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Messages - WheresMyElephant

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1
Island. I must have played hundreds of games with it, but I don't think I've ever bought it as an opener (and as a non-opener, rarely) and been truly confident that it was the right play. I know the pros and cons but I have no real way to weigh them. I just rely on a vague estimate of its general power level compared to other $4s, and I tweak this very little depending on the board because I don't know where to start, even though good play would be very board-dependent. About the only thing I know is that it's a lousy way to hit $5, if that's key.

2
Dominion General Discussion / Re: When do you overpay for Doctor?
« on: October 03, 2013, 10:16:43 am »
But I think a lot of people read the strategy article and now think the normal outcome for a Treasure Map player is to still have them clogging up his deck until turn 15. I think not activating them until turn 15 is probably less likely than activating them on turn 5.

That could probably be calculated, but I'm not up for it. But keep in mind that if you don't connect it early, it gets less likely with each shuffle unless you just stop buying other things. Again, this is about TM with no support cards.

Not to say this is a great idea, but if you're going in with a plan of colliding TMs by sheer luck and then overpaying for Doctor, you might as well buy a third or fourth or fifth TM and just plan to trash the extras with the Doctor, right?

3
Dominion General Discussion / Re: When you don't even want a silver
« on: September 24, 2013, 10:29:44 am »
This has happened to me before

I'd  say Scrying Pool belongs on the list of "obvious" cases with Conspirator and so forth, which brokoli said they weren't looking for.

The trouble is though, aren't those the whole story? As you get better, you learn to understand more complicated decks more thoroughly, and the list of decks that "obviously" can't handle an extra Silver grows well beyond the canonical list to include all sorts of ramshackle improvised engines. Take those "obvious" cases away and you're just asking "How do I know whether I can safely buy a Silver in cases where I don't understand my deck well enough to know?" And then you've answered your own question.

I mean I'd love to see some very strong players come up with great insights on the topic, but I sort of doubt it's going to happen. (Actually the question I've been struggling with lately is when to buy Silver in the greening phase because "screw it, my engine's basically defunct anyway, maybe this way I can limp over the finish line." I have the feeling I'm hitting that panic button too often, but again, I'm not very hopeful that anyone can solve this problem with pithy advice.)

4
Dominion Articles / Re: Request: Baker
« on: September 13, 2013, 03:57:59 pm »
Do you still think that the extra coin token available for the opening buy is worth discussing, or would that be part of general coin token strategy?
I think it's just way too big of a subject to do any justice to it with a single article (and Baker games are too rare to write the enormous series of articles that would be required.)

To name a similar situation, you couldn't ever really write a single article about how to choose the best opening when you have a 4/3 split. Aside from a few basic opening principles like "trashing is good," this topic belongs to the hundreds of individual card articles and individual Kingdom breakdowns and so forth. How to deal with the Baker coin is basically the same question, except three times as huge: "How do I choose the best opening out of all the available 4/4 and 5/3 openings, plus the 4/3 openings with a bonus Coin token saved for later?" Even if the writer had as much experience playing 5/3 openings as 4/3 openings, which they don't, where would they start?

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Dominion: Guilds Previews / Re: Candlestick maker - Scrying pool
« on: June 18, 2013, 12:10:57 pm »
This has probably been pointed out somewhere but I think Coin tokens go rather nicely with Potions in general. Potions cause a lot of resource misallocation issues that tokens could address, whether it's $2P when you want Golem or $4P when you want Scrying Pool.

For that matter, Plaza would be a nice way to deal with a Potion that's overstayed its welcome. Maybe also Taxman, though I expect Mine does this better.

6
Dominion: Guilds Previews / Re: Preview #2: Doctor
« on: June 18, 2013, 11:58:49 am »
The more I think about it, the less sure I am. Experience will probably have to be the judge.

I suspect it IS slowing down your trashing a little on the whole. In exchange you quickly get an extra shot at your new Silver, but not really the most impressive odds of hitting $5 (7/18, by my math). And even if the latter is good, are you going to prioritize an early buy over trashing speed? Maybe sometimes, but this preference seems perhaps a little incongruous with opening Doctor in the first place.

