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Author Topic: Hinterlands: Fool's Gold  (Read 20732 times)

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A_S00

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Hinterlands: Fool's Gold
« on: April 05, 2012, 02:19:25 am »
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Hey, y'all.  This is my first attempt at an article, so I'm mostly looking for feedback here.  I'm sure I've missed a few things, said some dumb stuff, and just generally shown why I can't seem to hit level 40 on Isotropic in this article.  So let me know how I can improve it and I'll make it better.  Thanks!

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Hinterlands:  Fool's Gold



“Chapel is the most powerful Dominion card relative to its cost, and I'm unlikely to make another card that powerful (relative to its cost).” -Donald X. Vaccarino

“Oops, I did it again.” -Britney Spears

-----

Fool's Gold is pretty good.  And, like Minions, Hunting Parties, and sex, the more of it you have, the better it gets.  Play one FG in a turn, and it's a Copper.  Play two, and each one is a Silver-and-a-half.  Play three, and each one is a Gold.  Play four or more, and they're better than Gold.  Pretty snazzy for a $2 card.

It should follow from the above that you want to buy as many copies of Fool's Gold as possible.  And, indeed, you can do worse than buying nothing else:  Big Money Ultimate on Geronimoo's simulator loses to an equivalent strategy that just buys Fool's Gold instead of Gold and Silver 25%-67%.  The Fool's Gold strategy averages 4 Provinces in 15.5 turns.  But sometimes (a lot of the time), you can do even better.

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What does Fool's Gold like?

There are three things that Fool's Gold loves almost as much as other Fool's Gold, and sometimes it's worth dipping out of Fool's Gold to pick up one or more of them.  Those three things are:
  • Trashing:  The less cards you have in your deck that aren't Fool's Gold, the higher your chance of drawing lots of Fool's Gold at once.  Thus, Fool's Gold loves trashers (but only some...more on this later).
  • Card Drawing:  The more cards you have in your hand, the more of them are likely to be Fool's Gold.  Thus, Fool's Gold loves drawing cards.
  • +Buy (or gain):  The only thing better than buying a Fool's Gold every turn is buying more than one Fool's Gold every turn.  This accelerates your game if you're going for it and your opponent is ignoring it, and gives you the chance at a favorable split if you end up racing for the Fool's Golds.  Plus, this will give you a chance at double Province or Province/Duchy turns in the late game, which can easily spell the difference between a win and a loss.  Thus, Fool's Gold loves +buy.
Even better than getting just one of those, though, is getting multiple.  So, with that in mind, let's consider some specific cards that go well with Fool's Gold.

Mint:  A special case for a 5/2 split, Mint/Fool's Gold is currently the 6th best opening, according to the councilroom.com rankings.  Mint's on-buy effect provides excellent trashing, and its on-play effect then goes on to effectively provide +buy, getting you lots of Fool's Gold fast.  It's probably not worth picking up later unless you get a lucky 5-Copper hand (don't trash any Fool's Gold for it).

Council Room:  Huge draw and +buy to go with it.  Council Room/Fool's Gold is an excellent opening if you're lucky enough to get a 5/2 split, but even if you're not, picking one up with your first $5 hand is worth it.  Buying a single Council Room as soon as possible increases Fool's Gold's margin over BMU to a whopping 90%-7%, and beats Fool's Gold head-on 71%-23%.  It also beats the optimized Council Room bot 76%-19%.

Margrave:  Card drawing, +buy, and an attack to boot.  Smells like victory.  Like Council Room, Margrave is worth picking up with your first $5 hand even if you don't get a 5/2 split.  One of these babies will let Fool's Gold beat BMU 92%-5%, and beats straight Fool's Gold 69%-25%.

Salvager:  A trasher tailor-made for Fool's Gold.  Get rid of your Estates and Coppers, accelerate your Fool's Gold purchasing with +$ and +buy, then have the option to rush the end game by trashing Provinces if you get ahead (doubly beneficial to a Fool's Gold deck, since Fool's Gold hates greening).  Buying a single Salvager on turn 1/2 increases Fool's Gold's margin over BMU to 81%-16%, and beats straight Fool's Gold head-on 60%-37%.

