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Warrior

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Analyze That Board! #1
« on: February 24, 2013, 12:19:43 pm »
+1

Hello everyone! It's Warrior here with the long-awaited Dominion board discussion thread. Allow me to explain how this works.
Hopefully every week, I will post a kingdom of 10 cards along with some questions about the kingdom which can be used to kick up some discussion. I hope you enjoy this and I hope this thread helps people to learn board analyzation techniques and more about the strengths and weaknesses of certain cards. Let's get to the first kingdom!

This is a kingdom I recently played against dudeabides. At the beginning of the game, we both felt very unsure of what to do on this board. We both picked similar end strategies, but with different ways to get there. Here's the kingdom and a link to the kingdom on dominiondeck.com:

http://www.dominiondeck.com/games/analyze-board-1

Farmland, Goons, Grand Market, Lookout, Spy, Trader, Transmute, Tribute, University, Wishing Well

Questions:

1. What are the optimal strategy(s) for this kingdom?
2. How would you open on this board?
3. Would you purchase a potion (university, transmute)? If so, when and why?
4. Is Lookout's trashing good on this kingdom?
5. Would you incorporate Trader into your strategy?
6. What card(s) are the "power cards" on this kingdom?
7. Big money or engine?

Final Verdict:

*What strategy would you choose and how would you go about getting there?
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sparky5856

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Re: Analyze That Board! #1
« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2013, 05:24:53 pm »
+1

I'm sure I'll learn more by others' thoughts on this board, but here's mine.

1. Initial thoughts: Tribute is an unreliable source of +Action and +Cards, Wishing Well an unreliable source of +Card. There's University for +Action, but there's the extra step of getting the Potion, plus when you play it it's a dead card. The power cards Goons and Grand Market cost 6 as well so I'm less tempted to go for University. Grand Market and Goons provide +Buy. There's a lot of sources for trashing, with a couple being inexpensive.

2. Lookout/Trader to cut my deck down. (5/2 sucks.)

3. If I do go for University, it would be for the +Action, picking up Lookouts to cut down my deck then Wishing Wells. The plan would be to get Grand Markets and Goons, attempting to draw my whole deck every turn, but the problem here is how would you FIRST get to $6? You would practically have to get a Tribute for +Coin to pick up Goons, then transition to Grand Markets. An alternative would be to pick up Traders to get Silvers and then pick up components for your engine that way, but then trash the Traders and Silvers with the Lookouts to cut down your deck further. That's not a fast strategy, plus Lookouts are unreliable as well. I probably wouldn't pick up the Potion.

4. Lookout is good in the beginning to cut your deck down. Once your deck is small enough, you can trash Lookout with the Trader for extra Silvers.

5. Yes. It gets you money and cuts down your deck faster. Moreover, if you pick up Coppers for VP from Goons with Trader in hand, you can pick up Silvers instead.

6. I'd favor Goons over Grand Market here. That's gonna be the power card, whether it's BM or engine.

7. Engine is going to take some time to set up, and with unreliable cards, everything may not work out the way you want them to.

So here would be my strategy:
Open Lookout/Trader. Trash everything down, picking up potential Silvers from Estates and Wishing Wells when you hit $3-$5, Goons when you hit $6. Then trash the Lookout with the Trader when your deck is small enough. The plan is to bloat the deck with Silver and constantly wish for Silver with the Wishing Wells. Once you get the Goons rolling, you can start picking up Provinces one by one, with potentially an extra Silver if you have the Trader in hand. The plan: Goons BM with initial trashing from Lookout and Trader. Engine is going to be too slow and inconsistent I think. You could possibly pick up Grand Market if you have enough Goons.

(Another intriguing thought is to trash power cards with Trader to REALLY bloat your deck with Silver, making Wishing Well more reliable.)
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dondon151

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Re: Analyze That Board! #1
« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2013, 05:51:20 pm »
+1

I don't agree with using Trader as the backbone of your strategy because you'll never hit $8 after a Goons without a Grand Market in hand.

With helper cards like Spy and Wishing Well, you can actually mitigate the risk of a mid- to late-game Lookout play, which means that ideally this deck can get pretty thin. In a mirror match, Tribute is a good consideration because the opponent will have high Action density and it's really one of the only ways that you can get double Goons turns. The other way is University, which is more reliable but requires a Potion detour first, and it's a bit too expensive that way. Tribute is also beneficial in that it may also hit +$2 as well.

