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Subject: Torturer too powerful? rss

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Nick Knutsen
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I used to think that the Torturer's attack wasn't as bas as the Witch's, and so it's reasonable that Torturer gives you +3 cards while Witch gives you +2 cards, as they both cost 5. The reason that Torturer isn't as bad is that it gives you an option, either take a curse or discard two. And if you take the curse it goes in your hand, where you can potentially do something with it, as opposed to the Witch, where the curse goes straight to the discard. Ok fine, in theory.

But I'm starting to reevaluate that analysis. I played a two player game with Torturer and Worker's Village. We were both doing the exact same thing, Salvager + Silver. Turn 3, we both Salvaged an Estate and bought a Torturer. Turn 4, he got a WV, I could only afford a second Silver. He was first player, and he got to Torture me first. That first time I had Salvager so I took a Curse and trashed it. I soon had two WV and two Torturers while he had one WV more. We both bought WV and Torturer when we could. But purely through the luck of the draw, he started Torturing me twice in a turn. That also meant he drew a lot of cards, and could afford two cards, like another Torturer and another WV!

Now here's the thing. As donaldx pointed out in one of his secret histories, discarding two cards isn't that awful, but discarding four is devastating. So you have to take at least one Curse when being Tortured twice. Since he now bought more T/WV than me, he very soon started torturing three times each turn, and I was doomed. Taking two curses saved my hand, but it meant I was getting all the curses, and thereby of course losing. Discarding my entire hand: also losing.

I lost by a lot of points. Even though I played exactly the same strategy. Thing is, when there's a card with +2 actions and Torturer, you have to go for getting as many of each as you can. And very small differences in draws early on can lose or win you that game. It's not like with Witch. You could buy many Witches and Villages, but you'd probably lose. The +2 cards on the Witch isn't good enough, and when Witch is played the other guy gets the curse. With Torturer the other guy could just discard two cards instead, as long as there's only one Torturer coming. If one player plays one Torturer and the other plays three, the other is doomed. If one player plays one Witch and the other plays three, not so.
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Jeff Wolfe
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Two comments:
1) If two people play exactly the same strategy, it comes down to the luck of the draw. You really can't draw any useful conclusions about the power level of the card from such a game.
2) In a two player game, there should be only 10 Curses in the Supply. A Torturer-heavy game should have rapidly exhausted the Curses. It sounds like you may have played with too many Curses.
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Ben Bateson
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Don't forget that Curses aren't infinite, though. In a 2P game, there are only 10, so as soon as you force the other guy to take one, you are 'safe' to take one yourself. With any trashers in your hand, you'd be silly not to take one.
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Nate S
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Boards that support Torturer engines are at least less of a coin-flip than Treasure Map/Warehouse boards, since more skill is required to race for a Torturer engine than to just open TM/Warehouse and hope for the best. But if both players race for the Torturer engine, yeah, whoever gets there first will clobber the other player.

It's the same winner-by-coin-flip situation you have any time both players in a 2p game pursue the exact same strategy. The difference with Torturer is just that the loser of the coin flip will lose badly.
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Nick Knutsen
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Luck of the draw: Of course you are right. But the point was that early misfortune/fortune seals the victory for one player in this case. And by a large margin.

No, we played with 10 Curses. It was on isotropic. You both seem to have missed the point here. It's not a question of taking "one", but two, and then discarding them on the third torture. If I take two Curses every turn, I exhaust the Curse pile by putting most of them in my deck. Most of the time I'll get to play one Torturer, but discarding two cards isn't that bad so usually the other player will choose that, meaning he'll get none and I'll get two Curses every turn. He sometimes chose to take a Curse, but since he already had more WV and Torturers than me, he pretty much always drew up his Salvager and trashed that Curse.

The point was it took very little for him to get the ability to buy more than me each turn, and hurting me exponentially more than I can hurt him every turn. Once that "engine" starts running (which takes a small tip of the luck scale towards one player), it ramps up fast and the other player has no chance (barring some very bad draws by the leading player).
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Nate S
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No point missed. You both went for the same strategy and one of you lost, as one of you must. Like I said, the only difference between a Torturer engine race and some other coin-flip situation is that the losing player will often lose badly. The trick is not not feel like it's some kind of moral failing to lose by 20+ points to somebody who pursued the exact same strategy.