Spice Merchant:  In mirror match-ups, ends up being a slightly less good version of Salvager in Fool's Gold games, but still worth picking up if it's the best option on the board.  If your opponent ignores Fool's Gold, it's even better.  You can use the +$/+buy option early to pick up extra Fool's Golds, or the +cards option if you get an unlucky hand like 2xFG, 1xC, Spice Merchant, Province, hoping to draw an extra Fool's Gold.  Picking up a Spice Merchant as an opening increases Fool's Gold's margin over BMU to 86%-10%, and beats Fool's Gold head-on 54%-37%.

Masquerade:  Gives a little card drawing, along with light trashing.  Masquerade is a good card, and its strengths line right up with what Fool's Gold likes, so no surprise that they go well together.  Masquerade/Fool's Gold beats BMU 81%-15%, and beats straight Fool's Gold 57%-38%.  It also beats the optimized Masquerade bot 55%-39%.

Bridge:  Gives +buy for cheap.  The cost reduction also minimizes the chance of unlucky turns where you get your +buy but don't have enough money in hand to buy two Fool's Gold (a problem with some of the weaker +buy cards), and gives you a decent shot at double Province or Province/Duchy turns late game (FG/FG/FG/C/Bridge is P/D, FG/FG/FG/FG/Bridge is P/P).  Buying an opening Bridge bumps up the margin against BMU to 88%-9%, and beats straight Fool's Gold 67%-27%. Also beats the optimized Bridge bot 83%-13%.

Envoy:  It's good for BMU, and it's good for Fool's Gold.  It beats BMU 76%-18%, straight Fool's Gold 50%-4-%, and the optimized Envoy bot 51%-41%.

Smithy:  No surprises here.  Beats BMU 78%-18%, Fool's Gold 55%-36%, and the optimized Smithy bot 53%-38%.

Thief:  An interesting case, and one of the few types of games in which the card is actually useful.  In a mirror match-up, Thief acts as +buy, letting you pick up extra copies of Fool's Gold, while killing your opponent's copies (of course, you still run the risk of getting unlucky and just trashing his Copper for him).  With a single Thief as an opener, it beats straight Fool's Gold 63%-30%, but it's worse against BMU than straight Fool's Gold is (though it still wins 64%-29%).

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What doesn't Fool's Gold like?

As good a card as Fool's Gold is, there's a number of things that don't go along with it very well.  Some of them are expected, but some are surprising (at least to me).  Here are a few of them:

Cursing attacks:  Just like having less crap in your deck makes you more likely to draw your Fool's Golds together, having more crap makes you less likely to do so.  Thus, if you're going to be eating a lot of Curses, you should probably stick to Gold and Silver which at least retain their value in crappy hands, rather than turning into so much Copper.  Mountebank is the worst of the lot, of course, since it gives you two cards that aren't Fool's Gold every time you get hit.  When Cursers are on the board, I'd probably just avoid Fool's Gold altogether.

Fast megaturns:  Fool's Gold strategies can be pretty fast...but not necessarily the fastest thing on the board.  If you think your opponent can probably pull off some kind of KC/Bridge monstrosity on turn 12, you should probably try and contest him on those grounds, rather than plodding along with your Fool's Gold strategy.

Chapel:  Despite my assertion above that Fool's Gold loves trashing, it turns out not to get along with the king of trashers, Chapel.  Straight Fool's Gold beats Chapel/Fool's Gold 59%-38%.  Without any +buy to make up the turn you lose buying Chapel, you're probably only going to end up with 4 Fool's Gold in your deck when they run out, and with no copper to back them up, that's not going to stand up to any greening whatsoever.  It may be viable to work Chapel into a Fool's Gold strategy that also gets some +cards from somewhere, but I suspect that's going to be too slow and lose the Fool's Gold race.

Moneylender, Steward:  Good as these cards are, they both fall prey to the same problem as Chapel.  If you waste a turn buying them, you lose the Fool's Gold race, and the deck thinning and +$ they provide isn't enough to make up the difference.

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Other stuff

Should I buy Gold and Silver after the Fool's Gold runs out?

In a word, yes.  It's not going to matter against a player who's not going Fool's Gold (by the time they run out, you're going to be buying Provinces and Duchies anyway), but in a mirror match-up, a player who buys Gold and Silver after the Fool's Gold runs out beats one who doesn't 85%-10%.  Just do it.

