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Author Topic: Official Dominion Tournament at U-Con, Nov. 18 2017, Ypsilanti, MI, 1pm - 9pm  (Read 366 times)

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Elestan

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It's that time again!  Join us for the largest in-person gathering of F.DS players in the world!  Compete against all the handles you've gotten to know here, using real cards!

This tournament is sanctioned by Rio Grande, guest-judged by the current World Champion, and will be a qualifier for the World Masters, if there is one in 2018.  All players receive promotional cards!

The competition will feature custom-designed kingdoms drawn from all of the Dominion sets and expansions, and will emphasize strategy and high-level play. 

Tournament seating is limited, so pre-register for the event here; just click on the 'Add' button and proceed through the checkout process.  You'll need a tournament ticket and a convention badge.

If you can, I'd encourage everyone to pick out other games to play in and attend the whole game convention, which runs from Nov 17-19, all day (and late into the night Friday and Saturday).  Convention members can even sign up for free tutoring sessions with the world champ to polish their game!

  I hope to see you there!

IMPORTANT NOTE:  For those who have attended in the past, note that this year the tournament has been moved to an outbuilding:  We will be on the upper floor of the resort's golf clubhouse, and will have the area mostly to ourselves.  You will need to pick up your tickets and badges first, at the con's registration desk.
« Last Edit: October 18, 2017, 11:58:36 pm by Elestan »
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nana-king

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Just bought our tickets last night!
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Beyond Awesome

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I wish I could go. I have family in the area.
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shark_bait

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In a rapid series of events I won't be able to come this year as I'm buying a house.  Instead I will be packing/moving.  I'll actually be closer to the conference now than I was before, but I don't think people would be happy with me if I scooted away from the heavy lifting to play dominion.  Good luck everybody.
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Hello.  Name's Bruce.  It's all right.  I understand.  Why trust a shark, right?

Is quite curious - Who is the mystical "Celestial Chameleon"?

Elestan

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Just a reminder that pre-registration closes on Thursday...sign up now to reserve your spot!
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enfynet

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Justice League says there's no way in heck I'm getting off that weekend. Would have been fun, though.
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shark_bait

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Good luck everyone.  Wish I could be there instead of hauling heavy furniture.  I'll be there next year!
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Hello.  Name's Bruce.  It's all right.  I understand.  Why trust a shark, right?

Is quite curious - Who is the mystical "Celestial Chameleon"?

Kirian

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Have fun everyone!  Elestan, say a general hello to everyone from me!
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Elestan

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...and congratulations to ben_king, who successfully defended his title after waiving his champion's bye in order to play the full set of preliminary games.

I'd also like to thank AdamH for his invaluable assistance in reviewing the kingdoms, and for helping out during the event itself.

The Kingdoms played were:

Preliminary Kingdoms:

Set 1: [Triumphal Arch, Alms], Pearl Diver, Amulet, Tunnel, Vassal, Poacher, Secret Passage, Villa, Wild Hunt, Royal Seal, King's Court
Set 2: [Shelters], [Orchard, Advance], Beggar, Embargo, Peasant, Gear, Menagerie, Miser, Pirate Ship, Hunting Party, Prince, Overlord
Set 3: [Tower, Pathfinding], Beggar, Squire, Hermit, Patrician/Emporium, Magpie, Messenger, Rats, Remake, Trader, Mountebank
Set 4: [Mountain Pass, Bonfire], Encampment/Plunder, Fool's Gold, Gladiator/Fortune, Transmogrify, Crown, Legionary, Treasure Trove, Capital, Hunting Grounds, City
Set 5: [Lost Arts, Obelisk (Ruins)], Vagrant, Enchantress, Death Cart, Sacrifice, Wandering Minstrel, Band of Misfits, Cultist, Horn of Plenty, Jester, Scrying Pool

Semifinal Kingdoms:

