Dominion Strategy Forum

Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Pages: [1] 2  All

Author Topic: Reducing the luck factor?  (Read 11272 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

def

  • Conspirator
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 239
  • Respect: +166
    • View Profile
Reducing the luck factor?
« on: July 16, 2011, 12:01:17 pm »
0

I'm annoyed with the game.
In the beginning, I had the opinion that luck belongs to the game and somehow makes it even more exciting. If I wanted a strategy game without any luck, I could play chess.
But that changed over the last few weeks. I came to the opinion that luck decides way to many games in an unplesant way. 5-2 start against 4-3 in some boards means game over. You seahag my seahag, nice, gg. You go for treasure maps in a board without cycling or trashing and nevertheless get them in the fifth turn, gg. I got a chapel with three estates in turn 3 and buy a witch in turn 4, where you get your chapel in turn 4 or 5 with coppers, gg.
And so on. There are way to many options for a game to be over after the first few rounds without anyone making a mistake, especially in games where both players know what to do. No matter if I win or lose this way, it just isn't fun anymore.

Any useful ideas on how to change the game slightly so that luck still matters, but games are not over due to one simple thing gone wrong or right for one player?

In the meantime, I'm going to take a break and play something different.
Logged

philosophyguy

  • Minion
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 575
  • Respect: +299
    • View Profile
Re: Reducing the luck factor?
« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2011, 12:19:12 pm »
0

Honestly, the answer is to play more. Those bad beats even out after a while, and you'll find that the number of boards on which that happens is surprisingly small.

The second answer is to use those bad beats as an opportunity to think strategically. You can do one of two things: 1) try to find a way to come from behind in that game--is there an alternate victory strategy? can you try for a crazy engine that is a high-risk, high-reward play? 2) ask yourself (or your opponent) if there was a different way to open that game that would be less vulnerable to that kind of ending.

Finally, be comfortable with resigning. There's nothing wrong with asking your opponent, "gg, want to try another since this one's over?" If the game is truly over and it's not going to be fun to finish it off, then move on.
Logged

theory

  • Administrator
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 3603
  • Respect: +6113
    • View Profile
    • Dominion Strategy
Re: Reducing the luck factor?
« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2011, 12:19:49 pm »
+1

How often do those things really happen?

I felt similarly to you for a long time, but the single biggest way I improved my game was when I stopped blaming my losses on luck and relentlessly focused on what I could have done better.  Sure, luck might have cut against me, but other factors did as well.  The fact that I was unlucky doesn't absolve me of all responsibility.

I think true bad luck losses in Dominion are fairly rare.  Drawing either of your first buys on Turn 5 is about as bad as it gets, and even then you can often recover.

EDIT: Plus, we are wired to notice bad luck much more often when it happens to us than to our opponents.  You can see when your terminals collide; you don't see it when it happens to your opponent because he only plays 1 of them.
Logged

rod-

  • Conspirator
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 213
  • Respect: +49
    • View Profile
Re: Reducing the luck factor?
« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2011, 12:39:43 pm »
0

I spend a LOT of time thinking that i'm getting very unlucky draws, either getting my opening buys on turn 5, always drawing my remodel with 4 coppers, or having all of my gold miss the last reshuffle of the game.

I still end up winning most of those games. (Not the last one)
It's more of a challenge, but as long as its possible and likely, then you have to deal with it.

In Magic, you get manascrewed and manaflooded out of some 27% of games, with nothing you can honestly do about it.  Games have to have some luck element to make new people think they can compete against more experienced players.  I know i wouldn't have ever kept playing Isotropic if every game i played against higher-ranked players starting out had ended in my defeat.
Logged

rinkworks

  • Saboteur
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1316
  • Respect: +936
    • View Profile
    • RinkWorks
Re: Reducing the luck factor?
« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2011, 01:33:34 pm »
0

I suppose an obvious way to reduce the luck is to force the same start, or let each player choose the start he wants.  If you're prefer to stay strictly within the rules, there's no rule that says the kingdom has to be random.  The ten kingdom cards can be chosen in any way.  So don't play with Treasure Map, Tournament, Baron, Sea Hag, King's Court, or any other high-variance card.

