Annotated Game #9 Preview

Below is a 2-player game on Isotropic, without Colonies or Platinums.  I will post the annotated game on Friday, January 20.  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.

Duchess, Menagerie, Nomad Camp, Remodel, Hunting Party,
Pawn, Golem, Remake, Horn of Plenty, Inn

Annotated Game #9

(Click for enlarged link at

If you have interesting sample games that you’d like to submit for annotation, we’d love to hear about them. 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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45 Responses to Annotated Game #9 Preview

  1. ehunt says:

    OK, I want all the hunting parties, so does my opponent. How can I get them? Well, I can buy them, or I can horn of plenty for them. Also, there are many many helpers for the horn-splosion strategy, not the least of which is pawn so that even a nightmare horn hand gets some benefit. I would open silver/nomad camp, spending my first five on a hunting party, my second on a horn, then getting many hunting parties until the horn-splosion.

    If I’m wrong, shoot me down! Should I just buy hunting parties and then go straight for the green without the horn diversion?

    • ehunt says:

      Well, can’t edit this, but there’s remake! wow! What an interesting board! I give up. Since I already picked a strategy, I’ll stick with it, but I’m buying a remake on turn 3 or 4.

      • jimjam says:

        You sure like to use horn as an adjective 😛
        I’d agree with this, but all 3 of remake, pawn, and camp seem a bit much. I’d go with remake and a couple pawns. Hitting Provinces with Horns seems a little tough against HP or HP with HoP getting HP since the latter might take too many Provinces quick, and you’d probably need to get 3 actions besides HP and remake for 8 cards.

  2. kn1tt3r says:

    I’d probably try simple HP/Nomad Camp and lose against some sophisticated engine of HP, Menagerie, Inn, Golem, HoP, Pawn, iniciated by fast Remaking…

  3. I would definitely open with Remake instead of Nomad Camp. If I get lucky on the reshuffle and get to trash two Estates, that should speed up my deck considerable. I’ll want a Nomad Camp eventually, as the only source of +Buy, but that can wait. I agree that Hunting Parties and Horns of Plenty are the way to go, with a couple of Menageries and Pawns in the deck to add to the Horn’s power.

    No, wait a second…you can get +Buy from Pawn as well. I probably ignore Nomad Camp entirely, in favor of putting two or three Pawns in the deck.

    I’ll also want one Remodel at some point, to turn Golds into Provinces, but I certainly wouldn’t open with it.

    Golem could be a very powerful card, but it’s also awfully slow to get to, and if you buy a Potion and don’t hit 4 money with it you’re screwed, so I probably ignore Potion/Golem as well.

  4. W_ says:

    I think just Nomad Camp with Hunting Parties is better than Nomad/Hunting/Horn; but the horn give you both the option to take Inns for reshuffle shenanigans and the option to get a tiebreak duchy.

    Seems to me like going for the HoP dependes on how lucky you are with the hands.

  5. Davio says:

    Horn of Plenty is quite the blind spot for me. I never learned to play it properly.

    So I would just go with HP all the way here and get clobbered by the Horn player.

  6. kn1tt3r says:

    Thinking twice about it, Horn of Plenty should be really strong here with so many different useful non-terminals. With HP drawing all those different cards necessary you might get to $8-HoPs quite easily (HP, Pawn, Inn, Menagerie, HoP, Copper, Silver, Gold). I don’t know if this is the way to go actually (it might be a bit fragile and depending on , but it sounds fun to try at least.

  7. Mean Mr Mustard says:

    The trap card on this board is Hunting Party. Remake Estates into Menagerie, get a Horn of Plenty and fill out the deck with unique cards (including some nice Menagerie enablers), get more Horns and Blammo.

    • Jorbles says:

      That’s what I was thinking too, though one Hunting Party is probably necessary. I’d probably go for Menagerie/Inn as the main cards with HP/Pawn and treasure as Horn of Plenty Enablers (that’s 8 which means you’re raking in Provinces when you play them all).

      It does seem feasible to run a Golem strategy to enable Horn of Plentys as well, though you might hit your Remake when you don’t want to. I suspect that both players will run Horn of Plenty strategies with different enables in this game.

