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Dominion: Seaside» Forums » Strategy

Subject: Great Ghost Ship combo rss

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Brett Porter
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Village-> Ghost Ship-> Spy

Village

+2 actions +1 card

Ghost Ship

+2 cards Each Opponent with 4 or more cards discards down to 3 placing discarded cards on deck in whatever order they want.

Spy

+1 card +1 action
Each opponent reveals the top card of their deck the person that played the spy chooses if it remains on top or is discarded.

So It works by making the opponents put cards back on their deck that they either want to pull back into their hand with villages, markets, and such. Then using the spy to discard those cards. Or if they decided to put victory cards down with no plans to pull them back out they are possibly hurt next turn. Only the spy will see.
 
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Drew Spencer
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Try throwing in a few more Villages, a few more Spies, another Ghost Ship, and a couple Council Rooms. You can exert a massive amount of control over your opponents' hands over two turns.

Of course if your opponent is actually good at Dominion they'll have already won by the time you can really pull it off.
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Brett Porter
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Even better if you are able to throw a masquerade in there after the ghost ship.
 
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Michael Link
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gokiburijin wrote:
So It works by making the opponents put cards back on their deck that they either want to pull back into their hand with villages, markets, and such. Then using the spy to discard those cards. Or if they decided to put victory cards down with no plans to pull them back out they are possibly hurt next turn. Only the spy will see.


The main problems with this combo are:
1. You bought village.
2. You bought Ghost Ship.
3. You will need too many copies of all of the above in order to pull off the combo
4. While building up this combo, when are you buying treasure? All the +Cards you gain need to draw up treasure in order to be beneficial.

The problems with Village have already been mentioned in numerous posts, but suffice to say it is very hard to use it effectively. I rarely ever buy Ghost Ship because it isn't much better than militia (it costs 5, has no duration function like the better Seaside cards, it gives the opponents the option of nerfing the current turn to augment the next one unlike militia, and it has no +Action so it can draw dead).

As Banyan said, a good opponent will simply ignore what you're setting up and beat you solidly.
 
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medward s20x6
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theright555J wrote:

The main problems with this combo are:
1. You bought village.
2. You bought Ghost Ship.
3. You will need too many copies of all of the above in order to pull off the combo
4. While building up this combo, when are you buying treasure? All the +Cards you gain need to draw up treasure in order to be beneficial.


The main problem with any combo is... comboes suck in Dominion? Really? You should just buy treasure and play a Big Money robot?

How often does someone post some combo, and someone else comes along and asks way to many irrelevant questions about the details. The details depend on the game, the context, the luck of the draw. That doesn't mean the combo sux, or that it's irrelevant.

It's been said before by others, and I'll say it again. There are many plateaus as someone learns dominion. Big Money is not the end all be all strategy. Yes, you must get past the "buy nothing but actions" phase and get some treasure. But action decks work too, big draw decks work, chaining decks work, and control decks work.

The key to any combo is not focusing on it to the exclusion of all else. Build it intelligently and at the right pace based on your draws. Redirect your efforts if things aren't going your way, or if the opponent is building an effective counter strategy.

Ghost ship is a good card, even if you don't land the combo. And no, it's not just an expensive Militia. It's more effective under most circumstances because of it's anti-cycling aspect, and +cards is very different than +coins when mixed with other actions.

Spy is a solid card, though more situational, and is good, even if you don't land the combo.

Village is frequently criticized, because it's not as powerful as it seemed back when you'd only played 10 games. But if you allow that cynicism to carry forward, you're missing an important, and powerful, aspect of the game. Village doesn't suck. Really, it doesn't. The game designers and testers are pretty frickin smart, and damn near every card in the game is worth buying, most in quite a large variety of situations. Village is definitely one of them, just don't overdo it.

That said, substitute your chaining action of choice in place of Village where appropriate. Village is not the key to this combo.

This is an effective combo. I've used it, I've had it used against me. It works, and it's very strong on the right board. I'm sure there are thousands of variations. The simplest, and least easy to criticize, is to use village+smithy to draw the cards you need, one of which should be a ghost ship. You only need one.

And if someone pulls the "optimum number of villages is 0" argument out again, I'll have to go dig up the thread where David verified that Remodel+4 Village+4 Smithy+7 Copper+1 Gold buys 4 provinces in, on average, 14.09 turns(or so), which kicks the crap out of Grand Smithy, and is way easier to build variations on to attack the Smithy where Smithy isn't doing anything to slow you down.

