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Author Topic: Underpowered -> Overpowered -> Just Right  (Read 4188 times)

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Davio

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Underpowered -> Overpowered -> Just Right
« on: April 18, 2012, 10:23:43 am »
+8

It still amazes me how balanced a lot of the Dominion cards are. Sure, there are nasty exceptions, but try designing 150-200 cards that generally go well together at the price levels you've picked.

During my Dominion career, I've gone through the same motion dozens of times.
I would see a new card and think it would be massively underpowered.
After playing with it and the simulators amazing all of us I would generally come to think it's overpowered.
Playing some more with it I would try to transition out of it and use it as a valuable weapon only when the situation is right.

The last part is the most fun. This is where I really start to appreciate Donald's hard work. Generally I go from hating him because the card is bad to hating him because the card is too good, to finally loving him because the card is just right.

My earliest example is Chapel, the most powerful $2 to ever see the light of day. Many new players will have thought: "Why do I even need it when Witch is not on the board?" Then I started to trash everything in sight. When Chapel was on the board, I wouldn't even see the other cards. Just buy it and go from there. Nowadays I don't nearly buy it as often as I used to and I find trying to do it without Chapel an awarding experience.

Lately, it's mostly been Jack and IGG. Okay, these cards didn't impress me much in the Hinterlands preview thread, but we now know how looks can be deceiving. Doing a bit of everything apparently isn't the same as doing a whole lot of nothing. And hammering IGGs like a zombie when your opponent already has one or two Provinces isn't the best idea.

I'm having a lot of fun going through this cycle over and over. Sometimes it's also the other way around. I used to love Merchant Ship, but have somehow forgotten how useful it can be. After watching WW's videos I remembered that they can be very good and are having fun with them again.

I tip my hat to you, Donald, thanks for doing such a great job on all the cards and I'm very curious to see what's still in store for us! I forgive you for introducing Saboteur and Possession, although my family didn't mind destroying my deck with Saboteur. :)

Do you guys have this cycle too? With which cards? Do you enjoy it as much as I do? Tell us!
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DStu

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Re: Underpowered -> Overpowered -> Just Right
« Reply #1 on: April 18, 2012, 10:43:04 am »
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Don't think it's exatly like that, but at least there is that oszillating power level.

I think the cases I like most are the cards that I first value as weak, but which have a really nice little spot where they are really good. Outpost is the first one I can remember there, was on the 2011 weakest $5 list I think and I felt like it belong there, but there are these decks where it is really really strong.
Newest member in the club is Develop, which is 2012s weakest $3 both for theory and on Qvist's list, but I think 3 of my last 4 games with Develop featured Festival/Watchtower, KC/Governor and Border Village/Smithy. Probably the RNG was very generous to me and Develop, but now I really like the power level of Develop. Ignore it 80% of the time, but in these 20% it's really a key stone in your engine. And if it's 10%, it's 10%, I like it better than say Oasis whose power level seems to be more or less a Silver in more or less every situation.

Still unsure I'm with Fool's Gold, I mean you don't want to let your opponent get 10, than Fool'sMoney really stomps you usually, but with just 5 of them I usually starve to death. But either way it seems like pile-diving into this $2 from the beginning will happen way to often than I like it, but as said, I'm not sure on how to play against it yet...
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qmech

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Re: Underpowered -> Overpowered -> Just Right
« Reply #2 on: April 18, 2012, 01:57:39 pm »
+1

I had the same experience with Ambassador.  When Seaside first came out it looked laughably bad.  Then there was the phase of every game with Ambassador turning into Copper/Estate tennis.  It's now usually worthwhile only when you have a reason for wanting a tiny deck: it's a lot like Chapel in both when it's strong and how I've perceived it over time.
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HiveMindEmulator

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Re: Underpowered -> Overpowered -> Just Right
« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2012, 04:30:01 pm »
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I think most people go through this progression with most trashers, or just trashing in general. And the opposite progression (strong->weak->ok) with gainers.
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werothegreat

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Re: Underpowered -> Overpowered -> Just Right
« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2012, 08:25:15 pm »
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I remember when I first realized how good Library is.  At first I was like "but it only draws two cards..."
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Morgrim7

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Re: Underpowered -> Overpowered -> Just Right
« Reply #5 on: April 18, 2012, 09:42:05 pm »
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I remember when I first realized how good Library is.  At first I was like "but it only draws two cards..."
If you play Library at the beginning of your turn, it draws three cards.
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heatthespurs

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Re: Underpowered -> Overpowered -> Just Right
« Reply #6 on: April 18, 2012, 09:53:37 pm »
0

Loan.

It takes me forever to understand how to use this card. I recall reading the Loan article in theory blog but still did not have a clue of how to use this for a long long time.

