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Amun-Re» Forums » Strategy

Subject: PROVINCE VALUATIONS (updated 2009) rss

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Alex Rockwell
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With a lot of games and tournaments being played on spiel by web, and a lot higher quality of play overall, here are my updated thoughts on how much the provinces hsould be valued:

This evaluation is for rounds 1-3. In 4-6, the number of bricks on the provinces and the power cards you already have can significantly alter the valuations. Also, the value of money in the second half is different than in the first half, where it scores points instead of being carried over.

Valuation System:


Harvest values: I find that the most common harvest values (payout per farmer) among experienced players is about 1-2-2 or 2-1-2 or 1-1-2 or so. Rarely will it go up to 3 during the first half, and there are usually about one-two 2 payouts and one-two 1s.
I will estimate the following probabilities of payout totals (sum of the three rounds):
3: 10%
4: 33%
5: 33%
6: 20%
7+: 4%

I dont have scientific data for this. If someone wants to, that would be great! These #s are educated guesses based on my experience.
Average value: .10*3 + .33*4 + .33*5 + .20*6 + .04*7 = 4.75. I think that the true value would be found to be between about 4.5 to 5 if you looked at a large number of SpielbyWeb games among experienced players.

I'm going to break that value into 1.5 in round 1, 1.5 in round 2, 1.75 in round 3.


Temples are usually 2 but sometimes 1. (1.75) Camels usually pay out 3 times but occasionally 2.

Of course, if a lot of farmer provinces are drawn, the tendancy will be for higher payouts, and if camel, blank (dakhla), low farmer (Damanhur), or automatic income provinces (Berenike/Abu) come out more, then it will tend to drive the harvests down, so you need to look at what mix of provinces there are an adjust accordingly. Farmer provinces make other farmer provinces better, and same with non farmer provinces.



Specific Valuations of items:

Farmer slot #1: Costs 1 for the farmer, pays about 4.75 / 3.25 / 1.75 based on how many rounds left. Value is +4 in round 1, 2.5 in round 2, 1 in round 3. Thats +3.75/2.25/.75

Farmer slot #2: Costs 2 for the farmer, pays 4.75 / 3.25 / 1.75 for +2.75/1.25/0
Farmer slot #3: Costs 3 for the farmer, net is +1.75/.25/0.
Farmer slots 4+: To fill this you basically spend a bonus item you would get from the sacrifice. This couldve been a power card or brick, with an estimated value of about 3. Value is +1.75/.25/0.
For slot 6 I'm going to give a value of -.5 because you cant guarantee that you will actually be top sacrificer to get this farmer.

However, there is also some value in having a lot of slots, for the ability to score a farmer bonus, or for a bigger payout off a harvest increase. (However, these same provinces make it harder to draw power cards generally). I'll give +.25 for four slots, +.5 for five and +.75 for six, in round 1 when there is time to fill them. .25 less for round 2, no value for round 3. Thebes provides good power cards with the 4 farmers, so we'll give another .5/.25/0 based on round.

Thus:
0 farmer slots: 0/0/0
1 farmer slots: 3.75/2.25/.75
2 farmer slots: 6.5/3.5/.75
3 farmer slots: 8.25/3.75/.75
4 farmer slots: 10.25/4/.75
5 farmer slots: 12.25/4.5/.75
6 farmer slots: 13.75/5/.75



Power Cards: I value power cards (a random power card draw) at about 3 Gold. Obviously some are far better (8 gold/scoring/harvest increase), some are nearly 3 or a bit better (master builder/free farmer/bid blockade), and some suck (change the offering, and especially overbid in same province). But lets say 3.

Ability to purchase power cards:

On round 1:
Ability to purchase 0 cards has a value of 0.
Ability to purchase one card has a value of 2 (3 value minus 1 cost).
Ability to purchase 2+ cards has a value of 3. (Buy two for 3 cost/6 value, or three for 6 cost/9 value)

On round 2 we will be using the highest of our values. We can assume that will be at least 1, so the drawback of a round 1 0 powercard province goes away now. The value of a 2+ province is now 1 more than what we had before.
In round 3, we might have duplicated our 2+ province, so I will assign a value of .5. I am trying to account foor the average case here.

Thus:

Round 1:
0 cards: 0
1 card: +2 (for the first round, then no benefit later)
2+ cards: +4.5 (3 for the first round, 1 for rounds 2, .5 for 3).

Round 2:
2+: +1.5

Round 3:
2+: +.5

There is also value in having 3+ powercard symbols on the province, for allowing the potential of the powercard bonus. We'll say +.25 for 3 symbols and +.5 for 4.