Dominion is not a race, and it's not solitaire. Attacking your opponent can slow them down. The right attacks against the right deck can slow him down A LOT. Ghost Ship happens to be particularly good at slowing down the simple, fast strategies. And it costs more than a smithy because it's BETTER than a smithy when you take into account how much it speeds you up, plus how much it slows them down.
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medwards20x6 wrote:
The main problem with any combo is... comboes suck in Dominion? Really? You should just buy treasure and play a Big Money robot?


Not always, no, but against the OP's strategy a Big Money robot could be highly effective.

medwards20x6 wrote:
How often does someone post some combo, and someone else comes along and asks way to many irrelevant questions about the details. The details depend on the game, the context, the luck of the draw. That doesn't mean the combo sux, or that it's irrelevant.


The "goodness" of a combo depends on how long it takes to set up, the probability of executing, and the buying power you get if it works. After deck thinning, almost every combo is powerful.

medwards20x6 wrote:
It's been said before by others, and I'll say it again. There are many plateaus as someone learns dominion. Big Money is not the end all be all strategy. Yes, you must get past the "buy nothing but actions" phase and get some treasure. But action decks work too, big draw decks work, chaining decks work, and control decks work.


I'm pretty sure I know this already, since I wrote a long piece on the Dominion forum last year demonstrating the failure of Big Money. I'm also quite good at beating players that just don't know when to quit on their huge combo and just buy VP.

medwards20x6 wrote:
The key to any combo is not focusing on it to the exclusion of all else. Build it intelligently and at the right pace based on your draws. Redirect your efforts if things aren't going your way, or if the opponent is building an effective counter strategy.


Absolutely. 100% agreed.

medwards20x6 wrote:
Ghost ship is a good card, even if you don't land the combo. And no, it's not just an expensive Militia. It's more effective under most circumstances because of it's anti-cycling aspect, and +cards is very different than +coins when mixed with other actions.


But the power of +Cards as a terminal action is completely dependent on the lack of other action cards in your deck assuming you have enough treasure. To get a chaining benefit you need the village or one of its congeners AND you must draw it before or with the +Card. If you play ghost ship (or smithy, or council room...) and draw Village/Spy you are out of actions and out of luck.

Furthermore, the opportunity cost of acquiring those villages and spies is high. The question is whether the attack value of the GS and spy offsets that cost. With 3 or more players maybe, but with 2 players I am more doubtful. I also play almost exclusively 2 player.

medwards20x6 wrote:
Spy is a solid card, though more situational, and is good, even if you don't land the combo.


Yes.

medwards20x6 wrote:
Village is frequently criticized, because it's not as powerful as it seemed back when you'd only played 10 games. But if you allow that cynicism to carry forward, you're missing an important, and powerful, aspect of the game. Village doesn't suck. Really, it doesn't. The game designers and testers are pretty frickin smart, and damn near every card in the game is worth buying, most in quite a large variety of situations. Village is definitely one of them, just don't overdo it.


IMHO, in nearly all walks of life, cynicism = experience. Nonetheless I do not argue that village has no use at all. It is just very difficult to fit it into a strategy; you really need to play two terminal actions after it AND the synergistic effect of playing both actions at once must justify the risk of failing to execute the combo given the investment you already made in it.

medwards20x6 wrote:
That said, substitute your chaining action of choice in place of Village where appropriate. Village is not the key to this combo.

This is an effective combo. I've used it, I've had it used against me. It works, and it's very strong on the right board. I'm sure there are thousands of variations. The simplest, and least easy to criticize, is to use village+smithy to draw the cards you need, one of which should be a ghost ship. You only need one.


I'm sure it works on the right board with the right opponents. And it is an interesting application of the Ghost Ship, a card I have never bought and gone on to win the game.

medwards20x6 wrote:
And if someone pulls the "optimum number of villages is 0" argument out again, I'll have to go dig up the thread where David verified that Remodel+4 Village+4 Smithy+7 Copper+1 Gold buys 4 provinces in, on average, 14.09 turns(or so), which kicks the crap out of Grand Smithy, and is way easier to build variations on to attack the Smithy where Smithy isn't doing anything to slow you down.


If you say so.

medwards20x6 wrote:
Dominion is not a race, and it's not solitaire. Attacking your opponent can slow them down. The right attacks against the right deck can slow him down A LOT. Ghost Ship happens to be particularly good at slowing down the simple, fast strategies. And it costs more than a smithy because it's BETTER than a smithy when you take into account how much it speeds you up, plus how much it slows them down.


