Annotated Game #1

(Yesterday’s preview)

Secret Chamber, Warehouse, Caravan, Mountebank, Harem,
Smugglers, Watchtower, City, Saboteur, Peddler

Caravan, City, Harem, Mountebank, Peddler, Saboteur, Secret Chamber, Smugglers, Warehouse, Watchtower

(Click for enlarged version at dominiondeck.com)

This is a BGGDL game played between me and yaron.  The log is available here (spoiler alert!).

Yaron is an excellent player; I’ve played him enough to identify unique characteristics of his playing style.  I won’t share these on such a public forum, but suffice it to say I can’t expect him to make obvious mistakes.Analyzing the Set

The defining card in this game is going to be Mountebank.  (Since this is a league game, I can count on both of us having 4/3 splits; otherwise, with $5/$2, well, buy Mountebank, and that’s all she wrote.)  In fact, there’s almost no set where Mountebank isn’t going to be huge; here, without any form of trashing, Mountebank is pretty much unstoppable.  It doesn’t really matter that there are Reaction cards; Witch, Mountebank, and Familiar are always going to be top cards unless you literally surround yourself with Moats.  So the first priority is to get to $5 as soon as possible.

Mountebank’s presence also means City becomes a pretty good card, since you can count on Curses running out.  It’s not as good a helper as Witch or Familiar (since the Curses aren’t guaranteed to be passed out), but that probably means that after we get our share of Mountebanks, we should switch our $5 buys to Cities instead.

Since there isn’t any trashing, we should look for some way to defend or mitigate the impact of Mountebank.  Secret Chamber and Watchtower are one option, but as a general rule I hate Reaction cards.  This is especially true with Mountebank, since it comes with its own Reaction built in.  I’ll probably get a Secret Chamber if I have only $2, but if I have $3 I prefer Warehouse over Watchtower.  Watchtower’s drawing ability here is useless, since there’s not a great source of +Actions (except City, which directly conflicts with Watchtower’s drawing ability).  On the other hand, Warehouse also cycles my deck, letting me repeatedly play my Mountebank.  I think it’s a pretty critical card in sets like these that lead to decks filled with crap but with a sprinkling of a couple crucial cards.

Caravan is the best $4, but it’s barely better than the $3’s.  Although it’s ordinarily a great card, easily spammed, its utility is limited in this set, since the extra card is going to be pretty bad most of the time.  I’ll probably still get them with my $4’s, but I don’t think it’s worth opening with.

Finally, Saboteur is a useless terminal here (especially with our decks filled with Copper/Curse); Smugglers might be okay were it not A) terminal and in the presence of a much more important terminal, and B) totally outclassed by Warehouse; Harem is good once I get some Golds in my deck; and Peddler is pretty awful unless we get extra +Buy from a Level 3 City.

There is definitely the potential for mega-turn combos in this set: in just about any other set, Caravan/City/Peddler could be an unstoppable combo.  But the lack of trashing, and more importantly the lack of Colony, means that trying to build for such combos is probably too slow.  Indeed, I think it’ll be too slow to get even the Unstoppable City Stack rolling.

With these considerations in mind, I decide to open Warehouse/Silver.  My plan is to get to Mountebank ASAP, then repeatedly Warehouse for it and hopefully Curse yaron into oblivion.  (Perhaps I should have opened Silver/Warehouse to better disguise my intentions.)  Yaron chooses to open Silver/Caravan, which I think is decent but probably inferior to just Silver/Silver.  (But see Tim’s analysis below in the comments.)

Game Analysis

It’s very difficult to capture in text the feeling of playing a Dominion game.  In annotating these games, I’ve decided to create a new form of notation to help parse through Isotropic logs more efficiently.  I’ve stripped out hand information and almost all the Actions played, leaving in only deck-changing cards.  This is because how each hand was played is pretty straightforward—choices in Dominion come primarily at the Buy stage, and so I’ve chosen to focus on those.  Hopefully this strikes the best compromise between readability and comprehensiveness; the full log is always available for perusal.

If you have any suggestions for the notation system, please note them in the comments; this is far from perfect, and I greatly appreciate any ideas as to how to efficiently display relevant game data (including game state).

theory yaron
Turn 1 $3 -> Warehouse $3 -> Silver
Turn 2 $4 -> Silver $4 -> Caravan
Turn 3 $5 -> Mountebank (reshuffle) $4 -> Caravan

Success! I gain an important early advantage, albeit one mostly attributable to a good draw. Better yet, I reshuffle immediately afterwards.  (If you look at the full log, you’ll note that I actually had the $5 in hand when I played the Warehouse; the Warehouse’s sole role was to cycle my deck a little faster so I could draw the Mountebank as soon as possible.)

