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greatexpectations

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Mine
« on: June 18, 2012, 05:35:57 pm »
+4

A Favorite Card of Mine
Let's be honest here: Mine is probably most famous for being the card everyone confuses with Mint.  A similar name, similar behavior, and the same $5 price point will do this.  Unfortunately, Mine's reputation doesn't get much better past that, considering:
  • It comes from the largely bland Base Dominion set, achieving the honor of being arguably the worst trash for benefit card of the set.
  • Council Room's Popular Buys ranks it as the 28th worst card by Win Rate With, and the 8th worst at the $5 price point.
  • The forum user base ranked it as one of the worst cards at the $5 price point.
 
Mine is very often an ignorable card, but as with many other middling/bad cards, in the kingdoms where it actually is useful it can be the star of the show. Much of Mine's intrigue is due to its fairly unique ability of gaining a card directly in hand. It is this ability which likely bumps Mine from the $4 to the $5 price point. This allows you the benefit of not only improving your deck but also improving your current hand.

Repeated Play
Mine is typically at it's best when it can be played repeatedly.  You can achieve this with Caravan/Laboratory stacks, Hunting Party/Golem decks, KC/TR, or conventional large draw decks.  Besides the obvious improvements to your deck in the long run, repeated play offers the benefits of not having to waste your buys to improve your economy. Because the upgraded card goes directly into your hand, you can not only improve your economy you can do so immediately. Sifters such as cellar and warehouse are also excellent ways to repeatedly play Mine, and their lower price points and fast cycling can make them more attractive options than HP or Laboratory.

Alternate Treasure Cards
Most players experienced with the card will attest to the fact that both Platinum and Potions can give Mine a huge boost.  The jump from Gold to Platinum is massive, and because of this Mine will always be more attractive on Colony boards than Province boards. Similarly, as this article points out, Mine is useful on Alchemy heavy boards because of its flexibility into and out of the race for potion cost cards.
Mine's power can be extended to most other alternate treasure cards as well. Horn of Plenty, Venture, Hoard, and Harem are all very attractive targets for Mine with a silver in hand. Additionally, Hinterlands was very kind to Mine, offering both Ill-Gotten Gains and Fool's Gold.  Mine lets you turn silver into IGG, IGG into another IGG, or IGG into gold, all of which are strong options.  Mine/Fool's Gold is a pretty solid (+4) opening according to Best/Worst Openings, allowing Mine to turn your early copper into a Fool's Gold in hand.

Other Trash for Benefit Cards
Remodel, Governor, and Apprentice really stand out here.  Because you gain the card in hand, you can immediately turn and benefit from the upgraded card. Mine that Silver into a Gold and then Remodel it into a Province, or use Mine on a treasure to net your Apprentice an extra 3 cards.

How To Play Mine
Mine can offer some tricky decisions when it comes to choosing what exactly you want to upgrade.  Should I swap Copper for Silver, or Silver for Gold? In general, Silver to Gold is probably the better move. Here are a couple of guidelines for helping to make that decision:
  • If it is a Colony board, you should prioritize upgrading S->G over C->S.  Your ultimate target is Platinum, so you will want the best chance of later upgrading Gold->Plat
  • If it is a board with discard attacks, you should prioritize S->G over C->S. You will be working with smaller hand sizes and you will want the larger bang for your buck.
  • Swindler makes things difficult.  You don't want to lose your coppers to curses, but at the same time Gold is often immune to the Swindler attack. This will be board dependent.
  • C->S should probably be prioritized on Jester boards. You do not want to be fed more copper, but you also do not want your opponent to grab free gold.  A similar suggestion can apply with Smuggler.

When To Ignore
Overall, it seems like most players don't have a problem ignoring Mine.  It is bought in only 47% of games, right in line with Spy. Even when it is bought, players seldom seem to buy more than 1.  However, there are some situations when it seems pretty clear Mine should be ignored. Games with heavy trashing are an easy choice, as A. you will have less cards to feed to Mine and B. you will likely have more attractive targets to trash into.  Similarly, Mine is avoidable in many engines, especially engines when most or all of your coin will come from your action cards.  A third option is decks with heavy attacks, especially Mountebank and Witch.  Not only do you want to avoid terminal collisions, you just won't see a worthwhile benefit because you won't be able to play Mine as often.

