Recommend
2 
 Thumb up
 Hide
20 Posts

Dominion» Forums » Strategy

Subject: How Much Treasure do you Keep in Your Deck? rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Roger Horner
Canada
Ottawa
Ontario
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
My wife an I are fairly new to Dominion. One of the things we find is sometimes we end up with not enough treasure in our decks, resulting in too many actions and not enough treasure in our hands. OTOH, if you have too much treasure in you deck, it gets wasted as you have more coins than you can use without enough actions to give you multiple buys or other nice benefits.

I am curious what people recommend as being a good metric for how much treasure you should have in your deck?

I know you should be trimming your deck to remove the low valued cards to make room for higher valued ones, but still there is still a good balance between treasure and actions (and Victory points near the end).

Thanks.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
James Adrian
Canada
Edmonton
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmb
It depends entirely on what kingdom cards are available.

For instance, if Thief is around, you might be less interested in having Gold and more interested in buying cards like Festival (which has +2 coins that are safe from the Thief).

I usually buy too many action cards, as well. It's a tricky balance and is a crux of the game (of every setup - in fact).
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Paul W
United States
Eugene
Oregon
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmb
As stated above, it's highly dependent on the particular board. Very broadly speaking, strategies can be broken down into two categories: "Big money" decks and "engine" decks. In "Big Money" strategies, the player is buying primarily treasure supported by a small number of action cards. The goal is to play a single action card each turn, combining with the money to build up to the point where you can regularly buy provinces. "Big money" decks often have little desire to thin out the starting cards from their deck.

Engines, on the other hand, rely on using combinations of action cards to achieve their goal. Engine decks often start buying victory cards later than big money decks...frequently trying to reach the point where they can buy 2 (or even more) provinces per turn, then quickly finishing out the game. Engine decks generally want to trash most or all of the starting cards if possible, and may have little or no treasure, relying instead on money for action cards (like market or festival). Although not always the case, it is not uncommon for an engine deck to draw and play all of its cards each turn once it gets going.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ron Olivier, Sr.
United States
North Smithfield
Rhode Island
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Yes, there is a wide variety of acceptable answers to this question. I've played games where I've had very little treasure, and other games where treasure has made up a majority of my deck. A lot of it depends on the 'virtual money' (The +$1 to +$3 on action cards) is available.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Blorb Plorbst
United States
Bloomington
Indiana
flag msg tools
badge
I think we're all bozos on this bus.
Avatar
mbmbmb
Try playing a game where you buy no action cards only money and provinces.

Then add action cards from there until you find the right balance.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
United States
SoCal
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
roger1818 wrote:
My wife an I are fairly new to Dominion. One of the things we find is sometimes we end up with not enough treasure in our decks, resulting in too many actions and not enough treasure in our hands. OTOH, if you have too much treasure in you deck, it gets wasted as you have more coins than you can use without enough actions to give you multiple buys or other nice benefits.

I am curious what people recommend as being a good metric for how much treasure you should have in your deck?

I know you should be trimming your deck to remove the low valued cards to make room for higher valued ones, but still there is still a good balance between treasure and actions (and Victory points near the end).

Thanks.
From what I've been told with action cards, a roughly 3:2 ratio of villages (or their equivalent of "Branches" or +2 or more actions) and terminals

For Treasures, the basic deal is $1.6 per card in a 5-card hand to get a Province. However, you'll hit Copper or Victory cards, so $2 or higher is certainly the way to go. I've seen some exp. players trash some Silver since that may dilute the deck, but from what I've seen, esp. with just the base game, the game usually ends before that. I suppose you could do some math and realize that if you have x # of Provinces/dead cards, you should get y # of coins produced per average (I haven't... I also go by "feeling", which doesn't always work, but it's more fun in many more too)

If you're on a setup where there are no extra buys nor any other ways to gain/buy more than one card per turn, then you'll just have to suck it up and overpay for a Province. Better to get 9/6 then to 7/7, as you're able to get a Province with the former set of consequetive turns.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Roger Horner
Canada
Ottawa
Ontario
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
fizzmore wrote:
"Big money" decks often have little desire to thin out the starting cards from their deck.


Interesting. I would have thought even with a "Big money" deck, you would still want to filter out your Coppers and Estates (and other low valued cards), to make room for bigger money in your hand, since it is harder to buy Provinces with Copper.

Quote:
Engine decks generally want to trash most or all of the starting cards if possible, and may have little or no treasure, relying instead on money for action cards (like market or festival).


Also interesting. I had assumed (incorrectly?) that even with an Engine deck you would still want a reasonable amount of treasure in your deck, since you can play as many treasure cards as you have in your hand, but actions are limited by the number of +Actions cards you have. I guess I am not keeping my deck lean and mean enough.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
James Adrian
Canada
Edmonton
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmb
roger1818 wrote:
fizzmore wrote:
"Big money" decks often have little desire to thin out the starting cards from their deck.


Interesting. I would have thought even with a "Big money" deck, you would still want to filter out your Coppers and Estates (and other low valued cards), to make room for bigger money in your hand, since it is harder to buy Provinces with Copper.

