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cataldo11w

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New Player-Strategy Question
« on: April 24, 2019, 03:07:56 pm »
+2

First time poster and a relatively new player of Dominion. I've read through a number of strategy guides and texts and feel my general understanding of the game is pretty decent. That being said, I feel I've gotten in a rut of not improving and losing consistently. I don't know what I need to improve in order to be a better player and I am not totally sure where my game is lacking. While I have general questions about that and would like to improve, I figured a better way to maybe understand it is to post a game I've played several times and lost terribly at both times (40ish-9 and 50ish to 18ish). Would love feedback on how you'd play this kingdom, what strategies are best, and what to avoid, in the hopes that maybe I can come to better understand the game. If this isn't the right place for this post, I apologize. Thanks for any suggestions or thoughts.

Kingdom:
Lurker
Fishing Village
Forager
Swindler
Death Cart
Haggler
Minion
Torturer
Upgrade
Wharf

(I played this 2-player if that matters)

Thank you!
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Jack Rudd

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Re: New Player-Strategy Question
« Reply #1 on: April 24, 2019, 03:40:52 pm »
+1

Well, the best type of strategy is clearly an engine of some sort. That said, it's not entirely obvious what the best way to do it is.
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crj

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Re: New Player-Strategy Question
« Reply #2 on: April 24, 2019, 04:16:20 pm »
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Mmm. I was thinking that.

Except... how much of a risk is there of things turning into a slog with Swindler and/or Torturer?

What happens if one goes for a Fishing Village/Forager/Swindler strategy, hoping to tear a hole through opponent's engine while hitting $8 for a Province reasonably frequently as the deck thins? It would clearly help to pick up Minions, Wharves or Torturers for extra draw once one hits $5, but which?
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Awaclus

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Re: New Player-Strategy Question
« Reply #3 on: April 24, 2019, 04:22:27 pm »
+1

Except... how much of a risk is there of things turning into a slog with Swindler and/or Torturer?

7-10%.
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Titandrake

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Re: New Player-Strategy Question
« Reply #4 on: April 24, 2019, 04:37:50 pm »
+1

There's a Game Reports / Help! section where these posts are supposed to go, although it looks like they haven't been used in a while.

It might help if you could explain how you lost - what did your opponent do, what did you do? If you have trouble answering these questions, then it's a sign you should be paying more attention to what they're doing.

In the specific kingdom here, there's a lot of fancy stuff you can do but the core is going to be using Fishing Village for actions, Wharf + Torturer for cards and attacks, and then some mix of Haggler, Lurker, Swindler, Upgrade, Forager. This kingdom is complicated because you plausibly want almost every card in the Kingdom at some point (except for Death Cart).

The other option for cycling through your deck is going heavy on Minion, combining it with Fishing Village, Swindler, Haggler, and Forager to get use of each of your 4 card hands, but I think this will be worse than the Wharf and Torturer route.

I would open Forager/Swindler, get Fishing Village and Wharf from there, then pick up Lurker and Haggler once the deck is going a bit. If you get a good Swindler hit or if your opponent buys Lurker, consider buying Lurker sooner. The Forager is to get early trashing in, the Swindler is to add early disruption and to get a source of +$2 because you want to hit $5 soon for Wharf or Torturer.
« Last Edit: April 24, 2019, 04:38:57 pm by Titandrake »
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Commodore Chuckles

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Re: New Player-Strategy Question
« Reply #5 on: April 24, 2019, 06:24:46 pm »
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The first bit of advice that comes into my mind is: Wharf, Wharf, Wharf, Wharf. Wharf is friggin amazing. Do not underestimate it. It's especially good here because you can discard down to zero cards with Torturer and then still start the turn with cards in hand.
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cataldo11w

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Re: New Player-Strategy Question
« Reply #6 on: April 24, 2019, 11:29:25 pm »
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Appreciate the advice so far. I lost the first time trying to go the Minion route, and I didn't utilize Wharf nearly enough it seems. My opponent went Torturer pretty hard, so it felt like I was never able to really get anything going even though we started pretty similarly.

