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Author Topic: Simulation with useful Thief or Chancellor in Base Game  (Read 1271 times)

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NolanA

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Simulation with useful Thief or Chancellor in Base Game
« on: July 25, 2016, 12:29:46 am »
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I started playing Dominion recently and have only played the base game so far.   I believe I have a good handle on the base cards and win most games against high ranked players (~4500 rating on MF).  The cards I buy most and least often when available would be something like below:

Almost Always Buy -- Witch
Often Buy -- Cellar, Chapel, Council Room, Festival, Gardens,  Laboratory, Library, Market, Militia, Moat, Remodel, Smithy, Village
Sometimes Buy -- Bureaocrat, Feast, Throne Room, Workshop
Rarely Buy -- Adventurer, Mine, Moneylender, Spy, Woodcutter
Never Buy -- Chancellor, Thief

I realize this list is a little different than most I play, such as opening with Moneylender much less often; and rarely playing Mine (mostly on a 5/2 open when nothing better is available or later stages of certain engines) or Spy (mostly chapeled decks when there is nothing else of any <=4 price that I want to buy, including silver).  However, my biggest interest is the two cards I  never buy or play -- thief and chancellor.  They are the only 2 cards in the base game that I have not found a use for.   Does anyone have an example simulation where either of these cards have a noteworthy improvement on win rate compared to the best non-thief/chancellor alternative?
« Last Edit: July 25, 2016, 12:36:12 am by NolanA »
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Re: Simulation with useful Thief or Chancellor in Base Game
« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2016, 01:20:27 am »
+3

Well let's see... straight up Chancellor money beats straight up money 52 - 40, so sure, I can design a kingdom in which Chancellor should be bought - something like Cellar, Chapel, Chancellor, Feast, Mine, Spy, Thief, Throne Room, Village, Workshop.
Spy/Thief money is the best strategy not involving Chancellor, gets beat by Chancellor money 55% to 39%, which is fairly significant - the best strategy against Chancellor is straight up money, which loses as stated above. It is a small, but certainly significant, benefit to be able to play your newly bought cards sooner.
In this case, I feel like this is more of an example than a specific kingdom, but is enough to show that Chancellor given terminal space can easily be better than Silver. The article on the wiki is still fairly relevant for this difference.

Thief tends to be absolute garbage against a competent opponent (which the simulator bots are, to some extent). Thief money is barely better than straight up money, beating it 49 - 45. Going Spy/Thief improves that to 53 - 41, and absolutely destroys decks that try to thin out Copper, but gets beat by just about anything which doesn't use treasure for economy.
So yeah, I can design a kingdom in which buying Thief is the correct move: Cellar, Chapel, Feast, Mine, Moneylender, Spy, Thief, Throne Room, Village, Workshop. If your opponent doesn't buy Thief, they will probably lose.
This may be the only kingdom entirely from the base game in which buying Thief is the right thing to do.

Best of luck moving on from the base game.
« Last Edit: July 25, 2016, 01:52:41 am by traces Around »
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NolanA

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Re: Simulation with useful Thief or Chancellor in Base Game
« Reply #2 on: July 25, 2016, 02:22:30 am »
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Quote
Cellar, Chapel, Chancellor, Feast, Mine, Spy, Thief, Throne Room, Village, Workshop.
Spy/Thief money is the best strategy not involving Chancellor, gets beat by Chancellor money 55% to 39%, which is fairly significant - the best strategy against Chancellor is Woodcutter money, which loses 50 - 43. It is a small, but certainly significant, benefit to be able to play your newly bought cards sooner.
In this case, I feel like this is more of an example than a specific kingdom, but is enough to show that Chancellor given terminal space can easily be better than Silver. The article on the wiki is still fairly relevant for this difference.
On the board you listed, I think Mine would be a better alternative than Chancellor.  With a simple strategy of buying 1 mine, I get a 49% Mine / 42% Chancellor.   I also beat Chancellor with a more complex Mine/Chapel/Spy/Village setup that has different rules for buying relating to the chapeled deck.   I beat Chancellor by a small margin with Spy/Chapel alone (no Mine) as well.

