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Episode 28: Native Village

In this episode, Adam and Jake discuss Native Village from Seaside.

Kingdom at the end: Apothecary, Native Village, Market Square, Village, Herald, Worker's Village, Bazaar, Cobbler, Stables, Wild Hunt

Discord link: https://discord.gg/urz6Mej

I'm pretty sure I've lost a bunch of games with Native Village, because I just bought them pointlessly because I had $2 and thought a village would be nice.  I hope I'm a better player now.

I've never played with Apothecary/Native Village, because Alchemy is on our ban list, so I don't have an intuition for how fast that is.  But that's a 1 province strategy, right?  Instead of getting a province, you could get 2 Wild Hunts, which makes you more reliable, and gets you 2 VP per turn.  You make up your loss in 3 turns, which is time you'll certainly have in a single province game.  Plus the estates are easier to mat than Provinces, since you gain them midturn.  I don't know if you go all the way, but surely at least 3.  You don't want to be the player with just one Wild Hunt, pretty much giving your opponent a VP every turn.

Cobbler is good here, I might even get two.  Although... too many Heralds could be a dangerous thing when you're trying to play Native Villages for pseudotrashing.

I think I'm lower on Native Village as thinning than you are - just seems to me like it's a lot of hoops for a trasher with power level on order of Trade Route, though perhaps the bigger issues is that it usually doesn't work until you're drawing your deck anyway - but I think you basically covered all the salient points.

 

I'm not entirely sure about the drawing being better than NV Mat megaturn thing. I think it depends on the quality of the draw? If you have decent to good thinning and decent to good draw, that's going to be preferrable. But with no thinning, say, things start to become less clear. And of course, NV eventually will provide you a bunch of actions, which definitely makes a difference if the payload is terminal. So, I'm pretty sure NV-Bridge is better than Village-Smithy-Bridge, but worse than Village-Smithy-Bridge-Chapel? Anyway, that's probably all a bit narrow, since I'm not sure how many cards besides Bridge exactly is it relevant for. I guess that's kind of similar to the first paragraph above, where it's super relevant for Apothecary exactly and has some fringe cases otherwise.

 

I think it's role as a village is getting cut ever so slightly short here. I mean, yes, you are right, it's not very good as a village. But sometimes a Necropolis is good enough, and this is definitely better than that. And there's some synergy there with draw-to-X; NV+NV+Jack+NV draws more cards than Village+Village+Jack+Village. Ok, it's not like you're building some huge draw-your-deck thing that way, but if there's good thinning and terminals... Basically, it will almost always be the worst Village on the board for drawing your deck, but if it's the only village, then it will still often be good enough. (and ok, it still eclipses things like Squire or even Festival in terms of deck control).

 

Last thing I'll note about the card is that it's really the kind of card I like very much - not that strong in general, but has niche applications. So normally it sits there and does nothing, but occasionally it can be really good in unusual little ways.

Quote from trivialknot on June 12, 2018, 9:21 PM

I'm pretty sure I've lost a bunch of games with Native Village, because I just bought them pointlessly because I had $2 and thought a village would be nice.  I hope I'm a better player now.

I've never played with Apothecary/Native Village, because Alchemy is on our ban list, so I don't have an intuition for how fast that is.  But that's a 1 province strategy, right?  Instead of getting a province, you could get 2 Wild Hunts, which makes you more reliable, and gets you 2 VP per turn.  You make up your loss in 3 turns, which is time you'll certainly have in a single province game.  Plus the estates are easier to mat than Provinces, since you gain them midturn.  I don't know if you go all the way, but surely at least 3.  You don't want to be the player with just one Wild Hunt, pretty much giving your opponent a VP every turn.

Cobbler is good here, I might even get two.  Although... too many Heralds could be a dangerous thing when you're trying to play Native Villages for pseudotrashing.

If you're getting two Wild Hunts, then you could be getting Province+Apothecary. And I would dispute the claim that the Wild Hunts make you more reliable - they add an Estate to your deck every turn, as well as being cards that Apothecary can't draw, and it's not so trivial to actually get the draw from them, as you need to draw your Native Village, have the green card on top of your deck, all before you can play a Wild Hunt in hand.

There's also a subtler point - by getting the Wild Hunts, you're slowing down the end of the game by a turn. Depending on what your opponent is doing, that might be really bad. You're right that after 3 turns, you're making your points back, and every additional turn, you're up two points, but if your opponent is going for a strategy that can score more than two points a turn by the end of the game, then extending the game that long is net point difference negative for you.

