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Dominion: Hinterlands» Forums » Strategy

Subject: Silk Road? rss

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Tarjei Aasen
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So last night I played Intrigue + Hinterlands with my wife and decided to see what I could do with essentially no money and spamming the cheaper victory cards, most notably Silk Road. The cards available were:
- Pawn, Upgrade, Coppersmith, Courtyard, Great Hall
- Silk Road, Stables, Cache, Noble Brigand, Oasis

My strategy was to purchase a few Coppersmiths, Caches and Stables and then essentially nothing but victory cards - starting with Provinces as long as I could afford them, then Silk Roads and Duchies and later Estates and Great Halls as my deck became saturated with victory cards and I couldn't afford anything else. I think I bought a victory card two out of every three rounds.

It certainly had the benefit of surprise (when I went "Coppersmith. Copper. Estate.", my wife broke down in laughter and it was several minutes before we could continue), though it really felt like I was running twice as fast to get the same distance. In the end I got 69 VPs out of 23 victory cards (one more cheap victory card and it would have been 77), compared to 55. My wife really thought she had squished me and actually started to feel sorry for me in the later game as I had almost no money to play with.

So it worked and I got 3 Provinces, 7 Silk Roads, 4 Duchies, 3 Great Halls and 7 Estates, but looking at it, the Silk Roads and Estates / Great Halls I bought cost me 28 + 8 + 9 = 45 gold for 42 VPs between them. That doesn't SEEM very impressive (it would have gotten somewhat better had I just gotten one more victory card, but not a lot) and in hindsight, it seems better to go for a more normal strategy. For Silk Road to be worth it at 4 g to Duchy's 5 (not to mention Provinces), you need to focus too much on buying victory cards to the exculsion of everything else.

Do you agree? What are your experiences with this card?
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Roberta Yang
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One could say the same thing about Duchies - they give you 3 VP for $5, whereas Provinces give you 6 VP for $8. Provinces give you a better ratio, so why should you ever buy Duchies?

Also, I don't see what's so unimpressive about your cheap cards giving you 42 VP for $45 - that's still a better ratio than Provinces alone.
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James Newton
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I tried something similar recently - playing the first of the recommended Intrigue/Hinterlands sets, which has Great Hall, Tunnel and Silk Road.

As far as I recall, I opened with Great Hall and Coppersmith with the aim of buying the cheap victory cards and trying to empty three piles, and got a Pawn relatively early on for the +Buy. I didn't get to emptying three piles before the Provinces went (my opponent bought Jack of All trades and got to hands full of Silver quite quickly. However, combined with having 2 or 3 of the provinces myself, I did win because my Silk Roads were worth 5.

The fun bit was when my opponent bought Torturer and I bought Tunnel - when her Torturer came up I had the Tunnel (and an Estate) in hand, so I chose to discard 2 cards. In fact, the Golds from using Tunnels to escape the Torturer were what enabled me to buy the Provinces.

My initial feeling is that Silk Road is good when there are a number of useful cheap Victory cards available and so there is a viable strategy of buying lots of them without slowing the deck too much. Otherwise it is probably better than Estate for those hands when you only have 4 coins and are obviously in the last few turns.
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Jeremy Volk
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I feel like Coppersmith is not the best choice in a game where you expect to clog yourself up with VP cards. Most of the time, it isn't going to be worth more than $2. Maybe at first it will be better, at least with Cache out, but I personally would prefer to leave Coppersmith out of the equation and just get Stables if that's available. Do you feel like Coppersmith was a good choice over Noble Brigand or Silver?
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Jordan " ; " Czop
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salty53 wrote:
One could say the same thing about Duchies - they give you 3 VP for $5, whereas Provinces give you 6 VP for $8. Provinces give you a better ratio, so why should you ever buy Duchies?

Also, I don't see what's so unimpressive about your cheap cards giving you 42 VP for $45 - that's still a better ratio than Provinces alone.


