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theory

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Three-sentence overview of each card in Hinterlands
« on: November 08, 2011, 04:20:45 pm »
+6

Border Village
$6 Action
+1 Card +2 Actions
When you gain this, gain a card costing less than this.


Its extreme cost is like a reminder of how you need a plan to win late if you're building such an engine.  You need either a repeated strong attack (e.g., Rabble pin), some other source of VPs, or some way to get a mega-turn.  In such decks, however, probably the best Village since Fishing Village.

Cache
$5 Treasure
$3
When you gain this, gain two Coppers.


The new Contraband.  Is good with ways to get rid of the Coppers, naturally, but by that time you'll rarely draw $5 instead of $6.  If you want this, you should actually have a plan for the Coppers, or have absolutely no other $5 worth buying.

Cartographer
$5 Action
+1 Card +1 Action
Look at the top 4 cards of your deck. Discard any number of them. Put the rest back on top in any order.


The card that Navigator and Scout wishes they were.  Like Warehouse, a great sifter in the late game after you've gone green; like Warehouse, needs a certain amount of junk in your deck to be worth buying.  Can be devastating if you get Possessed.

Crossroads
$2 Action
Reveal your hand. +1 Card per Victory card revealed. If this is the first time you played a Crossroads this turn, +3 Actions.


A variant on Cellar, with potential to draw stupid amounts of cards, but there's nothing more depressing than a hand with 1 Copper and 4 Crossroads.  Fits great in a +Actions/+Cards engine.  Covered nicely in an article by rinkworks.

Develop
$3 Action
Trash a card from your hand. Gain a card costing exactly $1 more than it and a card costing exactly $1 less than it, in either order, putting them on top of your deck.


Basically the worst early-game trasher if you're looking to thin your deck.  Helpful to set up certain combos, but a very niche card.  One of the weaker $3's in Dominion.

Duchess
$2 Action
+$2
Each player (including you) looks at the top card of his deck, and discards it or puts it back.
In games using this, when you gain a Duchy, you may gain a Duchess.


+$2 for $2 is great and matched only by Embargo, which is a one-time use.  You don't want terminal Silvers in general, though, no matter how cheap, so this will mostly be gained either as a free gift with Duchy or as part of a 5/2 opening.  The Spy effect is not very important.

Embassy
$5 Action
+5 Cards
Discard 3 cards.
When you gain this, each other player gains a Silver.


The granddaddy (thus far) of the Big Money + One Drawing Card engines.  Embassy/Big Money beats Envoy/Big Money hands down, and greatly accelerates the game.  Quite similar to Vault, especially since the benefit to your opponents is not always a benefit.

Farmland
$6 Victory
2 VP
When you buy this, trash a card from your hand. Gain a card costing exactly $2 more than the trashed card.


An on-buy Remodel that can often net you a free 2VP in the late game.  You'd probably rather some other trash-for-benefit card, like Salvager, but Farmland can Farmland other Farmlands into Provinces.  Interestingly, it synergizes well with its competition, since Farmlands are such great Salvager/Bishop/Apprentice/etc. fodder.

Fool's Gold
$2 Treasure - Reaction
If this is the first time you played a Fool's Gold this turn, this is worth $1. Otherwise it's worth $4.
When another player gains a Province, you may trash this from your hand. If you do, gain a Gold, putting it on your deck.

Quite fun, but you definitely need more than 2 FG's to make it worthwhile.  Obviously works great with trashing and sifting, and big draw like Tactician.  Needs some +Buy, otherwise it’s too slow to buy them all and not enough benefit when you play them.

Haggler
$5 Action
+$2
While this is in play, when you buy a card, gain a card costing less than it that is not a Victory card.


A nice fake +Buy on boards without it and leads to interesting interactions (including unexpected 3-pile endings) with Border Village.  Similar to Hoard, in that it can help you go green much earlier because you can do things like Province/Gold.  Otherwise, depends on good $4's and $2's.

Highway
$5 Action
+1 Card +1 Action
While this is in play, cards cost $1 less, but not less than $0.


