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Author Topic: Dominion US National Championships  (Read 14346 times)

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ednever

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Dominion US National Championships
« on: July 10, 2012, 05:25:31 pm »
+13

Given the amount of controversy around the Online Qualifier (2 of the 4 finalists dropped out and an 18 page forum thread still continues...) I'm a little leery of posting anything, but here goes...

I'm headed to Chicago this weekend to represent DS.com at the US Nationals.

I think this is a fantastic opportunity and I want to share the details with all of you as much as possible.

The easiest way would be a write-up after the event, but maybe I can do better?

One option is that I take pictures and tweet the event (as much as I am allowed). It would let everyone here see the kingdoms in real time (or maybe right after they are played?).

My iPhone does not do a good job with letting me post directly to the forum, but I'm open to other options? Does someone (or some people) want to re-post my tweets here? Or do I email my real-time reports to someone who posts them? Or is the whole 'real-time' thing over rated and people are happy to get a report when I get back on Sunday?

From what I know of the schedule it is:

Friday: Dinner with all the qualifiers
Saturday morning: Prelims
Saturday afternoon: Single elimination semi's and finals
Saturday evening: Dinner with all the qualifiers

Would love the community's thoughts.

I'll do my best to represent.

(Is anyone else from here going to be at the championship? I know Invincible Overloard. Anyone else?)

Ed
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rrenaud

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Re: US National Qualifier
« Reply #1 on: July 10, 2012, 05:27:23 pm »
+1

Go pwn ;)
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Robz888

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Re: Dominion US National Championships
« Reply #2 on: July 10, 2012, 05:29:56 pm »
0

I sat next to Ed during the final match of Questioneer's qualifier, where Invincible Overlord triumphed over me, Ed, and another guy (bruising, bruising Pirate Ship game). I know Ed really wanted it, so I'm thrilled he is our f.ds champion. Good luck, buddy!
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Qvist

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Re: Dominion US National Championships
« Reply #3 on: July 10, 2012, 05:40:05 pm »
0

I wish you good luck. Maybe theory can pay you for some promotion for f.DS!? ;)

Ozle

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Re: Dominion US National Championships
« Reply #4 on: July 10, 2012, 05:45:50 pm »
0

I wish you good luck. Maybe theory can pay you for some promotion for f.DS!? ;)

At the very least a F.DS T-Shirt!
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theory

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Re: Dominion US National Championships
« Reply #5 on: July 10, 2012, 05:51:16 pm »
+2

I think if you post here when you have free time over the next couple days, we would all be happy to try to help you play 3p-4p games on Isotropic.

But at the same time, we all know how much of a crapshoot 3p-4p can sometimes be, so relax!  May you perpetually be P1 on Cutpurse boards.
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Re: Dominion US National Championships
« Reply #6 on: July 10, 2012, 05:56:32 pm »
+1

MAY THE SEA HAGS NEVER SET ON THE EMPIRE OF YOU GOING FIRST.
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jsh357

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Re: Dominion US National Championships
« Reply #7 on: July 10, 2012, 05:59:00 pm »
+1

May your Hag hit as many other Hags as possible.
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Re: Dominion US National Championships
« Reply #8 on: July 10, 2012, 06:03:54 pm »
0

May you Remake your Estates on the first reshuffle.
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eHalcyon

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Re: Dominion US National Championships
« Reply #9 on: July 10, 2012, 06:06:55 pm »
+8

May the Forge be with you.
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Re: Dominion US National Championships
« Reply #10 on: July 10, 2012, 06:07:24 pm »
0

May your KCs and Mountebanks be united.
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Thisisnotasmile

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Re: Dominion US National Championships
« Reply #11 on: July 10, 2012, 06:46:22 pm »
+1

May your Tournaments never be blocked.
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Tejayes

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Re: Dominion US National Championships
« Reply #12 on: July 10, 2012, 07:14:43 pm »
+2

I will be representing Gamicon of Iowa City at the championships.
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Powerman

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Re: Dominion US National Championships
« Reply #13 on: July 10, 2012, 07:33:07 pm »
0

I will be representing Gamicon of Iowa City at the championships.

IOWA!  Woot.
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ednever

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Re: Dominion US National Championships
« Reply #14 on: July 10, 2012, 09:37:14 pm »
+1

I just received the official invitation from Jay:

Congrats on qualifying for the US finals that will lead to the WM Dominion tournament at Gencon. The US finals will be held on July 14th at the Hilton Chicago O'hare Airport. I have reserved rooms
for all players beginning Friday evening and continuing Saturday night. The tournament will be held on Saturday with several preliminary rounds in the morning and the semi-finals and finals in the afternoon after lunch. We will host all players to a dinner reception Friday evening (time and place will be determined later), and breakfast, lunch, and dinner on Saturday.
 
As for the tournament itself, we do not yet know how many total players will attend, but we expect something in the 10-12 range once all regional tournaments are done.
 
As suggested above, we will start will several preliminary rounds (Saturday morning) with players playing different sets of cards with different players - our goal is for each player to play against every other player during these rounds. We will advance at least half the players to the semi-final rounds, which will be single elimination and lead to the final. All games will be 3-player, when possible.
 
Points will be scored for each game - 5 for first, 3 for second and 1 for third. Tied players will share the points for their positions (e.g., tied for first is 4 points each). We will neither record nor use the victory points scored in a game for determining advancement to the next rounds. If there is a tie in the semis or finals, it will be broken, when necessary, by the players playing another game.
 
By accepting the invitation to play, you agree to play in every round you are assigned to play in. No player may choose to opt out because they feel they will not advance to the next round.
When a player has been eliminated, he or she is welcome to remain to watch the other rounds or play pickup games with other players - or use the time to enjoy the Chicago area. All players are invited to all the meals we sponsor, but may choose to use those times for their own activities away from us.

