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Subject: Trainwreck of a Gaming Session rss

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Matt Sommer
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I purchased the Dominion base set a while back, but never brought it to the table-- I had played a few video versions, and the rules didn't seem to thrill me. Finally introduced it to two coworkers, though, and both of them really took to it. So much so that I bought Intrigue as well. We haven't played more than half a dozen times, and tonight was the first time we did a random draw mixing both boxes.

Holy s#!+, does THE SABOTEUR suck.

We went into it blind, and initially thought it would be an interesting card... I know I'm not saying anything that a million others haven't mentioned before, but yeesh. No way to gain any momentum, people buying out the Secret Chamber and Saboteur piles instantly in some sort of Cold War-style Mexican stand-off. Just insanity. This was the first time we ever ended the game by depleting three deck piles, and the "winner" only had two Province cards in his hand.

Oh, and THRONE ROOM was also in play. Did a double SABOTEUR on the leader, but didn't touch either of his Provinces. Alas.

Last time we ever use THE SABOTEUR, I think.

(I've had proplems twice trying to post this thread. I am not asking for GG, and am not asking for it to be reviewed... I apologize if this is being moderated more than once.)
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Willie Illie
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Sounds like groupthink got you, like it does many groups when they first encounter Saboteur. It's usually safe to ignore when there aren't deck thinners (trashers) or the potential for massive action chains. Posting the other kingdom cards in play would help us advise you...
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Mark Englehart
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You might want to leave out Swindler as well, at least until your group gets the bad taste of Saboteur out of its mouth.

I have friends who absolutely refuse to play with Saboteur and others who recognize it can be as annoying to the person playing it as to the other players. YMMV.

Now that you have had your first game end on three decks, welcome to the world of variety that is Dominion! You will experience games that are blitzes for Provinces and drawn-out Curse-slugfests that are won by the person with the fewest negative points. Enjoy the differences.
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Matt Sommer
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I can't remember all the other decks we used, aside from Throne Room, Secret Chamber, Pawn, Mining Village, and Shanty Town.

What happened was that the first player to buy a Saboteur card played it on me, and I lost a card. At that point, we started discussing how it was going to be impossible to try and build your deck without living in constant fear of having it taken away. The game took about an hour (for three players), and was the most tedious game we'd ever played up to that point. All of us were so turned off that we said we never wanted to use the card again.

 
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Ryan McLelland
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Our group hated the card at first, but it just gets ignored when in play now. It can be a good late game try to catch up card, but building a strategy around it seldom works at all.
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Mike Young
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I hate Saboteur too. I just keep reminding myself whenever an opponent goes for a Saboteur strategy that every time they play Saboteur, they are passing up the opportunity to play a card that directly helps their deck in some way.
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Matt Sommer
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An interesting thought about more experienced players being able to sort of ignore the Saboteur since it doesn't really help them at all during play. I think we all got it into our heads that we needed them, and needed to play them against the other players as much as possible-- if I can't buy a Province, no one can!

In the end, I guess WOPR was right again. The only way to win is not to play

 
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Mark Judd
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SommerMatt wrote:

In the end, I guess WOPR was right again. The only way to win is not to play


Don't you mean "Joshua"?
 
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Matt Sommer
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Maybe... I haven't seen that movie since the 80s

 
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Jeff Wolfe
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I've never been a fan of Saboteur, but there are ways to play against it that are better than just ignoring it and trying to play the same old strategy you always play*. Pawn is especially good in a Saboteur game because it's immune. Conversely, Silver is weak because it (usually) downgrades to nothing. If you can find a $4 card to build a strategy around, that works well, because you can then downgrade it to Pawn or Estate. On the other side, Gold downgrades to the $4 card you're trying to put in your deck anyway. In an especially Saboteur heavy game, you need to look for the opportunity to rush the 3 pile ending with enough Estates and Duchies to win against players who are failing to get traction on the Provinces. When you're ready to pounce, your Saboteur-happy friends can help you by downgrading your cards into Estates.