Works With:
Repeated Play (Caravan, Lab, Hunting Party, Golem, sifters)
Alternate Treasure (especially Platinum and IGG)
Other Trash For Benefit

Conflicts With:
Heavy Trashing
Strong Engines
Cursing or Discard Attacks
Other Strong $5 Terminals
Copper Based Strategies
« Last Edit: June 18, 2012, 08:18:39 pm by greatexpectations »
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LastFootnote

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Re: Mine
« Reply #1 on: June 18, 2012, 05:52:47 pm »
+4

I was considering writing my own Mine article at one time. I was going to emphasize different points. Hopefully you'll find some of my thoughts pertinent for your article.

So Mine is more desirable with Platinum and Potion available. You've got that covered. Those important cases aside, you bring up the dilemma of Copper into Silver vs. Silver into Gold. I claim that you should always be turning Silver into Gold given the option, and if you want Mine for turning your Copper into Silver, then you probably don't actually want to buy Mine at all.

A major part of this ties into the biggest class of Mine enablers: sifters. You don't mention these at all in your article, but cards like Cellar and Warehouse are Mine's best friends. Laboratory, Caravan, and Hunting Party also help you play Mine more often, and they're definitely hot buys when you're playing with Mine. However, Cellar and Warehouse are prime Mine enablers because they cycle your deck even faster than the Lab variants (allowing you to play Mine more often), and they take advantage of the deck variance that Mine provides. It's a double whammy.
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greatexpectations

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Re: Mine
« Reply #2 on: June 18, 2012, 05:58:17 pm »
0

So Mine is more desirable with Platinum and Potion available. You've got that covered. Those important cases aside, you bring up the dilemma of Copper into Silver vs. Silver into Gold. I claim that you should always be turning Silver into Gold given the option, and if you want Mine for turning your Copper into Silver, then you probably don't actually want to buy Mine at all.

i agree, and i did specify that Silver to Gold was usually the preferable option.  i wanted to kind of explain why that is though, as well as provide a possible counterexample. 

A major part of this ties into the biggest class of Mine enablers: sifters. You don't mention these at all in your article, but cards like Cellar and Warehouse are Mine's best friends. Laboratory, Caravan, and Hunting Party also help you play Mine more often, and they're definitely hot buys when you're playing with Mine. However, Cellar and Warehouse are prime Mine enablers because they cycle your deck even faster than the Lab variants (allowing you to play Mine more often), and they take advantage of the deck variance that Mine provides. It's a double whammy.

wow, good call. totally slipped my mind.  added to the article.
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LastFootnote

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Re: Mine
« Reply #3 on: June 18, 2012, 06:05:20 pm »
0

wow, good call. totally slipped my mind.  added to the article.

Thanks. I have a lot more to say on the subject, but I'll wait until I get home from work. I apologize in advance if I ramble on, but hopefully it'll be helpful.
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AJD

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Re: Mine
« Reply #4 on: June 18, 2012, 06:07:36 pm »
0

So Mine is more desirable with Platinum and Potion available. You've got that covered. Those important cases aside, you bring up the dilemma of Copper into Silver vs. Silver into Gold. I claim that you should always be turning Silver into Gold given the option, and if you want Mine for turning your Copper into Silver, then you probably don't actually want to buy Mine at all.

i agree, and i did specify that Silver to Gold was usually the preferable option.  i wanted to kind of explain why that is though, as well as provide a possible counterexample. 

Hmm. But preferentially Mining Silver into Gold more rapidly depletes your deck of Mineable targets, making it more likely you'll draw Mine dead (i.e., in a hand where there's nothing it can improve). Is this overborne by other concerns, even when there's no e.g. discard attacks?
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Copernicus

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Re: Mine
« Reply #5 on: June 18, 2012, 06:09:31 pm »
0

Is Mine/Grand Market a trap or a strategy?
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LastFootnote

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Re: Mine
« Reply #6 on: June 18, 2012, 06:09:54 pm »
0

So Mine is more desirable with Platinum and Potion available. You've got that covered. Those important cases aside, you bring up the dilemma of Copper into Silver vs. Silver into Gold. I claim that you should always be turning Silver into Gold given the option, and if you want Mine for turning your Copper into Silver, then you probably don't actually want to buy Mine at all.

i agree, and i did specify that Silver to Gold was usually the preferable option.  i wanted to kind of explain why that is though, as well as provide a possible counterexample. 

Hmm. But preferentially Mining Silver into Gold more rapidly depletes your deck of Mineable targets, making it more likely you'll draw Mine dead (i.e., in a hand where there's nothing it can improve). Is this overborne by other concerns, even when there's no e.g. discard attacks?

If it's a Province game and you're using a Mine strategy, you need to commit to putting a decent amount of Silver into your deck, whether that's by buying it or playing Action cards that gain Silver.

