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Subject: Mines: Upgrade evenly, or go for the gold? rss

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Ian Toltz
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You've got a mine, a copper, and a silver. Do you go for consistency, upgrading the copper to silver, or do you go for gold and hope you'll get several gold in a row?

Consistency has a couple things going for it:
1. That silver can be upgraded again, meaning that if you get remodel with it the remodel's not a dead card.
2. Less risk of drawing several coppers and having too few coins to do anything useful.

Going for gold, though, is more swingy. It makes it more likely for you to get a good hand or a bad hand, while the consistent strategy means you're more likely to get a middling hand than anything. You also risk being stuck with the remodel and no silver/copper more often, making it a wasted card.

I used to prefer consistency, but I'm starting to lean towards going for gold.
 
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Jim Cote
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It depends on a lot of game context. For example, if Theives are in play, avoid Gold.
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I tend to upgrade the coppers to silvers, but I haven't played a whole lot of this game like other folks have. It also depends on which point in the game I'm in.
 
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Andrew Mitchell
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For me it depends on the other cards available and in my deck.

If remodel is also available then I'll mine to gold so that at the end of the game I can remodel to province when needed.
Generally if I have multiple mines I will mine to silver to avoid being stuck with only unminabale gold in my hand with a mine.
With Chapel or moneylender or cellar or an opponent with malitia I will tend to mine to gold so I can choose to rid myself of copper when needed.

Excluding the effects of other cards I prefer unbalance [mine to gold] as I would rather be [at the end of the game] alternating between buying province and silver than buying gold every turn for 5 turns until I can buy province.
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Galen
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Does anyone use mines alot? I dont usually buy them because they seem so slow.
 
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Jim Cote
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galeninjapan wrote:
Does anyone use mines alot? I dont usually buy them because they seem so slow.

It may seem slow to think you are only gaining a single coin, but the upgrade is permanent AND you get the new coin immediately into your hand. It's pretty powerful.
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Allen Doum
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ekted wrote:
galeninjapan wrote:
Does anyone use mines alot? I dont usually buy them because they seem so slow.

It may seem slow to think you are only gaining a single coin, but the upgrade is permanent AND you get the new coin immediately into your hand. It's pretty powerful.

We played them wrong the first time, and put the new card in the discards. Was still pretty powerful as far as I was concerned.
 
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Loc Nguyen
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I tend to always go for gold in this case especially w/ moneylender or cellar. Also I think having one good hand and one bad hand is better than relying on some luck of your other cards to help get to 8 dollars. Remodeling a gold and a copper for Province and Estate 7 Vp compared to two Duchies from two silvers.
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Michael Becker
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The true power of a Mine is that you are improving your deck without diluting it. Also, you get the upgrade into your hand immediately.

The best deck in Dominion in theory is a five card deck that will net you multiple Victory points every turn. Of course, if you only had five cards and purchased a Province on turn 1, you would now have six cards on turn 2. Drawing that Province is a wasted card unless you have some way to recycle it (i.e. every extra card you add prevents you from drawing your most powerful cards.) A Cellar might be your answer in this scenario.

Many people often use additional buys for extra Copper. I would think in most cases this is a mistake. Of course there will be decks which void my advice.

Wether or not you upgrade a Copper or Silver with the mine will probably depend on the other cards you have already placed in your deck, the other cards which were selected during the game setup, and what stage the game is at. Like other posters have mentioned if there are cards like Thieves in the mix drawing your Gold can be tough at times. If you have Adventurers in your deck getting to Gold as fast as possible is important.

Michael
 
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I had this decision in a recent game and went with the Gold, but I later felt like I had made the wrong decision. It was still pretty early in the game when I wouldn't be buying provinces for a while. Having more consistent buying power, so that every draw was more likely to allow me to buy a helpful card, would have been more effective at that point.

As others have suggested though, the decision will vary depending on the cards available.
 
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Unless Thief is present, always go for Gold first. This is because you are better off with a poor turn and a rich turn than two average turns.

For example, you have 7 Coppers at the start and use Mine 4 times.
Silver+: Copper, Copper, Copper, Silver, Silver, Silver, Silver
Gold+: Copper, Copper, Copper, Copper, Copper, Gold, Gold

Which one is more likely to allow you to purchase Provinces?
Silver+: Either all 4 Silver, or 3 Silver and 1 Copper
Gold+: Both Gold and any 2 Copper.
I'd say that the Gold is much more likely to net Provinces, though I'm too lazy to do the actual probability.

