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Sander
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Introduction

I am new to the board game hobby. I don't have many board games yet, nor have I experience with many board games.
Therefore my (re)view on boardgames will be slightly different than that of the reviewers with 100s of games in their collection.
This might be a good thing for people who are viewing games from my perspective (*), others will be disappointed because I can't compare game X with popular game Y.

* My perspective:
- I'm new to the board gaming hobby
- I don't own many board games yet (besides monopoly, risk, ...)
- I want to increase my collection of board games, but I can't afford a new game every week, so I have to read a lot of reviews and ask for recommendations before I can decide which game to buy
- In the mean time I still have to convince my family/girlfriend of the fun of board games, so I have to keep them in mind when I buy a game


In this review I will not be explaining all the rules, but I will cover the general goals of the game and briefly explain what all the components are for.

Amun-Re

Game Type - Board Game
Average Play Time: 90 minutes
Number of Players: 3-5 (5 best, 3-4 recommended)
Mechanics - Auction/Bidding
Components - Poor to Average



Overview

In Amun-Re players bid on provinces. When all players are the winning (and only) bidder on 1 province, they pay for their provinces and can then build farmers and/or pyramids on them.
Farmers produce income, pyramids give you victory points (which are the ultimate goal in the game).

Components

Being a new board gamer with only Carcassonne, Race for the Galaxy and Stone Age in my collection, I was disappointed by the quality of the components of my 4th game (Amun-Re).

Note: All pictures used are made by other BGG users. As I sometimes mention my version of the game, there's no need to look for the 'defaults' in the given pictures




d10-1 The Box - When removing the shrink wrapping, I could immediately feel that this box was of less quality than my previous 3 games. The surface was less smotth, and the cardboard was thinner.
It's in no way a crappy box, but's not as nice as the box of Stone Age for example.

The box also has cheap a plastic insert. I personally prefer a cardboard solution. Cardboard doesn't only feel less Monopoly, but it's also better for the environment (thumbsup).

The components also only come with 1 (one, ., 1) plastic bag, which isn't enough for how the plastic insert is organized.

Compared to Stone Age: My copy of stone age came with 1 bag for every type of resource, a bag for every color of meeples, ...
We usually have 1 spare bag if we put everything away.

It's not a disaster, but then again: How much do some plastic bags cost?



d10-2 The Board - The board consists of the different provinces, devided by the Nile. Each province has a name and different symbols which determine the maximum number of cards you can buy, the maximum number of farmers you can buy, point bonuses and cash bonuses.

Some provinces also give free stuff when you buy them, indicated by the symbols in a light rectangle in the bottom-left of a province.

On the outside border of the board there's a score-track.



My board had a small error:
I have a Dutch version and on the cards 'Thebes' is translated in 'Theben', but on the board it still says 'Thebes'. (it's the other way around -> Theben is the German word)
It's not like "OMAGAWD, WHAT DO THEY MEAN WITH THEBEN??!!", but I did have a "Lazy publishers, either change the board or don't translate it on the cards..."-moment.

The symbols and art on the board are clear, although the symbol which describes the maximum number of cards someone can buy, could've been clearer. My mother described it as "What do the pieces of cheese mean?". And she's right: It looks more like cheese (or cake) than cards


The symbols on the left of the blue marker represent the maximum number of cards (cheese) a player can purchase

d10-3 The Cards (paper) - The cards are quite small. There's not much information that has to go on the cards, and small cards take less space, nevertheless I personally prefer bigger cards (RftG, M:tg, Poker, ...).

There are 3 main types of cards:

Power cards with different powers



Money cards (to pay with surprise)



Province cards which are layed on the board during the bidding phase. The numbers indicate possible bids.
A player bids on a province, by placing his colored bidding marker (see d10-6) on one of the numbers on a card.



d10-4 Province Markers (cardboard) - Cardboard province markers. 2 in each color (because every player has to 2 provinces by the end of the game).



d10-5 Pyramids (plastic) - Which are to be placed in provinces to score points.

There are 2 types of pyramids: double pyramids (Picture: right) and single pyramids (Picture: left).
The double pyramids indicate 2 pyramids. Which lead my mother to confusion, because one pyramid is smaller than the other, she though it indicated 3 pyramids. Again, I think my mother has a point there.



d10-6 Stone markers (plastic, not stone!) - The ones in the same color as the pyramids indicate a partially built pyramid. 3 stones make 1 pyramid (unless you have a special card which lets you swap 2 stones for a pyramid).

