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werothegreat

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Dominion 101: What is an engine?
« on: October 11, 2017, 11:54:22 pm »
+11

Dominion 101 is a series geared toward newer players.

What is an engine?

One of the most important strategic concepts in Dominion is the engine.  Most experienced Dominion players will spend their first few moments of a game looking at the Kingdom and figuring out if an engine is possible, and if so, how they can cobble one together.  Engine strategies can reliably beat most decks that just buy bigger and bigger Treasures (called Big Money decks), and getting an engine running is for many players one of the most satisfying and rewarding parts of playing the game.

So what exactly is an engine?  An engine is characterized by two main features:
  • Strong draw, typically being able to draw your entire deck in a single turn
  • Payload, powerful cards that either help your deck, hinder your opponent, or let you gain multiple Victory cards in a turn
If the strong draw and/or payload is terminal (that is, not giving any +Action when played), an engine will also require a card that gives at least +2 Actions (usually called Villages, after the simplest Kingdom card that gives this effect).

For an example of each of these, we need look no further than the recommended First Game from the Base Set: Cellar, Moat, Merchant, Village, Workshop, Militia, Remodel, Smithy, Market, Mine.  (If you don’t recognize Merchant, it was added in the Second Edition, which we’ll discuss next time, and replaces Woodcutter in this game.)  For our strong draw, we have Smithy, which gives a snazzy +3 Cards for the low, low price of .  However, it is also terminal - if you play Smithy as your first Action on a turn, you can’t play any more Actions afterwards, which undermines the whole point of making an engine in the first place.  So we’ll also rely on Village to give us the extra Actions necessary to play enough Smithies to draw our entire deck.

But we can’t stop here; one of the common pitfalls newer players experience is grabbing a bunch of Villages and Smithies, but not adding in anything else to the mix other than maybe a couple Treasures.  That kind of deck can pretty reliably draw itself, but then you’re stuck with a bunch of coins and only one Buy, and now you’re not doing any better than the Big Money deck, except you’re actually a few turns behind; while you were picking up the Villages and Smithies, the Big Money player was picking up Silvers and Golds and has already bought a Province or two, and there’s no way you’ll catch up to them at this point.  What you need is the final, and most crucial, engine ingredient: payload.

Payload is just a fancy word for “whatever makes your engine worth it”.  This can be a +Buy card like Market, or an Attack like Militia.  An engine may have several different payloads, and the engine from the First Game has room for a few.  You could pick up a Mine, which increases the overall buying power of your Treasures.  You’ll also need Markets, so that you have the extra Buys necessary to gain multiple Provinces a turn near the end of the game, and a Militia would certainly be recommended, to slow down your opponent.

Engines do take a bit of time to get going, and an opponent that’s more focused on Treasures will probably start buying Provinces while you’re still building.  This process can be helped along by “engine enablers”: essentially any card that speeds up your engine construction.  In the First Game, both Workshop and Remodel serve this role, as both can help you add more than one engine piece to your deck per turn.  Remodel is also the only way to get rid of your Estates on this board, and as we discussed last time, that’s quite important to do, particularly so for an engine, which can’t afford to hit a snag like drawing an Estate instead of a card that can actually draw.  Besides gainers and trashers, enablers can include sifters (cards that cycle through your deck) like Cellar, and +Buy cards like Market.  There is a bit of overlap with payload cards, as many payload cards, like Market, also function as enablers.

If there are enablers on the board, you’ll most likely want to open with them, to get your engine going as quickly as possible.  Look specifically for trashers (like Remodel), and gainers (like Workshop).  Notice that Mine, despite being a trasher, is not an enabler, but only payload; this is because it replaces a trashed Treasure with another Treasure, keeping the number of “stop cards” (cards that don’t draw) in your deck constant.  While an engine will usually need a couple stop cards to serve as payload, most cards in an engine should be helping you draw the rest of your deck.  Once you’ve picked up your enablers, focus on getting your engine pieces (your draw and Villages), before starting to pick up payload.  Once your engine is mostly drawing your entire deck, and has enough payload to gain more than one Province per turn, you should start grabbing some Victory cards.  Be careful, though: start buying Provinces too soon, and your engine will sputter, and you will lose.  But hold off buying Provinces too long, and your opponent will get more Victory cards than you, and you will lose.  Knowing exactly when to start doing each step is not an exact art, and will take some practice to get right. 

