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Messages - ShuffleNCut

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I think this site needs guidelines for what qualifies as an "article". This thread should probably go in general dominion discussion. Despite the fact that it contains a useful tip, there is not really enough substance to call it an article. Maybe if there was some analysis involved regarding when to use those extra goons buys, or when pawn or silver is better than nothing. Or if you ran some simulations for some of your examples to demonstrate *how* much buying nothing vs something can be... For example, you could have have two bots do village/smithy, and have differing buy rules for pawn: one who always buys it with $2, and one who does something smarter, and show the gap. Without this, everything that can be gained from this OP can be gained from the title alone.

Unfortunately these are often relatively complex situations which required ridiculously complicated play rules to model.  I haven't yet seen a simulator that can repeatedly play out turn ten+ of a game with given state X, hand Y, and board Z vs opponent strategy A with B buys already made....

Where not obvious I attempted to give examples that were as specific as possible as well as highlighting why the given buy in each situation was -EV.  True, it only highlights one niche aspect of game play however the way you shore up a leaky ship is one hole at a time.

The research that went in to the piece came from a few hundred games played and a few thousand games read and deconstructed.  If the title seems to give away the body of the piece then I'm glad I could save some people the trouble of reading it!

I keep seeing this phenomenon even in game logs from high ranking players.

Someone gets to turn six, they have two terminals in their deck already, there are no +Action effects on the board, they get a bad draw with only 2$.... and they buy Herbalist.  They don't even have a gold in their deck and they're buying TERMINAL COPPER to conflict with the actual useful actions in their deck.  Oops.

It's turn nine, a guy plays two Worker's Village and draws his SINGLE Goons.  He buys a much needed Gold.... and three Coppers.  The game is at least ten turns from ending and his inability to hit NONE just gave his deck a REVERSE CHAPEL TURN in trade for an almost irrelevant amount of VP chips.  Oops.

A guy has a nice Hunting Party or Golem stack going.  He gets a random low money turn and buys a Spy, or a Pawn, or a random unique action.  The card adds almost nothing to his deck but his amazing deck search actions are going to happily dig it up for mediocre effect when they should be finding game breaking actions or money for Province.  Oops.

It's turn six and a guy gets Saboteured and, WHAM, gets unlucky and loses his brand new Mountebank.  The player goes into auto pilot mode and takes an Estate as replacement.  Oops.

Don't let this happen to you!  When you're looking at your $ and your buys for the turn ALWAYS consider None.  It definitely isn't always the best buy but it is sometimes.  Do you have two Smithies and no Villages?  Don't buy that Pawn! It gives you almost nothing and can turn your Smithies in to Moats.  I know that Pawn is OFTEN better than nothing but you shouldn't be considering whether a card is generally OK, or better than Silver, or you've won with it in the past.  You should consider how it will help your specific strategy win or lose the game.

Just because you CAN gain a card doesn't mean you SHOULD.

Game Reports / Re: Interested in commentary
« on: July 12, 2011, 12:41:24 pm »
Chapel by itself is not god mode.  You do 'waste' several turns on deck thinning.  If left alone _Single Chapel is better than Big Money by about two turns (which is about half a turn SLOWER than _Single Smithy which is a 74:23 fave in the matchup).  The key to Chapel is that it lets you play your really good cards that much more often.  _Single Chapel+Single Witch = 57:40 vs _Single Witch and all of a sudden flip flops vs _Single Smithy to 71:26 fave.

I definitely learned some things from this thread and I now have some experiments to work through.  Glad I posted.

Game Reports / Re: Sabotuer is a terrible card
« on: July 12, 2011, 12:30:17 pm »
Rabble/Saboteur and Fortune Teller/Saboteur are legitimately not worse than passing the turn without looking at your hand.

Dominion Articles / Re: Combo: Sea Hag / Jester
« on: July 12, 2011, 12:26:51 pm »
Technically, Sea HagX2 or WitchX2 has a similar effect on the opponent's deck as Hag/Jester (though HagX2 leaves a curse on top).  Jester will probably be more useful than Hag once the curses run out.  Witch is alway a tiny drawer.

Dominion FAQ / Re: Dominion Lingo Dictionary
« on: July 12, 2011, 12:23:30 pm »
Cantrip:  Any card that gives at least +1 Card, +1 Action; it costs no action to spend it and it replaces itself in the hand.  (Definition is disputed.)

Also known as cycling (to me at least, EX MTG player)

Game Reports / Re: Interested in commentary
« on: July 12, 2011, 09:17:58 am »
I think I mentally wrote Scrying Pool off due to no +Action or useful non terminals and wrote Philosopher's Stone off due to the fact that I opened Chapel.  As it turns out Stone would have been worth 6/7 by the final turns and Pool...  well, I guess it's better than Spy here.