Turn 4 $4 -> Caravan $5 -> Mountebank (reshuffle)
Turn 5 Mountebank (hit)
$6 -> Gold
$5 -> City

With my first $6, I go for Gold instead of Harem, since I’ll soon be too mired in Coppers and Curses to get $6 again. I think City is a little premature; perhaps yaron thought Caravans would run out soon. I would have gone for a second Mountebank.

Turn 6 $3 -> Warehouse Mountebank (hit)
$6 -> City (reshuffle)

I think this is definitely premature; unless you can run out the Cities before the Mountebanks really start hurting, the Golds are probably better at getting you more Cities.

Turn 7 Mountebank (miss)
$8 -> Gold (reshuffle)
$3 -> Warehouse

I ordinarily advocate going for Province as soon as possible. This is an exception: since I doubt I’ll get to $8 or $6 again soon, I go for Gold instead.

Turn 8 $7 -> Gold Mountebank (hit)
$6 -> City
Turn 9 Mountebank (hit)
$6 -> City (reshuffle)
(reshuffle) $5 -> City

He’s really gunning for Cities—I better get some before I lose out.  Sometimes I’m willing to let my opponent grind away at the Cities, but I do think Curses will get emptied, so I can’t afford to let him take all the Cities.   Cities are almost always superior to Gold if you know they’ll be activated, and I know yaron is going to run out the Cities quite soon.

Key cards City (1), Warehouse (2), Gold (3) City (4), Caravan (2), Warehouse (1)
Turn 10 $6 -> City Mountebank (hit)
$6 -> City
Turn 11 Mountebank (hit)
$5 -> City
(reshuffle) Mountebank (miss)
$5 -> City
Turn 12 $4 -> Caravan (reshuffle) $1 -> nothing
Turn 13 $8 -> Province $6 -> City (emptying the pile) (reshuffle)
Current score 6 (1 Province, 3 Estates, 3 Curses) 0 (3 Estates, 3 Curses)

Now I’m ready for Provinces. Yaron kindly empties the City pile for me; he gets a sizable City advantage, but I get to play them first. And now my Warehouses are even better.

Key cards City (3), Warehouse (2), Gold (3) City (7), Caravan (2), Warehouse (1)
Turn 14 Mountebank (hit)
$11 -> Province (reshuffle)
Mountebank (miss)
$8 -> Province
Turn 15 $2 -> Secret Chamber $4 -> Warehouse
Current score 12 (2 Provinces, 3 Estates, 3 Curses) 5 (1 Province, 3 Estates, 4 Curses)

I finally get a Secret Chamber, since now its primary function is actually useful with big City hands.  Yaron goes for Warehouses, since our decks are now quite clogged, and Warehouses work wonderfully with City stacks.

Turn 16 $12 -> Province (reshuffle) $8 -> Province
Turn 17 (reshuffle) Mountebank (miss)
$6 -> Harem
(reshuffle) Mountebank (miss)
$7 -> Harem
Turn 18 $7 -> Duchy $3 -> Warehouse
Turn 19 $6 -> Harem (reshuffle) Mountebank (hit)
$9 -> Province
Current score 24 (3 Provinces, 2 Harems, 1 Duchy, 3 Estates, 4 Curses) 19 (3 Provinces, 1 Harem, 3 Estates, 4 Curses)

I don’t really have a good answer as for why I got a Duchy on Turn 18 but a Harem on Turn 19. I think I was trying to balance between the two. In any event, I have a nice buffer heading into the endgame, which is critical in games like these without +Buy. As first player, I can’t end the game on a tie, so I need some sort of point advantage. Yaron realizes this, of course, and is also in full-on Duchy mode.

Turn 20 $4 -> Warehouse (reshuffle) $5 -> Duchy
Turn 21 Mountebank (hit)
$7 -> Duchy
(reshuffle) Mountebank (miss)
$10 -> Province
Current score 27 (3 Provinces, 2 Harems, 2 Duchies, 3 Estates, 4 Curses) 27 (4 Provinces, 1 Harem, 1 Duchy, 3 Estates, 5 Curses)

I bought the Warehouse instead of the Estate simply because I was about to reshuffle; I felt the chance I could draw it and get to a Duchy/Province was more important than 1VP from the Estate.

