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axlemn

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Counting House
« on: May 29, 2012, 10:51:57 pm »
+6

Here's a bold statement: Counting House is underused. 

Since it's a 5-cost, it makes sense that Counting House is not a good buy most of the time since other 5-costs are just so good.  Strategies that revolve around Counting House, however, always seem to be discounted immediately.  It's almost never used in a serious game.  That seemed suboptimal.

So why do people ignore Counting House so often? 

First is that there is no easy baseline to compare the card to.  Here are a few games I played of Counting House against Smithy-Big Money with colonies game.  Since Smithy-Big Money is weaker when it needs to pick up plats, and the ease of skipping from gold to plat makes counting house stronger, this seems to be a decent starting point. 

http://dominion.isotropic.org/gamelog/201205/18/game-20120518-175523-7d768fa8.html
Counting House keeps up surprisingly well for much of the game, though it still loses. 
http://dominion.isotropic.org/gamelog/201205/15/game-20120515-211525-21ecbcaa.html
Trying again, Counting House loses to Smithy, again, by only a narrow margin. 
http://dominion.isotropic.org/gamelog/201205/15/game-20120515-212817-a8347a96.html
On occasion, Counting House can narrowly win. 
**Note about game logs. 

The verdict of about 10 games is that Counting House will lose to Smithy-BM and all the like.  Perhaps with some more enabler micromanagement it can win more frequently, but so far it looks like a washed-up Wishing Well: usually too much effort for such a small reward.  While you probably could use Counting House in a deck that's having trouble hitting 9 and treat it like a mostly used-up Moneylender, it's likely that a second of whatever other Big-Money enabler you're using would be better and cheaper. 

So: if you're just using Counting House for the occasional very high +coins, you see it will fail in nearly every common decktype. 

With Big Money, almost any decent, smithy-style enabler will do better. 
With an Engine, you're better off trashing those coppers. 
With Big Draw, it does absolutely nothing. 
If you're trying to use it in a game while also trying to rush for duchies, it will fail. 

There are some extremely rare exceptions to these principles, which are mentioned later. 

So how can we ever use Counting House?

http://dominion.isotropic.org/gamelog/201205/19/game-20120519-074816-fc6e07f4.html

With the 4 best enablers for counting house, you can somewhat consistently grab 4 colonies by turn 14-16, and often 8 by turn 19.  In long games, with worker's village or pawn support, you can sometimes double-colony to make up for early round dead turns. 

Here's a real-game example. 
http://dominion.isotropic.org/gamelog/201205/29/game-20120529-101631-cef8810b.html

The House works as a centerpiece.  It's a deck type all on it's own.  And like Outpost, it can be a  card that can win you the game if you recognize when to use it. 

Playing the House - The Enablers

You'll either need to spend turns buying coppers, get +buys, or gain them. 

A Counting House-centric deck functions best by utilizing early-round +buys to get Coppers (or more Houses) as often as possible.  The reason for this is that if you draw 2-3 plus buy cards in the first turns of a round, that is, before you draw most of your Counting Houses, you've increased the value of every Counting House in the rest of the round by 3-4, assuming you used your regular buy on copper as well.  Sacrificing one turn and gaining coppers for an entire improved round?  That's like a beefed-up Tactician. 

With a deck large enough to prevent you from having to reshuffle again, you can then buy a Colony, or sometimes even two, for every Counting House that remains in your deck. 

Hamlet, Worker's Village, and Pawn are the best sources of +buy if all you care about is getting more +buy.  You really don't care about boosting your average money when playing the House.  You care more about boosting your decksize to reduce reshuffles, and increasing the average number of buys you'll get before drawing your Houses.  And you care a lot about making double-colony turns possible. 

The first few rounds you'll want to obtain as many +buy cards as is possible. 

The problem with Gardens-type cards like Woodcutter and Bridge is that they are almost all terminals.  They look helpful- and they are- but not late-game.  When you get them early on in a round, you can't get more than one +buy from it.  This means you will never be able to get a +buy on a Counting House turn if they are your only source of +buy, which means no double-colony. 

Double-colony not only feels good, but often it's necessary to lock down a game.  You almost need a double colony turn at least once, or at least a colony-province turn, to make up for the fact that on some turns, potentially even your second-to-last turn, your buys might just be a handful of Copper. 

However, while woodcutter and the like shouldn't be massed, they remedy the hardest part of using Counting House with something like Hamlet: reliably reaching 5.  In an absolute worst case scenario, you can buy a single silver and wait, or if you're really gutsy, you can just buy coppers and enablers for 4-5 rounds.  With enough coppers and careful enough reshuffling, you're mathematically guaranteed to hit 5 after about 6(?) such turns.  Also note that because hitting 6 is completely unhelpful, any number of turns spent buying silvers instead of an enabler should probably hurt more than help. 

