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Author Topic: Best/Worst Openings discussion  (Read 14919 times)

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rod-

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Re: Best/Worst Openings discussion
« Reply #50 on: October 05, 2011, 11:17:51 am »
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Ambassador was my worst card for a long time, although it seems i've made some headway on it in recent times, to where it's almost average.  My win rate without is still a good deal higher than my win rate with, though.  Some ambassador games are entirely determined on the rate at which you pare your deck down, some are determined more by the amount of money you amass while you're trimming, some games you can just ignore it and still win.  Clearly, you are going to be making approximations when thinking about openings in a vacuum. 

The thing i've noticed about ambassador wars is that (if the game is in fact one of the 1st type) you can lose them VERY early.  Being as few as 4 cards behind is insurmountable.  That's why amb/amb is such a strong opening - you're giving yourself the opportunity to get 4 cards ahead.  It won't happen every time, but if will happen. 

It's important to remember that not every ambassador game is type 1 - most are closer to type 2.  But there are boards where it's entirely critical.
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HiveMindEmulator

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Re: Best/Worst Openings discussion
« Reply #51 on: October 05, 2011, 11:25:22 am »
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An extra collision will tend to equalize the number of times you get to play Ambassador, if it happens within the first few shuffles. That's my whole point. A/S/A "catches up" if it has fewer collisions. When A/A realizes its turn 3/4 upside of playing one both turns, it becomes highly likely that A/S/A will catch up with fewer collisions. A/A only realizes its true upside if it gets through at least a couple more shuffles maintaining a lead in Ambassador plays, which isn't likely.
OK, I see your point. In the case of no collision on turn 3/4, it may "catch up", particularly in the BM case when nothing other than ambassadoring can happen until you can hit $6 (though in that case silver/silver is best anyway). A/A will not typically get an insurmountable lead, but I don't A/S can ever really get ahead unless you use the silver to buy something good. And in the case of collision, it's often even anyway, since even though you both played one ambassador, the silver probably didn't do any good (unless you bought something for $2 or you got ASCEE or ASCCC). It is definitely a small difference either way, except in the case where there is a useful $5, where getting the silver at the outset is huge.

Because it seems to me that hitting a double estate with one ambassador can somewhat cancel out the effect of two single-estate ambassadors. Likewise double ambassador has a good chance of hitting an ambassador/copper hand even without a collision (so does amb/silver, but it doesn't matter as much). I have no idea if that would actually help A/S/A versus AA. You could pollute with coppers instead (guaranteeing deck size advantage) but then you probably lose pretty badly on money-tempo.
I'm pretty sure you should almost always be going for deck size, favoring removing 2 coppers over 1 estate. The buying power of coppers is not that important beyond getting a couple silvers, and removing coppers increases your chances of getting double estate in subsequent turns
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guided

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Re: Best/Worst Openings discussion
« Reply #52 on: October 05, 2011, 11:37:53 am »
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you're giving yourself the opportunity to get 4 cards ahead.
...and possibly give up this lead anyway. Stop for a moment, and simply bring the possibility into your mind of getting a tempo/deck size advantage and then subsequently losing it. This possibility exists. And it is extra-linearly likely with A/A since the deck has shrunk and collisions quickly become more likely. It is not anything like "gg" at the moment that you get Ambassador at both turn 3 and turn 4.

A/S/A is behind in deck size by about 1.5 cards on average at the 2nd shuffle and can catch up by having one fewer collision before the 3rd. For A/A, collision at 3/4, the 2nd Ambassador falling to turn 5 (much more likely than a single Ambassador falling to turn 5), or collision at 5/6 is enough to nullify the hoped-for advantage. Of course in having the advantage nullified you may end up "catching up" to the Silver opening by buying a Silver (or whatever) when A/S/A buys nothing. Neither opening has an kind of huge advantage here.

A/A is strong. A/S/A is strong. They're both strong. I posit based on extensive experience (and playtesting of simple toy cases) that A/S/A is perhaps slightly stronger on a healthy percentage of boards. I am not asking you to strike down A/A and abandon it as some kind of terrible second-class opening for nooblings.


late edit: Corrected "one card" to "1.5 cards" - I neglected the gained card in both directions.
« Last Edit: October 05, 2011, 12:21:19 pm by guided »
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guided

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Re: Best/Worst Openings discussion
« Reply #53 on: October 05, 2011, 11:40:48 am »
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I don't A/S can ever really get ahead unless you use the silver to buy something good.
This is exactly right. A/S/A gets ahead by getting something good with the Silver early on. A/A gets ahead by avoiding enough collisions to build a definitive deck size advantage. What people all too often fail to realize is that A/A's upside is only on a par with A/S/A's upside in likelihood; it is not vastly more likely.
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Toskk

