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WanderingWinder

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Silk Road
« on: January 03, 2012, 11:57:43 am »
+7

Silk Road is my favourite card, and, I think, terribly underrated.

The first card you to compare Silk Road to is Gardens (okay, vineyard might be the first thing that comes to mind, but they play COMPLETELY differently). And Gardens is a pretty good comparison. You can, for the most part, play the same rushes for silk road that you can for gardens. And the rushes with Silk Road are going to tend to be a little bit stronger than the gardens versions - it's generally much easier to rush to 12 green cards than 30 cards overall, and easier to get to 16 green cards than 40 cards overall.

Now there are some cases where gardens works really well and and silk road won't. So gardens work with cards like talisman, goons, trader, cursing attacks, and ill-gotten-gains especially, in ways that don't really go for silk road. Cards like Bureaucrat and copper are good with both, but much better with gardens. In short, it's the mid-range and long-term strategies where these two cards really diverge.

Which brings us to the second comparison - Duke. Duke is a long-term card where you need a lot of other victory cards (in Duke's case, they have to be duchies) in order to make it powerful. But in a duke deck, your main victory points eventually come from the Dukes themselves. The same is true with long-range Silk Road decks. Think about this: 1 Duchy, 8 Silk Road, 8 Estates, plus your three starting estates, that's 20 victory cards. And that's 54 victory points - enough to match against someone who's gotten a duchy and all the provinces. So apart from just rush strategies, using Silk Road as your primary victory strategy in longer games is perfectly viable. Of course, you need a little bit of support for this, but it's definitely doable.
The biggest support for Silk Road are your dual victory cards - harem, nobles, and island are huge boons (as is gardens, actually). Great Hall and tunnel are pretty good, too. With these cards, and I want to stress especially island, you can very often ignore cards that are outlandish and exorbitant, like province, and even gold. Here's a game I played where I used an Island/Silk Road rush (just buying them!) to totally overwhelm my BM/Masquerade opponent: http://dominion.isotropic.org/gamelog/201201/01/game-20120101-131237-6c191900.html

Even with just the basic victory cards, it's possible to use silk road to power an alternate strategy, especially since most decks going for provinces are built for 4 or 5 much more than all 8. But you have to be a bit careful about this; your VP engine has to be put together in the proper order - it's a bit fragile. You're going to probably want your 20 victory cards and at least 7 copies of Silk Road. That leaves you with a dilemma: do you go for the duchies first, or do you go for Silk Road? The issue is, the Silk Road are more important to get, but the duchies are harder to get. So you basically want to get the silk roads first, then go back for the duchies - if you can. Either way, you want to have enough of an economy built up beforehand not to stall out hard.

Here's a game where theory tired to do this against me, but by going too hard for duchies early, and, more importantly, not building his economy quite enough before taking the plunge, allowed me to get enough of the silk roads myself to effectively block him and have a fairly secure path to the victory: http://councilroom.com/game?game_id=game-20111209-091227-a49d3a4d.html

Finally, Silk Roads don't necessarily lose their bite in colony games quite as much as most other alternate VP strategies do (though they are substantially weaker). It's not super rare that, if you start greening a bit sooner, going a little sooner and stronger for provinces, maybe only one colony, and supplement with silk roads, that you can have 4 point silk road + 6 point province to fight that 10 point Colony. Now, this is not terribly common, but with the right support, it's something you want to watch out for. Here's a game where I start with a bit of a fiery blitz, then, having spent much of my fuel and with my opponent's deck hitting it's stride while mine whimpered, I switched to province + silk road to close things out:
http://councilroom.com/game?game_id=game-20120102-121441-95cda622.html

Works With:
Other Victory Cards, especially dual types, especially island
Farmland
Gainers like Workshop and Ironworks
Woodcutter variants - particularly bridge and Horse traders
Baron
Hoard
Scout, Crossroads, etc.
Sifters like warehouse, and especially oasis