Set A: [Aqueduct, Dominate], Candlestick Maker, Crossroads, Ambassador, Secret Passage, Silk Road, Walled Village, Artificer, Counting House, Patrol, Storyteller
Set B: [Museum, Save], Lighthouse, Enchantress, Bishop, Diplomat, Crown, Bridge Troll, Merchant Guild, Swamp Hag, Goons, Overlord
Set C: [Bandit Fort, Conquest], Caravan Guard, Catapult/Rocks, Caravan, Feodum, Jack, Messenger, Taxman, Trader, Embassy, King's Court

Tiebreaker Kingdom:

Set T: [Dominate, Donate], Encampment/Plunder, Castles, Market Square, Crown, Lost City, Gladiator/Fortune, Artisan, Border Village, Hireling, Hunting Grounds

Final Kingdom:

Set F: [Defiled Shrine, Summon], Native Village, Chariot Race, Farmers' Market, Wishing Well, Jack, Secret Passage, Villa, Haunted Woods, Wild Hunt, Forge

As always, player commentary on the Kingdoms, their strategies, and their experience at the tournament are greatly appreciated.
« Last Edit: November 20, 2017, 06:57:15 pm by Elestan »
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ben_king

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A great tournament as usual by Elestan.  There were a number of new attendees there this year, several of whom were pretty good.  As always, the kingdoms were crazy, and the tournament ran completely smoothly.  I ended up playing all the kingdoms except for one.  My thoughts on them are below:

Set 1: [Triumphal Arch, Alms], Pearl Diver, Amulet, Tunnel, Vassal, Poacher, Secret Passage, Villa, Wild Hunt, Royal Seal, King's Court
Here I basically built a huge King's Court thing that played Royal Seal and bought a Villa in order to topdeck stuff midturn.  My eventual payload was Wild Hunt.  I built a lead and drained piles.  This was a super tricky board to play cleanly -- most turns you can reasonably plan 5 or more card plays in advance.  Against an opponent who also has their deck up and going, executing cleanly would be huge.

Set 2: [Shelters], [Orchard, Advance], Beggar, Embargo, Peasant, Gear, Menagerie, Miser, Pirate Ship, Hunting Party, Prince, Overlord
I bought quite a few Overlords here, and only three Hunting Parties, as they were split between all three players.  The real trick that I was able to use was to put my +1 action token on Overlord.  Most of the time I played Overlord as Miser, but making it non-terminal meant that I could more easily activate Menageries and also control what my Hunting Parties found.  Once I got my +Buy token on Menagerie, it was pretty easy to get enough money and buys to pile out.

Set 3: [Tower, Pathfinding], Beggar, Squire, Hermit, Patrician/Emporium, Magpie, Messenger, Rats, Remake, Trader, Mountebank
What I did here and what I now think is the right thing to do here are very different.  I built an ugly deck that bought most of the Patrician pile and put the +1 card token on it.  What I should have done is to hit Trader heavily.  With opponents playing Mountebank, it seems fairly easily to empty the Silver pile for huge Tower points, and a deck full of silvers can buy Provinces pretty easily as well.  You probably want some Beggars with your Trader, not only to get three Silvers off a Beggar play (revealing Trader), but also for Beggar's reaction.  Alternatively, you could pick up some Rats early and Trader those, which could be faster, not sure.  Emptying the Copper pile also seems possible (but not at the same time), especially when opponents are helping you out by playing Mountebank.  And while the Tower points from Copper are even crazier, I think the deck full of Copper doesn't score enough points to catch up with the Silver deck.

Set 4: [Mountain Pass, Bonfire], Encampment/Plunder, Fool's Gold, Gladiator/Fortune, Transmogrify, Crown, Legionary, Treasure Trove, Capital, Hunting Grounds, City
This board was fun.  You Crown Capital and then double it with Fortune for 18 net coins on each Capital (and 24 on the turn you're piling out).  There's a few ways to support it.  I went City/Hunting Grounds. 

