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Screwyioux

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Groundskeeper-- Draft
« on: August 22, 2018, 09:11:30 am »
+1



Groundskeeper


Groundskeeper is a difficult card to evaluate and an essential one to understand. It has very high scoring potential, and the pile is often hotly contested. Boards which play to its strengths often see it deplete, and winning the split can be game-decisive.

To avoid burying the lede for anyone who has the question “should I go for Groundskeeper,” It’s a very strong card. You need a compelling reason to ignore it.
Yet, while Groundskeeper helps you win the game with your deck, it does not help you build it.

Let’s start by talking about two Dominion basics Groundskeeper challenges:

One: Taking longer to build your deck risks an opponent getting a points lead, and making that up usually means depleting key piles (like Province) yourself, further hastening the game end. Groundskeeper scores points disproportionate to how much it lowers piles.

Two: Points usually make your deck worse.
Groundskeeper doesn’t change this directly, but your Groundskeepers will eventually score points, so gaining them is tantamount to scoring points that don’t hurt your deck.

   
Groundskeepers are Delayed Scoring

The key to timing Groundskeeper gains is looking at the card as alt VP. A deck that has/plays more of them has a higher point ceiling, so around when you would start buying VP cards, pretend Groundskeeper is green.
Essentially, it’s a cantrip worth VP equal to the number of VP cards you expect to buy (with it out) by the end of the game. On boards where you can gain only one of those per turn, you can usually expect that to be 2-6 VP, depending how your draws go.





Reading Groundskeeper Kingdoms- Does the Split Matter?


It’s important to acknowledge how skill-rewarding Groundskeeper is. Everything about the card is contextual, so we can’t give you much in the way of hard-and-fast prescriptive advice that won’t be wrong as often as it’s right. Above all, the presence of Groundskeeper rewards good game sense and an accurate read on your win condition.
That said, there are certainly some things that are helpful to keep in mind.

Groundskeeper’s greatest synergies are multiple gains and reliability (by which I mean being able to play Groundskeepers consistently).
Obviously, multiple VP gains per turn scores more points, but being able to gain multiple Groundskeepers per turn also makes them more important (as they are likely to score more points before Provinces empty).
If multiple VP cards or Groundskeepers are gainable per turn, or the decks are reliable enough to play all/most of their Groundskeepers every turn, the split will probably play a huge role in the outcome of the game and should be prioritized accordingly.

While Groundskeeper increases point ceiling without decreasing deck capability, it doesn’t do anything to increase capability. You should usually build your deck to be as good as it’s ever going to be (other than points you’ll score) before you start buying Groundskeepers.

At the same time, mind the split. On boards good for Groundskeeper, they will often pile out, and sometimes it’s worth delaying other deckbuilding to make sure you get enough of them. Whether or not the split matters, and how much you can afford to lose it by are very game-specific, but usually come down to how impactful each copy will be (which comes back to number of gains and deck reliability).


Playing Groundskeeper Games: A Field Guide to Aggressive Gardening

Keeping Groundskeeper in Check With Pressure:



When deciding how to play around Goundskeeper and how to interpret your win condition at any given point, consider the following.
Firstly, given enough time, having/playing more Groundskeepers pretty much always wins because of how they raise your point ceiling. Secondly, Groundskeeper’s greatest practical advantage is scoring (delayed) points without making your average turn worse.

It should come as no surprise then that a Groundskeeper deck’s greatest threat is endgame pressure. In other words, Groundskeeper doesn’t have its usual advantages if the game is over (or close to it) by the time  you have to put VP in the deck, or at least have it there for very long.
 In the rare situation it’s possible to empty Provinces over the course of a couple of turns (a la a “megaturn” like with Bridge Trolls or Horn of Plentys), Groundskeepers might not have time to pay off. That’s an extreme example to illustrate the point that Groundskeeper gets worse the less time it has to build up and score points.

Understand though, that ignoring Groundskeeper to pressure piles is an “all-in” proposition-- if you can’t make good on that threat and end the game before someone gaining Groundskeepers has time to catch up, they will likely outscore you.

How Many Groundskeepers do I want? Mirror Versus Non-Mirror:

In a vacuum, you want all of them, as many as you can get. But as with every other aspect of the card, there are some considerations.
The earlier advice of playing with and against pile pressure applies to Groundskeeper mirror matches as well. If both players are going for Groundskeeper, the pile usually empties and always gets low. Even when the split is important, a three-pile ending is something to watch out for before you gain the last one.


