Dominion Puzzle #2 Solution

The original puzzle:

In a solitaire game, find a way to have no cards in your draw deck after 6 turns.  More specifically, you must be unable to draw a starting hand on Turn 7 and every turn thereafter; accordingly, durations that are in play count as being in your deck.  As with Puzzle #1, you may assume perfect shuffle luck, and Outpost and Possession turns count towards your 6 turns.

Solution(s) after the jump…As many readers figured out, the ability to completely rid your deck of cards depends on having an Island.  Accordingly, the key was to get your deck down to 2 cards by Turn 5, so on Turn 6 you can Island the other card away.  The first solution, as provided by WHARF 2 THA BRIDGE, the author of the riddle, relies on Mint, Island, and Chapel.  There are several modifications of this: you can add in Ironworks, Mining Village, and even Embargo and arrive at the same result.  The purest, 3-card form of the solution is as follows:

Turn 1: Buy Chapel

Turn 2: Buy Island

Turn 3: Draw 5 Copper.  Buy Mint, trashing 5 Copper.

Turn 4: Draw Estate – Estate – Estate – Copper – Chapel.  Play Chapel, trash 3 Estates and 1 Copper.  Your deck now consists of Chapel – Copper – Island – Mint.

Turn 5: Draw Chapel – Copper – Island – Mint.  Play Chapel, trashing a Mint and 1 Copper.

Turn 6: Play Island and set aside Chapel.

(Several people went ahead and even managed to implement the solution on Isotropic.)

As I noted later, boloni was the first to discover a second solution to the puzzle.  While it also relies on Island, it gets there very differently:

Turn 1: Buy Shanty Town

Turn 2: Buy Envoy

Turn 3: Draw 4 Coppers and Shanty Town.  Play Shanty Town, draw Copper and Envoy.  Play Envoy, revealing the rest of your deck, and discarding an Estate.  Buy a Forge.

Turn 4: Draw 4 Coppers and Shanty Town.  Play Shanty Town, draw Envoy and Forge.  Play Envoy, drawing 2 Estates and 3 Copper.  Discard 1 Copper.  Play Forge, forging 6 Coppers and 2 Estates into an Island.

Turn 5: Draw Shanty Town, Envoy, Forge, Estate, and Copper.  Play Forge, forging Shanty Town, Envoy, Copper, and Estate into nothing (this is where the no-Colony provision comes in, as you can only gain nothing if there are no Platinums in play).

Turn 6: Play the Island and set aside the Forge.

Some people objected to the fact that you choose your own Envoy discard in a solitaire game.  To that, I have two responses: first, it’s a solitaire game, and them’s the rules, and second, you are trying to eliminate every card from your deck, and I doubt most opponents would have a problem with that 🙂

Yesterday, NinjaBus came up with a third solution, involving a creative use of Native Village.  Although the trick it uses might be considered outside the spirit of the riddle, according to the text, it is technically correct — the best kind of correct.

Turn 1: Buy Native Village

Turn 2: Buy Library

Turn 3: Draw 3 Coppers, Native Village, and Library.  Play Native Village, draw an Estate onto the mat, then play Library, drawing to a hand of 7 Copper.  Buy a Forge.

Turn 4: Draw 2 Estates, Native Village, Library, and Forge.  Play Native Village, drawing a Copper onto the mat.  Play Forge, forging two Estates into an Island.  Play Library, drawing the rest of your deck (6 Copper).  Buy Mint.

Turn 5: Draw Native Village, Forge, Library, Island, and Mint.  Play Forge, forging Native Village, Library, and Mint into nothing.

Turn 6: Play the Island and set aside the Forge.  You still have an Estate and Copper on your Native Village mat, which can be returned to your deck before the end of the game, but you do have 0 cards in your draw deck indefinitely.

If you have any ideas for more such puzzles, please feel free to send them in!

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44 Responses to Dominion Puzzle #2 Solution

  1. Kuildeous says:

    Frankly, this analysis wins just for having a Futurama quote.

  2. Personman says:

    Yay, I solved it right!

    The other two solutions were pretty amazing. I have no idea how anyone could have a problem with the Native Village solution — Islanded cards get returned to your deck at the end of the game too, and every solution relies on that.

