Annotated Game #3 Preview

Below is a recent 2-player game I played on Isotropic, with Colonies and Platinums.  I will post the annotated game on Monday, February 21.  You’re welcome to comment on the set (how you think players should open, what cards to go for) and try it out for yourself.

Moat, Feast, Mining Village, Tactician, Hoard,
Trade Route, Island, Talisman, Harem, Forge,
Platinum, Colony

Annotated Game #3

(Click for enlarged version at

If you have interesting sample games that you’d like to submit for annotation, please submit them via the Contact Us link. Criteria for annotating games include:

  • Reasonably skilled play by both sides
  • An interesting set where the Kingdom cards are important (as opposed to Big Money Smithy games)
  • Diverging strategies taken by both players, especially in terms of openings
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39 Responses to Annotated Game #3 Preview

  1. kn1tt3r says:

    I think I would try some Hoard/TradeRoute strategy, supported by some Mining Villages (to let me play my Trade Routes).

  2. play2draw says:

    The answer here is a full-on dutchy rush. Start off Talisman/Moat (regardless of what combination is drawn). Use your Talisman to gain two talismans. By now you should have four talismans (as you used one of your other buys to get a talisman). Use your four talismans to buy four mining villages. Buy another talisman and use all five to buy five feasts. Buy a trade route. Now trash all of your mining villages, gain five dutchies, and snag up five more mining villages and the rest of the feasts. Repeat this action again. On your next turn buy the final mining village (if it has not already been bought).

    If you’re having trouble drawing your entire hand, use your talismans to grab extra moats. They’ll work well with the mining villages.

    • rrenaud says:

      Hoard with Harem and Island is probably going to be pretty explosive. Tactician just adds fuel to the fire. And the Forge can do a pretty good job at cleaning up any Estate/Duchy droppings left in your deck from the Hoard buys, especially when you get to see 10 cards rather than 5 from Tactician. And then late game the trade route is going to be massive, possibly up to $6.

      I’ve been trying playing around with talisman for duchy/duke strategies, but I haven’t seen them work well. Look at turn 9 here, for example. I talismen into a 6-feast turn, and still lose pretty badly.

    • Tim says:

      How fast can you do that? I tried and end on piles around turn 17-18 with ~28 points. With tactician, hoard, and trade route I can get >30 by turn 15-16, assuming I notice something’s fishy when you buy your 4th talisman.

    • WanderingWinder says:

      I can’t imagine that the duchy rush strategy would be fast enough; using moats to draw your deck just seems to painful to be worth it. I’m not sure it would even win with a god draw, let alone with the practical problems of needing to get the mining villages before the moats. And every layer of intricacy adds time, which is something you don’t have – the other, conventional strategies are very fast in this deck.

  3. Tim says:

    I’m thinking mining village into a quick hoard then buy up islands to trim your deck and load up on gold.

  4. Kittens says:

    My first instinct would be mining village + silver into quick hoard, possibly 2, then get harems/islands/provinces depending on coin. Add a trade route for lots of coin and +buy.

  5. Saucery says:

    Hoard is the card both me and my opponent are probably going to get, considering the existence of islands and harems. I would go mining village/silver into hoard/tactician/trade route with 1 forge. Use the trade route’s extra buy to spam islands with hoard, then keep buying bigger and bigger vp cards using the gold and trade route token $$.

  6. 1024 says:

    I’d go Feast/Silver. Grabbing a Tactician and some additional cash in order to get a quicky platinum and more. I like doing that with Tactician.

  7. Dominion_geek says:

    Hoard is essential in this set, so getting to 6 coin fast is key. The trade route will be deadly towards the end of the game, but I don’t know how much its trashing ability will be needed with Islands in play, and it’s definitely not worth purchasing immediately. I think Tactician will be useful in making sure that Islands are drawn with cards that need to leave the deck (Estates, Coppers). My only question is whether it’s better to a0 start with a Feast (which guarantees a Tactician the next time around), b) plan on trashing the Mining Village immediately to get to $6 (Hoard), or c) grab an Island to eliminate an Estate and not fall behind on the Islands race.

  8. castrock says:

    There are a few things to be considered in this setup:
    1.) I want to have a first Hoard asap. A second should follow.
    2.) +Buy seems to be important to use the Hoard(s) effectively. Thus, Tactician and Trade Route should be taken into account.
    3.) Mining Village can accelerate to an early Hoard
    4.) Trade Route will develop and give early $1-2 (latest when the first Hoard is used)
    5.) There is no early trashing card besides the Trade Route. Forge will come into play later on.
    6.) Feast / Talisman tricks might be an option. I do not have experience with this combo.