Basically a Market; needs +Buy to be any better.  Harder to do megaturns like with Bridge (because it can't get Throned or Kinged), but easier to play multiples of.  Lets you do all those tricks (e.g., with Remodel/Swindler/etc.) that you wanted to do with Bridge but couldn't actually pull off.

Ill-Gotten Gains
$5 Treasure
$1
When you play this, you may gain a Copper, putting it into your hand.
When you gain this, each other player gains a Curse.


Brutal curser.  Great with trash-for-benefit cards, obviously, considering its expense.  Conducive to a Duchy / alternative VP rush.

Inn
$5 Action
+2 Cards +2 Actions
Discard 2 cards.
When you gain this, look through your discard pile (including this), reveal any number of Action cards from it, and shuffle them into your deck.


You need a good combo in your discard ready to go in order to play this.  Works well with Chancellor, so you don't have to worry about buying it at the end of your draw pile.  Otherwise unremarkable.

Jack Of All Trades
$4 Action
Gain a Silver. Look at the top card of your deck; discard it or put it back. Draw until you have 5 cards in hand. You may trash a card from your hand that is not a Treasure.


Fuels a great Big Money engine like Smithy/Envoy/Embassy, but unlike them, can actually beat attacks.  TwoJackBigMoney bots are dominant on many boards.  One of the strongest cards in the set.

Mandarin
$5 Action
+$3
Put a card from your hand on top of your deck.
When you gain this, put all Treasures you have in play on top of your deck in any order.


The +$3 at the cost of a card is decent, though the main interest is in its on-gain ability.  Can be useful to buy in the late game if you fall short of a Province and want to try again.  Also good with +Buy, to buy the Province and then get ready to buy another one. 

Margrave
$5 Action - Attack
+3 Cards +1 Buy
Each other player draws a card, then discards down to 3 cards in hand.


The opposite of Torturer: gets worse and worse as you play multiples.  The +Buy is what really sells it, though, making it one of the best +Cards for a +Actions/+Cards engine.  Is basically Council Room / Militia rolled into one card.

Noble Brigand
$4 Action - Attack
+$1
When you buy this or play it, each other player reveals the top 2 cards of his deck, trashes a revealed Silver or Gold you choose, and discards the rest. If he didn't reveal a Treasure, he gains a Copper. You gain the trashed cards.


A tacit admission that Thief should have been better, but this didn’t belong in the base set.  Still not that great, but can be a good desperation buy in the late game, hoping to snipe a crucial Gold.  Especially interesting in multiplayer games and when people open with it.

Nomad Camp
$4 Action
+1 Buy +$2
When you gain this, put it on top of your deck.


Like a mom trying to get you to eat spinach: Woodcutter and its +Buy is good for you, and here’s a nice little on-gain bonus to try to make you realize this!  Can lead to a $4/$5 opening.  Still nowhere as good a source of +Buy as a Market.

Oasis
$3 Action
+1 Card +1 Action +$1
Discard a card.


Good with decks that want discarding: Tunnel, Minion, Library, etc.  Also great with Peddler (assuming +Buy) and Conspirator.  Otherwise, a quasi-sifter, sort of like Warehouse, and somewhat dependent on bad cards in your deck.

Oracle
$3 Action - Attack
Each player (including you) reveals the top 2 cards of his deck, and you choose one: either he discards them, or he puts them back on top in any order he chooses.
+2 Cards


Pretty unimportant. +2 Cards never excites anyone, and neither does Spy.  Offers some limited combo potential (e.g., with Tunnel and opponent's Sea Hag/Rabble).

Scheme
$3 Action
+1 Card +1 Action
At the start of Clean-up this turn, you may choose an Action card you have in play. If you discard it from play this turn, put it on your deck.


Great with Conspirator engines.  Also helps set up megaturn engines, especially when using Throne Room or King’s Court, and especially nice if you have an engine you intend to play indefinitely without greening up (e.g., Goons or Possession).  The ultimate Bane card.

