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Author Topic: When do you take the curse in torturer games?  (Read 7964 times)

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O

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When do you take the curse in torturer games?
« on: February 21, 2012, 01:53:06 am »
0

I don't really play a cohesive strategy against torturer games... I only have general guidelines, and feel like I could really improve in these games.

What I do:

-Discard more frequently if I have cursers myself, since they affect the split.
-Take the curse in general if i'm at 6,8, or 5 when there is a critical card I need (IE the curser itself)
-Take the curse (or resign...) more frequently if I know I'll be getting hit by another torturer after the first.
-Take the curse more frequently if I think discarding significantly decreases a chance at a 2+ torturer (or other curser) combo.
-Discard all if my hand is 4- and I get hit by 2+
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Kahryl

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Re: When do you take the curse in torturer games?
« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2012, 09:22:25 am »
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I take the curse if I would have to discard my own torturers/villagers
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Davio

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Re: When do you take the curse in torturer games?
« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2012, 09:34:31 am »
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Take the curse if you have a trasher in hand (or Ambassador) that you want to play.
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Re: When do you take the curse in torturer games?
« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2012, 10:16:00 am »
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Take the curse if you have a trasher in hand (or Ambassador) that you want to play.

Don't forget Trader!
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Davio

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Re: When do you take the curse in torturer games?
« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2012, 10:25:01 am »
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Take the curse if you have a trasher in hand (or Ambassador) that you want to play.

Don't forget Trader!
Or Watchtower,  I guess.
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Re: When do you take the curse in torturer games?
« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2012, 12:26:21 pm »
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Or Watchtower,  I guess.
With Watchtower you can also discard some useless cards to draw better ones.
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Epoch

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Re: When do you take the curse in torturer games?
« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2012, 12:56:40 pm »
+2

There are two basically distinct situations that Torturer might be played in:

1.  You know that no more Torturers will be played against you this round (ie, your opponent has only one Torturer, or they're out of Actions after playing this Torturer (or other, rarer circumstances).

In this case, you almost always choose to discard.  Unless, you know, whatever.  You have a Trader or Watchtower, or you'll be able to end the game and win (even with the Curse) if you don't discard.  Fairly straightforward.

2.  You think that there is a possibility of more Torturers this round.

You are much more likely to want to take the Curse in this case.

Now, first, some comments:

If your opponent has activated a Village/Torturer deck, and thus you can expect to be Tortured multiply every round for the foreseeable future, in many cases, that's gg, and it doesn't much matter how you play it.  You should probably just concede unless you're playing multiplayer or you have a clear understanding of how you can come back into this game.

But if you do think that you still have a shot at winning, and you're being Tortured one of potentially several times this turn, some things to think about:

a.  Is discarding painless?

That is, do you have two green or otherwise valueless cards in your hand (conflicting terminals, whatever)?  Do you have a copper whose buying power you don't plan to use?  If so, discard.  Hey, your opponent might not Torture you again, and if they do, you can take the Curse then.

b.  Is the hand totally worthless anyway?

Is this going to be a "buy a Silver you don't need" hand?  If so, you might just go ahead and discard into it, knowing that you're going to discard the hand into nothing and that's fine.

c.  Are you super-Curse-adverse?

Does your deck really clog quickly with Curses and you have no way to get rid of them?

d.  If not, probably take the Curse.

It's better to have a couple of Curses in your deck than lose tempo, and you need to keep tempo if you're going to have any chance to regain the upper hand against an activated Village/Torturer deck.
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Re: When do you take the curse in torturer games?
« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2012, 12:57:25 pm »
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I used to do everything I could to avoid taking the Curses, but the more I face Torturer the more it seems like sometimes you just have to grin and bear it.  If your hand is going to pay for something you need for your deck, don't hesitate.  Also, If you suspect your opponent is going to play two, gain a curse the first time so you can discard it instead of a good card.
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Thisisnotasmile

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Re: When do you take the curse in torturer games?
« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2012, 01:30:28 pm »
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One thing it took me a while to figure out:

