Intrigue: Torturer

Torturer

Dominion: Intrigue

I had a game in which one of my friends stood up, enraged, and went into the other room to calm down. This card was the reason. Don’t let it happen to you! The secret to happiness is, do not simply refuse to take a Curse no matter what. Sometimes, you have to take that Curse. Discarding five cards and passing is not the path to greatness. You’ve been warned!

–Donald X. Vaccarino, The Secret History of the Intrigue Cards

Probably the best-named card in all of Dominion.  Like a true sadist, the choice that Torturer offers somehow manages to make the card even crueler, as you futilely discard  hand after hand, hoping to avoid those Curses.

Torturer is only effective if you can play multiple Torturers on a single turn. Unsurprisingly, Torturer is therefore a card that depends heavily on “villages” (any card that gives +2 Actions).  Without them, Torturer is a lousy card and not worth the $5 in a 2p game.  Even with villages, as CouncilRoom.com demonstrates, the price point of the villages greatly impacts the efficacy of a Torturer chain:

$2 / $3 / $4 villages: There’s almost certainly not a better strategy out there than a Torturer chain.  Depending on how quickly you can get Curses into play, though, you might be able to beat a Torturer chain by handing out many of the Curses first with Sea Hag / Witch / Mountebank / IGG.  Otherwise, pretty much your whole game is going to be buying Torturers/Villages and being the first to trigger the Torturer chain.  The usual principle of Shanty Town being crap and Fishing Village being absurdly good in such decks remains.

$5 villages: This is a tough sell, first because your villages are now quite expensive, and second because it directly clashes with Torturer.  In other words, with Fishing Village, you can get Torturer when you draw $5 and Fishing Village when you draw less than $5.  With Bazaar, you don’t have that option.  On the other hand, your $5 villages are now way stronger.  City is the best example, because when Torturer runs out of ammo the Cities get upgraded.  Likewise, Bazaar and Festival give you money, which is critically important in a deck where you want as little Treasure as possible.  I wouldn’t go for this combo with another Curser on the board, however, or in very fast-paced games.

$6 villages: Ordinarily, this wouldn’t be at all sensible, because $6 is just too much for a village.  Nobles/Torturer, for instance, probably isn’t a winner.  But Border Village is a very special case, since it essentially lets you grab both pieces of the combo at once.  With Border Village, I like to open with a Torturer, get a Gold, and then start buying Border Village and picking up Torturer.

Within the Torturer chain, the power of Torturer is really the +3 Cards.  Without it, a Torturer chain is just a fancy set of Witches.  But because it can draw so well, a Torturer chain will draw the whole deck repeatedly so you can Torture on every turn.  You can’t do that with Witch without massive trashing.

When setting it up, your main focus is therefore to get your engine running as soon as you can.  Torturer chains tend to have a runaway leader problem.  Whoever is first to play the second or third Torturer in a row will deal a crippling blow to their opponent, thus impairing their own chances of setting off the Torturer chain.  It is therefore very important that you buy as little Treasure as possible while building your Torturer chain; you only need enough Treasure to buy your engine parts; you can focus on getting the money for Provinces after you start playing multiple Torturers.

The best way to build your engine is to roughly balance the ratio of villages to Torturers, with slightly more emphasis on the villages than the Torturers (since a hand of 5 Villages is better than a hand of 5 Torturers).   If you look at the “progressive” chart in the Fishing Village / Torturer card ratios graph, you see the that the ideal village-to-Torturer ratios during the game are around one more Fishing Village than Torturer.

The handsize reduction attacks work well with Torturer, because you can force someone to discard down to three before making the discard-two-or-gain-Curse choice.  Likewise, Masquerade is a good play when your opponent discards, though of course not such a good idea when they chose to gain the Curse!