Silk Road
$4 Victory
Worth 1 VP for every 4 Victory cards in your deck (round down).


Great with Kingdom Victory cards.  Otherwise, usually a decent consolation prize, if you miss out on Duchies, and occasionally worth more than a Duchy.  Often needs some kind of sifter (Warehouse, Cartographer) or cards that do things with green cards (Vault, Crossroads) to be worthwhile.

Spice Merchant
$4 Action
You may trash a Treasure from your hand. If you do, choose one:
+2 Cards and +1 Action, or +$2 and +1 Buy


Moneylender is a solid opener, and this is like Moneylender, but slightly worse (though the +Buy can come in handy).  You aren't guaranteed enough money, and it’s easier to accidentally trash everything and play yourself into a corner.  Dies off eventually, and so benefits from trash-for-benefit cards.

Stables
$5 Action
You may discard a Treasure. If you do, +3 Cards and +1 Action.


Pretty awesome non-terminal drawer, probably equal to Hunting Party / Lab.  Less reliable, though, and does very poorly when your Coppers are trashed.  Does nicely with fuel from cards like Ill-Gotten Gains, Cache, and Trader.

Trader
$4 Action - Reaction
Trash a card from your hand. Gain a number of Silvers equal to its cost in coins.
When you would gain a card, you may reveal this from your hand. If you do, instead, gain a Silver.


A strong reaction, but you know, reactions are not so great in 2p ever.  A good addition to a Big Money/draw deck, which ordinarily suffers hard from cursing attacks.  Led to a huge rules discussion involving blue dogs.

Tunnel
$3 Victory - Reaction
2 VP
When you discard this other than during a Clean-up phase, you may reveal it. If you do, gain a Gold.


Combos with everything on this big list.  Especially nice with Venture, and as a response to handsize attacks.  In late game, worth it, usually, for the 2VP alone.
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HiveMindEmulator

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Re: Three-sentence overview of each card in Hinterlands
« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2011, 08:23:00 pm »
0

Oracle
$3 Action - Attack
Each player (including you) reveals the top 2 cards of his deck, and you choose one: either he discards them, or he puts them back on top in any order he chooses.
+2 Cards


Pretty unimportant. +2 Cards never excites anyone, and neither does Spy.  Offers some limited combo potential (e.g., with Tunnel and opponent's Sea Hag/Rabble).
Maybe uninspiring, but I'm not sure it's unimportant. The attack is better than spy (since the main goal of this type of attack is to cause key card to go unused for a shuffle), and the +2 Cards becomes better since it's after the spy.
A simple oracle simulation that opens oracle/silver and adds a second oracle is pretty competitive with smithy big money (loses 44-47), so it can't be *that* bad. It's just hard to appreciate an attack that is so random...

Quote
Silk Road
$4 Victory
Worth 1 VP for every 4 Victory cards in your deck (round down).


Great with Kingdom Victory cards.  Otherwise, usually a decent consolation prize, if you miss out on Duchies, and occasionally worth more than a Duchy.  Often needs some kind of sifter (Warehouse, Cartographer) or cards that do things with green cards (Vault, Crossroads) to be worthwhile.
Also worth mentioning that silk road rushes work just like garden rushes.

Quote
Spice Merchant
$4 Action
You may trash a Treasure from your hand. If you do, choose one:
+2 Cards and +1 Action, or +$2 and +1 Buy


Moneylender is a solid opener, and this is like Moneylender, but slightly worse (though the +Buy can come in handy).  You aren't guaranteed enough money, and it’s easier to accidentally trash everything and play yourself into a corner.  Dies off eventually, and so benefits from trash-for-benefit cards.
I think this compares more closely to lookout than to moneylender. Both are non-terminals that trash a single card, do a little cycling (2 cards off the draw pile), and become unusable late if you've trimmed most of your bad cards out. Spice merchant has the advantages of leaving you with 1 more card after use than lookout or potentially offering a +buy, but the disadvantage of being able to trash only copper and costing $4 instead of $3. I'd say it's probably generally a bit less useful than lookout.

