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philosophyguy

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University
« on: September 28, 2011, 04:31:59 pm »
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When it University worth buying? There are some power cards that make it almost always worthwhile (Wharf being the obvious example; another might be Torturer, or Cities and another pile that will empty quickly). It's also useful if there are spammable cards like Great Hall or Caravan.

I'm interested in the less obvious cases. If University is the only +2 actions on the board, and there are no other potion-cost cards, what makes University worth buying? Or, what lets you decide that University is not worth it?
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WanderingWinder

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Re: University
« Reply #1 on: September 28, 2011, 04:38:23 pm »
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Actually, great hall and caravan are not enough. The biggest thing that will draw you to university without other potion cards is something to slow the tempo down. University is really slow, and it's actually fairly rare for it to be worth it without either some kind of curser or something along those lines or another potion-cost card.

guided

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Re: University
« Reply #2 on: September 28, 2011, 04:42:27 pm »
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I had a board with University, City, and Wharf today. Drooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooool :o

(I played 5 copies of Coppersmith on the last turn!)
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Jack Rudd

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Re: University
« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2011, 04:43:35 pm »
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University actually anti-synergises with most other Potion-costing cards, because what it wants is Actions costing 5. The exception is Vineyard, which loves the Actions you get off University.

As for the rest... you've pretty much got what University wants: either the Smithy family (Torturer/Wharf/Council Room/Rabble), or the Big Cantrip family (Bazaar/Treasury/Market/City/Laboratory/Hunting Party).
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rinkworks

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Re: University
« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2011, 05:01:11 pm »
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Seems like University feeds right into Scrying Pool, which is just looking for an action-heavy deck.  And Golem, which wants to find powerful action cards to play.  Possibly you could make a case that University works with Transmute in the endgame, as there will be lots of action cards to turn into Duchies on the last shuffle or two, but I guess that's probably a stretch.

Possession is a card I don't really understand very well, so I'll leave that aside.  Apothecary doesn't seem like it synergizes with University, but I don't know that it anti-synergizes, since it's a cantrip and just might purge your next hand of the Coppers that would otherwise clog up a Festival/Library or Bazaar/Torturer drawing engine that your Universities have put in place.

Alchemist?  I suppose Alchemist is slow enough that when you get them working you basically just want to go for green at that point.  Still, if University has plunked down some juicy $5 actions for Alchemist to draw into, that doesn't sound like anti-synergy either.  And the nice thing about University is that once you pony up the $2+P, you're never wasting buys on accumulating those juicy $5 actions, allowing you to continue to collect Alchemists at roughly the same pace.

I'm not a very good Alchemy player, I think, so please take this post as a request to elaborate rather than a criticism of your remark.  I just don't understand how University is all that incompatible.
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philosophyguy

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Re: University
« Reply #5 on: September 28, 2011, 05:40:57 pm »
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My guess is that the reason Jack Rudd says that Uni anti-synergizes with the rest of Alchemy is because a) you can't use Uni's gaining ability to grab other potion-cost cards, and b) most Alchemy cards already give you +action, so the Village function isn't necessary. I see the argument for Golem anti-synergizing (because playing the Uni with Golem is not helpful in most cases), but I would guess Uni is useful with Scrying Pools (the free actions lead to better SP draws) and Apprentices, since you can both gain Apprentices and trashing material for the Apprentices.
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Epoch

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Re: University
« Reply #6 on: September 28, 2011, 05:45:25 pm »
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and Apprentices, since you can both gain Apprentices and trashing material for the Apprentices.