Conflicts with:
Fast engines
Trashing
Savvy opponents who also have the time to stop to buy a couple cards to block you. Bishop is a poster child here.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2012, 03:10:19 pm by WanderingWinder »
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WanderingWinder

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Re: Silk Road
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2012, 12:02:01 pm »
+2

First off, the card is Silk Road, not Silk Roads. For those of you that are a little OCD about language.
Second, I'm aware that in my service to those people who are OCD about language, I used a sentence fragment. Yeah, I'm weird.

rrenaud

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Re: Silk Road
« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2012, 12:12:48 pm »
0

Either I am very confused or you are very wrong about this ;P

"The issue is, the Silk Road are more important to get, but the duchies are easier to get."

But otherwise, nice article.
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WanderingWinder

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Re: Silk Road
« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2012, 12:21:00 pm »
0

Either I am very confused or you are very wrong about this ;P

"The issue is, the Silk Road are more important to get, but the duchies are easier to get."

But otherwise, nice article.
Should be harder, yup.

brokoli

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Re: Silk Road
« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2012, 12:50:16 pm »
0

Excellent article, I think silk road is terribly underrated, too. I love this card, because I love victory cards in general (especially island !). Baron is also a nice card with silk road. Like horse traders, but when you can't discard an estate, gain it !
Trade route is sometimes good, when there are many victory cards in the setup. (trash a copper for $5, buy a duchy/silk road and another copper).
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WanderingWinder

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Re: Silk Road
« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2012, 01:03:38 pm »
0

Excellent article, I think silk road is terribly underrated, too. I love this card, because I love victory cards in general (especially island !). Baron is also a nice card with silk road. Like horse traders, but when you can't discard an estate, gain it !
Trade route is sometimes good, when there are many victory cards in the setup. (trash a copper for $5, buy a duchy/silk road and another copper).
Yes, baron definitely works nicely. Trade route is hit and miss - you really don't want to be trashing estates with it, you probably don't really want to get rid of the coppers either. Of course, with even more victory cards in the set-up, it's really great, but then that doesn't have a lot to do with silk road, but more to do with trade route - and they synergize with many of the same cards.

yuma

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Re: Silk Road
« Reply #6 on: January 03, 2012, 01:20:00 pm »
0

I think what we really really need is a hole for all of the people who post uninteresting comments about "uninteresting" things.
Hey you know what's awesome? Silk Road!
Hey you know what's neat? Silk Road!
Hey you know what's really cool? Silk Road!
Silk Road is a gnarly card!
Silk Road is a tubular card!
Silk Road is a rad card!
The awesomesauce of Silk Road is not to be underrated.
I bet you wouldn't guess, but I like Silk Road.
Silk Road is boss.
Silk Road is wizard.
Silk Road. Is. Silk. Road.


I think you explained the awesomesauceness, radness, bossness and wizardness of Silk Road pretty well here. Totally a gnarly and tubular article man.
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Epoch

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Re: Silk Road
« Reply #7 on: January 03, 2012, 01:39:48 pm »
0

I'm pretty dubious about Silk Road rushes being "like Garden rushes."  It may be easy to get to 12 or 16 green cards, but the game isn't ending when you have 12 green cards, and your opponent has a lot of opportunity to catch up to you.

It feels like in the Gardens rush case, if you go divergent strategies (that is, your opponent isn't Garden-rushing), your opponent doesn't have a lot of recourse.  If he buys Gardens, they'll be very low-points Gardens because his deck isn't bloated and can't be (and if he tries to convert over to a bloat strategy quickly, he'll be even more screwed).  Whereas a non-rushing opponent who dips into SRs has something close to as much upside on his SRs as you do (he has fewer Estates, but probably more Duchies and Provinces).  And during the crucial final stage of the game, after the SR and Estates piles are emptied, you have the uncomfortable choice of trying to empty your enabling pile -- which dues nothing at all for your score -- or delay the game-end buy contesting Duchies.  It seems harder to make the optimal choice there.