You can do one better than eliminating the high variance cards by purposely including high strategy cards.  Steward, Pawn, Tactician, Ironworks, Trade Route, City, Goons, Grand Market, Hamlet, Horse Traders, Young Witch, and even things like Courtyard and Haven all involve interesting strategic considerations above and beyond the usual "What do I buy?" question that comprises the majority of the strategy in many kingdoms.  The more strategic decisions you have to make in the course of the game, the less luck plays a factor in the outcome.
Logged

drg

  • Spy
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 83
  • Respect: +2
    • View Profile
Re: Reducing the luck factor?
« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2011, 01:59:03 pm »
0

Have you ever seen both go double ambassador, had your opp return 2 coppers and 3 estates by the end of his turn 5 then drawn both yours on your turn 5? That one's fun.

The only way to overcome early draw luck (if it's attack or chapel based, you're screwed unless maybe if gardens and workshop or ironworks are around) is to do something entirely different from your opponent and hope it pans out.  If you're lucky, they will misplay and not take the best strategy.  If they do, do something else and pray.  If the board is clearly only one strategy possible.... good luck. 

It's very frustrating, but there's nothing to be done about shuffle luck.  First turn advantage can be negated to some degree with equal turns, but it's even then still and advantage.  Equal starting hands helps, and is even an option on isotropic.  Taking out the high random variance cards (swindler, saboteur, tournament, black market, minion) can help too.

You usually will notice if an opponent is having bad or good luck from turns 3-5 (at least I do), but after that it would take more effort than most would want to give for a game to try to follow his deck and figure out if his terminals are colliding.
Logged

Davio

  • 2012 Dutch Champion
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 4787
  • Respect: +3412
    • View Profile
Re: Reducing the luck factor?
« Reply #6 on: July 16, 2011, 02:03:29 pm »
0

I can't help but add that in games between equally skilled opponents, the winner is determined by luck 100% of the time. So, the smaller the skill gap between you and your opponent, the more luck-based it gets.

This gets boosted by some very dominant cards, like the High End Cantrips (Grand Market, Market, Bazaar, Peddler) or Curse Dealers.

Yes, it happens all too often my Sea Hag gets discarded by my opponent's and then it becomes a really hard fight.
With GMs it's even worse, because GMs enable the buying of even more GMs and soon it'll be a waterfall of GMs and it's 6/4 or 7/3 to your opponent's advantage and it's basically game over.

These are the games I least enjoy, those Curse races with Familiars and such ($2 + Potion on turn 3, gg) and those obvious dominant card races.

I like the games more where you can be subtle or change it up in a way your opponent doesn't suspect. I love to catch my opponent off guard by pushing some piles to depletion and snagging 1 Estate or Duchy along.

I played a Colony game today which I enjoyed that featured the following key cards: Ghost Ship, Venture, Treasure Map, Warehouse, Menagerie.
I spotted the very nice Warehouse/TM combo and was able to get my 4 Golds on turn 5 or 6, emptying out the Provinces as quickly as I could, buying Menageries or Golds with less than $8. Menagerie works well as a counter to Ghost Ship, you can just place the doubles on top of your deck and draw them + 1 extra.

My point is that it's often easy to get tempted to go for Colonies just as your opponent does and in that case, it's just a luck race for the first Platinums. Often, there are other ways to win and it's in the finesse of these games that we get our enjoyment out of it.

Dominion can be really exciting when you're trying to maintain an early lead and hold off an opponent, your deck getting greener with every buy, fending for Duchies and Estates untill your opponent can't catch up any more.

I think we have to realize that with ~150 available cards, there will always be dominant ones and sucky ones and the games with either won't be very interesting. If we leave out the best 50 and the worst 50, there are still 10 billion potentially interesting setups.

The bad part is however, that there will never be retrospective adjustments for cards that are either too powerful or too sucky. The text on the cards is set in stone and we have to live with it for as long as we play. You have Throne Room, Throne Room, Great Hall and 2 Colonies in your hand, play TR-TR-GH, draw an Ambassador with a Colony and have to let your opponent pick up 2 Colonies? Oof! Do the same with King's Court and you're fine, just don't play the Ambassador.

All in all, Dominion is and always will be a game and in the first place it was meant to be played in real life with friends and you can play 3 or 4 games on one night and have a different experience every time. Now that we have BSW and Isotropic, the game has a tendency to become overanalyzed too quickly and we think too much about it.

No, indeed it's not chess and it doesn't even close to pretend that it is. It's a deck-building game with shuffling, aka luck, deal with it.

