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Subject: Interesting Masquerade Decision rss

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Michael Link
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Played a multiplayer game of Dominion last night with the following layout:

Lighthouse
Steward
Lookout
Masquerade
Coppersmith
Bureaucrat
Conspirator
Wharf
Festival
Treasury

On a 4/3 split, I opened Lookout/Masquerade. Rationale was improved deck cycling, better hands (with the +2 cards from Masquerade) and ability to trash 2 cards per round through deck, guaranteeing a crap card to toss each time (risk of drawing Lookout dead with the Masquerade of course). Lookout/Steward may have been better but everyone else picked Steward and I wanted some experience with Masquerade.

On turn 3, I drew Masquerade and 4 coppers. Played Masq, drew copper/estate, passed estate, received copper.

So now I have a decision to make as I have drawn to 6 coin...
1. Keep copper, buy Gold
2. Trash copper, buy Treasury (or possibly Wharf, but would be running into terminal action issues).

What would you have done? I decided to keep the copper and buy Gold, but the more I think about it, treasury is usually powerful enough to pay 6 for anyway. With the opportunity to trash copper and acquire one, that would probably have been the correct play. Later in the game, I bought several treasuries anyway but was then buying VP cards so could never fully abuse their potential. If opting for gold on turn 3, probably should have used subsequent 5-buys for Festival/Wharf and then ultimately duchies in the endgame.

Regardless, always nice when a tough-ish tactical decision arises in Dominion!
 
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Ted Vessenes
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I would open Lookout / Conspirator with this setup. When you have 5, stack treasuries. When you first have 3 or 4, buy another lookout. Thereafter buy Conspirators on 4. Use lookouts to bootstrap your early conspirators and treasuries in the late game. You want a pair of Wharfs as your terminal actions (primarily for the extra buys) and maybe 1 or 2 gold. Fill the rest of the deck with Conspirators and Treasuries. I'm sure this will beat any Steward based strategy. He's a pretty slow card.
 
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Michael Link
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I thought about Conspirator, but I felt it was too tough to set up those first two actions to get it going. Would be fine once enough treasuries in the deck, but I've had too many problems drawing hands like Consp-Consp-Lookout-Estate-Copper in the early game that make me want to punch the wall angry

But your point is well-taken. I mainly wanted to practice with the Masquerade in this game, and I will practice with Conspirator in future games. You are likely right that Conspirator will lead to a better a deck but I'm not certain at this point.

I'm still interested in the original question of Gold vs. Treasury on turn 3 given the scenario I presented.

EDIT: You did say you would buy a second lookout the first time you hit 4 coins after buying the first conspirator, which indeed mitigates the problem of drawing 2 in one hand, effectively wasting a silver.
 
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theright555J wrote:
I thought about Conspirator, but I felt it was too tough to set up those first two actions to get it going. Would be fine once enough treasuries in the deck, but I've had too many problems drawing hands like Consp-Consp-Lookout-Estate-Copper in the early game that make me want to punch the wall angry

...

I'm still interested in the original question of Gold vs. Treasury on turn 3 given the scenario I presented.

EDIT: You did say you would buy a second lookout the first time you hit 4 coins after buying the first conspirator, which indeed mitigates the problem of drawing 2 in one hand, effectively wasting a silver.


That's not just to avoid the 2x conspirator problem. Lookout is a card that sucks unless you have two of them. With only one, you don't get enough deck thinning or cycling out of it. Remember that the effectiveness of trashing a card is inversely proportional to your deck size. Two lookouts are more than twice as good as one.

Regarding the question of whether you should trash a copper, think of your options like this instead:

* Buy a Gold and a Copper
* Buy a Treasury

Phrased like that, it seems clear that Treasury is the better choice. In a sufficiently trimmed deck, Treasury is often better than Gold. But as long as the average card is worth 2, Treasury is just as good as Gold even if you buy only victory cards. I would absolutely trash the copper and buy a Treasury.
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David desJardins
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tedv wrote:
Lookout is a card that sucks unless you have two of them. With only one, you don't get enough deck thinning or cycling out of it. Remember that the effectiveness of trashing a card is inversely proportional to your deck size. Two lookouts are more than twice as good as one.


