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Shrine war is a game that requires the players to recruit as many cards as possible with the oinks in their possession. The whole game revolves around the bidding mechanism and the highest bidder will be able to purchase the card on the bidding table with their oinks.
The final winner is the one with highest points, calculated by the number of individual cards or scoring combination of cards.
I have played this game twice with two different groups of people, this has given me a better understanding that there are more than just one way of winning the game.
Initially, each player will have 10 oinks of each element in hand.
Your chance of winning the game starts at the beginning of the game, where the successful bid of the first few cards will significantly increase your chance of overall victory. This is because, at mid-game, all the cards of significant value would have been taken. As the player who holds the card value with the same ones-place unitary value will inherit the winning bid’s payment, the early accumulation of cards will allow you to accumulate oinks for future bidding by mid-game. Therefore having a strong start is very important in this game.
Having a well-thought strategy is also important during the game as you will want to minimise the amount of conflicting interest with the other players. This will reduce the unnecessary “fighting” for a card which will drive the price of a card up. This reduction of conflict of interest can only be done if you have a long-term well thought out strategy, which can last till late-game when players seek out cards that are beneficial to their hand for large scoring combinations. Still, even if it is necessary to “fight” for a card, a well thought out strategy will also allow you to have an upper hand over your opponent.
From my experience, players who are playing the game for the first time tended to hold the oinks until late game and only purchase cards of random significance towards the end. This is an unsound strategy as not only will you be picking up the “scrap” numbers, you will also be building up the stronger players’ war chest by feeding your oinks to the player who holds the card of the same value to your bid’s ones-place value.
One of the tactics I have learnt is the act of “phantom bidding”. This tactic is useful when an opponent wants to bid for a particular card to build up a scoring combo. By constantly bidding against the legitimate (opposing) bidder and raising the price for him/her, this will cause the legitimate bidder to overpay for the cards he/she wanted. This will cause the opponent to be unable to bid for the next few rounds as he/she will not have enough oinks to start bidding.
Another tactic is the denial of new cards. This tactic prevents opponents from opening a new card by not bidding oinks in multiples of ten. From experience, the player with most oinks will tend to open a new card by bidding multiples of ten. To deny him/her the pleasure to do so, all you have to do is to bid over the multiple of ten. This will either force the opponent to “overpay” for a card or to withdraw entirely from the bidding. This is also a good tactic to use if you are wealthy enough to be able to outbid all your opponents, as well as, overpay for a card of significant combo scoring value to you.