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Author Topic: Merchant Guild  (Read 13059 times)

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eHalcyon

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Re: Merchant Guild
« Reply #25 on: July 07, 2013, 11:40:13 am »
+2

Well, I'd also prefer 1 coin token over 1 victory token. Monument is usually not a great way to get a whole lot of victory tokens so it would be much more impactful to get a coin token out of it. But with stacking cards like MG and Goons, the points are better. Goons can give more VP than can be bought, leaving MG in the dust.

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Drab Emordnilap

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Re: Merchant Guild
« Reply #26 on: July 07, 2013, 12:54:51 pm »
0

I played a fun merchant guild board last night where my draw engine was Apothecary and Spice Merchant. Consequently, I was able to buy Copper for coin tokens without worrying about slowing my deck down at all.
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SCSN

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Re: Merchant Guild
« Reply #27 on: July 07, 2013, 01:46:29 pm »
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Definitely not. Even Colonies, the most efficient VP cards by cost, require more coins ($11) than they give VP (10). Plus VP cards take up room in your deck.
Plus they contribute towards ending the game. And so do coins, by allowing you to buy those VP cards. VP tokens do not, and that is a big drawback. Monument with coin tokens would be too good for $4.

A Monument that would give you a coin token in stead of the VP would be decidedly weaker.
While I generally agree that VP tokens are better than coin tokens... I don't know about this. Something that's strictly better than a terminal gold for $4 would be overpowered, no?

Maybe, but I don't actually think so. I mean, in what sort of situations would you really be dying to get this card? In engines you want trashing, so in the absence of, say, Chapel, Remake or Forager I'd rather open with a card as weak as Moneylender than with this one. Once your engine is running it can be a nice addition, but it would also require an additional Village, which isn't that hot for only generating $3, and it certainly can't compete with things like activated Conspirators.

In games where you want to get to a power 5 quickly (Witch, Mountebank, Cultist, Wharf) this card will help you get there, but later on it just sits mostly in the way, and I think it's often worse than Horse Traders (which gets you to $5 almost as easily and has the benefit of the reaction). It sounds decent for BM+X, but BM+X is just pretty shitty most of the time, and it's certainly not better than X's like Jack and Courtyard, and I doubt it's even stronger than Smithy.

I'd say the only time this card is really good is in Duchy/Duke games and late in slogs, but then it's not that much different from Horse Traders as you tend to have lots of junk to discard anyway.

So overall this thing looks pretty mediocre to me and it never much affects the game, which is actually the strongest point of Monument: if I'm building an engine that can eventually play multiple Monuments per turn, you can't just be aiming for your usual 5 Provinces.
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NoMoreFun

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Re: Merchant Guild
« Reply #28 on: July 07, 2013, 05:49:46 pm »
+1

A card that's "+$2, take a coin token at the end of your turn" would be weaker than Monument, but the fact that you can use it immediately makes the $4 Coin Monument too strong.
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blueblimp

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Re: Merchant Guild
« Reply #29 on: July 07, 2013, 10:25:12 pm »
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Whether Monument would be stronger with a coin token will depend on the board (as always ;)), because if you're racing your opponent to build an explosive engine, an early coin token is more helpful than a VP token, whereas in BM, maybe you'll find more value in the accumulated VP tokens at game end. Well, for BM I'm not sure, but for many engines you will want the coin token.

That's only because you get the tokens from Monument early, though. For Goons (and presumably Merchant Guild too?), the best use is to execute a megaturn that results in a token explosion. At that point, your engine is already built, so what are you going to do with coin tokens other than buy VP with them next turn?

Maybe I'm missing the point completely and the correct use of MG is more like Goons+BM, where you don't build an engine and spend extra buys on copper to accumulate tokens.
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eHalcyon

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Re: Merchant Guild
« Reply #30 on: July 08, 2013, 12:08:44 am »
+2

I expect Merchant Guild to be something to build into a mega-turn.  With Goons, you're often looking for one explosive multi-Goons turn to gain an insurmountable VP lead and probably to empty piles and end the game.  Before that big turn, the smaller Goons turns can help (get some VP to make it more difficult for the Province player to end it) but the couple VP here and there don't matter as much compared to the final balance.

A multi-MG turn doesn't give the points to end the game -- it just gives money later on.  But the early plays that grant coin tokens can be saved for a future mega-turn or series of almost-mega-turns.  MG is cheaper than Goons so it can get started earlier, and each play of it helps get the engine going faster.  I think this is why it has to cost more than Bridge.  People have commented that Bridge and MG look similar on the surface, except that Bridge is more immediate because the cost reduction helps on the turn Bridge is played whereas MG's coin token rebate can't be used immediately.  But that actually works out to be an advantage because you can save those up for the future.  It's like building up a multi-Bridge mega-turn over multiple turns before cashing in on all the cost "reduction".
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blueblimp

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Re: Merchant Guild
« Reply #31 on: July 08, 2013, 12:38:34 am »
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For explosive engines, money earlier is way better than money later, because your $ to spend increases exponentially once the engine comes together. So saving is usually going to be wrong except to smooth out your $.