I can't agree with that as a general rule. The second Lookout generally creates diminishing returns because later in the game you might not be able to play it at all.
 
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DaviddesJ wrote:
tedv wrote:
Lookout is a card that sucks unless you have two of them. With only one, you don't get enough deck thinning or cycling out of it. Remember that the effectiveness of trashing a card is inversely proportional to your deck size. Two lookouts are more than twice as good as one.


I can't agree with that as a general rule. The second Lookout generally creates diminishing returns because later in the game you might not be able to play it at all.


I recently played a game where I opened with a double Lookout. If you are able to draw one and only one Lookout on your following turn, you can essentially play the next eight or more rounds with a deck of 12 cards. Each turn, you'll have 7 cards in your deck, play Lookout to trash and discard two of those cards, allowing the remaining 5 cards to be your next hand.

The deck played fairly well. I went straight money deck from that point forward. However, as the Lookout was one of the 5 cards in my hand each hand, I only had 4 cards with which to obtain treasure and buy cards. I've been able to play this deck twice since then: two wins and one horrible loss due to the Tribute messing up my plans! =D
 
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DaviddesJ wrote:
tedv wrote:
Lookout is a card that sucks unless you have two of them. With only one, you don't get enough deck thinning or cycling out of it. Remember that the effectiveness of trashing a card is inversely proportional to your deck size. Two lookouts are more than twice as good as one.


I can't agree with that as a general rule. The second Lookout generally creates diminishing returns because later in the game you might not be able to play it at all.


I generally find that in the mid game, I will use one lookout to trash another. I don't think I've ever ended a game with both lookouts still in my deck. In the end game, there are occasionally scenarios where you don't play lookout because you know what's left in your deck and it's all gas. But most of the end-game lookout plays won't trash anything worse than a silver, and generally trashing silver improves your deck quality by that point. Of course, as you say, it's all dependent on what cards are available.
 
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Jeff Wolfe
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Here is my thought:

- Early game, buy Treasury.
- Mid game, buy Gold.
- Late game, buy Duchy.

Treasury is weak once you shift to buying Victory cards, so you have to buy it early enough in the game to make it worthwhile. As you approach the tipping point, Gold becomes more valuable, even with the extra Copper in your deck. And at the end, of course, you just want to buy Victory cards.

Since your situation was on the third turn, Treasury is definitely the way to go.
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David desJardins
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tedv wrote:
But most of the end-game lookout plays won't trash anything worse than a silver, and generally trashing silver improves your deck quality by that point.


I don't understand this kind of comment. I virtually never have a deck that is improved by trashing Silver. Sure, it's possible to construct them but I don't think they arise very often in normal play.

I often buy two Lookouts also. And I agree that I often end up trashing the second Lookout. But that just illustrates my point about diminishing returns from the second Lookout. There are other combinations that work better if available.
 
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Dave Goldthorpe
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Lookout + Coppersmith to buy some gold, all collected together with a wharf. Could be a good gamble.
 
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Michael Link
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The other thing I should mention about this game is that it was with 7 players. Yes I know that is actively discouraged in the rules but my wife was opposed to breaking into two tables as we had an informal block party going

I solo'd Lookout/Conspirator opening, buying a second lookout, single Wharf, and 2 golds on 6-7 coins, with the rest as treasuries and conspirators. This ran into some problems. 1st, dead conspirator draws. 2nd, double lookout draws with a hyper-thin deck where I found myself trashing treasuries or not playing the lookout at all. 3rd, in a 7-player game with 18 provinces and 10 kingdom cards/stack 12 victory/stack, a 4-pile depletion endgame is highly likely (and occurred in this game), and winning requires >24 points (4 provinces, thinned estates). A conspirator/treasury deck with no +2 actions really cannot afford many VP cards.

So I think tedv's suggestion works better with fewer players, but a large multiplayer game needs some adjustment.
 
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