If you're going to end up taking all (most) of the Curses anyway, just take them. The quicker you empty the pile the quicker you can get on with not being tortured 4 times every turn.
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Re: When do you take the curse in torturer games?
« Reply #9 on: February 21, 2012, 01:52:06 pm »
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If you're holding a Vault or a Secret Chamber it might be worth it to take the curses. Although with SC you could also dig and find some crappy cards you don't mind discarding.
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jaybeez

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Re: When do you take the curse in torturer games?
« Reply #10 on: February 21, 2012, 01:56:42 pm »
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One thing it took me a while to figure out:

If you're going to end up taking all (most) of the Curses anyway, just take them. The quicker you empty the pile the quicker you can get on with not being tortured 4 times every turn.

Forgive my ignorance (I'm pretty new to Dominion), but if your opponent played a Torturer, and all the Curses were gone, wouldn't you *have* to discard if you had 2 or more cards in your hand?  My understanding was that when you're supposed to do something, you do "all you can."  So the Torturer gives you a choice: you can take a Curse or discard two cards.  I take that to mean that if there are no Curses to take, you must discard two cards, and conversely, if you have 0 or 1 cards in your hand, you must take a Curse.   The only way to be unaffected by a Torturer is to have <2 cards in your hand AND to have all the Curses gone.

Am I wrong?
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Deadlock39

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Re: When do you take the curse in torturer games?
« Reply #11 on: February 21, 2012, 01:57:57 pm »
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Nope, it gives you a choice, and you choose "Gain a Curse".  Then you do all that you can and you gain nothing.

Edit: The same goes for discarding.  If you have 0 or 1 cards in your hand you can still choose to discard 2 cards.  In this case doing all that you can would mean discarding 1 card if that is all you have.

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Re: When do you take the curse in torturer games?
« Reply #12 on: February 21, 2012, 01:58:59 pm »
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One thing it took me a while to figure out:

If you're going to end up taking all (most) of the Curses anyway, just take them. The quicker you empty the pile the quicker you can get on with not being tortured 4 times every turn.

Forgive my ignorance (I'm pretty new to Dominion), but if your opponent played a Torturer, and all the Curses were gone, wouldn't you *have* to discard if you had 2 or more cards in your hand?  My understanding was that when you're supposed to do something, you do "all you can."  So the Torturer gives you a choice: you can take a Curse or discard two cards.  I take that to mean that if there are no Curses to take, you must discard two cards, and conversely, if you have 0 or 1 cards in your hand, you must take a Curse.   The only way to be unaffected by a Torturer is to have <2 cards in your hand AND to have all the Curses gone.

Am I wrong?

In fact, you are wrong. You may still *choose* to take a Curse when there are none left. You do not have to discard two cards. That would be horrible!
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Re: When do you take the curse in torturer games?
« Reply #13 on: February 21, 2012, 01:59:28 pm »
+1

I'm really looking forward to seeing WW, Geronimo, jonts etc. weigh in here, as this is something that I struggle with.  My general philosophy (in 2p) is not to take it unless it prevents me from firing my own chain, or an especially key buy.

The recommendation above of "if you're going to take them anyway, might as well do it", is very far from my viewpoint.  I've won by limping it out and firing my own mega turn later, but its very very rare that you win from a 10-0 curse split.

Like all dominion advice, I suspect the answer is "it depends on the table" etc. etc., but I can't remember a time in which I repeatedly said "Yes, its worth gaining multiple curses to make sure I fire this hand".  The obvious cases (you have trasher / forge / trader / watchtower / cellar / warehouse) are pretty straight forward.

The later the game goes, the more willing I am to do it, but torturer chaining is a slippery slope. 
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jotheonah

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Re: When do you take the curse in torturer games?
« Reply #14 on: February 21, 2012, 02:00:54 pm »
+1

On isotropic, and isotropic is usually legit, it allows you to choose the cursing option when the curses are empty and gain nothing.

Donald would probably say something like this: The card asks your opponent to make a choice. He makes the choice to gain a curse. He attempts to gain a curse but finds the pile empty. He has now done all he can.

so so ninja'd
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jaybeez

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Re: When do you take the curse in torturer games?
« Reply #15 on: February 21, 2012, 02:03:17 pm »
+1

Okay, that makes sense, thanks for the clarification everyone.

