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Subject: Annoyed by lucksack factor of the Sphinx rss

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Chad Ellis
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In my review I mentioned that the Sphinx was probably overpowered and had too high a luck component. I'm still enjoying the game but this factor keeps annoying me and is likely to cause my rating to drop.

In the past handful of games I've had the "keep 2 Sphinx cards" card in round five three times. In one case I drew four cards; one was a free ten points and the other (i.e. the one that determines the value of the Nile card) was worth 7. In the other two I drew five cards...and put four of them back. In one of those cases even the first card was only slightly better than a blank.

Today my start Sphinx card was "4 stones in the Obelisk". This is an easy card if you snag the early stones but can be impossible (in a four-player game) if you don't so I jumped out quickly to get onto the Obelisk and then only drew one card off of the Sphinx so I could build both 1s and the 2. I drew "5 stones in the Obelisk," a nine-point card that only requires one more stone than my other Sphinx card.

The problem is that the variance in value and in synergy are greater in magnitude than the return of drawing extra cards. Yes, you still want to draw extra cards but drawing 5 still leaves you a significant chance of having a worse outcome than someone who drew 1-2.

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David F
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Luck in games, in measured doses, is the catalyst which enables shocking game-changers that you'll remember and talk about forever.
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Chad Ellis
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Yeah, even if I didn't agree with that review overall, the central point is pretty valid.
 
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Brandon Tibbetts
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How about a variant where there is a small collection of face-up sphinx cards? Instead of blind-drawing the cards, the players have to choose 1 card from the face-up cards.

Maybe each card, depending on its position in the line-up, has a different point value and stone cost. Or maybe you don't even need points for "building" sphinx cards since they make points for you anyway.

The double-sphinx card should probably be omitted in this variant.

For anti-stagnation, the unbuilt sphinx cards at the end of a round should probably be discarded, then all refreshed.
 
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R. O. Schaefer
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Chad_Ellis wrote:

In the past handful of games I've had the "keep 2 Sphinx cards" card in round five three times. In one case I drew four cards; one was a free ten points and the other (i.e. the one that determines the value of the Nile card) was worth 7. In the other two I drew five cards...and put four of them back. In one of those cases even the first card was only slightly better than a blank.


The card is high variance, but the latter outcome is far more likely at that point in the game. Only take the gamble if you feel you are behind and have to.

Chad_Ellis wrote:

Today my start Sphinx card was "4 stones in the Obelisk". This is an easy card if you snag the early stones but can be impossible (in a four-player game) if you don't so I jumped out quickly to get onto the Obelisk and then only drew one card off of the Sphinx so I could build both 1s and the 2. I drew "5 stones in the Obelisk," a nine-point card that only requires one more stone than my other Sphinx card.

The problem is that the variance in value and in synergy are greater in magnitude than the return of drawing extra cards. Yes, you still want to draw extra cards but drawing 5 still leaves you a significant chance of having a worse outcome than someone who drew 1-2.


Playing against the odds might work in one game, but not in the long run. If you plan to build with only 1 crew at sphinx, you'd better skip it entirely and take a good card instead.

Drawing 5 cards not only gives you better choices, but also more information you can use to outguess your opponents, which will result in better ship placements.
 
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R. O. Schaefer
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schmanthony wrote:
How about a variant where there is a small collection of face-up sphinx cards? Instead of blind-drawing the cards, the players have to choose 1 card from the face-up cards.


Hidden goals and deduction are a central element of the game.
 
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Art Entre
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A variant I play with is that the sphinx card at the start of the game is draw 3 keep 1, which helps mitigate the luck factor compared to draw 1 keep 1.
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Brandon Tibbetts
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Califax wrote:
schmanthony wrote:
How about a variant where there is a small collection of face-up sphinx cards? Instead of blind-drawing the cards, the players have to choose 1 card from the face-up cards.


Hidden goals and deduction are a central element of the game.
Ok, then draw 2 openly and discard 1 secretly.
 
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