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Subject: Lost 3 provinces to the Saboteur - Can I still win? rss

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Travis Cooper
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So my work gaming group pulled out intrigue again today. We have played a few different setups, we usually do a random set then play with that for how many games we can get in during lunch, but this time we wanted to see the remaining cards. So we pulled out all the cards that we, okay they, haven't seen yet. In them is the saboteur.

I pretty much ignored the saboteur and went for a pretty heavy money/mining village approach. When John got his first 5 coin draw he bought a saboteur just to see how nasty it could really be. I was able to trash a mining village with some money to get a province fairly quick and a few turns later John plays the saboteur. As I'm saying the saboteur can potentially trash a province, guess what card I turn over, you guessed it, my province. I wasn't too happy about it, but I thought I had better momentum than either of them and I at least got a gold out of it. With nobody else having a province yet I figured I'd be just fine.

So the game continues going on. Jeremy discovers the conspirator and sees the advantage of using that, great halls, pawns, really anything to get him another action to make this big long chains. With enough conspirators in them he has pretty good coin in hand. The problem is he discovered this too late to get a lot of province buys, but he was picking up a lot of nobles, and a harem here and there.

John was playing mostly for treasure with some pawns for extra buys/actions. He was mostly picking up harems, duchys, and great halls. He wasn't getting very many 8 coin draws.

I kept trashing my villages with some coin to pick up provinces pretty quick. I felt like I had a pretty decent lead and nobody would be able to catch me. The saboteur would come up and I held my breath, but my provinces didn't come up. However, I did keep losing gold.

Jeremy finally got sick of the saboteur hitting his deck and bought one of his own to teach John a lesson. It finally came up in his hand for the last time around the table.

Johns last turn consisted of him playing a saboteur and it hit my province. I felt like I still had a decent lead so I wasn't too worried about it. I had enough coin for the last province, so as long as neither of them could buy it I felt like I would be okay. He buys a vp card, but not a province (I can't remember what it was, harem maybe?). Jeremy now plays, and he gets to use his saboteur for the first time. Guess what my next card is, you guessed it a province. I couldn't believe it, two provinces right in a row on my deck when two saboteurs came out. I have now lost 3 provinces to this stupid saboteur card. Now I'm unsure if I have enough to win. I think I still have a decent amount of provinces, but I'm not sure how many points they have in harem, nobles, and great halls. Luckily Jeremy only gets 7 coin after his huge chain of cards, so no province for him either. I buy out the last province thinking how did this happen. A nice lead turns into 3 trashed provinces.

I started sorting out my cards and provinces kept coming up. Had I really got this many? Did they really only pick up a few and everything else were other vp cards? I ended with 5 provinces and 2 duchies for 36 points. That means I had bought 8 of the provinces throughout the game. Jeremy and John split the rest for 2 each. The scores ended me for 36, John for 33, and Jeremy for 27. I couldn't believe my eyes.

I still hate losing a province to the saboteur, but I'll remember this game for a long time.

Edit: Updated the vp cards I ended with. I think it's correct now.
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Ben Smith
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This is what you miss playing BSW dominion. On BSW, it's much easier to keep track of who's taken how many cards, because it always shows you how many cards are on any pile. The element of surprise at the end is always fun!
 
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Thomas Anderson
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You also miss the saboteur and most other intrigue-cards :)
 
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Jeff Wolfe
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Sorry to burst your bubble, but you should have gotten more than 36 points.

Early in the game it makes sense to replace a Sabotaged Province with a Gold. But late in the game, you should have been replacing your lost Provinces with other Victory cards. The way you report it, you got at most one Duchy out of two dead Provinces on the last turn around the table. You mention four Victory cards that were on the table, so there's no way they were all depleted.

