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General Discussion / dondon plays Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade
« on: November 15, 2014, 10:45:34 pm »
Hi, I know there's like, 3 other Fire Emblem players on f.DS, but I wanted to share this (especially after engaging in a discussion with pacovf in the "video games you can't beat" thread). Beware: the game is in Japanese, and if you've never played any of the games in the Fire Emblem franchise before, you'll probably have a tough time following along even with the audio commentary.

Playthrough thread:

YouTube playlist:

Playthrough introduction:

Innovation General Discussion / Paragraph line breaks for Figures cards?
« on: August 01, 2013, 03:21:42 pm »
So I haven't played with the expansion at all, but I read somewhere that a lot of cards in the list at are missing paragraph line breaks separating karmas. If this is true, could this be fixed?

It would be quite flavorful if these three cards actually made a good combo.

For example, if you have at least 20 points and a top card of Age 4 or higher, but the Age 3 achievement is still available. How often do you achieve Age 4 before Age 3 (necessarily on different turns)?

I did this once a few days ago when I had exactly 20 points and a top card of Age 6. I had one more action remaining in my turn and needed 2 achievements to win, and an opponent had The Pirate Code as a top card waiting to take away a couple of [1]s in my score pile. Neither of my opponents were in a position to achieve Age 3 after a single action.

Innovation Game Reports / Dogma Software, emptying the Age 10 pile
« on: May 17, 2013, 02:04:42 pm »
This was in an IRL game against two friends, so there's no log to accompany this :(

I was 2 points behind the opponent leading in score, with all ages empty except for a single card in Age 9 and all cards in Age 10 still available. I had Corporations and Chemistry as two of my top cards and a factory icon lead. All I had to do was to dogma Corporations as my first action, successfully demanding one of my opponents (the other had no top cards with factories), and use Chemistry as my second action to try to draw an Age 11 card and win.

Except I meld Software over Chemistry. Damn it.

Since I couldn't lose by Bioengineering, Globalization, or Self Service, I might as well dogma Software to get more points.

Draw and score a 10, draw and meld a 10, draw and meld Self Service. Execute Self Service. Execute Software.
Draw and score a 10, draw and meld a 10, draw and meld The Internet. Execute The Internet.
Draw and score a 10, draw and meld two 10, attempt to draw and meld a card above 10. I win by score!

Good laughs were had all around.

Dominion Articles / Develop
« on: April 27, 2013, 02:29:53 am »
I had a half-finished draft of this written and got stalled for awhile, and I finally got around to finishing this. Hopefully it's not terrible.


A quick perusal of Qvist's Dominion card rankings will reveal the community's general consensus that Develop among the worst $3 cards in the game. It is not immediately obvious why this is the case, as Develop is an exotic trash-for-benefit card that typically gains two cards at the cost of one and topdecks both for their immediate use, either for the current or the subsequent turn. Less expert players will either blindly follow this consensus and ignore Develop where it is situationally useful or misjudge its power and use Develop in the wrong contexts.

It is helpful to first cover the main reasons why Develop is generally a weak card:

1. It's terminal.
You wonder, should this count as a point against Develop? Most other TfB's are terminal. However, one must consider that the opportunity cost of a dead Develop is a Silver or a non-terminal $3 that could have done something useful.

2. It doesn't benefit the current hand.
Develop doesn't produce $, nor does it draw cards, and it trashes a card from the player's hand. Assuming no interference from the opponent, that leaves the player with 3 cards from a 5-card starting hand. Even if the player manages to increase his handsize beforehand, choosing to play Develop renders two cards in hand unusable for the buy phase. Opening with Develop sacrifices a lot of buying power on the turns where it appears in hand.

3. It slows deck cycling.
Develop gains cards to the top of the deck. Unless Develop topdecked cards that draw cards, this anti-cycling effect inhibits deck momentum by delaying the speed at which the player can get subsequent reshuffles.

4. It's bad at gaining Victory cards.
In the final stages of the game, when the player's deck is in its dying throes (or just choking on Victory cards), most TfB's are useful because they can convert assets to points in some way. Develop can do this too; the problem is that topdecking a Victory card strongly hampers the subsequent turn, and Develop is fickle about what cards it can trash for points in the first place. And while Salvager, Apprentice, Forge, Remodel, and Expand can all perform some variant of trash Province -> gain Province, Develop lacks this function entirely.