In short, whether you pick Silver or Gold will give you the same average returns, Gold allows you greater opportunity for high yield turns in addition to low yield turns. However, high yield turns are what allow you to win the game, by purchasing Provinces and Gold for more Provinces.
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Kevin Lause
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I like to upgrade silve to gold then use that to buy a silver...
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Kevin Bourrillion
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I believe that opponents having lots of thieves is the only reason to consider choosing the 1->2 upgrade over the 2->3. Whereas there are many good reasons to prefer the 2->3 -- if I have cellars or moneylenders or chapels or remodels, or if opponents have militias.

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Kevin Bourrillion
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In fact, even when opponents have thieves, I think that changes things only very slightly.

Consider that the typical thief behavior is to take a 2 or a 3, but trash a 1. If my deck uniformly contains 2s, then each thief that hits will hurt me and help my opponent. If I have 1s and 3s, then sometimes I'll be hurt and the opponent will be helped (a LOT), but other times my opponent will actually be doing me a favor by trashing that 1 for me.

I've lost more games by worrying about thieves and changing my strategy to pussyfoot around them, than I have by being bold and seeing the thieves actually succeed in wrecking my plans. Most times I think you should just ignore them, or just thieve back.
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Obvioulsy it depends on the context of the cards available and what your deck looks like....

While going gold early increases the chances that you'll get an 8 coin hand and be able to buy a province, it also decreases the chance that a hand with a mine and only one treasure card will be mine-able. I tend to go for nothing but silver early, becuase I don't want to waste a mine card draw and I'm more often trying to buy gold cards or 5 cost kingdom cards.

Then later, when you're ready for buying nothing but provinces, you can turn all your silver into gold (and you won't have much copper left at this point anyway).
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Dave G
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asmiles wrote:


While going gold early increases the chances that you'll get an 8 coin hand and be able to buy a province, it also decreases the chance that a hand with a mine and only one treasure card will be mine-able.


I have to agree with this. I prefer to play my mine with an eye toward playing it again. The game isn't *only* about buying provinces, either--upgrading your copper to silver first will increase your average hand strength faster, especially when you're still working a relatively slim deck, as you're likely to be able to upgrade all your copper with your mine very quickly while adding useful actions/buys before you start buying VPs
 
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First, I'll assume chapel and moneylender are not available. If chapel is, you should ignore mine as your chapel will be eliminating the targets pretty quickly. If moneylender is, then you have to look at other cards available. I'll usually go with the moneylender as most times I want only 3-5 money cards, but there are setups where mine will be better. Since we can't effectively thin with chapel or moneylender, we can at least upgrade. So the question then is, all silver first, or prioritize gold?

To answer we need to look at the various other cards. You have to ask yourself, am I buying more 4 pt cards, or am I buying 5 point cards? There are games where the only cards really worth having are the 5 (and 6) pt cards. Then there are games were all the action is at 3 and 4 (village, smithy, throne-room, gardens...) In the games where the action is all at 5, then upgrade to gold. At the early stages if you have bought 4 cards, your deck will be half money, half other. Without counting draws, you will average 2.5 money cards per turn. In order to hit the magic 5, you need 1 copper and 2 silver, or 2 copper and 1 gold. Getting the two silver together is much less likely than the surety of 1 gold. However, you will still hit the occasionally lucky hand of 3 copper and 1 silver. However, the rest of your deck then contains 2 copper and 1 silver, so you won't be hitting 2 5 builds in a pass through your deck. (I'm making the assumption here that it is early enough you're not drawing your whole deck each round, which would negate this whole exercise anyway). Of course, your gold can always be stranded with 1 or 0 copper. However, if that is happening, then you've upped your odds of a 5 copper hand.

All in all, I'm much more wanting to bet on obtaining a 2 copper, 1 gold hand than either silver hand.

All of this changes though when your buy target is at 3 and 4. In that case, go silver all the way as it ups your odds of multiple relevant buys per time through your deck.
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Greg Jones
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Of course it depends on many things. I generally prefer to upgrade the Silver. But if I have a Chapel, then I will go for the Gold and keep the Copper around to be trashed with the Chapel.
 