When should I trash my Fool's Gold to top-deck a Gold?

I have no idea.  Geronimoo's simulator doesn't have a way of controlling the bot's behavior for this, and I don't know my way around rspeer's well enough to answer this question with it.  However, there are a couple things I think are probably important when deciding whether or not to trash:
  • Can you already buy a Province?  If so, don't trash.
  • How did the Fool's Gold split go?  The better it went for you (the more Fool's Golds you got), the less you should be inclined to trash.
  • Do you have more than one Fool's Gold in hand right now?  If so, probably don't trash.
  • Given what you know about what's left in your deck, are top-decked Golds likely to let you buy a Province next turn?  If yes, might be a good idea to trash.
  • Is the game far enough from over that a VP card next turn is as good as one this turn, or are you really down to the wire?  If the former, you might consider trashing; if the latter, probably best to just buy buy buy.
Should I try and incorporate Fool's Gold into engines?

This is a tricky question, and in my experience, the answer is generally "no."  It's easy to see why you would want to:  Fool's Gold rewards big hands with lots of buys, and the best way to get that is a big, fancy engine.  The problem is, fancy engines take time to set up, and Fool's Gold is always a limited resource.  So, if you try to get your engine set up first, your opponent has time to buy up all the Fool's Gold, making your ability to draw your whole deck useless.  On the other hand, if you buy up the Fool's Gold first, you've probably spent enough turns on that race that it's too late to start building an engine; your opponent already has enough Fool's Golds to be buying Provinces.

There may well be some exceptions to this, but in my experience, Fool's Gold and engines don't mix especially well.

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Works with:
  • +Buy
  • Trashing (if it gives +buy)
  • +Cards
  • Thief
Doesn't work with:
  • Cursing attacks
  • Trashing (if it doesn't give +buy)
  • Fancy engines
« Last Edit: April 05, 2012, 03:14:23 am by A_S00 »
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ftl

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Re: Hinterlands: Fool's Gold
« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2012, 03:09:12 am »
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I believe it works noticeably worse in Colony games. I've let FGs go uncontested in colony games and come out clearly ahead, because you need FOUR FG in hand to buy a colony, and that's not trivial; better to spend those buys on engine components, because BMU+FG isn't so good when colonized.

Question - is Chapel/FG a bad idea even when you do trashing in a more FG-centered way? Like, in a hand of Chapel, X, X, Copper, Copper, trash only two cards and buy a FG rather than trashing four cards? How does the simulator do it? Also, that might depend on properly trashing the FG for gold later once they're not colliding because of provinces instead of because of coppers.

...why did you put "Chancellor" in the same sentence as "Moneylender"? ...oh, I believe you actually meant Steward, right?
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A_S00

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Re: Hinterlands: Fool's Gold
« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2012, 03:15:13 am »
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Totally did mean Steward, oops.  And I meant to include a section on Colony games, but then I forgot.  Tomorrow's project.

I'll do some more playing with Chapel to see how exactly it ends up working.
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Davio

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Re: Hinterlands: Fool's Gold
« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2012, 03:35:25 am »
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I believe it works noticeably worse in Colony games. I've let FGs go uncontested in colony games and come out clearly ahead, because you need FOUR FG in hand to buy a colony, and that's not trivial; better to spend those buys on engine components, because BMU+FG isn't so good when colonized.

Question - is Chapel/FG a bad idea even when you do trashing in a more FG-centered way? Like, in a hand of Chapel, X, X, Copper, Copper, trash only two cards and buy a FG rather than trashing four cards? How does the simulator do it? Also, that might depend on properly trashing the FG for gold later once they're not colliding because of provinces instead of because of coppers.

...why did you put "Chancellor" in the same sentence as "Moneylender"? ...oh, I believe you actually meant Steward, right?
What I like to do in Colony games instead of going pure FG is use FG to get an early Platinum.