Lighthouse, as with most attacks, is the best counter to Torturer.  Watchtower does too, but might get in the way of your own Torturer chain (and Trader definitely will).  Tunnel makes Torturer a real liability even after the Curses run out.  The fact that Torturer gains to your hand is a somewhat subtle weakness: it makes it a bit worse than Witch because someone with Trading Post or other trash-from-hand cards can just trash all the Curses immediately without it ever entering the deck.

More generally, as alluded to above, attacks that give out Curses are a lot faster and more reliable than Torturer.  Just like how Witch beats Mountebank, Cursing attacks tend to hurt Torturers more than Villages help it.

Barring those specific counters, I tend to take Curses whenever it doesn’t change what I was going to do on my turn.  I don’t discard engine parts, but I will discard Treasure if there’s a decent chance I’ll draw enough on my Torturers to buy what I want.  If I know that I’ll be hit again with the Torturer, then I’ll take the Curse.  As the opening quote suggests, if you’re discarding your hand every turn, then either you didn’t have much hope to begin with, or you shouldn’t have any any more.

Note that in multiplayer, Torturers become ridiculously, stupidly more powerful.  Even without +Actions, you might get multiple Torturers played on you in a single turn.  Without Lighthouse or other hard counters, I will almost always race for a Torturer chain while having little choice but to take Curses.

A final rules clarification: yes, if Torturer runs out of Curses to give out, then the attack is meaningless.  You can discard if you want to, but you can also just choose to take a Curse (unsuccessfully).  But don’t feel too bad for the Torturer: after all, he’s got a +Actions/+Cards engine set up in the meantime…

Works with:

  • Villages (especially Border Village)
  • Other handsize reduction attacks
  • Masquerade (maybe)

Conflicts with:

  • Lighthouse, Watchtower
  • Mass trashing from hand (e.g., Trading Post, Forge, Chapel)
  • Curse-givers
  • Masquerade
  • Tunnel
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49 Responses to Intrigue: Torturer

  1. WheresMyElephant says:

    Is the Fishing Village/Torturer ratio really representative of other types of Villages? After all, one FV is almost as good as two Villages (except that it misses a ton of reshuffles, especially in a +Cards engine; I’m not sure how big that effect is). It’s also playing the role of a money source, especially in games like this where you don’t really need to aim higher than $5 for a long time.

    Also:

    “A final rules clarification: yes, if Torturer runs out of Curses to give out, then the attack is meaningless. You can discard if you want to, but you can also just choose to take a Curse (unsuccessfully). But don’t feel too bad for the Torturer: after all, he’s got a +Actions/+Cards engine set up in the meantime…”

    In my view this last sentence is the main idea of Torturer chains, and worth emphasizing. Tormenting your opponent is great fun, but the real power of Torturer is that its attack slows him down while you build your engine. Ponder the fact that a Village/Smithy deck often takes too long to get off the ground (and if the Smithy cost $5 it wouldn’t even be worth considering: you’d never be able to buy enough of them in time). But if you’re chaining Torturers you have all the time in the world. You can even take your time and buy extra engine components to ensure your deck will continue running smoothly when you finally start buying money and Provinces.

    • Anonymous says:

      From the Fishing Village article: “FV lets you over-invest in terminals actions” I think that says almost everything about FV/Torturer.
      I tend to find Rabble works similarly well as it’s another +3 cards attack that stacks well. A lot of the same guidence applies, but it’s obviously not as powerful as it has more counters. But it would be interesting to see if a mixed Rabble/Torturer chain beats straight Torturers in the chain due to the disruption.

  2. Asklepios says:

    I’d question the Torturer / Masquerade combo as if Masquerade is on the board, then a very strong strategy becomes two masquerades and big money. There’ll be no reason to take torturer in the presence of doube masquerade, as the masquerade player need never take the discards, accepting curses safe in the knowledge that they’ll passed across shortly

  3. Michael says:

    One three-card combo which I like is Torturer-Ghost Ship-Masquerade, it’s really rare but you can set up a nice pin where if you have all three in your hand and 2 actions you play torturer first. If he discards you masquerade and if he takes the curse you ghost-ship to make him put three cards back.