7
Dominion: Guilds Previews / Re: Preview #2: Doctor
« on: June 14, 2013, 07:05:37 pm »
How do we feel about buying Doctor on turn 2?  Should you overpay?  I just got a 3/4 with the intent of opening Silver/Doctor.  I chose not to overspend, else my new Doctor would miss the reshuffle.
You're reshuffling again in one turn, I don't think it's a big deal. I'd be more concerned about hitting your Silver, but if the odds of this are the same as the odds of your Silver missing the reshuffle if you didn't overpay, so it's probably about a wash. Note your odds of $5 on T3 are the same either way. I think overpaying is the move here.

Edit: Forgot you don't have to fear hitting the Silver. Even better: immunizing your Silver from missing the reshuffle is an unalloyed good.

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Dominion: Guilds Previews / Re: Masterpiece
« on: June 14, 2013, 12:45:14 pm »
I think I've mentioned this elsewhere, but this looks great with Doctor too. Either of these looks like a pretty good excuse to play like a complete Treasure Map rookie, thinking only of how to connect your TMs without a care for what your deck will look like afterward.

Come to think of it, Herald's overbuy power helps you connect TMs too. Guilds: The Treasure Map Expansion?

9
This is an interesting dilemma.  My gut instinct is that you cannot possibly compare Stonemason to the $2's.  It is not even close: obviously a $2 Stonemason is going to be gimped compared to a $2 Crossroads.  But the problem is that it doesn't make much sense to compare it to Doctor/Peddler either, since they share little in common.

I suspect $2 Stonemason on a 5/2 is comparable to Secret Chamber, Moat, Duchess. It might be worse than all these but the question is nontrivial enough to be worth publishing an answer.

10
Well, the question is, what's the purpose of ranking cards of the same cost? To the extent that the exercise is meaningful, it's because it helps you choose what to buy at a given price point, or at least gives you a starting point for that discussion. Saying "Stonemason is a better card than Cellar, but you will almost always buy Cellar over Stonemason at $2" seems just as meaningless as saying King's Court is better than Cellar: exactly the sort of apples-to-oranges comparison which these lists are designed to avoid.

Exactly. The point of the lists it to help you consider what you should buy when you have $x to spend. But if Masterpeice ends up as a "strong" $3 card... that has a completely different meaning than saying Ambassador is a strong $3 card. Ambassador being a strong $3 card means that it's often the correct thing to buy when you have $3 to spend. Masterpiece would not be the correct thing to buy if you have $3 to spend, so it's an unfair comparison.

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Personally I say, put Stonemason on the $2 list and "Overpaid Stonemason" on the $7 list, and the same for the others. "$6 Stonemason" and "$5 Stonemason" probably aren't important enough to be worth clogging up those lists, but the $7 list is so short it's already sort of silly anyway; maybe they can enrich that conversation.
Well I don't think you can quite do this, because you would really have to put each overpay card on every list; I don't think you can arbitrarily say that Stonemason for $7 belongs, but Stonemason for $5 doesn't.

I'd say it's silly to pretend like these lists have such great intellectual rigor that we can't make any sacrifices to pragmatism. If we were so devoted to rigor, we would just concede that these rankings are basically meaningless, and not make them. That doesn't mean we just give up and say anything goes, but if we're so wrapped up in this that we refuse to discuss whether Doctor is a better $3 opener than Lookout or a better late-game trasher than Forge, then we're failing to extract whatever value is to be had from card rankings.

11
Well, the question is, what's the purpose of ranking cards of the same cost? To the extent that the exercise is meaningful, it's because it helps you choose what to buy at a given price point, or at least gives you a starting point for that discussion. Saying "Stonemason is a better card than Cellar, but you will almost always buy Cellar over Stonemason at $2" seems just as meaningless as saying King's Court is better than Cellar: exactly the sort of apples-to-oranges comparison which these lists are designed to avoid.

