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Author Topic: Donate Part 1: The Beginning  (Read 1013 times)

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Seprix

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Donate Part 1: The Beginning
« on: May 02, 2018, 12:52:09 am »
+8

Donate is a complex card. There is so much to cover, and thus to make it easier to digest, there is going to be a multi-part series about Donate. I won't be writing every part, and I welcome others to join the Dominion Blog Discord to help with our writing process!

Also, this is a draft. Please feel free to critique or suggest additions.


Introduction

Donate is the most powerful card in Dominion, and ignoring it is a surefire way to lose games. Precise plays are rewarded and even tiny mistakes are magnified. In addition, such a game warping card is hard to talk about, because there are so many different questions to ask every time it is on the board. What to put into the deck before triggering Donate? When to trigger Donate? Do you buy Donate more than once? What’s the fastest build path?

This article won’t be able to give you absolute solutions. After all, as the famous saying goes, “It depends on the board.” However, there are trends and general information available to help you make the right decisions. These trends may not always help you play the most efficiently on the battlefield, but it is a starting point!

General Concepts

Everything that is true in competitive Dominion play becomes even more crucial on Donate boards. Having an incomplete understanding of the game’s meta is easier to get away with on normal boards, but with Donate this becomes much harder to do!

As an addendum, first player advantage is absolutely a real thing normally, but it is even stronger to go first on Donate boards! I don’t want you to think the game is already over if you are the second player. The second player is happy to tie if it comes down to it, but there are usually winning chances! Play the outs given and don’t give up.

It is hard to have any Donate discussion without starting on deck control, a concept that allows you to play your good cards and to gain things more often. Deck control comes in many forms (such as topdecking), but the most prominent example is trashing. The power of trashing is one of the first things new players learn when entering the competitive scene, but the power of Donate’s trashing is shocking, almost liberating even. Any deck imaginable can be built from the ground up, and because the decks are so much thinner, the deck control increases drastically.

Second concept, tempo. With the rapid increase of deck control, the clock shortens. The games may feel longer due to all of the overall thinking time, but the actual turns taken shorten drastically. Because time is of the essence, precision is key. Small mistakes such as building out of order can squander overall deck potential and in the worst cases, waste an entire turn! You have less turns to do what you want to do and the windows are tighter.

Tracking the deck and having an overall plan is the third concept. Donate is very deterministic, and planning entire turns ahead is an absolute requirement. However, any competitive player worth his salt should be doing this anyways on all boards. Sometimes a good player can skate by on intuition and experience. Not so with Donate! In addition to tracking comes the concept of knowing the Kingdom’s limits. What are the build paths to victory? How big can the build go? Remember, there is less time available, and the timing on when to green may change as a result! Don’t be afraid to build big, but keep an eye out for Kingdom limits.

Conclusion

Overall, I would recommend newer players looking to get good at competitive Dominion play exclusively Donate games for long periods of time, since Donate demands good competitive knowledge and practices to win effectively. Concepts of tempo, deck tracking and having a plan are paramount to victory on any board, but even more so with Donate.
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Awaclus

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Re: Donate Part 1: The Beginning
« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2018, 01:31:51 am »
+5

You should mention overtrashing in the general concepts. A lot of people overtrash with Donate.
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kieranmillar

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Re: Donate Part 1: The Beginning
« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2018, 02:46:58 am »
+5

Hopefully Part 2 will improve on Part 1 by having some actual content.

Part 1 summarised:
  • Donate is strong
  • It amplifies first player advantage
  • It makes games shorter
  • Advice that applies to all boards still holds true for boards with Donate
  • Play games with Donate to get better at playing with Donate

Things I would like to know:
  • When should you buy your first Donate?
  • When is it a good idea to Donate more than once?
  • How do you best deal with the early debt? Would you for example buy a gainer and then trash everything else on turn 2 leaving yourself in debt for a long time?
  • When should you leave copper untrashed on your first Donate?
  • What if junkers are on the board? Are they still worth using? What about ones that do nothing for you, like Sea Hag?
  • What about other attacks? Would you leave copper around to trash with Catapult to activate discard attacks?
  • Can the above questions even be answered meaningfully? Or is Donate way too board dependant and is simply the strongest accelerator a board can have?
« Last Edit: May 02, 2018, 02:48:07 am by kieranmillar »
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Donald X.

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Re: Donate Part 1: The Beginning
« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2018, 02:58:26 am »
+12

Also, this is a draft. Please feel free to critique or suggest additions.[/i]
I'm there for you.

I don't think an article this short wants a section called Introduction, a section called Conclusion, or a paragraph that starts "This article won't..." Similarly, you spend extra words not saying anything throughout, e.g. "It is hard to have any Donate discussion without..." Just say what you want to say; don't talk about saying it.

Asking questions without answering them is not great! If you want to say things like "Do you buy Donate more than once" - which I do think is worth addressing - I would go on to say what you think there, as much of an answer to that as you have. If you can't say anything about these questions, I recommend doing some research before working more on the article. I mean it's fine to say "here's a thing you have to worry about," where that thing is posed as a question. But. If when we remove the extra language all that's left is, "Donate is powerful and makes you think," well that's not really an article.

