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Author Topic: Tournament Write-up: Detroit Metro Gamers, June 22nd, 2012  (Read 5515 times)

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ednever

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Tournament Write-up: Detroit Metro Gamers, June 22nd, 2012
« on: June 25, 2012, 02:16:31 pm »
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Detroit Metro Gamers Tournament Write Up

Last Saturday was the Detroit Metro Gamers Dominion Qualifying Tournament for US Nationals. This is my experience of the tournament from entry through to final table.

Pre-Tournament
Shiloh did a great job with coordination. He was responsive to emails the week of the tournament and ensured I had a spot before making the trip. On site everyone was helpful and courteous.  I did not have bad experience with a single player or helper at the event.
Before the event participants were told that the prelim sets would be selected from 16 possibilities. It turns out seven of these sets were chosen. This site has the list of sets:

DetroitMetroGamers.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/dominionflyer

Seven of the sixteen sets were selected:
A-   Set 4 (Intrigue: Coutryard/Trading Post/Minion…)
B-   Set 10 (Hinterlands: Crossroads, Oasis, Tunnel, Jack, Cartographer…)
C-   Set 1 (Base: Workshop, Gardens, Wich…)
D-   Set  7 (Prosperity: Worker’s Village, Rabble, Goons…)
E-   Set 6 (Seaside: Lighthouse, Ambassador, Fishing village, Warehouse, Treasure Map, Tactician…)
F-   Set 2 (Base: Militia, Council Room, Festival…)
G-   Set 3 (Intrigue: Masquerade, Great Hall, Ironworks, Nobles, Upgrade, Duke…)

Everyone met at 11:30am to register and verify their presence. According to Shiloh there were only 22 people who participated, but I think he may have miscounted. Most of the seven tables had 4 players (maybe 2-3 had three players). So I think the actual number was closer to (7x3)+~4 = ~25 or 26 people.

Jay at RGG sent Shiloh all of the cards and the players helped set up the sets.
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ednever

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Re: Tournament Write-up: Detroit Metro Gamers, June 22nd, 2012
« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2012, 02:20:09 pm »
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Prelims
The format was random assignment to one of the seven sets. Some tables had four players, some had three players (most four players). The winner of each game was to move 3 tables ‘down’. The second place would move 2 tables. The third place a single table. And the fourth place would stay put and play the same set again (getting an “advantage” by being more experienced on the set I suppose. This worked given the experience level of many of the players was low. I think an experience player who had to re-play a set where play order matters a lot and they got unlucky in start position – and it may happen again… As it was it didn’t matter as I don’t think any top players came 4th during prelims).

Shiloh thought that play order didn’t matter. Something I disagreed with strongly. To his credit he said, we could randomize start order in whatever way we wanted with the players at the table (I volunteered to go first if the other players didn’t think it mattered ;) ). Our tables randomly determined starting player and then rotated around in whatever order we happened to be sitting in.

I’ll start with a description of my games and end with some commentary.

First Game
My first game was a three-player game with Table C (Set 1). The full list of cards:
Cellar, Chapel, Feast, Gardens, Lab, Smithy, Village, Thief, Workshop, Witch

This was by far the simplest set of the day. There was no question this was a Workshop/Gardens rush (with Cellar as the third pile).  I drew 2nd player, so I was a little worried already. 1st player in a Workshop/Gardens rush should almost win by default. But the first player (Invincible Overlord) didn’t open Workshop so I got more comfortable.

Then I looked at my hand: 5 coppers. Opening 5/2 may be worse than starting second player.

I opened Workshop/Cellar and hoped for the best.

The IO made a functional engine of Villages, Smithy’s and Labs with money (I think the fourth best option on the table – after W/G, Witch, and Smithy+BM). The third player did not seem to have any idea what he was doing. He purchased a Feast and used it to get a Smithy I think at one point. All players ignored Witch (which was too bad – it turns out that if I had opened Witch/Cellar I may have been in better shape as Witch on this board likely beats anything except Workshop/Gardens and no one else went W/G).

I ended up emptying the Workshop pile on my own and then turning to Gardens. I picked up most of the Gardens, but both other players grabbed a few themselves. Then I turned to Estates. IO had picked up enough Provinces that the game was going to be tight. I was keeping track of both cards and points. On my turn I picked up an Estate (leaving two) and getting to 49 cards. Then both players (including the one that was WAY behind) picked up Estates and ended the game. I thought I had lost.

But I counted my cards and it turns out I actually had 50 (this wasn't the last time that I miscounted during the tournament). I got my first win. Barely.

First learning: Even when the strategy is VERY clear and your strategy is perfect and your opponents do not play close to optimally, it’s still possible to lose in Dominion.

Game 2:
I advanced 3 tables to Table F (Set 2)
Here are the cards: Adventurer, Council Room, Festival, Market, Militia, Mine, Moat, Remodel, Spy, Throne Room

This was by far the worse set of the bunch. In theory there is a cool combo here: Open Militia/Silver. Then pick up Festivals (over Gold) and Council Rooms, one more Militia and Throne Rooms. Basically build a deck that draws itself using Council Rooms and then Militia’s everyone back down to 3 cards.

The other option is to just play Militia-BM.

GoBlue and I tested this set on Saturday morning. The Militia-BM destroys the fun combo (Moat makes a big difference. The BM player can pick up Moat on a $2 turn and, with the draw from CR gets it in his hand often enough that he can get his own mega turn right after the F-CR-M draw). I think a Village addition to this board or the removal of Moat would have made it a lot more interesting.
So I did the simple thing on this board and went BM with Festivals and Militias. I was player three this time.

Player one had no idea what they were doing. Player two was playing ‘OK’. Bough more actions than he should have. Bought money. Bought Council Room, but didn’t commit to it.

I ended up drawing $7 a lot and picked up more Gold than I needed (but I wasn’t ready for Duchies yet). Just before a reshuffle I picked up two Remodels on $4 draws – thinking I could turn one of my many Golds into a Province. No such luck. I ended up drawing them together. At least I remodeled a Remodel into a Duchy and used two silvers and a copper to pick up a second Duchy. But if those Remodels had been Silvers I could have just got a Province and had a much better deck for the next cycle.

I ended up getting second after the 1st player picked up the second last province and the 2ndplayer the last. Losing by 2 points with $10 in hand. Ah well – first player wins on a big money board. No big surprise.

Game 3:
The interesting thing with the rotation format is that if you win a game you play people who came in 2nd, 3rd, and 4th. So since I came 2nd, this was my first game against someone who had just won. Everyone thought he was the guy to beat at the table. Apparently he was known in the Detroit gaming community as being good at Dominion (I asked him, but he said he doesn’t play online).

It was also my first four-player game. Here was the set:
Conspirator, Courtyard, Mining Village, Minion, Saboteur, Secret Chamber, Steward, Trading Post, Tribute

This was a more interesting set. In a two player match I think the strategy is Mining Village-Conspirator-Minion. Rush the Minions, then pick up Provinces. When the Minions are running out of steam, start trashing Mining Villages ensuring you pick up a Province every turn (No +buy means you really need that province)

But in a 4-player match things look a lot different. If everyone rushes Minions then they turn out to be not a lot better than Silvers (2-3 Minions will not get you very far). If the other three players are going that route, the best play may be starting with Courtyard-Steward, and then transitioning to Mining Village-Conspirator. I would have to watch the other players carefully.

I started second player, but I was second to the local superstar – the guy I was most worried about.
Then I looked at my hand - $5. 5/2 on this board is as fantastic as it is terrible on the Workshop/Gardens board. I could open Trading Post/Courtyard and then move into either of the two strategies I was considering depending on what everyone else did. And a Trading Post open on its own can often win you a game. I was feeling pretty comfortable.