Sorry for the thread derail :)
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Re: When do you take the curse in torturer games?
« Reply #16 on: February 21, 2012, 02:16:05 pm »
+1

I'm really looking forward to seeing WW, Geronimo, jonts etc. weigh in here, as this is something that I struggle with.  My general philosophy (in 2p) is not to take it unless it prevents me from firing my own chain, or an especially key buy.

The recommendation above of "if you're going to take them anyway, might as well do it", is very far from my viewpoint.  I've won by limping it out and firing my own mega turn later, but its very very rare that you win from a 10-0 curse split.

Like all dominion advice, I suspect the answer is "it depends on the table" etc. etc., but I can't remember a time in which I repeatedly said "Yes, its worth gaining multiple curses to make sure I fire this hand".  The obvious cases (you have trasher / forge / trader / watchtower / cellar / warehouse) are pretty straight forward.

The later the game goes, the more willing I am to do it, but torturer chaining is a slippery slope. 

I'm pretty terrible at torturer chains. But I guess I'll chime in enough to say curses early mean more than curses late, though if you're taking them all anyway, don't kill a good hand now.

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Re: When do you take the curse in torturer games?
« Reply #17 on: February 21, 2012, 02:31:36 pm »
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One way to look at it is that gaining the Curse isn't so bad when you consider that Witch/Sea Hag/Familiar just give you a Curse outright. 

Torturer really has two key strengths as I see it: 1. The +3 Cards is deceptively the most useful trait of the Torturer, 2. The Control aspect of the card. 

You just can't let it control your thinking.  The Torturer player wants you (whether he knows it or not) to be in the mindset of "I have to discard all of my hands or I'll get Curses!"  I would equate it to Embargo in that sense.  There have been many games where I'll Embargo Silver before my opponent buys any for this very same reason: controlling my opponent's actions.  Experienced players don't fall for it often, but I've seen many opt to ignore Silver (often a critical card), causing them to have economy troubles the entire game rather than take a single Curse and suffer minimal damage.
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Re: When do you take the curse in torturer games?
« Reply #18 on: February 21, 2012, 02:35:19 pm »
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When I have Masquerade in hand.
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Re: When do you take the curse in torturer games?
« Reply #19 on: February 21, 2012, 02:38:44 pm »
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Honestly, when I first saw Torturer I thought "This is the best attack to get hit by! I get to choose whatever hurts me the least."  Which I understand is not the usual first reaction to Torturer. But then I noticed it said "Discard 2 cards" instead of "Discard to 3 cards in hand"
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Thisisnotasmile

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Re: When do you take the curse in torturer games?
« Reply #20 on: February 21, 2012, 02:47:03 pm »
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The recommendation above of "if you're going to take them anyway, might as well do it", is very far from my viewpoint.  I've won by limping it out and firing my own mega turn later, but its very very rare that you win from a 10-0 curse split.

Just to clarify, if you intend to fire off your own Torturer chain at some point, then I don't consider that a situation in which you are "going to end up taking all (most) of the Curses anyway". The situations where there is Torturer and a Village on the board and you choose to do something else are pretty rare, but those are the situations which I was referring to.
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Epoch

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Re: When do you take the curse in torturer games?
« Reply #21 on: February 21, 2012, 06:23:02 pm »
+4

The worst-case scenario when facing Village/Torturer is that you throw away hand after hand and your deck entirely stalls because you're too reluctant to take Curses.  It is admittedly difficult to win if you're gaining multiple curses per turn, but it is impossible to win if you basically stop taking turns.
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Re: When do you take the curse in torturer games?
« Reply #22 on: February 22, 2012, 12:05:30 am »
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I'm really looking forward to seeing WW, Geronimo, jonts etc. weigh in here, as this is something that I struggle with.  My general philosophy (in 2p) is not to take it unless it prevents me from firing my own chain, or an especially key buy.