      • Mean Mr Mustard says:

        Yeah, I wouldn’t be too surprised if Hunting Party plays some role, but not a pure HP engine. Remake/Menagerie/HoP is so strong here.

    • ecq says:

      Hunting Party looks great on this board, just not in the usual way. It’s a Laboratory that tries to make sure that one of the cards you draw is unique, so it’s less likely to conflict with Menagerie and it’ll typically find something that HoP can use (or find HoP).

  8. Geronimoo says:

    Remake is a must open. Then build up an engine with Inn/Menagerie/Hunting Party. 1 Silver, 1 Gold and Pawns for money (the Gold is an extra unique card for HoP to reach $8). HoPs will get engine parts and finish the game in a mega turn. Golem will probably be too slow/unnecessary/risky (Remake…). A pure Hunting Party is going to be good, but not as fast as the HoP deck if it’s built close to optimal.

    • Jorbles says:

      Woops, I should have read one post further before replying to MMM as you had already laid out almost exactly what I said.

    • hermit says:

      Agreed with this.

      Just tried it solitaire, 6 provinces on turn 11 with a horn bomb.

    • Anonymous says:

      This is the strat. I would guess silver/remake, then use your remake to get menageries. Race to many HoP, extremely easy to draw the deck with this plan, no reason to get more than 1 gold as HoP buys a province on your bomb turn or Duchy if province is out. Best of all, you get all your provinces at once so you don’t go green unless it either wins you the game or comes very close.

      To me, the big questions are when to go green if the opponent uses the same strat (is 5 province + duchy enough?) and if you want 2 silver.

      Remember that Gold, Silver, and Copper is only 6, so without enough pawns you might find yourself short a province buy on the big turn. Saving an extra copper could actually be good in this setup.

  9. sffc says:

    First thing, there are no attacks! So one can make a solid engine without much interference.

    I think Golem is a bit of a distraction here. For one, later in the game, you will not want to be trashing as many things, and since Remake tends itself toward a tight deck and forces you to change card names when played, you may be obliged to turn cards into different cards that don’t work as well in your engine.

    I would open Remake/Silver on a 4/3 or Remake/Duchess on a 5/2. Remake all but one of your Coppers into nothing and your Estates into Menageries. Pick up an Inn, a HoP, a Gold, and a Duchess before too long; also get a Remodel when you start buying Provinces. You could throw in a Hunting Party and/or a Pawn, buying power permitting. Then, use a Menagerie-powered engine. Inn helps Menagerie since you can discard any duplicates. HoP into Golds, Remodel Golds into Provinces, and buy a Province (Copper+Silver+Gold+Duchess = $8) each turn. In solitaire, I was consistently able to get 4 or 5 Provinces on turn 13 using this strategy, and I was able to end the game by gaining the last Province on turn 15 or 16.

    You could substitute Nomad Camp for Duchess, but in some ways, Duchess is superior: the mini-spy is helpful to Menagerie, and it’s also easier to afford on turns 3-7 when you’re Remaking all your coppers and won’t have much buying power. Also, you can get +Buy from Pawn.

  10. brokoli says:

    I love this board, because there are many cards from Cornuccopia, which is my favourite expansion.
    I would open in 4/3 : Remake/Silver. And In 5/2 : Remake/Pawn.
    Then remake my estates into menageries and silvers, and trash my coppers. I would take pawns, because they are good with menagerie. After, I would buy Hunting party and Horn of plenty, maybe remodel. And at the end, Inn can be quite helpful.
    So I think my deck would be something like : 3 Pawns, 3 silvers, 4 menageries (or even more), 1 remake, 1 remodel, 2 Hunting parties, 1/2 Horn of plenty, 1/2 Inns, and 2/3 golds.

  11. chris says:

    If I picked up four copper on this board I would be sorely tempted to open Nomad Camp for the shot at Nomad Camp/Hunting Party. Hunting Party isn’t a great opener but it would come in handy once you add some higher treasure (which would probably be the next priority, aside from a Remake).