Plus, cursing attacks are much more effective against an SR player than they are against a Gardens player.
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WanderingWinder

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Re: Silk Road
« Reply #8 on: January 03, 2012, 01:56:12 pm »
0

I'm pretty dubious about Silk Road rushes being "like Garden rushes."  It may be easy to get to 12 or 16 green cards, but the game isn't ending when you have 12 green cards, and your opponent has a lot of opportunity to catch up to you.

It feels like in the Gardens rush case, if you go divergent strategies (that is, your opponent isn't Garden-rushing), your opponent doesn't have a lot of recourse.  If he buys Gardens, they'll be very low-points Gardens because his deck isn't bloated and can't be (and if he tries to convert over to a bloat strategy quickly, he'll be even more screwed).  Whereas a non-rushing opponent who dips into SRs has something close to as much upside on his SRs as you do (he has fewer Estates, but probably more Duchies and Provinces).  And during the crucial final stage of the game, after the SR and Estates piles are emptied, you have the uncomfortable choice of trying to empty your enabling pile -- which dues nothing at all for your score -- or delay the game-end buy contesting Duchies.  It seems harder to make the optimal choice there.
Well, it isn't any harder to empty three piles with silk road than it is with gardens. I think the bigger thing here is that straight-up gardens rushes just don't work all that often anymore, as quite usually there's something fast for the opponent to do to grab a lot of points fast from provinces. Anyway the choice here, because I really do mean straight-up rushes, is quite clearly to empty that third pile. Sure, it doesn't get you more points, though in the gardens case I think this is a little overrated, but even so, you'll have more points with the silk roads than if the SR were gardens. And your opponent can dip more for SR, it's true, but 1) that will speed you up and slow them down, so that's not usually an effective counter (unless they full-blown mirror) anyway, and 2) will often not actually be worth more for them than gardens would be, and when they are, it's going to be at most 1 point.
I think the issue here sit that I'm talking about rushes, by which I mean blitzing as fast as you can to get through 3 piles, in like 15 turns or something, like the classic workshop-gardens or ironworks-gardens, and you're talking about something else (I don't have a great term for it), whereby you secure all of the gardens or SR pile and then to accumulate points while you're looking to three pile, but not necessarily immediately heading for that third pile, instead preferring to grab some more points to consolidate in the meantime. Well, it's true that you're going to find a lot more situations where the latter is stronger than the former, but that's what I try to describe in the later part of the article, where I compare SR to duke, though that's not a perfect comparison either. I think we more or less agree with each other but aren't using the same terminology - which I can see by you looking at stopping to look at duchies. In what I'm talking about as rushes, (maybe they should be called super rushes or lightning rushes or blitzes or something), you wouldn't think about duchies at all; not only would they slow you down from three piling, more importantly, you'll probably almost never get to $5 in a rush game, especially that late.

Quote
Plus, cursing attacks are much more effective against an SR player than they are against a Gardens player.
I do mention that, and it's a good point.

Epoch

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Re: Silk Road
« Reply #9 on: January 03, 2012, 02:08:12 pm »
0

It does seem holistically to me to be the case that pure rush strategies for Gardens aren't necessarily super-awesome.  I haven't had a lot of luck with them recently, in any case.
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timchen

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Re: Silk Road
« Reply #10 on: January 03, 2012, 02:34:41 pm »
0

In short, I think the Silk Road is not an easy card to play. I think you are quite right that they are a force to be recognized-- however, much of the point is built upon the assumption that you can get to 7 or 8 of them. Not dissimilar to Fool's Gold in a sense.

IMO, the hard part to play well is how to block your opponent from getting most of them, then win by conventional VPs. I would also imagine it to be the most common theme when the Silk Road are important, if the rush is not so applicable.
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WanderingWinder

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Re: Silk Road
« Reply #11 on: January 03, 2012, 03:12:00 pm »
0

It also works really well with Hoard (unsurprisingly) and Farmland, which is a great way to up your green count (you can remodel coppers into estates and also estates into SR if necessary). Just played this game which is another little bit of a poster-child for SR.

