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ospond

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The Dominion Cards Lists 2018 Edition: Landmarks
« on: February 24, 2019, 05:22:36 pm »
+8

The Most Impactful Landmarks

Only 13 people voted for the landmarks this year (compared to 18 voters last year). I'm guessing that's low enough that many of the ranking anomalies could be due to noise. ("Noise" includes, for example, someone voting Labyrinth as the best landmark, and someone voting Wall as second-to-worst. :swashbuckler: :parody: :o )

Obligatory comment about how "no one knows how to rank landmarks". Actually, I think it's the opposite: landmarks have only one metric that makes sense, whereas for cards, lots of different criteria are possible. For example, does how often you buy the card in optimal play matter? (This favors events like Save, Alms, Travelling Fair, and Borrow, and it favors King's Court over Donate.) Or is it just a matter of how strongly you should consider buying it at least once? What if it's a card you only buy when you're already winning or already losing (Salt the Earth, Duchy)? How should VP be ranked relative to non-VP? In contrast, for landmarks, the only metric that really makes sense is "how much does this change your strategy", or more concisely, "impact".

Assuming that impact is the metric, here are the results from least impactful to most impactful (countdown order).

#21 =0 Baths
Weighted 2.79% / Unweighted 7.31% (21) / Median 0% (21) / Std. Dev. 21.09% (15)

In the Weighted and Unweighted average scores, Baths is in its own bottom tier, very far below everything else. All except one voter put it last or second-to-last. It's not uncommon to pick up points from Baths, but usually it's when doing something you would have done anyway. Deliberately taking the points instead of building is comparable to discarding your hand against a Torturer engine rather than taking a couple of curses, which is to say you might as well resign.

Baths has some combo potential, but it's limited in scope: compared to not-buying (e.g. Hermit and Mission), not-gaining is a very steep activation cost. So you need a strong Event or Project to buy, but which doesn't gain you any cards, and right now that's just Salt the Earth. However, as most games use only 0-2 landscapes, the chance of Baths and Salt appearing together is low.

#20 ▼1 Aqueduct
Weighted 29.72% / Unweighted 31.92% (18) / Median 25% (18, tie) / Std. Dev. 16.24% (19)

The next five landmarks have a similar weighted score, so it's not too surprising that they jump around a bit. Aqueduct holds the distinction of being the worst landmark which isn't "put 12 VP here, take 2 VP when X". It's less impactful than Battlefield because in high-level 2-player play, Silver and Gold aren't gained in very large quantities. If each player gets maybe 1 silver and maybe a few Golds later, that doesn't amount to many points. Combos with Trader and Masterpiece, if you can set it up fast enough.

#19 ▼2 Arena
Weighted 30.07% / Unweighted 30.77% (20) / Median 25% (18, tie) / Std. Dev. 22.17% (13)

In my experience, Arena points are usually depleted, since all you have to do is over-terminal a bit in the early game, or build enough to have villages or draw leftover in the middle game. Getting multiple terminals and risking collision is often good anyway, and now you get a 2VP consolation prize if you draw poorly. Building to have villages and draw leftover is also often good anyway. Free VP -- but not very impactful.

#18 ▲2 Basilica
Weighted 30.56% / Unweighted 31.54% (19) / Median 35% (14, tie) / Std. Dev. 18.64% (17)

Basilica hasn't risen significantly this year. Occasionally it incentivizes getting cheaper cards, like Pixie, Druid, or Market Square. If you aren't mirrored and you can drain most of the 12VP quickly, the point swing could matter.

#17 ▼1 Labyrinth
Weighted 32.76% / Unweighted 35.77% (16) / Median 25% (18, tie) / Std. Dev. 30.94% (2)

The most amusing thing about these landmarks is watching top-level players right-click them for the reminder.

Like Basilica, Labyrinth incentivizes buying multiple cheaper cards, except it can't stack. On the other hand, Labyrinth also incentivizes gainers.