EDIT: Also, I would argue that if you don't have any sifters and your opponents don't have any discard attacks, you rarely want Mine at all.
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HiveMindEmulator

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Re: Mine
« Reply #7 on: June 18, 2012, 06:34:25 pm »
+1

Hmm. But preferentially Mining Silver into Gold more rapidly depletes your deck of Mineable targets, making it more likely you'll draw Mine dead (i.e., in a hand where there's nothing it can improve). Is this overborne by other concerns, even when there's no e.g. discard attacks?
I think if you get to the point in the game where you run into hands where you have nothing to mine, you're probably also at the point in the game where playing the Mine wouldn't have done you that much good anyway, even if you could play it. We're talking about having hands where your only treasures are Golds... the game should be ending soon. If you aren't going to shuffle again, Mine is often just a terminal Copper.
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WanderingWinder

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Re: Mine
« Reply #8 on: June 18, 2012, 06:34:33 pm »
0

I would argue that you rarely want mine anyway....

ftl

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Re: Mine
« Reply #9 on: June 18, 2012, 06:37:22 pm »
0

Is Mine/Grand Market a trap or a strategy?

I think strategy, though by itself not that good of one, or maybe just an incomplete one. Useful to get a Mine if you're going for Grand Markets. But, not particularly dominant unless there's some other enablers around for either Mine or GM.
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DG

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Re: Mine
« Reply #10 on: June 18, 2012, 06:49:10 pm »
+1

Large hand size helps a mine as it gives choice of target card, so labs and other drawing cards provide this benefit along with cycling.

Potions and kingdom treasures benefit from a mine. Choosing when to have a potion or loan in hand can be important, as can trashing them for gold.

A mine generally needs to be played four times to be better than silver. If you play it during three cycles of the deck then it typically improves the spending as much as a silver would do (+1/+2/+3) but delivers it later than the silver (+2/+2/+2). This is as well as the mine being more expensive than silver and requiring a terminal action. This suggests that the value of the mine comes from the quality of the treasure cards in your deck rather than just amassing more treasure cards.

I'm not convinced by your 'works with' and 'conflicts with' sections.
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Tonks77

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Re: Mine
« Reply #11 on: June 18, 2012, 07:00:21 pm »
+1

Mine can support alchemist chains really fine. Didn't draw your Potion to put the alchemists back? Just mine a silver into a potion. Have 2 potions but not enough money? Make one potion to gold.
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greatexpectations

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Re: Mine
« Reply #12 on: June 18, 2012, 07:05:56 pm »
0

I'm not convinced by your 'works with' and 'conflicts with' sections.

what issues do you have? suggestions or improvements would be more helpful than just saying you are not convinced.

I would argue that you rarely want mine anyway....

overall i would agree. in my experience it seems to be a little overbought and underused, if that makes sense.  people buy it too much without having a coherent plan of what they want to do with it.
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LastFootnote

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Re: Mine
« Reply #13 on: June 18, 2012, 07:14:30 pm »
+4

In the absence of special Treasure cards, Mine does two things. It turns Copper into Silver and it turns Silver into Gold. In your article, you note that Mine works with BM-centric decks and doesn't work with strong engines. I agree. As has been pointed out before (I believe by WanderingWinder), Copper isn't a terrible card in big money games. Moreover, Silver is easy to obtain. You start the game being able to hit $3 very reliably. So trashing a Copper in order to gain a Silver is pretty mediocre.

Gold, on the other hand, is harder to obtain. If there's one thing that Mine does well, it's fill your deck with Gold. Therefore I think it's fair to say that as Gold becomes more desirable, so does Mine. Given a big-money type game, there are three basic things that make Gold more desirable: the availability of sifters, discard attacks that allow you to choose what you discard, and trash-for-benefit cards that allow you to convert Gold into Provinces.

As I mentioned earlier, sifters are the big one. Cellar, Warehouse, Cartographer, Stables, etc. all allow you to play your Mine often and then allow you to pick the Gold you've accumulated out of the Coppers and Estates left in your deck. Laboratory variants can also help you play Mine more often, but that alone isn't enough reason to choose Mine over other terminal Actions. You want to play almost all of your power terminals as often as possible. Mine does "stack" more than most terminals, gaining more benefit the earlier and more often you play it, like a Curse-giver. But that alone may not be enough reason to buy it. On the other hand, Lab variants and sifters complement each other very well, so if Mine, a sifter, and non-terminal draw are all available, that's even more reason to consider Mine.