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Re: Silk Road
« Reply #12 on: January 03, 2012, 03:41:43 pm »
0

The comparison to duke is interesting and somewhat reasonable, but there is a really big difference because getting your dukes to 5-6 points means your opponent can only get them for 2-3. In this sense, silk road is more like fairgrounds, where just because one player gets them to 6 doesn't stop the other player from doing the same.
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ecq

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Re: Silk Road
« Reply #13 on: January 03, 2012, 04:26:04 pm »
0

I <3 Silk Road

It introduces an element of surprise to the game that you don't get with other cards.  By comparison, Gardens strategies are pretty obvious from the start.  With one or two support cards, you pretty much assume the other guy is going for Gardens.  Silk Road strategies, on the other hand, tend to look a lot more like generic Province strategies in the early game.  There's a fun factor there that Gardens just doesn't have.

Silk Road conflicts with most trashing, but it seems to work well with Remake.  The idea is you start off as so many other games, buying treasure, $3-$4 engine cards, and trashing your initial deck with Remake (trashing Estates if you're feeling particularly bold).  Then you spend 2-3 turns remaking $3 cards into Silk Roads and buying Estates or Silk Roads with your remaining cards.  It's not uncommon to grab 4 Silk Roads and 2 Estates in the first 2 turns with Remake, leaving the other player with fewer options.

Remake + Trader + Silk Road can be sick.  Gain lots of Silvers.  Remake Silvers into Silk Roads, then into Remakes.  Remake Remakes into Duchies, all while buying Estates.  I imagine other Silver gainers would also perform well.
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Re: Silk Road
« Reply #14 on: January 03, 2012, 04:52:43 pm »
0

My question is in what circumstances would it be better to go trade route than silk road? They both require the same cards to work well but also don't work well together, as you pointed out earlier.
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chwhite

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Re: Silk Road
« Reply #15 on: January 03, 2012, 05:11:48 pm »
0

My question is in what circumstances would it be better to go trade route than silk road? They both require the same cards to work well but also don't work well together, as you pointed out earlier.

The first thing that comes to mind is colony games.
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WanderingWinder

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Re: Silk Road
« Reply #16 on: January 03, 2012, 05:15:59 pm »
0

My question is in what circumstances would it be better to go trade route than silk road? They both require the same cards to work well but also don't work well together, as you pointed out earlier.
First off, they can go together. They have some interesting synergies, both positive and negative, that I think in general makes the net synergy of the two pretty neutral.
But more specifically, you want to look at what you're going for in a deck. If there's a engine, you're going to prefer that trade route. Silk Road should be preferred more in BM style games. And of course, as chwhite points out, colonies in general make trade route stronger and silk road weaker, so that's definitely something to keep in mind. More specifically than that is going to have to be game-specific.

DG

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Re: Silk Road
« Reply #17 on: January 03, 2012, 07:46:37 pm »
0

A while back I started writing an article about variable vp cards. The first thing I learnt was that I didn't actually know a great deal about them, I didn't play them very well, and it is a very difficult topic in general. More than that I still don't follow my own advice when I play with variable vp cards, keep losing through the same mistakes, and never progress my theories. Anyway I'd agree with everything said by WanderingWinder and if I had to suggest one extra thing it would be a special focus on the scores and potential scores. Silk roads are exceptionally vp focussed.

There are a limited number of vp cards in play, you can keep tally of them, you can predict how they will be shared out, you can estimate scores. Be aware of the 4 card multiples, how you can get them, and how your opponent can spoil them. Look out for changes in potential scores during play and whether they suggest a quick or long finish. If you need a 3 pile finish make sure you plan it out with all three piles and enough points to win.
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kn1tt3r

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Re: Silk Road
« Reply #18 on: January 04, 2012, 02:52:55 am »
0

What's always important with alternative VP cards is that you keep track of the current score, also with active point tracker.

