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Subject: Several strategies and a close finish. Now, how to tweak it? rss

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Edward Montgomery
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Moat,Chapel,Garden,Bureaucrat,Thief,Feast,Remodel,Militia,Festival,Library

4 players, all relatively new to Dominion, but experienced gamers. This was the second game of the night, with 4 cards replaced from the first game (two piles not drawn, one pile emptied, and one selected by the loser.) This game was notable for the mixture of strategies available and the close finish.

Chris, Edward(me), Mike, Phil in that turn order.
Chris started with a plan to buy Festivals (for the extra Buy), Thieves (to get extra cards), Gardens, a Bureaucrat and a Library. He started with a 5/2 copper split, so his first purchase was an unexpected Moat. That paired well with the Festivals, as the only card that gave extra cards, and he kept upgrading his treasure, so his eventual strategy became a blended approach of Gardens and Provinces.

Edward had bad luck with the Chapel strategy, just never really getting the right cards paired early with the Chapel, and unable to upgrade much to Gold, having a large quantity of Silver instead. Late in the game, despite a small hand and 4 Moats, he lost 2 Gold to Thieves. This was particularly amusing to the other players, as Edward is the most experienced Dominion player in the group, and had been winning more than his share of games.

Mike ran a Gardens strategy but with an early Chapel variation. He used the Chapel to trim his hand size, upgraded his treasure, bought 3 Festivals (there was a race for these, involving Feasts), picked up Remodel (to trash the Chapel and upgrade his hand with the spare actions), Thief (for cards), and bought Copper with every extra Buy. This worked brilliantly.

Phil ran a Chapel strategy and did very well with it. Had he not been moving fourth he would have won.

Everyone avoided Militia for fear of Library. In hindsight, with all the Moats in play, the extra 2 treasure might have really helped even when the attack largely failed.

Some Bureaucrats came into play, but were Remodeled into Gold. Some of the Moats came into play as Remodeled Copper. Once the Moats ran out that even happened to a Chapel, with the player hoping to upgrade it again at some point.

The game ended with 3 Provinces in supply, with Festivals, then Moats, then Gardens running out.


Final Decks:
Chris: Province 2, Duchy 2, Estate 3, Garden 2, Gold 4, Silver 3, Copper 14, Moat 2, Thief 1, Remodel 1, Festival 3, Library 1. Cards 37, Points 27

Edward: Province 3, Duchy 1, Silver 7, Copper 1, Moat 4, Chapel 1, Remodel 2, Festival 2, Library 1 Cards 22, Points 21

Mike: Estate 2, Garden 9, Gold 2, Silver 2, Copper 11, Moat 1, Thief 1, Remodel 1, Festival 3 cards 32, Points 29

Phil: Province 4, Duchy 1, Garden 1, Gold 2, Silver 1, Copper 1, Moat 3, Remodel 2, Festival 2 cards 17, Points 28


Phil could have purchased a Garden on his last turn instead of the Duchy. If he had he would have won on the tiebreaker. He's the sort of player who will kick himself about that for the next decade.


This was the last game of Dominion for the evening. We're playing again tonight, and we're wondering how we should tweak the deck to make for an even more interesting set of options.

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Joseph Cochran
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Edge wrote:
Phil: Province 4, Duchy 1, Garden 1, Gold 2, Silver 1, Copper 1, Moat 3, Remodel 2, Festival 2 cards 17, Points 28

Phil could have purchased a Garden on his last turn instead of the Duchy. If he had he would have won on the tiebreaker.


??

With only 17 cards in deck, the second Garden would have been 2 FEWER points. I think something's missing in this...
 
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Travis Cooper
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I think it's hard to tweak a deck to make more interesting options. I like that setup, as you pointed out, because there are a lot of different routes you can take. I do think if you play that setup again there are some things I'd do differently.

First, if you're going to go for the gardens, go for the gardens. It looks like Chris was going gardens. He had the largest deck, looks like his thief was hitting and he was taking extra buys with his festival because of the amount of copper in his deck. Why did he even waste time buying duchys? Or maybe those came after the gardens were gone. Either way, he was going gardens and only ended up with 2 of them, he shouldn't have let Mike get 9. In fact, on a good draw, he had some chances at 3 gardens in one turn. I love doing a gardens deck when the thief is in play, and that is another thing they could have done, get at least one more thief so it is coming up more often. I don't know if I would necessarily have gone with it in this case because there were a lot of moats, but if I got enough 4 coin draws early I'd definitely pick up at least two.

Next, if you're going to go for a chapel deck it is a little tricky in this situation. You either have to get enough money and extra buys so you can basically ignore the thief. Because if he steals a gold, your next turn you guy double buy and get a gold along with another gold, or a gold and a province. Or you could go for a no treasure strategy living on the +2 coin with the festival. The problem with this is there aren't a ton of good draw actions. I would try supplementing it with the library. So play all your festivals in hand, hopefully you had a library as well, then play the library to draw some more, and you have enough for a province. I'd have to play this to see how many, but 4 festivals with a few libraries and nothing else in your deck would do you well for a while. Of course, I'd still buy gold, or maybe even silver to help out, but if the thief steals them you're still okay.

Again, this sounds like a good setup. It's also setups like this that got our group playing the whole lunch break with the same setup rather than switching it out. First it means you don't have to waste time getting new cards, but it also means you can try out different strategies, or try to refine the one you started with, but haven't got the kinks worked out yet. I definitely see a few different good strategies in here and would love 4 games or more to try a couple and maybe refine one.

