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Messages - TheMathProf

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Dominion General Discussion / Re: Menagerie Previews 1: 5 Cards
« on: March 02, 2020, 11:42:56 pm »
In a bot game, I tried to Throne a Barge.  I used the first to gain 3 cards and a Buy on this turn, and the second to gain 3 Cards and a Buy on the next turn.  Got the 3 cards and a Buy on the current turn, but not on the next turn.  Working as intended?  If so, how do you figure?

Definitely sounds like a bug.  You should be able to make a different choice with each play, so a Throned Barge definitely should let you get +3 Cards +1 Buy on both your current turn and your next turn (or +6 Cards +2 Buys on the current turn or +6 Cards +2 Buys on the next turn for that matter, depending on your choices).  Did the server discard your Barge on the turn you played it on?

To be honest, I forgot to look.  I'll peek next time I try it.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: Menagerie Previews 1: 5 Cards
« on: March 02, 2020, 11:21:54 pm »
In a bot game, I tried to Throne a Barge.  I used the first to gain 3 cards and a Buy on this turn, and the second to gain 3 Cards and a Buy on the next turn.  Got the 3 cards and a Buy on the current turn, but not on the next turn.  Working as intended?  If so, how do you figure?

Other Games / Re: Chess
« on: July 01, 2013, 10:35:06 pm »
I play fairly avidly, rated 2129 USCF and 1865  :o FIDE.  Doesn't pay to have your worst tournament ever as nine of your only ten FIDE rated games.

Dominion: Guilds Previews / Re: So when do the rest of us get ours?
« on: June 22, 2013, 02:02:54 am »
Uncle's Games in Redmond, Washington got 15 copies in today.  They only had two preorders, and I bought one before they even had a price tag on it.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: Greatest Dominion moments 2013
« on: February 20, 2013, 07:24:12 pm »
It wasn't necessarily a well-played game per se, and the shortage of +Buys with King's Court made me sad, but in a two-player game:

    TheMathProf2005's turn 27
   TheMathProf2005 plays a Pirate Ship.
   ... getting +$17.

I know that's got to be in no way a record, but it'll hopefully bring out the better performances.

General Discussion / Re: Education
« on: February 16, 2013, 08:40:28 am »
In addition, actual funding for the schools comes mainly from property taxes at the local level.  Only about 5% comes from federal money and 30-50% from the state.  However, the local money is not distributed among different localities to equalize things.  The property taxes are based on home values, which means neighboring districts can have vastly different budgets per pupil.  Rural districts often far the worst.

In addition, the amount of property tax given to the schools is determined by the voters in most localities.  Even a $10 a year hike in property taxes must be approved by 50% of voters.  Shockingly, it's easier to get such tax levies passed in more affluent communities, where it's more affordable.  In the less affluent communities, it's not uncommon for there to be bake sales and the like to get money to pay for advertising to convince voters.  This means that budgets can vary significantly from one year to the next, meaning teaching jobs and therefore class sizes fluctuate.

To give you an idea of how much things can differ from state-to-state, I teach high school math in the state of Washington (not to be confused with Washington D.C.).

The state of Washington has in its state constitution that "ample funding" for "basic education" by the state is the state's "paramount duty".  Because of this, the state has taken it upon themselves to try to do the majority of the funding for the schools within the state.  While Kirian cites that approximately 30-50% of the money comes from the state, in Washington State, that number approaches 75%.

Many parts of what individual local districts can do is limited by this state regulation.  For instance, local districts can raise funds, but the state has explicitly limited how much can be raised by local levy, as well as what can be done with it.  Since the state's current functional definition of basic education includes just five classes per day at the high school level, local levies often end up paying for the district's ability to offer a sixth class per day, and in some cases (but not many), a seventh.

Also, because the state considers it their duty to provide for basic education, salaries are set at the state level.  Because local levy money is limited in terms of the total dollars that can be raised and since most of it is used for providing additional classes per day (and accordingly, hiring the extra staff required to offer these classes), local levy dollars often don't significantly add to this total.  Local levy dollars are only allowed to be added to teacher salaries for TRI pay, where TRI is comprised of Time (you were required to spend more time, perhaps at trainings), Responsibility (you took on added responsibilities), and Incentive.  The Incentive dollars are light, because the districts don't have the funds to offer them, by and large.