Well my effect with torturer is -1.24 so I'm not exactly an expert here. But here's my philosophy on the card. Much like any other curser, the goal is to win the curse split. So the simple, vague answer of when do I take a curse is ... when it ultimately helps you dish more out. Now dishing out curses here mean you need to be consistently firing your own torturer chains. Which means you want to keep those particular components in your hands and you need to keep enough economy to buy more village/torturer cards. So I would probably say, discard unless you have a good reason to take the curse. Good reasons being you need the money in hand to buy engine cards or you have village/torturers in hand that you want to play.
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Davio

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Re: When do you take the curse in torturer games?
« Reply #23 on: February 22, 2012, 03:37:15 am »
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My effect with = 1.58 so I might say something here.

A lot of the ground has already be covered, but when dealing with Torturer on the board, I think it's more of a race who gets the chain fired first. That should be your primary goal.

To discard or grab the Curse is often not a difficult decision, just make sure you're not that scared of the Curse. A lot of people go "aaaaargh" when they get Tortured and auto-discard. You should not do this. Keep it cool and look at the situation. In the end that Curse isn't going to hurt you much more than an Estate, especially in Torturer chains. This is because Torturer games are very swingy and whoever gets the momentum going first will probably win by more than the 1 point from the Curse.

Does grabbing the Curse allow you to buy a critical card this turn? Grab it! Is this a wasted turn anyway with 3 Estates and 2 Copper? Happily discard.

Of course there are reasons why you'll willingly want to do either option, e.g. grabbing the Curse with Ambassador in hand or discarding with Menagerie in hand. These cases are trivial and surely anyone will recognize them.

The most important thing is not panicking over a single Curse and of course, try to be the Torturer instead of the Torturee. :)
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Re: When do you take the curse in torturer games?
« Reply #24 on: February 22, 2012, 04:32:22 am »
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The worst-case scenario when facing Village/Torturer is that you throw away hand after hand and your deck entirely stalls because you're too reluctant to take Curses.  It is admittedly difficult to win if you're gaining multiple curses per turn, but it is impossible to win if you basically stop taking turns.

This is kind of the point I was trying to make, but better put. If you're in a situation where you're discarding constantly and the only way to do something is to take Curses, then you're better off taking them ASAP. You're going to get them anyway if you want to not be locked down, and the sooner you take them, the sooner you can get on with not being locked down.
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Re: When do you take the curse in torturer games?
« Reply #25 on: February 22, 2012, 12:53:03 pm »
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In most Curse games (Witch, Young Witch, Familiar, etc.) buying single-card trashers like Trash for benefit cards is a sort of a risky proposition because you can't catch those curses until the next reshuffle. But when you know you're going to gain your curses in hand, it makes a little more sense to grab something that can trash a curse the turn you get it, even if there's no other benefit. But maybe I'm totally off-base here and the trashers will still slow your deck down too much.

Although, if Steward is out I'm pretty likely to have a few, since I can use them for plus cards with my villages (to get to more torturers) if I don't get tortured and clear out two curses at a time if I do.
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Davio

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Re: When do you take the curse in torturer games?
« Reply #26 on: February 22, 2012, 02:28:11 pm »
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The other problem with trash for benefit cards is that you're better off if you can use them on high value cards. Spending them on a lowly Curse doesn't help you much. I dislike trashing Coppers with early Apprentices for this reason. With Torturer, it can often be the right choice to take the Curse, but trash another card for a greater benefit.

So I wouldn't rely on trash for benefits to make your problems go away. Trash for nothing (or small benefit: Trading Post, Trade Route) cards are better with Curses.
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Re: When do you take the curse in torturer games?
« Reply #27 on: February 22, 2012, 02:36:26 pm »
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I recall the game that turned this card around for me; I got hit with an early Villager/Torturer chain, I decided to take the Curses, I was able to build up my own chain, and I came back to win, much to my surprise.  That took some of the fear out of it for me.

I'm not sure we can set hard-and-fast rules for when to take the Curse.  It depends on a number of factors.

If you have a bad hand anyhow, you obviously discard.  If Curses are out, you obviously "take a Curse."