  4. tlloyd says:

    Obviously Fishing Village is wonderful for this combo, as you really really really don’t want your chaining to freeze up if you draw an unlucky initial hand without a village. But Shanty Town is far from “crap” in a Torturer game. A triggered Shanty Town is actually a second-level City (or a Trusty Steed), and if your opponent is also playing Torturers you’ll have a very good chance of triggering your Shanty Towns.

    • GGB says:

      I came here to say something like this, too. Also, buying a shanty town to begin with with the +2 draw seems to lock in that you’ll get a $5 quickly and can start combo-ing the torturers and shanty’s. Am I totally missing something there?

      • WheresMyElephant says:

        An early Shanty provides somewhat less buying power than Silver on average. I don’t have the numbers but the chance of drawing Silver/Copper for $3 is much lower than the chance of drawing Copper/Estate for $1. So no, opening with Shanty is never the most reliable route to an early $5.

        If we want to list the virtues of Shanty Town as an opener, it gives you some early deck cycling. And of course being able to open with a Village instead of Silver (and not regret it) gives you a head start in building an engine, if that’s really what you plan to do.

        An interesting idea is to open with one Shanty before switching over to another type of Village so that you get these benefits in a better engine and you don’t have to deal with two-Shanty hands. This is something I’m always meaning to try but somehow never have; maybe I’ll toy around with it in the simulator one of these days.

        • WheresMyElephant says:

          A small caveat: for that early Shanty Town, I guess you have to factor in the fact that you’re less likely to draw Estates with the Shanty if your hand already contains them (because there are fewer Estates left to draw), and more likely to draw them if your hand is all Copper. It’s going to provide you more money on average if your hand was weak before playing the Shanty, and less if it was strong. This probably means a Shanty/Silver opening is going to give you more $4-5 hands and fewer $6-7 hands on the first reshuffle than Silver/Silver.

          I still doubt that this makes Shanty better than Silver for hitting $5, but I must admit I haven’t done the calculation.

    • WheresMyElephant says:

      “A triggered Shanty Town is actually a second-level City (or a Trusty Steed), and if your opponent is also playing Torturers you’ll have a very good chance of triggering your Shanty Towns.”

      I don’t think I buy this. The problem is that the situations where Shanty benefits from the discard attack are going to be pretty rare.

      First off, nobody’s ever going to discard a Torturer in order to activate their Shanty Town, so any time you have a Torturer in your hand, you still wish for a Village instead of your Shanty.

      On the occasion where your hand is something like Shanty/Shanty/Copperx3 and you also get Tortured, then sure, you can discard Shanty/Copper and play your other Shanty to get back up to a 4-card hand. But if your hand is Village/Village/Copperx3 you can discard 2 Coppers and you really aren’t that much worse off: you’ll still draw 2 cards but you’ll have one less Copper. I guess that one extra Copper can make a significant difference on the way to $5 (or for that matter $3) but the odds are it won’t matter, because you’re dead in the water anyhow unless you hit at least one Torturer with your draw. How many times a game do you really think this exact situation is going to occur (draw two Shanties+junk, get Tortured, draw a Torturer with your +Cards, and just barely hit $5 with your extra Copper?)

      I guess Shanty Town provides the best hope of a decent turn after a double-discard, but that’s a very slim hope indeed. Again, this low-probability event doesn’t seem like it would make up for Shanty Town’s general weakness, especially when you consider the turns where you DON’T get tortured.

      And these are pretty much the only scenarios you’re likely to see. Your hand is probably not going to be stuffed full of Gold/Silver/other cards which I have not considered, because your deck isn’t full of that stuff: it’s all Shanties and Torturers and as little Treasure as you could get away with buying. Situations like Shantyx2/Silverx2/Copper are going to be relatively rare.

