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My opponent melds Vaccination with a safe Leaf lead while I have 10 1's and 6 2's scored.  I use Coal and score enough to get my 5th achievement but I'm not sure how I'm going to get a 6th.  Miraculously, I claim Empire when the 2nd compensation meld off Vaccination gives me a 3rd clock.

Innovation Game Reports / Fermenting + Reformation (-> Bicycle)
« on: March 11, 2013, 10:58:17 pm »

I've done this twice now over 20 or so games played.  I'm no expert so I'm not going to bother saying much, but it seems ludicrous when your opponent has no way to break it up; in that game my opponent had Gunpowder to potentially nuke my Fermenting, but never had enough factory icons to use it.  Drawing 7 cards with one action is sorta good.  I'm wondering if the Castle icon on Fermenting is solely for game-play balance reasons, allowing more answers to it (and being a totally useless icon when Fermenting is best); thematically I'd think Crown (or a 3rd Leaf, which probably would be way too good) would make more sense.

Goko Dominion Online / Reconnecting?
« on: March 03, 2013, 12:32:16 pm »
I was ready to shell out for all the sets when I read there was a reconnect feature, but I was skeptical and wanted to make sure it actually existed first. 

I played a multiplayer game against myself logged into another account on a different browser (although on the same computer), and used Task Manager to shut down one of the browsers.  I made a play in the active browser (Firefox), then started the other browser (Chrome) back up and restored the webpage I was at, but I was no longer logged in to Goko in Chrome.  Logging in to the same account on Chrome failed to put me back into the game.  I could go into the lobby on Chrome and see the game I was in still continuing on the server.  Firefox still showed the game running just fine as well.  I tried clicking in all sorts of places in the lobby's display of the game, but could not get Chrome to get back into the game it had been playing with Firefox.

If I'm logged into an account that I can see Goko saying is actively playing a game, and can see that that game is still being played on the other end, and there supposedly is a reconnect feature, how come I couldn't reconnect?

I've also tried other things involving unplugging my internet connection, and in all cases I have found myself unable to reconnect.  Much of the time I even am forced to log back into Goko even though when I close my browser normally I don't have to.

Goko Dominion Online / Critiques from a non-beta user
« on: September 25, 2012, 11:22:23 pm »
I didn't get into the beta, but have spent much of my free time since the stealth launch messing around on Goko.  I have three very important concerns, and a few things that I don't really care about but would like to see improved.

Reconnecting: You need to be able to reconnect to games you lost your connection to.  This is absolutely required for me to spend any money on this product.

Multiplayer Lobby: A complete mess.  It would be nice if there were a system like League of Legends where you input your game preferences, and then sit back and wait for a game to be offered; it would first look for people of your level and then slowly expand its search.  But that's likely a pipe-dream with the way it's set-up with a host providing cards they have purchased, so I'll settle for things a bit more reasonable: the ratings of the players in a game and the leaderboard status of the game should be available at a glance.  If I want to play a pro leaderboard game, I want to play against someone else who wants such a game, not just a random guy who sees an open game.  Likewise, I'd like to be able to easily join a game against a player of similar skill level.  I suppose this information is sorta already available, and given the low traffic isn't a big issue yet, but if the place ever gets really busy it'll be quite useful to not have to click on everyone's avatar, which in a rapidly moving lobby might easily miss.  In such a world I also see the ability for the software to filter open games based on criteria.  Stuff like this will make it far more likely I will purchase products Goko offers.  Also, information about how long a game has been sitting around unattended probably should be available so we don't sit around 5 minutes waiting for someone to start the game before deciding they're afk or tabbed out. And the eye icon does nothing (maybe it's actually goggles).

Content: I plan on getting everything if the product is good, but will make every excuse I can to not do so if there's part of some expansion(s) missing.  Only 1/3 of Dark Ages at launch is a travesty, and I refuse to buy anything until all of DA is released.  I'd also love to see Hinterlands, etc, and certainly every set that gets released will increase the likelihood I buy anything at all.


