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Author Topic: Compare the Villages  (Read 16030 times)

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Epoch

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Compare the Villages
« on: August 25, 2011, 03:36:12 pm »
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It recently came to my attention that I was maybe undervaluing Bazaar (or perhaps thought I was undervaluing Bazaar, since apparently I actually buy it a lot and am effective with it).

Which brings up the question, how do you rate the villages?  By "villages," I mean any card which gives +2 Actions, and I believe this is an exhaustive list:

$2:  Native Village, Hamlet
$3:  Village, Shanty Town, Fishing Village
$4:  Mining Village, Worker's Village, Walled Village, Farming Village
$5:  City, Bazaar, Festival

Obviously, in some strategies, you'll just say, "I absolutely need a +2 Actions card, there's only one on the board, and so I'm gonna go for it."  But other times, there will be two Villages on the board, or you might say, "If I had a different Village, I might go for this engine, but as is, screw it, I'll do a non-engine deck"?  Which ones do you regard more favorably?

My tentative thoughts:

I think there's general agreement that Walled Village is low-tier.  Cities are pretty bad if you don't anticipate any piles depleting until the late game.  I think Festival is... good, but hard to build an engine around because of its unique lack of card advantage.  In most cases, I treat it as "+1 Action, +$2, +1 Buy....  oh yeah, and +1 more Action," unless there's a good reason to believe that my deck will be unusual in a way that will let it coincide with lots of other Actions.  I very rarely find myself wanting to use the Mining Village's special ability, which implies to me that I'd prefer a normal Village for the greater availability.

Middle tier, I think that Village, Native Village, and Farming Village are all pretty equivalent.  I guess I've been convinced that Bazaar is here instead of low tier, as I was thinking.

High tier:  Hamlet and Worker's Village are nice for the +buy, which I'm likely to want in any game where I'm going to buy significant numbers of villages.  Fishing Village is obviously highly regarded by most people, and I'm no exception.  Cities if you think a pile will deplete early are obviously super-good.



But I'm not hugely confident of these rankings.  What do you guys think?


EDIT:  Left off Shanty Town.  I'm not sure what to think of Shanty Town.  Sometimes, I think it's awesome because it makes the "drew one Village, nothing else" problem a lot less problematic.  Other times, I think it sucks because of the overall much less card advantage.
« Last Edit: August 25, 2011, 03:43:07 pm by Epoch »
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jsh357

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Re: Compare the Villages
« Reply #1 on: August 25, 2011, 03:44:39 pm »
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I think the value of Walled Village varies a lot depending on the size of your deck.  Getting a guaranteed +2a on a reshuffle is amazing in thin builds with important terminal actions (Goons for instance).  That said I agree with a lot of your assessment, but a lot of these cards feel like apples and oranges to me, Native Village in particular being a whole different beast. 
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guided

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Re: Compare the Villages
« Reply #2 on: August 25, 2011, 03:50:16 pm »
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I think you're mostly on the ball. I'd probably drop Native Village to the low tier: to be good it needs early +buy (so you don't overspend buying them), and even then it can be pretty unreliable as the main +actions card in an engine since it draws so poorly. And I don't think Farming Village offers enough benefit most of the time to be worthy of its price tag - I'd usually prefer vanilla Village to be on the board if I need the actions. But all that's debatable. A more glaring issue is Mining Village, which is just an awesome card to take with any spare $4 buy (or Ironworks, or University) since it's a cantrip that you can burn for a quickie $2 if you ever need it (and you usually will). As an opening card it's an elite quick bootstrap to $6-$7 if you're not afraid to burn it early. And when you're building an engine that genuinely needs Mining Villages for +actions, you can burn them in the endgame when they're unlikely to be drawn again (or at least unlikely to be drawn more than once again). Most of the Village variants, when I need them to build an engine, I often end up thinking "Man, I wish it was just good old $3, +1 Card Village on the board instead." Worker's Village and Mining Village are the only two that I would frequently prefer to vanilla Village if I had to pick one to be available on the board.

edit: Shanty Town is definitely low-tier. Typically it's unreliable-at-best, and it's almost never better than Village for engine-building.
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Epoch

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Re: Compare the Villages
« Reply #3 on: August 25, 2011, 04:01:46 pm »
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I think you're mostly on the ball. I'd probably drop Native Village to the low tier: to be good it needs early +buy (so you don't overspend buying them), and even then it can be pretty unreliable as the main +actions card in an engine since it draws so poorly.