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Kevin Bourrillion
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asmiles wrote:
While going gold early increases the chances that you'll get an 8 coin hand and be able to buy a province, it also decreases the chance that a hand with a mine and only one treasure card will be mine-able.


Wait a minute. If it's a regular occurrence that by the time I'm done playing all my cellars/villages/laboratories/markets I still have only ONE treasure card in hand, ain't I gonna lose anyway?

I mean it's far more common to have multiple treasure cards in hand come mining time. And in that event you'll almost always have one that can still be upgraded, and if you don't you're probably in fairly good shape anyway. So basically, I don't buy this argument, and I still think 2->3 is almost always the superior move.
 
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I won't go through every case since much of it is already covered and I couldn't even if I wanted to.

If no moats or not a good spread of moats in my deck....
If Militia is in town I would go for the gold. Good chance I'll get to keep one of the 2 coins, let it be the gold and discard the silver rather than keep on silver and discard the other silver

If Thief is in town, I'm gonna go for the silver to try to keep my losses even rather than lopsided, even if it may be in my favor


If I feel I have decent coverage of moats....
If militia is in, i would still go for gold. Moat may make any militia attacks moot.

If Thief is in town, I would still go for silver, altho I have done 2-->3 and both gotten away with it and lost my gold across various games with that situation. Paranoia tends to keep me in that kind of "check"

.

In either case, if my opponent(s) are being prolific about stealing my copper, I would get copper with my extra buys or if I had insufficient coinage to buy anything decent to compensate for lost income.



ekted wrote:
galeninjapan wrote:
Does anyone use mines alot? I dont usually buy them because they seem so slow.

It may seem slow to think you are only gaining a single coin, but the upgrade is permanent AND you get the new coin immediately into your hand. It's pretty powerful.
It may be slow to start off, but as a long term investment, as mentioned that investment is usually worth it. 2 things nice about the Mine....
1) if you get a mine at the beginning of the game and use it, the upgraded treasure will get used sooner than later due to your still relatively small deck. I would also get used more since you did get it earlier than later aside from that previous reason.
2) Having the mine leaves your treasure and other coins to purchase other things, which is nice if you don't have additional buys. E.g. Use your Mine to get a silver, trash the copper that's clogging up your deck, PLUS, buy something like a Market or any other desirable action card.

** mentioned was the mine lets you get the upgraded treasure to be put in your hand, so you are getting that benefit immediately AND for future use.
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Scott Smith
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I have always used Mine to bring up the lowest value coin in my hand with the thought that it would make my later draws more consistent. But after reading this, I am going to try going to gold first then. Only problem is that I rarely get a Mine (usually if I get a 2/5 hand with Throne Room also available.)
 
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Upgrade the coppers first. It sucks when you get two gold, two estates and a mine in your hand. Its great to have the gold, but if you upgrade them, the mine's utility is ever limited.
 
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Allxmen wrote:
Upgrade the coppers first. It sucks when you get two gold, two estates and a mine in your hand. Its great to have the gold, but if you upgrade them, the mine's utility is ever limited.


This by itself is not a sufficient reason to not upgrade to Gold. In this situation you have the distinct comfort that even though you can't use the Mine you can get another Gold. This will not happen enough in a game to completely disregard the choice (though it is something to consider when you do upgrade).

The choice depends less on this limited problem and more on the overall question of 'Do you want stability or variability?'. If you want stability go for Copper -> Silver. If you want variability go for Silver -> Gold.

I should point out that if you have 2 Gold in your hand and you were only upgrading Coppers then these were 2 Gold you most likely bought (making the issue moot). If you were upgrading your Silver then you got what you wanted anyhow. Replace these 2 Gold with 2 Silver and you are now only at 5 Copper for this round (though one of your Silver will become a Gold, which is not a bad thing). (Edit: I think I made my point badly here. What I am getting at this situation is not completely unfavorable. 2 Gold buys another Gold, while 2 Silver buys a 5 cost card and converts to a Gold. But you need to recognize this is typically an end game situation where your new cards are of limited use since you won't get to use them much anymore).

- Lex

 
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LexH wrote:
Allxmen wrote:
Upgrade the coppers first. It sucks when you get two gold, two estates and a mine in your hand. Its great to have the gold, but if you upgrade them, the mine's utility is ever limited.


