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Subject: Need Advice on Analysing Sets + Example Set rss

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Owen Compton
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So I've only recently got into Dominion and I'm mostly playing 3-player ganes with my family with the intention of getting on Isotropic once I've got some experience with it.

I'm struggling to know where to start with analysing sets and determining a game strategy, (I've jumped in at the deep end with all the expansions). Obviously this kind of thing comes with experience and I'm sure there are other threads on this but below I'm linking to an example set and would like to see what experienced players would be thinking if they were to see it.

http://www.dominiondeck.com/games/example-set-analysis

Thanks very much for everyone's help btw!
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Dion Baxter
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I'm no expert but I'd personally grab as many Caravans as possible at the start.


Edit: I'll play this game against my boys and against the PC and see what happens. Thanks for the interesting setup thumbsup
 
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The Compulsive Completist
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I know this isn't what you're looking for but...

I would recommend that you and your group experience Dominion together as a group and figure out your own strategies. There is something about that feeling when your deck engine starts clicking when all you had to go on was a hunch.

I know myself and my group are behind the curve in quality strategies (considering the number of plays) because I have avoided on-line help. I have also avoided Isotropic because I don't want to have so much experience that everyone else is just playing catch-up.

Take your time with the strategy help. you can't ever put that toothpaste back in the tube.
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Jeff Wolfe
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There are too many Kingdom cards out there to be giving specific advice, but here are a couple of general thoughts on strategy.

Beginning players don't buy enough Treasure. Intermediate players buy too much Treasure.

Every time you have a card in your hand that doesn't do anything, that's a wasted opportunity. Every time you have too many Action cards, that's a waste. Every time you have extra Actions with no cards to play, that's a waste. Every time you have too much Treasure, that's a waste. Obviously, waste is unavoidable, and sometimes it's desirable to have, such as when you're adding (useless during the game) Victory cards to your deck for the end game. But the more you can minimize waste while executing your strategy, (generally) the better off you are.

Edit: I see now that you linked to a specific set of 10. But even with that setup, I see at least 4 main strategies you could build a deck around. You could go big deck with Gardens (and Farming Village to support), or small deck with Bishop or Forge, you could Curse with Familiar, or you could go Goons (with plenty of Village support). A lot of it depends on what cards you get in your initial few draws, and what strategies your opponents pursue.
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Owen Compton
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PinkyMan wrote:
I'm no expert but I'd personally grab as many Caravans as possible at the start.


Edit: I'll play this game against my boys and against the PC and see what happens. Thanks for the interesting setup thumbsup


I actually drew the set up completely at random after shuffling the whole lot! So no credit for me for thinking it up Let me know how it goes though

Hockey Mask wrote:
I know this isn't what you're looking for but...

I would recommend that you and your group experience Dominion together as a group and figure out your own strategies. There is something about that feeling when your deck engine starts clicking when all you had to go on was a hunch.

I know myself and my group are behind the curve in quality strategies (considering the number of plays) because I have avoided on-line help. I have also avoided Isotropic because I don't want to have so much experience that everyone else is just playing catch-up.

Take your time with the strategy help. you can't ever put that toothpaste back in the tube.


Yeh I get where you're coming from and normally I do like to work out strategies on my own but my family have been playing it for a bit so I was just looking for a small boost in the form of some tips - the set here was just as an example to start discussion
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Hi Owen, welcome to my favorite game

I hope this is what you're looking for, here's my thought process when looking at this set:

I see quite a few strong cards here and importantly, quite a few "non-terminal" cards (ones which do something as well as giving you +1 Card/+1 or more Actions, so they're replacing themselves and letting you do more on your turn).

Familiar can be a strong card, but how strong it is is going to greatly depend on how many people go into Bishop. If you can trash 1-2 cards from your hand per turn, Familiar is really not going to hurt you much.

City is either incredibly overpowered or incredibly underpowered, it depends on how the rest goes. If you see people going familiar, you know the Curses are going to run out fast, so City is going to be +2 Cards/+2 Actions pretty fast, and then I assume people will snatch those up so they get +$1/+1 Buy as well, which is huge. If people aren't going familiar, then if you go with Cities, you're probably going to get bogged down elsewhere and not be able to buy them out quickly enough to be a big benefit.

Goons is really a game-changer here. If you can get 1-2 Goons earlier than the rest and supplement them with Cities/Farming Villages (non-terminal cards which let you play additional actions, hopefully leading to turns of playing 2+ Goons in a turn and getting TONS of VP Chips, while keeping the other players from doing much at all on their turns since they start with only 3 cards). That's especially strong if you see others going Bishop, since then they don't have as much in their hands to trash and you can use their Bishops to trash Coppers, which you can safely purchase with Goons for even more VP Chips!

