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-Stef-

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Coin Tokens
« on: April 03, 2015, 03:03:38 pm »
+40



A coin token is worth slightly more then a coin, because you don't necessarily have to spend it at the end of your turn. For most of these cards you can imagine a variant that gives coins in stead of coin tokens, and you'd just have a slightly worse card. How much worse? That greatly depends on the kingdom, the game, your turn. The important thing to remember is this: most of the time you want to spend your money. You can use it to buy better cards, which in a turn or two will generate you even more money. So the most common case is that a coin token is exactly the same as a coin. If you don't spend it, it's sort of in your savings account, except you get a zero percent interest rate. Surely investing in your deck is better then that. There are off course exceptions, and that's where coin tokens get interesting:
  • $3 + $5 could be better then $4 + $4. Sometimes you really want a more expensive card to kick-start your deck.
  • $7 could be the same as $6. If there are no kingdom cards that cost $7, your coin goes to waste but your coin token doesn't.
  • In the endgame it can be essential to buy multiple cards in one turn

Because coin tokens are slightly better then coins, they are also slightly more expensive. This is not actually a law of the universe but Donald made sure they are. However, for most of your spending power coins is just as good as coin tokens. You want to spend it anyway! So you should try to have the bulk of your money be cheap-ass plain old coins, while only a few in the form of tokens provide you with all the flexibility you want. That is something all of these cards have in common: the first one you buy is the best. The second one is probably also ok, after that you need a good reason to go on. Off course this reason could exist, but that's card specific.

Mass Baker
This is just not a good strategy. The idea is to load up on a huge amount of coin tokens before you ever start to buy green cards, and then be totally unstoppable in the endgame. Although it is better then greening much too early, it's also far from optimal. You will lose to someone who starts the same but then mixes it up with cards that make more money. Spending $5 on something that makes $1 each turn is simply a bad ratio. Even something as simple as Gold + Laboratory (and that's really mediocre payload for a running engine) already has a much better payoff rate.
The only good reason to get more then a 2nd baker is if they're for free. Maybe University gains them for you, maybe you Remake some Fortresses. A reasonable reason to get more is if you really like the cantrips (scrying pool engine).

Mass Candlestick makers
This is very comparable to the mass baker argument. But now the cost is not in buying the card ($2 is very cheap) but in drawing it. Even in a double tactician deck this doesn't really work out. Reasons to go on after the first two could be Vineyards, Gardens, or again Scyring Pool. But if that's not what you're going for - don't let the sweetness of your first candlestick maker lure you into buying a 3rd one, even if you have just $2 to spare.

Mass Plaza
Plaza is a village and sometimes you just want those. Maybe you can cheat (draw-to-X) and then Plaza is a really good card for $4 (in those decks the coin equivalent Bazaar costs $5). If not, there is a reasonable chance mixing up plaza's with other villages is actually best.

Mass Butcher
This requires overdrawing your deck and a lot of extra actions. It's really rare that I take 3 or more butchers. It's much more common that you want to maximize the usage of the first one or two you have.

Mass Merchant Guild
Don't go beyond your second Guild unless you think you can pull off the megaturn. You don't just need to be able to buy the 3rd, 4th and 5th Merchant Guild, you also need to draw them and have the spare actions to play them. Sometimes you can and then it's very powerful.

Endgame
Near the end of the game the value of coin tokens all of a sudden can go up very quickly. Buying a single province may be losing while buying zero now and two next turn is winning. The tactical decisions involved can be very complicated, but in general it's something that is underestimated. Don't spend coin tokens near the end to get some extra components, unless you really know what you're doing. Feel free to buy extra coppers with merchant guild in play.
« Last Edit: April 05, 2015, 06:04:37 pm by -Stef- »
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-Stef-

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Re: Coin Tokens
« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2015, 03:05:20 pm »
+3

I wanted to write something not too complicated. I don't think any L40+ player has anything to learn from this, but so be it.
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Re: Coin Tokens
« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2015, 07:41:22 am »
+2

A very well-written article. The only thing I can think I would add is that once you are over-drawing your deck, you can Plaza the same treasure repeatedly, making it generally a slightly-better, cheaper Bazaar.

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Re: Coin Tokens
« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2015, 10:37:26 am »
+1

I wanted to write something not too complicated. I don't think any L40+ player has anything to learn from this, but so be it.