It may be too late to get double Goons turns, though, because the buy preference here should be 1 Goons and then GMs whenever you have $6. Once you stop getting GMs, most likely when they're gone, then it could be better to just get Victory cards instead.
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Wingnut

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Re: Analyze That Board! #1
« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2013, 06:02:23 pm »
+1

I feel like setting up for double Goons might be a bit of a trap here. Yes, I will want multiple Goons (probably 2, maybe more depending on how many times you hit six with Copper), but I think Grand Market is the key here picking up points from mostly from Provinces. As for the open, Lookout/Silver is probably the way to go headed for GM and Goons (with some Tributes probably thrown in when you hit five). As for the other cards, I would probably avoid them except in a few cases and none would be a centerpiece. Trader doesn't help all that much here, Potion is too big of a detour without a true power 5 on the board, Wishing Well is unreliable and Spy doesn't do a ton (though I might buy both if I had played Goons with Copper and ended up with 7 and 2 buys). On a 5-2, open Tribute and hope for good luck. You'll need it.
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ConMan

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Re: Analyze That Board! #1
« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2013, 12:14:30 am »
0

I think I'd go Lookout/Trader to get a couple of GMs quickly, then go for WW for draw and probably a Tribute for village to get into double Goons to buy out Provinces. The thing is, once you have at least one each of GM and Goons, you can start using the Lookout to trash both the Trader and the Silvers, thinning the deck back to help get the Goons going as well as making the WWs hit more reliably. I would be *marginally* tempted to try to hit $6 with Trader in hand to get Farmland/GM or Farmland/Goons, but obviously that's a pretty far stretch (and is almost certainly a worse play than just buying the GM or Goons in the first place).

I am pretty sure that engine beats BM on this board, especially since any engine using Goons will slow down the BM strategy heavily (as well as making the game last longer), but it's a pretty fragile engine until you get it going.
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Awaclus

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Re: Analyze That Board! #1
« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2013, 05:59:06 am »
0

I think that in a vacuum, there are three viable strategies here: Trader/Farmland thing, University/double Goons and Grand Market engine. Pretty much every deck wants at least one copy of Goons and the latter two are potentially playing one each turn, so in reality, a strategy based on Trader would be weak. Of the other two options, I have a feeling that Grand Market is the more reliable one, though I'm not 100% sure about this. I would open Trader/Lookout and go for the Grand Markets with one or two Goons when I have $6 with copper, then get rid of the Trader at some point.
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Geronimoo

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Re: Analyze That Board! #1
« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2013, 08:15:59 am »
+2

After a bit of work with the sim I'd recommend opening Trader/Lookout, get a Goons ASAP and spam Wishing Wells and Grand Markets.

Any attempt at an engine with University is going to fail horribly because there's no +draw to connect Tributes and Goons reliably.

Here's a bot to play with:
Code: [Select]
<player name="Goons and GMs"
 author="Geronimoo"
 description="The optimized Goons strategy that buys no other actions.">
 <type name="UserCreated"/>
 <type name="Optimized"/>
 <type name="TwoPlayer"/>
 <type name="Province"/>
 <type name="Bot"/>
 <type name="SingleCard"/>
 <type name="Attacking"/>
 <type name="BigMoney"/>
   <buy name="Province">
      <condition>
         <left type="countCardsInDeck" attribute="Grand_Market"/>
         <operator type="greaterThan" />
         <right type="constant" attribute="5.0"/>
      </condition>
   </buy>
   <buy name="Duchy">
      <condition>
         <left type="countCardsInDeck" attribute="Province"/>
         <operator type="greaterThan" />
         <right type="constant" attribute="0.0"/>
      </condition>
   </buy>
   <buy name="Estate">
      <condition>
         <left type="countCardsInSupply" attribute="Province"/>
         <operator type="smallerOrEqualThan" />
         <right type="constant" attribute="2.0"/>
      </condition>
   </buy>
   <buy name="Goons">
      <condition>
         <left type="countCardsInDeck" attribute="Goons"/>
         <operator type="smallerThan" />
         <right type="constant" attribute="1.0"/>
      </condition>
   </buy>
   <buy name="Grand_Market"/>
   <buy name="Goons">
      <condition>
         <left type="countCardsInDeck" attribute="Goons"/>
         <operator type="smallerThan" />
         <right type="constant" attribute="3.0"/>
      </condition>
   </buy>
   <buy name="Gold"/>
   <buy name="Trader">
      <condition>
         <left type="countCardsInDeck" attribute="Silver"/>
         <operator type="equalTo" />
         <right type="constant" attribute="0.0"/>
      </condition>
      <condition>
         <left type="countCardsInDeck" attribute="Trader"/>
         <operator type="equalTo" />
         <right type="constant" attribute="0.0"/>
      </condition>
   </buy>
   <buy name="Lookout">
      <condition>
         <left type="countCardsInDeck" attribute="Silver"/>
         <operator type="equalTo" />
         <right type="constant" attribute="0.0"/>
      </condition>
      <condition>
         <left type="countCardsInDeck" attribute="Lookout"/>
         <operator type="equalTo" />
         <right type="constant" attribute="0.0"/>
      </condition>
   </buy>
   <buy name="Wishing_Well"/>
   <buy name="Silver"/>
</player>
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DG

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Re: Analyze That Board! #1
« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2013, 09:38:40 am »
0

The card play causes the simulator a few problems here so although you can make some equally good sim code without the lookout, I think the lookout is going to worth the time investment when played well. I'll back Geronimoo's strategy with perhaps some good human decisions on end game play and what to do with trader in hand (farmland, buy extra coppers as silvers).
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ConMan

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Re: Analyze That Board! #1
« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2013, 06:58:54 pm »
+1

