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Dominion General Discussion / Re: Hinterlands 2E Preview 3
« on: February 07, 2024, 03:01:31 am »
Just to follow up on this, our wishes have been granted and a Silk Road replacement was announced as a promo card, Marchland! Thanks, Donald X! :D

Hoping I can get one at Gen Con this year… 8)

Dominion General Discussion / Re: Hinterlands 2E Preview 3
« on: August 06, 2023, 06:50:15 pm »
Just got a copy of Hinterlands v2 upgrade pack today. The new cards look super cool. Hinterlands was already my favorite expansion. But I wanted to +1 the lamenting of the loss of Silk Road. It's the only Alt-VP in Hinterlands that is big enough for you to develop a strategy around it (you can win the game with Silk Road, mostly ignoring Province, but you can't do that with Tunnel or Farmland). I like Silk Road better than Gardens because you can make it build faster, and having a fat deck is not a prerequisite for Silk Road being really valuable. Silk Road is strong by itself if there's any good filter card in play (like Stables), and it's often the dominant strategy on boards with Tunnel, Great Hall / Mill, Nobles, Island, etc., which can't be said of Gardens. Another nice thing about Silk Road is the dynamic where a player rushing Silk Road forces other big money / engine players to bite the bullet and buy a few themselves since getting all 12 Silk Roads is really strong (that's automatically a 36-point deck and can easily grow to a 60+ deck). I hope Silk Road returns in another set or as a standalone promo card for folks not fortunate enough to own a copy of Hinterlands v1.

Game Reports / Re: The Haunted Vineyard
« on: November 28, 2013, 04:29:42 pm »
Thanks for the feedback.  A deck that might stand a chance against the Vineyards/Rats player might be Golem/Rebuild/Winery (without the Marauder as I previously mentioned).  If this deck draws a Potion draw without enough coin to reach Golem, get a Winery, and the Rebuild helps speed the draining of Wineries.  The Winery diversion would slow down the Rebuild deck, but the Golems would help bring it back up to speed.

If the deck has 3 Rebuilds, a Golem, and a Winery by turn 10, then you'll be playing an average of around 1.5 Rebuilds per turn (only going up as you buy more Rebuilds), killing about one Vineyard and upgrading one Estate->Province per reshuffle.  This ought to be fast enough to prevent the Vineyard/Rats player from getting more than 4 Wineries… but then the Rebuild player would still need to stack more than that many Provinces in order to beat out the Wineries.

Even if the opponent ignores the looters, the Vineyard/Rats player can still gain free Ruins with extra buys.

Game Reports / The Haunted Vineyard
« on: November 27, 2013, 04:53:32 am »
When it comes to VP benefiting from attack cards, we all know that Mountebank helps the opponent's Garden deck… but that's about the extent of the obvious examples.  I stumbled upon one in a Goko game last night.  See if you can spot it:

Even without the combo I'm about to describe, this is already an interesting board.  Golem+Rebuild/Marauder looks tasty, as does Big Money Cultist.

My opponent opens Cultist/Vagrant, and I open Silver/Rats.  As my Rats eat through my Coppers and Estates, my opponent fills my deck with Ruins.  I buy some Festivals and stuff for good measure, and I buy my first Potion before my fourth reshuffle.  Meanwhile, my opponent is playing textbook Big Money Cultist.  I buy my first Vineyard on turn 13 and my second on turn 15, and I think my opponent caught on to my plan around that time because she buys her first Potion on turn 15.  The Vineyard split ended up being 6-2, but the Vineyards distracted my opponent from Big Money and the game from there turned into pretty much of a slog.  Thanks to the Ruins and Rats, though, I ended up getting 12 point Vnieyards by the end of the game, which ended by three-piling on Rats, Ruins, and Vineyards on turn 26.

Full log:

2012 / Re: Witch Division: Bracket and Results
« on: December 09, 2012, 03:57:19 pm »
Below are the results for sffc and benjigab.  We played with the official point counter, no veto mode, and identical starting hands.

Game 1: benjigab: 42 points, 19 turns to sffc: 41 points, 18 turns
Benjigab played Workshop/Gardens with some Hamlets, and I played textbook Council Room/Big Money.  We both ignored the Scrying Pools (there was no trashing), and the game was too short for me to build up to Colonies.  It was a very close game (a Buzz Beater), but the Gardens strategy ended up winning on piles on turn 19.

Game 2: sffc: 48 points, 22 turns to benjigab: 21 points, 21 turns
We essentially played mirror Golem/Scheme with Militia as the token Action.  Besides lucky draws with the Golem on my part and an unlucky click on Benjigab's part, I think what made my deck stronger than Benjigab's in this game was that I went for more money before buying Potion and Scheme on turns 5 and 6, while Benjigab took the dive early and purchased Potion and Scheme on turns 3 and 4.

Game 3: benjigab: 30 points, 16 turns to sffc: 28 points, 15 turns
This was a fast game involving strong non-terminal $5's, and we had a 5/2 opening.  Benjigab opened Apprentice/nothing (there were no $2's) and I opened Mandarin/Stables/nothing.  My strategy involved using Stables for the deep draw and Mandarin for coin and smoothing of my deck.  I picked up two Stables, and also an Apprentice.  Benjigab ran an Apprentice-heavy strategy, trashing all of his Estates and a Copper as well as higher-value cards toward the endgame.  I purchased the penultimate Province with the PPR on my side, but Benjigab pulled off the 2-point win with a Duchy followed by a Province on turn 16.  (In the next hand, I had Apprentice/Peddler.)  This game could have gone either way.

Game 4: sffc: 46 points, 25 turns to benjigab: 28 points, 24 turns
This was our only Curse game, with Young Witch and Black Market as bane.  We both opened Young Witch/Black Market.  The Black Market got me an Embassy on turn 4 and Benjigab a Wharf on turn 7.  I was fortunate that my terminals didn't collide very much in the early game, and that I had Black Market on Benjigab's first Young Witch, while Benjigab's YWitch and BM collided twice.  I pretty much played Big Money/Embassy once I got the Embassy out of Black Market deck, while Benjigab played Highway and ended up winning the Curse split 6/4.  I ended up winning in 25 turns by 18 points.

Game 5: benjigab: 21 points, 26 turns to sffc: 26 points, 26 turns
The key cards here were IGG, Embassy, Ambassador, and Fool's Gold.  We had a 5/2 opening, so we both opened IGG/Fool's Gold.  Benjigab played straight IGG with a few Ambassadors.  I remember reading in the IGG article on Dominion Strategy that when there are cards that interfere with the IGG/Curse balance (like Witches or Ambassador), that IGG is not a strong strategy, so during midgame I didn't buy any more IGGs and instead went for Embassy/Fool's Gold with a couple of Ambassadors to mess up the curse balance.  I also picked up a Moneylender on turn 3 to help thin my deck.  The game was pretty much over by turn 20; we Duchy danced for a little bit, and I ended the game by purchasing the last IGG on turn 26.

Game 6: benjigab: 16 points, 14 turns to sffc: 11 points, 13 turns
The key cards here were Wharf, Festival, University, and Conspirator.  We both opened Potion/Loan, and we played mirror up until about turn 7.  I had the unfortunate draw of Potion/Copper/Estate/Estate/Estate with Wharf and University on turn 6, while Benjigab was able to pick up a second University.  I decided to pass up additional Universities, while Benjigab ended up with 3 of them by the end of the game.  Benjigab's Universities allowed him to end the game on piles (Wharf, Conspirator, and Festival) in a well-played megaturn on turn 14.