For Silk Roads this is especially important when you don't play a dedicated strategy but just buy them in the endgame to push your score, since you want to know whether they are more valuable than Duchies or not.
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Volkmar

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Re: Silk Road
« Reply #19 on: January 04, 2012, 01:32:16 pm »
+1

Just played this game after I saw this thread yesterday. Silk Road, Island and Gardens together on the board, so even though it was a Colony board I went for it. I did a straight rush, Island first, then Silk Road, then Gardens. Getting Silver with $3 at first, Estates later in the game. My opponent went pretty deep into Laboratory, with some Tournaments that I could do very little about.

http://dominion.isotropic.org/gamelog/201201/04/game-20120104-101620-edcca938.html

I completely lost track of my score after I went into gardens*, and the final score made both me and my opponent 'wow'. The game did make me wonder when you should stop buying Silver and start going for the Estates (or even Great Halls/Tunnels if they're available). I also wonder what the best way to treat Islands is in this case, if you draw them with only Coppers, should you put the Island away with a Copper (I don't think so, certainly if you don't have a Silver in hand and thus drop below $4 that turn). How about with another Island, should you save your Islands so you can eventually put as many victory cards away as possible?

*In retrospect I should've known my card count from the turn number, since I got 1 card every turn, didn't trash and received only a single curse near the end of the game. Something to keep in mind in the future.
« Last Edit: January 04, 2012, 01:39:35 pm by Volkmar »
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Re: Silk Road
« Reply #20 on: January 08, 2012, 06:48:52 pm »
0

Proposed this game and had a chance to try a combo that I consider to be a "cousin" of the Native Village/Bridge combo. One of the main differences other than Hamlet instead of Native Village is that you are aiming to the mass buying of Silk Roads and Estates, not provinces. The combo is Hamlet/Bridge. This is played just like Native Village/Bridge in that you buy pure Hamlet/Bridge until you reach about 6 bridges and hamlets each. When you draw multiple Bridges use your Hamlet(s) and discard a card for +1 action. The advantage of Hamlet over Native Village is that Hamlet can also be a source of +buy. This allows  turns like this:

^_^_^_^'s turn 15
^_^_^_^ plays a Hamlet.
... drawing 1 card and getting +1 action.
... discarding 1 card and getting +1 buy.
^_^_^_^ plays a Bridge.
... getting +1 buy, +$1, and reducing all costs by $1.
^_^_^_^ plays 2 Coppers.
^_^_^_^ buys an Estate.
^_^_^_^ buys an Estate.
^_^_^_^ buys an Estate.

http://dominion.isotropic.org/gamelog/201201/08/game-20120108-075412-e85dfe94.html

Note that on turn 10 I should've bought an estate but didn't because I'm not used to playing this strategy at all and didn't notice. This game shows just how effective at getting Silk Roads this combo can be.

It is a weaker but just as fast Native Village/Bridge. It is debatable as to whether this is more powerful than Native Village/Bridge when both are used in the same game as it becomes a battle over who can gain the most Bridges. IMO Hamlet/Bridge should be able to win out with the most bridges because of the Hamlet's +buy but it is still debatable. Testing is required to find out whether my theory is true.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2012, 06:51:22 pm by ^_^_^_^ »
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jotheonah

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Re: Silk Road
« Reply #21 on: January 08, 2012, 10:38:40 pm »
+1

I've found that with Farmlands I have to play them differently than I otherwise would, since I'm loathe to trash any green in an SR deck. Trashing a copper with Farmland on iso requires playing your treasures one at a time, which can be a drag/easy to forget to do. Farmlanding Curses into Estates, however, is probably the best way, although it's hard to imagine a Silk Road deck with Curses in it getting up to $6...
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WanderingWinder

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Re: Silk Road
« Reply #22 on: January 08, 2012, 11:06:40 pm »
0