While Kirian describes a system where the most affluent districts are best off financially, the reverse tends to happen to some degree in Washington state: because the cost-of-living in or near affluent districts is so high, but school districts in those areas can't offer a proportionally comparable salary, affluent districts often become training grounds for newer and younger teachers before folks move on to districts closer to home.  I teach in one of the more affluent districts in the state, live 45 minutes away in good traffic, and make 10% more than I would working for the high school five minutes from my house.  This is my 11th year teaching in that district, and at age 35, I have been the most senior member of the math department in my particular high school for six consecutive years now.

Kirian mentioned class sizes, and mine operates at an average of 34 students per class, where I teach five classes per day.  The more advanced classes tend to be larger so that we can focus more individual attention on the struggling students.  That seems to be more of a district-level decision than a state-level decision.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: How to open this board with 5/2?
« on: February 08, 2013, 09:04:55 am »
As the 4/3 player, I ended up playing it very similarly to how HiveMind ended up playing it in his simulation, with a few exceptions:

  • I thought a Minion chain was going to be the only way to get around ninety percent of the crud sitting in my deck.
  • Vineyards didn't really occur to me until significantly later in the game as a viable option (I was concerned they were going to keep a Minion chain from forming), and so I didn't end up buying my first one until Turn 18.
  • Mountebank occurred to me, but I didn't end up hitting 5 or a University until Turn 6, by which time I already had 3 curses.  My thought was my deck was so full that I'd maybe get one or two of these off, and that I needed the deck-cycling sooner, so I cringed and went Minion.  (HiveMind's simulation also has the University/5 hit for the first time on Turn 6, and with the Mountebank buy, indeed, the opponent ended up with one curse at the end.)
  • I bought Trade Route with 3 on both Turns 1 and 4, anticipating some Minion cycle (with the University for +Actions).  I'm not sure whether the second Trade Route so early was right, and admittedly, I got lucky to pull TR,E,Copperx2,Potion on Turn 3 (which I think is one of the best draws I could have gotten), which might have made it more viable.

I have to admit that my gut instinct was that the Turn 1 IGG was the stronger open possibility, but that the Turn 1 Mountebank is starting to look stronger to me in hindsight.

Dominion General Discussion / How to open this board with 5/2?
« on: February 07, 2013, 09:00:10 am »
The question was inspired by a game I played last night (I won, but I was fairly surprised by this) that featured this particular board where my opponent going first opened 5/2 and I opened 3/4:

$P  Vineyard
$2  Lighthouse
$2P University
$3  Trade Route, Village
$4  Feast, Nomad Camp
$5  Ill-Gotten Gains, Minion, Mountebank

Is there a clearly dominant strategy on this board?

Other Games / Two-Player Worker Placement Games?
« on: December 09, 2012, 10:14:55 pm »
I've lately been on a bit of a worker-placement game kick with some of the folks in my informal gaming group, and my wife sometimes will play some games with me as well.

The most recent game that our informal gaming group pulled out was Olympus, which I really enjoyed, but playing with the missus only will be difficult, as the game is designed for 3-5 players, and I can see how playing with just two players would be problematic.

So what I'm wondering is: are there worker placement games for 2 players that are worthwhile?  I've checked out the list on BGG, but was looking specifically for recommendations from a group of players with a similar interest.

If it helps, I've managed to get her to play and enjoy Kingsburg (the closest to a worker-placement that we own), Ascension, and Dominion.

The two candidates we were considering were Agricola and Stone Age.  Are these good?  Are there other candidates worth considering?

Dominion General Discussion / Re: Hoard in Colony games
« on: October 20, 2012, 01:13:51 pm »
Tnx for all the replies. A question thought: I don't have Intrigue yet, but does Hoard becomes more attractive in Colony games if you have access to cards like Nobles, Great Halls and Harem?

p.s. What's TFB?

I like Hoard a lot better in Colony games with Great Halls and Nobles, because you gain the Gold while picking up a few scattered Victory points that aren't dead cards in your hand.  With Nobles in particular, you're getting the two Victory points and (usually) a Smithy like effect on a future turn, while still not damaging your ability to buy a Gold with $6-8.