Learning to Count

The other major problem with Counting House is figuring out how to use it.  Counting House has a lot of variability, and if you aren't careful about when you trigger your reshuffles and or don't track the number of houses you have left in your deck, you can lose valuable turns when your coppers are high-powered by triggering reshuffles too early.  (One reason why Cellar is better than Warehouse for this kind of deck.)  Will playing that worker's village for the extra copper this round will mean you'll miss the colony next hand? 

Be sure to keep track of how many 5-card hands you will end up drawing before the reshuffle. 

The Warehouse Question 

I'm going to change gears now and talk about commonly thought-of strategies for Counting House.  And most of them boil down to: how hard should you try to skip through the initial dead turns of a Counting House deck? 

I believe the answer to this is that you shouldn't try to at all.  Unfortunately, the dozens of games I played aren't nearly as good as simulator data, but if you listen to my logic, you'll see why reshuffling often is a bad idea. 

Warehouses might help you skip a dead turn now, but they'll also introduce the next one faster.  They increase the total number of reshuffles over the span of the game and these always are followed by a bad turn. 

If your need to power up your Counting House by the extra $1 by discarding and replacing coppers (opportunity cost versus silver) is so great at any given point in the game, you've probably already lost.  If you need to avoid a bad turn so badly, you've also probably already lost. 

In my experience, you'll often find yourself usually discarding the 2 colonies in your hand and a single copper and replacing that with 1-2 more coppers.  This is effectively a silver in exchange for having less control over your reshuffle and taking a huge risk: often you will discard a house that would have been amazing next turn, but is now completely useless because you haven't spent this turn's +buys.  The situations it does help in are so minor when playing dedicated Counting House, that often even Copper would be better.  That's not to even mention the opportunity cost versus other enablers.  ...  You're not considering using Warehouse your only enabler, right? 

But axle, you say.  What if I can move through my entire deck? 

A similar story holds true for Hunting Party and the multiple-Golem-only-1-Counting-House strategy.  These cards can discard your deck and still allow you to play Counting House, and aren't always able to draw your deck.  It takes too long to set up.  More subtly, you now have to spend precious turns to buy each copper since buying any other enablers will interfere with your main strategy.  If the game is slow enough for this to be feasible, odds are there are cursers, and if they are fast cursers in two player, you'll want to compete for those, not solely rely on Counting House.  If you are facing a bad Ghost Ship player, Counting House is likely better than Big Money, but worse than getting your own Ships. 

In sum, speed through combos or particular cards doesn't work for a Counting House deck, with the possible exception of the extremely cheap, more flexible Cellar. 

The House would like to be more consistent, but only one card can do that reliably. 

Scheme

This is the second most useful card to use with Counting House.  After copper. 

Scheme
>allows you to never have bad shuffle luck and have all of your houses in the first turn of a round. 
>reduces the number of houses you need to buy to 2. 
>is relatively inexpensive, and you don't want silvers anyway. 
>enables the House in province play because of how consistent the House becomes

http://dominion.isotropic.org/gamelog/201205/18/game-20120518-235237-ff28bef3.html
>A game versus RomaNorgy. Provinces are out by turn 14, even though neither of us were playing even near perfectly.  RomaNorgy thanked me after for the new strategy (which I got from O, so here's passing on the thanks). 

Here's another Counting House / Scheme game that O posted:
http://councilroom.com/game?game_id=game-20120508-135528-9f887547.html

Edited in, a month later.

I spent time tearing down Warehouse because the principles behind buying it with Counting House are usually lousy.  However, if you can combine it with something like Hunting Party, or you use Cellar instead of it, Counting House is almost feasible.  There exist a very select handful of games that allow you to draw only your power cards, no money, and yet still be able to have exactly your entire deck discarded.  And this also has to be a game without trashing and without Apothecary.  To give you a idea of what kind of synergy you need to make such a deck, warehouse seems perfect for the job, yet can't do it.  Perhaps you could try Cartographer, if you aren't buying any other 5-cost...  oh. 

There are even fewer such games when the House is actually around as an option, but in these exceptionally rare cases, it offers +7.  If you're extremely careful and you know that you can support it, the House is one of the most powerful cards for pure +coin / cost.  And in this case, you might even want to try comboing with Bank and Coppersmith... 

Attacks

After dismissing the idea of a 'Counting House + Coppersmith combo', the second thing people notice about Counting House is that it seems like it shouldn't be hurt much by certain attacks.