Until Local Superstar opened Trading Post.

The good news was his $2 selection was Secret Chamber. Which is a nice defense against Minion, but not as good as the flexibility and deck acceleration a Courtyard gives you.

The other two players fell behind very fast.

Trading Post gives you very good odds of hitting $5. And when I drew it with Courtyard I would just push it back a turn, as long as it didn’t cause a reshuffle. I ended up getting a bunch of Minions unopposed (starting by thinking they were as good as Silvers, but then realizing I could just do a 2p Minion strategy since no one else was doing it).

Local Superstar went the Tribute route which only accelerated my deck flow.

The game was relatively close on Provinces when L.S. picked up a Saboteur (as he said: For S&Gs – Shits and Giggles). I think it was a pretty big mistake. He hit my Trading Post later that I converted into an Estate. But it didn’t matter. My Minion Engine in the streamlined deck the Trading Post gave me let me start picking up Provinces (or more Minions) every turn. I won by a good margin. It would have been closer if he hadn’t gone Sab, but the outcome would have been the same.

Game 4:
I was hoping to play this set from the beginning:  Bank, Contraband, Expand, Goons, Rabble, Royal Seal, Mint, Monument, Watchtower, Worker’s Village

Goons is my best card according to Council Room and this was a Goons paradise – Worker’s Village for the actions (and more buys), Rabble/Watchtower for the draw, play multiple Goons, then buy a TON of copper (from the Goons and WV +buys) and trash with the Watchtower. Boom.

Even though the strategy here should be as obvious as the Workshop/Gardens the execution is a lot more nuanced, and I knew I was good at this particular nuance.

It was a three player match, but I was pretty confident that Worker’s Villages would become the limiting factor later in the game. It’s dangerous to get too many too early, but if you don’t get them early they may not be there. I over invested in them (I think I ended up with 6-7 of them) which put me behind at the start of the game. The other two players went heavily into Rabbles – which hurt a surprising amount in multiplayer. Since Rabbles stack getting hit by two at the start of the game almost ensures your next hand with have a couple of Estates. The must be devastating in the end game after you’ve greened even a little (which wasn’t a problem on this board).

I took a risk about midgame and bought a mint – trashing 5 copper and a silver. It took me VERY low in cash (I think I had $4 in treasure left), but dramatically increased the odds I hit a mega turn, which I desperately needed. Turns after that usually looked like this:
WV-WV-Watchtower (draw 4 cards – since I had almost always been hit by a Goon)-WV-WV-Rabble-WV-Rabble-WV-WV-Goons
Buy a bunch of copper and trash with Watchtower.

I managed one mega turn with two Goons which caught me up, but not ahead as the player who went first (I went third) had picked up a bunch of green.

At this point we were very low on piles. Player one (who was leading) picked up a Goons leaving one behind. Player 3 then had a choice- pick up the last Goons and then game ends with him in third. Or buy some Green and get into second place. Then I (presumably) buy the Goons and end the game ahead.

Since placement in the tournament didn’t matter he hesitated, “Wow. I guess this makes me kingmaker.”
He chose not to buy the Goons. I thanked him and had another big turn (only one Goons played though, bur lots of WV) and ended it. More on kingmaking later.


Game 5:
At this point I was 3-1. It was pretty clear that I was going to the semi-finals. It looked like you were only going to need 2 wins to make it, so I had room to spare. That and I was playing in a 3-player game with two people who had yet to win a game all day. I decided to play around a little with a somewhat interesting set:
Baron, Bridge, Duke, Great Hall, Ironworks, Masquerade, Nobles, Pawn, Torturer, Upgrade

I figured the right way to play with was Masquerade/Ironworks, and then use IW to pick up Great Halls, Masq to trash Estates/Coppers and otherwise just go big money.

But I thought there might be something fun with using Ironworks to pick up a ton of $4 cards and use Upgrade to convert them all into Duchies and Dukes.
I opened 5/2 (which happened way more than it should have over the course of the day – twice to my advantage, but otherwise terrible). I picked up an Upgrade and gave my alternative strategy a go.

It didn’t work at all. After the Great Halls and Ironworks were gone I had killed my economy and  my Upgrades couldn’t connect with my Ironworks. I started picking up Bridges to just end it on piles (I was ahead).

On what I thought could be my last turn I was ready to end it, but I would have left 1 bridge. And if the player to my left picked up a Province and the third player picked up the last bridge I would lose. I left what I thought were 2 bridges so I could end it next turn.

No province purchase.

Somehow I had messed up and left three bridges. I drew two more Ironworks and was left with the same dilemma as the turn before. I picked up one bridge.

No province purchase.

This time I drew a single Ironworks and couldn’t end it again. I kept picking up Estates so I wouldn’t fall too far behind. I didn’t know what was going on with the Masquerade trades between the other two players, but I still thought I was ahead (which shows just how far I was ahead with three dead turns in a row)

No province purchase, but this time the third player picked up the last Nobles and ended it there.

Scores were tallied and I tied the third player (not the second one that was ahead when I started this freeze-up). We had the same number of turns though, so we both got a win.
I qualified for finals with a 4-1 record (the one loss the second place finish on the big-money board)
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ednever

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Re: Tournament Write-up: Detroit Metro Gamers, June 22nd, 2012
« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2012, 02:21:24 pm »
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Semi Finals
Shiloh needed four games for the semi-finals – the winner of each in single elimination advancing to the finals. That meant a maximum of 16 players and a minimum of 12 players. Unfortunately there were less than 12 players who had won two of more games. So he was forced to include people who had 1-4 records into the semi-finals.

There were five players who entered the semi-finals with 4-1 records (Me, Robz, Shark Bait, Atariman and one other guy. No one was undefeated). These 5 favorites were spread among the tables, but one table had to have two of us. Shark Bait and I were at that table along with GoBlue and Invincible Overlord (who was one of the 1-4 entrants)

At the last minute Shiloh changed his mind and moved IO to a different table. He figured that Shark Bait and I should be at a 3-p table given both of our records.
(Two more interesting pieces: Shark Bait’s only loss was to GoBlue on the Workshop Kingdom – where GB had first player to SB’s third player, both playing the same mirror; GoBlue had a 2-3 record, but his 3 “losses” were all 2nd place finishes. Two of them to the same guy (who would later be in the finals), and all of them from starting in 3rd or 4th position)

We drew for 1st player and Shark Bait got it. It was the most interesting Kingdom of the day (All Intrigue and Hinterlands, randomly chosen by Shiloh)
Oasis, Shanty Town, Silk Road, Scout, Mining Village, Spice Merchant, Embassy, Haggler, Harem, Nobles

My two initial thoughts:
1-   Silk Roads are key here. I need to win that split at all costs
2-   Scout may actually be a very useful card…

From #2 I figured Oasis would be more useful than Silvers in dumping my green to get to good cards.

SB opened 5/2 and picked up a Haggler/Nothing.
GB went second 4/3 and did Spice Merchant/Silver (I think)
I went third 5/2 as well (!) and also went Haggler/Nothing (but seriously considered picking up an Estate. I thought there would be a serious rush for green and things would end very early on piles. I decided against it very tentatively).

What happened next:
GB went for a Big-Moneyesc strategy picking up a couple of Embassies, Gold and diving into Provinces. Leaving SB and I to contest the Silk Roads and the other VPs.
I spoke to GB afterwards and he told me something along the lines of, “I knew you guys were both good and had a lot of experience with Silk Roads. I knew how to play Silk Roads a little, but nowhere near as good as you two. My best bet was to do something different and have that route all to myself.” He was likely right. If we had all gone SR’s the game would have ended a lot faster and our 5/2 openings would have likely made GB uncompetitive.