I don't even have a level, and found it very insightful. The idea that you usually want only few coin token cards eluded me, but your reasoning makes absolute sense. Thanks for sharing this :)

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Re: Coin Tokens
« Reply #4 on: April 04, 2015, 10:41:24 am »
0

Do you think Butcher would be stronger or weaker if it dealt in Coins instead of Coin Tokens? It'd often be easier to get good upgrades.
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Re: Coin Tokens
« Reply #5 on: April 04, 2015, 10:57:20 am »
0

I am ALWAYS guilty of trying to "save" coin tokens for later. I either forget I have them, or don't know how to use my full spending potential when it benefits me most.
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Re: Coin Tokens
« Reply #6 on: April 04, 2015, 11:58:34 am »
+1

I am ALWAYS guilty of trying to "save" coin tokens for later. I either forget I have them, or don't know how to use my full spending potential when it benefits me most.
There is no easy answer to this. I think Stef's point is that if you are saving more than 2 or so coin tokens for the purposes of getting a King's Court of Forge or something, that's a sign you've probably made sub par purchase choices beforehand.

Often, you'll be wanting $5 cards over Gold, so you can often save coin tokens that would boost you above $5. Then later you can use a +buy card to buy a $5 card and a village, or maybe two $5 cards. If you can't use +buy to your advantage like that with coin tokens, then maybe you should re-evaluate your coin token strategy.

When it comes to forgetting about coin tokens, pay extra attention to Candlestick Maker. I think Candlestick Maker is the worst offender of making you forget coin tokens.

As an aside, remember you can do Butcher tricks like trashing a Province for a Province and using the extra coin tokens to help buy another Province. These end-game situations come up.
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Re: Coin Tokens
« Reply #7 on: April 04, 2015, 12:00:13 pm »
0

Do you think Butcher would be stronger or weaker if it dealt in Coins instead of Coin Tokens? It'd often be easier to get good upgrades.

How could the card get stronger? I don't see any advantage having coins instead of tokens on butcher (excpept if you'd get more, obviously)
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Re: Coin Tokens
« Reply #8 on: April 04, 2015, 12:04:32 pm »
0

Do you think Butcher would be stronger or weaker if it dealt in Coins instead of Coin Tokens? It'd often be easier to get good upgrades.

How could the card get stronger? I don't see any advantage having coins instead of tokens on butcher (excpept if you'd get more, obviously)

I mean if you can pay coins instead of coin tokens to contribute to the cost of the gained card. Eg you could play 3 Grand Markets then Butcher to upgrade a Copper into a Province.

But yeah, that'd probably be weaker.
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Re: Coin Tokens
« Reply #9 on: April 04, 2015, 12:18:00 pm »
+1

Do you think Butcher would be stronger or weaker if it dealt in Coins instead of Coin Tokens? It'd often be easier to get good upgrades.

How could the card get stronger? I don't see any advantage having coins instead of tokens on butcher (excpept if you'd get more, obviously)

I assume he means if you could spend coins on the upgrade (a la storyteller) and bucher gave coins.
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Re: Coin Tokens
« Reply #10 on: April 04, 2015, 01:10:42 pm »
+2

A very well-written article. The only thing I can think I would add is that once you are over-drawing your deck, you can Plaza the same treasure repeatedly, making it generally a slightly-better, cheaper Bazaar.
Hmm, I don't think I want to add that, or at least I don't know how to right now.

In general discarding the same treasure over and over again with Plaza is bad. You got to the point that you can overdraw your deck (big investment) and now it's time for the big rewards. Those big rewards should probably be more then just "bazaars for $4", which is basically what I'm turning plazas into like this.

I'm not saying it's not ever part of the optimal strategy to discard the same treasure over and over again. In Dominion you just don't get to control the rate things move your way. Trashing often goes in chunks with a card a la Chapel. At first you're struggling to draw anything, and then all of a sudden you're overdrawing by a lot. At that point it can certainly be beneficiary to use some plaza's to generate $1 each. But it's just a nice trick to get out of a situation (overtrashed) that you sort of couldn't prevent getting in. It's very likely that you should not be buying more plaza's at that point. Even a Gold is better. (but a Butcher or Remodel or Ironworks or Black Market or even Explorer is much much better then Gold).

If you find a way to describe that in one or two sentences that are clear to the L10-L30 players I intended this article for, I'd be happy to add them. But right now it's more like 15 sentences that aren't clear at all. And I don't want to make the article longer to describe something I consider an edge case you should try to prevent from happening in the first place.


Do you think Butcher would be stronger or weaker if it dealt in Coins instead of Coin Tokens? It'd often be easier to get good upgrades.

How could the card get stronger? I don't see any advantage having coins instead of tokens on butcher (excpept if you'd get more, obviously)

I mean if you can pay coins instead of coin tokens to contribute to the cost of the gained card. Eg you could play 3 Grand Markets then Butcher to upgrade a Copper into a Province.