#16 ▼1 Obelisk
Weighted 33.38% / Unweighted 34.23% (17) / Median 40% (13) / Std. Dev. 22.6% (11)

Obelisk is the last of this group of 5 with a similar weighted average score. It fell 5 places last year and continues to drop this year.

Although tacking 2VP on a card can be a real bonus (see Nobles), this generally requires the card to be spammable. Nobles is, but something like Militia or Noble Brigand isn't. And if the spammable card is also strong (the only village, or Grand Market), you were probably going to spam it anyway. Still, Obelisk is 20VP, which is more than any previous landmark on this list.

#15 ▼1 Palace
Weighted 38.14% / Unweighted 41.15% (12, tie) / Median 45% (12) / Std. Dev. 24.43% (8 )

Damn it, I already trashed my coppers, and now I have to buy 3 stop cards for each 3VP?

Effectively-unbounded VP is something, but in practice it's difficult to make Palace scale to more than 2-3 sets. Palace is also lacking insane combos, as far as I know. You need to gain lots of Coppers, Silvers, and Golds all at once. Treasure Trove comes close.

#14 ▼2 Defiled Shrine
Weighted 38.5 / Unweighted 41.15 (12, tie) / Median 30% (17) / Std. Dev. 15.08% (20)

A lot more points than Aqueduct, and they almost always eventually accumulate to unignorable levels. Worse players often buy the Curse too early, but once it gets to a Province or better (for 0), it can be a scary point swing. Plus, you can trash the Curse and keep the VP.

#13 =0 Battlefield
Weighted 39.93% / Unweighted 39.62% (14) / Median 35% (14, tie) / Std. Dev. 18.34% (18)

This will make my Ironworks-gain-estate rush strategy work again, right? Probably insane with Lurker+Hunting Grounds; I hope I never see that game.

#12 ▲6 Colonnade
Weighted 40.78% / Unweighted 37.31% (15) / Median 35% (14, tie) / Std. Dev. 27.01% (5)

Our first huge winner this year. Rising 6 places, Colonnade outscored all the other 12VP pile landmarks. I'm not sure what to make of this. Have I been sleeping on Colonnade? Perhaps the rise is due to favoring the engine; you don't get many Colonnade points if you mainly want Silvers and Golds with a few actions. Or maybe it's due to favoring the first player to hit a large price point with multiple buys.

#11 =0 Fountain
Weighted 41.2% / Unweighted 49.23% (10) / Median 55% (9, tie) / Std. Dev. 31.55% (1)

Although Fountain keeps its place in the rankings, it remains as controversial as ever with the highest standard deviation of any landmark. It had several votes near the bottom, as well as a vote for best, a vote for second-best, and several votes in the upper half (5th to 9th place).

Fountain also has the highest absolute difference between its weighted and unweighted scores (8.03%). It's fair to conclude that worse players are significantly overvaluing it. The 15VP is tempting, but a strong engine still wins against some sad strategy which buys coppers. Don't skip strong copper trashing for Fountain points. More often, you just want to build enough +Buy to pick up coppers near the end of the game.

#10 ▼3 Tower
Weighted 52.64% / Unweighted 48.46% (11) / Median 55% (9, tie) / Std. Dev. 23.07% (10)

A big jump in weighted average from the last group of landmarks, Tower falls from last year but remains far above Obelisk. Superficially similar to Obelisk, it plays differently: rather than picking up one card for the points, you look for a pile-out with a free VP lead at the end.

#9 ▼1 Triumphal Arch
Weighted 59.52 / Unweighted 54.23 (9) / Median 50% (11) / Std. Dev. 23.85% (9)

For some reason, I always have to remind myself what this does. Triumphal Arch maxes out at a lot of points (30 VP). In practice it's more likely to get 12VP or 18VP. I like looking at the board and planning which two cards I can go for; it's not always obvious in advance. Like Tower, it can easily enable a pile-out win.

