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Author Topic: A New Variant (and a question): The Pocket Copper  (Read 5056 times)

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fp

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A New Variant (and a question): The Pocket Copper
« on: July 05, 2011, 04:04:21 pm »
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The variant is simple:
Each player sets aside an additional Copper at the start of the game.

Each turn, if a player has yet to play the copper, he chooses:
 Play (and subsequently trash during cleanup) the Copper
OR Score X (even fractional) VPs

The question is:
What is the appropriate value for X?

I am going to guess around 0.6 but I could be way off here.
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Deadlock39

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Re: A New Variant (and a question): The Pocket Copper
« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2011, 05:38:06 pm »
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I misread this when I first looked at it and got the impression that you were setting one of your starting Coppers aside, and not an additional one.  I think doing it that way would make the openings pretty interesting.

Regarding the actual variant posted here, and the question.  I'm not sure what the impact of the extra one-shot Copper would be, but it does add in some very interesting strategy.  My instinct would be to simulate two big money players, one that uses the Pocket Copper to buy a Gold on the first turn it hits $5, and another that just holds it to the end, and then adjust the VP value until they break even in wins.  However, I think the amount of VP it is worth could vary too much between kingdoms to give it a good value in VP/turn.

My initial reaction without trying it out is that the VP score makes it too complicated for my taste.  I would probably get rid of that completely, so it is just a question of when the best time to get that spare $1.  I suppose the VP helps out if you get "unlucky" and don't ever need a spare $1, but if you are lucky enough to have just the right amount on every turn, you probably don't need extra free VPs.

rrenaud

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Re: A New Variant (and a question): The Pocket Copper
« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2011, 05:56:05 pm »
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I'd personally guess it is worth much more than .6 vp.

If it was just going to be used to turn a $7 duchy into a province late game, it would be worth 3 vp * probability of hitting $7 at least once late game.

And this is almost certainly not the best use, which I guess will be to do things like get a 5/3 or 6/2 start.


Edit: Reading is hard.
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Deadlock39

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Re: A New Variant (and a question): The Pocket Copper
« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2011, 06:19:04 pm »
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rrenaud,

Did you notice he is giving this VP bonus per turn?  I didn't catch that at first and thought 1. it was low, and 2. why 0.6? any 0.X is equivalent and is just a tie breaker for the player who didn't use it.

As described, if you use it to start 5/3 or 6/2 on an attack board that lasts ~20 turns, and your opponent ignores it, it would be worth ~12VP to them.

DG

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Re: A New Variant (and a question): The Pocket Copper
« Reply #4 on: July 05, 2011, 06:33:11 pm »
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There's no way of calculating it. Let's start hamlet/witch, draw 6 copper with the witch and spend the bonus copper on a king's court for turn 3.
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WanderingWinder

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Re: A New Variant (and a question): The Pocket Copper
« Reply #5 on: July 05, 2011, 08:13:39 pm »
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It varies widely board-to-board, obviously. But my guess is that it's a lot lower than .6 most of the time.

minced

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Re: A New Variant (and a question): The Pocket Copper
« Reply #6 on: July 05, 2011, 08:52:34 pm »
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Having a nine-card deck effectively means that the first turn's cards - along with the first turn buy - are distributed amongst the second hand's fifth card and all five cards of the third hand. Yes, that's right, your first turn buy will be played by turn 3, and possibly even turn 2 - so if your first buy is militia or mountebank, it's gg on turn 2. Furthermore, if the first hand is 5 coppers, then you'll effectively draw five coppers AGAIN on turn 3 - or else draw four coppers together with the first turn's buy, which is far better.

So, in conclusion, a nine-card deck is almost certainly better but is strongly dependent on the opening buy. If X were a one-time penalty/bonus, it should be a small penalty.
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WanderingWinder

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Re: A New Variant (and a question): The Pocket Copper
« Reply #7 on: July 05, 2011, 09:10:35 pm »
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minced, I think you missed the point. You'd still have your original ten, PLUS a pocket copper.
edit: I also disagree with your premise. Sure, if you can get a Mountebank turn 2, it's gg. But that's incredibly unlikely.

minced

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Re: A New Variant (and a question): The Pocket Copper
« Reply #8 on: July 05, 2011, 09:44:22 pm »
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You're right wanderingwinder - sorry.
 
