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Author Topic: 3 Player Dominion  (Read 5866 times)

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Davio

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3 Player Dominion
« on: August 29, 2011, 10:30:19 am »
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While I enjoy 2 player Dominion on Isotropic and think it is the most pure form, it is actually 3 player that I have the most fun with while playing live.

There are some added dimensions:
- Players will often try other strategies
- More often than not, the kingdom cards will be unevenly balanced
- Interaction will happen more often

The fair share of Victory cards for each player is still 4 (there are 12 instead of 8), but a 3-pile ending may be more common with 3p than with 2p.


I am starting this topic because I am playing in a Dominion tournament this weekend and it will be 3p all the way (unless there is a shortage of players) with 3 rounds of point scrambling and a semi and full final after that.

So I am asking you for any insightful comment regarding 3p.

Of course I already know that attacks are more powerful since there are 2 players who can play one in 1 turn, but any other things to look out for?
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DG

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Re: 3 Player Dominion
« Reply #1 on: August 29, 2011, 10:37:16 am »
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Defences are more powerful. Your attacks are no more powerful than in two player (although they may provide extra benefit - thief) and can often be weaker. The combined attacks of two players can produce unusual results and can tie down an unprepared opponent.
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Davio

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Re: 3 Player Dominion
« Reply #2 on: August 29, 2011, 10:42:05 am »
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Well, with Attacks (especially Cursers), I think it's better to join the fray.
There are 20 Curses to be divided with 3 players and you certainly want no more than 7 of them and must try to get at most 5.

What I am more curious about is when to switch over to Duchies.
I know with 2p it's Duchy time when P <= 4 and Estate time with P <= 2, with P the number of remaining Provinces.
This is of course a rule of thumb, but does anyone know if this is much different with 3p?
I guess it is, but by how much?
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guided

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Re: 3 Player Dominion
« Reply #3 on: August 29, 2011, 10:45:07 am »
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Cursing attacks are specifically less of a priority the more players there are. 7 is less than 10.

I don't have a rule of thumb for you on Duchies. 3p strategy is not my forte.
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shark_bait

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Re: 3 Player Dominion
« Reply #4 on: August 29, 2011, 10:45:40 am »
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Here's a few things off the top of my head.  Watch out for a 3 pile ending.  With more players, they could end it faster before you get your engine running.

Also, be careful if city is in play.  In 2-player, you can sometimes ignore it and let your opponent try to empty it by himself.  However, if 2 people are working on the city stack, they WILL empty quickly and then proceed to have an advantage over you.
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DsnowMan

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Re: 3 Player Dominion
« Reply #5 on: August 29, 2011, 10:49:24 am »
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If you ignore curses in a 3-player game, while the other 2 go for it, you get the same 10 curses but you get them FASTER than in a 2p game.

I don't think it's a good idea to ignore most cursing attacks in 3p.

Start buying duchies with 6-8 provinces left. Depends on game.
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tko

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Re: 3 Player Dominion
« Reply #6 on: August 29, 2011, 10:53:48 am »
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For 3 player, if Jester a popular buy, be aware that the game will often end in a 3-pile ending in a quick fashion.  That's a multiplayer surprise I found.

After you've seen your opponents play previous matches, and you have meta knowledge that they attempt to build complicated engines, consider playing Big Money (maybe add 1 Smithy, Envoy, Torturer, Rabble, Library, or Nobles).

Keep up in the VP tokens race.  For example, if Monument is out, it's often not the worst opening buy.
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Davio

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Re: 3 Player Dominion
« Reply #7 on: August 29, 2011, 11:08:09 am »
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I did not want to mention this in the opening post, because I wanted the topic to be mainly about 3p in general, but the tournament I'm playing in is Base only for the first rounds and Base + Intrigue for the semis and final.

I tried Workshop/Gardens not too long ago against 2 others who went with somewhat polluted BM strategies and it proved quite succesful.

