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Sparafucile

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Games that never end
« on: December 03, 2016, 03:17:21 pm »
+2

I post this in rules question so people can confirm that we played this game correctly.  (recommended game from Empires + Darkages).

Tomb of the Rat King: Advance, Tomb Castles, Chariot Race, City Quarter, Legionary,
Sacrifice Death Cart, Fortress, Pillage, Rats, Storeroom

The following combo:

Landmark (+1 point on trash) + rats (trash a card from hand) + Fortress (return card to hand when trashed)

Became the winning strategy on our first play of these cards.   The winner obtained a few fortress, as mans rats as possible.  Every turn consisted of playing like 9 rats or so, trashing a fortress, and getting like 9 points.  It was very quick.  And the deck was a gold deck in that it could generate points forever without destroying the deck or ending the game.


One of the things I've always enjoyed about dominion is that increasing your deck and obtaining points has always brought a game closer to conclusion.  Growing your deck and obtaining victory points (via Goons for example) more or less required emptying piles.

In Prosperity there was one major exception -  Monument.  This card could gain points infinitely without causing the game to end.  In practice, this never comes up because it's too slow compared to other point gaining options.  Later, once cards could be gained out of the trash, an edge case entered with Bishop as well.    First with monument, and later via a combo with Bishop, it's possible to gain points forever without actually ending the game.

It seems that with empires though (an expansion I'm very grateful for Donald :) ) - there are now many more ways to competitively gain points without ending the game.

If Donald happens to see this, i humbly request a rules modification or addition should more 2nd edition rule books come out, that limits these types of games somehow.   One example modification would be to make a certain number of alternate victory points generated be a terminating game condition.  This could be done without contradiction of the current rules - no limit needed on gaining points on your turn after the threshhold for game finish has been met.   Perhaps could the threshhold could be equal to the number of province points, or colony points in a colony game.  Setting it lower might make for interesting "point rushes" instead of "3 pile rushes".  Just brainstorming. 

If such a rule exists already - in which case please let me know so we don't get stuck with infinite games.
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Kirian

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Re: Games that never end
« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2016, 03:20:47 pm »
+5

A rule already exists; all players starve to death.
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Re: Games that never end
« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2016, 03:22:31 pm »
0

Do you know where the quote for that is?

Found it in 2 places:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/475492/draw-game/page/4

Quote
If no-one has a way to end the game, I guess everyone keeps playing until they starve to death. Always play in a 24-hour restaurant, that's my advice. If people could end it by buying Curses but refuse to, well you could always offer them a bribe. A rubber band, a Q-tip - it doesn't need to be much.

http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/534706/is-the-following-scenario-a-draw

Quote
Well man, who cares if I believe it, right? It deserves an answer, and, the last time this question was asked, it got one. The game does not end. The players continue playing until they starve to death. I suppose in some situations they might die of thirst first, or run out of oxygen, or what have you.

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faust

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Re: Games that never end
« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2016, 06:05:36 pm »
0

Especially the given board is no problem; you can always build more. Everyone can score 9 VP a turn? Well add some Sacrifices and Death Carts for additional Tomb points. Slow your opponent down with Legionary. Get the high-value Castles and some Storerooms and Chariot Race them in the ground. Grab City Quarters and never be short of draw again. There is no reason to ever stop building here, and then the game will end on piles.
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AdrianHealey

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Re: Games that never end
« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2016, 07:44:22 pm »
0

Buy all the curses, one by one and all the copper if need be
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Donald X.

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Re: Games that never end
« Reply #5 on: December 03, 2016, 08:42:26 pm »
+6

If Donald happens to see this, i humbly request a rules modification or addition should more 2nd edition rule books come out, that limits these types of games somehow.
There is unlikely to ever be such a rule. The main set rulebook wouldn't want it because it would mean teaching players an extra rule that would never actually come up. Empires could conceivably have addressed it but didn't. I never personally had an Empires game that stalemated, including Tomb of the Rat King.

