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Subject: Witches, use with caution ? (a newbie question) rss

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Andre Lucato
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I've played Dominion a few times on BSW website (haven't had a chance to put my hand on the real game yet 'sic'). Sometimes I feel a sort of "invisible pact" between players which makes everyone unconfortable to pick up Witches. Several games we ended up basing it on the remaining action cards.
Has anyone else got the same opinion regarding Witches ? Do you think they pull in a slighty nasty game ?

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Dave G
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Not slightly...witch is flat filthy. How that has any bearing on whether or not you buy one is beyond me, though. It's a game. You're trying to win. The witch will help you win. Get one.
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B C Z
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Witches are a viable card.

But... if anyone takes a witch, everyone will probably end up taking some.
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Doron Blake
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Witches do tend to make for a slow, grueling game with low scores (more due to low deck quality than the actual point impact from curses) if coping cards are not available. Some players don't like that kind of game and therefore elect to dodge witches. When coping cards are available, the witch becomes fairly inefficient. If the set includes action generators like village or festival and lacks trash options like chapel or reaction cards like moat, look to pick up a few as soon as you can. Timing is important in witch v witch battles.
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Cameron McKenzie
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The basic premise is reminiscent of the Prisoner's Dilemma, since the best outcome for everyone is for nobody to get witches, but every single player is still encouraged to get witches to improve their own outcome.

But this is not interesting, because unlike the Prisoner's Dilemma, Dominion is a zero-sum game. You either win or lose. Worst case scenario, every person buying witches makes you no more likely to win than if nobody buys witches. So there's really no reason not to buy witches.
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David desJardins
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MasterDinadan wrote:
But this is not interesting, because unlike the Prisoner's Dilemma, Dominion is a zero-sum game. You either win or lose.


That doesn't have to be true. It sort of depends on the players. If everyone enjoys a long, boring game with lots of Curses less than a quick, positive game with lots of money, then it's positive-sum for them to all choose that path.

The rules specify how to win but the rules can't really tell people what they want.

Personally I don't mind games with lots of Curses, they are enjoyable enough to me that I don't avoid them. But I can see how someone might.
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Craig Somerton
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Witches are a necessary evil in the game. If defence is available, their effectiveness can be somewhat reduced, but without defence, they are virtually a must have.

I suppose it all depends on your group. Some people in my group hate them, whereas most others like to play nasty games.

If you're uncomfortable using them, there are lots of other decks that aren't so confrontational.
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David desJardins
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anomander64 wrote:
If you're uncomfortable using them, there are lots of other decks that aren't so confrontational.


I think he's saying it's more of an issue on BSW because it's hard to agree on what cards to use or not use.
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Brandon Richards
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The only time I avoid them is when I want a quick game (10 minutes or less). I will wait until my opponent decides to get one, and if he does, I will probably get one just to even out the curses. When I have more than a few minutes to play, any card that comes up is fair game, and I play to win.

I think this issue is more relevent in 2er games, which unfortunatly is the rave on BSW. It is tough to get a game with more players at certain times of the day. With more players, someone is usually bound to get a Witch as quickly as possible.
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Chris Whale
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The witches really only come into play if there is an imbalance. If everyone else has witches and you don't, you end up with more curses than anyone else. Or if one person has a strong strategy to deal with the curse cards, and others don't that gives her an advantage.

No-one taking the Witch maintains the balance, the same as everyone taking the witch. Not having the witch means that all can focus on "nicer" alternatives, so it will depend on your play group. My group tends to be nasty, mainly because of my son who doesn't enjoy a game unless he is shafting someone. He (annoyingly) wins Dominion often, but almost always loses Citadels.

The key thing is that if someone takes her, then everyone will need to keep up or at least have a good counter-plan.
 
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Chris Martin
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As an aside, Witch is less powerful in 4-player if everyone else already has one. The difference between having ten Curses and seven Curses is far less dramatic than the difference between ten and none.

I know, I know - we're supposed to pretend that only 2-player strategies are worth discussing, so that we don't offend the people who always chime in that they can only play with their wife. But the rules allow 4-player games so what the hell, let's imagine the hypothetical in which you and your wife have a foursome, maybe with that guy who posted his fiancé getting 'em out for the lads the other day.
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David desJardins
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Orca_au wrote:
The witches really only come into play if there is an imbalance. If everyone else has witches and you don't, you end up with more curses than anyone else. Or if one person has a strong strategy to deal with the curse cards, and others don't that gives her an advantage.


