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Author Topic: Masquerade - Market Square is Not a Combo  (Read 809 times)

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Polk5440

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Masquerade - Market Square is Not a Combo
« on: February 15, 2018, 08:20:25 pm »
+6

Trying my hand at a short, simulation-based article. What do you think?
----

Masquerade and Market Square seem like they should be an absolutely unstoppable combination because Market Square gives out Gold for doing what Masquerade does naturally: trash cards! The extra buy on play is an added bonus that can help out late game, as well. What could possibly go wrong?

It turns out that a strategy that always buys Market Square over Silver after getting one Masquerade actually loses to buying no Market Squares at all[1]. At some point, the Market Squares stop colliding with the Masquerade as frequently and money density is almost always going to be less than $2/card[2], so beyond about 2 Market Squares, Silver actually becomes the better buy[3].


Figure. Each data point represents 10,000 simulated games in Geronimoo's Dominion Simulator. The graph displays the percentage point difference in win rate between a Masquerade - Market Square strategy and a Masquerade alone strategy.
   
Masquerade with two Market Squares does beat Masquerade alone, but only just barely[4]. Masquerade alone is a strong strategy, and while Market Square helps, it is not that special. For example, Masquerade with two Markets does about as well as Masquerade with two Market Squares, even though Market costs $5[5]. Also, Masquerade with two Market Squares still gets beat by other strong money strategies like Courtyard[6].

Masquerade and Market Square is not a killer combo, but the two cards do have a good synergy that can be easily supplemented to create some very fast strategies. Look out for ways of getting extra actions, extra draw, or an additional attack. It does not take much more than what Masquerade and Market Square already provide to create a deck that will come together really quickly and beat any money-based strategy!

Footnotes:

[1] See Figure. The "Masquerade alone" strategy is the default two-player Province Masquerade strategy with one change: the strategy buys Province if the number of Golds in deck is greater than 0 (rather than greater than 1). This change slightly improves the bot and is consistent with the Gold buying rule of the "Courtyard" strategy, which is used later. The "Masquerade - Market Square" strategy augments the "Masquerade alone" strategy by buying the given number of Market Squares after one Masquerade but before buying Silvers.
[2] Simulation results show that average coin generated per turn does not ever exceed $8, which is less than $2 per card in a five card hand.
[3] See Figure.
[4] See Figure.
[5] Based on 10,000 simulations of a Masquerade with 2 Market Squares strategy versus a similar Masquerade with 2 Markets strategy that buys 2 Markets after buying one Masquerade but before buying Silver (if the Markets are affordable). Masquerade with two Markets wins 49% of the time while Masquerade with two Market Squares wins 46% of the time.
[6] Based on 10,000 simulations of Masquerade with two Market Squares versus the default Courtyard strategy. Courtyard wins 53% of the time while Masquerade with two Market Squares wins 43% of the time.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2018, 08:24:40 pm by Polk5440 »
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JW

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Re: Masquerade - Market Square is Not a Combo
« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2018, 08:21:06 pm »
+5

Why not buy two Masquerades?
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singletee

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Re: Masquerade - Market Square is Not a Combo
« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2018, 08:24:31 pm »
+1

What is the play rule for Market Square? Early on you want to keep it in a Masq hand to get the free Gold, but later on you want to play it to maximize coin in hand.

Seprix

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Re: Masquerade - Market Square is Not a Combo
« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2018, 08:26:14 pm »
0

This was really short. There's so much more to explore here. Mess with buy rules, optimize.
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Polk5440

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Re: Masquerade - Market Square is Not a Combo
« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2018, 08:28:16 pm »
0

Why not buy two Masquerades?

I could not obviously significantly improve either the Masquerade alone or the Masquerade-MS strategy with a second Masquerade to make a difference in the above comparison. If you can do so, I would be interested in seeing.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2018, 08:29:33 pm by Polk5440 »
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Polk5440

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Re: Masquerade - Market Square is Not a Combo
« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2018, 08:35:57 pm »
0

What is the play rule for Market Square? Early on you want to keep it in a Masq hand to get the free Gold, but later on you want to play it to maximize coin in hand.

How do I adjust play rules based on early/late game?

I would be surprised if playing a Market Square in hand first after point X in the game makes a significant difference to the comparison of Masq versus Masq-MS other than maybe you can buy one or two more MS. I would be interested in sims adjusting the play rule if they do significantly change the relative win percentages.
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Polk5440

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Re: Masquerade - Market Square is Not a Combo
« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2018, 08:44:01 pm »
0

This was really short. There's so much more to explore here. Mess with buy rules, optimize.

Well, I am not going to show you all the failures! I make no guarantee that I looked at all possible alternatives, but I did mess around with buy rules and optimization and did not come up with anything specific to the comparison of these two strategies that justified the additional complexity or significantly overturned the main point that Masq-MS is not that much better than Masq alone nor better than other more vanilla-seeming alternatives.

I would be interested if you have any sims that do significantly change the story.
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singletee

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Re: Masquerade - Market Square is Not a Combo
« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2018, 09:53:44 pm »
+1

What is the play rule for Market Square? Early on you want to keep it in a Masq hand to get the free Gold, but later on you want to play it to maximize coin in hand.

How do I adjust play rules based on early/late game?

I would be surprised if playing a Market Square in hand first after point X in the game makes a significant difference to the comparison of Masq versus Masq-MS other than maybe you can buy one or two more MS. I would be interested in sims adjusting the play rule if they do significantly change the relative win percentages.

I took a look at some of the generated sample games. It seems that the bot is indeed keeping MS early and playing it late, though I don't know what logic it's using. I don't think it can be adjusted by the user.