I still say militia is a better attack than GS because you can choose to simply destroy the current turn to improve the next one; with militia you are just screwed. The spy does help to improve the GS's power. In 4P attacks are very strong but in 2P it is still usually better just to ignore it and execute your own plan. And of the 5-cost cards available, GS is one of the worst. But again, in the right game and the right board, I'm sure it can be very powerful.
 
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medward s20x6
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Thank you. Now that was productive. Much more so than simply splitting up the combo into it's component cards and then dismissing them out of hand.

theright555J wrote:

The main problems with this combo are:
1. You bought village.
2. You bought Ghost Ship.
3. You will need too many copies of all of the above in order to pull off the combo
4. While building up this combo, when are you buying treasure? All the +Cards you gain need to draw up treasure in order to be beneficial.


While you are correct that, later in the post, you clarify that you don't mean village has no use at all, you do effectively imply that on the second line of your post.

I would argue that, given how well balanced the game is in general, if you haven't bought a card much because you don't _think_ it will be useful, then you probably have yet to discover it's value.

I certainly shied away from Ghost Ship at first, it didn't seem that good. It probably is a card that is more effective in a chain drawing deck, whereas Militia can stand alone in a deck that's mostly treasure and be effective. Ghost Ship is expensive enough you have to buy it later in the game than Militia, and it's far more effective when played frequently/every turn than when played occasionally. Militia is better than Ghost Ship if neither are being played every turn(or close to every turn).

Your other criticism of Ghost Ship vs Militia is exactly what adding the Spies is about. Yes, they can junk this turn for next turn by putting down their Gold. So now you discard their Gold for them and they are stuck with a hand full of Green and no benefit to their next turn.

I'm not saying this is your strategy for the game. Far from it. You are correct that it is a slow developing combo, you're not going to start playing it on turn 5 or 6. More like turn 10 or 12. But it can effectively paralyze their deck to the point that they can do almost NOTHING. If they put down good cards, the good cards go away, they have 3 crappy cards and their next hand is random. If they put down bad cards, they have 3 good cards, but their next hand is way, way worse than random, and then they have to do it again. On top of that, nothing they buy is going to come up for almost twice as long as it would without the Ghost Ship.

Ghost Ship fits well into a fast drawing, fast cycling deck when you see the same Ghost Ship come up on most of your turns. Of course, this implies that you already have chaining actions. You don't have to build the fast draw out of just Ghost Ships. I've kicked of the big draw with Witches, Moats + Throne Rooms, Smithy's, Labs, etc. Ghost Ship is just the gravy on top. At that point, adding the spies are "free" actions (minus opp cost of purchase), but the first time you toss the gold off the top of their deck, it almost paid for itself, and the first time you discard a province off the top of yours... Besides, what were you going to buy with 4 coin, a silver, late game?

As to attacks being more effective with more players, that's only true of some attacks. Basically, the attacks that have a down side for them and an upside for you, and the amount/probability of the upside is proportional to the number of players: Thief, Pirate Ship. Most of the other attacks have a downside for them that always occurs, and an upside for you that always occurs. I think those attacks are just as good in 2 player.

I'll look harder for the thread later. Not sure if you put much stock in simulation, but I remember being impressed. As far as I know, the Remodel + Village + Smithy deck is the fastest (solitaire)deck I've seen simulation data for.
 
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Matt Sargent
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medward s20x6 wrote:
I'll look harder for the thread later. Not sure if you put much stock in simulation, but I remember being impressed. As far as I know, the Remodel + Village + Smithy deck is the fastest (solitaire)deck I've seen simulation data for.


Here's David's post giving the code for Village/Smithy/Remodel:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/4610810#4610810

As for Village/Ghost Ship, I'm kind of skeptical that it has enough +cards to be able to pull the combo off. It probably needs something to trash your initial cards. On the other hand, playing a Ghost Ship every, or nearly every turn sounds devastating. If the opponent keeps her bad cards in her hand, she loses a turn and just gets Ghost Shipped again next turn. If she keeps her good cards, the bad ones get drawn next turn instead of getting discarded.
 
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I was in the middle of writing this when Matt posted, so I think I'll just go ahead with it.

Here it is. Looks like I misremembered, it averages 13.28 turns to 4 provinces.

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/492706/my-first-article-...

I'm particularly happy with this result because it implies that there is a class of action heavy, non-chapel strategies that perform extremely well against treasure heavy strategies with just a few actions. I think this makes the game much more interesting than it could otherwise be.