Here are games with ambassador, sea hag, sea hag, and mountebank respectively. 
http://dominion.isotropic.org/gamelog/201205/18/game-20120518-191154-73b4b0fd.html
http://dominion.isotropic.org/gamelog/201205/19/game-20120519-081553-b4ff8016.html
http://dominion.isotropic.org/gamelog/201205/19/game-20120519-105915-881e827a.html
http://dominion.isotropic.org/gamelog/201205/29/game-20120529-101631-cef8810b.html

If you're careful enough, the House will be able to face off against the cards we imagine it should.  It doesn't have a 100% winrate (see game 4), but it does hold advantage. 

If there's nothing else going on or the only attack on the board is militia, goons, sea hag, or mountebank, Counting House might be a good choice.  The House benefits from slow environments where the number of good turns matters more than the average of turns.  It can pick up 4's, since otherwise it'll just be getting more +buy cards.  Many attacks don't hurt counting house nearly as much as they hurt Smithy-BM type decks. 

Notably, Ghost Ship will actually help a player going Counting House-Scheme. 
http://councilroom.com/game?game_id=game-20120528-154743-b7ef5852.html

When you're playing Counting House, you are also going to have a lot of turns where you'll have 4, and this means that you can use things like Militia and Cutpurse with essentially no drawback.  They will help you hit the 5s you so desperately need, and avoid the 6 that temps you into buying golds.  Unfortunately, I don't have solid statistics, and if anyone would like to run some, I would use them to revise this discussion. 

Summary:
Counting House is situational, but when the situation fits, it's amazing.  Looking to make it work every turn without scheme isn't very likely, but aiming to get it to explode when you play it can pay off.  An enabled Counting House is a card well worth considering. 

Works well with:
Scheme
Pawn / Hamlet / Worker's Village
Bridge / Woodcutter / Nomad Camp (requires careful management, decks will be more Counting House heavy)
Talisman / Ironworks / Workshop (gaining extra enablers easily is very helpful)
Ill-Gotten Gains (only if Scheme is present to reduce the number of Houses you need)
Mountebank (you can buy one too.  once the curses are out, they have to choose: give you a free copper, or miss their +2.)
Feast
Gardens (rush the gardens, but don't help your opponent rush anything else.  the goal is to province or colony to seal a lead.)
Things that can return a Counting House into your deck (Develop, Inn, Watchtower)

See all posts in this thread by jomini for excellent explanations of how Cellar, Haven, Develop, Multiplayer Attacks, Spy, and Cache all can help. 

Conflicts with:
Trashing (of note: Moneylender)
+Draw Engines
Big Money games
Lack of Colonies
Action Chains
Gold
King's Court
Possession

**Note about game logs:
I played most of these games against myself, but this should not matter since I always played optimally (playing Smithy-Big Money is pretty easy.  As is Sea Hag-Big Money.)  All the more complicated games are real ones, so are are the Ambassador and Mountebank ones. 
« Last Edit: June 29, 2012, 01:00:54 am by axlemn »
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HiveMindEmulator

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Re: Counting House
« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2012, 11:16:09 pm »
0

Nice article, but I don't think you give Warehouse a fair shake. If you're going to scoop your Coppers back out of the discard, Warehouse is essentially a double-lab.
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axlemn

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Re: Counting House
« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2012, 11:28:54 pm »
+1

Edited to add the following:

If your need to power up your Counting House by the extra $1 (opportunity cost versus silver) and to avoid a bad turn is so great at any given point in the game, you've probably already lost. 

You'll often find yourself usually discarding the 2 colonies in your hand and a single copper and replacing that with 3 more coppers.  In exchange, Warehouse brings you closer to the reshuffle, which is almost always bad thing for a Counting House player since each reshuffle means 1-2 dead turns.  In Counting House, drawing greens isn't bad. 

Also, 2 labs in a deck full of coppers and colonies is worse than a silver. 
« Last Edit: May 29, 2012, 11:34:49 pm by axlemn »
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Titandrake

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Re: Counting House
« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2012, 01:02:01 am »
0

Hm. I've just realized something. This is only tangentially on topic, so pardon the ramblings...

The way to think of Counting House in terms of power level is as a terminal source of money. If Counting House was just straight up terminal +$3 for $5, it would get played a ton. Terminal $3 on a card is really strong. Anyone who has played Mandarin will know what I mean. Terminal $2 is just terrible, and terminal $4+ is bonkers.

So, Counting House starts getting interesting when your expected # of Coppers in the discard is >2, preferably >3. If you want CH to be good, then you need some way of getting up to that point. Right now I don't have the time to do detailed analysis on Counting House odds based on # Coppers in deck and # total cards in deck, but what I do know is that the starting 7 is definitely not enough.

Hence the +buy to pick up Coppers.

So, about Warehouse: the question is, does Warehouse on average improve the expected # of Coppers in your discard?

I think it does: you dig further into the deck, and if you would trigger a reshuffle by playing it, you wouldn't play Warehouse anyways.