I've played it twice since posting and seem to have some success with primarily Wharf/Torturer/Fishing Village. Interestingly I've never seen Swindler as a great card and wasn't sure about Haggler/Forager so I avoided those. Maybe I am not appreciating them to their fullest?

Appreciate the responses and help.
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ipofanes

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Re: New Player-Strategy Question
« Reply #7 on: April 25, 2019, 03:38:25 am »
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The Kingdom sports a lot of cards which are highly ranked.

Fishing Villages are among the most consistent providers of extra Actions since they work for two turns. I would look for the cards that profit the most from these extra actions, which are terminal drawers like Wharf and Torturer. Torturers can pin you down here, especially following a Minion clout. I'd go for one Wharf (extra buy for Fishing Villages and possibly Lurkers) and three or four Torturers first and ignore Minion as the attack, unlike Torturer's, doesn't stack, and can hurt your card drawing considerably.
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Awaclus

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Re: New Player-Strategy Question
« Reply #8 on: April 25, 2019, 04:24:27 am »
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Interestingly I've never seen Swindler as a great card and wasn't sure about Haggler/Forager so I avoided those. Maybe I am not appreciating them to their fullest?

Swindler is a pretty great card. Turning your opponent's Coppers into Curses is a substantial attack, and turning a $5 into a Duchy is crazy strong when you luck into that. It's also good for your early economy since it's a terminal Silver.

It is essential to buy Forager or Upgrade here (or both), because everything that permanently removes Coppers or Estates from your deck is ridiculously overpowered and unskippable. You could sometimes plausibly skip Forager and just go for Upgrade, especially when there's nothing you want to upgrade the Forager into once you don't need it anymore, but there are two reasons why I don't think that applies here: Swindler's presence actually makes Forager a lot better than it usually is, and the other $5s are so strong that you would rather spend $3 turns on trashing and the $5 turns on the other good stuff, instead of having all the cards you want as early as possible be at the same price point.
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DG

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Re: New Player-Strategy Question
« Reply #9 on: April 25, 2019, 01:19:27 pm »
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The kindom is full of strong cards and there are plenty of ways it could be played. Once you get past core strategy, oppositional play, and control of the 3 pile ending, there are still lots of tricks from the card abilities as well. What you really want here is draw and control of your deck, and you get this by trashing down and then building up with drawing cards. Once you can draw well you can trash out stuff and gain stuff quite readily.

I think the key here is how upgrade and forager work with minion or with wharf. Minion has advantages as you don't need so many villages and it has an attack component, however both forager and upgrade are harder to work with in 4 card hands. You can only have a limited choice of what to trash. With a wharf you can get a big hand at start of turn, draw more stuff, and decide what to trash and what to keep. Compare that to lurker and minion that really will work well together in any size of hand.
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qdread

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Re: New Player-Strategy Question
« Reply #10 on: April 25, 2019, 01:33:48 pm »
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One thing I'm not great at is playing with Lurker. I think given the strong kingdom here, and the ability to load up early on with cheap and powerful $3 cards like Fishing Village, Swindler, and Forager, I would be tempted to skip Lurker and go straight for those. You can buy the key $5 cards outright fairly easily with those cards. However, there is the possibility of an "arms race." If one player skips Lurker, the other player can play a single Lurker on his or her turn to trash a key $5 without fear that it will get snapped up, then pick it up for free a turn or two later. If you end up with only one Lurker in hand but are worried about the opponent having one for the following turn, you are forced to trash a less powerful card. So on this board given how powerful the early $3 buys are, I'd be tempted to skip Lurker but maybe that would be a mistake? Anyone else have thoughts?
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Titandrake

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Re: New Player-Strategy Question
« Reply #11 on: April 25, 2019, 02:04:49 pm »
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One thing I'm not great at is playing with Lurker. I think given the strong kingdom here, and the ability to load up early on with cheap and powerful $3 cards like Fishing Village, Swindler, and Forager, I would be tempted to skip Lurker and go straight for those. You can buy the key $5 cards outright fairly easily with those cards. However, there is the possibility of an "arms race." If one player skips Lurker, the other player can play a single Lurker on his or her turn to trash a key $5 without fear that it will get snapped up, then pick it up for free a turn or two later. If you end up with only one Lurker in hand but are worried about the opponent having one for the following turn, you are forced to trash a less powerful card. So on this board given how powerful the early $3 buys are, I'd be tempted to skip Lurker but maybe that would be a mistake? Anyone else have thoughts?