      • tlloyd says:

        Obviously you don’t discard a Torturer if you have one in hand. In that case, you play your Shanty Town for just the actions, and wish you had a drawing village instead. But the comparison I was focusing on was Shanty Town and Fishing Village, and Fishing Village NEVER draws cards. Now Fishing Village more than makes up for its lack of card draw by providing actions across two turns, and no one would claim that Shanty Town is better than Fishing Village. But the claim that Fishing Village is “absurdly good” while Shanty Town is “crap” is just not true in Torturer games.

        • WheresMyElephant says:

          I don’t think it’s quite fair to focus on how FV doesn’t have +Cards printed on it. On the turn *after* you play it, it gives you 2 Actions and a 5-card hand, which is functionally the same as what you get from Village and its +1 Card. So if you factor out the $1 it provides, a single Fishing Village is something like a Native Village (without mat) and a VIllage bought simultaneously.

          So let’s say you have two competing Torturer engines. One is greased with 3 Native Villages (no mat allowed) and 3 Villages; the other has 6 Shanties. Who’s going to draw more cards from their Villages? In such an Action-dense deck I actually wouldn’t be amazed if the first guy came out ahead, though my money’s on the Shanties. The fact that you’re getting hit with a discard attack obviously helps Shanty Town’s case but, for the reasons outlined in the previous post, I don’t think it helps as much as one might initially suspect.

          I should probably also ask what you mean by “crap,” though. Is a Shanty Town/Torturer engine worth building, if there’s no better Village available? I think so (and I think the article agrees with that conclusion, albeit ambiguously, when it says that ). But that’s just because Torturer is so powerful and it slows the game down so much that you have time to build even a woefully inefficient engine around it.

        • chwhite says:

          The claim that Shanty Town is “crap” is *especially* true in Torturer games. Torturer is the single best classic example of a +Actions/+Cards engine where you really need to keep both the Village and the card draw in your hand to go off reliably, and if you have both components than the Shanty Town is just +2 Actions- the worst Village there is. While it is theoretically true that you can use Shanty Town as a soft counter to hand-reduction is theoretically true, but laughably inadequate in actual Torturer situations. It’s way worse than Village, and even a bit worse than Native Village, for Torturers, so I’m pretty comfortable saying it sucks.

          Walled Village- on the other hand- is actually pretty good for Torturers.

          • rrenaud says:

            http://councilroom.com/supply_win?&targets=torturer%2Cshanty%20town%2Cvillage%2Cwalled%20villaged&interaction=shanty%20town%2C%20village%2C%20walled%20village%2Ctorturer&nested=false&unconditional=true

            Based on the stats it looks like:

            * Shanty Town improves given Torturer is available.
            * Torturer improves given Shanty Town is available.

            It’s just the synergies aren’t as strong as the Torturer/Village ones.

            • GigaKnight says:

              Statistics’ed! Very cool! BTW, I’m not sure if I’m just having trouble reading that chart, but I think it indicates that, in general, plain old Village is a worse-than-neutral card (win rate < 1). It even seems to indicated Village is *worse* than Shanty Town (Village win rate <= Shanty win rate). Could that just be the Village Idiots skewing the numbers of ever so slightly?

              • WheresMyElephant says:

                I’m not an expert on these stats but if that’s what it’s saying, I agree. Village is NOT a very good card. It’s just too slow; it doesn’t provide enough benefit for all the turns it takes to buy an appropriate number. And then you still have to get +Buy somehow, because engine players usually get a late start on the Province race. You generally have to pair Village with an uncommonly strong +Cards component, especially one with +Buy (Torturer, Wharf, Margrave) to compensate.

                What can we compare it to, at a similar cost level?

                -Fishing Village sets an impossible standard by almost doing the work of two Villages AND providing money on the side, so let’s ignore it.

                -Worker’s Village is only slightly harder to afford. You might have a couple of $3 turns where you’re sad you couldn’t buy a Village, but on the other hand you get the +Buy without wasting additional buys on a Woodcutter or something, and the +Buy will help you buy more engine cards later. This is a good card.

