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Messages - Brando Commando

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For example a hand with the Tavern in is one which I won't be too disappointed by
wow, I've always thought that card is really weak... maybe I should try it sometime.

I wouldn't say it's a strong card. Just that Tavern is rarely a play that will leave me feeling like I wasted a turn. It's probably better than most of the age I Blue cards for example (definitely better than Altar and Statue, likely better than Pawnshop, probably not as good as Baths).

I think it has a lot to do with where you are money-wise; running no money whatsoever is probably bad, but having a ton isn't very useful. So Tavern might be your chance to refill on cash, especially if you get it with a bunch of cards that don't do much for you.

One of the good things about 7 Wonders, much like Dominion, is that many cards can be useful to you given the right circumstances.

(I went to type up some notes for a friend and realized I might as well write an article on how I play 7 Wonders. This article doesn't get into any expansions in particular but holds well for any combination of the game, I think.)

Generally, the diversity strategy is based around the idea that in Age III, a successful strategy will be able to use many different kinds of cards to generate maximum points per turn.

The key goal of this strategy, then, is to develop a tableau (my word for the sum of all your built cards and stages) that will be able to make use of military and science in Age III so you are not limited to blue and purple cards to generate points. I focus on Age III because itís when most of the points are earned; at least some part of Age II and most of Age I should be focussed on developing a position that will allow you to exploit Age III. (I think this should be true of most strategies but is especially true for this one.)

Of course, everyone would love to be strong in every category. I suppose what Iím suggesting is that it is better to be weak in military and science than to be strong in only one or the other, or certainly better than focussing on blue and purple cards instead.

If it seems strange to you that it might be better to be weak (but not entirely out of the race) in two things than to be strong in only one, consider that playing military and science cards, even when they are marginal for you (3 points, etc.), can often rob an opponent of points if they are focussed on science or military themselves. Moreover, if you completely ignore one or the other, it opens great possibilities for your opponents.

This is one of the most deceptive things about military especially. With military cards, not only are you building up your own threat by playing military, but you are denying opportunities to your opponents. In this light, you can think of a military victory in Age II (for example) as worth more than 3 or 6 points to you, and even more than the -1 points you can serve to your losing opponents: By winning even one conflict (of the two you engage in), you have also ensured that at least one of your opponents canít get 3/6 points themselves (by definition, since only one of you can win the conflict). I suspect this is why military tops out at 18 points possible for winning all conflicts, even though on paper this is less than what you can get by focussing on science; if military were any stronger, it would just be too powerful.

This is all based on my experience and some reasoning, so some readers are bound to disagree with my points, but I think itís a fairly coherent system and Iíve done pretty well by it in a rather competitive group that plays 7 Wonders almost exclusively these days.

For details, Iíve come up with a few principles I tend to follow, along with justifications for each.

1. Donít get locked out of any one resource, but donít build too many resources.

This might mean you have access to one of every manufactured good (gray) and two or three of every natural resource (brown). But by attempting to build more, youíll be wasting turns on resources you wonít use. A special warning, though, is that if any of your stages require 3 or 4 of a single resource, you could easily find yourself at the end of Age II unable to build your stages. In that case, you might want to make a conscious decision not to bother spending a turn building resources that you will only use to build one of your stages.

2. In Age I and II, try to find a balance between building your own resources and building cards that allow you to buy others for cheap.

Again, too many resources means youíve wasted turns building resources you wonít need and no one will need to pay you for. On the other hand, too many commerce cards (yellow cards and the Clandestine Docks cards) mean you wonít ever get paid for your resources and will still have to pay some (albeit reduced) amount to get resources. Also, keep in mind that while a discount card (a trading post or clandestine dock card) can be great, youíll need some source of money to use it, money you wonít be getting from a resource you might have played instead.

3. In Age II, you should only play a double-resource card hesitantly and with great purpose.

In my experience, you wonít need many of Age IIís double-resource cards if youíve done Age I correctly (following the principles above). Instead of a double resource in Age II, I would almost always play either the Caravansery or Forum instead (any brown resource or any gray resource), get some cash from another yellow, or build up science or military, unless maybe I had no access to the resource provided or knew I needed to build a stage with 3 or 4 of the same resource.

4. Age II should be as much about getting into military and science as possible.

Yes, Age II could be a time to fix any resource problems left over from Age I, but mostly I think you ought to focus on developing both science and military in Age II, so that you can be a threat to others in these areas. You may need to turn to a yellow card for cash flow, however, or for a weak hand, a blue card could also be an alternative.