Is it early in the game or late in the game?  Early Curses are worse because they'll keep turning up, but if you can get an early Torturer, don't discard.

Obviously, the action and reaction cards you're holding make a difference.  If you're holding Ambassador or Trader, you might want to be given a Curse.  OTOH, if you have Menagerie or Library in your hand, you may want to discard.  Watchtower and Jack of All Trades can go either way.

You should be conscious of how many actions your opponent has left.  Also, keep track of how many Villages and Torturers he has bought and whether he's played them since his last shuffle.  If you know you can only get tortured once this turn, your decision is easier.  If you may get hit with a chain, you need to know that when you're making the decision.

If the Torturer is Throne Roomed or King's Courted, you should make the decision based on the complete attack.  The attack of KC/Torturer is no worse than that of TR/Witch, if you play it right.

In 3- and 4-player games, taking a Curse may hurt you more if the other players aren't taking any.  You can't automatically discard every time, but you should keep track of how many Curses have been dealt and factor that into your decision-making process.
« Last Edit: February 22, 2012, 02:39:34 pm by Zaphod »
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Epoch

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Re: When do you take the curse in torturer games?
« Reply #28 on: February 22, 2012, 02:46:55 pm »
+4

A potentially interestingly degenerate situation in Dominion could be a scenario where:

Player A has a mathematical lock on winning the game, if he doesn't take any Curses, but could lose if he takes any Curses.  That is, he has slightly more than 0.5 of the VP in the game, and the VP in the game are fixed, no tokens or whatever.

Player B has an utterly reliable ability to Torture Player A into a non-hand each turn (KC/KC/Scheme/Scheme/Torturer, for example), and in general a strong deck with lots of buying power, but no non-Torturer way to get player A to take a Curse.

Presumably the "correct" behavior for the players is:

Player A refuses to take any Curses and so loses his hand each turn.
Player B refuses to end the game because to do so is to lose.

So they just sit there in stasis, with player A having trivial no-action turns and Player B just repeating his Torturer play.  Until either they agree that the game is a tie or one person gets fed up and concedes.

Obviously, unlikely enough that it'll probably never happen in real play, but it could.
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Re: When do you take the curse in torturer games?
« Reply #29 on: February 22, 2012, 03:06:14 pm »
0

I dunno, unless player A has a ridiculously crappy deck; he should be able to take a curse and then buy at least an Estate to keep in the lead. He should be able to do this enough times to force a win by 3-piling.
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Re: When do you take the curse in torturer games?
« Reply #30 on: February 22, 2012, 03:16:22 pm »
0


Obviously, unlikely enough that it'll probably never happen in real play, but it could.

I suspect that this will be viewed the same as that thief lock puzzle from BGG back in the day.  If someone does it to you, just don't play with them any more.
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Epoch

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Re: When do you take the curse in torturer games?
« Reply #31 on: February 22, 2012, 03:25:54 pm »
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I dunno, unless player A has a ridiculously crappy deck; he should be able to take a curse and then buy at least an Estate to keep in the lead. He should be able to do this enough times to force a win by 3-piling.

This doesn't work in lots of very believable scenarios.

Take the KC/KC/Scheme/Scheme/Torturer scenario.  When Player B has that lock in place, player A is reliably tortured thrice per turn.  That means that if player A wants to take only one curse, he's also playing a 2 card hand.  But he's also betting that his two card hand will survive whatever player B does after the combo.  After playing the combo, player B has a 15 card hand and 6 available Actions.  What if he has another Torturer or two in those 15 cards?  Then player A gets to be Tortured again, and potentially again.  If he wants to defend his 2 card hand (and thus ability to buy an Estate), he has to take 2 Curses or 3, and end up net down points.

Or, what if Player B can just end the game on his turn whenever he wants to, with that 15 card, 6 Action hand.  Player A might not get a chance to ever buy his Estate.