Specifically for the First Game, my preferred method would be to open Silver/Remodel (or Workshop/Remodel, if I’m feeling lucky), then pick up a Mine with my first , and Markets with each subsequent , getting Villages, Smithies, and a single Militia as I can along the way.  Remodel turns my starting Estates into Villages and/or Smithies, then a Silver or two into an extra Market, and later in the game can turn Golds I get from Mine into Provinces.  A typical late game turn should see me draw my entire deck, play my Militia, Mine a Silver into a Gold, then immediately Remodel that Gold into a Province, then buy 2 more Provinces and maybe one other cheap card (usually Cellar).

Remember that, unless you’re pulling off a particularly wacky strategy, you’re still going to need some coins in order to buy everything.  The First Game provides this rather naturally, sticking it onto Market and Militia in addition to their +Buy and Attack payload.  Mine also serves this purpose in slowly upgrading your Treasures.  If a Kingdom has draw, +Action, and other sources of payload, but no useful Actions that give extra coins, then it’s perfectly fine to pick up a couple Golds to help serve as a payload.  However, in general, your engine should be made up almost entirely of Action cards, if possible.

So now when you see a board with good draw, a Village, and some cool payload cards, you’ll think to yourself, “It’s engine time.”
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Re: Dominion 101: What is an engine?
« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2017, 12:52:15 am »
0

Pretty nice article. It goes over the essentials of the first game engine without being too bogged down by text. Be sure to emphasize that it would be a good idea to practice the first game engine to get a feel for how the engine is built.

I'm not sure how great this is, but you can mention how Remodel can be used to turn Silver or even Workshop into a Market while still in the building phase.

You say this line:

"However, in general, your engine should be made up almost entirely of Action cards, if possible."

I didn't feel like you made it clear why this should be the case. Maybe refer back to your article on trashing once again here.
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Re: Dominion 101: What is an engine?
« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2017, 01:48:44 am »
+1

I'm going to disagree with the idea that an engine "typically" draws your entire deck each turn.  Often, perhaps.  But I don't think it's even 50% of engines.  The engine you describe has too many coins in it to reliably draw the deck each and every turn, as it has enough treasures that it's likely to draw no Villages before drawing two terminals.
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Re: Dominion 101: What is an engine?
« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2017, 02:26:58 am »
+1

However, in general, your engine should be made up almost entirely of Action cards, if possible.
This is not good advice. I mean, it is true that most treasures that exist right now aren't good for engines, but that fact is purely coincidental. It's like saying "If possible, your engine should be made up almost entirely of cards that start contain the letter K". Maybe all cards with the letter K happen to be good engine cards, and the others are not, but that does not teach newbies anything about the game. And it might change in the future, just as the Treasure paradigm has: We now have Counterfeit, Charm, Fortune, Plunder, Coin of the Realm, all of which are best used in engines (and we even have some engine cards that want you to have basic treasures in your deck).
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Re: Dominion 101: What is an engine?
« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2017, 03:16:29 am »
+3

However, in general, your engine should be made up almost entirely of Action cards, if possible.
This is not good advice. I mean, it is true that most treasures that exist right now aren't good for engines, but that fact is purely coincidental. It's like saying "If possible, your engine should be made up almost entirely of cards that start contain the letter K". Maybe all cards with the letter K happen to be good engine cards, and the others are not, but that does not teach newbies anything about the game. And it might change in the future, just as the Treasure paradigm has: We now have Counterfeit, Charm, Fortune, Plunder, Coin of the Realm, all of which are best used in engines (and we even have some engine cards that want you to have basic treasures in your deck).

If possible your engine should consist mostly of King's Courts actually.
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Re: Dominion 101: What is an engine?
« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2017, 04:31:21 am »
0

I'm going to disagree with the idea that an engine "typically" draws your entire deck each turn.  Often, perhaps.  But I don't think it's even 50% of engines.

It's way above 80% of engines and the remaining decks all have Goons, Fortune or cost reduction in them.
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Re: Dominion 101: What is an engine?
« Reply #6 on: October 12, 2017, 05:38:09 am »
0

I'm going to disagree with the idea that an engine "typically" draws your entire deck each turn.  Often, perhaps.  But I don't think it's even 50% of engines.

It's way above 80% of engines and the remaining decks all have Goons, Fortune or cost reduction in them.