5. Toward the end of Age II, consider building your stages with bad hands.

You might find that you seem to have no better play than those double-resource cards in the second half of Age II, but that means it might be a great time to build your stages. If you wait to build your stages in Age III, youíll most likely be passing up some cards that could give you 3 or more points, whereas at the end of Age II, youíll only be passing up the opportunity to play resources you donít need anyway.

6. In Age III, especially early on, play big blue cards.

This might seem puzzling given that I just recommended becoming a threat in military and science. But if you focus on the high-scoring blue near the beginning of Age III, youíre denying those cards to people who canít use military or science cards. The Palace (8 points) is great for anybody who can build it, but only some people are going to get 5 or more points from another science symbol or military card. So deny them the high-scoring blue card, knowing that the science or military card might well come back to you anyway later in Age III. This strategy is only really possible if you did the work of building science and military in Age II, however.

7. In Age III, look at purple cards and do a quick analysis of how much like a big blue card they are.

Purple cards are harder to eyeball and make a quick decision on. But just remember, if itís a 5 or 6 pointer for you but an 8-12 pointer for somebody else -- especially somebody who looks strong -- consider playing it. (Iím not sure about those numbers in particular, but you get the idea.) As a bonus note, consider that by being diverse and not having a lot of any one color, itís less likely a purple card that relies on big mono-color buildups among its neighbors will be valuable to your opponents.

8. If you have too much coins, you might be doing something wrong.

Consider that the coins score relatively little at the end of the game, so if you have more than 5 at a time, theyíre not doing you much good. It might mean you built too many resources or cash-producing yellow cards. In Age III, sometimes a rich neighbor will flood you with coins, so maybe youíre not doing anything wrong, although if you can anticipate this at all, that might mean you can forego a turn devoted to getting coins.

Rules Questions / Re: Parentheses are meaningful
« on: September 25, 2013, 10:38:14 am »
Parentheses are meaningful!

I think.

Cutpurse says: "Each other player discards a Copper card (or reveals a hand with no Copper)."

If it said "Each other player discards a Copper card or reveals a hand with no Copper," I think standard Dominion interpretation would give the opponent the choice of which to do. And then, if you had Copper in hand, you could choose "reveal a hand with no Copper", and then just "do as much as you can", as the saying goes (just like with Torturer, you can choose to gain a Curse even if no Curses are in the supply).

Obviously you can't do this, so we have to infer that "X (or Y)" doesn't mean the same thing as "X or Y" on Dominion cards.

I spent five minutes thinking about why you were wrong, but then concluded that you're probably right. Good job.

Rules Questions / Re: Parentheses are meaningful
« on: September 25, 2013, 10:30:05 am »
What I'm trying to do is reason back, from what we know the cards are actually supposed to do, to the principles of interpreting what's written on them.

This is why I used to post. But then I got sick of it because people didn't understand the point.

Rules Questions / Re: Cards that "play or modify" Durations
« on: April 16, 2013, 02:48:24 pm »

Then again, Golem has a confusing lack of interaction. Confusing to me, at least. It feels as though the rules should concentrate on how kinds of card interact, not whether or not the interaction of any particular combination has an observable effect. Perhaps I'm saying that Throne Room et al should have been "Action - Modifier", so the rules could say "when you apply a Modifier to a Duration", leaving no doubt. Then Golem could lack "Modifier" in the same way Masquerade lacks "Attack".

This whole thread has been pretty interesting because it's gotten me thinking about how much the physical cards can tell you about the game state; it seems like Throne Room/King's Court/Procession with durations are one of the times when the game state (if I understand that term correctly) has the greatest number of conditions that are not evident directly from the physical cards. The other big ones that spring to mind are reactions (you have to remember to go back to whatever was happening that they interrupted) and Possession (it creates a bunch of conditions that are true for the next turn that you force your opponent to play, but Possession itself is discarded). Mostly it's not a problem, but I think in the case of TR/KC/Procession it's especially inelegant.

Rules Questions / Re: What Should Happen When I King Deathcart?
« on: April 14, 2013, 10:37:58 am »
Yes, it looks like Goko has it right. If you follow the text literally, +$5 is awarded, and then the card has instructions about trashing. It's the "If you don't" clause that forces you to trash Deathcart, so the +$5 is not conditional at all.

Dominion: Guilds Previews / Re: Butcher - frist spoiler?
« on: April 09, 2013, 02:51:35 pm »
I wonder how Donald X feels whenever a spoiler happens.  Maybe he plans all of them as a great big tease?

