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Dominion: Intrigue» Forums » Strategy

Subject: Let's talk about starting combos rss

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Matt Dickinson
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So, I'm sure that, whether you have played a real game with the new cards or not, you're planning your opening buying strategies. What opening combos are you considering? Here are some that come to mind for me.

Baron / Silver

The first time the Baron is played, you should be end up with a Gold unless you have no Estates in your hand, or all 3 Estates and a Copper. In the latter case, the hand before or after probably provides a Gold. The Baron gets less useful as the game progresses, unless you buy more of them and make an entire game strategy out of it.

Scout / Steward

If you get the two cards in the same hand, the Scout can pull Estates into your hand and the Steward can trash a couple. If they show up separately, the Scout can take the estates and the next hand, with the Steward's +2 Coin, should have good buying power.

Minion / Courtyard

When drawn together, +2 Coin and then draw 3 cards, putting a card back. The absolute worst you could end up with is 5 Coin, and most of the time you'll get a Gold out of it. Drawn separately, the Courtyard could set up the Minion by putting back a Copper instead of an Estate. If you draw the Minion alone with a handful of Estates, just toss the hand, draw four and hope one is the Courtyard (and in the process, you may mess up everyone else's hand). This combo seems pretty versatile to me, and both cards should remain useful as your hand expands.

Bridge / Silver

The Bridge is a card that jumps out and screams "play me" right away. This combo gives good buying power up front, and gets better as the game goes on.

Torturer / Pawn

Played together, it's the only opening Intrigue combo I can think of that let you draw 4 extra cards, plus you get to mess up your friends' hands. The Curse vs. discard two cards decision is particularly interesting at the beginning of the game.

And now for Intrigue / Dominion Classic card combos...

Trading Post / Chapel

Oh, dear Lord. If you draw the cards in the right order, you can trash your original ten cards in three turns, getting Silver in the process. One of the action cards can then be used to trash the other. Opponents would be forced to stock up on attack cards to stop you.

Steward / Chapel

This may not be as quick as Trading Post / Chapel, but once you use the Steward to dispose of the Chapel, you have no useless action cards in your hand.

Laboratory / Secret Chamber

I see a strategy here. Keep buying Labs. Chain them together to get as many cards in your hand as possible. Secret Chamber turns every card into money for that turn. Your hand would be virtually clutter-proof.

Council Room / Pawn

Played together, gets you a Gold immediately unless you're very unlucky.

Okay. Feel free to pick apart my suggestions, and please add your own.
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Greg Payne
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Baron/Silver: Can go 6/6 on turns 3 and 4. Can be really powerful when it happens. I'm yet to run the numbers for any of the new cards, but I have a feeling that this is close to 40% for a $6 turn 3.

Coppersmith/Silver: Can also allow fast starts. I'm not evne sure that the Silver is the best companion for this card.

Scout/Secret Chamber: Draw your future Estates into hand, then discard them for money.

Masquerade/Silver: Ideally, pass an Estate around (one less for you to have to deal with), and trash an Estate if you received one. Or trash the second Estate that you had in hand. Or maybe trash the Copper you would otherwise receive. I am expecting to get a strange look from my LHO on at least one occasion...

Shanty Town/most $4 actions: If you get Shanty Town by itself then play it to get a good shot at playing the other action. Alternatively, play it on turn 4 after having played the other action on turn 3, to draw the remaining two cards of your deck, giving you a better shot at new cards on turn 5. And if it collides with your other action card, then just don't play it.

Courtyard/just about anything: Great on turn 3, as you get to put the other action card on top of your deck for turn 4. Also allows you to have more chance of new cards on turn 5 (this will be a recurring theme in this post). Sucks on turn 4, as you're drawing past the end of your deck.

Wishing Well/just about anything: Reasonable on turn 3, as you can often make a good guess at what's coming up. Even better on turn 4, where you should always be able to tell what your last card is.
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David desJardins
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Lardarse wrote:
Baron/Silver: Can go 6/6 on turns 3 and 4. Can be really powerful when it happens. I'm yet to run the numbers for any of the new cards, but I have a feeling that this is close to 40% for a $6 turn 3.


Chance of $6 turn 3 = 288/792 = 36.4%.
B x x x x = 330
B E E E C = -7
B S C C C = -35
B C C C C = -35
S C C C C = 35

Chance of $6 turn 3 and $6 turn 4 = 2*420/(792*21) = 5.1%.
S C C C C / B x x x x / x x = 525
S C C C C / B E E E C / C C = -105
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Greg Payne
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Your notation is strange, but it's quite a clever way of doing it.

