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Author Topic: Ill-Gotten Gains - bad for the game?  (Read 21888 times)

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rrenaud

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Ill-Gotten Gains - bad for the game?
« on: January 03, 2012, 04:57:45 pm »
+3

Games where Ill-Gotten Gains is the dominant strategy are uninteresting and not fun.  This is not complaining that I lose to IGG, or that I don't know how to play it.  It's my 5th strongest win given avail.  I win more often than I usually do both when I gain it and when I don't.  I am not complaining that it's too good.  It's somewhat frequently ignorable (maybe 30% of games) and when it's a good but not dominating option (maybe another 30%), it can be fun.  I am not complaining that it's too strong.

But when it's clearly the card to go for in the set, the game is just kind of crappy.  I feel sorry for my poor opponents when I IGG spam them, and it disrupts what would otherwise be a nice engine.  It feels different than a gardens rush say, where my opponent has the choice to go for an engine, or go for a gardens spammed deck.  When I go for an IGG, my opponent has no choice but to get spammed, and I don't have a lot of interesting decisions to make.  It leaves me bored and my opponent frustrated.

IGG, it's the new Minion, only worse.
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DrHades

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Re: Ill-Gotten Gains - bad for the game?
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2012, 05:44:30 pm »
0

I could not agree more. Except for the part of very good win rate with IGG, I have just mediacore...
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HiveMindEmulator

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Re: Ill-Gotten Gains - bad for the game?
« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2012, 06:00:17 pm »
0

I wouldn't say it's bad for the game, because it does add something to the game when pure IGG is not the dominant strategy. But I do agree that pure IGG games are among the worst, because there are no real strategic decisions to be made.
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Re: Ill-Gotten Gains - bad for the game?
« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2012, 06:04:33 pm »
0

Agreed. I have a pretty good win rate with it myself. Rushing IGG is easy as pie and I actually lost a smurfed game of it in 3 player where my opponent did it and I tried to do an engine. At the time I  just wanted to see if I could do an engine and still win. Nope. I got frustrated. At the end my opponent that won said "=\ that was boring sorry for your losses guys". I've never heard that ever before. Not even with Big Money rushers.
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DrHades

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Re: Ill-Gotten Gains - bad for the game?
« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2012, 06:15:51 pm »
0

At the end my opponent that won said "=\ that was boring sorry for your losses guys". I've never heard that ever before. Not even with Big Money rushers.

I said this both of the times I won with pure Doublejack  ;D
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DG

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Re: Ill-Gotten Gains - bad for the game?
« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2012, 06:19:33 pm »
0

I've also had only modest success when rushing IGGs. It doesn't seem to need much trashing in the kingdom, even remodel or farmland, to make the IGGs less powerful. I could of course be misplaying it ...
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WanderingWinder

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Re: Ill-Gotten Gains - bad for the game?
« Reply #6 on: January 03, 2012, 06:54:15 pm »
0

Interestingly, I find I most often outplay my opponent in IGG mirrors (there's actually a lot more room for strategy than most people think), and less often when I incorrectly fail to ignore it.

Kore

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Re: Ill-Gotten Gains - bad for the game?
« Reply #7 on: January 03, 2012, 06:57:09 pm »
0

I'm a fan of IGG and while I acknowledge that there boards where having IGG being the dominate strategy is boring, there are upsides to having it in a game as it it forces the game away from BM + X and increases the chances of a 3 pile ending. Personally, I hate it when I feel that BM + X is the best way to go and I despise double jack to the point of doing stupid things rather than playing double jack. IGG is a strong attack but it's not stronger than say Mountebank or Witch which will equally destroy a player who ignores them. At least with IGG, it will take them ~15 turns to buy out the IGGs which isn't that faster than a deck with good cycling and a curser can give out the curse pile.

IGG often has a fun interaction with trashing cards and some weaker cards like coppersmith too and on the whole increases the strategic depth of dominion.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2012, 08:14:10 pm by Kore »
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ecq

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Re: Ill-Gotten Gains - bad for the game?
« Reply #8 on: January 03, 2012, 08:45:19 pm »
0

What makes IGG different from other curse givers is that it starts cursing reliably every turn very early in the game, runs out 2 piles instead of one, and has fewer counters. 

