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Messages - drg

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Would think a 2nd masquerade would be a much more effective card than a sea hag.  Personally, I never get sea hag with masquerade in play.  Ambassador is a different animal, but I would take another ambassador over the sea hag in the early game at the least.  Removing 2 coppers and handing one to your opponent is better than just giving them a curse (or even better, estates).  Watching the decks and if you've got +2 action cards, may get a curser later to bury them if you've already gained an edge.

Game Reports / Re: Dear My Opponent: I am Sorry
« on: August 27, 2011, 09:08:28 pm »
*Fondly remembers the game where opponent kings courted 2 wharves then I king's court possessed him and broke out his king's court ambassador*...

Too bad he quit before the game ended :/

Dominion Articles / Re: Request: Transmute
« on: August 20, 2011, 12:18:33 pm »
Transmuting great halls and islands in province games is win.  You can also grab one when there are other potion cards around and there's no trashing, and they work great when duke is on board.

Variants and Fan Cards / Re: Inflation
« on: August 10, 2011, 03:00:17 pm »
At $5, this card is almost strictly superior to Merchant Ship (with the exception being a multiple-buy turn), which also costs $5 and gives a +$2 benefit but doesn't impede your opponents' purchases. So I think Inflation would have to be either a $6 card or only give a net $1 benefit.

I put some thought into this, and I think I'm not too worried.  The second-turn effect of Merchant Ship shouldn't be underestimated.  Without it, Merchant Ship becomes no more than a terminal silver -- strictly inferior to Chancellor, in fact, which is weak even at $3.  In fact the +$2 on the second turn is more powerful than on the first turn, as you don't have to use a card slot or spend an action to get it.

I believe the person suggesting it's strictly superior to merchant ship thinks you get $3 on *both* turns, although I don't believe that is your intent with the card, I could see it being taken that way.

Game Reports / Re: Need help with an ugly setup
« on: August 10, 2011, 02:55:17 pm »
Ugh, the Noble race?

I tend to think that Nobles are somewhat overvalued.

Nobles is worth a lot more when there are no other +2 action cards and stuff like goons and mountebank are in play.  On this specific board, with all the cursing, limited trashing and no cards other than nobles itself to increase your handsize (imagine nobles as the only +2 actions on a board with goons, chapel and scrying pool for example), the +2 actions isn't as likely to be useful as it could be on other setups, but they can still be useful, you just have to keep an eye on the terminal density of your deck.

That being said, there are too many attacking terminals to go with bishop here (or worry about nobles early) - it's too big a swing being helpful to your opponent as opposed to hurting them.  I would even probably open silver silver trying to get to mountebanks then goons before my opponent does, as the sea hag itself consumes your turn's action and doesn't provide any benefit, and with 4 or less, all you can really buy here is silver.

Other Games / Re: Bridge
« on: August 08, 2011, 06:37:07 pm »
Adventures in Card Play by Ottlik.

Ah. I have some fond memories of this book. I was obsessed with it for a while in my freshman year. I don't think I have ever played a board with those sophisticated coup that really matters. Some concepts are very interesting and useful to know though. If I try to recall out of my head, elopement and the suicidal communicating-cutting count-rectifying throw out comes to mind.

I think this book is actually not very hard to read. It is just very hard to become useful. And it is not entirely because it is hard or sophisticated. You just have lots of better things to improve if you want to get better, rather than focusing on those spectacular play. In contrast I actually find some parts of TBW magazine hard to read.

While rare, the positions do come up, but they are much easier to spot looking at a hand record with all 4 hands and a computer telling you how many tricks you can take than trying to figure it out while playing a hand.  I've pulled a couple of the simpler ones off here and there, but not frequently.  Yes, understanding them by looking at them being fully explained is not that difficult.  Retaining and translating them into effect is very difficult, and if you focus on it on the 1% or so of deals they effect, you often lose grasp of the other 99%. 

One of the disadvantages of Torturer is that its attack loses its power if the Curses run out, and that's more likely to happen if there are more cursing attacks on the board. So, that's another strike against Torturer on a multi-cursing board.

All the others except mountebank lose their attack ability when the curses run out too (mountebank loses about 60%-70 of it).  The thing about torturer is, when there's no other cursing, it often takes MUCH longer before the curses run out. (as long as there's no watchtower)  Torturer is actually usually the MOST useful of these cards once the curses are gone.  Sea hags have no value at all if there are no curses left.  Sea hags are much better cards when you can apprentice or salvage them later.