Note that Jack Rudd says that Potion anti-synergizes with potion-costing-cards, not with Alchemy cards, and that Apprentice doesn't have a Potion cost.
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philosophyguy

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Re: University
« Reply #7 on: September 28, 2011, 05:52:13 pm »
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True, thanks for pointing that out.
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guided

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Re: University
« Reply #8 on: September 28, 2011, 05:54:53 pm »
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Yes, University/Apprentice is often the best combo on the board when those two cards are available. Just don't be afraid to trash $5 action cards (including Apprentice) with Apprentice.
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HiveMindEmulator

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Re: University
« Reply #9 on: September 28, 2011, 06:26:38 pm »
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Watchtower is definitely a card makes university stronger, as it mitigates the general slowness by allowing you use the gained cards immediately. Without watchtower, university is going to be slow, so you need some way to be able to force a longer game. Usually this should include alternate sources of VPs besides provinces (esp. vineyards), and attacks (esp. torturer). Plus you want to be able to use the gains to build an actual engine. Trying to use the university as the "village" part of the engine is tough, because it's not a very good village, and you can't gain them as fast as other cards due to the potion cost.
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DG

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Re: University
« Reply #10 on: September 28, 2011, 06:27:39 pm »
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I don't think there's a golden rule for universities since they can open up some extreme strategies and fail with basic ones. In fact, the more extreme your intentions are, the better the university will work. If you're only aiming for some province purchasing with some gold and a few action cards then universities will do it slowly. In general, if you don't think universities are a good idea then they're probably not, and even if you think they're a good idea then you still shouldn't buy them unless you're sure they're a good idea (or want more fun cards to play with).

Trashing is usually good in university decks. Remove all the rubbish and then fill your deck from scratch with good 5 cost cards. It's tempting to use universities as part of a drawing chain but they're pretty weak for that and need some assistance. Some of the cards that don't consume actions are therefore some of the best cards to gain, such as upgrades, markets, minions, apprentice etc. Someone also gave me a demonstration recently that the watchtower is an excellent partner. Universities of course help all the cards for which more really is more, such as gardens, vineyards, philosopher's stones, etc.


If there is lack of synergy with other alchemy cards it's only because you're either using the potion to buy universities or using it to buy something else. It's a complication but it's not insurmountable.
« Last Edit: September 28, 2011, 06:34:59 pm by DG »
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ChaosRed

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Re: University
« Reply #11 on: September 28, 2011, 07:00:52 pm »
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Bah, never mind, Baron isn't considered an Action card. <--- not too bright
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Captain_Frisk

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Re: University
« Reply #12 on: September 28, 2011, 07:06:45 pm »
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University i generally view as a trap.  Most people see the "+2 actions" and think that its a village - but you can't build an engine with it because you are FORCED to gain a card... having multiple universities results in very quickly draining piles and being stuck with cards you don't want.

See: http://councilroom.com/win_rate_diff_accum.html?cards=University

The more you have - the worse you do!  Most of the places where I consider university (note - my historical plays may not back this up) are:
1- there are other alchemy cards in play - so I can get 1 or (maybe) 2 uni's and then the other alchemy cards for my potion buys - or UNI can be my backup plan when I whiff on buying a familiar or alchemist.
2- must have power 5's (wharf, torturer)
3- cards you want millions of (treasury, lab, caravan)
4- i anticipate attacks that might make getting to 5 difficult (i'm in 2p and someone opens militia)
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Epoch

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Re: University
« Reply #13 on: September 28, 2011, 07:14:07 pm »
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University i generally view as a trap.  Most people see the "+2 actions" and think that its a village - but you can't build an engine with it because you are FORCED to gain a card...

...No, you aren't.
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Empathy

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Re: University
« Reply #14 on: September 28, 2011, 09:20:59 pm »
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University trades tempo for action cards. There are two clear situations where this trade-off is really useful:

a) if the action you get has enormous raw value (wharf, torturer, city ...)
b) for action combos. (Bridge, conspirator, goons, even if it can't itself get the goons: anything that needs a *very* action heavy engine will enjoy the university) In which case you usually don't go for provinces as your only points. Gardens, fairgrounds, dukes, islands, vineyard, colonies or vp all make this viable. Great hall is *sometimes* sufficient for a conspirator chain to win despite the tempo loss.

The last possible use of university is as a hedge when you are actually aiming for a higher cost potion card (typically golem). It won't syngergize massively, but you probably won't be playing multiple universities anyway.

In short, getting an early university for high value throughout the game is ok. Setting up comboes is ok. Hedging with it is ok. In the action case, because you usually lose a fair bit of tempo, you need some kind of alternative source of points to make the engine worthwhile.
« Last Edit: September 28, 2011, 09:23:43 pm by Empathy »
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Zaphod

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Re: University
« Reply #15 on: September 28, 2011, 09:41:38 pm »
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Epoch is correct.  You may gain an Action card costing up to $5.