But yeah, that'd probably be weaker.
Yes I think that would be slightly weaker indeed. I wrote 'most of these cards' instead of 'all of these cards' because Merchant Guild just gets very weird if you get coins.
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Re: Coin Tokens
« Reply #11 on: April 04, 2015, 01:29:25 pm »
+1

A very well-written article. The only thing I can think I would add is that once you are over-drawing your deck, you can Plaza the same treasure repeatedly, making it generally a slightly-better, cheaper Bazaar.
Hmm, I don't think I want to add that, or at least I don't know how to right now.

In general discarding the same treasure over and over again with Plaza is bad. You got to the point that you can overdraw your deck (big investment) and now it's time for the big rewards. Those big rewards should probably be more then just "bazaars for $4", which is basically what I'm turning plazas into like this.

I'm not saying it's not ever part of the optimal strategy to discard the same treasure over and over again. In Dominion you just don't get to control the rate things move your way. Trashing often goes in chunks with a card a la Chapel. At first you're struggling to draw anything, and then all of a sudden you're overdrawing by a lot. At that point it can certainly be beneficiary to use some plaza's to generate $1 each. But it's just a nice trick to get out of a situation (overtrashed) that you sort of couldn't prevent getting in. It's very likely that you should not be buying more plaza's at that point. Even a Gold is better. (but a Butcher or Remodel or Ironworks or Black Market or even Explorer is much much better then Gold).

If you find a way to describe that in one or two sentences that are clear to the L10-L30 players I intended this article for, I'd be happy to add them. But right now it's more like 15 sentences that aren't clear at all. And I don't want to make the article longer to describe something I consider an edge case you should try to prevent from happening in the first place.


Oh yeah, for sure it's going to be quite rare for this to be the backbone of your economy - pretty much only happens when there's essentially no draw available but you can thin down, and it's a bit dubious even there - that isn't what I was suggesting. Mostly, Plaza gets a significant leg up on other villages there. The other thing is, you can be well-advised to invest more into building the draw portion of your engines in these cases (get more Plazas and Smithies), since it 'turns on' your Plazas for more economy anyway, rather than lunging quite as fast for cards which are purely economic, but hurt your draw (Gold, Bridge, etc).

But this is more about Plaza than tokens, and most of all, I take your point on clarity and brevity.

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Re: Coin Tokens
« Reply #12 on: April 05, 2015, 08:52:29 pm »
0


Hmm, I don't think I want to add that, or at least I don't know how to right now.

In general discarding the same treasure over and over again with Plaza is bad. You got to the point that you can overdraw your deck (big investment) and now it's time for the big rewards. Those big rewards should probably be more then just "bazaars for $4", which is basically what I'm turning plazas into like this.

The common-ish exception to this are engines that are very treasure tolerant: Apothecary, Stables, the rare Countinghouse engine, reliable Madmen engines (e.g. Hermit/Scheme or Hermit/Rogue), Xroads engines (where your draw potential can climb during the greening phase), Wishing well (you have discard full of Coppers, draw them all), Apprentice/high value gain (e.g. Hoard, Border village, Explorer, Mint, Peddler)  and the odd Cellar/Storeroom type setup. When your deck supports a lot of treasures, particularly Apothecary, you can count your Plazas as pretty close to Bazaars.

The problem is not so much the investment in overdraw, it is committing to having enough treasures kicking around. The really cheap draw (Wt is something like $.7 per card in a strong deck, Envoy is $1/Card) starts to have reliability issues. Wt just dies if you have 2 or 3 treasures that get stuck in the draw, Envoy can easily draw you 4 coppers, but result in a shortage of villages or draw cards (and is pretty quick as BM goes). Even things that make all draw cheap (e.g. Kc), you run into trouble if you start overloading on treasures. A few cards/setups don't have as much of a problem with this, they either need/draw coins or they let you be sure to overdraw everything even as you green out.

Generally, I'm prone to picking up more Plazas and fewer other villages either when the other villages have even more limited benefits (e.g. Shanty, Worker/Walled, Farming w/o green in deck) which can result in opportunistic setups where overdraw becomes a cheap way to add cash or where I'm already committed to overdraw (e.g. where I want to be able to play the gains from University or Stonemason this turn) that make Plaza stronger. Kindof an icing-on-the-cake or marginal tipping point influence.


One of the interesting things is how Coin cards interact. Mass Baker/Butcher can be a thing with good trashing or cycling/sifting; often 3 coins is the magic number as you go from $2 -> $5 -> $8 (-> $11). Butcher/Plaza likewise helps you make more of those high value jumps like E->$5. In either case, the cantrips don't slow down your cycling or reduce the odds of Butcher hitting something key to trash (like Es).

