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Subject: Bishop vs. Gardens rss

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philosophyguy
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If there's both a Bishop and Gardens in a set, are there circumstances in which Gardens is going to be the better strategy? This question is motivated by an isotropic game earlier today. My opponent bought a Gardens way too early, and so I went for Bishop hard because I knew that he wasn't going to want the optional trash ability. Given that the Bishop player can thin her deck, as well as purchase Gardens to block her opponent and then convert them into VP tokens, is there a situation in which Gardens is still the better play?
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Nate S
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Workshop/Gardens or Woodcutter/Gardens, played well, is going to clobber anybody who ever opens with Bishop in 2p.
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Dave Goldthorpe
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It will depend on the kingdom. So yes there will be situations where either gardens or bishops will be the better play.
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David desJardins
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ghorsche wrote:
Workshop/Gardens or Woodcutter/Gardens, played well, is going to clobber anybody who ever opens with Bishop in 2p.


I sort of think I should trust you, because I haven't tried it, and I don't play much 2p Dominion, and you seem awfully sure of yourself, but I'm not quite sure I understand how this works or that I'm convinced. Your Workshop/Workshop start isn't going to collect Gardens much faster than my Bishop/Silver start; if I go first then I think I'm likely to get 4 and you get 4. Then you can use your Workshops to expand your deck, but with only 4 Gardens that's not a very efficient way to gain many points, and meanwhile I'm thinning and buying Duchies and collecting VP tokens.

Maybe we should set up such a game on Isotropic. I get to go first, I get to choose the set including Workshop, Bishop, and Gardens, I start with Bishop/Silver and you get to start with Workshop/Workshop (or Workshop/X of your choice), and you are promising to clobber me? What odds will you give?
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Jason Gische
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I must admit I had much the same reaction as David. I just don't see a Gardens player outracing the Bishop player with such consistency that a victory i assured.

I doubt the Bishop player will get four Gardens, though. Three seems more likely, but still probably good enough to ruin the monster point scoring that the Garden player needs.
 
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David desJardins
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OK, here you go. This seems like a fair test to me. Player 1 took Bishop/Silver and Player 2 took Workshop/Workshop. Both players ignored all kingdom cards except Bishop, Workshop, and Gardens. Player 2 got 5 Gardens but still lost big time. You're welcome to tell me how badly I screwed up the Workshop strategy, but I don't believe it was 11 points worth, much less a lot more than 11 points (how much of a margin of victory is "clobbering"?).

http://dominion.isotropic.org/gamelog/201102/17/game-2011021...
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David desJardins
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I tried having the Workshop player buy/gain Silvers instead of more Workshops, hoping to build up to run out the Duchies and Estates, rather than having to run out the Workshops. It was even more of an abject failure:

http://dominion.isotropic.org/gamelog/201102/17/game-2011021...

If this is a slam dunk for the Workshop/Gardens player, then I'm really not seeing how to play it.
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Paul W
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Well, Workshop/Gardens is really best as Workshop/Garden/+2 action

Gardens shouldn't come until later unless your opponent starts buying them up. You should quickly reach a point where you're adding 3+ cards a turn to your deck.
 
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David desJardins
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fizzmore wrote:
Well, Workshop/Gardens is really best as Workshop/Garden/+2 action. Gardens shouldn't come until later unless your opponent starts buying them up. You should quickly reach a point where you're adding 3+ cards a turn to your deck.


Well, your Bishop opponent is going to start buying them immediately, that is the point. I'm skeptical you can win consistently even if you add Villages in the mix, but it's certainly more plausible.

Of course, if your Bishop opponent starts buying Gardens, you could always start ignoring the Gardens and start gaining Bishops with your Workshops. I actually think that would probably be better. But it's not the original claim, i.e., Workshop->Gardens clobbers Bishop, regardless of what else is available. Are we dialing that back to "sometimes"?

Let's have a poll:
Poll
Does Workshop->Gardens always beat Bishop in 2p?
Yes, it's clobberin' time.
Should have an edge, but not always.
Not at all, depends on what else is in play.
      29 answers
Poll created by DaviddesJ
 
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Paul W
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It should be impossible for the bishop player to outbuy the Workshop player, as the bishop player can get no more than 1 garden per turn, but a good workshop deck should be able get 2's on a regular basis, if not constantly. Then it's simply a matter of cleaning out one more pile and they've got the victory.

I don't have any stake in the original claim, I'm just stating my perspectives on Workshop/Garden strategies...I'm quite surprised that you've never run into them before.
 
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Rob Neuhaus
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Game 1: http://dominion.isotropic.org/gamelog/201102/17/game-2011021...

