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Dominion» Forums » Strategy

Subject: Mysteries of the +1 Buy rss

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Gary Smolinski
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Since there hasn't been any discussion I could find on +1 Buy strategies, I thought I'd open this one up here.

Quite often, the +1 Buy comes with the extra coins and/or cards needed in order to make the bonus viable in any given turn, so theorhetically, why would I want to ignore this ability? Therefore, it's interesteing that certain cards seem to make the +1 Buy very appealing (i.e. Council Room, Market, Festival, Wharf, Bridge, Salvager), but others make you want to scratch your head asking "Why should I get this for the extra buy?" (i.e. Woodcutter, Baron, Herbalist).

Without knowing the logic behind why the +1 Buy is supposedly so good (and why there are NO cards in the game with +2 Buy), I thought we'd look at it from an early, mid, and late game perspective.

Late game, under most circumstances, you want to have the +1 Buy to get Duchies and Provinces in the same turn if you have 13 coin. Pretty basic.

Early game and mid game, though, the +1 Buy seems to be rather tricky. And because of this, most times the +1 Buy seems to be often ignored in these stages.

Early game, it's almost never used because this is where you're buying the actions and treasures to get your deck engine moving along, so no one would likely want to buy copper with it unless you're playing with Gardens. So then it seems the most likely use would be when you have 5 coin and wanted 3-cost and a 2-cost (i.e. Silver or Village + Cellar or the like) cards that turn. However, it's more likely there would be a 5-cost card that you'd want instead (i.e. Lab, Festival, Market) so the extra buy would often be wasted unless you got the copper with it.

And this would also apply to if I have 4 coins available with a +1 Buy. Should I get:
1. Silver with no extra buy,
or
2. Silver with a copper,
or
3. A 4-cost action with a copper,
or
4. A 4-cost action with no extra buy,
or
5. 2 2-cost actions?


Mid game, it seems like it can be more useful, especially when you have the unpopular 7 coins in hand, your deck's gold levels are solid, but could use a 5-cost action in combination with a 2 cost action to give your deck a well-needed boost in speed/economy for the next shuffle through. You could also obviously buy a combination of 4-cost and 3-cost for the same reason.

Getting back to the Early game use, here's a crazy theory...if you take a +1 Buy card in the first 2 turns of a game, could it be mathematically correct to always make the extra buy for maybe the 1st 2 plays of the card, even if it's to buy copper with the extra buy?

The reason I even bring this up is that thorhetically, your likelihood of getting coins in hand is greater in the early turns (5 through 10 or so) if you have 8 or 9 copper in your deck for a turn or 2 than if you had only 7 in your deck vs the original 3 Estates. I'm NOT SAYING TO BUY COPPER EVERY TIME, because that would clog your deck in the mid-game when silver and gold matter most, but wouldn't 1-2 extra copper in the early stages give you a better ratio of coin vs your starting Estates?

Then, in the Midgame, obviously your +Buys could be more focused on Actions and Silvers/Golds needed to accelerate your way toward the end-game. And the end-game uses are obvious.

So has anyone done this with +Buys in the early game? Does it work to improve deck tempo for a few early turns with an extra copper or 2 or does it cause decks to stall?

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Roberta Yang
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phoenix1967 wrote:
Getting back to the Early game use, here's a crazy theory...if you take a +1 Buy card in the first 2 turns of a game, could it be mathematically correct to always make the extra buy for maybe the 1st 2 plays of the card, even if it's to buy copper with the extra buy?

The reason I even bring this up is that thorhetically, your likelihood of getting coins in hand is greater in the early turns (5 through 10 or so) if you have 8 or 9 copper in your deck for a turn or 2 than if you had only 7 in your deck vs the original 3 Estates.


If the average card in your deck by the end of your third turn isn't already better than Copper, you're probably doing something wrong - after all, simply buying three Silvers (and you're presumably buying cards that are either Silver or better than Silver, since otherwise you would just buy Silver) on your first three turns will make your average card as good as Copper, so buying an extra Copper will only reduce variance (bad) and dilute future purchases (bad). By the time the extra Copper shows up on your third shuffle through the deck, it's directly making your deck worse.

