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Polk5440

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Tactics Quiz & Endgame Principles
« on: August 18, 2013, 03:29:37 pm »
+18

Questions:

#1) You are 5 points behind your opponent and there is one Province left in the supply. There are 4 coin tokens on your Pirate Ship mat. It's your turn, and you played a Fishing Village last turn. In your hand you have a Swindler, a Pirate Ship, a Province, a Silver, and a Copper. How do you play your hand?

#2) Your hand is Rebuild, Copper, Copper, Copper, Copper. You know you are ahead in points and have at least one Duchy and one Estate in your draw pile. There are no alt VP cards in the kingdom and there is one Province left in the supply. How do you play your hand?
a) Play Rebuild, name Province
b) Play Rebuild, name Duchy
c) Play Rebuild, name Estate

#3) You and your opponent have purchased nothing but Jack of All Trades, Silvers, Golds, Duchies, and Provinces. There are two Provinces and four Duchies left in the supply. You are one point behind. You have 8 coin in your buy phase; what do you do?
a) Buy a Province
b) Buy a Duchy
c) Buy a Gold
d) Buy a Jack of All Trades

#4) You and your opponent have purchased nothing but Jack of All Trades, Silvers, Golds, Duchies, and Provinces. There are two Provinces and four Duchies left in the supply. The score is tied. You have 8 coin in your buy phase; what do you do?
a) Buy a Province
b) Buy a Duchy
c) Buy a Gold
d) Buy a Jack of All Trades

Answers, Analysis, and Principles of the Endgame:

Answer #1) Since Fishing Village gives you $1 on the duration, play the Pirate Ship and take $4, play your Treasure, buy that six point Province and WIN.

DON'T play the Swindler! If you do, you may hit an opponent's Province ending the game without a way to win! Or you may hit a Curse with the Curse pile empty giving him a Copper and a six point lead, again giving up the sure win.

Principle: When you have a guaranteed win, take it!

One note on strategy here: It doesn't matter. You could have picked a strategy that loses to your opponent's strategy 99% of the time in simulation, and it still doesn't matter. All that matters is the state of the game right now. You have a chance to win. Take it. You got there with extreme shuffle luck, but so what?

Conversely, you can play a strategy that wins 99% of the time and still throw away a Victory with poor endgame play.

Answer #2) Because there is only one Province left, then the right answer is definitely c). You are in the lead and want to end the game if you can. By naming Estate you pass over the Estate in your draw pile and will hit either a Duchy or a Province, gain the last Province, and win the game.

If instead there were two or more Provinces, then your play will depend on how far ahead you are, how many Provinces and Duchies are left, whether three piles are running low, and what kind you strategy you are and your opponent are playing.

Because how you play your hand depends on how close you are to the end of the game, it's important to watch the piles -- especially Province, but any piles that might run out. So, the next important principle is:

Principle: Watch the piles. You have to know you are in the endgame in order to play it right.

Answer #3) Do NOT buy the Province. You are giving your opponent a chance to buy the last Province and win the game. It's better to keep the mirror going by buying a Duchy and taking a two point lead.

Answer #4) If you are second player, buying the Province is definitely the right move; your opponent cannot mirror you and buy the last Province with $8 -- your opponent will lose the game on turns!

If you are first player, buying the Province is less good. You are allowing your opponent to end the game in a tie, which for a mirror match may be a good risk to take. Shared Victory is better than no victory at all -- and you still might win if he can't buy the Province. Duchy is a good choice here, too, if a shared Victory is an unacceptable outcome.

c) and d)are incorrect in both questions. It's too late to build -- the end of the game is nigh. Buy Victory points! It's how you win.

Principle: Understand the ins and outs of the penultimate province rule (PPR). For a detailed explanation, see this blog post and this follow up article by WanderingWinder.