For my own part, I love Torturer engine boards, because quickly building a Torturer engine is a personal specialty of mine, and I usually win There are important strategic decisions to be made on this sort of board to ensure that (if both players pursue a Torturer engine) you end up with a functional engine first, or at least at the same time as the other player.
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Nick Knutsen
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ghorsche wrote:
No point missed.

No, I was actually replying to the first two posters. If you look at the times of your post and my post, you'll see they were simultaneous. I should have quoted the guys I was responding to.

I agree, it's the same any time two players go for the same strategy. The difference is that with other strategies oftentimes the worse off player has a chance to come back.

But it makes me wonder of Torturer should be +2 cards instead of +3 cards.

ghorsche wrote:
There are important strategic decisions to be made on this sort of board to ensure that (if both players pursue a Torturer engine) you end up with a functional engine first, or at least at the same time as the other player.

There certainly weren't any in this game. Or rather, there weren't any that one player did and the other didn't. We both got early Salvager, and only ever got one. After that it was all WV and Torturer until the engine was up. Not complicated.
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Nate S
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Ah, word, simultaneous posts. Forgive the misunderstanding.

At +2 Cards it's almost strictly worse than Witch. It's tough to dream up a situation where Torturer's attack is stronger: I have a Library in hand and can't afford to discard down to 3 for some reason, and you only play 1 Torturer? That's about the only thing I can think of.
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Grzegorz Kobiela
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Nick, did you remember that once the curses are gone, you may decide to take a Curse when being tortured, thus, getting no curse at all? Once all curses were gone, his triple Torturers wouldn't be of any good. You MIGHT outpace him by buying Gold in the mean-time instead of multiple sets of WV+T like he did. Of course, with his many WV+T's he could draw his entire deck each turn, while you wouldn't, but maybe your money advantage might cancel the Curse disadvantage.

In the end, as other said, you just were the unlucky in this setup. Happens.
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Gordon Wong
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About Torturer, if the curse cards was emptied, must the player being tortured discard two cards as no more curse card can be gained?
Thank you!
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matt feldman
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Agape wrote:
About Torturer, if the curse cards was emptied, must the player being tortured discard two cards as no more curse card can be gained?
Thank you!


no. you can choose curse even though there are none left.
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Chris Sauder
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Agape wrote:
About Torturer, if the curse cards was emptied, must the player being tortured discard two cards as no more curse card can be gained?
Thank you!


No. You can still take the curse option and then draw no curses.
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Nick Knutsen
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Ponton wrote:
Nick, did you remember that once the curses are gone, you may decide to take a Curse when being tortured, thus, getting no curse at all?

Yes. The game was decided long before the Curse pile was empty.
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Nick Knutsen
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ghorsche wrote:
At +2 Cards it's almost strictly worse than Witch. It's tough to dream up a situation where Torturer's attack is stronger: I have a Library in hand and can't afford to discard down to 3 for some reason, and you only play 1 Torturer? That's about the only thing I can think of.

Well, that was the point of my initial post. To show how several Torturers can be a whole lot stronger than several Witches. With only one Torturer I agree the Witch is stronger. But of course you always have the option of buying several.
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Nate S
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If you reduced Torturer to +2 cards, no quantity of them would be stronger than the same quantity of Witches.

Witch forces you to take a curse. Torturer gives you an out. That's all you need to know. Witch is a stronger attack.
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Nick Knutsen
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ghorsche wrote:
If you reduced Torturer to +2 cards, no quantity of them would be stronger than the same quantity of Witches.

That might be, but would they be weaker?

ghorsche wrote:
Witch forces you to take a curse. Torturer gives you an out. That's all you need to know. Witch is a stronger attack.

That's certainly not all I need to know. In fact that was what I opened my post by saying, and then I laid out how that's not necessarily the case when there are Village type cards in the setup. I haven't seen any counter-arguments to this. The only thing that's been said is that both players have the same options, and that's kind of beside the point. (To illustrate: a hypothetical card that says "you win". Both can get it, but it comes down to who gets to play it first. That person will win, the other has no chance. Is it too powerful? Yes.)
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Jeff Wolfe
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PunchBall wrote:
ghorsche wrote:
Witch forces you to take a curse. Torturer gives you an out. That's all you need to know. Witch is a stronger attack.

That's certainly not all I need to know. In fact that was what I opened my post by saying, and then I laid out how that's not necessarily the case when there are Village type cards in the setup.

Suppose Torturer was:
+2 Cards
Each other player gains a Curse, putting it in his hand.

