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Author Topic: Getting back into Dominion after long hiatus; a little overwhelmed... any help?  (Read 1006 times)

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Hello all, it's been a while since I've darkened the doorstep of this here forum.  I see some familiar faces from the olden times.

I am getting back into Dominion after a long hiatus -- I stopped playing actively sometime around the middle of the last decade, and I'm coming back to it now.  I'm looking for insight into opportunities within the community for reintegration.

My goals are:
1) update my knowledge of and competence with the sets/cards published since my hiatus began (I left shortly after Dark Ages)
2) gain greater familiarity/command of the ShuffleIT implementation and its advanced options (I have mostly only played Isotropic with a little bit of Goko)
3) explore the landscape of opportunities for structured competitive play
4) update my physical set of Dominion (my oldest two children have recently started playing and they are loving it!)

What resources exist to help me in these goals?  (see below for my notes/context of this personal update project, as well as a list of current questions/reactions)

------------------------------------
Notes on efforts thus far:

goal #1) update my knowledge/competence
- I have just finished reading all of the dominion strategy blog posts.
- I am aware of the DS wiki, and I have started using that to learn about new cards/concepts/etc.  However, with some concepts, I have difficulty wrapping my mind around its context or significance (such as these 2019 rules changes).
- I think I "get" the basics of the following new concepts: Reserve cards, Traveller cards, Adventures Tokens, Events, Debt, Split Piles, Gathering cards, Night cards, Heirlooms, Projects, Coffers, Villagers, Exile, and Ways.
- I struggle to wrap my mind around the basics of: Fate/Boons, Doom/Hexes, States, Zombies, and Artifacts.

Questions/reactions:
- I get the basics of Reserve cards, but it seems like they aren't Throne-able since the card doesn't stay in play.  Or has this changed with the changes to the lose-track rule (which I kinda got)?
- I get the basics of Travellers, but I see from Qvist rankings that they are both ranked VERY high.  What is it about this progression that is so powerful?  It seems like it would take quite a long time to make them come online...
- I get the basics of Debt, but it seems like Donate is game-warpingly strong and Capital is weak.  Can someone walk me through the significance of these cards?
- I get the basics of Split Piles, but several seem pretty underwhelming.
- I get the mechanics of Gathering cards, but Farmer's Market utterly confuses me strategically... when is this good?
- Nocturne seems crazy overwhelming!
- I get the basics of Villagers, but how strong are they?
- Renaissance seems like a little bit of a power-creep set... or am I missing something?
- Ways seem 'way' cool!  ;D
- Coming back, I hear that Butcher is considered one of the best cards in the game.  Can someone help me understand this?
- Also, it appears that the strategy space has shifted in favor of 'gainers' - what's the story there?
- Can someone point me in the direction of good Dominion content-creators on YouTube?  Twitch?  I hear there is a Discord?  Apparently Podcasts too?!?

goal #2) figure out ShuffleIT
- I have figured out how to log on, play bot matches, set cards as familiar, fiddle with some basic options, and (recently) play against other users.

Questions/reactions:
- This seems like a nice implementation!  I was really bummed with Iso shut down, and I don't think I was ever pleased with Goko.  This seems like a really cool product that lets one be causal or a fanatic at their leisure!
- I am a little bummed by the limited options for subscribing.  I was expecting to just subscribe to the sets that I own instead of getting unfamiliar sets bundled-in or excluded.
- What does 'extra Menagerie' mean in the options?
- Is there a difference between ranked/unranked play?  How do you manage this with the automatch?
- When playing Isotropic, I would specifically try to play as random a kingdom as possible.  How do I achieve something similar here?  Do I need to create a table myself?
- I've been playing automatch with "prefer expansions" to try and include these daily-rotating expansions in my games (I am not yet subscribed).  However, so many matches have been just the base set.  Can I exclude base-only games without changing my preference to those with all of the expansions (as I still haven't really figured out the vast majority of Nocturne, Renaissance, Menagerie yet)?

goal #3) competitive play
- I have heard that this exists.

