Big DataMoney
February 23, 2013 1:26 PM   Subscribe

Provincial is an AI that plays the card game Dominion (previously). The author of the bot has a section on how it works, and the application is available for download if you want to test your skill against it. Via the Dominion Strategy forums, where the author (techmatt) chimes in partway through the thread.
posted by codacorolla (9 comments total) 32 users marked this as a favorite
OH. hmm.. oooh. You have made my girlfriend so happy now that I won't have to bug her as much to play with me.
posted by Think_Long at 1:36 PM on February 23, 2013

Oh god. I can't wait until I get out of the pizza mines and can read through this. Nice find!
posted by JHarris at 1:45 PM on February 23, 2013

I know that having this in my brain would take all the fun out of Dominion, but it would be awesome to be able to do this in my head.
posted by Strass at 2:09 PM on February 23, 2013

OH. hmm.. oooh. You have made my girlfriend so happy now that I won't have to bug her as much to play with me.

For as long as it lasts, Isotropic is an online community with a pretty solid Dominion interface. I believe it's sort of on death's door as Goko works out the kinks, but it's still up as of now and has a very active community. Also, if you have an android, there's Androminion, although I find the AI in that to be rather easy to beat.
posted by codacorolla at 2:39 PM on February 23, 2013 [3 favorites]

This is cool. I like the way it visualizes strategies, and the simple buy strategy algorithm it generates means it can scream through lookahead during play. Thanks!
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 4:38 PM on February 23, 2013

Isotropic was supposed to be canned last September give or take. I'm glad it's still around. Also, this is interesting.
posted by MillMan at 12:48 AM on February 24, 2013

Download this quickly, because Vaccarino likes to crack down on Dominion implementations that use the official images.
posted by LSK at 3:16 PM on February 24, 2013

The baseline for Dominion strategies is called by fans "Big Money." Under that strategy, you don't get any Kingdom cards at all, you just buy the most expensive of these three cards you can afford: Silver (costs 3), Gold (costs 6), or Province (costs 8). If you can't afford any of these cards, buy nothing. According to the excellent Dominion Strategy Wiki, assuming no attacks, this will get to 4 Provinces, and thus a probable win, in an average of 17 turns. Because it only involves cards that are part of the Basic Supply, playing Big Money is always an option. With one or two action cards (especially draws and trashers), you can reduce that figure further. Buying a Smithy (+3 cards) can reduce this to 14 turns.

The "opposite" strategy is to build an engine, which relies on action cards, especially those that involve drawing and getting extra actions. The idea is to get as many useable cards in your hand as possible, both treasures and actions. The effectiveness of this varies according to the "cantrips" you have (cards that give you at least +1 Card and +1 Action, so having them in your deck is nearly always beneficial), how many extra action and draw cards are in that game's kingdom set, and what terminal cards, that is cards that don't give you an extra action, are in the game.

Both approaches are helped with cards that allow you to trash some of the starting Coppers and Estates you begin with.

In Big Money, you fill your deck with money cards, and when you can afford them you buy only the most valuable victory cards, thus diluting your deck as little as possible, so you're more likely to draw money cards. Well-built engines will instead get most or even all of your deck into your hand each turn, and thus get more use out of your cards.

A great site that discusses all kinds of Dominion strategies is called Dominion Strategy, natch.
posted by JHarris at 10:38 PM on February 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

Looking at the documentation for this program a bit....

The program is mostly a Buy strategy optimizer. (If certain cards are available, then the program will make relevant play choices regarding those cards available to the mutation function.) The developer assumes that actual play strategies are relatively easy to optimize so cards that offer non-obvious choices are not strategized over, but instead the system picks according to a hardcoded choice.

I ran a tournaments over the "First Game" kingdom set offered in the base game's instructions as suitable to first-time players. In a strategy set, the buy process is: buy cards furthermost to the left of the list as can be afforded/remains in supply, up to the limit given. Provinces are always bought when possible, with the caveat that if Provinces are about to run out it'll try to buy other VP cards first to prolong the game and get more points. The letters that govern this process (if I'm reading them correctly): E3 would mean start buying Estates when the remaining number of Provinces is <= 3, and D4 would mean start buying Duchies when the number of Provinces left is <= 4. So, textbook Big Money would be (I think) E0 D0 Gold x 99, Silver x 99.

The results from a tournament run over the "First Game" card set (cellar,moat,village,woodcutter,workshop,militia,remodel,smithy,market,mine):
1. E3 D4 Gold x 99, Market x 10, Militia x 3, Silver x 99
2. E3 D4 Gold x 99, Market x 9, Militia x 3, Silver x 99, Cellar x 1
3. E3 D4 Gold x 99, Market x 10, Militia x 3, Silver x 99, Moat x 1
4. E2 D4 Gold x 99, Market x 3, Smithy x 1, Silver x 99, Moat x 2
5. E3 D4 Gold x 99, Market x 3, Smithy x 1, Silver x 99
posted by JHarris at 11:35 PM on February 24, 2013

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