Does it improve it by enough? You have to consider that in an ideal Counting House deck (the only treasures are Coppers, CH is played with regularity), Warehouse might as well read as "Discard the top 3 cards of your deck", because you don't care whether Copper is in your hand or in the discard. And assuming about half the deck is Copper (check the game logs, this is a little generous), Warehouse is adding +$1.5. Which is okay, but it's still less than a Silver...

There's a lot of other factors involved too, but I'm starting to get convinced that Warehouse is nice for finding Counting House rather than improving it's power. If you already have consistency, it doesn't look as good.
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HiveMindEmulator

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Re: Counting House
« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2012, 02:40:46 am »
+2

So, Counting House starts getting interesting when your expected # of Coppers in the discard is >2, preferably >3.
Not quite. It's not so much about the expected value, since you can't buy fractional cards. The difference between $10 and $11 total is a lot bigger than between $3 and $4 or between $13 and $14, for example. Thus the expected utility is not linear in the expected number of coins you pick up.

Quote
So, about Warehouse: the question is, does Warehouse on average improve the expected # of Coppers in your discard?

I think it does: you dig further into the deck, and if you would trigger a reshuffle by playing it, you wouldn't play Warehouse anyways.

Does it improve it by enough? You have to consider that in an ideal Counting House deck (the only treasures are Coppers, CH is played with regularity), Warehouse might as well read as "Discard the top 3 cards of your deck", because you don't care whether Copper is in your hand or in the discard. And assuming about half the deck is Copper (check the game logs, this is a little generous), Warehouse is adding +$1.5. Which is okay, but it's still less than a Silver...
You can come to this conclusion if you fall into the fallacy of counting expected value. The truth is, you care about big turns -- turns where you draw CH late in the deck. Warehouse can allow you to spend more time late in the deck than early in the deck. (If you don't need to play warehouse, don't). So while it may be a small improvement in expected coin count, it's a bigger improvement in expected utility.

You'll often find yourself usually discarding the 2 colonies in your hand and a single copper and replacing that with 3 more coppers.  In exchange, Warehouse brings you closer to the reshuffle, which is almost always bad thing for a Counting House player since each reshuffle means 1-2 dead turns.  In Counting House, drawing greens isn't bad. 

Also, 2 labs in a deck full of coppers and colonies is worse than a silver. 
Closer to the reshuffle is a good thing. Just after a reshuffle is a bad thing. You're somehow assuming you're only drawing the warehouse late in your deck along with your CH. But what about when you draw it without CH or early in the shuffle? When you draw warehouses early in the deck, you can more quickly cycle toward later in the deck. And late game, when your deck is completely bloated, having "double-labs" to find your CHs is really useful. A CCCCS hand for $6 in the late game is not better than a CCCCW hand. Even if you draw nothing useful with the warehouse, the difference between $4 and $6 is small enough that you'd risk missing out on the Duchy to have a shot at finding your CH from a Colony.
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Asklepios

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Re: Counting House
« Reply #5 on: May 30, 2012, 04:48:27 am »
0

Another facet of Counting House, which I think is quite hard to quantify, is its ability to let you add non-highest green to your deck without disrupting the deck's ability to work too much. In that, its a bit like Philosopher's Stone or Venture, in that its all about getting the card in your five card hand, rather than about what cards you draw during a turn.

That is to say, once you've got the heap of coppers, and you hit $8, you can probably grab that province without much slowing your progress towards Colonies, while the Smithy + BM player knows that each of those green cards he buys reduces his chances of a Colony-grabbing hand to a greater relative degree.

Obviously this holds less true if you're relying on a mini-engine to get the Counting House working (as in multiple enablers played on the same turn as Counting House), and the dilution does slightly increase the time between getting to the Counting House, but happily Warehouse (the best enabler of all for Counting House, IMHO) nicely helps move past green cards as well, and keep close to being in that critical second half of the deck.
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DG

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Re: Counting House
« Reply #6 on: May 30, 2012, 06:52:07 am »
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You can use a watchtower or royal seal to put counting houses on top of the deck at the right time. This opportunistic use of the counting house, guaranteeing one big turn and accepting later failures, can be worth it. Inns can work similarly.
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jomini

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Re: Counting House
« Reply #7 on: May 30, 2012, 10:01:23 am »
+3

A few other points:
1. Counting house works much better against attacks in multiplayer. CH vs witch in 2er means that you forego attacking the other guy and have a 10-0 split in the curses. The loss of punishment for your opponent is a very high opportunity cost. CH vs witch vs witch means that you end up with a 9:6:5 curse split and you can spend you terminal 5 an a card that give you a duchy or province most of the time you play it in the late game. The opportunity cost is now only 4 curses, not 10.