IGG will get a curse in the other guy's deck one shuffle sooner than the other curse givers.  By turn 5, it's reliably giving curses basically every turn with no support cards.  Further, the hypothetical Witch deck with good cycling may be able to empty the curse pile by turn 15, but remember that IGG has emptied 2 piles by turn 15 and has no problem buying a duchy each turn.

I've personally done very well with IGG (my effect with is 3.5), but I usually decline games with it now, because it's not very fun for me.  I don't know that it's game-breaking, but on boards that support it, it's a completely dominant strategy.
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timchen

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Re: Ill-Gotten Gains - bad for the game?
« Reply #9 on: January 03, 2012, 10:50:10 pm »
0

I'd like to know which games are the 30% that IGG is ignorable. I found it is very hard for me to understand. Somehow it is a lot weaker than other cursers vs. trashers? (I don't mean in the same board; instead, there seems to be lots of boards where ok, I am going to get a witch even with this trasher available, then if there is IGG instead of the witch, it no longer worth getting.) Am I right at this?
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ecq

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Re: Ill-Gotten Gains - bad for the game?
« Reply #10 on: January 03, 2012, 11:41:37 pm »
+3

I'd like to know which games are the 30% that IGG is ignorable. I found it is very hard for me to understand. Somehow it is a lot weaker than other cursers vs. trashers? (I don't mean in the same board; instead, there seems to be lots of boards where ok, I am going to get a witch even with this trasher available, then if there is IGG instead of the witch, it no longer worth getting.) Am I right at this?

Games with Traders.  This is the big one.  You spend $5 for what is essentially a self-duplicating Copper, and you're possibly handing me a Silver in the process.  Not only that, but when it happens, the piles become uneven.  No curse is given or trashed.

Games with Watchtower  Not only can I trash the curses as they come in, but I can also buy curses, trashing them immediately to make the piles uneven (obviously works best with some source of +buy).

Games with Ambassador.  I give the curses to you, and make the piles uneven by deciding how many to return to the supply.

Games with Embargo.  You hurt yourself as much as me by buying IGG and make the piles uneven.

Games with heavy trashing and a dominant engine.  Something like Chapel, Highway, Grand Market.

Games with hand size reduction attacks.  I haven't tested it, but I assume Militia or Ghost Ship would do well against IGG.  They mitigate the effects of curses while making it harder for you to get $5 with Copper/IGG. 

Games with Jack of all Trades, possibly.  Playing JoaT to trash curses while gaining silvers is nice.  You'd use the Silver to start buying out the Duchy pile before the other guy was done with IGG, beating him to the punch.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2012, 11:46:26 pm by ecq »
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HiveMindEmulator

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Re: Ill-Gotten Gains - bad for the game?
« Reply #11 on: January 04, 2012, 01:10:52 am »
+1

I'd like to know which games are the 30% that IGG is ignorable. I found it is very hard for me to understand. Somehow it is a lot weaker than other cursers vs. trashers? (I don't mean in the same board; instead, there seems to be lots of boards where ok, I am going to get a witch even with this trasher available, then if there is IGG instead of the witch, it no longer worth getting.) Am I right at this?
The 30% sounds really high to me too. I don't think it has anything to do with it being weaker than other cursers vs trashing. The issue with IGG is that it takes all your buys. If you'd be mostly buying money anyway, it's not a big deal since it provides money as well, but if it's possible to trash into some sort of strong engine, you can't open IGG and transition, while there is a chance of doing something like that with witch. Games with trashing into an engine can sometimes handle adding a curser, but they can't handling adding in half a dozen IGGs.
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mischiefmaker

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Re: Ill-Gotten Gains - bad for the game?
« Reply #12 on: January 04, 2012, 01:34:51 am »
+1

A straight DoubleJack strategy that goes for Provinces as normal beats an IGG rush pretty easily -- you don't have to go after Duchies earlier. (So it's not just a Moat-after-the-fact, it's a Moat-after-the-fact-that-works-on-IGG!)

