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Puzzles and Challenges / Give your opponent infinitely many points
« on: October 23, 2018, 09:25:06 pm »

Find a setup where in 1 turn you can with an (uncooperative) opponent you can give them arbitrarily many points (say at least a googol) while ending the turn with negative victory points yourself.

Possession, Mission, etc count as extra turns.

There have been 2 games recently I've played where auto-play settings have had a strong affect on gameplay.

(Crown/pathfinding and coin of the realm/horn of plenty being the relevant interactions). Is there a way to change autoplay settings at the start or middle of the game to deal with this?

   Draw engines, Decks where you aim to draw either all or much of your deck every turn,  are the most important Deck Archetype in Dominion. In high level play, more games will be Draw engines than any other type of deck and most of the key concepts of Dominion (Tempo/buy order/endgame play) show up in crystal clear form when playing one. Understanding which cards to buy in which order and with which proportions in order to optimally build a draw engine is something that every Dominion player, regardless of their strength, struggles with. The point of this article is much more modest. I want to give an idea of when Draw Engines exists, and what Kingdom Cards you need for them to be a strategy worth pursuing. Here are 3 things you need, and two things that, while not strictly necessary, are very useful for a Draw engine.


1. Drawing power

   A draw engine is fundamentally based on drawing lots of cards so obviously you need cards that draw in order to power a draw engine. There are two different types of draw cards which can be used for a draw engine terminal and non-terminal. If the only type of draw card is Terminal, a card that which gives you no +actions, usually it needs to give you at least 3 cards1 (For example, Smithy or Council Room) for a draw engine to be worthwhile. Building a draw engine on Witch, Moat, Steward, or Embassy alone is a losing proposition most of the time2. With non-Terminal draw, drawing 2 cards, like Lab Hunting Party and Advisor is good enough. Sometimes, even a variable number of cards like Menagerie,Herald, City Quarters, or scrying pool,  will suffice.

2. Villages (Splitters)

   Almost always when you are building a draw engine you will want villages, (cards which give extra +actions), or other cards that let you play multiple actions (i.e. non-village splitters like Throne room or Herald). These are strictly necessary when your draw is terminal and, even when draw is non-terminal, there are almost always terminal actions you want to include in your engine. Ideally your village will give you extra effects (like workers village) but, to a surprising extent, different villages are often interchangeable. Village, Farming Village,  Bazaar, and Mining village, in particular often function same way in engines.

   If you do not see a village or another splitter you will usually need a very compelling reason, along with non-terminal draw to consider going for a draw engine.

3. Payload

   Draw Engines usually take time to build up. In general for an engine to be worthwhile there  needs to be something you can do with it better than just buying a single province per turn. This usually comes in at least one of the following forms; a Kingdom Cards that lets you buy multiple cards (+buy cards), an attack that you can play almost every turn, or an alternate form of victory points. While you need at least one of these payloads, It is even better to have multiple of them (for example, having both Militia and Market in the Kingdom).

   Strictly speaking, your +buy card does not need to say +buy. Black Market, Outpost, Possession, Horn of Plenty, and Duplicate can often be used as a payoff to make your engine. Being able to buy multiple cards is often very useful for building your engine as well, only gaining a single card a turn makes engines slower to build up. In some circumstances, a remodeller can also function as a +Buy. For example, Butcher will sometimes let you gain multiple provinces a turn.

   Attacks are a classic engine enabler. By slowing down your opponent, you gain more time to build up your engine before your opponent gains 6 provinces (the amount a non-engine player needs to win). While most attacks are good for engines, Trashing attacks (like Knights) and Discard attacks (Like Militia) and the stronger deck inspection attacks (Haunted Woods and Rabble) tend to be especially good. Cursing attacks tend to be more of a mixed bag because they also substantially inhibit the engine. Engines typically require some form of trashing or cycling in the presence of cursing attacks. However when both cycling and cursing or cycling and trashing are present Draw Engines are frequently a good idea.
Alternative VP is a classic engine enabler because it is much harder for your opponent to gain half of the VP on the board when there is more of it. When +buy is  present, essentially any Kingdom VP card will help an engine to thrive (Feodum excepted). When there is no +buy present, however, the Alt-VP must be valuable enough to be worthwhile. Examples of Alt-VP which can enable engines even with a lack of +buy are Castles/Fairgrounds/Colony/Conquest and Distant lands. The key point here, is that each of them will give 4 or more VP per card. (Duke, while theoretically enough points, is often too slow with a single buy for an engine to be worthwhile). Cards which give VP Tokens, like Monument and Bishop, are usually engine enablers to. Goons in particular deserves to be mentioned because Goons draw engines are almost always worthwhile whenever both a village and draw card are present.


The following, while not strictly necessary for a draw engine, are very often useful for determining whether it is worth going for.

