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Topics - nate_w

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Dominion Articles / End Game Strategy: A case study
« on: January 25, 2016, 09:15:28 am »
Hi, all.  This is my first submission to the forums.  I wasn't sure whether this belonged more in articles or game reports, but articles felt right.  If you can help me with how to format this better, I would appreciate it.  Content suggestions are, of course, also welcome.  I can very easily go into more depth about each of these 3 topics if that is what you guys think I should do.  Was trying to keep it short.

I played a set last night in which, through a mixture of opponent's good play, my poor play, and the will of the shuffle gods, I found myself in completely losing positions. In all three cases, my opponent (a pretty decent player) botched the end game and lost.  I felt like a lot of people could use a little more time dedicated to closing out games. Without further ado:

End game issues: a case study.

Game 1: Noticing forced wins.

On opponent's turn 13, opponent produces $20 with plenty of buys to three pile the 4 remaining Foragers and buy another Province, giving him a solid win. Instead he buys a Province and 2 Gold. The next turn I pile out the remaining Feoda to steal the win.

The moral: win when you can. The next turn the game may be over having slipped from your grasp. 

Always, and especially when piles are getting low, look for ways to empty 3 piles if you can end up with more points than your opponent.  Things you should consider: How many gains you will need to make this happen; how much money you will need to make this happen; special cards that can make piles empty super fast (stone mason comes to mind).

Game 2: Not allowing your opponent to pile out and steal a win.

Opponent's Turn 16:  I'm feeling totally lost. Opponent has built a strong lead, crucially winning the lab split 6-4. He pauses for a while thinking about what to do with his $13.  I think to myself: "Please lower piles. Please lower piles!"  He lowers piles. I empty 3 piles and buy an estate to steal the win.

The moral: don't let games you have won slip away. Just like you should be looking for forced wins, you also need to look for what could go wrong that could allow your opponent to force a win.

When you are ahead, it is important to think about what the WORST thing that could happen on your opponent's turn.

Does buying a province allow them to MAYBE double province for the win? Maybe consider buying two duchies instead.  If you buy 2 more grand markets are they going to POSSIBLY be able to pile out and steal a win?

This is an especially important consideration when you are ahead, but he converse is also important when behind. When you are behind you might be thinking: how can I steal a win? What happens if they have a dud hand? What can I do to end the game with a win if everything goes right for me?

Game 3: You must be able to end the game somehow.

I open with the idea of going Duchy/Duke; opponent opens by thinning down.  Somehow, I lose the Duchy split 5/3.  I switch gears and start rebuilding while acquiring points via Nobles. Opponent continues to trash and buy dukes and ends up stalling out hard.  He resigns.

The moral: it doesn't matter how big a lead you get; if you can't end the game in some way and opponent can catch up, then you are setting yourself up for a loss.

I'm not convinced he was lost here. I think he could build a little and hope noble brigands miss and try to three pile on Border Village/Duchy/Duke.  But the point stands. Getting a lead only does so much if the opponent can attack you (or you stall yourself out) while continuing to gain points themselves. This is one of the strengths of an engine.

Other examples where this can happen: you go for a money strategy and build a big lead only to be decimated by Pirate Ship, Thief, Saboteur, etc played multiple times by an engine player.  You start building and get completely buried by an Ambassador player and find yourself unable to get to 4 or 5 Provinces.  You get 5 provinces against a weak Goons engine, but stall out without their help buying Provinces as they accumulate pints.

In summation: you can outplay your opponent for most of the game, but if you misplay the end game, you will lose a lot of games you shouldn't.  Be diligent in looking for 3 pile forced wins, be wary of your opponent 3-pile stealing a win from under your nose, and make sure you have a plan to end the game. Then, when you outplay me the rest of the game, you get to go home with a W instead of an L.

Dominion League / Handling disconnects
« on: April 19, 2015, 03:55:14 pm »
Hey, guys.  Like SwitchedFromStarcraft, not particularly interested into getting into the result of the game, more in participating in how the community deals with issues.  I'm a proponent of community driven suggestions, with final decisions made by organizers trying in good faith to reflect the will of the community.
I'd like to offer up a specific suggestion going forward that addresses disconnects:
If the person who is ahead disconnects and there is a >0 chance of the other player winning, there should be a rematch.  Players should try to agree about the situation (and if they do, player decisions are not reviewed, but if players cannot agree that there was a >0 chance of comeback, replay for now, with Stef , Adam, and Andrew (or whoever) looking at the log later to see if the person behind had a chance.

After turn 5 or so, if the person who is behind disconnects, replay if it is closer to 50% chance of comeback, forfeit if closer to 0% chance, as agreed upon by the players.  If both players cannot agree, replay for now, with Stef  et al looking at the log later to decide if it reached the 25% threshold, with a forfeit being easy to change to later. 

My reasoning is that, yes it sucks to rob the person who disconnected a chance to come back and win, but it also sucks to rob the person who was ahead of their advantage.  And while neither party is usually REALLY to blame for a disconnect, it feels especially injurious to rob the person who was ahead when the other player disconnected.

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