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Polk5440

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Gold
« on: September 14, 2017, 08:30:53 pm »
+19

Update 9/17/17: Re-wrote second half of article reflecting comments in thread below. Example games still to come.
Update 9/21/17: Edited section headings; minor tweaks to first half of article; removed some wishy-washiness; added example games; added concluding challenge.




“Over you gold shall have no dominion.”
Lady Galadriel, The Fellowship of the Ring


Gold increases your buying power, does not cost an action to play, and is available in every kingdom. What a great card! You can’t draw it dead with Smithy! It’s so shiny! A no-brainer buy, right? No. Do not succumb to dragon sickness.

"Just because you can afford it, doesn't mean you should buy it." This aphorism -- who knew Suze Orman gave such great Dominion advice? -- is especially true with Gold. In fact, buying Gold whenever you can afford it or even just when you can first afford it is often an unmitigated disaster.

Why does the allure of glittery Gold spell your eventual defeat?

  • Gold is a “stop card”, preventing drawing or cycling through your deck.

Ask yourself at the beginning of the game: “What’s my ideal deck going to look like? What cards do I need lots of? What’s my plan?” With each passing expansion, a deck that buys mostly Treasure with only a couple of Action cards is increasingly a losing proposition to Action-heavy decks thinned of cards that stop you from drawing or cycling through your deck. Estates, Coppers, Shelters, sure, they’re junk, and too many terminal Actions can obviously stop up your deck, but even though Gold produces $3, it, too, is a “stop card” that slows you down.

  • Gold isn’t the strongest card you can afford.

Costs in Dominion are a funny thing. Just because something is expensive does not mean it’s better than all of those other cheaper things. There is usually something better to buy to advance your plan and improve your deck than Gold, and it may not cost $5 or $6 either. Do you need a village for more actions? Or maybe desperately need an extra buy? Sure, it may feel pretty terrible to buy a $6 Herbalist at first, but if you need the card, get the card! And it makes sense, right? What's the point of having lots and lots of cool Kingdom cards and lots and lots of expansions from which to pull those cool cards if buying Gold on $6 is always the right call? Boring! Dominion expansions would be such a rip off.

  • Gold is not the best payload in the kingdom.


“Payload” is what you actually use to end the game with a win. Gold should be thought of as the payload of last resort, not the default one. There are lots of great cards in Dominion and lots of interesting decks you can build that do not rely on Gold as the payload to buy Provinces outright. For example, Gold isn’t always the best Treasure available for maximizing your coin available. Or maybe you are building a very Action heavy deck that gets more than enough coin and buy from Action cards, instead. Maybe you are able to gain lots of cards and empty piles early. If your answers to “What’s my ideal deck going to look like? What cards do I need lots of?” and “What’s my plan?” do not involve lots of Gold, then don’t buy it! Don’t be afraid to buy something more useful, instead.

I’ll admit, there are some good uses for Gold.

  • Gold can be engine fuel and a trash for benefit target.

Gold in a engine? Yes! A timely Gold or two can directly fuel a draw engine that relies on Encampment or Storyteller. It’s also the necessary companion card for Legionary’s attack, which is great for slowing down your opponent while you continue to build. Finally, Apprentice loves the high cost of Gold, drawing you as many as six cards. 

In fact, Gold is often a great target for many types of trash for benefit. It’s exactly $2 away from Province which is very convenient for cards like Remodel and Governor, and the $6 cost is great for VP from Bishop and Ritual, boost of coin from Salvager, or gaining expensive engine components or late Duchies from Stonemason.

  • Gold is sometimes the only payload option you've got.

So even though I just knocked the idea, sometimes Gold is the best payload for implementing your plan (you haven’t forgotten your plan, right?), either through generating lots of coin, then buying Provinces or through trash for benefit. (Hey, sometimes it happens!)