Using the Duchies in combination with a Duke is one of the better strategies I have used. They can also tip the balance of a game when it is really close near the end (if your like me I card count who has provinces)
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Jordan " ; " Czop
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TarjeiAasen wrote:
For Silk Road to be worth it at 4 g to Duchy's 5 (not to mention Provinces), you need to focus too much on buying victory cards to the exculsion of everything else.


Ive always seen the Coppersmith as an early game card because that is typically the time when you have the most coppers which can allow for an early lead with higher cost cards.

Last night was my first play of Hinterlands. The Silk Road card was in play and I ended up buying six copies. What I tried to do was load my deck with lower level victory cards. At the end of the game my hand was over saturated with lower victory cards and not a lot of points. I think the card Gardens is a much better victory card...more "bang" for the "buck" as it were...

Overall I really liked my first play of Hinterlands...sounds like you did too!

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Dennison Milenkaya
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Sure, Gardens can be better than Silk Roads. Just think about it:

If your deck has 30 awesome cards and 10 Gardens, your Gardens are worth 40 points and 3/4 of your deck is still awesome. Of course, that's a tough order to fill, since most Gardens decks won't trash weak cards and 30 awesome cards is unlikely unless you picked up an Expand or Mine and are turning your Coppers into Silvers instead of trashing them. But ...

For your Silk Roads to be worth 4 points each, you'd need 16 Victory cards and if 8 are Silk Roads and 8 are Estates, that's still 40 points but you have 16 Victory cards in a deck that probably doesn't have 24 other cards in it, awesome or otherwise. It slows down faster.

I'd say that if those Silk Roads crossed some other roads at a Crossroads, then such a deck becomes killer, even without the playable hybrid Victory cards from Intrigue and probably better than the hybrids contribute anyway.

And since the original post posed the question, I'll say that I totally feel like Silk Roads are the way to go. Case in point:

Yesterday I played a game with Pearl Diver, Develop, Oracle, Silk Roads, Mining Village, Thief, Contraband, Counting House, and some yadda at 5, maybe one more at 4. No other special Victory cards were available. Before my first 4-coin hand, I saw two Thieves purchased so I decided to make a go of a Treasure-less deck. The fourth player also bought a Thief.

Thieves were rampant in that game! And they were pilfering Coppers. It was pretty obvious that at least two of the players were going for a Counting House strategy but they weren't picking up Mining Villages. Also, no-one else was getting Develops, so I'm thinking that they were content to hoard all the Coppers they can. Oddly, they were buying Silvers, Golds, and even one Contraband, at least (purchased -with- Gold, so I was like "why?" but you know).

Meanwhile, all I bought was a Develop and a Mining Village (usually I wouldn't early but I had an idea how this was going to play out and figured to get it while I could). My idea was to just let the Thieves take my Coppers as I Developed Estates into Develops, those into Silk Roads and Estates or Pearl Divers, and Mining Villages into Duchies and Develops. It worked amazingly well! The first time I played a Mining Village to use two Develops to trash two other Develops and pick up two Silk Roads and two Estates, you could feel a change in the air. The other players began the Duchy rush, just as I'd hoped. I had taken (and trashed most of) about 8 of the Mining Villages and 8 of the Develops myself so by the time anyone else tried to get them, they had few to go around.

Eventually the Develops were gone and I'd used Oracles for my 3-coin gains, paired with a Mining Village to draw (among five possible cards seen/drawn) a remaining Develop to keep it up and I also grabbed a Silver as a 3-coin acquisition. The Thieves were bogged by now, not hitting lots of Treasure at this time, and I had too much for them to sift through, so the timing was about right. A couple of well-timed Mining Village trashes for +2 coins and a late trashing of a Duchy for a Gold and Silk Road (probably a wash in points) and I was able to trash my final Mining Village, miraculously, with one of those Treasure cards to buy the last Silk Road and end the game.

I realized pretty early that through heavy trashing, I could run the Mining Villages, Develops, Silk Roads, and Pearl Divers out nearly on my own and either Duchies or Estates wouldn't be too hard, either, depending on how much help I got, so it wasn't going to be a Province race, no matter what. Two Provinces were bought during that game--neither by me--and I won it, somehow.
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Chris White
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shikosaki wrote:
Ive always seen the Coppersmith as an early game card because that is typically the time when you have the most coppers which can allow for an early lead with higher cost cards.