#8 ▼2 Orchard
Weighted 65.46% / Unweighted 63.85% (7) / Median 65% (8 ) / Std. Dev. 20.21% (16)

The theme of many high-end landmarks it that they allow a ton of alt VP for the player who builds longer. You only get points for actions; well that's great, because that's how you build. You also only get points if you diversify your deck; well that's also great, because you need to do that anyway to avoid piling, and now you're playing with more of the board. As far as gameplay goes, I like Orchard (and Museum, later) because they make more cards on the board relevant. Watch out for split piles.

#7 ▼3 Wolf Den
Weighted 65.71 / Unweighted 61.54 (8 ) / Median 75% (3, tie) / Std. Dev. 30.78% (3)

I don't understand the theme of this landmark. Wolves will eat you unless your workers come in groups of at least two??

Wolf Den falls somewhat from last year; perhaps people have figured out how to manage the bookkeeping and play around it. Step 1, build your engine from not-way-too-many components; step 2, buy an extra copy of one-of components at some point when you would gain a Duchy, or before that if they're good for your deck anyway. Works out very nicely with Remodel variants and other trash-for-benefit. Serious counter-synergy occasionally, like with Black Market.

#6 ▼1 Tomb
Weighted 65.97% / Unweighted 68.46% (5) / Median 70% (6, tie) / Std. Dev. 24.45% (7)

This landmark sucks. Getting points for trashing? Who cares, you were going to trash anyway if possible, and if the trashing is weak (or nonexistent), Tomb probably won't make it good. Tomb + Trade Route is not a combo.

Given the rankings, what I said in the above paragraph must be wrong. I'll try again. Tomb is unbounded VP, and it favors the player who builds longer. Remodel variants can build up a lot of Tomb VP without requiring extra gains. Gaining copper and trashing it to Forager or Chapel also works well. Unlike unbounded VP from something like Palace, you don't have to add a bunch of junk to your deck to get it.

#5 ▲5 Bandit Fort
Weighted 66.29 / Unweighted 66.15 (6) / Median 70% (6, tie) / Std. Dev. 30.01% (4)

You heard it here first: Silver and Gold are good cards again. In a surprising reversal, Bandit Fort regains the 5 ranks it lost last year. High standard deviation, though.

#4 ▲5 Mountain Pass
Weighted 69.72 / Unweighted 71.15 (4) / Median 75% (3, tie) / Std. Dev. 21.68% (14)

The second huge winner on the upper half of the list. Mountain Pass feels less like a Dominion card and more like an exercise in game theory. Which is disorienting, but a very unique effect and a welcome strategic challenge.

"Strategic challenge" is an understatement. There way too many numbers between 1 and 40. Normally in Dominion you just click to play your cards and then buy whatever you think is best for the amount of money you have; now you have to think about your exact chances of winning. Overall, Mountain Pass probably deserves its high spot on this list.

#3 =0 Museum
Weighted 72.84% / Unweighted 72.69% (3) / Median 75% (3, tie) / Std. Dev. 12.19% (21)

Museum has the lowest standard deviation and comes in the same rank as last year. Usually, Museum is just tons of extra VP; in contrast to Triumphal Arch or Orchard, you don't have to buy multiple cards to get it. It's almost always worth diversifying for Museum points.

#2 ▼1 Keep
Weighted 86.88% / Unweighted 82.31% (1) / Median 95% (1) / Std. Dev. 22.5% (12)

Keep has by far the most first-place votes (5), but loses its spot at the top in the average. My personal pick for most impactful landmark, Keep is like Duchy-dancing on steroids. Sadly there is no nice equilibrium where you both get the points and move on; treasure piles don't usually come close to running out. So you just keep fighting back and forth. Sometimes if you pick up a lead early enough (e.g., a few Silvers), your opponent will give up on that particular treasure and only fight for the other ones. Usually, though, it's very careful bookkeeping of how many treasures you each have of each type. Keep loves cards that can gain treasures easily, like Artisan, Bandit, Soothsayer, Hero, Tragic Hero, Treasure Trove, Charm, and Haggler. More often than not the point swing in the last turn is so large that it decides the game.

Also, thank god for the VP counter.