    Considering this the first cards I want to buy are: Mining Village, Tactician, Trade Rout and Hoard. I’m really unsure about the order of buying. But most probably I’d try to go for:
    1/2: Mining Village, Silver
    3/4: Trade Route, Hoard (trash Mining Village)
    5/6: Island (+Gold), Tactician

    Next goals are a 2nd Hoard and a new Mining Village. Buying then further green cards depending on the hand and a Forge.

    • castrock says:

      Starting wit for 5/2 I’d try to go for:

      1/2 Tactician, nothing
      3/4 Silver, nothing (Tactician)
      5/6 Hoard + Trade Route, Island/Harem

  9. WanderingWinder says:

    As others have said, hoard seems to be the really important card here. You want to grab 2-3 copies, after which the harems are just better as the game will be ending. On a 5/2, you look to be in a bad way, but I think you need to go Tactician/nothing. On 4/3 your 3 is obviously a silver, but the 4 is a little less clear. My predisposition tells me to go for an island on gut, but my brain says that the mining village has to be the way to go. You really need to get to that hoard quickly. Once you get your first hoard, every time you have it, you need to buy island with 4-5, harem with 6-7, and it’s harder to say with 8-10 (11+ is obviously colony). Early, I’d probably take harem on 8, platinum on 9-10, but it wouldn’t be long until I’d switch off and start rushing provinces (which I’d do immediately if my opponent was duchy rushing or some other such shenanigans).
    Overall, other than the hoard, I think you want to pick up a single tactician, probably never getting a second one because by the time you’ll have enough cards to support two, you’ll have better things to buy. You want to grab a trade route with your second 3, and maybe another with your next 3-4. After the first silver, you’ll probably always prefer mining villages to them. A single forge would be nice too, but again I’m not sure you’ll really have the time to pick it up; I expect the game will end too fast for it to have a great effect. Moat and talisman are entirely worthless here, and I actually think feast is, too. What are you feasting into?

  10. Geronimoo says:

    Since this is a Colony game, early trashing is probably better than getting to Hoard as quickly as possible. So I’d open with Island/Trade Route. Then go for Hoard. (or you could also go for the double Tactician, double Trade Route, Mining Village so you draw your entire deck each turn and and buy a Colony and 2 Coppers. This strategy needs to outbuy all the green cards first so this might help the opponent’s Trade Routes too much)

    If this were a Province game, I’d go for Mining Village/Silver to race to Hoard.

    • timchen1017 says:

      Interesting thought.

      I agree on the reasoning, but I think the trashing provided by both cards are too weak. Also, the buying power is bad with this start (think about steward+silver), which might be a problem too. With Forge on board, I would go for Mining Village and Silver as well, $7 for a Forge, $6 for a Hoard, and $5 for a Tactician. I think using Forge to trash is the better move in this setup.

    • tlloyd says:

      See my comment below. I would combine your two inclinations and race for the forge. I think that’s still going to be faster than the trade route, and you can trash into better cards like the hoard instead of just trashing.

  11. Aquilarion says:

    I’m thinking that possibly a 3/4 starter should be Mining Village/Silver (and 5/2 should be Tactician/Moat). I played this game against someone a couple times tweaking the strategy that I used, and the Mining Village/Silver seemed to work the best for me.

    With buying those two cards, you’re guaranteed to be able to get a Tactician on the second reshuffle which will guarantee a Forge get. Best case scenario, you get Mining Village, Silver, and 3 Coppers on the first reshuffle and you get a Forge on turn 3. If you don’t get a Forge on turns 3 or 4, you’ll have a Tactician so you’re guaranteed to get it on the next reshuffle. If you only get $3, get a silver, if you get $4, get a Mining Village and trash it for the extra $2 every time if necessary. Using Forge, trash all your Coppers and Estates for Moats, Mining Village, and Gold (depending on if you get 1, 2, or 3 Estates with Forge), and once you do this, you’ll have a deck that allows you to buy a Province or Colony early and then cycle through your deck within 2 turns every time. Use Forge on the Province or Colony to run it out more quickly. I ended it on turn 15 4 times in a row. Here are a couple game logs:

    This one I didn’t have enough for a Colony, so I focused on Provinces instead and ran them out. I probably could have Forged my Duchy and Gold for a Colony and it would have had me win by a larger margin, but I knew I was ahead so I just ended it. This game was also nice because I got all 7 of my Coppers at once with Forge so I was able to get rid of all of them.

    In this game, I did the same thing but with Colonies instead.

    I might not have played the games properly and I’m probably overlooking several things, but I really liked this strategy.

  12. permagoof says:

    At 4/3 I’d go Mining Village/Trade Route, hoping to trash the mining village for a Hoard early on. I agree with a previous poster that with Hoard in the game, Trade Route is going to be worth more $$ sooner rather than later, so I’d like to have one in the deck already.