Game 7: sffc: 27 points, 14 turns to benjigab: 37 points, 14 turns
Young Witch was on the board, but with a 5/2 opening and Lighthouse as bane, this was a Curse-free game.  This game was similar to game 6: a Wharf-based engine game, but this time with Hamlets and Border Villages instead of Universities and Festivals.  I invested in a lot of Hamlets and Wharves, while Benjigab went for Lighthouses and Border Village/Wharves.  We both neglected the economy side of our engines; I realized this when I hit $8 on turn 10, but with that $8 coming from my 7 starting Coppers and my opening Lighthouse!  On that turn, I invested in BV/Stash/Lighthouse, and from then on I was able to hit $11 or $12 (but never $13) on most turns, purchasing Silver with my extra buys.  Benjigab had only one Silver, with the rest of the economy coming from Lighthouses, and he was hitting only $9 or $10 per turn.  However, Benjigab's engine was faster, and Benjigab ended the game by buying a fifth Province on turn 14.

Concluding Thoughts: Both Benjigab and I played strong games.  Benjigab outplayed me in games 6 and 7 (both engine games), while I outplayed Benjigab in games 2 and 5 (both combo games).  I personally feel that I outplayed Benjigab in game 3 despite my loss there, and Benjigab probably feels the same way about game 4.  This match could have gone either way, so I am wishing Benjigab the best of luck in round 2 and the rest of the Witch tournament! :D

Dominion Articles / Re: Remake (draft)
« on: October 15, 2012, 01:59:41 am »
Good article.  You left out what IMHO is Remake's strongest companion, though: Menagerie.  Remake clears your deck of duplicate Coppers and Estates, and then streamlines it to a powerful Menagerie drawing engine.

Also, rather than talking about a card like Haggler, you might want to generalize that to "$5's that become weaker as the game goes on".  I would argue that cards like Ghost Ship, Torturer, and IGG fit as well into this category as Haggler.  (Not to mention Sea Hag or Young Witch -> Duchy, for example.)

You might also want to mention that one reason Remake is better early-game than a card like Remodel is because it trashes 2 cards, not 1.  So, you're sort-of getting a hybrid between Remodel (which increases card value +$2, not +$1) and Chapel (which trashes 4 cards, not 2).

Dominion Articles / Re: Combo : Armory / Conspirator
« on: October 08, 2012, 03:35:14 am »
This is nifty!  I wonder how Armory/Conspirator compares to Workshop/Conspirator or Ironworks/Conspirator, especially the latter.

Dominion Articles / Re: Dark Ages: Scavenger
« on: October 08, 2012, 01:31:02 am »
I have incorporated these comments in to the article in the OP.  For reference, I put the original draft of the article in a Pastebin:

Thanks for all of your feedback!  Let me know if there's anything else that can be changed to improve the quality of this article.

Dominion Articles / Re: Dark Ages: Scavenger
« on: October 08, 2012, 01:17:38 am »
This is a well-organized and well-written list of Scavenger combos. To be a full front-page article, it would be nice if you said a little more about Scavenger in general. Like move the last section up to the top and give a little more explanation. Talk about reliability in general. It's like Scheme except for cards you didn't play rather than cards you did play (making it not work if you draw your whole deck, but maybe helping you up until that point). Talk about how it's a generally decent opening especially if there is some key card you want to find and play repeatedly (like Witch, for example). Then list out the other specific combos you got into.
Thanks for the kind words.  I've taken your advice and moved the Scavenger/Combo combo to the main discussion at the top.  I also lengthened that discussion, and I renamed "Scavenger/AltVP" to just "Scavenger/Scavenger".  There's a cool synergy between Scavenger, Haven, Scheme, and Herbalist that I pointed out as well. :)

Dominion Articles / Re: Dark Ages: Scavenger
« on: October 08, 2012, 01:15:25 am »
Native Village combos like this are difficult to put together because it depends on drawing your Scavenger with a Village of some sort.  This is a main reason why a non-terminal self-spy card like Apothecary makes one of the most powerful combos in the game when paired with NV.

Scav/Gainers (e.g. University)
Scavenger/University is a great combo, because University not only gains a card, but it also gives you the +Actions that Scavenger needs.  I'll add this to the article.

Scav/Treasure map
Haven should be better at matching Treasure Maps than Scavenger.  Plus, Scavenger costs $4, competing with Treasure Maps.  However, you could open Scav/Silver and be all-but-guaranteed two Treasure Maps by turn 4.  I can add this to the article, but I'm not convinced that it is a strong enough combo.

Scav/Scrying Pool, Scav/Rebuild, Scav/Goons
These are all good combos, but they seem more like "Scavenge a Power Card" than a combo that uses Scavenger's unique abilities.

This sounds like Herbalist/PStone.  It's worth noting in the article.

I think I mentioned this one already in the article. :)

This is an interesting one.  I'm not convinced though that taking a 4-card hand every turn and slowing down cycling is worth the 2-3 Curses and Coppers that this would save you from gaining?  Sounds like something into which the Simulator could give us insight.

This is a nice generalization of Scav/Mountebank.  I'll add it to the article.

Scav, even more than Chancellor, rewards you for deck tracking. Yeah you can just dump the whole deck into the discard and pull out the power card, however, if you are already going to play it next turn (or at worst the turn after) you may get more by just top decking from the cards already in the discard. On the flip side, some cards like altar can be so powerful that it is worth it to dump the deck every time they aren't in hand to play them ASAP.
This is a very good point.  I'll add this to the article as well. :)

Dominion Articles / Dark Ages: Scavenger
« on: October 01, 2012, 02:53:53 am »

Scavenger is a card whose power may not be obvious at first glance.  It looks a whole lot like the card Chancellor always wanted to be, similar to how Noble Brigand is like the card Thief always wanted to be.  So, what makes Scavenger worth having its own article?

Scavenger's power arises from the fact that it lets you search essentially your entire deck, finding exactly the card that you want, and topdecking it.  This is actually pretty awesome.  If Scheme is the card that lets you save an Action that you played this turn, Herbalist is the card that lets you save a Treasure that you played this turn, and Haven is the card that lets you save something that you could have played but didn't, Scavenger is the card that lets you save something that you never even saw this turn.  Better yet, unlike Scheme and Herbalist, it works on non-actions as well as actions.

Early in the game, you can Scavenge cursing attacks like Sea Hag and Witch to win the curse split.

Later in the game, You can Scavenge your Platinum, Goons, or other power card, depending just on the frequency that you draw a Scavenger.

Scavenger also helps put together unrelated combos.  For instance, consider Tournament.  If your only Province is in your discard pile and you know you have Tournaments coming up soon, Scavenge it to the top of your deck.  If you have +Actions, you can even Scavenge a Province that you revealed this turn in order to gain multiple Prizes at once.  If you have lots of Scavengers and even more +Actions, you can topdeck more complicated combos together.  For example, play a Village followed by two Scavengers, topdecking your Talisman and your Quarry.  In an engine, Scavenger increases reliability by being able to topdeck key components for next turn.

In a similar manner, Scavenger rewards you for diligent deck tracking.  Yeah, you can just dump your whole deck into the discard and pull out the power card, but if you are already going to play it next turn (or at worst the turn after), you may get more by just top decking from the cards already in the discard. On the flip side, some cards like altar can be so powerful that it is worth it to dump the deck every time they aren't in hand in order to play them ASAP.