#1 ▲1 Wall
Weighted 87.15% / Unweighted 81.15% (2) / Median 90% (2) / Std. Dev. 24.66% (6)

Finally, we have Wall in first place, regaining its spot from the 2016 rankings. It has only 2 first-place votes, and the raw weighted score is not significantly different from Keep. However, there is no doubt that Wall has a serious impact on every board.

Wall is the definition of game-warping. It feels like your deck is working against you, and everything you learned about Dominion is wrong.  The negative points are often just enough that if you build more, and try to catch up on VP later, you just can't quite close the lead.

Strategically, I usually think of Wall as "-1 VP for every card in your deck". Other versions of it were tested (see secret history). But I doubt it would be that different if the first 15 cards mattered as well.


Summary: Landmarks Tiers

Since there were only 13 votes, it makes sense to also present the landmarks in tiers, by weighted score. Landmarks which are in the same tier had similar weighted scores; the cutoff points are chosen such that there is a significant weighted score gap between one tier and the next.

The tiers range from S (completely game-warping) to F (completely ignorable), with A, B, C, D, and E in-between.

Tier S (86-88%): Wall, Keep

Tier A (65-73%): Museum, Mountain Pass, Bandit Fort, Tomb, Wolf Den, Orchard

Tier B (59-60%): Triumphal Arch

Tier C (52-53%): Tower

Tier D (38-42%): Fountain, Colonnade, Battlefield, Defiled Shrine, Palace

Tier E (29-34%): Obelisk, Labyrinth, Basilica, Arena, Aqueduct

Tier F (2-3%): Baths


« Last Edit: February 24, 2019, 05:41:50 pm by ospond »
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Awaclus

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Re: The Dominion Cards Lists 2018 Edition: Landmarks
« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2019, 05:41:31 pm »
0

Trade Route is good on its own though.
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Bomb, Cannon, and many of the Gunpowder cards can strongly effect gameplay, particularly in a destructive way

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Commodore Chuckles

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Re: The Dominion Cards Lists 2018 Edition: Landmarks
« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2019, 06:10:04 pm »
+1

I actually had Labyrinth in last place. I think Labyrinth is the ultimate "get VP for doing something you were going to do anyway" Landmark. Baths rarely matters but it can be an additional impetus to getting Mission or Outpost, or not buying that additional Silver you don't really need.

Obelisk is still overrated. It only matters if it happens to be on one of a tiny group of useless but harmless cards (Pearl Diver, Harbinger, maybe some others). Otherwise, it's either something you were going to buy a lot of anyway or like an additional dead green card.

Tomb is also overrated. Maybe it's not "this Landmark sucks" levels, but you need to have a way to continually gain junk and trash it for it to reward for something you weren't already going to do.

Palace is severely underrated. It looks ignorable, but it's burned me on more than one occasion.

I don't understand the theme of this landmark. Wolves will eat you unless your workers come in groups of at least two??

Based on the artwork, I assume the idea is that wolves themselves come in pairs. Yeah, that doesn't make much sense either.
« Last Edit: February 24, 2019, 06:13:00 pm by Commodore Chuckles »
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crj

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Re: The Dominion Cards Lists 2018 Edition: Landmarks
« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2019, 07:01:30 pm »
+7

Wolves are pack animals. A "lone wolf" is a common metaphor for something that is undesirably acting alone.
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Jack Rudd

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Re: The Dominion Cards Lists 2018 Edition: Landmarks
« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2019, 07:05:51 pm »
0

Baths has a few friends - Chapel, Tactician, possibly Prince and Hireling, and a number of Projects and Events - but in practice it doesn't change the way any of those cards play.
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Beyond Awesome

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Re: The Dominion Cards Lists 2018 Edition: Landmarks
« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2019, 08:42:38 pm »
0

Baths is like, hey your shuffle sucked this turn, so here's some points.
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trivialknot

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Re: The Dominion Cards Lists 2018 Edition: Landmarks
« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2019, 09:06:47 pm »
+5

I agree with the intro that there are a lot of different metrics you can use to rank most cards, but landmarks have basically just one metric.  On that note, let's take a look at Markus' statistics for landmarks!