The fun part is, you can start a new game in mere seconds (on Isotropic) or minutes (real life)! Pick yourself up and try again.
Logged

BSG: Cagprezimal Adama
Mage Knight: Arythea

Axe Knight

  • Moneylender
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 170
  • Respect: +25
    • View Profile
Re: Reducing the luck factor?
« Reply #7 on: July 16, 2011, 05:57:49 pm »
0

I feel your pain.  I've had many games where my opponent has Sea Hagged my Sea Hag on Turn 3, or Swindled my opening buy, or bought the only trasher in the kingdom in the Black Market or got a far more favorable shuffle with their Familiars than I did.  But, I can not control it, and, like anything in your real life, you shouldn't worry about the things you can't control.  The key is, as everyone here as indicated, to minimize the amount of luck you need to succeed, and better control the things that you can.  Losing repeatedly due to your opponents' "luck" should only motivate this further.  Take a look at every game that frustrated you, and see what could have been done differently.  Take notes, especially on the different card combination used against you. 

This is a game against Celicath recently where I came within a turn of winning, had he not had enough to buy the last Province.  Did he get a good draw?  Yes.  But did I play this game perfectly?  No.  I should have taken a Duchy on the previous turn instead, among other things.  He would not have had enough money to buy the last Province, and then I would have on the next turn.  I'm far more concerned about that mistake than I am the fact that he got "lucky" enough to win. 

http://councilroom.com/game?game_id=game-20110709-184204-ff01870f.html

There will be "Are you f'ing kidding me?" moments in almost every game.  Armando Gallaraga didn't quit baseball after Jim Joyce took away his perfect game.  Players in the World Series of Poker still come back after their opponent gets a break they only had a 1.4% chance of getting.  Are these the same as a bad draw in Dominion?  No, but they're the out-of-control aspects of these games that the participants simply can not do anything about but keep going.  These are the things that makes these games what they are.  You could not possibly have Dominion as it is without some luck factor. 
Logged
An Axe Knight draws near!  Command?

drg

  • Spy
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 83
  • Respect: +2
    • View Profile
Re: Reducing the luck factor?
« Reply #8 on: July 16, 2011, 06:43:17 pm »
0

I can't help but add that in games between equally skilled opponents, the winner is determined by luck 100% of the time. So, the smaller the skill gap between you and your opponent, the more luck-based it gets.


100% is only true of a computer playing a computer with the same algorithm.  Equally good players do NOT always make the same choices, and it is not always clear what the best play is, nor the best strategy.  What your opponent does can even change what is your best play.  If the players are average or worse (but still similar capabilities), whoever makes more mistakes that particular game will probably lose.
Logged

painted_cow

  • Moneylender
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 151
  • Respect: +20
    • View Profile
Re: Reducing the luck factor?
« Reply #9 on: July 17, 2011, 10:59:00 am »
0

As if these Sea Hag on your Sea Hag scenarios would come up very often. I am to lazy to calulate that, but it happens to me like 1 time in over 1,500 games. Also +1 on theory's post. When you are about level 30 and complain about too much luck involved you still have to learn many things in this game.

Even between top players the strategy differs, sometimes more, sometimes less. Its also a question of playstyle, I prefer chaindecks, many others (also topplayers) prefer more BigMoney like decks.
Logged

WanderingWinder

  • Adventurer
  • ******
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 5275
  • ...doesn't really matter to me
  • Respect: +4381
    • View Profile
    • WanderingWinder YouTube Page
Re: Reducing the luck factor?
« Reply #10 on: July 17, 2011, 11:52:15 am »
0

I want to chime in to agree. There are maybe 20% of boards where these kinds of things are possible, then they still only happen between 5 and 50% of the time for either player, and you have to divide it again by two to get the chance it goes against you. And this is only when you're goth playing similarly good strategies to start with. Of course there's a lot of other luck out there to affect you.
But let's see, I lose about 40% of my games; probably in around a quarter of them did significantly unbalanced luck lead to my downfall (luck's obviously going to be a bigger factor with more players), and I've probably won roughly the same amount of games due to significantly unbalanced luck in my favour. So it evens out, and it's best to not look at it so much. The only time I try to blame something on luck is if I'm pretty sure I made the best play, after a pretty decent analysis, to reassure myself. That's right: losing on luck makes me feel better, not worse, because I know that it can't consistently hurt me.