However, Scavenger really shines when it is part of its own combo.  Below, I point out a few of the most notable.

Combo: Scavenger/Stash

Requirements: 2 Scavengers, 3 Stashes

This is one of the first combos that was documented in Dark Ages.  It is pretty straightforward: every turn, play Scavenger, put your deck into your discard pile, and topdeck your other Scavenger.  During cleanup phase, you draw the second Scavenger, and when you reshuffle, put all three Stashes on top.  In the absence of handsize-reduction attacks, you are now guaranteed a Province every turn.

Some players might be more comfortable with having 4 Stashes instead of 3 to guard against the possibility of drawing both of your Scavengers in the same hand.  However, the probability of this happening before you buy your fourth or fifth Province is quite low, and if it does happen, the combo is quick to get going again.

Works With: Cursing attacks, Looters

Conflicts With: All handsize-reduction attacks, Minion, Pillage

Combo: Scavenger/King's Court

Okay, what card besides Counting House doesn't combo with King's Court?  I am pointing out this combo because it is extremely resilient, and it guarantees a Province or Colony every single turn.

Requirements: 2 Scavengers, 2 King's Courts, 2 Silvers (or 2 Platina for Colony games)

Here's how it works.  Draw King's Court, Scavenger, Silver, and two other cards.  KC the Scavenger, don't discard your deck, and instead topdeck the KC, Scavenger, and Silver that are in your discard pile from last turn.  Play the Silver.  Buy a Province.  Draw 5 Cards.  Rinse and Repeat forever.

What makes this particular combo worth noting is that it is immune to Militia, Goons, Margrave, and Ghost Ship.  In fact, the only cards that could normally mess up this combo are Minion, Pillage, and (immediately after a reshuffle and with bad shuffle luck) trashing attacks like Rogue and Thief.

Works With: Handsize-reduction attacks and most other attacks

Conflicts With: Minion, Pillage, faster King's Court combos, Masquerade in the presence of handsize-reduction attacks

Combo: Scavenger/Golem

Requirements: 1 Scavenger, 2 Golems, exactly 1 other Action

This is similar in principle to Golem/Scheme.  Play your Golem, making it find your Scavenger and any other Action card of your choice (say, a powerful attack).  Play the wildcard Action, and then play the Scavenger, discarding your deck if necessary and topdecking your other Golem.  Rinse and Repeat.

Counting House fits extremely well in the wildcard spot, even better than it did in Golem/Scheme.  Let your Golem find your Scavenger and your Counting House, play the Scavenger to discard your deck, and play the Counting House to draw all of your Copper.

Works With: Strong attacks, Counting House

Conflicts With: Minion, Pillage, Looters (for ruins are actions), Necropolis, Masquerades that give you action cards

Combo: Scavenger/University

Requirements: At least 1 Scavenger and 1 University; the more the better.

Watchtower is a powerful cards because it lets you topdeck something you just bought or gained, enabling you to play it an extra time than you normally would have been able to before the end of the game.

Scavenger can work in a similar manner to Watchtower for Action cards that gain something.  Gain your card, then Scavenge it for next turn.  Unfortunately, most card-gainers are terminal.

University not only lets you gain a card costing up to $5, but it also gives you actions.  So, you can play University to gain a $5 Action and then immediately Scavenge it.  If you have a cantrip in hand, you can even draw and play the $5 Action from University on the very same turn that it was gained.

Works With: Good $5 Actions, Cantrips

Combo: Scavenger/Reactions

Requirements: At least 1 Scavenger and 1 or 2 Reactions

Scavenger comes to the rescue when you blow out your birthday candles and wish, "if only there were a way to ensure that I always have my Trader, Tunnel, or Watchtower in hand when my opponent plays an attack."  Since Scavenger doesn't require that you actually draw the card from your discard pile right away, if Scavenger is your last Action, you can ensure that your Reaction is available between turns.

Works With: Strong Reactions in the presence of Attacks

Conflicts With: Minion, Pillage

Combo: Scavenger/Scavenger

Requirements: 2 Scavengers

With 2 Scavengers in your deck, you can simply Scavenge a Scavenger every turn to ensure that you always start with at least $2.  Nifty!

The guaranteed $2 is useful in many situations, but especially in Alternate VP games, when your money density becomes exceedingly low.  With a guaranteed $2, you just need $2 out of the other 4 cards in order to get your Silk Roads or Gardens; that's a $0.5 average card value.  For contrast, you woud normally need a $0.75 average card value to consistently purchase $4 AltVP.

Scavenger/Scavenger works especially well in the presence of Throne Room.  Throne your Scavenger, topdecking your other Throne Room and Scavenger.  You are now guaranteed $4 every turn.  Just one Copper and you have your Duke (requiring $0.33 average card value).

Scavenger/Scavenger and especially Scavenger/ThroneRoom are also resilient to most attacks, including handsize-reduction attacks.

Works With: Most attacks, Throne Room

Conflicts With: Minion, Pillage, faster non-AltVP strategies

Do you know of any other Scavenger combos?  Let me know here, and I can incorporate them into the article. :)

Rules Questions / Re: Farmland + On-Trash Abilities
« on: October 01, 2012, 01:22:27 am »
Thanks for the responses.  Barring my Embargo flub, all of the answers were what I expected, except the can't-play-Treasure part.  But, looking back at the rules more closely, it does indeed say that you make your buys after you play your Treasures:

The player may play some or all of the Treasure cards from his hand to his play area and add to their value the coins provided by Action cards played this turn. The player may then gain any card in the Supply of equal or lesser value. He takes the purchased card from its Supply pile and places it face-up on his Discard pile.


Rules Questions / Farmland + On-Trash Abilities
« on: September 30, 2012, 02:24:27 am »
I've recently played several F2F games that involved Dark Ages cards and Farmland.  The text of Farmland says:
When you buy this, trash a card from your hand.
Gain a card costing exactly 2$ more than the trashed card.

Cards including Rats, Overgrown Estate, and Cultist say:

When you trash this, +1 Card.  (+3 Cards for Cultist)

The special effect of Farmland is triggered only in the Buy Phase (except for Black Market).  Suppose you buy a Farmland, then trash a Rats from your hand.  I have a few questions:
  • Do you still add a card to your hand?
  • If so:
    • If it is an Action, do you get to play it?
    • If it is a Treasure, do you get to play it?
    • If it is a Reaction, if the reaction ability is triggered, do you get to use it?
  • In the edge case of Black Market, do you draw the cards and continue your Action Phase as usual?
In addition, if the on-trash ability is not "+Cards" (e.g. Squire), does that ability still get resolved?  One example would be to buy Farmland, trash Fortress, return Fortress to your hand, then gain (but not buy) another Farmland.  Does that combo work?  (Heh, Fortress would make for an unbalanced game if Farmland were on-gain instead of on-trash.  Good planning by Donald X.)

One other edge case.  Suppose you play a Haggler, buy a Farmland, and trash a Rats.  Do you get to choose the order in which to resolve the Rats' +Cards and the Haggler's gain cards?  For example, one weird situation I thought of is if you have a Watchtower in hand.  Suppose there was an Embargo token on Gold.  Could you gain a Trader from the supply with Haggler, then topdeck it with Watchtower, then draw it with the trashed Rats, then gain a Gold, then reveal Trader to gain a Silver instead of the Curse from Embargo?  (Pardon the ridiculousness of this situation; it's more for proof of concept than anything.)