However, I do see your point.  There are probably a few kingdoms where  Chancellor - Big Money variants are the best alternative.  Perhaps Cellar, Chancellor, Feast, Moneylender, Spy, Thief, Throne Room, Village, Woodcutter, Workshop?  I don't think I've seen such a kingdom in play before, where the wasn't anything better than Chancellor - Big Money.  Does anyone have thoughts about more likely scenarios where the card is important to buy?

Quote
So yeah, I can design a kingdom in which buying Thief is the correct move: Cellar, Chapel, Feast, Mine, Moneylender, Spy, Thief, Throne Room, Village, Workshop. If your opponent doesn't buy Thief, they will probably lose.
I win by a large margin with Mine as well as with Workshop (generating silver) against Thief or Spy/Thief in this kingdom.  It would be difficult to find a kingdom where there is nothing better than Spy/Thief.
« Last Edit: July 25, 2016, 04:42:09 am by NolanA »
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Chris is me

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Re: Simulation with useful Thief or Chancellor in Base Game
« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2016, 06:51:12 am »
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I assume this means "cards I choose to buy at all the most / least often" and not like frequency of buys within a game. More than two Cellar is pretty bad for example.

Moneylender is a lot better than "rarely buy". It's certainly better than Moat, Feast, or Bureaucrat, especially in the absence of other trashing.

Thief's main utility isn't very big, but in 4 player games it is a good Gardens enabler as it lets you gain up to 3 cards with one play. With later expansions, Thief lets you take key treasures like Platinum and Fools' Gold.

Chancellor's effect is pretty much never useful enough to be worth a terminal action slot. If you have plenty of room for it Action wise, or have some reason for most of the cards in your deck to be Actions (City Quarter, Scrying Pool) it's a bit more useful than Silver. But Chancellor and Woodcutter really should have been combined into the same card.

Something to keep in mind is that a base only player at 4500 on the ladder is going to be a lot worse than an all cards player on the same spot on the ladder. After all they are only playing other Base only players.
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Re: Simulation with useful Thief or Chancellor in Base Game
« Reply #4 on: July 25, 2016, 01:08:32 pm »
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On the board you listed, I think Mine would be a better alternative than Chancellor.  With a simple strategy of buying 1 mine, I get a 49% Mine / 42% Chancellor.   I also beat Chancellor with a more complex Mine/Chapel/Spy/Village setup that has different rules for buying relating to the chapeled deck.   I beat Chancellor by a small margin with Spy/Chapel alone (no Mine) as well.
It seems I have forgotten the order of the base set super weak money enablers. I am having a really hard time putting myself at fault for that one - going for speed of reply over accuracy on something you are somewhat unfamiliar with while half asleep seems to have consequences for accuracy - who would have thought?
I also would love to see the buy rules for the Spy/Chapel that wins by a small margin - something seems off about that and unlike the other results I have been unable to reproduce it.

However, I do see your point.  There are probably a few kingdoms where  Chancellor - Big Money variants are the best alternative.  Perhaps Cellar, Chancellor, Feast, Moneylender, Spy, Thief, Throne Room, Village, Woodcutter, Workshop?  I don't think I've seen such a kingdom in play before, where the wasn't anything better than Chancellor - Big Money.  Does anyone have thoughts about more likely scenarios where the card is important to buy?
Almost never important (with one possible exception - Stash), but certainly marginal at times. As I said, this article from 2011 is still pretty good (probably because Chancellor is such a weak card): https://dominionstrategy.com/2011/01/28/guest-article-chancellor/

I win by a large margin with Mine as well as with Workshop (generating silver) against Thief or Spy/Thief in this kingdom.  It would be difficult to find a kingdom where there is nothing better than Spy/Thief.
That is a problem with trying to design kingdoms to highlight a weak card only using the base set - so many cards give very small benefits that it is difficult to find enough weaker ones to stick in. Now, give me Intrigue... it can be done.