Personally I say, put Stonemason on the $2 list and "Overpaid Stonemason" on the $7 list, and the same for the others. "$6 Stonemason" and "$5 Stonemason" aren't important enough to be worth clogging up those lists, but the $7 list is so short it's already sort of silly anyway; maybe it would be enriched by adding comparisons like "Is Forge better than Overpaid Doctor?" And on the other hand we definitely need a comparison of $2 Stonemason against other $2 cards: that is simply essential for discussing openings.

12
Dominion: Guilds Previews / Re: Guilds is here!
« on: June 14, 2013, 09:54:11 am »
If you play Taxman and always choose Silver and it hits half as much as when you'd choose Copper, you've caused the same amount of total $ loss as when you'd pick a Copper which always hits.

In the beginning, picking Copper is pretty critical as it can deny someone from getting a much needed $5. In the mid-game however, there's often some overshoot. Players will have "at least 5" more often so it can be better to gamble a bit and choose Silver or Gold, hoping to cut someone down from $6+ to below $5.

Okay, so if we open Taxman/Silver then on T3 I have a 5/12 chance of successfully hitting your Silver and a 12/12 chance of hitting Copper. Already we are almost at the 50% cutoff point described in your first paragraph. On T4 I've been counting cards and my chances are 5/7,although maybe I'm swayed by your second paragraph and still choose Copper.

There's an edge case for it.

One is to "Haven" a Gold over, another is that you know there's a Gold in your opp's hand and the loss to him is bigger than it is for you to postpone your Gold one turn.
But trashing a Silver is equally good for the "Havening" except it improves your deck.

Yeah but you need Silver in hand to do that. Sometimes you won't have it, although this might be a case for why you shouldn't upgrade it prematurely.

13
Dominion: Guilds Previews / Re: Guilds is here!
« on: June 13, 2013, 05:40:05 pm »
I'm thinking Taxman mirror games will lead to some interesting tactics. Should I Tax Copper and be more likely to hit you, or Silver and do more harm? If I topdeck a Silver, you'll know I have that in my hand, which could be bad if you have one to Tax. Then again, if I turn Silver into Gold at every opportunity, I'll have less flexibility to Tax Silver myself when similar opportunities arise.

14
Dominion: Guilds Previews / Re: Guilds is here!
« on: June 13, 2013, 03:31:44 pm »
So when will you be willing to buy a Copper with Merchant Guild in play to get an extra coin token? My guess is just slightly more often than you would with Goons in play, which isn't very often. Interestingly, with Goons you're more willing to do it when the game is closer to over, whereas with Merchant Guild, it doesn't work as well... at least, doing it if you think it is your last turn is pointless (though doesn't hurt you either).

I've been thinking about this too. Buying 3 Coppers can guarantee you at least one Province instead of a Duchy, which is a better exchange rate than Goons's 1VP/Copper (although this comparison is more than a little dubious). It also accelerates the endgame, making the Coppers hurt less. I think it's going to be a common thing you do, although obviously it's not why you buy the Merchant Guild, if that needed to be said.

How's that? Goons gives you 3VP for 3 copper right away. MG gives you 3 coin tokens. If you later are able to use those tokens to buy Province instead of Duchy with a $5 hand, you get 3vp more than you would have... But the Goons player could have used that hand to just buy the Duchy.
Right, so on a bad day they're equal, except the endgame acceleration aspect if that's a factor. On a good day, Province instead of Duchy is a 6 or 9 point swing rather than a 3 point swing (!). (Of course if your opponent is actually playing Goons, they probably don't care about being denied Provinces, but I'm not actually concerned with the Goons matchup.) On another good day, you might split your 3 coins up over two turns to get two additional Provinces instead of just one; the opportunity cost here is probably trickier to measure but I'm sure it's an improvement sometimes.

You could of course argue that the PPR might make Duchies preferable to Provinces which gets in the way of this plan. This could be an issue but I have to imagine the PPR is generally on your side here. The Copper doesn't hurt as much when you want to buy Duchies, and the flexibility of Coin tokens is perfect for tactical buys.