Getting a Curse into your hand is better than getting a Curse into your discard pile, for two reasons that I can see. One, you might have something in your hand (or you might draw something on your turn) that lets you immediately get rid of the Curse. Two, you might be forced to shuffle before the end of your turn, so the discard-pile Curse will come back to clog your deck sooner than the in-hand Curse.

For those reasons, the altered Torturer would be weaker than Witch, except when the opponent(s) had a card that cared about hand size. Currently, I believe that consists of Library and Watchtower. Watchtower wouldn't be a problem, though, because your opponent can just immediately trash the Curse you made him gain. So we could say altered Torturer is weaker except for Library.

But Torturer does give you a choice. If playing optimally, a person hit by Torturer would only choose to discard when doing so would be better than gaining a Curse. So that makes Torturer even weaker from that perspective. The only time it would be better for there to be a choice is if the opponent makes a poor choice.

And giving the choice to discard actually helps Library (the only exception above), because now Library would be able to draw more cards.
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Nick Knutsen
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Jeff, all this is well and fine, and I note it (although not as detailed) at the opening of my original post. Now read the rest of it.
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Dave G
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PunchBall wrote:
Jeff, all this is well and fine, and I note it (although not as detailed) at the opening of my original post. Now read the rest of it.


You keep saying that as if there's some brilliant bit of your original post we're missing, but I don't see it. You tried to play an identical strategy to your opponent, he got luckier than you, life's tough. The card doesn't need nerfing.
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Nick Knutsen
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djgutierrez77 wrote:
You keep saying that as if there's some brilliant bit of your original post we're missing, but I don't see it. You tried to play an identical strategy to your opponent, he got luckier than you, life's tough. The card doesn't need nerfing.

I don't keep saying it because I think it's brilliant. It's probably not. It might even be wrong. The reason I keep saying it is that nobody's replying to it!

I'll try to state the point more clearly. Getting hit with one Torturer isn't so bad and is certainly better than being hit with one Witch. But getting hit with two Torturers while only hitting the other player with one Torturer, is worse than getting hit with two Witches and only hitting the other player with one Witch. Up that from two to three, and the Torturer's attack is much worse than the Witch's. Even one Witch will give the other player a Curse, not so with only one Torturer. Not knowing how many Torturers will be played is also a major factor, which I haven't mentioned before. A factor is also that buying three or more Witches wouldn't normally help the other player that much, he should have made other buys. So it's not so bad that you end up with more Curses because you've made other buys that were probably better. But that's not the case with three or more Torturers. They also have more long term hurting effects because the Curses are not quickly depleted.

Additionally: Getting to play two Torturers while the other player only plays one is better than if they were Witches because you get to draw more and so you can increase the divide quicker (than with Witch) by buying more Torturers/Villages quicker than the other player. (WV is especially efficient because it gives a +buy.)

Like I said, and to be more detailed: When being hit with three and only playing one, I can either:
A) Take two Curses and discard them thereby adding them to my deck (not being able to trash any of them). At the same time the other player either takes one Curse and trashes it, or takes no Curses.
B) Take three Curses, and maybe being able to trash one (so in essence the same as A).
C) Discard my entire hand.

If you do A/B, you end up with most of the Curses (let's say 7 or 8), the other player none of them. You've lost.
If you do C, you've lost.
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Jeff Wolfe
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PunchBall wrote:
Jeff, all this is well and fine, and I note it (although not as detailed) at the opening of my original post. Now read the rest of it.

Several of us have apparently misunderstood your remarks now, so unless you'd care to clarify them, I think we're at an impasse.

Edit: ninja'd
Edit2: you edited your post before I had a chance to respond. I'll come back later when you're done editing.
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Dave G
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PunchBall wrote:
djgutierrez77 wrote:
You keep saying that as if there's some brilliant bit of your original post we're missing, but I don't see it. You tried to play an identical strategy to your opponent, he got luckier than you, life's tough. The card doesn't need nerfing.

I don't keep saying it because I think it's brilliant. It's probably not. It might even be wrong. The reason I keep saying it is that nobody's replying to it!

