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Subject: My girlfriend beats me rss

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James Fung
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So I've been introducing my girlfriend to eurogames, though mostly 2-player games: Lost Cities, Ticket to Ride: Switzerland, San Juan, Battle Line, Hive. And yesterday, Dominion, which was also the first time for me and my set. We would have played Agricola, but since I haven't made tuckboxes, I currently store them in an old Apples to Apples box and forgot them. Anyway... This is another first session / comments session report. Nothing new here. These are not the droids you're looking for.

I tend to win when we play euros, which I'm putting down to my having experience with these games and knowing the strategy a little better; when we play Backgammon or Cribbage, games she read up on (albeit years ago), we're more evenly matched.

So this weekend, we played Dominion 5 times within 24 hours. She didn't know I was bringing it up, so while I could have boned up on the Dominion strategy articles, I didn't.

Game 1: For our first game, we played with the First Game set. We both had a 5/2 coin split. I think she went Market/Cellar while I went Mine/Cellar to trash coppers. Of course, I should have read Mine more closely and seen that you place the new treasure in your hand rather than the discard pile... Also, while I know the game is all about keeping a tight deck, I couldn't resist the temptation of trying every card to see how they played. Except Militia, since she was complaining the game was already taking too long and had too much shuffling; or Moat, since she didn't buy Militia either; or Workshop, because I left it for later, but by the end of the game, I didn't want any more of the 4 coin cards. Vicky was a bit more focused with Cellars and Markets. I think she won 5 provinces to 3.

Game 2: After the learning game, we had another go at the First Game deck. She played Cellar and Markets even more. She also started buying Militia, so I bought Moats; I think we had 3 of each by the end of the game, which is probably too much. I was more focused on treasure this game, with the odd Market and Village thrown in. I don't think I ever got the Workshop a 4 coin card and Remodel into Gold going. Anyway, I won 5 provinces to 3.

Game 3: After her apparent glee for playing Militias on me, I suggested we try the Interactive set, but she said the Village Green sounded nicer. Her first buy was a Woodcutter, and I bought a Bureaucrat to get Silvers. Vicky fell in love with Libraries (she would, since she has a burning desire to be a librarian). As for me... OMG, Throne Room! The things you could do if you setup the right combos. Unfortunately, my deck was too scatterbrained, and I rarely got the right combos, though there was that one turn with Throne Room + Library... In this game, I had to start buying Duchies because, if I bought the last Province and end the game, I'd lose. Well, she bought the province and won handily anyway. We had a nice discussion about Festival versus Market on the drive back.

Game 4: The next day, we started with a game of Big Money. While this was our first game with Chapel, neither of us got a Chapel Deck going. Both of us thought the Adventurer was the bee's knees. Vicky didn't like any of Bureaucrat, Chancellor, or Feast. I like a Bureaucrat early in the game; got one Chancellor to speed through my deck after I had already drawn my Throne Room and Adventurer; and managed to Throne room my only Feast. She prefers the Makret to Laboratory, and I tried both. Again, I played Mine wrong. I don't think either of us touched Moneylender; I already had a Mine to trash Coppers. She won again.

Game 5: Before my train, we played a game with random kingdom cards. Unfortunately, I don't remember all the cards. There were no 2 coin cards (no way to Remodel Copper) or the Adventurer. The attacks were Bureaucrat and Spy. Vicky had neither of her beloved Cellar or Library, but there was Market and Laboratory. I didn't have my Throne Room either. She, however, read the Mine card and played it correctly.

Anyway, she won again, making us 1-4. Our games are getting closer in that, toward the end of the game, one or both of us are buying Duchies instead of other 5-coin cards to gain the edge in victory points.

Thoughts: We don't analyze each other's decks after the game, nor do I play that close attention to what she's buying (besides Provinces) since I have a poor memory for such things, so I don't really know why she's winning. Maybe it's her shuffling. I give my deck 4 to 5 shuffles each time, but she's not used to shuffling sleeved cards.

