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Subject: VP Cards' Value rss

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Alex Taylor
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EDIT:
This variant equalises the VP cards and moves the focus to the kingdom cards rather than the province card. It also increases the game length to about an hour.

Please feel free to test it out and report back on how you think it plays.

Rule changes:
1. Remove the end game condition where all province cards are gone. Any 3 piles of cards must deplete for the game to end.

2. Change the values on the VP cards to:
Estate - 1g - 1VP
Duchy - 4g - 3VP
Province - 8g - 5VP


ORIG:
Tell me I'm not the only one who thinks that these cards are not priced well at all.

For reference:
Estate - 2g - 1VP
Duchy - 5g - 3VP
Province - 8g - 6VP


Firstly, let me make some things clear.

1. Cheap cards, curses, coppers, and estates all pollute your deck. Having lots of bad cards just stops you from using your good cards more. Hence, in general, the less cards the better.

2. Buying a card uses one of your Buys. Meaning that buying 1 good card essentially costs less then 2 less good cards.

3. Also, currently, the cost of these cards to VP ratio screws favourably towards the province. It is better value for money than the duchy, which in turn is better value than the estate.

This means that estates are practically useless. They pollute your deck, use up a buy and give a terrible cost to VP ratio. The only good thing they do is give you 1 VP if you have a spare buy and 2 spare coin. They are a last resort card by far, and even then the negatives still outweigh this 1VP for the most of the game.

This obviously extends to say that duchies are better, but are in turn much worse than provinces.

Lastly, the rule about ending the game when the province pile is empty does not make any sense. This just adds to the value of province since it gives you more victory points (over your opponents) and brings the game closer to an end (benefiting the person with the most VPs).

To combat this, my friends and I have removed this end condition and changed the costs of worth of the VP cards as follows:

Estate - 1g - 1VP
Duchy - 4g - 3VP
Province - 8g - 5VP
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David desJardins
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Holy cow. Estates are generally a worse way to score points than Duchies, which in turn are worse than Provinces? Why hasn't anyone realized this before??
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DaviddesJ wrote:
Holy cow. Estates are generally a worse way to score points than Duchies, which in turn are worse than Provinces? Why hasn't anyone realized this before??

A new user posts his thoughts about an aspect of a game he finds unbalanced, and even writes up several arguements - and this brain-drain sarcasm is what he gets in return? Impressive community spirit, a good way to make new users feel welcome shake

To OP: I think the reason for the exponential increase in VP value related to cost is that it gets exponentially difficult to get the money to buy them. It is more than twice as difficult to get 8g in a single round compared to 4g, and therefore the reward also increases by more than a doubling.
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Jeff Wolfe
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There are times when it makes sense to buy Estates and Duchies. Correctly identifying those times is key to success at Dominion.

Historical note: In the original Dominion prototype, Province was only worth 5 VP.

edit: typo
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David desJardins
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Gregaria wrote:
To OP: I think the reason for the exponential increase in VP value related to cost is that it gets exponentially difficult to get the money to buy them.


I think the reason is that Provinces are intended to be generally better than Duchies, which are generally better than Estates.

It's true that I have no community spirit.
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Alex Taylor
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Edit: sorry this was posted in reply to the first response.

Maybe you need some comprehension lessons.

I understand that they are supposed to be generally ordered that way, and with my modification, they still are. Just not so much so that Estates are useless! Almost all games I have played, 0 estates were purchased and only 1 or 2 duchies were purchased in the last few rounds when people did not have enough for provinces.

The above modifications won't change the fact that if someone could afford a province then they will buy it over a duchy, (and duchy over estate) just that these cards may actually be used and play a role in the game.
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David desJardins
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Estates always play a role in the game, because you start with three of them in your deck.

I agree it's not uncommon for no Estates to be purchased, and only a few Duchies. But why is that bad?
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thalandor88 wrote:
Edit: sorry this was posted in reply to the first response.

Maybe you need some comprehension lessons.

I understand that they are supposed to be generally ordered that way, and with my modification, they still are. Just not so much so that Estates are useless! Almost all games I have played, 0 estates were purchased and only 1 or 2 duchies were purchased in the last few rounds when people did not have enough for provinces.