As far as buying the Potion for six: I knew I had a ton of cash left in my deck and didn't want to pass up buying a Province on one of the next couple turns and then miss my window on the reshuffle.  As it worked out I had six three turns in a row.

I am definitely liking the idea of Militia in Chapel games.  The way the early attacks really spiral out to major effect later in the game is huge.  I think that if I had Militia and Ghost Ship in my deck early on it absolutely wrecks his ability to first buy Possession and then later slows down his ability to draw and play it.

Other Games / Re: What other games are as good as Dominion?
« on: July 12, 2011, 06:55:04 am »
POT LIMIT OMAHA!  (seriously it's the best)

Introductions / Re: Who am I? Why am I here?
« on: July 12, 2011, 06:46:12 am »
I used to play MTG and was a high ranking Limited player and went to a bunch of events (State Champ, on the Pro Tour, won some cash tournaments)

Once I tired of dumping money into that I played poker online for a couple years.  I was just getting to the point where I hired a coach and was beating some low stakes games for a small amount when Full Tilt, Poker Stars, and Absolute got ousted from the USA.

Now poker is on hiatus until I am reasonably sure that the US market is stable for a few months (or get bored outta my mind and reinvest in something shady) so I am playing Dominion online.

I have spent MANY MANY MANY hours of my life in the pursuit of mastering various games (MMOs, card games, board games, you name it).

As far as work and education...  I have a degree and a bunch of Cisco certs and I work in IT.  How exciting.

Game Reports / Interested in commentary
« on: July 12, 2011, 04:55:12 am »
...on This 32 turn slog fest.

In retrospect, the presence of chapel leads me to believe that Hag is a worse open than Militia.  Agree/Disagree?

Feels like Militia would let me react to his Potion buy better later as well.  On a Militia/Ghost ship turn you will essentially have to have Gold+Gold+Potion to buy Possession.  It hit me soon after buying my reactive Potion that the chances were lower for me to buy one than for him.  It turns out that both of our decks end up buying two.

I'm also wondering if I should have bought a Council Room sooner.  Maybe even opening Silver/Chapel with plans of skipping up to the super Militia that is Ghost Ship.  If there were even one decent village effect I may have even gone for a Scrying Pool deck.

As it turns out my terminals conflict often early and I barely trash at all early.  My opponent does a great job of getting rid of all the curses Hag throws him and I end up losing by a tiny margin.  In recent days Militia has really been beating up on Sea Hags in games I've played.  Maybe I'm still valuing it too highly in games with a decent amount of trashing.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: What is the "engine" referring to?
« on: July 12, 2011, 12:04:05 am »
I don't think there's any one given engine people are always referring to (got any links or examples?).

Generally when someone refers to an engine in a deck they're referring to whatever combination of cards makes the deck generate enough money/cards/VP to move towards winning every turn.

For example of general engines:
-5+ Minions in a deck gives you a Minion engine.  They will combine with each other to create money and to cycle through your deck so you can find good cards (or more Minions) to play over and over again in order to win.

-Several King's Courts plus cards like Grand Market, City, Market, or Peddler will give you money, actions, and cards to draw MORE King's Courts and good cards.  This creates an engine where you play a billion actions every turn and end up drawing your deck and buying multiple victory cards.

-A super thin deck (thanks to Chapel, Remake, etc) with a few cycling cards (Village, Great Hall, Hamlet, Pawn, etc) and a bunch of Conspirators will draw a bunch of cards every turn while giving you a bunch of money to buy Province/Colony.  This would be a Conspirator engine.

-A deck with lots of +Action, some +Cards and a bunch of Goons will ignore buying green cards and try to win the game buying many cheap cards for +3/4/5 VP chips each every turn.  This would be an example of a Goons engine.

EDIT: ...And apparently WW gave the exact same examples a minute or two quicker.  Damn my elaboration.

Game Reports / Re: Don't Fear the Pirate Ship
« on: July 11, 2011, 09:55:22 pm »
Yeah, I think the game I posted was the first one where I actively pursued a Pirate ship strategy in several hundred games and I had never had an issue in the past playing around it (except those rare games where the ship seeks out an destroys every silver and gold you buy and sails right past the copper <3 variance).

You are the only ones in the auto match queue.  They don't want to play you but are too stubborn to wait a minute before rechecking the 2Player box again after declining.

(I think that's what's happening; not 100%)

Game Reports / Re: Don't Fear the Pirate Ship
« on: July 11, 2011, 10:52:20 am »
A lot of people seem to hate Pirate Ship, even in 2p games. I've never been that sure why; I often find it easy to counter it: Just find ways to get money besides Treasure.

