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Episode 21: Important Splits

I know there are audio issues (saturation) with this episode. We have a new microphone and I'm still working out some of the kinks. Thanks for your patience!

In this episode, Adam and Jake discuss how to identify and play around important splits in Dominion.

Kingdom at the end: Apothecary, Encampment/Plunder, Masquerade, Night Watchman, Necromancer, Highway, Trading Post, Farmland, Goons, Grand Market, Seaway, Wall

Fool's Gold is a pretty interesting case IMO.  I think when you first encounter it, it seems like an important split that you want to rush.  On the other hand, often it's not important to actually win the split, because the player with 7 Fool's golds might have a really clogged deck, while the player with 3 might be able to draw them consistently.  And rarely do I worry about an opponent getting all 10 Fool's Golds.

Oh, and Hamlet is another interesting case, because it often offers the opportunity to deny the pile to your opponent.  If you get a little head start on Hamlets, you can use them for +Buy and crush the split.  On the other hand, this doesn't seem that great for your own deck.  (Squire also deserves a shoutout as the other $2-cost village that provides +Buy, but denying Squires to your opponent is not a thing I see come up.)

For the kingdom at the end, I think Apothecaries are really good.  It cycles your deck so you can play your Masquerade more often, and collide your Highways quite quickly after buying them.  It provides early game economy, which is really important to get the first Highway and Seaway.  My experience with Highway/Seaway is that after you get a few of them together, you just run away with the game.

So I would open Potion/Masquerade, and get nothing but Apothecaries, Highways, and Encampments from that point.  You might pick up a Gold and a Goons but I'm not sure they're that important.  I don't think anything else in the kingdom matters, not even Wall.

Although... I just noticed there's a Goons followed by Masquerade thing.  It would be hard to do consistently, but it might just stop the Highway deck in its tracks.  You should try it.

Another great episode - although feel free to take that with a pinch of salt as I even enjoyed your April fools episode 😀

Thanks for featuring my Harambe fan card as the youtube thumbnail guys <3 although I can't believe you didn't discuss the Harambe split - win that split 1-0 and you are unbeatable...

I just played a quick game against the Lord to see if that would inspire any insights - but as usual he just loves Apothecary and so allowed me to empty the Highway and Encamplunder piles before emptying provinces. Check out those splits!

Quote from trivialknot on April 25, 2018, 8:48 PM

And rarely do I worry about an opponent getting all 10 Fool's Golds.

Well this is definitely something I worry about, it's quite good if you don't have to just buy them one at a time for $7 each. There are other times that Fool's Gold is a great way to inject payload super-fast into a deck that is drawing a lot, and then the split matters a lot in some of those cases too.

 

So I would open Potion/Masquerade, and get nothing but Apothecaries, Highways, and Encampments from that point.  You might pick up a Gold and a Goons but I'm not sure they're that important.  I don't think anything else in the kingdom matters, not even Wall.

Although... I just noticed there's a Goons followed by Masquerade thing.  It would be hard to do consistently, but it might just stop the Highway deck in its tracks.  You should try it.

Yeah we should at least try both of these things. I imagine going for Apothecary here is just super-swingy. Sometimes I'm gonna get hands of $6P where my Apothecaries just miss all of the shuffles and be very sad, but then when it works it seems unbeatable.

 

Quote from kirbatious on April 26, 2018, 7:44 AM

Thanks for featuring my Harambe fan card as the youtube thumbnail guys <3 although I can't believe you didn't discuss the Harambe split - win that split 1-0 and you are unbeatable...

This is obviously a major oversight and will be addressed in depth immediately in the next bread. Apologies :'(

The other card that makes you think Estate pileout is Hunting Grounds, but shoutouts to Baron.

 

As I understand, the point of talking about splits is to figure out when you need to go out of your way, i.e. buy something you otherwise would not, because you're worried about not getting enough of the thing eventually.

 

I think that this is way overrated in general. When it does matter, it's usually for victory cards. Sometimes it comes up a little based on villages, but usually not much. Possibly the split piles change that a bit.

 

I think a lot of the examples don't really fit. The Grand Market pile is almost never split in this sense for instance. It's just a good card for your deck. Same with Wharf, Highway, etc. Like, when is it that you need to buy wharf because otherwise the split will go bad, rather than you need to buy wharf because it's the best card? It's usually just the best card. And I'll point out that in a lot of those cases, the player with more of the card is way advantaged, but I don't think this is causal. Basically, the player who wins the split usually has a better deck (and/or luck/1st player) anyway (i.e. they were already advantaged), and it's not really a strategic point to throttle the pile, it's more about just getting good cards.

