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Dominion: Prosperity» Forums » Sessions

Subject: And the optimum strategy is ... buy curses!?! rss

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Brendan Tracey
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I've wondered for a while if there are cases where buying a curse card is the best thing you could do. There are some far fetched examples I could come up with (you have a lot of gardens, you need one more card to put you in the next block of 10, and there is no more gold), but none of them seemed likely to come up in a real game situation. However, in the game I played tonight, an example was thrust upon me.

A member of our group had recently purchased Alchemy, and so the four of us started the night off with two of the standard setups. We then decided we had had enough of the weirdness, and switched over to Prosperity in the hopes of a faster game. We did a random draw with 5 cards from Prosperity and 5 cards from the base set. Since two of us (myself included) had not yet played with the Prosperity set, we decided to include the Platinums and Colonies. The draw was as follows:

Cellar, Throne Room, Bishop, Goons, Laboratory, Village, Contraband, Theif, Loan, and Counting House.

I started off the game with a 5 copper hand (sweet!) and took a Contraband, and turn 2 grabbed a cellar (might as well). Turn 3 I had another 5 copper hand (double sweet!) and picked up a second contraband. I was off to a great (lucky) start. The other three players each picked up an early bishop. Soon thereafter I managed to get a lucky hand, and was able to pick up an early Platinum. At this point, the other players were getting worried about all of the money I had. How do you stop someone with a lot of treasure cards? Go for the jugular with the thief. At this point, Bishops and thievs were being played with regularity. On the one hand, this had the effect of stealing a few of my contrabands away from me. On the other hand, this got rid of all of my coppers and estates, so I managed to get down to a fairly small deck. In the meantime, since I really didn't have any action cards, and my money was being eaten away, I decided to pick up some goons. I continued to get extremely lucky with the theives not stealing my platinum, and one turn I managed to have a goon, a contraband, and a platinum in my hand. I wanted to protect my platinum, and so with 10 money and 3 buys I picked up a set of three villages, thinking that they were a way of padding my deck without wasting space. I then realized that I had a ton of extra actions, and so picked up a second and third goon, using those to also buy more villages and laboratories. At one point during the game, my deck consisted of something like 3 goons, 2 cellars (they stopped playing the bishops), a contraband, a platinum, a colony, and then a whole bunch of laboratories and villages. I'm not that great of a dominion player and so normally I wouldn't fully know what was in my deck. However, with so many self-replacing cards, one turn I managed to draw my entire deck.

The last turn of the game, I managed to get out my three goons, platinum and a contraband. Upon playing the contraband, my opponent decided I could not buy any coppers. I needed to spend 5 in order to buy the final laboratory and end the game. 8 more money gets me a Province. I was left with 3 more buys, 1 money, and an inability to buy copper. The only card remaining for me to buy were the curse cards. While they are worth -1 at the end of the game, I received three points for each one I bought, netting me two points per curse card!
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David Goldfarb
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I've had several games where I bought the last Curse in order to end the game on three piles (with me winning, natch).

Also, if Ambassador is in the game and you are drawing all or most of your deck each turn (so that you can be sure of drawing the Ambassador together with the Curse) you might buy a Curse in order to deal out Curses to your opponents.
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Ron Olivier, Sr.
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If you have Cornucopia and have the 'Fairgrounds' Victory card, there may be times where the Curse could get you up to the next block of '5', giving you 1 extra points per Fairgrounds. A game that includes Colonies, Platinums, and the Bane card (an 11th Kingdom deck) for the Young Witch has exactly 20 cards, counting the curse.

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Ron Laufer
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nitpick:
howeman wrote:
(you have a lot of gardens, you need one more card to put you in the next block of 10, and there is no more gold)

I think you mean copper.
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Dave Goldthorpe
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With a watchtower in hand you can buy curses just so you can trash them immediately.
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Brendan Tracey
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I should have been more specific. I was looking for a time when it's optimum to buy curses to generate points for yourself. While doing it to end the game or to give them to other people are valid options, that's not really what I had been thinking about. Fairgrounds is another example of what I mean.

And no, I don't mean copper. Anytime I buy gardens, I also have at least 6 gold each turn .
 
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DC
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howeman wrote:
And no, I don't mean copper. Anytime I buy gardens, I also have at least 6 gold each turn .


Are you using "gold" to mean "coins" (as in, you have $6 in buying power)? I think that everyone else is referring to the card named "Gold".
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Sheila Kuchta
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Your hand: Platinum, Contraband, and 3 Goons. You played 1 Goon for your Action. You have Contraband (Treasure). This leaves you with +3 buys and +10 money to spend. You buy Laboratory with your Platinum. Got that. You now have +2 buys and +5 money. But how were you able to play the other 2 Goon (Action) cards? You didn't have any extra actions. Am I missing something?
 
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Roberta Yang
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sakuchta wrote:
Your hand: Platinum, Contraband, and 3 Goons. You played 1 Goon for your Action. You have Contraband (Treasure). This leaves you with +3 buys and +10 money to spend. You buy Laboratory with your Platinum. Got that. You now have +2 buys and +5 money. But how were you able to play the other 2 Goon (Action) cards? You didn't have any extra actions. Am I missing something?

He didn't say his hand consisted of those five cards; he said he managed to get those five cards into play. He previously mentioned having a bunch of Laboratories and Villages in his deck, so it's safe to assume that he used them to play these cards and only bothered listing the ones that generated coinage.
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Kenneth H
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Well executed Goons game, sir. It's sometimes really hard to create a positive game leading off with multiple Contrabands, but this looks like it was a good set. A canny opponent can really stomp on your dreams with that card.

howeman wrote:
Upon playing the contraband, my opponent decided I could not buy any coppers.


Personally, I would be more interested in a list of situations where this play is correct!
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Sheila Kuchta
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Oh I got it now, you're right. As I re-read he was feeding more cards into his hand and was getting more Actions w/ Laboratory and Village. What a fun hand to play out!! What a great use of Curses! I want to play this set-up.
 
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