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Author Topic: Dominion Academy, game #1  (Read 15966 times)

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-Stef-

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Dominion Academy, game #1
« on: January 07, 2013, 12:06:27 pm »
+51

Welcome to the Dominion Academy, something new I'm trying out. The idea is that you look at the kingdom for a while and try to come up with an answer to the first question. Then compare to my answer and go on with the next question. How extensive your own answer is, is all up to you. My hope is to bring this beyond the actual game and more about the set.

Without further ado, this is the kingdom for game#1:
$6:  Grand Market, Fairgrounds
$5:  Mine
$4:  Farming Village, Mining Village, Ironworks
$3:  Scheme, Woodcutter
$2:  Courtyard, Cellar
Looking at these cards, two possible strategies come to mind: engine or BigMoney.

Why would you play BigMoney and not engine?
1. Courtyard. Courtyard-BM is a very strong BM variant.
2. The engine player may have some fancy cards, but nothing that hurts you, no attacks or even pseudo-attacks.
3. No possibility to get rid of the initial 10 cards.
4. Courtyard is the only card increasing handsize, netting only +1 card.


Why would you play engine and not BigMoney?
1. Mine into Grand Market. It will take a while, but eventually this will have incredible power. This time is provided by:
2. Fairgrounds. Fairgrounds implies you have time until they pick up province #8 in stead of #5, which should be about 7 extra turns. Really huge.
3. Ironworks allows you to pick up components easily
4. Scheme. Scheme is very helpful in 'village/smithy' variant draw decks (cheaper), opposed to 'lab/lab' variants (more expensive but reliable all by itself).
5. Farming Village. Courtyard is lousy for draw in engines, but farming village compensates a little bit (put back your estate and continue with the village)
6. Two piles of villages. You'll need lots of villages, but because you have two piles you won't have to get a pile dangerously low.
7. Cellar. Handle with care, because this card can easily destroy you if you overbuy it. A single Cellar can be strong though.


Which strategy do you expect to be better on this board?
Courtyard-BM. It hurts a bit to say this, but the engine is probably too weak. No destruction and no attacks is really bad.

When playing Courtyard-BigMoney, are any other cards in the kingdom of interest? How does this depend on your opponents strategy?
Yes. A single Ironworks is at the very least interesting. In the mirror it's doubtful because the game will be very fast and getting early golds is important. The game against the engine will be longer and unless your start is very lucky it will be worth it for sure. If you draw it together with a Courtyard you can either gain another Courtyard or place the Ironworks back. Gaining a Silver still nets you $1. By the time you need to buy out the last (or two) provinces, maybe even a mining village is worth it for the sacrificing option.

When playing the engine, how many Ironworks do you want? How many Mines? Does it depend on the opponents strategy?
At the very least you want one of both, and you want them asap. In the mirror match I think I want a second Ironworks and stick with the single Mine. This game will be much shorter, piles will run out anyway, and I'd better make sure I have the majority share. In the matchup against BigMoney, I think I prefer only one Ironworks and a second Mine. My objective is quite the opposite: I need to prevent a 3-pile at all costs, and as long as I'm not too greedy myself I can do that. Instead I need to prepare for taking a lot of points in the endgame. If I can get to Grand Markets a little sooner this way, they will be at least as effective in picking up components as multiple Ironworks.

So... the game starts and your opponent just bought a Silver for $3. You expect him to go BigMoney. What strategy do you choose? And what do you open with?
No. No No No. You don't have to choose now at all. I'd open Silver/Courtyard both in BigMoney and the engine. In BigMoney this should be obvious, getting $6 is your first priority and an early Ironworks doesn't help that at all. But even in the engine I want the extra Silver. Because draw is so bad here, and I can't destroy any cards, it will take a long time before I start drawing my deck anyway. Until then I'll just have to do with some power cards. So getting a Mine quick is super important. Praying for $5 without buying any silvers is really asking for trouble. Plus delaying the choice on the strategy is very helpful. I may really want to play an engine, but secretly I also know courtyard-BM is probably better. If my turn 3 draws are much better then my opponents, I can still switch back to grabbing the gold and play Courtyard-BigMoney mirror. A year ago I would have opened Ironworks/Courtyard on boards like this for sure, and I can still respect that, but now I'm more into the metagame.

You went first, opened Silver/Courtyard planning to go BigMoney, and get the perfect draw: $6 on turn 3 without even using the Courtyard. That's a gold for sure. On turn 4 you play the Courtyard and draw all 3 Estates, 3 Coppers and your Silver. What do you put back? What do you buy?
You put the silver back and buy another Courtyard. Don't buy Silver or Ironworks now. If you get $6 for a Gold on turn 5 again you're on fire, and in retrospect you made the right choice on t4. If you don't get to $6, you will get to $4 for sure so still have your options open.