I would like an addendum on Colony games how FG can propel you into Platinum territory or something else about Colony games.
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PerdHapley

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Re: Hinterlands: Fool's Gold
« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2012, 04:49:50 am »
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Nice job, this card is very powerful and long overdue for the article treatment. I am not great with it, but I do think there are a bunch of enablers you might have missed. It seems to me that many games where Fool's Gold is important you want to just go ahead and open with two of them, because any alternate opener you choose instead has to compensate for the potentially-enabled FG you're delaying. In a FG-centered Province game I would at least consider buying the following cards in the first two turns:

Talisman - If you can safely predict it will appear in your hand more than one time before the FG pile runs out, go for it. Probably better if you draw 3 / 4, ideally as second player, since your opponent ignoring FG makes this one automatic.
Wharf - The most obvious one. I will pick this open almost every single time. Maybe not if Witch or Mountebank are around, but if they are I'm probably not trying to build a Fool's Gold deck at all.
Mine - Same rules as Talisman and Horn of Plenty - bound to, at the very least, make up for the FG you didn't buy in it's place, but has the potential to both split the pile in your favor and / or basically be a dead card in your deck once FG is gone.
Horn of Plenty - I feel pretty confident putting this one here, more so than Talisman or Mine. Horn will always be able to pick up a FG in the early game, will maybe sit around dead in the mid-game, and can swing an otherwise mirror match (aka a lot of FG games, it seems like) even if it only ends up getting trashed for an Estate.
Smugglers - Self-explanatory why this could be successful, especially as Player 2.
Nomad Camp - Especially on turn one, this one seems automatic to me as well.

I just looked quickly at that best/worst openings list, and was surprised by some of it, but especially by how low a dual Fool's Gold opening placed on it. Still in the positive numbers, but well below where I would've thought. I'm a little leary of those kind of lists anyway, but is there a specific reason why opening with two of them might be a bad idea if there is no better option?
« Last Edit: April 05, 2012, 04:53:37 am by PerdHapley »
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kn1tt3r

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Re: Hinterlands: Fool's Gold
« Reply #5 on: April 05, 2012, 05:21:19 am »
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Nice article, but have I missed Remodel somewhere?
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Re: Hinterlands: Fool's Gold
« Reply #6 on: April 05, 2012, 05:55:05 am »
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Quote
How did the Fool's Gold split go?  The better it went for you (the more Fool's Golds you got), the less you should be inclined to trash.

I don't think this is right. It probably feels so because in those situations you are winning anyway; and if you are obviously losing trashing for a gold will not help you much either.

To see this, notice that trashing a single Fool's gold translates into +2 when you draw it without other FGs and -1 in other cases. If we think about the amount it reached, it becomes 3, 4, and 8 instead of 1,5,9. 3 is much better than 1 consider you just need 2 coppers out of the 4 remaining cards to make a Duchy. 4 and 5 are not so different for Duchy purposes since you still have 3 card slots and are both a stretch to reach Province in a FG-heavy deck anyway. 8 and 9 is the same without Colony. Therefore trash a single FG into gold seems always to be a good idea, providing that you don't need it this turn.

When you trash more than one the only difference is when you draw the transformed golds together, and it's +1 without other cards while -2 with other FGs. The numbers become 6, 7, 11 as compared to 5,9, 13. And you can start to see things get worse here, especially the 7 from 3 treasures is dreadful. However, it only matters when you have a "collision" of the transformed golds with one of your remaining FG's. How high is that chance? I don't think it is that high.

To conclude, I think the more intuitive way to say things is that if we disregard the prices, Gold is still mostly a better card than the Fool's gold, even if you have a massive number of FGs. The advantage of FG is mainly that they are just so cheap. You should therefore make FG real golds given the chance.

Quote
Should I try and incorporate Fool's Gold into engines?

This is a tricky question, and in my experience, the answer is generally "no."  It's easy to see why you would want to:  Fool's Gold rewards big hands with lots of buys, and the best way to get that is a big, fancy engine.  The problem is, fancy engines take time to set up, and Fool's Gold is always a limited resource.  So, if you try to get your engine set up first, your opponent has time to buy up all the Fool's Gold, making your ability to draw your whole deck useless.  On the other hand, if you buy up the Fool's Gold first, you've probably spent enough turns on that race that it's too late to start building an engine; your opponent already has enough Fool's Golds to be buying Provinces.

There may well be some exceptions to this, but in my experience, Fool's Gold and engines don't mix especially well.