Detailed Scenario #1:

Consider the following kindgom with Colonies and Platinums:

Apothecary, Bank, Black Market, Fishing Village, Governor, Loan, Native Village, Philosopher's Stone, Stables, and Worker's Village

You are first player. It's your turn and you are down 17 points. Your opponent has purchased Stables and treasures only (including Loan and two Banks). There is one Colony remaining, but plenty of Provinces, Duchies, and Estates. You decide this is going to be your mega-turn; you are going to try to end the game this turn with a win. Your turn proceedes as follows:

Play Apothecary, play Governor (draw), play Worker's Village, play Governor (draw), play Governor (draw), play Apothecary, play Governor (draw), play Worker's Village.

At this point, you have the following in your hand: Governor, 5 Coppers, a Silver, 2 Golds, and a Bank (plus some Victory cards) and 3 buys. In your draw pile you have a Worker's Village, a Bank, a Gold, two Coppers, and two Victory cards.

How do you continue your turn?
a) Play Governor, gain Gold
b) Play Governor, draw three cards, get one action
c) Play Governor, "remodel" Gold into Province
d) End Action phase, proceed to Buy phase.

Answer:

If you enter the buy phase, you will have $22 coin and 3 buys. You can get Colony, Province, and Estate for 17 points, which would tie the game if you are second player. But you are first player! You would lose on turns. You could admit the mega turn failed and buy two Provinces and a Duchy for 15 points, but your opponent has 9 cards in hand and will almost certainly buy the Colony and win. If you Governor and gain Gold, that does nothing for you. That eliminates a) and d).

If you play Governor and "remodel" the Gold into Province, your opponent may "remodel" a Bank into a Province! With nine cards in hand, and given his strategy, this is somewhat likely. This makes c) okay, but not a great choice.

However, you have a great option: You have a guaranteed win if you play Governor for the draw! At most you will draw two Victory cards. You will draw at least one Copper, putting you at $24 dollars (because of Bank), enough for a Colony, a Province, and a Duchy! 19 points and the win! Congratulations!

What if there were three Victory cards in your draw pile and a Potion, as well? That's what happened in this game. Now drawing is not a sure thing, and it's a much tougher call. In the actual game, no pawns intended opted for trying the remodel, but I had a Bank in hand.

Principle: Watch out for externalities. Don't inadvertantly give your opponent a win by giving them an exploitable benefit.

How beneficial externalities are depends on the game and situation, but their power usually changes in the late endgame. If you know you are going to try to end the game on a mega-turn, then during that megaturn draw externalities, non-point attacks, and treasure gaining externalities are all weaker, while trashing and gaining externalities (esp. Governor's remodel and Bishop) are stronger.

Detailed Scenario #2:

Consider the following kingdom, with Colonies and Platinums:

Courtyard, Pawn, Pearl Diver, Coppersmith, Ironmonger, Navigator, Count, Royal Seal, Grand Market, Expand

Your deck consists of 6 Grand Markets, 1 Count, 3 Ironmongers, 1 Courtyard, 3 Pearl Divers, 1 Silver, 1 Gold, 1 Platinum, and 3 Colonies. (30 points)

Your opponent's deck consists of 1 Expand, 4 Grand Markets, 1 Count, 3 Ironmongers, 1 Courtyard, 2 Coppers, 1 Silver, 1 Gold, 1 Platinum, 1 Duchy, and 3 Colonies. (33 points)

Each of you reshuffled and drew 5 cards during your last cleanup phase.

You are second player, and it's your turn. Your hand is: Colony, Colony, Ironmonger, Silver, Grand Market. Your turn proceeds as follows:
Code: [Select]
Player 2 plays Ironmonger
Player 2 ...draws Pearl Diver
Player 2 ...reveals: Gold
Player 2 ...places Gold on top of deck
Player 2 plays Pearl Diver
Player 2 ...draws Gold
Player 2 ...places Grand Market on top of deck
Player 2 plays Grand Market
Player 2 ...draws Grand Market
Player 2 plays Grand Market
Player 2 ...draws Pearl Diver
Player 2 plays Pearl Diver
Player 2 ...draws Grand Market
Player 2 ...places Count on top of deck
Player 2 plays Grand Market
Player 2 ...draws Count
Player 2 plays Count
Player 2 ...discards Colony
Player 2 ...discards Colony
Player 2 ...gains Duchy
Player 2 plays 1 Silver, 1 Gold

What do you buy (with 12 coin)?