This is how I thought of Coppersmith when I first saw it (and for awhile afterwards), but I don't like it much as an early game card anymore: the risk is too great that you draw something like Coppersmith/Copper/Copper/Estate/Estate, and then you might as well have bought Silver because it won't become nearly useless in the endgame.

These days, I mainly buy Coppersmith when I know I'm going to be building up lots of +Card and +Buy (and there's no trashing), and it can get me something like $6 or so a pop in the endgame. It's fantastic with Tactician or Apothecary, for instance. But to be honest, these days I mostly don't buy Coppersmith.

shikosaki wrote:
Last night was my first play of Hinterlands. The Silk Road card was in play and I ended up buying six copies. What I tried to do was load my deck with lower level victory cards. At the end of the game my hand was over saturated with lower victory cards and not a lot of points. I think the card Gardens is a much better victory card...more "bang" for the "buck" as it were...


I do think Gardens is usually a little better than Silk Road (it's especially a better option in heavy Curse games), but they're pretty similar. They work about equally as well in a three-pile rush with Workshop or Ironworks, for instance.
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Dominion Loser
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Generally, the Silk Road isn't a viable strategy to run as it is consistently beat by a standard Big Money/4 Gold deck. In certain circumstances (attack heavy, many buys, Great Halls, Tunnels, etc.) it can be pulled off.
Silk Road is considerably weaker than Gardens in that your only hope is to rush three piles, otherwise the non-Silk player will win by Provinces.
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Tarjei Aasen
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salty53 wrote:
Also, I don't see what's so unimpressive about your cheap cards giving you 42 VP for $45 - that's still a better ratio than Provinces alone.

Ooops, you are of course right. Brain must not have been attached properly (I was sick, that is my defense!). So the VP per money spent isn't bad, it's the number of cards needed that makes this not a great combo.
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Robin Brown
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I played a set last night which had Crossroads, Tunnel, Silkroad, Horse trader and 6 other cards I forget and didn't care about at the time.

Started by buying Crossroads, Tunnels and Horse Traders (often getting Crossroads + Tunnel via the Horse traders) After I had 2 Horse Traders, switched to Silk roads.

I never bought a card worth more than 4 and never bought any money and won handsomely.

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Ron Olivier, Sr.
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Especially since getting Hinterlands, I've been using a lot of strategies that utilize the variety of Victory cards when they're available. I've used the same 'Silk Road' strategy that you mention and won handily. 'Tunnel' is one of my favorite cards under the right circumstances, and 'Fairgrounds' is always a lot of fun to try and maximize points with,
I find that two things work in my favor when stocking up on these lower cost VP cards. First, my goal is to try and empty 3 piles IF that will be faster than depleting the Province pile (a pretty big 'IF')! Second, I try to do it quickly to minimize the reaction time of the other players. This means having cards like Workshop, Ironworks, Border Village, Horn of Plenty et al in my deck as well as extra buys, if available.
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Dennison Milenkaya
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Workshop, Ironworks, Horn of Plenty each gain cards while in your deck. Border Village doesn't.
 
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Jeff Wolfe
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FlatOnHisFace wrote:
Workshop, Ironworks, Horn of Plenty each gain cards while in your deck. Border Village doesn't.

Once they're in your deck they don't gain you cards directly, but the process of putting them in your deck means you're draining two piles at once.
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Dennison Milenkaya
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No doubt. But he said "This means having cards like ... Border Village ... in my deck" which doesn't help at that point.
 
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Jeff Wolfe
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FlatOnHisFace wrote:
No doubt. But he said "This means having cards like ... Border Village ... in my deck" which doesn't help at that point.

But the "this" he's referring to is the goal of depleting three piles. When I have a goal of depleting three piles, it often means I have Border Villages in my deck, at least when they're available. I'm not playing them to deplete three piles, but that's not what he said.
 
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