My thoughts on Native Village evolved from initially thinking it was terrible, but I've become more of a fan.  My argument is as follows:

NV typically offers one less card per turn than Village (since if you draw, say, 3 NVs, you can go "NV add to mat," "NV add to mat," "NV put mat in hand" and gain 2 cards instead of the 3 you'd get from Village).  It may be worse than that (if you have to do multiple add-to-mat/put-mat-in-hand cycles in one turn, say because you had a big card draw in the middle.  But, on the other hand, they "save up" the card advantage that frequently is wasted by normal Villages, and give it to you pretty exactly when you need it.  And we all know that one big turn in Dominion is typically better than two little turns.

So I promoted it to mid-tier.  I don't want to overstate the case, it's obviously not a power card.  But it feels to me like the card drawing you get is only a little weaker than normal Village, and the ability to choose when the card advantage comes through is worth the overall loss of power.  That said, my Effect With and Effect Without are both negative with it.
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sherwinpr

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Re: Compare the Villages
« Reply #4 on: August 25, 2011, 04:24:19 pm »
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Hamlet is great in the right situations.  Hamlet/Library and Hamlet/Watchtower are especially attractive.  It works somewhat well with Goons, since you can pick up Hamlets with your +buys for VP, and they in turn give you more +buys; the only problem is  when you're hit by Goons, you can't discard much with them, but in a hand with Goons/Goons/Hamlet/X1/X2, you can still discard the X1 and X2 to your opponent's Goons and then get a double Goons Turn (and use it to buy two Hamlets if you wish, for 4 VP).  Hamlet/Goons/Watchtower is obscene.  You can use the watchtower to place newly bought Watchtowers, Hamlets, and/or Goons on your deck, you can buy Coppers and/or Curses when you want to, Hamlet/Watchtower provides an effective draw engine and you can play multiple Goons easily, and you have built in defense against your opponent's goons.

Hamlet also works nicely with cards such as Menagerie, and can be an effective poor man's Worker's Village in a Minion deck (and it's so much cheaper to pick up with your spare buys, that the Hamlets themselves will generate).

Lastly, it's a very easy pile to run out (as far as contributing to doing so itself), probably easier than even Pawn, though I'm not sure, and this can be a good thing or a bad thing.

The other cards that enable you to play multiple terminal actions a turn are:

Throne Room
Tactician
University
Golem
King's Court

However, aside from University, these work a bit differently.
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Epoch

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Re: Compare the Villages
« Reply #5 on: August 25, 2011, 04:28:14 pm »
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University should definitely be on the list!  I just forgot about it.  It's the other "definitely no card advantage" village.

I'm putting Throne Room, Tactician, Golem, and King's Court into other buckets, personally.  They just behave too differently.
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guided

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Re: Compare the Villages
« Reply #6 on: August 25, 2011, 04:34:51 pm »
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Hamlet is so great ;D Other than Chapel, I think it might be the best $2 card. It's not a great action source in tightly trimmed engine decks, but I can't really think of anything else bad to say about it.

University is usually mediocre. It needs at least one pile you'd be happy to gain lots of to avoid sucking (Minion and Apprentice come to mind as good enablers), and even then, the process of getting a Potion into your hand, and then using it to buy a University, and then getting the University into your hand is quite slow, so you'd better be getting awesome value for the cards you're gaining. The total lack of draw makes it a rather dubious engine card outside of University/Apprentice decks (which I love). Wharf is a possibility, but if there are no other drawing cards you may find yourself choking more often than you'd like. Island (and to a lesser extent Great Hall) can help justify University on boards where it's otherwise marginal.
« Last Edit: August 25, 2011, 04:39:35 pm by guided »
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Mean Mr Mustard

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Re: Compare the Villages
« Reply #7 on: August 25, 2011, 04:36:31 pm »
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Okay, I'll bite with the known caveat that all cards usefulness are board dependent and this is strictly my opinion..