                -Hamlet is of course a Worker’s Village that occasionally discards Coppers to your dismay. But on the plus side it’s super-easy to get all the Hamlets your deck needs, because you have +Buy and they’re only $2.

                As for Shanty Town, it’s typically more useful to view as a Lab variant than a Village variant. In a money deck or a deck mostly full of nonterminals, Shanty’s card draw becomes reliable and it’s basically a $3 Lab if you don’t buy too many. I don’t think it’s sensible to include games like this in the stats and then compare Shanty Town to Village, so comparing their general stats doesn’t make much sense. (But if the dataset is all engine games, where Shanty acts as a Village, it does make sense; so comparing their Torturer interactions seems valid.)

                You might be right (as far as I know anyway) that the stats might be polluted by a thousand Village Idiot games. But I would actually guess that Shanty Town is misplayed more often than Village so I don’t think that’s the issue.

                • GigaKnight says:

                  Well, while it’s interesting to compare Village to other similar cards, that’s not what I was getting at.

                  The stats give Village an unqualified per gain win rate of .99 and any gain win rate of .97. This says that buying a Village has, traditionally, been a sign that you’re more likely to lose than win. This is interesting because +Actions are indispensable for many engines. When Village itself is the only source of +Actions, you’d expect it to be a net boost if the engine is in any way sound. There are a couple of ways to interpret this data and I imagine they all factor in somehow:

                  1) Village is straight-up mediocre / bad.
                  2) People seriously over-buy Village. I think this is generally accepted.
                  3) People are bad a building engines or try to build engines when they shouldn’t. Probably also generally accepted.
                  4) Losing players who can’t afford to buy something more expensive buy a Village because it very rarely ever hurts.

                  Points 3-4 seem more-or-less obvious to me, but I don’t want to dismiss the possibility of 1. Unless your Village enables *multiple* terminals in a single turn, it’s no better than not having it at all. Extra actions are useless in the buy phase (unless you have Diadem, but don’t be pedantic), so every time your Village fails to trigger terminals, you eat the opportunity cost of not buying something else.

                  • WheresMyElephant says:

                    Right. Let me be clear: Village IS straight-up mediocre, and I don’t even think that’s a controversial thing to say. I compared it to Worker’s Village and Hamlet because neither of those is an incredibly strong card (especially if we set aside Hamlet’s combos with Library/Peddler/etc.), and the fact that they completely outclass Village in almost every Kingdom is indicative of its weakness.

                    I also think Village is useful less often than Shanty Town (which again says something about how highly I regard Village), though this seems a lot more debatable. It’s hard to compare them directly because Shanty Town is usually only good in nonterminal-based decks where you’d never buy a Village, and vice versa.

                    I’m not sure whether you’re more interested in using CouncilRoom stats to evaluate the strength of Village, or in using Village to evaluate the problems inherent in CouncilRoom stats. (Personally I find both subjects and both approaches interesting.) On Village, you’ve heard my opinion. If we’re talking about CouncilRoom stats for their own sake, I can’t say much except that I think they’re correct on both of these issues, so it’s going to be hard to pick out the effects you enumerated. In fact I’m pleasantly surprised they agree with me on the Shanty Town/Village comparison because I would have expected the “Village Idiots” to be outnumbered by “Shanty Town Idiots” who think they can build a super-engine around Shanty’s card-drawing ability if they tweak it just right.

          • Anonymous says:

            One thing I think you’re overlooking is when you fail to draw a torturer with your torturer, Shanty town digs further than village when you don’t have any torturers in hand, which is when you need the card draw the msot.

          • tlloyd says:

            You’re only looking at the worst-case scenario. Two STs draws the same amount as two villages, and a single ST draws more than a single village. So there is a lot to be said for ST that you are ignoring for whatever reason.

            • rrenaud says:

              I think the big problem with shanty town it is that the reward has a nasty anti synergy with itself. The card itself is a nombo.