In total:

0: 0/0/0
1: 2/0/0
2: 4.5/1.5/.5
3 total symbols: 4.75/1.75/.25
4 total symbols: 5/2/1


Temples: We'll estimate temples to be worth 1.75 points. Its hard to convert this to gold. I'm going to say +4 each as an estimate. But its really hard to know the value here.

Camels: These probably pay out about 2.8 times? Say almost certainly in 1 and 2 and 80% chance in round 3. So

Automatic income: Amount * rounds left.


Bonus Powercards: About 3 each.
Bonus farmers: 3 each again, but we'll say 2 each instead in round 3.
Bonus bricks: The 1 brick in Abydos saves you 3 or your master builder card (so 3). The two bricks in Memphis is trickier. If you just use it to make one pyramid it saves you 5. If you are trying to go for most on the side plus a set it might be more helpful than that, however it could be hard to get most on a side with just 2 pyramids, as someone else could only build in one province and get 3 there. I'm going to say 5 as the value for this 2 brick bonus.


Dakhla: WIth no income potential, Dakhla provides full benefit from an 8 gold card, whereas another province wouldve let you make a farmer for a profit at least. This should be valued at about 2 if it occurs (about half the time), so we'll say +1.


Summing up all the provinces:


Damanhur: Total: 16.5/11.5/8.75
Farmers: 6.5/3.5/.75
Powercards: 2/0/0
Temples: +8

Baharya: Total: 18.25/10/4.75
Farmers: 10.25/4/.75
Powercards: 2/0/0
Free Farmers: 6/6/4

Dakhla: Total: 20.75/17.75/16.25
Farmers: 0/0/0
Powercards: 4.75/1.75/.25 (2 purchase + 1 symbol)
8 gold efficiency bonus: +1
Free gold: +12
Free powercard: +3

Kharga: Total: 25/14/5.25
Farmers: 6.5/3.5/.75
Camel5: 14/9/4
Powercards: 4.5/1.5/.5

Buto: Total: 15.25/7.5/3.75
Farmers: 12.25/4.5/.75
Powercards: 0/0/0
Bonus Powercard: +3

Memphis: Total: 18/10.5/6
Farmers: 8.25/3.75/.75
Powercards: 4.75/1.75/.25
Bricks: +5

Abydos: Total: 16.25/8.75/4.75
Farmers: 8.25/3.75/.75
Powercards: 5/2/1
Bricks: +3

Edfu: Total: 17.25/10.75/7.75
Farmers: 8.25/3.75/.75
Powercards: 2/0/0
Temple: +4
BonusPowercard: +3

Mendes: Total: 13.75/5/.75
Farmers: 13.75/5/.75

Amarna: Total: 16.25/8/4.75
Farmers: 10.25/4/.75
Powercards: 2/0/0
Temple: +4

Thebes: Total: 21.75/12.25/7.75
Farmers: 10.25/4/.75
Combining farmer slots with +powercards: +.5/.25/0
Powercards: 5/2/1
Bonus Powercards: +6

Abu: Total: 23/13/5.25
Farmers: 6.5/3.5/.75
Powercards: 4.5/1.5/.5
Income: 12/8/4

Avaris: Total: 27.5/16.5/7.25
Farmers: 3.75/2.25/.75
Powercards: 2/0/0
Camel8: 22.5/14.5/6.5

Sawu: Total: 27.75/17.25/7
Farmers: 3.75/2.25/.75
Powercards: 4.5/1.5/.5
Camel7: 19.5/13.5/5.75

Berenike: 26/16/8
Farmers: 0/0/0
Powercards: 2/0/0
Income: 24/16/8

Province Values Ranked, by Round
Round 1:

Sawu 27.75
Avaris 27.5
Berenike 26
Kharga 25
Abu 23
Thebes 21.75
Dakhla 20.75
Baharya 18.25
Memphis 18
Damanhur 16.5
Abydos 16.25
Amarna 16.25
Edfu 15.5
Buto 15.25
Mendes 13.75


Value above Mendes Round 1:

Sawu 14
Avaris 13.75
Berenike 12.25
Kharga 11.25
Abu 9.75
Thebes 8
Dakhla 7
Baharya 5.5
Memphis 5.25
Damanhur 2.75
Abydos 2.5
Amarna 2.5
Edfu 1.75
Buto 1.5
Mendes 0

Thats a BIG range. Are you bidding 10 on camel provinces/berenike to avoid Mendes?


