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Subject: Saboteur: What do you do? rss

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Travis Bridges
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So here is the setup:

Pawn
Courtyard
Steward
Wishing Well
Ironworks
Swindler
Trading Post
Saboteur
Torturer
Nobles

4-player game (I am in last seat) and my right hand neighbor and I both draw 5-2 starts. So, if my RHO takes a Saboteur, what options do I really have? Take a Saboteur and hope I draw mine first? That sucks, but I don't see any other real options. Assuming he draws it in hand 3, my game is pretty much over at that point. I can choose to sabotage my game myself by not buying anything more than 3 to hope to buy something on turn 3 or 4 and have it last 1 turn maybe....or just basically let the saboteur ruin my game. In this game, I took a Trading Post, which I immediately gave back on turn 3 for a silver...before my turn 3, my deck is 3 estates, 7 coppers, a Pawn and a silver. People who were 1st and 2nd in turn order were so far ahead (if you include the turn order issue), that I should have cashed it in at that point. To make matters worse, that RHO bought a Swindler on Turn 3, which happened to draw my silver and a torturer later, which were replaced by a steward and duchy. Needless to say, this game wasn't very fun, because even if I had seen the ramifications of these early buys, there wasn't anything I could do about it. Comments are appreciated.
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David desJardins
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Are you asking about strategy, or are you just whining? If your RHO opponent draws his Saboteur on turn 3, and you don't draw your own 5-cost card on turn 3, then it doesn't matter which one you buy, because it's going to be trashed. So buy the one you want to play most.
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Dave G
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chicagometh wrote:
So here is the setup:

Pawn
Courtyard
Steward
Wishing Well
Ironworks
Swindler
Trading Post
Saboteur
Torturer
Nobles

4-player game (I am in last seat) and my right hand neighbor and I both draw 5-2 starts. So, if my RHO takes a Saboteur, what options do I really have? Take a Saboteur and hope I draw mine first? That sucks, but I don't see any other real options. Assuming he draws it in hand 3, my game is pretty much over at that point. I can choose to sabotage my game myself by not buying anything more than 3 to hope to buy something on turn 3 or 4 and have it last 1 turn maybe....or just basically let the saboteur ruin my game. In this game, I took a Trading Post, which I immediately gave back on turn 3 for a silver...before my turn 3, my deck is 3 estates, 7 coppers, a Pawn and a silver. People who were 1st and 2nd in turn order were so far ahead (if you include the turn order issue), that I should have cashed it in at that point. To make matters worse, that RHO bought a Swindler on Turn 3, which happened to draw my silver and a torturer later, which were replaced by a steward and duchy. Needless to say, this game wasn't very fun, because even if I had seen the ramifications of these early buys, there wasn't anything I could do about it. Comments are appreciated.


I would take Torturer and a Pawn. Whatever you're doing, you know you're probably only getting one turn out of your 5 buy, but this is a very useful card. If you lose it and it becomes a silver, tough luck and keep going, at least you have some money. If you get to play it before he gets his Saboteur out, even better--now you have another card worth at least 3, (I'd go Swindler or Silver), you've forced him to take a curse or discard and probably go another turn without a Silver, and your Torturer is now more likely to be safe because of the 3 cost card in your deck. The key to playing against the early Saboteur in my mind is making sure you can still be efficient even when he makes you less efficient by burning your good cards. You have to remember that the Saboteur is also not doing much to make his hand faster or better in the process. The most important thing to remember here is that there's no way to avoid the Saboteur, so now you must compensate for it.
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Myke Madsen
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Maybe Ironworks? If you draw it before he gets it, you may be able to add two 4-cost cards to your hand in one turn.
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Jon
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If your goal is to protect yourself by removing RHO's Saboteur, I would buy a Saboteur and if it gets hit by a Saboteur, pick up a Swindler.

In the few games I have played with Saboteur on the table, I have lost every time I have bought it. In one game, I played Throne Room -> Throne Room -> Bridge -> Saboteur and did not hit any opposing Duchies or Provinces. After that experience, I think I will focus more on cards that directly improve my position instead of dragging others down.

Edit: typo
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Travis Bridges
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Well, remember Dave, I'm in a 4-player game...so the person playing the saboteur may not be very efficient, and I agree that in a 2-player game, this is not a big deal, but in a four-player game, I'm losing ground to the other 2 players, who, when the saboteur is played, have a high probability of getting multiple 3+ treasure cards in their deck.

David, I'm partially whining because I don't think there is any way out here. I like Myke's strategy the most, but everything is predicated on that player with the saboteur drawing it in turn 4. Either way it sucks. The 40% of the time he draws it in turn 3, you are really screwed playing behind it, rather than just partially screwed

I always thought Dominion was best with 2-players...it seems with the Saboteur that is pretty solidified, unless someone can convince me otherwise.