It’s also important to have an accurate read on how your opponent intends to win. Even when Groundskeepers are the best strategy, focusing on them in the wrong way can lose you games. Namely, if you play to them the same way you would in a mirror.
Outside of a mirror, it’s not necessarily a good idea to get all ten Groundskeepers when fewer could outscore whatever the opponent is doing. There’s the obvious limitation of how much time it takes to empty them by yourself, but it can also be unwise because emptying the pile potentially hastens the game end, which Groundskeeper usually doesn’t want to do against non-Groundskeeper decks.

To further explain the card and its nuances, we’re going to give some concrete tips using gameplay examples for context.

The more reliable the decks are, the more the split matters: 
If both players play all their Groundskeepers every turn and Josephine gets 6 of them to Martin’s 4, her estates are worth as much as his Duchies and double-Duchy turns are worth almost as many points to her as double-Province turns are to him. She is in a much stronger endgame position.
   
When Choosing between 1 or more Groundskeeper(s) and Province (or something to get you a Province), weigh points gain against reliability:


Anna has no Groundskeepers, but bought the first Province last turn. Her opponent Destry hits $15 with three buys and considers his options.

If Destry only gets 3 Provinces to Anna’s 5 because he goes for Groundskeepers and she doesn’t, he needs 13 additional points to win. He probably needs at least 4 VP cards to win anyway, so he must have on average 2 or 3 (2.5) Groundskeepers in play across all his VP gains to win with a Duchy (instead of the Province), or an average of at least 4 in play per VP card to win with an Estate.

So what should he do? I have no idea, and neither do you.
Because it depends on a lot of context I haven’t given you--   how likely either deck is to stall, which/how many VP cards he expects to gain before Provinces empty, could she 3-pile if he lets her start her turn with a points lead.

Again, the minimum number of VP cards he’ll probably need to gain is 4, so if he can play all of his Groundskeepers every turn and still do that, buying 3 Groundskeepers will maximize his score, effectively gaining 12 points versus Province-Groundskeeper for 9 points.
If he will miss out on playing one of his Groundskeepers once or twice, it’s closer, but still slightly in favor of triple Groundskeeper to maximize score, and we get closer to Province-Duchy being best the less reliable/more “sloggy” his deck is (how unlikely he is to play the Groundskeepers).

With multiple VP card gains per turn, the Groundskeepers obviously look a lot better. We do some more Groundskeeper-favorable math, but again, weigh the possible points against how much harder the extra VP cards make it to keep playing our Groundskeepers.



Signs not to Go for Groundskeeper:

No single condition makes Groundskeeper ignorable. Rather, these are factors that make the card weaker and steer you away from it.

In an unreliable/”sloggy” deck with single VP gains per turn, or in the face of a viable rush to the game end, buying Groundskeepers is often a waste of time.


Single-gain games usually reward speed over point ceiling, playing away from Groundskeeper’s strengths.

Similarly, as mentioned before, a “megaturn” deck that empties provinces over the course of one or two turns can often outpace Groundskeeper’s potentially higher but more gradual scoring. Note that adding Groundskeepers doesn’t hurt that deck, but it doesn’t help build it faster.

Junking attacks. No deck likes being junked, but Groundskeeper strategies can suffer more, needing both reliability and multiple VP cards to maximize value. I would say Swamp Hag is particularly brutal, but honestly they all kinda put the screws to yioux about the same without strong trashing.

If you take nothing else from this, understand that we’re talking about specific situations where Groundskeeper is weak, and you need to look for reasons not to buy it-- most of the time it plays a pivotal role in the game’s outcome and shouldn’t be ignored.

« Last Edit: September 11, 2018, 09:58:06 am by Screwyioux »
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faust

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Re: Groundskeeper-- Draft
« Reply #1 on: August 22, 2018, 09:27:10 am »
+1

The first thing I would work on here is readability. Have clear sub-headings, do not use a line break for every new sentence, maybe use bold font for things that are very central. From what I started reading, it seems there are good ideas in here, but due to the messy formatting I couldn't be bothered to read the whole thing.
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Since the number of points is within a constant factor of the number of city quarters, in the long run we can get (4 - ε) ↑↑ n points in n turns for any ε > 0.

faust

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Re: Groundskeeper-- Draft
« Reply #2 on: August 22, 2018, 09:28:30 am »
+2

- Work in a joke about how much women love shopping
Rule 0 of article writing is avoid sexist jokes.
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Since the number of points is within a constant factor of the number of city quarters, in the long run we can get (4 - ε) ↑↑ n points in n turns for any ε > 0.