I definitely agree. But I think the major reason behind this is that the capability of a draw engine is actually quite limited. even in a village/wharf engine one rarely get more than a couple golds and silvers if there are only light trashing. FGs are a serious burden to the engine, especially if you want to mass or at least contest them.
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jomini

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Re: Hinterlands: Fool's Gold
« Reply #7 on: April 05, 2012, 08:27:16 am »
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A couple of quick points:
1. I've had good success with apprentice and FG. If you have a +buy, you can often come out ahead by trashing a province with high enough money. For instance, 5 FG is 17 coin. Burning a province or a gold with apprentice can often put you into double province territory, or into something really nice like gold + province + duchy. You can pile out quite quickly here. This also can work with card gainers; mint being a prime example. Also, if you have a big, mostly dead card like Mint (you aren't minting golds), Mine, or HoP apprentice can turn it into a double province turn or a province turn when green clogging gets bad. Also, late game you may know that one of your apprentices is due to come up next hand and you can get the gold from your FG selectively to get a 10 card hand and be sure to hit a final province when your alignment odds are otherwise crap.
2. Governor is also a strong match up with FG. It allows you to turn coppers into FG, so you don't lose a buy from it. Later, it allows you go FG -> gold in hopes of matching the gold up with a governor for a gold -> province remodel. Like apprentice, because governor is a +action +cards candidate, you can also use a good terminal for +buy or other effect. Governor is one of the engines that doesn't slow down FG. The downside, of course is that you help your opponent. However, with FG game rules get weird. Trashing a copper (or upgrading an estate to a silver) just isn't anywhere near as good as copper -> FG. Gaining a gold is quite strong if you've already gotten your province; gaining a silver is extremely weak and may even count as an attack. If you have a +buy, governor engines are one of the better options for engine building - you can safely open governor on 5, you can turn estates into engine components (e.g. smithies and worker's villages off your own governor and village/menage/shanty off your opponent's), and as a non-terminal you can self chain.
3. A very, very nasty attack with FG out is any discard to 3 followed by masquerade. This forces the player to gimp a province hand (3 FG) or forever lose a FG (and still miss the province). Yes you need a village to make this work, but there is a place for a few villages here - Worker's village or hamlet can both provide +buy that can be crucial.
4. Venture works quite well with FG. I'd buy it over gold, particularly if I have mostly dead actions hanging around.
5. Pawn can be a surprisingly good opening with FG. You only need to hit +buy +1 coin (card) and make 4 once to make up for the lost buy and as a non-terminal + buy you can set up some very nice hands (like pawn/smithy).


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DG

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Re: Hinterlands: Fool's Gold
« Reply #8 on: April 05, 2012, 08:32:27 am »
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A while back I ran a 'pairs' simulation tournament and wharf+fool's gold was one of the best two card combinations, on a par with ironworks+silk roads. This a power combination can take on most engine decks.

Nomad Camp + fool's gold is another strong combination starting with a 4 coin hand.

The margrave can be a good fool's gold partner since you have an extra buy to collect and spend the fool's gold, you get big draws, and an opponent's margrave doesn't hurt much when you're happy to keep your best three cards from six.

Farmland and Remodel are worth mentioning as they allow you to trash rubbish for fool's gold. They can even see you through light cursing.

You probably don't want to buy silver if your deck is full of fool's gold, maybe eight or so of them. Colony games are worth mentioning since fool's gold can still quite strong but then you do want to use your fool's gold to buy platinum.
« Last Edit: April 05, 2012, 11:03:28 am by DG »
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TheMathProf

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Re: Hinterlands: Fool's Gold
« Reply #9 on: April 05, 2012, 09:20:09 am »
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Sifters, such as Warehouse, also work pretty nicely with Fool's Gold, and also tend to minimize the impact of greening.
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Deadlock39

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Re: Hinterlands: Fool's Gold
« Reply #10 on: April 05, 2012, 09:40:03 am »
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With regard to Chapel/Moneylender/Steward, it might be worth mentioning that you can still pull off a 5/5 split with these if you are in first position, so they are much stronger there.  Also, they are probably an improvement if you happen to be playing Fool's Gold uncontested.

Here is an uncontested Chapel example:
http://councilroom.com/game?game_id=game-20120404-182610-6faf2d48.html

I feel like the Chapel helped out here.  I ended up with 5 Provinces and a Duchy in 14 turns.

jonts26

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Re: Hinterlands: Fool's Gold
« Reply #11 on: April 05, 2012, 11:26:05 am »
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I think the trick with FG in engines is that you don't actually need that many. Consider a wharf/border village engine where you are able to draw your deck every turn. Likely to be faster than straight Wharf/FG you'll need to be double provincing pretty soon. But with 7 starting coppers you only need 3 FG to hit $16. And those 3 FG are much easier to get than $9 out of other treasures.