EDITED: for accuracy...didn't realize Saboteur makes you reshuffle
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Travis Bridges
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Jon...I agree...there is no way I would try that strategy out of the box. The Saboteur seems to be good for causing chaos, but not much else. In a 2-player game, there is no way I would waste a 5-coin hand on it. But with 4-players, it seems like it has the potential to be extremely unbalanced because its affects happen differently to people based on turn order, and that is unfortunate.
 
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John Piller
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chicagometh wrote:
So here is the setup:

Pawn
Courtyard
Steward
Wishing Well
Ironworks
Swindler
Trading Post
Saboteur
Torturer
Nobles


I would go Courtyard/Torturer. DDJ is right that you can't stop a turn 3 sabotage if you don't have your $5 card in hand. But if he doesn't, and you have the courtyard in hand, you guarantee that you can play your torturer on turn 4.
If the courtyard is one of cards 1-5, then
Tortuer in cards 1-5: courtyard to draw 3 and put the torturer back and draw it at end of turn
Torturer in cards 6-8: courtyard to draw torturer and put it back and draw it at end of turn
Tortuer in cards 9-12: courtyard and put anything back - you will have 5 cards left in your deck and the torturer will be one of them.

If your opponents are ignoring swindler and going heavy sabotage, I would be going with straight torturers and $. If a saboteur hits a province, downgrade to noble. If they hit noble, gold or torturer, downgrade to silver.
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David desJardins
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chicagometh wrote:
David, I'm partially whining because I don't think there is any way out here.


Fine, but it's not much of a strategy discussion then, maybe we need a Whining forum?

Quote:
The 40% of the time he draws it in turn 3, I'm screwed playing behind it.


You've said this twice, but it's only true if you don't draw your 5-cost card on turn 3. If you've got it in your hand, then you suffer no effect from the Saboteur.

Quote:
I always thought Dominion was best with 2-players...


I always thought it was worst with 2 players, and you're convincing me even more so.
 
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Travis Bridges
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That is a pretty good option, John.
 
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Jon
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chicagometh wrote:
Jon...I agree...there is no way I would try that strategy out of the box. The Saboteur seems to be good for causing chaos, but not much else. In a 2-player game, there is no way I would waste a 5-coin hand on it. But with 4-players, it seems like it has the potential to be extremely unbalanced because its affects happen differently to people based on turn order, and that is unfortunate.


I have only played Intrigue with 3 or 4 players, and Saboteur has wrecked only one of my opponents, which wasn't enought to put me in the lead.

Edit: More typos.
 
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Travis Bridges
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DaviddesJ wrote:
chicagometh wrote:
David, I'm partially whining because I don't think there is any way out here.


Fine, but it's not much of a strategy discussion then, maybe we need a Whining forum?


Seems like everyone else is talking strategy...maybe we, meaning just you, should take a healthy leap off a tall cliff.
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Jeff Wolfe
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People who play Saboteur are not as far ahead as you may think. They might weaken your deck but do nothing to improve their own deck. In the cases where they fail to weaken your deck (such as when all your good cards are in your hand), they actually put themselves behind the curve. I find Saboteur to be annoying but not overpowered.
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Myke Madsen
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JonPrud wrote:
chicagometh wrote:
Jon...I agree...there is no way I would try that strategy out of the box. The Saboteur seems to be good for causing chaos, but not much else. In a 2-player game, there is no way I would waste a 5-coin hand on it. But with 4-players, it seems like it has the potential to be extremely unbalanced because its affects happen differently to people based on turn order, and that is unfortunate.


I have only played Intrigue with 3 or 4 players, and Saboteur has wrecked only one of my opponents, which wasn't enought to put me in the lead.

Edit: More typos.


That's the type of poor luck I really detest in a Dominion card. Saboteur isn't good enough to rely on, but it can randomly really hurt different players. I'd almost rather there be targeted attacks.
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David desJardins
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jeffwolfe wrote:
People who play Saboteur are not as far ahead as you may think.


He's not complaining that the player who played Saboteur is ahead. He's complaining that the players who were less affected by the Saboteur (e.g., because their good cards were in their hand rather than their deck, or at least because they already managed to play them once and get a benefit from them) are ahead of the players who were more affected by the Saboteur.

Some of us think that's a good thing. Some of us think it's not so good. I still don't know what anyone thinks it has to do with Strategy.
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John Piller
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The other angle you could take on this is that if you and your RHO both go 5/2, and you both get your $5 card on turn three, he will sabotage and dump your deck into your discard pile for you. So, you could go with the Trading post and hope for this outcome. If things happen just right, you will end up with reshuffling your Trading Post, Silver, and into your deck to draw on turn 4.

If you both buy sabotage, and you both get it to your hand on turn three, he bombs your deck and gets nothing, then you bomb his saboteur (in his discard pile now), and can reshuffle yours back to try to get it on turn 4.
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Dan Schaeffer
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chicagometh wrote:
EDITED: for accuracy...didn't realize Saboteur makes you reshuffle


Who did the what now?