Then there are also 10 colored stones (2 in each color).
1 is to indicate a player's bid for a province in the bidding phase.
1 is to indicate the player's score.



d10-7 Farmer markers (cardboard) - To indicate the number of farmers in a province. More farmers means more income.

d10-8 Temple Marker & Pharaoh Marker - The Temple Marker is used to indicate how much money each farmer produces in the harvesting phase. The Pharaoh Marker indicates the starting player (oldest player at the beginning of the game) for each round.

I was very disappointed by these. I would have rather seen wood figures for this. I know wood is much more expensive than these do-it-yourself markers, but to me they give the game a kind of oldschool feeling.

On top of that, the foot of my temple marker was too loose. So I had to swap the feet of my temple and my pharaoh to prevent the foot from falling off all the time.
As a result, my temple now has Pharaoh-feet.
This wouldn't have happened with wood figures!


Temple marker


Pharaoh marker

d10-9 Summary cards - A very useful card! There's one for each player. And it really describes every phase to it's essence.


Front and back

d10-1d10-0 The rules (in color) - The rules were quite easy to understand and well explained. There's an example after every rule description, which is very nice.

Set-up

The game is set up quite quickly and easily. Although it would have been easier if the box insert was organized differently, or if they had given more plastic bags with the game.

Game play & Mechanics

For a short description of the gameplay, read the Overview section at the beginning of this review.

I'm very fond of the bidding-mechanics. Because in the bidding phase there are only laid out as many new provinces as the number of players.
Resulting in the fact that at the end of the bidding phase, every player will have to pay for 1 province (or get it for free!).

This means that some players will want the same province, and thus will bid high on them. Though they have to keep in mind the maximum income they will have from to province, and decide for themselves if they want to sacrifice money (and how much) for points.

If a player gets overbid, he can overbid another player OR pick a province with no bids and bid 0.

Example: Everyone can be fighting over the same provinces, and if at the end you didn't get the province you wanted, but got a crappy (less interesting for your strategy ) province instead, there's a chance you'll get it for free!

There's a lot of tactics involved in the bidding phase! And I really had a "Hey! That's clever! laugh"-moment here

Replay value

I can't really judge yet, because I've only played the game once so far. But I really think this game offers a lot of replay value.
The provinces will come in a different order every time, and there are a lot of strategies which can be used.

With less than 5 players (3 or 4) not all provinces will be sold by the end of the game, resulting in the fact that players can save money to buy a specific province which will never show up.

Scalability

I've only played with 3 players and I've read from other people that the game only works well with 5 players, since only then will all provinces be available.
I disagree with this for the simple reason given above (Replay value). It asks for different strategies, but I don't think fewer players make the game less fun.

Pros and cons

thumbsup - Decisions that matter: It's very important which provinces you buy and how much you pay for them, because they determine your possiblities for the other phases.
thumbsup - Player interaction: There is player interaction. You can overbid someone, simply because you don't want them to have that specific province (or to make him pay more).
thumbsup - Few downtime: Although the phases are turn-based, I doubt there will ever be much downtime, since you always have a limited number of choices (which is not necessarily a bad thing).
thumbsup - Balance: I feel the game is very well balanced. Because if you don't get the province you want, you'll get another one cheap. And in the second part of the game, you can still catch up!

thumbsdown - Components: I'm really disappointed by all the plastic components and the DIY-temple and pharaoh.
thumbsdown - Graphics: No disrespect towards the artist, but overall I'm not impressed by the graphics. I much more like the graphics in games like Stone Age, Kingsburg, Shadows over Camelot, ...

Conclusion

Amun-Re is a very fun game, despite its components. It's really a shame, because this could have easily been avoided and components add a lot of general feel to a game (at least for me).

I don't regret buying it, but that's because I picked it up for €15.
It came from €40, and it's not worth that in my opinion.
I really enjoyed it, and I hope I can play it many times again.

Therefore I rate it:


Final word

This was my very first review and I hope I did ok and that I wasn't too negative about the game, since this seems to be frowned-upon on BGG.
I also hope that I'm allowed to compare this game to Stone Age, since I did it quite a few times modest.