Zaps: Adventure games require way too many of them at higher levels and are trivialized by just a few more, but what's really "worse" is that they are too cheap.   You can play games fast against the bots for 2 zaps per game overall, and there's nothing besides more campaigns and zaps to spend Dominion coins on.  I also note that if you really want to grind and not worry about losing you can even play against Serf Bot every time by investing a few more seconds in the multiplayer lobby.  I like the idea of having a campaign mode with scaling difficulty, but each zap should mean more than it does now to make you really think about if you need another or not.

Bots: There need to be some mid-level bots.  Maybe some of the bots are weaker than others in non-Base games, but in general Base games are simple enough and the majority of bots competent enough that they will slaughter most beginners and casual players.  Since you're giving Base away for free, you really need to make sure the players enjoy it, not get annoyed by a simple bot continuously beating them.

Rotating Free Content: Make one purchasable section of an expansion freely available each week on a rotating basis.  League of Legends works on effectively the same pricing model and has a lot of success offering opportunities for everyone to experience all the content on a rotating limited time basis.  People not familiar with the game will become much more interested in cards if they get a chance to see what they can really do for them.  Plus, Base is not particularly representative of part what makes Dominion as great as it is: all the neat little synergies that are out there spread between sets.  And tying this to the above, I'm guessing that the bots aren't quite so good at non-Base, giving newer players a better chance.

Store: Needs to be organized, with each category visible from the start page.  That is, there should be links to sub-pages for expansions, campaigns, coins, promos, and whatever else there is, instead of needing to click through a scrolling window that gives you no hint of what's on the next page.  Putting all the zap offers, for example, in the same place would make far more sense than the current system.  I find it appalling that anyone thought it was a good idea to only show such a small section of the store at the same time.

Dominion: Dark Ages Previews / Mercenary
« on: August 19, 2012, 12:16:32 pm »
This card really boggled me at first.  I have to chain two attacks together to get a card that's nearly the same as Militia except I trash two cards and draw two more to replace it?  Seems a bit better than Militia to start, but then you run out of things to trash and/or you have too many actions and the terminal card draw isn't very effective.  Combined with being unable to actually get one early on, it seemed like it was completely useless until I realized the circumstance in which you're likely to have more stuff worth trashing and have a decent shot of chaining two attack: a cheap junking attack.

With Urchin + Amabassador/Young Witch/Sea Hag, you have a decent chance of connecting them Turns 3 or 4, and buying more Urchins instead of Silver will give you more speed through your deck to find your attack and give you better odds later on.  At some point you'll probably manage to land a Mercenary and have a card that does all sorts of good things: trashing junk, providing money, and continuing to push your through your deck to find you attack.  Unfortunately, there's the possibility of drawing your other attack dead, but being able to trash 2 cards while getting $2 will still be pretty nice.  The attack portion of Mercenary almost become irrelevant with all the junk that might be floating around, although it makes it much harder to play one of the cheap junking attacks and still have enough money to buy anything.

Combining Urchin with a $5 junking attack seems much more of a stretch; if you're opening Urchins instead of silver it's going to be hard to hit $5 turns 3 and 4.  As your deck gets filled with more junk, connecting the $5 attack with Urchins you buy later will be a bit harder and it'll be even longer before you manage a Mercenary.  In the meantime your Urchins are much weaker economically than Silvers, and the attack is almost irrelevant against a junked-up deck; while you're going through your deck a bit faster, being able to hit $5 in order to buy more attacks seems like a better way of playing the attack more often.

Another attack Urchin might be interesting with is Minion, with the latter really liking good trashing and money from actions.  Unfortunately, everything else seems pretty weak: You're going to need to buy a Silver or two in order to afford your first couple Minions, so you'll have to pick up Urchins later, probably with some sort of +buy after hitting $6 or an early $8, adding another you need to buy.  Without villages you'll have to draw the Mercenary at exactly the right time and you risk drawing Minions dead, so that's yet another card you need to buy (if one's even available).  And perhaps most damning, playing Urchin beforehand nullifies the effect of Minion's attack portion.