A board with Pirate ship ALWAYS has at least one non-treasure card that makes money...  Pirate Ship!

Don't fight the man; be the man!

When I saw his first turn Pirate Ship buy I looked at the board and almost went for a Goons/Hunting Party/Fishing Village engine that would explode due to the fact that he would be cleaning out my crappy treasures.  I decided that it would be hard in the late game to get up to Colony money with a bunch of 1$s and 2$s and there weren't enough good cheap cards or cost reducers for the VP chips off a Goon stack to race a dedicated +7/+8$ Pirate Ship deck that bought all the Colonies so I just decided to ride the high seas myself.  Hunting Party is, as always, a star player in this game.  Add enough Hunting Parties to an Uno deck and I'm sure it would start winning games.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: Combo: Horse Traders/Library
« on: July 11, 2011, 10:26:21 am »
While MasqX2 may collide more often it also reshuffles more often.  Also, while Sea Hag is just as capable at giving the other guy a curse, Masq can give the curse back AND trash another useless card from deck.  Also, on a turn when you play Sea Hag you are essentially playing a four card card hand.  When you play Masquerade you are playing a six card hand (five if you choose to trash).  Because of the curse ping pong neither deck ever managed to trash all the way down to zero starting cards so the inability to play Masquerade in the mid/late game never occured.

Just out of curiosity I loaded the two opens into Geronimoo's Sim as the following:

Buy Prov
Buy Dutchy if <6 Prov in supply
Buy Estate is <3 Prov in supply
Buy Gold
Buy Masq if <2 Masq in deck
Buy Silver

Buy Prov
Buy Dutchy if <6 Prov in supply
Buy Estate is <3 Prov in supply
Buy Gold
Buy Hag if =0 Hag in deck
Buy Masq if =0 Masq in deck
Buy Silver

I ran both as 4:3 start and Masq/Masq won 85%.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: How to play these cards?
« on: July 11, 2011, 10:05:00 am »
-Buy them until you can hit province money every turn
-Try not to buy too many non-Minion cards if Minions are your primary strategy
-Goes well with non-terminals that have a useful effect as you can use them between draw fours (Festival/Lighthouse/Peddler/Market/Bazaar)
-Work best if you have some form of trashing to increase your Minion-to-other-cards ratio but buying more Minions works the same

Here are some sample game logs:
I start with Chapel then don't use it until turn 14
I dumbly buy some Remodels and Islands that clog my deck but eight Minions is mighty
I focus on Minions to rush Tournament/Province

Shanty Town:
-Better in the early game than the late game (opposite of all other villages) because it's more likely to act as a Laboratory when there are fewer actions to collide with
-Better in low numbers (two Shanty Towns essentially replace themselves in hand with no actions, three is actually card disadvantage)
-Probably the worst Village as it is built to facilitate action chains but paradoxically gets worse the more actions you have
-Makes going for action chains much less attractive as you will end up drawing far fewer cards during the game with Shanty than Village

I would love to see people posting my losses and pointing out how bad I play.  It seems like this would do nothing buy help me recognize my mistakes thus making me a better player.  Thick skin seems like a necessity if you choose to brave the harsh landscape that is the Internet.

Council Room Feedback / Re: Bugs
« on: July 09, 2011, 11:15:58 pm »
The running logs also don't work well with Masquerade as the logs don't show what was passed.  If I use Masq and get passed a curse (which I had zero of in my deck before) and then trash the curse the total will show my opponent with the same number of curses and me with negative one.

The end score is still correct as the decks are revealed in the logs at that point.

I don't think there's a way to fix this as the logs don't contain the necessary data.  It just exists.

Dominion Isotropic / Re: Decline of civility on isotropic?
« on: July 09, 2011, 10:11:00 am »
I chat a lot and I am always up for discussion during or after games.  I also complain a lot but I tell people to ignore me because I am a hardened and bitter person.  I never insult people and I always offer pre and post game salutations.

If someone wants to insult me, my mother, my play, or the president of Burundi I reserve the right to ignore their messages or even deny their game requests.  I will certainly not deny them their right to free speech.

In Poker the people who relentlessly spout off when things are going badly for them are my favorite table mates.  They essentially wear a sign over their head that lights up and flashes when they are on tilt.  I must admit that I have encouraged such tirades in the past.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: Transmute
« on: July 09, 2011, 09:18:09 am »
I agree it has limited usefullness. I could see using it in a situation I am being given estates, via Masquerade or Ambassador. But it is extremely situational. Once the Estates are gone from your deck, the cards is dead wait until near then end where it may get you a Duchy. Even there there are likely other cards you could have bought instead of the Potion and then the Transmute to acheive that same end.

