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Kemet» Forums » Strategy

Subject: A Small Primer on Kemet Opening Strategies rss

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Dick Jarvinen
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Kemet has a wealth of different choices in almost all aspects of the game. Of particular interest is how to select your pyramid levels and how to spend your Action Points in the first turn. This little article is not meant to cover all possible opening strategies but to point out a few possibilities on how to manage your resources (Actions and Power Points) in what could be a critical first turn.

The Pyramid selection is a bit limited in that you can only pick a 2-1-0 combination (one level 2 pyramid and one level 1 pyramid) or a 1-1-1 combination (all pyramids at level 1). But even this seemingly meager choice offers you seven distinct selections (Red-2/Blue-1, Red-2/White-1, Blue-2/Red-1, Blue-2/White-1, etc.)

Also, the turn order may definitely affect your decision. If you are last, you may want to pick a level-2 pyramid of a color that currently no one else has chosen as a level 2.

Other decisions to make are whether you want to concentrate on 1 color during tile selection (select one high level tile), or "spread the wealth", so to speak, among all the colors (perhaps getting one level 1 tile of each color).

One advantage of picking three level-1 pyramids is that you can easily select three different tiles on your first turn; You could also do this by selecting a 2-1-0 combo and using a 'pyramid build' to build the 3rd color on your first turn but I will defer that strategy for a later time). I will be concentrating only on some custom 2-1-0 builds and the 1-1-1 build.


The 2-1-0 'Power Build'
As you start with 5 Prayer Points and then gain 2 more at the start of your first turn, you will start with 7 total Prayer Points. Since
you can get 4 more Prayer Points by using two 'Pray' options, you can reach the maximum of 11 Prayer Points quite easily in the first turn.

Eleven points is significant because it means you can get a level 4 Power Tile in your first turn:

Action 1: Pray (+2 PP for a total of 9)
Action 2: Pray (+2 PP for a total of 11)
Action 3: Raise a level 2 pyramid (this assumes you started with a level 2 pyramid) to level 4 (cost: 7 PP, leaving you with 4).
Action 4: Buy a level 4 Power Tile

Your last action must be a Move/Recruit selection as you have used your first four actions on the bottom two levels of the Action Pyramid. It is possible to get a sixth action if your Power Tile was 'Act of God' (Red, Blue or White tiles) or 'Divine Will' (Blue tile only).

During your second turn you can pray once (giving you 4 PP) and buy a second level 4 Power Tile. I did something similar recently (although I did this over three turns instead of two) and obtained the Red Level 4 Power Tiles 'Giant Scorpion' and 'Initiative'. This is a rather powerful combination that added two to my strength as well as destroying two units from the target troop BEFORE the beginning of any battle where I am the attacker. This made my opponents understandably nervous but I must admit to losing that game, primarily to poor play on my part and good play by my opponents in the last turn.

A nice two turn 'Power Build' for Blue is to purchase 'Divine Will' and 'Act of God' which will give you two extra actions during a turn.

For a White 'Power Build', I like 'The Mummy' (+2 strength as well as an extra DI card every Night Phase) as my first choice, and any of the others for a second turn level 4 tile, with a slight preference toward the 'Act of God'.

Of course, none of this is happening in a vacuum; your opponents may have similar goals, and some choices may not be available to you.

One 'downside' is that you may not be gaining any Victory Points early but I don't look at that as a 'bad thing'. It gives you a chance to be 'last' and thus determine Turn Order, which could be really valuable if you are in competition with someone for a valuable tile. Note that if you start first in the first turn, you will get to determine Turn Order in the second turn if you gain no Victory Points.

((edited error in Turn Order placement, thanks to domus_ludorum for the correction))


How you supplement your initial Power Tile builds is dependent greatly on your style of play as well as what tiles are still available. I tend to like the tiles that add Strength to my attacking forces: Red ('Charge'/+1 when attacking, 'Blades of Neith' +1 in all battles); Blue ('Defense!'/+1 when defending). This would require (or at least made a bit easier) by starting with a Level 2 Red Pyramid and a Level 1 Blue Pyramid.