However, Militia and Ghost Ship are not reasons to ignore IGG. Militia may prevent your opponent from getting to IGG for a turn or two, but once the deck has a few IGG or Silver (which is what he'll buy when your attack forces him from $5 to $4), he'll hit $5 consistently -- your deck will have too many curses to hit your discard attack often, and even when it does, it's not too hard to have an IGG/IGG/copper hand.

Ghost Ship in particular is really bad against IGG, since the Ghost Ship player is often drawing Curses while the IGG player can shape his hands to get $5 exactly instead of $6 or $7.
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werothegreat

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Re: Ill-Gotten Gains - bad for the game?
« Reply #13 on: January 04, 2012, 02:13:18 am »
0

Games where Ill-Gotten Gains is the dominant strategy are uninteresting and not fun.  This is not complaining that I lose to IGG, or that I don't know how to play it.  It's my 5th strongest win given avail.  I win more often than I usually do both when I gain it and when I don't.  I am not complaining that it's too good.  It's somewhat frequently ignorable (maybe 30% of games) and when it's a good but not dominating option (maybe another 30%), it can be fun.  I am not complaining that it's too strong.

But when it's clearly the card to go for in the set, the game is just kind of crappy.  I feel sorry for my poor opponents when I IGG spam them, and it disrupts what would otherwise be a nice engine.  It feels different than a gardens rush say, where my opponent has the choice to go for an engine, or go for a gardens spammed deck.  When I go for an IGG, my opponent has no choice but to get spammed, and I don't have a lot of interesting decisions to make.  It leaves me bored and my opponent frustrated.

IGG, it's the new Minion, only worse.

If your opponent were sensible, he'd try to at least split the IGGs with you (and thus the Curses), leaving one more pile to empty.  At that point it becomes a greening rush, which IGG can help with.
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timchen

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Re: Ill-Gotten Gains - bad for the game?
« Reply #14 on: January 04, 2012, 03:19:13 am »
0

I'd also like to add I don't understand this "uneven" thing about IGG...

A larger curse pile is indeed a problem, but it is far less common. The more common is a larger IGG pile; which just means one has to spend a few more turns buying IGG for no harm. But how can one or two turns spent on IGG without effect so critical?

To the extreme, if I am against an IGG strategy, I can buy one curse myself to make the two piles uneven... that certainly does not help me against an IGG strategy. The IGG strategy is to get to Duchies after the IGG pile depletes... I wonder whether the "uneven effect" is an indication of people playing the strategy or the counter suboptimally. Maybe one should get to the Duchies before the piles are emptied?
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rrenaud

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Re: Ill-Gotten Gains - bad for the game?
« Reply #15 on: January 04, 2012, 03:32:17 am »
0

When the curses are lower than the IGGs, eventually the curses become 0, and then you have to buy IGGs without the benefit of giving opponents the curse.

Clearly, having to buy out IGGs to end on piles is not as bad enough for the opponent to choose to buy out curses (with exception of watchtower).  But having an opponent not buy curses is an incredibly loose lower bound on good opponent play. 
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Beyond Awesome

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Re: Ill-Gotten Gains - bad for the game?
« Reply #16 on: January 04, 2012, 04:01:24 am »
0

I find IGG to be the most boring straightforward curse giver in the game. I have a pretty decent win rate with it as well. It is worse than Tournament which actually requires some level of play skill. All you need to do for IGG is hit $5 every turn and when you don't, oh well just buy a silver. There is very little an opponent can do against the deck and for the most part leaves very little strategy. Many cards are simply unplayable in a IGG board. It is also more boring than Witch and Mountebank because I feel with those two cards on the board you are allowed more strategy depending on the card selection.
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Thisisnotasmile

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Re: Ill-Gotten Gains - bad for the game?
« Reply #17 on: January 04, 2012, 05:28:37 am »
0

Meh. I don't really mind IGG. There are much worse cards for leading to clearly optimal, boring strategies. Jack of All Trades, Ambassador, Minion, Goons just to name a few. Fool's Gold is getting increasingly annoying too. It's not a great card and strategies involving it are very one dimensional by necessity. I try to avoid it at all costs to do something more interesting but when my opponent opens FG/FG I have no choice but to take 4 or 5 to block him from getting the whole stack, the only time when it becomes a decent card, which just leaves me with a deck full of crap playing some hybrid-FG strategy that gets nowhere fast.
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brokoli