Is this differing play styles or differing definitions of engines? What percentage of total games would you guys say you end up drawing your deck each turn?
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Re: Dominion 101: What is an engine?
« Reply #7 on: October 12, 2017, 05:45:04 am »
0

I'm going to disagree with the idea that an engine "typically" draws your entire deck each turn.  Often, perhaps.  But I don't think it's even 50% of engines.

It's way above 80% of engines and the remaining decks all have Goons, Fortune or cost reduction in them.

Is this differing play styles or differing definitions of engines? What percentage of total games would you guys say you end up drawing your deck each turn?

More than 50℅ of all games.
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Re: Dominion 101: What is an engine?
« Reply #8 on: October 12, 2017, 08:10:08 am »
+1

This is pretty great for a basic article, and I think a lot of these comments could make it into a follow up article about the concepts of other kinds of engines. I think it’s important to start with this as your base so that you can branch out to sketchier low draw engines later, rather than starting at Big Money and adding Good Stuff.

But maybe change Draw to cycling, and point out that draw is far more effective cycling than not-draw? We’ve all seen magic Forum engines before, and using cycling instead of draw as a term accommodates those cantrip based engines we all love (since the payload also cycles you need less draw).
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Re: Dominion 101: What is an engine?
« Reply #9 on: October 12, 2017, 08:43:09 am »
0

An engine is a group of cards that do more together than they do individually.

Let's wait to define it further until after Nocturne is released.
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Re: Dominion 101: What is an engine?
« Reply #10 on: October 12, 2017, 08:44:25 am »
+1

Nice article.  I think this article could most be improved by linking to a video of a strong player building the engine on the First Game.  For some people, an engine isn't going to click until they see someone play it.

Once your engine is mostly drawing your entire deck, and has enough payload to gain more than one Province per turn, you should start grabbing some Victory cards.  Be careful, though: start buying Provinces too soon, and your engine will sputter, and you will lose.  But hold off buying Provinces too long, and your opponent will get more Victory cards than you, and you will lose.  Knowing exactly when to start doing each step is not an exact art, and will take some practice to get right.

There is nothing special about being able to gain 2 or more Provinces each turn.  In fact, I think it would be more helpful to suggest that players continue to add draw to supplement the stop cards they add to their deck while greening.

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Re: Dominion 101: What is an engine?
« Reply #11 on: October 12, 2017, 09:08:05 am »
0

I'm going to disagree with the idea that an engine "typically" draws your entire deck each turn.  Often, perhaps.  But I don't think it's even 50% of engines.

It's way above 80% of engines and the remaining decks all have Goons, Fortune or cost reduction in them.

Is this differing play styles or differing definitions of engines? What percentage of total games would you guys say you end up drawing your deck each turn?

More than 50℅ of all games.

I feel like I made a big skill jump once I wrapped my head around the fact that "draw your deck" means "no, like literally draw your whole deck every turn."
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Re: Dominion 101: What is an engine?
« Reply #12 on: October 12, 2017, 09:15:28 am »
0

I'm going to disagree with the idea that an engine "typically" draws your entire deck each turn.  Often, perhaps.  But I don't think it's even 50% of engines.

It's way above 80% of engines and the remaining decks all have Goons, Fortune or cost reduction in them.

Is this differing play styles or differing definitions of engines? What percentage of total games would you guys say you end up drawing your deck each turn?

More than 50℅ of all games.

I feel like I made a big skill jump once I wrapped my head around the fact that "draw your deck" means "no, like literally draw your whole deck every turn."

More like I kept losing to people who would end up drawing their deck. Learning the hard way, and that awful feeling where you see your opponent with no deck or discard pile when you can't do the same with your deck.
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Re: Dominion 101: What is an engine?
« Reply #13 on: October 12, 2017, 09:19:39 am »
+1

I don't know if this is a "common plateau" type thing or if it was just me but I distinctly remember having a mindset like "yeah yeah I get it, I wanna draw my deck. but once I can get to $8 for a couple turns in a row I'd be a greedy sucker not to just buy provinces at this point"
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Re: Dominion 101: What is an engine?
« Reply #14 on: October 12, 2017, 11:52:41 am »
0

I'm going to disagree with the idea that an engine "typically" draws your entire deck each turn.  Often, perhaps.  But I don't think it's even 50% of engines.

It's way above 80% of engines and the remaining decks all have Goons, Fortune or cost reduction in them.