Then I start to appreciate this card and buy it 90% of the times to trash my copper. Now the overall percentage is 41%, which I think is about right

Underpower --> Overpower --> Just right

P.S. I love the drawing for this card. That evil smile on the face of that "loan" guy...
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philosophyguy

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Re: Underpowered -> Overpowered -> Just Right
« Reply #7 on: April 18, 2012, 10:24:53 pm »
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I think most people go through this progression with most trashers, or just trashing in general. And the opposite progression (strong->weak->ok) with gainers.

So thinking about gainers: besides rush situations like Ironworks/Gardens, what makes a gainer excel? Are they only useful if you're trying to build an engine and they can give you cheap engine parts, or are they useful in Big Money-based games as well? How do you balance the benefit of a gainer against another card (like Silver or Swindler) as your opening buy?
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eHalcyon

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Re: Underpowered -> Overpowered -> Just Right
« Reply #8 on: April 18, 2012, 11:07:36 pm »
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I think most people go through this progression with most trashers, or just trashing in general. And the opposite progression (strong->weak->ok) with gainers.

So thinking about gainers: besides rush situations like Ironworks/Gardens, what makes a gainer excel? Are they only useful if you're trying to build an engine and they can give you cheap engine parts, or are they useful in Big Money-based games as well? How do you balance the benefit of a gainer against another card (like Silver or Swindler) as your opening buy?

University is notable in that it gains a $5 action.  It's great for setting up engines.  Other cost-based gainers (e.g. Ironworks, Workshop, Talisman) have fun interactions with cost-reducers (e.g. Highway, Quarry).

As far as working with opening buys, the cheap gainers could also be fantastic with other alt-VP cards like Vineyard and maybe Silk Road.
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HiveMindEmulator

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Re: Underpowered -> Overpowered -> Just Right
« Reply #9 on: April 19, 2012, 01:08:11 am »
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I think most people go through this progression with most trashers, or just trashing in general. And the opposite progression (strong->weak->ok) with gainers.

So thinking about gainers: besides rush situations like Ironworks/Gardens, what makes a gainer excel? Are they only useful if you're trying to build an engine and they can give you cheap engine parts, or are they useful in Big Money-based games as well? How do you balance the benefit of a gainer against another card (like Silver or Swindler) as your opening buy?

I think gainers are good when you need a lot of cheap engine parts and you don't mind being a bit behind on the $5+ cards. They're generally not good for money-focused strategies, because they're a little slow when not incorporated into an engine. If you're bloating your deck with treasure and not doing any trashing/cycling, you don't get in enough plays to make up for delaying your early economy. I guess the only "gainers" that are good for money strats are the ones that strictly gain money (Jack , Trader, Hoard...) if you want to call those "gainers".
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CaptainNevada

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Re: Underpowered -> Overpowered -> Just Right
« Reply #10 on: April 19, 2012, 01:49:42 am »
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I found the trick with Develop is that it does a terrible job of getting rid of coppers and curses.  It works far better when used on an expensive card later in the game.  I didn't like the card until I had an opponent turn Ill Gotten Gains into Gold and a decent $4.  I lost - but I learned.



Don't think it's exatly like that, but at least there is that oszillating power level.

I think the cases I like most are the cards that I first value as weak, but which have a really nice little spot where they are really good. Outpost is the first one I can remember there, was on the 2011 weakest $5 list I think and I felt like it belong there, but there are these decks where it is really really strong.
Newest member in the club is Develop, which is 2012s weakest $3 both for theory and on Qvist's list, but I think 3 of my last 4 games with Develop featured Festival/Watchtower, KC/Governor and Border Village/Smithy. Probably the RNG was very generous to me and Develop, but now I really like the power level of Develop. Ignore it 80% of the time, but in these 20% it's really a key stone in your engine. And if it's 10%, it's 10%, I like it better than say Oasis whose power level seems to be more or less a Silver in more or less every situation.

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Asklepios

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Re: Underpowered -> Overpowered -> Just Right
« Reply #11 on: April 23, 2012, 04:47:40 am »
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It took me a while to understand Gardens. When a friend of mine first played it, we were both at the Village Idiot stage, and it seemed an awesome card, as by the time we were buying Provinces we had enormous decks anyway.

Then we learnt how to get to Provinces quickly decided it was underpowered, as it was never worth many points by game end.

Then I learnt how to end the game on a three pile, and to control the speed of the game, and suddenly I realised this card was just right.
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Asklepios

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Re: Underpowered -> Overpowered -> Just Right
« Reply #12 on: April 23, 2012, 04:48:53 am »
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I found the trick with Develop is that it does a terrible job of getting rid of coppers and curses.  It works far better when used on an expensive card later in the game.  I didn't like the card until I had an opponent turn Ill Gotten Gains into Gold and a decent $4.  I lost - but I learned.

The other important aspect is that it top decks the two cards, which can be very useful, say if you turn a $4 into a develop and a $5, then you know next turn thats going to be a gold and a $4...

Also, Develop adds absolute $value to your deck (one $3 card becoems $6 of cards), which is great for other Trash-for-Benefit cards, like Bishop or Apprentice.
« Last Edit: April 23, 2012, 04:59:18 am by Asklepios »
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