Questions/reactions:
- How to get plugged into it (online)?

goal #4) update my physical set
- I own and have played Dominion, Intrigue, Seaside, Alchemy, Prosperity, Cornucopia, Hinterlands, and Dark Ages; additionally, I have the following Promos: Envoy, Black Market, Walled Village, and Prince.
- During the hiatus, I was gifted both Adventures and Empires.  (I have just opened these and started tentatively playing through the suggested sets of 10.)

Questions/reactions:
- I never acquired Guilds, but it seems that it is now unavailable for purchase except in conjunction with Cornucopia.  Is there a stand-alone, updated Guilds set for sale?  Is the change from "Coin-tokens" to "Coffers" on the cards as they are currently being published?
- I have just bought the Intrigue 2nd-ed. update pack.  But I can't find the Dominion (base) 2nd-ed. update pack anywhere.  Other than re-purchasing the entire base game, any helpful suggestions on how to get these new cards?
- I have been using the Hobby Lobby artisan case for my storage - if/when I acquire Guilds, Nocturne, Renaissance, and Menagerie, plus the missing promos and 2nd-ed. update pack(s), I am concerned it may not all fit.  What all-in-one storage solutions are being used for the complete Dominion experience?
- Any creative ways of acquiring the promos that I am currently missing (other than BGG store)?
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goal #3) competitive play
- I have heard that this exists.

Questions/reactions:
- How to get plugged into it (online)?


Sign up for the league!

http://forum.dominionstrategy.com/index.php?topic=20269.msg831078#msg831078
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- Also, it appears that the strategy space has shifted in favor of 'gainers' - what's the story there?

Yeah...workshop/gardens strat was overpowered all along....who knew.

I am not super current on strategy by any stretch of the imagination, but I know there are a lot of content creators out there now beyond just WanderingWinder making the occasional YouTube video.

Discord is probably the best place to go these days. Instructions to find the discord server are in the league signups (you have to be on the server to be in the league)
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Goal 1: Practice playing against ranked people online helps greatly with this. Boons, Hexes, States, Zombies, and Artifacts sound confusing at first but all should become clear very quickly as you start playing with them. If you want to watch some strategy content that goes through most of the expansions, I would strongly recommend Adam Horton's Making Luck series on YouTube:

Reserve cards - You can still throne them, even though they do go to the mat on the first play. The lose-track/stop-moving rule here doesn't prevent the play effect from happening twice, just any further moving after the first move.

Travellers - Champion, Disciple, and Teacher are some of the strongest cards even though they take a while getting to. Sometimes the progression is too slow, but often it isn't. You often can play in such a way as to make the progression faster (e.g., more cycling, more thinning, faster trashing).

Debt - "Donate is game-warpingly strong and Capital is weak" is about right. You almost always want to Donate in the first few turns, and most Donate games end before turn 10. Baseline strategy of Donate + Money: https://dominionstrategy.com/2018/11/15/donate-money/. Capital -

Nocturne - It is overwhelming because of all the piles of extra cards. It makes sense once you play with it more.

Villagers - Lackeys, Silk Merchant, Academy, Recruiter, and Sculptor are all quite good.

Butcher - .  I am still not great with it, but I think what makes it so good is think of like a much more flexible Remodel that can gain/use coffers flexibly. There are a lot of strategy components to the card.

Gainers - I don't if I would say "shifted" in favor, as they were always pretty good. They can help you build to an action-dense pretty quick, and the later expansions have added good gainers--some of the later ones that come to mind off the top of my head are Butcher, Vampire, and Groom.

Content creators - There are quite a lot out there. in addition to Adam Horton's channel mentioned previously, some other channels I follow on YouTube that upload videos pretty frequently: aku chi, Burning Skull, Dominion Cards, Hexecutable, Lemonspawn's Dominion Videos, Mic Qsenoch, RTT, and WanderingWinder.