Finally, seeing the order of the statements on Farmland, do all on-trash abilities get resolved before the card is gained from Farmland?

I think I know the answers to most of these questions, but I wanted to ask here to get an official answer.

Dominion Articles / Re: A novel Pin
« on: September 17, 2012, 03:47:25 am »
Very clever.  Cutpurse and Torturer are the only cards that can normally can force a player to discard below 3 cards in hand (barring a traditional Masquerade pin), but of course Torturer is useless for that purpose once the curses run out.

There's little doubt that Cutpurse/Masquerade/CopperGainer will need a lot of assistance: namely, plenty of +actions and +buy.  Masquerade has +Cards built in, but a sifter like Warehouse will probably be needed since you are in effect making your deck the size of two decks.  Scrying Pool will fit nicely for obvious reasons.  A Rabble or two could help you draw through dead hands and also enable you to steal your opponent's green cards more efficiently.

One nice thing about this pin as opposed to the traditional pin (and you mentioned this in your OP) is that it doesn't break if you can't pull it off one turn.  You will be stealing your opponent's VPs, and better yet, if you get hit by a discard attack, you have a "real" deck rather than a 5-card hand, so you can absorb the hit.  I would say that it would be wise to not buy any green, wait for your opponent to have 4 Provinces, and then set off the pin.  Fortunately, with the amount of action cards required for Cutpurse/Masquerade, it will probably take this many turns to develop your deck to the critical point anyway.

I'll have to try this out a few times to get the tactics down right.

Council Room Feedback / Re: Anyone want to maintain councilroom?
« on: September 17, 2012, 03:14:24 am »
If you still need someone, I have quite a bit of experience hosting web servers, and I've played around with Python and MongoDB enough to know what's going on.  I host all of my web sites on the Rackspace Cloud or Amazon EC2, and both have proven to be fast and dependable.  My favorite OS is Ubuntu Server.  PM me on the forums here if I can be of assistance :)

Dominion: Dark Ages Previews / Re: The Bold Predictions Thread
« on: August 20, 2012, 08:36:26 pm »
Okay, time for some of my naïve bold predictions that might turn out to be true for some of these cards.  In alphabetical order:

Under the right circumstances, Count will be one of the strongest cards in Dark Ages.  Like with Minion, my prediction depends on having a high concentration of Counts in your deck.  However, unlike Minion, Count helps clean out your deck with its "trash your hand" option.  2 Counts can hit $6 to buy more Counts or benefit-on-trash cards (like Cultist); 3 Counts can either hit a Province or hit $6 and trigger junk riddance/benefit-on-trash cards; and 4 Counts can hit both a Province and trigger junk riddance/benefit-on-trash cards.  Of course, this depends on having either Villages or ThroneRooms/KingsCourts, so any buys that aren't used for Count or benefit-on-trash should be used for these cards.  In late game when your deck is bloated and you can't get your Counts and Villages/ThroneRooms/KingsCourts to collide, Count provides a nice solution: just gain a Duchy!  This nice little perk should enable a Count deck to win many games just because it is so ridiculously fast when duchy dancing.

Junk Dealer will be a dead card in the presence of other non-terminal trashers.  I mean, in almost all cases, lonely little Upgrade is better than Junk Dealer.  Of course, in the lack of other trashers, Junk Dealer will be strong, but only for the same reason that Walled Village is strong in games that lack other Villages.

Poor House will also be a powerful card.  In a deck planned around it, Poor House is almost always going to be worth at least $2 or $3, and often $4, like Harvest.  But unlike Harvest, Poor House is cheap and easy to get!  Expect to see pro-level games that revolve around who can most effectively use Poor House.

Procession is definitely a combo card.  I expect Procession's most powerful combo to be with Border Village: play any $5 card twice, then just gain a copy back again along with a free Village.

Storeroom will be a Duke/Duchy enabler, similar in principle to Horse Traders.  All that's needed is 1 Silver per 9 cards in your deck: if you draw Storeroom with no Silver, just discard everything and draw 4 cards.  As soon as you have your Silver, you can hit $5 by discarding whatever else you drew.  Because of the fact that you can discard Copper without any problem, in non-Duke games, Storeroom will also be a powerful curse counter for Big Money (although not a discard-attack counter).

Wandering Minstrel will be the best $4 village in games that lack combos with other $4 villages (like Fortress and Worker's Village).  For perspective, Shanty Town seems to go out of its way to make sure that it doesn't collide with your actions, but Wandering Minstrel does just the opposite.  Wandering Minstrel also has a powerful synergy with Scrying Pool.

Goko Dominion Online / Re: Do we know when exactly it's going up?
« on: August 18, 2012, 12:44:06 am »
To be fair, Goko Dominion is not really all that bad.  Sure it's somewhat buggy and its developers didn't build it with security in mind (which is unfortunate), but it does use bleeding-edge technologies like HTML5.  (I'm not sure what their server is running, but I suspect that it's something like Node.js with a MongoDB backend.)  The graphics and animation are far superior to anything we've seen thus far, making it more appealing to the casual Dominion player.  Isotropic has its place as a "gitrdone" interface for Dominion, but playing on Isotropic is a significantly different experience than playing with real cards.  I think Goko has done a wonderful job of making an electronic Dominion that closely resembles a face-to-face experience.  And remember that they did make the text logs for us hard-core Dominion players!

In terms of optimization, JavaScript as a language is a decade or so behind its more mature counterparts like Java and (Objective-)C that are used to write native phone apps.  As JavaScript engines get better, so will the performance of HTML5 games.

Dominion: Dark Ages Previews / Re: Sage Jokes
« on: August 08, 2012, 03:08:07 am »
Sage skips the Apothecary but stops at the Potion.  He likes mixing his own elixirs.

Dominion: Dark Ages Previews / Puzzle: The Four Mysterious Ruins
« on: August 08, 2012, 02:58:55 am »
We saw the +Buy Ruined Market in yesterday's preview.  But what will the other four Ruins (+1 Card, +1 Action, +1 Coin, and unknown) be called?  Also, what will the unknown Ruin be?  Guess away!

Try to think of your own guesses before reading everyone else's.

Graverobber: Graverobber's end-game uses are straightforward (Graverob your Minions/HPs/Witches/etc to Provinces), but methinks it has potential to be a mid-game card as well: that is, a card that you can build a deck around.  The tricky part is getting enough actions.  It would be cool to Graverob your Estates to more Graverobbers, for example, but Estates are Victory cards.  Perhaps Shelters are Action cards?  I guess we'll see!

Poor House: I like this card a lot.  One thing that is lacking in Dominion are Thronable cards that give you +Coin more than +$2.  Harvest is the closest thing so far, with an honorable mention to cards like Baron, Mandarin, and Merchant Ship (all of which are underrated, IMHO).  I've played games where my deck was built around KC/Harvest, and I was able to hit $11 for a Colony almost every time my KCs and Harvests collided.  KC/Poor House also has potential, but what really sets Poor House apart from Harvest is that it's so cheap!  You might not even need the KC at all.  Just get some Poor Houses, Villages, and cards that trash or discard treasures (Spice Merchant, Stables, Warehouse, Secret Chamber, etc), and that may be all that you need.  Works with Remake, Upgrade; Conflicts with Trader, IGG, Mountebank.

