Dominion Strategy Forum

Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Pages: [1]

Author Topic: Caravan Guard Strategy Article  (Read 1647 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

SettingFraming

  • Bishop
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 123
  • Shuffle iT Username: breppert
  • Respect: +247
    • View Profile
Caravan Guard Strategy Article
« on: November 11, 2016, 03:15:37 pm »
+8

So, yeah, Caravan Guard, I think a lot of people don't really understand it.

There was discussion on the Discord about it yesterday in which I proposed some things that turned out to be right (this is rare), and my good friend Emil/Wachsmuth was kind enough to run the sims and confirm my back-of-the-napkin assumptions and calculations (more on that later). The thing to understand about Caravan Guard is that it varies a lot by deck type and purchase timing, and also that the differences are subtle but pretty obvious if you stop to think about them. Caravan Guard is not a card that is easy to "feel" the effectiveness of, which is why I think a strategy article is merited.

Big Money
This is always just the easiest one to talk about. Caravan Guard is better than silver in all big money that's not terminal draw. Ok, let me clarify. Caravan Guard is not always better than silver in big money--it's better after the first reshuffle. Meaning, you still open silver/silver, but then after that you buy Caravan Guards. The difference is small in straight big money, but you're almost never playing that, so that's not the point. Monument-BM with Caravan Guard beats the same without Caravan Guard. The reason is two-fold.
1) Caravan Guard is not a stop-card, so it helps you play your "key cards" more often (in this case, Monument).
2) As soon as the average treasure value of your deck is greater than 1, Caravan Guard is more money for your deck on average than a silver is. Caravan Guard is a peddler, after all, and it only costs $3!
The caveats:
A) Caravan Guard is delayed a turn, which matters a little bit
B) Caravan Guard can miss shuffles, which also matters less than you would think
The caveats matter, but the pros of Caravan Guard outweigh the cons of it in big money. You always open silver/silver still, especially if you want to do something like hit 5, but as the game progresses the cons of Caravan Guard start to matter less and less, and the pros matter more and more.

Also, obviously if you're playing attack-BM that's not terminal draw, then CG is a real all-star. But everyone already knew this. You still open silver/silver or silver/4-cost-attack, though. Then you pile on the CG's after that, but only instead of silvers. You still take your Gold and other key cards first.

Engines
This is where Caravan Guard is pretty weak. It doesn't help you hit 5 early that well, of course, although it does get you one card closer to cycling than Silver. This isn't a huge deal though, you still want silver over Caravan Guard early on in an engine. If the engine is super tight and you don't need a ton of coin then CG can be better, but be wary of things like Scrying Pool engines that need action density--Caravan Guard is only in your deck half of the turns.

Beyond the opening, it's important to realize what Caravan Guard is in your deck once you're drawing it. It's not a peddler. It's a half-peddler. So that means you're paying $3 for .5 coins/turn, which is just a terrible investment. You almost never want to add Caravan Guard to an engine that's under control, unless your only other option is nothing. If possible, it's usually better to take engine parts/treasure over another Caravan Guard. It just gives you so little economy.

So when do you want Caravan Guard in engines?
1) On the first few turns if it's a very tight engine (such as one with no handsize increasing and key cards), and during your build-up on your way to completing the engine on medium-powered engines. High-powered engines such as Wharf/Fishing Village engines have no place for Caravan Guards, as you're simply going to have too much power too soon for the Caravan Guard investment to be relevant.

Finally, the bottom-half reaction component matters pretty much not at all in engines. It gives you roughly an extra (5/deck size * 0.5 * attacked%) coins per turn. Not a big deal. With a deck of 25 cards where you get attacked every turn, it only gives you an extra 0.1 coins per turn on average. Of course, if you’re able to get down to a very small deck then the Caravan Guards get much better because you can chain them as well. If the board is otherwise weak and there’s an easy way to gain a lot of cheap cards, then this is probably worth doing.