Of course, I could be totally off with my predictions, but taking a broad view Urchin/Mercenary looks to be quite narrow in applicability.  It's possible that it's decent just stacking Urchins, but you probably need a very good reason to do that.  Taking a more narrow view, it does appear to work better combined with the rest of Dark Ages.  You'll want more trashing than in previous editions, and the discard attacks might also be considerably better as other people will sometimes rather hold on to their junk so they can trash it.  This is the "discard your junk" attack of the set (Pillage being a much different kind of discard attack) so it likely needed to be tweaked from Militia, incorporating on-theme trashing as part of the attack.

Dominion Isotropic / Game disconnects me during a long turn.
« on: June 11, 2012, 10:40:53 pm »

This is what my live game log looks like:

You play a Golem.
... (You reshuffle.)
... You reveal a Cellar, a Silver, a Copper, a Province, a Copper, an Estate, a Copper, a Province, a Potion, a Copper, a Copper, and a Copper.
... You discard the 6 Coppers, the 2 Provinces, the Potion, the Silver, and the Estate.
... You play the Cellar first.
... ... You get +1 action.
... ... You discard a Province, a Golem, and an Estate.
... ... (You reshuffle.)
... ... You draw 2 Coppers and an Estate.
... You have no other action card to play.
You timed out!
You resign from the game (client disconnected or unresponsive).

Game Over

The game is over! (All but one player has resigned.)
oober has 27 points (3 Provinces, 5 ▼, and 4 Estates) and took 14 turns. Eye Urn resigned.
oober wins!

I most certainly didn't time out - I had *just* made a decision.  My turn was taking a bit, but I wasn't taking a particularly long time to make any one decision.  I wonder if during my thinking about the Cellar my ISP decided I didn't need to use the connection any more and dropped it (as it is prone to doing; such policy makes some online games unplayable), but I've played long turns with thinking in the past and haven't had a problem with the game suddenly deciding I resigned.  Reconnected, maybe, but certainly not timed out like that.

Puzzles and Challenges / Emptying a pile as fast as possible.
« on: March 06, 2012, 11:08:57 pm »
As I posted in game reports, I played a 2-player game in which both players opened Hamlet/Talisman and then both drew them together turn 3 and emptied the Hamlet pile.  Is there any other way of emptying a pile on Turn 3 of a 2-player game?  What other ways exist in games with various numbers of players to empty piles as fast as possible?

Game Reports / Hamlets gone on Turn 3.
« on: March 06, 2012, 11:05:41 pm »
Didn't save the log, but the game featured Gardens, Talisman, Thief and Hamlet as relevant cards.  We both open Hamlet/Talisman, then both draw both Turn 3 to each buy 2 Hamlets, gaining 2 each off of Talisman, thus emptying the pile as fast as I imagine it to be possible.  An interesting question is whether there are any other ways to do it, because this method looks to be restricted to something that costs $2 that can give an extra buy.

We ended up "sharing victory" even though I ended up winning the Gardens split 5/3, primarily since he bought a second Talisman before going for Gardens.   I probably erred in trying to end the game as soon as possible, but he managed to get a Thief buy duplicated with Talisman and already had gotten multiple Silvers duplicated so I felt he had a better late game even though I held the Gardens advantage.  One of the last couple turns, with 2 Estates left, I draw (Hamlet, Hamlet, Hamlet, Copper, Copper), then draw a Copper off the first Hamlet.  At this point I can either discard a Copper for an extra Copper buy or hold on to all 3 Copper and hope to draw one more coin in my next two cards so that I can buy both Estates.  I decide for the latter and fail to do so, and am rather unhappy to see that at the end of the game I have 39 cards in my deck.  It seemed like an incredible long-shot to go for the extra cards to prop up Gardens versus ending the game before my opponent could get more Duchies, but I suppose I was actually going to get 2 more cards if I went for the extra buy route (Estate and 3 Coppers vs. 2 Estates) and so with 5 Gardens would be getting the equivalent of 1 point.  I suppose I could have been counting cards from the beginning, but that's work.

