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Author Topic: What does it mean?  (Read 828 times)

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AdamH

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What does it mean?
« on: January 19, 2019, 10:25:47 pm »
+4

CLICK HERE TO GIVE YOUR ANSWERS

I've heard a lot of terms used when people talk about Dominion (or even other games similar to Dominion). I'm not necessarily trying to pin down an "accepted" or "popular" definition for any of these, but I would like to at least gauge what people mean when they're saying certain things.
So in your own words, what do these things mean to you? Respond however you like.

I will probably publish the results of this at some point, even if it's just the raw data. If there are any interesting trends or ideas I may highlight those as well.

Thanks for answering!

(If you would like to discuss it here I'll try to take the coherent thoughts from here and include them in the data)

The three questions from the form are:

What does "swingy" mean in Dominion?

What does "cycling" mean in Dominion?

What makes a card/event/project/etc. "good" or "strong" in Dominion?
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Commodore Chuckles

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Re: What does it mean?
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2019, 12:10:09 am »
+1

It least you're not asking what a "Village" is...
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Re: What does it mean?
« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2019, 12:25:44 am »
+3

If someone has a different idea as to what cycling is for some reason, is the inevitable article going to conclude that nobody knows what anything is, and thusly defining anything is meaningless? Because that is what happened last time with "engine" and I expect the definition for cycling to be so much more unified.
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AdamH

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Re: What does it mean?
« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2019, 09:01:27 am »
+1

Regardless of whether or not there's anything in the data that I feel like I want to post about, I'll be making the raw data available after it's collected. If you want to come to your own conclusions about it you are free to do so.

Regardless, some discussions I had with people regarding the results of the "what is an engine?" poll were pretty enlightening which is the kind of thing I'd really want to take away from looking at this data. I'd be surprised if something came from every single question but hey that's why I'm asking a few. You are free to respond however you want or not respond at all.
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DG

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Re: What does it mean?
« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2019, 12:19:55 pm »
+1

One cycle is pretty much equivalent to one play through a deck, shuffle to shuffle. Cycling faster is using less turns to do that cycle. If there's a key card in your deck then a cycle could be between plays of that key card, but for me a scavenger discarding a deck is cycling, a scavenger putting a key card onto the draw deck is some other sort of control.
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Chris is me

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Re: What does it mean?
« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2019, 02:38:16 pm »
+3

If only there was some mechanism where people could post responses to prompts freely and publicly, in a way that "the data" would automatically be published as soon as it's submitted. Perhaps even a way people could respond to points others made in real time, allowing people's ideas to build off of each other's and any misconceptions to be broken down. It's too bad there isn't such a public forum for discussing Dominion available to us.
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AdamH

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Re: What does it mean?
« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2019, 03:14:12 pm »
0

I'll be taking responses from here into the data as well and I'm not trying to stop anyone from discussing it here. But I've posted this in other places on the internet and a Google Form is a great way for me to aggregate data while keeping it anonymous so I don't let argument from authority creep in.
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AdamH

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Re: What does it mean?
« Reply #7 on: February 01, 2019, 10:17:16 am »
0

For anyone interested, I made the blog post presenting the results of this poll along with my own thoughts and motivations.

http://adamhorton.com/flog/dominion-what-does-it-mean/

The post is a little rambly but it's more of an opinion piece I guess.
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werothegreat

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Re: What does it mean?
« Reply #8 on: February 01, 2019, 11:42:59 am »
+10

All I know is, using the term "splitter" should be a punishable offense
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Re: What does it mean?
« Reply #9 on: February 01, 2019, 07:30:11 pm »
+2

My favorite definitions were "Pisses me off" for swingy and "A card's lifecycle, from buy to discard to shuffle to hand." for cycling.
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Re: What does it mean?
« Reply #10 on: February 02, 2019, 01:13:28 am »
0

Jotted in some answers, then kept reading here and realized you'd already tabulated the results.  Aaanyway:

Swingy: Tends to cause game-deciding events that are difficult for players to handle in a way they have much control over

Cycling: Going through your deck more quickly, such that you benefit more from deck building actions

Strong: Something you frequently want to buy or make use of, relative to the opportunity cost of choosing something else
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Polk5440

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Re: What does it mean?
« Reply #11 on: February 05, 2019, 03:04:09 pm »
+2

I liked the write up.