-=-=-=-
Thoughts:
1- 3-player? Given what I had heard from the DS.com and the Detroit tournament I had thought the tournament would be 4-player. Guess we were wrong.

2- 5/3/1 -> effectively the same as 6/3/0, right? Just makes people feel different so they get a point for playing?

3- 10-12 players. I'm surprised it's that small. If they are doing 3p games and want a semi-final they will have to advance 9 of the 10/12 -> so most people will make the semis. Then we all know how luck you have to be to win a single game...


Theory: Would love to play some good 3p games against people here. Not sure what my schedule looks like over the next few days. When I know more I will post times. Hopefully some people can meet in the tournament lobby and we can give it a go!

Ed
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Tejayes

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Re: Dominion US National Championships
« Reply #15 on: July 10, 2012, 11:24:42 pm »
0

I will be representing Gamicon of Iowa City at the championships.

IOWA!  Woot.

Are you from Iowa, Powerman?
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Powerman

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Re: Dominion US National Championships
« Reply #16 on: July 10, 2012, 11:52:43 pm »
0

I will be representing Gamicon of Iowa City at the championships.

IOWA!  Woot.

Are you from Iowa, Powerman?

Well, I hate to give out personal information.  But I'm not not from Iowa ;)
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theory

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Re: Dominion US National Championships
« Reply #17 on: July 11, 2012, 08:30:52 am »
0

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questioneer

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Re: Dominion US National Championships
« Reply #18 on: July 11, 2012, 09:13:49 am »
+2

Congrats Ed on making it!!!  I know being at the finals of our Detroit qualifier that you will do well along with Tobin.

Some thoughts...

1. Pics and report after is fine...concentrate on your games, its your time to focus on winning and nothing else!

2. 3-player- probably because of the number of participants- 3player games works best when there are less than 16 people at a tourny.
    Jay told me they strive for 3 or 4 players game as US Finals and Worlds.  If the participants increase then I'm sure you will see more 4player games.

3. 5/3/1 points system is virtually the same- works for 3 players.  I'm glad Jay is going to this system that was suggested online.  We will play with this system at the next qualifier- I hope others do the same.

4. More qualifiers will come in the next couple of years I'm sure.  I would think they want at least 16+ players in the US Nationals.
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Personman

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Re: Dominion US National Championships
« Reply #19 on: July 11, 2012, 01:49:18 pm »
0

ednever, if you can manage to get video of some of the games, that would be amazing! Maybe if you have some time that you're not playing, you could record another game? Or perhaps get a spectator/tournament official to do it?

Pretty awesome that it's 3 player instead of 4. That's halfway to 2 player! We're almost there! :D

Quote from: Jay
No player may choose to opt out because they feel they will not advance to the next round.

This rule is humorously similar to the original point counter ruling: it is unenforceable, and there can be no consequence for breaking it. I'm sure everyone who qualified is an honorable and wonderful person who will play to win even when they are out of contention, but forcing already-eliminated players into kingmaking positions is just ugly.

I understand that it seems nice for all the games to be 3-player, but it seems extremely unprofessional to ask players to waste their time when they've already lost, and even more so to ask people still in competition to play games with essentially a loose cannon. An eliminated player has no reason not to just to do silly things for laughs, or try as hard as possible from turn 1 to kingmake for their favored opponent, or take any number of other irrelevant actions that have no place in a tournament.

I hope Jay reconsiders this rule, or that eliminated players ignore it and leave anyway.
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Ozle

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Re: Dominion US National Championships
« Reply #20 on: July 11, 2012, 01:58:09 pm »
0

and there can be no consequence for breaking it.

Except they miss out on a the free dinner at the end!

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Kuildeous

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Re: Dominion US National Championships
« Reply #21 on: July 11, 2012, 02:36:41 pm »
0

2- 5/3/1 -> effectively the same as 6/3/0, right? Just makes people feel different so they get a point for playing?

One major difference is that this tier system allows for an even split in the case of ties. Every game assigns 9 points to 3 people regardless of the final scores.

So, you have some motivation to avoid ties (unless you're falling behind, in which case go tie!).
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dondon151

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Re: Dominion US National Championships
« Reply #22 on: July 12, 2012, 02:24:36 am »
0

I hope that I can actually make it back to Chicago on time... Are travel expenses covered? I sent Jay an e-mail about this, but he hasn't responded yet.

I also haven't played a single game of Dominion in nearly 2 months  :(
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Forge!!!

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Re: Dominion US National Championships
« Reply #23 on: July 12, 2012, 02:44:02 am »
0

I hope that I can actually make it back to Chicago on time... Are travel expenses covered? I sent Jay an e-mail about this, but he hasn't responded yet.

I also haven't played a single game of Dominion in nearly 2 months  :(

You also had never played with Cornucopia before, but you did just fine  ;)
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ednever

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Re: Dominion US National Championships
« Reply #24 on: July 12, 2012, 03:17:05 pm »
0

Thanks for everyone's support.

Tonight I'm going to a local gaming store (cafe mox) to play some 3p in-person Dominion. (if you are in Seattle, come on by!)

For the event itself, I think setting up video is too much for me (although I'll suggest it to Jay).

I will live tweet the event with pictures.

You can follow me at @ednever. I will also hash tag #domnat

I think it would be great if someone(s) volunteered to coy the tweets over to this site. If not, I'll move them over when I get back on Sunday or Monday.

Thanks again for all the support and knowledge sharing from this community!

Ed
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clb

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Re: Dominion US National Championships
« Reply #25 on: July 12, 2012, 10:56:31 pm »
0

Tonight I'm going to a local gaming store (cafe mox) to play some 3p in-person Dominion. (if you are in Seattle, come on by!)

