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Subject: Should sacrifice levels be changed with fewer players? rss

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David Grabiner
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I have played several games of Amun-Re with 3-4 players, and the Nile rarely hits 3 in such games, making camels very valuable and farmer-heavy provinces poor. The money in circulation is proportional to the number of players, so there isn't extra money available for sacrificing. In addition, it's rare that two players will be in a bidding war for a high sacrifice, and a sacrifice of 1, which is usually poor strategy with five players, is more common with three as it often earns two gifts.

Would it make for a better game if the Nile cutoffs were changed with fewer players? For example

5 players: 3, 13, 23 (as at present)
4 players: 3, 11, 19
3 players: 3, 9, 15

Even at these levels, if there is a first-round camel in a three-player game, the other two players would need to sacrifice 7 and 5 to drown it.

 
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W. Eric Martin
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David, part of the greatness of Amun-Re is that the game plays so differently with different number of players. As you point out, with only three players (and sometimes with four), the camel provinces become more valuable because the sacrifice stays low. As a result, the bidding for these provinces should be more intense since the payoff tends to be higher. If you're bidding the same way in three-player games as you do in five-player games, then you should reexamine how you play. Do whatever you can to avoid getting shackled with (ugh) Mendes...

Eric
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Eddy Richards
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I can see the arguments in favour of leaving it as it is, and I think that for experienced players this works fine. But for relatively casual players evaluating the value of the provinces (already variable, depending on when they come out and in what order) is hard enough. Also because the cost of the provinces goes up steeply and is very granular it's not always possible to differentiate at the higher cost levels.

By changing the sacrifice levels slightly you keep the balance between bids and other actions more or less the same, and we find this works better (ie. we collectively enjoy the game more). The change we make for 3 players is along the lines suggested above (can't remember exactly what off the top of my head, but the differences are small). We don't make a change for 4 players as it seems much less of a problem.

I'm actually surprised that Knizia didn't put this into the rules - he's usually quite careful at ensuring a game works well for different numbers. Which perhaps means he was thinking along the lines suggested by GPF and HR.

However, if you think that keeping the sacrifice levels the same makes it less fun, rather than forcing yourself to play in a particular style, tweak the rules to suit. It's your game!

Eddy
 
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ɹǝsɐɹɟ
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Back in the days when there were less maps we played every map back to back
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Ooh a little higher, now a bit to the left, a little more, a little more, just a bit more. Oooh yes, that's the spot!
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I have played 3, 4, and 5 and have never found it to be a problem.
 
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jbrier
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Personally, I never play this game with less than 5. There's so many games out there, why bother playing at a sub-optimal scale? just my $0.02
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W. Eric Martin
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verandi wrote:
Personally, I never play this game with less than 5. There's so many games out there, why bother playing at a sub-optimal scale? just my $0.02


Amun-Re works as well as three or four players as it does with five; it's just an extremely different playing experience. As for protecting new players from making poor decisions with their sacrifices, I think that's impossible. The decisions start with the bids you make on provinces to start the round, and they're going to make mistakes here as well. Experience is the only solution...

Eric
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Matias Vierimaa
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I think the marvel of amun-re (accident or not) is that basically every possible balance issue is solved due to auction.

If, for example, you consider camel areas be better choices when fewer players are involved, then you must make other person to pay to get better region!

In our games, highest first round auction for berenike has been 10. Certainly, even if high sacrifies are not expected, if you get mendes for 0, it is much better choice if other regions cost 10. But giving Berenike away for 0 coins would be foolish in such situation.
 
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