Proposed this game and had a chance to try a combo that I consider to be a "cousin" of the Native Village/Bridge combo. One of the main differences other than Hamlet instead of Native Village is that you are aiming to the mass buying of Silk Roads and Estates, not provinces. The combo is Hamlet/Bridge. This is played just like Native Village/Bridge in that you buy pure Hamlet/Bridge until you reach about 6 bridges and hamlets each. When you draw multiple Bridges use your Hamlet(s) and discard a card for +1 action. The advantage of Hamlet over Native Village is that Hamlet can also be a source of +buy. This allows  turns like this:

^_^_^_^'s turn 15
^_^_^_^ plays a Hamlet.
... drawing 1 card and getting +1 action.
... discarding 1 card and getting +1 buy.
^_^_^_^ plays a Bridge.
... getting +1 buy, +$1, and reducing all costs by $1.
^_^_^_^ plays 2 Coppers.
^_^_^_^ buys an Estate.
^_^_^_^ buys an Estate.
^_^_^_^ buys an Estate.

http://dominion.isotropic.org/gamelog/201201/08/game-20120108-075412-e85dfe94.html

Note that on turn 10 I should've bought an estate but didn't because I'm not used to playing this strategy at all and didn't notice. This game shows just how effective at getting Silk Roads this combo can be.

It is a weaker but just as fast Native Village/Bridge. It is debatable as to whether this is more powerful than Native Village/Bridge when both are used in the same game as it becomes a battle over who can gain the most Bridges. IMO Hamlet/Bridge should be able to win out with the most bridges because of the Hamlet's +buy but it is still debatable. Testing is required to find out whether my theory is true.
This is nothing at all like NV/Bridge. If you're very very lucky with this, you'll get 3 bridges played. You will NEVER buy a province with this. NV/Bridge will get you a lot more bridges than that played together, and you get an enormous discount. I suspect that with what you're proposing, it's not much better than going bridge for silk road. And hamlet's going to probably be a pretty good support card for that. But I doubt that that's super strong.

ftl

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Re: Silk Road
« Reply #23 on: January 08, 2012, 11:41:35 pm »
0


^_^_^_^: Native Village/Bridge works via the Native Village mat. The aim is to get lots of Native Villages and Bridges on the mat, keep putting things on the mat, until you can have a mega-turn by picking up everything and playing 5-6 bridges and buying all the green. It's fundamentally a mega-turn strategy - you spend the entire game building up for one mega-turn, which is the only turn you buy green cards, and which is the last turn of the game. Those green cards will typically be provinces, plus whatever you need to buy to end the game on piles that very turn.

$Village/Silk Road/Bridge is not, in general, a mega-turn strategy at all. In that game, you bought green cards starting at turn 10 and all the way through turn 16.

Silk Road/Bridge can indeed be a good combination, because the Bridges let you pick up lots of cheap Estates to buff your Silk Roads. However, the Hamlet doesn't help that much, as compared to any other village. In that game, I believe there is only *one* turn - that one you posted - where you used the extra buy from the Hamlet to get an estate. There was also, I think, just one turn where you used Hamlet's extra buy otherwise - turn 5, where you used it to pick up an extra Hamlet. Bridge gives you enough buys as it is, and this would work basically just as well with just Village-Bridge, in my opinion.
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Re: Silk Road
« Reply #24 on: January 09, 2012, 03:03:50 pm »
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Ahh ok. Sorry. Thanks for correcting my act of noobiness  :-[. Also, I understand that NV/Bridge is a mega turn strategy but its aim is to buy a mass of VP as well. This is kinda the same just over time.

edit: Also, I didn't say it was super strong(although if I did, I take it back). However, if Hamlet, Bridge, and Silk Road are all on the field Bridge/Hamlet can be a very good combo if there isn't any better card to combo with to get a mass of Silk Roads.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2012, 03:09:08 pm by ^_^_^_^ »
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