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msw188

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Engine with no extra cards per turn?
« on: March 23, 2018, 03:19:07 pm »
+4

Hello, I've been lurking here for awhile, but decided to register today to ask what a couple questions.

1. Is it ever correct to attempt to build an engine (ie attempt a deck that can draw itself and/or play all of its actions) when there is no way to gain more than one card per turn?  So no +buy, no gainers, no remodel-type cards, no digging in the trash, etc.  In this scenario, what could make an engine any faster/better than a money-focused deck?

2. Same question, but ease the restriction.  Is an engine the right move if there is no way to gain more than one victory card per turn (other than Estate), so allow something like Lurker with no action-victory cads, or Workshop and no Gardens/Silk Roads/etc / cost reducers.

I know there is probably not a super-broad answer, but I'm interested in what people thintk can make an engine strong in the absence of multiple gains in a turn, if anything.  I'm guessing there might be some cases where playing an attack every turn, even if it doesn't start happening until mid-game, might be worth it?  Oh, and some sort of limitless Victory Token scenario like King's Courts and Monuments, but this feels more edge-case-y to me than the requirements of my question to begin with.  But maybe it really isn't - I'm guessing my question only applies to a relatively small fraction of kingdoms.  But I'm still curious to see if experts think an engine can be viable if it can't gain things any faster than money.
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Holunder9

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Re: Engine with no extra cards per turn?
« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2018, 03:31:50 pm »
0

Scrying Pool would be an obvious example of a single overpowered card that can work in such an instance.
Also monostrategic cards like Minion.
Not sure whether a normal draw engine, i.e. splitter plus terminal draw, is any good without the possibility to gain more than one card per turn. Probably only in rare cases.

If you consider Action-heavy decks in general to be engines (and not only Action-heavy decks that draw themselves) then decks with many Peddler (variants) or cards like Lighthouse are definitely played in Kingdoms that don't allow the gainining of more than one card per turn.
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jonts26

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Re: Engine with no extra cards per turn?
« Reply #2 on: March 23, 2018, 03:31:56 pm »
+2

Hello, I've been lurking here for awhile, but decided to register today to ask what a couple questions.

1. Is it ever correct to attempt to build an engine (ie attempt a deck that can draw itself and/or play all of its actions) when there is no way to gain more than one card per turn?  So no +buy, no gainers, no remodel-type cards, no digging in the trash, etc.  In this scenario, what could make an engine any faster/better than a money-focused deck?

With one gain per turn, generally the best turn you can hope for is one in which you gain a province. Generally, the engine won't buy the first province until after the money player, so the engine has to make up for the late start with consistency once you start greening. So you weight the consistency of the money deck with the consistency of the engine and the extra time it takes to start greening. There are of course a lot of things to consider in this, including the cost of engine components, how good the money deck is, etc. But probably the biggest factor is attacks. For instance, something like haunted woods will completely shut down a money deck if played every turn. So you are able to build longer because the money deck will be very inconsistent in the end game.
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Jack Rudd

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Re: Engine with no extra cards per turn?
« Reply #3 on: March 23, 2018, 06:11:44 pm »
0

If my draw card is Torturer, I'm going for the engine, multiple gains or no multiple gains.
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Dingan

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Re: Engine with no extra cards per turn?
« Reply #4 on: March 23, 2018, 06:31:18 pm »
+9

If my draw card is Torturer, I'm going for the engine, multiple gains or no multiple gains.
Torturer is multiple gains per turn .. for your opponent.
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DG

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Re: Engine with no extra cards per turn?
« Reply #5 on: March 23, 2018, 06:37:51 pm »
0

1. Is it ever correct to attempt to build an engine (ie attempt a deck that can draw itself and/or play all of its actions) when there is no way to gain more than one card per turn?  So no +buy, no gainers, no remodel-type cards, no digging in the trash, etc.  In this scenario, what could make an engine any faster/better than a money-focused deck?