Obviously this is a pretty contrived example, but the point remains. You get two benefits from adding a couple FG to a very strong drawing engine. 1) They will act like very cheap Golds (you can pick them up with spare $2 buys. 2) You deprive a FG - big money player a few of his cards.

Now I'm not saying FG are great to add to all sorts of engines, because of many of the reasons stated in the article. But there are engines which incorporate them well.
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rotundo

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Re: Hinterlands: Fool's Gold
« Reply #12 on: April 05, 2012, 01:27:40 pm »
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I've had good luck with Adventurers in FG decks, believe it or not, once you've got rid of all your other treasure anyway. The standard (and correct) knock on Adventurer is that there are few if any situations where you would prefer Adventurer to Gold. But in a good FG deck, that simply isn't true. Gold gets in the way, whereas Adventurer finding two FGs returns $5 or $8, depending on whether you already have a FG in hand. The real trick to making it work is to have NO treasure in your deck except FGs... sometimes easier said than done.
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Re: Hinterlands: Fool's Gold
« Reply #13 on: April 05, 2012, 08:54:47 pm »
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Shoulda put Nomad Camp in there. When you can get 2 FG in BEFORE your first shuffle, it's even better.
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Re: Hinterlands: Fool's Gold
« Reply #14 on: April 06, 2012, 09:57:31 am »
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Could use some advice in article about how to actual play it?

Obviously get enough for province, buy province.

But what happens if you get lesser amounts?
And obviously you want as many as possible, but only costing 2 make some tough decisions on hands where you have 4,5 or 6 and no plus buy. Especially if opponents are going for them as well.
Do you go for gold on 6? Lose the extra and buy another FG.
(Assuming you have your support cards already)
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Re: Hinterlands: Fool's Gold
« Reply #15 on: April 06, 2012, 10:19:33 am »
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As long as there are Fool's Golds left in the supply, you should prefer them to silver or gold (but not platinum). You may want to pick up other cards if you think it's important (early wharf or something). If the FG are contested, it only take 4-6 turns to drain the pile so you don't have time to be thinking about other things. Once the pile is gone, what you do depends largely on what other kingdom cards there are, but you want to prefer Province to all else, then Golds/strong support cards like wharves or something.

As for strategies when you win or lose the FG split. Well winning the split gives you a huge advantage. So press it by getting more provinces quickly. Wait longer to trash FG for Gold. When you lose the split, you need to get more income from somewhere so get some Golds and silvers soon. Be quicker to trash FG for provinces since they become much less likely to hit as time goes on.
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Re: Hinterlands: Fool's Gold
« Reply #16 on: April 06, 2012, 11:54:24 am »
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I think it's likely worth talking about how to counter a fg strategy.

The obvious answer is to load up you opponent with curses. Discard+masqurade was mentioned. A really fast engine also works (bridge+kc).

Are there other ways to disrupt it?

I've won a few games by ignoring fg and building an engine that has a few +buys. Then I pick up ~4 fgs just to deprive my opponent (I can usually get away with four because he thinks I'm not contesting and takes the time to pick up facilitators).

It could be I only win these games due to luck or just lower skill from my opponent in other areas and I would get killed by a better player.

Any thoughts on how to counter a fg rush if you would rather not participate for some reason?

Ed
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Varsinor

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Re: Hinterlands: Fool's Gold
« Reply #17 on: April 06, 2012, 05:44:06 pm »
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Interesting article, thanks for writing it!

In fact, Fool's Gold is one of the few remaining cards with which there are frequently setups in which I feel uncomfortable because I don't really know if I should go for the card (FG) or not.

One thing that I would like to add is that I think that the usually-not-very-attractive Saboteur should get a spot on the "Doesn't work with"-list.