The above modifications won't change the fact that if someone could afford a province then they will buy it over a duchy, (and duchy over estate) just that these cards may actually be used and play a role in the game.
You have missed the point that Donald X started with the prices you suggest, and deliberately changed them after lots and lots of playtesting. The overwhelming majority of us respect his judgement.
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Tom
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I like them the way they are. Unless you have a really shitty deck, the difference between having to pay 1 or having to pay 2 is negligible (without second buys). I will usually only buy estates and duchies is I've arrived at the buying-vp-phase of the game, although there have been plenty of games with a big duchy rush. I don't think they are useless, but they are gimmicky, which may be weird for a card that can give you the victory.

Can I ask how the game plays for you? Do people buy more estates and duchies now the prices are down? Or do you find they remain untouched until the end, when people buy them if they don't have enough money for a bigger VP card?

Also why did you remove the end game condition? Now every time you have to play on until three piles are empty? Sounds like a drag, to be honest.

Can I also ask how many times (roughly) you've played the game?
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Paul W
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Estates will rarely be the mainstay of your victory points. Duchies occasionally will be. Nevertheless, both cards are always on my mind, especially as the game begins to near its conclusion.

I purchase at least one estate in about 40% of my games, and at least one duchy about 60% of the time. Recognizing in when games you should grab these cards and when to start grabbing them is an important skill in Dominion. If those decisions were obvious, the game would be less interesting.
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piotr s
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How many times you play?
Have you changed also points given by the curse?
I buy curse only in 0,2% of my games cool
How many turns your game take?

in my games:
-sometimes the province is not purchased
-sometimes the winner is a negative number of points
-It also happens that a player has 8 coins and bought the Duchy
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Steven Metzger
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thalandor88 wrote:
Tell me I'm not the only one who thinks that these cards are not priced well at all.

For reference:
Estate - 2g - 1VP
Duchy - 5g - 3VP
Province - 8g - 6VP


Firstly, let me make some things clear.

1. Cheap cards, curses, coppers, and estates all pollute your deck. Having lots of bad cards just stops you from using your good cards more. Hence, in general, the less cards the better.

2. Buying a card uses one of your Buys. Meaning that buying 1 good card essentially costs less then 2 less good cards.

3. Also, currently, the cost of these cards to VP ratio screws favourably towards the province. It is better value for money than the duchy, which in turn is better value than the estate.

This means that estates are practically useless. They pollute your deck, use up a buy and give a terrible cost to VP ratio. The only good thing they do is give you 1 VP if you have a spare buy and 2 spare coin. They are a last resort card by far, and even then the negatives still outweigh this 1VP for the most of the game.

This obviously extends to say that duchies are better, but are in turn much worse than provinces.

Lastly, the rule about ending the game when the province pile is empty does not make any sense. This just adds to the value of province since it gives you more victory points (over your opponents) and brings the game closer to an end (benefiting the person with the most VPs).

To combat this, my friends and I have removed this end condition and changed the costs of worth of the VP cards as follows:

Estate - 1g - 1VP
Duchy - 4g - 3VP
Province - 8g - 5VP
Instead of using math to make an argument for changing an already popular and well-accepted design, why not just play the game the way it was intended to be played and understand the reasons for it to be the way it is? Even more, why do you have some desire for the duchies and estates to be worth much?

This should be under variants (if not just locked for the flamewar that is sure to commence). Be glad you didn't post this in dominionstrategy's forums.

EDIT: I'm compelled to add more, but I figure that you're unlikely to want to play this game the way it was intended, and will never discover the following wonderful traits:

*The $7 gap (and $10 gap with Plat/Col)
*The Penultimate Province rule
*A 3-pile rush
*How the cost of a card is a trait of the card itself.

...oh well.
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Roberta Yang
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The game was tested with Provinces worth 5VP. Provinces' value were increased because Duchy-rush pretty much always won. The idea of reducing the value of Provinces and the price of Duchies is laughable.
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Grzegorz Kobiela
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thalandor88 wrote:
Lastly, the rule about ending the game when the province pile is empty does not make any sense. This just adds to the value of province since it gives you more victory points (over your opponents) and brings the game closer to an end (benefiting the person with the most VPs).