SB’s next play was to pick up another Haggler and a Spice Merchant (I think both Spice Merchant buys – by both SB and GB were mistakes). He also took the time to pick up at least two Scouts after he had greened a little picking up some Harems and Silk Roads.

I picked up a Harem/Haggler on a lucky $6 (with a Haggler play), then I dove into Silk Roads right away – picking up Oasis every time I had a Haggler in play (which was a lot). Then I moved into Duchies (even on $6 hands) and Estates when I couldn’t do that.

It was neck and neck with SB and me. I won the SR’s split and had two more green cards. We were both picking up a single green card every turn. It looked like the only way I could win was be on the right side of a VP Card/4 split so my SR’s were worth more than his.
Silk Roads and Oasis were empty. And Duchies were running low.

SB picked up a Duchy. Then GB picked up a Duchy. Leaving one left.

I thought SB was at 15 green cards and I was at 17, so this was my chance to end it. I thought I had the game. I picked up the last Duchy.
But when SB added up his green he had 16. I miscounted.
I thought he had the game.

But I made some other miscount along the way and I actually won 50-48-~43.

In a way this was a King Maker game too. GoBlue’s purchase of the second last Duchy let me end it before SB’s turn (To be fair, if he hadn’t I would have picked up a Harem/Haggler or Harem/Scout. SB picks up the Duchy, and then, if GB does not pick up the Duchy to end it, I pick up the last Duchy. SB ends with 51 points, but I have 55 – if I drew enough for a Duchy on that second turn AND GB didn’t pick up the last Duchy) More importantly he purchased two Embassies. Those two extra Silvers helped my Economy a lot and surely gave me the ability to pick up Duchies, when otherwise I would have been forced to get Estates. SB had spent more time building up his economy and would not have been in as much trouble (in fact, with the silvers he was able to buy a Province at one point which I was never close to).
SB should write something on his scout plays. Every time he played one it did wonders for him – either setting up his next turn, or letting him activate a Shanty Town and determine what he drew with it. I doubt you will find a better board for Scout than this one.
(I bought a scout but never got to play it before the game ended)

I was on to the finals.

« Last Edit: June 25, 2012, 02:48:46 pm by ednever »
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ednever

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Re: Tournament Write-up: Detroit Metro Gamers, June 22nd, 2012
« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2012, 02:23:33 pm »
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Finals
There were four of us in the finals:
Me
Robz
The guy who won the two games against GoBlue (let’s call him “2 on GoBlue – 2oGb); and
Invincible Overlord

A few things changed for the finals:
First, instead of just using one or two sets, Shiloh mixed in all the sets except Alchemy.
Second, at my request (and agreed by the other players) we drew not only for who would start, but for seating order – i.e., we drew for first, second, third and fourth. (I was worried about strategizing on where to sit. I wasn’t sure if I should be the seat before or after Robz. Either a 25% chance of being fourth player to his 1st, otherwise being ahead of him – or vice versa. I thought leaving it up to chance was likely more fair)

The play order would be:
IO, me, Robz, 2oGB

I was pretty happy with this. I didn’t have first seat, but I was ahead of Robz who I was most worried about. Neither IO nor 2oGB played online and were still figuring out some of the cards (Even at the end 2oGB thought that he got Victory Points for his Pirate Ship tokens – like Monument or Goons (which kind of make sense if you had played Prosperity but never Seaside)).

Here was the final set:
$3- Fortune Teller, Steward, Loan
$4- Pirate Ship, Scout, Remake
$5- Cartographer, Lab
$7- Expand, Bank
(It was a Colony Game)

Ugly, ugly set.

I spent a long time looking it over. No extra actions, no extra buys. No way to generate $s except treasure, Steward and Pirate Ship. And with four players it could quickly turn into a Pirate Ship battle – everyone’s treasure would get destroyed and the game would devolve into buying Estates and end on piles.

But, because there are no extra actions – and the only cantrips were $5 – and decks are going to be small – there isn’t a lot of reason to buy extra actions either. So maybe not on piles.

It could turn into a real stalemate – can’t buy money or it just gets destroyed. No reason to buy actions. Don’t have money to buy green. Maybe the game ends on Pirate Ship/Estate/Duchy piles? In which case getting an early province or two may make all the difference.
When I spoke to GoBlue afterwards he thought the right play was to get an Expand quickly and then just grow your deck up slowly after all your treasure is gone. I know Robz thought about Remaking his deck up, but with Gold being the only $6 card you risk having it destroyed after you get it up that far.

After a lot of thought, my plan was to open Pirate Ship/Loan (I thought about Steward to kill the Estates, but I knew I wanted more Pirate Ships and was worried the actions would conflict). If I could get my deck to 2 Pirate Ships + 3 Estates I could hammer people every turn until I had enough tokens to buy a Colony. At least that was the plan as ugly as it looked.

Unfortunately fate did not smile on me and I opened 5/2 (again!). I thought about Pirate Ship/nothing, but decided I could pick up PS on my next go-around and the Cartographer could help me spin my deck a lot faster, so I went that way. I also thought “It might be a long time before I see $5 again.”

2oGB opened Pirate Ship. I think the other two went Remake. The only $3 purchase I remember was IO. He picked up a Fortune Teller. Given IO’s record and that purchase I stopped worrying about him (which was a mistake as we will soon see). With a limited number of terminals, Fortune Teller was not the right choice on this board. I don’t remember the other $3 purchases. Likely Silvers?

On turn 3 I had $3. I picked up a Loan.
On turn four I had $3 again. Arg. I picked up a Silver.
Turn five. $3 again.

It took me WAY too long to get my Pirate Ship. Looking back I definitely should have opened PS/nothing. Those early hits with the PS would have been invaluable. Then I could have moved to Steward to trash down the Estates while getting hit with other people’s PS kills my coppers without having to buy Loan. I could have easily got to a 5 card deck of PS+PS+Steward+Copper+Copper (maybe an Estate instead of a copper if the cards landed that way). And I could have powered up the Pirate Ships from the start.

That said, the game progressed well. 2oGB only used his PS intermittently and sometimes used it to take $s. Robz saw the power of PS as his whole economy got destroyed and moved there too, but too late. I think he saw the iceberg coming but had no idea how to stop it.
IO ignored the PS’s completely and kept buying green and treasure and remakes at, what seemed to me to be random. He was remaking his Duchies into Golds and then watching the Golds get killed by the three Pirate Ships. We was buying Platinum and having it get destroyed before he even got to play it.

By mid game everyone had a tiny deck and there were three pirate ships attacks a turn – so if you didn’t have your treasure in your hand it was almost guaranteed to be destroyed. The game was shut down. The only thing that kept it going was 2oGB and Alternate kept buying treasure, which Robz and I (and 2oGB) kept destroying. I managed to get my Pirate Ship mat to $8 and then I started picking up a province a turn (Robz got his to $6 but managed to hold on to a single gold and silver – so if he got really lucky he could pick up a Colony)

I blasted through the Provinces and got to the point where there was only one left. I had a 12 card deck with two Pirate Ships, a Scout and a Cartographer. If I drew my Pirate Ship in any of the next two turns I would win the game.

I shuffled my full deck. I had Robz cut it. I drew 4 Provinces and a Cartographer.

OK I said. There are only 6 cards in my deck. I just need to play the Cartographer. There is a 2/7 chance it draws a Pirate Ship. If it doesn’t I can still discard what I want to guarantee a Pirate Ship next turn. So I win one way or the other – even if someone picks up a Colony this turn (which I thought unlikely). I figured I was going to Nationals.