Round 2:
Dakhla: 17.75
Sawu: 17.25
Avaris: 16.5
Berenike: 16
Kharga: 14
Abu: 13
Thebes: 12.25
Damanhur: 11.5
Edfu: 10.75
Memphis: 10.5
Baharya: 10
Abydos: 8.75
Amarna: 8
Buto: 7.5
Mendes: 5

Value above Mendes Round 2:

Dakhla: 12.75
Sawu: 12.25
Avaris: 11.5
Berenike: 11
Kharga: 9
Abu: 8
Thebes: 7.25
Damanhur: 6.5
Edfu: 5.75
Memphis: 5.5
Baharya: 5
Abydos: 3.75
Amarna: 3
Buto: 2.5
Mendes: 0

Are you still bidding 10 on Dakhal and camel provinces to avoid Mendes??


Round 3:
Dakhla: 16.25
Damanhur: 8.75
Berenike: 8
Thebes: 7.75
Edfu: 7.75
Avaris: 7.25
Sawu: 7
Memphis: 6
Kharga: 5.25
Abu: 5.25
Abydos: 4.75
Amarna: 4.75
Baharya: 4.75
Buto: 3.75
Mendes: .75


Value above Mendes Round 3:

Dakhla: 15.5
Damanhur: 8
Berenike: 7.25
Thebes: 7
Edfu: 7
Avaris: 6.5
Sawu: 6.25
Memphis: 6
Kharga: 4.5
Abu: 4.5
Abydos: 4
Amarna: 4
Baharya: 4
Buto: 3
Mendes: 0

Seriously, youre avoiding Mendes, right?

What to bid
Bid Value by province (round 1/2/3), with Mendes available. A + means to prioritize this bid (the gain over your bid amount is larger). X-Y would mean a bid of X winning it would be great, Y winning would be ok but youre not really gaining anything.

Damanhur 1-3 6 6+
Baharya 3+ 3 3
Dakhla 6 10+ 10+
Kharga 10 6+ 3
Buto 1 1-3 1-3
Memphis 3+ 3+ 3-6
Abydos 1-3 1-3 3
Edfu 1+ 3+ 6
Mendes 0 (Always 0, and you cry)
Amarna 1-3 3 3
Thebes 6 6 6
Abu 6+ 6 3
Avaris 10+ 10 6
Sawu 10+ 10+ 6
Berenike 10 10 6


Bid value by province (round 1/2/3), with no mendes, but at least one 'bad' province (one of the low ones for the round.

Damanhur 1 3 3+
Baharya 3 1 0-1
Dakhla 3+ 6-10 10+
Kharga 6+ 6 1
Buto 0 0 0
Memphis 3 1-3 1-3
Abydos 0-1 0-1 0-1
Edfu 0 1-3 3
Mendes XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
Amarna 0-1 0 0-1
Thebes 3-6 3 3
Abu 6 3+ 1
Avaris 10 6+ 3
Sawu 10 6+ 3
Berenike 6-10 6+ 3+




Conclusions:
The existance of Mendes in the province selection should drive up all bids, and to a lesser extent this applies to buto.

Bidding 10 on good provinces to avoid Mendes is a good idea, unless your opponents wouldve let you get away with 6.

This shows that there should probably be some 10 bids in round 1 frequently, possible 10 in round 2 or at least some 6 bids, and then in round 3 a bid of 10 on Dakhla and others should be 1-3, unless Mendes is there in which case others are mostly 3-6.
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Chris Linneman
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Good analysis. I think one thing you failed to incorporate is that money NOW is worth more than money NEXT TURN. It affects your ability to sacrifice, and buy the things you need at the right prices. For instance, building 2 pyramids costs 12 gold over 2 rounds if you buy 3 blocks per round. But if you buy 1 block on the first round (because it's all you can afford) and 5 on the second, the total cost is 16 gold. I won't bid over 6 for any province in round 1 because of this.

I think you are being too hard on Mendes. Good players who are willing to sacrifice a lot to drive up the total make farming provinces more valuable. Whenever I play as a "farmer" my sacrifices are always large. When other players realize this, they are more likely to make bigger sacrifices themselves because they know they won't be left trying to please Amun-Re on their own. This also punishes the players who overpaid for camel provinces. When I play a "farmer", it's my goal to drown those camels once in the Old Kingdom.

Mendes is bad, but I prefer it in round 1 over Dakhla. And I admit this has something to do with the fact that I seem to always be stuck with that damn Outbid in Same Province card.