    It’s interesting that Mean Mr Mustard dissents from the pro-Hunting consensus, but I wonder how he expects to make Menagerie work without trashing his Copper? (Unless he intends to Remake them into nothing and just didn’t bother to mention it.) Inn might work, and is also the board’s only village, but since the terminals aren’t great, neither is a 5-coin village, even if it does double as a sifter and Menagerie enabler.

    I also agree with the overall consensus to avoid Golem. Potions are costly in so many ways.

    • Jorbles says:

      I assume MMM intends to trash his Coppers, not really anything else to do with the Remake once the Estates are Menageries (I imagine he probably would have turned his first Estate into a Silver and the next two into Menageries).

  12. Glooble says:

    Don’t count out the Golem! With remake and remodel on the board, it will be easy to turn that potion into something constructive a soon a you no longer need it, and the HoP strategy will be helped considerably. Potion also power up your HoPs until you trah it.

    • kn1tt3r says:

      Golem is strong, but I expect a very quick game on this board (maybe like 14 turns). Buying Golem costs you 2 turns at least, and I presume it won’t be really necessary here, since the “conventional” engine cards are all strong enough on their own. Moreover, Golem might become dangerous with Remake in your deck.

  13. chwhite says:

    Yeah, there are two options here: Hunting Party spam with Nomad Camp as the terminal, and HoP madness featuring Remake, Menagerie, Inn, and presumably some other stuff too. Golem seems to be obviously too slow here and most of the comments here agree already.

    As much as Hunting Party is usually just an unsubtle hammer that wins games by itself… Menagerie and Remake and Inn together should be enough to go nuclear on the HoPs, and heck Menagerie is almost as nutso as HP to begin with, so that’s my plan. Open Remake/Silver, grab Menageries as soon as Turn 3, HoP on $5s if you’ve just reshuffled and Inn otherwise; Pawn and Hunting Party and Remodel are also possibilites to pump the Horns up. If I open 5/2, I curse my luck, probably go Hunting Party/Pawn (Duchess is tempting as a terminal silver, but it leads to bad reshuffles), and pray against hope I can outrace the HoP strategy. (Or maybe Remake/Pawn?)

    • chwhite says:

      I solitaired this a couple times and the HoP strategy can clear out all the provinces by Turns 14-15 consistently; one interesting thing to note is that you don’t want to wait until you can get all eight HoPs in one hand, because your primary card draw (HP and Menagerie) makes it hard to amass so many of the same card in one hand. But you can pop four or five of them on one turn, and then come back to finish the rest next turn.

      • RisingJaguar says:

        You outline the two strategies very well at 4/3, couldn’t have explained it any better. There are clearly some menagerie shenanigans with remake and Inn to help discard duplicates.

        More importantly the silent note made here is that remake into Hunting party doesn’t work so well here. Hunting Party is a huge animal on its own, and the reason for that is that it can bypass the duplicates (mainly coppers and estate). Remakes biggest power is that it eliminates coppers and turns estates into playable $3s. While changing the estates into $3 is useful, eliminating the coppers does not help HP as much as would to other engines. Nomad’s camps consistent ability to hit $5 as well as the +buy is the better choice. There are other minor subtle aspects like remake takes up another spot of the HP process.

        • chwhite says:

          Yeah, Remake and Hunting Party are definitely at odds; HP lets you get points fast while not minding your Coppers, whereas Remake is all about trashing yous starting cards reasonably fast while also getting good $3s out of your Estates.

          I should be clear that even the Menagerie/Inn/HoP engine probably wants one or two Hunting Parties, to augment its draw and help boost the Horns to $8; the HP is still useful even when it isn’t a winning strategy-in-a-box.

          • chwhite says:

            “Your”, not “yous”.

          • GigaKnight says:

            >I should be clear that even the Menagerie/Inn/HoP engine probably wants one or two Hunting Parties

            So I’m not pro or anything, but this is exactly what I found in my personal testing. A few hunting parties help you sift out just the right cards while making the Horns more effective and preventing you from stalling out.

          • HiveMindEmulator says:

            I’m not convinced that you need a hunting party at all. Inn, menagerie, pawn, nomad camp, and 4 kinds of treasure makes 8 already. And with inn and remake support, menagerie is a better card-drawer than HP.