Slogs
Hey, my favorite play-style! I’ll keep this section brief, because it’s really quite simple and caravan guard in slogs plays very similarly to caravan guards in money. Is your average treasure value at least 1.1 or so? Then get a caravan guard. Are there attacks? Then move this number down to around 1.05, depending on your deck size. Again, mathematically if your deck is any big at all the presence of attacks matter a lot less with Caravan Guard than you would think.

Also, important note: when you’re calculating average treasure value, it’s important to not calculate what your average treasure value is now, but what it will be at the start of the next shuffle. That’s an important note for all of Dominion really. Make deck-state dependent decisions based off of your next shuffle, and not your deck state during the current hand.

So, there we go, that’s my Caravan Guard article, and also my inaugural article. I’ve been playing Dominion for 123 days now, so it seemed about time, and Caravan Guard seems like an unimportant topic and thus a good place to get started  :)
« Last Edit: November 11, 2016, 05:50:18 pm by SettingFraming »
Logged
There are no masters, only those who have spent longer in the depths.

Jack Rudd

  • Jester
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 932
  • Shuffle iT Username: Jack Rudd
  • Respect: +807
    • View Profile
Re: Caravan Guard Strategy Article
« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2016, 04:19:30 pm »
0

I'll tell you what engines do quite like it, and that's engines built with Haggler. It's a nice harmless cantrip you can get free with your $4 Village.
Logged
Centuries later, archaeologists discover the remains of your ancient civilization.

Evidence of thriving towns, Pottery, roads, and a centralized government amaze the startled scientists.

Finally, they come upon a stone tablet, which contains but one mysterious phrase!

'ISOTROPIC WILL RETURN!'

Chris is me

  • Mountebank
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2076
  • Shuffle iT Username: Chris is me
  • What do you want me to say?
  • Respect: +2260
    • View Profile
Re: Caravan Guard Strategy Article
« Reply #2 on: November 11, 2016, 07:39:48 pm »
+4

I think your BM conclusion is totally wrong. You use Monument as an example to demonstrate why it is better than Silver in "any Big Money except terminal draw", but you ignore the key thing that makes it better than Silver in Monument BM games - you get to play Monuments more often! Monument BM wants to ideally play a Monument basically every turn, to get a points lead without clogging the deck. That is why it's so much better than Silver. You can't extrapolate that to the general case at all!

Not to mention, absolutely zero discussion of when Caravan Guard is at its best - against discard attacks! Now you don't have to decide to keep a cantrip or a Copper - play the cantrip, and make an informed decision!
Logged
Twitch channel: http://www.twitch.tv/chrisisme2791

bug me on discord

they/them

Seprix

  • Adventurer
  • ******
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 5115
  • Shuffle iT Username: Seprix
  • Weed Whackers Will Return
  • Respect: +2591
    • View Profile
    • My Dominion Blog
Re: Caravan Guard Strategy Article
« Reply #3 on: November 11, 2016, 11:40:53 pm »
0

Caravan Guard is the $3 equivalent of the Pearl Diver. Marginally useful sometimes for specific uses, but most often picked up because it is a cheap cantrip or an Action card in the first place.

All the same, interesting article. I think there are plenty of more assumptions that can be made about Caravan Guard, and I will look forward to you expanding further on this topic.
« Last Edit: November 11, 2016, 11:42:10 pm by Seprix »
Logged

-Stef-

  • 2012 & 2016 DS Champion
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1520
  • Respect: +3950
    • View Profile
Re: Caravan Guard Strategy Article
« Reply #4 on: November 12, 2016, 07:51:54 am »
+10

I think you have some good points, but also overlook some.

1. What you are basically saying is "if $1 + 1 card is better then $2, go for the caravan guards". I think this approximation is reasonable if your next turn is on the same shuffle, and pretty far of if it isn't. Caravan guard in money decks is much worse in small decks, where it is very likely you only get that $1 on the next shuffle, and the Guard missing a shuffle happens all the time.

