Interview with recycle_garbage

This interview of recycle_garbage was conducted by strumphf for the Dominion League Weekly Podcast. You can find the podcast here: https://dlw.podigee.io/

recycle_garbage’s music can be found on youtube at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCf2XvgHDmR3brNC02EUF7TQ or https://elliottharrison.com/

recycle_garbage: Hello!

strumphf: Hi, good morning.

recycle_garbage: Morning. How are you?

strumphf: I’m good. How are you?

recycle_garbage: Good, yeah. I just couldn’t sleep cause of the heat. It’s so hot here. So I just woke up anyways at like 7 o’clock.

strumphf: Oh, I’m sorry. 

recycle_garbage: No, it’s fine, it’s fine. Cause I’m in Spain right now, it’s between 30 and 35 everyday. Super hot.

strumphf: I’m a little nervous because I want to ask you so much and we only have one hour.

recycle_garbage: It’s fine, I’m ready.

strumphf: As you may be aware, I have ten little warm up questions which are either/or and the first one is: waffles or crêpes?

recycle_garbage: Crêpes.

strumphf: Eurovision Song Contest or European Football Championship?

recycle_garbage: Ummm… football? I don’t know what the first one was at all, so the second one I guess? I don’t watch football either, so — sorry, so neither, I guess.

strumphf: The next one may be a little political, I don’t know. The Flemish region, or the Walloon region?

recycle_garbage: Both I guess? I like both. Do I have to pick one or the other? I don’t speak Dutch, so probably Walloon for now, because that’s where I’d be working.

strumphf: Dragons or unicorns?

recycle_garbage: Dragons.

strumphf: Orange juice or apple juice?

recycle_garbage: Orange.

strumphf: Would you rather be tired or hungry?

recycle_garbage: Tired.

strumphf: Would you rather watch a movie or a series?

recycle_garbage: Series.

strumphf: Butterflies or tigers?

recycle_garbage: Butterflies?

strumphf: Boons or Hexes?

recycle_garbage: Boons?

strumphf: Dominion Online, or in person?

recycle_garbage: Online.

strumphf: Cool cool cool. So what is the meaning behind your username? Or why did you choose it?

recycle_garbage: I actually prepared something…one second…Ah yes, so when I was like ten years old I just made a Steam account to buy the Orange Box (my friend told me I should buy it) and it had like Portal, Half-Life, and Team Fortress and I just made a kind of random username. Kind of like gamesou I guess, I just keep the same name as I had when I was like ten years old. So I don’t know why, but I find it funny to kind of recycle the same name. So yeah, it’s the same one I’ve had since I was ten years old, so for like seventeen years, the same username.

strumphf: What about the garbage part?

recycle_garbage: I don’t know, you can go back in time and ask me when I was a kid, because I have no idea. It’s just “recycle_garbage”, whatever my kid mind came up with at that moment.

strumphf: I can relate, for me it’s the same. I maybe wasn’t ten, more like fourteen but I can relate.

recycle_garbage: Yeah, my friends are like “make a username, quickly” and you just think of something and it just sticks.

strumphf: Yeah, it does. Well I mean as long as you’re happy with it, that’s all that matters I guess. Why don’t you have an avatar on Discord?

recycle_garbage: I just don’t really use Discord well, I guess? I’m not an avid user. Actually I only signed up for Discord because the pandemic started — actually, I  made a Discord account because I wanted to report this one person on Dominion Online. I was like “ah, I really don’t like this person so I’m going to report them” and that’s really why I downloaded Discord in the first place. I didn’t use it before then and then I only use it for Dominion. I don’t really know how to use it well, honestly. That’s all, I never use it for anything else. Oh, recently, I used it to play Jackbox games with my friends. Do you know Jackbox? It’s like these board games that you can play online. My friends are in Canada, so we used it to chat and apparently it has better video chat than other programs like Skype or something? I have no idea.

strumphf: Hm. I just find it curious that — I guess it’s not so curious that a lot of people have Dominion avatars. So two things: one, I like to imagine what my avatar would be if it was Dominion-related, and secondly if someone joined right now I wonder how many people with Dominion avatars have theirs because they couldn’t have another, because it was already taken by someone.

recycle_garbage: I see. You have to have a unique one, is that why?

strumphf: Well mine is just not Dominion-related.

recycle_garbage: Yours is from a Disney movie.

strumphf: Yeah, it’s Disney. Since you haven’t been with the League as long I couldn’t find any info on you as I could with the previous interviewees so if you’d like to share a little about yourself, as much or as little as you’d like, that’d be nice.

recycle_garbage: I’m 27 years old, male, classic demographic of Dominion I guess. I’m from Canada and I live in Belgium now. Before I was in Switzerland so I do speak some German if that ever becomes a thing. I’m a Musician, I do contemporary music. I was trying to find some relatable composers that people would know, but I’m percussion, like I play drums and percussion and stuff. I can link my YouTube if people are curious what I do. Some composers people would know are John Cage or Steve Reich or Philip Glass, Morton Feldman, John Adams, these people are more the kind of music I play. Also a lot of German composers. Everything is on Google of course, but I’m doing more contemporary music. I do classical also in orchestra, but the contemporary is more strange things. Also sound poetry. So I moved to Switzerland to study, I did my Masters degree in Basel and then I’ve moved now to Belgium. And I was also working a bit in Germany as well; I was teaching drums in Baden-Württemberg so I had my little Schlagzeug class there and that was really fun.