It’s a bit of a tough call whether or not yaron’s Province buy was the correct move.   If I buy the last Province, I win the game.   I tend to dislike letting my opponent end the game on his terms; at the same time, almost all of yaron’s Cities are in the discard now. So if he passes on the Province, he’s unlikely to be able to buy it next turn.

Turn 22 $9 -> Province
Final score 33 (4 Provinces, 2 Harems, 2 Duchies, 3 Estates, 4 Curses) 27 (4 Provinces, 1 Harem, 1 Duchy, 3 Estates, 5 Curses)
theory yaron

Concluding Thoughts

I chose this game because it illustrates how even in sets dominated by a particular card, diverging strategies still sprout:

  • My early Warehouse allows me to spam Mountebank; his early Caravan gives him slightly better hands, but that doesn’t matter as much as slamming the critical card over and over again.  In my opinion, Warehouse is the hidden crux of this set (along with Mountebank).  Yaron does end up playing Mountebank more, but I attribute that more to his uber-City draws.
  • Yaron’s City rush forced me to adjust my strategy and start grabbing Cities with $6 before they ran out.  In many games, the player with the most Cities can force others into this panic, turning the game into a City-fest that is highly advantageous to whomever has the most Cities.  If this game had lasted longer, yaron’s superior deck would probably have taken the win.

In addition, it highlights the tricky nature of endgames.  Endgame play deserves its own full-length article; for now, it is enough to keep in mind that +Buy and Remodel/Expand are critical cards in the endgame because they allow you to end the game on your own terms.  In their absence, you need to establish an advantage heading into the final Province split.

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35 Responses to Annotated Game #1

  1. Crystal says:

    Love the writeup, thanks!

    One question — you mention no trashing cards, but Watchtower is often good for that purpose. Is it too passive compared to the other options? Or is it just because it’s a terminal action and thus dangerous to have early when you’re trying to use your Mountebank?

    • Drew Hardin says:

      My guess is that what he was saying is there is really no way to get rid of your starting 10 cards. You can stop a Curse with the Watchtower (but then you might stop the Curse with another Curse in this situation).

      The lack of trash power and the addition of Curses makes this a ‘lot of crap’ game. I like how Theory uses the Warehouse to cycle cards quickly (I find a certain irony in his emphasis on deck cycling given his opinion of another not to be named card).

      A ‘lot of crap’ game simply plays differently a many cards lose become very weak when that happens so I think it is an important point.

      I found the writeup to be very good. I hope to perhaps come up with a better annotation method to help with this but I like what he has done.

      – Drew

      • theory says:

        Ha. The difference to me, between Warehouse and Chancellor, is that Warehouse isn’t terminal. You can draw through to your Mountebank and play it. This is why everyone is scared of Warehouse/Treasure Map, but Chancellor/Treasure Map not nearly as much.

    • theory says:

      Yes, that’s what I mean. No trashing like Steward or Chapel. I don’t like Reaction cards when their primary function isn’t very effective; as the game goes on, the chance you’ll draw them is lower and lower, and so you need more and more. If they aren’t helpful then you’ve just cluttered up your deck with more bad Actions.

      For example, I never played my Secret Chamber as a Reaction.

  2. chesskidnate says:

    yay I got the opening right

  3. cleanest says:

    Excellent. Thanks Theory. This is very cool and much appreciated.

  4. joel88s says:

    Wow, this is great, really interesting, esp. the opening deck analysis.

    One apparent typo: the first two times you update ‘key cards’ you give yourself 1 gold when you in fact had 3.

    Then a couple of stray observations… Notwithstanding your plan to spam the Mounty with Warehouses, and success in getting the first one up and running, when all was said and done yaron had one more Mounty shot total than you did (though you had one more hit), so kind of a wash at least on the face of it.

    As you point out the main strategy difference was in going for Cities, and you seem a bit ambivalent about them… you describe yaron’s early City buys as probably premature, esp. the one with $6, but later when you join the rush you write “Cities are almost always superior to Gold if you know they’ll be activated.” Perhaps by ‘activated’ you meant ‘über-activated’ (2 piles)?

    And on that note, it would seem that was the drama at the end of the game, whether the curses would run out and yield a mega-City turn before the game ended. Note there were three straight Mountebank misses from turns 15-17 – if a couple of those had hit, would that have changed the complexion of things?

    As it was, on turn 21, after you gave out the 9th curse, on his (final) turn he played (and presumably drew) his Mountebank at the end of a long City chain, and missed. If he had drawn it earlier it the turn, and hit, he might even have been able to go out that turn with his newly-ramped-up Cities, and then his strategy would have been vindicated!