Then IO played his Fortune Teller. I flipped over the first card: Pirate Ship! If he hadn’t played the Fortune Teller I would have drawn it with my Cartographer and won.

Second card: Pirate Ship!

That put both in my discard! I would need it to flip a bunch more so my Cartographer could cause a reshuffle guaranteeing my PS next turn.
Next flip: Province! Flipping stops. Leaving 5 cards in my deck.

I’m pretty sure any other combination of cards would have given me the game. The only way I lost was if my 12 cards were lined up x x x x x PS PS Green x x x x. Even so, I still have a shot.

I play my Cartographer. I discard everything, and now I’m in the same place next turn – I need to draw one of my Pirate Ships to win. I think the odds of drawing a one of two cards in a 12 card deck is about 70%.

It doesn’t happen. And I don’t even get my Scout or Cartographer.

I do draw it after that, but it’s too late.

Invincible Overlord picks up the last Province for the win.

Even if he didn’t, I was far enough behind at that point that I would have had to get a Duchy to catch up. More likely I would have started attacking again to take down the economies people had built up while I had been buying Provinces, with the hope of getting a Colony 4 turns down the line before Alternate could pick up that Province.

I was pretty disappointed, but them’s the breaks.

I did think about what I could have done differently:
(1)   Pick up that Pirate Ship on turn one

(2)   I bought a second Steward hoping to decrease the odds my treasure was hit by the other Pirate Ships. I shouldn’t have. Not getting treasure in a 2P Pirate Ship game is often the right call. But in a 4p game it hurts you, but doesn’t really hurt the PS player very much – assuming the other two people are picking up treasure, which they were.

(3)   After I picked up 1-2 provinces and people started recovering their economies I should have gone back to attacking. Three more turns of hitting their money would have made it a lot harder for them to buy green. Instead of 5 Provinces, I would have had 2 Provinces and an $11 Pirate Ship mat. And with the smaller deck I would have been guaranteed of hitting a PS every turn. Two turns later I would have more VP and less green than I actually did (5 Provinces vs. 2 Provinces, 2 Colonies) and everyone else would have a lot less Green and a lot less Treasure.

Or I could have just got a little luckier and not started 5/2 or been able to draw that damn Pirate Ship one more time.

Congratulations to Invincible Overlord and good luck at Nationals!

And it was great to meet Shark Bait, Robz, Atari, and others in person.

Next post is some thoughts I’ve had on tournaments since going through this one.
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ednever

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Re: Tournament Write-up: Detroit Metro Gamers, June 22nd, 2012
« Reply #4 on: June 25, 2012, 02:25:08 pm »
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Thoughts on Tournaments:

This is a series of thoughts on how I would run a tournament now after going through this last one:
1-   The prelim rounds were great. There are a lot of people who want to play in these tournaments who are not experienced. It’s a great chance for them to play. It also means that the quality of play is not going to be great in prelims, meaning experienced players should be able to take 1st or 2nd in most of their games.

2-   Because of (1) I think evaluating on wins makes sense. I would use 2nd place finishes for tie breakers
      a.   I would definitely seed everyone at the end of the prelims and use that for seating in finals. I would also use that seating for turn order in finals too. Something like this (first listed plays first, second second, etc.):
               i.   Table 1: 1, 8, 9, 16
               ii.   Table 2: 2, 7, 10, 15
               iii.   Table 3: 3, 6, 11, 14
               iv.   Table 4: 4, 5, 12, 13
      b.   This gives a good edge to the top four from the prelims on the match that really matters. It means you want to play well even after you’ve won your first two games in prelims.

3-   The movement around the table worked well, but it did mean that doing well (but not perfect) gave you a chance to end up playing the same kingdom more than once – two 2nds and a win put you back at the table you started at. This happened to GoBlue. I think it’s worth thinking of a better way to do this to ensure that doesn’t happen. Maybe it means seeding after each round. Top ¼ of players assigned to kingdoms they have not played. Then next ¼ do the same thing (trying to pair the weakest 2nd quartile with the strongest 1st quartile). Etc.
      a.   Second problem with this method is that if you come 1st/2nd and another player comes 2nd/1st you end up playing each other in your third game (also happened to GoBlue and 2oGB)

4-   I think every set would be hand-picked. It should be designed so that there are multiple paths to victory – no IGG rush, no Workshop/Gardens – and such that big money is not the best play. In this tournament I think Set E is a great example. I never got to play it in the tournament, but I’m still not sure how to play it – do you use Ambassadors to shrink your deck and then create triple Tactician turns using Lighthouse, Fishing Village and Outpost? Do you go with a simple Warehouse->Treasure Map? Or maybe it’s Ambassador->Treasure Map->Salvager (kill Golds and pick up Provinces). Maybe you don’t need the Ambassador at all? How does it change if other people are going Ambassador? If no one goes Ambassador, should you? Just so you can gum up attempts by others to connect Treasure Maps? GoBlue and I practiced a 2p game with this set in the morning before the tournament. He went Warehouse-Treasure Map. I built the Tactician Engine. He won by one point (after I emptied the curse pile on him). I think the answer is inconclusive. That’s what a good tournament kingdom should be.

5-   Tournament Kingdoms should be designed to limit the later-player disadvantages. Techniques from #4 will help (no rushes helps, as does multiple strategies – especially rock-paper-scissor strategies), but I’ll bet more could be done by thinking about it

6-   I’m going to go further to suggest two more ‘house rules’ to make the starting order less terrible when you have a limited number of games to play:
      a.   You are allowed to see you first hand and re-shuffle as many times as you are player order (i.e., first player gets stuck with it, second player is allowed one re-shuffle, third player 3 reshuffles, fourth player four reshuffles. Maybe fourth player just chooses his first two hands?). This limits the danger that Player one gets a 5/2 on a Trading Post board and no one else does. Game Over. I even thought about going so far as to have P2 dictate Player One’s initial hand, but that might be overkill
      b.   On a tie, the player with the worst starting order wins. I actually think this should be a standard rule. I took a look at my Council Room stats. If every time I was Second Player my tie counted as a win, and every time I was First Player my tie counted as a loss, I would STILL have a better record as first player. And this eliminated ties completely from the game. I’m curious what Donald would think of this.

7-   I think I’ve come to piece with single elimination finals. I think with the kingdom design followed above and the two “House Rules”, ‘big stakes’ elimination games can be very exciting and even fun for spectators to watch. It makes Dominion more like the SuperBowl (“Any given Sunday anyone can win”) and less like the World Series. There is something to be said when every game is “Game 7”.


I hope you enjoyed the commentary. I hope Atariman, Shark Bait, Robz, GoBlue and others who were there can add some additional color.
Looking forward to my next tournament.

Ed
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Re: Tournament Write-up: Detroit Metro Gamers, June 22nd, 2012
« Reply #5 on: June 25, 2012, 02:35:00 pm »
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Just a quick note - the semi game is actually a mix of intrigue and Hinterlands.

ednever

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Re: Tournament Write-up: Detroit Metro Gamers, June 22nd, 2012
« Reply #6 on: June 25, 2012, 02:49:00 pm »
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Fixed. Thanks WW.
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Re: Tournament Write-up: Detroit Metro Gamers, June 22nd, 2012
« Reply #7 on: June 25, 2012, 11:21:53 pm »
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All right, a request for my scout use has been asked.  First off, I never bought scout.  I only gained it with Haggler after purchasing either a Harem or a Duchy.  Ednever said that I purchased a Spice Merchant at the beginning and that he thought it was a mistake.  My reasoning for this was that it would make my scout more effective later in the game and additionally, allow me to play my Haggler more frequently.

