The Wishbone Guide to Kdominance
at 2:35 PM, Tuesday April 1, 2008 CDT
The Wishbone Guide to kdominance
I have been thinking about writing a strategy guide for sometime now, but did not want to give out all of the secrets that are behind the way I play my game. Although I have played kdice for many months, sometimes new strategies are needed, and sharing them to the community can only strengthen the other players, which in turn will bring better newer strategies to kdice.
I feel that sharing knowledge will eventually make kdice a more competitive site, with better stronger players.
I will outline several situations, to prove my points, although I will forget some because situations as they are titled are sometimes very specific so if I forget 13% of all situations, please forgive me as I am not perfect. The breakdown will be rules, which are guidelines to follow in order to win, and followed by situations, which can help players win games and determine finishes.
Rule #1: Play to win. What I mean by this is, for the most part be diplomatic, but remember it is all about you. Players don’t care if you score above or below them, in the end they only care about numero uno, so as a player, you should too.
Situation #1: While you are winning, farm. Farming as described by most players, is keeping the largest number of players alive to squabble and bleed points in to the pot, while winning and making it seem like you are not actually stealing from 6 other players. Preferably you have 7 players left in the game in late rounds, even if they are stacked, your dominance while in first place will continue to grow, if and only if, you continue to attack. That is the first most important thing about farming. You must continue to attack, even if that means pissing people off. If you are so large that you actually separate players from being able to attack each other it probably means that no matter who you attack and how, you will win regardless of situation. By separating players out from each other you are able to keep them from killing each other and causing flags, which are probably showing, and you don’t want this. If you separate players out, they can’t do anything to you, and their dominance will subsequently become your dominance. Appear to be strong, and dominant, be flexing your extra die on to any player who should speak out against you. This includes 2nd place, or anyone who is close to your terriroty numbers.
Rule #2: Never let anyone steal your dominance. This can be achieved by being the largest player from round 1 until the end of the game. The easiest way to do this is by keeping ahead of 2nd place by attacking them, even if they flag. Players who allow 2nd place to attack, while not taking their territories or doing it themselves usually end up losing some dominance in the end. ALWAYS MOVE, ALWAYS ROLL.
Situation #2: End game play, you and 2nd place are very close in territory numbers, but some people are not flagging, and you are separated by either a lake, or a player. Do not allow any player with territory numbers close to yours make the move. Regardless of flag order, time etc, attack the player who are getting close to stealing your dominance. In numerous situations players fail to continue to attack resulting in loss of points to another player.
Rule #3: Try to appear larger than you are. By not moving large stacks players often keep growing by using outside die to attack, this is a very strong way of playing the game.
Situation #3: If you are not in first place, and probably in 5th or 6th place, try to get a large stack near first place. Do not threaten him by taking his territories, but certainly apply pressure by moving large stacks towards that player. This often results in a truce, and without a player actually rolling anymore, you can ‘use’ first place to obtain higher finishes. Often I see players who have a stack buried deep within first place, either suicide out an island, or try and destroy first place from the inside. This will only work if you have a cut point, or it’s your last stack, and will stack high. Making first place mad is about the last thing you want to do, but applying pressure can get you a phrase like: are we cool? What place are you looking for? Truce? These will get you higher finishes without dominance, which can help for larger value tables.
Situation #4: You have a stack in the back of someone or it is early on in game play. If you have ever seen MadHat_Sam play, this is a text book Sam move. DO NOT SUICIDE ISLANDS. They will build back in the event there is a larger stack near it. Which is probably true, seeing as you’re suiciding it. Note that sloppy play and sacrificed territories lead to other players victory. Remember that defense always wins. On many occasions I have seen players defend large die deficits and come out on top, because they refused to suicide a stack.
Situation #5: If you have an island and someone asks you to suicide it, think hard about what place you are in, and whether in the future they will be ahead of you. Sometimes it is beneficial if first place asks you to move it, or suicide it for a connect. Having late game powerful allies often results in higher places. People remember random acts of kindness during games. If someone who has been attacking you all game asks you to move a stack, say no, and continue to get attacked, making people mad is probably the funniest kaction possible.
Rule #4: Be talkative. I cannot emphasize this enough, players who do not talk, die.
Rule #5: Ally and truce large players, or threats. Regardless of other players, two heads is always better than one. And if you can get three players together, do it.
Situation #6: If you ally someone in the first few rounds of play, expect that someone will yell “counter.” If you are prepared to ally early, you will need good reason, and darn good rolling skills. Often, players who have islands around or near truced players, will counter your alliance, often killing you. Don’t not ally because there are other players near you. If you can truce a larger player, or you are the larger player, it can often lead to quick victory and flags. In early truces, or every truce, counters will often ruin your game. Sometimes you ask the wrong player for a truce, and you lose. So what, 9 times out of 10, you and your ally will do better than other players who are not as strong.