strumphf: I have to ask, why did you study in Switzerland? Was it a very good school?

recycle_garbage: Yeah, exactly, a very good school. They have the money to hire teachers from other countries. So all the really good German teachers and all the really good French teachers, they all teach in Switzerland, which is kinda funny. So if you want all the best German teachers you wouldn’t necessarily go to Germany. Maybe some of them are there, but they have a much higher salary in Switzerland. So my teacher actually was living in Freiburg and then he was commuting every day to Basel.

strumphf: Yeah, that’s how they do it. Live in Germany or go shopping in Germany. 

recycle_garbage: I don’t know if you know this place that is called Dreiländereck. I was living in France and studying in Switzerland and kind of buying my food and working in Germany so I was living in all three countries. And it was just a five minute bike ride for all the three countries. I would buy a baguette and then go to Germany and buy a bratwurst or go to Alnatura and then go to Switzerland and study.

strumphf: Getting the best of three worlds. Nice. The last question out of the general section is the most important to me personally: What is your favorite color? If you have one.

recycle_garbage: Blue!

strumphf: Okay! Reaction cards.

recycle_garbage: It used to be pink, but I think it’s just blue because it’s more calm. But yeah.

strumphf: That’s true. So you haven’t played as many people in League, but do you know who you’ve played most games against? Do you have a guess?

recycle_garbage: jonts?

strumphf: Yes!

recycle_garbage: I think I’ve played him twice or three times, I think it was him.

strumphf: No, that’s correct, it was him. When and how did you start playing Dominion? 

recycle_garbage: When I was in Canada for Christmas in 2016, 2017 I think, my friend bought the base game plus Intrigue. I really remember it well because I had a flight the next morning at 10am, and we played till 5am. It was just an addictive game. “One more game, one more game” and then I had to get up super early to just catch my flight. But it was just so much fun we were like “one more game, one more game”, basically. And after I got back to Switzerland I was looking for a way to play online. There was not a way to play online, I think, yet, but I read somewhere that it was going to be soon. So I guess it was just in-between, they were starting a new one online. And then I just waited until it started, until I could play online. It was super fun.

strumphf: It’s interesting. I think I read that before and heard that before, people playing the first game and not being able to stop. 

recycle_garbage: I don’t know if you’ve ever played Civilization, it’s like the “one more turn” syndrome. It’s just like “it’s one more turn, it’s fine, it’s just five minutes” and then you fast forward to five hours later and you’re like “ah crap what happened!?”.

strumphf: I feel like I have that now, where I can just hit the “Ready” button whenever a game is over. 

recycle_garbage: Yeah, exactly.

strumphf: So, two questions that are kind of similar: Fireonice wanted to know what your journey was like to becoming the top-level player you are today. And kind of linked to that, a little different, but linked, seanahan wanted to know how you managed to move so far up on the leaderboard without playing League.

recycle_garbage: I don’t know. *pauses, laughs*

strumphf: Sorry guys! *laughs*

recycle_garbage: I don’t really think I’m a top-level player, but I guess I could maybe say something about learning. So at the beginning — hold on, I wrote something, let me think of it.

strumphf: You’re so prepared!

recycle_garbage: I was thinking about learning plateaus. Like in the very, very beginning you just miss all the known strategies, like Workshop/Gardens, and you just lose to that repeatedly so you learn the basic strategies and later the second plateau is learning how to build an engine, reading some guides and of course losing a lot and stuff like that. And I was thinking eventually — I felt like I was getting pretty good at building and learning how the game works, and then you sign up for maybe a tournament or League or something against really good players. So again a big learning plateau. Like for me there’s definite periods of stagnation where I’m not getting better at all, and others where I’m getting challenged so I’m getting a lot better quickly. So I had this feeling when I played the game that I’d be losing every game, and I would kind of learn something and then move on into the next place, so I would get better quickly. So I feel like for me it’s these kind of learning plateaus. When I joined League I thought I was pretty okay, and then I realized like half the really good players are chilling in League and not at all playing in ladder, so that was pretty shocking to me. But I thought it was super cool, I didn’t realize there were so many good players in the community who were just not active in the online game. Because for the longest time I thought there was only the online platform, I didn’t even realize there was this whole other thing that was happening on the Discord and stuff. And I guess the only reason I signed up in the first place was just to report one player that I thought was super abusive. I was like “I’m going to sign up and report them and stuff” and so I made a Discord account. That was like a year later, I never used it, and then only when the pandemic started I was like “Ah, there’s this thing, I’ll check it out, what’s going on here.” Thanks to COVID I spent more time at home, and more time playing Dominion I guess. That’s what happened.

strumphf: I see. 

recycle_garbage: As far as moving up the leaderboard without playing in League, I don’t know. I have no idea. I can say that I did play a lot of Magic when I was young, so maybe that helped? Some of the skills are kind of transferable from other games, so that would be a quicker learning curve. Of course you can’t make a board game in a bubble, so any game is coming from other games and kind of — it’s a new idea, but some things are transferable. Like if you play any amount of card games — like what, Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh, or Magic, I don’t know all the card games — but I feel like some skills are transferable, like counting and memory and basic stuff.

strumphf: Yeah, that makes sense. I just think it’s hilarious that you’re talking about plateaus and stuff, but you entered League in C tier, but fine. *laughs*

recycle_garbage: Well yeah, I don’t know, but I had played a lot before. I already had played a bit.

strumphf: You must have.

