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Author Topic: The Purpose of Thief  (Read 12172 times)

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Young Nick

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The Purpose of Thief
« on: October 17, 2011, 09:28:56 pm »
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In Donald's revealing of the spoiler cards, he mentions that Thief's purpose is not only to steal Silver and Gold from opponents. More than one person on BGG called him out on it, saying that if that is not the purpose, what is? I am equally confused, especially when Donald replied to that with: "Why would I ever buy a Chapel in a game without Witch, that's what I want to know." This thread is for the answering of that specific question.

The only thing I can come up with is if one were to try to make an engine that played multiple Thieves a turn to lock opponents out of treasure.

Editor's note: added link to Donald's post
« Last Edit: October 17, 2011, 09:39:56 pm by rrenaud »
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guided

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Re: The Purpose of Thief
« Reply #1 on: October 17, 2011, 09:33:14 pm »
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Thief can steal Platinums, non-basic treasures, and Potions. If you really want, it can steal Coppers too, I guess? (for multiplayer Gardens games if not much else)

On average it's a much weaker card than Noble Brigand, and with the benefit of hindsight now that the latter has been unveiled, I'd argue for costing Thief at $3. Still, it's not a big deal. $3 vs. $4 isn't an especially important breakpoint for terminals you wouldn't open with 2 of if you could and never want a big stack of.
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jonts26

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Re: The Purpose of Thief
« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2011, 09:37:34 pm »
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You can steal ill-gotten gains to hand out curses. It has a nice thematic quality to it.
« Last Edit: October 17, 2011, 09:39:40 pm by jonts26 »
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Donald X.

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Re: The Purpose of Thief
« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2011, 10:04:39 pm »
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In Donald's revealing of the spoiler cards, he mentions that Thief's purpose is not only to steal Silver and Gold from opponents. More than one person on BGG called him out on it, saying that if that is not the purpose, what is? I am equally confused, especially when Donald replied to that with: "Why would I ever buy a Chapel in a game without Witch, that's what I want to know." This thread is for the answering of that specific question.

The only thing I can come up with is if one were to try to make an engine that played multiple Thieves a turn to lock opponents out of treasure.
The purpose of Thief, like that of all Dominion cards, is to make Dominion a fun game. Now you know!

And the reason why you might buy a Chapel without Witch on the table is either you have experience with the game, or have advice from people who do. You can go on that journey yourself, or ask people who've been. You can't ask me though, because man, what fun is that.
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chwhite

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Re: The Purpose of Thief
« Reply #4 on: October 17, 2011, 10:14:11 pm »
+1

In Donald's revealing of the spoiler cards, he mentions that Thief's purpose is not only to steal Silver and Gold from opponents. More than one person on BGG called him out on it, saying that if that is not the purpose, what is? I am equally confused, especially when Donald replied to that with: "Why would I ever buy a Chapel in a game without Witch, that's what I want to know." This thread is for the answering of that specific question.

The only thing I can come up with is if one were to try to make an engine that played multiple Thieves a turn to lock opponents out of treasure.
The purpose of Thief, like that of all Dominion cards, is to make Dominion a fun game. Now you know!

And the reason why you might buy a Chapel without Witch on the table is either you have experience with the game, or have advice from people who do. You can go on that journey yourself, or ask people who've been. You can't ask me though, because man, what fun is that.


This sounds like a sly way of saying "yeah, of course Thief is useless, and that's EXACTLY why it's a pillar of the base game.  We need to have a false choice in there, because part of learning how to play Dominion well is learning that some cards suck, and what better way to do that than having newcomers learn from experience, by buying the crappy but dangerous-looking Thief?"  And if so, well then that makes a lot of sense and I agree!

I'm not expecting you to respond, of course. :P
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chwhite

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Re: The Purpose of Thief
« Reply #5 on: October 17, 2011, 10:17:06 pm »
+1

But seriously folks, my theory is:

The purpose of Thief is to make Chancellor look good.
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jimjam

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Re: The Purpose of Thief
« Reply #6 on: October 17, 2011, 10:18:16 pm »
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One might note with Noble Brigand one must gain the trashed cards. If you're going virtual money and aiming to destroy their deck, you may not want their treasures, especially silvers. Woodcutter/Gardens and Trader/Colony might be good examples (though I don't know if Trader is any good in Colony games).
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Copernicus

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Re: The Purpose of Thief
« Reply #7 on: October 17, 2011, 10:37:08 pm »
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The purpose of Thief is to try to teach the concept of a lock-out strategy, where the money is attacked in the opponent's deck.  It's goal really is to trash all the treasure in an opponent's deck.  It also teaches how to defend against Thief, by buying actions over money.

It just doesn't do the lockout very well.  It does interact strongly with two of the other pillars of the base set, Chapel and Gardens.