Situation #7: When you have truced a player, and others have countered. Do not flag, ever. Truces are more important to some players than flags. Do not respect other players’ flags, if you have countered and begin to win.
Rule #6: Allies get honored before flags. Although this issue is debatable, I think that players who are truced have a stronger tie to one another than does a player who has flagged. Often flagged players are stronger, and kill your ally; this is not good for your reputation or the individual game.
Situation #8: You have allied a player who isn’t really a threat to you, but certainly has a smaller number of territories than you do, and someone who is larger and strong flags. This situation is always occurring and therefore, there are multiple outcomes. You cannot always kill the flag player to award your ally a higher position, this often gets called ‘farming’ or ‘unfair’ but in reality if you follow the rules of alliances, and truces, you should in fact always honor those first. Unfortunately there are occasions when you have to ask a truced player to flag lower than a flagged non truced player. This can bring a sense of farming from the ally, but sometimes if the number of territories is close, you might lose, if you start to roll someone who has extra die, to try and reward the smaller truced player.
Situation #9: If someone does flag, and you decide to continue to attack them to reward an ally, expect to be rolled back. If you are close, and then game has gotten to 8 stacks, do not complain if you lose, and both of you are killed. You must choose very carefully when to attack flagged players, and when not to. If you are in a commanding lead, and you want to farm, by all means attack away. If there are several players, up to 4, with between 7 and 9 territories, think twice about who you attack. The winning percentage of even die rolls goes in favor of the defender. NEVER ATTACK A PLAYER WHO HAS +32 AND THE SAME NUMBER OF TERRITORRIES AND IS FLAGGED. You will certainly lose, especially if you are trying to reward a player.
Rule #7: Try to attack with the outside or border die, while stacking a large single stack in the middle. There is no easier way to win, then to have a larger stack that shadows smaller border die. Players will take your smaller stack too, do not worry about this. As long as you don’t trap your large stack and subsequently die, you will come out on top.
Situation #10: If you do attack with border die, and stack to a central location, there is a point in time to move it. If you have a large stack, and you move it around gobbling up many small die, this can often lead to a good stack, and most likely a win. Remember, the player with the most territories wins the game 99% of the time.
Rule #8: Never move your largest stack to a territory closest to someone else’s largest stack. This is often seen as aggression, and will lead to even rolls, or possibly a bad stack, and a +1 die roll loss.
Situation #11: If you have a large stack, (4 or more die) move it appropriately. If there are other large stacks in the area, do not move it towards the immediate territory next to someone else’s. Stacking up against someone’s larger stack can be done by moving stacks to the territory located adjacent to the actual stacked territory. What this means is that stacking occurs on the territory located 2 spaces away from another tall stack. To illustrate this you can try it, by moving a smaller stack 2 spaces away from a larger stack, causing it to build. If you move a stack to the immediate territory next to a large stack you run the risk of not receiving die on to it. Kdice knows that defense wins, and will stack towards that. Remember, even die rolls lose more than 50% of the time, and players do not enjoy even rolling early.
Situation #12: If you find yourself in an early game position that has given you the largest stack on the board. You have two options, roll it out, spreading yourself thinner, hoping for a good restack, or keeping it at a central location as described before. Each of these situations is unique, but I urge that early, you move the stack. Late, you leave it be. If another player has stack immediately next to yours in to a even die roll, you can roll it. Although trucing this player, or asking for an understanding often leads to victories, if you feel you cannot trust this person, then roll, if you can, don’t roll.
Rule #9: Always connect. This point is emphasized by the algorithm which delivers you restacks. The more CONNECTED territories you have, the more die you receive.
Situation #13: If you have connected in early rounds, and have sprouted 2 large stacks with many small stack between, players will cut you and take the small stacks regardless of how tall your stacks are. This is good game play. As a player, I eat as many territories from people who are thin, as this results in more territories for you and possibly a great stack. On the other hand if you have the tall stacks, and people eat your middle, the best thing to do is connect back up, leaving the tall stacks close together, this often leads to taller stacking in the middle, making you strong.
Situation #14: If you do find yourself with a long connect after having 2 large stacks which get separated through other players turns, try to only use one to move back for the connect. This is situational as well, because often you either fail at rolling, or someone has stacked equally as high near you. The best thing to do is move towards a corner, or wall, where there are less chances to get attacked, and build up, so that you are strong.