If you buy as many FGs as you can get and start greening afterwards, you usually don't have many cards that stand between your opponent's Saboteurs and your Provinces.
I remember one game where my opponent went all-out for the FGs (I didn't buy any), but once he bought his first Province, it was very easy for me to add a Saboteur or two to my deck and consistently hit his Provinces with it, easily winning.
That may not work in every case (especially not if you have a fat deck without much cycling so that it takes a long time before you can play a Saboteur after buying it), but I think the danger from Saboteurs is definitely something to carefully watch out for when you play a Fool's Gold deck.
« Last Edit: April 06, 2012, 06:07:21 pm by Varsinor »
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chwhite

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Re: Hinterlands: Fool's Gold
« Reply #18 on: April 06, 2012, 07:09:25 pm »
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I think it's likely worth talking about how to counter a fg strategy.

The obvious answer is to load up you opponent with curses. Discard+masqurade was mentioned. A really fast engine also works (bridge+kc).

Are there other ways to disrupt it?

I've won a few games by ignoring fg and building an engine that has a few +buys. Then I pick up ~4 fgs just to deprive my opponent (I can usually get away with four because he thinks I'm not contesting and takes the time to pick up facilitators).

It could be I only win these games due to luck or just lower skill from my opponent in other areas and I would get killed by a better player.

Any thoughts on how to counter a fg rush if you would rather not participate for some reason?

Ed

In addition to the curse attacks, Swindler can really disrupt FG- turning them into Estates really really hurts.  There are a number of other "spam one card over and over" strategies which can disrupt or even outrace Fool's Gold: Hunting Party and Minion come to mind. 

Alterna-VP rushes can often take precedence, like they so often do.  Silk Roads, Gardens, and Vineyards games don't really want to bother with FG.  I suspect Silver might even be better than FG for Duke games, due to the high probability they'll show up singly in the long greening stage.

As mentioned in the article, powerful fancy engines in general can beat FG, and I take the fancy engine route whenever it's feasible.  Here's a recent example of mine which wasn't necessarily fast but was basically immune to stalling and able to shrug off a very unfavorable Province split: http://councilroom.com/game?game_id=game-20120405-170908-9c236d99.html
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To discard or not to discard?  That is the question.

DG

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Re: Hinterlands: Fool's Gold
« Reply #19 on: April 06, 2012, 07:31:31 pm »
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Some small hand attacks can work against fool's gold, such as minion. Bureaucrat, rabble, and fortune teller can put junk cards on top of the deck and sometimes reduce the effective hand size.  Spies could do the same but it seems a bit weak. This isn't too different to attacking basic treasure.

An early embargo hits fool's gold immediately. Possession has some strange effects. Alternative vp and colonies can defeat fool's gold especially if you deny the fool's gold player the chance to trash them for gold. Ambassadors, governors, etc can feed poor/mediocre cards into a deck and weaken the fool's gold density.
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HiveMindEmulator

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Re: Hinterlands: Fool's Gold
« Reply #20 on: April 09, 2012, 07:37:07 pm »
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I think it's good that you mention the 3 things that FG "likes", but you probably want to take it a step further, and suggest that there are 3 different ways to structure a deck with Fool's Gold.
1. Decks where you use +buy or gain to get a lot of FGs really fast (which really only works in 2-player, since you need to have 5+ to really get a good enough density).
2. Big Money decks with +cards, where you only need maybe 3 of them, and just take advantage of the fact that with large hands you will draw 2 of them +$3 from other sources often enough.
3. Decks where you trash down to get a really high FG density even with 5 or fewer FGs.

Decks of type 3 are pretty questionable. I think it was discussed in this thread that chapel+FG is probably not really a great combo if your opponent is aware, but steward shows at least some promise.
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Quadell

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Re: Hinterlands: Fool's Gold
« Reply #21 on: April 09, 2012, 08:00:29 pm »
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Thanks for the article! I've been running a lot of simulations with Fool's Gold, since it's fairly easy to construct simple algorithms with FG that have a pretty high success rate. As you said above, I was surprised to learn that FG works poorly with Chapel and Moneylender, and was utterly unsurprised to find it works well with things like Smithy and Wharf. A few surprises I found:
  • The best FG-only strategy I found buys Provinces whenever possible, Golds if you have $6+ and a single buy, and FG otherwise (until the end, when it's time to buy Duchies). I call it "Fool Money", as opposed to "Big Money", and it's really not bad. (It beats Big Money 66% of the time.)
  • I was stunned to find that Fool's Gold works even better in games with Platinums and Colonies (at least against Big Money).
  • Fool's Gold redeems Woodcutter. When you're buying Fool's Gold, Woodcutter is suddenly a good card, and Nomad Camp is even better. (You only want one.)
  • Bridge is good, but the killer combo is with Goons. A simple Fool's-Gold-and-Goons strategy beats Double Jack.
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HiveMindEmulator