Your opponent's discard attacks are the next big reason to buy Mine. In a big money game with Militias being played, Gold becomes much more valuable and, at the same time, much more difficult to obtain. Mine helps you amass Gold quickly without having to hit $6 in hand. In a 2-player game, you can't just ignore Militia in favor of Mine. If you don't slow your opponent down, they'll usually win despite your Mine. However, a combination of the two cards can work. Also, if you're playing a multiplayer game and your opponents are both buying Militias, Mine becomes much more desirable as you can let them snipe at each other while you accumulate Gold.

Perhaps Mine's biggest tragedy is that these two enablers are mutually exclusive. If your opponents are buying discard attacks, you don't want sifters.

As for trash-for-benefit cards, I don't think that needs much explanation. Other than Expand, no other card gives you a $3 upgrade. With Remodel or Governor, you can quickly turn all the Gold you've amassed into Provinces.
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chwhite

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Re: Mine
« Reply #14 on: June 18, 2012, 07:28:59 pm »
+1

Other than Expand, no other card gives you a $3 upgrade.

Minor nitpick- Transmuting Estates to Gold is a $4 upgrade (and Action to Duchy can be $3 if the Action is cheap enough).
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LastFootnote

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Re: Mine
« Reply #15 on: June 18, 2012, 07:29:25 pm »
0

Other than Expand, no other card gives you a $3 upgrade.

Minor nitpick- Transmuting Estates to Gold is a $4 upgrade (and Action to Duchy can be $3 if the Action is cheap enough).

Ooh, good call.
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cayvie

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Re: Mine
« Reply #16 on: June 18, 2012, 07:30:38 pm »
+1

Also Trading Post on coppers/curses.
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LastFootnote

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Re: Mine
« Reply #17 on: June 18, 2012, 07:32:44 pm »
0

Also Trading Post on coppers/curses.

Well, whether or not Transmute is a trash-for-benefit card is debatable. Trading Post definitely isn't. The Silver you gain is completely independent of which cards you trash. So I didn't consider it as an "upgrade".
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verikt

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Re: Mine
« Reply #18 on: June 18, 2012, 07:41:04 pm »
0

Mine and mint are fun. If there's a decent draw. your second 5 hand is mint and then mine your last two coppers up and mint them. Worked very well for me in some games. (uni smithy mine mint was one, if I remember right) Actually, in any uni game, where there's an oversupply of actions and a problem buying coin it probably pays to take one.
Tonks already mentioned how it can win you the alch race, or save an alch chain. Mining to hop or bank can be a killer. But in colony games with a lot of draw cards and no rush, I prefer getting mine early, and spending my money on drawing it. Why spend 9 on plat when you can spend six on gold, buy a lab and count on drawing your mine in time for greening? I've watched opponents spend 9 on buying plats where I spent the same 9 on lab and then mined gold. Or bought a cartographer for anything less than 9 instead of another gold. Chapel, any +action in a colony game makes it another great buy. Plat in 4 turns, spend your money on actions. I've also bought one in a governor game. While my opponent was remodeling gold to prov I upped to plat and remodeled to colony.
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verikt

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Re: Mine
« Reply #19 on: June 18, 2012, 07:45:16 pm »
+2

Two other cases where mine is good. Possession games: If your opponent draws it, he can't use the full value of the hand.
Bishop games: being able to buy a silver and trash a gold can be very useful.
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DG

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Re: Mine
« Reply #20 on: June 18, 2012, 08:07:39 pm »
+3

Quote
what issues do you have? suggestions or improvements would be more helpful than just saying you are not convinced.

I'm not convinced that mines have a place in BM centric strategies. They can obviously be in treasure based strategies, colony games, and fast deck cycling strategies but there are many stronger terminals that can assist big money. The dividing line for me is that you'd probably want to buy a cheap cycling card like wishing well or caravan in a mine deck rather than more silver and this moves the mine away from being a big money card. Big money decks like adding more and more treasures.

I'm also not convinced that the mine is a natural partner with IGGs although they presumably can be made to work. In the most basic IGG rush you would buy out the IGGs then buy out the duchies and there's no time to buy the mine either before the IGGs or before the duchies. The 'card winningness' stats in the council room back this up with IGG being the worst kingdom treasure for a mine and platinums then harems being the best.