Answer:

This is what happened:
Code: [Select]
Player 2 buys Colony
Player 2 gains Colony
But getting the Colony is incorrect! Because there are so many plus buys and trash for benefit opportunities in your opponent's deck, you are giving your opponent a chance to end the game on you with a good shuffle. Buy Province-Estate-Estate instead. You'd be up eight points and it would take absolute perfect shuffle luck for your opponent to win on the next turn now. And you know you are going to have at least $11 with several buys for your next turn based on the quality of cards left in your draw pile. You will go up even more. A couple of points now is not worth the chance of your opponent getting moderately lucky. To emphasize, buying the Colony breaks the penultimate colony rule when there are multiple buys, gains, or trash for benefit possible.

I was player 1, and did get a moderately lucky shuffle. Here's my turn (I had Grand Market, Copper, Colony, Grand Market, Duchy in hand):
Code: [Select]
Polk5440 plays Grand Market
Polk5440 ...draws Ironmonger
Polk5440 plays Ironmonger
Polk5440 ...draws Ironmonger
Polk5440 ...reveals: Colony
Polk5440 ...discards Colony
Polk5440 ...draws Gold
Polk5440 plays Ironmonger
Polk5440 ...draws Grand Market
Polk5440 ...reveals: Silver
Polk5440 ...places Silver on top of deck
Polk5440 plays Grand Market
Polk5440 ...draws Silver
Polk5440 plays Grand Market
Polk5440 ...draws Expand
Polk5440 plays Expand
Polk5440 ...trashes Duchy
Polk5440 ...gains Province
Polk5440 plays 1 Copper, 1 Gold, 1 Silver
Polk5440 buys Colony
Polk5440 ...gains Colony
Polk5440 buys Estate
Polk5440 ...gains Estate
I had an Expand that was useless for half the game and critically lost the Grand Market split. But it doesn't matter. Endgame play (bad on his part, good on mine) was enough to overcome early bad luck and a probably inferior strategic plan. I win 47-43; room to spare!

I made you invest in looking at this game, but luckily we can back up and see one more principle of endgame play in my second to last turn:
Code: [Select]
...
Polk5440 plays Expand
Polk5440 ...trashes Courtyard
Polk5440 ...gains Duchy
Polk5440 plays Count
Polk5440 ...gains Copper
Polk5440 ...takes 3 coins
Polk5440 plays 1 Platinum, 1 Gold, 1 Copper, 1 Silver
Polk5440 buys Colony
Polk5440 ...gains Colony
Polk5440 buys Colony
Polk5440 ...gains Colony

Principle: Cannibalize your deck at the end of the game.

Your goal at the end is to get as many points as possible, even if that means trashing your prize action cards and Treasures. They don't give you any points once the game is over! Trash them for benefit; and that benefit is usually green. Also, don't be afraid of clog if you are about to lose or there is no reshuffle in sight before the end.

That Courtyard was valuable, Coppers are not good in Colony games, and I had to reshuffle, but I my deck was not as good as his; I had to make up the point deficit by converting to points before the last shuffle (which I try very hard to wait to do in an engine game to maximize the power of my last turn or two) and relying on a little luck. And as we saw above, bad play by him cemented a Victory that should not have been mine.

Principles Summarized:

In summary, 5 principles of good endgame play are:
     1. When you have a guaranteed win, take it!
     2. Watch the piles! To play the endgame, you must know it's the endgame.
     3. Understand the ins and outs of the Penultimate Province Rule.
     4. Watch out for externalities.
     5. Cannibalize your deck. When the game ends, only the points matter.

Edit: Typos corrected.
Edit 2: Question 2 and Answer 2 changed.
« Last Edit: August 21, 2013, 11:26:08 pm by Polk5440 »
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Polk5440

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Re: Tactics Quiz & Endgame Principles
« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2013, 03:30:26 pm »
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Comments/Corrections welcome -- this is my first article!