Even if not, this strategy/simulation demonstrates a principal that a more combo friendly deck type exists that performs well with chaining cards, even without thinning all your coppers.

Now, I'm not suggesting that you substitute Ghost Ship for the 4 smithies. Just the 3rd smithy, or the 4th smithy.
 
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Philip Thomas
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How about Fishing Village instead of Village? Less card pull but you get the extra action over 2 turns...
 
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The problem is that the combo effectively uses two terminal Action cards -- you have to use the Spy after Ghost Ship, so can't take advantage of Spy's +1 Action ability.

I'd be more amused if you could pull off Bureaucrat then Ghost Ship! Your opponents place a Victory Point card on top of their deck, then two more cards after that. Meanwhile, you not only just put a Silver on top of your deck, but you drew it as well.

Me, I'll just stick to Pearl Diver plus any +X Card Action...
 
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Sam and Max wrote:
The problem is that the combo effectively uses two terminal Action cards -- you have to use the Spy after Ghost Ship, so can't take advantage of Spy's +1 Action ability.

I'd be more amused if you could pull off Bureaucrat then Ghost Ship! Your opponents place a Victory Point card on top of their deck, then two more cards after that. Meanwhile, you not only just put a Silver on top of your deck, but you drew it as well.

Me, I'll just stick to Pearl Diver plus any +X Card Action...


Ghost Ship is not "put two cards on top", it's "put cards on top until you have three in hand". So unless they've added cards to their hand(s), Ghost Ship will only put one card on top of their deck.
 
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Brandon Richards
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For this to work out, you would need multiple Villages, Ghost Ships, and Spies to get them all to align. If my opponents were going for this type of deck, I would never put good cards from the Ghost Ship back on top of my draw deck. So the net effect would be just the Ghost Ship putting my poorest cards back on top of my deck. More than likely they would be Coppers and Victory cards and I would go for depleting three stacks (Villages, Duchies, and probably Spies).
 
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filovirus wrote:
For this to work out, you would need multiple Villages, Ghost Ships, and Spies to get them all to align. If my opponents were going for this type of deck, I would never put good cards from the Ghost Ship back on top of my draw deck. So the net effect would be just the Ghost Ship putting my poorest cards back on top of my deck. More than likely they would be Coppers and Victory cards and I would go for depleting three stacks (Villages, Duchies, and probably Spies).


This isn't a type of deck, really. It's an interesting twist on a big draw action chaining deck. You don't need multiple Ghost Ships, you only need one. Also, 2 spies is plenty. You don't need multiple copies to make them align, because you draw your whole deck most turns. That's the point.

The combo is not the whole deck. These are not the only 3 cards that you add to your 7 copper and 3 estates. It's a COMBO, not a DECK. I might not even buy the Ghost Ship until turn 8 or later, depending on how things align and what other cards I'm using to gear up my big draw deck. It's not like you give the opponent a free lead because you're going to play this combo. It's not like you need to plan to use the combo from the beginning, commit, and then let them react and counter you.

You build a deck. Probably one that adds a lot of actions and draws a lot of cards. These types of deck are effective anyway. As linked above, Remodel + Village + Smithy is one extremely effective deck of this type. Then you evaluate. Along the way, did you draw 4 coins and have nothing better to buy than a Spy? It's a free card, and if you have more gold than silver, you're probably better off with the free card than adding another silver. Who know's? Spy is good anyway, it helps your big draw get good cards when you play your Throne Room/Moat/Smithy/Nobles/Labs/Whatever.

At this point, you are already drawing your whole deck. +2 cards isn't necessarily great for that, Labs Nobles and Smithy are certainly better. But it isn't dead weight, either. It helps you keep the engine going, better than Militia. So you get the Ghost Ship and start playing it every hand, cause you're drawing it every hand. Just one, mind you. You can certainly get more if the board is right for it, but one should do just fine.

Now, suddenly, bam. They are playing with 3 cards every hand. Maybe you spy, maybe you don't. It's not required. Maybe you short draw for a province and pick up a spy, or you have an extra buy and get 2 in one turn. It will prevent them from hoarding their gold and getting a province every other turn from your Ghost Ship. Every other turn was better than every turn, but no turns is even better.

But it's not like you handed them the lead before hand. You built a real deck along the way. You don't have to choose between this combo and a functioning deck. So they run 3 piles out. Well, did you give them the lead before they did it? That's an entirely unrelated issue.
 