def

  • Conspirator
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 239
  • Respect: +166
    • View Profile
Re: Reducing the luck factor?
« Reply #11 on: July 17, 2011, 12:26:00 pm »
0

Thanks for the answers.
Maybe I didn't make myself clear enough: I'm equally annoyed when I win due to my opponent having bad luck. This could be my problem and not the games' problem.
Additionally, by studying the game logs or talking with friends during/after games (I'm not only playing online), I know whether for example their terminals collided.
And of course does every scenario mentioned only appear once in a while, but there are many more which can't be listed here that add up altogether.. The percentages that have been thrown in are mostly arbitrary, so we won't know the real probabilities under different conditions (i.e. different kingdoms).
Still, it just seemed to happen way to often.
Thanks for the general advice. The question about other game variants remains.
Logged

guided

  • Jester
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 940
  • Respect: +94
    • View Profile
Re: Reducing the luck factor?
« Reply #12 on: July 18, 2011, 12:20:09 am »
0

I hate the variance introduced by Swindler and by Sea Hag's discard effect, and I hate losing to a bad player who opened Treasure Map with no helper cards and found buried Gold on turn 5. Other than that I'm pretty much OK with the amount of luck in Dominion.
Logged

Kirian

  • Adventurer
  • ******
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 7096
  • Shuffle iT Username: Kirian
  • An Unbalanced Equation
  • Respect: +9411
    • View Profile
Re: Reducing the luck factor?
« Reply #13 on: July 18, 2011, 02:17:18 am »
0

As if these Sea Hag on your Sea Hag scenarios would come up very often. I am to lazy to calulate that, but it happens to me like 1 time in over 1,500 games.

The probability should be 1 in 12 to a first approximation, actually, at least for player 1.

If you mean 1 in 1500 games total (i.e. Sea Hag isn't available in most games), you've about a 1/15 chance of having Sea Hag available, so probability of SH discarding SH is 1 in 180 over all games.
Logged
Kirian's Law of f.DS jokes:  Any sufficiently unexplained joke is indistinguishable from serious conversation.

DG

  • Governor
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 4074
  • Respect: +2624
    • View Profile
Re: Reducing the luck factor?
« Reply #14 on: July 18, 2011, 10:14:56 am »
0

There are plenty of strategy games with no luck. There are even games that are set-up randomly but still have no luck since each player has equal opportunity of play based on the set-up. If that's what you want then you can play those games. Dominion has luck. This can be very good in a game as it

- gives opportunities for less experienced players to win, which a very good feature in a family game
- people like lucky games and are interested in lucky events
- it creates uncertainty in decision making, which is usually more interesting (although meaningless decisions are bad)
- each player has to adapt their game plan to every random draw of cards (mitigating a common criticism of dominion)

Does Dominion have a perfect amount of luck? That's a very difficult question and the answers aren't particularly easy either.
Logged

Matt_Arnold

  • Thief
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 90
  • Designer of "Overworld" by Magic Meeple Games.
  • Respect: +47
    • View Profile
Re: Reducing the luck factor?
« Reply #15 on: July 18, 2011, 11:50:01 am »
0

I would like to see blog entries on dominionstrategy.com ranking the Swingiest Dominion Cards.
Logged

kazztawdal

  • Salvager
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 63
  • Respect: +7
    • View Profile
Re: Reducing the luck factor?
« Reply #16 on: July 18, 2011, 12:48:01 pm »
0

How about, instead of drawing 5 cards off of the top of your deck, you pick up your deck and select 5 cards from it to comprise your hand, and put the rest back.

I'm sure that will be more balanced.
Logged

lefaiison

  • Steward
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 29
  • Respect: +1
    • View Profile
Re: Reducing the luck factor?
« Reply #17 on: July 18, 2011, 02:00:58 pm »
0

How about, instead of drawing 5 cards off of the top of your deck, you pick up your deck and select 5 cards from it to comprise your hand, and put the rest back.

I'm sure that will be more balanced.