*Edit: Also better than joining the Saboteur group think.
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Chris White
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jeffwolfe wrote:
I've never been a fan of Saboteur, but there are ways to play against it that are better than just ignoring it and trying to play the same old strategy you always play*. Pawn is especially good in a Saboteur game because it's immune. Conversely, Silver is weak because it (usually) downgrades to nothing. If you can find a $4 card to build a strategy around, that works well, because you can then downgrade it to Pawn or Estate. On the other side, Gold downgrades to the $4 card you're trying to put in your deck anyway. In an especially Saboteur heavy game, you need to look for the opportunity to rush the 3 pile ending with enough Estates and Duchies to win against players who are failing to get traction on the Provinces. When you're ready to pounce, your Saboteur-happy friends can help you by downgrading your cards into Estates.

*Edit: Also better than joining the Saboteur group think.


Okay, I really disagree with this. Filling your deck with lots of Silver is a very, very good defense against Saboteur, because who cares if you lose just one? If your deck is mostly Silver, then there's enough padding that it's probably not going to lose any of your good cards.

Another good defense against Saboteur: ignoring it. Unless you can build some sort of engine that cycles through your entire deck each turn, all Saboteur is is a really expensive inverse Remodel, and if you buy one then you're mainly just sabotaging your own buy power. I pretty much ignore Saboteur unless King's Court and/or Minion are out, in which case it can get pretty nasty.
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Mark Judd
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traininthedistance wrote:
jeffwolfe wrote:
I've never been a fan of Saboteur, but there are ways to play against it that are better than just ignoring it and trying to play the same old strategy you always play*. Pawn is especially good in a Saboteur game because it's immune. Conversely, Silver is weak because it (usually) downgrades to nothing. If you can find a $4 card to build a strategy around, that works well, because you can then downgrade it to Pawn or Estate. On the other side, Gold downgrades to the $4 card you're trying to put in your deck anyway. In an especially Saboteur heavy game, you need to look for the opportunity to rush the 3 pile ending with enough Estates and Duchies to win against players who are failing to get traction on the Provinces. When you're ready to pounce, your Saboteur-happy friends can help you by downgrading your cards into Estates.

*Edit: Also better than joining the Saboteur group think.


Okay, I really disagree with this. Filling your deck with lots of Silver is a very, very good defense against Saboteur, because who cares if you lose just one? If your deck is mostly Silver, then there's enough padding that it's probably not going to lose any of your good cards.

Another good defense against Saboteur: ignoring it. Unless you can build some sort of engine that cycles through your entire deck each turn, all Saboteur is is a really expensive inverse Remodel, and if you buy one then you're mainly just sabotaging your own buy power. I pretty much ignore Saboteur unless King's Court and/or Minion are out, in which case it can get pretty nasty.

Are you talking about 2-player games only or any game? Your statements agree fairly well with 2-player strategy. However, with 3+ players and at least 2 of your opponents playing Saboteur, you will likely get blown away by ignoring it.

As for the Silver, if you have multiple buys then buying Silver(s) with the extra buys might be a good idea. But if you only have one buy, you probably want to buy the highest thing you can that is still beneficial for your deck. I would much rather buy a Smithy and have that potentially downgraded (possibly replaced by an Estate later in the game) than just settling for a Silver.
 
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Rick Teverbaugh
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Saboteur is fine. The problem is the players.
 
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Matt Sommer
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rickert wrote:
Saboteur is fine. The problem is the players.


sweet. I'll just get some new players, then.

whistle
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Morgan Dontanville
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I threw my Saboteurs in the garbage where they belong.
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Werner Bär
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SommerMatt wrote:
Oh, and THRONE ROOM was also in play. Did a double SABOTEUR on the leader, but didn't touch either of his Provinces. Alas.

SommerMatt wrote:
What happened was that the first player to buy a Saboteur card played it on me, and I lost a card.

You don't play the saboteur on a player. It always attacks each opponent.
 
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Chris White
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Beaveman wrote:
Are you talking about 2-player games only or any game? Your statements agree fairly well with 2-player strategy. However, with 3+ players and at least 2 of your opponents playing Saboteur, you will likely get blown away by ignoring it.

As for the Silver, if you have multiple buys then buying Silver(s) with the extra buys might be a good idea. But if you only have one buy, you probably want to buy the highest thing you can that is still beneficial for your deck. I would much rather buy a Smithy and have that potentially downgraded (possibly replaced by an Estate later in the game) than just settling for a Silver.