Ednever won the SR split in this game partially because I was hoping to purchase a few provinces (I only managed 1).  What Scout did was set up both my current turn and my next turn.  On the turn I played it, it drew green and allowed me to reorder the cards.  I could then use either Oasis or Shanty Town to draw the ones I needed.  For next turn, it helped clear out green that I would have otherwise drawn. 

What I actually think was a potential mistake of mine was prioritizing duchies too early.  For me to get provinces, I really needed Scout to pick up Harems.  I only had 2 Harems before permanently switching to Duchies.  The Trade off with going with a more Harem oriented strategy would have been that more Duchies would have been available for Ed.  This could have gotten him to another SR plateau and I don't know if I could have gotten enough provinces to compensate for that.  All in all, this was a very interesting game.
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Re: Tournament Write-up: Detroit Metro Gamers, June 22nd, 2012
« Reply #8 on: June 26, 2012, 01:06:11 am »
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Thoughts on Tournaments:

This is a series of thoughts on how I would run a tournament now after going through this last one:
1-   The prelim rounds were great. There are a lot of people who want to play in these tournaments who are not experienced. It’s a great chance for them to play. It also means that the quality of play is not going to be great in prelims, meaning experienced players should be able to take 1st or 2nd in most of their games.

2-   Because of (1) I think evaluating on wins makes sense. I would use 2nd place finishes for tie breakers
      a.   I would definitely seed everyone at the end of the prelims and use that for seating in finals. I would also use that seating for turn order in finals too. Something like this (first listed plays first, second second, etc.):
               i.   Table 1: 1, 8, 9, 16
               ii.   Table 2: 2, 7, 10, 15
               iii.   Table 3: 3, 6, 11, 14
               iv.   Table 4: 4, 5, 12, 13
      b.   This gives a good edge to the top four from the prelims on the match that really matters. It means you want to play well even after you’ve won your first two games in prelims.

3-   The movement around the table worked well, but it did mean that doing well (but not perfect) gave you a chance to end up playing the same kingdom more than once – two 2nds and a win put you back at the table you started at. This happened to GoBlue. I think it’s worth thinking of a better way to do this to ensure that doesn’t happen. Maybe it means seeding after each round. Top ¼ of players assigned to kingdoms they have not played. Then next ¼ do the same thing (trying to pair the weakest 2nd quartile with the strongest 1st quartile). Etc.
      a.   Second problem with this method is that if you come 1st/2nd and another player comes 2nd/1st you end up playing each other in your third game (also happened to GoBlue and 2oGB)

4-   I think every set would be hand-picked. It should be designed so that there are multiple paths to victory – no IGG rush, no Workshop/Gardens – and such that big money is not the best play. In this tournament I think Set E is a great example. I never got to play it in the tournament, but I’m still not sure how to play it – do you use Ambassadors to shrink your deck and then create triple Tactician turns using Lighthouse, Fishing Village and Outpost? Do you go with a simple Warehouse->Treasure Map? Or maybe it’s Ambassador->Treasure Map->Salvager (kill Golds and pick up Provinces). Maybe you don’t need the Ambassador at all? How does it change if other people are going Ambassador? If no one goes Ambassador, should you? Just so you can gum up attempts by others to connect Treasure Maps? GoBlue and I practiced a 2p game with this set in the morning before the tournament. He went Warehouse-Treasure Map. I built the Tactician Engine. He won by one point (after I emptied the curse pile on him). I think the answer is inconclusive. That’s what a good tournament kingdom should be.

5-   Tournament Kingdoms should be designed to limit the later-player disadvantages. Techniques from #4 will help (no rushes helps, as does multiple strategies – especially rock-paper-scissor strategies), but I’ll bet more could be done by thinking about it

6-   I’m going to go further to suggest two more ‘house rules’ to make the starting order less terrible when you have a limited number of games to play:
      a.   You are allowed to see you first hand and re-shuffle as many times as you are player order (i.e., first player gets stuck with it, second player is allowed one re-shuffle, third player 3 reshuffles, fourth player four reshuffles. Maybe fourth player just chooses his first two hands?). This limits the danger that Player one gets a 5/2 on a Trading Post board and no one else does. Game Over. I even thought about going so far as to have P2 dictate Player One’s initial hand, but that might be overkill
      b.   On a tie, the player with the worst starting order wins. I actually think this should be a standard rule. I took a look at my Council Room stats. If every time I was Second Player my tie counted as a win, and every time I was First Player my tie counted as a loss, I would STILL have a better record as first player. And this eliminated ties completely from the game. I’m curious what Donald would think of this.

7-   I think I’ve come to piece with single elimination finals. I think with the kingdom design followed above and the two “House Rules”, ‘big stakes’ elimination games can be very exciting and even fun for spectators to watch. It makes Dominion more like the SuperBowl (“Any given Sunday anyone can win”) and less like the World Series. There is something to be said when every game is “Game 7”.


I hope you enjoyed the commentary. I hope Atariman, Shark Bait, Robz, GoBlue and others who were there can add some additional color.
Looking forward to my next tournament.

Ed

Ed, great thread and commentary- very helpful read indeed!!!

First off- on the sets, yes those sets were purposely chosen.  Workshop/Gardens I through in there (pre-lim) to make some separation between the average and better players.  Remember, I'm an educator so I want to assess what players know and don't know.  Separates the "A" students from the "B" so to speak.  So you either knew it or you didn't.  However, considering the nature of the combo, probably won't see those cards again- at least not together.

The finals- yes it was an ugly set- done on the randomizer.  I could have re-randomized it to get a smoother set but decided to go with it.  I think its important at the SE round level to be prepared for anything, not every set is going to be like candy, sometimes players will have to grind their way through.  I think it develops some mental toughness.  At the same time, its important to have most of the sets be smooth sailing with various avenues of play.  As I learn more and more on this site and throughout my own play, it will help devolop better sets for tourny play.  Dominiondeck.com can help greatly in this area also.

Comments on your points:

1. Yes I agree- the 5-round pre-lim+ 2 round SE play will remain for next year.

2. Seeding in the Single Elimination rounds will remain also.  However, the scoring will change for pre-lims to this:

From the online tourny:

4player games:

6pts for 1st
4pts for 2nd
2pts for 3rd
0pts for 4th

3player games:

6pts for 1st
3pts for 2nd
0pts for 4th

This still emphasizes "wins" but at the same time gives consistent 2nd and 3rd place finishers a strong chance to enter single elimination.  I think this system truly and fairly represents the strength of each player better.  These new "tournament point" totals will determine who goes to SE rounds.  The top 12-20 will advance (depending on attendance).

I like this system a lot better and I think others will too.

3. The rotation works much better when there are more people.  Its also simple for the GM to use.  This is one of the reasons I will press to get even more people to the tournament next year with you guys' help also.  The magic number is 13 different tables or 39 people.  So if we can get around 40 people then there will be a 100% guarantee that no repeating tables will happen.

4. Thank you.  This is the area where I learned the most and the area where I will work hardest to improve.  Although, everyone seemed to enjoy the sets, I will mix at least 2 sets for all pre-lim games next year.  Also, I will avoid certain combos and/or include better ones.  This is where Dominion can be a real art form- making great sets with lots of intriguing play (no pun intended).

5. Good point

6. Starting play order is an area that I really need to talk to Jay and Donald X about.  In SE rounds I think the higher seeded player should go first.  In pre-lims- rolling dice or random card draw is fine I think.  This is a topic that will be debated and discussed in the coming months.  By next year, there should be a better solution.