Harsh statement while providing a completely useless argument. As you have already realised, Provinces are the most valuable cards in the game. Regardless of whether you lower their value to 5VP or not, they still are the most victory points you can get with a single card. Any game strategy, thus, involves creating a deck that is consistently able to get to 8 coins in order to buy Provinces. Hence, when the Provinces run out, better decks, i.e. ones that are able to get to 8 coins faster and more reliably than others, are pretty much on equal level with worse decks. Removing the game end condition of Provinces running out, you punish people for building better decks. Thus, you lower the overall value of good decks, making the game a boring excercise to buy out any other victory point pile that even the worst deck will be able to do.

In other words, you remove any skill needed in this game entirely. Feel free to play a worse game than the rest of the world. For me, THIS does not make any sense.
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David Barrett
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I always thought the whole point about the pricing structure of the victory cards is that they cost/value ratio was ment to improve as they got more expensive, making the higher priced ones a much better investment, but the lower priced ones still reasonable enough to be able to make a difference to the game.

thalandor88 wrote:

Estate - 1g - 1VP
Duchy - 4g - 3VP
Province - 8g - 5VP


The problem with the pricing structure you suggest here is that this is no longer the case, now Duchys have a better cost/value ratio than provinces. In games with this price structure surely you're always going to be looking for the best way to do a duchy rush. One of the main reasons Donald ended up with the prices he did was to stop this being the main tactic.
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Tom
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metzgerism wrote:


*The $7 gap (and $10 gap with Plat/Col)



I hate having only $7
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The Compulsive Completist
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donaldx wrote:
frog213 wrote:
Did you ever consider something like this:

Estate 2vp cost $2 (1)
Duchy 4vp cost $5 (.8)
Prov 6vp cost 8 (.75)

No.

Estate and Duchy are unchanged from the very first versions (I guess technically the first versions had no names). Province was originally worth 5 VP.

The idea originally was that you could pursue strategies of different speeds. It didn't work out as envisioned. The game has to last long enough to let you build your deck and have fun. If Duchy is good enough to "go for" (without a special board situation), it's too good. You don't get to build your fun deck.

With the 1 / 3 / 5 values and previous end condition (any empty vp pile; before that it was any empty pile, with 12-card actions piles, but only looking at vp piles let the action piles go down to 10 cards), the Duchy rush was too good, provided you got someone to go in on it with you. So I changed the end condition and upped Province to 6 VP.

If it had been necessary to really cut back on the number of cards in the game, then Estates could have gone. You would have starting Estates but no Estate pile. With room for it, it seems more natural to have it, even though it's such a weak card. Duchies though have value; they create the decision point of "is it time to buy Duchies," and they give you something to fall back on in oppressive games, where Province may be too hard to get to.

In order to have multiple vanilla VP cards without making rushes too good or the cards weak, you have to make them expensive, i.e. Province / Colony.
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Alex Taylor
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I can understand how you might think the cost of VPs being changed as I suggested would bring back the duchy rush but my intentions were not to change the value without also removing the province end condition.

The main problem is that moving to only province as the only VP card that when depleted brings about the end of the game does not fix the duchy rush problem, merely moves it to provinces. The game is played with little to no use of estates and duchies, but more importantly it continues to be a game were you ignore most of the action cards, opting mainly for silver/gold and provinces.

To me this moves the focus away from the hundreds of action cards, where all games are different and interesting, to a simple game of treasure/provinces regardless of what action cards are on the table. This is obviously not always true, but 9 times out of 10 this is the winning strategy.

By removing this end game condition we have found that games last longer, up to 1.5hours. It also moves the focus to the action cards, providing unique experiences every game.

TLR Dominion should be about the different action cards, not just a treasure/province rush.

 
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Alex Taylor
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Hockey Mask wrote:
donaldx wrote:
frog213 wrote:
Did you ever consider something like this:

Estate 2vp cost $2 (1)
Duchy 4vp cost $5 (.8)
Prov 6vp cost 8 (.75)

No.

