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Would anyone like to present their thoughts on Khet strategy? I posted this in another thread, but am really curious to hear how people think about this game.
All of my suggestions are written from a player's point of view.
Early - moving your pieces along the right edge of the board helps you to set up light-control in the front and back regions of the board. The very middle of the board is obscured not only by the reflecting pieces of your opponents but by the Djeds in the middle. It's very easy to hit the obelisk to the right of the Pharoah, and to destroy the opponents pieces on the right of the board. Honestly it seems to me more a psychological maneuver than a tactical one, because most of the players I have played with don't move those at first anyway.
This also means that your pieces on the left are the easier targets for your opponent to kill very early on. If you can save a couple of those pieces and put them in the back half of the board, then it becomes much easier to set up shots from your laser to the Pharoah. The problem is that your opponent's piece in the back left edge will have an easy shot against a vulnerable piece. It can be possible to eliminate the player's dangerous piece, as long as they don't notice your ability to take the shot.
Mid - This section is more about setting up the goings-on in the middle of the board. I think of this game not too differently from the way I think of Go, though the mechanics are not at all the same. That is to say that I consider the flow of chi through the board, especially as analogous to the lasers. This game is all about managing that flow. If I can set up the Djeds to do some dangerous deflecting, while keeping my Pharoah well protected, it's possible to win the game through player oversight.
As players get more advanced (and this is where most of my players haven't reached) they'll be able to avoid any oversights. I use the image of "imagining that there is a laser coming from all sides of the Pharoah" to help visualize vulnerabilities.
End - In the games I have played where both players played to their fullest and blocked when they should have, lost an even amount of pieces... the game becomes about setting up checkmates. Setting up attacks to your opponent's Pharoah that can have no survivable options.
The problem with this is that there need to be enough pieces near your opponent's Pharoah to make a dent in their defenses. If their defense is too strong, but their offense is non-existent, well I guess that's why they wrote stalemate rules into this game.
I'll post more later, but I think an important thing that you don't touch on in is the concept of time in this game -- you always want to have a strategy to take the other person's pharaoh, and you should know how many moves it takes. See what their strategy is, and how many moves it takes -- if you're faster, (yours takes more moves), that's great! Go full-speed ahead. But if you're slower, start seeing what moves you can make to "buy" yourself some moves. Placing a stacked obelisk correctly should buy you one move, but be sure to do this towards the end of their strategy so that they don't finagle their way around it. If they've got you on the ropes, chasing your pharaoh around, see how you can gain one move at a time with clever blocks and hiding your pharaoh, making it so it takes two moves to take you instead of taking you next turn, and use these moves to slowly build up an offense -- it's worked a few times.
Also, something I've noticed about the end-game that's worked well for me has been to know what their threat is, and stop it at the last second -- it guarantees that you get the most moves out of it, but there's a massive trade-off, which is the threat that they checkmate you. It's especially hard to visualize whether or not you're going to be checkmated, so be careful with this tactic.
And I agree, the end-game tends to come down to checkmates. Actually, at our chess club we tend to play in a way where we point out whether the opponent is missing something and about to lose -- it goes on longer, but it's much, much, much more fun when no one loses by surprise. The game feels much... better.
I absolutely agree that winning by accident is no fun. I'd prefer my opponents to beat me rather than to win inadvertently.
Personally I don't tend to look ahead in this game as much as goof around with the dynamics. I tend to think of this as a game of influences rather than as a game of moves. Obviously when it gets to the very end the moves are going to matter quite a lot.
I don't play quite as much as a few months ago, but perhaps I'll break it out this week!
Amen! I practically play and live by move counting. One of my favourite tactics is to keep my oponent's pharoah/pyramids in constant check, chasing them around the board with my own pieces while I set them up in the position I want them. This gives him no oportunity to retaliate or set up any real defense and by the time he manages to buy a few moves, I'm already in a dominant possition.=)