I think people in a stalemated game, for whatever game, tend to realize it, and have ways to cope with the situation. Try "looks like a draw," see what it gets you.
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GendoIkari

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Re: Games that never end
« Reply #6 on: December 03, 2016, 11:47:41 pm »
0

Do you know where the quote for that is?

Found it in 2 places:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/475492/draw-game/page/4

Quote
If no-one has a way to end the game, I guess everyone keeps playing until they starve to death. Always play in a 24-hour restaurant, that's my advice. If people could end it by buying Curses but refuse to, well you could always offer them a bribe. A rubber band, a Q-tip - it doesn't need to be much.

http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/534706/is-the-following-scenario-a-draw

Quote
Well man, who cares if I believe it, right? It deserves an answer, and, the last time this question was asked, it got one. The game does not end. The players continue playing until they starve to death. I suppose in some situations they might die of thirst first, or run out of oxygen, or what have you.


To be fair, Donald had written that in response to a very contrived scenario in which it seemed that the only way it could have happened is if all players had worked together to make it happen. The scenario in the OP seems realistic.
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Re: Games that never end
« Reply #7 on: December 03, 2016, 11:59:51 pm »
0

Do you know where the quote for that is?

Found it in 2 places:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/475492/draw-game/page/4

Quote
If no-one has a way to end the game, I guess everyone keeps playing until they starve to death. Always play in a 24-hour restaurant, that's my advice. If people could end it by buying Curses but refuse to, well you could always offer them a bribe. A rubber band, a Q-tip - it doesn't need to be much.

http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/534706/is-the-following-scenario-a-draw

Quote
Well man, who cares if I believe it, right? It deserves an answer, and, the last time this question was asked, it got one. The game does not end. The players continue playing until they starve to death. I suppose in some situations they might die of thirst first, or run out of oxygen, or what have you.


To be fair, Donald had written that in response to a very contrived scenario in which it seemed that the only way it could have happened is if all players had worked together to make it happen. The scenario in the OP seems realistic.

Even on the above board, the score eventually diverges. Someone does more trashing than the other, or does it more consistently, or more quickly adds Sacrifice to get more trash points. If both the Rats and the Sacrifice piles split dead even, well, I dunno, someone could try and build toward getting point leads with Provinces or something. There's always a way out.
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Donald X.

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Re: Games that never end
« Reply #8 on: December 04, 2016, 02:15:32 am »
+4

To be fair, Donald had written that in response to a very contrived scenario in which it seemed that the only way it could have happened is if all players had worked together to make it happen. The scenario in the OP seems realistic.
Yes, I am not just automatically that rude to people.

The original question was, what if we trashed all of each others' treasures with Thief, emptied the Copper pile, kept passing up actually keeping treasures trashed by Thief because reasons, and ended up with decks with no way to buy anything. I did not take it seriously and the thread starter deleted his posts (the OP there is whoever first replied).

Then someone made a new account to say, oh this Thief situation actually happened. And I didn't believe them. Note that that account was never used for anything else.
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ConMan

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Re: Games that never end
« Reply #9 on: December 04, 2016, 05:41:39 pm »
+22

To be fair, Donald had written that in response to a very contrived scenario in which it seemed that the only way it could have happened is if all players had worked together to make it happen. The scenario in the OP seems realistic.
Yes, I am not just automatically that rude to people.

The original question was, what if we trashed all of each others' treasures with Thief, emptied the Copper pile, kept passing up actually keeping treasures trashed by Thief because reasons, and ended up with decks with no way to buy anything. I did not take it seriously and the thread starter deleted his posts (the OP there is whoever first replied).