In all seriousness, I read many reviews and comments on Dominion before I bought it. Yes, the hands tend to play themselves. But the reason why Dominion is innovative and unique is the deck construction mechanism. Maybe after 200 plays I'll find these decisions ho-hum too, but I've never played any game 200 times. My collection is too big, and I don't game that often. For now, I'm still figuring out how play well, and thus I think I'm going to ignore those strategy articles for the time being. I'm probably buying too many 4-coin cards and not enough Silver. A solved game isn't fun anymore. But solving a game, on the other hand...

Both of us think some cards are great and underpriced (but probably overpriced if bumped up 1 coin). Both of us like the invisible cards with draws and at least +1 action, like Cellar, Market, Laboratory, Spy, and Village (and maybe Festival). The Library and Adventurer are great for getting treasure. And I really want to get a deck with trasher cards going.

So, while the naysayers dump on the game for its faults, I'm enjoying it and hope to do so for some time to come. And I need to buy a new microbadge.
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Jeff Wolfe
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fusag wrote:
Our games are getting closer in that, toward the end of the game, one or both of us are buying Duchies instead of other 5-coin cards to gain the edge in victory points.


I'm glad you learned this lesson. I cringed when I read your report on the score of the first game as "5 provinces to 3". Late in the game, you should also be buying Estates instead of other cards costing 2-4 coins (unless there are Gardens, of course, in which case you should buy those with 4).

It's Victory Points that matter, not Provinces. Provinces are just the most efficient way to get Victory Points.
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Alex
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The subject line made me think this was a domestic abuse complaint.
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James Fung
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jeffwolfe wrote:
I'm glad you learned this lesson. I cringed when I read your report on the score of the first game as "5 provinces to 3". Late in the game, you should also be buying Estates instead of other cards costing 2-4 coins (unless there are Gardens, of course, in which case you should buy those with 4).

It's Victory Points that matter, not Provinces. Provinces are just the most efficient way to get Victory Points.

Wouldn't a lot of Duchies slow down your deck and make it harder to get 8 coin in your hand? Especially if we didn't have Cellar or Adventurer.
 
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Joel Schuster
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fusag wrote:
Wouldn't a lot of Duchies slow down your deck and make it harder to get 8 coin in your hand? Especially if we didn't have Cellar or Adventurer.


jeffwolfe wrote:
Late in the game, you should also be buying Estates instead of other cards costing 2-4 coins (unless there are Gardens, of course, in which case you should buy those with 4).
 
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Mircea Pauca
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Congratulations on your finding of a gaming girlfriend ! Hope her victories would enhance her motivation to try more...

Agricola is fun for many couples - just follow the joy of IndigoPotter's semi-cooperative game sessions.

would you ever try wargames with her ? (already begun with Battle Line ?)
 
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Jeff Wolfe
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fusag wrote:
Wouldn't a lot of Duchies slow down your deck and make it harder to get 8 coin in your hand? Especially if we didn't have Cellar or Adventurer.


When you're going through your deck for the last time, anything that you buy that isn't a Victory card is a waste of money because you'll never get to use it. Of course, being able to predict when the game is about to end so you can make the switch can be tricky.

Sometimes it makes sense to shift to Victory cards even earlier in the game. For example, if you're getting lots of 10 or 11 coin hands, you can afford to clog up your deck a little to get some extra Victory cards (especially if you have no extra buys).

After I played the Gardens strategy a few times, I was less afraid of clogging my deck. With Gardens, clogging your deck is kind of the whole point. You want as many cards as possible, even if they're Coppers and Estates, to maximize the value of your Gardens. Sure, you sometimes get stuck with a hand that is five Victory cards. But you'll also get some surprisingly good draws, even late in the game.

A little bit of clogging isn't necessarily the end of the world. Finding the right balance is, of course, the key to a good result.
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James Fung
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Mircea,

ROMagister wrote:
Agricola is fun for many couples - just follow the joy of IndigoPotter's semi-cooperative game sessions.

would you ever try wargames with her ? (already begun with Battle Line ?)