2. You are considering the money density you have right now. However, the vast majority of Dominion games have a final stage where both players are greening and money density drops. Your money density shouldn't just be >1 right now, it also has to stay that way for the average remainder of the game to actually beat Silver.

3. I think the main use for caravan guard is to get you up to a certain price point without adding the Silvers you'd like to skip. In engines it's terrible as "payload", but can be great as a "kickstarter".


Finally... in an article about Caravan Guard, I think you should also provide some general context. This reads more like "How I'd like to shift your ideas about Caravan Guard". Maybe you could start with describing what the card actually does (a picture?), explain that its usually a mediocre card that is unlikely to hurt you but also not a great investment, and then you can continue with some finer points.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2016, 07:53:14 am by -Stef- »
Logged
Join the Dominion League!

Limetime

  • Saboteur
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1195
  • Shuffle iT Username: limetime
  • Respect: +973
    • View Profile
Re: Caravan Guard Strategy Article
« Reply #5 on: November 12, 2016, 09:31:21 am »
+4

Stef you really should post more strategy advice cause you got it all figured out.
Logged

DG

  • Cartographer
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 3784
  • Respect: +2257
    • View Profile
Re: Caravan Guard Strategy Article
« Reply #6 on: November 12, 2016, 09:50:32 am »
+2

I think it's worth talking a bit more about the reaction as well. As soon as you have a reaction card in your deck, the more silvers you add to a deck the less likely that reaction card is to be in hand. Caravan guards then become an alternative to silver as they don't clog up the hand. This can give quite a lot of benefit if you're working with horse traders, say. I don't see caravan guards as a defense in their own right but as a layer of defense as part of a strategy. Getting the caravan guards played early can also help when using effects like transmogrify and rat catcher at the start of the turn.

The income part of the caravan guard probably requires a touch more thought than some players give it. When a reaction is possible with the caravan guard, there is an option to play it now and collect the coin next turn, or play it next turn and collect the coin on the following turn. When the opponent plays a swamp hag, for example, it might be better to wait with the caravan guard so that the income is collected on the turn after the swamp hag is discarded from play.

Clustering is an interesting feature of caravan guards. Normally you want to balance your duration cards so that you get your benefits each turn for repeated strong hands. However caravan guards start to cluster when some on the table from last turn, more are played in reaction to an attack, and they all get cleared away together at the end of turn. Of course, once you are aware of the clustering it is possible to manage it.

Also when considering the income from caravan guards you need to look at how lighthouses compare to silver. Lighthouses are worse income when trying to bulk up a money deck because the income comes later and the duration effect can leave the lighthouse on the table during a shuffle. Both those factors apply to caravan guards as well.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2016, 10:00:12 am by DG »
Logged

DG

  • Cartographer
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 3784
  • Respect: +2257
    • View Profile
Re: Caravan Guard Strategy Article
« Reply #7 on: November 12, 2016, 09:53:34 am »
0

3. I think the main use for caravan guard is to get you up to a certain price point without adding the Silvers you'd like to skip. In engines it's terrible as "payload", but can be great as a "kickstarter".

To elaborate a little, the +1 coin from the caravan guard helps create income spikes since you get the income from 5 cards in hand plus the coin from the duration caravan.
Logged

AdrianHealey

  • Mountebank
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2244
  • Respect: +760
    • View Profile
Re: Caravan Guard Strategy Article
« Reply #8 on: November 12, 2016, 10:17:37 am »
0

And you get the income of 5 cards in this hand.
Logged

tristan

  • Saboteur
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1138
  • Respect: +192
    • View Profile
Re: Caravan Guard Strategy Article
« Reply #9 on: November 17, 2016, 04:45:12 am »
+1

Engines
This is where Caravan Guard is pretty weak. It doesn't help you hit 5 early that well, of course, although it does get you one card closer to cycling than Silver. This isn't a huge deal though, you still want silver over Caravan Guard early on in an engine. If the engine is super tight and you don't need a ton of coin then CG can be better, but be wary of things like Scrying Pool engines that need action density--Caravan Guard is only in your deck half of the turns.