If you're not saving, then you're not benefiting over Bridge unless you're buying cards that cost less than the number of MG you have in play. So often that means either you have at least 4 MG in play or you're buying copper. In the first case, that may already be a full-blown megaturn depending on what else you're playing, and with Bridge you may be able to end the game in a win that turn, or at least buy enough components to comfortably win next turn. In the second case, buying those coppers is going to delay your megaturn (except in edge cases where you can trash them, e.g. Watchtower).

I figure maybe it costs more than Bridge because MG+BM might be really good if MG costs $4 and you use the spare buys on copper, since copper isn't all that bad for BM+X.
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dondon151

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Re: Merchant Guild
« Reply #32 on: July 08, 2013, 12:53:57 am »
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I figure maybe it costs more than Bridge because MG+BM might be really good if MG costs $4 and you use the spare buys on copper, since copper isn't all that bad for BM+X.

Relative to cards that you actually want, Copper is pretty bad for BM+X. It's even worse if your X is a non-drawing terminal.
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blueblimp

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Re: Merchant Guild
« Reply #33 on: July 08, 2013, 12:58:16 am »
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I figure maybe it costs more than Bridge because MG+BM might be really good if MG costs $4 and you use the spare buys on copper, since copper isn't all that bad for BM+X.

Relative to cards that you actually want, Copper is pretty bad for BM+X. It's even worse if your X is a non-drawing terminal.
Copper itself is bad, but Copper plus a coin token maybe pretty good. For example, GCCCC or SSCCC plus a coin token will get a Province, so that reduces the usual reason to avoid it (that it's bad for hitting $8).
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LastFootnote

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Re: Merchant Guild
« Reply #34 on: July 08, 2013, 03:59:27 pm »
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Definitely not. Even Colonies, the most efficient VP cards by cost, require more coins ($11) than they give VP (10). Plus VP cards take up room in your deck.
Plus they contribute towards ending the game. And so do coins, by allowing you to buy those VP cards. VP tokens do not, and that is a big drawback. Monument with coin tokens would be too good for $4.

A Monument that would give you a coin token in stead of the VP would be decidedly weaker.
While I generally agree that VP tokens are better than coin tokens... I don't know about this. Something that's strictly better than a terminal gold for $4 would be overpowered, no?

Maybe, but I don't actually think so. I mean, in what sort of situations would you really be dying to get this card? In engines you want trashing, so in the absence of, say, Chapel, Remake or Forager I'd rather open with a card as weak as Moneylender than with this one. Once your engine is running it can be a nice addition, but it would also require an additional Village, which isn't that hot for only generating $3, and it certainly can't compete with things like activated Conspirators.

In games where you want to get to a power 5 quickly (Witch, Mountebank, Cultist, Wharf) this card will help you get there, but later on it just sits mostly in the way, and I think it's often worse than Horse Traders (which gets you to $5 almost as easily and has the benefit of the reaction). It sounds decent for BM+X, but BM+X is just pretty shitty most of the time, and it's certainly not better than X's like Jack and Courtyard, and I doubt it's even stronger than Smithy.

I think what you're missing is that this card itself is the power card you're going for, and it only costs $4.

EDIT: More specifically, I'm guessing you're wrong about it being a mediocre BM+X card. I think it'd beat Jack, Courtyard, and Smithy.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2013, 04:03:20 pm by LastFootnote »
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Warfreak2

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Re: Merchant Guild
« Reply #35 on: July 09, 2013, 03:08:48 am »
+1

Definitely not. Even Colonies, the most efficient VP cards by cost, require more coins ($11) than they give VP (10).
I'm going to argue the other way. Yes, coin tokens en masse are inefficient if that's your entire economy; they're harder to get than other sources of $. Spending 8 coin tokens for a Province is not good unless you are doing Scrying Pool/Candlestick Maker or Merchant Guild superturns.

But in any other deck, whenever you hit $7 (or $6), a coin token is worth 3VP (or 1.5VP) for you because otherwise you would have bought a Duchy; on $4 you can get 2VP out of your coin token by getting a Duchy instead of an Estate. In Colony games, when you have $10, $9 or $8, a coin token is worth 4VP, 2VP or 1.333VP.

In most games, most of your $ is not in the form of coin tokens, in which case you can preferentially spend coin tokens only when each coin token gets you at least 1VP compared to the cheaper option. If that means you aren't spending them often enough, so that you would have a bunch of them unspent at the end of the game, you are generating too many coin tokens - but you can cash them out for <1VP each while still maintaining a healthy average.