  14. Kore says:

    This looks like a Horn of Plenty/Menagerie game. If you can activate Menagerie, you probably have enough unique cards to make good use of Horn of Plenty. With remake and inn on the board, it seems likely that Menagerie will work out. I’d open Remake/Silver and buy a HoP before a HP while trying to pick up 1-2 hunting parties and Inns. I wouldn’t trash my HoPs until I could manage a 3 province turn which should give me the lead if my opponent hasn’t managed a megaturn yet.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Tricky board, with lots of options. I think I would open as follows:
    4 / 4 NomadCamp / remake. remake the NC into HP if they clash.
    4 / 5 NC / HP
    3 / 4 Silver / remake
    5 / 2 HP / Pawn
    Then let the shuffles decide if I go for heavy HoP or not.

  16. TrojH says:

    I’m a fan of all the cards in this set, except for Duchess and Horn of Plenty.

    Since I can’t see how Duchess can help very much, the key card to get must be Horn of Plenty.

  17. Empathy says:

    remake/silver, try to get a few more remakes, menagerie, remake remakes into inn+hunting party, shuffling the engine on the inn gain.
    mostly go light on the hunting party, focusing instead on the inn+menagerie+remake engine. Just steal a few to hurt the HP deck, and because not all your 5s can be Inns…

    But yeah, Inn+menagerie is too good to ignore. remake is icing on the cake, allowing you to inn-combo mid-turn.

  18. Geronimoo says:

    This strategy can be very fast. Here I go off turn 12:
    I still have no idea how to play this optimally but Remake, HoP, Menagerie and Inn are crucial.

  19. Anonymous says:

    The competing strategies as far as I can see are
    remake->silver->hunting party
    or remake->menage->horn

    Horn is a typically underrated card especially if u can make menageries/pawns, into hunting parties/1province. The only detractor from Horn in this deck is the lack of vanilla +draw to play 5 horns at once, menageries alone can’t make the mega horn turn for 5 provinces =[

    Golem is out if you want a remake in your deck (!).

    • WanderingWinder says:

      As has been well-discussed above, remake and HP don’t really like each other. Nomad Camp and HP do….
      And for the horn deck, I think remake is very nice, but not like a critical component.

      I find myself always struggling to make HOP work; I’m not terrible at determining when it’s good (though it’s not one of my better skills), but I’m pretty dreadful at putting it together in the right order.

      • chwhite says:

        Without the Remake, I would expect Hunting Party spam to be too fast for the HoP/Inn/Menagerie megaturn. With Remake, the Menageries hit *way* faster and Hunting Party becomes the slowpoke. Remake absolutely is a critical component here; I’d go so far as to say it’s better than Chapel for this purpose.

      • GigaKnight says:

        As an intermediate level player, I very much enjoyed your commentary on your most recent videos. Thanks for uploading them! I definitely learned from them and look forward to more.

        I’d like to hear your response to what chwhite said (sibling to this comment). It seems to me that, although HP and Remake don’t really synergize well by themselves, the Remake synergizes really well with Menagerie (and gets you more Menagerie’s when you Remake Estates). It effectively replaces the HP->Estate with HP->Remake, so it doesn’t seem like it really hurts HP, but it definitely helps Menagerie, and you can feed it to the Inns when appropriate.

        Regarding Nomad Camp, my thought was that if you are going all-in on the HoP strat, you don’t particularly care about the $2 from the Nomad Camp because you don’t really want to buy much – you want to do most of your expensive gaining through the HoPs and spend your early low-cash turns on the fillers. Nomad Camp becomes what you throw in to reliably kick the HoP engine to 8 (and to make sure you have $8 on the Province turns in case you fall a HoP short).

  20. HiveMindEmulator says:

    I think this has to be menagerie/inn/HoP with a remake/silver opening. But HoP strats are always tricky, particularly figuring out when to get HoPs and when to get other $5s. I’d say 1 HoP first, since it will at least get you more menageries and pawns, and menagerie should be your main source of drawing. Then get inns to help your menageries until you can draw your whole deck, then stock up on more HoPs.

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