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Geronimoo

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Definitions
« on: May 24, 2012, 04:44:59 am »
+1

There's quite a bit of confusion regarding archetypes. What is a Big Money deck, what is an engine? What is a rush strategy? We need clear and complete definitions.

Here are some ideas:

Big Money
-a linear strategy (the buying power goes up in a straight line, more or less)
-will improve its economy while greening at certain tresholds
-doesn't aim to end the game on piles
(-will always want extra treasures)
(-doesn't require trashing)

engine
-a non-linear strategy
-assembles components until it reaches critical mass at which point it starts greening
-has a method of getting multiple components in one turn (+buy, Ironworks, Upgrading...)
-has one or more "combos" (cards where 1 + 1 > 2)
-can aim to end on piles (mostly in mirrors)

rush
-a linear strategy
-has much lower tresholds to start greening because the aim isn't $8 but $4 or $5
-aims to end the game on piles

more archetypes?? hybrid?? attacking??? pins? Golden decks??
...
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Davio

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Re: Definitions
« Reply #1 on: May 24, 2012, 04:56:02 am »
+1

I feel there is some space beyond rushes. There are strategies that don't need to rush, but they do need just $5 hands.
Duke for example. With those games you just want to get a lock on the game by grabbing an insurmountable lead, but if the game lasts a long time, it's in favor of the Duke player since he can buy 6-8 VP Dukes at $5 a pop while the Province player is stuck at grabbing 6 VP cards for $8 a pop.

And not every Gardens strategy is a rush. Sometimes you need to stretch to let your Gardens really be worth something.
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ftl

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Re: Definitions
« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2012, 05:47:54 am »
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I'm not sure quite what you're looking for, Geronimoo; what you're listing seems like a bunch of properties of those strategies, but not necessarily definitions... are you looking for all the qualities that fit? Or just the most important ones, to make a concise definition?

I do note that you're skipping over the obvious things, a little. For example, in the 'definition' of Big Money, you never mention that it involves buying mostly treasures, with a small number of actions.

If you're looking for definitions, I'd suggest something like what's in the lingo dictionary for Big Money:

"Big Money: Strictly speaking, a strategy where no Actions are bought at all, only Treasure and Victory.  In practice, often used to refer to a strategy emphasizing Treasure and Victory cards that is merely supplemented with a small number of Actions."

For Rush, I'd suggest:
"A strategy which aims to obtain cheap VP cards and end the game on piles before an opponent can successfully obtain a large number of provinces or colonies." Because, well, the speed of the rush is what makes it a rush. Ironworks rushes are decidedly nonlinear, since you use IW to gain more IW. 

Engine is the hardest to define; the last three of the things you mentioned for engines don't necessarily hold. (A minion or Venture engine may very well not have +buy, have any two-card combos, or be able to end the game on piles, but it's still recognizable as an engine.) It's hard to nail down what exactly makes an engine an engine, since there are a lot of things which go together; I think the key part is that an engine expects to, every turn, play multiple cards which would draw more cards into your hand, beyond the 5 that you start with. I *think* that card draw multiple times per turn is the most defining feature of an engine; at least, it covers all the ones I can think of. I can't think of anything I'd call an engine that doesn't have card draw.

Golden deck: from the previously existing thread: "Golden Deck: A deck designed to gain Victory tokens for multiple turns with just five cards.  The classic example is Bishop/Gold/Silver/Silver/Province, which trashes a Province for 5 VP and replaces it each turn.".

I suppose that's easily generalizable to "Golden deck: A deck designed to gain victory tokens every turn without changing its deck composition, such as by trashing cards with bishop and then re-buying them."

Could you be a little more specific about what you're looking for that isn't in the lingo dictionary-like definitions, and why?
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Geronimoo

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Re: Definitions
« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2012, 06:11:23 am »
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Mostly it's an attempt to start an interesting discussion and in the meantime come up with better descriptions/definitions to put in the lingo dictionary. These definitions could then be used as a starting point for discussions about games.

For instance the current Big Money description is lacking severely:
"Big Money: Strictly speaking, a strategy where no Actions are bought at all, only Treasure and Victory.  In practice, often used to refer to a strategy emphasizing Treasure and Victory cards that is merely supplemented with a small number of Actions."

Nobody uses the Big Money term to refer to the true Big Money strategy without actions. The description says nothing about the game plan. It says nothing about end game. It's far from complete because Horse Traders/Duke fits into the description while it's obviously not a Big Money strategy.
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DStu

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Re: Definitions
« Reply #4 on: May 24, 2012, 07:12:05 am »
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Nobody uses the Big Money term to refer to the true Big Money strategy without actions.

But that only because nobody refers to the true Big Money strategy without actions.


edit: and of course, nobody here excludes your simulator ... ;P
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DG

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Re: Definitions
« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2012, 10:26:30 am »
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A rush strategy tries to claim key cards (before the opponents) at the expense of wider deck development. These key cards can be sources of vp but can be other kingdom cards too, such as cities or tournament prizes.

A big money strategy accumulates treasures and buys victory cards with that treasure. A pure money strategy only buys treasure and basic victory cards. An assisted big money strategy will use some action cards to assist in buying victory cards with treasures.
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Jfrisch

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Re: Definitions
« Reply #6 on: May 24, 2012, 11:20:43 am »
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Big money type decks are deck's which primarily get there economy from coins AND do not rely on action chains to get high payout turns. For example, if I buy a good amount of caravans/markets/venture, I am still usually relying on treasure for my economy. The markets and caravans, while helpful, are serving as support and in an auxiliary role. In particular, big money decks do not have to rely on silver for them to be considered big money. A deck which uses non-terminals as support, but gets it's economy from gold is still big money.