You might find a reliable deck that can repeat every turn, something like apprentice - province - scheme - royal seal - 8 silver with Dominate.
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msw188

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Re: Engine with no extra cards per turn?
« Reply #6 on: March 23, 2018, 06:39:55 pm »
+1

If my draw card is Torturer, I'm going for the engine, multiple gains or no multiple gains.
Torturer is multiple gains per turn .. for your opponent.
Haha true enough.

Ok, so I've thought just a little bit here.  I imagined attacks would be the important thing.  I thought of Witch, but I guess that's different - the money-ish player can probably manage to give out 3 curses or so (maybe?) before the engine player can empty the other 7 on them.  With Torturer, are you implying that the engine player should be able to discard rather than take the curse the vast majority of the time that the money-ish player plays their Torturer?  Whereas eventually the money-ish player will be forced to take all 10 curses once the engine player is able to play multiple Torturers per turn?

Also Haunted Woods is a great attack I didn't think of.  What a cool card!
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JW

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Re: Engine with no extra cards per turn?
« Reply #7 on: March 23, 2018, 07:10:11 pm »
+1

Haha true enough.

Ok, so I've thought just a little bit here.  I imagined attacks would be the important thing.  I thought of Witch, but I guess that's different - the money-ish player can probably manage to give out 3 curses or so (maybe?) before the engine player can empty the other 7 on them.  With Torturer, are you implying that the engine player should be able to discard rather than take the curse the vast majority of the time that the money-ish player plays their Torturer?  Whereas eventually the money-ish player will be forced to take all 10 curses once the engine player is able to play multiple Torturers per turn?

Even if the deck is never going to get much better than buying a single Province per turn, it's often best to trash your starting cards and build a deck that draws itself. Burning Skull's game here is one example: he thins with Moneylender and Sentry, curses his opponent with Witch, and eventually builds a deck that draws itself with Laboratory. Only on the final turn of the game does he add more than 1 Province to his deck, using Remodel.


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jsh357

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Re: Engine with no extra cards per turn?
« Reply #8 on: March 23, 2018, 07:39:56 pm »
0

Hello, I've been lurking here for awhile, but decided to register today to ask what a couple questions.

1. Is it ever correct to attempt to build an engine (ie attempt a deck that can draw itself and/or play all of its actions) when there is no way to gain more than one card per turn?  So no +buy, no gainers, no remodel-type cards, no digging in the trash, etc.  In this scenario, what could make an engine any faster/better than a money-focused deck?

2. Same question, but ease the restriction.  Is an engine the right move if there is no way to gain more than one victory card per turn (other than Estate), so allow something like Lurker with no action-victory cads, or Workshop and no Gardens/Silk Roads/etc / cost reducers.

I know there is probably not a super-broad answer, but I'm interested in what people thintk can make an engine strong in the absence of multiple gains in a turn, if anything.  I'm guessing there might be some cases where playing an attack every turn, even if it doesn't start happening until mid-game, might be worth it?  Oh, and some sort of limitless Victory Token scenario like King's Courts and Monuments, but this feels more edge-case-y to me than the requirements of my question to begin with.  But maybe it really isn't - I'm guessing my question only applies to a relatively small fraction of kingdoms.  But I'm still curious to see if experts think an engine can be viable if it can't gain things any faster than money.

Sup
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msw188

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Re: Engine with no extra cards per turn?
« Reply #9 on: March 23, 2018, 09:34:21 pm »
0

JSH:
Hey boss, how's it goin?

JW:
This is a great example, thanks!  See, I can't tell here if this is really the fastest approach.  I mean, it works out here because the opponent built an inferior engine-ish thing?  But would this really beat a money-bot?  Like, Moneylender-Silver, then buy two Witches (or maybe Witch-Sentry, I never know how much money-ish decks should worry about collisions, and Sentry can help discard greens and maybe even trash a curse or two) and all money, prioritize playing Witch over Moneylender until Curses run out, buy Province on first 8 (or maybe first 8 after first gold)?  I literally have no clue.  And this is with Remodel as part of the Kingdom, which I think wants to tip the balance toward the engine-player.  If it weren't there, maybe the money-ish deck is actually better?
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crj