Oh, and I like to call temple points 3 gold/point. This is because if I build a set of pyramids it costs me 18 gold and gets me 6 points. A rough valuation, but decent.
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jbrier
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I'm skeptical that all of the stealing that is responsible for these low harvest statistics is "rational". Often I see people get a province with four farmer spaces in round 1 and steal, which is just nuts. Among the better players in these leagues and tournaments it is a bit less common, but still there's an overall tendency to have an excessive amount of what I call "sacrifice fear".

Let's say in round 1 players A, B, and C have 3+ farmers and no extra income, while players D and E have camel provinces and/or dahkla. A, B, and C are thinking to themselves: "I want the harvest to get to level 2, but if I sacrifice high and the level ends up at 1 cause one of the other players with farmers stole, then I'll be screwed since I'll have almost no cash". The best choice for A, B, and C as a group is to sacrifice and get the level to 2. While by stealing one of these players might sink the other two, they put themselves at a disadvantage relative to players D and E. Especially since sacrifice trends snowball: a high sacrifice puts more money in hands of players with more farmers, who will sacrifice high again next round, while a low sacrifice does the opposite. This is also why when sacrificing in round 1/4 one shouldn't solely consider present round income but also the intangible value of setting a trend for the next two rounds.

None of this is to suggest that I disagree with the valuations that Alex is giving- if Dakhla, Sawu, and Mendes come up in round 1 I won't hesitate to bid 10 on Sawu.

But I do disagree with the implicit notion that advanced play leads to the harvest level being at 1 most of the time. I think there's many players online that suffer from "sacrifice fear" more than is rational.
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Chris Linneman
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John you are absolutely right. I cringe whenever I see someone sacrifice 1 gold and get 3 rewards because everyone was too cheap to do what was in their best interest.

Amun-Re is chaotic enough that you will sometimes do the best you can and still lose. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't try. Few players understand this, thinking it is somehow "safer" to sacrifice less, which is why you see some players with 0-10% win rates and others with 50% win rates.

I would argue that high level play will see more games where the sacrifice reaches 3 than low level play will.
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Alex Rockwell
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Generally I find that in most cases in rounds 1-3, money now versus later doesnt matter. (It can in the second half). However, if this has an effect, then it improves the provinces with bonus stuff, and weakens the farmer provinces even more.


I went through and looked at ever league game I have played that is finished or past round 3. Thats 34 games!
Here are the results of the sacrifice for rounds 1-3:

Round 1:
Level 1 in 23 games
Level 2 in 11 games
Average = 1.32!

Round 2:
Level 1 in 17 games
Level 2 in 17 games
Average = 1.5

Round 3:
Level 1 in 12 games
Level 2 in 14 games
Level 3 in 7 games
Level 4 in 1 game

Average = 1.91.


Average sum of the sacrifice levels = 4.73!!

I was right on with my total estimate.

My round 1 estimate was a bit high and round 3 was a bit low. (by about .15 each). The modification has no effect on the round 1 analysis. For rounds 2 and 3, your expected farmer payout is .15 higher per farmer. However, in round 3, only 1 farmer is worth it, so we only count it once there. In round 2 it effects them all, since they still have time to pay off. I will round extra .15s up to .25.

Old chart:
0 farmer slots: 0/0/0
1 farmer slots: 3.75/2.25/.75
2 farmer slots: 6.5/3.5/.75
3 farmer slots: 8.25/3.75/.75
4 farmer slots: 10.25/4/.75
5 farmer slots: 12.25/4.5/.75
6 farmer slots: 13.75/5/.75

New chart:
0 farmer slots: 0/0/0
1 farmer slots: 3.75/2.5/1
2 farmer slots: 6.5/3.75/1
3 farmer slots: 8.25/4.25/1
4 farmer slots: 10.25/4.5/1
5 farmer slots: 12.25/5.25/1
6 farmer slots: 13.75/6/1

Net result: Big farmer provinces are BARELY better in round 2 than I stated. Dakhla is barely worse. The modificaiton is extremely small.
 
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Alex Rockwell
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verandi wrote:

But I do disagree with the implicit notion that advanced play leads to the harvest level being at 1 most of the time. I think there's many players online that suffer from "sacrifice fear" more than is rational.


I am not trying to say that it ends up at 1 most of the time. I am saying its usually 1 or 2, and rarely 3+ in rounds 1-3.

My review of my 34 league games bears this out, though stil lfor a smallish sample size. It would be nice if we had data on hundreds of league games, from a variety of players.