One thing caught my eye. You say "we labeled 'cycling' as something specific anything that helps you play your best cards more often". I am surprised. Certainly cycling implies you play your best cards more often. But by making it an equivalence rather than an implication, are you also saying trashing is cycling? Drawing is cycling? Trashing and drawing help you play your best cards more often, as well. But I don't think they are cycling. I agree with the majority of responses that cycling is referring to the mechanical effect of moving cards from your deck to your discard.

You could borrow a term from economics: "Velocity". Usually this is in the context of "velocity of money"; how fast money flows through the economy. You could refer to "velocity" of a card, the number of times per turn a card is played. At the start of a game, you would see your opening buys once every two-three turns, so velocity would be 0.3-0.5. Playing a card once a turn would be a velocity of 1. Cycling, trashing, and drawing all increase velocity.

Although this is probably all too complicated. "Play your best cards more often" is a good strategic goal. Cycling helps you do that. Trashing helps you do that. Drawing helps you do that. Attacking slows down your opponents' abilities to do that. Maybe there doesn't need to be a term for that.
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Re: What does it mean?
« Reply #12 on: February 05, 2019, 03:11:23 pm »
+2

Maximal jargon isn't actually a goal you should aim for.

It's better to just say "helps you play your good cards more often."

Not like it takes that long to say.
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Awaclus

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Re: What does it mean?
« Reply #13 on: February 05, 2019, 03:12:45 pm »
0

I liked the write up.

One thing caught my eye. You say "we labeled 'cycling' as something specific anything that helps you play your best cards more often". I am surprised. Certainly cycling implies you play your best cards more often. But by making it an equivalence rather than an implication, are you also saying trashing is cycling? Drawing is cycling? Trashing and drawing help you play your best cards more often, as well. But I don't think they are cycling. I agree with the majority of responses that cycling is referring to the mechanical effect of moving cards from your deck to your discard.

I was the person who submitted "Taking cards from your draw pile and putting them somewhere else so that your next shuffle happens faster", and I specifically worded it that way to include draw.

And, as has been previously established, trashing a card is like gaining a lab.
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AdamH

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Re: What does it mean?
« Reply #14 on: February 05, 2019, 03:24:30 pm »
+1

One thing caught my eye. You say "we labeled 'cycling' as something specific anything that helps you play your best cards more often". I am surprised. Certainly cycling implies you play your best cards more often. But by making it an equivalence rather than an implication, are you also saying trashing is cycling? Drawing is cycling? Trashing and drawing help you play your best cards more often, as well. But I don't think they are cycling. I agree with the majority of responses that cycling is referring to the mechanical effect of moving cards from your deck to your discard.

You can listen to the episode if you want more detail, but yes the way we defined "cycling" that episode included these concepts:

- Trashing
- Draw
- Churning (the term used for moving cards from deck to discard)
- Spamming
- Top-decking
- Filtering/Sifting (increasing the quality of cards in hand)

...so "cycling" was the end goal of playing your best cards more often, and yes trashing and draw are the strongest forms of this (which was acknowledged in the episode), but of course those have other effects as well and the other four concepts were where the focus mostly was.

Of course this episode was made almost a year ago, and since publishing it I've been questioning how well that term is serving its purpose based on seeing other people talk about it -- it's why I included that question in this poll and based on the results I agree with you that the definition of "cycling" is well-established enough as something else that it's not worth fighting to make that definition stick.


You could borrow a term from economics: "Velocity". Usually this is in the context of "velocity of money"; how fast money flows through the economy. You could refer to "velocity" of a card, the number of times per turn a card is played. At the start of a game, you would see your opening buys once every two-three turns, so velocity would be 0.3-0.5. Playing a card once a turn would be a velocity of 1. Cycling, trashing, and drawing all increase velocity.

Out of all of the suggestions I've seen so far this one is my favorite, and it's the first one that actually seems to me like it might be good enough to use...


Maximal jargon isn't actually a goal you should aim for.

It's better to just say "helps you play your good cards more often."

Not like it takes that long to say.

...and this is a lot of why I'm hesitant to have a term for it at the moment. If "velocity" makes the conversation easier then I'll use it but I'll have to give that a shot before I can say for sure. Good terms can just be said and then their meaning can be mostly intuited, so if I say velocity to someone and they know what it means, that's perfect. If I have to explain it only one time and it's internalized, that's almost as good. Anything else, and I'm not so warm on it.