If this is what happens, I'm sure he has a big laugh.

Rules Questions / Re: Native village: can you look at the top card?
« on: April 05, 2013, 10:01:16 am »
Yes, it was a very simple question. The answer is no. But here is a much more useful answer, to which all the other answers were alluding:

During a turn of Dominion, you are not allowed to do anything other than play Action cards during your Action Phase (spending an Action to do each, one at a time, precisely and completely following each card's instructions in order before doing anything else), play Treasures during your Buy phase (one at a time, precisely and completely following each card's instructions in order before doing anything else, and only before Buying cards), Buy cards during your Buy phase (spending a Buy and the appropriate number of Coins on each, one at a time, precisely and completely following any on-Buy instructions, and then precisely and completely following any on-Gain instructions), clean up during your Clean-Up Phase and then end your turn, advance to the next phase, or count your deck (only looking at the backs of the cards), unless a card specifically says you can do it. (Obvious non-gamestate-related things like talking and sipping on a beverage of your choice (being careful not to spill any and risk damaging the cards) are allowed, and non-obvious things like keeping track of the score with pen and paper are beyond the scope of this answer but should probably only be done with the permission of all other players.)

This answers the majority of rules questions. Teach a man to fish and all that.

I like this for its elegance. I will say however, that no matter how many times more experienced players say this...some relatively new person or somebody who just doesn't think this systematically about things will stumble in and ask a question that is more or less covered by a literal reading of the rules.

And that's when we punk 'em. And we just have to accept that and answer as best we can.

Dominion: Guilds Previews / Re: Types of cards that you hope exist
« on: March 26, 2013, 09:58:10 am »
How about a Tac enabler like "when you play this you may play up to 2 treasures from your hand, then continue your action phase"

Tac would be better, it would work well with things like draw to x cards, and minion (your decision to discard your hand would be easier)...

Yeah, I think there are some really fun shenanigans to be had with playing treasures before your buy phase which I'd like to see available sometimes even when Black Market isn't out.

Also, what Mogrim said about "draw to X" cards. For whatever reason, my favorite engines are something like fishing village/festival for actions and library/JoaT/watchtower for draw.

Treasure Hunts / Re: Ozles Google Maps Challenge 2
« on: March 22, 2013, 10:37:10 am »
Presumably, the vast majority of american football fields will be in the northern hemisphere, so the team going south may still get the sun in their eyes, especially in northern climes in the winter.
even aside from that - say you go out to receive a pass, if you are running a wide route, you will be looking east-west to your quarterback and so will run the risk of losing the ball in the sun.
I know it isn't your rule - I am just hoping (for the sake of national pride) that it is an old wives' tale.

edit: spelling

I think it makes sense. It's not clear from what you've written if you know that they switch ends of the field mid-game. It's not perfect, but it evens things out. I can imagine that passing and running on the axis of the sunset would be kind of terrible.

In fact, I never understood why they switched sides (since the grounds presumably can be maintained/controlled at the NFL level so that one side of the field doesn't have some advantage) but this makes a lot more sense.

News and Announcements / Re: Spring cleaning
« on: March 19, 2013, 10:58:29 am »
The bigger picture is that we're considering expanding this forum/site into covering more games than just Dominion -- not like BGG and trying to cover everything, but a subset of interesting deep games that can be played online with logs.  Innovation is the first step, and Twilight Struggle in a sense I had already started.  Maybe after that we'll add more games.

I'm down. I like the idea that you're running the show, because you seem to have good taste in games, and I like the idea that maybe f.ds could actually be one-stop-shopping for significant board game discussion that is curated for a limited number of especially good games. (i.e., I'm not particularly fond of the bonanza that is BGG.)

So let's call me a supporter. But maybe you need a name other than Dominion Strategy Forum...

Goko Dominion Online / Re: My (Mostly) Positive Goko Review
« on: March 11, 2013, 03:38:15 pm »
I've gone back to Goko in the past few days and have found a generally worthwhile time, too; I felt pretty much the same way as the OP -- what I played months ago and found terrible is good enough to play now and quite possibly fork over $45 for the complete set. I'm still not in love with it, but between that and nothing that seems pretty okay.