Game Reports / A tale of Bishops, Border Villages, and 30 turns
« on: February 27, 2012, 08:32:49 pm »
(Playing as No Whammies; I like to alternate Google and Yahoo accounts to see just how good TrueSkill is at rating people but can only list one name in my profile)

Bishop, Border Village, Colony, Contraband, Counting House, Courtyard, Cutpurse, Harem, Hoard, Jack of All Trades, Platinum, and Swindler

I decide to go for a Bishop-heavy strategy, aiming for Border Village into Bishop in order to play multiple Bishops in one turn and near the end of the game get even more points for them.  My opponent goes pretty straight up Courtyard-Big Money and ignores Jack.  For some reason I think that I can 3-pile pretty quickly with Border Village, Bishop, and a card to be determined later, but that plan is an utter failure as he has pretty much caught up in green cards to my Bishop VP by turn 17 with his second Colony.  I'm pretty sure I'm pretty screwed over until I realize that I've done such a poor job in trying to end the game, that my opponent going to have a hard time ending it himself.  So I buckle down and keep cranking out VP as much as I can as his deck climbs in points from green cards and inevitably stalls out.  I don't even bother trying to count as I think I'm way behind, but I keep trying to keep the game going as long as possible as my opponent makes weaker and weaker green card buys.  I eventually realize I'm probably in decent shape and pick up a few Provinces and Colonies to come back for a 11 point win.

I'm sure there are lots of things we could have done differently, but I found it quite interesting that while my initial plan was pretty suspect, the extreme terribleness of it allowed me to back-door into a different strategy that actually worked!

Dominion General Discussion / "Duchy" does not have a 't' in it.
« on: August 24, 2011, 10:07:17 am »
I'm not going to call out anyone in particular, because I've seen it multiple times here.  Maybe they're all the same person, maybe not, I wasn't paying attention that much, but it's gotten to the point that it is trying my patience to not respond to each individually.

"Duchy" is what is ruled by a Duke.  "Dutchy", if it is a word at all, would mean something like "similar to something from the Netherlands".  The two words are entirely unconnected other than the fact most people will pronounce them exactly the same.

If I spelled something wrong myself, please feel free to correct it.

Puzzles and Challenges / Minimizing Complexity
« on: August 08, 2011, 01:30:29 am »
Apologies if this topic has been approached before.

I hereby define the Complexity of a puzzle solution:

Complexity = unique named Kingdom cards gained * Total cards gained * re-Shuffles needed.  (Or C = K * T * S.)

Feel free to comment on my choice of variables and the method in which they are composed; it was sorta thrown together with the constraint that it use variables related to length of game, size of deck, and number of piles needed to be specified.

What is the absolute minimum complexity value for a finished (piles or 8 Province) solitaire game?  Don't think too hard about it. 
How many turns does it take?  I get 16, which I have very good reason to believe is the minimum but still need to determine if my method is sufficiently rigorous. 

What about the minimum non-zero complexity?  I haven't started real work on yet, but it's my intention to do so as I get time to.

I offer this definition mainly as a way of suggesting a way of judging whether a certain answer for the various puzzles in this forum is in some way simpler than another.  If you can state what the complexity of your given solution is at the outset, you can give people something to shoot for (assuming you don't continually move the goal posts so that your solution is the only one that works).  The puzzles/questions are merely there as interesting things to discuss.

Dominion General Discussion / Reasons to ignore Chapel?
« on: July 21, 2011, 11:03:30 am »
Obviously if you want to play Gardens you're not going to be getting a Chapel.  But in the thread on "must-buys" some people have stated that Chapel isn't nearly as a must-buy as many people believe, and that they often looking for alternative strategies on Chapel boards.  In what sort of occasions will this occur?  I have played one Chapel game where neither player went for them:  This game was somewhat fast, ending in 15 turns, and features Envoy openers from both of us.  However, many games with Chapel have ended just as fast; one game ended in 13 turns after both sides used Chapel.  I'm willing to think that we were both liked the acceleration of Envoys over the cleaning power of Chapel, and thought that they did not work very well together due to the very high chance of them colliding.  However, I have 2 other games with Chapel and Envoy of which I won both and played Chapel and not Envoy, so am thinking that it's perhaps not a good reason to ignore Chapel.