1. Trashing/cyclers:
   The principal difficulty with most draw engines is your initial cards. For a draw engine to be effective you need to be able to consistently play a village and a draw card from your starting hand. Coppers and Estates, simply put, get in the way. Trashing these cards gets them out of the way permanently and indeed even very weak trashers (like Remodel or Trade Route) can help enable engines. Non-terminal trashers (like forager or Rat Catcher)  or cards that trash more than one card (Like Amulet,Chapel or Steward) are very strong engine enablers. In general, when there is a non-terminal or multi-card trasher, along with the 3 necessary Draw engine components, a Draw Engine will be the best strategy.

   Cyclers, (cards which draw more than 1 card, but also discard at least 1), often function similarly to trashers, although they are generally weaker. Warehouse, Dungeon, Stables, and Cellar are examples of Cycling cards which will help you build an engine. Even cards which donít discard from your hand can sometimes function like cyclers if they let you discard cards from the top of your deck (Wandering Minstrel and Cartographer are examples)

2:A way to get multiple engine components

   As mentioned earlier, it is harder to build an engine if you can only gain 1 engine piece per turn. Being able to quickly acquire many is therefore a huge boon. Gainers, for example Workshop, Ironworks ,Artisan, and Horn of Plenty, are an obvious and effective way to help build an engine. Remodelers (Remodel/Butcher/Salvager etc) are also effective at gaining a few cheap engine pieces and are helpful as trashers as well. Price decreasers (Bridge Troll/Bridge/Quarry/Highway) also are very useful for this purpose if plus buy is available on the board (as is always the case with Bridge and Bridge Troll).

When to Go for Draw engines:

   Draw engines,are the most powerful, and most played Deck type. Figuring out whether or not to go for a draw engine is very difficult and even the very best players regularly make mistakes. The following advice is thus, by its very nature, limited and often wrong. There will be exceptions where you should ignore it.

   First of all do not for a draw engine unless all 3 of the necessary components are present.
   When all 3 components are present and strong trashing is also present, go for the draw engine. When all 3 components are present, there is cycling, and there are gainers, go for the engine. When all 3 components are present and there is either cycling or ways to gain cheap engine components , and multiple types of payloads (i.e. attacks and multiple gains/ attacks and Alt VP)   go for the draw engine. When there are not cheap ways to gain multiple engine components and  there is not trashing or cycling, go for the engine only if there is a large potential payout (like Goons,Kings Court, or Colony) or if all three payouts are present along with high quality engine components (fishing village or royal carriage for example). Finally if in doubt, go for the draw engine because you will learn more if you do.

*1 Technically 2.5 cards per turn is fine (Ranger being the example). Also the cards drawn donít all need to be in the same turn. Haunted Woods and Wharves are great for engines
*2 There are exceptions. Kings Court, Goons, and fishing village in particular often suffice to make these engines worthwhile.

Innovation Game Reports / suburban empiricism
« on: March 31, 2013, 11:10:01 pm »
I was down 5 achievements and basically unsplayed but the last two turns saved me. I don't think I've ever talked quite that many things nor had quite as rapidly a growing empiricism.

I've often does this, and it seems a common trend to do so, but achievements are really, really, important, and simply playing for them is often sufficient. This wasn't a perfectly played game on both sides (I was allowed to clothing into monument). But it feels unique in that I never had a card age 5 or above and still won. Usually the game doesn't go that short.

[Editor's note: fixed confusing typo]

Innovation Game Reports / Score all of the cards
« on: March 25, 2013, 04:21:58 pm »
My opponent makes a tactical at the end of the game by scoring about 70 points therefore allowing me to attempt to draw an eleven and win. I win on score 111 to 104.

General Discussion / People that make me feel inferior
« on: August 22, 2012, 12:11:41 pm »
CC, Terry Tao, etc...

Name whoever makes you feel like you're ridiculously inferior?

Variants and Fan Cards / Challenge (non-terminal drawer)
« on: August 22, 2012, 11:47:54 am »
Cost 4
+1 action
Do this thrice
Reveal the top card of both your and the player to your left's deck.
If your card has a higher cost put it in your hand. Discard all remaining revealed cards.

This should on average get you a bit less than 1.5 cards (due to equality cases) but the cards it does get you have been sort of sifted which is nice so I suspect it's balanced. Thoughts?

(based on somebody elses idea of a version of this card which effects everybody else)

Dominion: Dark Ages Previews / Dark age predictions, day 3
« on: August 08, 2012, 11:16:42 am »
You know the rules of the game. Try not to look at other people's guesses before you guess how valuable the cards are. If it's for another day's cards do it in that thread.

