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Subject: Strategies from a Hardened Pyramid Builder rss

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My tips:

Get Provinces cheap; free is good.

Go for Win-Win choices. When 2 good Provinces come up, bid on the weaker of the two (or your second choice) and plan on being moved off. This is sort of a poker-like bluff. This way, even if you stuck with it, it's still good.

Try to build up Power Cards. More is always good.

Do not worry about fulfilling +3 point Power Cards in the Old Kingdom. If you can swing it, cool. Take the points. If not, there's always the New Kingdom.

Camels are better in the Old Kingdom than the New. It is difficult to get a lot of Farmers without the money.

Conversely, Farmers can pay off better in the New. Build them up.

Steal in the Old Kingdom. Money is dear.

Also, use the 2 Stone = 1 Pyramid early in the Old Kingdom to save yourself needed gold.

Do not overbuild in the Old Kingdom. More than a set of Pyramids (or a set and 1 Stone) is a waste. Someone else can get it in the New.

Provinces that limit your choices are good, as you don't have to spend on everything. For instance, Dakla allows you to buy Power Cards and build Pyramids, allowing you to save money that others are going to spend on Farmers.

Do not be the only one with Camels. Or with Farmers. If an auction happens and there is a Province that could put you in that position, try to leave it for another player.

Pyramids are points. Build them up and in sets. Try not to get involved in one-upsmanship duels for the most on a side. It will be costly.

Buy Provinces with Temples and leave most of the uber-Farmer Provinces to other players. They will help you gain points with a little less effort. (This is especially useful in the Old Kingdom.)

In the New Kingdom use your Sacrifice bids, Sacrifice Correction, and Steal from the Temple cards to hurt the most players. Winning more often depends on shutting people down than on sprinting yourself.

In the Sacrifice bid only if you need one thing to help you, like 1 Farmer for extra gold or 1 Stone to make a Pyramid. Only bid when others have spent a lot in a turn and are, therefore not likely to have gold (I am often surprise how a 2-4 gold bid wins the Sacrifice).

Like was mentioned before, get others to help you, especially if they do not realize they are doing or how much. (If you are into weaselly gamesmenship, make suggestions about how they can best get the most pyramids on a side.)

A little luck never hurts. (This works for me, but then, I play with chaos.)
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generalpf wrote:
Osiris Ra wrote:
Get Provinces cheap; free is good.

Sometimes cheap is expensive. Like Dakhla in rounds 1 and 4. I won't even take it for 0 in rounds 1 and 4 unless it's the only province on that side of the Nile.


I will always take Dakhla. For 3 gold or less in 1 or 4, for 3 or 6 gold at any other time. Remember that Pyramids are points, and this Province will have nothing but. Also, that extra 12 income is useful to surprise players during the next Province auction phase.

If I take it in the Old Kindom, then that is where I put my Pyramid and extra stone (or 2 Pyramids, if I am forced). It makes other players fight it out for the Province for little return -- they will spend 9+ gold for a net of 3 or less, making it a veritable (pardon the pun) sandtrap.

Plus, if you are holding the "substitute 8 gold for the Province's income" card it makes it a no-brainer.

The big thing with the game is to think ahead. Plan, plot, pull stuff that the other players will not expect (especially in the Old Kingdom). It puts them on guard and worries the ***t out of them.
 
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Un Streetfighter avec un doctorat
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Dakhla on turn 1 is asking for trouble, unless you can get it for free, and even then it won't give you that much of an advantage. Remember that your first province pays 3 times, so you would be getting 3x0.
 
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vialiy wrote:
Dakhla on turn 1 is asking for trouble, unless you can get it for free, and even then it won't give you that much of an advantage. Remember that your first province pays 3 times, so you would be getting 3x0.


Actually, 12/3 or 4 per turn if you consider what it gives you. If you get it for 3, then its 9/3 or 3 per turn. And so on. Do not forget that initial reward. Remember, they are bribing you to take this province (along with many of the others). Plus, if you have a decent selection of cards one of them is likely to be a replacement income card.
 