And if your decks generally improve so slowly that buying Copper still makes it stronger as late as turns "5 through 10 or so" and you're describing those turns as "early", then you're definitely doing something wrong - bar significant Attack disruption, most games don't last more than fifteen turns. As an experiment, try this: next game of Dominion you play, never buy Actions. Just buy Silver, Gold, and Provinces - and smaller Victory cards when the Provinces start to dwindle. The results may surprise you.
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Patrick G.
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phoenix1967 wrote:

Quite often, the +1 Buy comes with the extra coins and/or cards needed in order to make the bonus viable in any given turn, so theorhetically, why would I want to ignore this ability? Therefore, it's interesteing that certain cards seem to make the +1 Buy very appealing (i.e. Council Room, Market, Festival, Wharf, Bridge, Salvager), but others make you want to scratch your head asking "Why should I get this for the extra buy?" (i.e. Woodcutter, Baron, Herbalist).

I disagree about baron. It can turn two cards into 4 extra coin. This is enough to warrant a second buy even if you only have 2 other copper in your hand.
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Captain Frisk
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This is actually a very interesting question.

My gut feeling tells me that +buy is useful in the following scenarios:

1. Gardens
2. Late game (Province + (something))
3. The dreaded 7 coin hand (taking a 5+2 instead of a gold, or nice 4 cost card that you need + silver)... like if your deck is already cooking with your 5 cost actions, and you can pick up a throne room + fishing village.
4. An early 9 coin in which you choose to take silver + gold instead of a province.
5. Alchemy. With the actions that cost P, 2P, you can frequently get into a situation where you could pick one a trasmute or apothecary with a free buy, but wouldn't want to pay down to get them. For example, with 6P in your hand, you'd probably rather buy Alchemist + Silver rather than Gold.
6. Pushing for the super power deck. if you're going for an engine deck that draws your entire deck and lays down some power, to quickly cross from 8 coin to 16 coin territory, you'll probably do things like double buy gold, or double 5 cost actions before you start double buying provinces.

I would love someone with a simulator to figure out under what circumstances using +buy to pick up copper is a good idea. Anyone out there?
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Captain Frisk
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corkysru wrote:
phoenix1967 wrote:

Quite often, the +1 Buy comes with the extra coins and/or cards needed in order to make the bonus viable in any given turn, so theorhetically, why would I want to ignore this ability? Therefore, it's interesteing that certain cards seem to make the +1 Buy very appealing (i.e. Council Room, Market, Festival, Wharf, Bridge, Salvager), but others make you want to scratch your head asking "Why should I get this for the extra buy?" (i.e. Woodcutter, Baron, Herbalist).

I disagree about baron. It can turn two cards into 4 extra coin. This is enough to warrant a second buy even if you only have 2 other copper in your hand.


With baron, I don't see purchasing it for the extra buy worthwhile... I buy it for the ability to quickly buy gold. The extra buy may be useful later in the game, which makes up for the fact that it doesn't hit estates as often when your deck is large.

I suspect that giving it +buy was a way of juicing the card a little bit as it feels underpowered relative to Militia and Smithy.
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Captain Frisk
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salty53 wrote:

And if your decks generally improve so slowly that buying Copper still makes it stronger as late as turns "5 through 10 or so" and you're describing those turns as "early", then you're definitely doing something wrong - bar significant Attack disruption, most games don't last more than fifteen turns. As an experiment, try this: next game of Dominion you play, never buy Actions. Just buy Silver, Gold, and Provinces - and smaller Victory cards when the Provinces start to dwindle. The results may surprise you.


Don't try this on BSW... here's a great thread discussing this trial. Most of the players there now are good enough to beat straight big money... but if you're in a small game group that's played less than 20 times, this will probably demolish them.
 