I don't know how willing she would be to semi-cooperative; she does like foiling my plans in games (e.g. blocking my track in Ticket to Ride).

I wouldn't call Battle Line a wargame. It's printed by GMT and has a war theme, but it's a eurogame at heart. I think of it as a very distant cousin of Rummy.

She said she'll try wargames, but if she doesn't like it, she'll tell me. I don't have Commands & Colors: Ancients, or I'd start with that, so I'm thinking Bonaparte at Marengo. She has no interest in history, so I really doubt she'll like them.
 
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James Fung
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jeffwolfe wrote:
When you're going through your deck for the last time, anything that you buy that isn't a Victory card is a waste of money because you'll never get to use it. Of course, being able to predict when the game is about to end so you can make the switch can be tricky.

Sometimes it makes sense to shift to Victory cards even earlier in the game. For example, if you're getting lots of 10 or 11 coin hands, you can afford to clog up your deck a little to get some extra Victory cards (especially if you have no extra buys).

Thanks for the tip. Hopefully, we'll learn with more experience.

Also, yay Whedonverse.
 
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Mircea Pauca
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Use Bonaparte at Marengo only if she likes Chess and other abstracts.
For fun tactics you can use Conflict of Heroes: Awakening the Bear! – Russia 1941-42, and for operational positioning driven by lots of luck, our old fun Tigers in the Mist. So you can say she beat me transitively, by way of you ;-)

Else - have fun with more Dominion ! And if you both want to get to cutthroat, can't miss Race for the Galaxy !
 
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James Fung
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ROMagister wrote:
Use Bonaparte at Marengo only if she likes Chess and other abstracts.
For fun tactics you can use Conflict of Heroes: Awakening the Bear! – Russia 1941-42, and for operational positioning driven by lots of luck, our old fun Tigers in the Mist. So you can say she beat me transitively, by way of you ;-)

Else - have fun with more Dominion ! And if you both want to get to cutthroat, can't miss Race for the Galaxy !

Hmmm, she doesn't like abstracts actually. Okay, this could be tricky...

Don't have Conflict of Heroes: Awakening the Bear! – Russia 1941-42, and I rarely buy wargames these days (I know more people willing to play euros, so any game money I have goes there). And I gave Tigers in the Mist to a friend. *sigh*
 
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Peter O
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fusag wrote:
As for me... OMG, Throne Room! The things you could do if you setup the right combos. Unfortunately, my deck was too scatterbrained, and I rarely got the right combos, though there was that one turn with Throne Room + Library...


I love the Throne Room too. However, do you have the correct card in Library? Throne Room followed by library doesn't gain you anything over library alone (other than getting the throne room out of your hand in order to draw another card, and I don't imagine that is what you're getting excited about). Library fills your hand to 7, and the second copy of Library from the throne room resolves before you can do anything with the first 7.

Now Throne Room and Laboratory are one of my favorite. Festival and Library are peanut butter and chocolate.

I also like making long chains of village and throne room (just to get under the skin of some people on the boards here).
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tranenturm wrote:
I love the Throne Room too. However, do you have the correct card in Library?

You're right. It was some other combo, but I forgot what.
 
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Jeff Wolfe
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fusag wrote:
tranenturm wrote:
I love the Throne Room too. However, do you have the correct card in Library?

You're right. It was some other combo, but I forgot what.


I recently did a Throne Room-Library and acted all excited for no reason. But those were the only Action cards in my hand, so it was my best play.

I also (in a different game) did a Throne Room-Remodel to turn a Gold and a Silver into a Province and a Duchy. That one was kind of fun. I was playing a modified Chapel/Remodel deck against two decks that included Witches and one other Chapel deck. I managed to trash all 10 Curses I got (the Curse deck was emptied) and was left with a hand of 15 cards at the end. Eight of them were Victory cards (6-6-6-3-3-3-3-1). I won with 31 points, 9 of them from that late Throne Room-Remodel.
 
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