Note also that camel players got screwed once in 23% of games (in line with my estimate). Generally these times involved certain people trying to jack up the harvest, with large sacrifices. So this does occur. Just about 20-25% of the time. I'm just basing this all off what I've seen actually occur in league games.


If people began to sacrifice more and drove up the harvest values, it would change the valuation some. But I think people are being pretty rational most of the time in their sacrifices.


Also, note that the number of farmer vs non farmer provinces plays a huge role. In a heavy farmer start, you can expect harvests of '2' and this increases the farmer provinces to be not much worse than the camels. (You still want to bid 3 or 6 on that camel, just not 10). In the low farmer starts, the farmer provinces really suck, and the 1-2 guys that are stuck with them get really screwed unless their opponents were bidding 10 for camel/income provinces or 3-6 for others.
 
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Alex Rockwell
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QBert80 wrote:
John you are absolutely right. I cringe whenever I see someone sacrifice 1 gold and get 3 rewards because everyone was too cheap to do what was in their best interest.

Amun-Re is chaotic enough that you will sometimes do the best you can and still lose. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't try. Few players understand this, thinking it is somehow "safer" to sacrifice less, which is why you see some players with 0-10% win rates and others with 50% win rates.

I would argue that high level play will see more games where the sacrifice reaches 3 than low level play will.


Perhaps someone should analyze sacrifice levels of winners versus non winners of each game? Because the winners are tending to do it more correctly than the others.

I am not trying to prove whether it is correct to sacrifice more or less in this analysis. I'm just trying to look at what is CURRENTLY OCCURING, in general, in league play on SBW.


If you believe that others are stealing too much, then this should be exploitable by doing the opposite, so go win your league
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Alexfrog wrote:

If people began to sacrifice more and drove up the harvest values, it would change the valuation some. But I think people are being pretty rational most of the time in their sacrifices.


Well, it's an example of Prisoner's Dilemma, so in some sense there's no "right" answer. I do believe that as a group players with 3+ farmers on round 1 are usually best served by sacrificing (esp. if there are 1-2 players with a camel province and/or dahkla). However, if I know that other farmer players are going to defect and steal then perhaps my "rational" choice is also to defect or sacrifice low. But it would have been more advantageous to me personally if all us farmers sacrificed and got the level to 2. There's a reason it's called a dilemma!
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jbrier
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Alexfrog wrote:

Perhaps someone should analyze sacrifice levels of winners versus non winners of each game? Because the winners are tending to do it more correctly than the others.

If you believe that others are stealing too much, then this should be exploitable by doing the opposite, so go win your league


This somewhat misses the point. If the environment is such that people with 3+ farmers are regularly defecting, then my rational choice is to also defect or sacrifice low.

But that doesn't change the fact that if there are 3 players with 3+ farmers and two with camel provinces/dahkla, as a group it benefits the farmer players to sacrifice. With an established environment where typically one or more of the farmer players steals, harvest levels will stay low in the old kingdom since players will generally be risk-averse in round 1, and subsequently camel provinces and dahkla will be valued higher than they would if players didn't suffer sacrifice fear.

So unfortunately this insight won't help me win any games

Although I am so far climbing the ranks in Gaditus's league, so watch out! laugh
 
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Alex Rockwell
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Yes, it is a prisoners dilemna problem, so there is no real solution. Analysing how much each result occurs on average is probably a good way to go.


I was shocked by how much better some of those provinces turned out versus mendes. But then, an analysis that only tells you what you knew already isnt worth much is it?

And really, I do feel that 10 for avaris is a fine bid to avoid mendes (provided that people wouldnt let you get it for 6). So it makes sense.
I have also found dakhla to be a decent round 1 province. I am fine with bidding 3 on it (pray for 8 gold cards).

I remember a game where Eric Freeman (a very strong player) bid 15 on round 1 for Avaris and won. These valuations are reasonable!
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jbrier
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Alexfrog wrote:
These valuations are reasonable!


I totally agree, and said as much in my first reply; I even reiterated that I'd bid 10 on Sawu in a heartbeat in round 1.

My point was about the occurrence of the prisoners dilemma in this game, and how the tendency of players in the leagues you and I have been in is by and large to defect, which creates an environment that disfavors farmer provinces.



 
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Robert Birks
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great article thanks Alex. I'd agree with pretty much everything, except I might given the power cards more weight. It's very hard to win a game without making one or two bonus power cards at least!

Can you compare this to your original evaluations from a few years ago?
 