Obviously, this combo is always something to watch out for with Base, but in 3p it still has some potential, even though it's harder to clear both the Gardens and Estates alone (both have 12 cards) and I don't know if it would have still been as succesful if the others would have tried some things to sabotage me (like getting a lot of Gardens themselves?).
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Geronimoo

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Re: 3 Player Dominion
« Reply #8 on: August 29, 2011, 11:17:40 am »
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spellenaanzee, Davio?
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guided

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Re: 3 Player Dominion
« Reply #9 on: August 29, 2011, 11:37:33 am »
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If you ignore curses in a 3-player game, while the other 2 go for it, you get the same 10 curses but you get them FASTER than in a 2p game.
But each of them has ~5 curses now, so you're only 5 curses down compared to the other players instead of 10.

This is not a good situation to be in, but it's not nearly as bad as taking all 10 curses in a 2p game.
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Epoch

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Re: 3 Player Dominion
« Reply #10 on: August 29, 2011, 12:08:48 pm »
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But each of them has ~5 curses now, so you're only 5 curses down compared to the other players instead of 10.

This is not a good situation to be in, but it's not nearly as bad as taking all 10 curses in a 2p game.

Guided is right, and also consider that in a 2p game, if you evenly split the curses, you each have 5 curses, whereas if it goes entirely one way, you get 10 curses (ie, the difference between working to split the curses and not is about 5 curses to you).  In a 3p game, the difference is 6.7 -> 10, or 3.3 curses -- so for the same amount of effort, you save yourself from fewer Curses.
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Davio

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Re: 3 Player Dominion
« Reply #11 on: August 29, 2011, 12:41:01 pm »
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spellenaanzee, Davio?
Yes, it's my first tournament/conference so I don't quite know what to expect.

Well, I'll just try to have fun of course and at least I get to play 3 rounds, but I can't help but try to do well, even if I'm doubtful to go to Essen to the Dominion World Championship if I win (automatic entry for the winner, but own transportation).
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Davio

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Re: 3 Player Dominion
« Reply #12 on: August 30, 2011, 06:21:58 pm »
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Okay, I've played around with the simulator a little and was somewhat surprised.

The optimal value for D (buy a Duchy if P <= D) seems to be 7 with the BMU strategies.
It seemed somewhat high to me, since 7 Provinces seems still a long way to go.
On the other hand, 5 Provinces are already gone which is 1.67 per player and this is less than in a 2p game.

Am I right in thinking 3p games are more "scrambly" than 2p? In 2p games, you can somewhat control the pace of the game and react to to your opponent's style. 3p's (and probably especially 4p's) are more "free for all" style games in which you have to focus more on yourself and grabbing as big a share of the points you can get. I think it's a lot harder to control the game and use the normal 2p rules of thumb like the PPR. You may withhold from buying the penultimate Province, have your neighbor buy it and the third player as well, making yourself lose to both.

In the tournament format I mentioned in which you get points for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place (a percentage of the points gained in each game is also noted for tiebreakers, e.g. 40 of the total 98 points shared between 3 players gets you 40,81%), I think it's more essential to just focus on getting the green instead of going all out or bust for the win. Surely, you want to win and getting a lot of green will help you towards this goal.

I am hoping to see some input from Theory and RRenaud, since they played at GenCon or WBC, see this topic: http://forum.dominionstrategy.com/index.php?topic=439.25 and probably have some experience with 3p.


Some more Simulator findings:
- A single Workshop/Gardens crushes 2 BMU's (and BMU Militia for that matter) hard: 99%
- 2 Players going for Workshop/Gardens will share their wins with the 3rd BMU player winning virtually 0%, although this may be tweaked to make the 3rd player more privy to what is going on and try to react somehow.

So if I see 2 players open Workshop/Workshop before me, I guess I just have to join the fun and hope my shuffle luck is better than theirs.
If I try adding some juice like buying Duchies, the results only get worse. Of course, being 3rd can really hurt, since there are only 10 Workshops and 6 will be gone the first round, meaning we will need some luck getting at least one more!
« Last Edit: August 30, 2011, 06:48:16 pm by Davio »
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pst

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Re: 3 Player Dominion
« Reply #13 on: August 31, 2011, 03:51:06 am »
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In the tournament format I mentioned in which you get points for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place (a percentage of the points gained in each game is also noted for tiebreakers, e.g. 40 of the total 98 points shared between 3 players gets you 40,81%),