That said, Minion is a bit of a curve-ball to all this. The hand-discarding is going to kill a lot of big Goons or Bishop turns and has the potential to run out the Provinces before any longer strategies can be set up. If you can buy out most of those, you can probably counter most anything else here. And with Feast there, you can get to Minions very quickly.

Caravan and Forge are probably red herrings in this set. If you managed to set up a City engine, Forge could be big (since you can draw a lot and have a lot of options on how to trash), but that's probably too long-term to really work. Caravan can be a very strong 4, but passing on a Feast (which then turns to a Minion) early is probably a bad idea and then later, Farming Village to not just draw a card, but help cycle past all the greens clogging up your deck and get a (hopefully) usable card is probably a better benefit.


So there you go. I'd most likely go Minion and if others aren't Bishop'ing, throw in a Bishop or MAYBE a Forge to trash away some of the garbage in my deck. But there's a lot of very strong cards here and with so many attacks (and no defense), there's a lot of ways this could play out.
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David Murray
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Its difficult to say what I do when I look at a set, but here are the kind of questions I'm asking myself:

1. What powerful "build your deck around me cards" are there?
If Gardens or Silk Road is on the board, I look to see if there are the right cards to make such a strategy viable such as workshop or ironworks.
In this particular setup, there's no way to bloat your deck quikly so gardens is not a strategy I'd choose.

2. Is Chapel in the game?
I'm not saying this card is overpowered, but in a setup where Gardens/Silk road isn't viable buying chapel early (turn 1/2) is likely going to be part of my strategy.
In this particular setup, chapel isn't present.

3. Is there a +2 Action card?
This tells me how many action cards I can realistically buy, if there is no provider of multiple actions I'll limit myself to 2 or 3 terminal actions (actions which don't giver any actions).
Here Farming Village is available.

4. What attacks are there?
When deciding my strategy it's important to consider the attack cards. Many attacks are powerful enough to make your strategy (Mountebank, Witch, Familiar, etc), but if their not your strategy then make sure your deck can stand up to them and has some counter.
Here, Familiar, Goons and Minions are the attacks. Normally Familiar is very strong, but here Bishop counters it effectively. Multiple Goons can gain a lot of VPs and there is Farming Village here, but without card draw (Smithy like cards) it may be hard to get several in the same turn, in addition Minion kinda counters Goons, also note that goons attack will hurt a Bishop based strategy that works well against Familiar. Minions attack isn't too harming, but it's worth considering Minions as a strategy.

5. Is card draw available and is draw engine a good strategy?
If an action card, a draw card and a buy card are available then draw engine may be a good strategy. Even with just a draw card it may be worth considering it as a strategy (eg Smithy/Money).
Here, there are no real draw cards except caravan so draw engine is a no go.

6. Think of some strategies
Come up with some possible plans that might work based on the above, try and think of at least 2 viable strategies.
Quote:
“When you see a good move, look for a better one” (Emanuel Lasker)

In this set up I propose the following two strategies:

Minion/Bishop:
3: Silver
4: One Bishop, then Feast if none in deck, otherwise Caravan.
The feasts will be turned into Minions but I don't want more than one in my deck at a time.
5: Minion
6 or 7: Gold (consider Minion instead if people are playing goons)
8: Province
The basic idea is to lay minions for +2 coin until there's only one minion left in your hand then lay that to draw a new hand or get +2 coins (depending on how good your hand is), all minions give +1 action so I decided to have Bishop as a terminal action to trash bad cards and to get VPs. If familiar is brought I'd probably buy a second bishop to counter.

Multiple Goons:
3: Silver
4: Caravan/Farming Village
5: Caravan/Farming Village
6: Goons
8: Province
This strategy tries to lay several goons in a single turn, buy a few farming villages once you have more than one goons, but mainly buy caravans.

7. Who I'm I playing against?
Always consider what your opponents are likely to do.
If I'm playing someone who often goes for attacks, I'd go for the more attack resilient Minion/Bishop Strategy.
However, if my opponent is likely to go for Bishop deck thinning then I'd try and get Multiple Goons using the fact he's playing bishops to my advantage to thin my deck.

