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The Metagamers >> Expansion 2 -- Amun-Re Strategy Guide

In this, our second expansion episode, we delve deep into the strategy game Amun-Re. We will be discussing strategies for the first and second epochs, running down the relative value of the provinces, discussing the value of the power cards, and answering some listener questions.

For those unfamiliar with the game, it is highly recommended that you read the rules, and even get in a game or two online to get the most out of this episode.

http://www.themetagamers.com/index.php?post_id=194900

Hosts
Mark Haberman (habermanm)
Jay Little (ynnen)

Index
00:00 - Intro
00:48 - Why Amun-Re?
03:09 - Overview of Strategies & Concepts
05:50 - Strategies for the First Kingdom
14:18 - How to Evaluate Regions
20:22 - Region by Region Analysis
38:32 - Power Card Preview
44:15 - Second Half Strategies
46:50 - In-Depth Power Card Discussion
53:58 - Strategy Q&A
71:07 - Outro

Games Mentioned (* = in passing)
Amun-Re!


--

And don't forget to visit the Metagamers GeekList for a complete episode guide and links to all the podcasts.

The MetaGamers >> Podcast Episode List & Introduction
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/20105/

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Jay Little
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It was interesting focusing on a single game for an entire episode, and it's clear that Mark is very knowledgable about Amun-Re.

I am keen to hear what you, the listeners, think about this sort of podcast. We labeled it as an "Expansion" since it was a very tightly focused 'cast w/o some of our other features (Games Played, In the News, Multi-Game Segment, etc), but I still think there's a lot to enjoy in the episode.

What do you think? Are there other games you'd like to see this sort of analysis and discussion on? Did you enjoy or learn something new about Amun-Re from our podcast? Please share your feedback and suggestions.

Thanks!
 
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A most excellent strategy guide/discussion by a great Amun-Re player. I'm quite happy to see Amun-Re get the spotlight as I'm an avid fan of the game and love playing on SBW all the time.

A couple minor points of contention (I pretty much 100% agreed with the rest)...

When discussing whether to go for most pyramids on a side vs go for a set during the first epoch, you suggest going for the most on a side pretty much regardless of your position in the turn order. Specifically, you say that if you are not last to go on a side on round 2, that you'll build 3 stones and play a master builder card so that you have 2 pyramids and a stone and this dissuade someone else later in the turn order from competing with you.

I certainly agree that going for most on a side is a better choice whenever it's feasible, but I think that going for it when you are not the last player to act on a side is very risky and potentially disastrous. I think you should have discussed the factors involved in making that type of decision, instead of just suggesting "go for it". My general rule of thumb is that if another player CAN thwart your attempt at most pyramids on a side, they WILL (this also applies in the second epoch). So if I dare build a second pyramid on a side when there are still players after me in the turn order, I must make sure that my economic engine is stronger than theirs, and/or that it is more in my interest to "get in a fight" (which amounts to sacrificing and potentially seeing the sacrifice level rise) than them. You did touch on this latter point, but not specifically with regards to this situation.

.....

When discussing temple provinces, you mentioned that it is bad to go for all of them because other players will have an incentive to steal at the end of the epoch in order to keep you from running away with a bunch of vps. This is true and a great observation, but one you seemed to ignore when earlier making the statement that you should go for as many camel provinces as possible (the same effect occurs- if you have all three camel provinces, or if you have two and the other guy with a camel province also has farmers and temples, then you can easily be caught with your pants down at the end of the epoch).

.....

Your statement that as a camel player it is better to play a sacrifice correction card as early as possible is very debatable. Your observation that crippling a farmer player's income on the first round will decrease their ability to drive the sacrifice up later is sensible, but there are other points that override this in my mind.

The critical point that your argument misses is that as the epoch progresses players accumulate more farmers, so changes in the sacrifice level represent larger differences in income. If your sacrifice correction card manages to lower the sacrifice level to 1 on the first round, you've probably caused the others a combined total of $6-$12 loss in income. Accomplishing the same in the last round of the epoch will usually represent a MUCH larger amount (because there are a lot more farmers on the board), AND if it means keeping the sacrifice level below 3 it represents a HUGE difference for you (as a camel player). Not to mention the vps from temples.

Because of this same general principle, the sacrifice level will tend to stay at 1 on the first round anyways, because with so few farmers players lack the incentive to sacrifice instead of get a sure $3.

I think using a sacrifice correction card on round 1 as a camel player is a strong move if there are 10+ relatively evenly distributed foreign farmers on the board prior to the sacrifice, because there is a reasonable expectation that the sacrifice level will reach 2 and benefit several players. I think this is the example you had in mind, but it isn't that common.

Conversely, as an experienced player, I won't "stick my neck out" and make a large sacrifice ($5-6) on round 1 unless I'm in the situation described in the paragraph above, or maybe if I have a harvest increase. I think as a farmer player you just have to accept that the sacrifice level will start low and generally increase as more farmers come onto the board.

.....

I'm not sure what you meant in your constant attacks on "middle of the road" strategies, but I think there are situations where "divergence" from the "strategy" dictated by the provinces you own can be a good thing. In any event I don't understand what you meant or what motivated you to drive this point home so often...

In a recent game I purchased Avaris and Sawu the first two rounds, and decided to go for Damanhur during the third (I bid $6 for it and won). This seems to me a strong play because a) it takes away however many vps those temples are worth from someone else and gives them to me, and more importantly b) it lessens the general incentive to drive the sacrifice level up that the others have. For me there was no conflict of interest- clearly 2 extra points from the temples was not worth seeing the other players gets a combined total of $20+ from farmers, so I stole and played the sacrifice correction card I had saved from a previous round , bringing the sacrifice down as low as possible.

It can also be a good move as a farmer player to get a camel province the last round of the epoch, as this potentially decreases another player's incentive to steal, and it also softens the blow by "hedging your bets".

The key points here are that by getting a province that perhaps goes against your strategy you are not only getting whatever advantage that province gives and taking it away from someone else, but you are also encouraging the sacrifice to go your way by squatting on a province that offers incentives in the opposite direction.

Regardless of what your point was, I think this discussion would have been an interesting addition.

......

Anyways, I loved the podcast, firstly because it was done very well and secondly because it was about one of my favorite games. Listening to this almost made me want to learn how to podcast myself! Congrats.





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Thanks for the feedback John!

I agree with some of you points (it's hard to remember everything when you aren't actually in a game situation!), but I disagree with others.

I'll address your comments in the next episode!
 
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First Metagamer's podcast I'd listened to. Enjoyable, I liked the focus on one game's strategies. I'll be downloading some of the other episodes soon.
 
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