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LastFootnote

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Re: Three-sentence overview of each card in Hinterlands
« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2011, 08:51:17 pm »
0

I agree with most of your analyses, but I have issues with two cards. I have only played solitaire games with these cards thus far, so please feel free to let me know if I'm way off base.

Spice Merchant
$4 Action
You may trash a Treasure from your hand. If you do, choose one:
+2 Cards and +1 Action, or +$2 and +1 Buy


Moneylender is a solid opener, and this is like Moneylender, but slightly worse (though the +Buy can come in handy).  You aren't guaranteed enough money, and it’s easier to accidentally trash everything and play yourself into a corner.  Dies off eventually, and so benefits from trash-for-benefit cards.

It seems as if you're completely ignoring Spice Merchant's (+2 Cards/+1 Action), which I believe is the option you'll want to use the majority of the time you play Spice Merchant.

Moneylender lets you trash Copper while providing enough coins to allow you buy more powerful cards for your deck. Spice Merchant lets you trash Copper while allowing you to draw and play more powerful cards that are already in your deck. So if there's a $3-cost card available that you want to play as often as possible (say Swindler or Ambassador), you might prefer to open with Spice Merchant rather than Moneylender.

That being said, I'm wondering if Spice Merchant isn't a better card to pick up soon after your first reshuffle, rather than on one of your first two turns. Unlike Moneylender, Spice Merchant does not jump-start your economy, so buying it immediately may slow you down. If you buy better coin-producing cards on the first two turns, then buy a Spice Merchant on turn 3 or 4, you'll most likely be shuffling it into your deck along with a powerful $5 or $6 cost card. Then you can play Spice Merchant to trash Copper while cycling to your good stuff.

As for the (+2 Coins/+1 Buy) option, I'd probably only opt for it in specific, less common situations. First: I really need the +Buy. Second: the +2 coins are guaranteed to get me to a price point I really need, whereas the two cards I draw are not. Third: there are fewer than 2 cards in my deck and the +2 coins are enough to buy a card that my deck needs before I reshuffle.

Quote
Stables
$5 Action
You may discard a Treasure. If you do, +3 Cards and +1 Action.


Pretty awesome non-terminal drawer, probably equal to Hunting Party / Lab.  Less reliable, though, and does very poorly when your Coppers are trashed.  Does nicely with fuel from cards like Ill-Gotten Gains, Cache, and Trader.

Saying that it does nicely with fuel from those cards seems akin to buying more Copper to feed your Moneylender. Your deck starts with 7 Coppers. Stables are an alternative to aggressively trashing your Copper, much like Apothecary.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2011, 08:58:31 pm by LastFootnote »
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ehunt

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Re: Three-sentence overview of each card in Hinterlands
« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2011, 09:52:32 pm »
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Quick note on oracle:

Oracle/Potion is a great opening in a familiar or alchemist game (assume there are no important terminals on the board).
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timchen

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Re: Three-sentence overview of each card in Hinterlands
« Reply #4 on: November 08, 2011, 10:34:02 pm »
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It always feels right to me to compare spice merchant with masquerade: both can draw two and trash one. Spice merchant is nonterminal, but can only trash copper. Early on the +1 action may not matter, and the requirement to trash a copper hurts the economy quite a bit. In addition it costs $4. This makes it not as strong. But still an okay card I would say.

I would also say that oracle seems to be an underated card. One key advantage it can have is the ability to draw the $5 cost card you purchased at turn 3 in the very next turn. Deck cycling in the early game is very big I would say. Nevertheless I also get tromped when I skipped my 2 coppers and stifled my own economy; without a proper calculation/simulation it's hard to say what is the best choice.
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HiveMindEmulator

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Re: Three-sentence overview of each card in Hinterlands
« Reply #5 on: November 09, 2011, 01:47:52 am »
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It always feels right to me to compare spice merchant with masquerade: both can draw two and trash one.
Lookout also draws 2 and trashes one (and discards one). I actually used to compare masq and lookout. They have the same cycling and trashing effect, but masq helps your current turn and is terminal while lookout helps your next turn, is non-terminal, and gives a smaller selection for your trash. Masquerade turns out to be the better of the 2 cards, primarily because it continues to be useful all game.