Noble Brigand serves a different purpose, attacking Gold/Silver and flooding the opponent.
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Young Nick

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Re: The Purpose of Thief
« Reply #8 on: October 17, 2011, 11:38:22 pm »
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It clearly works well with Gardens and Chapel. However, using it to bloat your Gardens deck is just about the only not-stealing-good-treasures option I see emerging from the base game. The lockout strategy, too, but I guess I would not advocate using that strategy if you want to have friends. On a related note, one reason that I will probably never discover the nuances of the card (if they exist) is because I am not not going to force myself to play with the card over and over again until I see its purpose. I guess that is my loss then. Otherwise, I ask other forum members (besides Donald, of course, hehe) to discuss potential strategy of the Thief within the base game.
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Davio

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Re: The Purpose of Thief
« Reply #9 on: October 18, 2011, 02:19:58 am »
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I think a lot of people keep forgetting that Dominion doesn't have to be limited to 2p.

Thief is way better with more people, especially 4 and BMU strategies all around. Stealing 3 Golds in one turn can be a really nice boost.
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DG

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Re: The Purpose of Thief
« Reply #10 on: October 18, 2011, 06:37:14 am »
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There are some reasons for using a thief to attack copper but they are mostly outside the base game and require other card combinations. Sometimes reducing an opponent's treasure density in any way can be worthwhile although those situations are generally created by the opponent playing the thief into strength.

I would make a point similar to Donald though. Some kingdoms are more interesting since they include a thief, even though nobody will buy a thief. We don't buy as much gold when a thief is on the table, we don't play it into strength, but it has changed the way we think about the kingdom. That's good!
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DStu

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Re: The Purpose of Thief
« Reply #11 on: October 18, 2011, 07:04:52 am »
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I wouldn't read that as "you don't want the Thief to steal Silvers and Gold". But think about in which situations you until now really wanted a Thief, and how in exactly these situations the "better Thief" Noble Brigand changes the game.

You don't take the Thief because you, in a standard game expect to get some Golds or even Silvers from your opponent.  But you take it against a very thin deck. In this cases you often are more happy to trash the Copper than to dublicate it. When you get the chappeled economy in the early game from $3 to $2, or from $6 to $5, or from $8 to $7, the Thief has done what he was supposed to. Of course you would have prefered $3->$1, $6->$3 or $8->$5 and take a Silver/Gold yourself, but that's life. But what you certainly don't want to is your opponent going from $3 to $4 or $6 to $7, especially if there is easy trashing to get rid of Coppers you don't want.
When you are feeding your Gardens, of course you would take a Gold, but if it's a Copper, it's a Copper.
And if you want the VPs of his Harems, the Noble Brigand will not get them for you.

And that's how I understand the "you don't want the Thief to steal Silvers and Gold".
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pooka

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Re: The Purpose of Thief
« Reply #12 on: October 18, 2011, 12:34:29 pm »
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Can't thief steal Harem, Bank, Hoard etc?  I don't play thief because I'm a girl  :P
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Kuildeous

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Re: The Purpose of Thief
« Reply #13 on: October 18, 2011, 01:14:30 pm »
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Can't thief steal Harem, Bank, Hoard etc?  I don't play thief because I'm a girl  :P

Absolutely correct. It can be a tricky decision to buy Harems when a Thief is out there. Well, maybe not, depending on your opinion on Harems.

I did have some risky moments buying Harems when Pirate Ship was out. Miraculously, the Pirate Ship always missed my Harems. It would have been more worrisome if the other players were playing Thief, because that can shift 2 VP from me to someone else.

And now we have a Treasure Reaction Card, so that should be very interesting.
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Karrow

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Re: The Purpose of Thief
« Reply #14 on: October 18, 2011, 03:08:50 pm »
+1

Oh No's!  A Noble Brigand?  My Venture/Harem/Bank, Tactician/Coppersmith, Counting House/Coppersmith, Fools Gold, Workshop/Gardens, Chancellor/Stash, and Potion/Vineyard/Cheap-action strategies will all be destroyed!  (not really)

If you only want to steal Silver & Gold with the chance of giving coppers while gaining $1 then buy Noble Brigand.

If you'd like the option to trash without gaining Silver & Gold, or have any interest in trashing or gaining a:
Harem
Stash
Philosopher Stone
Loan
Quarry
Talisman
Contraband
Royal Seal
Venture
Hoard
Bank
Horn of Plenty
Diadem
Cache
Fools Gold
Ill-Gotten Gains
Potion
Copper
or Platinum,
or if you do not want to feed your opponents Counting House/Coppersmith,
or if you simply want to trash every treasure of your opponent without giving him any coppers...

then Thief is the card to buy


There's plenty of room for both.  I see a lot more reasons to still buy Thief over Noble Brigand than I see to buy Lab over Hunting Party.
« Last Edit: October 18, 2011, 03:10:54 pm by Karrow »
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guided

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Re: The Purpose of Thief
« Reply #15 on: October 18, 2011, 04:42:01 pm »
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Oh man, Talisman??? I'd better load up on Thieves so I can steal those! God, I just can't wait to steal some Ill-Gotten Gains too!

A big list of cards that Thief can steal is a lot of mostly-meaningless sound and fury. Noble Brigand is going to be much stronger than Thief on average at winning games. If you don't think so, hey, let's you and I play a bunch of Thief boards so I can pump up my rating.