Beyond the opening, it's important to realize what Caravan Guard is in your deck once you're drawing it. It's not a peddler. It's a half-peddler. So that means you're paying $3 for .5 coins/turn, which is just a terrible investment. You almost never want to add Caravan Guard to an engine that's under control, unless your only other option is nothing. If possible, it's usually better to take engine parts/treasure over another Caravan Guard. It just gives you so little economy.
I totally disagree with this. First of all, it blatantly ignores the Reaction part. Second of all, it ignores TR-pseudo-villagification issues which always matter in Kingdoms with TR, cantrips but no villages. Third of all, in my limited experience Caravan Guard is better than Silver, especially in engines. Not all Kingdoms feature decent draw / trashing and in this instances you want your rather want your coins to come from Peddler variants than from Silver for faster cycling.
« Last Edit: November 17, 2016, 04:46:18 am by tristan »
Logged

tailred

  • Golem
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 176
  • Shuffle iT Username: ceviri
  • Respect: +260
    • View Profile
Re: Caravan Guard Strategy Article
« Reply #10 on: November 17, 2016, 05:29:59 am »
0

Engines
This is where Caravan Guard is pretty weak. It doesn't help you hit 5 early that well, of course, although it does get you one card closer to cycling than Silver. This isn't a huge deal though, you still want silver over Caravan Guard early on in an engine. If the engine is super tight and you don't need a ton of coin then CG can be better, but be wary of things like Scrying Pool engines that need action density--Caravan Guard is only in your deck half of the turns.

Beyond the opening, it's important to realize what Caravan Guard is in your deck once you're drawing it. It's not a peddler. It's a half-peddler. So that means you're paying $3 for .5 coins/turn, which is just a terrible investment. You almost never want to add Caravan Guard to an engine that's under control, unless your only other option is nothing. If possible, it's usually better to take engine parts/treasure over another Caravan Guard. It just gives you so little economy.
I totally disagree with this. First of all, it blatantly ignores the Reaction part. Second of all, it ignores TR-pseudo-villagification issues which always matter in Kingdoms with TR, cantrips but no villages. Third of all, in my limited experience Caravan Guard is better than Silver, especially in engines. Not all Kingdoms feature decent draw / trashing and in this instances you want your rather want your coins to come from Peddler variants than from Silver for faster cycling.
For your first, you chose to willingly ignore the paragraph in the same section where he discusses the reaction. For your second, that tells you more about the strength of TR that caravan guard - any cantrip gives you the same behavior when throned.
Logged

Davio

  • 2012 Dutch Champion
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 4733
  • Respect: +3301
    • View Profile
Re: Caravan Guard Strategy Article
« Reply #11 on: November 17, 2016, 07:06:22 am »
0

This card has a reaction which can be pretty substantialbas with several caravan guards reacting, you can spike a Province even after being attacked (forced discard for instance) and the guards will hit the discard the same turn as you're reacting.
Logged

BSG: Cagprezimal Adama
Mage Knight: Arythea

DG

  • Cartographer
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 3784
  • Respect: +2257
    • View Profile
Re: Caravan Guard Strategy Article
« Reply #12 on: November 17, 2016, 08:44:26 am »
+2

it ignores TR-pseudo-villagification issues which always matter in Kingdoms with TR, cantrips but no villages.

Caravan guard isn't ideal for this as the throne room will stay in play as a duration card.
Logged

tristan

  • Saboteur
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1138
  • Respect: +192
    • View Profile
Re: Caravan Guard Strategy Article
« Reply #13 on: November 18, 2016, 12:14:49 am »
0

Engines
This is where Caravan Guard is pretty weak. It doesn't help you hit 5 early that well, of course, although it does get you one card closer to cycling than Silver. This isn't a huge deal though, you still want silver over Caravan Guard early on in an engine. If the engine is super tight and you don't need a ton of coin then CG can be better, but be wary of things like Scrying Pool engines that need action density--Caravan Guard is only in your deck half of the turns.

