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Author Topic: allfail's solo challenge: I like VPs!  (Read 6741 times)

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timchen

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allfail's solo challenge: I like VPs!
« on: April 21, 2012, 03:15:55 pm »
+1

I actually have PMed this idea to Ozle when he is the only one doing solo challenges; now that more people are doing it I guess I'll just post it myself.

Victory points win you games! Usually the more the better, but in the thermodynamic limit, isn't density something more important?

challenge: end the game (not by resigning) with your deck consists entirely of VP cards. Dual types are fine as long as one of the types is victory; but as per rule, cards on the island or native village mat are counted as in your deck when the game ends (so that putting non-victory cards on the mat is not going to work.) Please design the kingdom as you please, but no Bishops, Monuments, or Goons.

EDIT: as Mazwa suggests, it seems VP/2 is a bit too kind for strategies that just gather points and pay no attention to trying to end the game as early as possible. I will modify as he suggests to VP/10. You are welcome to submit another solution if you feel like you have better ways to optimize against the new criteria.

ranking criteria: (the number of turns - total VP/10, round down), the fewer the better; if there is a tie, the solution with more total VP wins.

deadline: 4/28 3:00 PM EST

Please PM me your solution; one entry per person.

To spice things up, I am going to offer prizes! 
First place: 5 BBO$
Second place: 3 BBO$
Third place: 1 BBO$

BBO$ can be used on Bridge Base Online for bridge players. Unfortunately I only have spare BBO$ so if it is of no use to you, the only thing I can offer is honor. If you are interested in the prizes please let me know your BBO user name in the PM. I'll give the prize to the top three entries that are interested.

« Last Edit: April 23, 2012, 11:18:17 pm by timchen »
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qmech

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Re: allfail's solo challenge: I like VPs!
« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2012, 04:04:51 pm »
0

Are you only counting points from Victory cards?
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timchen

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Re: allfail's solo challenge: I like VPs!
« Reply #2 on: April 21, 2012, 04:11:47 pm »
0

Ah. Good point. Thanks for pointing out this possibility!

Cards involving VP tokens are not allowed. So no bishop, monument, or goons please.
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blueblimp

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Re: allfail's solo challenge: I like VPs!
« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2012, 04:13:56 pm »
0

The ranking criterion is allowed to be negative, right?
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timchen

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Re: allfail's solo challenge: I like VPs!
« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2012, 04:19:36 pm »
0

Yes.
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Avin

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Re: allfail's solo challenge: I like VPs!
« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2012, 11:01:53 pm »
0

Just curious, is it actually even possible to do this without Farmlands?
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timchen

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Re: allfail's solo challenge: I like VPs!
« Reply #6 on: April 21, 2012, 11:03:17 pm »
0

I don't think so.
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Kirian

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Re: allfail's solo challenge: I like VPs!
« Reply #7 on: April 22, 2012, 04:44:11 pm »
+2

I read the title and now have Monty Python's "I Like Chinese" stuck in my head.
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timchen

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Re: allfail's solo challenge: I like VPs!
« Reply #8 on: April 23, 2012, 03:35:19 pm »
0

No entries by far... is the criterion too painful to work with? Or maybe I shouldn't offer the prizes :P
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Mazwa

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Re: allfail's solo challenge: I like VPs!
« Reply #9 on: April 23, 2012, 10:53:10 pm »
+1

I enjoyed it.  Just submitted my entry.
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timchen

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Re: allfail's solo challenge: I like VPs!
« Reply #10 on: April 23, 2012, 11:19:01 pm »
0

The criteria is updated as Mazwa suggested. Earlier submissions can be updated if desired.
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qmech

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Re: allfail's solo challenge: I like VPs!
« Reply #11 on: April 24, 2012, 04:33:04 am »
0

No entries by far... is the criterion too painful to work with? Or maybe I shouldn't offer the prizes :P

I think it's a fascinating challenge, and will submit something before the deadline.

The VP/10 change does make a huge difference.
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Ozle

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Re: allfail's solo challenge: I like VPs!
« Reply #12 on: April 24, 2012, 08:02:20 am »
+1

I really liked this idea, but one of the reasons I didn't use this is I couldnt get it to work reliably and I couldn't decide on the kingdom cards (It started off with Gardens which gave such a headache!)