So where does that leave the mine? I think it does have a place in strong drawing decks and some engine decks. The mine can repeatedly increase the deck value without adding more terminal cards (treasures) to the deck.
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timchen

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Re: Mine
« Reply #21 on: June 18, 2012, 08:13:17 pm »
+1

Actually I have some doubt about the comment that cursing attack devalue mine. For one thing, in Hagging games mine seems like a welcome addition. I dunno, if I happen to have an early 5 I might get it over silver.
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greatexpectations

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Re: Mine
« Reply #22 on: June 18, 2012, 08:17:23 pm »
0

I'm not convinced that mines have a place in BM centric strategies. They can obviously be in treasure based strategies, colony games, and fast deck cycling strategies but there are many stronger terminals that can assist big money. The dividing line for me is that you'd probably want to buy a cheap cycling card like wishing well or caravan in a mine deck rather than more silver and this moves the mine away from being a big money card. Big money decks like adding more and more treasures.

I'm also not convinced that the mine is a natural partner with IGGs although they presumably can be made to work. In the most basic IGG rush you would buy out the IGGs then buy out the duchies and there's no time to buy the mine either before the IGGs or before the duchies. The 'card winningness' stats in the council room back this up with IGG being the worst kingdom treasure for a mine and platinums then harems being the best.

So where does that leave the mine? I think it does have a place in strong drawing decks and some engine decks. The mine can repeatedly increase the deck value without adding more terminal cards (treasures) to the deck.

that's a reasonable change to make about being BM-centric.  our difference, i think, stemmed from how i would define BM.  i can see your point though.

i'm a little less convinced about IGG, but i suppose i would have to hit the simulators to defend that better.  i think that there continues to be a slavish addiction to IGG rushes (at least against my usual mid-30's opponents) and this will skew any result related to IGG.
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jomini

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Re: Mine
« Reply #23 on: June 18, 2012, 09:16:42 pm »
+1

Mine gets better in cursing games (assuming it doesn't compete too heavily with a curse giver) than no-attack games - the game goes on longer and it is much harder to cross the 6 threshold. I would also add that just about any kingdom treasure makes mine better. Mining into ventures gets to be strong once your average treasure in the draw deck is greater than 2 (which isn't so hard to manage with sifting and mine); mining into royal seal, bank, quarry, or even stash can be worth it in odd cases and mine allows you to delay choices for which treasures to get.

Another thing mine does fairly well is increase diversity. Menage/village/mine can allow you to mine for diversity and more likely have the village hit. Flipping coppers to silver or silver to golds can be done on the fly allowing for bigger hands. This is particularly true if there are kingdom treasures.

All told, I think mine actually works best in engine decks and golden decks. Both of these play their actions far more times and mine can be a good way to build value from just a few coppers. Say it takes you eight turns to set up a reasonably reliable engine. From there till the end of the game (call it another six turns), mine adds either 3 cost or 1 coin to your deck each pass - for no further cost (aside from its action cost). That is 15 - 21 extra coin you get over the course of the game and that can often be enough for an extra province (most of your terminal silvers add about 12 - 18 effective coin depending on how you rank their other benefits) or even two. There are other cards that can add more value/coin (haggler, mint, etc.), but a lot of "better" cards just don't do that much once your engine is firing well (e.g. a market in an engine, once you have enough buys and draw, ends up degrading into a silver or worse, a lab is worse than a copper if you are already heavily overdrawing and won't add enough drawless cards to use the added draw). People look at you weird if you chapel out your coppers, build an engine, add a mine & buy 3 coppers or gain a few silver, but it can be perfectly legit and give an engine a lot more payout.
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LastFootnote

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Re: Mine
« Reply #24 on: June 18, 2012, 09:37:43 pm »
0

All told, I think mine actually works best in engine decks and golden decks. Both of these play their actions far more times and mine can be a good way to build value from just a few coppers. Say it takes you eight turns to set up a reasonably reliable engine. From there till the end of the game (call it another six turns), mine adds either 3 cost or 1 coin to your deck each pass - for no further cost (aside from its action cost). That is 15 - 21 extra coin you get over the course of the game and that can often be enough for an extra province (most of your terminal silvers add about 12 - 18 effective coin depending on how you rank their other benefits) or even two. There are other cards that can add more value/coin (haggler, mint, etc.), but a lot of "better" cards just don't do that much once your engine is firing well (e.g. a market in an engine, once you have enough buys and draw, ends up degrading into a silver or worse, a lab is worse than a copper if you are already heavily overdrawing and won't add enough drawless cards to use the added draw). People look at you weird if you chapel out your coppers, build an engine, add a mine & buy 3 coppers or gain a few silver, but it can be perfectly legit and give an engine a lot more payout.

Really? If you've chapeled all your Coppers and you've got a Silver or two to get you to Gold, it's worth buying more Copper and Silver to Mine rather than buying Gold directly and using your actions on stronger cards? I'm a bit dubious. I could be convinced, but it doesn't seem like a good idea on the face of it.
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