Then someone made a new account to say, oh this Thief situation actually happened. And I didn't believe them. Note that that account was never used for anything else.
Poor guy starved to death.
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tristan

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Re: Games that never end
« Reply #10 on: December 05, 2016, 07:27:24 am »
0

In Prosperity there was one major exception -  Monument.  This card could gain points infinitely without causing the game to end.  In practice, this never comes up because it's too slow compared to other point gaining options.  Later, once cards could be gained out of the trash, an edge case entered with Bishop as well.    First with monument, and later via a combo with Bishop, it's possible to gain points forever without actually ending the game.
Possible yes, best strategy, no.

Even in a Kingdom which includes Bishop and Fortress you will start to green someday if you are ahead in VPs. If you don't the game won't end and you won't win.
Many folks worry that cantrip VP token gainers could lead to infinte games but the same argument applies: if you are ahead in VPs you gotta start to green to win the game so the game will actually end. If it doesn't somebody is not intending to win which is plain stupid and doesn't require a rule change.

Empires is totally fine rulewise and actually significantaly opens up the strategic space of Dominion. In a normal game you gotta consider when to start buying Provinces, in alt-VP you gotta consider the relative strength of an alternative Victory card to Prosperity and in Empires you gotta potentially evaluate the strength of several sources of VPs.
Note that all official VP token gaining cards are precisely designed such that they don't work ad infinitum, Groundskeeper is tied to greening and Landmarks are either limited or reward you for having particular cards in your deck which will lead to a 3 pile ending.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2016, 07:30:02 am by tristan »
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Holger

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Re: Games that never end
« Reply #11 on: December 05, 2016, 12:19:28 pm »
0

In Prosperity there was one major exception -  Monument.  This card could gain points infinitely without causing the game to end.  In practice, this never comes up because it's too slow compared to other point gaining options.  Later, once cards could be gained out of the trash, an edge case entered with Bishop as well.    First with monument, and later via a combo with Bishop, it's possible to gain points forever without actually ending the game.
Possible yes, best strategy, no.

Even in a Kingdom which includes Bishop and Fortress you will start to green someday if you are ahead in VPs. If you don't the game won't end and you won't win.

You won't win either way. If neither player is significantly ahead (with both playing the same golden deck), breaking the golden deck to go for green almost certainly loses you the game if the other player keeps playing the golden deck, so neither player will do it.

That's why I would really like to see an official (or generally agreed-on) rule on what happens in such "stalemate" cases. I'd support Donald's suggestion of agreeing to a tie if neither player can force a win, but this is not currently possible in online play.
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Re: Games that never end
« Reply #12 on: December 05, 2016, 12:32:56 pm »
0

In Prosperity there was one major exception -  Monument.  This card could gain points infinitely without causing the game to end.  In practice, this never comes up because it's too slow compared to other point gaining options.  Later, once cards could be gained out of the trash, an edge case entered with Bishop as well.    First with monument, and later via a combo with Bishop, it's possible to gain points forever without actually ending the game.
Possible yes, best strategy, no.

Even in a Kingdom which includes Bishop and Fortress you will start to green someday if you are ahead in VPs. If you don't the game won't end and you won't win.

You won't win either way. If neither player is significantly ahead (with both playing the same golden deck), breaking the golden deck to go for green almost certainly loses you the game if the other player keeps playing the golden deck, so neither player will do it.

That's why I would really like to see an official (or generally agreed-on) rule on what happens in such "stalemate" cases. I'd support Donald's suggestion of agreeing to a tie if neither player can force a win, but this is not currently possible in online play.

In this kingdom, that just doesn't happen. It's not a real concern.  Either one of these two things happens:

1. One player trashes more cards than the other. This happens 95% of the time. Even if they gain 1 VP more than the opponent per turn, this adds up, and they clearly win the game in the long term. The leading player just plays until they build a sufficient lead and then piles out using Advance on Fortress to three pile. Considering the Rats pile is already empty and Death Cart is on the board, this isn't difficult at all to do without impacting the viability of the Rats engine.