If you are on today around the same time as your first post yesterday, I would be happy to play some non-base games against you. Send me a private message if/when interested.

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Re: Simulation with useful Thief or Chancellor in Base Game
« Reply #5 on: July 25, 2016, 02:07:07 pm »
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Does anyone have thoughts about more likely scenarios where [Chancellor] is important to buy?
  • As a defense to top-deck attacks.  If your opponent puts bad cards at the top of your deck, Chancellor's ability is more valuable.  Bureaucrat and Spy are weak versions of this type of attack in the base set.  Rabble, Ghost Ship, and Sea Hag are stronger attacks where Chancellor's ability might prove valuable.
  • As a defense to treasure-trashing attacks.  Sometimes, your opponents can trash all of your treasures and Chancellor is the only action source of coins.  Theoretically, Thief poses a risk to treasure-only decks, but it is a very weak card.  In other expansions, Pirate Ship and Noble Brigand are stronger attacks of a similar sort, but still weak.
  • In decks where you want actions to provide your coin (often termed 'virtual coin') instead of treasures.  In the base set, there's Throne Room.  You cannot use Throne Room on Silver, but you can use it on Chancellor.  In other expansions, there are throne room variants where a similar logic applies.  There are other cards that benefit from an action source of coins, most notably Scrying Pool and City Quarter.
  • There are a few non-terminal actions that are especially valuable to play early and often.  Chancellor's deck-cycling is especially valuable in these cases.  There are no such cards in the base set.  In other expansions, Familiar, Rebuild, and Page are standouts.
  • If you, yourself, put junk on the top of your deck, Chancellor is more valuable.  I can't think of any cards in the base set like this.  In other expansions, Apothecary is the standout.  A string of Apothecaries can leave you with only green on the top of your deck.  Discarding all of that with a Chancellor is valuable.
To be fair, Chancellor is a weak card.  But, it has its uses.
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faust

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Re: Simulation with useful Thief or Chancellor in Base Game
« Reply #6 on: July 25, 2016, 02:18:11 pm »
+1

Chancellor beats Silver in draw-to-X engines with sufficient actions available. So something like

Festival, Village, Library, Chancellor, Moneylender, Mine, Thief, Spy, Throne Room, Bureaucrat

certainly uses Chancellor in the optimal strategy.
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Losses: NM4, M33, M35, M37, M38, M45, M46, M60, M68, M69, M82, RMM13, RMM21, RMM26, M43, M51, M58, M72, M83, RMM15, RMM33

MVPs: M41, M53, M63, M65, M66, RMM20, RMM24, RMM28
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Re: Simulation with useful Thief or Chancellor in Base Game
« Reply #7 on: July 25, 2016, 02:24:48 pm »
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Quote
So yeah, I can design a kingdom in which buying Thief is the correct move: Cellar, Chapel, Feast, Mine, Moneylender, Spy, Thief, Throne Room, Village, Workshop. If your opponent doesn't buy Thief, they will probably lose.
I win by a large margin with Mine as well as with Workshop (generating silver) against Thief or Spy/Thief in this kingdom.  It would be difficult to find a kingdom where there is nothing better than Spy/Thief.

The answer is again in the engine. In the above kingdom, we probably want to add some draw to make a better engine (Lab is good, Smithy probably works too, there are enough actions). Replace Mine by that. The engine should beat any strategy based on money, and the only way to build a strategy not based on money is Thief.
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Wins: M30, M36, M41, M53, M55, M63, M66, M71, M74, M75, M77, RMM11, RMM12, RMM14, RMM16, RMM18, RMM23, NMV, M31, M42, M56, M65, RMM20, RMM24, RMM28, M61, RMM22
Losses: NM4, M33, M35, M37, M38, M45, M46, M60, M68, M69, M82, RMM13, RMM21, RMM26, M43, M51, M58, M72, M83, RMM15, RMM33