If you have the draw and buys to support playing 2 Lurkers a turn (which you do with Wharf), then it's a free action gain every turn at the cost of not drawing, which I think is good enough here because there are so many good $5 actions, you definitely won't run out of targets. Also it increases your 3 pile threat. I don't think you want Lurker early, you want it more towards midgame (early on you should be focusing on Fishing Village with your $3 buys)

The other things pushing towards Lurker here are:
* Swindler is going to be trashing actions and you want Lurker as defense (to take them back) / offense (to steal them before they can take them back)
* If you get a Haggler early enough, it's easy to pick up Lurkers on a $3 buy.
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qdread

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Re: New Player-Strategy Question
« Reply #12 on: April 25, 2019, 03:25:27 pm »
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One thing I'm not great at is playing with Lurker. I think given the strong kingdom here, and the ability to load up early on with cheap and powerful $3 cards like Fishing Village, Swindler, and Forager, I would be tempted to skip Lurker and go straight for those. You can buy the key $5 cards outright fairly easily with those cards. However, there is the possibility of an "arms race." If one player skips Lurker, the other player can play a single Lurker on his or her turn to trash a key $5 without fear that it will get snapped up, then pick it up for free a turn or two later. If you end up with only one Lurker in hand but are worried about the opponent having one for the following turn, you are forced to trash a less powerful card. So on this board given how powerful the early $3 buys are, I'd be tempted to skip Lurker but maybe that would be a mistake? Anyone else have thoughts?

If you have the draw and buys to support playing 2 Lurkers a turn (which you do with Wharf), then it's a free action gain every turn at the cost of not drawing, which I think is good enough here because there are so many good $5 actions, you definitely won't run out of targets. Also it increases your 3 pile threat. I don't think you want Lurker early, you want it more towards midgame (early on you should be focusing on Fishing Village with your $3 buys)

The other things pushing towards Lurker here are:
* Swindler is going to be trashing actions and you want Lurker as defense (to take them back) / offense (to steal them before they can take them back)
* If you get a Haggler early enough, it's easy to pick up Lurkers on a $3 buy.

Yeah that sounds reasonable. I was just worried about the opportunity cost of passing up a few powerful $3 cards early to buy Lurkers, but I guess getting them with spare buys once you already have a Wharf or two would be best.
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theblankman

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Re: New Player-Strategy Question
« Reply #13 on: April 25, 2019, 03:41:19 pm »
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This is a super complex kingdom, and all the considerations others have raised are valid.

Something to consider when deciding to buy Wharf or Torturer is that Torturer becomes a plain Smithy once the Curse pile is empty (you can choose to "gain a Curse" and let that action fail). Some curses will come out early with Swindler, and there's strong enough draw with Wharf and trashing with Forager + Upgrade that you can also accept Curses from Torturer more easily than most Torturer games. So I'm not as scared of Torturer as I might normally be here, definitely favoring Wharf.

BUT emptying curses plus the presence of Lurker, Haggler and to a lesser extent Swindler means this game is gonna be very heavy on pile ending threats. OP talked about games ending 40-9 or 50-18 but it could just as easily end 1-0 or 0-negative on piles. If both players get engines running, I might buy a couple Torturers late if I want to apply pressure by running out Curses, or if I need draw but the Wharf pile is dangerously low (Minion is also a draw option, with an attack that's weaker than a still-active Torturer but better than nothing).

I'd probably open Swindler + Forager and look to get a second Forager pretty quick. First time I hit $5 would probably be Haggler, so I could focus on buying the great $5 cards and look to gain Fishing Village, Lurker and maybe the second Forager or Swindler incidentally.

Still another thing to consider, with all the available gains, is Forager as Payload. Taking time to buy a Silver and a Gold to trash might be a little slow, but maybe Haggler makes it easy. Haggler and Lurker definitely make it easy to keep a bunch of Foragers well fed.
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