15
Dominion: Guilds Previews / Re: Obvious Predictions: Guilds Edition
« on: June 13, 2013, 01:52:55 pm »
Highway, Bridge and Quarry will all combo well with Stonemason

Can you overpay $0? I assume if so you can also choose to NOT overpay $0 (otherwise you'll have to pay $3 to keep from gaining Ruins).

16
Dominion: Guilds Previews / Re: Plaza/Draw-up-to-X
« on: June 13, 2013, 01:44:47 pm »
You're right that isn't great, though I think it's not as big a problem as the fact that you'll end up with a fistful of your green cards. I think this card will need a small deck if it's going to be in a viable engine.

One neat trick you could do though is trash down to a single copper and once you've drawn your deck turn that single Copper into as many Coins as you have Plazas by constantly redrawing it.
Unfortunately that's not that many Coins, especially if the Plazas are contested. Might be good with TR/KC though as you'll redraw the Treasure mid-TR.

A bigger problem might be that you have to play half your Plazas just to draw your deck in the first place, and you might not get Coins for those if you only have one Treasure.

17
Dominion: Guilds Previews / Re: Guilds is here!
« on: June 13, 2013, 01:36:21 pm »
So when will you be willing to buy a Copper with Merchant Guild in play to get an extra coin token? My guess is just slightly more often than you would with Goons in play, which isn't very often. Interestingly, with Goons you're more willing to do it when the game is closer to over, whereas with Merchant Guild, it doesn't work as well... at least, doing it if you think it is your last turn is pointless (though doesn't hurt you either).

I've been thinking about this too. Buying 3 Coppers can guarantee you at least one Province instead of a Duchy, which is a better exchange rate than Goons's 1VP/Copper (although this comparison is more than a little dubious). It also accelerates the endgame, making the Coppers hurt less. I think it's going to be a common thing you do, although obviously it's not why you buy the Merchant Guild, if that needed to be said.

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Dominion: Guilds Previews / Re: Guilds is here!
« on: June 13, 2013, 01:29:37 pm »
Yeah KC+Merchant Guild is nothing special (although KC could fit nicely into a deck that's been rapidly stuffed with cheap Actions from MG). I just picked KC as an example of a high-cost card because everyone's familiar with waiting a long time to be able to buy one in a Bridge game.

Merchant Guild in hand doesn't help you hit $7, but you do also have non-Merchant Guild turns after all. It can give you two Coin tokens on T3, which is as good as a Mining Village on T4 or any subsequent turn of your choice. I'm not saying it's a fast way to catapult into the $6-7 range by any stretch but if we're purely comparing to Bridge, there's no contest.

19
Dominion: Guilds Previews / Re: Guilds is here!
« on: June 13, 2013, 01:08:46 pm »
Well Masterpiece + Feodum sure will be nice, especially in games with lots of money but no buy.

Stone Mason looks really interesting.

Merchant Guild looks kinda weak. Its essentially a bridge that gives you the discount in a later turn instead of this one. But you want the discount the same turn you have the +buy. (I assume you can't get a token from the Merchant Guild and then immediately spend it)

Taxman looks better than a mine. Sure you lose the card that turn, but you get it right back and it has a cutpurse effect. Doesn't really hurt it that much and is $1 cheaper.

Shame there is no victory card.

The advantage Merchant Guild has over Bridge must surely be that it helps you buy expensive cards as well as cheap ones. Picking up your first KC in a Bridge deck is such a hassle (although that's all to the good), but not for Merchant Guild.

20
Consider this the counterpart to the "How Guilds affects existing things" thread, I guess. How do our new cards play together?

Butcher+Baker: I've posted about this before, but think it could be a nice combo. Baker coins let you Butcher Estates into Bakers and later Bakers into Provinces. Especially nice with good Copper trashing like Spice Merchant (or Doctor?) It could of course be argued that overrelying on Coin tokens like this carries too high of an opportunity cost, or that it's just too slow like most upgrading-everything-into-Province schemes.

Journeyman+Doctor, Herald+Doctor: Both cards can benefit from trashing, but perhaps more interesting is deck inspection and deck rearrangement (respectively). Journeyman might give some unusually big, high quality hands which I guess might favor overbuying Doctor.

