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Messages - Jfrisch

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Dominion General Discussion / Re: Defining the difference between levels
« on: December 25, 2019, 10:55:17 pm »
I feel like tactics and endgame skill become more and more critical at higher levels. Tactics as in "I want to deny you this pile, this pile is going to run out earlier, etc" basically aspects which rely on the interactivity. Endgame skills as in figuring out roughly when the game might end but also, and equally importantly, what to do about that. Basically the truly interactive and local aspects of the game (the ones which make it different from multiplayer solitaire) become a huge factor between better players. I haven't been active for a but I did technically make the top 10 at some point and I regularly misremembered what was in my deck, let alone being able to see 7 turns ahead. That's really not it (seeing 2 or 3 turns ahead in the endgame, on the other hand, really is important). BTW higher level players still make tons of important and not crazily subtle mistakes. I suspect that even a hypothetical level 70 player would lose against perfect play more than 4/5s of the time.

I'm aware you can embed infinity. Another more complicated way to do so wold be via the kc/throne room/procession stack. That doesn't imply any sort of undecidability though.

I've been asking (Math and CS) friends this question for a while now. In particular some variant of question 2.

Being able to embed a turing machine (which is not a totally well defined notion) doesn't seem to (necessarily) have any implication for the undecidability for the game.

Dominion with finite piles is really complicated (i.e. question 2 and variants i.e. winning in 1, getting from 1 state to another presumably these are all the same computability strength). . It seems that the win in turn one question is likely decidable (though proving this seems ferociously hard). But I have no idea about infinite pile dominion.

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.

Recruiter looks insane.
Sculptor looks quite good but not OP by any means.
Acting Troupe looks hard to judge, though quite often worth getting one.

ignoring all exchange abilities.

Spoils at 3 is fine. Gold is worth than +1 card +1 action +2 coins and Mining village for the one shot affect is rarely considered OP.
Soldier at 3 is probably reasonable. It's a nice payload if you make it work but spamming them is hard because they're terminal and a single soldier is pretty weak.
Fugitive at 4 is clearly fine. Strong, sure, but way weaker than lab or forum.
Disciple, as mentioned, is crazy. I think it works at 7 where you have to work very hard to get two disciples and thus disciple disciples. 6 would probably be OP.

Treasure hunter I'd guess 4? I don't think opening two of them would be great to allow.
Warrior is probably also 4, they stack well but it takes work to stack them. But you can't have them too cheap because you don't want mass stacking them to be easy with other components.
Hero at 6 is fine, it combos nice with platinum but even with that it's not game destroying.
Champion wants a debt cost so as to not have the "first person who hit's it gets a giant advantage problem". 12 debt is probably enough for it to work in the game but even so it will end up being bought almost every game.

Bag of gold is balanced at 4.
Followers is incredibly strong. It probably works at 5 or 6 but would lead to more oppressive games at 5 so 6 might be better.
Trusty steed is pretty clearly a solid 6. Though it's boring because it self combos really well.
Princess can't exist in unlimited copies.
Diadem can maybe exist in a way similar to fortune. 5/5 debt seems maybe reasonable.

Plenty of the other Boons are non-optional despite the fact they could hurt in certain circumstances: gain a Silver, +1 Card (now, or at end of turn), look at the top 4 cards of your deck, even gaining a Will-o'-Wisp!

Overall, that's six, half of them. Of the remaining six, two (+1Action,+$1 and +1Buy,+$1) are never harmful, and four are optional.

Edgecase both of those can be harmful in the presence of a storyteller which you want to play but don't want to trigger a reshuffle.

My opponent (Dingan) set aside a prince and a princess.

General Discussion / Re: Brag Board
« on: April 24, 2018, 11:02:29 pm »
Ranked <10 for first time on ShIT.


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?

Dominion League / Re: Season 26 - Signups
« on: February 07, 2018, 01:12:44 pm »
Sure, why not.

My username is also jfrisch

Pacific Time Zone.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: Forced Wins Training Sessions
« on: October 07, 2017, 10:54:45 pm »

Kings court kings court

expand fortress, gaining a kings courtm an expand, and a gear,

then use gear to draw all of them iterating (you don't need to gear every turn), you can gain close to infinite points by also gaining bishops and eventually bishoping your fortresses as much as you can.

I have a paragraph about  Alt-VP, including VP chips,  and a paragraph about Attacks in the "Payload section". Is there a particular point I'm missing that you would like me to add?


