Shrine Wars take place in the TKG Arena world with players attempting to curry favour with the respective Elemental Kings. To win, players must gather the highest number of victory points by bidding Oinks for cards from the standard TKG Arena Set.
Players begin with the same number of Oinks of each element, and when a card is opened from the Deck for bidding, only Oinks from the corresponding element can be used to bid for the card. For example, if an Ukelele card is opened, only white Oinks can be used for bidding to secure the card. If there are multiple cards that can be bid for, the same rule applies, and only elements opened can be used. To further illustrate this point, consider the following 2 scenarios:
1) 2 cards are open, both Ukelele cards
In this scenario, similar to the above case, only white Oinks can be used for bidding
2) 3 cards are open, 2 Ukelele cards and one Ashw card
Since an there are cards from 2 elements that have been opened, both white and red Oinks can be used for bidding
Rules and Mechanics – and how to capitalize on them
In order to gain an advantage in Shrine Wars, one must first understand how Oinks are spent and distributed.
Firstly, only Oinks from the winning bid are ‘spent’, the rest return to the bidder and can be used again at the player’s discretion. Therefore, it is possible for a player to bid even without the intention of claiming the cards on auction for themselves. This will force the bid higher and deplete more resources of the winning player.
Secondly, the final digit of the winning bid determines how the winning bid is distributed (eg. If the winning bid is 11, the relevant number is 1). If any player(s) possesses a card with the corresponding numerical value, the winning bid is distributed equally amongst all players who own a card with that number. This bestows a huge advantage as it allows players to gather resources for bidding after spending Oinks to procure those cards in the first place. It is to be noted that in the early game, any advantage to be gained will likely to be minimal as players will avoid placing bids that will allow any single player to collect the entire bid for themselves. However, as the game progresses, this becomes increasingly difficult to avoid and in that situation, it would be beneficial to be the owner of more cards as there is a higher chance to gain some income from the bids.
Finally, there is an advantage to be gained by keeping track of remaining cards in the deck. As Oinks are distributed in reverse turn order if no one possesses the corresponding numerical value of the last digit of the bid, choosing which Oinks to take can provide you an advantage in the upcoming bidding wars.
Now that the importance of having cards early as been established, we delve into how to get this advantage.
An interesting mechanic in the game occurs when a player’s bid ends with the digit 0, for example, 10 or 20. This would reveal the next card in the deck as part of the set that is available for bidding. This can allow players to gain an early advantage in the game by bidding the 10 right off the bat. As all players start with 10, if the next card is of the same element, the player will automatically win 2 cards instantly, and has an instant advantage in the upcoming bids. However, the potential disadvantage is that it leaves you with 0 Oinks of the respective colour. Another potential disadvantage is if the second card is not of the same element, the following player has an advantage. By replicating the same strategy, he/she will have a higher chance of successfully pulling it off.
However, having the player immediately after you win confers a slight advantage to you as well. Every time that player has a winning bid, if no one has the corresponding card matching the last digit, this allows you to have the first pick of the Oinks to be distributed. By tracking the remaining cards in the pool, you should be able to pick the Oinks that give you a greater advantage (eg. If there are majority Ashw cards left in the deck, it would be beneficial to pick Ashw Oinks).
Finally, a method to reduce competition for the winning bid is to price people with lesser Oinks out of the bidding war. In a situation where you have the most Oinks of a colour, while others have many Oinks of other colours, you might want to avoid placing a bid that ends with the digit 0 as it would open another card, giving others the chance to ‘get into the game’ if the opened card matches the element that they currently have many Oinks in. Intuitively, you might also want to place a small bid as it may allow you to save more Oinks. However, that logic is misplaced. By placing a higher bid that others can place, you price them out of the bidding war, essentially reducing the number of rivals you have for that particular set.