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Thebes: The Tomb Raiders» Forums » General

Subject: Differences between Thebes and Thebes: The Tomb Raiders rss

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James Keith
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Small Differences:

1. No Map - Not a huge change to the game, more time is now spent on collecting and excavating, so it seems to balance out.

2. Exhibitions don't Cycle - Whenever an exhibition card is drawn from the deck, it goes face up next to the board with all the rest of the previously drawn exhibition cards. There isn't the "get it or lose it" aspect from the base game, where, if there are three exhibition cards in the tableau and a fourth one is added, the oldest one gets discarded. This may be because...

3. Exhibitions have a "time discount" - Though each one is worth a set amount of points, the more cards of a set you have the less time it takes to claim an Exhibition card. For instance, it costs me 8 time to take one if I have 2 yellow and 2 blue artifacts, but if I also have an orange and a purple, it only costs me 4. And if I have another purple on top of that, it costs me two.

This introduces an interesting waiting game whereby you might want to hold off on taking an exhibition in favor of doing some more digging. However, there's nothing stopping any of the other players who fulfill the minimum requirements to snatch it out from under you, although at a time premium.

Medium Differences

1. Museum Cards - Similar to Exhibitions, these cards sit off to the side until taken and require you to have artifact cards in order to claim them. However, you have to discard the required number of artifact cards ("donate them to a museum") in order to do so. Losing gained points can be pretty painful, but the colors and point values of the artifacts you discard are up to you (Museum cards only require that a certain number of them go away). That, and they have the highest point values out of all the cards in the game!

2. Professor Cards - Finally, you get points for being smart! There is one professor associated with each color of expertise along with a "best knowledge" professor card, all of which can change hands over the course of the game. The first person to acquire four expertise in a certain color gets the associated professor card, with the card going to whoever has the most expertise of that color as the game progresses. The "best knowledge" card goes to the first person to acquire a total of 10 expertise/general knowledge (color doesn't matter) and then goes to whoever has the highest grand total as players acquire cards.

As each professor card is worth 8 points by game's end (or 10 for the "best knowledge" card), it becomes much more worthwhile to rack up expertise both to have a shot at those points and to try and deny them to other players.

3. Limited Starting Dig Permits - Depending on the number of players, each one gets a set number of permits that are removed from the game when they are used, rather than being "refreshed" at the end of every year. In fact, the game does away with the three-year time frame of the original game and ends when the draw pile is exhausted (more on this later).

What makes up for this is that each player gets a "Wild" dig permit to start with and there are a handful of these wild permits in the main card deck as well. In addition, there are more ways to snag artifacts from digs, which leads me nicely to...

Big Differences

1. Thief/Tomb Raider cards let you Steal/Excavate without a Permit - These cards let you simply take a card from the respective dig site pile, though the Thief lets you look through the pile and pick while the Tomb Raiders still have you picking one blindly (or vice versa, there are some known troubles with the English language version of the rules which are addressed in the forums here).

You spend time to both acquire and use these cards, though before you pull/pull blindly you do check the specific excavation site pile to make sure there's some artifacts present. While the time is spent on playing the card regardless if the pile comes up full of sand or not, it's a nice touch that the designer lets you check to see if you need to spend the time shuffling up the deck before you dig in.

"But," I can hear you say, "what's to prevent players from abusing this? Wouldn't the best play simply be to grab the Thief/Tomb Raider cards as early as possible and use them to take the highest artifact available?" Glad you asked, because this leads to the biggest change of all...

2. No more Bags and Chits - In place of the blind drawing out of a bag that's been a love-or-hate thing for most gamers, there are separate decks of cards that feature artifacts or sand for each digging site. However, they don't start out being available all at once: all the digging cards are shuffled together with the green-backed cards to form a mega draw pile that gets doled out in a specific manner:

At the end of a player's turn, if there are any empty spaces in the central storage area, then a card is drawn from the top of the draw pile to replace it. If any digging site card is uncovered (identifiable by it's colored back), it is immediately placed in it's respective site pile. If another digging site card is uncovered, it too is immediately placed into its respective pile, and this continues until *both* a) the central storage is completely full and b) there is a green backed card showing on the top of the draw pile.