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Your're right, but it's not difficult to get a net total return of more than 12 from your first province. The 8 Gold card needed to make Dakhla work best has two problems : there are only 3 of them in the deck, and they can be used just as efficiently on another province (especially in the last one of the Kingdom, in which case you don't have to place farmers).

Bottom line, Dakhla on turn 1 might wery well work, but I tend to be less optimistic about that than you
 
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Robert Birks
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I'd have to say that I disagree with a good portion of this advice.

Osiris Ra wrote:
My tips:

Get Provinces cheap; free is good.


In most auctions, taking a province for 0 is a bad result. There is a reason why people are bidding the other provinces up.

Osiris Ra wrote:


Go for Win-Win choices. When 2 good Provinces come up, bid on the weaker of the two (or your second choice) and plan on being moved off. This is sort of a poker-like bluff. This way, even if you stuck with it, it's still good.


I prefer, against good opponents, to bid what I think it will take to win my preferred province first up. Otherwise, when you are outbid on your second choice, your first choice will be too expensive for you.

Osiris Ra wrote:


Try to build up Power Cards. More is always good.

Do not worry about fulfilling +3 point Power Cards in the Old Kingdom. If you can swing it, cool. Take the points. If not, there's always the New Kingdom.

Camels are better in the Old Kingdom than the New. It is difficult to get a lot of Farmers without the money.

Conversely, Farmers can pay off better in the New. Build them up.



These are very good points.

Osiris Ra wrote:


Steal in the Old Kingdom. Money is dear.


I do tend to do this, but having a blanket rule is silly. It always has to depend on your provinces / farmer / camel/ pyramid situation.

Osiris Ra wrote:


Do not overbuild in the Old Kingdom. More than a set of Pyramids (or a set and 1 Stone) is a waste. Someone else can get it in the New.




So you never compete for most on a side? This is perhaps the worst bit of advice you offer in this thread.

Osiris Ra wrote:


Provinces that limit your choices are good, as you don't have to spend on everything. For instance, Dakla allows you to buy Power Cards and build Pyramids, allowing you to save money that others are going to spend on Farmers.


The logic here escapes me. For example, Dahkla in Round 1 doesn't allow you to buy a farmer, true. Given each farmer earns you a minimum of 3 gold, often 6 or 7, then it is NOT a good thing that you aren't able to spend 1 or 2 gold buying them.

And, following your logic through, you would say Mendes is a good thing, because you can't buy Power cards, allowing you to save money for more farmers. Ugh.

Osiris Ra wrote:

Do not be the only one with Camels. Or with Farmers. If an auction happens and there is a Province that could put you in that position, try to leave it for another player.

Pyramids are points. Build them up and in sets. Try not to get involved in one-upsmanship duels for the most on a side. It will be costly.



Fair points.

Osiris Ra wrote:


Buy Provinces with Temples and leave most of the uber-Farmer Provinces to other players. They will help you gain points with a little less effort. (This is especially useful in the Old Kingdom.)



Feel free to take the temple provinces in games against me. Especially in the old Kingdom. They dont' generate income, so I'll give you a few more points then use my considerablely greater money supply to blast past you in the New Kingdom.

Conversely, Temples in the New Kingdom are much more valuable.

Osiris Ra wrote:

In the New Kingdom use your Sacrifice bids, Sacrifice Correction, and Steal from the Temple cards to hurt the most players. Winning more often depends on shutting people down than on sprinting yourself.



Why only in the New Kingdom? The advice you offer above is even more relevant in the Old Kingdom.
Osiris Ra wrote:



In the Sacrifice bid only if you need one thing to help you, like 1 Farmer for extra gold or 1 Stone to make a Pyramid. Only bid when others have spent a lot in a turn and are, therefore not likely to have gold (I am often surprise how a 2-4 gold bid wins the Sacrifice).


Sorry, this is just rubbish. I think that only sacrificing if you want to get the most with a decent sacrifice would be closer to a good approach, although that is too rigid.

Osiris Ra wrote:

Like was mentioned before, get others to help you, especially if they do not realize they are doing or how much. (If you are into weaselly gamesmenship, make suggestions about how they can best get the most pyramids on a side.)