Is this differing play styles or differing definitions of engines? What percentage of total games would you guys say you end up drawing your deck each turn?

Hrm... I guess I would say something closer to 30%.  Maybe it's differing play abilities.
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Re: Dominion 101: What is an engine?
« Reply #15 on: October 12, 2017, 01:02:31 pm »
+18

I'm going to disagree with the idea that an engine "typically" draws your entire deck each turn.  Often, perhaps.  But I don't think it's even 50% of engines.

It's way above 80% of engines and the remaining decks all have Goons, Fortune or cost reduction in them.

Is this differing play styles or differing definitions of engines? What percentage of total games would you guys say you end up drawing your deck each turn?

Hrm... I guess I would say something closer to 30%.  Maybe it's differing play abilities.

Draw your deck "each turn" is such a nice dream, I wish it could happen to me as much as Awaclus claims.

I'm not sure what the relevant thing to count is, should it be the % of games where you successfully draw the deck for X turns in a row (this percentage will be quite small even if X is some not huge number like 4-5), or games where you manage to draw the entire deck a few times period, or just games where you are aiming to draw your deck (often you only get to do it once or twice before the piles run out, but I'd still consider these full deck drawing engines)?

These are the last 18 decks I played in the tournament:
- Spice Merchant/Minstrel/Caravan/Replace engine (I drew my deck some turns, but not all, once the engine was going, I certainly was trying to draw my deck though)
- Donate/Duplicate not engine (Drew my deck after donating :) but did not build any engine here and just sort of muddled around getting green cards)
- Amb/Encampment/Wharf/Goons engine (eventually drawing deck each turn)
- Baker/Masq/Treasury/Legionary/HoP/Secret Passage/Mission/Legionary engine (never drew entire deck)
- Giant/Witch mess, not engine
- Overlord/Sentry/Legionary engine(or was it?) (drew my deck once I was trashed, but this stopped as soon as I was greening)
- Spice Merchant/Ironmonger/City Quarter/Hoard/Pillage engine mess (I drew my deck some turns but not consistently, I had to gain treasures to have any extra buys and it didn't work out, my opponent did not try to draw cards and won)
- Bonfire/IW/Ferry/Treasury/Peddler/Replace/Castles engine(or not?) (drew my deck after trashing, did not continue once greening started)
- Bandit/Junk Dealer/other stuff not engine
- Governor/Forager engine (Certainly possible to draw the deck consistently, not necessarily the right play every turn with your Governors)
- KC/Torturer/Pawn/Magpie/Mill/Expedition engine (Uh huh)
- Alchemist/Militia/Hireling/Minstrel/Counterfeit/Graverobber/Artisan engine (I got to a point where I was drawing the deck, my opponent did not build up that much draw and beat me)
- KC/Gear/Swamp Hag/Sea Hag/Mill/Royal Carriage/Moat/Vagrant/Graverobber engine (Think I only managed to draw the entire deck on the turn I ended it, maybe once before that. If I needed to have the game last longer I probably could have drawn the deck most turns because of Gear)
- Swindler/Alchemist/Lost City/Crossroads/Hamlet engine (It was possible, but hard to draw the entire deck here without trashing, my deck was wrecked by Swindler, my opponent drew a lot of their deck but not all of it consistently)
- Uni/WT/Ratcatcher/Advisor/Merchant/Hermit/Seaway engine (I drew my whole deck several turns)
- Urchin/Rats/Upgrade/Fishing Village/Chariot Race/Storyteller/Merchant Ship/Mountebank/Dominate engine (I drew the deck pretty consistently once cleaned up, but needed to find Storyteller to kick off so not every turn).
- IGG/Treasure Trove (I drew 0 cards and won, my opponent did Apo/Villa/Enchantress but no trashing so the deck would never get drawn consistently)
- City Quarter/Pawn/Upgrade/Chariot Race/Highway/Militia engine (I got to deck drawing fairly consistently, but dependent on having CQs in starting hand).

To me, drawing your deck is a great thing to target as a building goal, but it's not realistic to claim it always happens consistently.