Other Games / Re: 6 Board Games that Ruined it for Everyone
« on: March 08, 2013, 12:13:16 pm »
Yeah, I feel like a lot of the urban professionals I know around here (I live in Cambridge, Mass., so it's not representative of the U.S. really) have all rediscovered games due to Settlers -- and it's true, I never thought of them when I was 20, 21, because ever game I knew about was either Monopoly, Risk, or some insanely complicated war gamer deal.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: d/l of isotropic to run locally?
« on: March 07, 2013, 11:17:13 am »
Psh, his Minion is just going to give him the new online Dominion, while the rest of us will just have to discard our hands and draw 4 cards.

Man, I have been playing that card all wrong. I mean, really, really wrong.

Dominion Isotropic / Re: The Future of Isotropic
« on: March 06, 2013, 09:48:59 am »

Wow. I think for many of us, this is the time when we seriously think about packing it in with Dominion. I mean, it's a great game and playing DA online would be awesome, but at the same time, I keep hearing about various things that are annoying about goko and I just don't know if I care enough to make the switch.

Not to mention the fact that the advanced point counter with card counting has become sort of integral to my enjoyment of the game (or I should say, "the variant of Dominion I play") .

I might just give up and find something else that has a quality implementation.


If memory serves, dougz has declined financial donations in the past, but I'm sure many of us would be willing to donate towards defraying the operating costs of Isotropic. How can we ensure that this end of an era isn't the end for Isotropic?

Actually, he was accepting donations last time and you totally should if you haven't before. I mean, I'm willing to pay for Dominion online...probably just not goko dominion online.

Variants and Fan Cards / Re: Should Swamp be a 0$ or a 1$?
« on: February 26, 2013, 10:09:22 am »
its striktly better than all ruins so it should not be 0$

That doesn't matter. Copper is pretty much strictly better than Curse, yet they both cost $0.

But its also better than necropolis... does that matter?

I think the "strictly better than" is meant to avoid cards that are always weaker than another kingdom card. So if two $4 cards are similar, but one is strictly better than the other, the weaker $4 is probably never going to be bought (corner cases, anyone?) until the stronger $4 is sold out.

This makes the game less elegant and I assume that's why DXV has avoided it. But the same kind of test doesn't work for curse and copper, because buying them is more of a part of a specialized strategic decision, and I think Curses cost $0 mostly because they have to have a cost, not because that's a good cost for them based on playtesting or something. Copper is $0 so you can bootstrap yourself out of having nothing in your deck whatsoever (or something to that effect), not because it's strictly better or worse than Curse. It's okay if a kingdom setup makes it unlikely you'd want to buy one or the other.

Likewise, since you can't buy Necropolis anyway, it shouldn't matter much whether Swamp is strictly better or worse than Necropolis.

So, I think the question to ask is: Will the presence of this card in the Supply mean that some other kingdom card will never be bought because it would not be logical to? Don't worry about Curse, Copper, or cards you can't buy anyway.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: MTG cards as Dominion cards
« on: February 21, 2013, 04:17:44 pm »
I came up with the inverse game: I sort of mapped Dominion cards into a Magic framework, tweaked it, and then made my friends play with me. It didn't turn out that fun, but it was interesting to try to play the game well. I had victory chips represent life, and all action cards doubled as creature cards (I made their regular Dominion card text all a tap ability). I think we had Reaction cards act as Instants that returned to your hand. Treasure could be tapped for mana.

It didn't turn out that well, but what the heck.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: Veto Quiz #1
« on: February 19, 2013, 04:13:36 pm »
I would veto Worker's Village.

If I veto Peddler, it looks like a boring set-up (I'm putting about as much thought into this as I would a real veto vote), and if I don't veto Worker's Village, that will become a key card in a race for buys. A race to Peddler would be pretty uninteresting, but if one of us is going Peddler and the other trying something else, that could be interesting. So vetoing WV makes the game less prone to luck and more interesting anyway.

Introductions / Re: Hi...?
« on: February 19, 2013, 09:28:03 am »
Hi, I'm Kooshie!  I'm new to this, so I may ask a lot of annoying questions.  Please have patience with me.

Props for a Library avatar. Represent! Festival/Fishing Village/Library is my favorite kind of engine.

Goko Dominion Online / Re: Why aren't *you* playing on Goko?
« on: February 15, 2013, 12:35:19 pm »

These are also my problems with it. It's all UI.

I have animations on fast, because I don't want to waste time and be annoyed by watching the animations. But that means I have to open and close the log every damn turn. I think you'd have to have animations on slow and pay super-close attention to avoid that. Or just not care about what the other players do on your turn. I'm sure lots of casual players don't care, but I play competitively.