My first thought is that if a landmark is strong, then you are likely to follow a "suboptimal" strategy that takes longer, but gets more landmark points.  So one way to rank the cards is to look at the average number of turns before the game ends (excluding games with resignations).  This produces the following ranking:

Keep    17.9
Wall    17.5
Mountain Pass    17.4
Battlefield    17.4
Museum    17.4
Defiled Shrine    17.3
Basilica    17.1
Palace    17.1
Fountain    17
Labyrinth    17
Baths    17
Colonnade   16.9
Aqueduct    16.9
Arena    16.8
Wolf Den    16.8
all games   16.7
Triumphal Arch    16.7
Bandit Fort    16.6
Obelisk    16.6
Tomb    16.6
Orchard    16.6
Tower    16.2

But wait, Tower games are actually faster than average?  Well of course, Tower leads to some quick three-piles.  So another metric we can get on the strength of a landmark, is percentage chance of a three-pile.  Here are those rankings (again excluding resignations).

Tower    57
Triumphal Arch    54
Orchard    52
Obelisk    51
Tomb    51
Bandit Fort    48
Labyrinth    45
Colonnade   45
Basilica    44
Fountain    44
Arena    42
Museum    42
all games   42
Defiled Shrine    41
Wolf Den    40
Mountain Pass    39
Keep    39
Battlefield    39
Baths    39
Aqueduct    37
Palace    35
Wall    27

So what do you think?  Seems like there's a pretty good case that Keep > Wall, although Wall leads to more games ending on provinces.  I also think Tower should be higher, since it apparently causes a 3-pile in about 15% of games.
« Last Edit: February 24, 2019, 09:08:00 pm by trivialknot »
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ospond

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Re: The Dominion Cards Lists 2018 Edition: Landmarks
« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2019, 08:14:14 am »
0

So what do you think?  Seems like there's a pretty good case that Keep > Wall, although Wall leads to more games ending on provinces.  I also think Tower should be higher, since it apparently causes a 3-pile in about 15% of games.

I like the idea of looking at the stats to determine landmark impact, and I agree with the intuition about game length. For the reasons you mention, though, I think neither length of game nor chance of 3-pile alone summarizes impact well. Combining the two works better, but are there other variables we could measure? Maybe average length of game given a province ending, or given a 3-pile ending. Maybe the chance of first player winning would also be interesting. Skill multiplier might also say something about impact, if we believe that better players are more likely to alter their strategy with the landmark, whereas worse players aren't.

More generally it would be cool to have some kind of aggregate of how much the gain distribution changes in the presence of landmark X. So, total over all cards of the difference between the gain rate of that card with landmark X and the average gain rate for that card.

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faust

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Re: The Dominion Cards Lists 2018 Edition: Landmarks
« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2019, 08:20:58 am »
+3

I agree with the intro that there are a lot of different metrics you can use to rank most cards, but landmarks have basically just one metric.  On that note, let's take a look at Markus' statistics for landmarks!
This is interesting, but clearly insufficient: According to those stats, Wolf Den has basically no impact. It does not impact game length or 3-piles, but it clearly forces you to build differently.
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trivialknot

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Re: The Dominion Cards Lists 2018 Edition: Landmarks
« Reply #9 on: February 25, 2019, 10:45:40 am »
+1

I agree with the intro that there are a lot of different metrics you can use to rank most cards, but landmarks have basically just one metric.  On that note, let's take a look at Markus' statistics for landmarks!
This is interesting, but clearly insufficient: According to those stats, Wolf Den has basically no impact. It does not impact game length or 3-piles, but it clearly forces you to build differently.
I was wondering about that too!  I have two hypotheses.  First, maybe Wolf Den is just totally overrated.  It doesn't affect how you build in any significant way, and mainly you just buy second copies of each card as a substitute for duchies.  Second, maybe Wolf Den just as often makes games shorter as it makes them longer.  For instance, if you get a second Gold instead of a Duchy, maybe you can use that gold to end the game sooner.