Cmaker/Mguild can be very nice when draw is cheap (Wt, Lib, Pool, Menage, etc.); even without excellent draw, the added coins off a spare $2 beat having coppers nicely and the mass copper splurge gets there a turn or so sooner with more +buy; in a tight game you also have less to worry about when a sudden influx of coin drops your +buy concentration.  Very situationally, this can also allow real quick ramp ups by piling lots of copper; it is most obvious with Wt, but can also take more esoteric forms (e.g. some complicated Chouse setups).

For the other combos, once you have a coin source, additional sources of coins are of very limited utility for the reasons Stef already gave.
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Re: Coin Tokens
« Reply #13 on: April 06, 2015, 02:58:25 pm »
0

http://www.gokosalvager.com/static/logprettifier.html?20150405/log.54109627e4b0750ebc1f6911.1428263442891.txt

Relevant game. I lost because I ignored Baker until it was too late, and I got steamrolled. I don't want to say that him getting all those Bakers was great, but I don't know what to do better here right now. I know I played bad in this game, but that's what happens when you take on Outpost, you get crushed.
« Last Edit: April 06, 2015, 03:00:33 pm by Seprix »
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Re: Coin Tokens
« Reply #14 on: April 06, 2015, 03:04:08 pm »
+1

What is your take on this earlier article, -Stef-?
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Re: Coin Tokens
« Reply #15 on: April 06, 2015, 03:07:10 pm »
+3

What is your take on this earlier article, -Stef-?

The author of that post has been publicly discredited.
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Re: Coin Tokens
« Reply #16 on: April 06, 2015, 07:32:16 pm »
0

My gut feeling on this is that there may be just a few more situations where having a lot of Bakers is advantageous than your article implies. I think it's more important to emphasize that you shouldn't be buying Bakers in lieu of some other form of economy; you shouldn't be using Baker as a Peddler. The usefulness of Baker is more or less directly proportional to how much Coin your deck generates. If you've got a bunch of coin elsewhere, particularly in an engine, Baker is going to be a lot better.

You certainly know better than I would here, but that's how I've been playing. I've won games by having more Bakers than my opponent, and in some cases it seems like getting / gaining four or five of them can really help things along. Dunno.
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Re: Coin Tokens
« Reply #17 on: April 06, 2015, 07:41:28 pm »
+2

If you play Baker and spend its coin token immediately, it's behaving as a $5 Peddler. That's not necessarily a bad buy, per se, but there are typically better ones.

The more Bakers you have, the less likely it is that any given one will be giving you a coin token you'll want to save.
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Re: Coin Tokens
« Reply #18 on: April 06, 2015, 10:26:38 pm »
0

If you play Baker and spend its coin token immediately, it's behaving as a $5 Peddler. That's not necessarily a bad buy, per se, but there are typically better ones.
The more Bakers you have, the less likely it is that any given one will be giving you a coin token you'll want to save.

It's also just a worse Market(or Bazaar, or Treasury... you get the picture). When you don't need the flexibility of a coin token, you lose out on the potential.
Peddler has the whole cost reduction thing, so it's not that good to compare Baker to. Even if it has the same effect, it almost never has the same opportunity cost, so people think of their Peddlers as having better value than they do.
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Re: Coin Tokens
« Reply #19 on: April 06, 2015, 10:29:51 pm »
+3

If you play Baker and spend its coin token immediately, it's behaving as a $5 Peddler. That's not necessarily a bad buy, per se, but there are typically better ones.
The more Bakers you have, the less likely it is that any given one will be giving you a coin token you'll want to save.

It's also just a worse Market(or Bazaar, or Treasury... you get the picture). When you don't need the flexibility of a coin token, you lose out on the potential.
Peddler has the whole cost reduction thing, so it's not that good to compare Baker to. Even if it has the same effect, it almost never has the same opportunity cost, so people think of their Peddlers as having better value than they do.

When people compare cards to Peddler, I think they are usually referring to the theoretical fixed-price Peddler (at a price of $4) rather than actual Peddler.  It's pretty much accepted that $4 for a cantrip coin is a fair price.
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Re: Coin Tokens
« Reply #20 on: April 07, 2015, 07:41:17 am »
0

If you play Baker and spend its coin token immediately, it's behaving as a $5 Peddler. That's not necessarily a bad buy, per se, but there are typically better ones.
The more Bakers you have, the less likely it is that any given one will be giving you a coin token you'll want to save.