              You get the +2 cards that (hopefully) benefit from the +2 actions only when your hand doesn’t have an actions.

              So you tend to get rewarded when you have low action density (and hence don’t need action forks), and you tend to not be rewarded in high action density decks, where the the +cards could really set off a big combo chain.

              Of course, I still think ST + Torturer is worth going for if there aren’t other villages. Because Torturer pins are damned nasty and they are still viable with Shanty Towns. As much as chwhite seems to be hating on the combo, he seems to go for it a far bit.

              http://councilroom.com/search_result?p1_name=chwhite&p2_name=&kingdom=shanty+town%2C+torturer

              but he does seem to prefer village over shanty town in torturer games (which I agree with)
              http://councilroom.com/search_result?p1_name=chwhite&p2_name=&kingdom=shanty+town%2C+torturer%2Cvillage

              And in your 2 Shanty Town, Village, Torturer games, you bought a total of 6 villages and only 3 shanty towns. So even if you like to argue on about it on the internet, your arguments are stronger than your differences in play styles.

              http://councilroom.com/search_result?p1_name=tlloyd&p2_name=&kingdom=shanty+town%2C+torturer%2Cvillage

              • chwhite says:

                It’s true that Torturer/any village is good enough that I’ll still go ST/Torturer if that’s the only Village and there aren’t good counters. They are marginally less viable, such that the presence of moderate counters plus ST being the only Village might lead me to skip the Torturer chains, and I will prefer just about any other Village to ST. But yeah, Torturer/Village is good enough that even the worst Village is viable.

  5. DG says:

    Three pile ending are probably worth a special mention since there are three piles that are always likely to run low – torturers, curses, and a village type card. This even creates a unique situation where a player with a vp lead can actually want the opponents to play torturers, just so that curses can be gained quickly to empty the third pile.

  6. DG says:

    The torturer isn’t just about engines and multiple attacks. In some treasure based games an expensive smithy is fine and the attack becomes a handy bonus.

  7. Jonathan says:

    How much does the Tunnel conflict with Torturer? It may have simply been the combination of cards in the kingdom at the time (Hamlet was also present), but I also didn’t have the multi-Torturer thing going on my side so I probably executed the attack poorly anyway.

  8. Anonymous says:

    You don’t want to rush for a 3-pile against a guy who’s been hoarding Tunnels all game as a defense to Torturer because Tunnel is likely one of the three piles to be depleted. That means the Torturer player is behind in VP and money. Heck, in a 3-4 player game there’s a chance that the Gold pile gets depleted as well. I think Tunnel is a surefire lose for the player going with the Torturer engine.

  9. Big Tuna says:

    You don’t want to rush for a 3-pile against a guy who’s been hoarding Tunnels all game as a defense to Torturer because Tunnel is likely one of the three piles to be depleted. That means the Torturer player is behind in VP and money. Heck, in a 3-4 player game there’s a chance that the Gold pile gets depleted as well.

  10. Anonymous says:

    What about University-Torturer? I’ve never played it, but I think it would have a nice synergy. University powers the Torturer chain while getting more Torturers.

    • Anonymous says:

      I’ve played it a few times, it tends to be short on villages if University is the only one available, and you need to have at least a cantrip to pick up once the torturers run out.

      • thisisnotasmile says:

        Contrary to popular belief, you can choose to gain nothing when you play University.

        • Anonymous says:

          Huh, I’d never noticed that. I think I still stand by my comment that it *really* wants a second village though.

      • Anonymous says:

        Unless it’s multiplayer, a shortage of Actions must mean that the other guy was competing for Universities with you (8-10 Universities should easily be enough to chain Torturers). So I’m interested to know: what was he gaining with HIS Universities?

        The interesting thing is that University acts as a soft counter to early Torturer attacks in two different ways: it can itself be bought even after discarding, and it gives you a $5 card after even a double discard. This might enable some counterstrategies that are ordinarily hard to set up while being tortured: multiple Trading Posts, Library/University, etc.

