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Topics - Simon Jester

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Rules Questions / Turn after Donate?
« on: February 05, 2022, 10:29:01 am »
Had a game with Donate, Hunting Grounds and IGG. After the IGG+curse piles were depleted my opponent used Donate to trash 3 HG:s to deplete the estate piles for the win - but instead I got another turn and won with 2 provinces over 8 estates. Why did that happened? 3 piles were out (curses, IGG and estates) after my opoonent finished his Donate "phase". Correct or bug?

Rules Questions / Reserve cards + Necromancer
« on: December 09, 2018, 10:26:50 am »
Wouldn't thy go to the Tavern mat even if they are played from the trash? Didn't happen online - hence the question.

Dominion General Discussion / New/Odd trends
« on: November 26, 2018, 11:29:19 am »
In the latest I have noticed something that I can't help but think is a bit odd: People are starting to ignore Chapel more and more, and not in case of other strong trashers as Donate or Cathedral, just the other game some fella chose Ratcatcher instead. I don't think that they're ignorant players who don't know the true strength of Chapel (in this case they did pretty good anyway, lost only in the very end so no newb there I don't think) but I can't really wrap my head about this. I wished I could log it better, but I feel like at least five times recently I have seen Chapel ignored without a good reason. Is there just a streak of experimental plays I have been met against or is thee possibly something going on in the meta-view of the card?

To make this a legit thread and not only a confused rant: Have you been noticing some new trends in the style of playing or in the valuation of cards that you find odd/incorrect or perhaps interesting even for expert levels? Not really talking of things like the overvaluation of Pirate Ship in P2 or similar that has been known for ages but rather tings that is relatively new. 


First off: Iím still merely a medium player but the results in the Dominion League recently has given me the confidence to say that Iím soon heading to actually be a ďgoodĒ player quite soon. Still,  I donít expect this article to be too meaningful for the expert crowd here on f.ds, instead Iím aiming at the 40-rank people, and to write an article I myself would have benefitted from say a year ago from now.


Dominion is a difficult game. There is so much to do, so many cards to know, the options are endless. Still, you have managed to be a proper player. You know how to build what the pros are calling ďenginesĒ. You donít really know exactly how it works constructing them, but looking at your results you seem to manage to do it from time to time. But something is missing. Sometimes your opponent just outrace you without you knowing really why, sometimes they are doing something that seems just plain silly to you and then ending up crushing you - leaving you in the dust with a great ďHow in the earth did that happen?Ē on your face.

This is a modest attempt to guide you towards taking another step in viewing Dominion and how to play the game. As always, the best advice to advance as a player is simply ďplay moreĒ, but to be able to learn as much as possible from your games itís good to bring some guidelines into them.

Analyzing the Kingdom - Sideway cards

You know already how important it is to do a proper analyse of the kingdom before the opening. You need to spot your engine pieces, are there splitters, draws, trashing, strong attacks and everything like that but in Dominion of today there is also something else: The sideway cards; Events from Adventures and Empires, Landmarks from Empires and now Projects from Renaissance. These are important. Really important. Sure, it varies how impactful they are, nothing is certain and without edge cases in Dominion, but as a general rule itís good to recognise the sideway cards and try to follow what they encourage, or discourage, you to do.


For Landmarks, itís pretty straightforward how to play in line with them. Just merely follow what they reward: Go for treasures with Palace and Keep, collect all the cards with Museum and Orchard and so on. You will get a benefit towards your non-mirroring opponents and almost more importantly, you will learn to play in ways that you are not as used to. If you canít see the point with treasures, Keep will teach you how efficient they can be. If you on the other hand found engines too difficult to create on a higher level, Bandit Fort will force you to construct a treasure less deck. Let the Landmarks teach you, maybe you wonít win as much following this as heavily as I here suggest, but you will see different style of play emerge and stumble on insights you otherwise never would have found.

A small disclaimer though: Landmarks with added VP chips as a setup is not recommended to follow blindly in this way. Donít buy a $3 card with your opening 5/2 for Basilisk, donít deliberately skip playable turns for Baths and donít open Duchy/Estate for Battlefield (I have already done this, it was with Silk Road and there was no good five andÖ No, there is no excuses. That was not a good idea.). Consider them however and try to build something that can grab a few points quickly, but even if you lose the split you will recover quite easily if you have built your deck correctly and the other players have wasted time grabbing chips unnecessarily.   