I looked at dividing the number of victory points by X, but couldnt see how it would make a difference over all. I think I was going to do turns/VP in the end, but no need now! Good luck!
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timchen

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Re: allfail's solo challenge: I like VPs!
« Reply #13 on: April 27, 2012, 07:13:59 pm »
0

20 hours to go! I haven't yet received any entry who is interested in the prizes... Maybe bridge and dominion are largely mutual exclusive?
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jonts26

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Re: allfail's solo challenge: I like VPs!
« Reply #14 on: April 28, 2012, 02:06:12 am »
0

I certainly do love bridge but I don't really play that competitively and I've never used Bridge Base.
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timchen

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Re: allfail's solo challenge: I like VPs!
« Reply #15 on: April 28, 2012, 02:58:57 am »
0

Bridge base is free to play and to watch others play. It maybe is "the official"  online bridge platform, as major international tournaments (the three NABCs, Bermuda, and so on) throughout the world have live broadcast there. Some famous players (Zia, Hammen, etc) also play there.

BBO$ is not required at all. With BBO$, however, you can either rent robots to play with you in case you don't want to play with random people online, or you can enter some tournaments to get master points/more BBO$. If you use the old windows program there are online (educational) content that can also be bought using BBO$.

If you has submitted an entry, you can still PM me your BBO account (just open one if you play bridge in case you may be interested later) and I'll give the prize to the best 3 entries with BBO accounts. Deadline is the same as the challenge deadline.
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timchen

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Re: allfail's solo challenge: I like VPs!
« Reply #16 on: April 28, 2012, 03:56:16 pm »
+2

Here comes the results!

It turned out to be a challenge more interesting than I have expected. The competitive entries took advantage of all 10 kingdom cards (and still felt not enough)!

Hks submitted the first entry. He took a straight forward approach, get rid of the Non-VP cards first, use harems as the only resource and try to end the game. The game ended in 22 turns with 36 points, and a score of +18.4.

Fate and Kirian both realized that Silk Road is the big VP here. Kirian went for Nobles to draw to facilitate the trashing afterwards. He finished in 24 turns with 112 points, scoring +12.8. Fate used KC-Scheme-bridge to score big then hide those VPs on the island to avoid stalling in the trashing stage. He finished in 22 turns with 127 points, scoring +9.3.

Combining their approaches,  O uses an additional Contraband to finish in 20 turns with 199 points. The score is +0.1. He could have scored well into the negatives if he remembered to use Colonies, though.

As an aside, myself took an entirely different approach. I tried to end the game as soon as possible with some points from island, silk road and great hall. Mining Villages are used to buy the last Farmland as well as to provide +actions midway. I finished in 15 turns with 76 points, and a score of +7.4.

Now, the third place:
Mazwa did not use scheme or bridge. Instead he took quarries and Grand Markets but used them pretty efficiently. He finished in 24 turns with 282 points. The score is -4.2. (I imagine O's strategy can score similarly had he included the Colonies.)

The second place goes to jonts26. The overall strategy is similar, but instead of using Scheme to improve on KC-Bridge, he went for something I don't quite understand: Ironworks+Farming Village. Somehow this makes his strategy that much faster, and he finished in a lightening fast 18 turns with 266 points. Maybe the key is not to get too many Harems? The score is a formidable -8.6.

And finally, our champion: qmech.

Congratulations!

He realized that to accumulate more points, the Island is becoming the bottleneck. The draw of Nobles is pretty lackluster with themselves  and would have been too weak to clear out the remaining actions in the deck, if one went for more VP cards. Incidentally both cards also only give 2 points each.

He replaced the Island with the Native Village, which can store an unlimited number of cards. The problem is that you cannot control what you put on the NV mat. The solution? Workshop! (Can you find another instance where Workshop is more useful than Ironworks, disregarding the cost?) He used highways both to lower the cost and to draw the deck, combining with KC. With unlimited space, he squeezed Gardens and Dukes into the kingdom and almost got them all. In the end he finished in 30 turns, with 406 points, and a score of -10.6.