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Re: Best/Worst Openings discussion
« Reply #54 on: October 05, 2011, 12:07:52 pm »
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This has been a good discussion, although I'm still not entirely convinced, as my big worry isn't T3/T4, but T5/T6. To me, the worst-case scenario of A/A just seems a heck of a lot worst than the worst-case scenario of A/S/A:

A/A Player T3: Draws A/A/C/C/C -> returns two coppers, gives opponent 1 copper. No buy.
A/S/A Player T3: Draws A/C/C/C/E -> returns two coppers, gives opponent 1 copper. No buy.
A/A Player T4: Draws E/E/E/C/C -> No buy.
A/S/A Player T4: Draws S/C/C/E/E -> Buy Ambassador.
A/A Player T5: Draws A/A/E/C/C -> returns two coppers, gives opponent 1 copper. No buy.
A/S/A Player T5: Draws A/A/C/C/E -> returns two coppers, gives opponent 1 copper. No buy.

A/A Deck: 2x Ambassador, 5x Copper, 3x Estate
A/S/A Deck: 2x Ambassador, 5x Copper, 1x Silver, 3x Estate

As you can see, worst-case the A/A player hasn't bought a single card between turns 3-5, while the A/S/A player was able to pick up their second Ambassador and is a Silver ahead. Sure, the odds of this worst-case scenario aren't high, but I really don't see the A/A player catching up at this point.. they're a full turn behind the A/S/A player by T6. The A/A player *may* outpace the A/S/A player with better luck on collisions, but is it really worth the risk of possibly capitulating at T5?
« Last Edit: October 05, 2011, 12:10:28 pm by Toskk »
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rrenaud

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Re: Best/Worst Openings discussion
« Reply #55 on: October 05, 2011, 12:16:58 pm »
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What you really want is the average case.  Double terminal openings tend to have high variance.

A heuristic guide as to when to A/A and when to go A/S would be nice.

I'd guess that expensive, non-terminal actions Hunting Party and Lab tilt towards A/S. 

Cheap village like cards, native village, village, shanty town, hamlet probably tilt toward A/A.
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DStu

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Re: Best/Worst Openings discussion
« Reply #56 on: October 05, 2011, 12:21:10 pm »
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What you really want is the average case.  Double terminal openings tend to have high variance.

A heuristic guide as to when to A/A and when to go A/S would be nice.

I'd guess that expensive, non-terminal actions Hunting Party and Lab tilt towards A/S. 

Cheap village like cards, native village, village, shanty town, hamlet probably tilt toward A/A.

I'm not so sure about this, but also only guessing. From what I've read here, I would think that also important $3 would more likely want you take the Silver, as you in this case can pick them up while ambassadoring estates, improving your cylce/deck while trashing. That would be consistent with guideds BM-experiments, as in this case the important $3 is silver.
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guided

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Re: Best/Worst Openings discussion
« Reply #57 on: October 05, 2011, 12:23:23 pm »
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I find it at least plausible that cheap Villages (and in general boards that support village-based engines) argue more for A/A, but I have no specific evidence to offer in one direction or the other.
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Fangz

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Re: Best/Worst Openings discussion
« Reply #58 on: October 05, 2011, 02:49:38 pm »
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The one thing to add that we haven't addressed is 3+ player games. I feel like going Amb/Amb is stronger then, since with multiple players ambassadoring, your deck can grow very very quickly indeed, you need that early ambassador pair to keep things under control.
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guided

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Re: Best/Worst Openings discussion
« Reply #59 on: October 05, 2011, 03:16:58 pm »
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I'm less inclined to rush Ambassadors with 3 or more players. My limited experience is that Ambassador is much less overpowering in multiplayer. Games are shorter (particularly with Ambassador helping to empty the Estates) and if other people are using it you can't necessarily get the definitive tennis-match victory you are looking for in 2p. It's definitely a card I would tend to buy at 3p; I'm just much less inclined to get 2 of them and aggressively trim down to a tiny deck.
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Fangz

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Re: Best/Worst Openings discussion
« Reply #60 on: October 05, 2011, 03:20:03 pm »
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Really? My experience with ambassador 3 players tends to be that it always reaches a ballooning situation where possibly one player (me if I'm lucky) remains in control of his deck, whereas the remaining players find themselves with massively ballooning decks that they can't even find their ambassadors in.
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