  13. (½)² = ¼ says:

    i would begin with silver/feast(and trash for tactician), then few turns buying silver and golds, forge (thanks to tactician). hoard could be good, but i dont know if not better simly concentrate on forging crap into platiniums

    • (½)² = ¼ says:

      $3->few silvers, then trade route;
      $4->feast, then mining vilages;
      $5->hmmm, second tactician and mining vilages?

  14. tlloyd says:

    I would open Mining Village/Silver and then continue to grab those two cards. As soon as trashing MVs puts me in reach of the forge I get one. (That seems a better trashing strategy than the Trade Route, even though there are six victory card piles). Then I focus on turning silvers and coppers into hoards. Then I buy Islands and Harems every time I can with the hoard. If no one else has bought estates or duchies I *might* buy one each along the way. Toward the end I pick up a trade route (should be worth 5-6 coin by then. I should have plenty of golds/hoards at that point that I’m willing to trash in order to get the coin bonus and extra buy from the trade route.

    • tlloyd says:

      I suppose, on second thought, that a tactician could make your forging much better. Allows you to trash most of your coppers in one go, and gives you greater flexibility in trashing combinations of cards with different total costs.

  15. Hoff says:

    I just won a game where I ended up skipping Hoard entirely (though my opponent got 3 of them).

    Opponent opened Mining Village. I had $4/$3. I wanted to open Island/Trade Route, but I didn’t want to buy Island and let him get a Trade Route behind me. So I opened Feast/Silver. (Opponent followed up with Silver.)

    Turn 3: $3 (Trade Route)
    Turn 4: $5 (Tactician, shuffle)
    Turn 5: $5 and a Feast. I now regretted not opening with Mining Village. At this point Opponent had a Hoard but no Trade Route, so I decided to go nuts, and bought/feasted Duchy and Island.
    Turn 6: Tactician.
    Turn 7: Island the Duchy, Trade Route an Estate, buy a Platinum.

    I proceeded to get a second Trade Route and two more Platinums (and eventually a third Trade Route). I bought the first Colony. Opponent cracked the Province pile for me and kept gaining lots of gold from Duchies, but never Harems. At some point with $12 I bought Harem+Duchy instead of Colony to level up my Trade Routes. One Tactician turn I bought 2 Colonies. I think I won 6 Colonies to 2 (although Opponent had several Provinces and Duchies).

    I expected to play Hoard + Trade Route. Should I have bought that instead of Platinum on my first Tactician turn? Platinum is just so good.

  16. rattenversammlung says:

    without having played it out, Trade Route+Mining Village looks very promising. Trash the MV for a Hoard, then go for Harems and Islands filling your deck with Hoard-Gold while Trade Route provides both, Trashing and extra buys. As long as the big victory cards are islanded away, and the small ones feed the trade route your deck should stay pretty clean. Whether Forging Hoard-Gold+Duchy(bought by Hoard) into Colonies really works I can’t tell.

  17. Edge says:

    Buying (some) Duchies in the Hoard turns instead of Harems (or Islands) seems to be an option if you want to toy around with Forges and Tacticians, otherwise it might be troublesome to find cards whose prices sum to 11.

  18. Zaphod says:

    I haven’t looked through all the comments yet, so I apologize if something like this is already posted. Here’s how I would handle this, assuming I got the ideal draw every turn to start.

    Turn 1, $2, buy a Moat.
    Turn 2. $5, buy a Tactician.
    Turn 3, play Tactician, toss the hand.
    Turn 4, play the Moat to draw everything into my hand, play $7 and buy a Forge.
    Turn 5, play Tactician, toss the hand.
    Turn 6, play the Moat to draw all the starters into my hand, Forge them all into a Hoard.
    Turn 7, play the Hoard, buy an Estate, gain a Gold.
    Turn 8, play the Moat, put the Gold and Hoard into play, buy an Island, gain a Gold.
    Turn 9, play Tactician, toss the hand.
    Turn 10, put two Gold and a Hoard into play, buy a Duchy, gaining a Gold, buy a Trade Route.
    From there, I’d use the Moat and the cheap Victory cards as fuel for the Trade Route, and try to buy a copy of the other three Victory cards as soon as possible. Then I’d use the Trade Route on the Golds as I buy Platinums and another Trade Route or two. One Trade Route and one Platinum would be enough to get a Colony by itself in this scenario. I might need to buy other cards to give the Trade Route something to trash, buy the Trade Route has an extra buy, so that should be no trouble.

    • Zaphod says:

      After further thought, I wonder if a double Tactician strategy could work. Start each turn with 10 cards, play Mining Village, play two Trade Routes (worth 12 coin total once all the Victory cards have been purchased), play Tactician, toss the hand, buy a Colony. Rinse, lather, repeat.