 

On the other hand, having 1 Wild Hunt does seem worse than having 2, at least if you're going to play the card. Maybe there's some value in getting one to never play it, just to make your opponent take estates every turn, though I'm not sure if that is worth it in comparison to getting other things. But my gut would be to have 0 in such a deck.

Quote from trivialknot on June 12, 2018, 9:21 PM

Alchemy is on our ban list, so I don't have an intuition for how fast that is.  But that's a 1 province strategy, right?

Ouch, no Alchemy at all? I mean I understand it but there are a few cards that I think anyone would miss -- University, Alchemist, Apothecary, Vineyard, and Apprentice. That's almost half of the expansion, right?

Right?

So anyways yeah the idea of Apothecary/NV would be to end the game on Provinces before the opponent can get enough VP from Wild Hunt to overcome the Province lead. As I said on the podcast I don't think Wild Hunt is very good but I haven't tried it yet. We shall see...

 

Quote from WanderingWinder on June 13, 2018, 8:25 AM

I'm not entirely sure about the drawing being better than NV Mat megaturn thing. I think it depends on the quality of the draw?

And of course, NV eventually will provide you a bunch of actions, which definitely makes a difference if the payload is terminal.

Sure, I agree with the points here. I suppose if there's one thing I wish I had mentioned on the podcast it would be this -- NV's role as draw becomes a lot more relevant when your terminal space is tight.

 

Last thing I'll note about the card is that it's really the kind of card I like very much - not that strong in general, but has niche applications. So normally it sits there and does nothing, but occasionally it can be really good in unusual little ways.

Kinda fits into that "wonky deck control" style of card that was mentioned a few episodes ago. Playing your turn around a card that isn't great, but we're going to make great this game, is a fresh experience that I like. Also, the only other card in the game that gives anything close to the pseudo-thinning effect is Island, which is harder to make work and feels a lot less elegant.

Kingdom at the end, I see 3 possible decks:

  • Potion/Market Square into 1 NV, 1 MS, as many apothecaries as possible, 1 potion, 10 coppers, buy a province (and apo) every turn, keep it clean with NV. Maybe 1 Silver+8 coppers is better than 10 coppers. I don't think I like Herald here, it's pretty bad if it hits NV, it can't be drawn by Apo, and I don't think you'll be action-dense enough to reveal 2 actions very often, especially in a way that matters.
  • A deck that's trying to play infinity Wild Hunts. I'm not sure the best way to get this off the ground; my gut is that you want to have $10 eventually, it seems you want to have lots of Heralds, and so not many non-actions. I guess you can maybe try Apothecaries here, too, but I'm not convinced. My main concern about this deck is the lack of thinning. Eventually it will score a TON of points, but it seems like it would take forever. In particular, it seems to match up poorly against the first deck
  • Something more goodstuff-y. Basically, Stables seems like a good, or at least reasonable, card here, so we're looking for a deck for it. Note it doesn't work very well with Herald, but does work with Apothecary (though I'm not entirely sure you have the time for that). This deck would eschew Native Village tricks, but my worry is that it just doesn't pack enough oomph - if there were a good payload card, I'd be much more for it. Maybe all that comes form this idea is that you get a stables or two in the top deck, depending on how the draws go.

You know, I hadn't considered the dangers of accidentally playing NV with Herald in that deck.

I didn't give much thought to Herald at all, just because it's not the main enabler here, but I probably would have bought one, thinking it would be good for the deck because of Apothecary. That synergy is probably a bit of a trap here which is worth some experimentation and a mention!

If Herald does turn out to be bad, then I think that makes Cobbler bad too, as I'm not sure what else I'd want to be gaining to improve my turn or my deck.

As far as Native Village as a Village goes, yeah I agree, you do sometimes buy it for that, what I meant to get across is that you probably wouldn't in situations when you wouldn't buy a Necropolis.

Quote from Adam Horton on June 13, 2018, 9:42 AM
Quote from trivialknot on June 12, 2018, 9:21 PM

Alchemy is on our ban list, so I don't have an intuition for how fast that is.  But that's a 1 province strategy, right?

Ouch, no Alchemy at all? I mean I understand it but there are a few cards that I think anyone would miss -- University, Alchemist, Apothecary, Vineyard, and Apprentice. That's almost half of the expansion, right?

