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Subject: The Chapel Deck rss

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Valerie Putman
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I initially created this post in response to a question in another thread but before I clicked "submit" I decided it fit better here in "Strategy".

Alan Kwan wrote:

Do people shrink their decks in this game by trashing their Estates? I guess few would do it.


*EDIT* Some people didn't like that there was a strategy article posted by one of the developers. So here it is with the "spoiler" feature on so that you can think twice about reading it. You really might have more fun discovering the strategies yourself.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Absolutely. And your coppers.

Let me describe my favorite deck...the Chapel Deck. (Chapel reads "trash up to 4 cards from your hand. When you Trash a card it goes to the Trash pile and it is no longer in your Deck. This is unlike Discarding a card--a Discarded card goes to your Discard pile and when you shuffle your Discard pile, it will be back in your Deck.)

Your starting deck has 10 cards--3 Estates (Victory cards worth 1 point) and 7 coppers (Treasure cards worth 1 coin). When you shuffle them and draw 5 cards (and then draw the other 5 for your second turn), you will get either 3 and 4 coins in your first two turns or 2 and 5 coins in your first two turns. Unless I draw 2/5 and there is a Market (+1 Card, +1 Action, +1 Coin, +1 Buy) or Laboratory (+1 Action, +2 Cards) in the set, then my first two buys are a Chapel and a Silver (Treasure card worth 2 coins). Yes, you might feel like I've "wasted" some money since those two cards costs 5 total and I started with 7--but you really need to buy what your deck needs and not feel pressured to buy something more expensive that would actually clog up *your* deck just because you have the coins.

I will now have to shuffle at the end of the 2nd turn. With 12 cards in my deck, I will draw the Chapel on turn 3, 4, or 5. When I do, I want to trash as much of my hand as I possibly can (the starting Estates and Coppers). Hopefully, I'll draw it with at least one or two of my Estates since they are completely useless to me at the beginning of the game (and will be replaced with far more valuable Victory cards soon enough)! I'm also hoping that I'll get really lucky and draw a hand with my one Silver and 4 Coppers--getting a Gold (Treasure card worth 3 coins) before the 2nd shuffle would get me off to a really fast start.

More likely (based on pure probabilities), I will spend turns 3, 4, and 5 buying 1 or 2 more silvers and trashing what I can. After the 2nd shuffle, I should have a high enough concentration of silvers to buy Golds. Once I have 3 Golds in the deck I can even start trashing the Silvers. My deck might end up being about 8 cards "big" for a moment....3 or 4 Golds, 2 or 3 Silvers, and my Chapel.

It won't be long before I have a hand with 2 Golds and a Silver (or 3 Golds even) and as soon as I get 8 coins in hand I'm buying the Province (the Victory card worth 6 points). My goal at this point is to buy a Province every turn and when I don't have 8, to buy a Gold to help keep the Treasure/Victory ratio in my deck high. If I don't have 6, I might not buy anything. Buying more Silvers dilutes my deck.

There are one or two other cards that I might buy if they are in the mix of 10 Kingdom Cards:

Cellar (+1 Action, Discard any number of cards, +1 Card per card discarded.) I wouldn't buy this until my deck starts getting clogged with Provinces. Then I might be able to salvage one or two Victory card laden hands by discarding them and drawing my Gold instead.

Adventurer (basically, keep drawing until you get 2 Treasure cards and discard the rest) This is another way to get past the Victory cards in my deck and get the coins I need into my hand.

Market is a "free" card (the +1 Action, +1 Card means that the card doesn't use up my Action or a spot in my hand) and the +1 Buy could set me up for the fantasy hand of all Dominion players--the double Province turn. If I draw 4 Golds and a Market for my hand, play the Market as my Action, and get lucky enough to draw a 5th Gold, then I now have 15 coins plus 1 coin from the Market. 16 coins and 2 Buys is (holla!) a 2 Province turn!!!

Laboratory is a "free" card that essentially increases my hand size to 6 cards--so a better chance at 8 coins, especially when the deck starts getting bogged down with Provinces.

There may be others, but you can play around and see for yourself how you like to tweak the basic idea of the Chapel deck.

There are a few cards that could end up in the set of 10 Kingdom cards that might make me hesitate about building a Chapel deck at all. Yup--this deck is mighty susceptible to the attack cards. Can you imagine a few hits from a Thief (basically, reveal the top 2 cards of your deck and if you reveal a Treasure it can be stolen).

In general, I like the Chapel deck because it's completely different than anything you build in the "Teaching" 10 Kingdom cards (which I have played A LOT). It can be fragile--either I can screw it up (like when I give in to temptation and buy stuff that doesn't belong in the deck) or the other players can screw it up (by playing Attack cards, for example). So like all of the other strategies in Dominion, you need to look at the 10 Kingdom cards before you make your first purchase and decide, "is this the best deck that I can make *this* game?"