  19. First says:

    Since this is an annotated game, I guess Theory will have something to surprise us (or most of us)

    With that in mind, I can think of a cunning plan here. The scheme is

    Tactician > Forge > Hoard > Duchy

    … wait, what ? Duchy ? Yes, it has to be Duchy, because it costs $5. Ideally, these are lines I want to see

    “First plays a Forge.
    … trashing 1 Gold and 1 Duchy
    … gaining a Colony.”

    “First plays an Island
    … setting aside the Island with a Colony.
    First plays 1 Hoard and 1 Gold.
    First buys a Duchy.
    … gaining a Gold”

    and repeat 🙂 (or put a while loop on top if you are a computer scientist)

    Of course this isn’t easy in practice. Tactician could help getting Forge/Gold/Duchy together, but he won’t allow me to buy another Duchy in the same turn. In addition, simple Hoard/Harem/Island strategy might be an easier way to get $11 for Colony and also faster than my weird combo here.

  20. Frisk says:

    On a colony board, i’m usually thinking about skipping hoards, because gold bloat usually doesn’t really help getting colonies, but as others pointed out, the mixed VP cards here make it a little tastier.

    My first thought (so what i would play if this came up right now)

    5 / 2: Tactitian / Moat, focusing on early Forge and Platinum
    4 / 3: Mining Village / Silver – focusing on early forge, or tactitian. I think i would skip the hoard early early.

  21. Newbie says:

    Some quick analysis from a cursory glance: Really, even though I knew there were colonies and platinums in my head the entire time I was analyzing, it’s hard not to go Hoard+Islands+Harems and your trade route becoming a monster late game. If you get to 6 fast enough, then I suppose you can 3 pile or province rush before the other guy going for platinums wins.

    I’m thinking Feast/Silver if you’re going Tactician/Forge, and Mining Village/Silver so you can get to 6 asap with the Hoard+mixed VP+Trade Route strategy

  22. Sal says:

    I tried opening with Mining Village/Silver to trash the Mining Village to get to a Hoard. Then, if I had a Hoard in play, buy an Island or Harem, if not, buy a Hoard or Tactician. I tried to rush the Tacticians, and pick up a single Forge. Soon, I would play Tactician, get a monster hand that would gain several Golds when I bought a Colony, and then I would Forge a Gold & Tactician into a Colony or a Gold & Estate into a Province.

  23. caesuric says:

    I would open Mining village + Silver, go for a Tactician -> Hoard as soon as possible, then possibly buy one more Hoard, contingent upon the situation.

    If I was significantly ahead at this point, I’d go for a full-on province rush supported by Harems at $6-$7. Otherwise, I’d go for colonies as normal.

  24. Celicath says:

    I’ll try buying Trade Route and skip the Hoard. If my opponent go for Hoards, hopefully he will buy some Islands/Harems or maybe Estates/Duchies. He can also buy Trade Route too, but adding victory cards and Golds clogs the deck in a Colony game. Buy some golds then focus on Platinums, then Colony. I don’t think I’ll need any Forge if I’m following this strategy. Just play trade route for, maybe +6 Coins.

  25. Fuu says:

    I’d open Trade Route & Island. Get rid of Estates using whichever method to keep deck small. Get a Tactician as soon as possible. Buy one Mining Village. Use Tactician whole-deck-mega-turns to trash Mining Village, play Islands and Trade Route, buying a replacement Mining Village as well as a mixture of Islands and money, as well as Colony/Province/Duchy/Estate for the Trade Route bonus.

  26. Alex M says:

    I’d like to take the trade route opening and combine it with my favorite explosive strategy of double tactician. Tactician is a clearly better draw engine than moat, and hopefully this draw advantage will show. I ignore hoard.

    3 mining villages, 3 trade routes, 2 tacticians. Play 3 trade routes a turn, with 10 cards initially drawn. This means you will pull this combo off 100% of the time, after a good deal of trashing, with room for 3 junk/vp cards (6 for trade route+tactician=7). With island, you can always keep your decksize low.

    1. Trade route-feast opening
    2/3. Get tactician, trash estate, buy estate, 2nd trade route
    4/5/6/7/8. Obtain 2nd tactician, 2 mining village, another trade route
    9/10/11/12. Trash more. hopefully island has been bought. If not, buy island.
    12. 2x tactician should hopefully be up by now.
    13/14/15/16/17. Buy province, then colonies. Once trade route is at 5, then you can buy an island and a colony each turn.

    -Can fight duchy rushers, powers up before the hoarder
    -Never needs to wait to get a 6-cost
    Potential Weaknesses:
    -Needs setup turns to power up trade route to 4 (estate, island, province, harem, colony); you’ll probably be the one to buy the province and estate. And to trash.
    -Need to get 3 mining villages, or almost instantly fail.
    I am obsessed with double tactician, and so I might also suggest feast/silver into a forge/talisman game.

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