It's always board dependent, although mountebank is more annoying early and I would always try to get that first.  If KC/TR are around, mountebank becomes even more potent, as the extra coppers are not helpful.  If you're trying to empty the curse pile, you need to get one of something else unless you are reliably playing mountebank more than once per turn, otherwise it could take a while.

If familiar is the only potion card and one of witch/sea hag is available, avoid the familiar.  I see so many people going for them while I get witches and the witch just wins.  Opening 2 silvers (or a terminal $2/silver) gives you a much better chance at a witch than a potion does at a familiar as it isn't relying on 1 card, you just need $5, and the money is useful after the 3rd time through your deck, while the potion isn't.  If there's another good potion card, by all means go for the potion/familiar.  Sure they end up with more familiars than I do witches... but that's because their only other choice is silver and 2 cursers is plenty, by the time you get 3 or 4, you're lucky if you can play them once each before curses are gone.

The trashing level of a board also matters, if it's good, you may choose not to open sea hag and get witches later, if it's none, it's almost surely right to buy a sea hag with a 4/3 opener.

As has been said, torturer is nullified by the presence of another cursing card, and shouldn't be taken into consideration.  It's a beast when there's no other cursing though.

If ambassador is present, you may want to avoid the cursing all together (especially sea hag, ambassador is just better than sea hag, I also avoid sea hag if masquerade is around) depending on how ambassador heavy your opponent goes.  Personally, I prefer ambassadors to cursing cards, as they give your opponents useless cards while removing your own.  If I'm winning the ambassador race, I will often buy a cursing attack later just to add to their misery as they have too much crap to return and can't keep up.

A lot depends on what +actions are available as well.  Witch is much better when they are around, and they help support more than 1 mountebank too.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: Your Blind Spot
« on: August 03, 2011, 06:11:12 pm »
Talisman.  I tend to ignore this most of the time, and occasionally it can do sick things.

If you're refusing to buy swindler... better to refuse to play with them, because your opp will crush you with them.

Other Games / Re: Are any Dominion inspired games worth playing?
« on: August 03, 2011, 05:37:55 pm »
I wasn't a fan of puzzle strike, the bag instead of cards was awkward and silly.  Describing Ascension as always having a black market turn is a good analogy for it.  It can be fun, but it's very random. 

Nightfall gets too personal with 100% of the game being about targeted attacking, everyone can gang up on one person very easily or fail to attack one person just as easily.  There are certain groups it can work for, but many I would not recommend it with.  Targeted attacks were left out of dominion for a reason.  I've played with Vulko, what I see happen is everyone says 'He has Vulko! Everyone gang up on him for the whole game!'

Thunderstone I like except for the 'dungeon features' (traps/trophies) which are far too random, but it is a very heavy game.  You also need to be careful with the setup with the expansions, as the monsters can get incredibly powerful and the village can be such that it cannot deal with them.

Other Games / Re: Bridge
« on: August 03, 2011, 05:21:40 pm »
The skill set in poker is entirely different from those of other games after you know the percentages.  It's all about people reading and taking chances that are favored to pay off, and certainly a rank beginner can beat a seasoned pro on any given deal.  Every poker player has more than a few bad beat stories.

You cannot judge a game's complexity based purely on how frequently the best player will win.  Bridge and poker have much larger random elements than many other games, poker due to it's nature, bridge due to the fact that a lot of percentage chances work into it as well.  If you played hearts with 3 experts and 1 beginner, the beginner will never win unless intentionally allowed to, period.  With 3 beginners and 1 expert, the expert will win the vast majority of the time.  It doesn't mean the game is more complex than bridge (even though it is undoubtedly one of the toughest card games).  A grand master at chess is going to beat a beginner 100% of the time too.  Yet a computer can be programmed to play chess perfectly, while it cannot play bridge or poker perfectly if it is not cheating and looking at all the cards.