This by itself is not a sufficient reason to not upgrade to Gold. In this situation you have the distinct comfort that even though you can't use the Mine you can get another Gold. This will not happen enough in a game to completely disregard the choice (though it is something to consider when you do upgrade).

The choice depends less on this limited problem and more on the overall question of 'Do you want stability or variability?'. If you want stability go for Copper -> Silver. If you want variability go for Silver -> Gold.

I should point out that if you have 2 Gold in your hand and you were only upgrading Coppers then these were 2 Gold you most likely bought (making the issue moot). If you were upgrading your Silver then you got what you wanted anyhow. Replace these 2 Gold with 2 Silver and you are now only at 5 Copper for this round (though one of your Silver will become a Gold, which is not a bad thing). (Edit: I think I made my point badly here. What I am getting at this situation is not completely unfavorable. 2 Gold buys another Gold, while 2 Silver buys a 5 cost card and converts to a Gold. But you need to recognize this is typically an end game situation where your new cards are of limited use since you won't get to use them much anymore).

- Lex


Yes, of course having 2 Gold in your hand is better than having 2 Silver, but 2 Silver is also better than 2 Copper. The more Golds you have in your deck, the more useless your Mine is.

Moreover, I'd argue that high variance is bad. Sure, you might catch a lead in the Province race, but adding VP cards quickly stack the odds against your deck, and the low variance player will catch up soon, and then beat you in the Duchy race.

You should always upgrade Copper to Silver, with three exceptions:

1. Moneylender (though I don't get the point of buying both Mine and Moneylender)
2. Remodel (Copper -> Cellar and Gold -> Province)
3. Bureaucrat (maybe? I never buy the Bureaucrat, so I don't know)
 
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Andrew Hardin
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theory wrote:

Moreover, I'd argue that high variance is bad. Sure, you might catch a lead in the Province race, but adding VP cards quickly stack the odds against your deck, and the low variance player will catch up soon


A couple of things.

One, high variance decks are not the end all be all, but they are better than you are imagining.

High variance decks do three things well:

One, they buy Provinces faster.
Two, they buy Gold faster.
Three, they are less effected by VP cards.

The classic high variance deck that people use but never think of as high variance is Village/Smithy. These decks switch rapidly between having 8-10 cards and having 5.

Depending on the specific Kingdom cards it can be better to start 5/2 or 4/3. This is the classic 'high/low' variance swing and it often favors high variance.

High variance is an advantage in the following basic situations:

Cellar Game:
The game has a Cellar. The Cellar is a deck-cycling card that is cheap. I would rather break 6/5/2 then 5/4/4 in almost any game that has Cellars. The Cellar lets you bypass the low draws to get to the high draws. You want variability here to sweep away your weak cards. It is better to have 1 Cellar, 2 Estate, 1 Copper, 1 Gold than 1 Cellar, 2 Estate, 2 Silver.

Curse Game:
The game contains Witches. High variance is helpful in these decks to produce more 8/1/3 splits over 5/4/3. When dealing with Curse cards it really helps to have a few rounds of 6 to buy more Gold to get more Provinces.

Chancellor Game:
You are using the Chancellor. The Chancellor takes advantage of the upswings and helps reduce the effect of the downswings. High variance improves the overall average of this deck.

Spy Game:
You are using the Spy. You use the Spy to reduce the Copper draws and improve the chances of drawing Gold. Here your middle draws of 4 buy you more Spy cards.

Draw Poor Game:
The deck lacks Smithy/Lab/Council Room. The only way to build up your hand size is to rely upon Moat and Witch. Your average hand size rarely exceeds 6. Unless your Treasure/Card ratio is 1.333 your average Treasure/Hand is less than 8. High variability will push you above 8 more. You want more hands of 1 Silver, 2 Gold, 2 VP compared to 3 Silver, 2 VP

VP Game:
Your deck is loaded down with Gardens, Curses, Duchy cards. Your average Treasure/Card Ratio is horrible. Drawing your Silver is a recipe for mediocrity (you need 3 Treasure to get a Duchy unless you have Gold). A deck loaded with more Gold and less Silver will hit the magic number of 5 or 8 more.

Though the Mine is rarely how you achieve this goal (in fact, the Mine tends to counter this goal by producing low variability decks) it doesn't mean you don't want high variability.

- Lex
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