Quote:
Engine decks generally want to trash most or all of the starting cards if possible, and may have little or no treasure, relying instead on money for action cards (like market or festival).


Also interesting. I had assumed (incorrectly?) that even with an Engine deck you would still want a reasonable amount of treasure in your deck, since you can play as many treasure cards as you have in your hand, but actions are limited by the number of +Actions cards you have. I guess I am not keeping my deck lean and mean enough.


Part of the fun of Dominion is seeing what you can do with the set available.
If Chapel is available, it's easy and often helpful to clear out a lot of stuff. If Remodel is available, it will take you too long to be helpful in the same way.
You can build any kind of engine that you like; whether it is a winning engine or not often depends on what the other players are doing.

When you deal out a new game, look at the 10 cards and think of what is possible: if you see Laboratory, you might think, "What would happen if I had only laboratories in my deck as action cards?" Laboratories and Markets? Villages and Smithies? 1 of everything? (That's usually a bad idea.) Maybe the attack isn't damaging enough to even buy a Moat.
Hey, Gardens. How can I make gardens worth more than Provinces? Buy a ton of Copper using my extra buys from Woodcutter, of course!

Just some ideas!
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Stuart L
Australia
flag msg tools
mbmbmb
Depends on what's in the kingdom. For example, with Chapel, Adventurer, and no Thief, I like to trash the Coppers and Estates every chance I get, buying up golds when I can afford them, silvers when I can't. Then, eventually, trash down to two gold, one silver (or three gold), and buy an Adventurer. If I get Adventurer with one money card, that's a guaranteed Province. With two money cards, it's a guaranteed Province and full deck cycle. If I get Adventurer on its own, it's either a Duchy, or a Gold or Adventurer (more likely Adventurer, depends on how I'm feeling.) I can usually get to this point inside no more than 3-4 deck cycles (especially if I'm very aggressive about trashing as much as possible when the Chapel comes into hand, even if it means not buying a Gold that turn - as long as I don't lose so much treasure I can't buy a Gold with what I do have.)

Against the AI players on my iPad, that strategy will win most of the time - not sure how it'd fare against good human opponents.

Otherwise, it really is a judgement call. Too little treasure, and you'll get clogged by all the green. Too much, and you'll be wasting money (but that's a better problem to have than too little.) Experience will help in judging this.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Paul W
United States
Eugene
Oregon
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmb
Quote:
Interesting. I would have thought even with a "Big money" deck, you would still want to filter out your Coppers and Estates (and other low valued cards), to make room for bigger money in your hand, since it is harder to buy Provinces with Copper.


In theory, it still is helpful to clear out those low-value cards. In practice, what thinning you deck does is slow down your early start (since you're spending turns trashing instead of buying things) in order to accelerate your game later. With a big money deck, however, you're usually topping out at $8/a single card a turn, so there isn't as much payoff to slowing down your early game.

Some engine decks want money, but the drawback of using more money is that it thins out your actions, so it's harder to hit combos. As far as concerns about +actions...you generally want your engines to use lots of cards with +action. Cards without +action (generally referred to as "terminal actions") can certainly clog your hand and should be used lightly in an engine deck...you want a hand of dead terminal actions you can't play.

Engines can roughly be subdivided into two categories: "cantrip-based" and "village-based". Cantrip is a turn borrowed from Magic, and in Dominion refers to a card which includes "+1 Card, +1 Action". As a result, Cantrips replace themselves and don't eat up an action...so as long as you have only cantrips as actions, you can add as many as you want to your deck without worrying about having the action to play them. Cantrip engine decks will often have 0-2 terminal action cards in the whole deck, and tend to avoid terminal +cards, since those will tend to cause you draw cantrips dead. Village-based engine decks tend to have more terminal actions, relying on villages (cards which provide +2 actions) to provide extra actions. Village-based engines also tend to use more +cards, and are more permissive of adding treasure.

5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jonathan Morton
Sweden
Vällingby
Stockholm
flag msg tools
Avatar
Perhaps it should be noted that the base Dominion game is generally more weighted towards Big Money than the expansions. The expansions open up a multitude of interesting Engine possibilities, and also make the 3-pile ending more common.

fizzmore wrote:
Very broadly speaking, strategies can be broken down into two categories: "Big money" decks and "engine" decks.


A fun exception is the money engine you can build with a pile of Ventures (from Prosperity).
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Smilin' Stan
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
CrankyPants wrote:
Try playing a game where you buy no action cards only money and provinces.

Then add action cards from there until you find the right balance.


+1 to this.

This strategy will win against many beginner decks which buy too many actions. It's a great benchmark - if your strategy loses to this it's not really much of a strategy.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Todd Woodward
United States
Bowling Green
Ohio
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I have to agree that once you get into the expansions most conventional strategies go out the window. That's the beauty of this game; you could never develop a strategy for every card combination.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dr. snowMan
Canada
Kitchener
Ontario
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
18
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Roger Horner
Canada
Ottawa
Ontario
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Thank you everyone for the excellent information! Now I just have to digest all of this and figure out how to use it.

CrankyPants wrote:
Try playing a game where you buy no action cards only money and provinces.