However, even if Gold is your designated payload, resist the urge to add Gold to your deck sooner than you need it. Build your deck first, then add Gold as payload as late as possible. You need to first ensure that you have enough draw in your deck to handle the additional stop cards (i.e. The Golds). When you add the Gold before you're able to reliably draw it, it will simply get in the way.

  • Gold can be a good card in a money-ish deck.

Sometimes you just can’t build a deck that draws a huge hand every turn or cycles efficiently through the junk. In fact, the fewer cards you play on your turn, the better Gold tends to be. For example, in a Legionary game with no way to increase handsize, gaining multiple Golds is almost certainly going to be essential to victory.  On the other hand, a deck with Embassy and Treasures can get by fine with 0-2 Golds.

  • Gold provides economy.

Sometimes you just need the money to act as a reliable springboard to more expensive engine pieces. I get it. Just don’t get greedy. Ask yourself “Do I really need a/another Gold now?” If there is a critical Attack, trasher, engine component, or other card you need first to execute your plan, and you can afford it, get it. Do not be afraid to buy a cheaper card that you need, and look for other ways to integrate the necessary Gold gaining, instead.

Also, even if you have to rely on Treasure to get the necessary economy for your deck, ask yourself whether you really need Gold, specifically. You already got to $6, didn’t you? Was it a perfect shuffle to get there? Or is your deck already capable of what you need? In many kingdoms, due to it’s convenient price point and the many possible gainers, Silver may be the only Treasure you need.

Free Gold is better, but not always good.

When using Gold as engine fuel, payload, economy, or even in a money-ish deck, the last thing you want to do is waste a precious buy and $6 on such an expensive lump of coal. Luckily, Gold is often easier to gain than to buy. The gaining is built-in on cards like Governor, and interactions like Apprentice-Market Square and combos like Hermit/Madman-Market Square rely on Gold gaining to work. Lots of cards like Tunnel, Soothsayer, Bandit, Courtier, Bag of Gold, and events like Windfall, can give you the necessary golden fodder easily, as well.

However, do not get bogged down with too much Gold. It’s tempting to overuse the “gain Gold” option. Every Gold you add to your deck is a stop card, even if it’s free. Too much Gold and you’re just Cursing yourself to the delight of your opponents.

Example games.

Burning Skull Base Dominion #06:

Burning Skull focuses on his plan of building a draw engine, so he buys cheaper cards he needs even when he could buy Gold. In contrast, his opponent grabs Gold at their first opportunity. Even gaining Gold for free through Bandit is a mistake because their deck is not at a place where the Golds’ buying power can be utilized effectively.

Encampment Cage Match, Game 1:

Mic Qsenoch’s game plan is to eventually utilize Tactician and Encampment for draw while maintaining control through trashing, cycling, and attacks. Gold is not important to his plan. Turn 6 he opts for Potion over Gold with the idea of getting University for extra gains. Also, even though Mic Qsenoch utilizes Encampment for draw, Gold is not is not needed to keep the draw going. Instead, he uses the extra gains his deck produces to add Encampments back to his deck.

Fun fact: A Gold is not gained until an hour and a half into the match!

My challenge to you.

If you are stuck in a rut with your play with your friends, always buying Gold on $6, then try this: commit to never buy a Gold. Ever. You will likely find that once you re-orient your game plans, it's not a handicap at all and your play will actually improve. And the situations you lose because you avoided buying Gold? Well, you will find they are fewer and farther between than you thought.
« Last Edit: September 21, 2017, 06:01:10 pm by Polk5440 »
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Chris is me

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Re: Gold
« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2017, 09:46:26 pm »
+1

I would mention how the low cost and uncompetitive price point of Silver, in addition to the abundance of available gainers for it, often makes it better payload / economy on boards where you do resort to Treasure economy.
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aku_chi

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Re: Gold
« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2017, 12:18:59 am »
+3

This is an important article that needs to be written.  Bravo!

(And yes, sometimes you are going to play a mostly-money deck. But these situations are becoming so rare in full randomized kingdoms, that I hesitate to even acknowledge the possibility to someone who is trying to up their game.)