When I introduced my wife to Dominion, Cornucopia was the third set we bought (after Base and Intrigue).  Cornucopia is still very much her favorite set.  Regarding Octo's comment, it may seem somewhat like a crutch, but if you effectively play variety with it better, it's still a teaching opportunity.

But then, my wife likes to learn from the game.  We play with Prosperity from time-to-time, and there was one game where she got a Turn 3 Gold and a turn 5 Platinum playing what was effectively a Big Money strategy (which is where she tends if she doesn't like the Action cards) and having amazing shuffle luck.  On a board without +buys, she had taken my "don't buy green cards too early to heart", and was still buying Platinum cards with $18 on Turn 9.  She did still win that one (her economy was just freaking huge compared to mine), but afterwards, we talked about the lack of buys (on her $18 turn, she said, "And I only have one buy...", clearly frustrated by the lack of options), and how on her second or third turn over $11, she probably should have just gone for Colonies.

In the early going, I think it's important to let them ask the strategy questions they have.  After they have some games under their belt, I still let my wife ask the strategy question, but I'll answer it after the game.   ;D  She seems to appreciate that, as we can point to the consequences of what her actual decision was, and compare that to what would have likely happened when she picked differently.  And she always feels better when I affirm her choices.

Mini-Set Design Contest / Re: Contest Idea: Unique Mechanic
« on: September 23, 2012, 12:04:47 am »
No idea if something like this would work as a mechanic, but I had a crazy thought about a card that I don't remember seeing a version of before, and I figured maybe the conversation would be helped by having something out there to discuss in addition to Davio's suggestion in the OP:

Slot Machine
Each player selects a card from his hand.  All players reveal their choice at one time.
If two or more of the cards have the same name, +$2
If none of the cards have the same name, select one of the revealed cards and gain a copy of it from the Supply.

  • Maybe needs +1 Action to avoid being inferior to Silver most of the time?
  • Seems to me like a card that potentially gains in value when opponents have trimmed decks.
  • Not sure if the "bonus" for having two or more of the cards matching is the right one.  Certainly, the +$2 on an Action has been used before (perhaps overused?).  Perhaps it's more interesting with some other mechanic (perhaps a Cantrip or some other effect?).
  • I pondered the idea of "Each player [probably with at least five cards in hand originally, to avoid stacking issues] discards the revealed card." as a mechanism, both instead of and/or in addition to one of the two "bonuses" above.  I do think the Attack could potentially add to the strategy space, but though it would add complexity to the card [i.e. does/should Moat block the reveal of the card, or just the discard?] and decided that the added confusion didn't help the card enough.
  • $3 felt like the right price when I looked at it at a glance.

Certainly open to ideas to modify it, and certainly open to the idea that this is just a crappy card as well.   8)

Dominion: Dark Ages Previews / Re: Opening Estate
« on: August 29, 2012, 10:27:46 am »
I tried opening $5/Estate on a Dark Ages board that had Baron in it as the only source of +Buy, so I really wanted to make Baron work.  It didn't.

Dominion General Discussion / Turn 3 Thought with Remake
« on: August 02, 2012, 08:52:08 pm »
Take a fairly vanilla board where you've decided to open Remake/Silver.  On Turn 3, you draw Remake, 3 Coppers, and an Estate.  There are no $2 cards on the board worth buying.  Do you Remake the Estate and a Copper, or do you Remake 2 Coppers?  Does it matter what the $3 cards are?

My first thought on these was that you remake the Estate, but more and more, unless there's some $3 card that excites me (more than Silver), I've been thinking that maybe remaking the two coppers (one less total card in hand the deck) is the right play.  Maybe it's too much playing with Ambassador's that got me thinking this way.

Anyway, what do you guys think?  Is this patently obvious, worth considering, or am I completely off my rocker?

Dominion Articles / Re: Scrying Pool
« on: June 30, 2012, 10:33:37 am »
I'm not entirely sure how to address it in the article, but cards that take advantage of knowing what the top card of the deck can be particularly strong with Scrying Pool (moreso than with Spy).

Have Thieves or Noble Brigands?  Leave that Gold on top of your opponent's deck.