I am normally in the Seattle area, but I am on the road this week - so dissapointed that I cannot come and play with you IRL.
Best of luck at nationals.
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dondon151

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Re: Dominion US National Championships
« Reply #26 on: July 13, 2012, 03:46:26 pm »
+1

So who is here and checked in already? I've never been to the O'Hare Hilton, but this place is pretty damn nice. Too nice for someone like me.
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ednever

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Re: Dominion US National Championships
« Reply #27 on: July 13, 2012, 05:39:32 pm »
0

Stuck on the Tarmac... With lightning coming...
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ednever

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Re: Dominion US National Championships
« Reply #28 on: July 13, 2012, 11:55:15 pm »
0

On iso now looking for a few 3p games before bed. If anyone's around, feel free to join!

Ed
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ednever

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Re: Dominion US National Championships
« Reply #29 on: July 14, 2012, 09:45:46 am »
0

First tweets are live. Initial structure and which sets on which tables.

(and pictures!)

Ed
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Re: Dominion US National Championships
« Reply #30 on: July 14, 2012, 03:06:41 pm »
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Hey I don't do twitter- can you send the pics and stuff over to FB or here???
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Re: Dominion US National Championships
« Reply #31 on: July 14, 2012, 03:15:01 pm »
+1

When you say you dont do twitter, i presume you dont realise you dont need to sign up to twitter to see someones posts.

https://twitter.com/Ednever
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ednever

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Re: Dominion US National Championships
« Reply #32 on: July 14, 2012, 06:41:37 pm »
0

Lots of controversy here at thr final. More later, but summarized in the tweets...
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theory

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Re: Dominion US National Championships
« Reply #33 on: July 14, 2012, 06:48:25 pm »
0

I'm a little confused by what you mean.  Why does it matter if someone didn't pick up a Curse if it's empty?  And what's the deal with outside people interfering?  I feel like we had that discussion before on this forum ...
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Re: Dominion US National Championships
« Reply #34 on: July 14, 2012, 06:57:23 pm »
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I'm a little confused by what you mean.  Why does it matter if someone didn't pick up a Curse if it's empty?  And what's the deal with outside people interfering?  I feel like we had that discussion before on this forum ...

Possibly its empty now, but it wasnt when he should have picked it up?
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rrenaud

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Re: Dominion US National Championships
« Reply #35 on: July 14, 2012, 07:20:12 pm »
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I think that there was no curse blocking/returning, so it's clear when curses should run out.  And they don't run out when they should, so it's clear that someone didn't pick up a curse when they should have.

Can you run a check sum to find it out who missed picking up their curse?

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ednever

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Re: Dominion US National Championships
« Reply #36 on: July 14, 2012, 07:33:30 pm »
0

I think that there was no curse blocking/returning, so it's clear when curses should run out.  And they don't run it when they should, so it's clear that someone didn't pick up a curse when they should have.

Can you run a check sum to find it out who missed picking up their curse?

Correct.

We could have, and I started to, but there was a lot of argument and it was decided to restart.

On thr restart Dondon takes it and goes to Worlds!

Ef
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Re: Dominion US National Championships
« Reply #37 on: July 14, 2012, 07:43:20 pm »
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Well, I guess they can be glad that it wasn't iso and there was no horrible point counting going on.

(Troll Face)

But hey, at least one of our posters makes it to worlds ;).
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Re: Dominion US National Championships
« Reply #38 on: July 14, 2012, 07:45:34 pm »
0

Anyone want to work through the math on the checksum?  I am lazy ;)
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Re: Dominion US National Championships
« Reply #39 on: July 14, 2012, 07:47:00 pm »
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I had a fun time getting my butt handed to me (I did win a few times, but the rest...), so thanks to ednever and everyone else for being great opponents.

I look forward to seeing more tournaments like this, though I'll probably take a break from competitive play for a while (IED and all).
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dondon151

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Re: Dominion US National Championships
« Reply #40 on: July 14, 2012, 07:47:55 pm »
+1

I think that there was no curse blocking/returning, so it's clear when curses should run out.  And they don't run out when they should, so it's clear that someone didn't pick up a curse when they should have.

Can you run a check sum to find it out who missed picking up their curse?

We did, and I think we reached a fairly solid conclusion on who missed picking up their Curse.

But by that point, there was the argument that we didn't know how many reshuffles that Curse had missed (thus impacting previous hands), and another player had already dismantled his deck, so there was no other option. I personally wouldn't have minded continuing since this happens not infrequently when I play with my friends IRL, but I was losing that match pretty handily, so meh - can't complain...

I also apologize to ednever and the other players who were playing at the table where I let slip some offhand advice and caused the game to be forfeit. I had noticed that there were 2 piles empty and one of the players replied that there would be trouble emptying out the 3rd pile. Naturally I saw the cheapest card on the table (Watchtower) and jokingly remarked "hey, better pound those Watchtowers..." Then we noticed that there were only 3 Watchtowers left. Oops.



ggs all around to all of the participants; I have to say that a lot of luck was on my side - there was one afternoon match where I opened 5/2 on a Torturer/Chapel kingdom, and in the re-do of the final match, I opened 5/2 with Witch in the kingdom and picked up a second Witch on turn 3. Jay advised us to pick each kingdom randomly for each game, and that led to some rather imbalanced kingdoms. (I'm not sure if he picked the final kingdom by himself, but it was a pretty rotten kingdom; the only alternative strategy present was possibly some combination of Bureaucrat/Woodcutter/Gardens).

Anyway, synopsis (of my matches, at least) to come later.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2012, 08:03:45 pm by dondon151 »
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Re: Dominion US National Championships
« Reply #41 on: July 14, 2012, 07:51:47 pm »
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Congrats on your win; good luck at Worlds!
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Re: Dominion US National Championships
« Reply #42 on: July 14, 2012, 08:17:47 pm »
0

Congrats to both ednever and dondon.  We had two of the four finalists?
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Re: Dominion US National Championships
« Reply #43 on: July 14, 2012, 08:32:09 pm »
+1

Congrats!  Awesome.  Dondon, good luck at Worlds- go get em!