5. It's inconsistent between kingdoms.
Develop is unlike most traditional TfB's in that its potential benefit is strongly dependent on the other cards in the kingdom. In particular, Develop benefits most from there being in the kingdom good $3 cards and/or synergistic cards that are exactly $2 apart. Some of the benefit from Develop is negated if, for example, you're forced to topdeck a Silver that you don't necessarily want. This also makes most $3 cards generally bad targets for Develop, as good $2s will not always be in the kingdom and Estates are ubiquitous.

Naturally, by examining Develop's shortcomings, we can identify the conditions that make Develop much stronger than we normally perceive it.

1. When Develop is the best form of trashing in the kingdom.
Develop is a weak trasher, but it's a trasher nonetheless. It provides no benefit at all upon trashing Coppers and Curses, but sometimes we use other TfB's, such as Salvager, $0 Trade Route, or Trader for that purpose. In engine games in particular, Develop's trashing is an important consideration, because there is potential to play Develop more often and the weak trashing goes a long way towards improving engine consistency.

Example: Menagerie typically synergizes with Develop because it trashes Estates for Menageries (or other $3s), and the Copper trashing is also beneficial to this type of deck by reducing the frequency of duplicate cards.

2. When cards of cost $2-$4 in the kingdom are abundant and strong.
This is an indicator for Develop in a few ways. First, hands with Develop on turns 3 and 4 will tend to hit $2-$4 depending on the opening, so being able to buy something useful with those hands is a boon. Second, Develop converts Estates into $3s. Third, it is not as bad to trash a Copper with Develop in the midgame and knock the player's buying power from $5 to $4 if he doesn't mind passing up the $5 in the first place.

Note that Develop is not always a must-have if there are kingdom cards at $3, nor should it always be ignored if there is only Silver at $3. Developing Estate to Silver substantially improves the deckís economy in future shuffles, and the topdecked Silver may very likely let the next hand reach $5.

Example: a Fishing Village - Watchtower engine likes a Develop opening because both key cards are at $3 and Watchtower's draw benefits from Develop's trashing due to handsize reduction.

3. When there is a combination of surplus +action and +card.
There is no doubt that most terminal cards are significantly improved given the means to play them frequently and in large numbers. The question is whether this is even worth mentioning with regards to Develop. In these situations, not only is Develop an adequate trasher, but it can also be a potent gainer. Because Develop gains cards to the top of the deck, a drawing engine can easily play the gained cards on the same turn. Or, one can choose to leave the gained cards on top in order to kickstart the next turn.

Example: any variant of a village / terminal +3 cards drawer can work here. Several factors are preferable, though: a drawing village, a $3 village, supplementary nonterminal drawing, gainers (Workshop, Ironworks, etc.), and so on. Draw-to-X creates a mild synergy as well, because a play of Develop reduces handsize by 2 cards.

4. When important cards are exactly $2 apart.
If the player is forced to gain 2 cards that are $2 apart, then obviously the ideal situation is when both cards are important components of the deck. This is another reason why Develop likes kingdom cards at $3: power cards are most commonly at $5 but not as common at $6. $4 cards also tend to be weaker than $5 cards and are easier to gain, so there is less opportunity cost in trashing them instead of playing them.

- $3 villages and $5 terminal drawers make for synergistic pairs. These tend to be common.
- $4 villages or cantrips and Goons, Border Village, Grand Market, or Hunting Grounds at $6 are also pairs to watch out for.
- $5 drawers (both terminal and non-terminal) synergize exceptionally with Kingís Court at $7.

The best case scenario is if there are good cards at all price points from $3-$6. In these circumstances, Develop can be used repeatedly to gain more cards at each of these price points. It is possible, for instance, to trash a $4 into Develop and a $5, and then to trash the $5 into a $4 and a $6. The flexibility offered here can prove to be extremely advantageous. A special mention goes to $7 kingdom cards, which can be trashed into a Province and a $6 if the situation calls for it - usually, near the end of a game.