Projects are good. Really good. Buy them, ASAP. Yes, even in the openings if you have the chance. You might think they donít seem too impressive and admittedly some of them will be obsolete in certain kingdoms (e.g Fair in a kingdom with lots of +buy) but as a learning exercise it doesnít matter too much. How can you utilise these virtually free resources that comes to you often every turn? How do they change your deck and your play and can you think of ways that standard kingdom cards give you the same kind of benefits? Projects gives the game an extra dimension and if you spend time exploring what they do for you, you will gain a lot of information of what kind of possibilities there truly are in the game. Focus your strategy on them when itís possible: Are there treasure gainers available with Guild Hall? Are there actions giving coins with Capitalism? Can you find ways to gain rather than buying cards when Exploration is around? Go out of your ways to utilise them, again, it's not certain the winning strategy to do so, but it very well might be. 


Events is a little bit of a different beast. More than the two categories above, Events have more similarities with kingdom cards, that naturally also can act as guides in how to play the game but much more so in context with each other. There is two strong exceptions Iíd like to mention a bit more though and that is Conquest, Raid and Delve. These three encourages silver flooding and when that is viable itís really something to consider. The point with silver flooding is not very fancy, you will not spend much time building anything and when you are done your deck is a silvery mess which you canít have much control over. The upside is though that once you have drained yourself with silvers itís a piece of cake to buy provinces almost every turn. If your opponents arenít competent enough to build something monstrously good, an activated silver flood will most likely sweep away them before they can do anything about it. Silver flooding, even though an easy enough concept, is tricky to perform correctly and to utilise to a strong enough effect but these events gives you a chance to practice so the next time, say, Feodum comes up in a viable scenario you know what to do and how your deck will function with that amass of silvers in your deck.   

There is as said other Events that changes the gameplay a lot, but they vary so much in strength and impact that my advice have to be a general: Donít ignore them automatically, see if they have something to offer to the kingdom and donít be afraid to try new things even if it feels off, but this is indeed true for every card in Dominion.   

Alternative VP cards

This is not the right place to give detailed instructions in how to play with every specific VP-card in the game, but you may remember this: VP-cards are good. Really good. They will not always be viable and if you misjudge the kingdom they can definitely be a trap, but the times they are good You can rest assure they will be dominating. They are made to compete and beat Provinces on a regular basis so when you roll a kingdom with victory cards, do your best to spot if you can make use for them and what you need to do to make it happen. If you are not sure or if you struggle to see the point with Duke, Gardens or Silk Road there is plenty of strategy tips for you out there. They have been around for a long time and many of the strongest combo decks in the history of the game involves alt-VP strategies. Check them out and play them to get a feel for how they function, it will give you a better eye for the situations when they will be the winning path.

Regular Kingdom cards

This is likely where you already know what there is to be said. Some Kingdom cards are so powerful they will demand all your attention and if you fail to do so you will be punished heavily. There is too many of these kind of cards to discuss them specifically, so what I will say is when you spot such a card in the kingdom try to construct all your deck around it. Donít do too many things at the same time. Focus on winning the amb- war, the race to the Torturer-pin, the Wild Hunt frenzy at all cost. This will teach you how to optimise your deck and how to get to the key elements of your strategy as quickly as possible. With that ability you have a lot more options in your arsenal when approaching a kingdom.


There are many ways and reasons to play Dominion. If you are playing more or less casually and your current play style is sufficient to you everything is good and well, but if you like to be competitive and struggle to understand how to play this game on a constantly higher level I warmly suggest to you to start experimenting more. Let the Kingdom tell you what it wants to be done and do it even if you are not sure how. You may stumble and fall many, many times but I bet youíll be surprised how often the seemingly unorthodox ways to play the game truly is the right move.

Good Luck, and may the shuffle luck always be in your fortune (as long as you are not playing against me..)

Variants and Fan Cards / (Almost) Total random Dominion
« on: November 21, 2018, 07:41:23 am »
Most of us know about the randomizer/"Black Market Ultimate" variant, where you play with ten piles of randomizer cards instead of a normal kingdom. It's a lot of fun, but really not random enough for my twisted mind. Lately I've been thinking of a variant I haven't seen discussed here and I'm curious what you would think of it and if you possible have done or thought of something similar. The idea is:

Ignore the supply and setup 16 piles. At random. No guaranteed curses, nor Provinces. Just go through the randomizerdeck and see what happens. All cards that require certain cards should be respected, so when a curser is chosen include curses, when Province is named include Province (but as extra piles) et cetera. For balance reason the rule should be to have at least three victory piles and three treasures but if you are crazy like me it may be optional. This should lead to some very hilarious games, so when playing just for shits and giggles why not try it?