Ednever, congrats again- thanks for the pics! :)
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ednever

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Re: Dominion US National Championships
« Reply #44 on: July 14, 2012, 09:17:39 pm »
0

Also check out #dominionnats and @rbuehler for more coverage.

Ef
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Re: Dominion US National Championships
« Reply #45 on: July 14, 2012, 09:29:51 pm »
0

rbuehler beat theory in the WBC finals last year.
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dondon151

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Re: Dominion US National Championships
« Reply #46 on: July 15, 2012, 12:27:20 am »
+3

Quick-ish summary, because I'm tired.

Tournament format:

Morning was 4 rounds of 3-player, with each player getting a bye (so 3 rounds of play for each player). The end objective was to advance 9 players, but… there were only 10 players who made it, so really, we were all just trying to not place dead last.

Afternoon was 3 rounds of 3-player with the top 9 from the morning, with the player with the best “score” winning the tournament (not VPs). Score was handed out based on position after each game – basically, the player who performed the best overall.

Each table that we played at had an available set of cards to choose from (e.g., Base + Intrigue, Cornucopia + Hinterlands, etc.). Sets were generated randomly using the randomizer cards or using a randomizer app on someone’s phone.

Also, I don’t know everyone’s online username, so I’ll be using their real names here… if they don’t mind. I also apologize if I don’t remember whom I played against in what game; this stuff is hard to keep track of.

Morning rounds:

Because we were only competing to not be last, I’m not sure if all of us took these matches completely seriously… Some of these games I decided to just go with crazy stuff that might or might not have worked out.

Round 1: Pawn, Cellar, Chancellor, Feast, Gardens, Throne Room, Trading Post, Festival, Upgrade, Nobles

I didn’t have a very good impression of this set, because nothing seemed to jump out at all. I guess Pawn and Festival are decent facilitators for a Gardens strategy, but I absolutely hate going for a straight Gardens rush because they are just neither fast nor strong most of the time. There didn’t seem to be a good engine here either, with the only +cards being Nobles. I thought at first that something like Trading Post + BM would be pretty dominant.

But I love pairing Throne Room with +cards, especially when accompanied by light trashing – and who cares if Nobles is expensive? I went for it anyway, grabbing TR at $4, Upgrade/Festival at $5, and Nobles at $6, then got an engine running that generated up to $16 with multiple buys per turn. At that point the Provinces were running dangerously low, but the favorable Nobles split, in addition to the presence of Gardens, allowed me to prolong the game enough to let me roar by with a win. I came out on top with a final score of 45-40-39, with only 2 Provinces, but 6 Nobles and 7 Gardens worth 3 VP each.

Round 2: Trade Route, Bishop, Gardens, Feast, Militia, Thief, Mountebank, Counting House, Witch, King’s Court, Platinum, Colony

This round was brutal. Thankfully no one managed to hit a KC-Mountebank, but we were just cursing the living daylights out of each other. Once the smoke cleared and the Curses were gone, then we had to figure out how to rebuild our decks into a scoring position.

I had already committed beforehand to stocking up on Bishops and trashing away my somewhat-useless Mountebanks for VP, but I had neglected to consider that it slightly undid all of the gunking up that I did in the first place. Oops. One of my opponents and I each grabbed a Counting House, which yielded 1 Colony for each of us. Trade Routes were eventually worth $5 each and allowed us to more easily buy Duchies and Provinces, and Gardens took advantage of our huge, bloated decks.

After all that mess, no one had any idea who was ahead, but I suspected that I did not play this kingdom well. We ended with a score of 57-56-54, with me coming in dead last, but it was a lot closer than I had imagined it to be.

Round 3: Apothecary, Herbalist, Lighthouse, Ambassador, Philosopher’s Stone, Sea Hag, Tactician, Merchant Ship, Wharf, Outpost

My eyes opened wide when I saw Ambassador, Lighthouse, Tactician, and Outpost all in the same set – I love playing double Tactician, I love going for triple Tactician via Outpost, and Ambassador is a brutal complement to those decks. But double Tactician needs +$ and +actions, and there were no +actions, and the +$ cards weren’t cantrips, which would make it hard to get to $8 for double Tactician.

Then I saw Herbalist and Philosopher’s Stone, and I knew right away that Ambassador and Sea Hag were traps in this kingdom. I was hoping that my opponents would pick up these power cards on instinct and not consider that Herbalist + PS counters these attacks extremely effectively.

It seemed that Ed (ednever) had also considered this, and we both opened Potion/Herbalist. Our unfortunate third player, Ted, didn’t really seem to have a coherent strategy, but eventually picked up an Ambassador and a Sea Hag at some point. Upon his first play of Ambassador, he realized that he walked into a trap and that Ed and I benefitted to some extent from any of his attacks.

Ed and I played Herbalist/PS mirrors, with both of us nearly matching each other’s buys and deck sizes. On the last shuffle, Ed was able to pick up Province on both turns, whereas I had to settle for Estate/nothing on a couple of terrible draws, and Ed took this one, 39-32-22.

Afternoon rounds:

Serious business here. I was not particularly pleased with the decisions that I made in the 2nd morning round, but overall I was pleasantly surprised with how I did, considering that I hadn’t played Dominion in a long time.