Have Tributes?  Leave cards on top that will allow you to get more actions, dollars, cards, or some combination, depending on the needs of your deck.

Have Jesters?  Leave that victory card to distribute curses, or leave action cards to effectively fill your deck more quickly.

Those are just some examples I came up with on the fly.

[EDIT: I saw the "Other Deck Inspection Attacks" on the works well with list, but thought it was worth exploring in some detail in the article itself.]

Dominion General Discussion / Re: Knowing you are behind early
« on: May 31, 2012, 04:31:16 pm »
If you have a good sense that you're behind early, then you really have to determine whether it's because you've got a poor strategy or a strategy that starts slower.  An engine deck may often start out behind a big money deck, especially if that engine is built towards multiple Province turns or alternative VP sources (such as Goons).

But if you're thinking you're really behind, and that continuing with your strategy is likely to leave you unable to catch up, consider some strategies that may increase your likelihood of catching up.  Some possibilities are:
  • Alternate VPs.  Victory point chips are one potentially easy way to make up for a lack of greening, but sometimes alternative VPs can give you a way to catch up when you're not chasing Provinces.
  • Opponent Sabotage  If you're opponent's deck is better than yours, it is sometimes worth considering cards that either devalue your opponent's deck.  Saboteur comes to mind, but Swindler can also be effective (be careful of the Province count if it's already made it that far) in terms of replacing good cards with worse ones.  If the Ambassador war isn't completely one-sided at this point, another Ambassador might help to even the score a bit.  And if his deck is really good, a Masquerade may force him to make some uncomfortable choices while you get rid of your garbage.
  • Strategy Adjustment  Maybe you thought you were going to be able to get an engine going, but you got flooded with Curses that are getting in your way.  Or maybe your Chapel strategy got going moderately OK, but he's managed to Thieve all your good money away.  It's times like this where you may need to adjust strategies.  What do you need that you don't have?  Is there a way to get it?  Sometimes there isn't, and you just have to shake your opponent's hand, learn something from the experience, and fight again another day.  But sometimes there is, and that card you dismissed as not being very engine-like is very handy in a deck that all of a sudden has sputtered to a stop.
I'll also agree with Davio.  A strategy is a great place to start, but when your opponent(s) gets to play, too, you sometimes are going to have to figure out how to adjust to the changing circumstances.

Tournaments and Events / Re: Interest in Chess/Dominion Tournament
« on: May 25, 2012, 09:20:28 am »
I'm a mid-2000s chess player, and I could potentially interested in this.

One interesting idea to consider in terms of pairings would be to try some kind of approximate equivalency between Isotropic rankings and Elo ratings.  It would be imperfect (a level 0 has an infinitely larger chance of winning a game against one of the level 40+'s than a 1000 has of beating a 2200, for instance), but it could give you an idea of seedings and what-not.

One other consideration is that you could look at overall match results (for chess and Dominion separately), such that a 5-0 drubbing in chess wouldn't hurt quite as badly as a 3-2 disparity.

as i understand it, because of the way TrueSkill works, the peak level should slowly drift upwards over time.  this is a result of more and more players being ranked on the leaderboard. compare:

April 22, 2012 - 8518 ranked players, 44 players ranked lvl 40+
April 22, 2011 - 3764 ranked players, 13 players ranked lvl 40+ (one of whom was likely illegitimate)

This same effect as happened with Elo ratings in chess; when Fischer was world champ it was unheard of to have a player rated 2800; currently, there are three such players with Anand knocking at the door at 2799.  As well, the average rating of the top 100 has drifted up 56 points in the last 12 years (

On the primary topic, I have the darnedest time rearranging the cards when I want to put them back on top of the deck using cards like Cartographer or Apothecary.  The Ghost Ship mechanism is cool and easier to work with, but I'm not sure how easy it would be to to do that when the number of cards being added back isn't necessarily fixed.

(Alternatively, if anybody has an easier time with rearranging the cards to put them back on top with those cards, I'd love to hear it.)

Help! / Re: How Would You Play This Attack-Ridden Board?
« on: April 15, 2012, 09:15:52 pm »
This is definitely the type of board that I would have likely misplayed.