I'm not overly fond of the Shield bonuses; you can save a lot of troops but still end up losing the battle. I figure those boys have signed up for the Glory and expect to die in battle anyway.

If you want to raise a Pyramid by more than one level it is more efficient to raise it one turn rather than spread it out over two or more turns. While the Power Tile cost is the same, you are using only one action rather than two or more actions to raise it.



The 1-1-1 'Balance Build'
You have a lot of options with this start. In order to keep the mana cost down, buy a Priestess as your first action which will then reduce the cost of all Tiles by 1 PP.

As an example:
Action 1: Purchase 'Priestess' (White Tile, -1 PP for a total of 6 now)
Action 2: 'Recruiting Scribe' (Blue Tile, 0 cost)
Action 3: 'Charge!' (Red Tile, 0 cost)

Your last two actions must now come from the top two levels of the Action Pyramid.
Action 4: Raise Pyramid (your choice of color) to level 3 (cost 5 PP leaving you 1 PP).
Action 5: Recruit 2 units (0 cost because of 'Recruiting Scribe' and since you have 3 pyramids, you will have a place to put them).

If you chose to raise your White Pyramid to level 3, 'Hand of God' (raise a pyramid by one level for free and since it happens during the Night Phase, it doesn't require an action) is very attractive. You can then quickly get your pyramid levels to 2 and 3 cheaply and have a nice selection of Power Tiles available to you each turn.

If you find yourself 'Power Point Poor', there are many white tiles (at all levels) to help you remedy that deficiency.


Kemet is a wonderful little game with many options and twists, and many decisions to make along the way but yet does not bog down at all
regardless of the number of players (I admit to not having played the two player scenario yet). Hopefully we will see a few more posts with
players listing their favorite 'combo tiles' and build strategies. Kudos to Messieurs Jacques Bariot and Guillaume Montiage for creating this marvelous gem.
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My strategy. 2-1-0 pyramid. Go red early and build it up to 4. Buy red tiles preferably with creatures. Attack attack attack.
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Gordon Watson
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djarv wrote:
Note that if you start last in the first turn, you will get to determine Turn Order in the second turn if you gain no Victory Points.

Not quite true - if someone else has no VP they will determine the turn-order as going earlier in the turn-order essentially breaks ties, and as you were last in the first turn that won't be you.


djarv wrote:
Action 5: Recruit 2 units (0 cost because of 'Recruiting Scribe', and since you have 3 pyramids, you will have a place to put them).
Also - do you actually need a pyramid to place/recruit troops? I've seen this mentioned on another post but I can't find where it's stated in the rules so I think you just need an empty (your own) city space.
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Guillaume Montiage
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Hello

Gordon is right about recuiting troops. The rules say (page 5): "These units are taken from the reserve and are placed in one, two or three districts in the player’s city"

You don't need to have a pyramid in this district to recruit.

Thanks Djarv for your strategies. It's a real pleasure to read this kind of threads :-)

Guillaume
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Chris Schenck
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Gui11aume wrote:
You don't need to have a pyramid in this district to recruit.

Good to know.
Thanks!
 
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djarv wrote:
For a White 'Power Build', I like 'The Mummy' (+2 strength as well as an extra DI card every Night Phase) as my first choice, and any of the others for a second turn level 4 tile, with a slight preference toward the 'Act of God'.

Taking Priest of Amon here opens up a lot of possibilities as it essentially immediately turbocharges your economy.
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Dick Jarvinen
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domus_ludorum wrote:
djarv wrote:
Note that if you start last in the first turn, you will get to determine Turn Order in the second turn if you gain no Victory Points.

Not quite true - if someone else has no VP they will determine the turn-order as going earlier in the turn-order essentially breaks ties, and as you were last in the first turn that won't be you.


Oops, correct! I dyslexed 'earlier' and 'later'. I will correct my article. Thanks.
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Dick Jarvinen
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Walt Mulder wrote:
My strategy. 2-1-0 pyramid. Go red early and build it up to 4. Buy red tiles preferably with creatures. Attack attack attack.


I concur, especially since it taxes my brain power much less than having to work out complex plans.
 