Round 1: Herbalist, Cellar, Moat, Scrying Pool, Masquerade, Wishing Well, Upgrade, Minion, Trading Post, Apprentice

I had 2 options here: either I could go with the tried and true Masq-BM, or I could try doing something crazy with an SP engine. I immediately ruled out pure Minion strategies in 3 player games because there's never enough of them to go around, but you'd be surprised at how many presumably mid to high level players in these tournaments ignore it completely. There was light trashing in the form of Masq, Upgrade, and Trading Post; Herbalist gave a +buy, and Minion gave +$. I had never played with Alchemy cards before, and maybe I should have been a bit more conservative, but I went ahead with the SP strategy anyway. My opponents went with unfocused strategies involving some amount of Upgrade, Trading Post, and Minion.

I ended up with 6 SPs, trimmed my deck until it made exactly $16, and got 2 consecutive double Province turns, picking up a few more along the way. I nailed this one, coming in 1st at 48-33-27 with 7 Provinces and 2 Duchies.

I spoke to Joe, one of my opponents, after the game, and we both agreed that if he opened Trading Post instead of Minion on his 5/2 opening, that he probably would have had a much better shot at winning with a BM strategy. I don’t think he ever picked up more than 2 Minions throughout the entire game.

After this match, I made the dumb offhand remark about piledriving the Watchtowers in a different match, which caused a match to restart and prolonged the entire tournament by 30+ minutes. Oops.

Round 2: Chapel, Pawn, Wishing Well, Great Hall, Ironworks, Throne Room, Noble Brigand, Torturer, Harem, Border Village

Ed was my opponent again, and I knew that he was a very solid player, which meant that I had to play this match really well.

I opened 5/2 with Torturer/Chapel, and that’s all she wrote. I got to a comfortable Province lead in a kingdom with no +buy, we depleted the Curses and Torturers, and I picked up BV/Duchy to empty out the piles and cruise to a 29-16-2 win. Opening luck much? Yeah, that’s basically it.

Round 3: Duchess, Develop, Steward, Mining Village, Silk Road, Navigator, Noble Brigand, Saboteur, Merchant Ship, Ghost Ship

My FPS got the better of me again and decided that it wanted to try some convoluted Steward/MV/Ghost Ship engine. Meanwhile, I completely missed the Develop/SR synergy, which one of my opponents (Joseph) picked up on immediately. Eventually my engine kicked into gear and I was able to reliably draw $8 and play Ghost Ship every turn, which allowed me to pick up 5 Provinces and essentially prevented my other opponent, Tobin, from getting any. When there were 2 Provinces left, I began buying Duchies with $8 and $10 in an attempt to catch up. Well, that paid off, sort of – I got 4 Duchies, bought my 6th Province, then ended the game by buying my 5th Duchy, which was just enough to put me 3 VP ahead of Tobin. Joseph creamed us both with a very favorable split of the SRs and a metric asston of VP cards, winning 72-51-48.

I was just glad that I did not get 3rd place. With a 2nd place finish, all I needed was for Joe (my afternoon round 1 opponent) to not win at his table. It really looked like Ed was dominating at that table, playing several Saboteurs every turn and dominating the game, and Joe wanted to shake my hand in advance to congratulate me for moving on, but I insisted that he didn’t until the game was over.

I suppose I was right, because Ed ended the game, with all of the players thinking that he won…. And Joe got first with 12 VP to Ed’s 11 VP.

Well, crap.

Playoff

Jay had stated earlier that in the case of a tie after the afternoon games, the top players would engage in a tiebreaker playoff. Joe and I fully anticipated that we would compete in a head-to-head match, but Jay vehemently opposed a 2 player match and instead insisted that we play a 4 player match with the 2 players that tied for 3rd place. Naturally, Joe and I were a little miffed that instead of a true tiebreaker match, this was basically going to be a tossup that was probably going to be largely determined by turn position and the opening draw.

Playoff: Cellar, Chancellor, Woodcutter, Bureaucrat, Throne Room, Moneylender, Gardens, Witch, Mine, Laboratory

I have no idea how Jay determined this set, only that he determined that the set would consist only of Base set cards. This didn’t look like a very interesting set at all. Chancellor and Mine were absolutely terrible, the absence of engine potential was a counterindication to Moneylender, and you’d have to be pretty lucky to hope to match up TR with anything in a deck bogged down with Curses.

We randomly drew our positions, and I got 3rd position, much to my chagrin. Turns out that despite us having tied for 1st in the afternoon, Joe and I wouldn’t even get the benefit of advantageous seating positions (Joe drew 2nd position)! I didn’t have a good plan in mind and grabbed an assortment of sub-optimal stuff, and went for swingy things to help overcome a turn position disadvantage. I did manage to match up a TR to a Witch once, and Joe got even luckier, getting TR-Witch twice with no other support. Joseph, who was in 4th position, got a lucky 5/2 on his opening draw, but he wasn't that far ahead due to our luck with the TR-Witches.

As the game went on, I played a Witch, dealing out the last 3 Curses... and noticed immediately that someone had forgotten to pick up a Curse. We counted the number of Curses in our decks and argued for awhile about whom it should have belonged to by trying to count how many times we each played Witch. I think at some point, we determined that Joe most likely forgot to pick up a Curse, but at that point, Jay had already ruled that there should be a re-match, and Randy (who was in 1st position) had already dismantled his deck. So re-match it was.

This time, I got insanely lucky. I opened 5/2 with Witch/Cellar. Turn 3, I play Witch, draw 5 Coppers, and pick up a 2nd Witch. The other players got a couple more Golds than I did, but the Curse split says it all – I ended up with only 4 of the Curses and got lucky enough to make 3 Provinces, which decided the game in my favor: 32-25-24-19.
« Last Edit: July 15, 2012, 04:44:18 pm by dondon151 »
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Razzishi

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Re: Dominion US National Championships
« Reply #47 on: July 15, 2012, 01:30:58 am »
0

Not all too surprised at seeing Randy Buehler at the top of the heap for Dominion.
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theory

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Re: Dominion US National Championships
« Reply #48 on: July 15, 2012, 01:54:17 am »
0

Seems like the seating positions made a huge difference.  It's a little amusing how much effort we went to to balance seating order, and in Nationals it's just best-of-1 free-for-all.