Beyond the opening, it's important to realize what Caravan Guard is in your deck once you're drawing it. It's not a peddler. It's a half-peddler. So that means you're paying $3 for .5 coins/turn, which is just a terrible investment. You almost never want to add Caravan Guard to an engine that's under control, unless your only other option is nothing. If possible, it's usually better to take engine parts/treasure over another Caravan Guard. It just gives you so little economy.
I totally disagree with this. First of all, it blatantly ignores the Reaction part. Second of all, it ignores TR-pseudo-villagification issues which always matter in Kingdoms with TR, cantrips but no villages. Third of all, in my limited experience Caravan Guard is better than Silver, especially in engines. Not all Kingdoms feature decent draw / trashing and in this instances you want your rather want your coins to come from Peddler variants than from Silver for faster cycling.
For your first, you chose to willingly ignore the paragraph in the same section where he discusses the reaction. For your second, that tells you more about the strength of TR that caravan guard - any cantrip gives you the same behavior when throned.
He pretends that the Reaction rarely matters which is total nonsense. A Peddler for 3 IS a big deal and Attacks occur in many Kingdoms.
So despite the contrarcy claims, Carvan Guard is simply better than Silver in most circumstances.
Logged

navical

  • Bishop
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 122
  • Respect: +136
    • View Profile
Re: Caravan Guard Strategy Article
« Reply #14 on: November 18, 2016, 08:31:54 am »
+2

He pretends that the Reaction rarely matters which is total nonsense. A Peddler for 3 IS a big deal and Attacks occur in many Kingdoms.
So despite the contrarcy claims, Carvan Guard is simply better than Silver in most circumstances.
Remember it has to been in your starting hand to be a full Peddler. In a 20 card deck that's a 1/4 chance (slightly higher if you have more CGs). That's not a big deal.
Logged

AJD

  • Margrave
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2649
  • Shuffle iT Username: AJD
  • Respect: +2932
    • View Profile
Re: Caravan Guard Strategy Article
« Reply #15 on: November 18, 2016, 09:24:33 pm »
+2

He pretends that the Reaction rarely matters which is total nonsense. A Peddler for 3 IS a big deal and Attacks occur in many Kingdoms.
So despite the contrarcy claims, Carvan Guard is simply better than Silver in most circumstances.
Remember it has to been in your starting hand to be a full Peddler. In a 20 card deck that's a 1/4 chance (slightly higher if you have more CGs). That's not a big deal.

Wait but the probability that matters isn't the probability that, when you're attacked, you have Caravan Guard in your hand, is it? It's the probability that, when you have Caravan Guard in your hand, you get attacked.
Logged

tristan

  • Saboteur
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1138
  • Respect: +192
    • View Profile
Re: Caravan Guard Strategy Article
« Reply #16 on: November 19, 2016, 02:41:20 am »
0

He pretends that the Reaction rarely matters which is total nonsense. A Peddler for 3 IS a big deal and Attacks occur in many Kingdoms.
So despite the contrarcy claims, Carvan Guard is simply better than Silver in most circumstances.
Remember it has to been in your starting hand to be a full Peddler. In a 20 card deck that's a 1/4 chance (slightly higher if you have more CGs). That's not a big deal.
With Attacks around you will rarely buy Silver instead of Caravan Guard so you will have some of them in your deck ... and when you can play them because you are attacked you sometimes draw another one. Caravan Guard is after Lighthouse probably the most forceful attack-counter reaction so its presence seriously impacts the relative strength of attacks.