Thinking about it again, the biggest problem with using Wishing Well for the draw in an engine is that the engine is going to have a number of different pieces so it will be difficult to guess accurately particularly often, so you can't really expect strong draw. Thus, I'm thinking about sticking to the Lookout/Trader into Goons/GM strategy, but with the aim of as much as possible Tradering and Lookouting the buys and aiming for a 3-pile on maybe Copper, Curse and Silver (tricky as that may be, possibly swap one of those for Estates). I'd expect to only play one Goons per turn, but try to get two or maybe three in the deck due to the dilution that Trader will initially bring.
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dondon151

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Re: Analyze That Board! #1
« Reply #9 on: February 25, 2013, 11:42:08 pm »
0

Thinking about it again, the biggest problem with using Wishing Well for the draw in an engine is that the engine is going to have a number of different pieces so it will be difficult to guess accurately particularly often, so you can't really expect strong draw.

Not true. Most of your cards are going to be GMs or Wishing Wells, so you should always guess GM or WW unless you know that the following card is not either of those.

Thus, I'm thinking about sticking to the Lookout/Trader into Goons/GM strategy, but with the aim of as much as possible Tradering and Lookouting the buys and aiming for a 3-pile on maybe Copper, Curse and Silver (tricky as that may be, possibly swap one of those for Estates). I'd expect to only play one Goons per turn, but try to get two or maybe three in the deck due to the dilution that Trader will initially bring.

How are you going to 3-pile Silver, let alone Copper?
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ConMan

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Re: Analyze That Board! #1
« Reply #10 on: February 26, 2013, 12:43:28 am »
0

I suppose it depends how enginey you're going, then. Certainly the WWs will be pretty ineffectual until you've successfully transitioned to the engine deck - a mess of Silvers, Traders, Lookouts, GMs, Goons, Tributes, WWs and any Coppers or Estates you haven't trashed out yet.

As for emptying Silver, I have realised that if you're trying, the piles are more likely to come from GM, WW, Estate and Curse, especially in a mirror match. I was thinking of 3-piling Silver with a more powerful engine (i.e. one that doesn't exist on this board) where you'd have tons of +Buy and a Trader in hand (where the Silvers are, for whatever reason, more desirable in your deck than the cheaper cards you'd be buying otherwise - maybe something like Apprentice?)
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dondon151

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Re: Analyze That Board! #1
« Reply #11 on: February 26, 2013, 12:56:40 am »
0

You can pretty easily trash out all of the starting cards in this deck and you shouldn't have more than 2 Goons.
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Piemaster

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Re: Analyze That Board! #1
« Reply #12 on: February 26, 2013, 03:52:45 pm »
+1

I would open Lookout/Silver and hopefully end up with a deck that is:

2 Goons
3-4 Silver
As many GMs as I can get my mits on
Probably a couple of Wishing Wells
As little else as possible

I would prioritise the GMs over the Goons, although obviously if I could only get to 6 with Copper I would get the Goons.
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Jerk of All trades

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Re: Analyze That Board! #1
« Reply #13 on: February 26, 2013, 05:33:28 pm »
+1

I feel like trader/lookout is a lot better than lookout silver. Lookout alone being too slow of a trasher to get a pretty slimmed down silver/GM deck going.  Plus the 4-6 silvers you'll probably pick up from trader are very nice for grabbing GMs.  And trader can be farmlanded into a GM as well with a mid-game 6 that includes copper, or if it collides with your goons.
Plus you can use extra goons buys with trader in hand to buy +1 vp silvers. And a trashed down deck with a a ton of silver and grand markets mixed in is pretty sweet.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2013, 05:39:25 pm by Jerk of All trades »
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aaron0013

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Re: Analyze That Board! #1
« Reply #14 on: February 27, 2013, 05:48:25 pm »
0

I tend to want to go Trader/BM and buy out the provinces while you all are buying out the copper pile and wishing for Wishing Wells.
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shark_bait

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Re: Analyze That Board! #1
« Reply #15 on: February 27, 2013, 05:55:18 pm »
+1

I tend to want to go Trader/BM and buy out the provinces while you all are buying out the copper pile and wishing for Wishing Wells.

The problem here is that you can't buy Provinces with a deck full of Silvers against a deck that plays a Goons pretty much every turn.  You'll need 2 Gold and a Silver for Province purchasing power.  And then with a deck with of Silver, getting those 2 Gold in the same hand also becomes a bit more challenging.
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aaron0013

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Re: Analyze That Board! #1
« Reply #16 on: February 27, 2013, 07:42:16 pm »
0

My thought is: buy one Trader to turn the Estates into Silver and ditch Copper.  This should get you to Gold fairly quickly with only 6 Silvers in your deck.  By the time that the opponent has Lookout-ed his junk cards and bought enough Wishing Wells to draw his Goons regularly, you could have at least 3 Provinces with any amount of luck.  If he does manage to play the Goons every turn, the Silvers and Golds should get you Duchies pretty regularly.

Then again, the Goons could offset the VP by getting a ton of chips, but that isn't going to happen by playing 1 every once in a while unless the game goes long.

I admit that the Goons deck could win, but a good BM deck seems like it would have a good chance.
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