The weakest are Shanty Town and Native Village.  These, on top of the opportunity cost associated with buying them, can actually slow down the tempo of your engine.  All villages can do this if the deck is drawing blind but these two effectively lower the number of cards in hand when they are played.  Yes, the Shanty Town can give two cards somewhat dependently under the right circumstances and the Native can be used to build a super-hand but for the most part I usually would rather have the simple +1 card.

The Village and the Walled Village set the standard for the Village type.  I don't see a huge difference between $3 and $4 usually, so unless there is an Upgrade effect on board I view them as generally equal.  Walled Village has a bad reputation but the secondary effect actually does make putting draw chains together a bit easier, so I think the cost difference is reasonable.  These two however, I prefer to gain rather than buy unless I have an amount of Silver in my deck I am comfortable with.

The Festival and Hamlet have some uses outside of just the two actions.  They are great in certain draw engines or to generate fast Peddlers.  Menagerie, Minions, Library, Alchemist, Scrying Pool and Watchtower, among others I am sure, all benefit greatly using either or both of these two.  As a bland Village they are not quite as good as the +2A/+1C villages but when they are useful they really shine.

The Mining Village is underestimated frequently.  It is actually quite good in helping to gain an important card early.  The sac ability is of course what makes this card really shine.  Since they replace themselves when played they can be saved when the coin is not needed and used to boost the buying power of any hand during any phase of the game with no further cost or planning.  I usually sac the first one on turn 3-4 for an easy Gold.

Worker's Village is a great source of buy and is very strong because of that.  I prefer it over quite a few of the terminal +buy cards and it is an easy addition to any deck.  Unlike the Mining Village, however, it never boosts the buying power of a deck so it shouldn't be bought too many times; gaining many is great.

The City is a write-up of its own and any seasoned Dominion player has seen it used to superb effect and have also seen it fizzle terribly.  The key, of course, is the ability to mass gain them with say University or Horn of Plenty or to buy them quickly when a pile is absolutely bound to run out in a timely manner.  Winning a race of upgraded Cities is usually a recipe for victory, but buying them over and over to no point in the wrong Kingdom spells certain defeat.

The bazaar is usually a decent buy and can really shine when mixed with other +$/+C cards and trashing.  They help boost Minions when it reasonable to get them instead of Minion and can really put a Peddler or Scrying Pool deck over the top.  Treasury, Markets, Grand Markets, supported Conspirators all can work with Bazaar, and it should be noted that other action chains can be helped with the coin generated from this card.  $7 hands suck.  Bazaar can help.

Yes, I actually put Farming Village as the second best Village because it is like a reverse Rabble and can clear out greens during the all-important VP rush of the end game.  It is a natural foil against some of the stronger attacks;  it neuters Ghost Ship, Rabble and Fortune Teller and mitigates cursers.  It is absurd in treasure-less decks.

The king is of course Fishing Villages.  I think middle level players tend to buy too many and in the wrong circumstances, but on the whole it is a really strong engine card and can make any big draw strategy work much better than the other villages.  There are so many other uses for this card, most of them obvious, but I will add that Menagerie, Library and Watchtower are greatly improved with this card.
« Last Edit: August 25, 2011, 05:13:42 pm by Mean Mr Mustard »
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rinkworks

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Re: Compare the Villages
« Reply #8 on: August 25, 2011, 04:48:47 pm »
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$2:  Native Village, Hamlet
$3:  Village, Shanty Town, Fishing Village
$4:  Mining Village, Worker's Village, Walled Village, Farming Village
$5:  City, Bazaar, Festival

As others have pointed out, Native Village sticks out as being incomparable here.  I love the card, but less as an enabler (as these other cards are) as a strategy unto itself.

Of the remaining, Festival, Shanty Town, and City resist the Village classification to a lesser degree.  Shanty Town has a number of uses, its Village-behavior being the weakest of them.  City is a Village to start out, but at Level 2 -- the point at which Cities become desirable -- the Laboratory-like behavior is the more important by far.  And Festival is usually a revenue generator first and chainer second.  When it IS a chainer, it works best with Library/Watchtower than with straight +Cards, which is the exact reverse of when Villages are good.

