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Mare Nostrum: Mythology Expansion» Forums » General

Subject: Is Egypt too powerful? rss

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Dane Peacock
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I am very impressed with this game. It plays as smooth as silk.

We have only played three games, all with the Mythology expansion, and Egypt has won all three. I am asking more experienced players if they find that Egypt is really that far out of whack.

The first game, we played Hermes incorrectly (resources = commodities and taxes), and it contributed to the win, but in the last two games, the Egypt player did not even use Hermes.

See here for the discussion on Hermes ability:

http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/85539

Egypt garners 9 taxes easily at least every other turn:

6 from cities/temple
1 from exchange
2 saved from the last turn.

It does not take that much effort to add the 3 taxes needed for victory (temples, wonders/heroes, and trades).

YES, I know that there are steps that the other players can take to impede Egypt, but I hate that. Egypt becomes the center of the game. Players must include ‘Stop Egypt’ as part of their plans. Yuck.

Actually, I am not all that concerned with perfect balance in this type of game. I feel that multiplayer games with special powers are too often incorrectly labeled as unbalanced, after only a few plays. So, I just want to know if Egypt’s position is really that powerful, or if I am experiencing an anomaly.
 
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Philip Thomas
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This has increasingly become my concern over the seven games we have played. There are other aspects besides the 'a set of 9 every other term' one. Egypt starts as Political Leader, and without actively attacking Egypt (including use of Baal), it is very difficult to see how she can possibly lose this role card: if you are playing with 3 role cards for the win, Egypt has a head start, and even if you aren't, being Political Director the whole game long is quite an advantage!
Actually Egyptian victory in our games has never come from getting 5 Heroes. Egypt doesn't tend to buy many Heroes, sensibly enough if she is avoiding attack. Instead she carefully prepares for a purchase of the Pyramids, usually when someone does a big trade in order to get their 5th Hero. (She then wins ties, although I admit my tie breaking rules favour her).


Egypt's position is quite precarious, because she generally has a lower total income once people have built three marketplaces: she has less squares than any other power which you can increase the revenue of by two by buying one improvement. If Egypt does get hit by Baal or attacks to sack, she can find herself very poor quite quickly. However, attacking her militarily is very likely a losing proposition for the attacker, because her Pheonixes are powerful and cheap defenders. Even Carthage, who can hold Cyrenae against Egypt, thereby ties down his military for the whole game and so is vulnerable to Rome or Atlantis.

There are only three spare cities in a 6 player game. However, only Greece has much interest in city-building, at least early on. So Baal is unlikely to be used. By that time Egypt could well be High Priest anyway- building temples is natural to her...

I agree that the need to target Egypt would be worrying. At the same time, Carthage and Egypt are the only two powers that begin play adjacent, I think that Carthage is meant to threaten Egypt, if only to the extent of making Egypt invest in defences.

There have been three games where Egypt lost: I forget what happened in 2 of them, but the first was the first game of all and Egypt agressively attacked Greece, which proved mistaken...

 
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Thomas Eager
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ninja Dane,

Sounds to me like what you are experiencing is an inexperienced Commerce Leader. Egypt certainly has the strongest tax base in the game. No way should Egypt be allowed to RETAIN that many tax each turn--an alert Commerce Leader should be trading enough cards to draw some of that tax out of the Egypt player's hand each turn--leaving them with some combination of taxes and resources. Unless all other players are offering tax during trading (the only Civ likely to is Greece), it will be almost impossible for Egypt to build a set of nine each turn.
Further, be aware that Commerce Leader is the most difficult role to play well IMO, as it's pretty tricky to keep track of how many cards are necessary to trade in order to successfully hamper opponents.
And Phillip, last game I seized the Political Leader as Greece by conquering Troy and building cities on the Eastern Med islands.
Egypt IS the biggest threat to build the pyramids quickest. If you are using the Expansion, I definitely recommend using the new victory conditions, needing FIVE heroes or wonders, or a set of THIRTEEN cards to build the pyramids. ninja
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Kevin Rohrer
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I haven't noticed Egypt to be too powerful in our games. Rome is the 800lb gorilla who must be kept in check, but the sleeper player is Mesopotamia. He starts powerful and has lots of room to expand. If Egypt, Rome, and Greece don't keep a careful eye on him, Mesopotamia will win every time.

The second best sleeper player is Atlantis. He can also "stealth" his way to a Pyramid victory.
 