Likewise if everyone else in 4er goes for ghost ship, you can count on them all playing 3 card hands (most of which will spend an action on +2 cards) and you can go for CH as you don't care about hand size. Opportunity cost here is even lower. Once you get into the attacks that CH anti-synergizes with (noble brigand, jester, mountebank), you find that the opportunity cost of CH just isn't all that high.

2. Cellar/CH is strong if you can pick up +buy and +actions. Cellar allows you to dump coppers into the discard until you hit the CH which let's you draw them all back. With a village (WV preferred), you can village -> CH -> Cellar -> and draw your whole deck a lot of turns. In general, I think cellar, due to its price and its unlimited cycling, can be better than warehouse  - if you are discarding coppers you don't care that you lose a card and if you have a +buy it is easier to hit CH + cellar or Colony + cellar than either with warehouse. Further, because cellar does not have a static draw, you can use it to perfectly time your shuffles - if your CH is your last card in deck - just discard one copper to the cellar and a busted turn becomes a maximum yield turn. If you track your CHs and Cellars you can be assured that you will virtually never miss a shuffle with a CH.

3. Another huge helper card is haven. You can use it to convert two 4 coin hands into a 3 (haven or copper) and a 5 (CH). You can also bounce back CHs to a turn later in the shuffle. You can also smooth out your shuffles with havens (play/don't play) to better ensure that your CHs are played for effect.


4. Spy is better in CH games. Discarding a copper or a green is pretty close to drawing it. Spy comes close to being a 4 coin lab.

5. Develop. In a game without other trashing, you can sometimes make some killer turns by developing a 4 late in the shuffle. Top decking a CH/silver can be an auto province. This suffers from the need to have develop in your deck for some other reason as CH is not enough to warrant its play. I've done it after getting it swindled into my deck; I think it might be viable in a no trashing vine yards game.




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LastFootnote

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Re: Counting House
« Reply #8 on: May 30, 2012, 11:06:03 am »
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OK, first off, I'm not trying to accuse you of anything dastardly, but were those two Sea Hag vs. Counting House games played against yourself? You have a bunch of Counting House-heavy games against chouse, who has only played 10 games, all of them against you.

Secondly, I'm not saying that building a deck around Counting House can't work, but it seems to me that it isn't Counting House's main function. There are lots of cards that you can and should build a deck around. Even Coppersmith is a good example. Titandrake is right on the money with his assessment that Counting House is basically a terminal source of coins. There are two other terminal Actions that we can compare it to which also provide a random number of coins: Adventurer and Harvest. Each of these three cards works best in different situations. Harvest works best when you have many differently-named cards. Adventurer works best when you've trashed your Coppers and bought several expensive Treasures. Counting House works best in bloated decks where you're gaining Copper incidentally through Ambassador, Cache, Mountebank, etc.

I'm not saying you should never buy Copper for it, but I've found that trying to build a deck centered around Counting House to be unreliable and generally ineffective. It seems to me like a supplement to certain other kinds of decks. When was the last time you built an Adventurer deck or a Harvest deck?
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greatexpectations

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Re: Counting House
« Reply #9 on: May 30, 2012, 11:07:58 am »
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OK, first off, I'm not trying to accuse you of anything dastardly, but were those two Sea Hag vs. Counting House games played against yourself? You have a bunch of Counting House-heavy games against chouse, who has only played 10 games, all of them against you.

chouse
c house
counting house

very likely.
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LastFootnote

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Re: Counting House
« Reply #10 on: May 30, 2012, 11:11:11 am »
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OK, first off, I'm not trying to accuse you of anything dastardly, but were those two Sea Hag vs. Counting House games played against yourself? You have a bunch of Counting House-heavy games against chouse, who has only played 10 games, all of them against you.

chouse
c house
counting house

very likely.

Ah. Yes, I completely missed that.

Anyhow, there's nothing wrong with example test games like that, but they're not as convincing as actual games against opponents that are trying to beat you.
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Grujah

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Re: Counting House
« Reply #11 on: May 30, 2012, 03:07:43 pm »
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I always wanted to do some CHouse math, but I ain't great at is, so could somebody check if this makes sense?

Let's say that instead of 5 by 5, we draw cards 1 by 1.
Cards are uniformly distributed. so, chouse would, on average case, be in the middle of the deck, with c/2 = 3.5 coppers in discard and 3.5 copper still in deck. (assuming starting c=7 coppers).
But we don't, we draw 5 by 5. I guess that means we need to subtract number of coppers in hand. So, if n is number of cards, and c number of coppers, you would have, on average, 5/n * c coppers in hand, and chouse would be worth (c - 5/n * c)/2. with 20 cards and 7 coppers its worth 2.65.

But thats assuming you don't have any card drawers or sifters. If you do.. I'm just not that smart :D
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axlemn

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Re: Counting House
« Reply #12 on: May 30, 2012, 03:58:10 pm »
+1

Yes, I did play against myself.  I don't hide that - the names are really obvious on purpose. 