So with those four cards culled, here's what I like:

1. Fishing Village:  So strong, I'm still astonished it's priced at $3 instead of $4.  The lack of draw weakens it significantly, but the next-turn effect is as if you'd just played a Bazaar.  That and the fact that you need fewer of them to kickstart your chains from turn to turn make this the priority buy for almost every engine.

2. Worker's Village:  An incredible general-purpose engine card.  Many engines (Conspirator, Minion, Alchemist, etc) need +Buy, which is often a scarce resource.  Worker's Villages can provide that for free when you get them for their Village functionality.  And when your engine doesn't require Villages (Minion, Laboratory, etc), you can still usually drop them in for the +Buy without choking up the workings of your engine, as you would if your +Buy source was a terminal.  The advent of Hamlet makes Worker's Village less uniquely suited to solving this problem so neatly, but it's still as useful as it ever was.

3. Bazaar:  The +coin makes a world of difference and is probably more often worth more than a +buy.  Like Worker's Village, they provide a seamless benefit even in engines where the Village effect isn't necessary.  But as stated in the other thread, Bazaar's $5 cost is significant.  The jump from $4 to $5 matters a lot more than the $3 to $4 jump for two reasons:  One, the starting deck can get to $4 without much trouble, while $5 takes work.  Two, $5 is beyond the reach of Workshop/Ironworks/Talisman, which are great ways to accumulate engine parts quickly.

That's my top 3, but I want to say something in Walled Village's defense.  Yes, it's probably the weakest $4 village.  But it's not a "bad card," as some say.  It is, after all, strictly superior to vanilla Village, and the cost difference often just doesn't matter.

Also, a note on Mining Village:  Conventional wisdom (apparently) is to trash early Mining Villages often.  Figure that your average card value starts at $0.7, rising to $1+ quickly.  That makes Mining Village's +1 card and its +$2 roughly equivalent to a one-shot Gold.  That's a pretty huge boon in the early game.
« Last Edit: August 25, 2011, 04:57:27 pm by rinkworks »
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tko

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Re: Compare the Villages
« Reply #9 on: August 25, 2011, 05:17:04 pm »
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Yes, I actually put Farming Village as the second best Village because it is like a reverse Rabble and can clear out greens during the all-important VP rush of the end game.  It is a natural foil against some of the stronger attacks;  it neuters Ghost Ship, Rabble and Fortune Teller and mitigates cursers.  It is absurd in treasure-less decks.
When I was playing IRL, someone opened Farming Village/Silver, and I chuckled to myself.  Then, on their 1st play of Farming Village, they discarded 2 Estates, and I dropped my jaw at how this helped them cycle their early buys.  This was maybe a lucky draw, but does Farming Village have any value as an opening buy for it's ability to skip an Estate?
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Mean Mr Mustard

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Re: Compare the Villages
« Reply #10 on: August 25, 2011, 05:20:02 pm »
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Not really, imo.  Mining Village is about the only one I would buy on a 3/4 split, with the exception of a Peddler presence.
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tko

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Re: Compare the Villages
« Reply #11 on: August 25, 2011, 05:31:46 pm »
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I know I expiremented with a Farming Village opening after that IRL game.  I found one example game I played:
http://councilroom.com/game?game_id=game-20110720-054704-c186528d.html
I did get lucky here getting a Fairgrounds out of the Black Market deck, and the other opening buy of Masquerade was a big help.  Probably not conclusive... it was seeing a lucky '2-Estate discard' on turn 3 or 4 that made an impression on me.
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Epoch

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Re: Compare the Villages
« Reply #12 on: August 25, 2011, 05:49:04 pm »
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Also, a note on Mining Village:  Conventional wisdom (apparently) is to trash early Mining Villages often.  Figure that your average card value starts at $0.7, rising to $1+ quickly.  That makes Mining Village's +1 card and its +$2 roughly equivalent to a one-shot Gold.  That's a pretty huge boon in the early game.

Maybe.  And I think there are two fairly conceptually separate situations, here:  one in which you aren't trying to buy an engine -- where you'd be basically just as excited about Mining Village if it were +1 card, +1 action, +$2, trash.  And the other in which you're getting an engine together.