Screwyioux

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Re: Groundskeeper-- Draft
« Reply #3 on: August 22, 2018, 09:33:38 am »
0

The first thing I would work on here is readability. Have clear sub-headings, do not use a line break for every new sentence, maybe use bold font for things that are very central. From what I started reading, it seems there are good ideas in here, but due to the messy formatting I couldn't be bothered to read the whole thing.

Good feedback. I reformatted it to try to tie ideas together being less liberal with line breaks. Would you mind giving it another skim and seeing if it fixes the readability for you?
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Screwyioux

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Re: Groundskeeper-- Draft
« Reply #4 on: August 22, 2018, 09:35:37 am »
0

- Work in a joke about how much women love shopping
Rule 0 of article writing is avoid sexist jokes.

So this is a bit of an inside joke, I said something tasteless in the first draft and got burned for it. Personal wounds aside, it's pretty encouraging as a feminist to see such a strong backlash to tasteless sexism, even if I didn't mean it that way.
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cascadestyler

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Re: Groundskeeper-- Draft
« Reply #5 on: August 22, 2018, 10:38:44 am »
0

- Mention the classic Groundskeeper-Silver Engine

Is this a joke I'm not getting or is there some reason I can't think of why this would be a good idea?
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faust

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Re: Groundskeeper-- Draft
« Reply #6 on: August 22, 2018, 11:28:33 am »
0

The first thing I would work on here is readability. Have clear sub-headings, do not use a line break for every new sentence, maybe use bold font for things that are very central. From what I started reading, it seems there are good ideas in here, but due to the messy formatting I couldn't be bothered to read the whole thing.

Good feedback. I reformatted it to try to tie ideas together being less liberal with line breaks. Would you mind giving it another skim and seeing if it fixes the readability for you?
Much better, thanks.

One thing I do not understand:

Will you start to “miss” their price point once you start buying them?
Groundskeeper is a cantrip; unless there are very specific circumstances at work, why would I miss a price point I was able to reach before by adding cantrips to my deck?

I think there needs to be more focus on playing the mirror. It is clear that usually I prefer to build my deck first and then go for Groundskeeper. How much does this change when I expect the pile to be contested? Should I skip building to win the split? These are very difficult questions that are not really addressed

The whole "Groundskeeper as Delayed Scoring" section talks about various things that are reiterated later on and could use some serious cutting down. "Groundskeeper as Delayed Scoring" also implies that Groundskeeper can be used in a different manner. It cannot.

I think there should be some attention brought to the fact that in general Groundskeeper decks want to score on Victory cards other than Province in order to draw out the game. Groundskeeper is much weaker if the best realistic scoring option are Provinces. Similarly, it should be pointed out that "Groundskeeper loves reliability" also means that you want your deck to have some way of handling all the green cards that you are about to gain.
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Since the number of points is within a constant factor of the number of city quarters, in the long run we can get (4 - ε) ↑↑ n points in n turns for any ε > 0.

Screwyioux

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Re: Groundskeeper-- Draft
« Reply #7 on: August 22, 2018, 11:52:20 am »
0

The first thing I would work on here is readability. Have clear sub-headings, do not use a line break for every new sentence, maybe use bold font for things that are very central. From what I started reading, it seems there are good ideas in here, but due to the messy formatting I couldn't be bothered to read the whole thing.

Good feedback. I reformatted it to try to tie ideas together being less liberal with line breaks. Would you mind giving it another skim and seeing if it fixes the readability for you?
Much better, thanks.

One thing I do not understand:

Will you start to “miss” their price point once you start buying them?
Groundskeeper is a cantrip; unless there are very specific circumstances at work, why would I miss a price point I was able to reach before by adding cantrips to my deck?

I think there needs to be more focus on playing the mirror. It is clear that usually I prefer to build my deck first and then go for Groundskeeper. How much does this change when I expect the pile to be contested? Should I skip building to win the split? These are very difficult questions that are not really addressed

The whole "Groundskeeper as Delayed Scoring" section talks about various things that are reiterated later on and could use some serious cutting down. "Groundskeeper as Delayed Scoring" also implies that Groundskeeper can be used in a different manner. It cannot.

I think there should be some attention brought to the fact that in general Groundskeeper decks want to score on Victory cards other than Province in order to draw out the game. Groundskeeper is much weaker if the best realistic scoring option are Provinces. Similarly, it should be pointed out that "Groundskeeper loves reliability" also means that you want your deck to have some way of handling all the green cards that you are about to gain.

Thank you, I will work with this. There are some questions that are so rooted in game context that I won't be able to answer them with an article, but it's worth it to try at least.