One of the weaknesses of the Saboteur is that if you play it late in the game, you might allow your opponents to turn non-Victory cards into Victory cards. And the damage you cause by destroying Victory cards can usually be mitigated by your opponents' ability to gain cheaper Victory cards.
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Allan Clements
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The saboteur also does not benefit the person who played it, so while they might get lucky and remove your provinces, they are in fact not helping themselves get more coins to actually purchase provinces themselves!
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Travis Cooper
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jeffwolfe wrote:
Sorry to burst your bubble, but you should have gotten more than 36 points.

Early in the game it makes sense to replace a Sabotaged Province with a Gold. But late in the game, you should have been replacing your lost Provinces with other Victory cards. The way you report it, you got at most one Duchy out of two dead Provinces on the last turn around the table. You mention four Victory cards that were on the table, so there's no way they were all depleted.

One of the weaknesses of the Saboteur is that if you play it late in the game, you might allow your opponents to turn non-Victory cards into Victory cards. And the damage you cause by destroying Victory cards can usually be mitigated by your opponents' ability to gain cheaper Victory cards.


You know you're right. It is hard sometimes to remember when we play so many games in a row. I was using the trading post early to get rid of copper and estates, so this game I didn't have any estates left. I just remembered my score, not the exact cards I had. I knew I was about to end the game, so I would have picked up more points for the lost province. I'm going to update that now. Thanks for pointing that out.
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Travis Cooper
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Kamakaze wrote:
The saboteur also does not benefit the person who played it, so while they might get lucky and remove your provinces, they are in fact not helping themselves get more coins to actually purchase provinces themselves!


This is a good point, and the reason I never bought any. In fact after the game John pointed out that he never should have bought his second one, I think he mostly just wanted to see it used since this was our first encounter with it.
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Dan Schaeffer
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monkeyboy157 wrote:
Kamakaze wrote:
The saboteur also does not benefit the person who played it, so while they might get lucky and remove your provinces, they are in fact not helping themselves get more coins to actually purchase provinces themselves!


This is a good point, and the reason I never bought any. In fact after the game John pointed out that he never should have bought his second one, I think he mostly just wanted to see it used since this was our first encounter with it.


As long as it's a side function of your deck -- slowing down your opponents, killing off their early silvers/golds, disrupting their decks' fine-tuning -- and is accompanied by other features that do help you build and buy, the Saboteur is a decent card.
 
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Dave G
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Golux13 wrote:
monkeyboy157 wrote:
Kamakaze wrote:
The saboteur also does not benefit the person who played it, so while they might get lucky and remove your provinces, they are in fact not helping themselves get more coins to actually purchase provinces themselves!


This is a good point, and the reason I never bought any. In fact after the game John pointed out that he never should have bought his second one, I think he mostly just wanted to see it used since this was our first encounter with it.


As long as it's a side function of your deck -- slowing down your opponents, killing off their early silvers/golds, disrupting their decks' fine-tuning -- and is accompanied by other features that do help you build and buy, the Saboteur is a decent card.


Second that...I play in Dan's group, and we broke out Intrigue for the first time last night. Saobteur is even better than Militia for absolutely shutting down someone's early engine building for a turn or two if you can kill off one of their first couple buys. Nothing so frustrating as discarding a coppersmith without ever playing it and going back to square one!
 
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Myke Madsen
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jeffwolfe wrote:
One of the weaknesses of the Saboteur is that if you play it late in the game, you might allow your opponents to turn non-Victory cards into Victory cards.


Unless Gardens is in play they're going net at most 1 VP from this, right?
 
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Lewis Wagner
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djgutierrez77 wrote:
Saobteur is even better than Militia for absolutely shutting down someone's early engine building for a turn or two if you can kill off one of their first couple buys.


The problem with buying a Saboteur early is that while it might slow down your opponent's early engine building, it will slow your own early engine building. A Militia only costs 4 and gets you 2 coin, so playing it does help you a bit. Buying a Saboteur means you are not buying and using a 5 coin card that helps you.
 
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Dave G
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lewis wrote:
djgutierrez77 wrote:
Saobteur is even better than Militia for absolutely shutting down someone's early engine building for a turn or two if you can kill off one of their first couple buys.