 

 

As for the kingdom at the end, I think it's more or less about racing to get Seaway on Highway. Drawing significant portions of your deck is good, too. So Masquerade/Potion into thin as much as possible, Highway up is one thing. Or skip the potion might be better (maybe a second Masq there at some point? Open silver). Night Watchman I'm not sure I understand so well - it is a lot of cycling, but I'm not really sure that's worth it. Probably after one silver,  you just buy Encampment as a one shot. Getting a gold is way too slow.

The point, of course, also is that after the highways run, the Grand Market's are pretttty similar. And then you need to jockey around a pile ending. I'm not really a believer in Goons here, but... maybe? Probably you're just going to just do it with green cards though.

Quote from WanderingWinder on April 27, 2018, 10:20 AM

I think a lot of the examples don't really fit. The Grand Market pile is almost never split in this sense for instance. It's just a good card for your deck. Same with Wharf, Highway, etc. Like, when is it that you need to buy wharf because otherwise the split will go bad, rather than you need to buy wharf because it's the best card? It's usually just the best card. And I'll point out that in a lot of those cases, the player with more of the card is way advantaged, but I don't think this is causal. Basically, the player who wins the split usually has a better deck (and/or luck/1st player) anyway (i.e. they were already advantaged), and it's not really a strategic point to throttle the pile, it's more about just getting good cards.

 

So I agree with this, I assume that the caveats that were in the episode didn't convey the point enough, which is not the best thing. Sorry 🙁

Well, I'm trying to make another post, but it won't seem to post 🙁

EDIT: Here's the content of your post. I have no idea why it wouldn't work for you -- I had to try this a few times to get it to work for me...
-----
Quote from Adam Horton on April 30, 2018, 8:36 AM
Quote from WanderingWinder on April 27, 2018, 10:20 AM

I think a lot of the examples don't really fit. The Grand Market pile is almost never split in this sense for instance. It's just a good card for your deck. Same with Wharf, Highway, etc. Like, when is it that you need to buy wharf because otherwise the split will go bad, rather than you need to buy wharf because it's the best card? It's usually just the best card. And I'll point out that in a lot of those cases, the player with more of the card is way advantaged, but I don't think this is causal. Basically, the player who wins the split usually has a better deck (and/or luck/1st player) anyway (i.e. they were already advantaged), and it's not really a strategic point to throttle the pile, it's more about just getting good cards.

 

So I agree with this, I assume that the caveats that were in the episode didn't convey the point enough, which is not the best thing. Sorry

I mean, you did discuss this kind of thing, but I think you still fell prey to it - all the examples I listed were from the podcast....

 

I also think that there's something to be said for the related concept of a tipping point. Either:

  • I'm going to lose if I don't get to at least X of card Y
  • I'm going to lose if my opponent gets at least X of card Y, or
  • I'm going to lose if my opponent gets X more of card Y than me

This comes up sometimes - well, it comes up most games with like Province, but it comes up in some other corner cases, too. For instance, 7 Highways lets you upgrade anything into Province, which 6 doesn't, and the 8th doesn't really help with either. So 6 to 7 can be a tipping point there. That's an extreme example, but we're talking about big non-linearities here. And that's where this comes in:

 

Quote from Adam Horton on April 26, 2018, 11:33 AM
Quote from trivialknot on April 25, 2018, 8:48 PM

And rarely do I worry about an opponent getting all 10 Fool's Golds.

Well this is definitely something I worry about, it's quite good if you don't have to just buy them one at a time for $7 each. There are other times that Fool's Gold is a great way to inject payload super-fast into a deck that is drawing a lot, and then the split matters a lot in some of those cases too.

 

I basically disagree with this. I mean, sure a 10 FG deck can be powerful, but, in this kind of draw deck, the split being 6/4 vs 5/5 seems to me to matter very little. And if one player is barelling down FG vs the other building this kidn of draw deck with FG as payload, then 7-3 is a lot different than 9-1, but 10-0 vs 9-1 doesn't make much difference, and anyway it's not like gold is THAT much worse usually. But the point is that a 9 FG deck vs a 10 doesn't make a huge difference.

 

Anyway, my larger point is that even though you have caveats and disclaimers, I think the concept is still overrated, and I think that if people never worried about splits (except for, you know, like the province split sometimes), then they would generally play better than they currently do.

Thanks.

 

Also, important question: is a banana split a sandwich?

Quote from WanderingWinder on April 30, 2018, 11:51 AM

Thanks.

 

Also, important question: is a banana split a sandwich?

Sorry I haven't read the post yet. I've been busy this morning and I'll get back to it.

But I'll answer this important question now because this absolutely can't wait.

Banana Split is only a sandwich if the card we're talking about is ice cream themed. If you've been paying close attention to the thumbnails for each episode, this may actually be closer than you think...

So I addressed this in the bread of the next episode. The point I wanted to get across is what should be thought about and when, and some of the language I tried to use to convey that came across as implying that some of these splits were important when I really just wanted to say that you should think about whether or not the splits are important, and here are some tools to guide that thinking.