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Brian Bankler
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I've only played Dominion once, but this type of deck would make me never come back. Once you've made the decision to do that, it sounds like you get to watch the cards come up and play them. Obviously you don't feel that way, or this wouldn't be your favorite, but I can't figure out why that is. I imagine there are decisions to be made later on, etc etc. I guess part of the appeal is seeing how efficient you can get the engine. Care to expand?
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Mark Crane
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I'm purposefully not reading this great looking strategy article very closely because it feels a bit too much like a movie spoiler writtten by the director!

I'm really looking forward to this game!
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Joe Casadonte
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I remember playing with Dave Fair at GCOM's Family Picnic, and I made some comment about wondering why the Chapel was in the "Big Money" deck. I can understand it in a deck with the Witch, to get rid of the Curses, but not in this other one. Then he sprung the Chapel strategy on my and totally clocked us with it. What an awesome strategy!

Took me a while to cotton to it, even seeing it in action. You have to be very disciplined, not being squeamish about trashing Treasure cards and VP cards, and not buying any junk just to buy something.
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David Fair
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Joe Casadonte wrote:
I remember playing with Dave Fair at GCOM's Family Picnic, and I made some comment about wondering why the Chapel was in the "Big Money" deck. I can understand it in a deck with the Witch, to get rid of the Curses, but not in this other one. Then he sprung the Chapel strategy on my and totally clocked us with it. What an awesome strategy!

I actually play my Chapel Deck differently than Valerie does, though I didn't know it until I read this article... Like Valerie, I like to get the Vhapel and ditch those starting cards ASAP, and start buying silvers, but then I diverge from her Gold-Centric strategy and I go for cards that let me draw more cards rather than going for Gold. I like to combine the Chapel with the Council Room, Laboratory, Smithy, etc... I find you don't need the Gold if you have enough draws so that when it comes time to buy, you have 4 (or more) silvers.

I guess Valerie and I need to face off in the Battle Of the Chapel Deck All-Stars.

PS. It was really fun to use a card that people were dissing to win the game, but I confess, it was not until I had the strategy explained to me by Valerie that i saw it's potential.
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Joe Casadonte
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Bankler wrote:
I've only played Dominion once, but this type of deck would make me never come back. Once you've made the decision to do that, it sounds like you get to watch the cards come up and play them. Obviously you don't feel that way, or this wouldn't be your favorite, but I can't figure out why that is. I imagine there are decisions to be made later on, etc etc. I guess part of the appeal is seeing how efficient you can get the engine. Care to expand?


It took me a few tries to really make this type of strategy work well. As with any strategy in this game, the devil is in the details. You can see the Chapel and say to yourself "Aha -- Chapel strategy!" but it really depends on what the other 9 cards are. Here are just a few that can make this strategy more difficult or less appealing:

* Bureaucrat - constantly sticking VP cards back onto the top of the deck is annoying at the best of times, but with a lean and mean deck like this one, it can be especially so. You'd need to figure out if there was another card (like the Cellar) to help get around the Bureaucrat, and then find the right balance of how many to have.

* Gardens - with the Gardens in play, you have to make sure to end the game as quickly as possible, before they can become too powerful; alternately, you could decide to dilute your deck by taking a few Gardens, in order to keep them away from your opponents.

* Thief - as Valerie mentions above, this can be a Chapel-deck killer.

You also have to take into account how the other people are playing. If they are doing the same strategy, how can you mess with their plans? How can you make yours come off even better? Or if they are playing a lot of attack cards, how can you counter their attacks? Or should you even bother?

Once you've figured all of that out for a specific set of 10 cards, try winning without using the Chapel. Try telling the other players how to use the Chapel, and win anyway without using it. Then when you've done all of those combinations, swap out one card -- it becomes a totally different game. Take out the Adventurer, throw in the Chancellor. Both are complementary to the Chapel strategy, but in different ways.

The possibilities are mind-boggling.
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Joe Casadonte
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BeyondMonopoly wrote:
I like to combine the Chapel with the Council Room, Laboratory, Smithy, etc...


I believe it was the Throne Room/Council Room that you pummeled us with. Wait, let me check the scars -- yeah, definitely the Throne Room/Council Room combo.

While the final implementation diverges, the basic principal remains the same: make your starting hand useless as quickly as possible and then get rid of it as quickly as possible.

I've done the same thing with the Remodel card. I remember a game where I bought nothing but Treasures, VPs and a single Remodel, just to prove to my opponents that less was more. I had double their scores (or nearly so -- it was a blowout).
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B C Z
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Something that would be useful, since many of us do not know what certain cards do, is a rundown of the cards and their abiilities.

It's difficult to know how 'Council Room' affects the 'Chapel Strategy' without knowing what a 'Council Room' is.
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Tom McGreevy
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What does remodel do?
 
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David desJardins
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While we're waiting for the rules to be published, could someone please publish the rules?
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Mark Crane
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BigMacRepair wrote:
What does remodel do?