Sage: It looks to me that Sage will be joining Dominion's crowning combo-putting-together cards, which are so far Haven and Scheme.  Scheme works best in the mid- to end-game, when you have powerful Actions that you want to play every turn (KC, Followers, etc), but it doesn't work to put Treasure Maps together, for example.  Haven suffers for the opposite reason, that you can't play your Haven'd card at all until the next turn.  Sage is unique in that it works exceptionally well in the early game.  If you open Treasure Map/Sage and buy another Treasure Map on turn 3, you could very reasonably match your Treasure Maps on turn 4, something that was all but unheard of before.  Paired with a cheap money card (like Poor House), Sage can also work wonders with Tournament.  Another combo that should be exquisite is Sage/Conspirator; not only will your Sages find your Conspirators, but they will also help activate them for you!  The cycling aspect is nice, but it's not something I would rely on.  Conflicts with early greening.

Feodum: I'm always glad to see alternate VP cards.  This obviously has a useful interaction with Trader; a Trader/Feodum rush could easily break 6 or 7 VP per Feodum.  However, like Silk Road, in the absence of activator cards (like Trader for Feodum and Great Hall for Silk Road), I think Feodum will end up being used mostly for just tie-breaker points.  Using Feodum to gain Silver is overrated.  If you open Feodum/trasher, there's only a 30% that your Feodum will collide with the trasher on our first reshuffle, and if they don't collide, Feodum is as dead as a card can be.

Cultist: It looks like a Witch with some extra gizmos going on.  I'm not sure what to think about the "You may play a Cultist from your hand" part… have we ever seen a card that gives you a virtual +1 Action that can only be used on one type of card?  A Cultist rush could be confusing to keep track of when interfaced with cards like King's Court and even Village.  Cultist chains have the risk of being even more annoying than Minion chains.  Everything on this card except the "+2 Cards" is something unseen to this point in the land of Dominion.  The Trash bonus looks like it could be used in an end-game explosion: Play a Village, Graverob your Cultist to a Province, and then continue with your turn as usual.

Ruined Market: So now we know what 50 of the 113 "mystery" cards in Dark Ages will be (500 total – ~352 kingdom – 35 randomizer).  The other 63 are presumably the Shelters.  Ruins could actually come in handy, though; in a game with King'sCourt/PirateShip but no +Buy, for example, a hand with KC/KC/PS/PS/RuinedMarket would be a whole lot better than KC/KC/PS/PS/Curse.  Ruins can also serve as fuel to your Graverobbers.  And like Donald said, I certainly wouldn't want to be the Cultist player in a Fairgrounds game!

Squire: Nice thematic play on Trusty Steed!  I think this will most likely be used for the "gain an attack card" portion, especially on a 2/5.  Open Graverobber/Squire, then Graverob the Squire to a Graverobber and gain a Familiar.  Only problem is that it might prove difficult to get the squire to collide with a trashing card (except for Hermit).  However, in a Possession game, methinks the Squire will be well-worth the trouble.  If you use it solely for the +Actions, it is inferior in most regards to Crossroads.  However, if you can attain a critical mass of Squires, they could be used to complement either a Poor House (with the actions) or a Feodum (gain the free silver) deck.

Hermit: Huh.  Hermit is the first Dominion card that allows you to trash a card that's not in your hand (excluding Native Village).  Hermit may be the answer to the difficulty of matching benefit-on-trash cards (like Squire, Feodum, and Graverobber) with a trasher, which was most likely going to be one of the trickiest aspects of Dark Ages.  Hermit is terminal, though, so it won't be possible to use multiple Hermits on the same turn in the absence of an action increaser (and it will also require you to waste even more buys to gain your Madmen).  One other interesting thing is that you can Hermit all of your non-Copper junk cards into more Hermits, which you can then use to either continue cleaning your deck, or turn them into a critical mass of Madmen.  Hermit will be a hard card to pass up on most boards.

Madman: My discussion of Hermit brings me to Madman.  The most obvious use here is to gain a critical mass of Madmen, then use them to set off a megaturn.  Heck, even 3 Madmen, assuming relatively lucky shuffle luck, could draw your entire deck: if you start with 5 cards (1 of them being Madman), play the Madman to draw up to 8.  The next Madman would draw to 14, and the next to 26, the size of most well-groomed decks.  It is vulnerable to discard attacks; a hand with 2 cards and a Madman is the same as a hand with 2 cards and a, well, level 2 city that trashes itself.  The fact that gaining Madmen slows down your deck development (by forcing you to lose a buy) is IMO a wise choice by the game architects, because it will make Megaturn strategies more reasonable for opponents to combat.  Madman is a helpful card even in non-Megaturn decks, but the opportunity cost of gaining it is so high that if you don't use it to anything more special than a Tactician, you may as well have bought a Silver instead of that Hermit.

Rats: I've gotta say, this has good thematic flavor.  Other than it being a fast, non-terminal trasher, though, I don't really see the point.  The benefit-on-trash portion is not very impressive; it's basically the same as playing the Rat, except you don't trash a card or gain another rat.  I guess you could have a marginal benefit if you use Hermit to trash the Rat from your discard pile, but Hermit is a terminal action, so it probably wouldn't do much good.  (I'd much rather trash a Cultist and draw 3 cards instead of 1.)  You could also screw yourself up if you draw a hand with, for example, 4 Rats and a Province.  For what it does, I'm not sure why this card costs $4; it seems more like a punishment than anything.  I guess to use it effectively, you'd have to open with it, let it eat your deck, and then purge them away when you're finished using them (which will be quite the feat).  But that just seems like too much trouble.  I must be missing something.

Pillage: Woah, a strong attack with an even stronger benefit-on-play.  This will make games slow down a lot, because you can basically prevent your opponents from buying that last Province.  It can also be Graverobbed and Top-decked to perpetuate the attack.  Heck, if you can Throne the Pillage (or play a Village followed by two Pillages) and if you happen to have a Watchtower in hand, you can basically be guaranteed at least a Province on your next turn (or a Colony barring your opponents from playing Pillages).

Spoils: A one-time-only Gold.  For what it is, seeing that it's only gained as a "prize" from other cards, it's not bad at all.  It looks like fun.

Shelters: The biggest card that will benefit from Shelters is Fairgrounds.  10 Kingdom Cards + Prov/Duchy/Estate/Curse + Gold/Silver/Copper + 3 Shelters = 8 Point Fairgrounds!  Even if Fairgrounds is not present, in most cases, I would choose to start with Shelters rather than Estates for the following reasons: Necropolis will allow for a slightly higher terminal density (although this could be dangerous because you can have only 1 Necropolis); Overgrown Estate has a nice on-trash effect (the same as Rats); and, quite frankly, they look more fun than Estates.  I think Hovel is a red herring for early greening; a deck with 2 Golds and a Hovel is still stronger than a deck with 1 Gold and an early Province.  This isn't to say that I would always choose shelters, of course: in a Remake/Menagerie game, for example, Estates are probably better because they can be remade into Menageries, and in a game with no trashing abilities and a strong big-money enabler (e.g. Embassy), Estates do still have marginal value for tiebreaker points.

I'm looking forward to what Dark Ages's Village (other than Ruined Village) will look like.  Some guesses:

Silver Dollar Village ($3 Action): +2 Actions.  Reveal you hand.  +Cards equal to the number of Silvers.