2. In a true Rats stalemate, players go for Sacrifice to get additional points. Only if BOTH splits are even does the score not eventually diverge. If that happens, a combination of Advance, Storeroom, City Quarter, and Death Cart will produce the economy you need to pile out ahead or green robustly. It does not compromise the trashing engine to do this.

The stalemate just doesn't happen on this board. If you reach that gamestate, you let it happen and you are just consciously choosing to not win the game.
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Holger

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Re: Games that never end
« Reply #13 on: December 05, 2016, 02:30:20 pm »
0

In Prosperity there was one major exception -  Monument.  This card could gain points infinitely without causing the game to end.  In practice, this never comes up because it's too slow compared to other point gaining options.  Later, once cards could be gained out of the trash, an edge case entered with Bishop as well.    First with monument, and later via a combo with Bishop, it's possible to gain points forever without actually ending the game.
Possible yes, best strategy, no.

Even in a Kingdom which includes Bishop and Fortress you will start to green someday if you are ahead in VPs. If you don't the game won't end and you won't win.

You won't win either way. If neither player is significantly ahead (with both playing the same golden deck), breaking the golden deck to go for green almost certainly loses you the game if the other player keeps playing the golden deck, so neither player will do it.

That's why I would really like to see an official (or generally agreed-on) rule on what happens in such "stalemate" cases. I'd support Donald's suggestion of agreeing to a tie if neither player can force a win, but this is not currently possible in online play.

In this kingdom, that just doesn't happen. It's not a real concern.  Either one of these two things happens:

1. One player trashes more cards than the other. This happens 95% of the time. Even if they gain 1 VP more than the opponent per turn, this adds up, and they clearly win the game in the long term. The leading player just plays until they build a sufficient lead and then piles out using Advance on Fortress to three pile. Considering the Rats pile is already empty and Death Cart is on the board, this isn't difficult at all to do without impacting the viability of the Rats engine.

2. In a true Rats stalemate, players go for Sacrifice to get additional points. Only if BOTH splits are even does the score not eventually diverge. If that happens, a combination of Advance, Storeroom, City Quarter, and Death Cart will produce the economy you need to pile out ahead or green robustly. It does not compromise the trashing engine to do this.

The stalemate just doesn't happen on this board. If you reach that gamestate, you let it happen and you are just consciously choosing to not win the game.

You're probably right for the OP's kingdom, but I was talking about Bishop/Fortress where stalemate is a real problem. And even changing the OP's kingdom slightly by removing Advance can lead to stalemate if both players go for a treasureless Rats/Fortress deck and the Rats split evenly.
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Davio

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Re: Games that never end
« Reply #14 on: December 05, 2016, 02:39:11 pm »
+2

You have to write a formal mathematical proof that given n turns where n is greater than some i that you will in fact win and no one else can catch up to you.
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tristan

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Re: Games that never end
« Reply #15 on: December 05, 2016, 04:00:49 pm »
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A log would suffice. The likelihood of a perfect mirror in a Kingdom with Bishop and Fortress is as high as that of a perfect mirror in any other Kingdom: quasi zero.
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Re: Games that never end
« Reply #16 on: December 05, 2016, 07:33:09 pm »
+1

A log would suffice. The likelihood of a perfect mirror in a Kingdom with Bishop and Fortress is as high as that of a perfect mirror in any other Kingdom: quasi zero.
Actually if it is just a close mirror it can lead to stale-mate because if you try to end the game the other person just get a points lead.
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GendoIkari

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Re: Games that never end
« Reply #17 on: December 05, 2016, 08:19:41 pm »
+1

A log would suffice. The likelihood of a perfect mirror in a Kingdom with Bishop and Fortress is as high as that of a perfect mirror in any other Kingdom: quasi zero.
Actually if it is just a close mirror it can lead to stale-mate because if you try to end the game the other person just get a points lead.