So I'm curious: was the final "playoff" going to be whoever did better between you and Joe, or just whoever won the game?  Because if the latter, that seems grossly unfair.
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dondon151

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Re: Dominion US National Championships
« Reply #49 on: July 15, 2012, 09:44:47 am »
+1

Seems like the seating positions made a huge difference.  It's a little amusing how much effort we went to to balance seating order, and in Nationals it's just best-of-1 free-for-all.

Seating order was pretty balanced in the morning and afternoon rounds - each player played a game in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd position in the morning and afternoon. I don't think we had anticipated a playoff match at all, but I honestly would have preferred having several playoff matches as opposed to just having everything decided by one.

So I'm curious: was the final "playoff" going to be whoever did better between you and Joe, or just whoever won the game?  Because if the latter, that seems grossly unfair.

Joe seemed to think that it was the former; Joseph and Randy seemed to think that it was the latter, and I had no clue because Jay didn't really make it clear. I'm pretty sure it was the latter, and I was extremely miffed about that because it meant that my top placement meant nearly nothing. (One of the spectators can correct me if I'm wrong about this.) Jay really hates 2 player, but I honestly could not fathom why he didn't settle for a 2 player playoff - in his e-mail about the tournament format, he very clearly stated that "if there is a tie in the semis or finals, it will be broken, when necessary, by the players playing another game." That seems to indicate to me that it is only the tying players who play the tiebreaking game. Because there just happened to be another 2 players tied for 3rd place, Jay decided that if there were 4 players near the top, then there should be a 4 player game.

Whatever, I'm not going to complain, because I got some insane opening luck in the game that mattered, and it basically just came down to that. The kingdom was rotten, straight Witch-BM was pretty dominant, and I'm pretty sure that the only remotely competitive alternate strategy was some mix of Bureaucrat/Woodcutter/Gardens, but even that is suspect because games end extremely quickly in 4 player and Gardens tends to be weaker there.

(I was also miffed that Ed accidentally handed Joe a win, which forced the playoff in the first place  :P)
« Last Edit: July 15, 2012, 09:52:19 am by dondon151 »
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ednever

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Re: Dominion US National Championships
« Reply #50 on: July 15, 2012, 12:55:23 pm »
+2

Yeah. Really sorry about that...

That's why there should be point counters in real life games. ;)

I'm stuck at the airport (a mess! I'm lucky to get out today at all!). So I'll try to have a full write up done for layer today with my full take.

Ed
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HiveMindEmulator

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Re: Dominion US National Championships
« Reply #51 on: July 16, 2012, 12:50:34 am »
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At least it's not just our online qualifiers that are filled with controversy :)
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Re: Dominion US National Championships
« Reply #52 on: July 16, 2012, 03:12:55 am »
+1

Wow. The format of the nationals sounds horrible, especially the way the playoffs were handled and that kingdom is absolute garbage. It lacks in strategic depth. It seems like the winner at the end was decided entirely by a coin flip. Anyway, no offense to you dondon. This is really Jay's fault. From the sound of things, the tournament could have been handled a lot better.
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meow

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Re: Dominion US National Championships
« Reply #53 on: July 16, 2012, 01:46:55 pm »
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Thanks for the posts, guys.
I definitely agree about the organization and format being unimpressive.  Having a preliminary round to eliminate 1 person seems absurd, especially if the scores didn't carry over to the semi's (that part wasn't entirely clear to me). 

With 10 people I would just do a "swiss-like" setup for the whole thing, potentially dropping 1 or 4 players after X rounds.

Quote from: Jay
No player may choose to opt out because they feel they will not advance to the next round.

This rule is humorously similar to the original point counter ruling: it is unenforceable, and there can be no consequence for breaking it. I'm sure everyone who qualified is an honorable and wonderful person who will play to win even when they are out of contention, but forcing already-eliminated players into kingmaking positions is just ugly.

Barring someone from future official tournaments could be a consequence.  On the whole I think I agree that it's not a great rule.
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Re: Dominion US National Championships
« Reply #54 on: July 16, 2012, 09:49:39 pm »
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o_O didn't expect Randy to be there! That is awesome! I was all settled in to being happy I didn't make it since it meant I got to go on an awesome road trip with my girlfriend instead, but damn, I could've played Dominion against Randy Buehler...

Agree that just about everything about how it was run seems awful. The stated format (3p) is bad enough; but suddenly changing it to 4p finals on a whim? Restarting games when you can figure out who screwed up? Ew.

Anyway, congrats to dondon, and to ednever for making it to the finals! Thanks for the pictures.
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Re: Dominion US National Championships
« Reply #55 on: July 16, 2012, 10:48:01 pm »
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Thanks for the posts, guys.
I definitely agree about the organization and format being unimpressive.  Having a preliminary round to eliminate 1 person seems absurd, especially if the scores didn't carry over to the semi's (that part wasn't entirely clear to me). 

With 10 people I would just do a "swiss-like" setup for the whole thing, potentially dropping 1 or 4 players after X rounds.

Quote from: Jay
No player may choose to opt out because they feel they will not advance to the next round.

This rule is humorously similar to the original point counter ruling: it is unenforceable, and there can be no consequence for breaking it. I'm sure everyone who qualified is an honorable and wonderful person who will play to win even when they are out of contention, but forcing already-eliminated players into kingmaking positions is just ugly.

Barring someone from future official tournaments could be a consequence.  On the whole I think I agree that it's not a great rule.

Using door prizes as an incentive to complete could be used. Everyone that completes all rounds gets ____. If you leave early you get nothing. Rewards are often better than penalties.
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Personman

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Re: Dominion US National Championships
« Reply #56 on: July 16, 2012, 11:01:43 pm »
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Using door prizes as an incentive to complete could be used. Everyone that completes all rounds gets ____. If you leave early you get nothing. Rewards are often better than penalties.