The problem with buying a Saboteur early is that while it might slow down your opponent's early engine building, it will slow your own early engine building. A Militia only costs 4 and gets you 2 coin, so playing it does help you a bit. Buying a Saboteur means you are not buying and using a 5 coin card that helps you.


Definitely. The great thing about Intrigue that I've seen so far is that it's full of these kinds of choices. A 5-2 start with just Intrigue cards is a tough call. If Great Hall is out, I'm likely to take an upgrade, otherwise probably not. Tribute is considerably less useful in the early going, so I wouldn't make it my first buy. I'd probably go Saboteur over Trading Post in any circumstance. Torturer is better, especially if there are branching actions in the set.

If you throw the base set in, you're right, it's unlikely that Saboteur is your best buy. In Intrigue only games, I'd probably buy it over everything but Torturer if I turn up five copper to start. Yeah, it slows me down, but it probably slows my opponents down more--First time I play it, I get rid of one of their "new" cards, and probably by my own first silver or whatever--now we're approximately even on pace. Now it's gravy whenever I play it--especially since I can now plan to build my deck around it with branching actions so I can throw it on the tail end of a chain every couple turns.
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Chris Handy
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YES! That "Saba" hurts, but Intrigue has lower scores than the core game, so...it's very possible.
 
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Jeff Wolfe
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djgutierrez77 wrote:
In Intrigue only games, I'd probably buy it over everything but Torturer if I turn up five copper to start. Yeah, it slows me down, but it probably slows my opponents down more--First time I play it, I get rid of one of their "new" cards, and probably by my own first silver or whatever--now we're approximately even on pace.


Unless they have their "new" card(s) in their hand, in which case they are now ahead of you.
 
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Dave G
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jeffwolfe wrote:
djgutierrez77 wrote:
In Intrigue only games, I'd probably buy it over everything but Torturer if I turn up five copper to start. Yeah, it slows me down, but it probably slows my opponents down more--First time I play it, I get rid of one of their "new" cards, and probably by my own first silver or whatever--now we're approximately even on pace.


Unless they have their "new" card(s) in their hand, in which case they are now ahead of you.


Definitely true. Dominion, and Intrigue especially, involves a little bit of gambling and a little bit of luck. Like I said, in most of the Intrigue sets I've seen so far I vastly prefer 4/3 as a start than 5/2, but we do what we can with what we're given.
 
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Dave G
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ChrisHandy wrote:
YES! That "Saba" hurts, but Intrigue has lower scores than the core game, so...it's very possible.


So far we've found the opposite to be true...this may partly be due to the fact that we're playing around with the cards a lot more and not playing anything near optimal strategies, but I think the "useful" VP cards certainly add an opportunity to bump scores way up.
 
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Travis Cooper
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djgutierrez77 wrote:
jeffwolfe wrote:
djgutierrez77 wrote:
In Intrigue only games, I'd probably buy it over everything but Torturer if I turn up five copper to start. Yeah, it slows me down, but it probably slows my opponents down more--First time I play it, I get rid of one of their "new" cards, and probably by my own first silver or whatever--now we're approximately even on pace.


Unless they have their "new" card(s) in their hand, in which case they are now ahead of you.


Definitely true. Dominion, and Intrigue especially, involves a little bit of gambling and a little bit of luck. Like I said, in most of the Intrigue sets I've seen so far I vastly prefer 4/3 as a start than 5/2, but we do what we can with what we're given.


Interesting, so far I've longed for a 5/2 split in a lot of Intrigue setups. I usually only see myself wanting that if the chapel is out in Dominion. If the pawn is out, or the secret chamber is there along with other attack cards, I can usually find a 5 card worth buying. Getting a first turn upgrade, when great halls are in play, or a nice trading post, paired with a pawn (especially if there are no other +buys on the table) is something I've seen in a lot of setups so far, but I never seem to get the 5/2.
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