If you want to see complexity in a game, check out relay bidding systems in bridge designed to tell one partner the complete distribution and high card values of the other in order to decide what is trumps and how many tricks their side can take, then have a look at Adventures in Card Play by Ottlik.  Most bridge players could not understand a single chapter in that book - it's all about complex play of the cards, mostly squeezes, which are quite interesting and not things that tend to come up in other games, and less than 1% would be able to execute the positions talked about in it while playing.  The 'dummy' in bridge makes it possible for one player to visualize the layout of all the cards much sooner than in other games (and it only takes one person doing it to pull these things off)

The way I judge a game's complexity is if your average person played the game intently for a month, a year, 10 years etc whether or not they could become competitive at it.  I've seen many people who have played bridge for 50 years and really not have much of a clue what's going on other than the rules (which are often simple in complicated games).  I could take a lot of trick taking card games (standard deck or not), and if I (or a number of my friends) played them with any group of people I know that without including at least one other expert bridge player (so they can target each other) I (or they) would basically win every time as long as the game isn't designed to be very random (like euchre).  These games tend to have a much more finite skill set to learn than bridge does (doesn't mean people who 'get' bridge play them perfectly, but concepts that are foreign to most people are picked up on quite quickly, and they play them well enough to beat the people who don't).  They are certainly not more complex than bridge.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: You may...
« on: July 27, 2011, 12:03:19 pm »
Sometimes the "You may..." clauses are for things you pretty much always want to do.  It's nice to have the flexibility, and the wording is ever so much more polite than an outright imperative.  But for some of them I wonder if there is ever not a reason to do what you "may."

Has anybody here ever had (or can think of) a reason not to...?

(1) Return Treasury to the top of your deck when you have not bought a victory card?
(2) Return Walled Village to the top of your deck when you do not have more than two actions in play?
(3) Return Alchemist to the top of your deck when you have a Potion in play?
(4) Not reveal a Province after playing Explorer?
(5) Not discard a Curse to circumvent a Mountebank attack?  (I guess there's one reason for this:  you're ahead, and taking one more Curse or Copper will end the game.  Any other reason not to do this?)
(6) Reveal a Province after playing Tournament?  (There's a thread in the Puzzles forum about why you might not want to reveal a Province to someone else's Tournament.)
(7) Choose a location for Stash on the reshuffle?

1,2,3 - your opponent is going to play masquerade and you don't want to return too many cards to the top of your deck as you would then have to pass him one.

4 - You have a horn of plenty as well and need the silver, or using fairgrounds and want the silver.

5 - No curses left in play and you can trash the curse you have in hand, or you want to run out the curses.

6 - If it's your own tournament, you may not want a duchy on top of your deck at that time, along with the puzzle answers on others tournaments.

7 - I can see it being irrelevant if you have only 1, but after that, the only reason I can see is it saves time not to.

Dominion Articles / Re: Vineyard
« on: July 17, 2011, 06:56:08 pm »
University and ironworks are pretty sick with vineyard.  Especially when cards like pawn, pearl diver, villages are around.  Throw in some draw power and it gets disgusting pretty quickly.

Embargo can work in your favor when you can acquire cards using other cards as opposed to buying, but if you are clearly going for vineyards and none of those are available, your opp can probably hinder you significantly with them.

Rules Questions / Re: Throne room/king's court
« on: July 17, 2011, 06:07:34 pm »
Throne room is 1-2-3-4-5 actions (all played twice) for each throne room in the chain. 

King's court is 1-3-5-7-9 actions (all played thrice) for each KC in the chain, so each after the first adds 2 plays of the KC itself, which is why the card is so insanely powerful.

Rules Questions / Re: Potion costs
« on: July 17, 2011, 06:04:20 pm »
I for one wish Salvagers could handle potion costs. "Trash a card from your hand. +$ and ◉ equal to its cost." You could use it or lose it in your buy, and it won't fundamentally change the card. I think if Alchemy were released before Seaside, we would've seen this happen.

Bishop came out after and doesn't give +1 vp for the potion, which it would if it kept in line with apprentice.

Donald X. had plans for the potions well before seaside was released as well.

At the $2 level, I'd say hamlet fits in around 4th on the good list.

At the $3 level, Menagerie is a crazy good card, probably moves into about 3rd.

The good $4's would need a massive re-analyzing, as all of the ones in cornucopia are quite powerful, I don't think they would replace sea hag at #1 though, but all except farming village (which is still a really good card) would be contenders for the other spots.

Jester would probably not affect the $5 attack list, nor make it to the worst $5's.

Hunting party would be #2 on the $5 non-attacks.  Horn of plenty is interesting, and I would make it an additional honorable mention on the good list, because it is just so good when it is good, and adds a different dimension to the game, which is good.