What matters is if both players are getting the same number of points per turn. If one player is getting even 1 point more per turn than the other; it eventually is a win for that player. Or if one player gets 5 points consistently every turn guaranteed; while the other player gets 5 points except for 1/20 turns where he draws the wrong cards; then a player still wins. But if both players have a guaranteed 5 points per turn; then it would be a draw no matter if they had an exact mirror or not.
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Re: Games that never end
« Reply #18 on: December 05, 2016, 08:41:10 pm »
0

A log would suffice. The likelihood of a perfect mirror in a Kingdom with Bishop and Fortress is as high as that of a perfect mirror in any other Kingdom: quasi zero.
Actually if it is just a close mirror it can lead to stale-mate because if you try to end the game the other person just get a points lead.

As long as you are generating more points than your opponent, you can play for an arbitrarily long time until one of you has a safe enough cushion to attempt to end the game. Only if you both generate identical amounts of points is the game unresolvable.
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Re: Games that never end
« Reply #19 on: December 05, 2016, 08:45:55 pm »
0

A log would suffice. The likelihood of a perfect mirror in a Kingdom with Bishop and Fortress is as high as that of a perfect mirror in any other Kingdom: quasi zero.
Actually if it is just a close mirror it can lead to stale-mate because if you try to end the game the other person just get a points lead.

As long as you are generating more points than your opponent, you can play for an arbitrarily long time until one of you has a safe enough cushion to attempt to end the game. Only if you both generate identical amounts of points is the game unresolvable.
That's kinda what i meant by close mirror. It is not that unlikely to split one pile. The fortresses can be substituted by any other village.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2016, 08:48:17 pm by Limetime »
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Kirian

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Re: Games that never end
« Reply #20 on: December 05, 2016, 10:55:38 pm »
0

A log would suffice. The likelihood of a perfect mirror in a Kingdom with Bishop and Fortress is as high as that of a perfect mirror in any other Kingdom: quasi zero.
Actually if it is just a close mirror it can lead to stale-mate because if you try to end the game the other person just get a points lead.

As long as you are generating more points than your opponent, you can play for an arbitrarily long time until one of you has a safe enough cushion to attempt to end the game. Only if you both generate identical amounts of points is the game unresolvable.
That's kinda what i meant by close mirror. It is not that unlikely to split one pile. The fortresses can be substituted by any other village.

Um... the Fortresses cannot be replaced in the Bishop/Fortress golden deck.  That deck must have 4 Bishops and 4 (or more) Fortresses to work.

The issue is that if both players have that deck, which generates 12 pts/turn, there's zero incentive to empty other piles.  Taking a fifth Bishop, or a different card to empty another pile, can generate a situation where there is only one Fortress in the top six cards of the deck at time of drawing, causing the deck to generate only ~3 points this turn, causing a loss.

In the case of a true mirror like this, though, the scores should be evaluated at the end of the second player's turn, and the winner determined based on that.  No, it's not an official rule, but it's the obviously fair thing to do for anyone paying attention to the way Dominion is played.

That said:

The following combo:

Landmark (+1 point on trash) + rats (trash a card from hand) + Fortress (return card to hand when trashed)

Became the winning strategy on our first play of these cards.   The winner obtained a few fortress, as mans rats as possible.  Every turn consisted of playing like 9 rats or so, trashing a fortress, and getting like 9 points.  It was very quick.  And the deck was a gold deck in that it could generate points forever without destroying the deck or ending the game.

No, this is not a golden deck, as the points gained from this deck are variable, and equal to [number of Rats] - min[0, position from top of first Fortress in shuffled deck - 5].  A deck with just 5 Rats and N Fortresses, assuming no Rats left in the supply, will gain 5 points per turn every turn; but two opposing decks with 10 Rats each will generate between 5 and 10 points every turn, with a random distribution determined by the number of Fortresses in the decks.
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Re: Games that never end
« Reply #21 on: December 06, 2016, 11:46:54 am »
+2

I think the rule book should say that if you are going to go for a game that never ends, you are required to play 'The Song That Never Ends' at the same time.
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Re: Games that never end
« Reply #22 on: December 06, 2016, 12:10:13 pm »
+1

Um... the Fortresses cannot be replaced in the Bishop/Fortress golden deck.  That deck must have 4 Bishops and 4 (or more) Fortresses to work.