I am no losses on record in which I bought Chapel and my opponent did not.  I have 3 such wins, one of which was against WW:  In that game he went with almost a straight Bishop strategy, and so my Chapel had much less work to do; it was trashed to a Bishop on turn 8 after effectively trashing 5 of my opening cards (it actually trashed 6, but I could have trashed one of those to a Bishop).  I finished trashing my starting cards to WW's Bishops turn 10 while he still had 4 Coppers and an Estate.  I had been hitting him more often with Witch, and used Quarry to quickly pile up Grand Markets before buying 2 Provinces per turn on turns 15-18.  So while I understand how going Bishop-heavy precludes Chapel and that my opponent was helping me trash, I still cleared a lot of junk out of my deck and had an easy way of getting rid of the Chapel.

Anyone have some good situations and sample games showing how Chapel can sometimes be ignored?

Game Reports / Playing Ghost Ship on 15/20 turns after opening
« on: July 12, 2011, 04:16:08 pm »

1. buy Ghost Ship
2. buy Haven
3. buy Loan
4. play Ghost Ship, buy Loan
5. Loan trashes Copper, buy Mining Village
6. play Ghost Ship, Loan trashes Copper, buy Haven
7. buy Worker's Village
8. play Ghost ship, Loan trashes Copper, buy Mining Village
9. Loan trashes Copper, self-trash Mining Village, buy Ghost Ship
10. play Ghost Ship, Loan trashes Copper, buy Haven
11. play Ghost Ship, buy Quarry (which gets played every subsequent turn)
12. play Ghost Ship, Loans trash last 2 Copper, buy Council Room
13. Loan trashes 2nd Loan, buy Mining Village
14. play Ghost Ship, buy Worker's Village & Haven (self-trashed Mining Village and bought another)
15. play Ghost Ship, self-trash 2 Mining Villages, buy Gold
16. play Ghost Ship, buy Silver & Worker's Village
17. play Ghost Ship, buy Gold
18. play Ghost Ship, buy Gold & Mining Village
19. play Ghost Ship, buy Platinum, Mining Village, Worker's Village & Haven
20. play Ghost Ship, buy Colony & Council Room
21. play Ghost Ship, buy Colony, Mining Village & Haven, emptying latter 2 piles.
22. play Ghost Ship, self-trash Mining Villages, buy Colony, Duchy & 3 Worker's Villages, emptying 3rd pile.

What you can't see from the logs is exactly how I used Havens to move cards between hands, so all I can say from memory is that almost every turn I was using Haven on a Ghost Ship and a Village to keep my draws smoothed.

I don't know if this strategy would have been fast enough had my opponent been playing optimally (he went for Philo stones and Ironworks in the first half-dozen turns), but for the latter half of the game he was starting on 3 cards every turn without the ability to discard any dead cards.  He apparently spent much of the game putting his own Ghost Ships back on top of his deck.  He didn't acquire any Villages until turn 15, just after he reshuffled, and didn't manage to reshuffle again until turn 21 and thus never drew one.  I suppose on turn 14 he didn't think he'd be getting Ghost Shipped every turn until the end of the game.  He noted that it wasn't very fun for him, and I agree.  It was the nastiest thing I have ever done in any game probably, and I'm very sorry that he had to endure it.

Dominion General Discussion / Pearl Diver
« on: July 08, 2011, 11:28:42 am »
Why the hate for the Pearl Diver?

I know it's a somewhat weak card, but it replaces itself in both card and action when played.  The only time that it takes up any room in your deck is when you have a terminal card-drawer that can't skip over it.  This includes Witch, Ghost Ship, Torturer, Wharf, Smithy, potentially Nobles, and probably some others.  It certainly will suck when you draw a Pearl Diver instead of a treasure when you play one of those as your final action, and certainly in such a case I can see ignoring it even if you have $2 to spend as the times it will be useful are relatively minor compared to times it will be dead. 

However, its effect is probably a bit stronger than some people realize.  I'm of the opinion that a single Pearl Diver improves your draws even when you don't move a card with it.  Quantum mechanics-inclined thinkers may look at it as collapsing the probability function of your deck into one that is slightly more advantageous for you.  Alternatively, with a single copy and a random deck it is nearly equivalent to "Look at a the top card of your deck.  You may move it to bottom of your deck."  Once you play it a second time during a shuffle without having moved the bottom card it becomes worse, and with Sea Hag, Ghost Ship, and Courtyard (and I guess Stash in theory) it isn't actually equivalent, but the only reason you'd be loading up on Pearl Divers would be for something like a cheap buy for Goons that helps you find other Goons, helping a Conspirator chain kick off, or loading up your Scrying Pool-based deck with more actions - all of which Pearl Diver fit very nicely in.  It also can do more than improve the quality of your future turns: if you have other card-drawing in hand, it will provide some useful information in planning your turn if you have some choices to make.  At very least, a single Pearl Diver bought with a 2 copper/3 estate hand may end up providing some help and rarely get in the way.  Multiples may provide a lesser effect, but if there's no terminal card drawing there's no drawback at all. 