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medwards20x6 wrote:
filovirus wrote:
For this to work out, you would need multiple Villages, Ghost Ships, and Spies to get them all to align. If my opponents were going for this type of deck, I would never put good cards from the Ghost Ship back on top of my draw deck. So the net effect would be just the Ghost Ship putting my poorest cards back on top of my deck. More than likely they would be Coppers and Victory cards and I would go for depleting three stacks (Villages, Duchies, and probably Spies).


This isn't a type of deck, really. It's an interesting twist on a big draw action chaining deck. You don't need multiple Ghost Ships, you only need one. Also, 2 spies is plenty. You don't need multiple copies to make them align, because you draw your whole deck most turns. That's the point.

The combo is not the whole deck. These are not the only 3 cards that you add to your 7 copper and 3 estates. It's a COMBO, not a DECK. I might not even buy the Ghost Ship until turn 8 or later, depending on how things align and what other cards I'm using to gear up my big draw deck. It's not like you give the opponent a free lead because you're going to play this combo. It's not like you need to plan to use the combo from the beginning, commit, and then let them react and counter you.

You build a deck. Probably one that adds a lot of actions and draws a lot of cards. These types of deck are effective anyway. As linked above, Remodel + Village + Smithy is one extremely effective deck of this type. Then you evaluate. Along the way, did you draw 4 coins and have nothing better to buy than a Spy? It's a free card, and if you have more gold than silver, you're probably better off with the free card than adding another silver. Who know's? Spy is good anyway, it helps your big draw get good cards when you play your Throne Room/Moat/Smithy/Nobles/Labs/Whatever.

At this point, you are already drawing your whole deck. +2 cards isn't necessarily great for that, Labs Nobles and Smithy are certainly better. But it isn't dead weight, either. It helps you keep the engine going, better than Militia. So you get the Ghost Ship and start playing it every hand, cause you're drawing it every hand. Just one, mind you. You can certainly get more if the board is right for it, but one should do just fine.

Now, suddenly, bam. They are playing with 3 cards every hand. Maybe you spy, maybe you don't. It's not required. Maybe you short draw for a province and pick up a spy, or you have an extra buy and get 2 in one turn. It will prevent them from hoarding their gold and getting a province every other turn from your Ghost Ship. Every other turn was better than every turn, but no turns is even better.

But it's not like you handed them the lead before hand. You built a real deck along the way. You don't have to choose between this combo and a functioning deck. So they run 3 piles out. Well, did you give them the lead before they did it? That's an entirely unrelated issue.


Sounds like you put a lot of thought into this. I am actually interested to see how it turns out. With that many other powerful cards in the mix to make it work, I still am not sure building a deck around a three card combo (although fun) would ultimatly win the game. Let me know how it turns out (I would really like to know, not trying to be snarky).
 
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medwards20x6 wrote:
This isn't a type of deck, really. It's an interesting twist on a big draw action chaining deck. You don't need multiple Ghost Ships, you only need one. Also, 2 spies is plenty. You don't need multiple copies to make them align, because you draw your whole deck most turns. That's the point.

The combo is not the whole deck. These are not the only 3 cards that you add to your 7 copper and 3 estates. It's a COMBO, not a DECK. I might not even buy the Ghost Ship until turn 8 or later, depending on how things align and what other cards I'm using to gear up my big draw deck. It's not like you give the opponent a free lead because you're going to play this combo. It's not like you need to plan to use the combo from the beginning, commit, and then let them react and counter you.

You build a deck. Probably one that adds a lot of actions and draws a lot of cards. These types of deck are effective anyway. As linked above, Remodel + Village + Smithy is one extremely effective deck of this type. Then you evaluate. Along the way, did you draw 4 coins and have nothing better to buy than a Spy? It's a free card, and if you have more gold than silver, you're probably better off with the free card than adding another silver. Who know's? Spy is good anyway, it helps your big draw get good cards when you play your Throne Room/Moat/Smithy/Nobles/Labs/Whatever.

At this point, you are already drawing your whole deck. +2 cards isn't necessarily great for that, Labs Nobles and Smithy are certainly better. But it isn't dead weight, either. It helps you keep the engine going, better than Militia. So you get the Ghost Ship and start playing it every hand, cause you're drawing it every hand. Just one, mind you. You can certainly get more if the board is right for it, but one should do just fine.

Now, suddenly, bam. They are playing with 3 cards every hand. Maybe you spy, maybe you don't. It's not required. Maybe you short draw for a province and pick up a spy, or you have an extra buy and get 2 in one turn. It will prevent them from hoarding their gold and getting a province every other turn from your Ghost Ship. Every other turn was better than every turn, but no turns is even better.