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Re: Ill-Gotten Gains - bad for the game?
« Reply #18 on: January 04, 2012, 06:05:36 am »
0

I always found IGG very fun ! I would even say it's one of the funniest cards in Hinterlands ! And the artwork of the card is awesome ^^ .
I agree with Thisisnotasmile, JoaT or Minion are more boring, when they are played as an entire strategy (minion chain or double jack)
As a curse-giver, IGG is less painful than a King's court + torturer/witch. Really, I don't understand your complaints about it.
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WrathOfGlod

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Re: Ill-Gotten Gains - bad for the game?
« Reply #19 on: January 04, 2012, 07:09:33 am »
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I always found IGG very fun ! I would even say it's one of the funniest cards in Hinterlands ! And the artwork of the card is awesome ^^ .
I agree with Thisisnotasmile, JoaT or Minion are more boring, when they are played as an entire strategy (minion chain or double jack)
As a curse-giver, IGG is less painful than a King's court + torturer/witch. Really, I don't understand your complaints about it.

Is that seriously your standard for a painful attack??

The problem with IGG is that in the mirror there really is no way to follow it up into an interesting strat. After you both have 5 IGGs you have a deck full of copper,IGGs and curses. This makes buying actions useless so that both sides just buy the best victory card they can every turn
Most of the other dominant strategies open up into interesting,board-dependent games after the opening.

For example double Ambassador  mirror matches tend to be won by the player with the better followup, goons games are decided by who can manage the end-game megaturns better etc.

This is the same problem people have with double-jack which is that jack has relatively few cool combos and instead just plays itself out. (I wonder if JoaT would be improved with a requirement to trash a non-treasure card?)
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Thisisnotasmile

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Re: Ill-Gotten Gains - bad for the game?
« Reply #20 on: January 04, 2012, 07:17:03 am »
+1

I always found IGG very fun ! I would even say it's one of the funniest cards in Hinterlands ! And the artwork of the card is awesome ^^ .
I agree with Thisisnotasmile, JoaT or Minion are more boring, when they are played as an entire strategy (minion chain or double jack)
As a curse-giver, IGG is less painful than a King's court + torturer/witch. Really, I don't understand your complaints about it.

Is that seriously your standard for a painful attack??

The problem with IGG is that in the mirror there really is no way to follow it up into an interesting strat. After you both have 5 IGGs you have a deck full of copper,IGGs and curses. This makes buying actions useless so that both sides just buy the best victory card they can every turn
Most of the other dominant strategies open up into interesting,board-dependent games after the opening.

For example double Ambassador  mirror matches tend to be won by the player with the better followup, goons games are decided by who can manage the end-game megaturns better etc.

This is the same problem people have with double-jack which is that jack has relatively few cool combos and instead just plays itself out. (I wonder if JoaT would be improved with a requirement to trash a non-treasure card?)


At least in an IGG mirror match you both spend 10 turns splitting the IGGs 5/5 and then another 5 or 6 picking up green cards and then it's all over by turn 16 and you can go and get on with the next game. In an Ambassador mirror you spend the first 20 turns doing the same thing over and over again until somebody comes out with a smaller deck, then the other guy has to flail about while the winner spends the next 15 turns building their deck back up before anyone can end the game. In a Goons match, it's the same but with the "same thing over and over again" occuring at the tail end of the match after you've spent your first 15 turns picking up as many villages and draw cards as possible to hopefully improve your chance of getting the biggest mega-turn where you can finish three piles.
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WanderingWinder

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Re: Ill-Gotten Gains - bad for the game?
« Reply #21 on: January 04, 2012, 08:59:53 am »
0

The problem with IGG is that in the mirror there really is no way to follow it up into an interesting strat. After you both have 5 IGGs you have a deck full of copper,IGGs and curses. This makes buying actions useless so that both sides just buy the best victory card they can every turn
Most of the other dominant strategies open up into interesting,board-dependent games after the opening.
This is simply not true, and it amuses me all the people that keep saying it! There are lots of different things you can do WITH an IGG rush, both during the rush and after (actually a little bit can be done before, too). I mean, it's somewhat formulaic, but not nearly as much so as you guys are saying, not as much so as double jack, not as much so as a gardens rush, not as much as native village/bridge... it's probably about as formulaic as minion, which is a card that isn't really that formulaic either. And this, of course, only in the cases where the mirror is clear. When it's fighting some alternate strat, it can be very interesting indeed....

