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Author Topic: Combo: Cartographer/Tunnel  (Read 13791 times)

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mischiefmaker

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Combo: Cartographer/Tunnel
« on: February 15, 2012, 05:37:47 pm »
+2

I imagine most of those who frequent this forum already know about this combo, but the specifics are kind of interesting.

First, let's talk about these cards separately. As alluded to in another thread, Cartographer can be a bit of a trap card, as it's easy to fall in love with its sifting power only to realize that you haven't bought enough good cards to actually sift for. In addition, it's easy to trigger unwanted reshuffles, and since you've sifted through all your junk, your next few hands will be mostly that junk.

Tunnel can be another trap card. At first glance it either looks so powerful (2 VP for $3 AND you can get bunches of Gold?) or so weak (only one VP more than Estate, and how am I ever going to trigger the Gold-gaining effect?). Then you realize that there are tons of cards that cause discards and maybe you buy a Tunnel, only to find that either you can't trigger them as often as you'd hoped (Oracle, opponent's single Militia), so you buy more Tunnels, and now you have tons of Gold, but your hands are all Gold-Gold-Tunnel-Tunnel-Copper. Sad panda.

Putting these cards together helps them solve each other's weaknesses. Cartographer's 4-card discard reach and the ability to chain multiple Cartographers means you don't need very many deck-clogging Tunnels to reliably trigger the effect. The Gold-gaining effect solves the dilemma of having to spend your buy on Cartographers and still get good cards to sift for. Add it up and you have a combo that's reasonably competitive.

However, it's important to make note of two things. One, while this combo is reasonably good, it's inferior to both Smithy-BM and Envoy-BM. (It has a narrow margin of victory in the simulator, but that's because the default bots don't buy Tunnel. Add a buy rule to buy Tunnel at <= 3 Provinces and both Smithy-BM and Envoy-BM pull ahead.) Two, it's a huge dog to at least three other Tunnel strategies: Young Witch/Tunnel, which is a beast, Warehouse/Tunnel, which gets going fast, and Embassy/Tunnel; this is because while Cartographer reaches 4 cards into your deck, it can't discard anything in your hand, so having both in the same hand gives you the double whammy of having a dead card *and* not being able to find/discard it for Gold. It's pretty good when there's not much else going on on the board, but it's not always going to be the dominant strategy, and it's not that fast (it derives most of its power from the additional VP from Tunnels, which you can hit early without clogging the deck).

Also of interest is that this strategy plays well with other cards, unless they're terminal draw. Cartographer/Monument/Tunnel is nearly a 3:1 winner over Monument-BM, and Cartographer/Mountebank/Tunnel is a 60-40 favorite as well. Cartographer/Witch/Tunnel, on the other hand, is nearly dead even with just plain Witch.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2012, 06:35:34 pm by mischiefmaker »
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timchen

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Re: Combo: Cartographer/Tunnel
« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2012, 06:11:03 pm »
0

The last paragraph is quite interesting!

I have to point out one misleading point (and potential error) though: if by "reach" you mean the card you can potentially discard from the deck then yes, it is only second to embassy; however; the gold gaining ability should be judged from the total number of cards one can possibily discard tunnel from. In this case, cartographer is 4, which is inferior to embassy's 9 (by more than a factor of 2), warehouse's 7, YW and Inn's 6, and even oasis and hamlet's 5. It is among one of the weakest enablers of tunnel. (oracle, spy and such are nombo.)

That being said, at the same or similar numbers the cards drawn from the deck are slightly stronger, as they have higher combo potential. i.e., 2 consecutive play of the cartographers can get to 8 cards which is the same as two inn's.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2012, 07:03:39 pm by timchen »
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HiveMindEmulator

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Re: Combo: Cartographer/Tunnel
« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2012, 06:15:57 pm »
+1

Cartographer's 4-card discard reach is second only to Embassy
Warehouse looks at 7 cards, young witch, inn, and vault 6, navigator, hamlet, and oasis 5. Anything that discards from your hand (secret chamber, cellar, horse traders, minion, tactician) can look at at least 4, more if you add in any non-terminal draw. So 4 is decent, but not spectacular reach.

EDIT: Ninja'd
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mischiefmaker

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Re: Combo: Cartographer/Tunnel
« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2012, 06:17:31 pm »
0

You are exactly right, and this explains why Cartographer/Tunnel is inferior to Warehouse/Tunnel, among others. I'll edit the post to reflect that.
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Robz888

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Re: Combo: Cartographer/Tunnel
« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2012, 07:00:33 pm »
0

Good article.

I would add that the presence of other discarders improves this combo. I mean, that's sort of an obvious point, because Tunnel becomes more viable the more discarders are present. But since Cartographer is non-terminal, it works extra well.

