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Subject: How gardens can overcome a world of attacks rss

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Grant Johnson
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Last night we decided to cap our play session with a game of Dominion. Dick's daughter was in town visiting and had played a single game with the suggested starting cards. She was a little nervous because her father had been telling horrible lies about my playstyle- my opponents all hoped that the moats would appear, to protect them from theft/bewitchment/bureaucracy/etc.devil

We had an interesting combination of cards that included almost every attack in the game (Bureaucrat, Militia, Spy, Thief, Witch), a few + Buy cards (Market, Woodcutter), Moneylender, Throne Room and Gardens. We took a few minutes to explain to Teresa how Gardens scored, and drew for positions.

Teresa went first- she immediately began investing in better treasure cards by buying silver. Dick grabbed a garden on the first turn in the hopes that it would start a Garden war- it enticed no competition and slowed him down early. Laurie and I both took Woodcutters.

From this point the strategies began to emerge, with all players working to deplete the wood cutter supply. Teresa invested in treasure cards and was able to get a province early. Dick had money shortage issues- he would grab markets when he drew the woodcutter, and estates when he did not. Laurie invested in spies. I proved all the rumors true by purchasing thieves and taking my fair share of treasure(including a gold from Teresa). My blatant thefts prompted Teresa and Laurie to buy thieves of their own.

Once the woodcutters disappeared, the strategy began to shift. The focus moved the victory points. Dick had taken quite a few Estates, and the last ones were gobbled up once the woodcutters were gone. I snagged a witch in the hopes of penalizing my opponents and managed to bring out 2 Curses. But the last 5 rounds of the game were a race to collect the Gardens before they disappeared. The game ended when I bought the last Garden. Because of the +Buys in Market and Woodcutter we'd managed to collect all but 2 coppers.

Dick finished with exactly 39 cards- he blamed the world of thieves from keeping him short of 40. But the large number of estates he collected propelled him to victory at 22 points. I managed to snag 18 points, with Laurie at 14 and Teresa at 16.

Dick said that his strategy was to play a deck where he bought no treasure and wouldn't be as badly bothered by the Thief. He focused on getting money from Woodcutters and Markets, and used the +Buys to get additional copper. I think it worked a little better than my strategy of thieving because Laurie and Teresa joined me in the life of crime. I may have been better served have collected treasure early instead of thieving, and then started getting markets and witches at the middle portion of the game.
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David K
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Interesting report. Thanks for sharing.

I'd like to share some thoughts on this setup for strategy for you and your playgroup

Woodcutter
Bureaucrat
Gardens
Militia
Moneylender
Spy
Thief
Throne Room
Market
Witch

- No Village/Festival, and only 2 non terminal actions (Market and Spy).
- So many attacks and no moat, so Militia is going to be brutal early game.
- Witch and no way to defend against or trash curses.
- Gardens and enough + Buy to make abusive garden turns possible.
-- Gardens supported by Thief in a 4 player game making gaining 3 cards a turn before even buying a genuine possibility.
- Throne room making actions that much more powerful (throne roomed thief allowing a gardens player to possibly net 6 cards), especially when there are fewer cards to enable chains.

My strategy would have centered around Throne Room. I would TR Woodcutter to accelerate money early game and gardens pickup mid/late game. Throne Room Witch to throw around curses faster than anyone else. Net the occasional market. If someone else started going after gardens before I was ready to go off, hopefully I would be able to at least split them and if no one else was getting in on the curse war, I'd feel confident that I could switch to duchys and deplete that pile for the win along with curses and Gardens.
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Jonathan Souza
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IMO the Thief is tied with the Chancellor for the worst card in the box. I have played a lot in both 2 and 4 player games (I have never played a 3 player game)

All cards have a decent use, some cards shine with 4 players (The Thief being better in a 4 player game/Throne Room/Garden strategy)

There are two problems with the Thief, the first is that it removes Coppers from your opponents deck. I want you to have coppers, they water down your deck. The only time I would want to remove copper is if I was trying a total money shutdown strategy, which I don't think is possibly, and/or easily countered by the "I only buy cards that have +money strategy).

The second problem with the Thief is that it has no secondary effect. This is especially crappy in a 2 player game where there is a high chance that you Thief for nothing.

To make the Thief 'better' play it after a Spy.

Yes I have lost gold to the thief... and yes the thief is better vs slim no copper decks, but in almost every case I would rather Witch/Buerocrat/Militia you. (Witch and Beurocratc combo with Throne Room for the WIN!!! Throne Room x2 and then Witch or Beuro for some serious awesome) Milita is downright awesome by itself or totally awesome after (Village, Council Room, Militia) - The I givith and taketh away...

The Chancellor has awesome potential... but I just haven't found the sweet spot with the current card set. It might become my goto card someday... but not quite yet. With the current set of cards the Chancellor should be 2 coins to buy, it is not as good as the other 3 cost, +2 money cards (woodcutter, Black Market)

I would tweak the Thief to 5 coins to purchase and allow the user the option of trashing gold and allow the player to take both. (obvious play testing required)
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Dave G
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HRViolation wrote:

The Chancellor has awesome potential... but I just haven't found the sweet spot with the current card set. It might become my goto card someday... but not quite yet. With the current set of cards the Chancellor should be 2 coins to buy, it is not as good as the other 3 cost, +2 money cards (woodcutter, Black Market)



Chancellor is by far the best 3, and in many games when Moneylender isn't available, I'll open Chancellor/Silver on a 4/3 split. A good chancellor deck can be faster to Gold and to provinces than a chapel deck.
 
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Chris Martin
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KhyrosFinalCut wrote:
My strategy would have centered around Throne Room. I would TR Woodcutter to accelerate money early game and gardens pickup mid/late game. Throne Room Witch to throw around curses faster than anyone else.

Throne Rooming something is cool when it happens. But next time you play with Throne Rooms, maybe take notes of how often your Throne Rooms can't get played or how often your other cards collide with each other. My experience is that these "wasted" turns outweigh the good ones.
 
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Grant Johnson
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Quote:
My experience is that these "wasted" turns outweigh the good ones.


This is what usually scares me away from Throne Rooms, especially in Garden games where you're running a large deck. The occasions where I buy them, I end up drawing them with only victory points or money and they go to waste.

If you've got a Chapel or Remodel deck going you can ensure they're used more frequently. In this game, that wasn't really an option.
 
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Dick Leban
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We threw Teresa in head first, her first game was random but I redrew after Gardens came up just to make a token effort for teaching....

I seem to like just one Throne Room in small decks. A game that comes to mind from a while back was a Throne Room / 2x Adventurer / Moneylender deck which worked well. Didn't seem to matter how the Throne Room came up.

And thanks for the various comments, all. There's always something to learn or explore in Dominion.

Hey Grant, I've been considering trying to bring back "slow change" setup Laurie and I used when learning the game. Play a game, vote one or two cards involved in the win off the island and replace randomly. Think about it.
 
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Grant Johnson
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I think I like it- my thought would be that each player who didn't win picks a card in the game, which is removed from play. So we repeat 7-8 cards, and draw 2-3 new ones from the remaining 15 cards. That does something to evolve the game and removes cards that people typically favor.

We should try it next time.
 
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