But it's not like you handed them the lead before hand. You built a real deck along the way. You don't have to choose between this combo and a functioning deck. So they run 3 piles out. Well, did you give them the lead before they did it? That's an entirely unrelated issue.


Your points are well taken, but my main issues are with your statements bolded above. LexH has written about the "big draw deck" a lot when discussing the Chancellor. Basically, the premise behind a big draw deck is that it takes a while to get the engine going, but once it's up and running you buy at least one, if not 2, provinces per turn. The corollary is that you will fall behind your opponent(s) in the interim. A skilled player playing a low-variance, highly coin dense deck will acquire VP earlier and then sputter to a halt. So the "big chain draw" deck success depends on a longer game and a slower opponent.

Attacks are an excellent way to lengthen the game, however you need to start attacking early and often. This is my major beef with Ghost Ship, since if you're aiming for a big chain-draw deck there's usually a better 5 buy available, and until the great stuff with the Spy starts happening, your opponent is likely pulling into the lead. Furthermore, you have failed to add +Buy or any substantial treasure into your deck to boost VP purchasing. Doing so will most likely slow down your big chain draw even more.

And if an opponent tried this strategy on me, I would probably play a modified Big Money anyway! Once the spies started appearing, I would discard to a Ghost Ship a VP on top and a Gold underneath (the GS allows you to put the cards in any order). Now the spy either has to cycle the VP card to allow another spy to hit the gold, or else spies just put the same VP card back, and I get the gold anyway next time. When my coin density is close to 2 coins/card, I expect to buy a province or duchy anyway.

So it's not that I'm dissing the combo, as it's actually a very creative way to use the ghost ship effectively. But in order to be successful against a modified Big Money model, the chain draw deck wants to get very big quickly or start attacking quickly. Village/GS doesn't seem to do that extremely well.
 
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Thank you. Quite constructive criticism, and you are right, this combo has it's hurdles.

theright555J wrote:

Basically, the premise behind a big draw deck is that it takes a while to get the engine going, but once it's up and running you buy at least one, if not 2, provinces per turn.


Well, I suppose that's one theory. I think 13.28 turns is pretty quick to get up and running and get 4 provinces, though. I hadn't seen any numbers to support a fast big draw deck until last week when I saw that thread, but it supports my intuition. I leaned toward modified big money on BSW for several weeks and was consistently beaten by opponents that stacked chaining and drawing cards - not in a newbie way, either, with a nice mix of powerful actions and treasure.

theright555J wrote:
The corollary is that you will fall behind your opponent(s) in the interim. A skilled player playing a low-variance, highly coin dense deck will acquire VP earlier and then sputter to a halt. So the "big chain draw" deck success depends on a longer game and a slower opponent.


Again, I think Matt's Remodel deck with simulation data is a nice counter example to both the hypothesis and corollary.

theright555J wrote:
Attacks are an excellent way to lengthen the game, however you need to start attacking early and often. This is my major beef with Ghost Ship, since if you're aiming for a big chain-draw deck there's usually a better 5 buy available, and until the great stuff with the Spy starts happening, your opponent is likely pulling into the lead. Furthermore, you have failed to add +Buy or any substantial treasure into your deck to boost VP purchasing. Doing so will most likely slow down your big chain draw even more.


For me this thread is more about a crusade to shift the context when discussing combos. The general reaction I see on the forums is nay-saying, generally centered around lack of purchasing power, slowness to boot up, and the speed with which a skilled opponent will simply bypass your efforts. Again, a combo is not a deck. Just because card X and card Y go well together, doesn't mean that you build a deck consisting only of X and Y. You still have to build a deck with money, buys if necessary, etc. A combo is just a few of the cards. You have to add them intelligently and opportunistically, or not at all, depending on what else is going on.

Also In my experience and attempts to bypass others efforts, if the opponent is skilled, intelligent, and adaptive, on a board with an interesting mix of cards, their attacks frequently side-track my deck quite effectively. When I turn the tables and play an aggressive but well balanced attack/control deck, I generally win, even against opponents that have put up a few wins in a row against me.

theright555J wrote:
And if an opponent tried this strategy on me, I would probably play a modified Big Money anyway! Once the spies started appearing, I would discard to a Ghost Ship a VP on top and a Gold underneath (the GS allows you to put the cards in any order). Now the spy either has to cycle the VP card to allow another spy to hit the gold, or else spies just put the same VP card back, and I get the gold anyway next time. When my coin density is close to 2 coins/card, I expect to buy a province or duchy anyway.