I'd love to see your opinions/criticism, and if you think (or know) I'm wrong, feel free to point it out.
I would also like to apologize for possible spelling-mistakes and the lack of difficult words, but I normally speak Dutch whistle

Thank you for reading, and I hope this was useful to at least 1 person

Special thanks

Neil Thomson - I used his layout as a basis for my review. I really like his reviews (check them out!) and how they are formatted.
JohnRayJr - For answering my noob questions through GeekMail and for organizing the New Voices Spring 2011 Review Contest.
You - For reading
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Mc Jarvis
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I speak to improve upon the cacophony.
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Out of curiosity- what kind of components would you have preferred? Wooden pieces?
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Sander
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McJarvis wrote:
Out of curiosity- what kind of components would you have preferred? Wooden pieces?


Yes, I personally feel wooden blocks and pyramids would've been nicer.
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Simon Woodward
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lxiaol wrote:
McJarvis wrote:
Out of curiosity- what kind of components would you have preferred? Wooden pieces?


Yes, I personally feel wooden blocks and pyramids would've been nicer.


Good review!
-
In boardgames terms, it's a fairly old game now (2003). I imagine the art and components were fairly good compared with other games at the time. It's a bit harsh to compare it with today's games that have 8 more years of art development.
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Sander
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manukajoe wrote:
lxiaol wrote:
McJarvis wrote:
Out of curiosity- what kind of components would you have preferred? Wooden pieces?


Yes, I personally feel wooden blocks and pyramids would've been nicer.


Good review!
-
In boardgames terms, it's a fairly old game now (2003). I imagine the art and components were fairly good compared with other games at the time. It's a bit harsh to compare it with today's games that have 8 more years of art development.


Yes, I wasn't sure if I was allowed to do that (or if it was fair). Since I'm quite new to board games.
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Mc Jarvis
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I speak to improve upon the cacophony.
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lxiaol wrote:

Yes, I wasn't sure if I was allowed to do that (or if it was fair). Since I'm quite new to board games.


I think it's fair game as long as you are not criticizing blindly. I felt from your initial introduction of yourself that things like a game being old & outdated artistically will matter to you because you want to be selective of what you buy.

I'm sure there are other people in the same position; the review may be helpful to them.
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Simon Woodward
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I agree. Feel free to express your thoughts, it's always interesting to hear a new perspective cool
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Matt N

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Don't worry about being negative. As long as you can back it up with fact (or opinion supported by your general gaming background), then being negative is good. A critical review is far, far more useful than a silly uncritical review.

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Fraser
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Back in the days when there were less maps we played every map back to back
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lxiaol wrote:

thumbsdown - Components: I'm really disappointed by all the plastic components and the DIY-temple and pharaoh.


Based on your comments on the components of Amun-Re I would suggest trying before you buy or or studying the photos and comments here at BGG for other games before your next purchase cool

To my mind Amun-Re actually has very good components compared to a lot of other games, especially given its age. I think you will find that many games have a lot lower quality than that and also it is only in the last couple of years that many companies have started giving out plastic bags - of course if you live in a country with a progressive banking system like Australia you can just go into a bank branch and get plastic bags for free
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Sean Franco
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lxiaol wrote:
thumbsdown - Components: I'm really disappointed by all the plastic components and the DIY-temple and pharaoh.

I've always been a fan of all of the components (apart from the score markers, which slide a little too easily) and the art, which looks fantastic and is functional. The insert is pretty good too, apart from the farmers not really staying in that little slot. I found it easier just to bag them and be done with it. If you don't like Amun-Re's insert, you'll absolutely hate A Game of Thrones's insert.
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Christopher Dearlove
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I think you've misunderstood the nature of the card error. In the English language edition Theben appears rather than Thebes on the card, not the board. It would seem likely that this was a left-over ghost from the German, not a translation into Dutch. I would have said that it was a failure to translate out of German, but the game was actually developed in English. A double translation isn't unheard of though.