    Or here’s a thought, maybe when you Mountied him on turn 17 he could have declined to discard a curse, to accelerate the curse depletion! Of course, that also would have meant that much more crap in the deck.

    Which brings it back your original thought, that with junky decks the City strategy might prove a bit too slow. So you could say ultimately it did – but it was pretty close!

    • theory says:

      Oh man, you are so right on a lot of things. I’ll fix the Golds error. Let me go through your post quickly:

      1) You’re right that yaron did play his Mountebanks more. I attribute that more to his uber-City draws: if you notice, before the Cities were activated, we were even and I was about to play mine.
      2) What I mean about the “known to be activated” is that I feel like yaron was running out the Cities very quickly, and they’ll be gone before the Curses even. My streak of buying Golds left me confident that Cities wouldn’t end up mattering because we could empty Provinces before Curses were gone. But when your opponent has so many Cities, you sometimes have little choice but to join in; I’d rather have 3 Cities and him 7 instead of him with 10 slightly later.
      3) It seems unlikely he’d be able to go out on Turn 21. He’d have needed $6 more, which would only come from 6 more Cities. It’s possible, but only in the best case scenario.
      4) I think you’re right; this was an unusually tame set of Mountebanks. Partially because we normally go for multiple Mountebanks; here, the City rush took priority.

  5. Tim says:

    Nice and lovely writing style! I love your way of annotating the game.

    However, I strongly disagree on your claim about the over all betterness of opening warehouse+silver.

    What happened to you in the game is the absolutely best draw available. Not only did you trigger the reshuffle at turn 3, the 4 cards that missed the shuffle are all coppers and estates. (Well, in the early game let some card miss a shuffle seems like a good idea since the majority of the cards are rubbish…) Consider other possible draws. It would be bad if you draw your warehouse on turn 4 (since your warehouse now misses a reshuffle, as well as the things you buy that turn), or in your warehouse hand you happened not be able to draw your silver. It’s easy to see over half of the time the bad things can happen, and that is why I won’t recommend opening warehouse+silver. (I didn’t mention drawing the warehouse on turn 5, as it’s pretty much the same here for every other option.)

    Compare this to caravan+silver. If you draw it in turn 3, you are guaranteed a mountebank at turn 3 and 4, no matter when you draw the silver. In addition, you trigger the reshuffle at exactly the time after turn 4, which means you won’t let the card you buy miss a shuffle. If you draw it on turn 4, now still more than half of the time you can buy a mountebank in turn 3 and 4. (a draw with a silver,3 coppers and an estate is the most likely draw containing a silver.) Overall I think in average this is slightly better than warehouse+silver, but with much less luck dependence.

    silver+ silver is even worse IMO, as it gets another dead card to slow down your deck recycle. The difference between the 3 may be quite small though.

    Overall, personally I prefer less luck-dependent openings, but would open something more risky if facing a player that I know plays better than me.😛

    Also, I share the same feeling with you that the city buy from yaron seems too early, but in the end the difference is still small (he can win if he has one more point!), so I think maybe it is indeed not that early after all.

    • theory says:

      You’re totally right that this was about the best possible draw for me. But I bought the Warehouse gambling on the fact that I’d still be able to get the Mountebank (drawing Warehouse on turn 3 = 7/9 odds of drawing my Silver? I think?); even if it didn’t pay off, being able to accelerate through my deck is going to be an important benefit.

      I don’t normally think about the opening odds like that. Maybe I should. Certainly against yaron, to whom I normally lose, I like to take a little bit of risk. In any event, I updated the post to reference your analysis.

      • Greg says:

        I believe that if you drew a warehouse on turn 3, assuming you always warehouse, you have 7/11 odds of getting that silver. Removing warehouse there are 11 more cards in your deck (3 estate, 7 copper, silver). So 7/11. But there’s only a 5/12 shot at getting your warehouse turn 1. So the nice turn you had only occurs 26.5% of the time.

    • Tim says:

      Some numbers comparison:
      Firstly, when you draw 5 cards from 3 estates+7 coppers+1 silver, when you draw a silver,
      15/30~50% 3 coppers+1 estate
      9/30~30% 2 coppers+2 estates
      5/30~17% 4 coppers
      1/30~3% 1 copper+3 estates

      Silver+warehouse:
      5/12*7/11~27%:
      draw the warehouse and buy the mountebank, and trigger reshuffle in the end of turn 3
      5/11*5/12*20/30~13%:
      buy the mountebank at turn 3 and trigger a shuffle in the middle of turn 4

      So 39% of the time good things happen.