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Evan Champie
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A minor note is that an empty pyramid space in your city counts as a level 0 pyramid, and is valid for spawning and teleporting
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Mauro Bertozzi
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Scuzball wrote:
A minor note is that an empty pyramid space in your city counts as a level 0 pyramid, and is valid for spawning and teleporting


This is totally false.
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Guillaume Montiage
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I confirm : you can not teleport from a city space where there is no pyramid.
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Joao Luiz Carvalho
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Great topic and great strategies! Thank you, djarv!

I have a couple of questions:

djarv wrote:

During your second turn you can pray once (giving you 4 PP) and buy a second level 4 Power Tile.


Don't you get only 2 PP by praying once? Or am I missing something?

djarv wrote:
If you chose to raise your White Pyramid to level 3, 'Hand of God' (raise a pyramid by one level for free and since it happens during the Night Phase, it doesn't require an action) is very attractive.


Since you were left with only 1 PP in the previos turn, I guess you would have to pray once before buying that tile, correct?
 
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Rick Sciacca
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There are 2 different spots on your mat for prayer. So it is possible.
 
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Nicholas
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joaoluizc wrote:
Great topic and great strategies! Thank you, djarv!

I have a couple of questions:

djarv wrote:

During your second turn you can pray once (giving you 4 PP) and buy a second level 4 Power Tile.


Don't you get only 2 PP by praying once? Or am I missing something?


What djarv meant is that at the start of your second turn you will be at 2 PP because of the 2 you get during the night, so on the second turn your first action is to pray, getting you up to 4 PP, and with your second action you can buy the 4 Power tile.
 
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David Destefanis
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On the 1/1/1 balanced build, I would advise to actually get the +1 Defense instead of Recruiting Power Tile.
And go directly for a temple with your last move action. You will usually hold it (thanks to this +1 and no one really be able to contest your temple since it's your last action) and get a +3 PP next turn (which I would advise instead of going for the Niles Delta temples).

I mean, what is the point of having 2 new units in your city turn 1, thus having all 12 on the board ?
They're not doing much and actually hamper any further development that you could have achieved like getting the +2 cap limit on troops Power Tile (bringing the limit from 5 units to 7) and actually putting them on your main army.
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Craig Nagy
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djarv wrote:
As you start with 5 Prayer Points and then gain 2 more at the start of your first turn, you will start with 7 total Prayer Points.


I think this is incorrect. My rules state "1 [ankh] marker, placed on the 5th space of the Prayer Points scale." Which, as the scale starts at 0, means 4 prayer points, plus 2 at the start for a total of 6.

I'm not sure how much that affects the rest of the strategy you've outlined.
 
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Joao Luiz Carvalho
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Nagyman wrote:
djarv wrote:
As you start with 5 Prayer Points and then gain 2 more at the start of your first turn, you will start with 7 total Prayer Points.


I think this is incorrect. My rules state "1 [ankh] marker, placed on the 5th space of the Prayer Points scale." Which, as the scale starts at 0, means 4 prayer points, plus 2 at the start for a total of 6.

I'm not sure how much that affects the rest of the strategy you've outlined.


At some point I was also unsure whether we started with 4 or 5 PP. However, after reading the threads and FAQs, I was convinced we started with 5 and then gained 2 more, for a total of 7 PP. I think an official source cleared that up, but I'd have to look it up.

The instruction manual has tons of ambiguities such as the one you mentioned. I suggest referring to my rules summary. Any suggestions or comments are more than welcome.

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/filepage/91585/rules-summary-te...

By the way, I just posted version 8 of the file (another minor revision), pending admin's approval. It should be up by tomorrow.
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Nagyman wrote:
djarv wrote:
As you start with 5 Prayer Points and then gain 2 more at the start of your first turn, you will start with 7 total Prayer Points.


I think this is incorrect. My rules state "1 [ankh] marker, placed on the 5th space of the Prayer Points scale." Which, as the scale starts at 0, means 4 prayer points, plus 2 at the start for a total of 6.
Start with 5 (then +2 more as the game truly begins), as stated by one of the game's designers.
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Craig Nagy
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Perfect! That clears that up. Much appreciated.
 
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