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Author Topic: Why is trashing good? (Newb-oriented)  (Read 779 times)

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werothegreat

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Why is trashing good? (Newb-oriented)
« on: September 30, 2017, 04:01:49 pm »
+14

This article is aimed at newer players.  It is intended to be the first in an ongoing series entitled "Dominion 101".

Why is trashing good?

Dominion is a rich, complex game, whose strategic depths continue to be plumbed by even the most experienced of players.  But there are certain aspects of playing this deckbuilder that are considered fundamental to understanding it.  Once youíve gotten a handle on the basic mechanics of the game, there are a few strategic concepts that must be mastered before you can start to become a better player.  It is the exploration of these fundamentals that will be the focus of this series, and our first topic is a concept that, when it clicks, can immediately improve how you play the game: the benefit of trashing.

Not every game of Dominion will have a card that lets you trash (hereafter referred to as a ďtrasherĒ), but quite a few do.  Some trash a single card, others multiple, some do other things in addition to trashing, but all of them trash.  The mechanic is simple: trashing removes one or more cards from your deck.  The difficulty lies in understanding whether or not itís a good idea to trash.  New players usually understand the benefit of getting rid of Curses, which do nothing and detract from your point total.  Of course you want to get rid of those, who wouldnít?  But often when a player is first told that they should trash their starting Estates and Coppers, they balk.  Estates are worth points!  And Copper is needed to buy cards!

So here we come to an idea of efficiency.  Yes, you need points to win the game.  Yes, you need coins to buy more cards.  But each Estate in your hand is wasted space.  That Estate could have been a Silver, or a Village, or a Market.  But because you didnít want to trash it, itís in your hand, giving you effectively 4 cards to work with instead of 5.  Would you rather have a hand of Estate, three Coppers, and Smithy, or a hand of Village, three Coppers, and Smithy?  Substituting one card can make a huge difference.  By getting rid of your starting Estates, you reduce the opportunities of wasted space in your hands from three to zero.

But what about the points?  Letís look at a scenario.  Billy didnít want to trash his Estates; he held onto them like an old woman onto her horde of near-feral cats, and that wasted space that keeps popping up in his hand means he keeps getting when he could have gotten or when he could have gotten .  His sister Lisa, on the other hand, has smartly cleared out her Estates with a trashing card, and that extra or in each hand because she drew a Copper or Silver instead of a worthless Estate means she was able to pick up a key Action, or a Province.  Now Lisa has three Provinces, and Billy still has his three starting Estates.  Thatís 18 points to 3.  Having 6 points in one useless card is a lot better than only 1 point.  Itís more efficient.

Also consider that by the time youíre buying Provinces, your deck is probably a lot larger, and will be able to better handle a Victory card that just takes up space, compared to your first two turns, when you have 10-15 cards in your deck.

For fun, imagine that instead of starting with 3 Estates and 7 Coppers, you start the game with just 7 Coppers.  Youíre guaranteed to buy a card costing $5 on your first turn, and have a chance to play it on your second turn!  Thatís insane, isnít it?  Thatís how much those starting Estates slow you down.

But what about the Coppers?  They actually do somethingÖ donít they?  Well, sure, they give you .  But there are better cards out there, and youíd rather be drawing those than a Copper.  Imagine replacing your starting 7 Coppers with 3 Silvers.  Or 3 Golds.  Not ďadd to your deckĒ.  ďReplace withĒ.  Thatís only possible with trashing.

Letís check in again with Billy and Lisa.  Billy has finally figured out he needs to trash his starting Estates, but heís holding onto his Coppers for dear life.  Meanwhile, Lisa has trashed all her starting cards, and has a deck of 5 Markets, 3 Silvers, 2 Golds, 3 Villages, and 2 Smithies, in addition to her trasher.  She is essentially guaranteed to draw her deck every turn, which will give her the ability to buy 2 Provinces.  Billy has (somehow) managed to get the same cards, in addition to his starting Coppers.  Theoretically, this gives him a higher coin output, even potentially buying 3 Provinces in one turn, but in practice, thereís almost no way that will happen.  Itís far more likely heíll have a hand of 3 Coppers, Silver, and Village, and then his Village will draw another Copper, and his turn will be over.  While Lisa gets to draw her deck every turn and buy multiple Victory cards, Billy is stuck playing maybe one Action per turn.

Now to be fair, there are a few styles of deck that donít really want to trash.  You could be going for Gardens, and want your deck to be as big and bloated as possible, and arenít really too concerned about making more than .  Or maybe you just want to buy Silvers and Golds (and maybe one Action) and run a Big Money deck.  But Gardens needs certain other enabling cards to be present to give you more points than Provinces, and a Big Money strategy can never do better than buying one Province per turn.  These strategies are usually beaten by an engine, which weíll cover next time.

In conclusion: trash early; trash often.  Trashing is your friend.  (Coppers and Estates are not, they hate you, they say nasty things about you behind your back.  KILL THEM ALL)  Ahem.  At the very least, trashing away your starting cards can give you an edge over your friends, and maybe then you can teach them something about how to play Dominion.
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Polk5440

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Re: Why is trashing good? (Newb-oriented)
« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2017, 06:41:56 pm »
+7

I like the idea of a 101 article that focuses on trashing a lot.