      5/12*7/11~27%
      draw warehouse and silver at turn 4 and buy the mountebank
      5/11*5/12*10/30*2/6~2%
      draw the silver in turn 3 without reaching 5 coins and buy a silver, draw the warehouse and the silver again, buy mountebank at turn 4

      In these two cases, the mountebank is bought but will miss a shuffle. That shuffle contains only 5 cards (5 of the first draw+ the card bought that turn) however, so this case is like a turn’s delay comparing to the shuffle at the end of turn 4, or like 1.5 (just read somewhere between 1 and 2) turns delay from the case above.

      The remaining cases are the ones you don’t want to see: namely, you draw the silver in the hand without the warehouse and does not reach $5 in that turn; or you draw your warehouse in turn 5. The latter case does not mean you can’t get a mountebank at turn 3 or 4, but the chance would be precisely the same as other cases since the different card is not drawn.

      Silver+Caravan:

      5/12~42%:
      draw the caravan in turn 3, buy the mountebank at turn 3 or 4, and trigger the reshuffle at the end of turn 4.
      5/12*10/11*20/30~24%
      draw caravan in turn 4, draw silver and buy mountebank in turn 3 or 4, reshuffle at the end of turn 4.

      Compare the two, with the warehouse you have a grand of 68% chance (not including late warehouse draws) of getting the mountebank in turn 3 or 4, but with 39% beating the better case of caravan by 0.5 (read:between 0 and 1) turns, and 29% losing to that case by 1 turn. With the caravan you have 66% chance of getting the mountebank in turn 3 or 4, and trigger the reshuffle at the end of turn 4. Note the 2% advantage of the warehouse assumes you recover the bad luck somewhat by buying a silver that turn. With caravan, I would assume the first 3 coin buy in turn 3 or 4 would be the warehouse.

      As I said before, overall they are very close, with warehouse you get a larger variance.

  6. Geronimoo says:

    This is great stuff, theory! I believe Warehouse/Silver is a much better and agressive opening here than Caravan/Silver, enabling you to draw the Mountebank more often early which is critical. I was a bit shocked though to see you not getting a second Mountebank and went for Gold instead. Having the possibility to wreck your opponent’s deck early outweighs the awkwardness of sometimes drawing them together (just check this out: http://simulatedominion.wordpress.com/strategies/simple-card/ ->4% better results with 2 instead of 1 Mountebank).
    BTW:my opening was Warehouse/Smugglers… because I’m an idiot🙂

    • theory says:

      I normally overspend for Witch and Mountebank only the first time. The second time I usually get the Gold, and the third time (depending on the game situation) I might get a second. Getting two of them too early increases the chance you draw them together; I prefer fattening my deck up a bit first.

  7. Yaron says:

    Excellent format and insightful analysis. Keep them coming!

    An additional important lesson to be learned from this game is that Cities do need some source of coins to draw into (at least until they reach level 3, and even then). Going over your write-up, I realized that the only sources of coin I bought during the entire game were one Silver and one Mountebank. That’s ridiculously low, especially considering the influx of Curses and Copper. I agree that in this game it was probably better to ignore Cities altogether, though.

    And do feel free to share the unique characteristics of my playing style – now you’ve got me curious!

    • theory says:

      Well, one unique characteristic is that you beat me more often than not🙂

      I hate to be accused of cherrypicking games where I win, but it’s easier to analyze those games since I know what I was doing, whereas games that I lose I sometimes don’t even know what I did wrong (since I can’t get insight into my opponent’s hands and strategy). I’m sure I can find a pedagogically useful loss somewhere, but maybe I just tend to block those out of my mind😛

      • adf says:

        Would it be more helpful if the logs showed what people draw into? I’m sure Doug would be willing to add that information if a number of people asked for it.

        • Dominion_geek says:

          I’d like to see a little more detail, either in terms of the 5 card hand for each turn or in terms of the action chains: (e.g., Warehouse -> Mountebank (hit) rather than just Mountebank (hit)).

        • Personman says:

          YES! Reading this log was so frustrating, since I could never tell what decisions people were making for Warehouse. I really can’t understand why it’s not there… someone should really ask Doug to implement this.

  8. Newbie says:

    Great writeup, good sir. Definitely a good game to start out with because some sets just play themselves, and because of the strategy adjustment you had to make mid-game, like you mentioned.