You started out playing Courtyard-BigMoney, and notices your opponent going engine. How do you respond? If you hit $6 or $7 without coppers, do you get a Grand Market? Do you contest Fairgrounds?
If your opponent goes engine, you should realize you need to buy 8 provinces in stead of the usual 4 (5). So you continue getting golds quite a bit longer then usual. Maybe pick up 5-6 golds first, and I guess a Grand Market won't hurt in this stage. Buying Fairgrounds or Duchies is pointless (in every but the literal meaning). The only thing you need to worry about is ending the game before the engine kicks into fifth gear, and your only hope to do so is depleting the Provinces. If you're in time you win, if you're not you lose.

In the actual game... my opponent got the perfect draw I described above. That also robbed (pun intended) me of all plans of playing Courtyard-BM myself. By turn 5 it was clear I went engine but "unfortunately" he didn't adapt properly. He bought a Province on turn 5 in stead of a second Gold, an Ironworks on turn 6 in stead of a third Gold, and a Mining Village on turn 8 in stead of a fifth Gold. After that he didn't focus on the Provinces, and by the time I decided it was time to green I was only 0-3 provinces behind. That didn't take long to overcome. It requires a bit of discipline to follow the much simpler 'lots of Golds into lots of Provinces' plan, ignoring all the shiny engine parts. But that's the kind of discipline that can make a great BigMoney player, and on these early draws I'm convinced it would have been winning.


Questions for you:
  • Is it fun to answer the questions yourself first? Or do you just skip that and should I drop the spoiler tags? Should I post the kingdom first, more like an annotated game?
  • Did you learn anything?
  • Do you agree with my analysis of the game? I know I'm pretty high on the leaderboard, but don't let that scare you. I'm convinced I still make many many mistakes and have a lot to learn.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2013, 09:50:10 am by -Stef- »
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philosophyguy

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Re: Dominion Acadamy, game #1
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2013, 12:21:19 pm »
0

Lots of fun, and very appreciated! Keep the spoiler tags for sure.
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Re: Dominion Acadamy, game #1
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2013, 12:27:49 pm »
+3

This was one of my games against Stef! I played so truly dreadfully, embarrassingly bad here. I panicked and mixed strategies. Bah.
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brokoli

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Re: Dominion Acadamy, game #1
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2013, 12:33:27 pm »
0

Thank you very much for this !

Quote
Is it fun to answer the questions yourself first? Or do you just skip that and should I drop the spoiler tags? Should I post the kingdom first, more like an annotated game?
I don't think it is necessary to post the kingdom first, and I answer the questions myself first.
Quote
Did you learn anything?
A lot.
Quote
Do you agree with my analysis of the game? I know I'm pretty high on the leaderboard, but don't let that scare you. I'm convinced I still make many many mistakes and have a lot to learn.
I'm very unconvinced BM is the best option. Ironworks and scheme can be very helpful for the engine player...
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Re: Dominion Acadamy, game #1
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2013, 12:44:29 pm »
0

Questions for you:
  • Is it fun to answer the questions yourself first? Or do you just skip that and should I drop the spoiler tags? Should I post the kingdom first, more like an annotated game?
  • Did you learn anything?
  • Do you agree with my analysis of the game? I know I'm pretty high on the leaderboard, but don't let that scare you. I'm convinced I still make many many mistakes and have a lot to learn.

Yes. Leave the spoilers tags, please.  It was educational for me to compose my answers without seeing your answers.

Yes.

I don't have enough experience to disagree with any confidence, but I don't see anything to disagree with either.  Your point about gaining enough gold in a BM deck before going green is one I had to learn the hard way, and now I know that you may have to pass up the first few $8 and keep buying gold if you think you need to get more than 5 provinces.
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Re: Dominion Acadamy, game #1
« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2013, 12:59:55 pm »
+1

Excellent post, I really liked the spoilered answers :)

"You went first, opened Silver/Courtyard planning to go BigMoney, and get the perfect draw: $6 on turn 3 without even using the Courtyard. That's a gold for sure. On turn 4 you play the Courtyard and draw all 3 Estates, 3 Coppers and your Silver. What do you put back? What do you buy?"

Is Mine an option here?
The courtyard triggered a reshuffle of (SCCCCG).
If you put back Estate you still have 80% chance of $6 on T5.
I would think Mine to be quite good in the BM deck if it needs to buy out all 8 Prov.