8. The final decision
Make your mind up. I think I'd go for Minion/Bishop in most situations.

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Dave Goldthorpe
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Unfortunately the set you posted up is very reactive based on what the other players do. In that sense it is a very interesting set, too interesting for quick advice on the message board. There's no reasonable expectation of what size decks will be, how big your hands will be, or how fast piles will deplete.
 
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Jeff Wolfe
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david707 wrote:
In this particular setup, there's no way to bloat your deck quikly so gardens is not a strategy I'd choose.

I wouldn't necessarily rule out Gardens. Goons rewards bloat and helps promote it, and if your opponents are going for Familiar, they'll bloat your deck for you (albeit with Curses). If somebody is going for a City strategy, you might be able to get some buys out of City, too. Plus, a Gardens deck is a defense against Goons, since you will usually have crap cards to discard to it. And Farming Village shines in a crap-heavy deck like a Gardens deck.

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Mark Judd
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jeffwolfe wrote:
...
Beginning players don't buy enough Treasure. Intermediate players buy too much Treasure.

Every time you have a card in your hand that doesn't do anything, that's a wasted opportunity. Every time you have too many Action cards, that's a waste. Every time you have extra Actions with no cards to play, that's a waste. Every time you have too much Treasure, that's a waste. Obviously, waste is unavoidable, and sometimes it's desirable to have, such as when you're adding (useless during the game) Victory cards to your deck for the end game. But the more you can minimize waste while executing your strategy, (generally) the better off you are.
...

These are great tips.

One thing Jeff didn't mention - every time you can draw cards and there are no cards left in your deck/discard pile (because they are all in your hand or in play), that's a waste. OK, that one's a stretch but true in many cases. If you've got to the point that you are constantly drawing your entire deck and are left with cards that would allow you to draw more, chances are you've passed up on opportunities to boost your buying power. It can be a challenge to determine an ideal balance of card-drawing/chaining actions and money-providing treasures and/or actions.
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Beaveman wrote:
One thing Jeff didn't mention - every time you can draw cards and there are no cards left in your deck/discard pile (because they are all in your hand or in play), that's a waste. OK, that one's a stretch but true in many cases. If you've got to the point that you are constantly drawing your entire deck and are left with cards that would allow you to draw more, chances are you've passed up on opportunities to boost your buying power. It can be a challenge to determine an ideal balance of card-drawing/chaining actions and money-providing treasures and/or actions.


That's not necessarily true, early-game. Lets say you start off Lab/Chapel, for instance, and by turn 7, you're down to some Gold/Silver, a couple of Labs, and a Chapel. You may very well be in a spot where you can draw your whole deck every turn for a couple of turns, but that just means that 1-3 turns after that, when you've used all the treasure in your deck to expand from there, that will stop. You're getting that extra drawing set up for a few turns later when you're going to start bloating with greens, so you can keep drawing enough to buy.

But yes, late-game, if you're drawing your whole deck and still have a ton of drawing power left over, you've overdone it.
 
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Dennison Milenkaya
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Some of the best decks draw completely and still have draw power remaining. What it needs is an Action phase gain, like Remodel, so that you can put some specific card in your discard pile and immediately draw and use it.
 
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Rob Kubiniec
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Look for 2 or 3 kingdom cards that either work well together or are likely to give you buying power early. This setup could be anywhere from 10 turns per player to 30 or 40, depending on what strategies get used. Bishop is a good early buy because it dumps your estates instantly and replaces them with equivalent VP. It also counters Familiar, which is great because a player that likes attacks will be drawn to that card. Attacks are also good buys usually. Goons and Familiar are some solid ones, but Familiar wont work against Bishop decks, and Goons requires a solid deck before you can even afford them, so if you use them, they probably shouldnt be your whole strategy. Gardens is hard to use here, and should probably be skipped. If the game runs long though, buy up a bunch before someone else does. The key to this set of kingdom cards is controlling the end of the game. If you can predict when the game will end based on your and your opponent's strategies, try to build a strategy that reaches peak efficiency before then, even if it can get weaker in long games (thats where the gardens come in). The more you focus on treasure and VP, the faster the game goes. If you and your opponent are playing around with attacks and citys, the game wont be ending any time soon.
 
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I think 10 turns per player is a bit too long-term to expect for most setups. I find that other than some very strange circumstances (such as people going crazy with VP tokens, which don't end the game or people going very heavy on attacks which don't actually help them much, but slow everyone else down), 15 turns is about average, regardless of the number of players.

If you have an overpowered card or 2 (such as Governor or Tunnel with the right combo card), it can be a bit shorter and if there's Colonies involved, it can be a bit longer.
 
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