Aug 24, 2014

Dominion - Count Score During the Game?

One of the things that I struggle with while playing Dominion is how closely to keep track of the score during the game.  Knowing where I stand during the game can greatly affect my strategy, and the final outcome of the game as well.

During most games I keep track of exactly how many provinces (or colonies if they are being used) everyone has and keep a an eye on how many other point cards everyone has, without necessarily keeping an exact count.  Although I have played a few three and four player games, I have played many more two player games, which makes it easier to track everything.  I have done it enough times now that I know I am capable of keeping an exact count of the score in a two player game, but the extra effort needed means that I am not nearly as social as when I don't.  Because I play the majority of the games against my wife, the social aspect is important to me, and even more so to her.  So what is the right balance?

We played a game earlier this week, which highlights what happens when I don't even keep an eye on the points cards!

As usual, we played a random set (using the randomizer cards) from among Dominion (Original), Intrigue, Seaside, Prosperity, Dark Ages and Hinterlands.  The set was: Poor House, Sage, Fishing Village, Coppersmith, Feast, Pillage, Minion, Tactician, Nobles & Forge.

Dominion Kingdom Card Set, 19-Aug-2014
I started with a 2-5 split, which actually seemed worse in this set.  I took a Poor House, thinking that I might be able to get a couple, and then dump a bunch of coppers with Forge.  The problem is that I wasn't able to get anywhere near 7 coins until I was able to get a bunch of other cards.  In the end I think I used them maybe twice, and for 1-2 coin each time.  What ended up working for me was a combination of Fishing Villages and Tacticians; I would have the coins from the fishing villages each turn, and every other turn was a big one, and I could get a province on most of these turns.  However, by the time I got that up and running my wife was way ahead, and I (knowingly) split the provinces 4-4.  I had picked up a Nobles along the way, but had dumped my estates, and I thought this would be enough to squeak out the win.  When we added up the score though, I had lost 29-26.  Turns out my wife had kept her estates and had also bought a noble that I hadn't kept track up.  Had I known all of this I probably would of been very close to being able to buy a duchy per turn, and might of been able to get enough before she got the last province or two.  

In this particular game I simply didn't keep track since I was so tired (my wife is too, and new baby will do that), but it still comes back to how closely I want to track the scores during the game.  I am competitive, and want to win, but if it starts to seem like work it totally ruins the fun of playing for me.