Gardens/Ironworks/Workshop 35 - Bishop 30, 13 turns

Probably should have been more aggresive with buying gardens as the bishop player. Workshop player was lucky to have iron works in the set.

Game 2: http://dominion.isotropic.org/gamelog/201102/17/game-2011021...

no Ironworks, slight badly play by Workshop player with an accidental Workshop trash. More aggressive gardening by Bishop player early.

Bishop 33 - Gardens/Workshop 23, 17 turns
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David desJardins
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rrenaud wrote:
Gardens/Ironworks/Workshop 35 - Bishop 30, 13 turns


Ironworks are huge advantages for the Gardens strategy. (So are Pawn, and a few other cards.) The claim was that the Workshop->Gardens strategy will win handily even with no other helpful cards in the set. If you put in cards with synergy, that's not much of a test of the claim.
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David desJardins
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fizzmore wrote:
It should be impossible for the bishop player to outbuy the Workshop player, as the bishop player can get no more than 1 garden per turn, but a good workshop deck should be able get 2's on a regular basis, if not constantly.


What? There are only 8 Gardens. They will all be gone by turn 7 or so. The Bishop player (who went first, and has 10 coins in his 12-card deck) will certainly manage to get three by turn 6 (he has four turns to do it, this is if he misses once). If you buy Workshop/Workshop, you can get at most three on turns 3 and 4 together, and two more on turn 5. So it's essentially impossible that you could get more than five of them.

Quote:
Then it's simply a matter of cleaning out one more pile and they've got the victory.


What? Once all of the Gardens are gone, then you have to empty two more piles, which takes much longer. Did you actually look at my sample game?

Quote:
I'm just stating my perspectives on Workshop/Garden strategies...I'm quite surprised that you've never run into them before.


What? Who hasn't played the Workshop/Gardens strategy? No one said that.
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Rob Neuhaus
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I think playing a workshop/gardens strategy well requires that you mostly switch to ironworks when they are available. Both sets were random set other the workshop/gardens requirement, the bishop player in the second game used a wharf reasonably effectively for example.
 
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Nate S
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Having done some of my own playtesting now, I retract the original statement. The Bishop player aggressively buying Gardens from early in the game is key.
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Dave G
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ghorsche wrote:
Having done some of my own playtesting now, I retract the original statement. The Bishop player aggressively buying Gardens from early in the game is key.


This is sort of moot, isn't it? I mean, only an idiot would continue to pursue workshop/gardens if anyone else buys more than one or two. If Bishop is in play, you start workshop/silver. If the bishop player looks like he's going to buy up the Gardens, let him. Switch to money and do something else. Workshop/Gardens is a good strategy, but also recognized as pretty pedestrian because all you have to do to beat it is split the Gardens. Ironworks/Gardens is better. Baron/Gardens is better. Woodcutter/Gardens is a more flexible start. Gardens only work if you can get 6 or more of the 8, though. You need your opponent to completely ignore them to try to outrace you. The "Bishop" part of this is meaningless--if the "other" player buys your gardens, you're going to lose. Doesn't matter if they're playing Chapel or Smithy/Festival, as long as 4 Gardens doesn't completely derail their deck, they'll beat you.
 
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Nate S
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djgutierrez77 wrote:
This is sort of moot, isn't it? I mean, only an idiot would continue to pursue workshop/gardens if anyone else buys more than one or two.

Yes, but that's not what I said so I'm just going to have to eat crow on my original post whistle

FWIW Workshop/Gardens can still beat Chapel over half the time in a pure race, even if the Chapel player buys Gardens optimally.
 
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Dave G
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ghorsche wrote:
djgutierrez77 wrote:
This is sort of moot, isn't it? I mean, only an idiot would continue to pursue workshop/gardens if anyone else buys more than one or two.

Yes, but that's not what I said so I'm just going to have to eat crow on my original post whistle

FWIW Workshop/Gardens can still beat Chapel over half the time in a pure race, even if the Chapel player buys Gardens optimally.


Yeah, that's an outside case though. Don't get me wrong, I love workshop/gardens, but it's not an automatic strategy. You have to either leave yourself some flexibility or find some way to improve it. I particularly like Barons/Gardens, because you can usually power up enough to buy Duchies as well.
 
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Nate S
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I never play Gardens without some plan for how to get a Province or two. I'll only barrel ahead with it if the other player(s) ignore the Gardens pile.

... though Ironworks can sometimes be fast enough on its own.
 
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Dave G
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The nice thing about Ironworks is that you can sometimes catch an opponent off guard. By the time you're ready to start grabbing Gardens, they've progressed far enough into building their own engine that they either can't or won't change gears. You can use Ironworks to good effect even in a game without Gardens, but you're not fooling anyone if you buy Workshop in a game with Gardens in play.
 
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