It would be terribly strange that half of those games that I posted were lost by the person going Counting House if I were trying to rig it. 

More importantly, it would also mean that at some point I've played sub-optimally.  That would be pretty hard to do when playing Smithy-Big Money.  Or Sea Hag-Big Money for that matter. 

Grujah, I guess I was unclear.  I'll edit again to add the following: 

The point of the +buy cards is that if you draw 4 plus buy cards in the first few turns of a round (before you draw your Counting Houses), you've just spent those turns increasing the value of every single Counting House in the rest of the round by 4.  Do this often enough, with late enough houses (which will occur if you get 3-4 houses or have Scheme), and 11 is surprisingly easy to hit. 
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axlemn

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Re: Counting House
« Reply #13 on: May 30, 2012, 04:00:02 pm »
+3

In addition, if you're just using Counting House for +coins, you see it fails in every single function.  With Big Money, with an engine, with trashing, or with Big Draw.  The ONLY function Counting House really has is as a centerpiece, or for a small chance at an initial plat. 
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axlemn

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Re: Counting House
« Reply #14 on: May 30, 2012, 04:20:14 pm »
+1

Thanks everyone for the replies.  I'm recognizing what I've forgotten to say here and there.  Keep the questions coming. 

Anyone who reads this once should probably skim this again in a week or so to see it in a more final, proper form.  Apologies!  Hopefully this discussion will be interesting for anyone looking to write articles in the future because of this step-by-step editing.  It will be for me. 
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Grujah

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Re: Counting House
« Reply #15 on: May 30, 2012, 08:10:36 pm »
0

Yes, I did play against myself.  I don't hide that - the names are really obvious on purpose. 

It would be terribly strange that half of those games that I posted were lost by the person going Counting House if I were trying to rig it. 

More importantly, it would also mean that at some point I've played sub-optimally.  That would be pretty hard to do when playing Smithy-Big Money.  Or Sea Hag-Big Money for that matter. 

Grujah, I guess I was unclear.  I'll edit again to add the following: 

The point of the +buy cards is that if you draw 4 plus buy cards in the first few turns of a round (before you draw your Counting Houses), you've just spent those turns increasing the value of every single Counting House in the rest of the round by 4.  Do this often enough, with late enough houses (which will occur if you get 3-4 houses or have Scheme), and 11 is surprisingly easy to hit.

Thats all fine, didn't mean to say you are wrong on anything, I was just curious about average chouse worth without optimization like Scheme and filling your discard with coppers before you draw them and so.
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axlemn

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Re: Counting House
« Reply #16 on: May 30, 2012, 09:35:56 pm »
0

Yup.  If I don't defend myself, there are those who will take that the wrong way.  Sorry to get defensive, I take no offense. 
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LastFootnote

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Re: Counting House
« Reply #17 on: May 30, 2012, 10:27:38 pm »
+2

Look, dude. I'm sorry, but this article is just one big mistake from beginning to end. I think I understand how you feel. I think Counting House is a really cool card, too, and I also want to discover all the situations in which it can really shine. But this article is just so, so premature.

First of all, I wasn't trying to say that by playing games against yourself that you were attempting to rig anything. I'm just saying that it's not very useful data. For one thing, the sample size is tiny, which is why most people use simulators for this sort of thing. Secondly, even if Counting House plus Pawn/Hamlet/Worker's Village does beat Big Money plus Sea Hag, real games aren't played in a vacuum like that.

On the subject of real games, I dug through the logs of all the games against actual opponents in which you've bought Counting House (using your axlemn username).

http://councilroom.com/game?game_id=game-20120120-192856-f514fe4c.html
This is the only game in which you have ever bought both Counting House and Warehouse, and you lost. If your opinion about Warehouse/Counting House is based primarily on this game, then no wonder you think it's a poor enabler. The strength of Warehouse/Counting House is that you draw good cards and discard Copper. With the exception of three measley Conspirators, your deck didn't have any good cards to draw.

http://councilroom.com/game?game_id=game-20111224-221208-c2aa822d.html
Likewise here, except replace 'Warehouse' with 'Cellar'.

All told, there are exactly three real games in which you play your Counting House + Pawn/Scheme/Hamlet/Worker's Village deck (the only way Counting House is to be played, you claim) and win. Here they are:

http://councilroom.com/game?game_id=game-20120529-101631-cef8810b.html
This is the Mountebank game you linked to. Your opponent for some reason forsakes Gold for Nobles in a Mountebank game with no trashing.

http://councilroom.com/game?game_id=game-20120518-191154-73b4b0fd.html
Here's the Ambassador game you linked to. Your opponent goes for Ambassador on a board with no engine potential and Counting House as the only $5 card. You win by a single point.

http://councilroom.com/game?game_id=game-20120528-154743-b7ef5852.html
In this game, your strategy works perfectly. Congratulations!