Something to watch out for, though, is getting caught in the trap of only trashing your good cards and not playing them. Inexperienced players who get too Develop-crazy end up spinning their wheels instead of building an amazing engine. It is of paramount importance to keep in mind that, though the goal of Develop (in this context) is to gain new cards, the goal of the deck is to play those cards, preferably as often as possible.

In summary:

Indicators for Develop:
- Engines. There are a few exceptions (e.g., Estate and Silk Road rushes), but Develop is heavily reliant on kingdoms having engine potential in order for it to be worth using.
- Strong cards at $2-$4, particularly at $3. $3 is important because Estates can be trashed into $3s. Non-terminals are especially desirable here.
- Desirable cards that are $2 apart. Developís strength as a gainer is greatest in these circumstances. Even better is if there are good cards at all price points from $3-$6.

Counterindicators for Develop:
- Lack of surplus actions. In the absence of surplus actions, Develop will often be competing with stronger terminals. However, note that it is possible to transition from using Develop as the terminal to using a different card, particularly when there is no need to continue trashing.
- Lack of draw. Without drawing, newly gained cards will be played less often, and Developís anti-cycling effect becomes noticeably bad. Hands with Develop will always be burdened by the card slot that it occupies.
- Handsize attacks. This can swing both ways - a handsize attack doesnít matter if someone can draw his deck, and handsize attacks promote engine-building, but hitting a 5-card hand that has Develop will usually deny the receiving player a buy or a Develop play.
- Fast strategies, especially involving power $5s. Sometimes you just donít need Develop. Picking up Develop increases the likelihood of being unable to hit $5 until turn 5.
- Stronger trashing. Whether it be Ambassador, Chapel, Jack of All Trades, or Remake, those cards can more or less do what Develop does, but better (or with a bonus). stats indicate that stronger trashers tend to lower Develop's winrate to most (thanks DG!).
- Shelters. Even assuming that there are good $2s, trashing a Shelter forces the player to gain a Copper, Curse, or Ruins. Plus, most $2s aren't good enough to be worth opening Develop for anyway.

Develop is a high-skill card, and even with the advice in this article in mind, it can be hard to see exactly when investing in Develop will pay off and when it will flop. One rule of thumb that I generally follow is to consider Develop first as a trasher, and to consider it second as a gainer. Its power is modest as a trasher on certain boards, but Develop's power truly shows when it can be used effectively as a gainer. Hopefully this article has provided you a better understanding of this card.

Example games:
In this tournament game, -Stef-Ďs Swindler wreaks havoc on my deck. However, the Develops that he gives me let me trash useless $4s and $5s for useful cards. Shanty Town and Council Room are gained together at $3 and $5 and help build a massive drawing engine in conjunction with Mining Village and Mint.
I (cbaka) use Develop to launch my deck into a Fishing Village - Watchtower engine.
Here I use Develop to build a Menagerie engine. Not much else to say about this game and the previous one.
Though some of my opponentís choices were suspect, Develop helps me win the Fishing Village split and get my Torturer engine running faster.
-Stef- uses Develop to transition into a Grand Market deck supplemented by Farming Villages, Libraries, and Shanty Towns. Here, Library and Shanty Town is a modest $5/$3 combination, and Spice Merchant is an idea target for Develop once its role is done. With the surplus actions from Farming Village, Develop synergizes with Library by reducing handsize by 2 cards. The presence of Expand in this kingdom lets excess STs and Silvers be converted into GMs. Expand itself can be trashed into a Province.
This game highlights the power of Develop in a drawing engine powered by King's Court. -Stef- made use of Develop on cards at $4 to gain Develop + Rabble, $6 to gain Rabble/Duchy + King's Court, and $7 to gain Province + Gold. Note that the presence of $7 cards makes trashing into Victory cards more alluring, not only because $7 cards can be trashed into a Province, but also because $6 cards can be trashed into a Duchy + $7 card. The fact that Develop leaves the Victory card on top of the deck is not a problem here when those cards can be drawn immediately.

I'm not volunteering to host, as I am super busy in the following week (sadly), but does anyone else think that this is a good idea?