7. Yes the 5 round pre-lims and 2 round SE rounds will stay.  Good mix of "regular season" and "playoff season".  This is how the Nationals and World are run every year.  IMO if you are not going to have some rounds of SE then why have a tournament???  The high risk/reward element of SE is always fun to watch and/or be a part of.

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Re: Tournament Write-up: Detroit Metro Gamers, June 22nd, 2012
« Reply #9 on: June 26, 2012, 01:17:15 am »
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Also, do you guys have a burning desire to include Alchemy???

With Dark Ages coming out, I will probably use only the "big" expansions for pre-lims and then for SE rounds mix in some Promo cards, Cornucopia and Guilds (if its out by then) with the those sets.

Alchemy doesn't seem to mix well with the other sets and the expansion itself in not very popular.  What do you think???
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Re: Tournament Write-up: Detroit Metro Gamers, June 22nd, 2012
« Reply #10 on: June 26, 2012, 09:52:17 am »
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Also, do you guys have a burning desire to include Alchemy???

With Dark Ages coming out, I will probably use only the "big" expansions for pre-lims and then for SE rounds mix in some Promo cards, Cornucopia and Guilds (if its out by then) with the those sets.

Alchemy doesn't seem to mix well with the other sets and the expansion itself in not very popular.  What do you think???

Personally I think it's one of the best sets, but I do realize that casual players and some more serious ones aren't fond of the Potion mechanic.  There are some cards that greatly extend the length of games, though, especially IRL (Philosopher's Stone, Scrying Pool, Golem, and Apothecary come to mind).  If you are worried about time, I would still include Alchemy but limit it to avoid the timesink cards (Apprentice, for instance, doesn't have that problem).  I think Alchemy might be the most complex expansion (it's at least in the top 3), so if you're looking to challenge the top players, you can't really exclude it all the way.
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Re: Tournament Write-up: Detroit Metro Gamers, June 22nd, 2012
« Reply #11 on: June 26, 2012, 12:43:07 pm »
+1

I was there, and was one of the 4-1 players going into the Semis.  I played against Robz, who I believe was also 4-1, so I'm not sure about the equal distribution of the 4-1 players.   Our semi was a total fiasco from my point of view.  I got behind, and felt like I had to Saboteur.  It was a slow game, so I thought I could take out his golds almost as quick as he bought them.   THe other player did the same, so it's basically us (behind) trying to take stuff away from Rob.    But shockingly, we were unable to hit a single Province (as he bought them), and only one gold.  We basically saboteured every single SILVER out of his hand for him, as he upgraded to Gold!    So that game Rob won handily - 40something to 20something, and me heading home with my tail between my legs. 

That being said, the tournament was a load of fun.   I played against Matt A twice in the regular games, who I got the feeling was a really competent player from the Detroit region.  I lost once, and he lost once.   I thought he was 4-1 going into the semis too, but maybe not.
 

It was a great time, and Shiloh did a great job organizing.  There were glitches, but nothing that didn't get handled smoothly.   And I ended up with a set of the "Base Cards" from the raffle.     

« Last Edit: June 26, 2012, 12:47:28 pm by elkabong »
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ednever

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Re: Tournament Write-up: Detroit Metro Gamers, June 22nd, 2012
« Reply #12 on: June 26, 2012, 02:23:59 pm »
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Also, do you guys have a burning desire to include Alchemy???

With Dark Ages coming out, I will probably use only the "big" expansions for pre-lims and then for SE rounds mix in some Promo cards, Cornucopia and Guilds (if its out by then) with the those sets.

Alchemy doesn't seem to mix well with the other sets and the expansion itself in not very popular.  What do you think???

I don't see a reason not to include Alchemy. There are two ways to do it:

(1) A tiny number of Alchemy cards - the way it is done on isotrpoic. It leads to very strategic decisions on whether to go potion or not (with nt usually being the right answer - but definitely not always!)

(2) A significant number of alchemy cards (but much less than 6). Here is where alchemy shines and everyone goes for a potion off the top.

Alchemy encourages the use of actions - which is, in my opinion, more fun than just buying treasure most of the time.

There are also great combos you can put into Alchemy games that are much harder to set up than workshop/gardens (i.e., Herbalist/Phil Stone, University/Apprentice, Alchemist/Herbalist, Apothecary/Herbalist) and lots of nuanced strategies with cards from outside the set (Apprentice/Hoard, Golem+a power card, Golem/Tunnel (throw in Apprentice...), and tons more) - plus fun counters you can throw in (Minions vs Alchemist for example)

Apothecary itself is a very advanced card that is hard to play correctly. Put it in the right kingdom and I have confidence that it will differentiate between great and medium players.

=-=-=
Cornucopia is also a fun expansion with lots of cards that take some experience to play well.

The only cards I can think of I would avoid in a tournament are Familiar (way too random on who gets in on turn 3/4 - unless you put it in a kingdom where you SHOULDN'T play it...), and Tournament (ironically? Due to the winner-take-all nature of who gets the first province - and giving the first player even more advantage, and increasing the randomness even more...)


Ed
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Re: Tournament Write-up: Detroit Metro Gamers, June 22nd, 2012
« Reply #13 on: June 26, 2012, 03:03:40 pm »
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Hi everybody,

Ed, your thoughts on the tournament were very well said. Thanks to Shiloh for organizing. It really was a very, very fun day. And it was great to meet Dominion fans in person!

Probably the two biggest suggestions for improving the tournament, from my standpoint would be A) fairly distributing turn order, and B) randomizing sets. I actually think A is much more important than B. Everybody has to have a chance to go first a roughly equal number of times. Then perhaps you seed turn order for semis and final match based on overall wins, then seconds, then thirds, etc.

I didn't particularly mind playing the prelims with just one set each. I understand that this is logistically simpler, and from my standpoint perfectly okay. Mixing in a second set to each prelim match would of course bump up the quality considerably but... dunno how feasible it is. Anyway, the thing is, we had sort of every level of play here, so the Workshop/Gardens set where that was absolutely the dominant strategy... that was going to trip up probably all the people who were Dominion amateurs, and perhaps even some of the middle skill players. If everybody was a Dominion master, then you would have to nix that set, but based on the range in skill, I thought it was okay.

Next post... thoughts on my games.
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Re: Tournament Write-up: Detroit Metro Gamers, June 22nd, 2012
« Reply #14 on: June 26, 2012, 03:35:16 pm »
+1

Okay, here we go.

Prelims

# 1 My first set was Prosperity, which was definitely ugh for me. I don't like Prosperity, especially pure Prosperity. And I drew third seat. Yuck!

Anyway, this was clearly a Goons/Worker's Village/Watchtower thing. I opened Monument/Silver and spiked a Goons pretty much immediately. I soon realized the Worker's Villages were going to be super important to have enough of, and we all split them roughly equally. Player 2 probably had the better deck and got his mega-ish turn off first (playing 2 Goons at once), and I thought I was in bad shape. So, I greened really, really hard, picking up Estates in fistfuls. He made a mistake, I think, buying the last Watchotwer and clearing the way for me to end on piles (WVs, Watchtowers, Estates). In the end I beat him by I think 1 point. Yes!