Then add action cards from there until you find the right balance.


I will try this sometime, though the temptation to buy Actions may make it difficult.

sirjeyhmis wrote:
1 of everything? (That's usually a bad idea.)


I must confess that has usually been my strategy. I can see the folly in that. While variety may be the spice of life, a jack of all trades is master of none.

Jonny5 wrote:
Perhaps it should be noted that the base Dominion game is generally more weighted towards Big Money than the expansions. The expansions open up a multitude of interesting Engine possibilities, and also make the 3-pile ending more common.


Nice to know. We have the Big Box + Seaside and all the promo cards and have borrowed my SIL's copy of Intrigue, but so far have only introduced cards from Seaside and Intrigue to the base game so far (we are gradually introducing new cards/rules and getting familiar with them before introducing more).
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dr. snowMan
Canada
Kitchener
Ontario
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
roger1818 wrote:
a jack of all trades is master of none.


Funny you say that, there's a Hinterlands card called Jack of All Trades that is quite powerful on it's own. Just buying 2 and money is a good way to win.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Matt E
United States
Minnesota
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
DsnowMan wrote:
Funny you say that, there's a Hinterlands card called Jack of All Trades that is quite powerful on it's own. Just buying 2 and money is a good way to win against poor strategies.

Fixed that for you.

Roger, it's not necessary for you to play games with just Treasure and Victory cards and work from there. I'd instead recommend starting from where you are and tempering your Action buys a bit. Don't buy one of everything and remember to buy some Silver, especially near the beginning of the game. A good rule of thumb is that if your first two hands are $3 and $4, make one of those two buys a Silver. The fewer cards that give extra actions, the more Treasure your deck will need.

Good luck!
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Roger Horner
Canada
Ottawa
Ontario
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Thank you again everyone for your advice. I played a couple games with my wife over the weekend and creamed her both times (I am going to have to share some strategies if she is going to play with me again ).

The two games were quite different. The first one we played "Reach for Tomorrow" from Seaside (Adventurer, Cellar, Council Room, Spy, Village, Cutpurse, Ghost Ship, Lookout, Sea Hag, Treasure Map). For that scenario I played a Big Money, with a few Actions (Cellar, Council Room, Cutpurse and Lookout). My opening hands were a 5/2 split, so I didn't end up buying a silver to start (probably a mistake). By the middle of the game I was buying Provinces and my wife couldn't even afford Gold. By the end we split the Duchies and I had 7/8 Provinces. She had 3 Estates and I had 1 plus a couple Curses.

The second game was "Repetition" also from Seaside (Chancellor, Festival, Militia, Workshop, Caravan, Explorer, Outpost, Pearl Diver, Pirate Ship, Treasury). My wife bought a Pirate Ship in her first turn, so I decided to build an Engine this time and avoid Treasure as much as possible. I focused on Treasury and Festival, but also bought a Chancellor, Militia, Pearl Diver and a later a Caravan and bought a few Gold. She soon gave up playing her Pirate Ship as she realized it was unlikely I would turn over a Treasure. I often had more than 10 coins to spend in a turn and usually had more than one buy to use them (though once I had 13 coins but only 1 buy). Not sure of the exact cards at the end, but the score was something like 54-24.

Thank you again!
3 
 Thumb up
0.01
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
James Adrian
Canada
Edmonton
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmb
Well done! I caution you though: you may lose the 'other' game if your not careful!

Sincerely,
A husband.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
United States
SoCal
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
roger1818 wrote:
Thank you again everyone for your advice. I played a couple games with my wife over the weekend and creamed her both times (I am going to have to share some strategies if she is going to play with me again ).

The two games were quite different. The first one we played "Reach for Tomorrow" from Seaside (Adventurer, Cellar, Council Room, Spy, Village, Cutpurse, Ghost Ship, Lookout, Sea Hag, Treasure Map). For that scenario I played a Big Money, with a few Actions (Cellar, Council Room, Cutpurse and Lookout). My opening hands were a 5/2 split, so I didn't end up buying a silver to start (probably a mistake). By the middle of the game I was buying Provinces and my wife couldn't even afford Gold. By the end we split the Duchies and I had 7/8 Provinces. She had 3 Estates and I had 1 plus a couple Curses.

The second game was "Repetition" also from Seaside (Chancellor, Festival, Militia, Workshop, Caravan, Explorer, Outpost, Pearl Diver, Pirate Ship, Treasury). My wife bought a Pirate Ship in her first turn, so I decided to build an Engine this time and avoid Treasure as much as possible. I focused on Treasury and Festival, but also bought a Chancellor, Militia, Pearl Diver and a later a Caravan and bought a few Gold. She soon gave up playing her Pirate Ship as she realized it was unlikely I would turn over a Treasure. I often had more than 10 coins to spend in a turn and usually had more than one buy to use them (though once I had 13 coins but only 1 buy). Not sure of the exact cards at the end, but the score was something like 54-24.

Thank you again!
Now we see if you're wife's in it for the long haul, b/c i know with some people, they play games like this, get dejected, and NEVER want to touch Dominion again
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.