That's not a good tiebreaker, I think. Firstly it encourages a clear winner to keep increasing the distance instead of just winning at the first opportunity: That would be boring. Secondly it works really bad with negative scores. So if you win +3/0/0 you get 100%, if you win +3/-1/-1 it's even better of course, 300%. But if you get +3/-3/-3 you only get -100% and in the worst case you win with something like +3/-1/-2 and the tournament has to be cancelled or something.
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Davio

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Re: 3 Player Dominion
« Reply #14 on: August 31, 2011, 04:06:25 am »
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In the tournament format I mentioned in which you get points for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place (a percentage of the points gained in each game is also noted for tiebreakers, e.g. 40 of the total 98 points shared between 3 players gets you 40,81%),

That's not a good tiebreaker, I think. Firstly it encourages a clear winner to keep increasing the distance instead of just winning at the first opportunity: That would be boring. Secondly it works really bad with negative scores. So if you win +3/0/0 you get 100%, if you win +3/-1/-1 it's even better of course, 300%. But if you get +3/-3/-3 you only get -100% and in the worst case you win with something like +3/-1/-2 and the tournament has to be cancelled or something.
I've send your very astute observations to the organization. Tiebreaking systems in a game like Dominion (in which an early lead can have great effect on end score and end scores are prone to be very swingy) are almost always going to be bad. I'm curious to their reaction.
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Thisisnotasmile

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Re: 3 Player Dominion
« Reply #15 on: August 31, 2011, 04:14:16 am »
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I'm sure they'll just treat any negative score as 0. Tiebreakers are never going to work, but tournaments need them so there's no point complaining every time someone tries to implement something.
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pst

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Re: 3 Player Dominion
« Reply #16 on: August 31, 2011, 05:51:21 am »
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I'm sure they'll just treat any negative score as 0. Tiebreakers are never going to work, but tournaments need them so there's no point complaining every time someone tries to implement something.

The problem with negative scores is a minor point that isn't common and easily can be averted. The main issue is that this tiebreaking scheme encourages accumulating extra "unnecessary" points. That will matter in many games and in way that makes the game less fun and more frustrating, which certainly isn't intended.

Yes, tiebreaking is a "necessary evil", and yes, no tiebreak is perfect, but most wouldn't have such a negative impact on the game. Often a tiebreak can be almost invisible in that players normally don't have to think about it, maybe except for in the last round.

I would probably use number-of-wins-on-their-own as first tiebreak, and number-of-shared-wins secondly. Maybe some Buchholz then (how well your opponents did). If you want to avoid that calculation you could go for the result between two tied players if they've played each other. (If there are many players / few rounds that might not be enough.)
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Thisisnotasmile

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Re: 3 Player Dominion
« Reply #17 on: August 31, 2011, 06:07:25 am »
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Whether or not any tiebreaking system "makes the game less fun and more frustrating" is up to each individual to decide for themselves. Who's to say I don't like dragging a game on a bit longer so I can win by a bigger margin? If that's what I like to do, then this tiebreaking scheme makes the game more fun for me. Yeah, it may make it a bit frustrating if I'm on the losing end, but if I'd do it with the positions swapped, I can't really complain if it happens. At the end of the day it's up to the tournament organisers to implement any tiebreaking system they see fit. It's announced ahead of time. If you don't like it, don't enter the tournament. If you do enter the tournament, adapt your play to fit the system being used.
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Davio

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Re: 3 Player Dominion
« Reply #18 on: August 31, 2011, 06:47:39 am »
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While I have serious doubts about the current tiebreaking system, I find it very hard to come up with a good alternative.
I like the Buchholz idea of summing up your opponent's ending scores, so if you beat someone who goes on to get 2-3-3 (points), then in hindsight you have done better than when you beat someone who gets 1-1-1 (points). You will play against 6 different opponents (opposed to 3 if it were 2p), so this has some meaning. A median-Buchholz could even be used. Still, it's only 3 rounds, so distortion is inevitable.

It is mentioned that the current system will cause longer games, since players will drag the game along to grab more points. The opposite could also be true, since winning 12-1-1 will give you a better scoring percentage than winning 24-13-13. I think it won't matter much in practice and if I can end the game ahead, I'll probably do so, because those 3 points are more valuable than concerning myself with tie breaks.

There are 16 tables of 3 and 9 will go through to the semis of which the winners will proceed to the final.

This means it's possible to NOT make the semis even with 3 wins, there could be 16 players with 3 wins (the losing players of each table just shift around and lose to others who have won) and thus 7 who could fail to make the cut even with a perfect record.