In the engine case, I'm not convinced that the +$2 helps much at all.  You probably aren't trying to get above-$5 cards for your engine (exception:  King's Court, maybe Nobles).  You aren't trying to get just one lynchpin card for your engine.  You're trying to get a density of cards, and probably that density is primarily "villages and something that gives +cards."  The reason that engines tend to be slower than Big Money variations has to do with a total number of buying opportunities before they start firing, not a total number of high-cost buying opportunities.  And in this case, you're throwing out one of your buying opportunities.

Basically, if my first ten buys go:

$4/$3/$4/$5/$4/$3/$4/$3/$5/$5

I'd rather be able to buy Village equivalents with each of the $3's than spend a $4 and another $4+ together to buy a $6+ card.  Usually.  That's why I'm not hugely thrilled with Mining Villages.  There are a lot of exception situations, sure, but ultimately, if I'm putting together an engine, I'm putting a value on repeatability and consistency that's undermined by throwing out an engine component for a single better buy.  If I do use the Mining Village ability, it's much more likely to be at the end of the game, to put together my last few Province buys.

There's also sort of a timing problem with it: if I'm doing cards/actions, there may well be times when I'd like to sac the MV with perfect foreknowledge, but I don't want to sac it if it'll leave my at $7 (or be extraneous and put me at $10), and the time when I'll know about my buying power is after I play the +cards action that follows the MV.

Or perhaps I just don't like having to do the extra click on isotropic.  :P
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Mean Mr Mustard

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Re: Compare the Villages
« Reply #13 on: August 25, 2011, 05:59:30 pm »
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As an engine card, Mining Village is a more expensive Village.  That is not to say it isn't useful in that role, just subpar.
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guided

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Re: Compare the Villages
« Reply #14 on: August 25, 2011, 06:33:24 pm »
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Mining Village is still good as an engine card since you can pop them near the end of the game. The endgame does tend to matter! Simplest case, if your Village engine stalled out at $6 and you had to settle for a Duchy instead of buying the last Province... man, you sure wish you had a Mining Village instead.

If speed of engine building is the primary concern, and you frequently hit exactly $3 in your buy phase, then sure $3 Village makes it a little easier to build the engine. Mining Village certainly isn't better to see on the board than Village in every possible circumstance.
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DG

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Re: Compare the Villages
« Reply #15 on: August 25, 2011, 07:10:52 pm »
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The three villages that I guess are most difficult to use are the university, shanty town, and native village. Without a basic draw and no coins they can stultify a deck. While a village idiot can buy villages to no purpose, they can be less detrimental than a bad shanty town and less catastrophic than bad universities. The university can get around it's problems with the cards it gains, the shanty town just needs a different sort of environment to most other villages, and the native village lives in its own bizarre strategy universe. When the native village shines however it really does enable a lot of imaginative play so it's a card that lets you use strategies that you couldn't perform with other villages, possibly top tier by your definition.

I find that hamlets can be very problematical if you just don't have enough cards in hand to support them. You can also get into trouble with decisions about what you need to discard now to support what you might need later in the turn. If they're not suitable for a deck then it can be a complete dead end buying them so I think a cost of 2 is quite fair. I guess I've played them poorly in the past to find out all that.

Mixing villages in deck can often be a good idea, so neither village may be strictly superior even within a specified kingdom .
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Markov Chain

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Re: Compare the Villages
« Reply #16 on: August 25, 2011, 11:02:21 pm »
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Native Village is good in a deck with several of them, and it's only reasonable to get several if you have a slow deck (say, because Curses are around) or you have +buy.  Like Festival, it isn't used that much for its Village power, although you can sometimes stack two terminals on your mat and then wait to pull them.  It's more a timing card; you can decide whether you need your mat contents now or wait to make them big later.  In that context, it's something like a Haven; you can Haven an unneeded copper to save it for next turn, or Native Village and leave the copper on your mat for your next Native Village.