Actually... that could be pretty fun.  Remove Chancellor from the game, and make sure there are some good attacks.  During every "reshuffle", you have 15-30s to organize your deck the way you want.  And then bam, go.
Logged

chwhite

  • Saboteur
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1065
  • Respect: +442
    • View Profile
Re: Reducing the luck factor?
« Reply #18 on: July 18, 2011, 09:32:55 pm »
+1

I think the luck factor in Dominion is roughly similar to Scrabble, another of my favorite games (and one which has spawned its own competitive scene).  Among evenly-matched players, any individual game is going to have a good deal of shuffle luck (or tile luck, what have you), but it evens out over many plays, and there are enough gradations in skill such that if the gap is great enough, the better player will be able to overcome a lot of bad luck.  I know Theory is fond of saying Dominion skill has "plateaus", and I think Scrabble does too- for example, knowing all the two-letter words is a really fundamental game-changing insight much the way knowing the importance of trashing is in Dominion.

I can certainly get frustrated with individual swings of luck (we all do), but overall it doesn't bother me because I know things even out in the end.  The fact that most people tend to notice their own bad luck much more then their opponent's bad luck is another reason I try not to complain about it.

As for "swingiest Dominion cards"... I think Familiar and Swindler have to be the champions.  Treasure Map is an obvious pick, and Sea Hag gets up there too.  Ambassador and King's Court merit mention as well.  In general, obviously powerful cards (especially attacks) and cards which muck with opponent's decks are going to be swingier.  And Treasure Map.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2011, 09:37:26 pm by chwhite »
Logged
To discard or not to discard?  That is the question.

kazztawdal

  • Salvager
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 63
  • Respect: +7
    • View Profile
Re: Reducing the luck factor?
« Reply #19 on: July 19, 2011, 12:36:19 pm »
0

As for "swingiest Dominion cards"... I think Familiar and Swindler have to be the champions.  Treasure Map is an obvious pick, and Sea Hag gets up there too.  Ambassador and King's Court merit mention as well.  In general, obviously powerful cards (especially attacks) and cards which muck with opponent's decks are going to be swingier.  And Treasure Map.

No mention of Saboteur?
Logged

Axe Knight

  • Moneylender
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 170
  • Respect: +25
    • View Profile
Re: Reducing the luck factor?
« Reply #20 on: July 19, 2011, 12:51:09 pm »
0

As for "swingiest Dominion cards"... I think Familiar and Swindler have to be the champions.  Treasure Map is an obvious pick, and Sea Hag gets up there too.  Ambassador and King's Court merit mention as well.  In general, obviously powerful cards (especially attacks) and cards which muck with opponent's decks are going to be swingier.  And Treasure Map.

No mention of Saboteur?

Saboteur is way too weak to make a difference in almost every case.
Logged
An Axe Knight draws near!  Command?

WanderingWinder

  • Adventurer
  • ******
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 5275
  • ...doesn't really matter to me
  • Respect: +4381
    • View Profile
    • WanderingWinder YouTube Page
Re: Reducing the luck factor?
« Reply #21 on: July 19, 2011, 12:52:55 pm »
0

...so is treasure map. I actually think that Sabo is swingier than TM.

guided

  • Jester
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 940
  • Respect: +94
    • View Profile
Re: Reducing the luck factor?
« Reply #22 on: July 19, 2011, 01:03:15 pm »
0

A bad player's best practical strategy on a TM board against a good player will very often be to open TM, even if there are no other helpful cards. I mean best strategy as in highest chance to win, since they will almost certainly lose by inexpertly pursuing a lower-variance strategy. Saboteur doesn't really have the same property: the upside just isn't high enough.
Logged

chwhite

  • Saboteur
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1065
  • Respect: +442
    • View Profile
Re: Reducing the luck factor?
« Reply #23 on: July 19, 2011, 04:54:58 pm »
0

A bad player's best practical strategy on a TM board against a good player will very often be to open TM, even if there are no other helpful cards. I mean best strategy as in highest chance to win, since they will almost certainly lose by inexpertly pursuing a lower-variance strategy. Saboteur doesn't really have the same property: the upside just isn't high enough.

This was my thinking.
Logged
To discard or not to discard?  That is the question.

WanderingWinder

  • Adventurer
  • ******
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 5275
  • ...doesn't really matter to me
  • Respect: +4381
    • View Profile
    • WanderingWinder YouTube Page
Re: Reducing the luck factor?
« Reply #24 on: July 19, 2011, 09:00:17 pm »
0

I disagree with this even. Sabo with no reason to go for it is, IMO, better than TM with no reason to go for it.
Pages: [1] 2  All
 

Page created in 0.051 seconds with 21 queries.