later, the consensus seems to be that this is a very situational finesse card that you most likely buy at specific times depending on the board and your shuffle luck?

One problem with this card as an alternative to Duchy is that the action doesn't help you until two shuffles later.  Sometimes, that's too late, and you threw away 1 VP for nothing.  So in this case, it can still function as $4 consolation prize.  You don't always want to spend $4 on 2VP three or more shuffles before the game ends...

EDIT:  I went ahead and included these thoughts in the wiki.

Added!  Hope you don't mind, but I included a short "Traps" section detailing reasons against the poor advice previously in the strategy section of the article.

http://wiki.dominionstrategy.com/index.php/Island#Strategy_Article

In the year 2018, no one thinks buying Scout is ever a good idea anymore.
« Last Edit: September 26, 2018, 06:49:06 am by Minotaur »
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infangthief

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Re: Island
« Reply #31 on: September 26, 2018, 06:45:38 am »
+1

In the year 2018, no one thinks buying Scout is ever a good idea anymore.
In the year 3018, etymologists ponder the origin of the phrase 'combos with Scout'.
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Minotaur

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Re: Island
« Reply #32 on: September 26, 2018, 06:51:56 am »
+2

In the year 2018, no one thinks buying Scout is ever a good idea anymore.
In the year 3018, etymologists ponder the origin of the phrase 'combos with Scout'.

I'm pretty sure it means enjoying a pretzel snack on the front porch on a Summer day with your daughter from To Kill A Mockingbird.  It means you have very good memories associated with the card being discussed.
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Screwyioux

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Re: Island
« Reply #33 on: September 26, 2018, 10:00:06 am »
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Some considerations for this article:

I think your main premise of Island having two different uses in different contexts is a fine one to begin examining the card with, but saying they excel on different kinds of boards is a little too general.

I think calling a board "strong" or "weak" is a little to vague to be useful so I'd just cut out talk of it entirely and focus on what the Island is actually doing for your deck. For instance, money decks certainly want Island's thinning, the difference is they only care about thinning the Estates (or other green cards later), so picking up an Island for that deck has a more specific purpose and you get fewer of them because of it.

"It basically works like other trashers, so you'll just have to rely on intuition. Opening Island is only advisable on really weak boards."

I understand what you mean by this, but Island does NOT work like trashers, and the reasons why are illuminating for why you almost never open with it:

- It's a terminal stop card you need to line up with what you want to thin
- It only works once

It's a tad misleading to say that Island thins your deck by one card. It's not wrong in the long-run, but there's a huge difference between that and, say Bonfire or Cemetery, or even Trade Route which is similar in terms of thinning capabilities, but a more common opener because it works more than once.
 I suppose the main point there is that Island's thinning is very weak in terms of getting control of your deck, so if that's the reason you're getting the Island, evaluate your other options and whether or not you need the effect at all.

As far as synergies go, I think you make a few points that either aren't actually good or don't have much to do with Island in particular.
For Workshop variants, I think you can just make this about Ironworks. The other ones are as true for every card under $5 are they are for Island. You make this just about Ironworks and I'm down with it.

Hoard- I'm down with it but I don't think you need to mention buying Duchies or Estates. When you have a Hoard out you usually just buy whatever green card you can (in decks where you wanted a Hoard in the first place anyway) and Island is a cheap one. It possibly disappearing from your deck later is just a bonus.

Copper Trashing- I'm not down with it. I don't think this section is great advice, or specific to island.

Menagerie- I'm not down with it. This is not a particularly strong synergy with Island, the decks you're talking about probably shouldn't have grabbed a Menagerie in the first place.

WW/Apothecary- I'm not down with it. This stuff is true of Island, yes, but it doesn't push you to buy either one of these cards.

Hovel- I'm down with it as long as you mention that this requires thinning the two shelters over the course of a shuffle to be better than just adding a Silver and hitting $5. This is true often enough to be worth a mention but I think you need to say it.

Procession- I'm not down with it. Mostly because it's just pretty weak.


