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Heir to the Pharaoh» Forums » Rules

Subject: Animal Magic Cards - Who Announces Their Use First? rss

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Tom C.
United States
Missouri
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First, the production quality of this game is stellar, really first rate. My friend and I tried a game last night, and at first I thought I was really going to love it. Then this issue arose, for which I will try to state why I think it is more than minor, and needs to have another solution.

The rulebook is great, with one glaring exception. Animal cards, and how they are resolved, specifically the timing of playing them. From the book:

"Before placing a bid, if either player has an animal magic card in her hand that she would like to play, she must say so and place that card face down in front of her."
Then a little further down, this:
"If your opponent has already secretly placed a bid before you could state that you wished to play animal magic, you may still play animal magic but your opponent may remove her bid and place a new one if she likes."

In the game, we each have 7 animal cards available, a small enough number that it is possible to guess with some accuracy what an opponent has played, or might play, in a given situation.

My opponent may want to know if I am going to play an animal before he decides upon announcing it, again because there are only a few different actions that animals do, and it can be guessed what might be played in a specific situation. But because there is no rule for any order that the announcement is made, it becomes, to quote my friend, a case of "who will blink first". In other words, a decision to play an animal may very well depend upon the other player's decision about playing one as well.

We could not come up with a good solution for the timing of who announces the use of an animal first. The lack of any guidance on this in the rules creates a very awkward flow to the game, one in which both players await the other's decision, because the decision to play one, and which one to play, can easily be influenced by the other's decision. Any suggestions?
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Alf Seegert
United States
Salt Lake City
Utah
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Hi Tom!
Thanks so much for backing and playing Heir to the Pharaoh! I hope this one concern won't keep you from loving it

In our own plays, we've not specified who had to go first in declaring Animal Magic, but have just included a short "anyone playing animal magic?" phase. Yes: this can lead to some negotiation ("Well if you're playing animal magic I'm going to also, then!"). But in our own experience this hasn't slowed things down appreciably -- and because it's a negotiation, neither player is "stuck" having said "yes" or "no" until both are agreed and Animal Magic cards are actually revealed (this last part prevents -- for us, anyway -- the problem of "who blinks first").

If this approach creates too many delays on your own table, I suggest that you assign one player (e.g., Bast) as the one who goes first in declaring the use of animal magic. (Or if you wanted this player to vary, perhaps assign that role to the player with more points on the scoring track.)

Best wishes,
Alf
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Brad103
United States
Skaneateles
New York
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I've yet to play a game, but going from the rules here's how I think it plays out...

-Players decide to play magic cards, once a card is played it cannot be changed.
-Players play bid cards, again once played, cannot be changed unless...
-If a person was hasty and played a bid card before seeing if their opponent was going to play a magic card or not, they can exchange their bid to something else. But they cannot now decide to play a magic card! As that part of the round is over, as they already played a bid card.
-If a person plays a magic card, and a bid card before their opponent does anything, and the opponent plays a magic card, the bid card can be changed but not the magic card!

So, I think the best way to play it out would be to have 2 mini rounds, playing magic cards, playing bid cards. This would prevent the situation of waiting for opponent to play a bid card then playing your magic and bid card at once, preventing them from going back to play a magic card. Still if this happens, your best counter to a magic card is what bid card you play (not playing a magic card), and you have the chance to exchange it at this point.

EDIT: Ninja'd by the Designer no less! ninja Game looks great Alf, going to be playing it later today!
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Jacovis
United States
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I have not seen this be an issue in any games either, though I can understand the question on paper.

In my experience, one person will either want to play Animal Magic or not, and they will do so. Regardless of the opponent's card. Ultimately there are not that many cards, and you will most likely plan a magic card play out a bit in advance. They should not be used lightly!

Above are all good suggestions of course, but another one you could use is whoever won the previous bid has to decide first and is committed once they decide. However, I would caution against this until you've tried it out as written a bit. As I've said, it was not a problem at all in any of my games!

I hope you enjoy it, it's a great two player game!
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