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Re: Engine with no extra cards per turn?
« Reply #10 on: March 24, 2018, 12:41:27 am »
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Generally, the engine won't buy the first province until after the money player
Of course, another circumstance in which to go for the engine is when it will buy the first Province before the money player. Poor House, Baron and Death Cart can do that, as can pretty much any engine strategy with Donate.
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Jack Rudd

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Re: Engine with no extra cards per turn?
« Reply #11 on: March 24, 2018, 07:20:41 am »
0

Generally, the engine won't buy the first province until after the money player
Of course, another circumstance in which to go for the engine is when it will buy the first Province before the money player. Poor House, Baron and Death Cart can do that, as can pretty much any engine strategy with Donate.
Baron's explicitly ruled out by the terms of the discussion, mind, and I think Death Cart has to be as well.
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crj

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Re: Engine with no extra cards per turn?
« Reply #12 on: March 24, 2018, 01:21:42 pm »
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Baron's explicitly ruled out by the terms of the discussion, mind, and I think Death Cart has to be as well.
Well, strictly speaking Baron can gain Estates and Death Cart can gain Ruins. But when OP said "there is no way to gain more than one card per turn" I assumed what they really meant was "there's no way to make up for early slowness with double-Province turns later".
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Jack Rudd

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Re: Engine with no extra cards per turn?
« Reply #13 on: March 24, 2018, 01:33:07 pm »
0

Baron's explicitly ruled out by the terms of the discussion, mind, and I think Death Cart has to be as well.
Well, strictly speaking Baron can gain Estates and Death Cart can gain Ruins. But when OP said "there is no way to gain more than one card per turn" I assumed what they really meant was "there's no way to make up for early slowness with double-Province turns later".
Like with... getting an extra +Buy from Baron. Or Ruined Market.
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crj

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Re: Engine with no extra cards per turn?
« Reply #14 on: March 24, 2018, 01:36:33 pm »
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D'oh! Fair point. Sorry. Ignore me.

I shall retreat to just Poor House and Donate as examples, then. )-8
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faust

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Re: Engine with no extra cards per turn?
« Reply #15 on: March 24, 2018, 03:09:01 pm »
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If there's no additional gains, there should generally be other payload, and strong attacks usually fit this bill. Knights would be a good example (they're technically disallowed, though you can't rely on their buys/gains).
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Dingan

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Re: Engine with no extra cards per turn?
« Reply #16 on: March 24, 2018, 03:26:29 pm »
+3

Knights would be a good example (they're technically disallowed, though you can't rely on their buys/gains).

Unless you inherit Sir Martin
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luser

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Re: Engine with no extra cards per turn?
« Reply #17 on: March 27, 2018, 02:28:44 pm »
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Most common factor are colonies, then stacking attacks like ghost ship+curse, haunted woods... Rarer case is when you could make infinite vp from monument/plunder. A rare but strong combination is ambassador with wall/bandit fort where you just make opponents vp negative.
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jomini

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Re: Engine with no extra cards per turn?
« Reply #18 on: March 27, 2018, 08:48:46 pm »
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Strong attacks can go a long ways, particularly if you can combo attacks. Something like Ghostship/Noble brigand can just flood the opponent's deck if you can play it consistently (and play Brigands first). Other combos like Gship/Masq or Rabble/Gship can be absolutely brutal and allow you to slowly close the gap with Duchies for a 6:2 province gap. A few attacks self-synergize (Rabble & Torturer) that are just absolutely brutal. Mass Hexes is really brutal if you can throw them every turn. Particularly nasty are VP-destroying attacks & combos (e.g. Swindler & $8s, Kc/Swindlers, Hwy/Giant, Possession & Amb/Masq) which can win in surprising circumstances (e.g. with other attacks to slow the Prov pile, you can build out Kc/Swindler to hit half a money deck; burning all their provinces and provinces).