That log is way more difficult to read than on isotropic. It's just a wall of text with no color or formating, and lots of unnecessary repetition. Talk about a non-graphical interface! Scrolling up is also incredibly wonky. I find myself using the scroll wheel on my mouse, which doesn't work of course. So you have to grab that scrollbar. But it seems when you first click the scrollbar, you're stuck dragging it, even the next time you open the log? I think you have to click again to un-grab?? Something non-intuitive anyway. Really really annoying stuff.

I'm not doing justice to your list, but you're pretty exhaustive, and with each new paragraph I just wonder how this is every going to work if Goko's strategy is to have the player base ask them to fix each and every one of these. These are the kinds of things that make me think when Isotropic goes down I'll just stop playing.

A question to software people...Does anybody have any insight into why Goko has gotten so many of these small things wrong when Isotropic was designed, well, by a guy in a cave with spare parts, etc.? As a non-software-guy, I just don't get how Goko could be biffing so badly when DougZ did it in his spare time.

Honestly, any insights would be fascinating.

General Discussion / Re: Education
« on: February 12, 2013, 04:10:19 pm »
I never really understood the "teach to the test" criticism.  What is the alternative to "teaching to the test"?  Teaching a subject in such a way that students can't demonstrate proficiency? 

Focusing on the subject matter rather than the method of evaluation.

Fundamentally, it's because "how easy is this to evaluate" is NOT  a useful metric for deciding whether something should be taught. The stuff that goes on standardized tests is dictated as much by the format as it is by the curriculuim. Take your own example of the SAT math. It gives a bit over a minute per question. So that means all skills that are difficult to evaluate in a minute of a student's time simply get discarded. Since they're not going to be tested, they're not going to be taught.

Are you really saying that there are no math skills worth teaching to high school students that can't be boiled down to a one-minute multiple choice question?

What would you replace it with, though?

I'm saying, success on a standardized test is more correlated with mastery / understanding than any other alternative.  It would be wonderful if we had a magic committee that could individually interview every student fairly every year.  But we don't have that, and the alternative to a standardized test is essentially no oversight at all.  There are enormously strong institutional pressures at the local level to pass students no matter what.  I would think, then, that if you care about reforming schools the very first thing to do would be to hold them all accountable, and the only fair way to do that is with standardized testing.

I agree. I feel as though what's really happening in America is that we're trying to figure out a way to pass the buck on underfunding education (I feel like we're using the cross-your-fingers strategy with a lot of kids), and I'm hoping that maybe testing could counter that by putting school failures in concrete terms.

I like the idea of teaching critical thinking as much as the next guy, but I find that a lot of schools -- even the good ones I was lucky enough to go to -- didn't have much of a solid plan for teaching it anyway, even in an era when "teaching to the test" wasn't much of a thing. (I graduated high school in '98.) So if they weren't going to teach me something intangible, why not teach me something tangible?

Rules Questions / Re: Smuggle a spoils?
« on: January 23, 2013, 05:04:31 pm »
This came up this weekend for me, and the FAQ for Spoils is particularly specific: one can only gain a Spoils using Bandit Camp, Marauder, or Pillage.  Period.

Or Thief!

Good point. This is especially bad because Thief specifically says you "gain" the treasure, while the Spoils FAQ (at least on the wiki) says you can't "gain" Spoils except through those three cards.

I'm guessing Thief is a legal way to get it, but I'm not sure.

Dominion Isotropic / Re: Name and shame ragequitters/slowplayers
« on: January 17, 2013, 02:11:33 pm »
Jimmmmm's right. I'll play a game out if possible but I've had plenty of games where I just got disconnected b/c of crappy connections. it happens.

Also, don't be a troll to J.

Dominion Isotropic / Re: Do not play against these people List
« on: January 16, 2013, 09:49:50 am »
As a mere matter of cost/benefit analysis, I think this list would be a waste of time. (Then, again, as a matter of cost/benefit analysis, I'm sure the post I'm writing right now is a waste of time.)

Out of thousands of games played on isotropic, I've spent a total of about 10, maybe 15, playing against people who were so obnoxious I would avoid them in the future.

To check this list before playing somebody would take up way more time than it would ever be worth.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: Cute Trick
« on: January 15, 2013, 03:50:07 pm »
I buy a Province.
I Haggle a Hunting Grounds.
I reveal a Watchtower, trashing the Hunting Grounds.
I gain a Duchy.

I buy a Province.
I Haggle a Hunting Grounds.
I reveal a Watchtower, trashing the Hunting Grounds.
I gain a Duchy.
I gain 3 Estates.
I topdeck the Estates using Watchtower.


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