        So as usual with University, it might depend on what other cards are available. If there are strong $5s you might be able to survive on an alternate strategy. But letting him have all the Universities and Torturers is suicide, so if there’s nothing better than Torturer for your University gains (and Torturer is pretty hard to beat), then you need to go for Torturers.

      • WheresMyElephant says:

        Incidentally, cantrips aren’t as harmless as they look in a Torturer game. Their blind draw means you don’t know what card you’re *actually* missing out on when you discard them. It’s annoying enough when this happens in a Militia game and you have to choose between discarding a Great Hall or a Copper, but Torturer gives you more options and raises the stakes.

        This isn’t something I’d generally lose sleep over, but using University to gobble up a lot of Pearl Divers is probably going to do you more harm than good if your opponent has any Torturers.

  11. Pampuglio says:

    The history of this card is particularly hilarious, as in dominion’s history, at the voice Milita, D.X. clearly states that he was trying to avoid to build a card that force the opponent to discard ONE card and that can be played multiple times. How it ends up? With a card that force the opponent to discards TWO cards AND can be played multiple times.
    One of the worst demonstrations of how this game could probably be played with 5 card and be nearly the same that it is.

    • GigaKnight says:

      Um, what? Sorry, I’m confused. Discarding with Torturer is a choice; you aren’t forced. Also, what does this mean: “this game could probably be played with 5 card and be nearly the same that it is”?

  12. pampuglio says:

    it IS the card that force you to discard two card multiple times, or optionally to gorge yourself with curses. Great of a choice. The point with this game is that it’s a game that is played with 10 cards, but that’s almost always resolve around multiple copies of 3-4 of them, like this little but here.

    • theory says:

      This is true. Identifying those 3-4 cards is one strategic step, but the second step is how you build around those 3-4 cards. Good players will set up the Torturer chain more effectively than bad players: even if the bad player correctly identifies the best macro-strategy.

      • GigaKnight says:

        And don’t forget that the more cards you play with, the more good combos there are likely to be. Or, stated another way, we play with 10 cards to all-but-ensure that there is at least 1 interesting / effective combo on the board. Now that there are so many expansions available, I’m curious if it would be interesting / feasible to expand the number of cards in a kingdom (and tweak end game rules a bit, as well).

        • Anonymous says:

          I doubt it. Given more viable combos, the winning one would be still (as it is now) the faster one. The game could have been build in a way that maximize cards interaction more than cards redundancy, but whatever. It’s the same for any similar game.
          End game rules…are a different thing indeed. One of the best thing of the game is the three deck depleted rule. Winning with it’s usually what makes the difference between a casual player and a pro (yet, but the same reasoning, a pro would probably won’t let another to win this way, so it’s probably not again that much of a variety). One first good way to tweak the end rules would be to make the alternative victory cards more worthwhile. In the 50-60% or the cases, they sit down dead.

          • GigaKnight says:

            Well, the more possibilities, the harder it is to tell what that fastest strategy is. Plus, some combos you need to rush sub-optimally if your opponent goes for the same just to make sure you don’t get left behind; if they choose a different strategy, that could impact how you approach yours. Plus I think the recent tournament finals had some very interesting curated 10-card sets with multiple viable strategies. More cards would put more strong cards on the board, yielding more sets like that, I think. Anyway, it would be an interesting thing to experiment with.

          • DStu says:

            ceterum censeo:
            Alternate VPs don’t sit around 50% of the time. There are lots of rushes, but more importantly EVERY engine that is worth thinking about profits from the presence of alternate VPs. Even if you don’t buy them in the end, they add important potential points to the deck that buy you the time to build up an engine. Even if they are only worth 3-4VPs, it doesn’t need ridiculous Fairground or Garden abuses where you get them to 6VPs or more.