# 2 Intrigue was next for me, and I love Intrigue (second favorite set after Hinterlands) so I was happy here, although again I drew third seat. This wasn't the one with Minions/Conspirators/Mining Villages, it was the one with Inronworks/Masquerade/Torturer. And Dukes, which is what I end up going for, almost immediately. I don't see much engine potential--Nobles are the only village-type card, and we all know how that works. So I don't see Torturer being much of a factor. The other option is I guess BM Masq, but I like Duke, so let's do that. I open Ironworks/Silver to take advantage of Great Hall. This leaves me a little more cash-strapped then you usually want to be for a Duke deck, but it doesn't matter. One of the guys knows what I'm doing but not really sure how to stop it. The other guy is really lost. This would have been an easy win, but Player 1 plays his Masquerade when he only has two cards left in hand, and passes Player 2 a Duchy (!). This makes the game closer, but I still win.

# 3Next, I play the Workshop/Gardens set. I draw first player, and one of the other people (the guy who eventually wins--Invincible Overlord?) gets a 5/2. So this is pretty much my game to lose. The other player, she picks up a Thief that does in fact end up depriving me of 3 pt Gardens, but I still win, by virtue of getting so many of them.

# 4I totally blow it on the other Base set. I do Militia/Silver, and then just essentially try to play Council Room BM. With 2 CRs. And a Moat. And a Militia. So when I draw CR/CR/Milita/Moat/Copper on the first turn of whatever reshuffle that was, I really have no one to blame but myself. And I lose here.

# 5 I actually lose this one too, so my record was not 4-1! It was 3-2. This was the other Intrigue set, the zanier one. Swindler makes this a pretty random game I think. We actually have to restart it fairly early because I screwed up and accidentally shuffled in the whole Curse pile. One of my opponent's plays Tribute and flips 2 Curses of mine, and he gets nothing. Only later do I realize why that happened... Fortunately, since 2 wins advanced you to the semis, and 2 of us already had 2 wins and the other guy won after we restarted the game, my screw up didn't cost anybody a seat in the semis. As for the game, I tried to concentrate on Gold rather than Minions, because Swindlers were destroying absolutely everything. In the end, I think that was right, and it was very close between me and the other guy, who might have gotten a touch luckier at the end.

Semis

Elkabong did not exaggerate the amount of good luck I got here. I think I ended the game with 7 Provinces, and not a single one ever hit by my 2 opponents and their 3 Saboteurs. Trust me, I was shuffling. And shuffling, and shuffling, because it just made no sense. I would draw my hand and see 2 Provinces already out of the way. Then they would play Saboteur, and I would turn over Curse, Curse, Estate, Copper, Copper, Silver. Trash my Silver. Next hand, there are all the Gold and Provinces. And my Courtyards meant ti was basically fine to have hands of Gold and Provinces, because I could still reach $8 or $6 a couple times per shuffle. I still think my choices in the game were better than my opponents. Elkabong, was that you who tried the Scout/Great Hall thing? I just don't see that working here, or possibly ever. I double Witched super aggressively, and got a bit unlucky with Chapel and just could never trash stuff. Fortunately, the Saboteurs always sifted through it for me. It was like a textbook example of why Saboteur doesn't work, except times 1,000.

Final The turn order is Invincible Overlord, then Ed, then me, then Player 4. And, as Ed already laid out the set pretty well, I'll just say that it confused me. I know Pirate Ship is often dominating in 4 player. And this looked pretty Pirate Shippy. No virtual money, or actions, or buys! But can PS get to Colony territory? And if not, can anything else, given the presence of PS? Well, I screwed this one up, definitely. IO did not go for PS, Ed got 5/2... and I should have gone PS immediately. Instead, I messed around with Remake/Loan and even Steward. The 4th guy did go Pirate Ship. Then so did Ed. Eventually, when I see that I will never have a deck going ever, because every treasure is just destroyed, I belatedly go for that too. When my first PS misses entirely, I get discouraged and Remake 2 PSes into Labs, and then get another PS later. Idiocy, sets me back greatly.

At least the good thing is I have absolutely no Treasure, and can draw my 7 card deck every turn to play Pirate Ship. IO just keeps buying Treasure that gets killed off--Platina, Gold, Banks. Player 4 is ahead in VP but didn't get his ships up quite high enough, and is still buying Treasure. SO I am catching up there, in terms of PS value, because mine don't miss (the only person with no Treausre is me). Ed's miss now and then, but he is way ahead in terms of value, and I think the game is all but his. I remake my 2 Labs into Gold. My PS is worth $6, so PS with my Gold is enough for Colony. And Player 4 destroys one of those immediately, and I have to buy a Silver. Okay, I can get Colony SOME of the time, depending on draws. I also have a Scout, which is ostensibly for the purpose of getting my Green out of the way so that I always end up with PS/Gold/Silver... which of course doesn't happen. Thanks Scout.

And Invincible Overlord wins! The only no PS guy. It's crazy. And actually a bit satisfying, to see the guy who lost Platina, Bank, and Gold to our rapacious ships, comfortably take the win. As Ed points out, he got quite a bit unlucky to not seal the deal. I can't complain about me losing, though, as it was my own strategy's fault.

So much fun, though! Very nice to meet all these people in person, including people I know from only online, like Ed and shark bait.
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Re: Tournament Write-up: Detroit Metro Gamers, June 22nd, 2012
« Reply #15 on: June 27, 2012, 01:12:11 am »
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What a blast. Thanks for organizing it.

I came in first in the first game, second in the second game, third in the third game, and first in the fourth and fifth games.

This qualified me for the elimination round. I was in a 3-player rather than 4-player game, so that was easier on us. The cards were mostly from the Seaside expansion, which my opponents had never played, and which I've been playing for years.

I noticed they both bought Outposts, widely considered one of the worst cards in the game.

I used Ambassador to put my least useful cards into my opponents' decks, and Salvager to recycle the rest for money. This left me with a tiny powerhouse deck of cards into which I put two Treasure Maps, and used Haven to store them so they came up together. The Treasure Maps put four Golds on top of my discard pile. My opponents complimented me on these fancy stunts and said they were in awe. We all agreed I had the game in the bag.

But when the score was counted, I lost by four points. It took too long to set up all those flashy stunts, and I wasn't able to catch up on their early lead. Salvaging a Province to buy a Province was particularly overconfident of me.

But no matter! I won the new base card reprints with gorgeous illustrations!

Here are my thoughts. This didn't get as many people as the Dominion tournaments I run at Penguicon (usually at least 28 people), but that doesn't matter, because it went longer. I can't get anybody to play more than two games of Dominion in a row at Penguicon, what with all the other distracting things going on that they could be doing instead. Michicon was a better venue an official competition, if for nothing else than the fact that it was small enough for the tournament to be the crown jewel of the con.

I also understand why it was at Michicon rather than U-Con: U-Con, while huger, is in November, whereas Michicon falls right before the rest of the competition.

In the future, I would like Cornucopia in the tournament, except without the Tournament card. A Dominion tournament without Cornucopia, Horse Traders, Remake? Those are solid, quintessential parts of the Dominion experience, beloved far and wide. I don't mind if you leave out Alchemy, but that's only because a tournament is on a timetable and you can't wait for a Golem/Philosopher Stone game to finish. I have no actual objection to Alchemy.

All in all, please let me know if my services can be useful to the tournament next year. I do graphic design and websites. Plus I run Dominion tournaments, but you've got that part handled expertly.
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Dsell

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Re: Tournament Write-up: Detroit Metro Gamers, June 22nd, 2012
« Reply #16 on: June 27, 2012, 02:21:14 am »
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The Treasure Maps put four Golds on top of my discard pile.

I believe those should go on top of your deck, unless that's what you meant. That could make a real difference!