Yes, this is the proper counter strategy if you find yourself up against this combo. If you have achieved a deck with sufficient coin density to continue to rake in VP despite it, the strategy will be ineffective. If you have a coin density of 2 coins/card, however, you'll expect to have 7 coins after putting down 3 coins and miss the province, and you've just handed your next turn 2 cards with a coin density of 1.5/card, lowering that average.

theright555J wrote:
So it's not that I'm dissing the combo, as it's actually a very creative way to use the ghost ship effectively. But in order to be successful against a modified Big Money model, the chain draw deck wants to get very big quickly or start attacking quickly. Village/GS doesn't seem to do that extremely well.


Agreed. Village + Ghost Ship isn't how I would boot this up. I would classify this combo as an opportunistic mid - late game play, rather than a deck strategy. I think that's the point that many people miss when discussing a combo. They don't necessarily constitute a full strategy, shouldn't necessarily be planned or built starting at the beginning of the game, and that shouldn't be grounds for criticism.

That said, the Ghost Ship seems to be highly criticized as a weak 5 buy. In my relatively recent experience with Seaside, I have discovered a number of cards that seem week at first but have surprising results and plenty of potential chemistry with other cards. I enjoy playing a large variety of decks and try to avoid simple Big Money based strategies largely because I find other strategies to be more fun, and I almost always learn more by losing spectacularly with a strategy I've never tried before than by sticking to something more vanilla.

I always play as many games as possible against opponents that beat me, and still usually find myself with a winning record after assimilating, tweaking, and adapting the strategies I fail with and see used against me.
 
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medwards20x6 wrote:
Well, I suppose that's one theory. I think 13.28 turns is pretty quick to get up and running and get 4 provinces, though. I hadn't seen any numbers to support a fast big draw deck until last week when I saw that thread, but it supports my intuition. I leaned toward modified big money on BSW for several weeks and was consistently beaten by opponents that stacked chaining and drawing cards - not in a newbie way, either, with a nice mix of powerful actions and treasure.


I was very interested in this and went back and read the article you quoted. The major difference is the use of Remodel. As I mentioned above, a good Village strategy would have to
A) Consistently generate situations where you use two terminal actions on the same turn as playing the Village and
B) Utilize a synergistic property of those terminal actions where they are better played on the same turn or
C) You have a deck with such a high proportion of terminal action cards that you have a high probability of wasting one on any given turn.

Remodel is one of those cards that really loves the village, and a Village-Smithy-Remodel strategy is solid. One of my self-recognized greatest weaknesses in Dominion is proper use of remodel and adaptation to opponents' usage of it. I am certain that there are other such combos and Village-Spy-Ghost Ship is not a bad one! It is just very, very easy to overdo it on the actions aiming to lay down a hammer on your opponent and I fear (although admittedly I haven't tested it yet!) that the OP's combo is prone to overdoing.

Remodelling is a very powerful, stealth way to end the game quickly and is doubly powerful because you still get your buy afterward. So use a smithy to draw up more coin, allowing you to buy gold, but remodel a gold to province first. Very powerful indeed, and quick. But not representative of all village-based combos.

And other posters have mentioned that village is a great mid-game buy when situation (C) above becomes true.

medwards20x6 wrote:
theright555J wrote:
The corollary is that you will fall behind your opponent(s) in the interim. A skilled player playing a low-variance, highly coin dense deck will acquire VP earlier and then sputter to a halt. So the "big chain draw" deck success depends on a longer game and a slower opponent.


Again, I think Matt's Remodel deck with simulation data is a nice counter example to both the hypothesis and corollary.


And again, remodel is an important exception. I totally agree that it takes only one counterexample to disprove a point. But nonetheless, remodel is in a league all its own and is a terminal action that shines when linked to other actions via village.

medwards20x6 wrote:
For me this thread is more about a crusade to shift the context when discussing combos. The general reaction I see on the forums is nay-saying, generally centered around lack of purchasing power, slowness to boot up, and the speed with which a skilled opponent will simply bypass your efforts. Again, a combo is not a deck. Just because card X and card Y go well together, doesn't mean that you build a deck consisting only of X and Y. You still have to build a deck with money, buys if necessary, etc. A combo is just a few of the cards. You have to add them intelligently and opportunistically, or not at all, depending on what else is going on.