For instance, Harvest and Navigator, which are decent but not great on their own with Tunnel (owing to the fact that they are both sort of weak-ish cards anyway), can meld really well with Cartographer/Tunnel.
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mischiefmaker

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Re: Combo: Cartographer/Tunnel
« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2012, 07:26:04 pm »
0

Adding single Navigator is a big improvement - Cartographer/Navigator/Tunnel handily beats Smithy-BM and Envoy-BM.

Adding Harvest, on the other hand, loses to straight Cartographer/Tunnel. Not sure why this is.
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Robz888

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Re: Combo: Cartographer/Tunnel
« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2012, 07:35:18 pm »
0

Huh, that is funny. I guess Navigator can put Cartographer back, but Harvest can't? Still, Cartographer is a unique card for Harvest... hmmm...
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HiveMindEmulator

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Re: Combo: Cartographer/Tunnel
« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2012, 08:39:16 pm »
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Harvest costs $5. Navigator costs $4 and is a pretty decent opening.
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LastFootnote

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Re: Combo: Cartographer/Tunnel
« Reply #8 on: February 15, 2012, 08:46:28 pm »
0

Adding single Navigator is a big improvement - Cartographer/Navigator/Tunnel handily beats Smithy-BM and Envoy-BM.

Adding Harvest, on the other hand, loses to straight Cartographer/Tunnel. Not sure why this is.

When is your simulation buying Tunnel? When is it buying Harvest and Cartographer, for that matter?
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mischiefmaker

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Re: Combo: Cartographer/Tunnel
« Reply #9 on: February 15, 2012, 08:56:32 pm »
0

I tried it with:

- Cartographer first, then Harvest, then Tunnel (60-36 loser to Cartographer/Tunnel)
- Harvest first, then Cartographer, then Tunnel (63-33)
- Cartographer first, then Tunnel, then Harvest (62-34)

in each case following with Cartographers and Tunnels, avoiding Gold and Silver, using the template for straight Cartographer/Tunnel.

Code: [Select]
<player name="Cartographer/X/Tunnel"
 author="mischiefmaker"
 description="A template for testing how well other cards play with the Cartographer/Tunnel combo.">
 <type name="UserCreated"/>
 <type name="BigMoney"/>
 <type name="Bot"/>
 <type name="TwoPlayer"/>
 <type name="Combo"/>
 <type name="Province"/>
 <type name="Competitive"/>
   <buy name="Province"/>
   <buy name="Duchy">
      <condition>
         <left type="countCardsInSupply" attribute="Province"/>
         <operator type="smallerOrEqualThan" />
         <right type="constant" attribute="5.0"/>
      </condition>
   </buy>
   <buy name="Tunnel">
      <condition>
         <left type="countCardsInSupply" attribute="Province"/>
         <operator type="smallerOrEqualThan" />
         <right type="constant" attribute="3.0"/>
      </condition>
   </buy>
   <buy name="Estate">
      <condition>
         <left type="countCardsInSupply" attribute="Province"/>
         <operator type="smallerOrEqualThan" />
         <right type="constant" attribute="2.0"/>
      </condition>
   </buy>
   <buy name="Harvest">
      <condition>
         <left type="countCardsInDeck" attribute="Harvest"/>
         <operator type="equalTo" />
         <right type="constant" attribute="0.0"/>
      </condition>
   </buy>
   <buy name="Cartographer">
      <condition>
         <left type="countCardsInDeck" attribute="Cartographer"/>
         <operator type="equalTo" />
         <right type="constant" attribute="0.0"/>
      </condition>
   </buy>
   <buy name="Tunnel">
      <condition>
         <left type="countCardsInDeck" attribute="Cartographer"/>
         <operator type="greaterThan" />
         <right type="constant" attribute="0.0"/>
      </condition>
      <condition>
         <left type="countCardsInDeck" attribute="Tunnel"/>
         <operator type="equalTo" />
         <right type="constant" attribute="0.0"/>
      </condition>
   </buy>
   <buy name="Cartographer">
      <condition>
         <left type="countCardsInDeck" attribute="Cartographer"/>
         <operator type="smallerThan" />
         <right type="countAllCardsInDeck"/>
         <extra_operation type="divideBy" attribute="5.0" />
      </condition>
   </buy>
   <buy name="Tunnel">
      <condition>
         <left type="countCardsInDeck" attribute="Cartographer"/>
         <operator type="greaterThan" />
         <right type="constant" attribute="0.0"/>
      </condition>
   </buy>
   <buy name="Gold"/>
   <buy name="Silver"/>
</player>

Disclaimer: I have never been very good at tweaking the sim for optimality, so it's very likely someone can do better. Take results with a grain of salt.
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eigensheep

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Re: Combo: Cartographer/Tunnel
« Reply #10 on: February 15, 2012, 09:03:26 pm »
0

Does the simulator play hands with harvest and cartographer correctly?
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mischiefmaker

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Re: Combo: Cartographer/Tunnel
« Reply #11 on: February 15, 2012, 09:22:00 pm »
0

I checked a few sample games and I didn't see anything egregious. It might not be perfect at something like:

Hand: Cartographer, Harvest, Silver, Copper, Copper.
Cartographer draws Copper, reveals Copper, Copper, Estate, Silver.