I have no problem having a Donate discussion without starting on "deck control." That paragraph just seems off on a tangent to me. Donate isn't so much like trashing as it is like getting to immediately do exactly what you want. Comparing it to other "deck control" just means spending time mentioning topdecking or whatever without saying things about Donate. I would fold "Any deck imaginable...," minus the deck control mention, into the "have a plan paragraph." Which I would put first; that's the big thing, front and center, have a plan. Donate lets you perfectly execute the plan you have; this means the player with the better plan will win. Be that player.

It's fine to mention that the game will be shorter. It will be! I don't think that requires a paragraph, a comment about how long it feels, a repeat of how you want the better plan, a reminder that making mistakes is bad.

Have examples: here is a board, here are different paths, look how they go. Here's where we are after a few turns if we Donate on turn 3, if we Donate turn 5, if we Donate turn one and then again later.

Like everything else, Donate has interactions. Workshops for example are a thing. Go over the prominent interactions. Sometimes you will give out Curses after Donating, despite Donate being available to deal with them; the people reading a Donate article will be wondering, do I just rule out buying Witch or what.

Edit: I didn't notice that it said it was a "Part 1." I am not seeing the beauty of this part 1. If you have several more parts that are great my advice will be to cut part 1 entirely. Reduce it to an Introduction section which you then cut because man you don't need one of those. But really, why didn't you actually post an article if you wanted an article critiqued; was it just to see if people were reading the italic text? (yes or the title)
« Last Edit: May 02, 2018, 03:52:23 am by Donald X. »
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faust

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Re: Donate Part 1: The Beginning
« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2018, 03:53:34 am »
+1

If you want a multi-part series on Donate, which there is probably enough to discuss for, it might be best to plan out the whole thing and then write an introductory post, because that way you can actually do a summary instead of using a lot of word bubbles to say relatively little. Like, this would be useful if it went something like this:

Donate

Some general advice, opening, read more here: [link to other part]

Donate and other trashers, Donate is usually better, read more here: [link to other part]

Donate requires more planning especially of your first 6 or so turns, read more here: [link to other part]

Sometimes it's better to get 2 Donates than to trash everything in one go, overtrashing is problematic, read more here: [link to other part]

Conclusion, Donate is hard, for some case studies of high-level games featuring Donate check this out: [link to other part]
« Last Edit: May 02, 2018, 03:55:22 am by faust »
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Seprix

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Re: Donate Part 1: The Beginning
« Reply #5 on: May 02, 2018, 07:14:53 am »
+3

Okay, maybe I should just write everything about Donate, length be damned. Let's see how that goes, oh and also scrap most of what I wrote before because it's redundant and wastes time. We'll give this another shot, be back soon with a better draft.
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Screwyioux

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Re: Donate Part 1: The Beginning
« Reply #6 on: May 02, 2018, 09:01:22 am »
+1

Okay, maybe I should just write everything about Donate, length be damned. Let's see how that goes, oh and also scrap most of what I wrote before because it's redundant and wastes time. We'll give this another shot, be back soon with a better draft.

Yeah no need to try to hit a target length in a draft. Get everything down and edit/reorganize to target length later, that's what editing/peer review is for.
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markusin

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Re: Donate Part 1: The Beginning
« Reply #7 on: May 02, 2018, 10:08:52 am »
+1

Okay, maybe I should just write everything about Donate, length be damned. Let's see how that goes, oh and also scrap most of what I wrote before because it's redundant and wastes time. We'll give this another shot, be back soon with a better draft.

Yeah no need to try to hit a target length in a draft. Get everything down and edit/reorganize to target length later, that's what editing/peer review is for.

Yeah, first you want to have enough content to be sure there is an article worth writing, then focus it down to make it efficient.
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Obi Wan Bonogi

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Re: Donate Part 1: The Beginning
« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2018, 06:01:00 pm »
+4

During my introduction to all the new stuff I had missed over years of being away from the game nothing made my jaw drop as much as Donate!   

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allanfieldhouse

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Re: Donate Part 1: The Beginning
« Reply #9 on: June 11, 2018, 04:56:51 pm »
+3

Okay, maybe I should just write everything about Donate, length be damned. Let's see how that goes, oh and also scrap most of what I wrote before because it's redundant and wastes time. We'll give this another shot, be back soon with a better draft.

You went into writing a Donate article just like you advised people NOT to go into an actual Donate game. Gotta plan everything out fully before you make your first move!
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Seprix

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Re: Donate Part 1: The Beginning
« Reply #10 on: June 11, 2018, 06:20:08 pm »
0

Okay, maybe I should just write everything about Donate, length be damned. Let's see how that goes, oh and also scrap most of what I wrote before because it's redundant and wastes time. We'll give this another shot, be back soon with a better draft.

You went into writing a Donate article just like you advised people NOT to go into an actual Donate game. Gotta plan everything out fully before you make your first move!

Yes yes muh upvotes

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