There are also a whole variety of ways to play Witches quicker and faster than the opponents. Part of which can be just buying more, but there's more to it than that.
 
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Wence the Wanderer
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MasterDinadan wrote:
The basic premise is reminiscent of the Prisoner's Dilemma, since the best outcome for everyone is for nobody to get witches, but every single player is still encouraged to get witches to improve their own outcome.

But this is not interesting, because unlike the Prisoner's Dilemma, Dominion is a zero-sum game. You either win or lose. Worst case scenario, every person buying witches makes you no more likely to win than if nobody buys witches. So there's really no reason not to buy witches.


i like the analogy, and like most in this thread i feel there is no foul against it.
i personally like to do setup and draft the 10 play cards, if someone gets witch, make sure i put a chapel down, one chapel in a small, carefully constructed deck can keep you curse free the whole game. very rarely do i even purchase a witch if someone picks it in a setup game, perhaps in a randomized game if there were no defensive alternatives.

ways to deal with witch: remodel, upgrade, chapel, moat
 
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Cameron McKenzie
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Exactly. If Witches are no-brainer for everyone, and nobody likes Curses being around to make the game drag, then just don't play with Witches.

However, a lot of people don't see curses as the problem, especially since they form interactions with other cards that spice up certain strategies. Being able to trash cards is more important when witches get involved.
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Jon
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AndreKada wrote:
I've played Dominion a few times on BSW website (haven't had a chance to put my hand on the real game yet 'sic'). Sometimes I feel a sort of "invisible pact" between players which makes everyone unconfortable to pick up Witches. Several games we ended up basing it on the remaining action cards.
Has anyone else got the same opinion regarding Witches ? Do you think they pull in a slighty nasty game ?



On BSW I see far more Swindler hate and Swindler related dropping. Witch may be mitigated or just plain irrelivent in some setups.

Swindler on the other hand, is a mean mean card that really can cause an arms race.
 
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Andre Lucato
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Oh..that's true... the Swindlers, the core of every reign's malevolence.

The thing about Witches not being drawn sometimes might lay on the fact that giving each other player a curse card seems a "no-brainer" strategy. Just a thought.
 
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Roberta Yang
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AndreKada wrote:
The thing about Witches not being drawn sometimes might lay on the fact that giving each other player a curse card seems a "no-brainer" strategy. Just a thought.


Most Action Cards tend to be no-brainers when they're already in your hand. Laboratory is a no-brainer because getting an extra card is so straightforward. Militia is a no-brainer because discarding the opponent's cards and getting coin is a no-brainer. Smithy is a no-brainer because drawing three cards is a no-brainer. And so on.

The interesting part is deciding what strategy to go for. Giving opponents Curses might seem like a no-brainer until you remember that, while playing a Witch in your hand is obvious, the act of buying a Witch is not - opportunity costs come into play here.
 
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Jon
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salty53 wrote:

Most Action Cards tend to be no-brainers when they're already in your hand. Laboratory is a no-brainer because getting an extra card is so straightforward. Militia is a no-brainer because discarding the opponent's cards and getting coin is a no-brainer. Smithy is a no-brainer because drawing three cards is a no-brainer. And so on.


I don't agree that these cards are always no-brainers.

There may be times you want to delay a shuffle, so a +Card forcing an inopportune shuffle needs consideration.

Militia is also not automatic. If an opponent has aquired a Library, you may be helping them purify their hand by forcing them to discard.
 
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Andrew Hardin
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Witches aren't strictly equal in how they impact the game even if everybody buys one.

Like most Attacks they favor going earlier, and they favor the player who gets them earliest.

I have seen a number of discussions about the impact on going last in terms of unequal turns but considerably less discussion of the impact of going last in terms of how early and often you get hit by the Attacks.

In general buying a Witch is a strong play. I rarely buy more than 1 but I do buy 1. The impact on opposing decks is simply too strong to ignore in most games.

It can cripple a substantial number of strategies. For example, I consider Chapel/Witch in early position more powerful than Chapel/Lab with multiple players.

