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Author Topic: Request: Avoiding end-game deck stalls  (Read 6266 times)

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philosophyguy

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Request: Avoiding end-game deck stalls
« on: June 26, 2011, 11:20:33 am »
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I have a request for a strategy article rather than the article itself; my apologies if this is the wrong forum to post this request.

I would love to see an article on how to avoid having your deck stall in the late-game. Examples of the kinds of tricks I have in mind include getting a VP edge and then Apprenticing Provinces/Colonies in order to draw enough money to buy replacement victory cards (cf. Annotated Game 2) or using Vaults to turn green cards into cash to continue buying VPs.
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Nagetier

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Re: Request: Avoiding end-game deck stalls
« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2011, 10:52:59 am »
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The main decision is whether to go for a rather self-working grinding endgame (buy top VP card as early as possible) or to make an elaborate engine. Your problem should mainly occur during engine endgames. The solution here is mainly finding the correct time for the switch to VP buys. The following cute moves may help, but they probably can't salvage wrong decisions made earlier.

Apprentice top victory card = draw most of the deck for a game-ending move. Know what you have in your draw pile, and know the score before doing this. Apprentice is a nice trasher in general, so this doesn't need much planning.

Salvage top victory card = deplete its pile faster. Only useful if leading.

Bishop a Province = -1 VP for $1, slight acceleration, opponent might trash Curse. Fine in very small decks, or when the rest of the hand totals exactly $7, or when the bishop was KCed anyway. Bishoping a Colony should be false most of the time.

Early Hoard purchases = see today's featured article about Hoard in Colony games. Otherwise this is extremely useful. (And fun with Gardens.)

Early Vault = mainly useful throughout Province games, it's less useful in Colony endgames.

Late Cellar = only good if one doesn't buy too many of them. Useless against handsize attacks.

This is just some ideas. If someone considers writing a proper article, go ahead.
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Stoc

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Re: Request: Avoiding end-game deck stalls
« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2011, 12:42:43 pm »
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One comment in the Annotated Game #8 that turned on a light bulb for me was
Quote
Whenever you come out the better after an intense competition for Actions, you should look to see if you can end it on piles rather than VPs (especially if you are first player).  Sometimes you can’t, because of a lack of +Buy, but more often than not there’s a way to safely end the game on piles rather than going for a more risky VP exhaustion.  You want to look for non-terminals that essentially guarantee your deck can’t stall out while ending the game.
http://dominionstrategy.com/2011/05/30/annotated-game-8/

This has significantly improved my game lately. The thought process being now that both our engines are off the ground, there should be a couple of low piles from the engines. Rather than buying 3 Provinces and a Duchy, which may or may not be enough of a lead when I draw 3 green cards and two gold next turn, can I end the game right now if I buy a village, 2 council rooms, and a duchy?

Here's a sample game where my 'engine' never really took off, and seemed very prone to stalling, but I was able to end on piles after 1 big turn. http://councilroom.com/game?game_id=game-20110626-230430-2d129aee.html
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randomdragoon

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Re: Request: Avoiding end-game deck stalls
« Reply #3 on: June 28, 2011, 08:49:35 pm »
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One thing to always keep in mind is that if you can nab more than half the victory points, and there are no saboteurs or VP chip cards, then it doesn't matter how stalled your deck is, you're going to win.

You should always be on the lookout for cards that can power your deck even if it is stalled out: Salvager, Apprentice, Remodel, etc. can trash your diluted engine cards for one last burst of power, and cards like Vault still shine even in a sea of green. If you are going for a strategy that buys the top VP card as fast as possible, cards that can trash Province->Province are useful because they defend against an opponent who is counting on your deck clogging up to have enough time to unleash their monster engine.