Estate and Duchy are unchanged from the very first versions (I guess technically the first versions had no names). Province was originally worth 5 VP.

The idea originally was that you could pursue strategies of different speeds. It didn't work out as envisioned. The game has to last long enough to let you build your deck and have fun. If Duchy is good enough to "go for" (without a special board situation), it's too good. You don't get to build your fun deck.

With the 1 / 3 / 5 values and previous end condition (any empty vp pile; before that it was any empty pile, with 12-card actions piles, but only looking at vp piles let the action piles go down to 10 cards), the Duchy rush was too good, provided you got someone to go in on it with you. So I changed the end condition and upped Province to 6 VP.

If it had been necessary to really cut back on the number of cards in the game, then Estates could have gone. You would have starting Estates but no Estate pile. With room for it, it seems more natural to have it, even though it's such a weak card. Duchies though have value; they create the decision point of "is it time to buy Duchies," and they give you something to fall back on in oppressive games, where Province may be too hard to get to.

In order to have multiple vanilla VP cards without making rushes too good or the cards weak, you have to make them expensive, i.e. Province / Colony.


Thank you very much for this. I guess it is obvious that estates are worthless, and I agree that duchies have their place, but the major problem is not the costs/VPs, but the end condition. It moves most of the focus to the province card, not the action cards, which I hope you would agree with me is the heart of Dominion.
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The Compulsive Completist
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thalandor88 wrote:
By removing this end game condition we have found that games last longer, up to 1.5hours. It also moves the focus to the action cards, providing unique experiences every game.

It will take 30 million years to play each possible combination of Kingdom set ups. By extending the game length you're now talking 70-90 million years. I just don't have that much time.
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Roberta Yang
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thalandor88 wrote:
but more importantly it continues to be a game were you ignore most of the action cards, opting mainly for silver/gold and provinces.

To me this moves the focus away from the hundreds of action cards, where all games are different and interesting, to a simple game of treasure/provinces regardless of what action cards are on the table. This is obviously not always true, but 9 times out of 10 this is the winning strategy.


And now this thread has officially degenerated into yet another "Dominion is broken, Big Money always wins!" thread. As if we didn't have enough of those.

EDIT: Actually, no, it's a "Big Money always wins!" thread that also inexplicably insists that Dominion would be an inherently better game if it were five times longer.
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David Barrett
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I'm not sure I understand why making duchies and estates more appealing causes action cards to become a bigger part of the game.

Provinces are the target of the game, pricing them at 8 makes them significantly more difficult to get than the other cards, but the value of 6 VPs makes them a target worth attaning, hence you need a strategy to do so.

Yes, simply buying money can achieve this, however as many others here will point out, it's by no means the quickest and most effective way to do so. Buying one or two action cards can make a big difference to how quickly you can start buying provinces, building a full engine of action cards may not get there as quickly, but when it starts buying two, three or more provinces a turn it quickly out performs only buying money.

The cards really don't need 'fixing', they were play-tested for years before the game came out, and since then have been played...well, a huge amount by a large number of people.

If you find that when you play using the proper rules all you and your friends are doing is buying money and victory cards, then take a look at http://dominionstrategy.com/big-money/ (And then the rest of http://dominionstrategy.com/, it's a great site).
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Andrew Lieffring
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thalandor88 wrote:

Thank you very much for this. I guess it is obvious that estates are worthless, and I agree that duchies have their place, but the major problem is not the costs/VPs, but the end condition. It moves most of the focus to the province card, not the action cards, which I hope you would agree with me is the heart of Dominion.


I guess you could keep playing once the Provinces are gone, but I can't imagine why. There are hardly any points left to grab, and the few that are there are easy enough to get (and you propose making them easier!) that nobody is going to overcome a significant lead, and a close game is going to stay close.
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Chris Schumann
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Duchies and Estates can win you the game with kingdom victory cards. Silk Road is a fine example. Add in Gardens, and even coppers and curses help toward a win. Although I'm still pretty new to Dominion, I *really* like the kingdom victory cards.
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Tom
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1.5 hour per game, every game? Each to their own, I guess...
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