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terminalCopper

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Plaza
« on: September 17, 2013, 05:30:38 am »
+3

Plaza is an interesting village with a trade-treasure-for-coin-token-option. It looks good, it feels good - and indeed, sometimes it shines:

Draw-to-x

If you can replace the discarded treasure via Draw-to-x, Plaza is equivalent to
"play village, play baker, replace a treasure with a random card".
In other words, if Plaza/Draw-to-X is out, you need a good reason to skip it.

Draw your deck twice

Plaza discards treasures. And usually, an engine which consistently draws your deck, is also able to pick up these treasures for a second time. At this stage of the game, every Plaza basically gives you "+Card, +2Actions, +Coin Token", which is strictly better than a Bazaar for two reasons: Coins are better than +1$, and $4 is much more affordable than $5. Gainers will be your friend here.
While building a Plaza engine, be careful with reshuffling. After playing multiple Plazas, your discard pile will often have an unhealthy share of coppers.


Saving money

One or two Coin Tokenizer always help arranging your economy  - and as Plaza includes "+Card, + Action", it can do so without hurting. If you ignore it, don't curse bad luck drawing $7 in the endgame.
Another common target to save money is an early Platinum. And it should be mentioned, that Coin Tokens ease megaturns.


If you need a village ...

... Plaza is one, obviously. Goons, Ghost Ships and Torturer don't need the Coin Mechanism, but they won't complain about it either.

Don't overdo it

In the paleolithic times of Dominion, the "Village Idiot Syndrom" was a dangerous trap for beginners. As Plaza is clearly stronger, it is even more tempting to buy many copies of it. Unfortunately, it can be a huge waste of time. Example given, if Journeyman is out, Journeyman-BM will frequently outperform a Plaza-Journeyman-Engine.
If you want to reap all the advantages Plaza offers, it is indispensable to have +Buys and some trashing. Otherwise, you will look silly grabbing one province with 20$ each turn. And if you plan to draw your deck twice without trashing: well, good luck. At least, you should be able to get rid of your estates (Coppers aren't that bad here).

Summary

Plaza is nice with Draw-To-X, engines and megaturns. But if there's no decent purpose to buy it, don't become an upper class village idiot.


Synergies

Draw-to-X
Gainers
Need for +Action
Engines / megaturns
Menagerie
Poor House
Tactician
Treasures which have become useless (e.g. Potion, Loan, Contraband ... )

Antisynergies

Lack of possibility to trash estates
Other discarders
« Last Edit: November 05, 2013, 04:12:36 am by terminalCopper »
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Awaclus

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Re: Plaza
« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2013, 06:29:27 am »
0

I think that a lack of +buy is a reason to go for Plaza instead of another $4 village, definitely not an antisynergy. If you have more treasure than you need, even if you can't use them to buy two cards this turn, at least with Plaza you can save some of them for the future turns. Also, while trashing is obviously good for any engine, trashing all of your copperes makes Plaza just a Village so I wouldn't say that a lack of trashing is an antisynergy either.
« Last Edit: September 17, 2013, 06:31:45 am by Awaclus »
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terminalCopper

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Re: Plaza
« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2013, 07:19:24 am »
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Well, depends ... mostly, I think of Plaza as an engine card, and I don't see how to make this work in a great way without trashing or Extrabuys.

It is true, that without engines the possibility to transfer money to future rounds is more helpful, if there is no +Buy, but I really don't believe that the cases, where you hit more than 8$ and save $1 for the future, represent the dominant application.
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kn1tt3r

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Re: Plaza
« Reply #3 on: September 17, 2013, 07:31:22 am »
+4

What's important about Plaza is considering reshuffles. Say you are likely to cause a reshuffle during your turn, you probably want to think twice about discarding Coppers. All those Coppers in the discard can stop a nice action chain abruptly, which wouldn't have happend if they were still sitting in your hand.
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Awaclus

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Re: Plaza
« Reply #4 on: September 17, 2013, 07:34:34 am »
0

Well, depends ... mostly, I think of Plaza as an engine card, and I don't see how to make this work in a great way without trashing or Extrabuys.