I tried out some things and it looks like buying a second Masq is bad for the pure Masq strategy; however, opening Masq/Masq into 2 MS then money boosts the Masq/MS to about 52/42 vs single Masq+money.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2018, 10:04:12 pm by singletee »
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Polk5440

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Re: Masquerade - Market Square is Not a Combo
« Reply #8 on: February 15, 2018, 11:09:22 pm »
0

Yes, thatís about what I was finding. I did not find that compelling enough to include in the article because to me the general story was about the same. I think it changes the max number of MS a little.
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Polk5440

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Re: Masquerade - Market Square is Not a Combo
« Reply #9 on: February 16, 2018, 08:56:52 am »
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It looks like there is a general desire to see what this article looks like focusing on a more ďoptimizedĒ two Masq case. I will work on it.
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traces Around

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Re: Masquerade - Market Square is Not a Combo
« Reply #10 on: February 16, 2018, 02:03:45 pm »
+4

I would advise against trying to optimize these bots against each other and instead try to focus on a bigger picture - if the takeaway from this article is that when you play Masq money and there is Market Square present you should buy a few, well, that might not be very valuable. Worry less about length and more about making a point.

In this case, some additional simulations that may be of interest for making that point:

- Make the bots not buy anything green except for Provinces. One of the fun simulation facts is that if you take BMU and replace one of its opening Silvers with a hypothetical action card giving 2 coins and 1 buy that will win 6% more games against BMU than BMU does against it. This happens primarily because the one with +buy can buy Duchy/Estate and Estate/Estate late, so maybe you want to make sure that Masq/MS will still beat Masq if it doesn't have this +buy advantage.

- Run these bots (slightly optimized) against some junking money, like Witch or Cultist. One of the nicer things about Masq money is that it is fairly resistant to junking attacks - if I start trying to mess around with MS does this still hold?

- Try some other single-trasher money with MS against single-trasher money (again slightly optimized), like Junk Dealer (which beats BMU on average) or Lookout (which does not). Does the result with Masq still hold for these trashers? Is the change for Lookout enough to make it competitive with BMU? Now you have an article more generally about sticking Market Squares into your money strategies which is applicable on more boards.

Polk5440

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Re: Masquerade - Market Square is Not a Combo
« Reply #11 on: February 16, 2018, 10:14:29 pm »
0

I would advise against trying to optimize these bots against each other and instead try to focus on a bigger picture - if the takeaway from this article is that when you play Masq money and there is Market Square present you should buy a few, well, that might not be very valuable.

Thanks for the comments.

The takeaway is not that when you play Masq money and there is Market Square present you should buy a few. The takeaway is that something that at first blush appears to be very strong is not (hence the title: it is not a combo). Masq MS needs more.

Not wanting to bury this point is why I kept the sims simple. But several people seemed to give the impression that by not presenting the most optimal bot I am some how changing the story. And this is simply not the case. Masq is great. MS with Masq is not that much better than Masq with several other cards. And certainly not a killer combo.

Maybe itís obvious to everyone that itís not super strong, but I donít think so. I see a lot of people go overkill with Masq and MS when there are lots more viable things going on. So I feel like there is a false allure of these two cards together. I mean when Dark Ages came out I would have bet on Masq working better with MS than Hermit, but the opposite is true.

Quote
Masq/MS will still beat Masq if it doesn't have this +buy advantage.

The buy matters a lot. Thatís partly why I present simulations of Masq-Market that run equal with Masq MS.

Quote
- Run these bots (slightly optimized) against some junking money, like Witch or Cultist. One of the nicer things about Masq money is that it is fairly resistant to junking attacks - if I start trying to mess around with MS does this still hold?

This does fit in with what I am trying to talk about. Thanks.

Quote
Now you have an article more generally about sticking Market Squares into your money strategies which is applicable on more boards.

This is not a direction I would like to go because I am trying to focus simply on the idea that not every synergy makes a great combo.

Edit: I changed my mind. I like this suggestion.
« Last Edit: February 20, 2018, 10:29:34 am by Polk5440 »
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JThorne

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Re: Masquerade - Market Square is Not a Combo
« Reply #12 on: March 09, 2018, 10:38:11 am »
+1

Quote
I see a lot of people go overkill with Masq and Market Square when there are lots more viable things going on.

FTFY

Gold-gainers are seductive, and there very few strategies that can effectively use bunches of them. The best thing to do with a Gold-gainer is get ONE of them and use it to build economy as you're thinning down to the deck-drawing engine so that you don't have to buy Silver or pay retail for gold. Masquerade is an OK trasher (newbies get terribly confused when I tell them it's emphatically not a draw card but is a sifting trasher) which means there's a good chance the engine is possible.

For the record, I would not have assumed that Masq + MS was a strong combo. MS combos tend to be situations where you can draw massive amounts of cards and activate them all, such as with Hermit/Madman or the weird interaction with Donate. You also have to be able to draw all of the Gold. Masq, a terminal sifting trasher, just doesn't cut it.
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faust

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Re: Masquerade - Market Square is Not a Combo
« Reply #13 on: March 09, 2018, 11:08:55 am »
0

I'm unclear on what play rules this strategy has for Market Square. With Masq and Market Square in hand, does it play the Market Square?
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Re: Masquerade - Market Square is Not a Combo
« Reply #14 on: March 09, 2018, 01:12:54 pm »
+2

One of the largest causes of the shift away from BM-style decks in my opinion is how frequently alt-VP sources show up in games. I feel like when we run simulations based off of the 8 - Province/Duchy/Estate paradigm we're promoting a somewhat outdated POV of the effectiveness of many strategies that aren't good at rushes but ramp up much harder and only need ~8-12 extra VP in the system to outpace the BM strategies.
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