Most cantrips are only good if they cost 4 or more. Caravan Guard is the exception and it is this the perfect target for the token-ification Events like Pathfinding (easy to rush the pile). Also good Throne targets, as already pointed out they help your economy in the presence of attacks so in most cases clearly better than Silver.
Logged

Beyond Awesome

  • Margrave
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2753
  • Shuffle iT Username: Beyond Awesome
  • Respect: +2068
    • View Profile
    • Beyond Awesome's Dominion Blog
Re: Caravan Guard Strategy Article
« Reply #17 on: November 19, 2016, 03:07:59 am »
0

CG is fine in engines. Pretty much you want to pick this up every time with a spare $3 over silver. Sure, $.5 isn't that impressive, but hey, I'll take it.
Logged
Visit my Dominion Blog http://beyondominion.blogspot.com

Accatitippi

  • Jester
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 994
  • Shuffle iT Username: Accatitippi
  • Overraiding is ok
  • Respect: +1439
    • View Profile
Re: Caravan Guard Strategy Article
« Reply #18 on: November 19, 2016, 04:01:38 am »
0

He pretends that the Reaction rarely matters which is total nonsense. A Peddler for 3 IS a big deal and Attacks occur in many Kingdoms.
So despite the contrarcy claims, Carvan Guard is simply better than Silver in most circumstances.
Remember it has to been in your starting hand to be a full Peddler. In a 20 card deck that's a 1/4 chance (slightly higher if you have more CGs). That's not a big deal.
With Attacks around you will rarely buy Silver instead of Caravan Guard so you will have some of them in your deck ... and when you can play them because you are attacked you sometimes draw another one. Caravan Guard is after Lighthouse probably the most forceful attack-counter reaction so its presence seriously impacts the relative strength of attacks.

Most cantrips are only good if they cost 4 or more. Caravan Guard is the exception and it is this the perfect target for the token-ification Events like Pathfinding (easy to rush the pile). Also good Throne targets, as already pointed out they help your economy in the presence of attacks so in most cases clearly better than Silver.
Tokening CG and Durations in general is less than ideal, as it will skip a lot of turns by being already in play. I'm not saying don't do that, but I think a lot of the time I'd strongly prefer to token stuff like Hamlet or Pearl diver or village or suchlike.
Logged

tristan

  • Saboteur
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1138
  • Respect: +192
    • View Profile
Re: Caravan Guard Strategy Article
« Reply #19 on: November 25, 2016, 09:42:34 am »
0

He pretends that the Reaction rarely matters which is total nonsense. A Peddler for 3 IS a big deal and Attacks occur in many Kingdoms.
So despite the contrarcy claims, Carvan Guard is simply better than Silver in most circumstances.
Remember it has to been in your starting hand to be a full Peddler. In a 20 card deck that's a 1/4 chance (slightly higher if you have more CGs). That's not a big deal.
With Attacks around you will rarely buy Silver instead of Caravan Guard so you will have some of them in your deck ... and when you can play them because you are attacked you sometimes draw another one. Caravan Guard is after Lighthouse probably the most forceful attack-counter reaction so its presence seriously impacts the relative strength of attacks.

Most cantrips are only good if they cost 4 or more. Caravan Guard is the exception and it is this the perfect target for the token-ification Events like Pathfinding (easy to rush the pile). Also good Throne targets, as already pointed out they help your economy in the presence of attacks so in most cases clearly better than Silver.
Tokening CG and Durations in general is less than ideal, as it will skip a lot of turns by being already in play. I'm not saying don't do that, but I think a lot of the time I'd strongly prefer to token stuff like Hamlet or Pearl diver or village or suchlike.
Depends. I agree that non-durations are more efficient but you would buy Pearl Diver only for the sake of later turning it into a Lab or whatever whereas Caravan Guard already does something useful for your economy until you reach that point at which you hit 8 (or 6 in the case of Training or Lost Arts).
Logged
Pages: [1]
 

Page created in 0.109 seconds with 21 queries.