So what do you think?  Seems like there's a pretty good case that Keep > Wall, although Wall leads to more games ending on provinces.  I also think Tower should be higher, since it apparently causes a 3-pile in about 15% of games.

I like the idea of looking at the stats to determine landmark impact, and I agree with the intuition about game length. For the reasons you mention, though, I think neither length of game nor chance of 3-pile alone summarizes impact well. Combining the two works better, but are there other variables we could measure? Maybe average length of game given a province ending, or given a 3-pile ending. Maybe the chance of first player winning would also be interesting. Skill multiplier might also say something about impact, if we believe that better players are more likely to alter their strategy with the landmark, whereas worse players aren't.

More generally it would be cool to have some kind of aggregate of how much the gain distribution changes in the presence of landmark X. So, total over all cards of the difference between the gain rate of that card with landmark X and the average gain rate for that card.
I like the idea of looking at change in gain rates, if only because it resembles the "impact factor" analysis I did last year, but I'm not sure how well it would work for landmarks.  e.g. how much does Obelisk change gain rates on average?  Depending on what Obelisk pile you choose, it might affect the gain rate of that particular pile, but this effect could be washed out when you average over all games.

Skill multiplier is another good idea, but it's not clear what it means.  Mountain Pass has the highest at 1.26, probably because it's just hard to play correctly, and it has a "win more" effect.  Battlefield has the lowest skill multiplier at 0.78, and I just don't know why that is.

A few other ideas: It might be interesting to see if the statistics change when we give greater weight to games with top players.  I also wonder if there's something you could do by looking at how many points the winner has compared to the loser.
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DDL

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Re: The Dominion Cards Lists 2018 Edition: Landmarks
« Reply #10 on: February 25, 2019, 12:14:07 pm »
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I rank landmarks based on fun factor. It's not like I have a choice to buy them or not so may as well apply the emotional criterium here.

Didn't see any mention of the word "impact" in the ranking thread either, so I wonder how many people actually know about that.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2019, 12:17:59 pm by DDL »
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ospond

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Re: The Dominion Cards Lists 2018 Edition: Landmarks
« Reply #11 on: February 25, 2019, 01:45:23 pm »
0

I rank landmarks based on fun factor. It's not like I have a choice to buy them or not so may as well apply the emotional criterium here.

Didn't see any mention of the word "impact" in the ranking thread either, so I wonder how many people actually know about that.

Interesting. Ranking by fun factor seems well outside the norm. You could rank that way for cards, too, but I think it's generally understood that the rankings are more about power and strategic impact.

I would support some kind of official policy/guide on what metrics to use when rankings. Right now it's kind of a free-for-all. But for landmarks, I think most people rank by impact factor.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2019, 01:47:35 pm by ospond »
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DDL

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Re: The Dominion Cards Lists 2018 Edition: Landmarks
« Reply #12 on: February 25, 2019, 05:37:05 pm »
0

I think it's pretty obvious the lists are about strategy (just see the name of the forum lol), but for Landmarks it's pretty foggy because you don't really make a decision for them. If they are in the board, you are using them.

I guess by "fun" I mean a lot of stuff, like making the game more interesting strategically or making it unique. The "impact" thing is included in that. Generally, it's how much I enjoy seeing them in a board.

But I made those posts because I think it's good to make this clearer in the next Qvist rankings. Just like the Hexes one explained you are supposed to rank them in terms on how strong the attack is.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2019, 05:38:23 pm by DDL »
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markus

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Re: The Dominion Cards Lists 2018 Edition: Landmarks
« Reply #13 on: February 26, 2019, 03:35:56 am »
+5

One part of the statistics I have is the impact factor inspired by trivialknot. It can be found for all cards here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1M2L7hcY3sbA33OwuZhgPYJWVlMFgJYBdK8cnkbJHmbo/edit#gid=1032809554

It looks at how much more or less other "cards" get bought, gained or trashed compared to the average game, distinguishing between the probability of doing that and the number. Each category is normalized to have mean 0 and standard deviation of 1.

Here are the landmarks only:
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