It's also just a worse Market(or Bazaar, or Treasury... you get the picture). When you don't need the flexibility of a coin token, you lose out on the potential.
Peddler has the whole cost reduction thing, so it's not that good to compare Baker to. Even if it has the same effect, it almost never has the same opportunity cost, so people think of their Peddlers as having better value than they do.

When people compare cards to Peddler, I think they are usually referring to the theoretical fixed-price Peddler (at a price of $4) rather than actual Peddler.  It's pretty much accepted that $4 for a cantrip coin is a fair price.

Yes.

$5 for that effect is definitely overpaying compared to standard, and not something you'd want to do with better options like Market or Bazaar, but it can be worthwhile to buy cards even above their listed price. It's not common to want to buy a $4 card for $5, but it can happen.
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Polk5440

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Re: Coin Tokens
« Reply #21 on: April 07, 2015, 07:52:44 am »
+1

What is your take on this earlier article, -Stef-?

I hope people don't take Witherweaver's comment too seriously (click the link); I think the thread wero linked to from a year or so ago was a very good start to an article similar to this. I started it off, Awaclus added a nice comment, and I think the two games I dug up were good examples.

What Stef does more aggressively here is keep the emphasis on two things: while saving a coin token is possible, there is an opportunity cost to doing so (namely, improving your deck now). Not improving your deck enough now seems to be the more common mistake rather than not hoarding enough tokens for later. Secondly, the benefits from smoothing are greatest for the first coin token producing card you have and there are diminishing marginal benefits from additional smoothing as you buy more coin token producing cards.
« Last Edit: April 07, 2015, 07:57:50 am by Polk5440 »
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Re: Coin Tokens
« Reply #22 on: April 07, 2015, 09:15:44 am »
+1

What is your take on this earlier article, -Stef-?

I hope people don't take Witherweaver's comment too seriously (click the link); I think the thread wero linked to from a year or so ago was a very good start to an article similar to this. I started it off, Awaclus added a nice comment, and I think the two games I dug up were good examples.

What Stef does more aggressively here is keep the emphasis on two things: while saving a coin token is possible, there is an opportunity cost to doing so (namely, improving your deck now). Not improving your deck enough now seems to be the more common mistake rather than not hoarding enough tokens for later. Secondly, the benefits from smoothing are greatest for the first coin token producing card you have and there are diminishing marginal benefits from additional smoothing as you buy more coin token producing cards.

Sorry; your post was good, but I couldn't resist :)
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Re: Coin Tokens
« Reply #23 on: April 07, 2015, 11:16:53 am »
+3

What is your take on this earlier article, -Stef-?

I didn't know it existed. Now that I've read it... well Polk himself sums it up nicely. It was a good post given guilds wasn't that long around. Now we know more about both the coin tokens and peoples misconceptions. The main problem I see out there is not people forgetting to spend their tokens at all, but not spending them fast enough. And overbuying cards like candlestick maker and baker.


http://www.gokosalvager.com/static/logprettifier.html?20150405/log.54109627e4b0750ebc1f6911.1428263442891.txt

Relevant game. I lost because I ignored Baker until it was too late, and I got steamrolled. I don't want to say that him getting all those Bakers was great, but I don't know what to do better here right now. I know I played bad in this game, but that's what happens when you take on Outpost, you get crushed.
My gut feeling on this is that there may be just a few more situations where having a lot of Bakers is advantageous than your article implies. I think it's more important to emphasize that you shouldn't be buying Bakers in lieu of some other form of economy; you shouldn't be using Baker as a Peddler. The usefulness of Baker is more or less directly proportional to how much Coin your deck generates. If you've got a bunch of coin elsewhere, particularly in an engine, Baker is going to be a lot better.

You certainly know better than I would here, but that's how I've been playing. I've won games by having more Bakers than my opponent, and in some cases it seems like getting / gaining four or five of them can really help things along. Dunno.

a) I never said mass baker is a terrible strategy. It may very well be better then what your opponent does, especially if your opponent is around level 10-20. I just said it's highly unlikely to be the best strategy out there.
b)
A reasonable reason to get more is if you really like the cantrips (scrying pool engine).
"If you really like the cantrips" is not restricted to Scrying pools alone. For example on a board with Crossroads, Rabble, Ghost Ship, Masquerade, Baker, Market and 4 duds I would also go beyond a 2nd baker. Greening early doesn't work with the constant attacking and building on doesn't work either with the restricted village.

b) is a very rare exception. a) is quite common.
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Awaclus

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Re: Coin Tokens
« Reply #24 on: April 07, 2015, 12:14:06 pm »
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Also, sometimes kingdoms just are awfully weak and you can't really do anything better than the mass Baker strategy. I don't think this is the case in the game that Seprix linked, but it's certainly the case sometimes.
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