The remodel card drains your bank account but mitigates the effects of the Unhappy Wife card, albeit only temporarily.
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Donald X.
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I am okay with a list of what all the cards do being posted, but I don't know if the other guys are, so I'm not coughing it up yet. I didn't even consider putting such a thing in the rulebook. You've got the cards right there, right? I didn't realize people would be reading the rules without having the cards available.

There is actually a different way to start in on a Chapel strategy, even with the 3-4 opening, other than Chapel/Silver. Also there's a much different kind of Chapel deck you can build, that hasn't been mentioned. It's not something you see right away. I mean you don't see the Chapel strategy at all right away, and then you see it but don't see this. Anyway the kind of person who reads internet forums will know all about that stuff before they get the box open, so there's no point keeping it a secret really, but at the same time the game isn't even out yet, so I'll just leave this as an exercise for the reader for now.
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Dave Eisen
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DaviddesJ wrote:
While we're waiting for the rules to be published, could someone please publish the rules?


The rules are posted on Rio Grande's site.

http://www.riograndegames.com/uploads/Game/Game_278_gameRule...
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donaldx wrote:
I am okay with a list of what all the cards do being posted, but I don't know if the other guys are, so I'm not coughing it up yet. I didn't even consider putting such a thing in the rulebook. You've got the cards right there, right? I didn't realize people would be reading the rules without having the cards available.


I play with a few groups that only get to meet once a month (or less frequently, like annually). It's common for us to point to online rules here on the geek or at a publisher's site in order to familiarize ourselves with the game prior to playing, since the venues can be a bit noisy and teaching rules can be difficult. We have learners of all types, and some simply refuse to play a game if they have not read the rules themselves. Others are happy with a verbal explanation and a quick sample hand.

The rules DO have card images in them, but they're so pixelated (probably from image compression in the PDF) that you simply cannot read them beyone the title. You can discern from the clarification what the jist of the cards are, but specifics are obscured like the face of Geraldo Rivera's anonymous tipper. I'm sure to someone with the actual card in hand it makes sense, but not to someone trying to scrye into the future.

The few card spoilers posted so far have been great in terms of seeing what the cards actually look like and do. With only 3-4 of them explained, it's still tough to get a feel for how things operate in a real game.
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David desJardins
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donaldx wrote:
You've got the cards right there, right? I didn't realize people would be reading the rules without having the cards available.


I find it extremely helpful to have the card text right there in the rules. And it would be easy to do in this game. I guess it's too late now?
 
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Donald X.
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DaviddesJ wrote:
I find it extremely helpful to have the card text right there in the rules. And it would be easy to do in this game. I guess it's too late now?

Yeah the rules can't be changed at this point. There was some talk of the uh "playerboard" that sits in the box between the plastic and cardboard ("playerboard" describes the type of material and not its use in the game - there are no player boards), having a list of what all the cards do, or shrunken images but not so shrunken that you can't read them. I don't know if there even is a "playerboard" thing there now, or what's on it, but I don't think there's a chance of changing that either.

However if you have the game in front of you, you can just flip through the placeholder deck, which is an extra copy of each card. And I'm sure when the time comes we can have a card list up at RGG and here. And we can consider having card texts in the rules for expansions.
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Mark Crane
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I'm sure someone will post the card text as a supplemental file as soon as the game is out.
 
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craniac wrote:
I'm sure someone will post the card text as a supplemental file as soon as the game is out.

Hopefully yes - it will facilitate letting people 'see' the game before coming to a time-limited event.

 
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Jeff Jones
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Did anyone else who hasn't played Dominion yet wonder why MWChapel would get his own deck?
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Kevin Warrender
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Quote:
And we can consider having card texts in the rules for expansions.



Expansions, eh? Already in the works or just ideas for the future?
 
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David Fair
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ninja
 
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Mik Svellov
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jerkules wrote:
Expansions, eh? Already in the works or just ideas for the future?

The designer has previously stated:
donaldx wrote:
And if there are any expansions - and I've got several waiting for if they want them -

So there are certainly ideas for the future!
As to whether the publishers will actually make any of them will probably depend on how well the base game will sell.
 
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Joe Casadonte wrote:
You can see the Chapel and say to yourself "Aha -- Chapel strategy!"


I will always be using the Chapel strategy. devil
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Dan Becker
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MWChapel wrote:
Joe Casadonte wrote:
You can see the Chapel and say to yourself "Aha -- Chapel strategy!"


I will always be using the Chapel strategy. devil


A.K.A. the Chapel Cheat?
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Donald X.
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jerkules wrote:
Expansions, eh? Already in the works or just ideas for the future?

I had 5 expansions "done" before I even showed the game to Jay. We don't know what the level of interest is yet and I can't speak for Jay, but if people want expansions I expect they will get them. We are currently finishing up with playtesting the first expansion, which I believe Valerie & Dale showed off some at Gulf Games, if not other places.

It turns out we will not be releasing a complete list of the main set card abilities prior to the game's release. So those of you who are looking for that are just gonna have to wait a month there.
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