recycle_garbage: I have no idea. But I had periods of course where I played a lot, and then periods where I didn’t play at all, like a year or something. So it wasn’t a consistent learning growth, I can’t really say exactly how it works. 

strumphf: How much do you play now? How often?

recycle_garbage: Not that much. I stopped playing League now, because I think it’s just too much of a time commitment, because it’s hard for me to schedule stuff now. Now that curfews lifted and things are opening up again, I have my friends and stuff and also cause a lot of the players are American, which means European evenings, which is a bit inconvenient for me, so I would rather not block out a whole evening to play Dominion. I’d rather play in the morning, when I’m drinking coffee. So I don’t know how much I play. Maybe five games maximum a day? Not more than that. But also not that often, maybe two or three times a week? Not so much, yeah. Usually I honestly have breakfast and coffee, and in between teaching I’ll play a few games.

strumphf: If you had to choose a favorite card, what would it be? Or do you even have a favorite card?

recycle_garbage: I wrote something down for this. Some things I like are the Events Delay, Gamble, and Save. Just to make some kind of more complex strategies which are more fun. And I don’t know if this is a thing, but also Baker which gives you the coin token so you can afford $5. I just like that it’s balanced. Some boards you look at it and someone has 5/2 and you have 4/3 and it feels just like you’re so far behind, and it’s only turn 1. So I kind of like the Baker for that, just to balance it a little bit.

strumphf: You just like the Baker for the Coffer, and then you wouldn’t buy the Baker?

recycle_garbage: Nah, not really, I don’t like the card that much. I just like the little coin token at the beginning, that just feels nice I guess. You just have way more options. Like I think a broader choice — I get stuck in this thing where you have — in most games it seems like there’s just one, maybe a second correct thing. So most of the time you and your opponent open the same two cards, so with the coin token it’s a different variable, so you have more options. More choice, more complexity. 

strumphf: Do you have a least favorite card? Or multiple?

recycle_garbage: Yeah, I have my banlist. I have a lot of cards I don’t like. If I could expand my banlist I would probably. Probably a lot of Attack cards, I guess. Probably anything that makes it feel unbalanced. Like, something I wouldn’t want to win with or lose to, if that makes sense. Like, you win with it and you feel like — I don’t know if there any specific card, like maybe Possession — but you win and you feel like “ah, oh well”. It isn’t like “yeah, we did it!” it’s more like “oh… great”. I don’t know.

strumphf: Can you give any examples?

recycle_garbage: I can give you my banlist, I wrote it down somewhere. Ah, here it is. Possession, Tournament, Cultist, Rebuild, Familiar. The Events Tax, Keep, Palace. If I could add more, also Torturer, Swindler. So basically a lot of Attack cards. Tournament made me a bit annoyed. It just seems like too obvious of a goal. You have to quickly buy Tournament, then Province so it’s just too straightforward, and I don’t like that. It’s not like it’s too difficult to do, but I like to have more choice with whatever. Anything that encourages a lot of a money thing, like Palace or Keep, can be fun sometimes. The thing for me is, if it’s only fun 20% of the time, I put it on my banlist.

strumphf: So do you have cards on your dislike list as well? And when do cards migrate?

recycle_garbage: For a long time I had Sauna and Governor on my banlist, and then at some point I realized there are cards I didn’t like more like Cultist and Swindler. Like, getting Cultist is so annoying sometimes. So yeah, I took it off, and then I saw it again, and I didn’t know how to use the cards any more because it’s been on my banlist for like two years. It was like “ah, these are cards you can play with. nice”. When I originally banned them was a long time ago, so kind of I guess I matured or whatever. I realized that Sauna is actually not very good, like in most games it’s completely unviable, so fine, I can play with it. Governor is really good, but I’ve been finding some ways around it. I feel like sometimes I was putting the blinders on, and going in one direction with that. Also not a good thing to do, I guess. 

strumphf: You are going to a lonely island and you can only bring the base set and one expansion. What would the expansion be?

recycle_garbage: I also looked this up, because if I have to be honest I don’t know the names of all the expansions. Because I went directly from Base plus Intrigue to online, and everything was just mixed together.

strumphf: Same! Same.

recycle_garbage: It’s like when you listen to music on shuffle, you wouldn’t necessarily know what album belongs to what. So I looked it up. Menagerie is my favorite one, I guess, like the animals are super fun. It adds a lot of variety, like with Cavalry and stuff. And also least favorite, I wrote Alchemy. Just this whole Potion setup is, I don’t know.

strumphf: So Base + Menagerie. You’re in good company. That’s what Mic chose as well. And gamesou as well. Huh. [I misremembered, Mic’s choice was actually Adventures!]

recycle_garbage: I like the theme also. The animals and such. It’s super cute.

strumphf: Yeah, it really is. So you mentioned you were playing tournaments. Do you mean before you started League? Do you play other Dominion tournaments?

recycle_garbage: No, I only played that one last year, the one that nasmith99 won. I played that tournament, and lost pretty quickly. It was the main one, just, uh, the Dominion tournament? I don’t know if there’s a name for it.

strumphf: Oh, like the Championship?

recycle_garbage: Yeah, exactly. It was the first one I ever signed up for. Yeah, that was kind of the moment I was like “wow, so many good players, so cool” because before I didn’t know about any of that stuff. So I played in that, and didn’t do very well, and then was like “oh, there’s a lot of options here in the Discord and stuff” because I had never used it before then.

strumphf: And now it’s just another question of time commitment — or are you in general just not interested in playing any of the other tournaments?