If you want to try the kingdom here it is for easy copy / paste:
Code: [Select]
Grand Market, Fairgrounds, Mine, Farming Village, Mining Village, Ironworks, Scheme, Woodcutter, Courtyard, Cellar
« Last Edit: January 07, 2013, 01:18:33 pm by Rabid »
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Re: Dominion Acadamy, game #1
« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2013, 01:05:11 pm »
0

Loved the format. Also found it helpful.
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dondon151

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Re: Dominion Acadamy, game #1
« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2013, 01:14:13 pm »
0

I must be really bad at Courtyard-BM, or just really unlucky, but I don't think that it can beat an engine here...
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Re: Dominion Acadamy, game #1
« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2013, 01:18:33 pm »
+1

I played this game vs. Stef. I initially went Courtyard-BM, but I soon regretted it and tried to backpedal into the engine. Of course, that's definitely the worst of the three things to do.

But I did it because I quickly changed my mind and decided the engine was better, and I think I would go for the engine to begin with here. I do expect it beats BM-Courtyard. The presence of Fairgrounds is, I think, the deciding factor. Absent Fairgrounds, BM-COurtayrd for sure.

But anyway, my play is really the poster child for taking a middle-of-the-road approach that utterly fails.
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Re: Dominion Acadamy, game #1
« Reply #9 on: January 07, 2013, 01:38:12 pm »
+1

1. My intuition is BM-Courtyard is good enough on this board to beat engine.

2. However, I would tend to think that getting all 8 provinces is too hard for BM-CY. Lots of gold early of course, but wouldn't the goal be robbing away at least half of the points asap? Namely I mean, probably after my 3rd province I'll just grab a Fairground with $6. Shouldn't be hard to get it to worth 4.
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Mic Qsenoch

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Re: Dominion Acadamy, game #1
« Reply #10 on: January 07, 2013, 01:46:06 pm »
+1

1. My intuition is BM-Courtyard is good enough on this board to beat engine.

2. However, I would tend to think that getting all 8 provinces is too hard for BM-CY. Lots of gold early of course, but wouldn't the goal be robbing away at least half of the points asap? Namely I mean, probably after my 3rd province I'll just grab a Fairground with $6. Shouldn't be hard to get it to worth 4.

If BM Courtyard player contests Fairgrounds, then they lose all control over the game. At least racing for 8 Provinces puts the engine player on a clock. Now the engine player can take more Provinces, still get their Fairgrounds up to 6 points easily, and pick up however many Duchies (if any) they need to make up the score difference. Courtyard BM won't reach half the points on this board for a long long time.

I'd definitely favor the engine here, but it would be easier to say if we knew the average number of turns to get 8 Provinces using BM Courtyard.
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Re: Dominion Acadamy, game #1
« Reply #11 on: January 07, 2013, 01:56:39 pm »
+3

Excellent article! I agree with virtually all of your points. I like the format - you have a blue "BM" in one of the spoiler-ed paragraphs, which I don't like, but other than that, it's quite good. Yes, it's different from the annotated games, and I like those as well. I might like these better. Well, there's room for variety anyway.

The big thing here is that you stress playing differently depending on what your opponent does. This is huge. This is really big, one of the biggest things I see lacking in people's play - they tend to pick something, but their heads down and just go with it. But very often you need to be adaptable. So I very much like that you talk about this, and how you talk about it.

As far as disagreements... I think, in the engine I don't think I would ever want the second mine. Maybe a second ironworks in a mirror... maybe. I want lots of farming villages, lot of courtyards, a few schemes, and really I can play mine enough to turn copper into silver without getting a second mine - it will be not-so-useful very quickly, and I need to do other things. Two ironworks, well, I think not, because in the mirror getting some points quicker is going to be more important - helps you control three pile endings. Anyway, I am not so sure here, and this is really minor - probably you want and see what your draws give you, and what your opponent does, anyway.
But the slightly more important thing is the BM. Well, I don't think this is actually a disagreement, but I REALLY don't want ironworks in a mirror, or really anything other than courtyards, green, and treasure. Like I said, I think you more or less agree here, I would just have it said more explicitly.