And while spice merchant offers a little to make your current turn better than with lookout, the fact that it costs $4 and can only trash treasures makes it seem like the worst of the the 3 to me. Of course, masq and lookout are both really good cards, so spice merchant is still decent if it's the only source of trashing.
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timchen

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Re: Three-sentence overview of each card in Hinterlands
« Reply #6 on: November 09, 2011, 02:41:47 am »
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That sounds reasonable. I would emphasize though: (1) while cycling is the same, lookout draw one less card. (2) lookout can only trash among 3 cards. For me personally it is a huge difference. I have lost several games due to unfortunate lookout. While in average it shouldn't be too bad, I just don't like that "oh-no, try it next game", similar to a 2+P in a familiar game or a 4-3 against mountebank opening.

If we forget about the cost, I would rank masquerade>spice merchant>lookout.
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Thisisnotasmile

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Re: Three-sentence overview of each card in Hinterlands
« Reply #7 on: November 09, 2011, 07:18:17 am »
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I think I missed the part where Lookout draws any cards at all...?
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ackack

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Re: Three-sentence overview of each card in Hinterlands
« Reply #8 on: November 09, 2011, 09:09:57 am »
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I think I missed the part where Lookout draws any cards at all...?
Contextually, they are talking solely about the cycling effect, not hand-size increasing.
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HiveMindEmulator

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Re: Three-sentence overview of each card in Hinterlands
« Reply #9 on: November 09, 2011, 11:23:24 am »
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I think I missed the part where Lookout draws any cards at all...?
Contextually, they are talking solely about the cycling effect, not hand-size increasing.
It is, in a sense also hand-size increasing. Usually trashing decreases hand size, but since lookout trashes from your deck rather than your hand, it's a lot like drawing and then trashing a la upgrade.
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theory

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Re: Three-sentence overview of each card in Hinterlands
« Reply #10 on: November 10, 2011, 09:31:39 am »
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It seems as if you're completely ignoring Spice Merchant's (+2 Cards/+1 Action), which I believe is the option you'll want to use the majority of the time you play Spice Merchant.

Moneylender lets you trash Copper while providing enough coins to allow you buy more powerful cards for your deck. Spice Merchant lets you trash Copper while allowing you to draw and play more powerful cards that are already in your deck. So if there's a $3-cost card available that you want to play as often as possible (say Swindler or Ambassador), you might prefer to open with Spice Merchant rather than Moneylender.

That being said, I'm wondering if Spice Merchant isn't a better card to pick up soon after your first reshuffle, rather than on one of your first two turns. Unlike Moneylender, Spice Merchant does not jump-start your economy, so buying it immediately may slow you down. If you buy better coin-producing cards on the first two turns, then buy a Spice Merchant on turn 3 or 4, you'll most likely be shuffling it into your deck along with a powerful $5 or $6 cost card. Then you can play Spice Merchant to trash Copper while cycling to your good stuff.
Well, if you look at their abilities, Moneylender is +$3 and Spice Merchant is Lab or Woodcutter.  Clearly +$3 is far superior to a Lab or a Woodcutter, and Spice Merchant's main benefit is the flexibility.

OTOH, if you wait a reshuffle to buy Spice Merchant, you should be at $5 anyway, to buy your Laboratories.
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AJD

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Re: Three-sentence overview of each card in Hinterlands
« Reply #11 on: November 10, 2011, 09:55:14 am »
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I'm sort of vaguely tossing around the idea of writing an article comparing the three main Extra Things that a card can do in addition to its main effect—i.e., +$2, +2 cards, or +1 card +1 action. A lot of terminals have a little money or a couple of cards tacked on in order to make sure they're worth buying; a lot of cards with not-overly-strong effects are cantrips in order to make sure they're worth playing. Occasionally there are cards with the same or similar main effects but different Extra Things—cf. Witch, Familiar, and to a lesser extent Mountebank.