It is true, that without engines the possibility to transfer money to future rounds is more helpful, if there is no +Buy, but I really don't believe that the cases, where you hit more than 8$ and save $1 for the future, represent the dominant application.
Engines work pretty well without +buy or without trashing, sometimes they can work without +buy and without trashing. The lack of +buy is when Plaza shines.
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terminalCopper

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Re: Plaza
« Reply #5 on: September 17, 2013, 08:30:22 am »
0

@Awaclus:
Maybe we should precise the number of Plazas we are talking about.

Case 1) Buying few Plazas: In my opinion, one or two Plazas are virtually always a good investment, since the average value/coin_token is higher if you don't have many of them. Do you agree so far?

 In this case, i don't see a huge difference whether there is +Buy or not. Usually, you will try to shift a coin from a $6-hand to a $7-hand. If you score $9, with or without +Buy, you want to use Plaza. The Edge-Case is probably a hand of $13 or $16 - here, Plaza doesn't help when you have Extrabuy. The reason I call this an edge-case is, that $13 or $16 should not happen often if you don't have +Buy.

Case 2) Buying many Plazas: If you purchase 5 of them, a better money distribution should no longer be the focus of your strategy. You should do so for one of the mentioned reasons:

2.1 you need a village, no matter which
2.2 draw-to-x
2.3 You want the "Plaza special effect" to earn the money twice after redrawing discarded treasures.

The latter case is the one I just cant imagine it will work/give great benefit without trashing/Extra-Buy, do you?

@kn1tt3r: good remark. I'll add it.
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Awaclus

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Re: Plaza
« Reply #6 on: September 17, 2013, 08:54:11 am »
0

@Awaclus:
Maybe we should precise the number of Plazas we are talking about.

Case 1) Buying few Plazas: In my opinion, one or two Plazas are virtually always a good investment, since the average value/coin_token is higher if you don't have many of them. Do you agree so far?

In this case, i don't see a huge difference whether there is +Buy or not. Usually, you will try to shift a coin from a $6-hand to a $7-hand. If you score $9, with or without +Buy, you want to use Plaza. The Edge-Case is probably a hand of $13 or $16 - here, Plaza doesn't help when you have Extrabuy. The reason I call this an edge-case is, that $13 or $16 should not happen often if you don't have +Buy.

Case 2) Buying many Plazas: If you purchase 5 of them, a better money distribution should no longer be the focus of your strategy. You should do so for one of the mentioned reasons:

2.1 you need a village, no matter which
2.2 draw-to-x
2.3 You want the "Plaza special effect" to earn the money twice after redrawing discarded treasures.

The latter case is the one I just cant imagine it will work/give great benefit without trashing/Extra-Buy, do you?
I agree that the average value per token is higher if you don't have many of them (or rather, if you're not spending many of them on a single turn - it's fine to have 8 tokens if that means you're getting 8 turns of $7 hands turned into Province turns, but it's a waste if you spend them all at once to buy a single Province). That doesn't mean that you should always buy at least one Plaza, though. +Buy is useful in the early game to get more engine pieces, and so is Plaza, but Plaza is much less useful for this if you have the +buy.

And I don't think you should ever purchase a Plaza unless you need a village or there is a reason why you no longer want Silver. So 2.1 should be pretty much always true.
« Last Edit: September 17, 2013, 08:56:45 am by Awaclus »
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SCSN

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Re: Plaza
« Reply #7 on: September 17, 2013, 09:06:56 am »
+1

Double-Tactician is another obvious synergy that should be mentioned.

Synergies

Strong engines / megaturns

I think Plaza shines most in decent but not great engines and BM/engine hybrids. Strong engines are often only possible with strong trashing, and in that case you prefer to get rid of your Coppers rather than to keep them around as Plaza fuel. Without Coppers Plaza becomes closer and closer to an ordinary Village, as discarding a treasure (provided that you have them at all--strong engines might well run solely on virtual money) for a token becomes less attractive the more money that treasure provides.