MVPs: M41, M53, M63, M65, M66, RMM20, RMM24, RMM28
Win percentage: 56.3 (27/48)
Modded games: M40, M50, M59, M69, M79, RMM19, RMM25, RMM30

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NolanA

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Re: Simulation with useful Thief or Chancellor in Base Game
« Reply #8 on: July 25, 2016, 04:11:01 pm »
+1

Quote from: traces around
I also would love to see the buy rules for the Spy/Chapel that wins by a small margin - something seems off about that and unlike the other results I have been unable to reproduce it.
I get a 55%/40% win over Chancellor with the simple Spy/Chapel rules below (open with Spy/Chapel, then buy unlimited gold and silvers).  I spent less than a minute writing this, without attempt to optimize or utilize additional available cards.  I'm sure you could get a larger win rate with such improvements.

Quote from: Spy/Chapel Sim
   <buy name="Province">
      <condition>
         <left type="getTotalMoney"/>
         <operator type="greaterThan" />
         <right type="constant" attribute="12.0"/>
      </condition>
   </buy>
   <buy name="Duchy">
      <condition>
         <left type="countCardsInSupply" attribute="Province"/>
         <operator type="smallerOrEqualThan" />
         <right type="constant" attribute="3.0"/>
      </condition>
   </buy>
   <buy name="Estate">
      <condition>
         <left type="countCardsInSupply" attribute="Province"/>
         <operator type="smallerOrEqualThan" />
         <right type="constant" attribute="2.0"/>
      </condition>
   </buy>
   <buy name="Gold"/>
   <buy name="Duchy">
      <condition>
         <left type="countCardsInSupply" attribute="Province"/>
         <operator type="smallerOrEqualThan" />
         <right type="constant" attribute="4.0"/>
      </condition>
   </buy>
   <buy name="Spy">
      <condition>
         <left type="countCardsInDeck" attribute="Spy"/>
         <operator type="equalTo" />
         <right type="constant" attribute="0.0"/>
      </condition>
   </buy>
   <buy name="Chapel" strategy="aggressiveTrashing">
      <condition>
         <left type="countCardsInDeck" attribute="Chapel"/>
         <operator type="equalTo" />
         <right type="constant" attribute="0.0"/>
      </condition>
   </buy>
   <buy name="Silver"/>
« Last Edit: July 25, 2016, 10:14:03 pm by NolanA »
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NolanA

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Re: Simulation with useful Thief or Chancellor in Base Game
« Reply #9 on: July 25, 2016, 04:46:27 pm »
+1

Moneylender is a lot better than "rarely buy". It's certainly better than Moat, Feast, or Bureaucrat, especially in the absence of other trashing.
The main time I'd get Moneylender is when all the elements are available for a great engine except for a better trasher, like Chapel or Remodel. An example is Village/Smithy + Festival + Workshop + Moneylender.  I'd much rather make this engine if Remodel or Chapel is available, but in their absence Moneylender is better than non-engine alternatives, like Smithy-Big Money.  This situation is rare, so I rarely get Moneylender.  A list of more common types of games with the base set and why I don't get Moneylender is below.  In what common situation would you get Moneylender in a base set game to make it more than a "rarely buy"?

Engine -- As mentioned earlier, Moneylender can work as a trasher in absence of Remodel or Chapel, but the chances of a kingdom with a good enough potential engine to beat Smithy-BM with Moneylender as a trasher and no better trasher available is rare.

Workshop/Bureaucrat/Council Gardens Rush-- Moneylender slows down the rush and doesn't have a great benefit since a large number of expensive cards are not required.  It also reduces the value of Gardens with fewer cards in the deck.

Witch Game -- Most persons I play against would open Moneylender/Silver if nothing better is available, yet in sims opening Silver/Silver does better.  Moneylender can help get Witch earlier, but it interferes with Witch +2 card draws after you get the Witch(es). In contrast, Feast does help here (in absence of anything better), which is the primary reason why I did not list Feast as a "rarely buy".