Set A: [Aqueduct, Dominate], Candlestick Maker, Crossroads, Ambassador, Secret Passage, Silk Road, Walled Village, Artificer, Counting House, Patrol, Storyteller
In retrospect, I don't think my strategy here was good.  I built a little-bit-of-everything engine that hit Dominate 4 times.  But I think now that a strategy with Candlestick Maker, Artificer/Secret Passage, and Counting House is extremely hard to beat.  Playing Ambassador against it only helps, in addition to giving away free Aqueduct points.  With Candlestick Maker, you can use the buys to grab extra Coppers.  Artificer/Secret Passage makes sure you get the Counting House at the right time in your deck, and even if the timing isn't perfect, the coin tokens can help make up the difference.  I wouldn't be surprised if Counting House could get up to double Dominate here.

Set B: [Museum, Save], Lighthouse, Enchantress, Bishop, Diplomat, Crown, Bridge Troll, Merchant Guild, Swamp Hag, Goons, Overlord
This board was a little crazy, as the +actions and draw are both limited, but Museum points are very important, due to a few crucial piles being contested early.  It's extremely important to get a Lighthouse out every turn, and the Diplomat reaction is key.  I was able to win the split on Diplomats, which let me build a multiple-Goons deck that drew itself most turns.  The Goons points were the difference, but it would have been hard to win without having quite a few Museum points as well.

Set C: [Bandit Fort, Conquest], Caravan Guard, Catapult/Rocks, Caravan, Feodum, Jack, Messenger, Taxman, Trader, Embassy, King's Court
Still kind of sad about this one.  So obviously non-Silver/Gold payload is extremely limited here.  All three of us hit the Catapults and Caravans early.  I thought that I would have time to grab enough Feoda to offset the Bandit Fort penalty, but I forgot how quickly Messenger could empty piles.  My lovely wife (nana-king on f.ds) used Messenger to pile out while I still had a negative score. :(

Set T: [Dominate, Donate], Encampment/Plunder, Castles, Market Square, Crown, Lost City, Gladiator/Fortune, Artisan, Border Village, Hireling, Hunting Grounds
That put me in a 4-player tiebreaker game for the finals.  Donate/Market Square is definitely the thing to do here.  But there are a few different ways to support it.  I donated twice and got a Hunting Grounds.  When four Gladiators were gone, I bought Gladiator/Fortune, which I still think is the right call, but I'm not sure (as it gives other players easier access to Fortune).  I actually missed a pileout on my first Fortune turn, but my lead kept anyone else from ending the game before my next turn, and I was able to end the game then.  The player who built using Encampment, Plunder, and Artisan was actually able to get a huge turn as well once he got his Fortune, but he started out a little bit behind from trashing down too much at the start.  I'd be curious to replay this and see what support is actually best.

Set F: [Defiled Shrine, Summon], Native Village, Chariot Race, Farmers' Market, Wishing Well, Jack, Secret Passage, Villa, Haunted Woods, Wild Hunt, Forge
The finals board had a couple of tricks, the biggest being Jack/Villa (which gets totally shut down by Haunted Woods) and also a number of Secret Passage combos.  If you're feeling ambitious I guess you could try to do Jack/Villa multiple times per turn, I only did it once per turn when my opponents didn't have Haunted Woods out.  I also had a few Haunted Woods myself, which was extremely helpful for reliability. 

I'm still not sure what the best combo with Secret Passage is. I'm tempted to say Native Village (which I skipped), since getting green cards out of the deck is really important for the Jack/Villa trick.  Wishing Well is also nice since it's tough to get through the whole deck without it.  But the points from Chariot Race are also really nice in a tight game.  Anyway, I ended up Forging Province into Province a few times to solidify my lead and help get cards out of my hand for the Jack/Villa trick.  And eventually I was able to get to a Province pileout.
« Last Edit: November 20, 2017, 05:56:12 pm by ben_king »
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nana-king

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Another great tournament by Elestan!  I didn't make the finals this year, I made a mistake in my first game of the semis that cost me big, but I still had a great time.  And since I'm married to ben_king I still got to take home the grand prize!