kn1tt3r

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Re: Ill-Gotten Gains - bad for the game?
« Reply #22 on: January 04, 2012, 09:19:04 am »
0

The problem with IGG is that in the mirror there really is no way to follow it up into an interesting strat. After you both have 5 IGGs you have a deck full of copper,IGGs and curses. This makes buying actions useless so that both sides just buy the best victory card they can every turn
Most of the other dominant strategies open up into interesting,board-dependent games after the opening.
This is simply not true, and it amuses me all the people that keep saying it! There are lots of different things you can do WITH an IGG rush, both during the rush and after (actually a little bit can be done before, too). I mean, it's somewhat formulaic, but not nearly as much so as you guys are saying, not as much so as double jack, not as much so as a gardens rush, not as much as native village/bridge... it's probably about as formulaic as minion, which is a card that isn't really that formulaic either. And this, of course, only in the cases where the mirror is clear. When it's fighting some alternate strat, it can be very interesting indeed....

I also feel that you can play IGG rushs very suboptimally, and I admit I've not yet figured it out completely myself.

Two questions that come up frequently are for example:

- What action cards do you want and how many of them (e.g. 1 Margrave before going for IGGs, numberous Monuments for $4, maybe trashers etc.)?

- When do you take the copper in cases you don't actually need it for your buy? Ideally you keep track of your deck composition and calculate the buying power - if it's >1.0, don't take the copper, if its <1.0, get it. However, this is a bit flawed since your buying power in the "Duchy phase" decreases faster than you can increase it during the "IGG phase" - so there's still no definite answer. Most times it's probably better to just take it (assuming almost pure IGG rushs), but as I seed in the beginning, I'm not sure.
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Re: Ill-Gotten Gains - bad for the game?
« Reply #23 on: January 04, 2012, 12:04:13 pm »
0

I'm with WW.  There's way better cards to complain about than IGG.  It's no DoubleJack or Envoy/BM.  At least it costs 5, so when you hit 2, 3, or 4, you have things to think about.
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ecq

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Re: Ill-Gotten Gains - bad for the game?
« Reply #24 on: January 04, 2012, 12:33:53 pm »
0

- What action cards do you want and how many of them (e.g. 1 Margrave before going for IGGs, numberous Monuments for $4, maybe trashers etc.)?

I've been looking through my most successful IGG games.  Many of them have an action or two.  Most are obvious.  Smithy, Steward, Watchtower.  Border Village because, hey, why not?  Nomad Camp seems particularly useful if you open 4/3 because there's some chance you can hit $5 on the second hand.  Monument seems good.  Bishop seems counterproductive.

I'm trying to think of $5 cards that would be worthwhile.  I don't think there's a $5 card worth getting before IGG.  The first IGGs hurt the most, then it's diminishing returns.  Apprentice would eventually be useful, especially with +buy somewhere in the deck.  Mine is also nice, transforming Silver and IGG into in-hand IGG.  Eventually it'd convert IGG into Gold.  If you drew 5 coppers after turn 7-ish, Mint could be worthwhile.

- When do you take the copper in cases you don't actually need it for your buy? Ideally you keep track of your deck composition and calculate the buying power - if it's >1.0, don't take the copper, if its <1.0, get it. However, this is a bit flawed since your buying power in the "Duchy phase" decreases faster than you can increase it during the "IGG phase" - so there's still no definite answer. Most times it's probably better to just take it (assuming almost pure IGG rushs), but as I seed in the beginning, I'm not sure.

Taking the Copper when you don't need to spend it is almost always bad in my mind.  The only exception I can think of is if you're trying to 3 pile with Gardens.  If your buying power is < 1.0, (a) you've probably already lost, and (b) it'd be better to buy Silver on your inevitable $4 hands to catch up.  Silver will increase your buying power over 1.0, Copper will only make it asymptotically approach 1.0.
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