That's just the way the tournament works and if I'm the one who by 1% fails to make the semis, I'll surely not be happy.

Yes, the tiebreaking system is far from perfect, butI think the bottom line is that we have to support these kinds of tournaments. Someone took the time and energy to organize it and for that I am thankful. Maybe after this tournament, there will be more and some things will be learned from this one.
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pst

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Re: 3 Player Dominion
« Reply #19 on: August 31, 2011, 07:47:24 am »
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It is mentioned that the current system will cause longer games, since players will drag the game along to grab more points. The opposite could also be true, since winning 12-1-1 will give you a better scoring percentage than winning 24-13-13. I think it won't matter much in practice and if I can end the game ahead, I'll probably do so, because those 3 points are more valuable than concerning myself with tie breaks.

True. And I think you said this was basic set only? With no victory tokens I think there won't be large problems with this.
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HiveMindEmulator

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Re: 3 Player Dominion
« Reply #20 on: August 31, 2011, 11:27:00 am »
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Am I right in thinking 3p games are more "scrambly" than 2p? In 2p games, you can somewhat control the pace of the game and react to to your opponent's style. 3p's (and probably especially 4p's) are more "free for all" style games in which you have to focus more on yourself and grabbing as big a share of the points you can get. I think it's a lot harder to control the game and use the normal 2p rules of thumb like the PPR. You may withhold from buying the penultimate Province, have your neighbor buy it and the third player as well, making yourself lose to both.
I definitely agree about the pace thing. In 2 player, you have a ton of control over the pace of the game. Half the turns are yours, and it's hard for one person to end the game if you're trying not to. But with 3 players, the kingdom piles will already be a little shorter, making pile endings easier; and more importantly, if they both get to 5 provinces, that leaves only 2 for you instead of the 3 you'd have in 2-player, meaning you'd need a SIX duchy edge to make up for it, which is just too much.

As far as the PPR thing, the PPR is obviously a 2-player rule. The equivalent rule for 3 players would be the TTLPR (third-to-last province rule). The principle is the that you don't want to buy a province you'd be able to buy next turn.
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Deadlock39

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Re: 3 Player Dominion
« Reply #21 on: August 31, 2011, 11:42:15 am »
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Kuildeous

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Re: 3 Player Dominion
« Reply #22 on: August 31, 2011, 11:51:46 am »
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The Antepenultimate Province.

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/antepenultimate

Drat, I came here to say that. There are so few instances where "antepenultimate" can be used.
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Kirian

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Re: 3 Player Dominion
« Reply #23 on: August 31, 2011, 12:48:35 pm »
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Yes, but the APR doesn't apply nearly as well in 3-player as the PPR does in 2-player.  Certainly it works if everyone's deck is likely to produce $8+ and no bonus buys every turn (Alchemists might make this likely).

But let's say you're player 1, 3 Provinces are left in the pile, the scores are tied, and you have $8.  Chances are good that one of your opponents has $8, but how likely is it that both will?  How likely that P3 doesn't buy a Province, and you get a shot at the final Province?  And if that happens, what if you have $7 and P2 can grab the final Province to win?  With three players, this goes into deep analysis paralysis for someone faced with the choice of breaking the APR... but no paralysis for the other players, as once the rule is broken, their choices are more obvious.

----

Another thing of note, since this is face-to-face; remember that in F2F play you don't have to reveal all your cash, and it's going to be advantageous not to do so if you buy a Duchy but had enough to get a Province.  We all toss all our money on the table on isotropic because it's just quicker, but in person it's easier to hide your real total cash.
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guided

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Re: 3 Player Dominion
« Reply #24 on: August 31, 2011, 01:01:31 pm »
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Tournament thoughts: Advance all tied players from one round to the next. Odd-size games could either be 2p or 4p, or volunteers could fill in spoiler seats to make 3p games. If players are tied for the overall championship, play another game.

When winnowing from 48 straight down to 9, tiebreakers will matter and I expect one or more tables will have souring experiences due to VP-based tiebreaker metagaming. I'm of a mind that cutting more than 80% of the field in one 3-game round is probably a bad idea. I'd suggest either playing a longer round or having an additional round before the semis.
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