Innovation General Discussion / Teching up
« on: March 01, 2013, 05:34:10 am »
I played a 2-p game today against a friend where he got a lot of early scoring due to Clothing and Perspective and achieved ages 1-5, so I (with my limited knowledge of this game) thought that the best way to answer would be to tech up and punish with cards from higher ages.

I must have been doing something wrong, though, because I could never advance more than 1 age ahead of my opponent, nor could I force him to remain in a lower age, because he always managed to get at least one higher age card melded so that he could use his draw actions to keep up. So what are the best ways to tech up? Say that you don't have a card in hand that allows you to draw/meld directly from a higher age; is it generally worth using draw actions to fish for a card that will let you do so?

Game Reports / Opinions on this kingdom: what would you do?
« on: February 13, 2013, 04:25:35 pm »
Cards in supply: Alchemist, Jack of All Trades, Pirate Ship, Potion, Remake, Silk Road, Thief, University, Vault, Vineyard, and Warehouse

What would you do on a 5/2 or a 4/3 open?

Game Reports / In which I make a comeback after getting Torturer pinned
« on: February 07, 2013, 01:07:11 am »

Turns 10, 12, 13, and 14 I discard my hand to KC-Torturer, but my opponent buys Provinces instead of KC/Torturer/Inn on 3 of those turns and I pin him back the next chance I get.

Moral of the story: a Torturer war isn't over until the Curses are gone... (Granted, I don't like my opponent's choices when being tortured, but the point remains.)

Help! / What would you do in this kingdom?
« on: December 10, 2012, 02:59:40 pm »
I was dicking around on an alt account yesterday and played this kingdom where I more or less didn't have much of an idea of what I was doing:

Apothecary, Coppersmith, Crossroads, Expand, Familiar, Farming Village, Golem, Haggler, Horn of Plenty, Potion, and Salvager

I happened onto a couple of multi-Province turns by using Golem to pull up enough Actions to make HoPs worth $8, and my opponent ragequit soon afterwords. What more coherent strategy would you have done?

2012 / Stats on first player advantage?
« on: December 07, 2012, 12:39:58 pm »
I remember from some of the earlier tournaments that some people would play sets and remark that first player won his game in every game of the set, or something along those lines. I think it would be interesting to collect data on this from this tournament and also examine how much first player advantage offsets a level disadvantage on average. Thoughts?

I'm not much of a math/CS guy and I don't have the faintest clue as to where to start.

General Discussion / Everyone with right-aligned Pokemon signatures
« on: December 04, 2012, 01:35:08 pm »
Y'all are cool people. +1 to you. In my mind.

Unfortunately the RB sprites on PokemonDB don't have transparent backgrounds, so I can't put in what I want.

Help! / 2 casual games with a friend
« on: December 02, 2012, 05:18:59 am »
Okay, so I lost these two games and was wondering how I could have won them.

Game 1:
Bank, Develop, Fortune Teller, Lighthouse, Market, Noble Brigand, Nobles, Sea Hag, Trade Route♦, Witch, and Young Witch

We ignore Young Witch, getting Sea Hag instead. He spikes $6 on turn 3 and grabs a Nobles; he gets them again on turns 10 and 11 before I hit $6 even once on turn 13 (opting for a Gold so that I could hit $6 again more reliably). I try to clean up from Sea Hag with a couple of Trade Routes and Develop, but they miss Estates/Curses a couple of times.

The turn 9 Witch was supposed to be a Market; I misclicked there but I'm not sure that made a big difference.

Anyway I fall behind largely due to losing the Nobles split, despite having what I thought was a stronger economy due to having more Markets. Sea Hag did almost nothing in the endgame due to the Lighthouses. How much of this can I chalk up to luck, and what should I have done differently?

Game 2:
Adventurer, Colony, Feast, Ironworks, Jester, Loan, Oracle, Philosopher's Stone, Platinum, Potion, Smithy, Treasury, and Warehouse

I try to increase reliability with Loan, Warehouse, and Adventurer, while he just basically goes BM with 7 Jesters. This one was a bit depressing because I really thought I had a coherent strategy here, but his Jesters kept flooding me with Coppers and it didn't help early on that my Loans hit each other a couple of times.