Finally, similar to what I mentioned you should address with Hoard, I think one of the more common use cases for Island is when 2 points is as good as 3 points (you can't or don't want to buy a Province for some reason but you still need to increase your score) and it has the strict advantage over Duchy of maybe being able to disappear one day.

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GendoIkari

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Re: Island
« Reply #34 on: September 26, 2018, 12:19:04 pm »
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So no mention of Laboratory here. Removing one card from your deck is very similar to adding a Laboratory to your deck.... which means that Island should function a lot like a Laboratory that's also worth 2. Of course, what makes it not as strong as that is that the turn you play it is really bad; being -1 action and -2 cards. But once you've gotten past that one-time downside, it should be very similar to  Lab.

So my question is... why isn't this way stronger? An actual Lab for that also included 2 would be crazy. Is it all because of the on-play downside, or am I missing something?
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Minotaur

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Re: Island
« Reply #35 on: September 26, 2018, 12:39:34 pm »
+1

So no mention of Laboratory here. Removing one card from your deck is very similar to adding a Laboratory to your deck.... which means that Island should function a lot like a Laboratory that's also worth 2. Of course, what makes it not as strong as that is that the turn you play it is really bad; being -1 action and -2 cards. But once you've gotten past that one-time downside, it should be very similar to  Lab.

So my question is... why isn't this way stronger? An actual Lab for that also included 2 would be crazy. Is it all because of the on-play downside, or am I missing something?

I'm not actually great at Dominion, but I have some thoughts.

1.  Any sifter or trasher does this better.  There are a lot of them, and basically any of them are better at it.
2.  Tempo.  Any somewhat strong card I could have bought for $4 can help me pick up a $5 card the first time I play it.  Now I have an actual Laboratory as well as a $4 card I hopefully wanted to have anyway.  If I open Silver-Silver, what could I have on Shuffle 3 as opposed to if I'd opened Silver-Island and set aside an Estate on Shuffle 2?  This is a somewhat less general place to begin an investigation.
3.  Having to use it on a Copper is better than not using it, but still hurts a lot.
4.  Any risk of a terminal collision is really bad.
5.  It's like using Feast to gain a Laboratory.  I never quite understood what was so bad about Feast, but maybe it's #2?  I should read up on that...

There might be more to it, but it's interesting to think about.  How about this?  It's better than just about any Ruins, but it sort of removes the VP from the discussion.

Crumbling Chapel
Action-Tourist Attraction
Cost: $1

Trash this.  Place a card from your hand on your Rubble mat.

(Maybe it could cost $2 since it's not "strictly worse" in that you eventually want to trash your Chapel but can't...)
« Last Edit: September 26, 2018, 01:03:23 pm by Minotaur »
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crj

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Re: Island
« Reply #36 on: September 26, 2018, 12:48:07 pm »
+1

Of course, what makes it not as strong as that is that the turn you play it is really bad; being -1 action and -2 cards.
That's a pretty big downside.

Also, while with Laboratory you get the benefit after one shuffle, with Island you have to wait two shuffles for the benefit.

Plus, to play Island you need to line it up with a card you want out of your deck. Whereas nobody cries if they play Laboratory and discover they now have a hand of six useful cards.

(Of course, the real reason people are so down on Island compared with Laboratory is the risk of being Possessed into using it destructively. I mean, imagine how much of a mess you'd be in if your opponent put your Scout on an Island!)
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Holunder9

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Re: Island
« Reply #37 on: September 26, 2018, 12:48:28 pm »
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So my question is... why isn't this way stronger? An actual Lab for that also included 2 would be crazy. Is it all because of the on-play downside, or am I missing something?
Ignoring the presence of trashers which do the thinning job that Island does better I think it all comes down to Island being dead on the turn you play it. It is kind of like Hireling vs. Lab, that Hireling is dead on the turn you play it could make the card situationally worse than Lab although it is an auto-Lab in all future turns.
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Minotaur

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Re: Island
« Reply #38 on: September 26, 2018, 01:02:07 pm »
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It's sort of like if Feast also granted +2 VP when you played it, if you forget about Throne Room.  So it's stronger than that, but a bad card and +2 VP, eh...
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crj

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Re: Island
« Reply #39 on: September 26, 2018, 01:06:47 pm »
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it all comes down to Island being dead on the turn you play it. It is kind of like Hireling vs. Lab, that Hireling is dead on the turn you play it could make the card situationally worse than Lab although it is an auto-Lab in all future turns.
Given you don't have an engine yet, delaying the benefit by a shuffle (Island v. Lab) is a bigger deal than delaying it by a turn (Hireling v. Lab).