Quote
Antisynergies

Lack of trashing

So I think there's actually an anti-synergy between Plaza and strong (but not weak) trashing.
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Re: Plaza
« Reply #8 on: September 17, 2013, 09:13:15 am »
+1

And I don't think you should ever purchase a Plaza unless you need a village or there is a reason why you no longer want Silver. So 2.1 should be pretty much always true.

I think this is wrong. BM + a single Candlestick Maker (bought over a Silver) beats BMU, so I imagine the same holds for BM + a single Plaza. Also in Double-Jack games I'd take a Plaza over a Silver and before a second Jack (if it's early enough) even if it didn't provide +2 Actions.
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Awaclus

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Re: Plaza
« Reply #9 on: September 17, 2013, 09:27:54 am »
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And I don't think you should ever purchase a Plaza unless you need a village or there is a reason why you no longer want Silver. So 2.1 should be pretty much always true.

I think this is wrong. BM + a single Candlestick Maker (bought over a Silver) beats BMU, so I imagine the same holds for BM + a single Plaza. Also in Double-Jack games I'd take a Plaza over a Silver and before a second Jack (if it's early enough) even if it didn't provide +2 Actions.
My statement was poorly worded. What I meant is that the situation in which you want to buy a Plaza without the need for a splitter is in some ways similar to the situation in which you want to buy a Spy, except that Plaza is better than Spy. And it's obviously good with JOAT because JOAT is draw-to-X.
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DG

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Re: Plaza
« Reply #10 on: September 17, 2013, 09:30:51 am »
0

Plazas can be weak when combined with other discards. This covers many many cards but plazas can work badly against militia attacks, with stables, with vaults, with cellars, with horse traders, etc. Rather obviously the plaza isn't great with cards that work on copper, such as mine, bank, or loan, but articles do need to state the obvious.
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kn1tt3r

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Re: Plaza
« Reply #11 on: September 17, 2013, 09:44:58 am »
0

Plazas can be weak when combined with other discards. This covers many many cards but plazas can work badly against militia attacks, with stables, with vaults, with cellars, with horse traders, etc. Rather obviously the plaza isn't great with cards that work on copper, such as mine, bank, or loan, but articles do need to state the obvious.

Well... 'bad' and 'weak' in the sense that it's a usually a normal Village in those cases. Sort of like Fortress without TFB.
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Re: Plaza
« Reply #12 on: September 17, 2013, 10:46:52 am »
0

I like Salvager as a trasher for Plaza -- Clears out the the estates which really hurt and gives a +Buy.
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terminalCopper

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Re: Plaza
« Reply #13 on: September 17, 2013, 11:42:12 am »
0

+Buy is useful in the early game to get more engine pieces, and so is Plaza, but Plaza is much less useful for this if you have the +buy.
I don't see this big difference. I guess you mean situations like e.g. 4Coppers+Buy where the discarding option doesn't help if you want to buy two hamlets. But these situations seem rather edge-casy to me, as they only occur if three conditions hold: 1) you need the +Buy-Card in hand, 2) you want to use it, 3) there is no treasure left to discard.

Plazas can be weak when combined with other discards. This covers many many cards but plazas can work badly against militia attacks, with stables, with vaults, with cellars, with horse traders, etc. Rather obviously the plaza isn't great with cards that work on copper, such as mine, bank, or loan, but articles do need to state the obvious.
Well... 'bad' and 'weak' in the sense that it's a usually a normal Village in those cases. Sort of like Fortress without TFB.

I agree with both, except that I don't see an urgency to mention all the cases where Plaza is reduced to a vanilla village.
Double-Tactician is another obvious synergy that should be mentioned.

Synergies

Strong engines / megaturns

I think Plaza shines most in decent but not great engines and BM/engine hybrids. Strong engines are often only possible with strong trashing, and in that case you prefer to get rid of your Coppers rather than to keep them around as Plaza fuel. Without Coppers Plaza becomes closer and closer to an ordinary Village, as discarding a treasure (provided that you have them at all--strong engines might well run solely on virtual money) for a token becomes less attractive the more money that treasure provides.