Smithy/Council/Library: Big Money -- Same issue as Witch with Moneylender interfering.  Buying almost anything other than an additional Smithy/Council/Library will hurt them (I realize Library is a bit different and has a few important exceptions).

Militia as Terminal  -- This includes Militia alone or with a combination of things like Market, Festival, Lab, and/or Chapel.   Opening with Militia/Silver is better, and if you do get multiple actions (for example with Festival), then it's better to use those actions on additional Militia than a Moneylender.

Lab + Terminal -- Moneylender is a viable terminal action here, but there are often better alternatives, like Woodcutter in the less common kingdoms where there is nothing better than lab +  (non-militia) terminal.  This makes playing Moneylender as a Lab terminal rare for me.

Quote
Thief's main utility isn't very big, but in 4 player games it is a good Gardens enabler as it lets you gain up to 3 cards with one play. With later expansions, Thief lets you take key treasures like Platinum and Fools' Gold.
That's a good point with 4-player games that I had not considered.  Thief does get more valuable as number of players increases and probably has far more useful situations in 4-player games than 2-player.

Quote
Something to keep in mind is that a base only player at 4500 on the ladder is going to be a lot worse than an all cards player on the same spot on the ladder. After all they are only playing other Base only players.
It's been my experience that all other persons I play against who are ranked 4500+ frequently play with more than just base set, as listed in log files.   However, I usually leave "allow cards I don't own" unchecked, so when we play it is just base game cards.  I'm sure they'd destroy me in a game where most cards are ones I am not familiar with, but I hold my own in base set games, probably winning the majority of games by a small margin.    I expect the larger number of cards in additional sets makes it easier to distinguish players at this rank level.  This probably partially relates to why there are few base game only players at this ranking.  An opponent ranked 1000+ less is likely to be familiar with simple base game strategies, like Smithy-BM or Workshop-Gardens and has a good chance to win in such games, causing a big rankings decrease.  However, the 1000+ less player is less likely to be familiar with the best strategy for an all sets game, so the skilled all sets player is less likely to see a rankings decrease.
« Last Edit: July 25, 2016, 10:45:53 pm by NolanA »
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NolanA

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Re: Simulation with useful Thief or Chancellor in Base Game
« Reply #10 on: July 25, 2016, 05:51:13 pm »
0

Quote
So yeah, I can design a kingdom in which buying Thief is the correct move: Cellar, Chapel, Feast, Mine, Moneylender, Spy, Thief, Throne Room, Village, Workshop. If your opponent doesn't buy Thief, they will probably lose.
I win by a large margin with Mine as well as with Workshop (generating silver) against Thief or Spy/Thief in this kingdom.  It would be difficult to find a kingdom where there is nothing better than Spy/Thief.

The answer is again in the engine. In the above kingdom, we probably want to add some draw to make a better engine (Lab is good, Smithy probably works too, there are enough actions). Replace Mine by that. The engine should beat any strategy based on money, and the only way to build a strategy not based on money is Thief.
While one can build a strategy not based on money with a Thief, would it be better than the alternative in your example kingdoms?  I think the answer depends on what your opponent does.  For example, if your opponent is dead set on using a Lab with Moneylender terminal strategy and will not change it regardless of what you do, then a Spy-Thief works well.   However, if your opponent is using a Lab with Workshop terminal strategy, then I'd expect Spy-Thief to lose 80%+ of the time.  Lab-Workshop would also beat Lab/Spy/Thief. It could be useful to switch your terminal card to Thief, depending on what your opponent does and how the game is going.   It seems risky to start out with a Thief strategy in these cases, especially with the Smithy example.
« Last Edit: July 25, 2016, 06:36:23 pm by NolanA »
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NolanA

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Re: Simulation with useful Thief or Chancellor in Base Game
« Reply #11 on: July 25, 2016, 06:08:41 pm »
0

Chancellor beats Silver in draw-to-X engines with sufficient actions available. So something like