You should absolutely mention the value of Gold in a moneyish strategy: it deserves its own subsection  If you avoid Gold in kingdoms where there's no (good) way to cycle through your deck, you will lose games.  The value of Gold in these strategies increases as your expected handsize decreases.  For example, in a Legionary game with no way to increase handsize, gaining multiple Golds is almost certainly going to be essential to victory.  On the other hand, Embassy big money can get by fine with 0-2 Golds.

Gold in a moneyish strategy is much more common than Gold as economy.  Usually, by the time you can gain Gold, you already have sufficient economy and ought to focus on drawing your deck.  The only exceptions to this are cards or events that make it possible to gain Gold early: e.g. Market Square, Quest, and Wedding.  And even with those cards present, Gold is rarely the best way to get economy.

You can find plenty of examples of opponents buying Gold when they shouldn't on Burning Skull's How to Base Dominion series.  You're going to have a much harder time finding top players incorrectly invest in Gold while building an engine.
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DG

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Re: Gold
« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2017, 09:46:11 am »
+6

The fewer cards you play on your turn, the better gold tends to be.
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Polk5440

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Re: Gold
« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2017, 12:10:54 pm »
0

I would mention how the low cost and uncompetitive price point of Silver, in addition to the abundance of available gainers for it, often makes it better payload / economy on boards where you do resort to Treasure economy.
You should absolutely mention the value of Gold in a moneyish strategy
I will work on integrating your comments over the weekend/early next week for the next draft. This is helpful.
 
The fewer cards you play on your turn, the better gold tends to be.
This is a great pithy rule of thumb; I will find a place to add it.

You can find plenty of examples of opponents buying Gold when they shouldn't on Burning Skull's How to Base Dominion series.  You're going to have a much harder time finding top players incorrectly invest in Gold while building an engine.
Thanks. Yes, this is what I was looking for. Not necessarily two top players against eachother, just commentary by a top player. I was considering the final game of the League championship match this season since Rabid bought a Gold and SCSN and Mic both went "NO!" in the commentary, but that situation was complicated and Gold was not the primary focus.
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Jfrisch

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Re: Gold
« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2017, 12:47:20 pm »
+1

(And yes, sometimes you are going to play a mostly-money deck. But these situations are becoming so rare in full randomized kingdoms, that I hesitate to even acknowledge the possibility to someone who is trying to up their game.)

I disagree with this line. At least when mostly money includes stuff like merchant/dungeon/silver/gold decks. These types of decks are probably the second most common. On the other hand, disagreeing caused me to write an article. So I'm glad you wrote it.

Also, great concept for an article, and most of the points are very astute.
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4est

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Re: Gold
« Reply #6 on: September 15, 2017, 01:11:27 pm »
+2

Excellent article!  Also, good find on the Galadriel quote :)

You do a great job laying out why "all that glitters is not gold" which is an important lesson for newer players who often overvalue Gold over more important and more powerful $5 cost actions.  The three main cons of Gold (it's a stop card, other actions are often stronger, and it's not always the best payload) are well put.

It seems like you already hint at this, but I do think it's worth emphasizing that in situations when Gold is your best payload, the reason you'll usually wait to add it is to ensure that you have enough draw in your deck to handle the additional stop card(s).  When you add the Gold before you're able to reliably draw it, it will simply get in the way and prevent you from maximizing its economy.  This can also come into play with overusing some Gold gainers--Courtier especially comes to mind (the "Gain a Gold" option isn't always as good as it looks).  Now that I think about it, there's a lot you could say about Gold gainers actually, so I wonder if later article dealing specifically with Gold-gainers and possibly also Silver-gainers in general might be useful. 

But yeah anyway, I think this article is great!  Succinct, well-structured, and targeted to the right audience. 