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Jeff Wolfe
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Captain_Frisk wrote:
2. Late game (Province + (something))

I usually shift to late-game mode before my deck is reliably generating 8 coins, so +1 Buy often means Duchy+Estate, or even Estate+Estate.
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Roberta Yang
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Captain_Frisk wrote:
Don't try this on BSW... here's a great thread discussing this trial. Most of the players there now are good enough to beat straight big money... but if you're in a small game group that's played less than 20 times, this will probably demolish them.


The topic creator is talking about picking up extra Copper on turn 10 as a way to improve his deck early in the game. I somehow doubt he's playing on BSW, or with anyone else capable of beating straight Big Money.
 
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J
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When it comes to extra buys the real question is what cheap action cards are there. Many times I have and I have seen sets where the only action card with a +buy is 2 cost.

People get trapped cause they think they can buy it at any time they want but mid to late game end up with 5-7 money quite often and can never buy it or more specifically can't bear to throw a good hand away. If there are some very powerful 2/3 cost cards an extra buy is almost always worth it though I prefer to get it from Festival, Market or one of those more powerful cards.

Especially with strategies where people draw most of their deck every turn this is true. People find themselves with 12-14 money often and never buy that 2-4 cost +buy they are so desperate for.

I find that having 1 card with +buy in your deck is almost always worth it so that you can afford low cost cards more efficiently or break up a large money hand. Nearly every card that has a +buy on it I consider a good or at the very least decent card. The only card I view as utter crap, the worst card in the game and should not exist is Woodcutter. Other than that I am always glad to see a +1 buy along with the other powers of the card.
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Captain Frisk
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allstar64 wrote:
The only card I view as utter crap, the worst card in the game and should not exist is Woodcutter. Other than that I am always glad to see a +1 buy along with the other powers of the card.


I think that most players are with you regarding Woodcutter being a generally bad card. Most players would say that +1 action is better than +1 buy, and Silver is effectively +2 coin, +1 action vs. Woodcutter of +2 coin, +1 buy.

That said, if there's a realistic chance of a "draw your entire deck every time" deck (throne rooms, golumns, smithies, nobles etc.) and woodcutter is on the board, i have lost to some good players on BSW who actually bought the woodcutter early to guarantee that they would have the +buy when they needed it...

I'm starting to have the gut feeling (not confirmed by facts and or figures), that with cheaper alchemy cards in play, an opening of Woodcutter + Potion is not unreasonable.

The only other time I can really think about buying it would be a gardens deck with no other sources of buy... particularly if you could open IronWorks + Woodcutter.

Anyone up for writing the "Defending the Woodcutter" article to go with this gem of a thread?
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Patrick G.
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allstar64 wrote:
The only card I view as utter crap, the worst card in the game and should not exist is Woodcutter. Other than that I am always glad to see a +1 buy along with the other powers of the card.

The only card I truly despise is Masquerade. My decks usually end up pretty slim and this card can force me to pass a really useful card and really screw things up. My parents LOVE using it against for exactly this reason.
Woodcutter is sooo much better than masquerade.. .but still crap. :-D
 
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corkysru wrote:
allstar64 wrote:
The only card I view as utter crap, the worst card in the game and should not exist is Woodcutter. Other than that I am always glad to see a +1 buy along with the other powers of the card.

The only card I truly despise is Masquerade. My decks usually end up pretty slim and this card can force me to pass a really useful card and really screw things up. My parents LOVE using it against for exactly this reason.
Woodcutter is sooo much better than masquerade.. .but still crap. :-D


Doesn't the fact that you hate when someone else plays it make the card better than woodcutter?

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Patrick G.
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Captain_Frisk wrote:
corkysru wrote:
allstar64 wrote:
The only card I view as utter crap, the worst card in the game and should not exist is Woodcutter. Other than that I am always glad to see a +1 buy along with the other powers of the card.

The only card I truly despise is Masquerade. My decks usually end up pretty slim and this card can force me to pass a really useful card and really screw things up. My parents LOVE using it against for exactly this reason.
Woodcutter is sooo much better than masquerade.. .but still crap. :-D


Doesn't the fact that you hate when someone else plays it make the card better than woodcutter?


not for me. :-D
 
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Gary Smolinski
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Woodcutter is the +1 Buy card hated by the most people. And part of what inspired me to open this thread.