Festival, Village, Library, Chancellor, Moneylender, Mine, Thief, Spy, Throne Room, Bureaucrat

certainly uses Chancellor in the optimal strategy.
I'd probably choose Library-Festival in this kingdom.  In a quick sim without any optimization, Library-Festival without Chancellor beats Library-Festival + Chancellor in this example, as well as tested Chancellor options without Library.   I'll review in more detail later.  What type of Chancellor strategy were you thinking of in this case?
« Last Edit: July 25, 2016, 07:17:42 pm by NolanA »
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Re: Simulation with useful Thief or Chancellor in Base Game
« Reply #12 on: July 26, 2016, 05:54:10 am »
0

Quote
So yeah, I can design a kingdom in which buying Thief is the correct move: Cellar, Chapel, Feast, Mine, Moneylender, Spy, Thief, Throne Room, Village, Workshop. If your opponent doesn't buy Thief, they will probably lose.
I win by a large margin with Mine as well as with Workshop (generating silver) against Thief or Spy/Thief in this kingdom.  It would be difficult to find a kingdom where there is nothing better than Spy/Thief.

The answer is again in the engine. In the above kingdom, we probably want to add some draw to make a better engine (Lab is good, Smithy probably works too, there are enough actions). Replace Mine by that. The engine should beat any strategy based on money, and the only way to build a strategy not based on money is Thief.
While one can build a strategy not based on money with a Thief, would it be better than the alternative in your example kingdoms?  I think the answer depends on what your opponent does.  For example, if your opponent is dead set on using a Lab with Moneylender terminal strategy and will not change it regardless of what you do, then a Spy-Thief works well.   However, if your opponent is using a Lab with Workshop terminal strategy, then I'd expect Spy-Thief to lose 80%+ of the time.  Lab-Workshop would also beat Lab/Spy/Thief. It could be useful to switch your terminal card to Thief, depending on what your opponent does and how the game is going.   It seems risky to start out with a Thief strategy in these cases, especially with the Smithy example.

I feel like you are only considering very simple strategies. That is not the key. The key is to build an engine that plays 5 or more Thieves per turn. The engine involves opening Chapel/Workshop, then going for Village, Smithy, Throne Rooms, another Workshop or two, and 3-4 Thieves which get throned each turn. Maybe add Spy if you don't have anything else you need.
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Wins: M30, M36, M41, M53, M55, M63, M66, M71, M74, M75, M77, RMM11, RMM12, RMM14, RMM16, RMM18, RMM23, NMV, M31, M42, M56, M65, RMM20, RMM24, RMM28, M61, RMM22
Losses: NM4, M33, M35, M37, M38, M45, M46, M60, M68, M69, M82, RMM13, RMM21, RMM26, M43, M51, M58, M72, M83, RMM15, RMM33

MVPs: M41, M53, M63, M65, M66, RMM20, RMM24, RMM28
Win percentage: 56.3 (27/48)
Modded games: M40, M50, M59, M69, M79, RMM19, RMM25, RMM30

Most people are complete idiots.

faust

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Re: Simulation with useful Thief or Chancellor in Base Game
« Reply #13 on: July 26, 2016, 05:56:34 am »
0

Chancellor beats Silver in draw-to-X engines with sufficient actions available. So something like

Festival, Village, Library, Chancellor, Moneylender, Mine, Thief, Spy, Throne Room, Bureaucrat

certainly uses Chancellor in the optimal strategy.
I'd probably choose Library-Festival in this kingdom.  In a quick sim without any optimization, Library-Festival without Chancellor beats Library-Festival + Chancellor in this example, as well as tested Chancellor options without Library.   I'll review in more detail later.  What type of Chancellor strategy were you thinking of in this case?