I think you were over-picky on the components, but that's your prerogative. The inclusion of plastic bags makes for interesting economics though. The publisher can source plastic bags cheaply. But the cost isn't simply added to the final price of the game, it's marked up all along the chain. (That's not negotiable.) So I can probably actually get the bags cheaper myself (last time I bought any, I bought a thousand). But including the bags is definitely more convenient to the purchaser. Net result is that it's not an obvious choice either way.
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Sander
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Dearlove wrote:
I think you've misunderstood the nature of the card error. In the English language edition Theben appears rather than Thebes on the card, not the board. It would seem likely that this was a left-over ghost from the German, not a translation into Dutch. I would have said that it was a failure to translate out of German, but the game was actually developed in English. A double translation isn't unheard of though.


Yes, it appears you're right.
I did a quick look-up and the Dutch word seems to be "Thebe".

Either way, some consistency would have been nice whistle
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Christopher Dearlove
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lxiaol wrote:
some consistency would have been nice


Clearly it's a production error. One that I obviously noticed, or else I wouldn't have been able to comment, but one of those "c'est la vie" ones.
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adebisi
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manukajoe wrote:
lxiaol wrote:
McJarvis wrote:
Out of curiosity- what kind of components would you have preferred? Wooden pieces?


Yes, I personally feel wooden blocks and pyramids would've been nicer.


Good review!
-
In boardgames terms, it's a fairly old game now (2003). I imagine the art and components were fairly good compared with other games at the time. It's a bit harsh to compare it with today's games that have 8 more years of art development.

comparing something old with something new is always a valid approach and fair. And when it comes to components, many good games are ruined by bad game parts.
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Christopher Dearlove
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adebisi wrote:
And when it comes to components, many good games are ruined by bad game parts.


I can't actually think of any examples of that right now. with the possible exception of Zombiegeddon - get Jäger und Sammler instead. The games I can think of that have been ruined were at best so-so, and the good games with reduced enjoyment due to components have been much less than ruined. (Amun-Re being neither btw.)

Of course I'm not saying there are no such games, but I'd be interested to know any particular examples.
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Simon Woodward
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manukajoe wrote:
lxiaol wrote:
McJarvis wrote:
Out of curiosity- what kind of components would you have preferred? Wooden pieces?


Yes, I personally feel wooden blocks and pyramids would've been nicer.


Good review!
-
In boardgames terms, it's a fairly old game now (2003). I imagine the art and components were fairly good compared with other games at the time. It's a bit harsh to compare it with today's games that have 8 more years of art development.


On reflection, maybe you're right. I just got WarCraft: The Board Game, which is also 2003, and has awesome components (Fantasy Flight). Dungeons & Dragons: The Fantasy Adventure Board Game is the same (Hasbro!). What about Pirate's Cove, although you expect quality from Days of Wonder... these are all 2003 games...
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Bruce Linsey
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I was surprised you didn't mention another "lazy publisher" issue with this game. The otherwise-excellent reference cards say that the province with the most pyramids earns 5 points. The rules themselves say otherwise: it's most pyramids on each side of the Nile. A silly glitch in a well-nigh perfect game.
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Gary Heidenreich
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Bruce Linsey wrote:
I was surprised you didn't mention another "lazy publisher" issue with this game. The otherwise-excellent reference cards say that the province with the most pyramids earns 5 points. The rules themselves say otherwise: it's most pyramids on each side of the Nile. A silly glitch in a well-nigh perfect game.


Heh. Never noticed. Played this a ton online, though.
 
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Gary Heidenreich
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Nice review (even if I don't agree with it)! Like others said, well thought out and well written.

Now, for me, my tastes in the artwork of the games leans towards the older games as I find the graphics cleaner and less detailed (which appeals to me).

I was thinking last night when I played Amun Re that I really enjoyed the graphics (which is why I am mentioning it now).

Keep on reviewing!
 
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Geert Vinaskov
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Nice professionally done review. If you didn't mention it was your first, noone would've noticed. Also, your English, being second language, is flawless.

The components and layout are functional and simple, Don't pass up on some gems because they are oldskool and sparse on the graphics.

But, if you play a lot with people who find immersion and theme important, then graphics will make a good game a great one.
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Mauricio de Souza Fonseca
Brazil
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lxiaol wrote:
Introduction

I've only played with 3 players and I've read from other people that the game only works well with 5 players, since only then will all provinces be available.
You - For reading :D


Most Eurogames are better with the maximum number of players allowed playing it. AMUN-RE is no exception. Try it with five players.
 
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Ik ben een kleine boefje
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Mauricio is absolutely right, with four is still ok, but the game it at its best with a full compliment of five players.
 
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