Edward Montgomery
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Moraga
California
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We haven't played a lot of Dark Ages. Most of the group is much more familiar with the earlier sets (from isotropic), and if there are new players Dark Ages is viewed as the least approachable expansion (that is, most complicated).

Henry and I played some 2P games last night with pure Dark Ages to get more familiar with the expansion. In retrospect we think we learned the most from this kingdom (that is, we made the most mistakes with it.)

1 - Poor House
2 - Beggar
3 - Hermit / Madman
4 - Wandering Minstrel
4 - Scavenger
4 - Marauder
5 - Knights
5 - Catacombs
5 - Counterfeit
5 - Count

Poor House didn't turn out to be very useful. Counterfeit was the only predictable source of +buy, so there was usually treasure in hand, despite the Wandering Minstrels discarding so much of it.

Beggar is designed to counter Knights. We hadn't realized that until we saw it. Gain a Silver (Counterfeit fodder), put a Silver on your deck for the Knight to trash. A couple of Beggars and a couple of Counterfeits and I was laughing at Henry's parade of Knights. Beggar also has an amazing synergy with a Madman play, especially on the last turn when you don't mind (in fact, welcome) the extra Copper. "Oh look, I think I'll make my hand 2 cards bigger before I draw the number of cards in hand!"

Hermit is good for trashing Shelters and Ruins, and there are lots of those in this kingdom. Also, if you time it right you can have a turn where you trash your hand with the Count and have a couple of Hermits in play, thereby combining your "dead" buy turns. We never managed more than a 2 Province turn, but clever use of the Madman here does seem like you could shoot for 3.

Wandering Minstrel is amazing. We should have bought more Catacombs to go with them, sooner. We were both concentrating more on trashing (via different mechanisms). Henry was content with 4 Wandering Minstrels until a Knight killed one of them. Then he realized why I'd bought 6.

Scavenger is a wondering first purchase, especially if it shows up fast. That little sweetener makes it oh so much better than a Chancellor. I got a Counterfeit early, and Scavenged it a lot.

Marauder. Henry got one, I didn't. I used Hermit and Count to trash the damned Ruins. Really slowed me down. Henry didn't get a Counterfeit to boost his Spoils for a long time. He didn't think of Spoils as trashable treasure.

Catacombs is such an amazing Smithy! Fantastic deck velocity; my bias is to discard the first three just to move thru my deck faster (depending on where I am in the draw, of course.) We missed the thing about trashing for a cheaper card since we never trashed a Catacomb. Even on the last turn, three more cards seems better than a free Estate. We each had two Catacombs; I should have had more to go with my horde of Wandering Minstrel villages.

Counterfeit was very important in this kingdom as the path to multiple Province turns. The only other extra buys are one of the Knights (he didn't show up) and Ruined Markets. Besides, Counterfeit is awesome. It trashes Coppers (yay!) for extra value (double yay!), doesn't need an action, and turbo-charges Spoils you were going to lose anyway. It's just really powerful. I was slow to get a Marauder; the Ruins were gone by the time I did. I had some thought of draining the Spoils to hurt Henry's primary economy, but started in on it too late.

Count is so annoying. We both used it, mostly for trashing, although every one of the 6 choices got used by at least one of us at least once. The Discard 2 or put one from hand on deck can protect valuables from the hand trashing. Gaining a Copper can feed a Counterfeit or get a coin for the last turn. Trashing your hand is tricky; normally you want the largest hand possible for trashers, but here you need just the junk in hand. Still, trashing is so powerful, and this is the best trasher in this kingdom. I should have used the Gain a Duchy sooner.

We would definitely play better if we did this one again.
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Mike Stevens
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Reading your report made me remember how much I enjoy playing Dominion. I really liked the Dark Ages expansion. My buddy and I would do the same thing when a new expansion came out, trying to use all the different new cards in a Kingdom set trying to see how they played and interacted.
 
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David Goldfarb
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Edge wrote:
Henry didn't get a Counterfeit to boost his Spoils for a long time. He didn't think of Spoils as trashable treasure.

Hopefully you played this right: using Counterfeit on a Spoils does not in fact trash it, because the first time Spoils is played it puts itself back in the Spoils pile, and so when the time comes to trash it, Counterfeit has lost track of the card and fails to do so.

Edge wrote:
We missed the thing about trashing for a cheaper card since we never trashed a Catacomb. Even on the last turn, three more cards seems better than a free Estate.

So one never got hit by a Knight, then.
 
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Edward Montgomery
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David Goldfarb wrote:
Edge wrote:
Henry didn't get a Counterfeit to boost his Spoils for a long time. He didn't think of Spoils as trashable treasure.

Hopefully you played this right: using Counterfeit on a Spoils does not in fact trash it, because the first time Spoils is played it puts itself back in the Spoils pile, and so when the time comes to trash it, Counterfeit has lost track of the card and fails to do so.


Ah! No, we played it wrong. Didn't matter; we didn't come close to running out of Spoils. But thank you for the clarification.

David Goldfarb wrote:
Edge wrote:
We missed the thing about trashing for a cheaper card since we never trashed a Catacomb. Even on the last turn, three more cards seems better than a free Estate.

So one never got hit by a Knight, then.


That's right. Nor did a Hermit get a chance to hunt for one on the last turn.
 
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