recycle_garbage: I like playing if there’s kind of a cash prize. It’s not like I need the money or something. I just feels like it brings a higher level of competition, and more pressure, and more concentration. For me if it’s not like a big prize for people in general, myself extremely included, you’re like “if I win or lose it’s kinda the same”. It’s nice, it’s fun. But I like to have a competition sometimes too. It also brings more people around, if you have a cash prize, is what I noticed at least. I played in the Grand Market Grand Prix, and there were a lot of Japanese players, which I never got a chance to play before, so I thought “oh cool, look at all these people”. So yeah, I never saw any of that stuff before and it’s just opened my eyes up, it’s cool. I expect they have their own thing going, of course with the kinda big language barrier, they have their own thing, which is interesting. 

strumphf: Yeah, that was definitely cool to see.

recycle_garbage: So yeah, just having a kind of prize brings more people in and makes them more motivated, is the qualities I like. If it was without the money I would also do fine, but it’s a bit harder to say without knowing everyone’s psychology, but I can speak for myself. I just know I’m not as motivated if there’s not a prize. I’m like “oh, why would I do that, I’ll just play ladder or something”.

strumphf: Alright, so for future organizers, if they want you onboard they need to give at least a Euro. 

recycle_garbage: Twenty Dollars, yeah. I also do other competitions too. Like music competitions and it’s just sort of the same. You have the kind of open competitions, which are just kind of for fun, and then you have the competitive ones where they give you a prize, twenty thousand Euros or whatever, where people really bring their A game. If you watch the Queen Elizabeth Competition for piano it’s a completely different level. Or the Chopin Competition, it’s like they have different levels of competitiveness. I don’t know, it’s really interesting, not going to get into the psychology or something like that. For athletes it’s the same as well. 

strumphf: Definitely. So why did you start playing League? Because there’s no prize money in League.

recycle_garbage: Because of the thing where I played in the tournament, I realized I was really actually not that good and “wow there’s so many good players, I should go play League and go play with these guys who are really good and learn from them”, basically, yeah. I think it’s cool. Now I’m getting more into the community and stuff and meeting people and making online friends and stuff, but it’s cool. I like that. I was just initially drawn to like, I don’t know, the level and stuff. Just this whole league of people who are playing really well and I didn’t even know about it.

strumphf: And then you managed to just win League in four seasons, too. Is that part of the reason you’re stepping away a little from it now? Kind of like “okay, done that”.

recycle_garbage: Somewhat. I’m very goal-oriented I guess, so that was like my goal. But yeah, also with everything opening up again, so…I feel like I have other commitments now. I said before I was a musician, so before there’s nothing to do, but now there’s concerts and stuff. And when I play concerts I’m busy for, I don’t know. Like I just have a really hard program or something, and I’ll be busy for a month, so I can’t really commit. My schedule is not 9 to 5, Monday to Friday. It’s like this week I’m super busy, the next week I’m not super busy. That obviously doesn’t work well if you’re trying to organize some stuff. Maybe I’ll come back, but mostly I just like playing online and in tournaments. Mainly the thing is the commitment I have to say, it’s the time.

strumphf: Since you’ve only been around like 5 seasons you only played around 20 people. Is there anybody you would actually like to play against that you haven’t played against yet? 

recycle_garbage: This question reminds of in like boxing or something when you beat the person, they’re like “who do you want to fight next?” I don’t know exactly, there’s so many good players, so really anyone’s who’s nice. I don’t know. I guess maybe Freaky? I don’t think I’ve played him before. I don’t know exactly, but I watched one game that they played and it was like clicking really fast, playing really fast. And I thought that was super interesting, I hadn’t seen that before. Especially in a tournament. Because I don’t play all that fast myself, I have to think. I was super impressed by that. Just the speed and also the thought — it was both extremely precise and also extremely fast and well thought-out, it was cool.

strumphf: Yeah I guess they don’t play League, so you’d have to enter the Championship again.

recycle_garbage: Yeah. I liked playing crabcat also. We had funny games. We both played non-conventionally, or something? Not sure if that makes sense, but we had just super weird strategies, and I thought it was just really funny. But I have to say also in League that it was my experience that I never had such weird games. Just things that I never thought could happen. Just things that are really weird. It’s hard to say specifically, but we had situations where I would be like “how did we get here, what’s going on right now” or when each person has like — I don’t know, there was some Knight thing, you know, the Knights, the trashing ones? I had one where I had a bunch of Captains and I had to get them in play to not get them trashed by Knights and just really weird stuff like that. And I think your deck is just 5 cards for the whole game, and you just have a bunch of Captains and the other person is just trying to trash your deck, but you have no deck at all so you make sure you don’t get hit by Attacks, like for Knights or whatever. But it’s just like, really weird I think. But it really works sometimes, which is interesting. There’s always more levels to the game than I expect, which is what I keep coming back for I guess.

strumphf: I’m not sure if I saw as many games between you and crabcat, but I always find them very pleasant to watch, because you have nice communication. I really enjoy that. 

recycle_garbage: Yeah, I like that as well. Of course everyone is there for that, but I like to talk a lot. And yeah, whether you win or lose, being able to say “ah, this is funny” or this happened, just I like to speak about what’s happening in the game a lot. I don’t know, not everyone likes that, but I really like to speak out or type during my games on my thoughts at least. I find it really fun.

strumphf: Speaking of losing, how do you deal with losing matches? Or games?