Here are my thoughts on the Kingdoms:

Set 2: [Shelters], [Orchard, Advance], Beggar, Embargo, Peasant, Gear, Menagerie, Miser, Pirate Ship, Hunting Party, Prince, Overlord
I felt a little unsure going into this board exactly what I wanted to do.  I knew I was going to go for Hunting Party and Peasant for the open but I had planned on waiting to see what my opponents did before committing to much else.  As it turns out my opponents were some of the nicest people at the tournament, but they hadn't really played with many of the cards.  So I was able to get 9 Hunting Parties and put my plus coin token on them to negate both of their pirate ship opens.  I likely didn't play this even close to perfectly at the end but by that point I had total control over the game and didn't want to be a jerk.  So I built to double province and never looked back. 

Set 3: [Tower, Pathfinding], Beggar, Squire, Hermit, Patrician/Emporium, Magpie, Messenger, Rats, Remake, Trader, Mountebank
This board was awful.  I had grandiose plans of multiplying magpies then putting my pathfinding token on them all the while trashing down with remake.  About 5 turns into the game it became obvious that I was loosing.  I couldn't have a curse in hand when a Montebank hit to save my life.  One of my opponents already had a province and was bringing in the tower points.  So I decided to play for second by getting as many tower points as I could and ending the game before they got too far ahead.  Somehow I managed to squeak out a win here by emptying the squires and picking up a duchy.  It was not pretty but it worked.

Set 4: [Mountain Pass, Bonfire], Encampment/Plunder, Fool's Gold, Gladiator/Fortune, Transmogrify, Crown, Legionary, Treasure Trove, Capital, Hunting Grounds, City
This board played in a rather unexpected way.  My opponents both went for treasure trove with encampment while I started out with bonfire and transmogrify.  I turned my estates into fool's golds and got rid of all my other pay load.  I added a Capital pretty early then added a few hunting parties and cities.  I won the mountain pass bid at 16 and paid it all off my next turn.  I never got up to triple province but I was content doubling just about every turn.  I don't feel like this was the ideal strategy but it was quick and effective. 

Set 5: [Lost Arts, Obelisk (Ruins)], Vagrant, Enchantress, Death Cart, Sacrifice, Wandering Minstrel, Band of Misfits, Cultist, Horn of Plenty, Jester, Scrying Pool
I was so nervous this entire game.  I decided to play a scrying pool engine, trashing my money and estates with sacrifice, and try to pull off a horn mega-turn.  My opponents weren't doing too much, but there were a number of cards that took time to execute and neither of them were very familiar with the cards.  With 13 minutes left to play I only had two horns in my deck and I was worried that I was going to lose because of the time limit.  Fortunately, things kicked off just in time and I was able to get 5 provinces with 3 minutes left.  I wasn't sure I was going to get another turn so I was content to slog out the last 3 minutes.  I think this was a great Kingdom but I wish it had been left for the semis because of how many of the cards required more time to play (scrying pool, vagrant, wandering minstrel, jester).

Set A: [Aqueduct, Dominate], Candlestick Maker, Crossroads, Ambassador, Secret Passage, Silk Road, Walled Village, Artificer, Counting House, Patrol, Storyteller
I feel like most of the Kingdom's at this tournament are really balanced.  There are always multiple things you can do but neither one is dominant.  I do not feel like this is the case with this board.  I got owned by the counting house slog.  Completely owned.  I like a good engine, and I thought it could work.  It did not.  It failed miserably.  I opened double ambassador and regretted it very quickly.  It became evident very quickly that counting house was the way to go and that my ambassadors were only fueling that slog.  So I started ambassadoring my ambassador.  I emptied the ambassador pile but it did little good.  The enticement of playing lots of actions got me to make the wrong choice and I paid for it by taking last.  I remain unconvinced that ambassador could ever work against the counting house slog (when played well).