Now the big thing though, is playing money against the engine. Saying you don't want fairgrounds or duchies ever is an exaggeration. There are a couple options you have, and I'm not sure which is better. First, is getting some extra cards, a la a scheme (which doesn't hurt you really), a mining village, maybe an ironworks, a grand market if a good opportunity arises (actually against the engine, you probably want to try to maneuver for a GM or two in any case). If you can get up to ten uniques, definitely contest those fairgrounds after you are at maybe 5 provinces. They are 4 points to you, and your engining opponent is counting on them for 6. The other route you can take is more straight money, which I think is how I would lean. In this case, you really want to hold off until late, but there are a few cases where you buy cheaper green anyway. First and foremost, if you are going to need the points to get back the lead, or stop engine player from ending with a win, well you are in bad shape but you must get the duchy or whatever at this point. But, after 6 or maybe seven provinces, certainly if you expect this is to be your last shuffle, you can start getting cheaper ones. And maybe you go fairgrounds over duchy anyway - it is a one point difference for you, but probably much more for your opponent. And you can always try to back-door them up to more points. The engine is going to clog pretty badly. Part of the point is, there are three ways money player can win. First, and most straightforward, is piledriving the provinces. Second is running out a third pile while still in the lead - the threat of doing this can slow the engine opponent down in some cases, particularly if they've spent a lot of time building up and have kingdom piles low. Third is getting half the VP - well, ensuring that opponent can't get more than your total score, including fairgrounds bumps. This isn't so likely, with the huge amount of points that are out, BUT if you force engine guy to start in on duchies with the threat of low piles, maybe it comes in.
In general though, unless you are going for the 4 point fairgrounds via ironworks and such in the first place, you want to head for probably at LEAST 6 provinces before you look elsewhere.


Finally, everyone who thinks the engine wins easily here (which is seemingly almost everyone except -Stef-), I will gladly take challenges.

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Re: Dominion Acadamy, game #1
« Reply #12 on: January 07, 2013, 02:09:30 pm »
0

Yes, it is fun to answer the questions first, please keep the spoilers. I learned some things about Dominion strategy in general and many things about my own playstyle, and how it could be improved.

I don't disagree with anything, but there's one thing that I don't understand: Why would you pass a Grand Market when you have $6-7 without Copper and go for a Gold instead? Most likely, it will draw you a Copper which is as good as a Gold $-wise, but in addition it also gives a +Buy and marginal deck cycling and can hit Silvers or Golds, too. And it certainly doesn't hurt that the engine player will have one less Grand Market available. Is the risk of drawing an Estate too high, or does it have something to do with Courtyard being a terminal, or something else I have missed?
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Re: Dominion Acadamy, game #1
« Reply #13 on: January 07, 2013, 02:12:51 pm »
0

I don't think the engine wins easily, nor do I think the engine loses easily. I think they're competitive and a lot depends on draws and even if you are both playing solitaire, it's quite a reactionary board.

I wonder, how many turns does it take for CY-BM to drain the Provinces, getting the first one as late as possible?
That may set a good benchmark for the engine to aim at.

I still like the engine's chances, mainly because of Fairgrounds.
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Re: Dominion Acadamy, game #1
« Reply #14 on: January 07, 2013, 02:13:33 pm »
0

1. My intuition is BM-Courtyard is good enough on this board to beat engine.

2. However, I would tend to think that getting all 8 provinces is too hard for BM-CY. Lots of gold early of course, but wouldn't the goal be robbing away at least half of the points asap? Namely I mean, probably after my 3rd province I'll just grab a Fairground with $6. Shouldn't be hard to get it to worth 4.

If BM Courtyard player contests Fairgrounds, then they lose all control over the game. At least racing for 8 Provinces puts the engine player on a clock. Now the engine player can take more Provinces, still get their Fairgrounds up to 6 points easily, and pick up however many Duchies (if any) they need to make up the score difference. Courtyard BM won't reach half the points on this board for a long long time.

I'd definitely favor the engine here, but it would be easier to say if we knew the average number of turns to get 8 Provinces using BM Courtyard.
21-22 on my first several attempts solitairing (and without grand market). Picking up ~3 points in other green along the way in many cases. Probably you can tighten it up a turn or two with practice.

dondon151

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Re: Dominion Acadamy, game #1
« Reply #15 on: January 07, 2013, 02:16:38 pm »
0

Engine doesn't clog even with 8 Fairgrounds and a handful of other VP cards. Scheme really helps; the Courtyard-FV combo lets you go through some green, and Cellar does the rest of the work.

