Interview with Chapel Division champion: olneyce

2011 Championships Chapel Division champion

Initial seed: 32
Round 1: def. (225) Redwoods 4-1
Round 2: def. (160) Arvidsson 4-3
Round 3: def. (33) 16hp 4-1
Round 4: def. (64) lolrob 4-3
Division semifinals: def. (16) first 4-3
Division finals: def. (25) shark_bait 4-1

olneyce will be facing off against (4) WanderingWinder in the first semifinal.  We caught up with olneyce and asked him a few questions.

Congratulations on winning your division! What do you think was your toughest match?

My round of 16 match against First was certainly the toughest. It ended 4-3, and I got pretty well trounced in the games I lost. In addition, I won one game only because he (unnecessarily) trashed a Mining Village on his final turn, to reduce the value of his seven  Fairgrounds, stealing 14 points from himself.

Tell us a little about yourself. How old are you, where are you from, what do you do?

30. I’m originally from Washington state, and live in the Bay Area now, spending half my time in San Francisco and the other half in Santa Cruz. I’m a graduate student in Politics at UC-Santa Cruz, in the dissertation-writing phase of things.

How did you get into Dominion?

I was introduced to the game last winter – it was a four person game with Pirate Ship, which radically warped my perception of the strength of that card. Then I played another couple tabletop games in the spring, but didn’t really get into it until I found out about Isotropic in May. Then in the fall I had some more free time, and I discovered Dominion Strategy, and my understanding of the game started to grow by leaps and bounds.

What are your favorite board games other than Dominion?

Some of the basic ones: Settlers, Carcassone, Puerto Rico. I really enjoy Twilight Struggle, though I haven’t played it in years. And I’m a big fan of some of the 2-person war games like Paths of Glory or For the People. I also really love Diplomacy, though it’s hard to keep a game alive these day. And for the sheer craziness of it, there are few things more fun than a full day spent playing Twilight Imperium.

What are your favorite and least-favorite Dominion cards, and why?

I participated in Qvist’s card-ranking exercise, so I can give a pretty specific answer here. My five favorite cards are: Fishing Village, Chapel, Wharf, Venture, and Apothecary. I don’t think those  need a ton of explanation: I like playing actions, and I like strategies that stack (hence the Venture). I only really came around on Apothecary in the last few months, but it’s such a fun card partly because of the way it capitalizes on the lowly Copper.

My five least favorite cards: Familiar, Saboteur, Sea Hag, King’s Court, Fool’s Gold. But I’m not really THAT strongly against any of them except Familiar, which I absolutely loathe. I think it’s the only card in the game that is ‘broken.’ In general, I don’t enjoy cards that warp the game and overwhelm other strategic decisions, and I don’t like cards that depend enormously on early-game luck of the draw. Familiar has both of those in spades. If you hit 2P on turn 5, while your opponent buys a Familiar on turn 3, in 90% of cases that’s gg.

Most feared opponent on Isotropic?

I feel lost at sea and very stupid every time I play Rabid. It seems like we always pursue the same general strategy, but he has some tweaks that I never would have come up with. And I end up losing badly.

Finally, some one-sentence strategy advice you’d give to someone new to the game?

When planning your strategy: cursers > money > good trashing > +card > +buy > bad trashing > +action. Obviously, things get more complex than this, and it often depends, but when you’re starting out you should plan things with this equation in mind.

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9 Responses to Interview with Chapel Division champion: olneyce

  1. WanderingWinder says:

    Hey, that’s not one sentence!
    Very interesting read…

  2. rrenaud says:

    No love for King’s Court? Sacrilege!

    • ^_^_^_^ says:

      Makes games slow and boring I’m guessing. That, or he just doesn’t like it for its powas :3

      • brokoli says:

        At first, I hated KC because I used it very badly. Now, I like but it’s really not my favorite card. I agree with ^_^_^_^ even if, sometimes KC is fun.

        About potions : An alchemist race is exactly the same as a familiar race : If you are unlucky on turn 3/4, you start with a big disadvantage. Alchemist is my hated card.

        • olneyce says:

          Yeah, like I said I don’t enjoy cards that radically warp the game. I totally get why King’s Court is much loved by many people (precisely because it radically warps the game), but it’s just not my thing.

          Alchemist races concern me less, because often Alchemist isn’t the dominant strategy. It takes a LONG time to get an Alchemist chain up and going – and they don’t respond tremendously well to some attacks. Which means you don’t have to race for them. Unlike Familiar, where not trying to get them is basically suicide.

  3. Jahz says:

    Great read, guess I should give more credit to Apothecary…

  4. cdnza says:

    very insightful, I think I agree on the “least favourite” cards list. I’d love to see a follow-up article focusing on Apothecary strategy – it’s a card that I don’t find myself using very often.

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