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Author Topic: Delving into the Royal Blacksmith's Catapults (IRL game)  (Read 1156 times)

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Delving into the Royal Blacksmith's Catapults (IRL game)
« on: August 21, 2016, 05:40:59 pm »
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I played this game IRL earlier today with a friend, and enjoyed it so much that we ended up playing twice. I won both times - in fact, I dominated (yeah I know that's frowned upon here, but I'm mostly asking questions at the bottom, not focusing on how I won) - but I still have no idea if what I was doing was the best thing to do, if I was focusing on the right things, what could have been done differently, and most of all, WHY I won by such a huge margin, especially the second time when we played similar strategies.

Kingdom:

Delve

Encampment/Plunder
Fool's Gold
Catapult/Rocks
Lookout
Woodcutter
Ironworks
Quarry
Walled Village
Wild Hunt
Royal Blacksmith

Colony/Platinum, Estates.

So as a preface, almost no experience with Empires. This was my first time playing with all of the Empires cards here, except Catapult. The first game was a bit of a mess. I saw Delve + Catapults was nice, and Catapults + Lookout could trash down coppers (while attacking for the formers case) and make Royal Blacksmith very effective, and with Walled Villages to power that, get a mean engine going. I went for it, my opponent wanted to go aggressive with the Catapults and score with Wild Hunts, but ended up getting bad draws early with his Catapults, prioritised playing Wild Hunts and ended up with a massively bloated deck. With Delve constantly providing ammo for Catapults as well as some payload, I won by a massive margin, something like 7 Colonies to 1. Also, I bought a Woodcutter with a single buy for $23, which I'm sorta proud of.

The second game we both had a better idea of what to do - trashing down was too important to ignore, as was constantly attacking with catapults to get those curses into your opponents deck and stop them using catapult efficiently while buying cards themselves, but you also need to grab that Woodcutter at some point and get your engine flowing so you can consistently attack, draw your deck and get Woodcutters into play for extra buys. This time I added Encampments in after getting a Gold - they weren't 100% reliably matched up, but for only $2 each they really helped the deck anyway, and it was okay to lose them back to the supply occasionally. I also laser focused on the Catapults and the engine, constantly attacking while building up, putting those Walled Villages, Royal Blacksmiths and Encampments in, along with two Woodcutters and enough Delving to keep Silvers around for curse slinging. My opponent did largely the same but opted for Wild Hunt over Royal Blacksmith, and got 3 Catapults to my 2 Lookouts. He also trashed his Estates with Catapult first, instead of Copper. And yet these small differences somehow ended up with the game going very similarly to the first - my deck ended up in a very powerful engine, playing everything fairly consistently, and regularly getting $20+ money to spend, while his stuttered along, choked on curses and not able to play Catapults enough to consistently hurt me, or consistently pick up the engine pieces it needed.

Based on these thoughts I have a few questions:

1) What do you think the best strategy here is? Even after playing twice, I don't think I was anything close to optimal in my choices (I feel like Ironworks should have been involved somewhere - somehow I didn't even realise it was in the game during the second match). Do Plunder, Ironworks or Wild Hunt have a place?

2) Based on the description I've given, how come my deck was so massively better than my opponents? I can understand if my deck was slightly better, due to better choices, but my deck just sorta dominating while his was so weak really surprised me. Did not prioritising attacking with Catapults, and going 3 Catapults vs. 2 + Lookout really slow him down that much? He's not a weak player, either. I probably win more often than not against him but he's pretty decent.

It was a very fun kingdom, I feel like almost everything was relevant in some way except possibly Ironworks for us, but even that could have been. It was kinda neat that most of the different basic treasure cards had this subtle attached effects in the game due to stuff going on - Copper was cheap Catapult ammo but also bad for Royal Blacksmith, Silver was a $2 card which took no buy but still triggered the full effect of Catapult, Gold enabled Encampment, and Platinum was your big money payload. It made them feel almost like kingdom cards.
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...spin-offs are still better for all of the previously cited reasons.
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Re: Delving into the Royal Blacksmith's Catapults (IRL game)
« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2016, 06:13:51 pm »
+1

This is what I would do:

Open Lookout/Ironworks.
Get Catapult/Quarry on the second shuffle.

From there, build the engine with Walled Village/Wild Hunt. I'd ignore Royal Blacksmith in favor of more Wild Hunts. At some point you want to add a Woodcutter, and once Walled Villages run out, use your Ironworks to gain Encampments. At some point after Walled Villages have run out, buy a single Gold (or Plunder if available) to keep your Encampments. Winning the Village splits is key here.

I wouldn't buy Delve until you consistently draw your deck. Then you can use it as Catapult fodder.

Things I'm unsure about:
- maybe you want a second Catapult, or you want to open Catapult. I'm not sure about its power level.
- it's possible that a second Ironworks will be good.
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Since the number of points is within a constant factor of the number of city quarters, in the long run we can get (4 - ε) ↑↑ n points in n turns for any ε > 0.

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Re: Delving into the Royal Blacksmith's Catapults (IRL game)
« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2016, 06:16:18 pm »
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Also, if you're losing the Village split, you should consider Royal Blacksmith as your main draw.
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Since the number of points is within a constant factor of the number of city quarters, in the long run we can get (4 - ε) ↑↑ n points in n turns for any ε > 0.