Dominion: Dark Ages Previews / Celebrate!
« on: August 06, 2012, 01:45:05 am »
Previews are that special time in Dominion where you realize how, despite having played thousands of games, we still have no ability to properly judge cards on seeing them. Without the aid of isotropic, expect massive mis-judgements by players strong and weak. (many of whom discounted jack/IGG/remake/sea hag...) The power cards will not be what you think they are. The cards that look meek may turn out absurdly strong (or, they can turn out horrible). In any case once tomorrow comes let the guessing games begin!

Game Reports / how do you play this silk roadsrush?
« on: July 13, 2012, 01:53:27 am »
I'm positive I misplayed rather egregiously here and only won by winning the split. Some sort of silk road rush seems obvious with this much green on the board, but I'm completely at a loss how to play it.

Game Reports / FG is a trap
« on: June 12, 2012, 01:19:58 am »
Against Obi, fg/HT is a mediocre first player opening... I need to get better at engines...

Game Reports / just how fast is silk roads?
« on: June 10, 2012, 02:51:54 am »
fast enough to beat a governor/tactician/throneroom engine enabled by spice merchant and trade route... that is REALLY fast.

Dominion Isotropic / Isotropic is still down
« on: June 07, 2012, 08:56:55 pm »
How are we supposed to get our Dominion fix. :(
(why is isotropic so awesome)

Game Reports / How to take advantage of 19 buys
« on: May 31, 2012, 02:39:27 pm »
Buy out ALL the curses! I assumed I was dead out of water when both me and Obi opened bishop silver and mine didn't connect with an estate. Several terminal collisions later and I was sure I was quite behind, however, with my 1 goon power-turn I had enough buys to rush the curses/wharfs and end the game. Also, showing that mediocre early luck should not make you resign.

Variants and Fan Cards / card idea matchmaker
« on: May 24, 2012, 08:23:29 pm »
Not playtested so not sure how strong it would be, still I haven't seen it done before (though it might have been)

+2 actions
Draw 5 cards then put 5 cards back on your deck.
All other players draw 1 card and put 1 card back on there deck.

So it's similar to a warehouse for combo-making but without the cycling effect. not sure how strengthened/nerfed it woud have to be to make it viable.

Game Reports / shanty town as the star
« on: May 24, 2012, 11:57:46 am »
In this game I use a shanty town(!) powered cantrip engine to lead to a win. I'm slightly concerned that my opponent's disconnect was a glitch because it happened halfway through his turn. But I think, regardless I had a winning lead. (first game I've seen in a while where shanty-town is a major player and very strong)

Dominion General Discussion / Question about bridge
« on: May 23, 2012, 03:23:13 pm »
when you have a good engine going, bridge is a power card. In particular with a combination of decent draw and good +action, bridge can be a power card. I'm less convinced that, in general, bridge has the same utility but often find myself buying it anyways when there is no +draw. Which leads me to my question, when (if ever) is bridge worthwhile when there is no card draw. (cyclers, like warehouse/inn are perfectly fine).

Clearly Bridge is a good source of +buy, so if you really want +buy bridge is fine. And KC makes bridge mega-turns much easier (and, with cantrips, can acts as a source of pseudo +cards). But, in what circumstances without KC would you buy a bridge when you wouldn't buy a woodcutter?

Game Reports / another round of province tennis
« on: May 18, 2012, 08:58:49 pm »

I'm sure I didn't play it close to optimally, but dang, possession/ambassador games are hard to figure out. I won primarily because I bought bishop which allowed me to chew provinces for vp while still passing his provinces to me. Can somebody tell me what to do here, I figure that mint was a misplay.

Game Reports / The Sea Hag and the King (no king's court)
« on: May 01, 2012, 01:48:20 am »
Not sure if this should go under, dear my opponent I am sorry.

The sea hag and the king

Once upon a time there was an ugly sea hag and a powerful king. The sea hag wanted to be a beautiful princess so, after jingling some copper, she decided she would take a potion to become a beautiful princess. Unfortunately this sea hag was also a bit of a klutz and, as a result, whenever she got near a potion knocked it over and cursed it, she was persistent though, and though she never got the potion, succeeded in knocking it over every time she came up (9/11/12/14). eventually she got sick and tired of knocking over potions and decided to harass the local alchemist instead (18). Soon she realized she was getting low on curse supply so sent out her local goons in order to buy some curses (turns 21 and 22) upon buying these curses 3 piles ran out and despite the evil king having every single apothecary and alchemist (as well as 2 vineyards) the sea hag won.

For those not story inclined, my sea hags hits jonts copper once than proceeds the next 4 times to hit one of jont's potions. Jont's has an unstoppable alchemist stack going, and has bought out the apothecaries. Vineyards are on the board, my only way to win is to use the extra buys from my goons to finish out the curse pile, cutting the game short before jonts gains an insurmountable lead.

Not amazing play on either my or my opponent's side (strategy for me, endgame play for him) but a pretty hilarious game regardless.