Goal 2
"Extra Menagerie" is a recent nice addition that allows for games that tilt the random kingdom in favor of cards from the new Menagerie expansion. I think the queue will match you up with other people that have also selected this option.

Ranked/unranked play - "Rated games" option has to be set to "Rated" if you want ranked games and has to be set to "Unrated" if you want unranked games. There's also a "Rated or Unrated" option if you want to match with anyone in either queue.

Random tables - Leave "Extra Menagerie" on "No", and the tables will be as random as possible.

Goal 3
There is a seasonal league in Dominion Online; I believe this is the relevant post for that: http://forum.dominionstrategy.com/index.php?topic=17461.0. Some people (rarely) host Dominion tournaments in person. Adam Horton does some tournaments usually in Ohio.

Goal 4
Guilds - The combination box set is the more common one, but you can probably find some people selling Guilds standalone on Ebay or Amazon.
Dominion 2nd edition update pack - If you can't find the update pack, I think buying the base Dominion 2nd edition or Dominion 2nd edition + Intrigue 2nd edition box set may be the only ways.
Storage - http://adamhorton.com/flog/dominion-storage/, https://www.reddit.com/r/dominion/comments/b3e4y4/my_free_storage_solution_for_all_expansions/, look online for other suggestions
Promos - They are all officially available only on the BGG store; Donald does it that way in order to support the store.
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- I struggle to wrap my mind around the basics of: Fate/Boons, Doom/Hexes, States, Zombies, and Artifacts.
Boons and Hexes are just a way of giving cards a random outcome. When a card gives you a boon, the top card of the boon pile is discarded and you get that effect. The boon pile is made up of positive bonuses. Hexes are the same, but negative effects.
States are just a card you get to keep next to you to remind you something is happening, e.g. two of the hexes give you an effect that only take place during your buy phase, so you get given a state card to remind you that that's a thing that's happening to you on your next buy phase.
Zombies are just some action cards that are in the trash when you play with Necromancer. Necromancer plays action cards directly from the trash, so this just means that there is something for Necromancer to do at the start of the game.
Artifacts are like a passive bonus, but only one person can have it at a time. So if a card gives you the artifact, you take it from whoever had it last. Now you are the only person to get that benefit, until somebody else steals it away from you.

- I get the basics of Reserve cards, but it seems like they aren't Throne-able since the card doesn't stay in play.  Or has this changed with the changes to the lose-track rule (which I kinda got)?
These act like cards like how Goons interacts with throne rooms. Throne rooms only play the "on-play" instructions twice, that is, things above the dividing line. So when you throne Goons, you don't get double the points. So if you throne Wine Merchant, you get +$8, +2 Buys, and it goes onto your tavern mat. But if you throne Duplicate, it moves to your tavern mat, then tries to move again (nut it's already there) and then that's it for the throne room's effect. So useless in the case of Duplicate, but really nice in the case of Wine Merchant.

- I get the basics of Travellers, but I see from Qvist rankings that they are both ranked VERY high.  What is it about this progression that is so powerful?  It seems like it would take quite a long time to make them come online...
Shuffling your deck 5 times doesn't have to take very long at all if you build your deck to do it. And the payoff is something like infinite +actions! Obviously you don't play these on Big Money boards, but the thing about these cards is that if they are present, then it's not a Big Money board...

- I get the basics of Debt, but it seems like Donate is game-warpingly strong and Capital is weak.  Can someone walk me through the significance of these cards?
Donate is indeed the single most powerful thing printed for Dominion so far. Capital lets you get multiple cards or more expensive ones now and pay for it later, like making normal cards cost debt. Getting good cards sooner is usually pretty nice, and it can help you smooth out money distribution. But there are times when it's bad, and obviously in typical circumstances you still need to have most of your money come from other sources.