As for +$2, take a coin token, it would be a lot better than Monument; it's terminal, so the number of tokens you'll be producing with it will be low enough to sustain better-than-1VP-each spending for the rest of the game; you also have the option of spending them on cards that aren't green.

Sure, a big pile of VP chips will beat a big pile of coin tokens any day - but in the modest quantities seen in normal games, coin tokens are better.
« Last Edit: July 09, 2013, 03:10:53 am by Warfreak2 »
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Davio

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Re: Merchant Guild
« Reply #36 on: July 09, 2013, 05:56:15 am »
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It seems to me that Coin tokens are great for megaturns, but haven't pulled off enough of them to be sure.
I mean, saving Coins for later should be better than wasting any $ now, although you still need them to buy more components. But on your penultimate turn you could just "sort-of-Haven all your money" by grabbing coin tokens and not buying anything with them.
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NoMoreFun

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Re: Merchant Guild
« Reply #37 on: July 09, 2013, 07:08:29 am »
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The main use I've found with Coin tokens is that once you start greening, you can get a province every turn with a lesser engine.
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blueblimp

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Re: Merchant Guild
« Reply #38 on: July 10, 2013, 03:53:45 am »
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I can believe that maybe MG is good if you buy just 1 or 2 and use them BM style. Though BM is often a weak option these days.

It seems to me that Coin tokens are great for megaturns, but haven't pulled off enough of them to be sure.
I mean, saving Coins for later should be better than wasting any $ now, although you still need them to buy more components. But on your penultimate turn you could just "sort-of-Haven all your money" by grabbing coin tokens and not buying anything with them.
I'm pretty sure you'd be a lot better off with a Bridge in that situation, though, than a MG. It will help you buy components sooner. And Bridge is cheaper at $4, and not a power card itself. (It's okay, but not that great.)
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Davio

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Re: Merchant Guild
« Reply #39 on: July 10, 2013, 04:38:08 am »
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Well, I think Bridge is a power card because it's quadratic.

Play 1 Bridge, you can get a free $1 card besides your normal buy, Poor House
Play 2 and you can get 2 $2s for free or $4 worth
Play 3 and get 3 $3s for free or $9 worth
Play 4.... $16 worth

So the progression is +1, +3, +5, +7, +9, +11, etc.. or simply n^2 of free extra spending power on top of your regular buy. Basically, the most important part of Bridge is the sneaky +Buy that's tacked on it, allowing you to use that buying power.

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shMerker

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Re: Merchant Guild
« Reply #40 on: July 10, 2013, 12:44:41 pm »
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Something I see happen a lot with bridge is that early in the game it's like an expensive Woodcutter. Because the cost reduction ends up being enough to get me a $5 instead of a $4 but not enough to score anything extra on top of that. Like if I've played a Bridge and have $4 to spend on top of that ok now I can grab a power $5 but unless there's something like Native Village or Hamlet on the board the remaining coin is just gonna get burned. If I did the same thing with a Merchant Guild the extra coin is a token I can save for when I have enough to pick up something else.

Basically it seems to me like the Merchant Guild will help you more in getting an engine together when the components skew more expensive, like if the only Village on the board is Worker's or Farming.
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Stealth Tomato

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Re: Merchant Guild
« Reply #41 on: July 10, 2013, 12:55:55 pm »
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It seems to me that Coin tokens are great for megaturns, but haven't pulled off enough of them to be sure.
I mean, saving Coins for later should be better than wasting any $ now, although you still need them to buy more components. But on your penultimate turn you could just "sort-of-Haven all your money" by grabbing coin tokens and not buying anything with them.

It's rare (I've only done it twice, and I'm always looking for opportunities), but if you can amass Coin tokens in a deck with a lot of +buys, you can effectively green without greening, since you can turn your 8 Coin tokens into a Province at any time.

Candlestick Maker and Plaza are extremely good for this. Merchant Guild would probably be situationally good for this.

The big problems with MG that I've seen are as follows:
1. It gives a terrible this-turn benefit for its cost (terminal Copper! for $5!), so you slow down a ton while amassing them.
2. You need cheap stuff available that is useful for your deck. Hamlet, Vagrant, Pearl Diver. Wrecking your engine with Coppers for $10-20 in Coin tokens is not typically worth it.

It doesn't even belong in the conversation with Goons. Maybe if it gave $2 and/or incorporated a similar attack.
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Davio

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Re: Merchant Guild
« Reply #42 on: July 10, 2013, 01:05:17 pm »
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A big problem also has to be that you may very well want or need to spend the coin tokens instead of saving them for a megaturn. You need cards to enable that megaturn and you need to spend money and coins to get those cards.
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