My experience is, obviously, mostly confined to 2-player games, though I have played some matches with more than 2 and Saboteur has never dominated those games either. I admit that it's possible for groupthink to take over and then Sab might be nastier... but I have to imagine that if that happens the Sabs will mostly hit other Sabs and drain the stack, with a couple residual ones left not doing *that* much damage. Reasoning by analogy, take a look at Pirate Ship, another card that's pretty bad in 2p but a lot harder to ignore with more players, and which provokes the same sort of groupthink-fueled hatred. I've definitely been in 4p Pirate Ship games where the Pirates lost, so I'd be surprised if that doesn't hold for Sab as well.

And yeah, I'm not going to overpay for a Silver if there's something better just because Sab is out... but, I dunno, I may play a strategy less dependent on one key expensive card and more full of plain old Silver and Gold, just in case. It's sort of like Thief versus Chapel on a board where you can't really chain Actions: I'm not actually going to buy that Thief, but its presence might keep from trashing every last starting card. (Of course, if there's an Action chain to be had and I don't need Treasure in the first place, all bets are off.)
 
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Matt Sommer
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Werbaer wrote:
SommerMatt wrote:
Oh, and THRONE ROOM was also in play. Did a double SABOTEUR on the leader, but didn't touch either of his Provinces. Alas.

SommerMatt wrote:
What happened was that the first player to buy a Saboteur card played it on me, and I lost a card.

You don't play the saboteur on a player. It always attacks each opponent.


Yes, I know. Poor choice of words. Other player had a Secret Chamber card.

 
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Jeff Wolfe
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SommerMatt wrote:
Werbaer wrote:
SommerMatt wrote:
Oh, and THRONE ROOM was also in play. Did a double SABOTEUR on the leader, but didn't touch either of his Provinces. Alas.

SommerMatt wrote:
What happened was that the first player to buy a Saboteur card played it on me, and I lost a card.

You don't play the saboteur on a player. It always attacks each opponent.


Yes, I know. Poor choice of words. Other player had a Secret Chamber card.


Secret Chamber doesn't stop the Attack. It just gives you a limited ability to stack your deck before it happens.
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Matt Sommer
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Well I'll be. We assumed the Secret Chamber would have the same attack stopping affect as Moat, and that's how we played it. blush
 
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Mark Judd
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SommerMatt wrote:
Well I'll be. We assumed the Secret Chamber would have the same attack stopping affect as Moat, and that's how we played it. blush

Common mistake. I had to correct a friend (the one that introduced me to the game) with that same issue. It's usually not a great counter, but you are potentially able to save your best cards (Province/Gold) and sacrifice something cheaper (Silver) with Secret Chamber.
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Dennison Milenkaya
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Saboteurs don't really compare well to a reverse-Remodel. The effect on a card is comparable but the impact on the game is totally different. What really happens is the stronger, higher-priced cards get down-graded so instead of steady improvement leading to a strong finish, you mull through a game of stagnation and weather it out 'til enough piles deplete.

As a point of consideration, Saboteurs aside, you'll notice that the games with mostly ($5 and over) cards available go much faster than those with mostly ($4 and under) cards, even though it looks like it'll be hard to start affording anything worthwhile.

This is, of course, the same for everyone in the game and it doesn't confer any special benefit or penalty in totum, so it isn't by itself a bad thing, but it does make a sometimes fast and exciting game instead slow and irritating. Similar effects are seen in Curse-givers and such that bog down decks but at least you can still execute a strategy around those.

Saboteurs remove (or might remove) most of what you'd build a strategy around so the only real answer is to leave 'em in the box or trudge through such games and while different ways of trying to trudge through such games can be considered in their own rights "strategies," I don't care to play any game where the only point to my playing it is to get to the next game that I'll enjoy more so mine stay in the box.
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Vince Lupo
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Early 3 stack endings are fine.


Saboteur just bugs me though. Only card that bothers me more is Possession (from Alchemy set).


The GREAT thing about dominion though is that you can choose what cards to make available. :)


I like playing fully random games but if certain things show up, I usually ask for those to be pulled.
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