University is better in games that take longer to finish (Colony games, for example) and useless in quickie games.  The basic problem with University is that you have to shuffle at least three times before you can use any cards you gain from it.  Some games are pretty much decided by then.  Also, it only gains action cards, and in some sets you may not want that many action cards.  Sometimes University is very powerful, but it's a bad card to buy just because it's there.
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Thisisnotasmile

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Re: University
« Reply #16 on: September 29, 2011, 03:53:46 am »
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Baron isn't considered an Action card.

That's news to me!
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AJD

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Re: University
« Reply #17 on: September 29, 2011, 08:43:58 am »
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University is better in games that take longer to finish (Colony games, for example) and useless in quickie games.  The basic problem with University is that you have to shuffle at least three times before you can use any cards you gain from it.  Some games are pretty much decided by then.  Also, it only gains action cards, and in some sets you may not want that many action cards.  Sometimes University is very powerful, but it's a bad card to buy just because it's there.

Yes indeed—I've often fallen for the trap of getting Universities with the plan of using them to win the Minion race. What invariably happens is that by the time I can even play my University my opponent is already two Minions ahead of me, and that can be more or less the game.
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Captain_Frisk

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Re: University
« Reply #18 on: September 29, 2011, 08:54:52 am »
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Epoch is correct.  You may gain an Action card costing up to $5.

University is better in games that take longer to finish (Colony games, for example) and useless in quickie games.  The basic problem with University is that you have to shuffle at least three times before you can use any cards you gain from it.  Some games are pretty much decided by then.  Also, it only gains action cards, and in some sets you may not want that many action cards.  Sometimes University is very powerful, but it's a bad card to buy just because it's there.

Oh snap!  I can't believe I've never noticed the option to not gain...  DOH!
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Mean Mr Mustard

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Re: University
« Reply #19 on: September 29, 2011, 09:28:39 am »
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University is great with some fast cycling or put on top of deck mechanics.  Anything to get it out and in play as fast as possible.  It is possible to put together some monster turns if it gets rolling early enough and some great $5 cards are available.
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Davio

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Re: University
« Reply #20 on: September 29, 2011, 09:50:10 am »
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Baron isn't considered an Action card.

That's news to me!
Hehe, he obviously meant Duke.

They're both part of the Nobility, so it's an easy mistake.
Luckily we don't yet have Marquesses, Earls, Viscounts and Knights to increase confusion.

That said, where are the Knights?
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guided

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Re: University
« Reply #21 on: September 29, 2011, 04:42:02 pm »
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Thanks for the tip about Watchtower, y'all. It hadn't occurred to me before, and it's awesome.

Here is a wet-dream University board even without Wharf or any other Potion-cost cards, where I bought all 8 Provinces in 13 turns. Bazaar, Council Room, and Smithy were key engine cards to be gained with Universities. I had considered going single-Smithy here instead, but decided against it because (a) boring, and (b) I wanted to try the Watchtower combo. Turns out it would have been a huge mistake to ignore University.
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Epoch

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Re: University
« Reply #22 on: September 29, 2011, 05:02:12 pm »
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Thanks for the tip about Watchtower, y'all. It hadn't occurred to me before, and it's awesome.

Yeah, likewise!  It's so obvious once you think about it, but I'd never put University and Watchtower together at all.
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ChaosRed

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Re: University
« Reply #23 on: September 29, 2011, 05:47:35 pm »
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Hehe, he obviously meant Duke.

Yeah just to follow up on this, I meant Duke. This is not the first time I've called Duke, Baron. I did it earlier today with Duke actually on the board (Baron wasn't)...I think its because the first NHL game I ever saw was a Habs vs. Barons game. Whatever it is, I make that mistake a lot. You'd think I'd remember Dutchy/Duke.

I tried a solo of University, City and Vineyards and Bridge. Didn't get me too far though. It's hard to solo too, because to get City to pump you have to drain entire piles all by yourself.
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