Roman Village ($4 Action): +2 Actions.  Each other player gains a Ruins.

Squatter Camp ($3 Action): +1 Action, +1 Card.  You may trash a Ruins from your hand.  If you do, +1 Action.

Now that Squire has debuted, I wonder if that will be the only Village in Dark Ages.

Another random card guess:

Plague ($5 Action): +3 Cards.  Each other player gains a Ruins.  When you gain this, gain a Curse.
or maybe
Plague ($5 Action): +1 Card, +1 Action.  Trash a card from your hand.  Each other player gains a Ruins.  When you trash this, gain a Curse.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Altar: So, basically a $6 version of Expand.  I imagine that it costs $6 only so you can't Alter cards into more Altars.  I'm sure Altar has its place, but I don't see myself buying it over Expand on most boards.

Armory: A very straightforward card.  An upgraded Workshop like Ironworks, with Ironworks' distinction being that it is non-terminal for actions, and Armory's distinction being that it topdecks your card rather than discarding it.  This could be especially useful in games that involve thick decks (cursing games, games without trashing, etc).

Band of Misfits: It's interesting how the working says "costing less than it" rather than "costing less than $5"; this prevents any Highway-type gizmos.  I assume that if you use this as an action-victory hybrid card, it will become no longer a victory card after the game ends, since at the end of the game no card is in play (except maybe Durations?).  The main use I see for this is as a highly adaptable card, like Steward (and now Squire, etc).  Early in the game it can be a Chapel or a Cutpurse; in the middle of the game it can be a Bridge or a Militia; and in the late game it can be a Secret Chamber or even a Noble Brigand.  It will also serve well in Village/Smithy-type engines; it can serve as either a Village or a Smithy, depending on what you drew.  I think this will be a very fun card to play with!

Bandit Camp: Now we see one of Dark Age's villages.  It seems very straightforward if you are going for a Spoils-based strategy.  I think I would take a Bandit Camp over a Bazaar in most games: Bazaar is $1 now, but Bandit Camp is $3 later.  (Of course, Bazaar would still be preferable if you have a very high Action density and your average card value exceeds $3.)  Certainly it's a "nice" alternative to Pillage.

Beggar: Have we ever seen a card more suited for a Gardens game?  This is awesome for that purpose!  It also seems to have a nice attack-counter ability, similar in principle to Jack of all Trades.  If you're not going for a Gardens strategy, I don't know if I've ever seen a better activator for a Spice Merchant!  Heck, you could build an entirely sub-$5 engine out of just Spice Merchants, Beggars, and a Village of your choice.  Band of Misfits couldn't hurt, either!

Catacombes: Meh, to be honest I'm not digging this card in general.  It does help cycle your deck, but it's still non-terminal like Smithy, Margrave, and Torturer.  However, unlike Catacombes, Margrave and Turturer have an attack built in, which of course helps a Big Money-type strategy.  One card that Catacombes counters extremely well is, of course, Rabble, as you can now discard all of those disgusting green cards that your opponent kindly top-decked for you.  Catacombes could also be preferable to the other card-drawers in an Engine-based strategy, as it lets you find the action cards you need to continue your chain.  But in general, I still think I would prefer a Warehouse and a Smithy to a Catacombes.

Count: I LOVE this card!  It looks like so much fun to play.  A King's Courted Count would be soooo awesome!  There are so many awesome things about this card that I can't even list them all here!  There's some pretty epic stuff you can do if you play lots of counts in a row (gaining +$3 each time), get a hand full of Count-gained Coppers and some trash-for-benefit cards like Cultist, and then trigger the "trash your hand" option!  Heck, if you chose to top-deck some cards from your hand, you can do some planning so that when you trash your Cultist, you can still continue your turn.  It also has a nice synergy with Spice Merchant, which can trash all those Coppers that Count made you gain.  EDIT: I misread the card, and Count does not actually put the Coppers into your hand.  It therefore will not synergize with Spice Merchant as well.  Count should work especially well with Worker's Village, which provides both the actions and the buys that Count will need to be most successful.  Oooh, I just can't wait to get my hands on a box of Dark Ages now!

Counterfeit: I've come up with treasure-doubling cards in my playgroup before, but never one quite like this.  I guess that after extensive playtesting, Donald X's team concluded that a vanilla "play a Treasure card in your hand twice" type of thing (like a Throne Room for Treasures) was too powerful.  The +Buy is a useful addition.  Counterfeit should be useful both as an early-game Copper trasher and as an end-game Platinum doubler.  One card that combos with Counterfeit is Spoils, since you'd have to return them to the supply anyway after playing them.

Death Cart: I'm so excited that Dark Ages is giving Dominion so many more of the much-needed Thronable Money cards!  First Poor House, then Count, and now Death Cart, all with their own little unique twist.  Death Cart should combo extremely well with Rats, which gives you the mid-to-late-game fuel you need to keep your Death Carts but still generate lots of money.  Heck, the Ruins that Death Cart gains for you are only extra targets for Death Cart to trash!  I'd take a Death Cart with Ruins over a Cache with Coppers almost any day.

Forager: This smells a lot like Trade Route, except it's non-terminal.  It's definitely communal in value; one person will add a Silver and a Gold to the pot, only to see everyone else buy Foragers in response.

Fortress: And we see yet another village!  There are some nifty things you can do with this card.  It's a nice target for Rats if you need one, because not only will Rats replace itself in your hand, but it will not have effectively trashed another card in doing so.  The same would apply to Steward when it asks you to trash 2 cards, but you have only 1 junk card.  You can also do some pretty awesome Upgrading or Remaking here: "Upgrade" your Fortress to a $5 card, and then just gain your Fortress right back again.

Hunting Grounds: So now we finally have an unconditional 4 card draw.  It looks to me like this will be most useful in a Big Money-type game; it gives you the draw power you need, and it can also be cashed in later for VP.  Obviously, it can help in engines too, but the $6 cost may be prohibitive for gaining more than 1 or 2 by mid-game.  It shouldn't bee too much of a problem finding a late-game trasher for Hunting Grounds seeing that trashing is one of the themes of Dark Ages. ;)

Ironmonger: This sounds a lot like Tribute.  I like tribute, but it's not usually a game-changing card.  Unlike Tribute, however, Ironmonger is guaranteed nonterminal, which will help it run engines, set up conspirators, and so on.  Otherwise, I don't think this is a must-buy.

Junk Dealer: Funny name for a $5 card; seems like "Antique Dealer" would have been more suited.  Anyhow, this definitely looks like a Dark Ages-only card.  Without trash-for-benefit cards that Junk Dealer can target, it's strictly worse than a Market after you clean your starting cards out of your deck.  Upgrade, on the other hand, keeps working into the end-game, changing $4's into Duchies, for example.  Upgrade doesn't give +Coin, but in the absence of a handsize increaser, you can't train very many of these together without trashing a card that you don't want to trash, so the +Coin won't be more than $2 or $3.

Marauder: This to me reveals how much weaker of an attack Ruins are than Curses.  We saw earlier that gaining a Spoils is akin to gaining +1 Coin (Bazaar vs. Bandit Camp).  So, if we think of it that way, Maurader would be roughly equivalent to a $4 card that gave +$1 and handed out a ruins.  But wait: Sea Hag, which gives out a Curse, doesn't give you any benefit whatsoever, and Young Witch is a terminal mini-warehouse.  Furthermore, a $4 attack that gives +$1 is Noble Brigand, which is not a very strong attack.  Maurader seems like a pretty good opening to me.