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Re: Hinterlands: Fool's Gold
« Reply #22 on: April 09, 2012, 08:14:41 pm »
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    but the killer combo is with Goons. A simple Fool's-Gold-and-Goons strategy beats Double Jack.[/li][/list]

    I don't know what your bots look like, but I think even Woodcutter+FG beats Double Jack:
    Code: [Select]
    <player name="Fool's Gold + WC"
     author="HiveMindEmulator"
     description="One Woodcutter, then FG's, starting on Provinces when you have 5+ FGs. Not optimized.">
     <type name="Generated"/>
     <type name="SingleCard"/>
     <type name="Province"/>
     <type name="UserCreated"/>
     <type name="BigMoney"/>
     <type name="TwoPlayer"/>
     <type name="Bot"/>
       <buy name="Woodcutter">
          <condition>
             <left type="countCardsInDeck" attribute="Woodcutter"/>
             <operator type="equalTo" />
             <right type="constant" attribute="0.0"/>
          </condition>
       </buy>
       <buy name="Fool$s_Gold">
          <condition>
             <left type="countCardsInDeck" attribute="Fool$s_Gold"/>
             <operator type="smallerOrEqualThan" />
             <right type="constant" attribute="5.0"/>
          </condition>
       </buy>
       <buy name="Province"/>
       <buy name="Duchy">
          <condition>
             <left type="countCardsInSupply" attribute="Province"/>
             <operator type="smallerOrEqualThan" />
             <right type="constant" attribute="4.0"/>
          </condition>
       </buy>
       <buy name="Estate">
          <condition>
             <left type="countCardsInSupply" attribute="Province"/>
             <operator type="smallerOrEqualThan" />
             <right type="constant" attribute="2.0"/>
          </condition>
       </buy>
       <buy name="Fool$s_Gold"/>
       <buy name="Gold"/>
       <buy name="Silver"/>
    </player>
    </mandatory Double-Jack-is-not-that-good post>.
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    eHalcyon

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    Re: Hinterlands: Fool's Gold
    « Reply #23 on: April 09, 2012, 10:21:27 pm »
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    One thing that I would like to add is that I think that the usually-not-very-attractive Saboteur should get a spot on the "Doesn't work with"-list.

    If you buy as many FGs as you can get and start greening afterwards, you usually don't have many cards that stand between your opponent's Saboteurs and your Provinces.
    I remember one game where my opponent went all-out for the FGs (I didn't buy any), but once he bought his first Province, it was very easy for me to add a Saboteur or two to my deck and consistently hit his Provinces with it, easily winning.
    That may not work in every case (especially not if you have a fat deck without much cycling so that it takes a long time before you can play a Saboteur after buying it), but I think the danger from Saboteurs is definitely something to carefully watch out for when you play a Fool's Gold deck.

    I'm not sure, but I think Saboteur would only be a good counter to FG in the situations where Saboteur would be good anyway, e.g. you have a way to consistently play it often.  You would need a way to green yourself while destroying the FG player's provinces, as the FG player can downgrade the provinces to duchies and otherwise ignore the Saboteurs.
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    Asklepios

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    Re: Hinterlands: Fool's Gold
    « Reply #24 on: April 10, 2012, 05:09:03 am »
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    I don't think its been mentioned so far this thread, apologies if I'm wrong:

    Venture is another nice combo. It might fetch another Fool's Gold into play, and $5 is fairly common with two Fool's Golds. Even so, I'd be hard pressed to consider Venture if we're racing to buy the FGs, and they haven't run out yet.

    As for Chapel, I think it has its place, but its all in the timing. Opening Chapel seems like a bad idea, as you're slowing down your rate of FG acquisition. OTOH, I think that if there's time a late Chapel might be worthwhile to bring your FGs closer together. I might be wrong though.

    As for Colony games, I think a mix of FG and Platinum (which is conveniently attainable with three FGs) works well enough.
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