Unfortunately I own too few cards to do it myself, but next time we are on our way to playing BMU I will propose this.

Dominion General Discussion / Why Dominion is great!
« on: March 08, 2018, 09:27:44 am »
[uhm. This is a bit random, I guess, but I needed to write this. Don't expect anyone to care too much]

Dominion is a great game!

I know, not much news there, but I would like to take some time to explain - if only for myself- why I love this game so much.

First of all, no game can be everything and each one that tries will end up being unfun and useless. Dominion is based on certain mechanics and tools and if you're not found of them it's hard to get started with the game. "A boardgame without a board? Why all the shuffles? So many cards to remember.." Well, man, what can I tell you. If you don't like it even at this stage there is no point at trying, there is plenty of other games for you.

However, when accepting the game premises it never stop to amaze me how much this game does. I'm a quite aggressive player, I like games where I'm allowed to mess with other players and fell naturally in love with the attack cards immediately. You can easily construct decks to cause as much pain (I miss you Saboteur..!) for your opponents as possible. It won't let you win usually, but for my type of player it's possible to have lots of fun anyway.

But all in all, rather soon we realized that other strategies than mono-Saboteur were possible and hey look, they were fun to play as well. The more we learnt about the game the more we realized that almost every game were based on interactivity and by the means possible trying to keep your opponent in check. I don't think I ever have had the feeling that I was playing solitaire in Dominion. To me the feeling of participating in a race has always been apparent and that the main goal with the game is to reach the key components and later the green stuff sooner than your opponents. Whether the key cards is actually useful for you or newb-traps as in the beginning doesn't really matter. The dominant feel of the game stays the same for me.

What has changed however is how the game has taught me to read. In the early years of isotropic I did just things on chance and by practicing "by the book"-rules. If I didn't find the key components I knew how to use (e.g Wharf/village) or a certain combo (Hayy NV/Bridge) I was lost. I didn't have a plan, I hardly knew how to make a plan. Dominion is still fun to be bad at, so I didn't really suffer being horrible at the game, but when I play now I notice a distinct difference. I see things. studying a kingdom shows more of a story on how the cards interact and how they will create synergies and power than before and that feeling, well, it's spectacular.

The game is still so complex and have added so much new mechanics (almost everyone ingeniously simple even though they create so many new levels of depth to the game. I mean, events- how the heck did we do without them for so long?) that you still meet many many kingdoms where you are left as clueless as ever in the beginning or where you miss a single component and choose a suboptimal strategy that allows your opponent to crush you horrendously, and I absolutely love it.

Yet another thing that makes me stuck at the game is how many different games that can be played within Dominion. The race to the green finish line is as stated above always present, but in other aspects you are allowed to do so many things within the game. You can build the insane power engines, go for enjoyable good stuff feastings, participate in slogsbattles or time to time play go for coinflip games where the swingyness of certain cards is the main factor deciding who at least get the main advantage in the game. If you don't like any of those certain kind of game types it's all fair and good since it's easy to avoid the cards that pushes the games in a direction you dislike, but if you can find enjoyment in all the different ways a game of Dominion can play out the game hardly ever gets boring since the variation is so intense.

I don't know. I'm not trying to convince anyone to be a Dominion fan with this and you guys most likely know this already. I'm not a top player, and I don't think I ever become one but given the personal situation I'm in currently I wanted to express my gratitude for the existence of this game and how much enjoyment and comfort I've been able to get out of it. It marvels me a little.

I guess I should end with a scout joke, but I lost all of mint.   

Introductions / Hello
« on: January 05, 2018, 11:50:47 am »
Hello everyone!

Been a Dominion-fan since 2009 and been reading on this forum a whole lot from time to time. Played as most intensely around 2012 but never really figured out how to be a true skilled player. The skill-thing doesn't really matter much though since I enjoy the game so much over all. The competitive aspect of the game is nice, but it's easy to have fun with the game even if I don't really know what I'm doing (or should be doing). But it's also nice to be better and given that I enjoy reading the forum so much I thought I better be a proper member.

On a more personal level I'm from Sweden and currently residing in Malta. Is active on the libertarian political scene and is soon going to be working full time with libertarian projects - but politics is yuck so never mind.

Nice to be here. Thanks for all the advice throughout the years. 

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