But yes, treasure map can be a really fun strategy but it is often just too random and slow.
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questioneer

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Re: Tournament Write-up: Detroit Metro Gamers, June 22nd, 2012
« Reply #17 on: June 27, 2012, 05:29:51 pm »
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Yeah I probably use the small expansions (Cornucopia, Alchemy, Guilds, Promos) for the Single Elimination rounds- just to mix some cards from those sets in.  Of course the big expansion sets will be mixed in also.  Thanks for the card suggestions and combo awareness guys- I'll take note of those and research more.

Pre-lims will be mixtures of 2 sets (Dominion, Intrigue, Seaside, Prosperity, Hinterlands and Dark Ages)- just the large expansions here.  I don't know, maybe I'll add the small expansion here too- we'll see, I might change my mind.

Yes, we may do a fall qualifier in Oct-Nov this year (for 2013 US Nationals)- have to wait til I hear something from Jay after GenCon though.  If we do UCon would be the ideal place- in Ann Arbor at UofM.

BTW- IF I DON'T HAVE YOUR EMAIL PLEASE SEND IT TO ME- trying to gather the rest of the emails- I got most of them.
« Last Edit: June 27, 2012, 05:34:22 pm by questioneer »
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questioneer

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Re: Tournament Write-up: Detroit Metro Gamers, June 22nd, 2012
« Reply #18 on: June 27, 2012, 07:20:41 pm »
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2 other topics before I forget,

1.) In the next qualifier, I can have players start with the same split.  Half the boards can start with 5/2 and the other half can start with 4/3.  Each round those same boards will alternate.  This should solve the problem with splits.  Everyone will start with the same split at your table but you won't know which one you will get from round to round.

Do you guys like that idea or do you still like random draw???  I guess I wanna know if random draw is really that bad.  The problem seems to be with everyone starting with the same split then all players seem to buy the same cards the first round.  I'm kinda mixed on the idea.  Talk to me.

2.) As far as who goes first- SE can be seeded this way as I think higher seed should start first- though random card draw is so much easier on me.  For Pre-lims a random draw before the game starts makes sense or paper, rock , scissors or dice.

I guess I should really wait to see how the Nationals and Worlds shake out and ask Donald X these questions myself along with maybe some top players.
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Robz888

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Re: Tournament Write-up: Detroit Metro Gamers, June 22nd, 2012
« Reply #19 on: June 27, 2012, 07:32:57 pm »
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2 other topics before I forget,

1.) In the next qualifier, I can have players start with the same split.  Half the boards can start with 5/2 and the other half can start with 4/3.  Each round those same boards will alternate.  This should solve the problem with splits.  Everyone will start with the same split at your table but you won't know which one you will get from round to round.

Do you guys like that idea or do you still like random draw???  I guess I wanna know if random draw is really that bad.  The problem seems to be with everyone starting with the same split then all players seem to buy the same cards the first round.  I'm kinda mixed on the idea.  Talk to me.

2.) As far as who goes first- SE can be seeded this way as I think higher seed should start first- though random card draw is so much easier on me.  For Pre-lims a random draw before the game starts makes sense or paper, rock , scissors or dice.

I guess I should really wait to see how the Nationals and Worlds shake out and ask Donald X these questions myself along with maybe some top players.

I really like same starting split. I suggested it in the final game, but we decided no.
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ednever

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Re: Tournament Write-up: Detroit Metro Gamers, June 22nd, 2012
« Reply #20 on: June 27, 2012, 08:10:58 pm »
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2 other topics before I forget,

1.) In the next qualifier, I can have players start with the same split.  Half the boards can start with 5/2 and the other half can start with 4/3.  Each round those same boards will alternate.  This should solve the problem with splits.  Everyone will start with the same split at your table but you won't know which one you will get from round to round.

Do you guys like that idea or do you still like random draw???  I guess I wanna know if random draw is really that bad.  The problem seems to be with everyone starting with the same split then all players seem to buy the same cards the first round.  I'm kinda mixed on the idea.  Talk to me.

2.) As far as who goes first- SE can be seeded this way as I think higher seed should start first- though random card draw is so much easier on me.  For Pre-lims a random draw before the game starts makes sense or paper, rock , scissors or dice.

I guess I should really wait to see how the Nationals and Worlds shake out and ask Donald X these questions myself along with maybe some top players.

1- Same split in 3-4 player games makes the games less interesting in my opinion. Better to set up the boards so starting 5/2 is not a significant advantage/disadvantage.

2- In prelims, one way to do it would be reverse order (which is kind of how the game suggests it be done). Basically everyone plays a 4p game. Next round is seeded so that there is someone who came in 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th at a table together. Play order is reverse of how they did the round before. It will make it a lot harder to win all your games if you play fourth every time you win...

Ed
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questioneer

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Re: Tournament Write-up: Detroit Metro Gamers, June 22nd, 2012
« Reply #21 on: June 27, 2012, 10:41:14 pm »
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2 other topics before I forget,

1.) In the next qualifier, I can have players start with the same split.  Half the boards can start with 5/2 and the other half can start with 4/3.  Each round those same boards will alternate.  This should solve the problem with splits.  Everyone will start with the same split at your table but you won't know which one you will get from round to round.

Do you guys like that idea or do you still like random draw???  I guess I wanna know if random draw is really that bad.  The problem seems to be with everyone starting with the same split then all players seem to buy the same cards the first round.  I'm kinda mixed on the idea.  Talk to me.

2.) As far as who goes first- SE can be seeded this way as I think higher seed should start first- though random card draw is so much easier on me.  For Pre-lims a random draw before the game starts makes sense or paper, rock , scissors or dice.

I guess I should really wait to see how the Nationals and Worlds shake out and ask Donald X these questions myself along with maybe some top players.

1- Same split in 3-4 player games makes the games less interesting in my opinion. Better to set up the boards so starting 5/2 is not a significant advantage/disadvantage.

2- In prelims, one way to do it would be reverse order (which is kind of how the game suggests it be done). Basically everyone plays a 4p game. Next round is seeded so that there is someone who came in 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th at a table together. Play order is reverse of how they did the round before. It will make it a lot harder to win all your games if you play fourth every time you win...

Ed

Just talked to Donald X about this.  He suggested some of the same things but is kinda open-ended on this and they don't enforce it at the tournys.  So here is what I think so far for next time:

1. As far as the Split- I'm going to leave it to the players at each table to decide if they all want to use the same split or not.  If they can't unanimously decide or don't care then the default will be the random draw as the rulebook states.  In the meantime, I will try to make the best sets possible.

2. Ed that is exactly what I noticed.  In my rotation system every table has a 1st, 2nd, 3rd and maybe a 4th place finisher from the last game.  Just go in reverse order.  Again, I will leave this up to the players to sort this out respectfully- you guys did a great job Saturday with this.  Remember that its 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th place - ROTATION-wise.  Remember a couple of times where people had ties the game before but for rotation purposes I made them do paper, rock, scissors to keep the rotation smooth- it worked simple enough so I think you guys can handle it. 

3. No extra stuff at tables- Donald X seemed to be against this so I'm going to follow suit here.  No paper, pencil, counting dice, mats or headphones etc. at the tables- just play.  Nationals and Worlds seem to be done the same way.  You will simply be left to brianpower.
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Matt_Arnold

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Re: Tournament Write-up: Detroit Metro Gamers, June 22nd, 2012
« Reply #22 on: June 29, 2012, 10:45:39 pm »
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The Treasure Maps put four Golds on top of my discard pile.

I believe those should go on top of your deck, unless that's what you meant. That could make a real difference!

But yes, treasure map can be a really fun strategy but it is often just too random and slow.
I did mean that, yes.

I would normally not bother, but I already had pretty much my whole deck in my hand at that point of the game, and succombed to temptation.
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