I'm not sure if it's really bad luck or something but I've been averaging at least 20 turns to 8 Provinces with Courtyard-BM, if not more, while prioritizing Gold over lower VP, and 20 turns is more than enough for the engine to work its magic. I doubt that even detouring for a couple of Fairgrounds would make a big difference.
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Re: Dominion Acadamy, game #1
« Reply #16 on: January 07, 2013, 02:17:23 pm »
+1

Quote
You went first, opened Silver/Courtyard planning to go BigMoney, and get the perfect draw: $6 on turn 3 without even using the Courtyard. That's a gold for sure. On turn 4 you play the Courtyard and draw all 3 Estates, 3 Coppers and your Silver. What do you put back? What do you buy?
your deck is: 7C, 3E, silver, CY, gold.  In hand/play are 3E, 3C, CY, Silver, and you just reshuffled.  That means your deck is 4C and Gold.  Whatever card X you put back, your next turn will either be G+3C+X (80%) or 4C+X (20%).  4C+anything but silver is comparitively awful and you don't get much by holding on to the silver, so don't do it.  Put the Silver back and buy a gold whether you get $8 or $6.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2013, 02:18:52 pm by flies »
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Re: Dominion Acadamy, game #1
« Reply #17 on: January 07, 2013, 02:17:57 pm »
0

"You went first, opened Silver/Courtyard planning to go BigMoney, and get the perfect draw: $6 on turn 3 without even using the Courtyard. That's a gold for sure. On turn 4 you play the Courtyard and draw all 3 Estates, 3 Coppers and your Silver. What do you put back? What do you buy?"

Is Mine an option here?
The courtyard triggered a reshuffle of (SCCCCG).
If you put back Estate you still have 80% chance of $6 on T5.
I would think Mine to be quite good in the BM deck if it needs to buy out all 8 Prov.
Problem is you don't know your opponent is going engine yet.

1. My intuition is BM-Courtyard is good enough on this board to beat engine.

2. However, I would tend to think that getting all 8 provinces is too hard for BM-CY. Lots of gold early of course, but wouldn't the goal be robbing away at least half of the points asap? Namely I mean, probably after my 3rd province I'll just grab a Fairground with $6. Shouldn't be hard to get it to worth 4.
I thought about this too, and it works against a fair amount of engines gunning for Fairgrounds, but this one seems too strong. Even if you get 5 Province + 4-5 Fairgrounds or something, the engine player can still win by getting all the Duchies and the rest of the Provinces. You probably don't want Fairgrounds until the point you'd want Duchies (last time through the deck), and by then the engine player probably has them all anyway...

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Re: Dominion Acadamy, game #1
« Reply #18 on: January 07, 2013, 02:26:44 pm »
0

Again, I would love to test this against someone....

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Re: Dominion Academy, game #1
« Reply #19 on: January 07, 2013, 02:33:47 pm »
+1

fixed "academy"
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Re: Dominion Academy, game #1
« Reply #20 on: January 07, 2013, 04:38:19 pm »
0

Wonderful format, Stef.  More!
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Re: Dominion Academy, game #1
« Reply #21 on: January 07, 2013, 04:49:54 pm »
0

fixed "academy"

I'm not the only one with spelling mistakes!*  :D

*see my Count article

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Re: Dominion Academy, game #1
« Reply #22 on: January 07, 2013, 04:54:58 pm »
+1

I ran this a few times, and I think the engine is going to be slightly faster on average. I was draining fairgrounds with a couple extra provinces by turn 20 on average. CY/BM seemed to take about a turn longer on average.

My plan was basically open CY/Silver and get a mine and 2 IW ASAP. Then focus on mining copper to silver (usually silver to gold is the right move, but not here) so I can get in on the grand markets. IW to first get a number of farming villages and CY's and then I start pounding the schemes so I can add some consistency. Mid game start favoring Mining Villages which you'll use to trash on your final 2 turns.

EDIT: And I'll science this with someone, but it has to be later. I have to finish up some work now.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2013, 04:56:11 pm by jonts26 »
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Re: Dominion Academy, game #1
« Reply #23 on: January 07, 2013, 05:05:18 pm »
0

Liked it. Keep it up.

I liked this because I haven't seen it at first:
"Courtyard is lousy for draw in engines, but farming village compensates a little bit (put back your estate and continue with the village)"

The Ironworks in the BM game is interesting, but I'm not really convinced. Is getting extra Silvers against the engine that important to risk the collision?

I agree with 1-2 Ironworks and with 1 Mine, but I'm not sure if you have time enough to buy 2 Mines against Big Money because you can't gain it with Ironworks, you really have to buy them.

The opening bit is also interesting. I think I would open Courtyard/Ironworks when going for the engine. Getting all those engine pieces is important and I disagree that you need the silver early on because the only thing you want that isn't gainable with Ironworks is Mine and after you have the Mine you get the money either way, but I might be wrong about that.

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Re: Dominion Academy, game #1
« Reply #24 on: January 07, 2013, 05:05:52 pm »
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I fully approve of this post/thread/thing!

I got all the answers wrong, but that only makes it more useful! Keep the format as well
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