P.S. I definitely agree with Aku on using Burning Skull's Base videos for examples of poor Gold-buying decisions.  There's a ton of great Dominion lessons in those videos in general--if it's not already, the series should be linked on the new blog probably. 
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vsiewnar

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Re: Gold
« Reply #7 on: September 15, 2017, 04:52:36 pm »
+4

Just a thought from a game that I recently finished: If you have or want to have an Encampment thing set up, then Gold's value goes up. There are obviously other things to consider with Encampment around (certainly not a straightforward card, perhaps there's an article to be written about Encampment :P) but it's at least worth consideration.
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JW

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Re: Gold
« Reply #8 on: September 15, 2017, 06:05:31 pm »
+4

Just a thought from a game that I recently finished: If you have or want to have an Encampment thing set up, then Gold's value goes up. There are obviously other things to consider with Encampment around (certainly not a straightforward card, perhaps there's an article to be written about Encampment :P) but it's at least worth consideration.

With both Encampment and Storyteller, having Gold helps power your draw engine.
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markusin

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Re: Gold
« Reply #9 on: September 15, 2017, 09:07:13 pm »
+2

This article is primarily aimed at newer players right? I think this is a great opportunity to bring up the "First Game Engine" because of the lessons it teaches us about Gold.

https://dominionstrategy.com/2012/07/30/building-the-first-game-engine/

The way Geronimoo suggested to get an early Gold or two before switching to Markets really stuck to me. Gold being a bouncing board to help you afford the more expensive engine pieces seemed like a great insight. And then you could even Remodel the Gold into Province for that final push to victory.

Then the "First Game" simulator challenge came to be, and it was like, "Yo, why are you buying Gold when you can just use Mine to build up to Gold instead while you buy more Markets and engine parts?". With 2nd Edition Base and Intrigue introducing Bandit and Courtier, it feels more and more like you can improve efficiency by using Action Cards to gain Gold as payload to match your engine's growth, and perhaps even use the $6 cost price point of Gold to Remodel/Replace them into Province as you gain Gold.

This is kind of how I've come to understand Gold. It doesn't feel great to buy them at $6, but Gold becomes an asset if you can find more efficient and better timed ways of gaining it. I think it's good that you bring this up in your article. Indeed, it's easy to gain too many Golds for your own good even if you aren't spending a costly buy on them.
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dedicateddan

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Re: Gold
« Reply #10 on: September 15, 2017, 10:20:55 pm »
+1

Here's an interesting game where my opponent Gold floods with Treasure Trove and I hang onto just a couple of Gold for payload.
Game: 6900405
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Polk5440

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Re: Gold
« Reply #11 on: September 17, 2017, 11:43:32 pm »
0

I have rewritten the second half of the article, mainly appropriating the very good comments directly from the thread.

In the next few days, I will review the games suggested above. I would like to add an example games section.

This article is primarily aimed at newer players right? I think this is a great opportunity to bring up the "First Game Engine" because of the lessons it teaches us about Gold.

https://dominionstrategy.com/2012/07/30/building-the-first-game-engine/

The way Geronimoo suggested to get an early Gold or two before switching to Markets really stuck to me. Gold being a bouncing board to help you afford the more expensive engine pieces seemed like a great insight. And then you could even Remodel the Gold into Province for that final push to victory.

Then the "First Game" simulator challenge came to be, and it was like, "Yo, why are you buying Gold when you can just use Mine to build up to Gold instead while you buy more Markets and engine parts?". With 2nd Edition Base and Intrigue introducing Bandit and Courtier, it feels more and more like you can improve efficiency by using Action Cards to gain Gold as payload to match your engine's growth, and perhaps even use the $6 cost price point of Gold to Remodel/Replace them into Province as you gain Gold.

This is kind of how I've come to understand Gold. It doesn't feel great to buy them at $6, but Gold becomes an asset if you can find more efficient and better timed ways of gaining it. I think it's good that you bring this up in your article. Indeed, it's easy to gain too many Golds for your own good even if you aren't spending a costly buy on them.