Fishing Village is my favorite village, and I often pay $4 for it even when decent $4's are available.  (It also tends to run out quickly in my gaming group.)  The lack of a draw means that it isn't great this turn, but next turn, it's a basic Village plus an extra coin. 
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Anon79

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Re: Compare the Villages
« Reply #17 on: August 26, 2011, 12:55:32 am »
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Coming from someone whose lowest Win Rate Given Avail over all cards is Native Village: NV is horribly undercosted at $2. I don't understand how the general population has better Win Rate Without than Win Rate With.
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guided

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Re: Compare the Villages
« Reply #18 on: August 26, 2011, 08:58:58 am »
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NV is horribly undercosted at $2.
I really don't think so. Why do you say that? It's probably in the top half of $2 cards but I wouldn't put it in the top 5, and it's usually worse than Village.
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WanderingWinder

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Re: Compare the Villages
« Reply #19 on: August 26, 2011, 09:40:29 am »
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I agree with guided here. There are of course games where I'll gladly lap up NV over any 3 and most 4s, but that doesn't mean it's undercosted - those are very rare situations, and while it's true it's amazing in them, it's pretty sub-par otherwise. You SHOULD want any card more than the average card that costs 1 more than it a decent amount of the time - that's the way the game is designed. But making it slightly more difficult to get at 3 won't really make it much weaker in those combo decks, and it will look horrible in comparison to village there.

guided

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Re: Compare the Villages
« Reply #20 on: August 26, 2011, 10:01:07 am »
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FWIW I think I'd rank it 6th among $2 cards, after Chapel, Hamlet, Courtyard, Lighthouse, and Pawn. Not even the best $2 Village variant ;)
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Superdad

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Re: Compare the Villages
« Reply #21 on: August 26, 2011, 12:08:10 pm »
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It's been said a few times but mining village has two main uses for me:

1) To hit an early gold... kind-of like a cantrip-feast for gold, but taking up your buy for the turn also.
2) To act kind of like a salvager... and in this way it's best if you have a source of +buy. Trashing 4 mining villages on your last turn allows you to double-province, much in the same way that salvager will trash a gold on the last turn to hopefully buy double province (or at least province + duchy) for the win.



For Native Village, I don't like it as much as others. I probably undervalue it myself. I find myself using native villages in combo decks that want to have a massive turn. I like it with cards like coppersmith, and bank in combination with a +buy card... anything that gets better in big-hands. I use them as a combo card to buy 2+ provinces in a single turn for a big bang finish.

I find people buy NV way too often though, and they end up with this uncontrollable trashing non-cantrip pseudo village that actually doesn't do anything for them.
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Kirian

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Re: Compare the Villages
« Reply #22 on: August 26, 2011, 03:27:33 pm »
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University is usually mediocre. It needs at least one pile you'd be happy to gain lots of to avoid sucking (Minion and Apprentice come to mind as good enablers), and even then, the process of getting a Potion into your hand, and then using it to buy a University, and then getting the University into your hand is quite slow, so you'd better be getting awesome value for the cards you're gaining. The total lack of draw makes it a rather dubious engine card outside of University/Apprentice decks (which I love). Wharf is a possibility, but if there are no other drawing cards you may find yourself choking more often than you'd like. Island (and to a lesser extent Great Hall) can help justify University on boards where it's otherwise marginal.

I think you're really, really underestimating Uni/Wharf here.  Once you have Wharves out, you have a very high chance of getting Uni and Wharf in your 7 starting cards, giving you 7 starting cards next round.  With even light trashing, a good third can make the combo ridiculous, especially if that terminal is also $5 or under.  Conspirator and Bridge make excellent choices for a third.
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guided

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Re: Compare the Villages
« Reply #23 on: August 26, 2011, 03:45:58 pm »
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I think you're really, really underestimating Uni/Wharf here.
I think that's too many "really"s in response to "you may find yourself choking more often than you'd like." :P Also Conspirator is certainly an "other drawing card"!

I mean I specifically called out Wharf as a possibility for a University engine. Think about all the cards I didn't call out! (like Smithy for one)
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Superdad

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Re: Compare the Villages
« Reply #24 on: August 26, 2011, 03:46:17 pm »
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I think the key thing that Uni/Wharf decks have problems with is money. Very quickly the deck draws itself, and buying more wharfs isn't actually doing anything for you. In addition, you naturally tend to have lower money than big money wharf decks, since turns are spent buying the potion and more universities on potion turns.

I think to be worth it, you really need to be able to also gain a money generating action. Also, it's very possible the strategy is too slow for province games. It may not be too slow, but it wouldn't surprise me at all if it were. 

/edit: ninja'd by guided
« Last Edit: August 26, 2011, 03:48:20 pm by Superdad »
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