Try it again, but don't stray for your original plans too much. The thief will change things, so start out expecting the thief to be there. The chapel decks just didn't look as refined as they could have been, and the gardens deck definitely weren't generating cards as fast as they could/should have.

Great setup. Thanks for posting the session. If I wasn't too enthralled with the intrigue cards right now I'd try this setup for a few games. I'll have to bookmark this thread and come back to it later.
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Travis Cooper
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jsciv wrote:
Edge wrote:
Phil: Province 4, Duchy 1, Garden 1, Gold 2, Silver 1, Copper 1, Moat 3, Remodel 2, Festival 2 cards 17, Points 28

Phil could have purchased a Garden on his last turn instead of the Duchy. If he had he would have won on the tiebreaker.


??

With only 17 cards in deck, the second Garden would have been 2 FEWER points. I think something's missing in this...


Unless him buying the garden meant ending the game and he was ahead of everybody at that point.
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Edward Montgomery
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Two fewer for Phil, but three fewer for Mike, as the Garden deck would have run out sooner. Phil moving after Mike with one fewer turns, would win the tiebreaker. Then again, Chris might have then won, but the smaller stack of Gardens would have affected his buy. There was chatter about this, and I must admit that I didn't follow it all, as I was busy tallying up the results (for this post).
 
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Edward Montgomery
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Thanks for the thoughts.

There was a flat-out race for the Festivals, so no one could have acquired 4 of them. As the only cards with extra buys and the only cards with extra actions, plus the 2 treasure, they were key to every strategy. The Moats and Library as the only cards to draw cards was another interesting twist.

I couldn't believe how badly my Chapel strategy went. I only had one Moat early, and it got a lot of use drawing two cards, as I had actions to spare with such a small deck. I tried to shave my deck down as fast as possible. I wasn't worried about attacks. Once I had one Festival I was quite prepared to dump all my Estates and Copper, it just took way to long to come together. Not sure why. Seemed like horrible luck on the shuffles. I just couldn't buy Gold. It was kinda surreal.

Perhaps I needed to Remodel the Chapel into a Feast and buy a Library much sooner.

It was rather stunning to see a player with 9 Gardens not run away with the total score.
 
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Travis Cooper
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Another thing I would want to try with this setup would be pretty heavy money. Yeah, I usually just ignore the thief and deal with it if it hits good treasure. My first buy, with a 4/3, would be militia, silver. I think getting a militia early would have slowed down almost everybody's strategies and would have given an upper hand.

On you're chapel deck, were you waiting until you got the festival to dump anything? If you started with a 3/4 split that extra silver helps a lot. I start trashing pretty much everything in my hand every chance I get, with a few exceptions, when going for a chapel deck. You should have at least been able to get a feast quick and with a small deck turn that into your first festival fairly early, if you can't get a good 5 draw before that. With that you should be able to start producing enough treasure to do what you want to without slowing down the trashing engine. Of course, you said you got bad draws, and there isn't much you can do about that. I'm just curious if you were trashing right away, or if you were really waiting.
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Edward Montgomery
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monkeyboy157 wrote:
Another thing I would want to try with this setup would be pretty heavy money. Yeah, I usually just ignore the thief and deal with it if it hits good treasure. My first buy, with a 4/3, would be militia, silver. I think getting a militia early would have slowed down almost everybody's strategies and would have given an upper hand.

On you're chapel deck, were you waiting until you got the festival to dump anything? If you started with a 3/4 split that extra silver helps a lot. I start trashing pretty much everything in my hand every chance I get, with a few exceptions, when going for a chapel deck. You should have at least been able to get a feast quick and with a small deck turn that into your first festival fairly early, if you can't get a good 5 draw before that. With that you should be able to start producing enough treasure to do what you want to without slowing down the trashing engine. Of course, you said you got bad draws, and there isn't much you can do about that. I'm just curious if you were trashing right away, or if you were really waiting.


Yeah, the Militia idea seems sound. If all opponents seemed to be benefiting too much (due to Library) I could always Remodel it into Gold. Having 1 Remodel in a small deck is a nice way to suck up the extra actions. I can whack the Chapel once it is obsolete, turn Gold into an extra Province late, maybe even Remodel a Province into a Province to burn the pile faster if I'm ahead. I ended up with 4 Moats because I remodeled a Copper. I had plans to Remodel one of the Moats (at least one, my deck seemed small enough to only need two), until all my Gold got snagged by lucky Thieves. Sigh.

As to trashing, I really was trying to do so aggressively and right away. I've seen the value of a tiny hand with just a bit of money. The only distraction was the race for Festivals. I felt that I needed at least 2, and it was a near-run thing to accomplish that. I managed to buy plenty of Silver, I just had a terrible time getting a Gold. I don't remember all the details, just the frustration. IIRC, I may have picked up a Remodel early, too, and that may have given me just enough opportunity to draw the Chapel in with not-much-to-trash. I mean, I did get it done eventually, but it took too long.

A third Festival would have really rocked with this hand. Unfortunately, even moving second, I could only snag 2 before they were gone. The more I think about it, the more I think I must have bought Remodel instead of Feast with my second 4 (I know a bought a Feast with the first one.)

 
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