On "missing" I can see why that came off weird. Basically what I was trying to get across is that just because your deck hit $5 for a Groundskeeper or something doesn't mean you'll be able to do that every turn unless your deck does the same thing every turn, like how big money sometimes buys Gold over Province if a freak hand gives it 8 early on. I'll work to make that more clear.
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Re: Groundskeeper-- Draft
« Reply #8 on: August 22, 2018, 12:58:39 pm »
+1

If you take nothing else from this, understand that we’re talking about specific situations where Groundskeeper is weak, and you need to look for reasons not to buy it-- most of the time it plays a pivotal role in the game’s outcome and shouldn’t be ignored.

I like this point -- and think it's one of the most important for the crowd that already accepts that GK is powerful -- but it doesn't seem to match the subheading.

Perhaps you should change the subheading to "Signs to Not Go for Groundskeeper"?
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faust

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Re: Groundskeeper-- Draft
« Reply #9 on: August 23, 2018, 07:32:30 am »
+5

I have thought about why this article feels somewhat lackluster to me. I guess the issue is: It does not have a message. The one thing it says at the beginning and repeats is
Once more for the people in the back: Groundskeeper does not help you build your deck, but it does help you win the game with it.
which is something an average Dominion player could have told you five minutes after first seeing the card.

Really the article stays on a technical and theoretical level the entire time. At no point is any concrete advice given that goes beyond "this card is good". Some examples are necessary. Consider the following scenario:

Both players have built similar engines that are pretty standard. They draw through their deck and generate $16 and 3 buys. Now it is my turn, nobody has greened. I can buy three Groundskeepers or 2 Provinces. What should I do? If I buy the Groundskeepers, I can play them on the following turns. There would be at least 2 more turns before the Provinces are gone. Each Province I buy subsequently gets me +3 VP. I expect to have 2 double-Province turns, so that is at least +12 VP. That is as much as the two Provinces. And Groundkeepers won't clog my deck. So I go for them and don"t get Provinces.

Now, same situation, but my opponent and me already have 1 Province each. If I go for Groundskeepers, my opponent can double-Province. Then if I double-Province afterwards, I have 24 VP and they have 18. They can win the game with another double-Province. So that's bad. But wait! I could triple-Duchy instead! That also gives me 24 VP to their 18, but now they cannot end the game, putting me in the better position. It is still the correct play to go for Groundskeeper.

So what does that tell us? It is usually good to get Groundskeeper over green if you can make sure to score at least 4 VP from each Groundskeeper (and I have sufficiently many buys). Here's a rule of thumb.
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Since the number of points is within a constant factor of the number of city quarters, in the long run we can get (4 - ε) ↑↑ n points in n turns for any ε > 0.

Screwyioux

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Re: Groundskeeper-- Draft
« Reply #10 on: August 23, 2018, 09:02:59 am »
+1

I have thought about why this article feels somewhat lackluster to me. I guess the issue is: It does not have a message. The one thing it says at the beginning and repeats is
Once more for the people in the back: Groundskeeper does not help you build your deck, but it does help you win the game with it.
which is something an average Dominion player could have told you five minutes after first seeing the card.

Really the article stays on a technical and theoretical level the entire time. At no point is any concrete advice given that goes beyond "this card is good". Some examples are necessary. Consider the following scenario:

Both players have built similar engines that are pretty standard. They draw through their deck and generate $16 and 3 buys. Now it is my turn, nobody has greened. I can buy three Groundskeepers or 2 Provinces. What should I do? If I buy the Groundskeepers, I can play them on the following turns. There would be at least 2 more turns before the Provinces are gone. Each Province I buy subsequently gets me +3 VP. I expect to have 2 double-Province turns, so that is at least +12 VP. That is as much as the two Provinces. And Groundkeepers won't clog my deck. So I go for them and don"t get Provinces.

Now, same situation, but my opponent and me already have 1 Province each. If I go for Groundskeepers, my opponent can double-Province. Then if I double-Province afterwards, I have 24 VP and they have 18. They can win the game with another double-Province. So that's bad. But wait! I could triple-Duchy instead! That also gives me 24 VP to their 18, but now they cannot end the game, putting me in the better position. It is still the correct play to go for Groundskeeper.

So what does that tell us? It is usually good to get Groundskeeper over green if you can make sure to score at least 4 VP from each Groundskeeper (and I have sufficiently many buys). Here's a rule of thumb.