5.1% for a double 6 is a long shot. But my feelings on the card will be forever coloured by the fact that the first ever game I played with Baron on BSW, I started Baron/Silver, and then went BEE11/21111...
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Chris Martin
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Lardarse wrote:
Shanty Town/most $4 actions: If you get Shanty Town by itself then play it to get a good shot at playing the other action. Alternatively, play it on turn 4 after having played the other action on turn 3, to draw the remaining two cards of your deck, giving you a better shot at new cards on turn 5. And if it collides with your other action card, then just don't play it.

I'm totally with you on listing Baron / Silver first: this is the one that I've decided can be added to the Pantheon of Opening Fours. But I have to take issue with your closing Shanty Town comment. Too many people seem to think that "just not playing" an Action card isn't too big a deal, because hey, you couldn't have played a different action card either, right? Right, but also so so wrong: that Shanty Town could have been a Silver, and it turns out that Silver can be used usefully alongside almost every action card you can think of.
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Greg Payne
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chrisjwmartin wrote:
But I have to take issue with your closing Shanty Town comment. Too many people seem to think that "just not playing" an Action card isn't too big a deal, because hey, you couldn't have played a different action card either, right? Right, but also so so wrong: that Shanty Town could have been a Silver, and it turns out that Silver can be used usefully alongside almost every action card you can think of.

That argument reads like "when it doesn't work, it sucks", which sounds rather like my argument for why I don't like Smithy/Silver. So it essentially comes down to which worst case is worst. Only experience can show the answer...
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Matt Dickinson
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chrisjwmartin wrote:

I'm totally with you on listing Baron / Silver first: this is the one that I've decided can be added to the Pantheon of Opening Fours. But I have to take issue with your closing Shanty Town comment. Too many people seem to think that "just not playing" an Action card isn't too big a deal, because hey, you couldn't have played a different action card either, right? Right, but also so so wrong: that Shanty Town could have been a Silver, and it turns out that Silver can be used usefully alongside almost every action card you can think of.


Shanty Town should be best with other + Action cards. The best opening Intrigue combo I can see is Shanty Town / Scout. If you get both, play the Scout to suck up the Estates, then play the Shanty Town. You're guaranteed to draw two Coppers.
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David desJardins
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French Taunter wrote:
Shanty Town should be best with other + Action cards. The best opening Intrigue combo I can see is Shanty Town / Scout. If you get both, play the Scout to suck up the Estates, then play the Shanty Town. You're guaranteed to draw two Coppers.


Playing two action cards to gain $2 hardly seems like a great combo. You could have just bought Silver.
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Yaron Racah
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DaviddesJ wrote:
French Taunter wrote:
Shanty Town should be best with other + Action cards. The best opening Intrigue combo I can see is Shanty Town / Scout. If you get both, play the Scout to suck up the Estates, then play the Shanty Town. You're guaranteed to draw two Coppers.


Playing two action cards to gain $2 hardly seems like a great combo. You could have just bought Silver.


I agree that's it not an amazing combo, but it does do more than draw into +2 coins - it also churns through some useless Estates.

In general, Shantytown seems to be good in conjunction with +1 action cards. If you draw several actions, you can play the other cards first, and get your +2 cards from Shantytown. You never get to use Shantytown's +2 actions (because everything gives you +1 action anyway), but you do get to use one of those actions (if you draw into something with Shantytown). Shantytown is effectively a Laboratory in this situation, except it costs 3 (and except you don't want too many of them - if you draw several together, all but the last will not draw cards).
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Cameron MacFarland
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Ironworks/Great Hall: Use the Ironworks to buy more Ironworks and Great Halls, and once both of those decks are gone drain the estates. Win by ending the game really quickly, before a slower deck has a chance to get started.
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Matt Dickinson
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DaviddesJ wrote:
French Taunter wrote:
Shanty Town should be best with other + Action cards. The best opening Intrigue combo I can see is Shanty Town / Scout. If you get both, play the Scout to suck up the Estates, then play the Shanty Town. You're guaranteed to draw two Coppers.


Playing two action cards to gain $2 hardly seems like a great combo. You could have just bought Silver.


