Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Endgame Dive #1

Game Log

Not a ton to talk about here. The basic strategy is to go for thinning your deck into a Grand Market-based engine to power through the endgame. I prefer using Lookout into Junk Dealer (depending a bit on draws), whereas my opponent aims for pure Junk Dealer. I still like my plan overall, but I doubt it makes a big difference.

Anyway, what gets interesting here is the endgame. Between his turn 14 and mine, our decks look like this:

...where one of my Merchant Ships is in play. Given that I can't profitably play Junk Dealer, I have exactly $24 in my deck. If I'm unable to draw the deck without Apprenticing a Silver, I'll be down to $22, at which point I can double Province and Duchy, and hope to do the same the next turn. My opponent's optimal turn can net him a free Province gain off Graverobber with $17 left over. In this case, I would have a decent chance of double Province + Duchy the next turn, and, as we're assuming I don't have a good hand here, basically a sure thing that I can at least Double Province and (double) Estate, which puts me in pretty good shape, as Triple Province lets me Double to win, which is close to assured, so he would have to go for double Province + Duchy + Estate(s), which leaves his deck somewhat crippled - it's important to note that he is running out of fuel for his Apprentice and Graverobber in order to get this to work.

The better news, though, is that I'm actually a favourite (about 60%) to connect an Apprentice with either the other Apprentice or (ideally) the Junk Dealer, at which point I can triple Province and take a big lead. I could be in pretty bad shape if I miss my Apprentice entirely this turn (though even then, hitting enough GMs and getting MS in play is okay at least), but this is fairly unlikely.

As it turns out, I did hit the optimal Apprentice -> Junk Dealer. My opponent does have his ideal hand in response, and gets a Province and three Duchies. It may seem at first as though this is a mistake, but I don't think it is. The problem is, I need to not be able to double Province for him to have a chance. If I draw an Apprentice at all, it's just over (this is what happens, and I chop a Province). I'm 73% to do that. On top of this, in a pretty substantial portion of the 27%, I am going to be able to double Province anyway, as what I've drawn will largely have been economy. But his alternatives aren't great: if I am able to connect Apprentice with Province, I am going to win anyway. And in any other case I am double Provincing, I'm going to be taking a near-insurmountable lead anyway. So it seems he has to take a risk. The only other question, then, is whether to go greedier, and take another Province, giving himself a better chance of finishing the game off the next turn. But this really seems too greedy, as I ned to have a hand of exactly all 3 Provinces, no Grand Markets, and no Apprentice, or I would be able to get the last Province and just win.

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