Yeah, Alchemy... There are some cards that are very dominating, play very slowly IRL, and especially frustrating whenever there's a difference in player skill.  Apothecary is absolutely one of the offenders.  Then there are the other cards that everyone agrees aren't so hot.  We don't have enough space in our box, and it's more convenient for our randomization method to leave out the whole set than to pick and choose the few we like (such as Vineyard).

Quote from WanderingWinder on June 13, 2018, 8:36 AM

If you're getting two Wild Hunts, then you could be getting Province+Apothecary. And I would dispute the claim that the Wild Hunts make you more reliable - they add an Estate to your deck every turn, as well as being cards that Apothecary can't draw, and it's not so trivial to actually get the draw from them, as you need to draw your Native Village, have the green card on top of your deck, all before you can play a Wild Hunt in hand.

There's also a subtler point - by getting the Wild Hunts, you're slowing down the end of the game by a turn. Depending on what your opponent is doing, that might be really bad. You're right that after 3 turns, you're making your points back, and every additional turn, you're up two points, but if your opponent is going for a strategy that can score more than two points a turn by the end of the game, then extending the game that long is net point difference negative for you.

You probably shouldn't be using Native Village as your main village, there are three other better villages in the set.  As I mentioned, you don't add estates to your deck every turn--rather, you immediately mat the estate.  If you buy a province every turn, there's no guarantee that you can mat it, since you might draw it before you have the chance.  Granted, now that I think about it, Apothecary/Native Village deck doesn't need +Action at all, since Wild Hunt is the only terminal.  Maybe that deck is quicker than I give it credit for, since it needs very few components.

Prolonging the game is clearly better for the Wild Hunt player, since they are getting more points per turn at the end (estate + VP + Province).

Quote from WanderingWinder on June 13, 2018, 8:36 AM

If you're getting two Wild Hunts, then you could be getting Province+Apothecary. And I would dispute the claim that the Wild Hunts make you more reliable - they add an Estate to your deck every turn, as well as being cards that Apothecary can't draw, and it's not so trivial to actually get the draw from them, as you need to draw your Native Village, have the green card on top of your deck, all before you can play a Wild Hunt in hand.

There's also a subtler point - by getting the Wild Hunts, you're slowing down the end of the game by a turn. Depending on what your opponent is doing, that might be really bad. You're right that after 3 turns, you're making your points back, and every additional turn, you're up two points, but if your opponent is going for a strategy that can score more than two points a turn by the end of the game, then extending the game that long is net point difference negative for you.

You probably shouldn't be using Native Village as your main village, there are three other better villages in the set.  As I mentioned, you don't add estates to your deck every turn--rather, you immediately mat the estate.  If you buy a province every turn, there's no guarantee that you can mat it, since you might draw it before you have the chance.  Granted, now that I think about it, Apothecary/Native Village deck doesn't need +Action at all, since Wild Hunt is the only terminal.  Maybe that deck is quicker than I give it credit for, since it needs very few components.

Prolonging the game is clearly better for the Wild Hunt player, since they are getting more points per turn at the end (estate + VP + Province).

Ah ok. I think the deck would otherwise not be getting villages (other than Native, which you aren't really using as a village). That means that not only are you adding Wild Hunt to the deck now, but also villages. All of these make the Apothecary worse in addition to eating up buys you could be spending on other stuff.

Immediately matting the estate is fine and all, but it means you are never matting the Province, so you're adding a green card to your effective deck either way.... It is true that you can't mat the Province every time, but in effect, you're usually ending up with a couple 1-2 green cards in your deck at basically all times (if they would pile up more, it starts to become increasingly likely you can mat at least one of them).

Prolonging the game is clearly better for the Wild Hunt player, I 100% agree of course. But I'm envisaging playing this deck against a heavy Wild Hunt player, whereas you seem to be talking about the 'mirror' of against another Apo/NV player (which I've only now just realized). I think in the mirror you have to do something more, because there aren't enough Apothecaries to get your deck all that consistent/good. Maybe going heavy on Wild Hunt is the answer there - I think if you're getting 2, you probably might as well get more? - or maybe it's something like Stables, I'm not sure. Both seem plausible to me.

 

In general, I worry about playing different strategies first, and making sure I'm winning all of those. Then and only then do I stop to consider how to optimize for the mirror.