I'm pretty sure in this case it will discard Copper, Copper, Estate, put back the Silver, and play Harvest, which might not trigger the $3 needed for a Province, while returning Copper, Estate, Silver is guaranteed to. On the other hand, this deck is fairly diverse, so the Harvest is likely to trigger for $3 most of the time anyway.

You can make a similar argument for the hand needing $4, but then an optimal player can't guarantee $4 either. He can improve the chance by guaranteeing $3, but my gut says that this deck is pretty diverse so the marginal improvement is probably not that big.
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Robz888

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Re: Combo: Cartographer/Tunnel
« Reply #12 on: February 15, 2012, 09:57:03 pm »
0

http://councilroom.com/game?game_id=game-20120214-130841-4dee4903.html

Here's a game I played with Cartographer/Harvest/Tunnel. I won, buying my 4th Province on turn 14, and beating my opponent, who didn't buy Harvest.

Now, I think I had great luck. I always drew my Harvests and Cartographers together, and I was able to set up a great Harvest hand with Cartographer. And of course, this is just one game... but I don't know how to simulate :(
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Robz888

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Re: Combo: Cartographer/Tunnel
« Reply #13 on: February 15, 2012, 09:57:38 pm »
0

So the game might mean nothing, it was just the reason I listed Harvest as a good addition to Cartographer/Tunnel.
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Davio

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Re: Combo: Cartographer/Tunnel
« Reply #14 on: February 16, 2012, 05:17:12 am »
0

From my experience only YW, Warehouse and Embassy are powerhouses with Tunnel.

With all the cards below them, other strategies that may be available on the same board may become more dominant.
Cartographer + Tunnel is decent, but not overwhelming.


Timing is also an issue. It takes one turn to buy a (possibly dead) Tunnel, one turn to discard it and probably another to use the gained Gold. That's 3 turns. Opportunity cost is an issue with Tunnel. I've seen many a Tunnel strat lose with a gazillion Golds in their decks, just because it was already too late.
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greatexpectations

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Re: Combo: Cartographer/Tunnel
« Reply #15 on: February 16, 2012, 08:07:47 am »
0

From my experience only YW, Warehouse and Embassy are powerhouses with Tunnel.

With all the cards below them, other strategies that may be available on the same board may become more dominant.
Cartographer + Tunnel is decent, but not overwhelming.

i am not sure how it simulates, but horse traders has seemed useful to me with tunnel, especially on an attacking board.
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Kahryl

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Re: Combo: Cartographer/Tunnel
« Reply #16 on: February 17, 2012, 02:34:45 pm »
0

For some reason, the last 6 games that have had one of these cards, has had the other.  It's an almost unbeatable combo!  Only tricky part is getting to the first Cartographer.  Can't safely buy tunnels until you do.
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WheresMyElephant

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Re: Combo: Cartographer/Tunnel
« Reply #17 on: February 20, 2012, 11:06:41 pm »
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It seems to me like Harvest and Cartographer don't synergize so well. What's the use of sifting crap out with Cartographer if everything you leave on top of the deck is going to be discarded anyway? It seems like your Cartographers are really going to waste here.

Even on the occasions where you'd rather have a $4 Harvest now than a carefully sifted hand next turn, the Cartographers can't guarantee you'll hit $4. I'd imagine a single Cartographer probably increases the value of your Harvest by about $1 on average, making it approximately equal to a Market. (Multiple Cartographers probably won't add much to the Harvest, though of course they still stack nicely with each other).

Of course there will probably be many occasions when you'd rather have a Cartographer-sifted hand next turn, since your deck is mostly very strong cards (Gold, Cartographer) and very weak cards (Copper, Victory) with little in between. Plus, you're missing opportunities to discard Tunnels every time that you Harvest a Cartographer, and every time you blind-draw a Tunnel in your starting hand. Too bad, unless you want to leave the Harvest unplayed...
« Last Edit: February 20, 2012, 11:24:04 pm by WheresMyElephant »
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pauley_walnuts

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Re: Combo: Cartographer/Tunnel
« Reply #18 on: February 28, 2012, 11:23:16 am »
0

As part of a Gardens strategy, I like this combo a lot. With the presence of a +buy card, this is great. Cartographer enables Tunnels and sifts through the Gardens, while the discarded Tunnels add buying power and also cards for Gardens.