- Lex
 
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Roberta Yang
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JonPrud wrote:
salty53 wrote:

Most Action Cards tend to be no-brainers when they're already in your hand. Laboratory is a no-brainer because getting an extra card is so straightforward. Militia is a no-brainer because discarding the opponent's cards and getting coin is a no-brainer. Smithy is a no-brainer because drawing three cards is a no-brainer. And so on.


I don't agree that these cards are always no-brainers.

There may be times you want to delay a shuffle, so a +Card forcing an inopportune shuffle needs consideration.

Militia is also not automatic. If an opponent has aquired a Library, you may be helping them purify their hand by forcing them to discard.


Similarly, Witch's +2 Cards might reshuffle your deck, and the Curse it generates might push the opponent's Gardens deck from 39 cards to 40. I don't think it's right to call Witch any more of a no-brainer than Militia and Smithy.
 
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Jon
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salty53 wrote:
Similarly, Witch's +2 Cards might reshuffle your deck, and the Curse it generates might push the opponent's Gardens deck from 39 cards to 40. I don't think it's right to call Witch any more of a no-brainer than Militia and Smithy.


I never said Witch was a no-brainer, either.

The Gards worry is only really relevant if your opponent has gained 10 Gardens. If that has happened, I possit that you have bigger problems than whether or not to play Witch.
 
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Roberta Yang
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JonPrud wrote:
salty53 wrote:
Similarly, Witch's +2 Cards might reshuffle your deck, and the Curse it generates might push the opponent's Gardens deck from 39 cards to 40. I don't think it's right to call Witch any more of a no-brainer than Militia and Smithy.


I never said Witch was a no-brainer, either.


True. I was just using the Witch as a functional example of what a "no-brainer" constitutes and showing how that applies equally to other cards - i.e. if Witch is a no-brainer then so is everything else.

JonPrud wrote:
The Gards worry is only really relevant if your opponent has gained 10 Gardens. If that has happened, I possit that you have bigger problems than whether or not to play Witch.


Not necessarily. I would always rather my Gardens-running opponent to end the game with 39 cards and no Curses than with 40 cards and 1 Curse. Of course, unless I am counting the size of my opponent's deck and know when the game is going to end, this probably won't be much of a factor, and obviously it's only when the opponent gets to 10 Gardens that it becomes strictly bad to hand out Curses.

Of course, there's always the fact that the risk of giving the opponent a +X, where X+1 is the number of Gardens they are running, might outweigh the possibility of not doing so and simply giving them an extra -1. After all, what matters is not the highest average score but rather the highest score of each individual game, and the -1 they will get is less likely to decide the game than the +X that they might get, even if they are less likely to get the +X. If you got the Witch early and can hand out 10 Curses, of course, it will definitely be in your favour overall...
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Cameron McKenzie
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Handing out curses against someone with 10 gardens is still better than not handing out curses. Even if the net effect on their score is zero, a higher proportion of their deck becomes useless cards.
 
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Jon
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salty53 wrote:
JonPrud wrote:
The Gards worry is only really relevant if your opponent has gained 10 Gardens. If that has happened, I possit that you have bigger problems than whether or not to play Witch.


Not necessarily. I would always rather my Gardens-running opponent to end the game with 39 cards and no Curses than with 40 cards and 1 Curse. Of course, unless I am counting the size of my opponent's deck and know when the game is going to end, this probably won't be much of a factor, and obviously it's only when the opponent gets to 10 Gardens that it becomes strictly bad to hand out Curses.

Of course, there's always the fact that the risk of giving the opponent a +X, where X+1 is the number of Gardens they are running, might outweigh the possibility of not doing so and simply giving them an extra -1. After all, what matters is not the highest average score but rather the highest score of each individual game, and the -1 they will get is less likely to decide the game than the +X that they might get, even if they are less likely to get the +X. If you got the Witch early and can hand out 10 Curses, of course, it will definitely be in your favour overall...


True. I was thinking incorrectly.
 
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Roger Yelton
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Nasty, Sick, Twisted, Overbearing, Cruel. that's what Witch is. Not only does it give you a curse card, lets thee Curser get two other cards. which if witch is played right with a village or a Festival, would resolve into another witch hit. I'll just say i played with my girl friends the other day. i ended up with around 20 something curses in my whole deck, lets just say my moat was no where to be found in this time of misery and since she is considered a NEWB..... Kinda More al.... breaking. Only thing that i could say to stop this retchid fiend.....LightHouse.... that's where it's at.
 
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