A little luck never hurts. (This works for me, but then, I play with chaos.)


Just following on what is said in the other posts, paying for Dahkla in Round 1 is not as bad as I used to think, but it is still a poor first round choice.

For example, compare Dahkla to Avaris. Dahkla earns you 12 gold, plus a powercard (say worth 4), so that is 16 gold for the 3 rounds in the Old Kingdom. Avaris will earn 24 gold plus some for it's farmer, as long as camels aren't killed in the sacrifice, which they usually aren't. And if camels are killed, then the farming provinces income will be way higher than Dahkla. Either way, it's a poor choice.
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None of these are blanket rules.
They are just some useful tactics.
In fact, if you were to try them all at once they would likely blow up in your face.
About the only surefire way to lose at Amun-re is to try and be the Chosen One (Phaeroh) in most-all of the rounds. It will bleed you dry, especially if you come in second (or third) in a couple of those.
Try not to be so dismissive, especially if you have not tried some of the suggested tactics.
So, yes. I would love to play this game with anyone. I play with chaos, so my strategies (and even my tactics) would be altared [pun intended] depending on my mood and who I am playing with. Plus, I am the luckiest bast**d in the world (my GF is just the opposite). I usually get what I need when I need it. This drives the overly logical around me to tears.
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Kanga is pretty much spot on in all of his criticisms of your post. I applaud your effort in coming up with a strategy article for this wonderful game, but I think your understanding of the game is not (yet) at a level where you can write such an article...

I'll add to Kanga's comments that I think the whole steal/sacrifice issue is very interesting and I think it's unfair to reduce it to general principles like "for the most part steal in the Old Kingdom". It TOTALLY depends on what your province holdings are in addition to those of other players. If on round 1 you have Mendes and have so far bought 3 farmers (which means you have 3 empty farmer spaces), it would be foolish to steal, since you can take farmers as your reward, which in round one are each one guaranteed to pay at the very least $3 back but likely more, so just in this example if you got three of them you would be receiving over the course of the Old Kingdom at the very least $9 and potentially much much more...

I feel that moderately experienced players have a tendency to steal when in some situations they should definitely be sacrificing-- this is because they are afraid that other players that are in a position as well to sacrifice will instead defect and leave the sole sacrificing player in a financially tenuous position--- this is a clear example of the prisoner's dilemma and ends up hurting all players who have sacrifice-oriented provinces (any provinces with 4 or more farmer spaces) but steal from fear that regardless of their individual sacrifice the level won't reach level 2. The truth is that (as illustrated in the paragraph above) if you have a province with at least 4 farmer spaces in round 1 your RATIONAL CHOICE is to sacrifice, and you should expect if there are two other players (in a 5p game) with the same incentives who SHOULD act the same then the sacrifice level should get to level 2 (at least). For one of these players to steal may hurt the player who sacrificed was left out to dry but ultimately it helps the other players who don't have a farmer setup MORE.

I also recommend reading the last comment in this article http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/19503 by Mikko L (cpsof95) for a great exposition of province evaluation when bidding in the Old Kingdom.

 
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I think there is value in the author's rules of thumb approach as a starting point. The author freely admits he is, and every player needs to be, flexible to the point of changing strategy in Amun Re if need be. Be prepared to change your plan!

Most players will find some useful strategies of their own after a few games online. However the amazing thing about this game is that every bit of advice I've seen must be taken with a grain of salt because there are so many strategic nuances. I discover more to this game every time I play. I have seen players win with what I thought were disastrous methods and wondered "what did that player know that I didn't"?

Every item in this game (province, power card, farmer, trader, building stone, etc) needs to be evaluated in relation to everything else in play and in relation to the point in the game in which it appears. A province might be worth very little in the opening round but be very valuable in a late round auction. Those values will change depending on what other provinces are on the block at the time.
 
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Alex Bove
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Osiris Ra wrote:

Try not to be so dismissive, especially if you have not tried some of the suggested tactics.


Um, Kanga has won over 54% of his 300 games on SpielByWeb. I think he's pretty much tried almost every possible strategy. If you want to improve your game, listen to him.
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