I think I maybe should have gone for another Loan and more Warehouses, but Adventurer can only pull up so much coin. Was this strategy doomed to failure? I considered getting Potion -> PStone but decided not to because it would take forever to buy Potion, buy PStone, and play it enough times to get good value out of it.

Game Reports / In which Explorer empties the Gold pile
« on: November 18, 2012, 02:52:07 am »
Just played this match with my friend:

Now, I think that by all accounts he should have won (or at least should have had more points) by buying a couple of Provinces instead of Treasuries near the end of the game, and I got unlucky and made some poor decisions on the opening shuffles. I had planned on a version of the Golden Deck using KC-Explorer from the outset whereas he didn't really know what he was doing until he ended up in the same position that I did. Throughout the game he had more Treasuries and more King's Courts, and he really should have had the game had he just bought a Baron or Ironworks in the lategame.

Any insight on what you would have done or what I should have done differently? I was about to resign on turn 5 after Baron missed the shuffle, collided with a Bishop, and missed an Estate, but decided to stick it out because I knew that my friend was not as good as I was and prone to miss little tricks.

Help! / Gardens "rush" an option here?
« on: September 18, 2012, 07:36:44 am »

Yes, I know that my opponent resigned, and that sort of stuff is frowned upon here, but that's not the point.

I was wondering if a Gardens "rush" using Scheme, Horse Traders, and a Witch or two would beat the strategy that I used. 20 turns to 4 Provinces seemed awfully slow and Curses plus HT's +buy bloats your deck, while Schemes allow you to play HTs more often. HT will also let the player hit $5 more often after the Gardens are out.

(Also any advice on what I did do is appreciated as well.)

Game Reports / Probably one of the more amusing boards that I've played
« on: September 13, 2012, 10:07:30 pm »

Board looked really weak for Colonies; probably Venture was the only decent enabler. I see a few somewhat decent enablers for Vineyard, nothing strong, though. Identified that Talisman could let me pick up multiple Scouts/Smugglers/Potions, Smugglers let me gain BV + something else or Venture/Gold if he went money (helping me grab my own BVs in that case), and went for Vineyards.

Kind of didn't expect him to follow me and to arrive at a 3-pile ending, though. His economy was slightly better so he won the BV split, but could never get a Duchy, and all of those Smugglers let me 3-pile on Estates before he could get a chance to pull ahead. I probably made a mistake somewhere holding off the Potion buy, because the shuffle that I wanted it, my Talismans appeared in a $3 hand, and I was very sad.

My gut reaction says that Colony is still stronger here because even though the Colony player will stall, he can pick up lower VP while the Vineyards player can only pick up Vineyards. Probably should have vetoed Venture instead of Trader.

Game Reports / I thought this 3-pile ending was pretty cool
« on: September 11, 2012, 01:14:54 am »
Not to toot my own horn (and I finally gave into playing Iso), but I played a match against blueblimp where I just barely had enough $, resources, and buys for the necessary VP all while 3-piling on triple-Embargoed KCs and Curses:

Good game blueblimp! Sorry about taking forever on the last turn.

Dominion Articles / Yes/No: Discussion on Dark Ages combos...?
« on: August 19, 2012, 10:14:54 pm »
So I figured that there should be a thread here discussing these instead of in the Dark Ages Previews forum, since Dark Ages is officially a set now... I played many, many hours of partial Dark Ages games (courtesy of Axiom/Turambar & friends and the Austrian champion, whose Iso username I don't remember) and thought that maybe we could start discussing some of these cards more in-depth.

But of course, Dark Ages is never going to be public on Iso, Goko probably won't have all of the cards implemented at time of launch, and a vast majority of users here probably don't have a copy of Dark Ages, so I'm wondering if this sort of topic is too premature. Thoughts?

Dominion World Masters / So who's going to GenCon/Worlds?
« on: August 12, 2012, 06:23:50 pm »
What the topic title says - obviously Fabian and I are going (so psyched!), but who else here is going, either to the tournament or just the convention?