The point is that I want to move the focus of the conversations I have towards the "why" rather than the "what" -- a lot of people will tell you about "good cycling" and "bad cycling" and list examples of both. This doesn't get the point across because people mostly just assume that cycling is always good no matter what. I've had more success inviting the listener to figure out for themselves what is helping them in any given situation by pointing them at examples of effects that *can* help them and then leaving it to them to judge which are the best in any given scenario. Of course I can give guidance on what is generally useful but still it should be done with the focus on "why" rather than "what."
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Re: What does it mean?
« Reply #15 on: February 05, 2019, 03:39:02 pm »
0

One thing caught my eye. You say "we labeled 'cycling' as something specific anything that helps you play your best cards more often". I am surprised. Certainly cycling implies you play your best cards more often. But by making it an equivalence rather than an implication, are you also saying trashing is cycling? Drawing is cycling? Trashing and drawing help you play your best cards more often, as well.
Also, apparently, Throne Room is cycling.
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Titandrake

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Re: What does it mean?
« Reply #16 on: February 05, 2019, 07:30:12 pm »
+2

One thing caught my eye. You say "we labeled 'cycling' as something specific anything that helps you play your best cards more often". I am surprised. Certainly cycling implies you play your best cards more often. But by making it an equivalence rather than an implication, are you also saying trashing is cycling? Drawing is cycling? Trashing and drawing help you play your best cards more often, as well.
Also, apparently, Throne Room is cycling.

For what it's worth, one of my older articles (http://forum.dominionstrategy.com/index.php?topic=17628.msg721928#msg721928) converged to the same definition that Adam used - cycling is anything that lets you play your payload more often. This is something I arrived at because I wanted a division into just two categories, payload cards and cycling cards.

I've never been fully satisfied by this definition because my intuition for what cycling means is much closer to the concept of shuffling your deck more often, either by drawing cards or discarding cards from the top of your deck. The linked article even points out that there are bunch of cards that don't neatly fall into these definitions. For example, to me Throne Room is a card that acts as cycling or payload, depending on what you double. And perhaps you can argue that according to the definition it should just be classified as cycling, because it's playing cards more often, but I don't think that captures the core essence of "cards that let you play good stuff more often + cards that give you stuff". It's just definition edge-case porn.

At the same time, it felt important to emphasize that the whole point of trashing and sifting was to move your deck towards one that lets you play cards more often, and it seemed useful to try to capture that all in one word, but I'm not convinced there's a great word for that concept.

Really, the core idea is "do things that let you play good cards more often", and whether you call that cycling or not is up to personal taste.
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AdamH

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Re: What does it mean?
« Reply #17 on: February 05, 2019, 08:46:28 pm »
0

This is something I arrived at because I wanted a division into just two categories, payload cards and cycling cards.

What you're calling "cycling" here is a concept that I call "deck control" -- there are two concepts of payload and deck control and payload is defined as everything that isn't deck control. The intuitive definitions of them go like this:

Deck control is what you do that enables you to play other cards.
Payload is what you do that helps you win the game.

There are more rigorous definitions that I have, which are defined in terms that the game defines -- they hold up to scrutiny, but as you've probably noticed, they aren't exactly simple. I can talk about them in more detail if you're interested, but the high-level stuff is in these two videos that I currently have drafts of, and plan to use in my video tutorial series in place of some stuff that's currently there. These videos use "cycling" in the same way that the podcast episode did, so obviously that will have to change before they are published.

So velocity, as I guess I'll call it in the rest of this post, is part of deck control, but there are other components to deck control besides cycling. Deck control is something that has a real definition and velocity is more of an abstract goal that you have, they're different types of terms for different purposes, but I've had a lot of success with people understanding deck control and how it influences the way they build and play their deck.

For example, to me Throne Room is a card that acts as cycling or payload, depending on what you double. And perhaps you can argue that according to the definition it should just be classified as cycling, because it's playing cards more often, but I don't think that captures the core essence of "cards that let you play good stuff more often + cards that give you stuff".

So Throne Room is a card that has lots of different modes, depending on what you double. You can use it as spamming if you want an effective extra copy of the card you want to play a lot of. It is a village, and some types of draw need the support of a village, so in that sense Throne Room can serve as draw in some cases, which is one part of velocity. It can be payload if you double a payload card, or can be multiple of these things at once (let's say you double a card like Market that has both deck control and payload components). Throne Room is pretty good because it can do all of these things for you, depending on what you need at the time.
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