I need to give some thought on whether or not to take that feedback to heart. On one hand, what you're saying is absolutely valid, I don't get into many of the specific details of how Groundskeeper functions mechanically beyond "if it's going to pile, mind the split." On the other hand, that might just be a different article. My goal is to cater to a more general audience to give a miles-up view of the significance of the card for some guy who googles "how to Groundskeeper" or whatever. Meaning a lot of it will come off as obvious to a more advanced player.

But, If, as you say, the average Dominion player figures all of that out by glancing at the card, then it definitely needs to be re-scoped.

I'll think that over with the other criticism I've gotten.

Meantime, if anyone agrees or disagree that the majority of the article is pretty obvious, please voice that--I'm on the fence.
« Last Edit: August 23, 2018, 09:05:00 am by Screwyioux »
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markusin

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Re: Groundskeeper-- Draft
« Reply #11 on: August 23, 2018, 10:02:36 am »
+1

I have thought about why this article feels somewhat lackluster to me. I guess the issue is: It does not have a message. The one thing it says at the beginning and repeats is
Once more for the people in the back: Groundskeeper does not help you build your deck, but it does help you win the game with it.
which is something an average Dominion player could have told you five minutes after first seeing the card.

Really the article stays on a technical and theoretical level the entire time. At no point is any concrete advice given that goes beyond "this card is good". Some examples are necessary. Consider the following scenario:

Both players have built similar engines that are pretty standard. They draw through their deck and generate $16 and 3 buys. Now it is my turn, nobody has greened. I can buy three Groundskeepers or 2 Provinces. What should I do? If I buy the Groundskeepers, I can play them on the following turns. There would be at least 2 more turns before the Provinces are gone. Each Province I buy subsequently gets me +3 VP. I expect to have 2 double-Province turns, so that is at least +12 VP. That is as much as the two Provinces. And Groundkeepers won't clog my deck. So I go for them and don"t get Provinces.

Now, same situation, but my opponent and me already have 1 Province each. If I go for Groundskeepers, my opponent can double-Province. Then if I double-Province afterwards, I have 24 VP and they have 18. They can win the game with another double-Province. So that's bad. But wait! I could triple-Duchy instead! That also gives me 24 VP to their 18, but now they cannot end the game, putting me in the better position. It is still the correct play to go for Groundskeeper.

So what does that tell us? It is usually good to get Groundskeeper over green if you can make sure to score at least 4 VP from each Groundskeeper (and I have sufficiently many buys). Here's a rule of thumb.


I need to give some thought on whether or not to take that feedback to heart. On one hand, what you're saying is absolutely valid, I don't get into many of the specific details of how Groundskeeper functions mechanically beyond "if it's going to pile, mind the split." On the other hand, that might just be a different article. My goal is to cater to a more general audience to give a miles-up view of the significance of the card for some guy who googles "how to Groundskeeper" or whatever. Meaning a lot of it will come off as obvious to a more advanced player.

But, If, as you say, the average Dominion player figures all of that out by glancing at the card, then it definitely needs to be re-scoped.

I'll think that over with the other criticism I've gotten.

Meantime, if anyone agrees or disagree that the majority of the article is pretty obvious, please voice that--I'm on the fence.

I think we can condense Faust's idea by framing Groundskeeper as a cantrip VP card whose value equals the number of green cards you expect to gain by the end of the game after getting the Groundskeeper(s). If you think you can split the Provinces 4/4, even a single Groundskeeper over your opponent wins the game for you. For a 3/5 split on Provinces, you need 4 Groundskeepers to equalize (assuming every green card is gained with all your Groundskeepers in play). For 3 Provinces and a Duchy vs. 5 Provinces, 3 Groundskeepers wins it for you for the same amount of buys as 3 Provinces and 4 Groundskeepers. Against 6 Provinces, well 2 Provinces, 3 Duchies, and 3 Groundskeepers equalize. This is not true for 2 Provinces, 2 Duchies, and 4 Groundskeepers, which falls short even though it's the same amount of buys.

Basically, you want players to think about how the endgame is going to go down, and how they should be balancing Groundskeeper buys with Duchies for the right mix of VP vs. reliability, because the math above shows that the maximum number of points is not attained by always prioritizing Groundskeeper over Duchy when buys are restricted. I mean, sure when you have 8 Buys you go to town on Estates, but on only 3 Buys maybe that is too slow.
« Last Edit: August 23, 2018, 10:04:26 am by markusin »
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Screwyioux

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Re: Groundskeeper-- Draft
« Reply #12 on: August 23, 2018, 10:14:47 am »
0

I have thought about why this article feels somewhat lackluster to me. I guess the issue is: It does not have a message. The one thing it says at the beginning and repeats is
Once more for the people in the back: Groundskeeper does not help you build your deck, but it does help you win the game with it.
which is something an average Dominion player could have told you five minutes after first seeing the card.