I think I'm in general agreement with you here.  I think Mountebank > Sea Hag here because of the virtual $2 even after the Curses run out and the spamming of two cards into the enemy deck rather than one.  Stables will make a decent soft counter to the copper gaining, and accordingly, I think it makes sense that he's buying Stables if he's not going to play Mountebank.

I'm not sure that the Counting House is the right strategy here, but it seems like it's more of a desperation move giving that those were all bought starting on turn 13 when it was clear that you had an engine and that he wouldn't get one.

I do like the purchase of Apprentices, and I think that combined with the University as a virtual +buy helped.  I think in Rabid's shoes where I'm picking up tons of copper, I would have opted to use at least one of my University gains or $4 purchases on a Moneylender to thin those out to some degree.

Dominion Articles / Re: Hinterlands: Fool's Gold
« on: April 05, 2012, 09:20:09 am »
Sifters, such as Warehouse, also work pretty nicely with Fool's Gold, and also tend to minimize the impact of greening.

Rules Questions / Re: Stewarding/Remaking Treasure Maps
« on: March 20, 2012, 09:06:06 am »
Opening Chapel / Treasure Map would be a lot more powerful if any trasher could trigger the gain 4 golds effect of Treasure Map.

Variants and Fan Cards / Re: New Gainer
« on: March 20, 2012, 09:04:47 am »
I was thinking something along DStu's e2 adjustment combined with O's most recent suggestion:

"Play any number of treasure cards from your hand.  If you do, you may buy an action card from the supply, putting it into your hand.  Discard any treasure you have in play."

My instincts here were similar to DG's.

Game Reports / Re: A Contrast of Styles
« on: February 24, 2012, 02:01:54 am »
I had a rather interesting game the other day where my opponent bought an early Develop, and used it on Silvers to gain Estates/Silk Roads nearly from the get-go.  Crossroads were also in the kingdom as enablers to help pick up $3 - $4 to buy more Silvers and Silk Roads, and when he played the Develop on a Silver for the first time on Turn 5, it became very apparent that he was going to try to three-pile these three cards (which did end up happening).

As Player 2, I opened Bureaucrat / Chapel, and essentially played BM, using Hoards to help me pick up some Golds, and Festivals for dollars with buys.  I knew that I basically would have to get six Provinces (and roughly balance the Duchies) before he could empty those three piles.  Luckily, even with Developing, it took awhile to do this.

End result
I had 55 points (7 Provinces, 4 Duchies, and an Estate) and took 25 turns.
My opponent had 42 points (8 Silk Roads [18 victory cards] and 10 Estates) and took 25 turns.

There were a couple places where I think I would have played his strategy differently:
  • On turn 3, with $3, he took a Crossroads rather than a Silver and it struck me as early.  You want the Silver for the buying power and/or the developing; he'll have $2 for the Crossroads later.  Or alternatively, it would have been interesting to have had three Develops at one point (he only bought two).  With the number of cards his deck was going to get, I think he could afford the extra terminals, especially with the Crossroads providing +3 Actions the first time around.
  • If he could have ever picked up a Festival (for instance, on turn 8, when he had $5 and opted for a Silk Road instead), he'd likely have been able to buy two of the $2 cards, or conversely, he could Develop it for Silk Road/Hoard.  Hoard would have complemented his strategy when he was buying the victory cards (which he did often) even more than mine.  But I'm thinking he figured he couldn't afford the turn for it.  Given the number of turns where nothing happens (see the next bullet), this might have been short-sighted.
  • There are also a couple of turns where he simply buys nothing (turns 15, 17, 19, 21, and 24), and I would have imagined that this a place where buying Copper (like in a Duke game) would have been the proper buy.  On turn 24, it probably didn't matter, but on turn 15, that Copper would likely have seen some daylight.
  • On Turn 20, I think he should've bought a Duchy with $7 rather than an Estate.  With just the 18 victory cards from Silk Roads/Estates, he only got the Silk Roads to 4 points each; picking up just two Duchies (if he could've gotten there) would've gotten them to 5 each.  Plus on Turn 25, he ends up with a $2 turn where he can't buy anything, because the Estates are gone and the Crossroads empties the third pile while behind.

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