- I get the mechanics of Gathering cards, but Farmer's Market utterly confuses me strategically... when is this good?
On average it gives slightly less money than Monument but you also get a buy. Of course, this is only the case if you get all the points, and your opponent playing it can get you the points from when they played it! Much better when you have more control over when you can get the points from it, like strong engines that can play multiple copies and have throne rooms, for example.

- I get the basics of Villagers, but how strong are they?
How good is a village that is guaranteed to be drawn exactly when you need it? Imagine getting a village that topdecked every turn.

- Renaissance seems like a little bit of a power-creep set... or am I missing something?
No, it's arguably the strongest set overall.

- Coming back, I hear that Butcher is considered one of the best cards in the game.  Can someone help me understand this?
It's an incredibly flexible Remodel that can also give you money to boost your buys. Usually the downside of Remodel is that it doesn't give you direct economy so your ability to also buy cards can be impacted. Not so with Butcher.

- Also, it appears that the strategy space has shifted in favor of 'gainers' - what's the story there?
I don't think this is true, but the cards overall have all gotten more powerful at each price point so traditional gainers that rely on other cards will be better by proxy, and there are a load of cards that now gain cards from their own separate non-supply piles, so there exist a lot of strong cards that have the word gain on them.

- Can someone point me in the direction of good Dominion content-creators on YouTube?  Twitch?  I hear there is a Discord?  Apparently Podcasts too?!?
This forum has its own videos section: http://forum.dominionstrategy.com/index.php?board=19.0
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Titandrake

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There is a lot here, I'll try to summarize.

Pre-post edit: Looks like a bunch of people posted while I was typing this up...

goal #1) update my knowledge/competence
- I have just finished reading all of the dominion strategy blog posts.
- I am aware of the DS wiki, and I have started using that to learn about new cards/concepts/etc.  However, with some concepts, I have difficulty wrapping my mind around its context or significance (such as these 2019 rules changes).
- I think I "get" the basics of the following new concepts: Reserve cards, Traveller cards, Adventures Tokens, Events, Debt, Split Piles, Gathering cards, Night cards, Heirlooms, Projects, Coffers, Villagers, Exile, and Ways.
- I struggle to wrap my mind around the basics of: Fate/Boons, Doom/Hexes, States, Zombies, and Artifacts.

It is a bit of a meme that the wiki's strategy advice can be pretty bad, but it's still a good source of info for what the cards are.

Quote
Questions/reactions:
- I get the basics of Reserve cards, but it seems like they aren't Throne-able since the card doesn't stay in play.  Or has this changed with the changes to the lose-track rule (which I kinda got)?

You can Throne a Reserve card, and you'll duplicate the effect before it goes to the Tavern mat, but you can't Throne calling a Reserve card.

Quote
- I get the basics of Travellers, but I see from Qvist rankings that they are both ranked VERY high.  What is it about this progression that is so powerful?  It seems like it would take quite a long time to make them come online...

The end effects of the Travellers are great. Champion, Teacher, Disciple, and in rare instances Hero are all really powerful cards, and they all require a very small investment of $2 early in the game. They don't take that long to come online if you build your deck to cycle faster, and that's worth it for the Travellers.

Quote
- I get the basics of Debt, but it seems like Donate is game-warpingly strong and Capital is weak.  Can someone walk me through the significance of these cards?

It's just a classic case of cards having uneven powerful levels for different gameplay. Donate is intentionally an Event that rewards planning out when you Donate and what you buy before doing so.

Quote
- I get the basics of Split Piles, but several seem pretty underwhelming.
- I get the mechanics of Gathering cards, but Farmer's Market utterly confuses me strategically... when is this good?

Most of the split pile cards are alright. Farmer's Market is a huge mess. One of the themes of Empires is that it adds tactical decisions, where a card's value depends a ton on the current state of the game. The Gathering cards are part of this. It's one of the most popular expansions for avid players, since it's one of the most skill-rewarding.