Market Square: Ooh, a card that gains a real Gold, not a Spoils!  This looks like a nifty way to fill up your deck with a bunch of Gold, in many ways similar to Tunnel.  A Market Square/Rats opening might actually be very strong for this reason.  You'd still need a way to get rid of your Rats, of course, but the Rat-powered demolition of your deck can be used to activate Market Square many times.  Other than the Gold-gaining special ability, Market Square is just a Market without the money, and in most cases is equal to something like Hamlet or Pawn.

Mercenary: It looks great, but here's what it just is: a Militia that trashes 2 then draws 2.  The trashing aspect is sometimes convenient, but what if your draw is Gold, Gold, Province, Province, Mercenary?  If your Mercenary were a Militia, you could have gotten that Province, but now you're screwed and have to settle for a Duchy.  It's powerful with a lack of other attacks on the board, but it seems rather underpowered to me for being a card that you have to gain through special means.

Mystic: $5 for a Wishing Well that gives +$2 instead of +1 Card?  Seriously?  I'm not saying that +$2 is bad, it's just that this card doesn't feel that it's worth $5.  It has to be more than $3 since it's better than Silver, so that would put it at $4.  This seems reasonable, seeing that one of its closest relatives, Conspirator, is also $4.  I guess it's more useful when combined with a self-spy card, but it still seems overpriced at $5.

Procession: At first, I thought, "huh? Possession again?"  But it's not possession; it's procession!  It's a Throne Room and an Upgrade all wrapped into one nice package, all for just $4.  Nifty!  (Call while supplies last!)  This is certainly a combo card.  Procession/Graverobber/BorderVillage has got to be an epic.  Also, anything with Procession and Fortress must be pretty solid; it'd be a nice way to build a Cultist or Minion or Count chain, for example.  I look forward to finding combos when this card is on the board.

Rebuild: Remodel, Upgrade, Expand, Remake, Develop, and now… Rebuild!  (They must be running out of synonyms at this point :P )  So, we now have what looks like a Mine for Victory cards.  This could be a nifty way to target your Feodums, but there are unfortunately no more VP cards in Dark Ages, and by the time you get around to buying Rebuilds, you've probably already trashed your Feodums.  IMHO, Rebuild seems like a card better suited for an expansion like Hinterlands or Prosperity, since it has no other interactions with Dark Ages.

Rogue: So now we have a Graverobber variant.  In some ways, Rogues and Graverobbers are sort-of like Masquerades: Masquerade passes cards from one hand to the next directly, and Graverobber/Gue pass cards from one hand to another via the Trash pile.  Unless you end up very lucky, especially in a multiplayer game, you probably won't see whatever it was that you trashed earlier.  One of the most annoying things would be if an opponent's Rogue reveals a junk card and a Rogue from your deck, forcing you to trash your Rogue.

Scavenger: Half Scheme, Half Chancellor.  These are both $3 cards, and so it makes sense that Scavenger costs $4.  It seems like this card would be better if you got to put 2 card on top of your deck instead of 1, especially since it is terminal.  I guess it would be okay if you played two Scavengers together, but again, they're terminal, so this would be hard to do.  In a game with no Villages, if your Necropolis missed the reshuffle, I suppose Scavenger might be useful to get it back in the draw pile faster.  And a Processed Scavenger isn't a horrible deal, either.

Storeroom: Half Cellar, Half Secret Chamber.  These are both $2 cards, and so it makes sense that Storeroom costs $3.  I'm sort-of surprised that it is terminal, but I guess that a non-terminal SC/Vault-like ability would bee too powerful.  Let's do some math.  Suppose that your deck is 50% Silver and 50% Victory, and you have a single Storeroom.  A typical draw that has a Storeroom is therefore 2 Silver, 2 Victory, and 1 Storeroom.  When you play the storeroom, you discard the 2 Victory and draw 1 Victory and 1 Silver.  You then discard that second Victory for +$1.  End result: a $7 hand, not absolutely terrible for a deck with such dilute money.  One nice perk about Storeroom is that you can discard Copper without any fear: if you discard 3 Copper and draw 3 Victory, you can still turn the Victory cards into the value that the Copper would have been, something that you couldn't do with just Cellar.

Urchin: A weak attack that could fit into an Outpost/ThroneRoom/Masquerade pin.  The main benefit of this card I guess is that it is the only way to get Mercenaries.  You can always play an Urchin before playing your stronger attack since Urchin is non-terminal, and when you do, you can replace the Urchin with a Mercenary, which is a stronger attack than Urchin, but still not all that great of a card in the presence of other trashers.  If you use it only for the attack ability and ignore the Mercenaries, since it is cantrip, it should benefit Torturer chains.  It would also work well with Masquerade.  However, it would be dangerous to mix Urchin with Margrave (my favorite +3 Cards card), because then you're basically giving your opponent a free Warehouse before they start their turn.  In short, if you're looking at $3 and you don't want Silver, like Spy, Urchin can't really hurt your deck.

Vagrant: I always like little cute $2 cards.  It looks like a watered-down version of Scout at a more reasonable price.  I would have worded the card "Reveal the top card of your deck. If it's not an Action or Treasure, put it into your hand.", and then it could have even been included in a different expansion, but I'm sure that Donald X has a good reason for including it in Dark Ages.  Like most other lightweight $2's (like Pearl Diver), if you have $2 and an extra buy, there's little reason not to pick up a Vagrant.

Wandering Minstrel: Holy moly!  I don't think we've ever seen a better Scrying Pool activator than Wandering Minstrel.  Not only does it clean non-Action cards off the top of your deck, but it also gives you the +Actions that you need to play all those Action cards!  This should also work in Village/Smithy-type engines and also decks that rely on Poor House.  Unlike Shanty Town, which seems to go out of its way to make sure that your +Actions don't find action card, Wandering Minstrel does just the opposite.  This will certainly be one of the strongest $4 Villages.

Abandoned Mine, Ruined Library, Ruined Village: Nothing terribly surprising here.  Abandoned Mine really isn't all that bad; a hand with Gold, Silver, Copper, Copper, Abandoned Mine is a whole lot better than Gold, Silver, Copper, Copper, Curse.  Ruined Village is a Conspirator and Horn of Plenty enabler.  Ruined Library is probably the weakest of these three Ruins.

Survivors: This is really not all that bad for being a Ruins.  Heck, if this cost $2, it would be a decent purchase, especially if it were non-terminal.  It's a nice card to pair with Native Village, but like most other deck-spying cards that go down more than 1 card (e.g. Navigator), Native Village's +Actions come too late.  On a board with an excess of Villages, I might find myself choosing to get a Survivors with no money and an extra buy.  Also, I will be getting Survivors and Followers mixed up by name for quite a while I think.

Knights: Love it.  This has got to be the most epic Fairgrounds enabler known to Dominion.  No doubt that the attack is strong, certainly better than Swindler and Saboteur in most cases.  I don't yet see the significance behind the knight/knight interaction (the "If a Knight is trashed by this, trash this card" part).  A quick analysis on each of the nights is below.  I have sorted them from best to worst.
  • Sir Michael: Combo attacks are always very powerful.  We haven't seen very many yet, but Followers is an example (half witch, half militia), and of course Followers is a very strong attack.