Situation #15: Someone has taken your inside territory, and you need to reconnect. This is a very tough subject because every game is different. What you need to realize is that if someone has connected through you, they will probably have to do it again, once you connect back. Often cleaning up after a tail, is the best way to get back in to the game. Often a tall stack is behind you again, so you need to be aware of the board. Nothing leads to more angry players than being cut.
Rule #10: Always cut. The best way to win games is to leave players cut. If you cut early and often, you can get flags quickly and win the game with lots of dominance.
Situation #16: A player is in front of you, and can easily be cut by your biggest stack without, the chance of reconnect. Always take the cut, cripple a player in to 2 separate territories, it often leads to victory. A less likely situation is that you cut a player, with a smaller stack which allows him to take it back, connect, and be angry with you. This often leads to death. So be careful when you cut. Although, I am known for my ability to cut, so are other players and you can do well with it, if you do it properly.
Situation #17: In the end game, you will certainly have to cut when you are 8v8ing. Always go for the cuts. This will lead to loss die, and the opponents efforts will have to focus on reconnecting. If you continue to cut the player will be forced to flag, and you will win.
Rule #11: Circles are better than lines, just remember that. Forming a circular territory will often lead to even stacking, and the less likelihood of being cut. Lines will result in cuts, poor stacking, and eventually a loss. Going coast to coast is often the last move some players make. Although connecting is important, jeopardizing the whole game is not an option.
Rule #12: Use the chatbox, I already said this, remember it.
Rule #13: Take your loses, early and often. If you flag 7th, but have early dom, you can often do better than if you wait around for 5th, 6th, etc. If you look at my statistics, nearly every month I have a high percentage 7th place finish. This does not mean I am bad at the game. Some days you will go through many 7ths, but know when to take them. Staying in the game often leads to bleeding of points and larger point loses. I think that it is better to duck out early then wait around.
Situation # 18: The big stack game. As the game wears on and the stacks become taller, you can manipulate the direction of play, if you have a tall stack. By moving it 2 spaces away from territories you want to protect you can force a player to turn direction. By applying pressure near a player, you can cause them to think they are in danger. Threatening with actions will win you games. Trust me.
Rule #14: Respect the players who have been playing for a long time. No one likes to come to a table where there are 5 players with less than 3 months worth of play trying to dictate how the game should be played. No one likes to be disrespected on their home turf. The old players know who they are, they know who is one, and they know who they favor. This does not mean that you will get no respect, but seriously, they have played with each other for a long time, and they don’t like to be insulted. This doesn’t mean that you have to suck up to them, but if you play one game with them and they see that you’re a jerk, you really won’t be around for long. Trust me, they have circles, they talk to each other, and they can prevent you from winning ANY games. If you want to earn respect as a young player, be patient, talk in the chatbox conservatively, be vocal and try to be polite. Everyone comes off as mean or evil in some games. If you look closer though there is a huge social network with complex relationships. They aren’t trying to cheat you. JeremyS made a great post about the “iterated prisoner's dilemma.” http://kdice.com/discussion/topics/44756297 . Reading this will enlighten you to about 75% of the decisions made on the high tables. Players recognize each other, but you can break in to the circles and win games. If you come in guns blazing mouth ranting, see Pat Whalen, you won’t make any friends. There are good players who don’t talk, or truce, or play the normal game. Their names are Grunvagr, panzer, and r0n. You are not these players, they have developed their skills from playing MANY games, you most likely will not go down in khistory like them. Did I mention talk in the chatbox? Do it.
Rule #15: Don’t make alts. Alts are for weak players who can’t handle the baggage that comes with a main account. If you can’t hold your own with one account, there is no point in pretending to be someone else. I have been playing this game on this sole account since I started. I’ve played games where players said “I will PGE you forever.” You know how long that lasted? Probably until the next game.
Rule #16: Don’t hold grudges. There isn’t a worse way to go about playing kdice than to hold grudges from previous matches. I guarantee you will play worse if you are trying to aim to kill one player, than play your own game. I have been there, PGE, as it is tossed around lightly is EXTREMELY hard to do. It’s more of a flash emotion, than an actual state of game play. Top players will have nearly 25-40 games with each other over the course of one month. What is one game really? Nothing. Worry about killing them in a game where you jump out ahead, don’t try to do it if you cannot.
Rule #17: Limit the number of games that you play. Sitting in back to back to back to back games will not get you points. This has been proven dozens of times. If you look at continuously successful players, you will notice they have fewer games played, and more rewards from those games. Vermont is the perfect example of a patient highly ranked, highly respected player who plays a few games, and manages to be in top25 every month. In a counter point, see Bombadier_DS_65, who plays nearly 1000 games per month and wins nearly 20% of them, and ends up being in 10th place. This will not work for you. He is a skilled player, and lurks at low tables. Be wary, he will win his games.