Games played: 18
Engines (by my reckoning, I am counting the two questionable games as 0.5): 13
Not engines: 5
Held the entire deck in hand at least once: 13 (this includes 1 not engine and the two 0.5 engines)
Drew deck "consistently" (I am just going with my gut here): 6-8ish

Sorry this post is a mess!
« Last Edit: October 12, 2017, 03:52:57 pm by Mic Qsenoch »
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Re: Dominion 101: What is an engine?
« Reply #16 on: October 12, 2017, 04:30:51 pm »
+1

Thanks for all the feedback!  The key point of contention seems to be the deck drawing.  I would argue that being able to draw your entire deck should be seen as something you not only aspire to, but is achievable.  I've played many games with new players where they are astounded when I draw my entire deck, and wonder how I did it.  And I've drawn my entire deck in that First Game engine many times, but that might be a bias of playing with newer players - I usually get more than half of the Village pile, and enough Smithies and Markets to ensure I draw everything at least a few times.  It's probably not as viable against a competent player, but it's certainly possible.
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Re: Dominion 101: What is an engine?
« Reply #17 on: October 12, 2017, 05:32:16 pm »
+1

I really don't want this discussion to split off into a whole different thing, but
Quote
an engine will also require a card that gives at least +2 Actions
could maybe be changed to
Quote
an engine will also require a card that allows multiple terminals to be played per turn
or even just
Quote
an engine will usually also require a card that gives at least +2 Actions
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Re: Dominion 101: What is an engine?
« Reply #18 on: October 12, 2017, 05:39:21 pm »
+1

I really don't want this discussion to split off into a whole different thing, but

ftfy
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Re: Dominion 101: What is an engine?
« Reply #19 on: October 13, 2017, 07:14:45 am »
+6

I'm missing the sole cantrip engines, like the stack of Grand Markets or Higway/+Buy cantrip(Market Square, Market, ...) which can work without strong draw if there's adequate trashing.
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Re: Dominion 101: What is an engine?
« Reply #20 on: October 14, 2017, 01:37:04 am »
0

In tableau-building games you'd call an engine something that consistently (not necessarily constantly; an engine can start late in the game) provides VPs or something else that is important to win the game.
Usually that "dynamic" way of generating VPs stands in contrast to "static" VPs via something like buildings.

In deck-building games this static-dynamic trade-off is absent but I think the notion that an engine implies consistency, reliability, smoothness or however you wanna call it applies as well.
I also think that how you achieve the very repetition of a pattern is fairly irrelevant. Decks that heavily rely on Treasures usually green early and then have issues with all the junk, i.e. they behave differently in different phases of the game. But you could e.g. call a deck with lots of Silver due to Delve or Trader or Jack or whatever an engine as all the Silver smooth our your deck and you got enough to buy a Province each turn.
Now I am not arguing that one should call such decks an engine. I definitely don't. But one should keep in mind that such decks provide the same smoothness as a draw-your-entire-deck engine or the 8 Peddler cantrip decks assemble mentioned.
« Last Edit: October 14, 2017, 01:40:00 am by josh56 »
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Re: Dominion 101: What is an engine?
« Reply #21 on: October 14, 2017, 03:48:04 am »
+1

I also think that how you achieve the very repetition of a pattern is fairly irrelevant. Decks that heavily rely on Treasures usually green early and then have issues with all the junk, i.e. they behave differently in different phases of the game. But you could e.g. call a deck with lots of Silver due to Delve or Trader or Jack or whatever an engine as all the Silver smooth our your deck and you got enough to buy a Province each turn.
Now I am not arguing that one should call such decks an engine. I definitely don't. But one should keep in mind that such decks provide the same smoothness as a draw-your-entire-deck engine or the 8 Peddler cantrip decks assemble mentioned.
I think that is explicitly not how engines in Dominion work. Big Money decks green early because they can cope with green rather well. Engines green as late as possible because usually they fall apart once green cards are added. That is because in an engine, there are many tiny pieces that have to come together to make it work, and a small amount of stop cards can cause you to draw a dud.
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josh56

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Re: Dominion 101: What is an engine?
« Reply #22 on: October 14, 2017, 06:21:32 am »
0