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Eric Clark
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Kevin, I think you mean Babylon, not Mesopotamia.

Other than that...dang, everything I would say has already been said.

Next time you play, make sure everyone understands that the Director of Commerce must force Egypt to give up some tax cards. The other players have to stay alert during trading, too. Not long ago I played a game in which a first time player (Carthage), heedless of warnings, kept taking from the player to his left (Atlantis) simply because it was convenient to do so; other players farther across the table were offering many of the same goods. Atlantis built the Pyramids sickeningly fast and the Carthage player said he had a great time.
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Philip Thomas
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Rome is powerful, yes. He can get 8 commodities with very little effort, and the 9th is only 2 squares away. However, once he starts cashing sets of 9 people can notice and take action.

You can trade vs Egypt but a skilled Egyptian will quickly increase his Tax revenue to 8 and his commodity revenue to 4 or even more. So you need to trade 5. Odds are someone will trade Tax here, and anyway that level of trade threatens to give other players sets of 9...

Greece can get Political Leader by city and temple building, but it isn't easy, especially if Egypt buys Solomon.

Haven't seen an Atlantis or Babylon Victory: though they have come extremely close.

Have now looked up the two other session reports where Egypt didn't win. In both Egypt was played by a newbie. One of them Carthage achieved a set of 13, while the other Greece and Egypt bought their 5th Hero simultaneously but Greece was Political Director and so won.
 
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mike clark
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I have played at least a dozen times with the expansion.

Every player has pulled a victory except Egypt. Greece and Atlantis seem to be the most common victors.

Is Greece to powerful?
 
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Eric Clark
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I suppose if you and your group do lots of fighting, then the Greek centaurs can really be dominant, but most of my games are pretty bloodless so I haven't had that problem.
 
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Philip Thomas
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Note that clarkism plays with Hermes=Taxes. Greece starting with the High Priest and being near so many cities means he is favoured by this. So is Egypt in theory. On the other hand Greece has got a good position, the Centaurs are probably the best Mythological Creature around and he can land in Egypt and occupy to boost his Tax take for that last turn.

I think probably all sides have advantages and maybe some need more experience to use than others.meeple
 
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Dane Peacock
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Philip Thomas wrote:
I think probably all sides have advantages and maybe some need more experience to use than others.


That is what I am beginning to think.

cabalzero wrote:
Dane,

Sounds to me like what you are experiencing is an inexperienced Commerce Leader.


Probably true. In the last game, I was Carthage and the commerce leader all game long. The problem was that the Babylonians were receiving a ton of commodities. I wanted to trade a lot of resources to get Egypt's taxes out, but I was afraid it would give Babylon the victory through trading. I could have reduce the trading to zero, but I wanted 9 cards for a hero or wonder. Plus, the other newbies were trading away taxes that Egypt could gather up, and choosing commodities based on what they needed alone, and not looking at the advatages they were giving others.

Mare Nostrum, particularly with the expansion, seems to have one of the highest disparities between newbies and vets as any multiplayer empire game that I have ever played. There are various 'best' strategies for helping or hindering civilizations, and a zillion special abilities to learn.
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Philip Thomas
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Well, yes and no. I have been beaten by a newbie on my 6th game (he was playing Egypt and I underestimated the ease of getting 3 Role cards as it was my first game with that victory condition).

Carthage generally wants to trade high or not at all. Trading 1 or 2 is much more likely to help someone else, possibly Egypt (Egypt can get up to 8 Tax revenue, store 2 and convert 1 for 11, so all he needs in trade is 1 or 2 Taxes- but high trade and he has to trade away taxes instead)
.
 
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Robert Martin
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Egypt is so easy to target. Baal can take out a city, attacks by Carthage and Greece drain resources, trading can easily reduce his taxes. Egypt starts powerfully and everyone must be aware of it, but Egypt is also among the easiest nations to knock down a few notches.

Advanced setup helps quite a bit also. Greece becomes substantially more powerful as a tax power and reduces the number of cities and markets available to Egypt.
 
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Philip Thomas
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Yes, advanced setup weakens Egypt, because Carthage, Rome and Atlantis can have a starting income of 12...

 
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Robert Martin
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So far we've not had any one nation stand out as being overly powerful.
 
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Philip Thomas
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Have you had anybody try for Income 12? Safest for Atlantis because he can build defences before anyone reaches him.
 
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Robert Martin
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Yes we've had the pyramids bought by several different nations.
 
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