Alt-VP are definitely worth a shot often. Getting Fairgrounds up to province equivalent is 12 turns; after that you need to pile those and then steal the final province. Call it 20 turns, but that actually compares decently with piling 8 provinces.  Nobles can be nice for giving you the ability to go down 2 provs without sacrificing draw ability. Distant lands give you 32 points, which lets you win against a 6:2 prov split. In general, people tend to underestimate how long it takes to pile 8 provinces and are also bad at shifting tactics to optimize either the province "rush" or point/turn maximization (e.g. when to Duchy on $5 or $6). Dominate and Colony easily give you enough VP & time to make a go of it. Mountain pass is also good for either: allowing you to generate VP without clogging the deck or, more importantly, buy an extra 2-3 turns off your opponent. Other options for alternative scoring can allow you to generate VP with your engine (e.g. Orchard, Museum).

VP chips from their many sources can also go a long way. Often better than anything you can get with just provinces.

Trashing/sifting also goes a long ways. Engines with Donate require very few turns to get running and you can just buy components on turns that fail to hit Prov.

Often the call is not between one easy example engine type and a non-engine, but between a couple cruddy types vs a decent money deck. Something like Duke/Nobles/Attack can let you outscore the province pile if the game lasts long enough, but also to be reliable enough to attack often while scoring VP and forcing your opponent to Duchy up (and giving you more turns).

Gaining an extra non-VP card makes this a much wider space. Gaining 2 components per turn (e.g. Haggler) can drastically reduce the time to getting the engine up and the VP deficit you need to surmount. Likewise, they can let you keep your engine go much longer (e.g. buying a Duchy/Duke each turn, splitting WS gains on Smithy/Village).

Engines need to either have accelerating growth (multiple components per turn) or effectively long games. There are many ways to get either, even without +buy or flexible gains.
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jonaskoelker

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Re: Engine with no extra cards per turn?
« Reply #19 on: April 12, 2018, 06:16:22 pm »
0

Hello, I've been lurking here for awhile, but decided to register today to ask what a couple questions.

1. Is it ever correct to attempt to build an engine (ie attempt a deck that can draw itself and/or play all of its actions) when there is no way to gain more than one card per turn?  So no +buy, no gainers, no remodel-type cards, no digging in the trash, etc.  In this scenario, what could make an engine any faster/better than a money-focused deck?
Welcome aboard f.ds :)

Is it ever correct? Yes, sometimes.

Here's a very general statement: if your opponent starts getting VP before you do, you need to get more VP per turn than they do to catch up.

If thanks to Militia your opponent can only hit $8 every other turn but you can hit Province every turn, you're scoring 6 VP/turn to their 3 VP/turn on average. That satisfies the requirement. It doesn't matter that it takes you two turns to double-Province, what matters is that you get more VP per turn than your opponent. Here's a thought experiment: pretend that two turns are one; then you double-province to their single province in "one" turn. Then explain why it would matter that it happens across two turns.

The most common way of scoring more points per turn than a big money player is payloading more money and buys than them, but we're deliberately skipping those cases. The other ways are by making yourself score more points per buy* (Colony, Dominate, etc.) and by making them score fewer points per buy; attacks help accomplish the latter.

(* playing a Monument doesn't expend a buy, but buying the Monument does. If it helps, you can attribute the VP gained by each Monument to the buy that gained you the Monument. Then the VP for that buy is the number of times you play the Monument. If you look at it that way, Monument and similar cards is also a way of scoring more points per buy.)

Here's why it might matter that you double-province across two turns rather than one: your opponent draws cards in their clean-up step, so they see more cards in total. This plus the second buy makes it more likely that they'll also double-province. Attacks makes them draw and/or keep fewer cards (and/or worse cards in case of junking), which is sometimes enough to keep them at single province.

One game which is approximately an example of this is the one below. Adam Horton plays a DoubleTac deck with Bishop, Treasure Map and Militia. It goes through a pair of T'Maps every three turns, so it's 16/3 = 5.33 VP per turn on average (less than reliably single-provincing). The Militia makes it very hard for Qvist to hit Province. (To see the same game from Qvist's perspective: <youtube>/watch?v=KuXwudapuiY)



(Technically Adam gains multiple cards on some turns, but I think a restatement of your question that captures much of its essence is "if I'm capped at 6 VP per turn, is it ever right to go for the engine?", and that certainly applies to this game. That way of phrasing the question excludes the more-points-per-buy stratagems, though.)
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