Quote
Antisynergies

Lack of trashing

So I think there's actually an anti-synergy between Plaza and strong (but not weak) trashing.

Tactician should be added, that's right.

The trashing issue should be precised in some way:
Getting rid of estates is crucial for Plaza-engines; trashing Coppers is indeed a mixed blessing. I guess, it is better to get them out of the way, despite reducing the chance of discarding for coins. Coppers are still bad cards, and once the engine is drawing treasures twice, you can discard even platinum.



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flies

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Re: Plaza
« Reply #14 on: September 17, 2013, 12:00:42 pm »
0

I believe the general point about +buy that's being made here is that lack of plus buy makes saving your extra money for later more useful.  When there's no +buy, it's harder to use all the money in your hand.  For example, you might prefer gold to province at this point, but you've got $8, so what do you do?  Or you prefer a $5 to a gold, etc.  When you have +buy, then getting lots of money early is no problem cuz you can spend it all.  So plaza has a strong advantage when +buy is unavailable.  Saving your money now makes it much easier to consistently hit $8 later.

In general, lack of plus buy means that building up an engine that produces $40 is pointless, and Plaza can certainly help in making such an engine, but lack of +buy is certainly not an antisynergy for Plaza per se, but rather an antisynergy for big engines.

I just wanted to repeat kn1tt3r's point about shuffling.  This definitely needs to go in the article.  It seems like a no-brainer to discard your Copper to Plaza every time, but if you're going to reshuffle this turn then you might make that copper miss the reshuffle.  In the case that you don't end up spending that $1, it's debatable whether it's better to have a coin token or remove a copper from your reshuffle.  This obviously depends on the particulars.  If you know you're going to spend that $1, then discarding the copper is definitely wrong.  If you know you won't or you're not sure, then consider your options.
« Last Edit: September 17, 2013, 12:06:39 pm by flies »
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eHalcyon

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Re: Plaza
« Reply #15 on: September 17, 2013, 12:18:51 pm »
+1

Does adding Plaza actually hurt Journeyman? I would have expected it to help, in the way that coin tokens often do.
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terminalCopper

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Re: Plaza
« Reply #16 on: September 17, 2013, 01:43:08 pm »
0

I believe the general point about +buy that's being made here is that lack of plus buy makes saving your extra money for later more useful.  When there's no +buy, it's harder to use all the money in your hand.  For example, you might prefer gold to province at this point, but you've got $8, so what do you do?  Or you prefer a $5 to a gold, etc.  When you have +buy, then getting lots of money early is no problem cuz you can spend it all.  So plaza has a strong advantage when +buy is unavailable.  Saving your money now makes it much easier to consistently hit $8 later.

I think, your examples don't affect the +buy question. 8$ with need for gold? Play Plaza. 6$ with need for a good $5-card? Play Plaza. Both works with or without +Buy. 
On the other side, the importance of Extrabuys lies in the end of the game; usually, you want to go green late, and Coin Tokens help you doing so; but you cant spend your big savings late without +Buy.
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Re: Plaza
« Reply #17 on: September 17, 2013, 01:52:37 pm »
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I believe the general point about +buy that's being made here is that lack of plus buy makes saving your extra money for later more useful.  When there's no +buy, it's harder to use all the money in your hand.  For example, you might prefer gold to province at this point, but you've got $8, so what do you do?  Or you prefer a $5 to a gold, etc.  When you have +buy, then getting lots of money early is no problem cuz you can spend it all.  So plaza has a strong advantage when +buy is unavailable.  Saving your money now makes it much easier to consistently hit $8 later.

I think, your examples don't affect the +buy question. 8$ with need for gold? Play Plaza. 6$ with need for a good $5-card? Play Plaza. Both works with or without +Buy. 
On the other side, the importance of Extrabuys lies in the end of the game; usually, you want to go green late, and Coin Tokens help you doing so; but you cant spend your big savings late without +Buy.