As you mentioned in the podcast, the draw element of NV is n/(n+1), so it works best if you can play lots of them every turn and just pick up the last time. I think it's hard to overstate how strong it can be to have a lot of NVs in a draw-to-X deck. I played a game yesterday with NV, Library and Merchant Guild, and I was amazed how well it played. The extra buys from the Merchant Guilds let me pick up NVs very quickly, while my opponent ignored NV and bought Mining Villages instead. The extra cost of MV over NV meant he couldn't accumulate them as quickly, but even ignoring the price differential I just think NV is a better card in this deck as you can play a load of NVs and Merchant Guilds, draw back up with your Libraries and then at the end of the turn play your last NV to pick up everything off the mat and play any remaining Merchant Guilds and Treasures. Admittedly Merchant Guild is an especially strong synergy here because it's terminal and disappearing and has +Buy, but generally I think when playing draw-to-X it's often right to use NV as your preferred source of +Actions.

Quote from arflutter on June 15, 2018, 7:44 AM

I think it's hard to overstate how strong it can be to have a lot of NVs in a draw-to-X deck.

[...] even ignoring the price differential I just think NV is a better card in this deck

[...] but generally I think when playing draw-to-X it's often right to use NV as your preferred source of +Actions.

Looks like you were up to the challenge, I think you've overstated it!

There's an episode from the WW chronicles about draw-to-X decks, so I'll link that here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sLQbcq6sKkM&index=5&list=PLHV1uVDYN5Y-GdpEvGuOnPc5izktvYPH7

This came up in the episode, and my opinion is going to be that a village that gives you +1 Card is going to be a better card for any draw-to-X deck than one that doesn't. Granted, it's not a huge difference, but it's definitely better to draw that card earlier in your turn rather than later.

I suppose it's possible to always mat your stop cards, then at the end of the turn you put them all in hand and that's great! But it's just as likely for you to mat a component you need to play earlier on (like another village) and have your turn get rekt as a result. On top of that the deck probably has a lot of consistency issues (as most DtX decks tend to do) so even though these "disappearing" villages have synergy with DtX, they do hurt the consistency of those decks which is a mark against them.

Quote from Adam Horton on June 15, 2018, 8:13 AM
Quote from arflutter on June 15, 2018, 7:44 AM

I think it's hard to overstate how strong it can be to have a lot of NVs in a draw-to-X deck.

[...] even ignoring the price differential I just think NV is a better card in this deck

[...] but generally I think when playing draw-to-X it's often right to use NV as your preferred source of +Actions.

Looks like you were up to the challenge, I think you've overstated it!

There's an episode from the WW chronicles about draw-to-X decks, so I'll link that here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sLQbcq6sKkM&index=5&list=PLHV1uVDYN5Y-GdpEvGuOnPc5izktvYPH7

This came up in the episode, and my opinion is going to be that a village that gives you +1 Card is going to be a better card for any draw-to-X deck than one that doesn't. Granted, it's not a huge difference, but it's definitely better to draw that card earlier in your turn rather than later.

I suppose it's possible to always mat your stop cards, then at the end of the turn you put them all in hand and that's great! But it's just as likely for you to mat a component you need to play earlier on (like another village) and have your turn get rekt as a result. On top of that the deck probably has a lot of consistency issues (as most DtX decks tend to do) so even though these "disappearing" villages have synergy with DtX, they do hurt the consistency of those decks which is a mark against them.

In general, 'drawing' villages (i.e. ones that have at least +1 card) are going to be better than 'non-drawing' villages in draw-to-X, since you aren't actually up more cards by non-drawing (it's even), and the draw bit helps you find your drawing cards earlier, huzzah.

Native Village is different, because you can mat mat mat mat mat, draw-to-x, pick-up, so in the worst case, you are drawing an equal number of cards, and any time you've matted 2+ before drawing and then picking up, you're actually up cards. So it's better. On the other hand, it still has the problem that you have to find the actual draw cards, and NV being used this way does not much help you do that - if you have to pick up before draw-to-X, you aren't drawing more, and while you aren't drawing less per se, there's still that increased chance of missing your drawer.

So I think NV can be better than a normal village in these situations, but mostly the benefits aren't going to outweigh the downsides unless your trashing is somehow quite a large proportion of your deck (maybe 25-35%?), while also having a lot of NVs and payload cards - in practice, this doesn't come up very often.

 

 

In conclusion, I agree with you that he's overstating how good it is, probably because it looks really good in the good cases, and you don't necessarily notice so much when it's less good. But on the other hand, with NV in particular, I don't think it's significantly worse than a "drawing" village in most cases with draw-to-X, though I will grant you this is an 'on average' thing, as it definitely will be higher variance.

(as a parenthetical, I think people, and especially good players, too often read inconsistent and/or high variance to be bad things, even when they aren't objectively bad).