There exist plenty of kingdoms where the optimal strategy involves trashing down and drawing your deck and playing a single terminal.  For an obvious example, consider a kingdom with Governor, Militia (or any handsize reducer), and Forager (or any non-terminal trasher).  If you aren't drawing your deck each turn, you will lose to someone who does.  These kingdoms aren't even that rare.  I estimate that ~10% of the draw engines I play are constrained to 1 terminal action.  And ~5-10% more are constrained to 2-3 terminal actions (Necropolis, Crossroads, Tactician, contested Sauna, contested Encampment, Prince).  So, I recommend moving the villages section to the "Wants" bucket.

Its definitely a fair point. These decks exists and aren't vanishingly rarely. (The case with multiple terminal actions feels different though, I would definitely consider having encampment or crossroads on the board having a village.). I'll add a paragraph talking about it later.

taking it out of needs and into wants feels like a bad idea though. None of the needs are, strictly speaking, needs. (Even card draw, you can play a draw your deck engine with sufficient trashing).

I don't think villages are a need, that depends on the drawing card itself and not inherently required for strategies that draw lots of cards. A strict reading of your article would have someone skip the draw engine on a Hunting Party + cantrip payload board for example. This isn't really a small corner case but a sizeable chunk of engines and boards.

I agree non-term draw no village is an important scenario. I don't think most of those decks are draw decks, play like draw decks, or share a ton of useful strategy with draw decks. Most of them seem, to me, to play like good stuff decks. (i.e. they are BMish). Trashing tends to be less important, Gold tends to be good, you don't usually want a ton of gainers. There is little point to trying to draw your own deck.

Horn of Plenty Gives can give exceptions. Highway can give exceptions and Groundskeeper can give exceptions. But I stand by my point.
1. What payload do you imagine for a HP+cantrip deck? HP terminal silver usually plays as better to me. I don't agree that HP spam is much like a draw deck either. (Trashing is unimportant, you usually don't want gainers, usually go for single province).

I agree tiny engines can be great. I mention, in the article, that exceptions exist. Most boards they aren't that worthwhile.

When heavyish trashing, convenient gainers, and a worthwhile attack are present. That's a lot of factors in their favor.

Dominion Articles / Re: Gold
« on: September 15, 2017, 12:47:20 pm »
(And yes, sometimes you are going to play a mostly-money deck. But these situations are becoming so rare in full randomized kingdoms, that I hesitate to even acknowledge the possibility to someone who is trying to up their game.)

I disagree with this line. At least when mostly money includes stuff like merchant/dungeon/silver/gold decks. These types of decks are probably the second most common. On the other hand, disagreeing caused me to write an article. So I'm glad you wrote it.

Also, great concept for an article, and most of the points are very astute.

This is my first article in a while. It is designed more for beginners so while Thoughts are very much appreciated corner cases are fine and I don't feel the need to mentioned. Any suggestions for things I missed would be great. (Obviously other types of cards can be great for engines but I felt like this covered the core).

   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.

Dominion Articles / Re: Bonfire Synergies and Tactics
« on: September 15, 2017, 09:38:43 am »
In practice, I find the loss of economy a much larger concern than the use of buys. (Most of the time, if you want bonfire, there will be a card which gives +buys)

The major downside of bonfire is that, until you average 1 coin per card, it actively hurts your economy. This fact explains most all  its synergies (with gainers/remodelers) and most of its weaknesses.

Other than this, the article is fantastic, but this point really needs to be emphasized. Especially when we are talking about beginners.

Kings Court/Governor/Donate/Banquet.

I won the game in 6 turns (technically on my opponents 7th). Fastest game I've ever played.

Donate is much stronger than KC to me. I think you literally want to buy donate in 99.9+ percent of boards. That is not true for KC. Furthermore Donate is incredibly gamewarping and orders of magnitude better than Chapel.

Let's Discuss ... / Re: empires: groundskeeper
« on: June 24, 2017, 06:05:13 pm »
It is quite good I think, especially in a kingdom with no +Buy.

I'm pretty sure the opposite is true. Groundskeeper isn't usually worth it unless their are gainers or +buys. It is a humongous payload for a functioning engine but, on the other hand, pretty mediocre in Big Money, single province engine, or Slog types of games.

I guess my comment was too brief, but Mic and Steel have it right. Quarry was necessary to inherit GM in the firstplace. (Highway/bridge/bridgetroll would also have worked but would have been much slower)

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