This is such a good comment and basically exactly what I was looking for in the thread. Can I include your commentary for the First Game Engine as an example in the OP?
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markusin

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Re: Gold
« Reply #12 on: September 19, 2017, 12:00:55 am »
0

I have rewritten the second half of the article, mainly appropriating the very good comments directly from the thread.

In the next few days, I will review the games suggested above. I would like to add an example games section.

This article is primarily aimed at newer players right? I think this is a great opportunity to bring up the "First Game Engine" because of the lessons it teaches us about Gold.

https://dominionstrategy.com/2012/07/30/building-the-first-game-engine/

The way Geronimoo suggested to get an early Gold or two before switching to Markets really stuck to me. Gold being a bouncing board to help you afford the more expensive engine pieces seemed like a great insight. And then you could even Remodel the Gold into Province for that final push to victory.

Then the "First Game" simulator challenge came to be, and it was like, "Yo, why are you buying Gold when you can just use Mine to build up to Gold instead while you buy more Markets and engine parts?". With 2nd Edition Base and Intrigue introducing Bandit and Courtier, it feels more and more like you can improve efficiency by using Action Cards to gain Gold as payload to match your engine's growth, and perhaps even use the $6 cost price point of Gold to Remodel/Replace them into Province as you gain Gold.

This is kind of how I've come to understand Gold. It doesn't feel great to buy them at $6, but Gold becomes an asset if you can find more efficient and better timed ways of gaining it. I think it's good that you bring this up in your article. Indeed, it's easy to gain too many Golds for your own good even if you aren't spending a costly buy on them.

This is such a good comment and basically exactly what I was looking for in the thread. Can I include your commentary for the First Game Engine as an example in the OP?

Oh, uh, sure! Be my guest.

No one misses the lack of Woodcutter in 2nd edition for the First Game board. The First Game board was a nine card kingdom anyway. You can maybe sub in Harbinger to keep the feel of the board.
« Last Edit: September 19, 2017, 12:02:56 am by markusin »
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Polk5440

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Re: Gold
« Reply #13 on: September 21, 2017, 05:12:52 pm »
0

Edited section headings; minor tweaks to first half of article; removed some wishy-washiness making it clear that this article is directed more to beginner/intermediate level play; added example games; added concluding challenge.

I don't plan on any other major additions or changes. If you see anything you think should be changed, or any typos, please let me know.

If you think the "challenge" is stupid and the article should end with the examples, or you know of better archived video examples, please let me know that, too.
« Last Edit: September 21, 2017, 05:14:23 pm by Polk5440 »
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4est

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Re: Gold
« Reply #14 on: September 21, 2017, 05:45:20 pm »
+3

I think the challenge idea is an okay mental exercise for many players who usually overbuy Gold, though of course there are certainly kingdoms where holding fast to this challenge would be foolish.

One thought on the challenge: maybe change from "never gain a Gold" to "never buy a Gold."  This is basically the same challenge in many cases, but also encourages players to notice when Gold-gainers can be really helpful, and often much better to buy than buying Gold (e.g. why buy a Gold when you can buy Bandit or Governor and make a Gold?). 

Another challenge alternative: "Play all your games for the next month with Bandit Fort."  I like adding Bandit Fort when playing games with my wife to subtly remind her that buying all the Golds is usually bad.  She usually groans when we play with Bandit Fort, but she also usually plays better :)
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Polk5440

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Re: Gold
« Reply #15 on: September 21, 2017, 06:02:09 pm »
0

One thought on the challenge: maybe change from "never gain a Gold" to "never buy a Gold." 

Done.
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IDontPlayThisGame

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Re: Gold
« Reply #16 on: October 02, 2017, 05:01:40 pm »
+1

If you think the "challenge" is stupid and the article should end with the examples, or you know of better archived video examples, please let me know that, too.

I like the challenge. Played a few games with it, had some fun.
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