You're missing flies' point.  Early in the game, +Buy means you can better use every coin you produce with your hand.  If you have $8 and it's too early to start greening, you can use all the money on a couple of engine components.  If you don't have +Buy, you get Gold or an engine component and "waste" some of your money.

With Plaza, yes you probably play it either way.  But if you have +Buy, having that coin token is less meaningful because you could have just spent all your money, and maybe you will still use that coin token this turn anyway.  Without +Buy, the saving aspect with the coin token helps a lot more.

Coin tokens are more effective for smoothing out draws, not hoarding them for big purchases with +Buy.
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Re: Plaza
« Reply #18 on: September 18, 2013, 03:29:33 am »
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It is true that there is more redundant money to discard when there is no +Buy. I just wanted to argue that it does often make no difference at all; flies provided two examples for my thesis. And most notably, reliable discarding is not the reason you want Plazas. It makes a huge difference whether you can discard 3 coppers in the endgame or 0 coppers, but it's not important whether you do it 13 or 10 times.
Nevertheless, I agree that lack of Extrabuys does not antisynergize with Plaza itself, but rather with the specific plan to redraw treasures. I will remove it in the end of the article.

 
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terminalCopper

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Re: Plaza
« Reply #19 on: September 18, 2013, 03:44:39 am »
+2

Added shuffle issues and some other details.

Btw has anyone tried Plaza with Counting House (successfully)?
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Re: Plaza
« Reply #20 on: September 18, 2013, 07:34:35 am »
+3

Btw has anyone tried Plaza with Counting House (successfully)?
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Re: Plaza
« Reply #21 on: September 18, 2013, 12:01:11 pm »
0

edit: it looks like tC may have had a change of heart on this issue, so this longwinded post of mine may have been unnecessary.   ;D

terminalCopper, I think this is a strong article, and I'm sorry to be harping on this one point.

I believe the general point about +buy that's being made here is that lack of plus buy makes saving your extra money for later more useful.  When there's no +buy, it's harder to use all the money in your hand.  For example, you might prefer gold to province at this point, but you've got $8, so what do you do?  Or you prefer a $5 to a gold, etc.  When you have +buy, then getting lots of money early is no problem cuz you can spend it all.  So plaza has a strong advantage when +buy is unavailable.  Saving your money now makes it much easier to consistently hit $8 later.

I think, your examples don't affect the +buy question. 8$ with need for gold? Play Plaza. 6$ with need for a good $5-card? Play Plaza. Both works with or without +Buy. 
On the other side, the importance of Extrabuys lies in the end of the game; usually, you want to go green late, and Coin Tokens help you doing so; but you cant spend your big savings late without +Buy.
I think you're right that those two examples don't really help my argument, but I maintain that Plaza is better in the absence of +buy in the general case.

Plaza allows you to save your unspent money for later.  When you have +buy, you're better able to spend all the money you have every turn, so you're less likely to have unspent money.  When you have +buy, you benefit less from saving your money for later.  Therefore Plaza is especially useful when there is no +buy.  I don't understand your objection to this part of things.

In a board without extra buys, your goal is to get to $8 quickly and consistently.  Plaza helps considerably with consistency, though it is kind of revenue neutral so it's not necessarily that great speed-wise.  Plaza is strong in engine-money hybrids lacking +buy and handy in more straight money strategies (probably more so in non-draw money strategies, e.g. Monument or Merchant Ship, where you usually get more terminals).

Now, Plaza is not particularly efficient at producing piles of coin tokens unless you can draw your whole deck. If you can draw your deck, then you draw and discard the same treasure repeatedly.  Plaza is very strong in that case: once you've drawn your deck, it's a cheaper baker that gives +actions, and you (usually) need those +actions in order to draw your deck in the first place.  Once you draw your deck, CSM is also strictly better than baker, but it doesn't draw or help cards that do draw (like a village does), so it's much harder to draw your deck when there are lots of CSMs in it.  Plazas are superlative in this case.