From this perspective, Moneylender is the terminal-silver version of "trash a copper", and Spice Merchant is the cantrip version (with both of them also replacing the copper). It's interesting, because I usually think of a cantrip as being better than a terminal silver for the same main effect—but at the opening of the game that's less true because you're trying to build up your economy fast.
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DG

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Re: Three-sentence overview of each card in Hinterlands
« Reply #12 on: November 10, 2011, 10:37:41 am »
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Quote
From this perspective, Moneylender is the terminal-silver version of "trash a copper", and Spice Merchant is the cantrip version (with both of them also replacing the copper). It's interesting, because I usually think of a cantrip as being better than a terminal silver for the same main effect—but at the opening of the game that's less true because you're trying to build up your economy fast.


The spider merchant won't improve an traditional economy that is using incremental treasure purchases. It will however convert you from an old economy to a new one, such as fool's gold, that can restock quickly. In that sense the card name matches the economic changes in the age of discovery, well it's nice to imagine anyway. A few people have mentioned that it is a cross between a masquerade, woodcutter, and moneylender, and I'll agree with that, however it can play rather similarly to a pawn.
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LastFootnote

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Re: Three-sentence overview of each card in Hinterlands
« Reply #13 on: November 10, 2011, 11:39:45 am »
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Well, if you look at their abilities, Moneylender is +$3 and Spice Merchant is Lab or Woodcutter.  Clearly +$3 is far superior to a Lab or a Woodcutter, and Spice Merchant's main benefit is the flexibility.

OTOH, if you wait a reshuffle to buy Spice Merchant, you should be at $5 anyway, to buy your Laboratories.

I'm really confused about the point(s) you're trying to make here. For one thing, as AJD pointed out, Moneylender really gives you +$2, not +$3. Spice Merchant gives you either +$1/+1 Buy or +1 Card/+1 Action. As for your claim that "clearly +$3 is far superior to a Lab", that's patently false if the Lab draws you, say, a Mountebank.

Also, could you please elaborate on your 'being at $5 to buy your Laboratories' point? I don't think I understand what you meant by that.
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WanderingWinder

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Re: Three-sentence overview of each card in Hinterlands
« Reply #14 on: November 10, 2011, 11:47:03 am »
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Well, if you look at their abilities, Moneylender is +$3 and Spice Merchant is Lab or Woodcutter.  Clearly +$3 is far superior to a Lab or a Woodcutter, and Spice Merchant's main benefit is the flexibility.

OTOH, if you wait a reshuffle to buy Spice Merchant, you should be at $5 anyway, to buy your Laboratories.

I'm really confused about the point(s) you're trying to make here. For one thing, as AJD pointed out, Moneylender really gives you +$2, not +$3. Spice Merchant gives you either +$1/+1 Buy or +1 Card/+1 Action. As for your claim that "clearly +$3 is far superior to a Lab", that's patently false if the Lab draws you, say, a Mountebank.

Also, could you please elaborate on your 'being at $5 to buy your Laboratories' point? I don't think I understand what you meant by that.

But in general, a gold is much better than a lab. Just because something's not true 100% of the time doesn't mean you can't make that generalization in general. And the +1card/+1action thing is somewhat misleading, because you're using 2 cards (copper and spice merchant), not one, to get your lab effect.
The being at 5 thing is, if you aren't opening with the spice merchant, but waiting a reshuffle or two, then you probably have enough money to buy a laboratory rather than spice merchant anyway, and the lab is going to be much better in the large majority of cases.

theory

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Re: Three-sentence overview of each card in Hinterlands
« Reply #15 on: November 10, 2011, 11:53:16 am »
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Well, if you look at their abilities, Moneylender is +$3 and Spice Merchant is Lab or Woodcutter.  Clearly +$3 is far superior to a Lab or a Woodcutter, and Spice Merchant's main benefit is the flexibility.