Also, if someone wants to post the pictures of the kingdoms for the detailed scenarios, that would be great, too.
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dondon151

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Re: Tactics Quiz & Endgame Principles
« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2013, 03:42:48 pm »
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I think there's a missing principle here that's very difficult to describe. I guess it's part of #2, which is "to play the endgame, you must know it's the endgame."

#5 can be difficult to apply if you're not a good player. I've seen decent players regularly move to cannibalize their decks when they think the game is moving into the ending phase, but that's also a commitment that you can't take back. If you pick the wrong time to do this, you're effectively giving your opponent the win.

Good article nonetheless.
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Polk5440

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Re: Tactics Quiz & Endgame Principles
« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2013, 04:26:37 pm »
0

I think there's a missing principle here that's very difficult to describe. I guess it's part of #2, which is "to play the endgame, you must know it's the endgame."

#5 can be difficult to apply if you're not a good player. I've seen decent players regularly move to cannibalize their decks when they think the game is moving into the ending phase, but that's also a commitment that you can't take back. If you pick the wrong time to do this, you're effectively giving your opponent the win.

Good article nonetheless.

Thanks.

Yeah, figuring out when to cannibalize is tough. I listed the principles in order from what I think is easiest to hardest to understand.

If anyone has any good principles/examples to add, I would be interested to read them. I came up with this list of 5 when I was reading through old articles and thinking about how to improve my endgame play. I won't claim it's exhaustive.
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RD

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Re: Tactics Quiz & Endgame Principles
« Reply #4 on: August 18, 2013, 06:35:15 pm »
+2

Why doesn't question 2 state definitively that there's only one Province left, if the entire answer is predicated on that assumption? It's not as though it's more realistic not to know.
« Last Edit: August 18, 2013, 06:36:38 pm by RD »
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eHalcyon

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Re: Tactics Quiz & Endgame Principles
« Reply #5 on: August 18, 2013, 07:03:51 pm »
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Edge case for #1: Peddlers are in the supply.  Play that Swindler. :P

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Awaclus

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Re: Tactics Quiz & Endgame Principles
« Reply #6 on: August 18, 2013, 08:02:02 pm »
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Edge case for #1: Peddlers are in the supply.  Play that Swindler. :P
Edge case for edge case for #1: Catacombs is in the supply.
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eHalcyon

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Re: Tactics Quiz & Endgame Principles
« Reply #7 on: August 18, 2013, 08:07:20 pm »
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Edge case for #1: Peddlers are in the supply.  Play that Swindler. :P
Edge case for edge case for #1: Catacombs is in the supply.

Hunting Grounds would be better.
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Polk5440

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Re: Tactics Quiz & Endgame Principles
« Reply #8 on: August 18, 2013, 08:35:12 pm »
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Why doesn't question 2 state definitively that there's only one Province left, if the entire answer is predicated on that assumption? It's not as though it's more realistic not to know.

Just to get you thinking about what information you should be looking for when making a decision on what to play. With 27 points, your opponent most likely has three Provinces leaving one in the supply (it's less likely but possible he could also have those points in Duchies). So how you play depends on what's left in the supply, one or two Provinces?

I included this because it's easy to forget to check supply levels of important cards and play midgame tactics when it is in fact the endgame.
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Polk5440

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Re: Tactics Quiz & Endgame Principles
« Reply #9 on: August 18, 2013, 08:37:35 pm »
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Edge case for #1: Peddlers are in the supply.  Play that Swindler. :P

Lol.

I still say don't.  ;)
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Re: Tactics Quiz & Endgame Principles
« Reply #10 on: August 18, 2013, 09:03:28 pm »
+1

Why doesn't question 2 state definitively that there's only one Province left, if the entire answer is predicated on that assumption? It's not as though it's more realistic not to know.