Herald+Journeyman: Herald is a little bit unreliable as Villages go; Journeyman makes up for this somewhat by at least skipping Heralds when you run out of Actions. Admittedly, this sounds like an awfully expensive engine if its biggest selling point is "Well at least it isn't quite so bad when it fizzles," but if that's worth just $1 here and there, it might pay for itself. Herald will also provide deck inspection when it misses, which is nice.

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Dominion: Guilds Previews / Re: Preview #4: Butcher
« on: June 06, 2013, 02:42:11 pm »
It looks like these coin-gainers are going to like Poor House. Actually, I said that backwards - PH like coins, since they are not in your hand, they don't count agaist you.
I guess, but are the coin tokens really any stronger than any other virtual money here, like Peddler for instance? I guess it's pretty nice that owning any coin tokens makes any PH turn a guaranteed $5, given that this is a considerable step up from the usual guaranteed $4.

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Dominion: Guilds Previews / Re: Preview #4: Butcher
« on: June 06, 2013, 01:27:28 pm »
I would be very surprised about that.
You make the decsions for your opponents. There's no reason why you can't make him use coin tokens.
Yeah this seems extremely clear cut. 

And as my earlier post said (well, I kind of waffled I guess) it's not THAT onerous because you can always spend your Coins before I get to them.  Maybe one or two go to waste this way but if you're smart I should never get my hands on your tokens unless it's a calculated risk. It's unpleasant but man if Donald didn't warp the Possession rules to eliminate the Ambassador interaction then he sure won't do it for something as small as this.

23
Dominion: Guilds Previews / Re: Preview #4: Butcher
« on: June 06, 2013, 12:26:06 pm »
Butchering Curse into Copper might be a nice option to consider.

Now we see what happens when a Swindler goes honest and uses his powers for good. He becomes a, uh, a butcher. One brave man fighting to shield his customers from mislabeled horse meat.

Although I think Swindler wins if they try to go head to head. Of course 2 tokens beats Swindlers' +$2, but it's too much like trying to trash Curses as they come in, and of course there's the whole Butcher-into-Duchy thing. A sad commentary on the state of our food industry really.

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Dominion: Guilds Previews / Re: Preview #4: Butcher
« on: June 06, 2013, 11:58:09 am »
Butcher it for coins.

I'm pleased that we've decided that Butcher is to be considered a verb, like Remodel and Expand and so on.
Also the meme thread is about to get inundated with "I got so Baked I bought a T1 Goons" etc.

Nobody has mentioned that this is a decent Copper trasher. Estate->Silver leaves you an extra token, with which you can Copper->Silver. Though it may often be better to save those coin tokens, especially if there is a better treasure trasher available.

That's actually pretty weaksauce. Mine does the same thing, but it allows you to keep the Silver in your hand, as well as working in other ways, and it's one of the worst $5 cards. I think if you're using Butcher to turn Copper into Silver, you're probably doing it wrong.
Nor does Mine cost a Coin token for this service.  I mean yeah Butcher provided that token itself, but that doesn't mean you have to squander it.

25
Dominion: Guilds Previews / Re: First small Guilds Spoiler
« on: June 06, 2013, 11:23:20 am »
TX has to be Tax Collector or something, especially with the coin tokens. Maybe a Pirate Ship variant?

"Each other player discards a Coin token if they have one or else gains a Curse.  If any player discarded a Coin token, you gain a Coin token. "

Okay that's a terrible card, but I like the basic idea. There have been cards that basically steal money (Cutpurse, Militia) but they're always hit-or-miss because maybe they didn't need the money that turn. Stealing a Coin token from a good Dominion player is just really nasty, because for sure they were going to do something great with that money or else they'd save it until they do have something great to do.  In fact from a sheer abstract bang-for-buck perspective it could very well be the most valuable coin (token or otherwise) they would have spent for the remainder of the game. Granted that might not be saying much; since early turns are more valuable than late turns, even Cutpurse has a good chance of depriving your opponent of the most valuable Copper he will ever draw for the remainder of the game. But it is still pretty cool and I want to steal your precious tokens, give them to me.

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