The strategy is more complicated here too. Open Moneylender/Chancellor (5/2 is pretty bad; I'd probably get Festival/-), get a Village or Festival on shuffle 2, and build from there using Throne Rooms, Villages, Festivals, Libraries and Chancellors on spare $3s.
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Wins: M30, M36, M41, M53, M55, M63, M66, M71, M74, M75, M77, RMM11, RMM12, RMM14, RMM16, RMM18, RMM23, NMV, M31, M42, M56, M65, RMM20, RMM24, RMM28, M61, RMM22
Losses: NM4, M33, M35, M37, M38, M45, M46, M60, M68, M69, M82, RMM13, RMM21, RMM26, M43, M51, M58, M72, M83, RMM15, RMM33

MVPs: M41, M53, M63, M65, M66, RMM20, RMM24, RMM28
Win percentage: 56.3 (27/48)
Modded games: M40, M50, M59, M69, M79, RMM19, RMM25, RMM30

Most people are complete idiots.

JThorne

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Re: Simulation with useful Thief or Chancellor in Base Game
« Reply #14 on: July 26, 2016, 01:23:57 pm »
+3

It sounds to me like you need to move on from the base cards as soon as possible. Never mind the rankings and win rates. Dominion is an incredibly rich game, and I've noticed that the more complex later sets start making using the simulators as guides much more difficult, if not impossible.

You understand the basic BM/engine/slog/rush strategies, and how they relate to the base cards, but one of the big problems with the base cards and using simulators is that they start encouraging a sort of "automated" thought process where the game virtually plays itself. There are almost no cards in base set that include a decision, so the decks almost play themselves, leaving only the buying decisions.

This changes dramatically as the game progresses. There are more playing decisions, more complex cards, and much more dramatic engine possibilities. The base set doesn't support any sorts of combos, pins or megaturns. Very few of the base cards will give you the "I never thought of using that card that way" feeling when you see another player using them.

It starts making you think about a huge number of things, including how you might approach the base set cards differently. You start pondering not just buying strategies, but a surprising number of playing strategies, including things like carefully managing when you trigger a reshuffle. Legendary player Stef has said that you should think about the progression process not in terms of turns, but in terms of shuffles (which is part of what makes Chancellor more interesting that it seems at first. Still a terrible card, but not an irrelevant one.)

If you're thinking of power-$5 cards in terms of Lab, Witch and Market, well, just wait until you work with more sets! That decision to open Moneylender/Silver vs. Silver/Silver looks a LOT different when you don't want any silver, or maybe even any treasure at all! Sure, a hand of ESCCC and SMCCC both make $5, but the Moneylender hand, crucially, kills a Copper on its way to $5. The explosive exponential potential of thin engines with non-base cards will blow you away.

I'm with faust on this. It's been a long road, but I started to see the deck-building process in terms of having a very specific goal for what my "final" deck should look like before it "goes off" and starts doing what it's supposed to do, and trusting that vision. So many deck designs do nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing, then they suddenly "click" into working once the last few pieces are in place. It's tricky to simulate.

Automatic, conservative, simulator-proven strategies do work, and they'll win you a few games, even against experienced players. But optimizing your playing strategies for the base set will wear grooves in your brain that you don't want to be there.

Expand your card base, allow the cards you don't own, and pretty soon you'll see some significant changes in your buying patterns. Chapel will jump to the top, Adventurer to the bottom. Moneylender will rise, Moat will fall. Just my guess. Have fun!

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NolanA

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Re: Simulation with useful Thief or Chancellor in Base Game
« Reply #15 on: July 26, 2016, 01:36:57 pm »
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The engine involves opening Chapel/Workshop, then going for Village, Smithy, Throne Rooms, another Workshop or two, and 3-4 Thieves which get throned each turn. Maybe add Spy if you don't have anything else you need.
This is exactly what I was hoping for when I started the thread. This seems like an effective Thief strategy that is also fun and interesting to play, and something I've never seen anyone do in all of my games.  In my simulations of Thief Onslaught vs Smithy-BM, Thief Onslaught obliterates Smithy with a ~98% win rate, without using Throne Room or Spy, and the game almost always ends with the Smithy-BM player having no treasure at all!   I can reach ~93% win rate without using Smithy or Workshop (only Village/Chapel + Thief), although I see why you need something to better draw your deck when playing against several other types of strategies besides big money variants.  These are higher win rates than I thought would be possible with a Thief centered strategy or almost anything in  the base game vs Smithy-BM.  I believe the 98% vs 2% is the highest win rate I've ever seen against Smithy in the base game, so I saved a screenshot (attached).  Requiring so few cards to be effective also opens the door to a wide variety of thief uses.