Thus, each digging site is slowly populated with cards as the game progresses, rather than being available all at once from the beginning. This works to mitigate any early appearances of Thief or Tomb Raider cards, as there's no guarantee that the high valued artifacts will be in the piles at any given time. Because it's even more of a crap-shoot, the designer included a new "Scientist" action card which lets a player look through the contents of a digging site stack, as well as the looking you get to do with the Thief/Tomb Raider.

Miscellany

Aside from the cards/decks, excavation is still roughly analogous to the base game: shuffle up the deck you're digging in and draw cards off the top based on the expertise vs. time calculation, as per usual. It works well and is certainly just as fun to test your luck as in the base game, but the setup and upkeep suffers a bit as a result. The draw pile is somewhat unwieldy as a single entity, and because cards get separated out as the game progresses a large amount of time is needed to shuffle everything back into a state of randomness for the next play. Also, paradoxically, it takes up more table space than the original game, which feels a bit odd considering how reduced the number of components there are.

All that said, I still think it's a fine reduction of the game it's based on, and if you enjoy the original you'll certainly enjoy this card-game version of Thebes
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Josh Chen
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But which one is better?

Is it worth it to sacrifice theme in the sake of reducing luck?

How game breaking are the thief/tomb raider/scientist cards?

 
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Tyler DeLisle
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porkchop_tw wrote:
But which one is better?

Is it worth it to sacrifice theme in the sake of reducing luck?

How game breaking are the thief/tomb raider/scientist cards?



Same question, as someone who was just about to purchase the board game Thebes, I'm a bit stumped now. The most alluring part of Thebes was the grab bag of jewels. Though I realize there are very polarizing opinions about the luck aspect of that. So what are some opinions on the benefits of the two?

To people miss the charm of the bag, or do people welcome the changes made in the card game?

Also, how much more portable, if any, is this card-based version?
 
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James Keith
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porkchop_tw wrote:
But which one is better?

Hard to say, I haven't played either enough to swing one way or another. I did get rid of Thebes and kept Thebes: The Tomb Raiders because it gave me more room on my gaming shelves

porkchop_tw wrote:
Is it worth it to sacrifice theme in the sake of reducing luck?

Like with Thebes, I think that's pretty subjective. Some folks will be fine with it, others won't.

porkchop_tw wrote:
How game breaking are the thief/tomb raider/scientist cards?

See answer to question 1.
 
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James Keith
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TyDeL wrote:
Also, how much more portable, if any, is this card-based version?

Portability I think is the largest draw of the Card game versus the base game. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I haven't played both games enough to get a better opinion on what aspects of both games are better/worse than each other, so I'm just as curious to hear from other folk as you.
 
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Bradley Hays
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This is a spot-on discussion of the differences of the two games. I recently got to play the card game and it reminded me how much I wanted to own the game. The card game is an excellent adaption. I was a little torn between the two as well. One other minor detail is that I think there are only 4 excavation sites in the card-game, rather than 5.

I think it all comes down to what you like. I think I really enjoy the components of the original, digging in the bag. It also has little dials that show how many tokens to draw depending on knowledge. The card-game dispenses with these and just has a chart. I like the spacial element of moving around the board, even though it is very minor and hardly missed in the card-game. Since I was thinking about playing with kids and family, I finally went with picking up a nice used copy of the board game version.

The card-game may be the slightly deeper game, so it might be more preferable for the gamer. It is also a little more fiddly and therefore maybe a bit longer. But it is compact for travel and for storage as well, maybe half the shelf size of the original board game. Both are excellent games.
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James Keith
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munihack75 wrote:
One other minor detail is that I think there are only 4 excavation sites in the card-game, rather than 5.

Good point! I completely forgot about that
 
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