Evolving Strategies

In a previous post, I talked about strategy and how it was important to pay attention to what everyone else is doing and to work on a team.  I am going to revisit strategy but put a different twist on it.  We’re going to be talking about evolving strategies where you have to change up what you are doing in order to be successful.  To do this, I am going to be talking about a fantastic card game called Dominion.

My friends' custom Dominion box
My friends’ custom Dominion box

Dominion is, in my opinion, one of the most re-playable games out there.  Since you only play with 10 different cards out of 206, each game is unique.  Not only is each game unique, but the optimal strategy to win each game is also unique.  Simply swapping out one kingdom card for another can completely change what strategy you employ.  Seeing what strategies your opponents are playing can also completely change what strategy you employ.  So, Dominion isn’t simply about strategy but also about paying attention.

Depending on what cards are chosen for each specific game, you might be able to come up with a couple strategies or see a couple good card combinations.  However, you must remember that your opponents are also probably seeing the same combos and having the same strategy ideas.  Regardless of what everyone sees in the cards before starting and what strategies they may or may not have come up with, everyone starts the game relatively the same way; buy some inexpensive cards and/or get more money.  Once you have a couple low value cards, that usually give you extra draws or something similar, then you can start employing your strategy.

This is when you need to pay very close attention to what other people are playing.  Some might have gotten lucky with their draws and are able to start getting the more expensive cards for their strategy before you are.  This is when you need to look at your strategy, see if you can still use it, and look to possibly blocking someone else’s.  If your strategies happen to be very similar, with both of you going for the same cards, then keeping your strategy is the same as blocking theirs.  If not, and you are being exceptionally unlucky, then completely changing to a blocking strategy might be more optimum.

Every card, from every expansion, neatly in their place
Every card, from every expansion, neatly in their place

This ties in directly with a game of Dominion that I witnessed the other night.  Since I have class on Thursday nights, I get to my friends’ house late, and they had already started a game of Dominion.  In this game, one of my friends had a strategy where he would cut his deck down as far as he could in order to cycle through it each turn.  This meant that instead of just dealing himself five cards from his deck to play this turn, he was able to play his entire deck.  This gave him access to all his cards and allowed him to buy provinces often (provinces give you six points and is what everyone is trying to buy).

Everyone saw his strategy but didn’t evolve theirs to counter it.  This friend was clearly winning, and when that happens, others typically look for a counter.  And a counter was available.  All anyone had to do was pick up the Masquerade card, and that would have thrown my friend’s entire strategy out the window.

This is just an example of shifting or evolving your strategy.  This concept applies in your everyday life, especially at work.  When we concoct a strategy to solve a problem, or for a plan, we must keep our eyes open to potentially changing conditions.  If we do not, we might miss something that makes our strategy inefficient or obsolete.  If we do pay attention, we can evolve our strategy to meet these new conditions and to keep our plan relevant.

Have you ever played Dominion?  Do your strategies evolve as you play?  Please leave a comment and/or share on Twitter.

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