When you can't draw your deck, Baker, CSM, Butcher, and especially MG are all better at producing big piles of coin tokens for a number of reasons.  First and foremost, you don't need copper/treasure in hand in order to get a token with any of these.  In addition, each of these other cards actually produces money, whereas Plaza transforms money in hand into tokens with no net gain.  (CSM doesn't draw, so it's less clear cut in this respect, I grant you, but it does provide +buy which is necessary for a stockpiling strategy, as you point out.)  This may be obviouss, but I have to add that big piles of coin tokens can be a trap.  It's a lot harder to achieve than just putting a lot of treasure in your deck, so you need a good reason to go for a coin stockpile strategy.

I think looking at Plaza as a tool to create a huge stockpile of tokens is wrong in general.  It can do that when you draw your whole deck, but that's not so common.  Critically, boards lacking +buy discourage you from trying to draw your whole deck in the first place, leading to the larger point that Plaza is not hurt by lack of plus buy; what is hurt is the engine that draws your deck, not the Plaza which provides payload for that engine.  On the contrary, as argued above, Plaza is especially useful in the absence of +buy.
« Last Edit: September 18, 2013, 12:03:07 pm by flies »
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Re: Plaza
« Reply #22 on: September 18, 2013, 12:16:00 pm »
0

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Re: Plaza
« Reply #23 on: September 19, 2013, 04:04:23 am »
0

edit: it looks like tC may have had a change of heart on this issue,
Partially, yes :)

so this longwinded post of mine may have been unnecessary.   ;D
No, not at all. It's impossible to write an article without critical feedback.

When you have +buy, you're better able to spend all the money you have every turn, so you're less likely to have unspent money
I agree - but I think the likelihood of unspent money decreases only marginally. It is difficult to argue about this without stats, but let me make a guess:
Say, you have unspent money 10 times. First, if there is +Buy in your deck, that doesn't mean you have it in your hand right at that time. +Buy might be unavailable 5 times.
Assume now, that the remaining 5 times you have unspent money with +Buy. In the wide majority of cases, you want to buy the card which fits best to your deck anyway, e.g. you will buy your Altar with $7 instead of using Extrabuys just to spent all your money for a market and a pawn; you will buy a province with $9 instead of purchasing gold+silver, and so on. There are some exceptions, sure, but I'd say that at least 3 in 5 times you won't use your +Buy.
This makes me think that Extra-Buys will cut down my hands with unspent money from 10 to 8, not less.
(I know that these numbers are purely fictive, I just wrote them down to explain my position).

Therefore Plaza is especially useful when there is no +buy.
Given my arguments, I would say, that Plaza's saving of unspent money works a little better, and is not  especially useful without +buy.

I think looking at Plaza as a tool to create a huge stockpile of tokens is wrong in general.
That's true.

It can do that when you draw your whole deck, but that's not so common.
That's also true, but this is where it really shines, therefore i mentioned it.

Plaza is not hurt by lack of plus buy; what is hurt is the engine that draws your deck
Well, that might implicit that I won't build a Plaza-engine, and buy only one or two instead of five. Maybe lack of +buy doesn't hurt my remaining Plazas, but it definitely makes me buy fewer Plazas. This is the antisynergy I was speaking about.

... but I have already realized that it should not be mentioned in the summary, as both cases exist:
  • Lack of +Buy causes more unspent money and encourages buying at least one Plaza.
  • +Buy helps building an engine and encourages getting multiple Plazas.

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Warfreak2

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Re: Plaza
« Reply #24 on: September 19, 2013, 07:37:08 am »
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Plaza can create difficult decisions in decks where you might need the Copper in your hand for something else - Stables, Spice Merchant, or even just Upgrade/Junk Dealer.

With strong trashing, Plaza lets you run a very reliable deck with far fewer stop cards - I had a game with Plaza and Island where my deck had no treasure other than two Silvers. Every turn I Armory'd an Island, set aside a Province with it, and bought another Province.
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If the only engine on the board is Procession->Conspirator, I will play it.
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