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Among the Stars» Forums » Rules

Subject: Zehuti's powers. rss

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Keith Pottage
United Kingdom
Nr Wakefield
West Yorkshire
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We've just played our first game of Among The Stars and really enjoyed it. However we were puzzled by Zahuti's powers.
Simply, what's so good about them? He gets 3 credits more than other players at the start of each year but is not allowed to discard a card for more! If playing aggressively then there are seven cards per year (after the first) which means he can spend less than 2 credits per location...
Are we missing something?
Thanks for your time.
 
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David Jones
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If you are playing a vanilla game (six cards per year) then Zahuti's is reasonably balanced. Other players that run out of cash have to burn a card to get the same 13 credits per year, so Zahuti can get that many more points by building instead of burning. It still does require a somewhat thrifty strategy, but again, not unbalanced if played correctly.

I do tend to agree though that if you add an expansion that extends the length of year, this starts to turn into more of a hindrance than a help. Ambassadors has another expansion that also adds a round of play, so you can have eight turns per year. Some of the ambassadors can also get quite expensive depending on player count, so in a 4+ player game, it continues to get worse. So, yeah, we don't play him as much as we used to with the newer goodies. I think I have 14 races in the box now, so I usually do a "draft three - keep one" to prevent somebody from getting shafted by races that don't work with whatever setup we have going.
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Keith Pottage
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Nr Wakefield
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Very interesting, thank-you. We'll experiment a bit in future games with different powers and try the drafting idea you use.
 
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Contig the fallen
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It does seem like an underpowered race. You can get a few extra points from those credits, but so can other races and they don't have a drawback.
 
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Panagiotis Zinoviadis
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The trick with the Zehuti is to go with an energy heavy strategy. You have the money to play a lot of card in your turn and when you cannot play a card, build a power reactor that will give you energy. Use it to build location cards that need energy and not so many credits and that is your advantage over the other races.

They are actually a pretty powerful race, with a just steeper learning curve.

Play the game. Enjoy the game!

Cheers.
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Vangelis Bagiartakis
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I find it a bit ironic to see the Zehuti ability considered underpowered. During our tests they were always considered to be quite powerful. In fact, there was even a debate at some point to lower them even more, but indeed that would be too much.

The thing with Zehuti is that, if you know how to play them well, they basically give you a "free turn" each round. All the other races have to spend a turn to discard a card and gain credits. Zehuti don't have to do that - they already have those extra credits. They just have to be careful with what they buy and how they spend those credits because they can't get any more (through normal channels). The Energy heavy strategy mentioned by Zinos above is a perfect example of how to do that.

With the Ambassadors, in my opinion the Zehuti become easier to play. That's because there are quite a few Ambassadors that give you credits or discount on what to build (the Sheptas ones for example) which negate their disadvantage.

For anyone interested by the way, when I first thought of their ability I tried going with 15 credits. It only took a few early games to lower it to 14 and even then the reports from the playtesters were very convincing: Between experienced players, whoever took the Zehuti won. Simple as that. Even when given to a new player, they would go extremely well, beating other "seasoned veterans". At 13 the results were much more balanced so we kept them there. So, definitely not underpowered.

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David Jones
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avyssaleos wrote:
The thing with Zehuti is that, if you know how to play them well...


I don't think I disagree with anything you've said here; its exactly in line with my comments above. However I am still curious to know how much playtesting you did with Zehuti and the conflict cards. The difficulty here is that when you add a seventh round to the game, Zehuti's effective income changes from 2.17 credits per turn to 1.86 credits per turn (or a 15% drop). He (she?) has to do four more things with the same amount of money. The core assumption with Zehuti is that a supplemental income three credits per six actions keeps him balanced against the other races. If you add four more actions to the game, shouldn't he get another two credits somewhere?


Quote:
With the Ambassadors, in my opinion the Zehuti become easier to play. That's because there are quite a few Ambassadors that give you credits or discount on what to build (the Sheptas ones for example) which negate their disadvantage.


I think my group is still trying to get their head wrapped around ambassadors. We definitely like playing with them, but the random nature of the deck seems to add another level of chaos to the game. You obviously can't rely on any given ambassador to flip during the game. At least once per game, we've run into an issue where a player has to change their plans because somebody ahead of them in the turn order sniped their ambassador. I've also not taken the time to sit down and figure out how certain ambassadors might enhance a given race.
 
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