I managed to use this combo against an opponent who bought a Familiar, and I was able to use the 10 curses as an extra VP per Garden without them slowing down my deck because of the Cartographer.
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mischiefmaker

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Re: Combo: Cartographer/Tunnel
« Reply #19 on: February 28, 2012, 11:39:19 am »
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In general, Tunnel + some enabler seems good for Gardens strategies since you can gain multiple cards per turn, and the drawback of too many Tunnels is somewhat mitigated since you typically will need very small hands to buy Gardens or Tunnels. However, you have to be careful since fast Tunnel strategies involve sifters and continue to gain Gold into the late game -- fast Province strategies that are resistant to stalling are very strong against Gardens strategies.

Taking all 10 Curses is not generally advisable in a Gardens game, since it makes each Gardens worth 1 more, for a net total of -2. Better to dish out some of those curses back at your opponent and take only enough to get to the next multiple of 10.
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Davio

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Re: Combo: Cartographer/Tunnel
« Reply #20 on: February 28, 2012, 11:47:15 am »
+1

The things you have to worry about with Tunnel are twofold:
- The size of the pool in which you hope to find Tunnel
- Restrictions on where the Tunnel must exist (in hand or in your draw pile).

Embassy is so good because it creates a whopping pool of 9 cards! For the first turns through the midgame that's over half your deck!
Warehouse gives a pool of 7 cards and of course you can play multiple Warehouses in a row to actively search your Tunnel.
Young Witch uses a pool of 6 cards, but of course it's a terminal.
Even little old Hamlet gives a pool of 5 cards and you can play more of them as well.

So if we sort the cards by pool size and assume that each hand we start with the regular 5 cards we get:
CardPool
Embassy9
Warehouse7
Young Witch6
Vault6
Inn6
Hamlet5
Horse Traders (attacked)5
Oasis5
Navigator5
Harvest4
Tactician4
Cellar4
Secret Chamber4
Minion4
Horse Traders (unattacked)4
Cartographer4
Lookout3
Oracle2
Spy1
Scrying Pool1
Duchess1

There are of course a lot of cards with an unknown pool size, the Adventurer/Golem type cards. Don't get tempted by something like Farming Village though, because often you find an Action or Treasure faster than you might think: it only skips Curses and regular VP cards.
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Re: Combo: Cartographer/Tunnel
« Reply #21 on: February 28, 2012, 12:08:27 pm »
+1

You're missing "Minion (already used one)"

Great list!!  8)
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mischiefmaker

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Re: Combo: Cartographer/Tunnel
« Reply #22 on: February 28, 2012, 01:39:28 pm »
+1

Nice work on the table! I think an additional column might be interesting:

CardFirst playAdditional plays
Embassy90
Warehouse73
Young Witch60
Inn62
Vault60
Hamlet51
Oasis51
Horse Traders (attacked)50
Navigator50
Cartographer44
Minion43
Cellar43, 2, ...
Harvest40
Tactician40
Secret Chamber (unattacked) 40
Horse Traders (unattacked)40
Lookout32
Oracle20
Spy   11
Scrying Pool11
Duchess10
Jack of all Trades10

Obviously this is not the final word in how good each enabler is, since the cards actually, you know, DO something besides enable Tunnel, but it may be helpful in thinking about, for instance, why Cartographer/Tunnel is better than Vault/Tunnel, even though Vault has a bigger pool size AND is generally a better card.
« Last Edit: February 29, 2012, 11:56:52 am by mischiefmaker »
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eHalcyon

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Re: Combo: Cartographer/Tunnel
« Reply #23 on: February 29, 2012, 12:14:28 am »
0

Multiple Minions would have a bigger pool than just 4, since you can continue using Minion to draw new 4 card hands.  However, if you're playing a Minion strategy, you wouldn't want Gold anyway.

(Edit: just realized that mischiefmaker's additional column basically says this.)



Golem+Tunnel is amazing, especially if there is a strong action for it to find.  Not only can Golem reveal and discard multiple Tunnels, it also helps cycle your deck faster so you can get to those Golds sooner.
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Re: Combo: Cartographer/Tunnel
« Reply #24 on: February 29, 2012, 04:31:37 am »
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Well, I intentionally kept it simple with my table to give everyone a quick look at how these cards compare. Of course all the cards do more than just discard other cards, but you can already see why some are better and some are worse.
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