In part I, I gave five principles of the endgame:

1. When you have a guaranteed win, take it!

2. Watch the piles!

3. Understand the ins and outs of the Penultimate Province Rule.

4. Watch out for externalities.

5. Cannibalize your deck at the end of the game.

Here are four more questions to test your endgame skills. They use only base set cards. Assume two player games.

Questions:#5) It's the First Game. The kingdom is Cellar, Market, Militia, Mine, Moat, Remodel, Smithy, Village, Woodcutter, and Workshop. Your hand is Copper, Copper, Silver, Province, Duchy. You have 43 points and it's your turn. There are 2 Provinces, 2 Duchies, and 7 Estates in the supply. No other piles have fewer than 3 cards. What do you buy?

a) Curse

b) Copper

c) Estate

d) Moat

e) Cellar

f) Silver

g) Village

h) Woodcutter

i) Workshop

j) Militia

k) Smithy

l) Remodel

#6) It's the First Game. The kingdom is Cellar, Market, Militia, Mine, Moat, Remodel, Smithy, Village, Woodcutter, and Workshop. Your hand is Smithy, Silver, Silver, Silver, Copper. There are 2 cards in your draw pile and you have purchased nothing but two Smithies, Silvers, Golds, and victory points all game. There are 2 Provinces, 4 Duchies, and 6 Estates in the supply, and no other piles have fewer than 3 cards. You are behind by two points. What's your play?

a) Play Smithy, buy Province if possible, else buy Gold

b) Play Smithy, buy Province if possible, else buy Duchy

c) Play Smithy, buy Duchy

d) Don't play Smithy, buy Gold

e) Don't play Smithy, buy Duchy

#7) It's your turn. You have a Remodel, two Silvers, and two Curses in hand. There are 6 Provinces, 4 Duchies, 2 Estates, 0 Curses, and 0 Gardens in the supply. You have 43 cards in your draw pile (including 4 Gardens), 0 in your discard pile, and 5 in your hand (48 cards total).

If you were behind by 2 points, how should you play your turn? (Assume the following are your only options.)

a) Remodel Silver into Duchy, buy Estate

b) Remodel Silver into Duchy, buy Copper

c) Remodel Curse into Estate, buy Estate

d) Remodel Curse into Copper, buy Silver

#8) Same scenario as #7, except you are behind by 4 points, and your opponent has 50 cards total. How should you play your turn? (Assume the following are your only options.)

a) Remodel Silver into Duchy, buy Estate

b) Remodel Silver into Duchy, buy Copper

c) Remodel Curse into Estate, buy Estate

d) Remodel Curse into Copper, buy Silver

Answers and Analysis:**Answer #5)** Buy the Estate. It gives you the guaranteed win! There are 8 x (6 + 3 + 1) + 6 (starting Estates) = 86 points possible, and you have 43 of them. Buying an Estate gives you 44 points and the guaranteed win. Your opponent cannot get more than 42 points, cannot Curse you, and cannot trash your Victory cards. The answer is c).

**Answer #6) **As tough as it is to swallow, the correct answer is probably e) Don't play Smithy, buy Duchy.

The first thing to note is that since you are two points behind, buying a Province (if possible) breaks PPR. Buying a Duchy puts you one point in the lead and puts the pressure back on your opponent. Do you play Smithy triggering the reshuffle? Given your deck composition, the hand you've got is likely an above average hand. It's better to reshuffle that money and the Smithy back into your deck with a purchased Duchy. Your expected next hand is going to be better.

What about buying Gold? Certainly you don't want to buy Gold after playing a Smithy -- the Gold misses the reshuffle unnecessarily. But as tempting as it is to not play Smithy and buy the Gold just before the reshuffle, it is almost surely wrong. The game is just too far along (only two Provinces left) to pass up 3 points and the lead. What is that Gold instead of a Duchy going to get you on the margin? If you go through your deck one more time, drawing a Gold instead of a Duchy will get you at most a Province instead of a Duchy -- 3 points. The three points you just passed up by buying Gold over Duchy. Yes, you may go through your deck more than once, but it's not sufficiently likely to get you more than the 3 meaningful points you can get right now by buying that Duchy.

**Answer #7)** Remodel a Curse into an Estate (for two points) and buy the last Estate for a third point. You are ahead by 1 point and Estates, Gardens, and Curses are empty. You have secured victory! Any other answer leaves the outcome uncertain -- the game doesn't end and your opponent could still win, so the correct answer is c).

**Answer #8)** Now this is much trickier. You shouldn't pick c). You will end the game one point behind and lose.

What about d)? This improves the deck the most out of the four answers, trashing a Curse and adding Treasures in a probable slog. But the game is almost over (two Estates are left and two other piles are empty), and you just reshuffled. You are almost certainly not going to get back around to shuffling again. Those deck improvements probably won't matter.

What about maximizing points, then? a) looks good. Trash that Silver, gain a Duchy, and buy an Estate. That's four points, and ties you with your opponent! But hold on, all your opponent has to do is buy that last Estate and win. That only takes $2 -- pretty likely, but not a sure thing. a) is better than c).

I would recommend b). Remodeling the Silver into Duchy gives you three points, so you are one behind. The game is likely to be over before you see that Silver again, anyway. Turn it into points. You buy a Copper putting your deck at 49 cards total. Now it takes more than $2 for your opponent to win. At least $4 and two buys or $2 and a trash for benefit/gain is needed. What's even better is if he doesn't win, and doesn't get at least 4 points total on his turn, he can't get an Estate either! If he does get that Estate, you can buy the last one with $2 (hopefully you would get that), putting you at 50 cards total bumping your four Gardens up a level. That Estate is worth 5 points to you! It would give you the victory!

If your opponent doesn't get the Estate, you are likely going to be in better shape after the next turn having chosen b). By cannibalizing your deck at the end and taking the lead one turn later, rather than tying the game and giving your opponent a much easier chance to win, you are going to have a better shot at winning the game, though it's not anywhere close to a guarantee.

I hope you enjoyed these questions, that's all I have planned!

Edit 1: Question #5 fixed.

Edit 2: Comment struck from Answer #8.