This is solving the wrong problem, though. A serious tournament shouldn't /want/ mathematically eliminated players to play. They can show up for the door prize and screw with the game in any random way they want with no consequence. A big part of managing a tournament experience is getting players' motives to at least vaguely line up with each other. When they don't, you get weird politics and personality quirks deciding matches, rather than anything like skill.
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O

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Re: Dominion US National Championships
« Reply #57 on: July 17, 2012, 03:38:54 am »
+1

Using door prizes as an incentive to complete could be used. Everyone that completes all rounds gets ____. If you leave early you get nothing. Rewards are often better than penalties.

This is solving the wrong problem, though. A serious tournament shouldn't /want/ mathematically eliminated players to play. They can show up for the door prize and screw with the game in any random way they want with no consequence. A big part of managing a tournament experience is getting players' motives to at least vaguely line up with each other. When they don't, you get weird politics and personality quirks deciding matches, rather than anything like skill.

Close but still wrong. A serious tournament shouldn't want most of the players to be mathematically eliminated from any prize winning slot. Solution: More prizes (they don't have to be huge).
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theory

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Re: Dominion US National Championships
« Reply #58 on: July 17, 2012, 09:09:20 am »
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Quote
Then I saw Herbalist and Philosopher’s Stone, and I knew right away that Ambassador and Sea Hag were traps in this kingdom. I was hoping that my opponents would pick up these power cards on instinct and not consider that Herbalist + PS counters these attacks extremely effectively.

It seemed that Ed (ednever) had also considered this, and we both opened Potion/Herbalist.

You should thank Geronimoo's article.
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Re: Dominion US National Championships
« Reply #59 on: July 19, 2012, 05:20:20 pm »
+2

Hi,first post but since i was at the final table I think i should add my two cents. (Joseph)
The restart at the final table was pushed by Randy and myself primarily. Joe, the player at the final table who "forgot" to pick up his curse, had at least one shuffle with one fewer curse than he should have had. During that same period of time Joe very suspiciously pulled throne room and witch 2 out of 3 hands. Unfortunately for me Joe chose to "forget" about his curse when i had the luck of having a 2/5 opening. a 2/5 was my only real chance of winning the tournament since I was last.

At the restart randy and I pushed to cut decks every shuffle. The second time around We all got 3/4 except for Dondon and since most of us at the final table were great players dondon maintained the 5/2 lead and took the trophy. There were two of us waiting for him to make the slightest mistake but he didn't. I'm very glad we had a restart at the final table even though it didn't affect my eventual placement, Joe was in first by a considerable margin. I have come to the conclusion that Joe cheated his way to the finals. Once the table decided to cut decks Joe was never a threat and eventually came in last by nearly a province to 3rd place (me) who had one fewer turn than everyone.
My main quibble with the tournament (in hindsight) is allowing Joe to make it to the finals. DSF's own ednever really deserved to take his place at the final table. Upon speaking with randy(briefly) he divulged some instances where Joe drew incredibly lucky hands.
Ultimately, however I'm very glad DonDon won to save the integrity of the tournament.
Another minor quibble, which ultimately caused Jay to do the final 4 table, is the uselessness of the first round. In the first round of the tournament i swept the field winning my first 3 matches by 6 or more. Equally as troubling with the first round was the result. If jay had eliminated one more player (hypothetically) that player would have been randy. Again in hindsight I see randy played Joe more than any other player, that is what i would attribute Randy's slow start more than any outplaying.
When discussing (it never became an argument in my mind) the finale Jay's primary defense for a 4 player final table was if he looked at the tournament as a whole the final tallies were much different.

In the next round of play i won my first and last game (detailed by dondon) but came in last in my middle game. Guess Who i played? Joe. Ironically every player at the table started 5/2 on a table with chapel and mine. I chose to go Chapel Silver. the other players went chapel Mine. on turn 3/4 neither hit both terminals in one hand and both mined copper in addition to buying silver. Again in hindsight, hands 5/6 is where either incredible luck or cheating happened for Joe in back to back hand he drew mine and both silvers. Of course he mined his silver for gold and bought gold, his next hand was identical just replace the second silver with gold so he trashed his silver and had 7 and bought a gold. to cut to the chase he won by a considerable margin 6< in a chapel game. i came in last by 3 points but had one fewer turn.

None of my comments critiquing certain times of the tournament are not to discount DonDon's victory he deserves it.
Although i am critiquing the tournament, it was a fantastic experience.

Good luck Donald.
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dondon151

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Re: Dominion US National Championships
« Reply #60 on: July 19, 2012, 05:51:31 pm »
+1

I'm not going to confirm or deny accusations of cheating, but the one game that I did play against Joe, I won extremely handily with an SP engine.

I as well was somewhat surprised at how well he did in the tournament, because I'm pretty sure that he had never seen some of the cards before. He claimed to not have played with Trading Post before, which I found odd at this level.
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GigaKnight

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Re: Dominion US National Championships
« Reply #61 on: July 19, 2012, 08:52:09 pm »
+1

I wouldn't be too quick to jump on whoever Joe is.  When I was about 3 months new to the game, I went to an informal tournament that was won by somebody who had literally never played before that night.  Granted, it's anecdotal and not nearly the level of play that happens at a national tournament, but there were multiple people there who knew the game well.

So, as much as I love Dominion, I also think there several key issues that prevent it from being a good tournament game.  The biggest one is that there's enough luck to require somewhat large sample sizes before you can confidently determine relative skill; that's hard to do in a day / weekend.  Obviously, the variance in starting 4/3 vs 5/2 on a given board is also huge.