Another thing to note is that small, sleek engines will tend to clog faster. Big money + chapel is actually somewhat weak (though still stronger than vanilla big money) because it runs into trouble when it starts trying to buy VP cards (iirc it's worse than Big money + smithy). If you are playing a chapel game, you should definitely look to something that is more robust against VP clog than just big money.
« Last Edit: June 28, 2011, 08:53:30 pm by randomdragoon »
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Mean Mr Mustard

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Re: Request: Avoiding end-game deck stalls
« Reply #4 on: June 29, 2011, 05:02:26 am »
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Golem Engines tend to end strong, so long as you can draw a Golem most hands.  Alchemist is great in that is doesn't fall apart so long as you can pull a Potion on every turn.  Scrying Pool engines are a beast if set up correctly on the right board.  Any engine with some strong treasure and Farming Village or a well built Hunting Party deck can pass by all the VP to end the game faster.

My favorite tricks for ending a game quickly; Apprenticing or Salvaging VP, or better yet Peddlers, giving away the last Province with an Ambassador, chaining Horn of Plenty in a Hunting Party or Menagerie Deck and of course the old school BrettSpielWelt-style Remodel of either Gold or Province (or Adventurer, Hoard, Nobles etc).

 
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lefaiison

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Re: Request: Avoiding end-game deck stalls
« Reply #5 on: June 30, 2011, 05:40:33 pm »
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Yeah I requested something like this in the comments of another thread.  Decisions pertaining ending the game is one area where I'm fairly weak because I'm a terrible judge of how good my opponents engine is. 

The following scenarios I often find myself wondering if I did the right thing:

3-3 Province split and have $8.  Pretty sure my deck is worse than my opponents.  Buy Penultimate Province and go for tie because I'll lose if start drawing out the Duchies.

3-3 Province split, opponent is up 1 Estate, and have $8.  My deck is definitely worse than my opponents.  Do I Buy Penultimate Province and hope that for luck that he can't finish, and I can?

Split 3 province to my 2 provinces.  Opponent just played Tactician. I have $16 and a few buys, what do I buy?  (I think this actually happened in a game I played against theory and I chose the worst move possible)
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ackack

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Re: Request: Avoiding end-game deck stalls
« Reply #6 on: July 01, 2011, 12:59:25 pm »
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Hard and fast rules on those sorts of things seem tough to come by. For the first two scenarios, a couple of things that might be worth considering:

- Some of the endgame decisions you mention really benefit from a sense of what your opponent's next turn is going to look like. If I've seen a lot of their big cards go through and there hasn't been a reshuffle, I'm way more inclined to gamble.

- If +buy or other sorts of VP gaining options are available (e.g. Remodel, Ironworks/Horn of Plenty type cards, etc.) and I have the worse engine or none of those, I'm more inclined to toss the dice and grab the Province. The reason for this is that the dancing back and forth buying lesser VP cards can now be circumvented by your opponent by buying a Province and gaining the extra VPs on the same turn. So that plan isn't as advantageous as it usually is.
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Davio

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Re: Request: Avoiding end-game deck stalls
« Reply #7 on: July 04, 2011, 10:40:55 am »
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I have seen many a 2p game suffer from the "Double Penultimate Province Rule" stall.

Let's assume the score is 30-31, there is only 1 Buy, 2 Provinces left, couple of Duchies and Estates and it's P1's turn:
He buys a Duchy with $8 out of fear of P2 buying a Province.
P2, also with $8 realizes P1 is now in front and buys a Duchy out of fear of P1 ending the game ahead with the last Province.

This causes both players to essentially rush Duchies and Estates emptying both piles after a third one has already been emptied and ending the game that way, instead of buying the last Provinces.

The Duchies and Estates really hurt and after a couple of reshuffles, both players struggle to get to $5, never mind $8.

I often find myself wondering what to do in these situations, certainly if I have a more reliable deck, I should force the Duchy rush, but if my deck is worse, should I just gamble?

I guess I should pay more attention to my opponent's deck, looking for a good spot to gamble and buy that poisoned penultimate Province.
I don't have an eidetic memory however and find it hard enough to track my own deck.

Maybe it's easier in a live game, because the game moves slower and you have more feel with the cards; they make a more lasting impression than the text you read online.
« Last Edit: July 04, 2011, 10:43:49 am by Davio »
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