    • Anon says:

      If anything, I like that solution the most. I spent ages trying to get Native Village to work with Forge and failing, not realising that Library is the key draw card as seen in that amazing Turn 4. It trashes and puts cards on both mats; only thing it doesn’t do is return cards to the Supply!

    • joel88s says:

      I agree cards on the Native Village mat are just as valid as cards on an Island. It’s also nice in this third solution that the final ‘forgery’ works even in a colony game. And the use of the Library is very elegant.

    • Anon says:

      One may also replace the Native Village by a Hamlet, with some slight adjustments so that an Estate is discarded for +1 Action on Turns 3/4 and 7 coppers are trashed to Mint. At the start of Turn 5 there is an extra Estate in the deck, but it still works.

    • Sprocket says:

      If I’m not mistaken, solution three works without buying the mint as well. The key is on turn 4 to play the library before forging, and throwing 4 coppers in with the two estates to make the island. Then on turn 5 you draw library, native village, forge, copper x 2 (with island still in the draw pile). You can forge all those away as long as there are no $7 in the kingdom.

    • chris says:

      I agree — in fact, I think this is a “better” solution than the one that relies on your opponent telling you to discard Estates when you Envoy. The fact that you have cards on your NV mat is no more of a problem than the fact that you have cards on your Island mat — you don’t have them in your hand, deck, or discard pile, which is what the puzzle is about.

  3. dave glasser says:

    I spent a while trying to get something based on opening Tribute/Chapel work, using solitaire Tribute as a method of deck cycling as well as +Action (which works especially well with Island). You can get a Forge on turn 3 that way. Unfortunately everything I tried ended up being about one card off from working. Did anyone else try this path and have any success?

  4. Thisisnotasmile says:

    I got solutions 1 and 2. I also spent a lot of time messing about with tribute/chapel and also native village/council room but they amounted to nothing.

  5. Watno says:

    What was the alternative solution without forge that used an extra card? i guess it was ironworks or something?

    • Anon says:

      It’s right there in the preamble to the first solution. You could purchase Ironworks instead on Turn 2 and use it to gain the island on Turn 3. Or you could purchase a Mining Village and adjust the hand in Turn 4 to trash the MV and 2 estates while buying Island. Or you could buy Mint immediately on Turn 2, buy embargo on Turn 3 & Island on Turn 4 while progressively trashing cards with Chapel. Or you can buy a Curse on Turn 4.

      • joel88s says:

        Hey and with the Embargo, you could embargo the Provinces so you’d only lose 40-0 instead of 48-0!

      • joel88s says:

        What’s cute about the Ironworks solution is that on Turn 3, using the Ironworks to gain the Island (Victory Card) allows you to draw the 5th copper you need to buy the Mint.

  6. joel88s says:

    Slight ommision I believe in the boloni solution: in Turn 5 the last copper is of course forged away along with the Envoy, Mint and Shanty Town.

    PS Amusingly I realized if this were unwittingly done in a colony game resulting in the unwanted Platinum (doh!), one could as a consolation at least still accomplish the task in one extra turn, by using the Platinum to buy its own Island.
    (Moral: Having the money to buy your own island can cover a multitude of errors.)

  7. Anonymous says:

    One more variation:
    Opening: Ironworks/Chapel
    3. Ironworks, Copper, 3 Estate: gain Island (+1 action, draw Chapel); chapel
    4. 5 Copper -> Mint
    5. Copper, Ironworks, Chapel, Mint, Island: trash all but Island
    6. Island

  8. guided says:

    That’s awesome work on the Native Village solution. It didn’t even occur to me to try permanently exiling cards to a different mat than the Island mat.

    I have to say, I spent an inordinate amount of time experimenting with Wishing Well (while working on a Forge solution, before Shanty Town occurred to me). With perfect luck, who doesn’t want a $3 Laboratory?!

  9. DG says:

    I believe there is also ironworks/watchtower.
    Turn 3 gain chapel with ironworks, play watchtower, trash 6 copper buying mint.
    Turn 4 gain island with ironworks, draw chapel, trash copper and 3 estates.
    Turn 5 trash ironworks, watchtower, mint.
    Turn 6 set aside island and chapel.

    The number of solutions is widening so there could be many more variations than it first appeared. The watchtower also offers up fast solutions for losing all your cards with the help of opponents, perhaps if they all played throne x swindler and you trashed all the replacement cards. I’d rather not explore that problem too deeply though.

