I had my first taste of the new Dominion expansion Cornucopia the other night at Quarterstaff Games. It was mostly an exercise in frustration, as Jester was in play and most of the other players at the table decided to make use of it.
Jester’s a 5 coin attack card that gives the user +2 cards, then forces everyone else to reveal the top card of their deck. If it’s a victory card, they gain a curse. If it’s anything else, the player of Jester has the option to gain a copy of that card for their own deck, or put a second copy in the other player’s deck. So everyone was gaining lots of copper and curses. Because once you get a single curse in your deck, Jester’s eventually going to turn it up. Then they really start breeding.
The smart decision would have been to pick up some Masquerades, as they were the only trashing card available, but I wasn’t smart about and opted to blunder along in my solitaire way. Another player did pick up some and I was lucky enough to trade away a couple curses to my left hand neighbor, for which I was grateful.
So that really colored my perception of Cornucopia. Sure, it was a first play and I need to give it a few more tries with other cards from the set. But that doesn’t stop me from still getting annoyed by attack cards; annoyed to the point I generally write the game off completely if there are any in play.
I can’t believe I’m typing this, but I dislike attack cards because they’re so sub-optimal. With the array of options typically available in a Dominion spread, there’s almost always something more productive for a player to do than use an attack card, as they tend to be terminal actions, in that they don’t allow the player to do more unless they’ve previously used other cards to rack up some actions and money.
I don’t want to use attack cards because they do so little for me. Or they seem to at least. Militia is useful because it scrounges up some money and I can see the use in Witch and Jester because they give more cards, but generally I feel as though I’m wasting time attacking others when I could be doing more improving my own deck.
Not that I’m terribly good at deck-improvement, mind. If it’s not a Mine, I still have not developed that killer instinct for weeding crap from a deck to get at the good stuff.