recycle_garbage: I wrote something for this — you have to not dwell on it too much. For me myself, everything I say is especially applicable to myself, I think to not dwell on it too much, and always think about what you could have done better. If you’re always thinking about your opponent or whatever, like thinking about what they did right, so in a positive light rather always, like “ah, they did that really well or they did this really well, that was cool and yeah, I could’ve done this on turn 4” or whatever. Think of it objectively, I guess, rather than subjectively, if it’s possible. But not to react too emotionally, that’s not going to help anything. So if you have a losing streak, “what have I been doing wrong these games”. I mean, each game has something that can be improved. Some games you just get unlucky, but that’s just part of it. If your conclusion is just “yeah, I was just unlucky” you can’t do anything, so whatever.

strumphf: Apart from the Captains/Knights game, do you have some memorable moments from League or Dominion in general?

recycle_garbage: I wrote something down for this, I have something for this… I wrote playing crabcat obviously. Oh, when I played jonts and nasmith I feel like I didn’t know how to use Storyteller properly, so both of them showed me in very dominant fashion how to use that card. Like, “ah cool, that’s how you use Storyteller”. For kinda money games to build really quickly and just get deck control super fast I never really — I mean, it’s like a card that I’ve used, but I think not properly after seeing them use it. Oh yeah, the two times in League that I played Noble Brigand against Sicomatic and nasmith. I just kind of went for that card. It’s not like a card I’ve went for before, or really bought too much. And it just ended up being this insanely good card. Just everytime I played it I’d trash a Gold. Or like at a critical moment taking the exact amount of money, it was just super lucky. It was like in the League I had this god-mode Noble Brigand, which I had never seen before. Then I had this one game against terracubist. I was first player and I had a lead on Stables, it was like a 6-4 split or something like that, and they had a Cutpurse, and I kept getting these draws — we had both trashed, obviously — and I kept getting these draws that were 3 or 4 Stables and 1 Copper, and they’d play Cutpurse, and that was my whole turn, I was just done. It was a single buy game, so I had the lead also on Provinces, so I was like “I should win, I’ll be fine” but their Cutpurse had superpowers and it was just obliterating every one of my turns. Every time I had one Copper and like 3 or 4 Stables — it was extremely dramatic. It was just funny to me. 

strumphf: Ah yes, the mythical Stables dud. 

recycle_garbage: Yeah, like having too many Stables duds the Stables and you’re like “ah mean, I should’ve thought about that”. The critical amount of Stables is like 4? I don’t know. 

strumphf: If you had to give advice to newer players, what would you say is the best way to improve?

recycle_garbage: Yeah, just watch the videos, I guess? The YouTube channels? Obviously the Discord is super helpful, I wish I knew about it before. There’s like the coaching thing, that looks really nice. I looked over the slides, really well organized, really well done. All the YouTubers, all the ones that speak as they play, I think it’s all super helpful. I didn’t know that there’s so much either, until I joined the Discord, and then I found the video tab and people post there a lot. I guess like WanderingWinder and aku chi. Oh yeah, also Mic Qsenoch, Lemonspawn. I don’t know so many Youtubers, I didn’t watch all of them, but those are some that I’ve watched some videos. I think it’s really nice, just to kind of self-narrate is pretty cool. I find it kinda difficult, but I find it cool that other people can do it. I’ve been a bit distracted sometimes.

strumphf: Yeah, I wanted to ask about that. You’re not self-commentating ever, are you?

recycle_garbage: I think I prefer just to concentrate. Also I was never thinking of myself as having an advantage in any of my League matches. I always thought I was like the underdog for everything. So I would try to bring my A game and really concentrate. So I was just listening to white noise stuff. Like I was basically as focused as I could be, though I was still making mistakes and stuff. I would prefer, at least for that moment when I was trying to play well, not to self-commentate, but I think now I would be happy to commentate other people’s matches. That seems like a fun thing to do, which I discovered recently also. 

strumphf: Yeah totally. I find that interesting. I feel like there’s two types of players, actually. Like the ones like you who say “I can’t concentrate if I have to self-commentate, this gets distracting” and then there’s the others. Or maybe I’m just extrapolating. I feel for myself I play much better if I self-commentate because I force myself to play slow. But I guess the former category just plays slow from the beginning, so I guess that’s the difference.

recycle_garbage: Yeah, I self-commentate in my brain. That might be a false dichotomy, there are some players who self-commentate a bit and some who never — I don’t know, I have no idea. Sometimes I find myself talking a bit out loud. So I could imagine myself doing it. I can see myself doing it if I had to. Just at that moment I wasn’t thinking in that way. And also I didn’t know anyone and I was a little bit shy, so I would not be like a person who’s like “woah cool, talking to a bunch of strangers about what I’m thinking about”. It is really too self-conscious for me. Unless I know everyone, “ah they’re all my friends, it’s fine”.

strumphf: Yeah, no, I get that. I get that feeling but also I feel like everyone who’s playing in the top level tiers is just interesting for other people to witness their thought processes and everything.

recycle_garbage: In any domain, the top people, it’s interesting to study how their brains work. 

strumphf: For sure. Okay, let me see… we’ve already covered so much. I’m very happy with us. We’re doing great.

recycle_garbage: Yeah, I was really organized. I tried to channel my inner German, just “I’ll be super organized”. 

strumphf: *laughs* I really don’t know what you’re talking about. Do you have thoughts on the structure of League, like the division size, the season length, etcetera? If you could have anything improved, or anything changed, would you make amendments?