  • Dame Josephine: VP cards can never hurt, especially in games with no alternate VP.  On 4/4 Province and Duchy splits, the player who would win is the player who bought Dame Josephine.

  • Dame Molly: Extra actions can never hurt, especially in the absence of traditional Villages.  This tastes a lot like Necropolis.

  • Dame Anna: This tastes a lot like Mercenary in terms of the play mechanic.  It's fine, but I wouldn't depend on it for your trashing ability (unless it happens to be on top of the Knights pile in the absence of other trashers and you're the first player to hit $5).

  • Sir Bailey: This is pretty vanilla.  It's basically a cantrip knight, so it won't hurt your deck.

  • Sir Vander: Sir Vander gives you a real gold!  However, I would rather skip Sir Vander and just buy the Gold instead for only $1 more.  It has some edge-case uses, of course, but in general, not that strong.

  • Dame Natalie: Useful for picking up some Sages or Silvers or Menageries, but not much else.

  • Dame Sylvia: Again, very vanilla.  I wouldn't expect Dame Sylvia to be the difference between winning and losing.

  • Sir Destry: Even more vanilla.  I put Dame Destry below Dame Sylvia because I am in general opposed to terminal drawers.

  • Sir Martin: This will only be useful in games without a source of +Buy, but since you will have only one, it's hardly better than Ruined Market.

Dominion Articles / Re: Combo: Forge/Hoard
« on: August 05, 2012, 08:23:18 pm »
Who buys 3 Forges... ever?\
Um, maybe people going for pure Forge decks? :P

As I said in the OP, Forge is a fun card to use and build a deck around.  It's not always the most competitive route, but it gives a new perspective to Dominion.

Dominion Articles / Re: Combo: Forge/Hoard
« on: August 05, 2012, 08:04:39 pm »
Forge decks tend to be tight; if you can get 1 forge by the third reshuffle and another 2 by the fourth, you'll have 3 forges eating away at your deck.  Once you get it down to 15 or so cards and have done the Hoard/Duchy (or Hoard/Estate) purchase 2 or 3 times (a reasonable proposition by turn 13 or 14), there should be a high probability that you do indeed draw the Forge with a Duchy and a Gold.  I'm not exactly sure about the math behind it, but it seems like it should be something along the lines of:

Code: [Select]
Assume your deck consists of 3 Forges, 3 Duchies, 3 Golds, and 6 of something else (including Hoards).

Frequency of drawing Forge, Duchy, Gold, X, X = (3 nCr 1)(3 nCr 1)(3 nCr 1)(12 nCr 2) = 1782
Total Combinations: 15 nCr 5 = 3003
1782 ÷ 3003 = 59%

I wrote a little simulation that drew 5 random cards from the deck 1,000,000 times, and that gave me 33.26%.  (Here is the code I used.)  Also note that you can forge Hoards instead of Golds in the late game, so the combo probability is going to be even higher than this.  Either way, it seems that you have a pretty decent chance of drawing the combo at lest once per reshuffle, and if you use the turns that you don't draw the combo to buy more hoarded Duchies or Estates, then you're golden.

Goko Dominion Online / Re: Dominion Strategy FunSockets Beta Signup
« on: August 05, 2012, 09:31:27 am »
I was just wondering, are players still being accepted into beta testing?  I signed up using the Google Form on the first day and am eager to give feedback, but I haven't received any notifications.  (I'm just asking; I'm don't mean to be pushy.  In fact, this question might be a good addition to the Forum FAQ.  ::) )

Dominion Articles / Re: Combo: The Embargoed Spice Venture
« on: August 05, 2012, 09:16:42 am »
For clarification, I used BMU as the opponent in the sample logs because the logs were meant to demonstrate the mechanics of a pure Embargoed Spice Venture player (how many turns it took to reach a Venture cascade, etc); BMU just makes a nice generic benchmark.  They weren't intended to demonstrate the competitiveness of the combo.

If you'd like, I can get some logs for an opponent other than BMU, but those should be easy enough to make just using Geronimoo's simulator.  As was mentioned in the OP, this combo does indeed beat a number of competitive strategies, especially ones like Ghost Ship that force discards (since we're seeing our whole deck every turn anyway, it doesn't matter if we have to discard/topdeck some junk).  That's not to say it works well against all competitive strategies, of course.

I very much agree with your points about the Embargo.  Embargo is indeed a very difficult card to simulate.  The reason it ended up in the combo was because it seemed to perform the best against the benchmark than the other $2 and $3 terminal silvers.

Also, although this combo may be obvious to level 30+ players, the purpose of writing about a combo is to point out unique features and/or interactions of Dominion cards.  (Indeed, the bulk of the documented combos are also "obvious" to mid-to-high-level players.)  Venture/Spice Merchant demonstrates the cascading quality of Ventures, and for reasons I mentioned in the OP, it is likely one of the most efficient ways to achieve the cascade. :)

Dominion Articles / Re: Combo: The Embargoed Spice Venture
« on: August 05, 2012, 06:11:46 am »
Then again, once you have 4 or 5 ventures, the rest come almost automatically, and this deck would handle curses pretty well, so who knows. I'm curious as to how long it took the simulations to obtain X number of ventures/trash all the coppers/place Y embargoes.

Here is a simulation where the bot manages to kill all of its coppers and get 8 Ventures, and here is a more realistic simulation where the bot ends up with 6 Ventures and 2 Coppers.  In both games, since the bot likes to open Embargo, the Golds get embargoed right off the bat, and the Silvers get embargoed not long after (around turn 5).  By turn 8, there are two embargo tokens on Gold in both simulations (and also two on Silver by turn 8 in the first simulation).  The Venture cascade starts by around turn 10, at which point it generates enough money to buy more Ventures.  By turn 15, both simulations are busy buying Provinces almost every turn (indeed, the less-ideal simulation starts even earlier than the more-ideal simulation).

For kicks, here is a simulation where the opponent embargoes the Ventures.  Embargoed Spice Merchant wins despite having 4 curses clogging its deck.

If the ventures aren't embargoed before you get, say, 4 or 5 of them, it probably won't matter.  A hand of 4 curses + 1 venture gets your whole chain off anyway, in theory.  The real problem is that it would drain the curse pile earlier- which makes me wonder how it would play in multiplayer?

In Multiplayer, the Embargoed Spice Merchant (ESM) still holds its ground.  There are more curses in multiplayer, so the curse pile does not run out any more quickly than in 2-player.  In a game against 3 BMUs, ESM wins 92.5% of the time; in 4-player, that's not too shabby.  If the BMUs smarten up and buy Curses, ESM still wins 40% of the time versus only 19% for each BMU+Embargo.

Another interesting thing is that ESM even wins if two players are going for the Ventures: 2 ESM vs. 2 BMU+Embargo => 32% for each ESM vs. 17% for each BMU+Embargo.

A 3-card combo which relies on 8 copies of a single card and is incredibly obvious?

Having 8 Ventures is only an ideal situation: in a real game, you will normally have 5 or 6 Ventures with a couple Coppers or Silvers that never intersected your Spice Merchant (or other money-trashing card).  In this case, though, multiple Ventures in hand should do the trick: let the first Venture cascade and find the Copper, then let the second Venture cascade and find the Silver.  If that doesn't hit $8 on its own, your early-game terminal silvers continue to work in the late game.

And it must not be too incredibly obvious if it hasn't been documented before and, given the presence of the combo on an Isotropic game, no one has ever executed it.  ;)

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