Yeah, you're far far better off buying Ambassadors and Masquerades yourself instead of spending two shuffles and two buys to get Potion+Transmute yourself.

Do we really need to attach Word documents to forum posts? Just type your analysis in the post =/

Also, if you simply post a copy of the game log you can run through and do a Find And Replace for your opponent's screen name to change it to Villain or something like that.  That's how poker hand discussion generally goes down online; everyone is referred to by position rather than name for privacy.

Not that I'd care if someone wanted to post one of my game logs and point out the mistakes I made (that seems like it would only be beneficial to me) however I can understand where the desire comes from.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: Combo: Horse Traders/Library
« on: July 09, 2011, 03:19:00 am »
The first effect of a masquerade is to equalize the bottom quality cards between decks. The player of masquerade has an advantage as they can choose a card to trash afterwards, raising that level slightly. However therein lies the problem. You can buy a masquerade to improve the bottom line of your deck, but as soon as you've done that the masquerade will drag your opponent's bottom line up to that level too, even as you improve your bottom line further. The real advantage is to contract your deck by trashing a poor card.

In terms of card quality, playing curses and masquerades doesn't work. You give the curse to lower the bottom line then play the masquerade to equalize it. There is another aspect to curses though and that's deck expansion. Every bad card slows down the working of an opponent's deck. A familiar can distribute curses quickly with no loss of deck speed whilst any trashing action (or ambassador) will be slower and/or consume space from hand.

The player who is currently playing Masquerade gets to see six cards (or more) when deciding what to pass and trash; your opponent gets to see five (or less).  This means that when playing Masquerade you will have a bigger chance of both passing and trashing your worst cards.  It's only a slight edge but it's an edge nonetheless.  The advantage of Masquerade over some other early trashers is that the draw effect both gives you a wider selection to trash from and makes it so that the Masquerade effectively doesn't reduce your hand size.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: Supporting Alchemists
« on: July 08, 2011, 03:43:05 pm »
This could help "discover" what the key support cards for alchemist are.

Hearkening back to to my days of playing Magic I compare Alchemist decks to various combo decks; it doesn't matter how you get there, you only have to do it one turn faster than the other guy.  Whether an Alchemist based strategy (or any strategy for that matter) is good or not on a given board depends entirely on how fast you will win vs how fast other strategies will win.

There is no one card or set of cards that Alchemists requires to be viable; it's simply a factor of "If I spend X+1 or 2 (remember Potion) turns buying X Alchemists will they draw me enough extra of whatever is available to win before my opponent can win by doing whatever he's doing?"  The longer you expect the game to last and the more times you can expect to play your Alchemists the better they become.  This is why Alchemists are a better strategy in Colony games; you have about four to five turns on average more to set up.

Alchemists also become better when you already plan on buying potions.  Alchemist>Possession will effectively buy you more turns to make up the lost VP you missed by spending turns not buying money and the extra draws from Alch will let you play the Posessions more frequently.  Buying Alchemist after you've bought your relevant familiars is just fine too (they essentially become Labs that need a special silver to purchase).

Dominion General Discussion / Re: Pearl Diver
« on: July 08, 2011, 03:24:27 pm »
Pearl diver does actually combo with lookout and farming village. For lookout, if you've got lookout and  pearl diver in hand, you can play your lookout if the bottom card sucks (after bring it to the top), and not play the lookout otherwise - this way, you don't play lookout every time you have it, but you won't trash good cards. For farming village, you can bring curses/victory cards to the top of your deck in order to discard them.

Pearl Diver can actually Anti-Combo with Farming Village as well though.  You play the FV and it draws you Pearl Diver.  You play the diver and it draws you the Estate FV would have skipped over.  You also see this often in decks with Golem and Hunting Party; that one of PD in your deck blocks you from hitting a good card.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: 5/2 split and mint..
« on: July 08, 2011, 03:18:32 pm »
Opening Mint is like asking Variance to come over for tea and cakes.  Sure there will be some awesome perfect open games where you buy a million green cards by turn X but then a lot of times where you play draw/go during the early game while you're praying for your coppers to align (or buying copper, ewwww)

I am a fan of buying Mint in the mid game where Platinum/Colony are available.  You can clear out a bunch of silver/copper and start Minting fat stacks of Platinum.  That is indeed a worthy cause.  Then again a random warehouse or two may do a better job of winning the game than Mint in those situations.  Mint can only harm you when it's in your hand.  It only helps you a shuffle and draw later.

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