Really the article stays on a technical and theoretical level the entire time. At no point is any concrete advice given that goes beyond "this card is good". Some examples are necessary. Consider the following scenario:

Both players have built similar engines that are pretty standard. They draw through their deck and generate $16 and 3 buys. Now it is my turn, nobody has greened. I can buy three Groundskeepers or 2 Provinces. What should I do? If I buy the Groundskeepers, I can play them on the following turns. There would be at least 2 more turns before the Provinces are gone. Each Province I buy subsequently gets me +3 VP. I expect to have 2 double-Province turns, so that is at least +12 VP. That is as much as the two Provinces. And Groundkeepers won't clog my deck. So I go for them and don"t get Provinces.

Now, same situation, but my opponent and me already have 1 Province each. If I go for Groundskeepers, my opponent can double-Province. Then if I double-Province afterwards, I have 24 VP and they have 18. They can win the game with another double-Province. So that's bad. But wait! I could triple-Duchy instead! That also gives me 24 VP to their 18, but now they cannot end the game, putting me in the better position. It is still the correct play to go for Groundskeeper.

So what does that tell us? It is usually good to get Groundskeeper over green if you can make sure to score at least 4 VP from each Groundskeeper (and I have sufficiently many buys). Here's a rule of thumb.


I need to give some thought on whether or not to take that feedback to heart. On one hand, what you're saying is absolutely valid, I don't get into many of the specific details of how Groundskeeper functions mechanically beyond "if it's going to pile, mind the split." On the other hand, that might just be a different article. My goal is to cater to a more general audience to give a miles-up view of the significance of the card for some guy who googles "how to Groundskeeper" or whatever. Meaning a lot of it will come off as obvious to a more advanced player.

But, If, as you say, the average Dominion player figures all of that out by glancing at the card, then it definitely needs to be re-scoped.

I'll think that over with the other criticism I've gotten.

Meantime, if anyone agrees or disagree that the majority of the article is pretty obvious, please voice that--I'm on the fence.

I think we can condense Faust's idea by framing Groundskeeper as a cantrip VP card whose value equals the number of green cards you expect to gain by the end of the game after getting the Groundskeeper(s). If you think you can split the Provinces 4/4, even a single Groundskeeper over your opponent wins the game for you. For a 3/5 split on Provinces, you need 4 Groundskeepers to equalize (assuming every green card is gained with all your Groundskeepers in play). For 3 Provinces and a Duchy vs. 5 Provinces, 3 Groundskeepers wins it for you for the same amount of buys as 3 Provinces and 4 Groundskeepers. Against 6 Provinces, well 2 Provinces, 3 Duchies, and 3 Groundskeepers equalize. This is not true for 2 Provinces, 2 Duchies, and 4 Groundskeepers, which falls short even though it's the same amount of buys.

Basically, you want players to think about how the endgame is going to go down, and how they should be balancing Groundskeeper buys with Duchies for the right mix of VP vs. reliability, because the math above shows that the maximum number of points is not attained by always prioritizing Groundskeeper over Duchy when buys are restricted. I mean, sure when you have 8 Buys you go to town on Estates, but on only 3 Buys maybe that is too slow.

If I end up deciding that's in the scope of the article I'll probably rephrase (steal) what you said and credit you and Faust.
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crj

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Re: Groundskeeper-- Draft
« Reply #13 on: August 23, 2018, 10:24:36 am »
+2

One thing that I think bears mentioning in the article: especially on your final turn, you go for quantity over quality in gaining Victory cards.

I've seen someone win a Groundskeeper game by trashing their Hunting Grounds for Estates on the final turn. If you have even two Groundskeepers in play and some +Buy, it may be better to buy an Estate and a Farmland, trashing a Copper for an Estate (+10VP) than to buy a Province (+8VP).

Grand Market is especially nice: it gives you mid-game economy, but in the endgame it becomes a cantrip "gain an Estate". A three-pile ending on Groundskeeper, Grand Market and Estates may be all you need to win.