On further reflection, you're absolutely right. Shanty Town/Silver would be a better starter. Still not sure it would be a good way to start the game, though.
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Chris Martin
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French Taunter wrote:
On further reflection, you're absolutely right. Shanty Town/Silver would be a better starter. Still not sure it would be a good way to start the game, though.

I think that you're right on both counts, Matt: Shanty Town / Silver would be better, and Shanty Town / Silver would still be pretty crap. Which teaches us that Shanty Town is not great in that circumstance.

Shanty Town is very like Village: if you have it in your deck, that's fine - it doesn't mess you up particularly, except if you're running a big draw deck (e.g. Smithies, Envoys, Council Rooms) in which case you end up drawing them using your draw cards. The problem is that to get the card in your deck you have to buy it, and that buy could have been a Silver. I do think that Shanty Town is better than Village, but not by that much.
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Mikael Ölmestig
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I was the other day looking at the best wishes game and saw a nice starting combination with a 3/4 start and it is two cards that isn't regarded as strong, but could work very well together and that is coppersmith and wishing well.

Coppersmith makes coppers worth one more and wishing well give +1 action +1 draw and you guess the next card after that. With these you have some decisions depending on what you draw on you third turn, but chances are pretty good you will be able to get at least 6 coins to buy with and pretty good buying power the 4th turn too. The power of esp. coppersmith will be lower as the game goes on, but by then you should have enough gold to handle it.
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Matt Dickinson
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After playing for a few days, I think Bridge/Silver is my favorite starter. An early Gold is harder to get, but with only three Coppers a Bridge will get you two Silvers. I'm also having some success with Trading Post/Pawn. I find Silvers more useful with Intrigue than with the original Dominion set, because there are so many new ways to get VPs.

Has anyone found a favorite starter now that we've opened the boxes and played a few games?
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Chris P.
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Lardarse wrote:
Scout/Secret Chamber: Draw your future Estates into hand, then discard them for money.
Not sure if the thread is too old to make it worthwhile to comment on this, but I disagree about this being a good combo. TL;DR version: your purchasing power per hand with this combo has a low chance of generating a $5 or $6 purchase in turns 3 or 4.

While they have some synergy drawn together they have none drawn apart and that's going to happen 70% of the time. The Scout normally makes the next hand better by pulling estates. But a Secret Chamber doesn't care if its drawn with estates or coppers - both are worth $1 with a chamber but there will only be 4 of them (whichever they are) and so you'll only have a $4 buy. The hand with the Scout will be even worse because at most it will be able to buy $4 and that's only if it was drawn with 4 coppers. More likely it will produce $2 or $3 worth of purchasing power.

Say the Chamber and Scout are drawn together on turn 3 (15% chance of happening). Neither has +coin which means your hand is going to be worth $3, plus $1 for every estate the scout manages to draw in to expand your hand. So you must pull at least 2 estates in to have $5 and all 3 to buy a gold.
starting
turn 3 % chance to
estates have buy of
# % $5 $6
0 29% 15% 3.2%
1 53% 12% 0%
2 18% 0% 0%
3 .8% 0% 0%
totals 27% 3.2%

So, even if you pull both on turn 3, you'll only get a $5 or better buy 30% of those times. About 26% of the time (mostly overlapping with that 30%) you'll get a $5 buy in next hand by having all three estates ended up in the hand. Exceptions being when none were in hand originally and only drew 2 (leaving one for next hand) or drew 3 (which forces a reshuffle to fill the 5th card).

Its also a 15 chance to draw both in turn 4 but the Scout will force a shuffle (which will include the 3 buy) so the numbers change up a little.
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Jack Rudd
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Spy/Swindler is one of my favourites. They work OK separately; they have a potentially devastating combo together. (You have a Torturer coming up? I'll leave it there, and then Swindle it into a Duchy.)
 
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Rob Neuhaus
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Scout/steward sounds interesting. Does anyone find it useful?

I guess the problem with scout/steward is that the scout will lose a lot of its value after the estates are gone, which ideally happens pretty quickly.
 
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Rhett Davis
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My Favorite deck strategy for intrigue is this:
Buy scouts and Great Halls like crazy until you're able to get enough to but some harems (you could also get nobles, but my purpose it to draw money with my scouts) So play scout reveal 4 if scout is within the ones that you drew put it on top to draw it with great hall or noble (because you probably picked one of the other up) and repeat until you have enough money to buy provinces
 
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