Quote from WanderingWinder on June 15, 2018, 8:38 AM
Quote from Adam Horton on June 15, 2018, 8:13 AM
Quote from arflutter on June 15, 2018, 7:44 AM

I think it's hard to overstate how strong it can be to have a lot of NVs in a draw-to-X deck.

[...] even ignoring the price differential I just think NV is a better card in this deck

[...] but generally I think when playing draw-to-X it's often right to use NV as your preferred source of +Actions.

Looks like you were up to the challenge, I think you've overstated it!

There's an episode from the WW chronicles about draw-to-X decks, so I'll link that here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sLQbcq6sKkM&index=5&list=PLHV1uVDYN5Y-GdpEvGuOnPc5izktvYPH7

This came up in the episode, and my opinion is going to be that a village that gives you +1 Card is going to be a better card for any draw-to-X deck than one that doesn't. Granted, it's not a huge difference, but it's definitely better to draw that card earlier in your turn rather than later.

I suppose it's possible to always mat your stop cards, then at the end of the turn you put them all in hand and that's great! But it's just as likely for you to mat a component you need to play earlier on (like another village) and have your turn get rekt as a result. On top of that the deck probably has a lot of consistency issues (as most DtX decks tend to do) so even though these "disappearing" villages have synergy with DtX, they do hurt the consistency of those decks which is a mark against them.

In general, 'drawing' villages (i.e. ones that have at least +1 card) are going to be better than 'non-drawing' villages in draw-to-X, since you aren't actually up more cards by non-drawing (it's even), and the draw bit helps you find your drawing cards earlier, huzzah.

Native Village is different, because you can mat mat mat mat mat, draw-to-x, pick-up, so in the worst case, you are drawing an equal number of cards, and any time you've matted 2+ before drawing and then picking up, you're actually up cards. So it's better. On the other hand, it still has the problem that you have to find the actual draw cards, and NV being used this way does not much help you do that - if you have to pick up before draw-to-X, you aren't drawing more, and while you aren't drawing less per se, there's still that increased chance of missing your drawer.

So I think NV can be better than a normal village in these situations, but mostly the benefits aren't going to outweigh the downsides unless your trashing is somehow quite a large proportion of your deck (maybe 25-35%?), while also having a lot of NVs and payload cards - in practice, this doesn't come up very often.

 

 

In conclusion, I agree with you that he's overstating how good it is, probably because it looks really good in the good cases, and you don't necessarily notice so much when it's less good. But on the other hand, with NV in particular, I don't think it's significantly worse than a "drawing" village in most cases with draw-to-X, though I will grant you this is an 'on average' thing, as it definitely will be higher variance.

(as a parenthetical, I think people, and especially good players, too often read inconsistent and/or high variance to be bad things, even when they aren't objectively bad).

I should also note that neither of us mentioned a very relevant point of arflutter's post: NV only costs 2, meaning that since buys were plentiful, he could in some cases get 2 of them instead of 1 mining village. That's significant, and given the relatively smaller gap between their effectiveness with draw-to-X cards, 2 of them is going to be better than 1 4-cost village quite often, because 2 is a lot more than 1.

Actually that game had Butcher as well, so the lower cost of NV versus MV also meant I could Butcher my Estates into NV and save the coin tokens for buying more Libraries and Merchant Guilds, while my opponent was effectively playing Butcher like Remodel to gain Mining Villages. One time I even managed to draw my deck, Butcher something into a Library and then draw it on to my mat to pick up with a NV at the start of my next turn if I needed it.

I probably did overstate it a bit though. If Native Village and vanilla Village were both available and cost the same you'd probably prefer vanilla Village even in a draw-to-X deck because of the extra chance of finding your draw-to-X card. I guess in this particular game because my opponent didn't contest the NVs and they were so easy to gain with Butcher and the extra buys from Merchant Guild I found myself getting all 10, and that meant if I happened to have a turn without Library in my starting hand I could probably play two or three NVs and still have a chance to find one in time. The downside of not drawing a card directly into your hand applies only to the first NV you play in a turn, so when you've got 10 of them it doesn't feel so bad! Also if you have more of your NV and draw-to-X cards than you need to play in a turn then you always have a chance of being able to draw a card or two on to your mat at the end to set up your next turn. Even drawing a single random card on to the mat at the end of the turn means your first NV played next turn can be as good as vanilla Village if you need it to be, plus you get to see in advance what it's going to draw and have another option if you don't need the card(s) on the mat at the start of that turn.