As a sideline to this observation: you don't have to keep the Victory cards to keep the Groundskeeper VP. If you're not going for the megaturn, there's plenty of mileage in incorporating Watchtower, Bishop, or remodelling Victory cards into themselves into a Groundskeeper strategy.
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faust

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Re: Groundskeeper-- Draft
« Reply #14 on: August 23, 2018, 10:26:10 am »
0

I need to give some thought on whether or not to take that feedback to heart. On one hand, what you're saying is absolutely valid, I don't get into many of the specific details of how Groundskeeper functions mechanically beyond "if it's going to pile, mind the split." On the other hand, that might just be a different article. My goal is to cater to a more general audience to give a miles-up view of the significance of the card for some guy who googles "how to Groundskeeper" or whatever. Meaning a lot of it will come off as obvious to a more advanced player.

But, If, as you say, the average Dominion player figures all of that out by glancing at the card, then it definitely needs to be re-scoped.
Maybe my point did not come across clearly. I do not think the issue is that the article doesn't help advanced players. The issue is that it doesn't help the player who googles "how to Groundskeeper". After reading the article I still do not have any concrete playing advice. If the article said "buy Groundskeeper if you can make <=4 VP off it" (not saying that is the most relevant rule, just as an example), then there would be a takeaway and the reader remembers that the next time they play. If all the reader remembers is "Groundskeeper does not help you build your deck, but it does help you win the game with it.", then they still don't have any idea how to play with Groundskeeper.
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Since the number of points is within a constant factor of the number of city quarters, in the long run we can get (4 - ε) ↑↑ n points in n turns for any ε > 0.

markusin

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Re: Groundskeeper-- Draft
« Reply #15 on: August 23, 2018, 10:39:52 am »
+1

I need to give some thought on whether or not to take that feedback to heart. On one hand, what you're saying is absolutely valid, I don't get into many of the specific details of how Groundskeeper functions mechanically beyond "if it's going to pile, mind the split." On the other hand, that might just be a different article. My goal is to cater to a more general audience to give a miles-up view of the significance of the card for some guy who googles "how to Groundskeeper" or whatever. Meaning a lot of it will come off as obvious to a more advanced player.

But, If, as you say, the average Dominion player figures all of that out by glancing at the card, then it definitely needs to be re-scoped.
Maybe my point did not come across clearly. I do not think the issue is that the article doesn't help advanced players. The issue is that it doesn't help the player who googles "how to Groundskeeper". After reading the article I still do not have any concrete playing advice. If the article said "buy Groundskeeper if you can make <=4 VP off it" (not saying that is the most relevant rule, just as an example), then there would be a takeaway and the reader remembers that the next time they play. If all the reader remembers is "Groundskeeper does not help you build your deck, but it does help you win the game with it.", then they still don't have any idea how to play with Groundskeeper.

I remember back in the Isotropic days, where simulation results and "buy rules" were a bigger thing. Since then, we've advanced our understanding and experience in Dominion that maybe we forgot about how rules helped us give a footing to start us off, even if ultimately we had to expand past that thinking.

The issue here is, Groundskeeper is often too explosive to capture in rules when there are multiple buys available. There are plenty of games where Groundskeeper creates huge bursts of VP that are difficult to wrap your head around without being in the game yourself. What rules do you give to prepare players for e.g. trash Hunting Grounds with Farmland (as described by crj)?

Now, if there is only one gain available per turn, then we can say Groundskeeper is roughly a cantrip Duchy, maybe better depending on how much you draw each turn. That sounds great so long as you split Provinces evenly, but that Groundskeeper alone doesn't overcome a 3/5 Province split, and neither will just adding a second one do the trick. So in those games, get Groundskeeper if you are at the beginning of your greening phase and missed $8 unless you greatly risk not getting to 4 Provinces without getting something else over the Groundskeeper.
« Last Edit: August 23, 2018, 10:41:09 am by markusin »
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Screwyioux

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Re: Groundskeeper-- Draft
« Reply #16 on: August 23, 2018, 04:07:14 pm »
0

Okay, made some changes based on your feedback. It goes into more of the questions it was suggested I answer, but it's also longer. Does it make sense? Is it clear what I'm saying?

I welcome suggestions for cuts and revisions.
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markusin

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Re: Groundskeeper-- Draft
« Reply #17 on: August 23, 2018, 04:27:35 pm »
0

Okay, made some changes based on your feedback. It goes into more of the questions it was suggested I answer, but it's also longer. Does it make sense? Is it clear what I'm saying?

I welcome suggestions for cuts and revisions.