recycle_garbage: Yeah, one match per week seems comfortable. That’s my only thought, sorry. I’m too new to have any opinion about this kind of stuff. I know some people have been around forever, and they have well-formulated thoughts. I came for a bit, popped my head in, and popped out, so I don’t have any — it all seems fine to me. And people communicate well, that’s the most important thing. I never had a problem. For me it went pretty well, no problems at all, nothing to complain about.

strumphf: I feel like people who’ve been around for a while have a chance to kind of build up some very specific grievances. 

recycle_garbage: It’s kinda like anywhere. Like those guys at your job who have been around for too long.

strumphf: So you already talked about this a little bit, but do you have any favorite games besides Dominion?

recycle_garbage: Seven Wonders, Agricola, Settlers of Catan, Twilight Struggle (the Cold War game), Pandemic, Troyes (the city in France, as a game). I also just go on BoardGameGeek or whatever and look at games. I just wish I had more friends and more money, you know. 

strumphf: And more time!

recycle_garbage: Yeah, and more time. I was looking at this game Arctic Scavengers, but I haven’t played it yet, so I can’t say anything about it yet. When I was younger, I made some friends and they were really into board games, and I was playing Magic basically at that point, and one friend showed me how to play Dungeons and Dragons, and he got really really into that, and we spent summers reading rulebooks. And then we got into the Wizards of the Coast stuff, where you can join the league, and it was super funny. Because we were just two kids, like 12 years old, and everyone there was an adult, like 30 years old plus, between 25 and 30 and we were just playing D&D with those kinds of people. And one of the guys we played D&D with, he owns a board game store now. My friend is doing more board game playtesting. I switched things and now I only play Dominion and not anything else, but I’m busy with studying a lot and playing and doing gigs and stuff. But yeah, I really like playing the board games stuff. Wish I had more time for that. Or being like a board game playtester, that’s super cool.

strumphf: So I like Seven Wonders as well. Do you play the multiplayer or the 2-player?

recycle_garbage: Both. 

strumphf: Which one do you like better?

recycle_garbage: Multiplayer, I think. 

strumphf: I should check it out.

recycle_garbage: I think the multiplayer one seems to have — I don’t know. I like sometimes when you have more people, there’s someone on the other end of the table and you’re like “ah, they’re about to win, guys we should do something!” and you can’t do anything, I think that’s a really funny situation. “Guys, do something, that guy is building all the science stuff” and no one’s doing anything about it. I think that’s super funny.

strumphf: Sometimes I feel like the 2-player version is a little unbalanced in that way. But I like the concept a lot. There’s so much going on in this game.

recycle_garbage: Yeah, it’s cool. They did something nice there.

strumphf: What are your other hobbies? I’m a little hesitant because I feel like with music and other stuff maybe there’s not a lot of time for other hobbies?

recycle_garbage: There totally is, especially recently. I do a lot of sports. I do like weightlifting, recently weightlifting, but more calisthenics before, like stuff on the bar like in the parks. You can do pull-ups and stuff. I used to do a lot of calisthenics, and now I do more weightlifting and then recently again more running because the gym’s closed cause of the pandemic. One of the reasons I was also really excited to move away from Switzerland is it was impossible for me to have a gym membership because it’s so expensive there. Like I had the university one for a while, which was okay. The gyms are pristine, which is amazing, but yeah. In Belgium I have the cheap one, and I can just go whenever, which is super nice. I can do that more. Then that closed, so I was doing just running. And now it’s open again, so I can go back. But yeah, I really like that kind of stuff. I don’t play any organized sports or anything.

strumphf: It’s interesting that you were in Switzerland for so long but didn’t pick up rock climbing or anything.

recycle_garbage: Yeah, I’m a percussionist, so I did rock climbing when I was young, but it messes up your forearms, makes them super tense, and I need that flexibility to play. My first year of university, when I was like 18, I would go to the rock climbing gym with my friend and then like “let’s go practice” and I couldn’t play. My wrist — I felt like I couldn’t bend my wrist anymore. 

strumphf: Aaaah, that makes sense. 

recycle_garbage: I just did a quick pivot. I actually had the rock climbing shoes and everything. But it’s just too much stress on my forearms and wrists, so I couldn’t do that anymore. I do other stuff, but I’m careful. Even when I’m lifting weights I’m careful to lift correctly so that it doesn’t hurt my wrist. If I ever have any wrist pain I just stop. Because there’s a bunch of fine muscles in my wrist that I need to protect. They say a lot of musicians shouldn’t do that. As a percussionist it’s a little more chill, because I’m not using the fine muscles in my fingers, but if you’re a violinist you probably shouldn’t be doing that kind of stuff. So yeah that’s a bit career specific. If you’re a pianist or a violinist you’re not going to be lifting weights. Running or swimming. 

strumphf: Or cycling.

recycle_garbage: Cycling, yeah. Anything that’s more cardio, less muscle stress.

strumphf: Or ultimate frisbee. 

recycle_garbage: I’ve never seen ultimate frisbee before.

strumphf: Oh, you just run a lot.

recycle_garbage: Yeah, I know what it is. I’ve just never seen it before. But I’ve heard about it.

strumphf: It’s horrible. For me personally. Oh, I forgot to ask this. Do you watch other players’ matches? I assume not often.