Your 'Effect With' for Counting House is -0.33. Your win rate with it is 1.01 ± 0.14, the fourth lowest of any card.

Now look me in the eye and tell me that you think writing this article was a good idea.
« Last Edit: May 30, 2012, 10:42:31 pm by LastFootnote »
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O

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Re: Counting House
« Reply #18 on: May 30, 2012, 11:50:23 pm »
+1

Look, dude. I'm sorry, but this article is just one big mistake from beginning to end. I think I understand how you feel. I think Counting House is a really cool card, too, and I also want to discover all the situations in which it can really shine. But this article is just so, so premature.

First of all, I wasn't trying to say that by playing games against yourself that you were attempting to rig anything. I'm just saying that it's not very useful data. For one thing, the sample size is tiny, which is why most people use simulators for this sort of thing. Secondly, even if Counting House plus Pawn/Hamlet/Worker's Village does beat Big Money plus Sea Hag, real games aren't played in a vacuum like that.

On the subject of real games, I dug through the logs of all the games against actual opponents in which you've bought Counting House (using your axlemn username).

http://councilroom.com/game?game_id=game-20120120-192856-f514fe4c.html
This is the only game in which you have ever bought both Counting House and Warehouse, and you lost. If your opinion about Warehouse/Counting House is based primarily on this game, then no wonder you think it's a poor enabler. The strength of Warehouse/Counting House is that you draw good cards and discard Copper. With the exception of three measley Conspirators, your deck didn't have any good cards to draw.

http://councilroom.com/game?game_id=game-20111224-221208-c2aa822d.html
Likewise here, except replace 'Warehouse' with 'Cellar'.

All told, there are exactly three real games in which you play your Counting House + Pawn/Scheme/Hamlet/Worker's Village deck (the only way Counting House is to be played, you claim) and win. Here they are:

http://councilroom.com/game?game_id=game-20120529-101631-cef8810b.html
This is the Mountebank game you linked to. Your opponent for some reason forsakes Gold for Nobles in a Mountebank game with no trashing.

http://councilroom.com/game?game_id=game-20120518-191154-73b4b0fd.html
Here's the Ambassador game you linked to. Your opponent goes for Ambassador on a board with no engine potential and Counting House as the only $5 card. You win by a single point.

http://councilroom.com/game?game_id=game-20120528-154743-b7ef5852.html
In this game, your strategy works perfectly. Congratulations!

Your 'Effect With' for Counting House is -0.33. Your win rate with it is 1.01 ± 0.14, the fourth lowest of any card.

Now look me in the eye and tell me that you think writing this article was a good idea.

How rude!

The irony is that in each of the games, the opponent played better than someone with rank 27 probably would (yes, even my terrible Amb game where Masquerade is more effective)

In the Mountebank game Nobles is a very reasonable buy due to the possibilities of a 3-pile

In the cellar game.. seriously? You seriously think he thinks it's competitive against Wharf-Governor-Goons, and not that he was just testing out its speed?

Warehouse game: Replace warehousex2 open with warehouse-remodel and its a much tougher call.


His effect with: He experiments with warehouse to find useful situations even when he doesn't expect to win with it. Your introduction of this stat is meaningless.


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LastFootnote

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Re: Counting House
« Reply #19 on: May 31, 2012, 01:03:56 am »
0

How rude!

The irony is that in each of the games, the opponent played better than someone with rank 27 probably would (yes, even my terrible Amb game where Masquerade is more effective)

Look, man. I may be a lowly rank 27. I don't play nearly as much as I used to and I've definitely dropped a bit from my peak rank of 36. But the fact is that I'm not the one who submitted a candidate for this site's Counting House article; an article which claims that there is one and only one effective way to play Counting House without really backing up that assertion. If axlemn had named this article, "Combo: Counting House + Pawn/Hamlet", I wouldn't have batted an eye. But DominionStrategy.com is likely only going to ever have a maximum of one official Counting House article, and I strongly believe it deserves a better one than this.

So I'm sorry for my rudeness, axlemn. I really, really mean that. I tried to ask questions and give constructive criticism in my first post and was met with extreme defensiveness. Granted, there is a lot of middle ground on the politeness spectrum between my original post and my later one, and it was wrong of me to skip over it. For that I apologize.

Quote
In the Mountebank game Nobles is a very reasonable buy due to the possibilities of a 3-pile

In the cellar game.. seriously? You seriously think he thinks it's competitive against Wharf-Governor-Goons, and not that he was just testing out its speed?

Warehouse game: Replace warehousex2 open with warehouse-remodel and its a much tougher call.