Plus, in effect, the benefit of Hireling is delayed by how much longer it takes you to reach $6 than $5. It might be that kind of board, or you might get lucky, but often it's way easier to make sure you have a good chance of reaching $5 on T3/T4 than of reaching $6.
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jomini

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Re: Island
« Reply #40 on: October 04, 2018, 01:37:53 pm »
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So no mention of Laboratory here. Removing one card from your deck is very similar to adding a Laboratory to your deck.... which means that Island should function a lot like a Laboratory that's also worth 2. Of course, what makes it not as strong as that is that the turn you play it is really bad; being -1 action and -2 cards. But once you've gotten past that one-time downside, it should be very similar to  Lab.

So my question is... why isn't this way stronger? An actual Lab for that also included 2 would be crazy. Is it all because of the on-play downside, or am I missing something?

The on play penalty is pretty large two cards moves you from a $5 on average to a $3. Playing a Lab early is pretty close to playing $1.4 coins. One of these options lets you buy another accelerating card from the same pile, the other does not. Add in the value of playing a power terminal more often and we should expect the Lab to win out the vast majority of the time.

But there are a few other things to consider: Labs can increase your maximum hand size, not just how quickly you draw and shuffle. This becomes important when you are looking at things like building a double province engine. You can build Island golden decks that are roughly equivalent to buying a prov & a Lab ... but honestly 12$ and a buy is pretty hard to pack into 5 stop cards (baseline takes up all 5). Labs can hit 13$ and a buy much more easily - even getting out $6 cards moves you down from $2.4/card for the Island option to $2.1/card for the Lab. Yeah you can do either with cantrip cash, but there are just way more boards that make Lab work than Island for space efficiency. Similarly, things like attacks and Outpost mean that you need to deal with low initial card counts, Lab is great. Thrones, Wall, etc. also tend to prefer the lab.
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Minotaur

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Re: Island
« Reply #41 on: October 04, 2018, 03:25:03 pm »
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Kind of makes me wonder if gain-to-your-hand options make Island into a decent finesse play, or if setting aside a Province in the middle of the turn is just a feel-good substitute for something more powerful most of the time.

Island might do well as an addition to any engine in asymptotic Dominion, but no one actually plays that, so it could be a moot point.  You could even use your last Throne on Island after you draw your deck and Island with two other Victory cards at the end of most turns, but this is probably not a realistic goal for a finite Dominion...

Asymptotic Dominion with Labs requires gaining more Labs than Victory cards + Treasures; otherwise, you draw only green and eventually stop when "you have flipped 5 more Tails than Heads", which eventually happens with probability 1.  The probability of this catastrophe per turn in the long run is some function of what % of your deck is Laboratory, and catastrophe has probability 1 for P(Lab)<= .5.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galton%E2%80%93Watson_process#Extinction_criterion_for_Galton%E2%80%93Watson_process

Of course, knowing that doesn't make me better at Dominion.  Demonstrably...  :(
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markusin

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Re: Island
« Reply #42 on: October 04, 2018, 10:22:01 pm »
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Kind of makes me wonder if gain-to-your-hand options make Island into a decent finesse play, or if setting aside a Province in the middle of the turn is just a feel-good substitute for something more powerful most of the time.

Island might do well as an addition to any engine in asymptotic Dominion, but no one actually plays that, so it could be a moot point.  You could even use your last Throne on Island after you draw your deck and Island with two other Victory cards at the end of most turns, but this is probably not a realistic goal for a finite Dominion...