I'll try to state the point more clearly. Getting hit with one Torturer isn't so bad and is certainly better than being hit with one Witch. But getting hit with two Torturers while only hitting the other player with one Torturer, is worse than getting hit with two Witches and only hitting the other player with one Witch. Up that from two to three, and the Torturer's attack is much worse than the Witch's. Even one Witch will give the other player a Curse, not so with only one Torturer. Not knowing how many Torturers will be played is also a major factor, which I haven't mentioned before. A factor is also that buying three or more Witches wouldn't normally help the other player that much, he should have made other buys. So it's not so bad that you end up with more Curses because you've made other buys that were probably better. But that's not the case with three or more Torturers. They also have more long term hurting effects because the Curses are not quickly depleted.

Additionally: Getting to play two Torturers while the other player only plays one is better than if they were Witches because you get to draw more and so you can increase the divide quicker (than with Witch) by buying more Torturers/Villages quicker than the other player. (WV is especially efficient because it gives a +buy.)

Like I said, and to be more detailed: When being hit with three and only playing one, I can either:
A) Take two Curses and discard them thereby adding them to my deck (not being able to trash any of them). At the same time the other player either takes one Curse and trashes it, or takes no Curses.
B) Take three Curses, and maybe being able to trash one (so in essence the same as A).
C) Discard my entire hand.

If you do A/B, you end up with most of the Curses (let's say 7 or 8), the other player none of them. You've lost.
If you do C, you've lost.


You're still wrong. Getting hit with three Torturers is better than getting hit with three Witches. Three Torturers gives two curses (the third time you discard them from your hand) but three Witches gives you three curses. I don't think anyone is going to argue that playing one attack to your opponent's three isn't bad, I just don't think anyone else thinks that means the card is overpowered. That's just how Torturer works.

Look at it this way.

Getting hit with 1 witch gives you 1 curse. Getting hit with 2 witches gives you 2 curses. Getting hit with 3 witches gives you 3 curses.

Getting hit with 1 Torturer gives you a 3 card hand. Getting hit with 2 gives you 1 curse. Getting hit with 3 gives you 2 curses. Or you take the curse first and second, and you have 2 curses but also still have your original hand. That's better than 3 witches either way.

Getting hit with 1 Mountebank gives you a curse and a copper. 2 Mountebanks, 2 curses and 2 coppers. 3 Mountebanks, 3 curses and 3 coppers.....worse than 3 Torturers by far.

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Grzegorz Kobiela
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Even if we're not talking about 3 vs 1 Torturers, I absolutely fail to see how being hit by 2 Torturers is worse than being hit by 2 Witches...

I. 2 Witches = 2 curses

II. 2 Torturers = choose one:
a) 1 card left
b) 1 curse, 3 cards left
c) 1 curse, 4 cards left
d) 2 curses, 5 cards left

In all these cases, 2 curses either is or might be worse. If I have a hand full of copper, victory and/or curse cards, discarding down to 1 card and gaining 0 coppers is by far superior to getting 2 curses. I wouldn't do much with my turn anyway. Of course, this may not happen each turn. In which case I may decide to take a Curse, then discard it with one more card (option c) or the other way round (option b) or take 2 curses if my 5 cards are so uber-good that I can't discard any of it. In all these cases I'm better off with Torturers hitting me than Witches.

Ergo, I fail to see the OP's point.
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Franklin Millar
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Torturer is more likely than Witch to hit multiples (in the presence of +2 Action cards) because of the extra +Card. But, it's also more likely to fizzle (because your opponent just chose to discard two Provinces or something). Did I miss anything?
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Nate S
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Doomclown wrote:
Did I miss anything?

The part where somebody suggested nerfing Torturer to +2 Cards even though this would mean it's a straight-up worse card than Witch.

If Torturer and Witch are on the board and I have a 5/2 opening split, I will take Witch every time despite Torturer's extra card. Witch's attack is a lot better until such time as you can play 2-3 Torturers per turn, at which point Witch's attack is still somewhat better.

PunchBall wrote:
Up that from two to three, and the Torturer's attack is much worse than the Witch's.

But this is flatly, totally false. Unarguably. If discarding 2 cards is ever worse for you than taking a Curse, just take the Curse! You don't have to know how many Torturers will hit you. If you suspect you will be hit with multiple Torturers, you have the option of taking a Curse first so you can discard it on a subsequent attack... which option is a further example of the comparative weakness of Torturer's attack vis a vis Witch's.

To make up for the comparative weakness of its attack, Torturer draws one more card than Witch. I don't find this remotely difficult to countenance. There is no doubt that Torturer can at times be a much more powerful card than Witch specifically because of the extra Card, but it would (almost) always and everywhere be a worthless piece of crap card compared to Witch if it didn't draw an extra card.
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