A more subtle issue is that Jay (who I don't know and can't speak for) seems (based on hearsay / forum reports) to have what I would call a "casual gamer" mentality.  It's disappointing to hear that he "really hates" 2-player, as I see a lot of value in it as a competitive format.  Also, I get the impression that he's focused on a nebulous idea of "making it fun", which sounds really weird to say.  Dominion should be fun, but people have fun in different ways.  A community that cares about tournaments also cares about technicalities, rules decisions, and minimizing variance.  That is part of the fun for competitors.  I'd be really disheartened if I flew to a tournament and felt that the weekend amounted to "hey, let's hang out and play some Dominion."  A tournament should be about determining skill because that's a lot of why competitive players even show up.

This is all from my limited perspective; I'd love to hear others.  Again, I don't know Jay; I don't want to vilify him or accuse him of anything.  But my impression is that the guy in charge of official Dominion tournaments is a pretty casual about it, and that makes me a little sad.
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dondon151

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Re: Dominion US National Championships
« Reply #62 on: July 19, 2012, 09:47:47 pm »
+1

I wouldn't be too quick to jump on whoever Joe is.  When I was about 3 months new to the game, I went to an informal tournament that was won by somebody who had literally never played before that night.  Granted, it's anecdotal and not nearly the level of play that happens at a national tournament, but there were multiple people there who knew the game well.

Yes, there are things like good intuition that will beat mid-level players, which is why Joe lost against a far more intricate Scrying Pool engine. I can't very accurately comment on the overall quality of the players at Nationals, but my impression was that not many of them were "great" at the game (say, level 35+ on Iso). I know for sure that Ed is a decorated player, and Joseph looked like he was very good at the game as well, but none of the other players stood out.

So, as much as I love Dominion, I also think there several key issues that prevent it from being a good tournament game.  The biggest one is that there's enough luck to require somewhat large sample sizes before you can confidently determine relative skill; that's hard to do in a day / weekend.  Obviously, the variance in starting 4/3 vs 5/2 on a given board is also huge.

That doesn't get in the way of tournaments for games that require much larger sample sizes to confidently determine relative skill, like riichi mahjong and poker. I actually think that Dominion falls towards the middle of the spectrum in luck dependence, especially if you remove and/or mitigate the glaring contributors, such as seating position and opening split.

Also, I get the impression that he's focused on a nebulous idea of "making it fun", which sounds really weird to say.  Dominion should be fun, but people have fun in different ways.  A community that cares about tournaments also cares about technicalities, rules decisions, and minimizing variance.  That is part of the fun for competitors.  I'd be really disheartened if I flew to a tournament and felt that the weekend amounted to "hey, let's hang out and play some Dominion."  A tournament should be about determining skill because that's a lot of why competitive players even show up.

I agree that fun and competition are not mutually exclusive, having been a part of communities where there is a clear dichotomy between casual and competitive (or at least, high-level) gaming. I don't really like Jay's approach to the matter, either. For each person that channels competitive Dominion negatively through anger over subpar luck or whatever, there are many more that appreciate playing the game at a high level.

That said, let it be known that Jay never expressly stated that he opposed the creation of a healthy tournament Dominion setting. It's just that he himself doesn't want to do it because he couldn't care less about tournament play. On our first night at the hotel (and Ed should remember this), there was a guy sitting at the table that Jay wanted to help coordinate future tournaments. For all we know, this is in someone else's hands. The only thing that Jay did say was that both he and DXV agree on 3 player being the preferred tournament format.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2012, 09:50:32 pm by dondon151 »
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GigaKnight

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Re: Dominion US National Championships
« Reply #63 on: July 20, 2012, 01:08:44 am »
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That said, let it be known that Jay never expressly stated that he opposed the creation of a healthy tournament Dominion setting. It's just that he himself doesn't want to do it because he couldn't care less about tournament play. On our first night at the hotel (and Ed should remember this), there was a guy sitting at the table that Jay wanted to help coordinate future tournaments. For all we know, this is in someone else's hands. The only thing that Jay did say was that both he and DXV agree on 3 player being the preferred tournament format.

Oh, I don't think he (or anyone) really opposes a tournament Dominion scene.  I just think it's unfortunate that he doesn't seem to care much about tournament play WHILE he's in charge of fostering it.  I don't think a lasting community can easily form around that, so it's very encouraging to hear that somebody else may take the helm for future tournaments.

If a real tournament scene does emerge, it'll be interesting to see what the final format is.  Sounds like it will start at 3 players but I hope it ends up wherever the community as a whole prefers it, whether that be 2, 3, or 4 players.
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DoxyLover

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Re: Dominion US National Championships
« Reply #64 on: August 08, 2012, 02:03:55 am »
+1

Hi all. Ted Marshall here. I'm the one who stepped into the Potion/Herbalist trap. I'd completely missed the strategy until I went to play my first Ambassador and realized what trouble I was in.

I'm not a regular on this board; I'm a good player but not in the league of most of the players there. I will say that it was fun and an honor to play with all of you. I'm quite happy to have ended up in a 3-way tie for 6th :-)

Anyway, I just wanted to wish Donald good luck in the finals.
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theory

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Re: Dominion US National Championships
« Reply #65 on: August 08, 2012, 10:12:38 am »
+1

Hi all. Ted Marshall here. I'm the one who stepped into the Potion/Herbalist trap. I'd completely missed the strategy until I went to play my first Ambassador and realized what trouble I was in.

I'm not a regular on this board; I'm a good player but not in the league of most of the players there. I will say that it was fun and an honor to play with all of you. I'm quite happy to have ended up in a 3-way tie for 6th :-)

Anyway, I just wanted to wish Donald good luck in the finals.

Hello!  No worries, I don't think many people realized the strength of Herbalist/Phil Stone until Geronimoo's article a couple of weeks before the tournament.
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