recycle_garbage: Sometimes, yeah. I think one of the first ones I ever watched was last year’s Championship match. When I first got into the community a little bit, I watched that match with nasmith. And I’ve watched some League matches, a little bit. But I feel like I don’t have the attention span, maybe. Can’t focus for that long. It’s too easy on my computer to just tab out. I kind of feel like if I’m watching I want to be actively involved, either speaking in the chat or talking, and at the beginning I didn’t know anyone, and no one knew me obviously, so that’s just normal. So just taking my baby steps to be comfortable. I’m not one to be just going and talking to people I don’t know. I prefer to be comfortable first and then I’ll speak a bit. And I like to be actively involved. So just passively watching is not my thing. Maybe commentating would be really fun.

strumphf: Please do! That would be so helpful.

recycle_garbage: I can commentate your match.

strumphf: That would be so cool. Go get that role.

recycle_garbage: Yeah, that sounds fun. And I know you, so it’s fine. That’s totally fun.

strumphf: Well I mean maybe not my matches. 

recycle_garbage: One of the most helpful things was when SamE commentated my match. He gave me some really good comments and calculated all the moments I could have piled out and missed it and stuff like that. I was really impressed by that so I think having someone commentate is really good for learning. Of course everyone wants to learn, I think. So that’s really helpful.

strumphf: Probably. You can only commentate in emoji. 

recycle_garbage: Alright. Maybe using Egyptian font on Microsoft Word and emojis. Just ancient hieroglyphs like a cat or something. “Oh cool, I really could’ve done that better, Black Cat”.

strumphf: So you said you’re not as active on the Discord? Is that —

recycle_garbage: It’s not intentional.

strumphf: I mean, I guess it’s intentional, but is it intentional, now that you’re bringing it up?

recycle_garbage: I don’t hate people, I’m just getting comfortable. That’s it.

strumphf: *laughs* What are your three favorite Discord channels, if you have favorites.

recycle_garbage: I don’t browse enough. I’m not a big forum browser person. I looked at the #videos one, I check that one for cool videos. #results, maybe? There’s also the Canadian Discord server, that’s pretty fun. There’s one where you can complain. That I thought was pretty funny. 

strumphf: Who else is there? I think I have a good grasp of the US players, but who else is Canadian? 

recycle_garbage: Lemonspawn, kaplane, xyrix, truffles? I can’t name everyone off the top of my head, but there’s a lot of them. fireonice maybe? I think a lot of them are expatriated like me, but yeah. Also interesting to me. Lot of Canadian ex-pats that are in the same age demographic. I don’t know if Dominion attracts a certain audience, but we have a lot of similarities for sure. 

strumphf: Yeah, well that’s definitely one thing I like about it. That it’s mostly people around my age, maybe five years younger or older and like people who have kids and stuff. I feel like that contributes a lot to the community being very nice and kind of civil. 

recycle_garbage: Totally, yeah. I was really impressed by how diverse it is. People are really nice. Also just there’s some things I was gonna say I just don’t understand on the server, to be honest. And taking the time to learn it, that’s on me. So there’s like a music thing, and like a thunderdominion, I just don’t know what that is, so I never even bothered to like …

strumphf: And there’s six music channels!

recycle_garbage: Yeah, I saw that. It’s like voting and stuff? 

strumphf: Yeah, I don’t get that either. 

recycle_garbage: It’s cool, it’s really cool. I just don’t know how to do it. Maybe someday when I take the time. Like I said, I’m not that big into using forums. And like Discord I’ve never really used.

strumphf: Yeah, same, it’s pretty overwhelming, I have to say. But I have my axe to grind that there’s six music channels but not one books channel. I’m trying to manifest that.

recycle_garbage: That’s actually a really good idea.

strumphf: I think we need to wrap up now, because you have your schedule to keep. But if you…

recycle_garbage: I have ten more minutes, if you want.

strumphf: Oh, nice. I wanted to know if you have anyone you would be interested in hearing an interview with. 

recycle_garbage: Ah yeah. I think anyone who makes the videos — really anyone obviously. That you’re doing the podcast is I think really cool. I’m really happy with it. It’s super nice. 

strumphf: Awww, thank you.

recycle_garbage: For me it adds a lot to the community, not that I know much about that. But I think it’s super nice to have different facets of something. To have the videos and the podcast, and the forums. I think anyone, anyone who wants to talk obviously. I wrote down some people who make content, like the videos, that could be interesting. WanderingWinder, aku chi, seanahan… or in general, crabcat maybe. Someone who speaks and self-commentates and is happy to talk a lot. I’m just curious to learn about the people in the community so you’re not just a random Discord user, with or without a profile picture.

strumphf: Yeah, I’m trying to give it a little variety. Obviously I’m only starting the whole interview thing. But I’m also just very very curious about everyone, basically. And that’s why I love the commentary so much because I feel like getting to listen to people helps me getting to know them a little. Which makes it of course kind of nervous with people like you, who I haven’t heard before. Of course, I saw you communicating during your matches, so I had the feeling that you were very nice. And I have the feeling that so many people are so nice and so friendly and so generous. I very much enjoy the community and the banter. So, adding to the list.

recycle_garbage: Yeah, anyone in the community is a good choice. You pretty much can’t go wrong. So if someone wants to talk and they want to come on, that’s nice I guess. I’m sure you have a thousand people you could interview. You have a pretty big resource pool. 

strumphf: I do.