OTOH, if you wait a reshuffle to buy Spice Merchant, you should be at $5 anyway, to buy your Laboratories.

I'm really confused about the point(s) you're trying to make here. For one thing, as AJD pointed out, Moneylender really gives you +$2, not +$3. Spice Merchant gives you either +$1/+1 Buy or +1 Card/+1 Action. As for your claim that "clearly +$3 is far superior to a Lab", that's patently false if the Lab draws you, say, a Mountebank.

Also, could you please elaborate on your 'being at $5 to buy your Laboratories' point? I don't think I understand what you meant by that.
What I meant was: both of them trash a Copper, but Moneylender gives you a pseudo-Gold for it, and Spice Merchant gives you a pseudo-Laboratory or pseudo-Woodcutter. 

Now, of course, sometimes the Laboratory is better, especially in the late game, but you won't find a $5 card that just says +$3 any time soon.  So on Turns 3-5, you'd probably want the +$3 (which, as you correctly pointed out, is technically a +$2) over +2 Cards/+1 Action.

I guess you can instead compare +1 Card/+1 Action to +$2, for a more fair comparison, but even then, on Turns 1-2, you'll probably want Woodcutter over Great Hall.
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LastFootnote

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Re: Three-sentence overview of each card in Hinterlands
« Reply #16 on: November 10, 2011, 12:20:14 pm »
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What I meant was: both of them trash a Copper, but Moneylender gives you a pseudo-Gold for it, and Spice Merchant gives you a pseudo-Laboratory or pseudo-Woodcutter. 

Now, of course, sometimes the Laboratory is better, especially in the late game, but you won't find a $5 card that just says +$3 any time soon.  So on Turns 3-5, you'd probably want the +$3 (which, as you correctly pointed out, is technically a +$2) over +2 Cards/+1 Action.

I guess you can instead compare +1 Card/+1 Action to +$2, for a more fair comparison, but even then, on Turns 1-2, you'll probably want Woodcutter over Great Hall.

I think you mean you'll probably want an Herbalist over a Great Hall, but that's a small nitpick.

The way I see it, neither Moneylender nor Spice Merchant is a trash-for-benefit card. They are cards that allow you to remove Coppers from your deck without completely killing your turn the way Chapel or Steward would.

I can easily accept that, in isolation, Moneylender beats Spice Merchant hands down. Until you've got enough treasure density in your deck to make the two cards you would draw worth at least $3, Moneylender is the better play. Furthermore, Moneylender will help you get that treasure density much faster.

However, on a board where there are powerful terminal actions (e.g. terminal Attack cards), the Spice Merchant has more of an edge. For one thing, your Spice Merchant is never going to collide with other terminal actions in your hand. Secondly, the Spice Merchant helps you cycle to those actions significantly faster than Moneylender.

Let's say that we run a simulation with three Kingdom cards: Moneylender, Spice Merchant, and Militia. I hypothesize that if you open Moneylender/Silver and I open Militia/Silver, after which you buy X Militias and I buy a Spice Merchant followed by X Militias (giving my deck a total of X + 1 Militias), that I will win over 50% of games.
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WanderingWinder

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Re: Three-sentence overview of each card in Hinterlands
« Reply #17 on: November 10, 2011, 12:24:31 pm »
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Let's say that we run a simulation with three Kingdom cards: Moneylender, Spice Merchant, and Militia. I hypothesize that if you open Moneylender/Silver and I open Militia/Silver, after which you buy X Militias and I buy a Spice Merchant followed by X Militias (giving my deck a total of X + 1 Militias), that I will win over 50% of games.

This isn't a fair comparison, because you don't want X for deck one and X+1 for deck two. You should optimize the number for both - which means FEWER militias for the Spice Merchant bot, I'm sure. But I'm fairly confident Moneylender's gonna win even here, in your cherry-picked example.