For Farmer's Market, the short version is that the prize is trashing for 4 VP, not getting +$4. It tends to be better when you can play several Farmer's Market in one turn, to quickly move up to the 4 VP trash and leave the pile at 0 VP for your opponent.

Quote
- Nocturne seems crazy overwhelming!

Nocturne is a lot of crazy effects, but in practice you can treat Boons and Hexes as randomness that gets sprinkled into the regular game. It's very "fiddly", but I found the cards were less confusing once I played them.

Quote
- I get the basics of Villagers, but how strong are they?
- Renaissance seems like a little bit of a power-creep set... or am I missing something?
- Ways seem 'way' cool!  ;D

Villagers are really good. Renaissance does have a reputation of power-creep. Ways are indeed cool.

Quote
- Coming back, I hear that Butcher is considered one of the best cards in the game.  Can someone help me understand this?
- Also, it appears that the strategy space has shifted in favor of 'gainers' - what's the story there?
- Can someone point me in the direction of good Dominion content-creators on YouTube?  Twitch?  I hear there is a Discord?  Apparently Podcasts too?!?

It's a little tricky to explain why Butcher is so good. It mostly comes down to flexibility. Butcher is one of
  • +2 Coffers
  • Remodel by $2
  • Remodel by $1 and +1 Coffers
  • Remodel by more than $2 if you stockpile Coffers. Notable uses are $5 Action --> Province by spending 3 Coffers
  • +2 Coffers while turning Province into Province
It gives you a way to turn junk cards into useful cards. It gives you a way to mill the Province pile while building up Coffers to turn $5s into Provinces, or buy Provinces outright. If you don't have good trash targets, it's still +2 Coffers, which isn't a bad card at all. It just does a lot for you during the entire course of the game.

Strategies have shifted to "gainers" because having more gainers gives you more control over when the game ends, and also lets you build your deck faster. Empires in particular added a lot of alt-VP that gives you more time to build an engine.

Quote
goal #2) figure out ShuffleIT
...

The Dominion Discord and Shuffle IT discord both have people that can answer questions about the client. You are supposed to ask in the Shuffle IT discord but people tend to ask in both. Unfortunately the Shuffle IT forums tend to be less staffed.

Quote
- What does 'extra Menagerie' mean in the options?
- Is there a difference between ranked/unranked play?  How do you manage this with the automatch?
- When playing Isotropic, I would specifically try to play as random a kingdom as possible.  How do I achieve something similar here?  Do I need to create a table myself?

Menagerie is a new expansion, so during release, Stef added an "extra Menagerie" option which biases the randomizer to use cards from Menagerie. It'll probably go away soon.

Automatch is ranked play by default. The only difference is that ranked affects your rating.

Everything you don't specify is picked randomly, so automatch is full random.

Quote
- I've been playing automatch with "prefer expansions" to try and include these daily-rotating expansions in my games (I am not yet subscribed).  However, so many matches have been just the base set.  Can I exclude base-only games without changing my preference to those with all of the expansions (as I still haven't really figured out the vast majority of Nocturne, Renaissance, Menagerie yet)?

There's a "Familiar Cards" page on your profile, that lets you mark which cards you're familiar with and which ones you aren't. I forget if it's respected in automatch or not.

Quote
Questions/reactions:
- I never acquired Guilds, but it seems that it is now unavailable for purchase except in conjunction with Cornucopia.  Is there a stand-alone, updated Guilds set for sale?  Is the change from "Coin-tokens" to "Coffers" on the cards as they are currently being published?
- I have just bought the Intrigue 2nd-ed. update pack.  But I can't find the Dominion (base) 2nd-ed. update pack anywhere.  Other than re-purchasing the entire base game, any helpful suggestions on how to get these new cards?
- I have been using the Hobby Lobby artisan case for my storage - if/when I acquire Guilds, Nocturne, Renaissance, and Menagerie, plus the missing promos and 2nd-ed. update pack(s), I am concerned it may not all fit.  What all-in-one storage solutions are being used for the complete Dominion experience?
- Any creative ways of acquiring the promos that I am currently missing (other than BGG store)?