It's hard to comment on if the added sections cause the article to be longer than is appropriate, but I like how it is close to the section on keeping Groundskeeper in check with pressure. I'm wondering if the section on keeping Groundskeeper in check with pressure should come before the specific examples instead of after it.
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trivialknot

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Re: Groundskeeper-- Draft
« Reply #18 on: August 23, 2018, 04:33:07 pm »
+1

If I think back to when Groundskeeper was new, the three main questions I had were:

1. How strong is it?  Is it a centralizing force, a niche card, or something in between?
2. Suppose I'm playing a good stuff deck, and I'm lucky enough to draw most of my groundskeepers (say, 3 or 4).  Do I take the opportunity to green, even if it's a bit early?
3. Sometimes we played Groundskeeper slogs, in which we start with provinces, but switched to duchies and then to estates, eventually ending the game on piles.  Is this good or were we just playing wrong?

Saying Groundskeeper is a cantrip worth N VP is not the right way to think about it, because having groundskeepers in play can affect your decision to gain victory cards.  For instance, maybe a single Groundskeeper gives you 6 VP, which sounds amazing at first, but maybe most of that VP was from Estates that you wouldn't have gained otherwise, and which are really hurting your deck.  Groundskeeper also enables you to gain and trash victory cards, a strategy that you didn't even mention.
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Screwyioux

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Re: Groundskeeper-- Draft
« Reply #19 on: August 23, 2018, 04:37:14 pm »
0

If I think back to when Groundskeeper was new, the three main questions I had were:

1. How strong is it?  Is it a centralizing force, a niche card, or something in between?
2. Suppose I'm playing a good stuff deck, and I'm lucky enough to draw most of my groundskeepers (say, 3 or 4).  Do I take the opportunity to green, even if it's a bit early?
3. Sometimes we played Groundskeeper slogs, in which we start with provinces, but switched to duchies and then to estates, eventually ending the game on piles.  Is this good or were we just playing wrong?

Saying Groundskeeper is a cantrip worth N VP is not the right way to think about it, because having groundskeepers in play can affect your decision to gain victory cards.  For instance, maybe a single Groundskeeper gives you 6 VP, which sounds amazing at first, but maybe most of that VP was from Estates that you wouldn't have gained otherwise, and which are really hurting your deck.  Groundskeeper also enables you to gain and trash victory cards, a strategy that you didn't even mention.

That's true, I thought about mentioning the ability to trash the vp but I figured that's niche enough and the article is already long enough that it could get the axe. I might be wrong there.
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DG

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Re: Groundskeeper-- Draft
« Reply #20 on: August 23, 2018, 05:05:02 pm »
+2

I think you can be more straightforward in saying that groundskeepers fit into decks with multiple buys/gains that can play out most/all of its cards (groundskeepers) i.e. an engine or megaturn deck.

I think groundskeepers work well with cheaper vp cards and duchies that are easier to accumulate in bulk than provinces. The example you gave isn't really as relevent as one player buying 8 provinces vs another buying 8 estates with 5 groundskeepers in play. Also the notional value of each groundskeeper isn't so hard to estimate - it's just the number of green cards you will gain with it in play.

Groundskeepers have a self-synergy in so much that a strategy designed to maximise one groundskeeper will probably maximise all your groundskeepers together. As soon as one becomes valuable, they all become valuable. This drives the emptying of the groundskeeper pile.

I suspect that groundskeeper end game play has a lot of unique problems if you can't deliver a clean killing blow with one big turn. A groundskeeper deck is usually built to have one big turn but what if it has to compete for green cards too early or without a decisive advanatage? I'm guessing it's all too difficult for an article to cover.
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Doom_Shark

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Re: Groundskeeper-- Draft
« Reply #21 on: August 24, 2018, 12:34:55 pm »
0

I know the article is already pretty long, but you might mention getting groundskeeper earlier when you have action-victory or victory-reaction cards that are desireable
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jomini

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Re: Groundskeeper-- Draft
« Reply #22 on: October 16, 2018, 01:09:28 am »
0

One thing that is obnoxiously overpowered is gaining greens, trashing them, and then gaining them from the trash, lather rinse repeat. Rogue is very nice here and is just about the strongest late game terminal on such a board if you can only have one terminal (or need to alternate a terminal). Lurker and Alt-VP can also make this fun and interesting.

I had one hilarious game where I inherited Page, the only draw was Warrior, and the only trashing was Spice merchant; managed a win after their Warrior killed mine even though they had over 100 VP and I think 60 when I started buying an estate/return an estate.

You could manage similar stuff with Guardian/Amb and a few other tricks. Even without the full trick, it can totally be worth it to use Amb to increase the effective size of the the green piles by 50% if your opponent went for a fast money option and you have a strong enough split (e.g. 7/3).
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