Also In my experience and attempts to bypass others efforts, if the opponent is skilled, intelligent, and adaptive, on a board with an interesting mix of cards, their attacks frequently side-track my deck quite effectively. When I turn the tables and play an aggressive but well balanced attack/control deck, I generally win, even against opponents that have put up a few wins in a row against me.


And you are probably a very good Dominion player! Sounds like you have the right idea about card diversity and usage. I guess I'm just becoming more convinced that some of my strategies/general deck builds/combo attempts that have won have only done so because my opponent played worse, not because my deck building was intrinsically better. I'm looking for general concepts that will improve this.

medwards20x6 wrote:
If you have achieved a deck with sufficient coin density to continue to rake in VP despite it, the strategy will be ineffective. If you have a coin density of 2 coins/card, however, you'll expect to have 7 coins after putting down 3 coins and miss the province, and you've just handed your next turn 2 cards with a coin density of 1.5/card, lowering that average.


Good point! At that point in the game I would probably have to settle for duchies with an occasional province buy and will be hoping I have enough VP to win

medwards20x6 wrote:
I think that's the point that many people miss when discussing a combo. They don't necessarily constitute a full strategy, shouldn't necessarily be planned or built starting at the beginning of the game, and that shouldn't be grounds for criticism.

That said, the Ghost Ship seems to be highly criticized as a weak 5 buy. In my relatively recent experience with Seaside, I have discovered a number of cards that seem week at first but have surprising results and plenty of potential chemistry with other cards. I enjoy playing a large variety of decks and try to avoid simple Big Money based strategies largely because I find other strategies to be more fun, and I almost always learn more by losing spectacularly with a strategy I've never tried before than by sticking to something more vanilla.

I always play as many games as possible against opponents that beat me, and still usually find myself with a winning record after assimilating, tweaking, and adapting the strategies I fail with and see used against me.


I couldn't agree more. I will open my mind to usage of Ghost Ship; I just have never won a game in which I bought it. Maybe we will see each other on BSW.
 
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While playing my sister in a 2 player game, I destroyed her with a strategy based on the ghostship. Ignoring what previous posters have said about how it is worthless, here goes:

Benefits of ghost ship:
1) +2 cards. Any time there is a card that gives you +actions, pairing a card that gives + cards is a good one. Without a + actions card in the deck, stay away from the ghostship.
2) Reduces the hand of opponents down to 3. This is self explanatory. It is harder to do stuff with 3 cards than it is with 5 (or more)
3) Puts cards back on the deck of opponents. While the argument is that it only augments future turns, this means that it will take longer for your opponent to get to the 'good' cards and your opponents will be able to play 'good' cards less often. This is key.

Cons of ghost ship
1) Terminal action. No + actions means without something to pair it with, this would be the only action available for that turn
2) High cost. While 5 isn't a high cost in itself, it is a high cost for what it gives you - only 2 cards. Smithy would be a better choice (more cards with less cost)


With the above stated, it becomes obvious that the Ghost Ship is a terrible card by itself. But when paired with a +action card, it becomes extremely powerful.

List of cards that pair well with the ghost ship due to actions:
(2) Fishing Village, Native Village,
(3) Village, Shanty Town
(4) Mining Village
(5) Festival, Bazaar
(6) Nobles


Some of the above cards, it does you well to have multiple of, some not. With these cards, it is easy to become the village idiot. Fishing Village and Festival have the added bonus of + coins. Balance is the key.

In the game with my sister, I used the + actions of the fishing village and the festival along with a few ghost ships and 1 sea hag. My initial buy was a moneylender which cleared my hand of copper and gave me some early buying power. An early ghost ship slowed her down just enough to give me what I wanted - festivals (for the +coin and +actions) with the ghost ships. I had a couple of fishing villages to go along with the festivals for a little extra help. The sea hag sprinkled a few curses into her hand to make her hands even worse. (If you are holding a curse and a GS comes up, what do you do??).

By the end of the game, my sister was able to purchase only 1 or 2 provinces and struggled to get those. Her outlook for getting more wasn't too good either. She will admit that it was the ghost ship that screwed her hand. She still cringes when the GS comes out it games if I am at the table.


Just like every card in the game, there are some that work well with it and some that do not. If the deck won't work for certain cards, then don't use them.

In summary:
The ghostship is a situational card. Works wonderfully in some places and extremely poorly in others. It is up to the player to decide when it will and when it will not. If it is on the board, I first look to see if it can be used, because used effectively, it is devestating.
 
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