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I'm playing through the adventure mode in Goko's online Dominion game, and I've reached the point (in the Intrigue adventure) where the game starts being weighted very heavily against me. For example, my current particular position is Act I, Level 14, and my opponent's starting deck includes 3 silver and 2 duchies replacing some of the standard copper and estates. (Not only that, the 2 duchies are taken from the supply, leaving only 6 at game start - on a board with Duke...)

I could easily even the odds using the game's "zaps," but that's not my question. What I want to know is, are Adventure levels "fair" as strategical challenges, with a viable strategy for victory? Or is it just "here's an impossible level, use zaps or die"?

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I'm aware this question might be out of place here - it's about the specific goko implementation and design, rather than about the game proper. I think it's still on-topic, but I could see it being moved to Arqade. –  Standback Apr 10 '13 at 18:18
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I had exactly the same thought when I saw the escalating handicaps. Seems like it would quickly go from "challenging" to "clearly imbalanced and unfun". –  Johno Apr 10 '13 at 19:11
    
There's some amount of luck in Dominion, so presumably with a hypothetical optimal strategy there's still some chance you'll win, and then the combination of sheer strategy and playing N games would suffice. So... what exactly do you mean by "fair" and "viable strategy"? –  Jefromi Apr 10 '13 at 19:20
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I think this site is a better place for this question than Arqade. I'm sure we have more Dominion experts (at least per capita). –  shujaa Apr 10 '13 at 20:21
    
@Jefromi: I'd say that a strategy with a 30% chance of winning despite the handicap would be "viable." Anything lower than that, and you (at best) playing the computer and waiting for an unlikely foul-up. At worst, the game can be literally unwinnable - or close enough to make no difference. –  Standback Apr 11 '13 at 13:17
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up vote 7 down vote accepted

There have been numerous threads discussing this topic on the Dominion Strategy Forum, including this one. But, to boil it down, it seems like the answer to your question is "no, some levels are essentially unwinnable without using zaps". I think that all of them are beatable if you just use enough zaps to bring yourself back to even starting decks with your opponent, but many aren't beatable without using zaps.

One money quote:

I would not try those levels with no zaps. You get free zaps though, usually five. Just click on cards to zap them. It's a decision as to what to zap - although using three on Provinces is mostly automatic. At first I was upset by it, but I mean, in the end it's a variant and there's nothing especially wrong with it. -- Donald X.

In addition, there appear to be ongoing efforts to modify/improve the adventure campaigns for better balance, and to create additional adventures. Current status of these efforts may vary. This being said, some reliance on zaps in most adventures is probably going to remain.

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