The only downside of his strategy is that if he draws the workshops and native villages too early, that turn is just lost. Had he tried for better luck he could have finished with the same points in 24 turns!

Thanks everyone for playing, and hope you have enjoyed the challenge!
« Last Edit: April 28, 2012, 03:59:15 pm by timchen »
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Kirian

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Re: allfail's solo challenge: I like VPs!
« Reply #17 on: April 28, 2012, 04:25:43 pm »
+5

He replaced the Island with the Native Village, which can store an unlimited number of cards. The problem is that you cannot control what you put on the NV mat. The solution? Workshop! (Can you find another instance where Workshop is more useful than Ironworks, disregarding the cost?) He used highways both to lower the cost and to draw the deck, combining with KC. With unlimited space, he squeezed Gardens and Dukes into the kingdom and almost got them all. In the end he finished in 30 turns, with 406 points, and a score of -10.6.

It's... beautiful.
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qmech

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Re: allfail's solo challenge: I like VPs!
« Reply #18 on: April 29, 2012, 07:24:08 am »
+2

It's... beautiful.

 :)

I was very interested to see what other approaches there were.  I particularly liked that you can end the game with Mining Village for the final buy rather than Harem, and the idea of using Scheme to protect your engine parts.  Mazwa's use of Quarry as the only cost-reducer, so that Colonies and Provinces had to be bought the hard way, was nice too.

I started thinking about this when the scoring criterion was turns - VP/2, which made it more obvious that the thing to focus on was maximising score.  With that in mind my first idea was was KC/KC/Workshop/NV/(Highways), which lets you put away 3 cards a turn indefinitely.  There are (at least) two ways to set that up: you can either dispose of the Chapel via Farmland/Island, or you can observe that you have an extra play of KC hanging around, and use it on a Highway.  The second option makes you wonder if you can pull the same trick on a bigger deck, which leads to the set-up in the log.

Why three Workshops?  I think because it didn't stall too badly the first time I tried it, and 4 felt like it would slow down the trashing at the end more than it was likely to speed up the middle section.  I settled on 7 KCs, 7 Highways, 3 Workshops and 3 NVs (and a single Chapel) which is what you need to be able to draw your deck and put 9 cards on the mat, and also happens to have enough slack that you can afford to open your turn with a single KC/Highway if necessary.

I think up to turn 8 is as tight as possible if you're trying for this engine.  Turns 9-11 are completing the set-up.  Turns 12-24 are the business turns, of which 6 were lost due to failing to draw the deck (so the gains from better luck here are greater than any potential gains from upping the Workshop count).  It then takes 5 turns to trash 20 cards, which is followed by the final Farmland purchase.

Can anyone tighten this up, or find a more efficient method that doesn't rely on too much shuffle luck?  In particular, this needs 5 Kingdom cards (trash, cost reduction, gaining, stashing, drawing and KC, with Highway counting twice).  Can you gain arbitrarily many cards with less set-up?  My feeling is that increasing the points gained is unlikely to be cost-effective, as the big three of Silk Road, Duke and Gardens are already in.

A huge thanks to allfail for the fascinating challenge.
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timchen

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Re: allfail's solo challenge: I like VPs!
« Reply #19 on: April 29, 2012, 11:51:56 pm »
0

Maybe one can try 9 KCs and 9 highways? At least 2 more highways can't hurt (except 2 more uses on the workshop which cost only 2/9 of a turn)?
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theory

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Re: allfail's solo challenge: I like VPs!
« Reply #20 on: April 30, 2012, 11:17:39 am »
+1

Wow.
He replaced the Island with the Native Village, which can store an unlimited number of cards. The problem is that you cannot control what you put on the NV mat. The solution? Workshop! (Can you find another instance where Workshop is more useful than Ironworks, disregarding the cost?) He used highways both to lower the cost and to draw the deck, combining with KC. With unlimited space, he squeezed Gardens and Dukes into the kingdom and almost got them all. In the end he finished in 30 turns, with 406 points, and a score of -10.6.

It's... beautiful.
This was staggeringly beautiful.
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