My play group doesn't play with Ambassador often, mostly due to the impression that it leads to degenerate games, so I don't have much experience with this card, and the question in the title is one that has always puzzled me. In the few times that I have tried it on an engine board, I've only picked it up when I had an extra buy and was reliably drawing most of my deck. This tends to not happen very early when the earlygame is defined by slow build-up and Ambassador tennis.

Of course, the problem with using Ambassador as a cursing card is that it requires 2 cards in order to effectively deal out the Curse and doesn't provide some other kind of benefit - i.e., you don't need as much support to fire a Witch at your opponent every turn, but you do need a good enough deck with other supporting components to pair Ambassador with Curse every turn. Which is why I always wait until I know this match-up is nearly guaranteed to buy the Curse; the potential momentum loss from missing a cursing turn is a little too scary for me.

That said, I've seen people pick up the Curse pretty early in some logs, maybe as early as after the 2nd reshuffle. Am I not playing this optimally? Certainly there's some degree of discretion required on the part of the player, but generally, when is the best time to pick up the Curse, if at all?

Dominion Articles / Combo: Salvager / Spice Merchant
« on: December 06, 2011, 04:23:30 pm »
I was thinking about this a little bit after trying out the Shanty Town / Spice Merchant combo that Mean Mr Mustard suggested in his thread. One of the disadvantages of Spice Merchant is that it doesn't help build your economy when it trashes Coppers, and a deck with fewer Treasures relative to Estates also chokes earlier. Salvager alleviates part of this problem by also trashing your Estates for benefit.

I tested this out solitaire on Isotropic and managed to get 12-15 turns rather consistently:
Game 1 (4 Provinces, 1 Duchy in 14 turns):
Game 2 (4 Provinces in 14 turns):
Game 3 (4 Provinces in 12 turns):
Game 4 (4 Provinces in 13 turns):
Game 5 (4 Provinces in 15 turns):
Game 6 (4 Provinces in 14 turns):
Game 7 (4 Provinces in 13 turns):

I can't say that I played this entirely optimally and I'm also terrible at timing Duchy buys. It seems like that Duchy buys really clog this up if bought kind of early (turn 11 or so).

General buy rules:
- Open Spice Merchant / Silver on 4 / 3 (don't think 5 / 2 bodes well for this combo)
- Pick up Salvager / Silver on turns 3 and 4, using Spice Merchant to trash Copper for +2 cards if possible
- Pick up second Spice Merchant after second reshuffle
- Buy Silver with $3, Gold with $6
- If get $9 or more early on (turn 8 or so) with 2 buys, buy Silver and Gold
- Buy Province with $8
- Buy Duchy with $5

General play rules:
- Trash Copper with Spice Merchant for +2 cards on turns 3 and 4, unless you know you can't draw enough for Silver + Salvager over 2 turns otherwise
- Trash Copper with Spice Merchant for +2 cards unless +$2 gives enough to buy Gold
- Trash Estate with Salvager
- Trash Spice Merchant with Salvager if Spice Merchant is drawn "dead" (i.e. no Coppers) or if it gets to $8
- Trash Silver / Gold with Salvager later on (turn 10 or so) if it gets to $8

Simulation / Request: Remodel / Mining Village
« on: December 04, 2011, 03:52:33 pm »
Hi everyone,

A couple of weeks ago my friends and I were playing 4-p Dominion and this combo came up in the kingdom twice. I originally dismissed it and just went straight BM with a mediocre enabler, but one of my friends used this both times and completely thrashed us. I know that Remodel is a significantly better opening when there are good $4s in the kingdom, and I'd really like to see how this stands up to the traditional BM + enabler strategies, but I'm not very good at using the simulators and I'm also not familiar with the trashing rules of Mining Village.

I'm fairly sure of the following:
- Open Remodel / Silver (Remodel / nothing with 5 / 2?)
- If $3, buy Silver
- If $4 or $5, buy Remodel (until there are 2-3 in the deck)
- If $4 or $5, buy Mining Village
- If $6, buy Gold
- Remodel Estates into Mining Villages
- Remodel Remodels into Golds if they clash
- Trash Mining Village only if they let you get to $6 for Gold or $8 for Province
- Remodel Golds into Provinces
- Remodel Silvers into Duchies

If anyone can help me out with this, I'd really appreciate it.

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