Set B: [Museum, Save], Lighthouse, Enchantress, Bishop, Diplomat, Crown, Bridge Troll, Merchant Guild, Swamp Hag, Goons, Overlord
And here we have it, my bane kingdom.  I think what is most frustrating is that I played this board really well.  I had complete lighthouse coverage, 4 diplomats, 2 goons, a couple crowns, and 4-5 overlords.  I was in control of the board and instead of waiting until I had a very clear lead I decided to end the game on piles.  Turns out, when I've been playing dominion for 5ish hours straight my counting abilities go down the drain.  So I tied with someone else but lost on turns.  Had I won I would have made the finals.  Sigh.  But I did really enjoy the kingdom.

Set C: [Bandit Fort, Conquest], Caravan Guard, Catapult/Rocks, Caravan, Feodum, Jack, Messenger, Taxman, Trader, Embassy, King's Court
This game pitted me up against ben_king (my husband) but it came right after my last place finish so I was pretty sure I wouldn't make the finals.  However, I have never beaten Ben in a tournament game (I can beat him all the time at home but come tournament time I choke), so some redemption was still on the line.  We all started the game very similarly.  But both my opponents soon started procuring silvers and feodoms.  I only had two silvers in my deck but was still able to snag 3 provinces (more than the other two had).  So I saw my chance and started attacking piles.  Messenger made this easy.  3 turns later I ended the game (on a win this time) and delivered Ben_King his first loss of the day.  At first I was upset because I thought it would knock him out of the finals, but once it was clear he was still in all regret faded.  So while I didn't make it to the finals dealing Ben_King a loss was pretty nice.



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Elestan

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Set A: [Aqueduct, Dominate], Candlestick Maker, Crossroads, Ambassador, Secret Passage, Silk Road, Walled Village, Artificer, Counting House, Patrol, Storyteller

In retrospect, I don't think my strategy here was good.  I built a little-bit-of-everything engine that hit Dominate 4 times.  But I think now that a strategy with Candlestick Maker, Artificer/Secret Passage, and Counting House is extremely hard to beat.  Playing Ambassador against it only helps, in addition to giving away free Aqueduct points.  With Candlestick Maker, you can use the buys to grab extra Coppers.  Artificer/Secret Passage makes sure you get the Counting House at the right time in your deck, and even if the timing isn't perfect, the coin tokens can help make up the difference.  I wouldn't be surprised if Counting House could get up to double Dominate here.

I feel like most of the Kingdom's at this tournament are really balanced.  There are always multiple things you can do but neither one is dominant.  I do not feel like this is the case with this board.  I got owned by the counting house slog.  Completely owned.  I like a good engine, and I thought it could work.  It did not.  It failed miserably.  I opened double ambassador and regretted it very quickly.  It became evident very quickly that counting house was the way to go and that my ambassadors were only fueling that slog.  So I started ambassadoring my ambassador.  I emptied the ambassador pile but it did little good.  The enticement of playing lots of actions got me to make the wrong choice and I paid for it by taking last.  I remain unconvinced that ambassador could ever work against the counting house slog (when played well).

The Engine vs. Slog balance of this Kingdom was probably the most debated topic during the pre-tournament design discussions.  It's supposed to present the conundrum of whether to play an Ambassador strategy when there is a counter-strategy that benefits from the junk you pass them, but it isn't supposed to overwhelmingly favor either strategy.  Out of curiosity, did either of you see anyone buy Curses to use Ambassador as Witch?

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to hover and observe the strategies closely because there were two other games running.  So here's a challenge to any bored players here:  Try this Kingdom in a few 3-player games.  I'd be quite interested in some more data points, particularly regarding how the balance shifts depending on whether you have two slog players and one engine, or one engine and two slogs.

Thanks to you both for the commentary, and thanks for playing!
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