It seems like it should be better. Admittedly, I almost never buy it either because 4-cost card + Silver always seems to be a better opening.

It's definitely one of the fastest +1 Buy cards out there. And that's what leads me to believe that there's got to be a benefit of picking it up early. But I haven't figured out any logic to back that up yet.
 
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James H
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I will sometimes buy Woodcutter in games with Throne Room (for +4 coins if alternatives like the swindler or chancellor aren't there) and Treasury (for the extra buys where you have a large chunk of change but are still powering up your deck and don't want to buy victory point cards just yet).

I think you should add Treasury to your list of when +1 Buy is useful.
 
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Dave Goldthorpe
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Getting back to the Early game use, here's a crazy theory...if you take a +1 Buy card in the first 2 turns of a game, could it be mathematically correct to always make the extra buy for maybe the 1st 2 plays of the card, even if it's to buy copper with the extra buy?


No, it wouldn't be mathematically correct.

If we assume that you're following a basic strategy of getting 8 coins from 5 cards to buy provinces, then each time you draw a copper you'll need 7 coins from the remaining 4 cards. The copper isn't helping in the long term.

Taking coppers in the short term might increase your average hand value but it won't increase the maximum hand value or variance. Five coppers can't buy a gold, which is what you really want near the start of most games.

Extra cards will also slow down your deck cycling. Everything else you achieve with the deck will arrive later.

The mystery of the woodcutter continues.
 
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Chris Stanton
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If Woodcutter is the only +Buy card in the mix then I'll pick one up mid-game (once I've improved my card value to be able to use it effectively)
If there's another +Buy on the table then I'll get that instead.
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Toc13 wrote:
If Woodcutter is the only +Buy card in the mix then I'll pick one up mid-game (once I've improved my card value to be able to use it effectively)
If there's another +Buy on the table then I'll get that instead.


Pretty much how I feel. Saying that "I will buy one if it is the only card that does blah" isn't a very good sign for that card. If woodcutter lost the +2 coins and only gave a +1 buy there would still be times I would buy it if it was the ONLY card that gave +1 buy.

I agree that +1 action > +1 buy 98% of the time making it hard for woodcutter to compete with silver. If woodcutter had an additional +1 card I think it would be balanced cause that would make it a potential +3 as well as a deck cycler early game. As it is it just can't compete with silver.

Fun Fact: In the base game Wood Cutter was the only action card that had another card with an action/ability strictly better than it (ignoring the price of the card). After intrigue this was no longer true as there were several of actions strictly better than other actions but intrigue did add another action card with an action strictly better than woodcutter.

 
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Garry Bowlin
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One thing I have wondered, but have yet to try is to use woodcutter like I often use Bridge, to buy two silvers in the same turn. In the early game this increases your average money faster than buying a single gold. Similarly, if you want to duchy rush it gives you another sources of easy silver to keep your deck from diluting.
 
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Yaron Racah
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allstar64 wrote:
If woodcutter had an additional +1 card I think it would be balanced cause that would make it a potential +3 as well as a deck cycler early game.


You mean +2 Coins, +1 Card, +1 Buy?

That's somewhere between +3 Cards, +1 Buy (better than smithy) and +3 Coins, +1 Buy (not quite Gold, because Action > Buy, but close).

It seems the correct price for the card you suggest is ~5, not 3.

gsbowlin wrote:
One thing I have wondered, but have yet to try is to use woodcutter like I often use Bridge, to buy two silvers in the same turn. In the early game this increases your average money faster than buying a single gold.


Two Silvers are a lot like Gold+Copper (2 cards with a total of 4 coins). They're probably even slightly worse, because of the lower variance.

Gold+Copper, on the other hand, is worse that Gold - because Copper is worse than nothing after your 3rd turn (as explained by others above).

Barring a heavily Cursed deck, it's hard to see when 2 Silvers increase your average more than 1 Gold does.
 
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yaron wrote:

Barring a heavily Cursed deck, it's hard to see when 2 Silvers increase your average more than 1 Gold does.