recycle_garbage: I also played against gamesou once, I was going to say, too. So it was nice to hear him speak a bit. Like, he was super friendly too when I talked to him in French. I’m not going to ask questions if they don’t want to answer or don’t want to talk, if they want to be focused. But yeah, if someone wants to talk, I always like to ask “oh, where are you from?” and “what language do you want to speak”, just to be nice. It’s just nice to know there’s a human being behind the computer, that you’re not playing a program. So yeah, there’s a human aspect to it that I really like. You’re not playing a robot. And of course if you’re going to get mad, it’s a human being, so there’s not really any reason to … Like I mean in ladder people get mad sometimes. It’s just … it’s a human being you’re talking to, not a robot. Sometimes the anonymity, it can be a good thing, and also it can… yeah. There’s good and bad sides to both, but I like to have the human aspect a lot.

strumphf: Yeah, totally. How many languages do you speak?

recycle_garbage: Just three.

strumphf: Psh, “just three” *laughs*

recycle_garbage: My German is super rusty now, so that’s why I said “just” maybe. I was teaching and working in Germany, and my Masterarbeit [thesis] was in German as well. I felt really good about that. 

strumphf: Wow!

recycle_garbage: Yep. When I did pedagogy. But now I’m in Brussels and just speaking French all the time and I feel like I’m maybe losing it a bit. Hearing a lot of Flemish, too. Getting distorted a bit. But it comes back quickly, there’s some German speakers in Belgium. There’s also a small German community as well.

strumphf: Yeah, I saw that German is actually one of the national languages of Belgium, because of course you have 3.

recycle_garbage: Yeah, next to Aachen there’s a part that’s German-speaking. Like, native German-speaking Belgians. I’m guessing it’s very small. But it is interesting. I was thinking about going on Facebook for Deutsche in Brüssel and maybe there find some people and maybe I can do some teaching again. Yeah, some drum teaching in German, just to get back in practice.

strumphf: Well, if you ever get to commentate one of my matches, I ask you to do it in German.

recycle_garbage: Okay, fine. *both laugh* It’s gonna be awful, but I can try. I used to play the game… for two years I used to have Dominion in German too, I switched it back to English, but yeah. I had the platform in German for me, and didn’t know the English names for any of this stuff. I was like “what, what is this”. I also find it funny sometimes becauses some of the cards are different languages and it’s funny to see how each person pronounces them. Not to make fun of them, just to figure out how each person interprets the name. 

strumphf: Totally, yeah. I only recently made the switch to the English names, just for the self-commentary. It is similar for most cards, but then some cards are just strange. 

recycle_garbage: Yeah, that’s what translation is; it’s half art, also, so… It’s like “ah, I know the picture, but I don’t know what the card is called”, just staring at it. And then when you don’t know what a card does, you’ve used it for a year, but don’t know what it does, you’re like “ah, I have to read the text” and then “ah crap, it’s in English”. 

strumphf: Yeah, definitely. That’s one thing I learned: reading is very essential. It happens so often, like “what does that card actually do, why is it doing this” and then “okay, it says it on the card itself, it says it in the text”.

recycle_garbage: Like, normally, it doesn’t matter. And then once you’re like “ah, it really matters now”. And also some terms, I don’t know how deep you want to go, but some get oddly specific and you’re like, like for a reason too, so you don’t take advantage. Like there’s one card that would make it completely broken, so you have an oddly specific wording sometimes. That’s an interesting linguistic thing. Like “discard”… there’s different ways of discarding, or like “reveal”, “discard”, whatever, “peek”. 

strumphf: Yeah, “gain” and “buy”.

recycle_garbage: Yeah, just to avoid these terrible interactions. “Just peek at the card, oh cool”. Just flip the corner, so it’s not a reveal.

strumphf: Yeah, no, that’s right. I was just thinking, because I didn’t know you were actually from Canada, I would’ve adjusted my warm-up questions accordingly. Now you had to answer all those Belgium-related questions.

recycle_garbage: No, only one, it’s fine. I’m getting to know them. I think it’s good to know the country. But I kinda want to stay there for a while. There was one question you sent, your favorite card-shaped object. And I think I was gonna say if in 3 years, in 4 years, if I get my citizenship, it would be my ID card. That would be my favorite card-shaped object. But now I just have my temporary ID. Because I’ve been ex-patriated for six or seven years now, so I would be happy to have another citizenship one day. 

strumphf: So that’s the plan, to stay in Belgium?

recycle_garbage: Yeah, at least until I can get my citizenship. Because in Switzerland, I don’t know if you know, but it’s just impossible. It’s not part of Europe, and they just make the rules really difficult. Especially for musicians. You have to have a single income source, and musicians have many many different gigs. And it takes ten years, as opposed to most places in Europe it’s five years, to naturalize. It’s cool, I’d just be happy to have access to Europe more.

strumphf: Thank you so much, that was really fun! Thank you for being so candid with me. I’ll see if I can get the edit done today.

recycle_garbage: I did some interviews before and I was doing some work and I also did transcription and it takes such a long time. Lots of respect to terracubist.

strumphf: Yeah, totally. Especially with the first interview with Mic, which went on for so long. I had planned thirty minutes, and it went for over an hour. Much respect!

recycle_garbage: Thank you terracubist.

strumphf: Yes. Yeah, thank you again, and I hope you have a nice day at the beach now? Or no, you get to teach now, but after that I hope you have a nice afternoon/evening at the beach. 

recycle_garbage: Vamos a la playa!

strumphf: Yeah! 

recycle_garbage: Una cerveza por favor. Cool, thanks for having me. It was nice to meet you, and also maybe I can get to know everyone else in the community that’s listening! I’m happy to talk.

strumphf: Yeah, have a nice one! Bye!

recycle_garbage: Bye-bye!

About Dominion Blogger

This account posts work of various authors to the dominion strategy blog.
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