It also has a dominating win against several other strategies that are usually quite strong.  For example, it has >80% win against typical Witch variants that do not include Militia. However, the Smithy player and others can defend against the Thief Onslaught by altering strategy when they recognize what is happening.  This is even more true if the opponent is also doing a Village/Smithy strategy since it takes longer to do catastrophic damage by gradually removing treasure when the opponent is drawing his deck and it's easier for him to end the game prematurely with 3 empty pile.  For example, an extremely similar Village/Smithy/Chapel + Workshop (without Thief) strategy can dominate over the discussed with Thief strategy.  So I'd still consider Thief Onslaught a risky strategy that depends on what your opponent does and how the game is going, like my earlier comments.  Nevertheless, I'd start by going for it in your example kingdom and many others where it is possible because it seems interesting, unique, fun, and very powerful in the right situation.  It would make for a memorable game.  Thanks again for this.  I keep thinking of new situations for Thief that I am looking forward to try.

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The strategy is more complicated here too. Open Moneylender/Chancellor (5/2 is pretty bad; I'd probably get Festival/-), get a Village or Festival on shuffle 2, and build from there using Throne Rooms, Villages, Festivals, Libraries and Chancellors on spare $3s.
In my sims, this strategy loses to a simple Library-Festival.  I may have implemented details differently than you were thinking. Simulation code would be helpful.

There are many kingdoms where I will do a more complex engine, sometimes utilizing most of the kingdom cards.  However, I wouldn't do this in a Library game where I am limited to a draw to x hand; and in Village/Smithy games, I had been looking for at least a source of multiple buys, like Festival/Market/Woodcutter.    I'm looking forward to changing this approach and trying your Thief Onslaught strategy in real play.




« Last Edit: July 27, 2016, 03:38:36 am by NolanA »
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NolanA

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Re: Simulation with useful Thief or Chancellor in Base Game
« Reply #16 on: July 26, 2016, 01:54:00 pm »
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It sounds to me like you need to move on from the base cards as soon as possible. Never mind the rankings and win rates. Dominion is an incredibly rich game, and I've noticed that the more complex later sets start making using the simulators as guides much more difficult, if not impossible.
I am still a relatively new player, so I still find the base set interesting and enjoyable, and still regularly come across strategy improvements or new strategies that I hadn't considered, like the thief onslaught strategy mentioned above.   I am planning to gradually move on from the base set, but by playing kingdoms with a couple new cards from another expansion set (probably Intrigue) and most of the cards being ones from the base set, like occurs in the base set campaigns.  I may start the next time there is a sale or free trial period on an expansion set (not sure if this happens).  Once base set + Intrigue starts getting old and familiar, then move on to the next set, and so on.  I think this would work better than jumping in to a game with all unfamiliar cards, and likely spending enough time reading/thinking about the cards prior to my first move for my opponent to either leave the game or complain.  It also gives me the chance to experience new cards gradually for months or even years, if I choose, gradually introducing new aspects to the game that make it more interesting and give more play time before becoming bored of the game.  With other board games, I often get tired of games quickly  for reasons similar to the ones you discussed.  For example, I became bored with Machi Koro after playing just 2 games and haven't played it again since then.  I think Dominion will be different, with me gradually adding expansions as I described...  hopefully allowing me to enjoy the game for years.  I am not in a rush. 
« Last Edit: July 26, 2016, 08:04:15 pm by NolanA »
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Seprix

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Re: Simulation with useful Thief or Chancellor in Base Game
« Reply #17 on: July 26, 2016, 08:04:57 pm »
+4

The Base Set is unbelievably boring. You're missing out. Just take the plunge.
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