Just to get you thinking about what information you should be looking for when making a decision on what to play. With 27 points, your opponent most likely has three Provinces leaving one in the supply (it's less likely but possible he could also have those points in Duchies). So how you play depends on what's left in the supply, one or two Provinces?

I included this because it's easy to forget to check supply levels of important cards and play midgame tactics when it is in fact the endgame.
The issue with this is, I find it very hard to think that I know precisely what the scores are and DON'T know precisely what the VP cards are and where they are - especially when I can just look and count at the supply piles.

Also, the PPR ones are really complicated, and you need to be a ridiculously good deck-tracker for detailed scenario 2. Or I guess maybe just use the extension? :/

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Re: Tactics Quiz & Endgame Principles
« Reply #11 on: August 18, 2013, 11:36:28 pm »
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Just a note on PPR, I don't know how in depth the article is on it, but if my opponent has four provinces, and I have two, I'll always buy the province if I can.  I almost certainly need both Provinces to win, so even if I didn't buy the province, he can still buy the last one and the game's over anyway.

Otherwise, great article!
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   Quote from: sudgy on June 31, 2011, 11:47:46 pm

dondon151

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Re: Tactics Quiz & Endgame Principles
« Reply #12 on: August 19, 2013, 03:10:13 am »
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Just a note on PPR, I don't know how in depth the article is on it, but if my opponent has four provinces, and I have two, I'll always buy the province if I can.  I almost certainly need both Provinces to win, so even if I didn't buy the province, he can still buy the last one and the game's over anyway.

You can easily win a game while down 5-3 on Provinces. If you're down 6-2, you're in trouble, but it's still technically winnable.
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Polk5440

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Re: Tactics Quiz & Endgame Principles
« Reply #13 on: August 19, 2013, 08:54:24 am »
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Why doesn't question 2 state definitively that there's only one Province left, if the entire answer is predicated on that assumption? It's not as though it's more realistic not to know.

Just to get you thinking about what information you should be looking for when making a decision on what to play. With 27 points, your opponent most likely has three Provinces leaving one in the supply (it's less likely but possible he could also have those points in Duchies). So how you play depends on what's left in the supply, one or two Provinces?

I included this because it's easy to forget to check supply levels of important cards and play midgame tactics when it is in fact the endgame.
The issue with this is, I find it very hard to think that I know precisely what the scores are and DON'T know precisely what the VP cards are and where they are - especially when I can just look and count at the supply piles.

That's because you don't use the point counter extension! I stopped using the point counter because it forces me to look at the piles which is usually where the most important information is, anyway. When using the point counter (on iso, too), I found it too easy to look only at the score. Also, even without it, sometimes I get in the habit of keeping a running score or score difference in my head when someone buys a victory card, and if I play too quickly, I will forget to check the piles.

Quote
Also, the PPR ones are really complicated, and you need to be a ridiculously good deck-tracker for detailed scenario 2. Or I guess maybe just use the extension? :/

Yeah, I almost didn't put in the detailed scenarios because they are pretty complicated. My thinking is that as you are playing you have a good feel for what deck composition is for you and your opponent even if you don't know the exact counts. You're drawing stuff and there's lots of plus buys and trash for benefits in scenario 2, so you have to count on your opponent to be able to do something pretty significant. And trash for benefit and buys changes how the PPR works. But to actually write down the scenario, I have to give you exact counts.

I liked this example game because both players just reshuffled, so you can jump in at that point for the endgame without too much game state mattering.
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Polk5440

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Re: Tactics Quiz & Endgame Principles
« Reply #14 on: August 19, 2013, 02:10:31 pm »
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@ dondon151, RD, WanderingWinder
Re: question #2

I think question 2 can be phrased better, and I think maybe principle 2 can better encompass the "awareness" I was going for. 

What if question 2 and its answer were rewritten as follows?

#2) Your hand is Rebuild, Copper, Copper, Copper, Copper. You know you are ahead in points and have at least one Duchy and one Estate in your draw pile. There are no alt VP cards in the kingdom. How do you play your hand?
a) Play Rebuild, name Province
b) Play Rebuild, name Duchy
c) Play Rebuild, name Estate

Answer #2) It depends.