  9. susie says:

    I liked having the cards a day in advance, thanks. And I love the simplified game write up with the accompanying comments. I’m a sucker for cities, myself. I know they are not always the best strategy, but they are so fun!

  10. Dekker says:

    Nice analysis.
    I also would have opened with Silver/Warehouse as this gives the best chance at a turn 3/4 Mountebank buy and cycles your deck faster at the same time.
    Optimally you would get warehouse in turn 3 and buy MB because you would reshuffle before turn 4 (warehouse + MB in turn 4 would make you reshuffle before MB gets in your deck, thus losing momentum in MB battle).

    Maybe I would have chosen not to buy any Cities because in my experience in a 2-player Mountebank battle the curses often don’t run out before end of game even with no trasher available. You would let Yaron buy the last 3 cities (the cities you bought yourself) which cost him 3 more turns, and you buy golds instead, but I can’t really say if this is better than grabbing 3 cities yourself.

  11. Dave970 says:

    Nice writeup, Theory… this article finally gets me to comment. I particularly like the attention and depth given to analyzing the game and comments about what you were thinking along the way. Single card and combo articles are fine, and may perhaps leave behind a not-previously-thought-of nugget of information, but this is the meat of the game we’re all fans of, right here. What’s on the board? What am I thinking about doing with it? What are other people thinking about doing with it? What’s happening during the game to mess with what I thought at the start? Great stuff, so I hope you find the time to put out many more of these articles, and maybe get others to join in, as well.

    On to the board at hand, I, too, was thinking “how am I going to get to that Mountebank the fastest?”, and would have also opened Silver/Warehouse. Great analysis by Tim showing Silver/Caravan in comparison. When I saw the set preview yesterday, I was immediately drawn to Mountebank, Caravan, Warehouse, and City (as I’m sure most were), and the questions in my head were about the Mountebank, above, and then “when do I want to start in on Cities?”. Perhaps Yaron will share a bit more about the decisions he made along the way during this game, as you have, to give us that “perspective from the other side”.

    Definitely keep articles like these coming, and I think it’s a great benefit posting the setup the day before, as was done here, to get people thinking about what’s there, and what they would do. Perhaps comments left on the preview articles will begin to be about how everyone would open on that given board, and what they think will win them that game. Again, always fascinating to see what other people are thinking about a set of cards, what they think the key cards are, what their plan of attack will be, and then compare that to your own thoughts.

    Thanks!

  12. Dominion_geek says:

    I wonder if joining in the city rush was worth it in this game. Because theory’s strategy didn’t involve multiple terminal actions, the warehouses filled the same niche. Making yaron empty the city pile on his own would have meant 3 additional turns when he couldn’t be buying additional coin or VPs. The question is whether those three additional turns could be overcome by the +buy +coin of the activated city; can you comment on how you assessed that risk?

    • rrenaud says:

      It’s too bad we can’t restart a the game from a given state on isotropic. But yeah, certainly one way to combat the city rush is to completely ignore buying them and force the other player do all the hardwork in emptying the piles. It’s a bit of a gamble in the Mountebank game as to when the curse pile will run out. But if you can reach half the total VP in the game before the monster combo hits, you’ve won. And if you don’t deplete a pile, the monster combo won’t hit yet.

  13. momomoto says:

    Great writeup, but God, I’m such a n00b: I totally would have tried winning on piles through Warehouse + Caravan + Peddler + City. I looked at the tableau and went, “Mountebank? That’s for jerks.”

  14. Paragon says:

    This is a very interesting game with great analysis. It is very cool to see something like this. Keep up the good work!

    Here are the key dynamics I see in this set. Cities are a bad card unless you are able to activate them in a timely fashion. In a competitve game that usually only happens if the curse pile gets emptied or you have both players buying them. I think you need to decide early on if you are going to try the city route and either buy them at every option or buy none at all.

    Also you can force the city activation much earlier with a second mountebank. With hindsight this is the best line in my opinion. Having two works out quite well with warehouse and city to help mitigate the downside of drawing two terminal actions. Even if your opponent isn’t helping you empty the city pile, your cities will come online much faster with three total mountebanks (counting the opponents) than it did in the sample game.

    I like the insight on caravan vs warehouse. It is good to know caravan helps out about as much with a round two mountebank buy. I would probably buy warehouse if I was planning on double mountebank and caravan otherwise.

  15. Jarrod says:

    This was a GREAT article. Please do more of these (weekly, if not more frequent). Thanks for the write up.

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