Dominion: Il Barone Rampante

Jan 18 2011

The Baron

I play board games over lunch at work most Tuesdays, and Dominion is a frequent choice. (Well, I suppose technically it’s a card game instead of a board game, but you know what I mean.) When I first started playing the game, I loved to chain together strings of action cards, but recently I’ve been buying treasure cards more.

Last week’s game was a whole different experience, though. It was a two-player Intrigue-only game; I had a 3-4 opening, so I bought a Silver and a Baron, on the theory that the latter was particularly valuable at the start of the game when most hands would naturally contain an Estate. And boy howdy was it ever valuable – if I’m remembering correctly, my very next hand consisted of a Silver, two Bronzes, an Estate, and a Baron, which got me a Province right off the bat. And for several subsequent hands, while I didn’t end up with quite that quantity of wealth, they were rich enough to get me a gold, so pretty soon I was flowing with money. (It didn’t hurt that I got a Torturer soon on, whose benefit wasn’t so much to force my opponent to discard as to give me three extra draws.)

My opponent bought a Duke, so I started buying Duchies, since I had at least five points almost every hand. Once those ran out, I went for Dukes as well. (As did my opponent, we came out to close to even on those two types, though I was slightly ahead.) I snagged several more Provinces, and as all those victory cards started clogging my hand, I switched to Estates, clearing out a third pile in short order.

I ended up buying a grand total of four action cards (two Barons, a Torturer, and a Shanty Town, if I’m remembering correctly), and finished with 60 victory points. Completely ridiculous, and it certainly suggests that I should experiment more with focusing on rich hands over action-laden hands. (And perhaps pairing those rich hands with a quick run on victory point cards, to force an early end before others’ machinery gets rolling.)

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