This article is written by Curses. He placed first in the BoardGameGeek Dominion League overall standings in Rounds 8 and 9.
Last article, I discussed the importance of pausing to assess the board and plan your deck. This article will expand on that concept in a fundamental manner. The next step is implementing your plan until the end of the game! The advice is basic, but I have lost many games because I have ignored the basics.
There are diverse options when creating a deck in Dominion. Some board have an obvious path to victory, and players may race each other for a key card or combination. Other boards have multiple options, and players may use divergent paths. In either circumstance, creating a plan and following it to completion will increase your chances of victory. Even if your opponent begins buying Victory cards faster than you anticipated, stick with your original plan. Don’t panic when you get a few bad draws: remember that a winning player often gets bogged down with Victory cards, and that this can buy you enough time for your plan to come to fruition.
Some decks simply take time to gain momentum by getting the necessary cards into your hand. Other decks need a critical mass of certain cards to explode. Even the the gradual accumulation of victory points via Harems, Islands, or VP tokens takes a steady pace. I know I have lost many games by starting a strategy and then trying to switch in the middle of the game. Everyone has a game in their memory of when they switched plans and won, but these are the vast minority. An honest assessment would reveal the plethora of games that ended very badly!
There is a difference between making adjustments mid-game and totally reversing your strategy. Grabbing a few +$ cards to augment an action-heavy deck is different than going Big Money with the same deck if your opponent buys the first Province. The first example is fine-tuning your engine, but the second example is like trying to rebuild your engine while driving. You want to adapt your deck to maximize its performance; the more you discipline yourself to follow the plan you created, the more you will put yourself in a position to win.
Sample Game 1: I stuck with my plan to make an action heavy deck that cycled itself, even after he bought the first two provinces.
Sample Game 2: I lost this game, but following my plan gave me the best chance of winning. When I committed to a Mine in Turn 7, I kept making Harems. I did make many mistakes in this game, but a few better draws and I could have stole a game I deserved to lose.