But what about the points?  Letís look at a scenario.  Billy didnít want to trash his Estates; he held onto them like an old woman onto her horde of near-feral cats, and that wasted space that keeps popping up in his hand means he keeps getting when he could have gotten or when he could have gotten .  His sister Lisa, on the other hand, has smartly cleared out her Estates with a trashing card, and that extra or in each hand because she drew a Copper or Silver instead of a worthless Estate means she was able to pick up a key Action, or a Province.  Now Lisa has three Provinces, and Billy still has his three starting Estates.  Thatís 18 points to 3.  Having 6 points in one useless card is a lot better than only 1 point.  Itís more efficient.

Also consider that by the time youíre buying Provinces, your deck is probably a lot larger, and will be able to better handle a Victory card that just takes up space, compared to your first two turns, when you have 10-15 cards in your deck.

These two paragraphs stand out to me in a negative way, though. I do not like the analogy and I think the prose is muddy. The paragraph after ("For fun, imagine that instead of starting with 3 Estates and 7 Coppers...) is fine.

I like the "But what about the Coppers?" Section better.

Maybe condense those three "But what about the points?" paragraphs into one?

Something like:
Quote
But what about the points? The points you have at the start of the game don't matter! For fun, imagine that instead of starting with 3 Estates and 7 Coppers, you start the game with just 7 Coppers. That's 0 points, but you're guaranteed to buy a card costing $5 on your first turn and have a chance to play it on your second turn! That's insane, isn't it? That's how much those starting Estates slow you down. You are able to build a much better deck capable of scoring much higher much quicker without those Estates.

Also, maybe consider removing the term "Big Money" from the second to last paragraph? You could just rephrase to eliminate it; something like "Or maybe you just want to buy mostly Treasures and maybe a few Action cards." Basically the same idea, and in those deck compositions, I agree, trashing can sometimes hurt.

Also, much like the feral cats analogy, the phraseology in the concluding paragraph ("(Coppers and Estates are not, they hate you, they say nasty things about you behind your back.  KILL THEM ALL)  Ahem.  At the very least, trashing away your starting cards can give you an edge over your friends, and maybe then you can teach them something about how to play Dominion.") just seems off to me. The KILL THEM ALL joke has a different tone than the rest of the article and I don't know if 101 should conclude with an encouragement on edging out your friends so you can "teach" them a thing or two. At the risk of being stereotypical, people seeking out strategy advice do not need further encouragements to be competitive.
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avorian

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Re: Why is trashing good? (Newb-oriented)
« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2017, 11:23:34 pm »
+1

I think the efficiency section could do with some more concrete, early game, base only examples.
I'm spitballing here because I actually don't want obviously superduper combos, like of course opening chapel + bandit/witch is very nice. But i think even something like "Without trashing, if you have one militia in your deck, you probably only play that militia once every two turns in the early game. With trashing, it can quickly become a card you see almost every turn"
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Beyond Awesome

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Re: Why is trashing good? (Newb-oriented)
« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2017, 12:04:42 am »
+1

I really like Polks suggestions. His example paragraph is really good because it's more clear and precise. Also, you're less likely to lose the reader.
« Last Edit: October 02, 2017, 09:17:11 pm by Beyond Awesome »
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chipperMDW

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Re: Why is trashing good? (Newb-oriented)
« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2017, 12:11:03 am »
+4

I would explicitly say something like, "Yeah, Estates are worth points, but points don't benefit you until the game is over." It might be obvious to us, but maybe the target audience feels reluctant to trash Estates because they feel like the VP is still helping them somehow even if they realize the Estates are a nuisance.
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Beyond Awesome

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Re: Why is trashing good? (Newb-oriented)
« Reply #5 on: October 02, 2017, 09:16:40 pm »
0

I love chippers point. I know people irl with this mindset.
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Cave-o-sapien

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Re: Why is trashing good? (Newb-oriented)
« Reply #6 on: October 02, 2017, 11:29:57 pm »
0


For fun, imagine that instead of starting with 3 Estates and 7 Coppers, you start the game with just 7 Coppers.  Youíre guaranteed to buy a card costing $5 on your first turn, and have a chance to play it on your second turn!  Thatís insane, isnít it?  Thatís how much those starting Estates slow you down.

I think this is a really clear way of framing the issue, and I like that Polk's suggested paragraph brings it into the article sooner.
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werothegreat

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Re: Why is trashing good? (Newb-oriented)
« Reply #7 on: October 03, 2017, 11:02:14 pm »
+2

Will incorporate suggestions soon, probably this weekend.
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Re: Why is trashing good? (Newb-oriented)
« Reply #8 on: October 09, 2017, 11:55:36 pm »
+1

This article is now up on the blog with further changes that wero implemented. https://dominionstrategy.com/2017/10/09/dominion-101-why-trashing-is-good/
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