There's room for both cards, sure, but one is much better than the other on average.
« Last Edit: October 18, 2011, 04:44:48 pm by guided »
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Jimmmmm

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Re: The Purpose of Thief
« Reply #16 on: October 18, 2011, 07:57:42 pm »
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Just played a game with both Thief and Noble Brigand. I managed to get 9 Minions, and my opponent started going for Hoards, mostly because he didn't get to $5 enough to get Minions. I had plenty of spare actions available, so I thought I might sabotage his deck. But I didn't want to get a NB, because I didn't want his treasures. So I bought a Thief. That's right, in a game with both Thief and Noble Brigand, I bought a Thief.

Okay, so clearly the fact that I was going to win had a lot more to do with my 9 Minions than my Thief. My opponent ended up quitting after I trashed his only Hoard.

Anyway. That's just one situation when I think Thief was a better buy than Noble Brigand. Of course, I probably would have won with or without either.
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rrenaud

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Re: The Purpose of Thief
« Reply #17 on: October 18, 2011, 08:32:41 pm »
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I don't know, I have a hard time imagining you'd lose if your thief missed every time you played it.
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Jimmmmm

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Re: The Purpose of Thief
« Reply #18 on: October 18, 2011, 08:47:35 pm »
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I don't know, I have a hard time imagining you'd lose if your thief missed every time you played it.

I'm sorry, what are you disagreeing with? You seem to be agreeing with my concession that I would have won with or without the Thief. Perhaps we're misunderstanding each other, or one of us is misunderstanding your double-negative.
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rrenaud

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Re: The Purpose of Thief
« Reply #19 on: October 18, 2011, 08:54:41 pm »
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If there is no chance that you are going to lose if you go along chugging with the minions, the relative advantage gained with thief over the noble brigand is zero.
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Jimmmmm

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Re: The Purpose of Thief
« Reply #20 on: October 18, 2011, 09:15:41 pm »
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Right, of course, which I addressed in my post. But what won me the specific game was not the point. The point was, that's one kind of situation when Thief is better than Noble Brigand: a virtual-money deck against a treasure deck.
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rrenaud

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Re: The Purpose of Thief
« Reply #21 on: October 18, 2011, 09:28:07 pm »
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I buy it (thief is better when you want to merely destroy opp's deck rather than keep treasure for yourself, which is very possible in minion vs money deck).  Sorry for not seeing the forest through the trees ;)
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Anon79

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Re: The Purpose of Thief
« Reply #22 on: October 18, 2011, 10:33:09 pm »
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Oh man, Talisman??? I'd better load up on Thieves so I can steal those!
It gets better, those same Talismans are going to help you load up on Thieves.
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Karrow

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Re: The Purpose of Thief
« Reply #23 on: October 19, 2011, 01:19:05 pm »
+1

Oh man, Talisman??? I'd better load up on Thieves so I can steal those! God, I just can't wait to steal some Ill-Gotten Gains too!

A big list of cards that Thief can steal is a lot of mostly-meaningless sound and fury. Noble Brigand is going to be much stronger than Thief on average at winning games. If you don't think so, hey, let's you and I play a bunch of Thief boards so I can pump up my rating.

There's room for both cards, sure, but one is much better than the other on average.

Ooh, lets pick on the worst treasures.  If you don't want the Talisman, trash it.  You can just trash it with the Thief unlike the Noble Brigand.  Assuming you're playing against semi-competent players, they would not have a Talisman unless they had some strategy for it in which case trashing it on them early serves a purpose and you do not have to gain it.

Stealing an Ill-Gotten Gains with a Thief a bad idea?  I'll happily gain the Ill-Gotten Gains from the trash pile so I can hand out the curses.  As noted above, I'm assuming competent opponents so there's likely a Upgrade variant of sorts in the kingdom and not any better curse dealers available.

I won't forget the Harem/Fools Gold game I played.  You should have seen their faces when I pulled a Thief out of the Black Market deck.  If it was Noble Brigand I would not have have bought it.

Oh, and I'm sure you will be able to point to isotropic and show that Noble Brigand has a higher win rate than Thief (in games that are 90% only 2-players).  I'm also sure that in general, playing blind without considering any strategy of either player, Noble Brigand will play better.  But actually playing with strategy is different.  You NEVER buy a Thief without a reason, so it will always have lower stats from players who have not learned this.

But step away from the screen and play in a real game.  If you want to play with stacked Thief/Noble Brigand kingdoms, come over to my house and play some 4-6player dominion with the group I play with.  Here's how it goes;  Thief.  Thief.  Thief.  Thief.  Thief.  Your turn!  Buy that Noble Brigand and you'll see every Silver/Gold get trashed instead of gained.

Donald X is no fool.  Cards have been play tested for a long, long time.
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Fangz

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Re: The Purpose of Thief
« Reply #24 on: October 19, 2011, 02:00:49 pm »
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Um, when everyone is going for the circle of thieves, then at least noble brigand gives you $1 at the end of the day. (The best strategy, of course, is to purchase neither.)
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