In that case, effectively, the pocket copper will boost a single $7 buy to an $8. That's effectively +3 VP, since the alternative is likely to buy a duchy with 7. I'd say, if X were a single bonus and not a turn-by-turn bonus (the latter is just broken), then X could effectively be 3.

It's an interesting idea, but it's pretty close to salvager or mining village.

As for the 6-coppers 3-estates deck, I guess "better" is the wrong word. The deck has much better initiative (turn 1 buy *guaranteed* to be played by turn 2 or 3) in exchange for less of a chance at a $5 card and much stronger dependence on the first hands' cards. In effect, it's not better or worse, just has way more variance. And there are plenty of cards that could make your opponents' life miserable on turn 2 that are not mountebank, such as militia (say goodbye to your $4 or $5 second hand), cutpurse (ditto).
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Deadlock39

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Re: A New Variant (and a question): The Pocket Copper
« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2011, 09:54:18 pm »
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As I mentioned, I initially misinterpreted this variant in the same way at first.  I thought I liked it better, but failed to realize the first turn buy could potentially be shuffled in.  It would make a total mess of the rules, but I still think I like this alternate idea if you are not allowed to discard your turn 1 buy until after you draw cards for turn 2.  That would put the card timing pretty close to back in line with the normal rules.

fp

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Re: A New Variant (and a question): The Pocket Copper
« Reply #10 on: July 06, 2011, 05:26:14 pm »
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...
My initial reaction without trying it out is that the VP score makes it too complicated for my taste.  I would probably get rid of that completely, so it is just a question of when the best time to get that spare $1.  I suppose the VP helps out if you get "unlucky" and don't ever need a spare $1, but if you are lucky enough to have just the right amount on every turn, you probably don't need extra free VPs.

The issue is that since Dominion a positive feedback loop, almost always you should use it in the first four turns. The idea of the VPs is to balance the timing of when to use it.
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lefaiison

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Re: A New Variant (and a question): The Pocket Copper
« Reply #11 on: July 06, 2011, 05:46:09 pm »
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It's actually a pretty interesting, exercise.

If one person uses it early, you open up a whole new strategy by NOT using your copper, and try to stall out the game.  So it depends on whether or not the game can be stalled or not.

In games with Ambassador + Sea Hag + no trashing, it could be worth as little as 0.2 or 0.3 or so.
In games with KC + Bridge, it could be worth as much as 2 or 3 vp.

It would be an interesting proposal in a game.  "I wish I had 1 more $ this turn.  If you allow me to play this turn if I had 1 more $, I'll give you X VP per turn for the rest of the game", where X can be a number that's proposed.
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Deadlock39

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Re: A New Variant (and a question): The Pocket Copper
« Reply #12 on: July 06, 2011, 06:05:07 pm »
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I totally understand the idea of the VP, and I'm not trying to say it isn't a good idea.  I was just saying that it sounds too complicated for my taste.

If you can come up with a "well balanced" value for the VP amount, it will create a complicated decision process for when to use it.  It will be very different across boards, but as long as it isn't way too high (never a good idea to use because your opponent will just ride the extra VP out to victory) or way too low (always use it as fast as possible to get a boost, with the slower player only being rewarded with consolation tie breaker points) I think it would add a very interesting aspect to the game.

It would need to be balanced to the point where sometimes the right play is to boost yourself in the first 4 turns, but sometimes it would be suicide. Such as, [speculation]you use it to boost your 3/4 to 3/5 and pick up Mountebank, but your opponent waits to get Mountebank on the reshuffle, and collects a ton of extra VP in a long drawn out game.  He still has the Pocket Copper to turn a $7 into an $8 at the end of the game to go along with his nice pile of free VP.[/speculation]

In general, I think this variant would be fun, and wouldn't really break anything.  (The example given by DG isn't really that different than other super lucky things that can occur and give one player a huge advantage.)

The only thing I can think of to watch out for is that if you somehow ended up with a game where neither player ever used it (I have no idea why that would happen), it would actually reverse the end game tie condition in player 1's favor since he would gain the Pocket Copper VP one more time and have 0.X VP more than Player 2.
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