I also think that how you achieve the very repetition of a pattern is fairly irrelevant. Decks that heavily rely on Treasures usually green early and then have issues with all the junk, i.e. they behave differently in different phases of the game. But you could e.g. call a deck with lots of Silver due to Delve or Trader or Jack or whatever an engine as all the Silver smooth our your deck and you got enough to buy a Province each turn.
Now I am not arguing that one should call such decks an engine. I definitely don't. But one should keep in mind that such decks provide the same smoothness as a draw-your-entire-deck engine or the 8 Peddler cantrip decks assemble mentioned.
I think that is explicitly not how engines in Dominion work. Big Money decks green early because they can cope with green rather well. Engines green as late as possible because usually they fall apart once green cards are added. That is because in an engine, there are many tiny pieces that have to come together to make it work, and a small amount of stop cards can cause you to draw a dud.
As I tried to point out, that's a narrow Dominion-specific perspective that has little to do with the general use of the term engine in boardgame.
If I play a BM deck which adds Silvers while greening, thus compensating for the adding of green, that's a smoothly running engine. It's like playing Imperial Settlers or Race for the Galaxy and making X VPs each turn. How you achieve something is really not that important, what matters is that is reliable and works every turn.
That's more easy to achieve via Action cards that draw: if you always draw your entire deck you have as much consistency as possible. But it is also possible via having lots of Silver in your deck and buying a Province each turn (and perhaps gaining another Silver en passant).
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faust

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Re: Dominion 101: What is an engine?
« Reply #23 on: October 14, 2017, 02:37:40 pm »
0

I also think that how you achieve the very repetition of a pattern is fairly irrelevant. Decks that heavily rely on Treasures usually green early and then have issues with all the junk, i.e. they behave differently in different phases of the game. But you could e.g. call a deck with lots of Silver due to Delve or Trader or Jack or whatever an engine as all the Silver smooth our your deck and you got enough to buy a Province each turn.
Now I am not arguing that one should call such decks an engine. I definitely don't. But one should keep in mind that such decks provide the same smoothness as a draw-your-entire-deck engine or the 8 Peddler cantrip decks assemble mentioned.
I think that is explicitly not how engines in Dominion work. Big Money decks green early because they can cope with green rather well. Engines green as late as possible because usually they fall apart once green cards are added. That is because in an engine, there are many tiny pieces that have to come together to make it work, and a small amount of stop cards can cause you to draw a dud.
As I tried to point out, that's a narrow Dominion-specific perspective that has little to do with the general use of the term engine in boardgame.
If I play a BM deck which adds Silvers while greening, thus compensating for the adding of green, that's a smoothly running engine. It's like playing Imperial Settlers or Race for the Galaxy and making X VPs each turn. How you achieve something is really not that important, what matters is that is reliable and works every turn.
That's more easy to achieve via Action cards that draw: if you always draw your entire deck you have as much consistency as possible. But it is also possible via having lots of Silver in your deck and buying a Province each turn (and perhaps gaining another Silver en passant).
No; it's not possible with lots of action cards, as you need specific combinations of action cards to fire off your deck-drawing engine, and as soon as you add green that won't work anymore. The problem is that what you same is a factor for a (general) engine is more or less the opposite of what engine means in Dominion. What you're describing is either a slog or a Golden Deck.
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Since the number of points is within a constant factor of the number of city quarters, in the long run we can get (4 - ε) ↑↑ n points in n turns for any ε > 0.

Kirian

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Re: Dominion 101: What is an engine?
« Reply #24 on: October 14, 2017, 04:48:29 pm »
+3

I also think that how you achieve the very repetition of a pattern is fairly irrelevant. Decks that heavily rely on Treasures usually green early and then have issues with all the junk, i.e. they behave differently in different phases of the game. But you could e.g. call a deck with lots of Silver due to Delve or Trader or Jack or whatever an engine as all the Silver smooth our your deck and you got enough to buy a Province each turn.
Now I am not arguing that one should call such decks an engine. I definitely don't. But one should keep in mind that such decks provide the same smoothness as a draw-your-entire-deck engine or the 8 Peddler cantrip decks assemble mentioned.
I think that is explicitly not how engines in Dominion work. Big Money decks green early because they can cope with green rather well. Engines green as late as possible because usually they fall apart once green cards are added. That is because in an engine, there are many tiny pieces that have to come together to make it work, and a small amount of stop cards can cause you to draw a dud.
As I tried to point out, that's a narrow Dominion-specific perspective that has little to do with the general use of the term engine in boardgame.

You're technically correct, but we're not talking about other board games here.  RFTG is a much, much different game.  Dominion engines don't do the same thing as many engines in other games, fine, but we're on a Dominion forum reading a Dominion article that will be put on a Dominion blog, so I don't think any reasonable reader is going to pipe up and say "But that's not what an engine looks like in RFTG."  Because the answer to that is "No shit, Sherlock."
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