Friday, March 5, 2010

2010 SWAG Dominion Tournament Recap

First of all, sorry that I haven't posted in a while. I'm going to be hosting a gaming tournament over the next 6 to 8 months and hope to chronicle the games here with session reports, etc, so look for new content fairly consistantly in the near future.

Our gaming group, the SouthWest Area Gamers (SWAG), has a decent number of members, but we have a hard time getting a lot of participation outside the core people to show up at events. The organizer and I recently began a series of tournaments to try to help drum up more interest. The following report is from our Dominion Tournament. The winner got a small trophy and the title of 2010 SWAG Dominion Champion.

We had two tables with each playing two games. The winner of each game got 7 points, 2nd place 5, and 3rd place 3. The top 4 finishers at the end of the two game qualifying round advanced to the single game championship.

Ofer, Laura, and I played at Table 1. I consider myself to be a pretty good player compared to the experience level of the rest of the players in our group (though not at all in the same league as the really experienced BSW players). Ofer has a decent amount of experience playing on BSW but hasn’t made it a point to study BGG strategy articles. Laura was at her first meetup and had never played.

Table 1 Game 1:

Cards were – Chapel, Chancellor, Moneylender, Throne Room, Militia, Market, Witch, Mine, Council Room, and Laboratory.

I started immediately with Chapel and a Silver and got rid of a bunch of my Estates and Coppers on my third round. Ofer expressed surprise at my ditching cards so early, and I knew then that I pretty much had the game won. He managed to give me a couple of Curses, but he didn’t run nearly enough Witches to seriously derail my strategy, especially since Laura didn’t add many, if any, Witches to her deck. I added a couple of Labs and Golds and was off to the races. Ofer used Militia more than anything else, but, with my small deck, all I needed was to draw one Lab to negate any deleterious effects. Final score: Me 37, Ofer 27, Laura 19.

Table 1 Game 2:

Cards were – Workshop, Remodel, Spy, Thief, Smithy, Throne Room, Feast, Gardens, Market, and Witch

I tend to prefer running efficient Lab or Chapel decks over the Gardens strategy, but, with only Market available and both Gardens and Workshop on the table, I pretty much had to go Gardens. Ofer let me buy 10 of the 12 Gardens (with Laura taking the other 2) and about 6 of the Workshops. I built my deck as large as possible with multiple buys from Market whenever possible and by using the Workshops extensively. By the time all the Gardens were gone, only about half the Provinces were purchased. I decided, at that point, to buy anything that had a short stack figuring that, since I was about maxed with points and my opponents could still get Provinces, ending the game sooner rather than later would be good. I finished with over 50 cards in my deck. Final score: Me 60, Ofer 50, Laura 38.

Jonathan, Michael, and Marc played at Table 2. I know that it was Jonathan’s first play and that Marc has some experience. I’m not sure how many times Michael had played.

Table 2 Games 1 and 2:

I wasn’t playing at this table, so I don’t know exactly what happened or the cards. I did get enough info, however, to give a brief overview.

In Game 1, Michael was able to develop an engine that allowed him to draw all his cards on just about every turn and ran away with the game. Final score: Michael 44, Jonathan 26, Marc 21.

I watched the end of Game 2, and it was the strangest Dominion match that I had seen. Apparently, all three players had gone Witch crazy the first part of the game and went through the entire stack of Curses. They spent the second part of the game mainly trying to get rid of the horrible purple cards via Chapel. Then came the weird part. They used Thieves to trash a bunch of the Golds (maybe fearing that they’d just be stolen back?). The game, obviously, then drug on as no one had a great deal of money. Jonathan in particular ended up with a very small deck with absolutely no treasure. Final score: Michael 48, Marc 28, Jonathan 6.

Marc and Jonathan ended up tying for fourth place with 8 points. Jonathan was then randomly chosen to sit at the final table with Michael, Ofer, and me.

Championship Table:

Cards were – Chapel, Cellar, Woodcutter, Feast, Bureaucrat, Militia, Smithy, Laboratory, Library, and Market.

Given a table with no Thief and both Chapel and Laboratory combined with my on preference for Chapel decks, the strategy choice was pretty much made for me. I opened with 4/3 and chose Chapel and a Silver. I thought that I was at a serious disadvantage, however, because Michael started with 5/2 Laboratory and Chapel. In retrospect, I’m not sure that this was the case. I think that having the Silver allowed me to Trash more Coppers early, which made up for my opponents early Lab buy.

What did kill me, however, is two early game Bureaucrat draws by Ofer. Ouch! He played the card exactly twice the entire game. Both times were early, and I had a Chapel and an Estate that I desperately wanted to get rid of each time. I think that I could have overcome those attacks, however, if not for a crucial mistake.

It was fairly early, and I had purchased 3 Silvers, a Gold, and one Laboratory. I got a draw that gave me all my Treasures, and I thought “No brainer. When you get 8, you buy a Province.” I’m almost positive that not picking up a second Lab here cost me the games. Though I was able to get another Province relatively quickly after that, my deck started to bog down, and I only ended up getting one more before the game ended.

Lesson learned – establish your engine before buying Provinces! Final score: Ofer 24, Jonathan 21, Me 20, Michael 18.

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