If there is only one Province left, then the right answer is definitely c). You are in the lead and want to end the game if you can. By naming Estate you pass over the Estate in your draw pile and will hit either a Duchy or a Province, gain the last Province, and win the game.

If there are two or more Provinces, then your play will depend on how far ahead you are, how many Provinces and Duchies are left, whether three piles are running low, and what kind you strategy you are and your opponent are playing.

Because how you play the hand depends on how close you are to the end of the game, the next important principle is:

Principle: Watch the piles. You have to know you are in the endgame in order to play it right.

A corollary of the first two principles is "always be on the lookout for a win." That win could be for you -- or your opponent! You want to take opportunities to win and you do not want to give them to your opponent.


Update: Reworded to include information about one Province in supply. See opening post.
« Last Edit: August 21, 2013, 11:28:05 pm by Polk5440 »
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timchen

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Re: Tactics Quiz & Endgame Principles
« Reply #15 on: August 20, 2013, 02:50:46 am »
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I am not sure about #3. In that scenario, your deck is probably better because you have trashed one more estate. Depending on how much it is actually better, and the current deck state of both of you, breaking the PPR is not always a bad idea.
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lespeutere

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Re: Tactics Quiz & Endgame Principles
« Reply #16 on: August 20, 2013, 04:27:32 am »
+1

Principle: Cannabilize your deck at the end of the game.

I see what you did there..
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PitzerMike

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Re: Tactics Quiz & Endgame Principles
« Reply #17 on: August 20, 2013, 06:13:44 am »
+2

#4 I'll take the Province so we can rejoice in our shared victory. :D
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Re: Tactics Quiz & Endgame Principles
« Reply #18 on: August 20, 2013, 08:50:23 am »
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RD

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Re: Tactics Quiz & Endgame Principles
« Reply #19 on: August 21, 2013, 10:04:12 am »
+1

@ dondon151, RD, WanderingWinder
Re: question #2

I think question 2 can be phrased better, and I think maybe principle 2 can better encompass the "awareness" I was going for. 

What if question 2 and its answer were rewritten as follows?
This is an improvement from my perspective, but I'm still not entirely sold.

The big problem to me is, this is framed as a quiz that has definitive answers; and so I spent a fair amount of time trying to come up with a clear solution to the complicated "2 Provinces left in the pile" scenario, when (as you say here) there isn't really one. It wasn't a total waste, and it's nice to see that you agree with my assessment of that scenario, but still the time could really have been better spent mulling over other parts of the article. This article is good enough I'll probably go back and reread until I've fully absorbed it, but generally people have a limit to how much time they'll allot to an article, and there's no point pushing it more than necessary.

(As a sidenote, I feel vaguely ungrateful complaining about a few "wasted" minutes when surely you must have spent hours writing this article. Sorry if it comes off that way! I don't mean to sound annoyed over it; it's purely a practical concern.)
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Polk5440

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Re: Tactics Quiz & Endgame Principles
« Reply #20 on: August 21, 2013, 11:17:06 am »
0

This is an improvement from my perspective, but I'm still not entirely sold.

The big problem to me is, this is framed as a quiz that has definitive answers; and so I spent a fair amount of time trying to come up with a clear solution to the complicated "2 Provinces left in the pile" scenario, when (as you say here) there isn't really one. It wasn't a total waste, and it's nice to see that you agree with my assessment of that scenario, but still the time could really have been better spent mulling over other parts of the article. This article is good enough I'll probably go back and reread until I've fully absorbed it, but generally people have a limit to how much time they'll allot to an article, and there's no point pushing it more than necessary.

This is a fair point. I certainly don't want to someone to feel like they've wasted time. What if I added "d) Not enough information"? This would tip you off to thinking about what else you would need to definitively answer the question without spending gobs of time on it.