Puzzles and Challenges / Re: A fatal action puzzle
« on: July 16, 2011, 06:45:34 pm »
It's not really an action card, but I believe horn of plenty could screw you over this way if there were no coppers left as well as the others.

Variants and Fan Cards / Re: Reducing the luck factor?
« on: July 16, 2011, 06:43:17 pm »
I can't help but add that in games between equally skilled opponents, the winner is determined by luck 100% of the time. So, the smaller the skill gap between you and your opponent, the more luck-based it gets.

100% is only true of a computer playing a computer with the same algorithm.  Equally good players do NOT always make the same choices, and it is not always clear what the best play is, nor the best strategy.  What your opponent does can even change what is your best play.  If the players are average or worse (but still similar capabilities), whoever makes more mistakes that particular game will probably lose.

Variants and Fan Cards / Re: Reducing the luck factor?
« on: July 16, 2011, 01:59:03 pm »
Have you ever seen both go double ambassador, had your opp return 2 coppers and 3 estates by the end of his turn 5 then drawn both yours on your turn 5? That one's fun.

The only way to overcome early draw luck (if it's attack or chapel based, you're screwed unless maybe if gardens and workshop or ironworks are around) is to do something entirely different from your opponent and hope it pans out.  If you're lucky, they will misplay and not take the best strategy.  If they do, do something else and pray.  If the board is clearly only one strategy possible.... good luck. 

It's very frustrating, but there's nothing to be done about shuffle luck.  First turn advantage can be negated to some degree with equal turns, but it's even then still and advantage.  Equal starting hands helps, and is even an option on isotropic.  Taking out the high random variance cards (swindler, saboteur, tournament, black market, minion) can help too.

You usually will notice if an opponent is having bad or good luck from turns 3-5 (at least I do), but after that it would take more effort than most would want to give for a game to try to follow his deck and figure out if his terminals are colliding.

If there are really useful 2's, 3's and 4's you almost surely want to trash the estates so you get some of those useful cards and still have your turn's buy power.  Like.. hamlet, fishing village, smithy being around, or pawns and peddlers.

If just going for silvers, depends on the board. If trying to put together an action engine, probably best to trash the coppers. If the board is crap, it's a province game and just going for $$, get rid of the estates and get the silvers.

Variants and Fan Cards / Re: Post an interesting set of 10
« on: July 14, 2011, 06:35:18 pm »
It's important not to run piles out with boards like that.  The goons supply points as your going, so if you stay ahead, your opp can't by buying out piles unless they get the monster turn in front of you.  Certainly these games can end in odd ways, but Generally you can spot when it's in range and get at least a large turn together, if not a monster one.

If you're really desperate for 2 more cards, because you think that will save your turn, you could play shanty town, horse traders, throwing 2 KC, shanty town.  I would only do that If I was swimming in scrying pools or labs or something.  Otherwise, what you did was all you could do.

Variants and Fan Cards / Re: Really bad card ideas
« on: July 12, 2011, 12:16:51 am »
Deal with the Devil - $0*
Action - Prize
Play a card from your hand as many times as you wish. Each time you play it, -1VP.

Goons vps dont stack when throned, KCed or equivalent, but monument would break even while giving infinite money and bishop would be pretty solid.
This + Goons = LOL

Other Games / Re: What other games are as good as Dominion?
« on: July 12, 2011, 12:14:05 am »
I'm surprised nobody's mentioned Race for the Galaxy yet, that's the game I see compared to Dominion most often. You know, on the Internet and stuff. It's got a similar style of indirect interaction and "powering up" as Dominion, and it's even got some of the same people on its staff.

If his friends are getting dominated at dominion, I don't think race for the galaxy is a good idea...

Puzzles and Challenges / Re: Easy trivia question
« on: July 12, 2011, 12:07:35 am »
But then, you could ask while Possessing someone the very FIRST time you played Mining Village "Did you trash that?", find that the card isn't in the trash, and wonder what the answer is. Even though we know MV does allow you to get +$2 once even with Possession. At which point my head hurts. Reading over this BGG thread again is giving me horrible flashbacks. I kinda wish I hadn't been reminded of it :o

When you are possessing someone, the cards that get trashed get do get trashed for all intents and purposes for that turn and that turn only, they just effectively leave the trash when the turn is over, so they work the same way as if it wasn't a possession turn.

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