If two piles are already run out (not impossible, given the stipulation that player A has a majority of the non-negative VP in the game), then player A presumably can win by slowing buying out the Copper pile.  But if not, and Player B has a reasonable deck behind that combo, he very likely is going to feel that taking any Curses gives him the loss.
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Epoch

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Re: When do you take the curse in torturer games?
« Reply #32 on: February 22, 2012, 03:33:53 pm »
+1

I suspect that this will be viewed the same as that thief lock puzzle from BGG back in the day.  If someone does it to you, just don't play with them any more.

Er, who do you read as the aggrieved party here who should stop playing with presumably the other person who's being bad?  The positions read as fundamentally symmetrical here: neither player can move the game towards the end without losing.  Neither player can force the other player to move the game towards the end.  Who's the bad guy?

In RL, if this happened, I'd say, "Okay, looks like a draw to me."  I'm just interested by the notion that a Dominion game could end up in a state where the game-theory-correct behavior for both players is "do not drive the game towards completion, indefinitely."  There aren't a lot of such game situations in Dominion -- usually, someone has a path towards increasing their chance of winning.
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Davio

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Re: When do you take the curse in torturer games?
« Reply #33 on: February 22, 2012, 03:37:57 pm »
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I dunno, unless player A has a ridiculously crappy deck; he should be able to take a curse and then buy at least an Estate to keep in the lead. He should be able to do this enough times to force a win by 3-piling.
Well, you can modify it to make it an auto-win for player B if player A concedes: Player B has put a Scrying Pool on top with Scheme (6th card) with which he can draw any number of KCs and Bridges. If Player A has exactly half the points in play and would actually be the 2nd player (win the tie) then that Curse could spell A's doom.
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Epoch

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Re: When do you take the curse in torturer games?
« Reply #34 on: February 22, 2012, 03:49:54 pm »
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Well, you can modify it to make it an auto-win for player B if player A concedes: Player B has put a Scrying Pool on top with Scheme (6th card) with which he can draw any number of KCs and Bridges. If Player A has exactly half the points in play and would actually be the 2nd player (win the tie) then that Curse could spell A's doom.

You don't even really need to do that.  Like, suppose that player B really just has the combo right now (plus, well, presumably enough money to buy KCs and such).  So player A goes, "Ah-hah!  I take 1 Curse (now 9 Curses left) and buy 1 Estate (now 7 Estates left)!"

Player B then goes, "Cool, while you do that, I buy 1 more Torturer (which I will put as the sixth card on the top of my deck.  Next turn, if you want to defend 2 cards, you'll need to take at least 2 Curses."

And if player B goes, "No problem, I'll defend a Gold and a Gold and, take 2 Curses (now 7 Curses left), and buy a Duchy (now, say, 5 Duchies left)," then player A goes, "And while you did that, I bought a 3rd KC.  So now my combo is KC/KC/KC/Scheme/Scheme/Torturer/Torturer.  Sure, I can't actually place my second Torturer on the top of the deck, but if it's in the 14 cards after the first Torturer, I'll find it, and now you're not looking at 4 Torturers per round, you're looking at 6.  To defend a 2 card hand, you need to take 4 Curses."

And so forth.  That's without using any card that's not stipulated as being in the kingdom to begin with.  If there is any +buy, or player B started out with Actions beyond the bare minimum needed for his combo, then player A is even more sunk.
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chogg

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Re: When do you take the curse in torturer games?
« Reply #35 on: February 22, 2012, 04:21:37 pm »
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When should you take the curse?  When you've built a robust lead and it will empty the third pile.

http://forum.dominionstrategy.com/index.php?topic=1592.msg25376#msg25376
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petrie911

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Re: When do you take the curse in torturer games?
« Reply #36 on: February 22, 2012, 05:41:28 pm »
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So, the way I see it, the only empty pile is Duchies.  There's 1 Estate left and 1 Province left, and the split is 3-4 on both in favor of the second player.  The first player is the torturing player, and thus if he just buys out the VP, he loses.  Even worse, he can't buy the last Estate or his opponent will buy out the copper and win.  However, he can reliably torture 6 times, so the opponent can't hold on to a silver and grab the last estate without taking at least 3 Curses, losing the game.

I'm pretty sure neither player can break the stalemate here without losing.
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