LastFootnote

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Re: Three-sentence overview of each card in Hinterlands
« Reply #18 on: November 10, 2011, 12:30:04 pm »
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Let's say that we run a simulation with three Kingdom cards: Moneylender, Spice Merchant, and Militia. I hypothesize that if you open Moneylender/Silver and I open Militia/Silver, after which you buy X Militias and I buy a Spice Merchant followed by X Militias (giving my deck a total of X + 1 Militias), that I will win over 50% of games.

This isn't a fair comparison, because you don't want X for deck one and X+1 for deck two. You should optimize the number for both - which means FEWER militias for the Spice Merchant bot, I'm sure. But I'm fairly confident Moneylender's gonna win even here, in your cherry-picked example.

I'm not trying to cherry pick. You could replace Militia with many powerful terminal actions. I (perhaps falsely) assumed that you'd want one more Militia in the deck without the Moneylender because Moneylender is also a terminal Action for Militias to conflict with. Let's say instead that you just want the optimal number of Militias for each deck, which may or may not be the same. Is that a better example?
« Last Edit: November 10, 2011, 12:33:18 pm by LastFootnote »
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Tahtweasel

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Re: Three-sentence overview of each card in Hinterlands
« Reply #19 on: November 10, 2011, 01:04:48 pm »
+2

But in general, a gold is much better than a lab.
It isn't gold vs lab. It's TERMINAL gold vs lab.
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LastFootnote

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Re: Three-sentence overview of each card in Hinterlands
« Reply #20 on: November 10, 2011, 01:58:30 pm »
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OK, I'm going to try to explain this using a slightly different tack. Think of Spice Merchant as a Moneylender-after-the-fact.

If I buy Silver and Moneylender on turn 1 and 2, I'm not getting any more buying power on turns 3 and 4 than if I had bought two Silver. Yes, I get +$3, but I had to trash a Copper from my hand to do it, so I end up with just as much buying power as I would if the Moneylender had been a Silver. The benefit I derive over Silver is that I've trashed a Copper, which will help me more in the long run. I don't actually feel that benefit until after my second reshuffle.

Let's say that instead I buy a Silver and a Militia/Swindler/etc. on turns 1 and 2. My buying power on turns 3 and 4 is the same as if I'd bought the Moneylender, but I get a more immediate benefit rather than the long-term benefit of Moneylender. Then, on turn 3 or 4, I buy a Spice Merchant. After my second reshuffle, I have one more Copper in my deck than the Moneylender deck does. However, as soon as I get to Spice Merchant, I can trash a Copper, replacing both the Spice Merchant and the trashed Copper in my hand and giving me another action. I've got a five-card hand again. It's like the Copper was never in my hand at all! It's almost like I had trashed it with a Moneylender on turn 3 or 4. Meanwhile, I can put an additional terminal action in my deck compared to a deck with Moneylender without incurring a greater chance of collision.

Does that argument make any more sense?

EDIT: I guess what it really boils down to is this: If there are sufficiently powerful terminal Action cards out there that I want to play as often as possible, I'd rather have a non-terminal Copper trasher that could draw me those actions than a terminal one that can't.
« Last Edit: November 10, 2011, 04:58:12 pm by LastFootnote »
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theory

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Re: Three-sentence overview of each card in Hinterlands
« Reply #21 on: November 10, 2011, 02:15:21 pm »
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I see what you mean.  You sacrifice a little bit of power (Lab vs Gold) in exchange for no collision with another terminal, while still getting the trashing benefit.

I think you're right, and that Spice Merchant is better when you're avoiding collisions early game.  I tend to play more risky and will open Swindler/Moneylender anyway, but your approach is certainly correct if you plan to get another terminal early on.
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glasser

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Re: Three-sentence overview of each card in Hinterlands
« Reply #22 on: November 10, 2011, 03:23:53 pm »
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Inn
$5 Action
+2 Cards +2 Actions
Discard 2 cards.
When you gain this, look through your discard pile (including this), reveal any number of Action cards from it, and shuffle them into your deck.


You need a good combo in your discard ready to go in order to play this.

Did you mean "in order to gain this"?
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