Hmmm. Or I could just do as you suggested originally -- tell you there is one Province. This would make the question more of a second example of the first principle -- take the sure thing -- and have the second principle be more of a discussion after that -- more of a friendly reminder to watch the piles rather than be affiliated with a particular question. This may be the way to go, the more I think about it.

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(As a sidenote, I feel vaguely ungrateful complaining about a few "wasted" minutes when surely you must have spent hours writing this article. Sorry if it comes off that way! I don't mean to sound annoyed over it; it's purely a practical concern.)

Don't be! I want to improve the article! :)

---

Also, regarding ease of reading, I was thinking about adding a 5th short question at the beginning related to trash for benefit/cannibalizing your deck so you don't have to wade through detailed scenario #2 if you don't want to.
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Polk5440

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Re: Tactics Quiz & Endgame Principles
« Reply #21 on: August 21, 2013, 11:27:11 pm »
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I decided to go ahead and reword question 2 and answer 2 by including the information that there is only one Province left in the supply. Thanks for the input on that.
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sudgy

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Re: Tactics Quiz & Endgame Principles
« Reply #22 on: August 22, 2013, 12:45:10 am »
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Just a note on PPR, I don't know how in depth the article is on it, but if my opponent has four provinces, and I have two, I'll always buy the province if I can.  I almost certainly need both Provinces to win, so even if I didn't buy the province, he can still buy the last one and the game's over anyway.

You can easily win a game while down 5-3 on Provinces. If you're down 6-2, you're in trouble, but it's still technically winnable.

Looking back on this, most of the time when my opponent has gotten five Provinces, their deck is good enough to buy one more before I (who probably had the worse deck from not getting things as fast) can buy 4+ Duchies and the last Province.  I've only managed to do this once (and then I didn't buy the PPR, because I realized I had the ability to).
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   Quote from: sudgy on June 31, 2011, 11:47:46 pm

Polk5440

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Re: Tactics Quiz & Endgame Principles
« Reply #23 on: August 22, 2013, 08:22:06 am »
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Just a note on PPR, I don't know how in depth the article is on it, but if my opponent has four provinces, and I have two, I'll always buy the province if I can.  I almost certainly need both Provinces to win, so even if I didn't buy the province, he can still buy the last one and the game's over anyway.

You can easily win a game while down 5-3 on Provinces. If you're down 6-2, you're in trouble, but it's still technically winnable.

Looking back on this, most of the time when my opponent has gotten five Provinces, their deck is good enough to buy one more before I (who probably had the worse deck from not getting things as fast) can buy 4+ Duchies and the last Province.  I've only managed to do this once (and then I didn't buy the PPR, because I realized I had the ability to).

Yeah, when you are far enough behind, sometimes you just have to buy the Province and hope for the best. From the blog post:

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Second, the PPR also depends on your relative deck strengths.  Against an opponent whose deck has more future potential than yours, you should not avoid the penultimate Province and prolong the game, but rather take advantage of the full power of your deck now.  For instance, if you have been Salvaging and Remodeling your Golds into Provinces, and your opponent is running a Hoard/Vault/Trade Route deck, then avoiding the second-to-last Province dooms you to a battle of attrition you cannot possibly win.

Third, as briefly analyzed above, when the only chance you have of winning (or drawing) is to claim both of the last two Provinces, you should absolutely just go for broke.

Also see WW's article I linked to for more discussion on when breaking PPR is okay, too.
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luser

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Re: Tactics Quiz & Endgame Principles
« Reply #24 on: February 27, 2014, 02:12:10 pm »
+1

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#3) You and your opponent have purchased nothing but Jack of All Trades, Silvers, Golds, Duchies, and Provinces. There are two Provinces and four Duchies left in the supply. You are one point behind. You have 8 coin in your buy phase; what do you do?
a) Buy a Province
b) Buy a Duchy
c) Buy a Gold
d) Buy a Jack of All Trades

I think that here is best to take chance with province. As this is jack game and there are only four duchies left and with jacks silver flood opponent will likely hit 5 on his next two turns, so it unlikely to win a duchy dance, and as you need both province its better to grab one right away.
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