Game Reports / Bishop/talisman grind
« on: April 25, 2012, 06:25:58 pm »
I don't think I've ever seen one of these engines go off before. My opponent Ptolemy, decides to use talisman(!) to make up for the lack of +buy and build an engine anyways. The results are disastrous as my BM based deck slows to a crawl. 

Game Reports / Mountebank ignored with no counters.
« on: April 24, 2012, 07:02:55 pm »
Both me, and my opponent, AVeryHappyFish, ignore mountebank do to the sheer speed on the engines involved Tactician/conspirator/ironworks/blackmarket/throneroom being the most important components. My engine charges slightly quicker than his so I win, but it was fascinating seeing a game where mountebank was ignored without any sort of counter.

Game Reports / Win despite 8/2 curse split
« on: April 24, 2012, 06:52:28 pm »
A large dollop of luck/governor and secret chamber suffice to let me squeak a win by.

Dominion Articles / Throne Room
« on: April 24, 2012, 02:11:45 pm »
Throne Room, like Treasure map and Fool's gold, is a card which works exceptionally well when it combo's and quite mediocrely when it doesn't. Unlike treasure map and fool's gold, however, what throne-room can combine with varies from board to board and is, in general quite a broad range of cards. Also unlike Treasure map and fool's gold, throne room is invariably a bad opening card.

Throne-room is essentially a very weird village with a bonus (or, if you prefer, an of inverse shanty-town with a bonus), if it doesn't hit you are frustrated, if it does hit (it was worth the price.
Note that throne-room applied to even a worthless pearl diver, effectively acts like a village with a moderate bonus (probably one of the stronger 4 cost ones if it was a card) (look at the bottom card of your deck, draw either it or the top 1 + 2 actions). When throne-room hits pawn, you can get a peddler benefit (by choosing +1 action +2 cards, + 1 coin), or use a whole bunch of added flexibility. When throne-room hits a stackable attack (cursers/rabble/noble-brigand/torturer/etc) the end result is stupidly powerful, when throneroom hits a terminal drawer, you can draw an absurd amount of cards. When throneroom hits a good cantrip, you get a village with some very nice extras (for lab you get a level 2 city, for tournament/treasury you get a bazaar). With scheme on the board you can even get a permanent village with endgame explosion potential by constantly top decking throneroom/scheme.

Suffice it to say that if your throneroom hits it is worth it, this implies that if you are going for an engine already, throne room is a good buy once you have a few components ( 3/4 non-throne-room actions is sufficient. ). Now throne-room, like all villages, acts as an engine enabler, if you were already marginal about going for an engine, throne-room makes it worth going for one, village/draw engines gain extra viability when thronerooom is on the board (though they still want either a strong attack or +buy). If there is a stackable attack you can make an engine out of, it is almost certainly worth buying throne-rooms and add them to your engine. A throne roomed witch/mountebank is one of the harshest things in dominion and even the ordinarily maligned noble brigand/saboteur can prove deadly when stacked.

Certain specific cards should immediately make you consider throne room, bridge, which becomes much more potent when stacked, is naturally enhanced by throne room. Scheme can be throne roomed in order to create a permanent extra village per hand or a guaranteed throne room in the endgame. though all attacks benefit from throne room, rabble and torturer, which both offer big draws and are better when stacked are exceptionally fond of it.

Throne-room can be so powerful that certain card are specifically immune from throne-rooms benefits. Haggler, princess, highway, and goons, while all still giving some benefit when throne roomed, all have in play clauses that negate there most potent effects (extra cards, lower prices, extra vp per buy) from being doubled. These cards anti-synergize with throne-room and in general, are not it's best targets (though throne-room can still thrive when used on there support cards)

So when should you not go for throne room? Well, when engine potential is not there. If there are no can-trips present, throne room is nearly always a mistake (very heavy trashing can make it viable). If there is no +buy /strong attack, you should stick to big money X. Throne-room acts as a powerful engine enabler, if there's no reasonable engine to be enabled   the high frequency with which you will draw throne-room dead make it not worth your while.

Works with
Stackable attacks
Hunting Party
Talisman (gain extra cheap actions
Engines in general

Conflicts with

Tournament (a parried tournament is no good when throne-roomed, you are unlikely to have two provinces in hand at a time, and princess/followers are worse when throned)
Fool's gold
Treasure map
Ghost Ship (though being ghost-shipped allows you to move an unusable Throne Room)
Big money games in general

when 5/10 cards are game changers and 3/10 are viable major helpers... the game gets ridiculous.
I'm fairly sure we both misplayed here, given how quick this set should be and given that the game lasted 16 turns, there has to be some ridiculous mega-turn potential going on here. The game consisted (fairly clearly) of us creating dueling engines based on the above core. I'm seriously confused, when I run into this type of engine I just have no idea how to fully milk it's power, how do you go about determing buy order and quantities in this kind of game? 

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