    • joel88s says:

      The problem did stipulate a solitaire game, so solutions with opps’ help would not strictly speaking qualify for the puzzle as worded.

      That does however suggest what might be an interesting genre for puzzlemakers: a given result obtained with cooperative effort from two (or more) players. (Rather like what’s called a ‘helpmates’ puzzle in chess.) Could get pretty complex pretty fast though!

  10. Zaphod says:

    I had the first solution, although initially I overcomplicated it by buying Ironworks. I felt rather foolish when I realized this was unnecessary.

    Congrats to NinjaBus for his clever solution. I was working on something similar, using Council Room instead of Library – I recognized that Library would do the job as well as Council Room, but I didn’t think it would make a difference. I was always one Copper away from a solution…obviously, his turn 4 never occurred to me. Oh well. This was a fun puzzle, thanks for posting it.

    • HiveMindEmulator says:

      I think it works fine with council room. On turn 4, you play it before the forge to draw 4 coppers and forge them along with the estates into the island. Then turn 5 you forge the other 2 with the native village and the council room into nothing (assuming there is no $7 card).

      In total you have an estate and a copper on the native village mat, an island and forge on the island mat and the rest trashed to forge (4xcopper+2xestate–>island, and 2xcopper+native village+council room–>nothing).

  11. vidicate says:

    I never took the time to work out any solution details–final exams and such. But in my musings on what cards must be involved in boloni’s solution, based purely on hints from others,…
    x = Island (obvious)y ∈ {Upgrade,Remake,Forge} (cards where the presence of Platinum(Colony) could have a potential effect on play)z ∈ {Envoy,Contraband,Tribute,Smugglers} (“solitaire-specific” cards)
    …I thought, “Would they really let hints for 75% of the required cards be posted?” So for a while there I wondered if there’s a card I overlooked or some weird quirk that would fall into the intersection of those two “sets”. Now, of course, I see that the hints weren’t extreme at all.

    Sorry, I’ve been a math major for too long. Graduation? Soon! Fun puzzles, thanks theory et al.

  12. GenericKen says:

    1 Futurama reference.

  13. mischiefmaker says:

    In the comments for the original puzzle, someone mentioned that it’s possible to get a 1 card deck by the end of turn 4, and a 2 card deck by the end of turn 3. The first one was pretty easy but I can’t figure out how to do the second (I can get it to 3 cards no problem). Anyone have the solution, or was it a typo?

  14. keithjgrant says:

    I guess I wasn’t on the right track at all. I was really close to a solution using Apprentice (in conjunction with Chapel and Island).

  15. pst says:

    A variant is to start with Wishing Well (3)/Island (2).
    3. Draw your whole deck with Wishing Well. Buy Forge (7) for the Coppers.
    4. Draw your whole deck with Wishing Well. Forge 3×Estate and 7×Copper into Gold (or any other $6 card).
    5. You have Wishing Well, Gold, Forge, Island. Forge Wishing Well and Gold to nothing (cost 9, so won’t work in Colony game).
    6. Island away the Forge.

  16. sffc says:

    With Crossroads, there is a direct variant of boloni’s solution that doesn’t rely on the objectionable Envoy.

    Opening: Council Room, Crossroads.

    Turn 3: Estate, Estate, Crossroads, Copper, Copper
    Play Crossroads; get +3 Actions; reveal 2 Estates and draw 2 Cards: Copper, Council Room.
    Play Council Room; draw 4 Cards: Copper, Copper, Copper, Copper.
    Play 7 Copper. Buy Forge.

    Turn 4: Estate, (reshuffle) Estate, Crossroads, Copper, Copper
    Play Crossroads; get +3 Actions; reveal 2 Estates and draw 2 Cards: Copper, Council Room.
    Play Council Room; draw 4 Cards: Copper, Copper, Copper, Forge.
    Play Forge; trash 6 Coppers and 2 Estates; gain Island for $4.

    Turn 5: Copper, Estate, (reshuffle) Crossroads, Council Room, Forge
    Play Forge; trash 1 Copper, 1 Estate, 1 Crossroads, and 1 Council Room; gain nothing for $9.

    Turn 6: Island, (reshuffle) Forge.
    Play Island, set aside Forge.

    These puzzles are addicting; too bad I had to discover them during Finals week. 🙂

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