Saboteur doesn't make you reshuffle unless you get through your deck without hitting a 3+ cost card (in which case you reshuffle only the discards that you had before, not the ones you've revealed already).
 
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David desJardins
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pillertime wrote:
If you both buy sabotage, and you both get it to your hand on turn three, he bombs your deck and gets nothing, then you bomb his saboteur (in his discard pile now)


That's only 50-50, because he's also got his turn 3 purchase in his discard pile.
 
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Dave G
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chicagometh wrote:
Well, remember Dave, I'm in a 4-player game...so the person playing the saboteur may not be very efficient, and I agree that in a 2-player game, this is not a big deal, but in a four-player game, I'm losing ground to the other 2 players, who, when the saboteur is played, have a high probability of getting multiple 3+ treasure cards in their deck.

I always thought Dominion was best with 2-players...it seems with the Saboteur that is pretty solidified, unless someone can convince me otherwise.

EDITED: for accuracy...didn't realize Saboteur makes you reshuffle


Are you losing ground to the other 2? The Saboteur is damaging everyone. Plus, your torturer (should you get to play it) is also slowing everyone down. The only way you've lost huge ground to anyone is if one of the other two players is lucky enough to have his turn 1 and turn 2 purchase in his hand simultaneously, and loses nothing to the saboteur.
 
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Travis Bridges
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The first and second player will have the possibility of drawing 1-2 of their first buys into their hand and may not lose anything to the saboteur. Granted, we are always talking in probabilities, but if their first three buys were silver, ironworks, and pawn, in that order, they may draw the silver and ironworks into their 4th hand, and would lose nothing to the Saboteur. I do like the idea of heading down the path with torturer/courtyard in this situation as it is the best way to cut losses if you end up on the wrong side of chance. Perhaps the problem is that there is not a good interactive card at a cost of two in this setup that will allow you to make any progress if the worst occurs.

In relation to Myke's post, I am also disappointed in this card. Attack cards should help a player progress towards the goal of acquiring more points that their opponents rather than just cause chaos. Just causing disaster for one player at the table shouldn't be enough to make the card valid, unless we are talking about a 2-player game, which is how I think the game is the most balanced. The thing I like the most about Dominion is that the modularity gives you the feeling that you are in a duel where you must make choices to outwit rather than outplay your opponents. This card doesn't really protect that part of the spirit of the game.

Regardless, I would like to see what other strategies we can make of this to mitigate the disaster. Just saying "Things happen...deal with it" is a D-student answer.
 
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David desJardins
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chicagometh wrote:
The first and second player will have the possibility of drawing 1-2 of their first buys into their hand and may not lose anything to the saboteur. Granted, we are always talking in probabilities, but if their first three buys were silver, ironworks, and pawn, in that order, they may draw the silver and ironworks into their 4th hand, and would lose nothing to the Saboteur.


This comment is so odd that I wonder if you're playing something wrong.

Player 1 is only going to buy a Pawn on turn 3 if he draws precisely Copper, Copper, Estate, Estate, Estate. The chance of that is 21/792. So there's a 97.3% chance he will be affected by the turn 3 Saboteur.

You only have one card that's vulnerable to the Saboteur, and there's a 5/12 chance it's in your hand. So you have a 58.3% chance of being affected by the turn 3 Saboteur.

I'm pretty sure that 58.3% is less than 97.3%. How do you figure that he's better off than you are?
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chicagometh wrote:
In relation to Myke's post, I am also disappointed in this card. Attack cards should help a player progress towards the goal of acquiring more points that their opponents rather than just cause chaos. Just causing disaster for one player at the table shouldn't be enough to make the card valid, unless we are talking about a 2-player game, which is how I think the game is the most balanced.


If the card really didn't help a player progress towards the goal of acquiring more points than his opponents, then no one would play it. Problem solved. The fact that it does cause chaos, perhaps even unbalanced chaos, doesn't mean it isn't valuable as an attack.

I don't personally *like* the Saboteur, but that doesn't mean it's not "valid".
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David desJardins
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Dunyazad wrote:
If the card really didn't help a player progress towards the goal of acquiring more points than his opponents, then no one would play it.


That's not true. In a multiplayer game, some players will often make inferior choices.
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Greg Payne
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Even in 2 player games, people will make inferior choices. This is what makes watching a game of Chess or a Backgammon match exciting, or at least as exciting as watching 2 people play a traditional board game can be...
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David desJardins
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Lardarse wrote:
Even in 2 player games, people will make inferior choices.


Well that's true, but it's different. In a 2-player game, if an opponent makes inferior choices, that can only help you. In a multi-player game, if an opponent makes inferior choices, that can hurt them but also hurt you.
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