His effect with: He experiments with warehouse to find useful situations even when he doesn't expect to win with it. Your introduction of this stat is meaningless.

OK, so you've defended axlemn's honor and picked all my arguments apart. Are we all square now? Everyone's feelings equally hurt? Good.

You're certainly correct that it's only reasonable for his rankings to have taken a dip while he experimented with different strategies. That being said, I think it would have been nice to see his claims proven out a bit more before submitting a candidate for the site's Counting House article. During that proving-out period, his 'Effect With' and 'Win Rate With' should have risen quite a bit.
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qmech

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Re: Counting House
« Reply #20 on: May 31, 2012, 03:59:24 am »
0

This article presents a specific interesting idea—using Counting House with something like Worker's Village as the centrepiece of a deck powered by Copper—and discusses some of the relevant issues.  I'm happy to accept it on that level.  In depth discussions of any card tend to end up on the Articles board, and hardly any of them end up being published on the blog.  Posting something here shouldn't be seen as a bid to make something official.
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Re: Counting House
« Reply #21 on: May 31, 2012, 02:01:57 pm »
0

This article presents a specific interesting idea—using Counting House with something like Worker's Village as the centrepiece of a deck powered by Copper—and discusses some of the relevant issues.  I'm happy to accept it on that level.  In depth discussions of any card tend to end up on the Articles board, and hardly any of them end up being published on the blog.  Posting something here shouldn't be seen as a bid to make something official.

I agree 100%. But this post uses language and formatting that clearly indicates it is meant to be a comprehensive Counting House article. Yes, the post centers around one specific Counting House-centered strategy, but it also claims that this is the only way to make Counting House effective.

What does this tell us?  Counting House is NOT to be used for Big Money. 

You could use Counting House in a deck that's having trouble hitting 9 and treat it like a mostly used-up Moneylender, possibly, but at this point, it's likely a second of whatever other Big-Money enabler you're using will be better. 

Counting House is also obviously NOT to be used in an engine deck. 
Or a deck built around trashing. 
Or a rush deck. 
Or a +draw deck. 
Maybe with attacks, but I'll put that aside for now. 

Some of this is just plain wrong. The OP himself has played at least a few successful IGG rush games with Counting House.

It even includes a 'Works Well With/Conflicts With' section at the bottom. So if this wasn't intended to be a comprehensive Counting House article suitable to be posted to the blog, I think you'll at least agree that it was reasonable to assume it was.
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axlemn

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Re: Counting House
« Reply #22 on: May 31, 2012, 02:14:42 pm »
0

Yes, I'd be very happy it if this were to become official.  No, from all the responses I'm getting, if popularity is the indicator, it's not going to happen.  And no, I didn't assume it would.  I decided to stop lurking and share one of my favorite strategies.  All the nay-sayers are making me half-wish I'd never bothered...  If you're trying to learn and talk about Dominion, calling a full 9-10 hours of work trash is not a good way to go about it. 

Dear all,

I don't care if you don't think my data is effective.  I am the first to admit that it isn't.  Because of the sample size.  After all, 5 straight hours of testing means nothing compared to a full simulations.   

Unfortunately, no simulator can play Counting House well, so this is the best we have as of yet.  I've played 6-7 games of every type I mentioned.  I am not being sarcastic when I say that Counting House is a complicated card whose nuances are hard to get.  I pose it as a challenge to you to test your own theories!  Post the results here, and then we'll discuss.  Remember that JOAT will smash your face in if you only theorycraft. 

Dominion is a strategy game that requires thought and removing of assumptions to improve.  I assumed Warehouse was a good enabler, and I found it slowed me down.  If you find more than 7 games which hint otherwise, then please share, that would help the discussion. 

tl;dr : Don't believe?  Try it for half and hour or so, then come back with that data.  Really.  It would help us all understand the House that much better.  Trolls are NOT welcome here. 
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Jfrisch

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Re: Counting House
« Reply #23 on: May 31, 2012, 02:19:51 pm »
+1

@axelmn, Understand that there is a huge self-selection bias where people who disagree are far more likely to post than those who agree. i.e. don't read a single person's dismissal as any sort of large sub-segment of the community. In general, on these forums, articles get critiqued fairly strongly, still, for the vast majority of articles, I would argue they are far more accurate than inaccurate.
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axlemn

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Re: Counting House
« Reply #24 on: May 31, 2012, 02:22:00 pm »
0

I've played IGG Counting House.  Not in what I would consider "rushes".  Even if your opponent does try to rush Duchies, if you are not rushing Duchies, then you are not rushing.  If you do rush Duchies as well, then your Counting House becomes useless.  To use it properly, now you're now playing for Colonies in the same way a proper Counting House deck would.  Just with a ticking timer. 
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