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Dominion: Empires» Forums » Strategy

Subject: An unexpected slog - did we miss anything? rss

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Clive Jones

Cambridgeshire, UK
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A while ago, four of us tried the "Advanced intro" kingdom from the back of the Empires rulebook. That is: Arena, Triumphal Arch • Archive, Capital, Catapult/Rocks, Crown, Enchantress, Gladiator/Fortune, Groundskeeper, Royal Blacksmith, Settlers/Bustling Village, Temple

We were expecting an awesome game full of people making their Fortune, raking in the VP from Groundskeepers, etc. What we actually got was a slog that took two hours!

We had two people playing a steady stream of Enchantresses, and one who kept Catapulting miscellaneous cruft at us. After a while, everyone found themselves playing with a deck full of Curses and three-card hands where the first action card we played was largely wasted. We lost the struggle to maintain good enough deck quality to overcome those handicaps.

Even if we'd realised sooner what we were up against, what could we have done about it? Neither a Catapult nor a Temple can trash more than one Curse at a time, and you don't have much to show for it if you fling a Curse at your enemies. And what can you do to mitigate hand size reduction? A Bustling Village, Royal Blacksmith and another action to feed to the Enchantress's pig allows you to... get back to square one. Provided you happened to have them all in your hand when you were smacked in the face by a Treasure. Using three cards costing a total of at least $7+<8>, one of which is buried in a split pile, to mitigate some cheap attacks feels pretty desperate.

We didn't end up using Archive. Would it have helped if we'd indulged in a mad scramble to empty the pile of Archives before our ability to muster a spend of $5 was decimated by people playing $3 Enchantresses and $4 Catapults?

Is there anything we could have done differently, or is that kingdom inevitably and intentionally one of the most vicious slogs Dominion has ever seen?
 
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Chad Weaver
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Archive is +1 Action, +3 Cards. That will help with your small hand sizes.

Catapult those Curses when you don't have Copper.

Get rid of that Copper through Catapult then Bustling Village/Royal Blacksmith your way to drawing your deck.

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David desJardins
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Archive is awfully good when you have a large, low-quality deck.
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Jeff Wolfe
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Never underestimate the power of Archive. It increases your hand size for two turns after you play it (defense against discarding attacks), it helps you line up your trashers with the stuff you want to trash (defense against cursing attacks), and it helps you control when you have action cards in your hand (defense against Enchantress).

In general, the set rewards actions and it gives you two ways to deal with extra terminal actions (Enchantress and Arena). Terminal actions are your friend.
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Clive Jones

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OK. Thanks, folks. It's looking like Archive is a hidden gem in Empires.

I've put it out twice now, and nobody's taken it either time. It's clearly worth another look.

(Then again, in one of those games, the winner was too busy doing insane things with Bridge/Villa/Ironworks/Donate/Nobles. I find it really hard to believe Archive is that good.)
 
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Colm McCarthy
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We've generally found Empires-only games to be slower, thinky affairs a la Dark Ages.
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Clive Jones

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Our experience is that the game is generally getting slower and thinkier: Adventures is also a bit slower.

The exception is Guilds: that feels like quite a simple expansion compared with the Cornucopia, Hinterlands, Dark Ages, Adventures, Empires progression.
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Jeff Wolfe
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clivej wrote:
OK. Thanks, folks. It's looking like Archive is a hidden gem in Empires.

I've put it out twice now, and nobody's taken it either time. It's clearly worth another look.

(Then again, in one of those games, the winner was too busy doing insane things with Bridge/Villa/Ironworks/Donate/Nobles. I find it really hard to believe Archive is that good.)

"Nobody ever buys it" is not evidence of power level, it's evidence of of groupthink. If no one ever buys it, no one will ever win with it.
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Clive Jones

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I am aware of that.

But groupthink is surprisingly easy when there are awesome-looking things like Fortune and Royal Blacksmith and Capital sitting there staring us in the face. (-8
 
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Edward Montgomery
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clivej wrote:
A while ago, four of us tried the "Advanced intro" kingdom from the back of the Empires rulebook. That is: Arena, Triumphal Arch • Archive, Capital, Catapult/Rocks, Crown, Enchantress, Gladiator/Fortune, Groundskeeper, Royal Blacksmith, Settlers/Bustling Village, Temple

We were expecting an awesome game full of people making their Fortune, raking in the VP from Groundskeepers, etc. What we actually got was a slog that took two hours!

We had two people playing a steady stream of Enchantresses, and one who kept Catapulting miscellaneous cruft at us. After a while, everyone found themselves playing with a deck full of Curses and three-card hands where the first action card we played was largely wasted. We lost the struggle to maintain good enough deck quality to overcome those handicaps.

Even if we'd realised sooner what we were up against, what could we have done about it? Neither a Catapult nor a Temple can trash more than one Curse at a time, and you don't have much to show for it if you fling a Curse at your enemies. And what can you do to mitigate hand size reduction? A Bustling Village, Royal Blacksmith and another action to feed to the Enchantress's pig allows you to... get back to square one. Provided you happened to have them all in your hand when you were smacked in the face by a Treasure. Using three cards costing a total of at least $7+<8>, one of which is buried in a split pile, to mitigate some cheap attacks feels pretty desperate.

We didn't end up using Archive. Would it have helped if we'd indulged in a mad scramble to empty the pile of Archives before our ability to muster a spend of $5 was decimated by people playing $3 Enchantresses and $4 Catapults?

Is there anything we could have done differently, or is that kingdom inevitably and intentionally one of the most vicious slogs Dominion has ever seen?


I've been horribly frustrated by the Enchantress in that game, but I do have a question. Are you certain you played Catapult correctly? It only generates a Curse if you throw something costing 3 or more. In our games, we throw Copper (Militia attack!) and Estates and if possible, Rocks. If you have a great hand and can spare a Silver, sure, go ahead and chuck it, but that's rare and late. How often do you want to trash a card costing 3 or more?
 
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Clive Jones

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Quite a bit of Silver was being chucked about. At least a couple of other costly cards got Catapulted, too, but you're now asking about a game I played over two months ago!
 
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