  13. Intersect says:

    A recent game I played had hamlet, quarry, king’s court, and torturer on the board. This was a combination too tempting to resist, particularly since my opponent seemed to be oblivious to the absolute destruction it could unleash. Sure enough, the quarry first made both torturer and king’s court more affordable, while hamlet provided the extra action and buy. The first time I unleashed KC / Torturer he took the curses, then second time he discarded everything, and a few turns later I had half the colonies while he had all but one curse (at this point he resigned).

    Two other notes; there are few subtle differences in the endgame of torturer. The first is the fact curses go into the hand. All things considered, I’d rather have it in my hand than in my discard, and in my discard than on top of my deck. Trading post has been mentioned; other cards that make it more useful in-hand include cards that benefit from an increased handsize (hamlet, warehouse, cellar, oasis), and trashing upgrading cards like upgrade and remake (under some conditions), and farmland. Hunting Party can skip over other curses.

    In addition, several reaction cards actions more more useful with Torturer than other attacks; secret chamber can either allow the best three cards out of seven to stay in the hand or provide an additional card to discard for treasure; horse traders similarly can use the curse as one of the discards.

    When the curses are gone Torturer is effectively draw at a potential gain for your opponent. Besides tunnel, there are cards which benefit from a reduced handsize (menagerie and library come to mind).

    • Anonymous says:

      It’s interesting that Torturer uses the *weakest* form of cursing in the game, but is still this vicious because you have a choice to *not* take the curse.

      There’s probably a lot more in that that I can articulate right now.

      • WheresMyElephant says:

        Torturer is not strong because of the dilemma it presents; it’s strong because of the +3 Cards. Witch is very strong with only +2 Cards, and would be way overpowered with +3. The fact that your opponent has the option to avoid the Curse is really the only thing that balances it.

        So what if your opponent decides to take the Curse almost every time, perhaps in hopes of emptying the Curses so he won’t have to worry about your Torturers? Then you can cheerfully play Torturer the way you would play a Witch, and enjoy the extra +Card as a bonus. This probably means playing something like Big Money+Torturers instead of trying to build an engine. I think this is a great example of adapting your strategy to your opponent’s play. As I mentioned elsewhere, it’s the attack that makes it possible to build an engine with the expensive Torturer; thus if he nullifies the attack, you don’t want to try this.

        Of course this is assuming that he doesn’t cripple himself by taking those Curses: either directly or indirectly via opportunity costs; otherwise it hardly matters what you do. If his whole plan is to take the Curses and buy Upgrades to serve as $5 Moats, while you buy Torturers to serve as $5 Smithies, you can very likely win with either approach. (In this case the Torturer attack wasn’t really nullified: it was just replaced by a self-inflicted Saboteur attack that ruined his $5 turns! This might buy you the time you need to build a real Torturer engine if you want to, although I probably wouldn’t.) But if you intend to play Torturers against something like Festival/Watchtower, a deck that might actually remain competitive in the face of your attack, you should at least be prepared to abandon your engine and start buying money.

  14. Anonymous says:

    There’s probably more in the drawing factor than meets the eye. Drawing and attack at the same time is strong cause, very, very simply, with more actions you are just likely to keep drawing and attacking and the same time, while gathering treasures and other cards. Hardly a “combo”. That’s just the same reason why Margrave is a pain in the a** too, by using it in just the same manner: not only you draw three and force the opponent to three cards, but you even get an extra buy so that you can manage your money better and gain the upper throght constant buy and reshuffling.

  15. hadsil says:

    In a game I followed your advice on multiple Ghost Ships using Torturer in a three player game. Warehouse was conveniently available to help draw them and cycle through my deck. Those were my only actions cards. It worked quite well. Unfortunately I came in second because in the end game as my deck was clogged with victory cards and a couple of curses from another player’s Torturer unfortunate shuffling luck couldn’t get me even a Duchy for too many turns in a row which is what I lost by. Great game.

  16. WolverineFury says:

    Intrigue is coming in the mail tomorrow! Can’t wait to pull this one on them!!!

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