I think an early 2x Silver might be better for purposes of increasing your average coin / hand... you want more variance later, but for most boards, I'd rather have 2 hands that are both 5 coins than a 6 and a 4.

Basically, the closer your average coin is to 2, the less you would want to do this. Starting out, you're @ 0.7, and I think that double silver may be closer than you suspect.

Other scenarios in which this would be attractive are: Duchy / Duke, Gardens

Finally, i'm sure there's some scenario involving Mines, Throne Rooms and being able to draw your entire deck, that you would rather have 2 silvers (that will be turned into gold next turn), although in that case, Gold + Copper works just as well.

Finally, if your deck consists of nothing but golds, and your desire is to buy provinces, 2 silvers might be better...

4 Gold + 2 Silvers = 2 provinces where 5 gold does not. 5 gold + 1 copper does as well, but only if you draw your entire deck.
 
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Ryan M
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I think you've already hit on some of the strategies. + buys are good at the end of the game to suck up some extra points that normally wouldn't be worth your time. Duchies are nice, but even if you can get an extra estate it might be worth your time if the game is coming to an end.

Most of the time when I play, by mid game I don't use the extra buy. I'd rather spend any + money on a better card if I can. Or, as someone already mentioned, it might help to get a 5 and 2 cost cards depending on the situation. Cellar costs only 2 and I find it to be a useful card fairly often. You get an extra action, but can also get rid of points, or something else that won't help you that turn.

Recently, I was playing an attack heavy game and didn't have any moats. I didn't have much money in my hand, but had a +buy action, so figured I'd get a couple moats. At the very least they would let me draw more cards.

So there are times when + buys help and other times when they are best ignored in favour of fewer cards that will be more benefit.
 
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yaron wrote:
allstar64 wrote:
If woodcutter had an additional +1 card I think it would be balanced cause that would make it a potential +3 as well as a deck cycler early game.


You mean +2 Coins, +1 Card, +1 Buy?

That's somewhere between +3 Cards, +1 Buy (better than smithy) and +3 Coins, +1 Buy (not quite Gold, because Action > Buy, but close).

It seems the correct price for the card you suggest is ~5, not 3.


The correct price is actually somewhere between 3-4. It's obviously not 5 since if you say it should cost 5 then you are saying +1card = +2 actions which is definitly not true.

One could argue it should cost 4 but I don't consider +1 card very strong w/out +1 action. If you were going to play a lot of terminal actions (thanks to village or something) I'd say bridge or smithies are a better choices. Compared to say swindler I'd have to say I'd prefer swindler's attack to +1 card +1 buy but swindler feels under priced as it is. I honestly view it as being a 3.5 cost card with the additional +card and the creator has said he usually rounds down in these cases.
 
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Dave Goldthorpe
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Getting back to the Early game use, here's a crazy theory...if you take a +1 Buy card in the first 2 turns of a game, could it be mathematically correct to always make the extra buy for maybe the 1st 2 plays of the card, even if it's to buy copper with the extra buy?


I had a quick look at this. If you add a woodcutter to a pure money strategy and use the +buy for just one extra copper you'll be slowing yourself down by about 2 turns to get to 30vp. That's pretty dreadful to be honest.
 
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Martijn Vos
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corkysru wrote:
Captain_Frisk wrote:
corkysru wrote:
allstar64 wrote:
The only card I view as utter crap, the worst card in the game and should not exist is Woodcutter. Other than that I am always glad to see a +1 buy along with the other powers of the card.

The only card I truly despise is Masquerade. My decks usually end up pretty slim and this card can force me to pass a really useful card and really screw things up. My parents LOVE using it against for exactly this reason.
Woodcutter is sooo much better than masquerade.. .but still crap. :-D


Doesn't the fact that you hate when someone else plays it make the card better than woodcutter?


not for me. :-D


Maybe you should have used your +1 buy to pick up a Curse.

I actually dislike Woodcutter less than Chancellor. When Woodcutter is the only source of +1 buy, that is. Otherwise I ignore it (but some people I play with may buy it even when there's an alternative).
 
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