There are 2nd edition versions of a few expansions. Only Intrigue and Base had changed cards, the other 2nd editions were just updating the wording. I believe 2nd edition Guilds is always bundled with Cornucopia.

As far as I know, the 2nd-ed update packs were a temporary thing and aren't produced anymore. If you can't find one then you'll have to re-buy all of 2nd-ed base.

No comment on storage solutions or promos, that continues to be a struggle.
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ftl

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Hi! I'm basically in the same boat! *waves* and I think I even remember your username from way back then!

I haven't jumped in to competitive play, just mostly been messing around with the bot... figure before I play real people I should at least get to the point where I can read some cards and understand what they do, instead of reading cards and having to go "wait, let me check the FAQ, how does that work again?"
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Sign up for the league!
http://forum.dominionstrategy.com/index.php?topic=20269.msg831078#msg831078

Done.  Thanks!

Discord is probably the best place to go these days. Instructions to find the discord server are in the league signups (you have to be on the server to be in the league)

Done.  Thanks!
« Last Edit: April 28, 2020, 06:33:37 pm by () | (_) ^/ »
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« Last Edit: April 28, 2020, 06:39:48 pm by () | (_) ^/ »
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Hi! I'm basically in the same boat! *waves* and I think I even remember your username from way back then!

I haven't jumped in to competitive play, just mostly been messing around with the bot... figure before I play real people I should at least get to the point where I can read some cards and understand what they do, instead of reading cards and having to go "wait, let me check the FAQ, how does that work again?"

Absolutely, I remember you, too  :D

I messed around with the bot for a couple weeks into this home isolation covid business, but the past couple of days I've just jumped into automatch.  Still a lot of base dominion though.

If you want to derp around together, PM me we'll make it happen.
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It's an f.DS family reunion.
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ycz6

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Some friends of mine from college have been getting me back into the game in the last few months! I also appreciate all the resources linked here, and I will definitely be at least lurking around these parts for a while :)
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Some friends of mine from college have been getting me back into the game in the last few months! I also appreciate all the resources linked here, and I will definitely be at least lurking around these parts for a while :)

Hayyy
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Some friends of mine

Like Platinum and kingdom Treasures?
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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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Capital may be worth it when a) you want to spike towards for instance Platinum, Prince or Tournament prizes b) you grab those last Provinces and end the game in debt c) when it's the only source of +Buy. It has definitely more uses than Counting House but is surely on the weak side.
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ipofanes

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Split piles hmm ... Encampment/Plunder and Sauna/Avanto are very often heavily contested. Patrician and Settlers are not very strong and may be ignored when there is no +Buy, but Emporium/Bustling are often worth digging for. Fortune is very strong but Gladiator is a stop card that you'd prefer not to have too much of. Fortunately (ha!) they tend to dsappear by themselves. Rocks is the split bottom card I see least often in 2p games, as you rarely want more than 2 Catapults and rocks are not that great.
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+3

Patrician and Settlers are not very strong and may be ignored when there is no +Buy, but Emporium/Bustling are often worth digging for.

In a mirror match, which is most of the time, it's not worth digging for the bottom part of the split pile, because it helps your opponent as much as it helps you but you're the only one who pays the cost for it. You might as well get Settlers or Patrician on spare $2 buys since they're usually better than nothing, but if you're skipping a better card to buy just so you can work towards getting the bottom half revealed, that's a bad idea.

The potential exception is when you have enough dollars and buys to reveal the bottom half of the pile and buy at least one of the bottom half cards on the same turn. Then you get to buy the card half a turn earlier than your opponent does, and therefore the benefit from making the bottom half accessible is asymmetric in your favor.
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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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