Rule #18: Play to the highest table your points will allow. The greater the risk the greater the reward. I say this with caution. As you see in early games, towards the beginning of the month, it is tough to stay above certain table levels. My advice, and general practice, is to obtain about 15-30% more than the bare minimum, and then sit at the highest tables you can. If you come in with just barely the amount of points required to play, you will lose your first game. I’m almost sure of it.
Rule #19: Don’t sit back to back games. I am a very superstitious kdice player. I have many reasons for sitting colors, and positions, and playing games few and far between. I believe that colors are important, to a point. If one color wins one game, I will not sit that color, if I can the next. I also note the top 3 colors, and don’t sit those either. Unfortunately I’m sure this isn’t always true, see Madwilly, and R². They will only sit red, or teal, and they seem to do just fine. This is just a fun one 
From what I’ve learned playing this game, some players claim that stacking is not determined by play and actually determined randomly. This is partially true, and partially false. You can determine a) the number of die you receive, b) where some of them might go, c) which side you want to stack. The stacking algorithm can be manipulated in your favor nearly every roll. As I stated earlier you can move the die in a manner which can cause stacking to one specific territory. I would call it the 2 space rule. If someone has a taller stack than you, and you want to be rivaling that stack, move your largest stack 2 places from the territory. Such that, if the large stack comes towards you, it will move once, and then the second move would be the attack on you. It was said earlier, never move your tall stack to a position next to a taller stack. It will almost never stack, and will stack in the back of you, causing a player to feel threatened and roll you. If you want to play Russian roulette, kdice style, this is the way to do it. There are situations where moving a large stack near a large stack is smart, but for the most part it does not work.
For those who gained any knowledge from this good stuff, I’ve probably been playing for over a year now, and I hope my insight will bring forth stronger play, longer play, and tougher competition.
I’m going to post this half finished, when I think of more stuff I’ll write it down.
I also must thank all the players who have along the way who have influenced my playing style, my logic, and my strategy, those players are: Dasfury, Montecarlo, MadHat_Sam, integral, Vermont, rnd, X Luck X, Kehoe, Mad Willy, lothros, Tomster, grunvagr, Wicked!, Racoon Tail, Snufkin, Vohaul, Optical, Kwizatz, Doobius Malcor, bcmatteagles, Transhumanist, and Petomni.
66 people think this is a good idea
at 2:53 PM, Tuesday April 1, 2008 CDT
Good post, pretty simple and effective strats.
I do hate islands ;-)
at 2:55 PM, Tuesday April 1, 2008 CDT
Is Rule 17 related to Rule 18? If you play more games, are you more likely not to wait for the highest level of table you play at, hence getting fewer points for the game? Or is there another reason for Rule 17, not related to Rule 18?
For Rule 18, when you say "I am almost sure of it" in losing your first game at a higher ranked table, is it 1)some law of statistics, like that for the colors, 2) inexperience with regard to the different kind of players at the new table, or 3) you are the specific target of people who want to send you back to the lower tables?
at 2:56 PM, Tuesday April 1, 2008 CDT
I feel like chicken tonight
at 2:59 PM, Tuesday April 1, 2008 CDT
1) you didnt list kehoe in the grunvagr/panzer/r0n category. this is blasphemy of the utmost degree.
2) you claim Vermont is a respected player.
3) you dont list kehoe in your thanks list. are you PGEing him again?
at 3:25 PM, Tuesday April 1, 2008 CDT
Agree with most of things said. The few thigns i disagree :
1) Kehoe, Panzer and r0n talked and truced, but they didnt do that 2 often. And grun had social skills as well
2) There are some ppl who can PGE for a long time (remmember my crusade against rnd)
3) PGE'ing sometimes is the best way 2 go, cause you might earn a lot from it, but you have to know when and who 2 PGE
P.s. im quite pleased that u've mentioned that colour strategy, cause i also believe, that it does matter which colour you are taking
at 3:51 PM, Tuesday April 1, 2008 CDT
skrum, i think that it is best left to the player, but for the most part its 2 seperate points, don't play a lot of games, and sit at the highest table you can sit at.
Spider J. wrote
at 5:10 PM, Tuesday April 1, 2008 CDT
How can you not vote for the longest kpost ever?
A good guide, too. :)
at 5:28 PM, Tuesday April 1, 2008 CDT
Not too bad wish... or Bone or whatever you name is
Now please explain how Dom is caculated so I can put on my overalls and straw hat pick up my pitch fork and learn to farm like you
at 7:10 PM, Tuesday April 1, 2008 CDT
Wish, great post.
Monte, stuff it.
at 9:10 PM, Tuesday April 1, 2008 CDT
Great post, wish!