Ok, the card is not great, I understand that.  Perhaps it's a newbie-bait card that people end up buying too many of when they should be buying other things, or have them stuck in hand after playing a terminal card-drawer.  But those are mistakes that could be made with pretty much any action.  Why is Pearl Diver specifically hated on to the extent that it is?

Dominion General Discussion / Scrying Pool + discarding for cash
« on: July 07, 2011, 11:03:44 am »
Yes, the basic combo is pretty obvious, but I did much more than just discard a hand full of actions for cash: I discarded *only* actions and redrew all of them again with Scrying Pool!  This might not come up too often, but there's nothing unique except the Scrying Pool. 

Absolutely needed cards:
Scrying Pool
Secret Chamber or Vault
Some Village effect

Possible without in theory, but likely needed in practice:
Warehouse or Cellar
Some trashing

Some +Buy, as you will get scads of cash. Hopefully not a terminal unless there are lots of card-drawing villages around.
Other drawing effects as needed

Trash your deck down to mostly actions and attempt to draw your entire deck using as few cards as possible.  You'll probably end up with some non-action rejects from Scrying Pool in your discard pile; use Warehouse or Cellar to draw these rejects, discarding only action cards.  If you're using Vault, you can leave two blanks in your deck before playing it.  Then play Secret Chamber or Vault, discarding the rest of your action cards except for a Scrying Pool.  Then play Scrying Pool, drawing up all those actions you've discarded, as you'll reshuffle having only actions in your discard.  Repeat for however many sets of Village/discard for money/Scrying Pool you have left.  And of course on the last iteration, discard the rest of the crap in your hand for even more cash.

I managed to get this engine working on a board with only Salvager for trashing.  I messed up twice and could have had turns twice as big as I did if I just paid attention to what I was doing.  Once, I discarded the Scrying Pool I was supposed to play, stranding all my actions in the discard.  Another time I didn't draw the last card of my deck before Scrying (and I could have by playing Worker's Village), thinking that I'd pass by it with Scrying Pool and it would be out of the way to draw the rest of the deck; what actually happened was the green card got reshuffled with the actions and came back on top, again stranding all my actions.  Since the board had Vineyards, I was able to use my potions to snatch up enough VP without the monster amount of money I had expected to get and still won easily, but if I had to compete for provinces those would have been fatal errors.

Most attacks will mess with it, although as is typical the more trashing there is the more resilient you will be; if you can trash all your non-actions besides a potion (or two?) you can shrug off hand-size reduction as long as you have a Scrying Pool.  I don't know how viable of a strategy it is compared to the other options, but when I discovered what exactly I could do that game with cards that already worked well together, it was almost like reaching enlightenment.

My ISP works very well with continuously-on connections, but has a nasty habit of closing connections that don't get used.  If my opponent thinks too long I might get my connection closed and I have absolutely no way to tell besides waiting.  I don't want to wait any longer than I need to, both for my own sake and for my opponent's sake if I actually am disconnected, so I often refresh the page or switch between images and text to see if the game is really waiting on my opponent or whether I've been disconnected.  I was just in a colony game with lots of +2 action cards that ended up going a bit long; we both had some long action chains going.  After a bit I got "5 reconnects remaining".  Not knowing what would happen if I ended up using all of them, I just continued doing what I was used to doing, trying to play the game at a reasonable pace.  I "used up" all the reconnects and ended up being booted and told to "stop abusing the server".  Well, I'm willing to do that, as soon as I can have a way of knowing whether I'm still connected when the game stalls for a few seconds; I don't want both of us sitting there waiting for each other. 

Any suggestions?

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