Chris is me

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Re: Delving into the Royal Blacksmith's Catapults (IRL game)
« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2016, 06:45:12 pm »
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Note: like 90% of this post is wrong

The defining thing in this Kingdom for me is the total lack of +Buy. So your payload is limited to 1 Province a turn plus whatever VP you get from Wild Hunt and then I guess there's also Catapult. You can probably set things up so you get $10 every turn to buy Province + Silver (Delve) and keep feeding your Catapult. Maybe you even eventually want 2 so you can have one to trash Curses, but if you're clever you can use Lookout to reliably trash that Estate.

I would prefer Royal Blacksmith for draw if you could double Province and then this would be a totally different board where Fools' Gold is a big part of your payload, but it's not. So Wild Hunt is basically required here because of the 4 VP a turn you get from playing 5 of them. You have 1.5 Village piles here and "good enough" thinning.

I'd consider double Lookout, then Ironworks / Catapult on the second shuffle if you can. You can eventually Catapult a Lookout for at least the Curse part of the attack, and you'll get thin fast, plus it is super easy to get Silver later anyway so just thin ASAP. Quarry doesn't do much for you here, but it probably makes getting those $5s easier... I'd probably skip it with the lack of +Buy.

Then you really want all the Walled Villages and Wild Hunts you can manage. Encampment is cool too, but you either need to treat it as a dead card for a little bit or buy it after you get a Gold for it to be a safe purchase. Eventually those Plunders are valuable points that will make your Province / Wild Hunt cycle win in a mirror matchup, and there's plenty of draw here to deal with them, plus the whole Encampment thing.

Oh shit, there's Woodcutter on this board! I didn't even see that until I wrote most of this post and got too invested in what I already said to delete it all. So uh. You probably still want the Wild Hunts as primary draw, just because you can't NOT contest the points there. Fools' Gold gets better as a potential payload source because it is gainable by Ironworks and it's really nice for double Province if you can get even 4 of them plus some other stuff. I wouldn't rush the pile though.

From there, build the engine with Walled Village/Wild Hunt. I'd ignore Royal Blacksmith in favor of more Wild Hunts. At some point you want to add a Woodcutter, and once Walled Villages run out, use your Ironworks to gain Encampments. At some point after Walled Villages have run out, buy a single Gold (or Plunder if available) to keep your Encampments. Winning the Village splits is key here.

You generally need more than one Gold / Plunder to keep your Encampments. If you're playing them only after you've drawn most of your deck (to get to the Gold), you're losing a lot of the value of Encampment in the draw.
« Last Edit: August 22, 2016, 08:41:50 am by Chris is me »
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Re: Delving into the Royal Blacksmith's Catapults (IRL game)
« Reply #4 on: August 22, 2016, 04:06:52 am »
+1

Chris, there is also colonies  8)
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Re: Delving into the Royal Blacksmith's Catapults (IRL game)
« Reply #5 on: August 22, 2016, 06:42:45 am »
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Hmm, interesting ideas. I didn't really think of using 4-5 Wild Hunts to draw and then grab the VP at the end. I guess that would require a lot of villages so you can play a lot of them, and then you're gonna want to trash that Estate somehow. I completely ignored Ironworks, but I do think getting one early is probably worth it for easy Walled Villages and the like. I'm also not certain using Wild Hunts as the only drawing (well plus Encampment) is necessarily correct, especially if you're getting cursed it's gonna be hard to keep your deck drawing reliably. But maybe a few Wild Hunts plus a Royal Blacksmith or two would work?
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Re: Delving into the Royal Blacksmith's Catapults (IRL game)
« Reply #6 on: August 22, 2016, 08:40:10 am »
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Yeah there's no harm in running a Royal Blacksmith or two here. The "use all the Wild Hunts to draw and your last one on Estate" thing is kind of the default strategy with those cards and it churns 4 VP a turn for 4-8 turns plus a pile empties. Doesn't have to be the only draw or even the primary draw to work, though it does eat five terminals so you basically have to support it with Encampments. The problem is if you don't do it the opponent can just let VP pile up and take it all at once. Maybe you only need like one or two though, just to deny points piling to the opponent, since Colonies can easily overwhelm their scoring.

I wouldn't worry too much about the cursing from Catapult. It's certainly a factor but it is a fairly slow Curser and it isn't that reliable at it since you need to trash a Silver or better for it to actually do it. You can try and use Lookout early to thin them out or a second Catapult later if you have the terminal space. Ideally you're going to get pretty thin pretty quick with Lookouts anyway.

Chris, there is also colonies  8)

God, I'm a moron without reading comprehension. I should just delete my old post, except sunk cost fallacy.
« Last Edit: August 22, 2016, 08:43:43 am by Chris is me »
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Re: Delving into the Royal Blacksmith's Catapults (IRL game)
« Reply #7 on: August 22, 2016, 12:05:36 pm »
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You say you need to trash Silver or better, but considering a Silver costs $2 and no buy, plus also hits them with a discard attack, and you can do that fairly reliably from like turn 6 or 7 onwards every turn, it doesn't really seem that slow to me. But I dunno. I can see just one Catapult being preferable to two.
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...spin-offs are still better for all of the previously cited reasons.
But not strictly better, because the spinoff can have a different cost than the expansion.
I hereby declare myself the best dominion player in the world. Obviously.
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