Engine decks are decks which rely on action chains in order to achieve major turns. They can either ignore treasure entirely (i.e. minions strategies) or use it as their primary source of economy (for example village/torturer chains or hunting party decks). But in general, if the chain doesn't go off they will not achieve a worthwhile turn.

Engine decks fall under 2 categories, gradual payout and mega-turn. Gradual pay out decks have returns that are, in some sense, similar to big money. Victory points will be gained over a large set of turns and leads will be acquired gradually. Generally in these types of decks making sure your engine will survive greening is an important thing to think about.

Mega-turn strategies aim for a (typically single) high pay out turn. Typically these types of decks will be enabled by highway/bridge/horn of plenty/kings court. and native village. Mega-turn decks usually avoid buying green until they are either forced too or have a decisive enough advantage that they feel lit is okay to cash in. Typically these decks either rely on getting a single critical hit (as is the case with highway/bridge and kc games) or cashing in stored capital (as is the case with native village and horn of plenty).

Straddling the difference between mega-turns and gradual engines are victory token gaining games. Goons/bishop/monument all warp the perspective of getting green to win the gain in a fundamental way, the result is that, like mega-turn games, greening is often heavily postponed. While bishop and monument tend to lead to a steady but not obscene aquisition of points typical of gradual games goons often explodes in 20/30+ point turns, much more typical of mega-turn decks.

Rush decks are decks that aim, form the beginning, for a 3 pile ending before all the provinces can be bought. IGG/ironworks and silk roads tend to lead to these sorts of games. Typical characteristics of these games is eschewing provinces from the beginning, and much less focus on economy. Notably excluded from this sort of game is duke/duchy games where the goal is not so much to rush 3 piles as to achieve an insurmountable lead in points.

I'm unconvinced that other types of decks really fall under the same archetype. Golden decks fairly clearly seem to be a weird subtype of engine as do pins. Hybrids exist less than you would think. Most strategies I would think of as hybrids tend to be action heavy BM or action heavy rushes.
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jomini

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Re: Definitions
« Reply #7 on: May 24, 2012, 01:15:34 pm »
+2

Big money can aim for piles. For instance, a big money/black market/fairgrounds deck may aim for piling out on fairgrounds, havens and schemes.

I think a better strategy is to define some qualities that all decks have and then to look at where various types of decks fall.

For example every type of deck in dominion has a way to get VP - either by dint of having chip gain or by purchasing VP cards with either treasure or through the play of action cards (e.g. KC/Mandarin gives a province, so too does KC/bridge/feast, witch gives you effectively +1 VP when you play it). I like to call this payload. Every deck has some type of payload, big money strategies tend to use more treasure for their payload; conversely engines tend to use more actions and chip decks revolve almost entirely around the actions. One way to measure this is to look at a typically hand and say what percent of VP acquisition came from actions and what came from treasures (e.g. two festivals and two silvers is .5; one festival and two golds is a .75). Chip decks tend to be very near 1, engines can approach 1, and money decks tend to approach zero (BM/smithy is 0).

Another shot is deck size. Bloat decks, like gardens or p. stones, are way off to one side wanting absolutely huge decks. Big money decks fall into the middle of "little" trashing and high card count. Engines fall further in size, though some examples (like HP, minion, etc.) can be a bit on the large size. Golden decks (e.g. bishop, KC/KC/monument/monument/trasher, e.g KC/KC/goons/goons/watchtower/watchtower/trasher) are, obviously down at the smallest end of size.

Another useful metric I find is action density (per hand). This just measures how many actions you play in a typical hand. For straight BM, it is 0. For most BM, it is <1. For golden decks it is = 1. For engines it is always > 1.

Lastly, I like the metric of deck progression. 1 denotes playing all the key cards in your deck. 0 denotes moving forward just 5 cards (due to attacks deck progression can actually be negative). Again engines tend to have high deck progression, golden decks tend to be near 1, and BM tends to be near 0.

With these metrics we can talk about things a bit more intelligently. Something that has medium deck size, low deck progression, low action density, and low action payload (or high treasure payload) - most likely it will play like some version of big money. You can call it a "rush", but the hand to hand dynamics are going to be pretty much play a card, buy a card, and progress 5 cards forward.

Hybrid cases would be those instances where things are not quite so simple. For instance a counting house, inn, pawn, warehouse setup would have a low action payout, but have a high action density. Its deck size may well approach bloat, but it plays like a (highly unreliable) engine and has completely different play/buy rules.

Also, something like KC/scheme/B-crat uses lots of money, has a bloated deck, and makes low deck progression ... but it does play a lot actions each turn and plays weirdly. In fact, I think there is room for a special class of decks that I call top-deck control decks. These tend to be larger than most canonical engines, play way more actions than most money decks, and have highly variable payout mechanisms - the big thing is that they tend to setup a dynamic where you can always play a strong combo which may or may not make it through the deck. For instance, watchtower/border village/council room will tend to leave you a strong combo on deck top and with a high enough treasure density you can snag both a province and more engine components.

Likewise, I could see a combo-deck as a separate class. KC/Bridge isn't an engine - you aren't making any special deck progression nor is your deck smaller. However, you are playing more actions and your payout is extremely tilted toward actions.

I think a far better definition process than saying "what is an engine?" is to first delineate some metrics and then say "engines tend to fall around here" so we can not just "is this an engine?" but "how canonical of an engine is it". The important question about classifications is that they inform how you interact with objects of a classified set. Basing definitions off metrics allows for this to be self-evident.
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