The issue is that if both players have that deck, which generates 12 pts/turn, there's zero incentive to empty other piles.  Taking a fifth Bishop, or a different card to empty another pile, can generate a situation where there is only one Fortress in the top six cards of the deck at time of drawing, causing the deck to generate only ~3 points this turn, causing a loss.

Exactly. And getting 4 Bishops and Fortresses each is quite common if both players go for this from the early game, no need to even split the piles exactly. Only if there's another $4- cantrip pile in the kingdom and one player is constantly in the lead (even after their opponent's turn), then he can end the game by 3-piling without breaking his golden deck.

Quote
In the case of a true mirror like this, though, the scores should be evaluated at the end of the second player's turn, and the winner determined based on that.  No, it's not an official rule, but it's the obviously fair thing to do for anyone paying attention to the way Dominion is played.

Why is this obviously fair? Equal turns is only a variant, and the point of Dominion is to end the game while leading, not just to lead the game without ending it. If neither player can end the game with a win, a tie seems fairest to me.
(Compare e.g. to chess: If neither player can win, it's a tie, even if one player has a clear material advantage.)

The following combo:

Landmark (+1 point on trash) + rats (trash a card from hand) + Fortress (return card to hand when trashed)

Became the winning strategy on our first play of these cards.   The winner obtained a few fortress, as mans rats as possible.  Every turn consisted of playing like 9 rats or so, trashing a fortress, and getting like 9 points.  It was very quick.  And the deck was a gold deck in that it could generate points forever without destroying the deck or ending the game.

No, this is not a golden deck, as the points gained from this deck are variable, and equal to [number of Rats] - min[0, position from top of first Fortress in shuffled deck - 5].  A deck with just 5 Rats and N Fortresses, assuming no Rats left in the supply, will gain 5 points per turn every turn; but two opposing decks with 10 Rats each will generate between 5 and 10 points every turn, with a random distribution determined by the number of Fortresses in the decks.

You're right, for >5 Rats there's randomness involved. So by probability theory, one player is eventually guaranteed to achieve an arbitrarily high lead (enough to force a win by breaking the golden deck) even if both players have identical decks. Still, I'd rather invoke a tiebraking rule in this case than play 10,000s of turns until the game is decided.
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GendoIkari

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Re: Games that never end
« Reply #23 on: December 06, 2016, 01:57:35 pm »
+2


Why is this obviously fair? Equal turns is only a variant, and the point of Dominion is to end the game while leading, not just to lead the game without ending it. If neither player can end the game with a win, a tie seems fairest to me.
(Compare e.g. to chess: If neither player can win, it's a tie, even if one player has a clear material advantage.)


I agree with this. Dominion has never been about getting the most points, but about being able to end the game while ahead. If you can't end the game (while maintaining your lead), you can't declare a win.

It seems to me like Donald agrees as well:

Quote
I think people in a stalemated game, for whatever game, tend to realize it, and have ways to cope with the situation. Try "looks like a draw," see what it gets you.

Not "try telling your opponent that you think you win because you have more points than him at the moment, see what it gets you."
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AdrianHealey

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Re: Games that never end
« Reply #24 on: December 06, 2016, 07:51:48 pm »
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You're right, for >5 Rats there's randomness involved. So by probability theory, one player is eventually guaranteed to achieve an arbitrarily high lead (enough to force a win by breaking the golden deck) even if both players have identical decks. Still, I'd rather invoke a tiebraking rule in this case than play 10,000s of turns until the game is decided.

Weakling!
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