Asymptotic Dominion with Labs requires gaining more Labs than Victory cards + Treasures; otherwise, you draw only green and eventually stop when "you have flipped 5 more Tails than Heads", which eventually happens with probability 1.  The probability of this catastrophe per turn in the long run is some function of what % of your deck is Laboratory, and catastrophe has probability 1 for P(Lab)<= .5.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galton%E2%80%93Watson_process#Extinction_criterion_for_Galton%E2%80%93Watson_process

Of course, knowing that doesn't make me better at Dominion.  Demonstrably...  :(

Yeah, I'm sure someone can do the math to figure out under which circumstances does adding a literal Laboratory reduce chances of a dud more than removing a stop card from the deck.

Card draw gives you a higher ceiling for what you can do with your turn, but will often not be as good for deck reliability compared to removing stop cards from your deck. However, green cards are stop cards you usually need in your deck to win, and having a lower ceiling for deck output by removing stop cards rather than adding draw eventually makes it difficult to buy Provinces.

Island happens to be a card that can rid your deck of even other green cards without losing the VP on the islanded green card. That can be quite good if you have a convenient way to get Islands.
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aku_chi

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Re: Island
« Reply #43 on: October 05, 2018, 09:33:42 am »
+4

So X years later, the consensus seems to be that this is a very situational finesse card that you most likely buy at specific times depending on the board and your shuffle luck?

One problem with this card as an alternative to Duchy is that the action doesn't help you until two shuffles later.  Sometimes, that's too late, and you threw away 1 VP for nothing.  So in this case, it can still function as $4 consolation prize.  You don't always want to spend $4 on 2VP three or more shuffles before the game ends...

According to the stats markus has been collecting, Island is gained pretty often:



Island is gained substantially more than Duchy, Gardens, and Silk Road - and just as often by the winner, unlike those three cards (which are gained more often by the loser).  Island is even gained more often than Distant Lands; I think there's a case that Island has been underrated in recent years.  Temple is also an interesting comparison point, and I think Island comes out looking better.
« Last Edit: October 05, 2018, 09:43:56 am by aku_chi »
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Seprix

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Re: Island
« Reply #44 on: October 05, 2018, 10:23:35 am »
+1

Gained more, and by the winner? Hmmmm. Worth examining my play.
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markusin

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Re: Island
« Reply #45 on: October 05, 2018, 01:51:31 pm »
0

So X years later, the consensus seems to be that this is a very situational finesse card that you most likely buy at specific times depending on the board and your shuffle luck?

One problem with this card as an alternative to Duchy is that the action doesn't help you until two shuffles later.  Sometimes, that's too late, and you threw away 1 VP for nothing.  So in this case, it can still function as $4 consolation prize.  You don't always want to spend $4 on 2VP three or more shuffles before the game ends...

According to the stats markus has been collecting, Island is gained pretty often:

<Island stats>

Island is gained substantially more than Duchy, Gardens, and Silk Road - and just as often by the winner, unlike those three cards (which are gained more often by the loser).  Island is even gained more often than Distant Lands; I think there's a case that Island has been underrated in recent years.  Temple is also an interesting comparison point, and I think Island comes out looking better.

Comparing it to Distant Lands is interesting. It's two less VP than Distant Lands, but doesn't compete with other 5-cost cards, is in the Workshop price range, and even gets rid of another card from your deck along with itself when played.

It's still a tough card to evaluate when figuring out when to gain it, outside obvious stuff like Ironworks.
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Re: Island
« Reply #46 on: October 05, 2018, 02:17:10 pm »
+1

If the win rate for opening with islands is about 50% then players are judging it's power correctly, by and large. They're opening 13% of the time with islands so by deduction that rate is appropriate and 13% isn't often really.

As for the end game, tunnels and islands can be picked up as a 2vp card so it's hard to exactly judge their overall impact in a strategy. Islands also have the potential to be part of a big 3 pile finish so the number of gains could also be a skewed statistic.
« Last Edit: October 05, 2018, 02:18:22 pm by DG »
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Minotaur

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Re: Island
« Reply #47 on: October 05, 2018, 04:34:11 pm »
+1

That's some fascinating data.  There is the issue of separating cause and effect when correlating win rates though...
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