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Mark Haberman
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Isn't there something to be said for the power of being able to sacrifice? So Mendes allows you to throw out a sacrifice of 4 or 5 to hopefully get 3 items, which are probably valued at about 3 a piece. So this is a net gain of let's say 2 on average (sacrificing 4, worth 9).

This would drive up the value on a farm heavy provinces by about 2 per round, and a temple province by 2 on the last round.

It's hard to value if there's a mixture, and obviously it doesn't compound with more provinces, so 3 farm provinces is still only +2, not +6. And a mixture might not give you any benefit depending on the situation.
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Caleb
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Hey, question. I used to be pretty active on SBW, mostly playing closed Amun Re games with family and friends. What's the best way to find and join a league? It's been a while since I've even been on SBW.

Thx
cannoneer
 
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cannoneer wrote:
What's the best way to find and join a league?


Go to the forums page on SBW. Under Amun-Re you'll find threads regarding several leagues and tournaments.
 
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Alex Rockwell
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Kanga wrote:
great article thanks Alex. I'd agree with pretty much everything, except I might given the power cards more weight. It's very hard to win a game without making one or two bonus power cards at least!

Can you compare this to your original evaluations from a few years ago?


Relative to a few years ago, my evaluation of farmer provinces is even worse now, because I have noted that the sacrifice is very often 1, whereas before I assumed an average of 2 I think.


Yes, valuations of powercards and of temples is really hard. Certainly some powercards are worth much more than 3, (8 gold and scoring cards). It is hard to win without them. But then others just suck (outbid in same province should be discarded for 1 gold, and change the offering is not very helpful much of the time.

The question is, how many gold does it take on average to buy 1 more marginal point, above what you expect to generally be able to get? Its easy to get 1 set of pyramids in the first half and 2 sets in the second, without paying too much, but the cost to score more points that this is harder.



 
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Alex Rockwell
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habermanm wrote:
Isn't there something to be said for the power of being able to sacrifice? So Mendes allows you to throw out a sacrifice of 4 or 5 to hopefully get 3 items, which are probably valued at about 3 a piece. So this is a net gain of let's say 2 on average (sacrificing 4, worth 9).


Yes there is value in being able to sacrifice. Its hard to quantify.

There is also value in being able to steal! If you have a farmer heavy position with more farmers thna others, you dont really have the ability to steal, it screws you. Stealing can be efficient, you gain +3 guaranteed.

If you sacrifice 1 and get 1 item, you essentially paid 4 for it.

If you sacrifice 4 and someone else did 5, you essentially paid 7 for 2 items.

Especially in money poor games, where a lot of people are going to steal, sacrificing more often still doenst increase the level above 1, and you dont get any more free items.



Its a VERY tricky thing to evaluate, because its a blind auction with rewards for different places.
For now, the best I could do was to try to value the provinces based on what payout levels were actually occuring in games.
If anyone wants to make an attempt at something better or more accurate thats great!

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Moishe Steigmann
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Very interesting thread. But, I think that a province like Mendes might be undervalued here. Alex, let's tease this out. You bid 10 on Sawu, and I bid 0 on Mendes. You then spend 7 gold (3 on power cards, 1 on a farmer and 3 on bricks), leaving you with 3 gold. I spend 9 gold (0 on power cards, 6 on farmers and 3 on bricks), leaving me with 11.

In the sacrifice, you steal. I offer 11 gold. If all the other four players steal, then the sacrifice will be at one, and my game is all but shot. But, this is HIGHLY unlikely. If three players steal (-9) and one offers 1 gold (-8), with my 11, we're at Level 2. I claim 3 farmers and now have 12 gold. You have your 3 + 3 for stealing + 9 for the province for 15. We're pretty close. And, as long as the offering stays at Level 2 (not unlikely), then I'm earning more than you in the second and third turns. The only downside is the power cards, but that's only for one turn.

Plus, if a couple of people offer a sacrifice in Round 1, then it will likely get up to Level three. I now make 18 gold, and you 3 -- not unlikely.

So, I think that, with some bold sacrifices, Mendes (and Buto) can actually be quite powerful provinces.

I look forward to reading the community's replies!
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Alex Rockwell
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moishetreats wrote:
Very interesting thread. But, I think that a province like Mendes might be undervalued here. Alex, let's tease this out. You bid 10 on Sawu, and I bid 0 on Mendes. You then spend 7 gold (3 on power cards, 1 on a farmer and 3 on bricks), leaving you with 3 gold. I spend 9 gold (0 on power cards, 6 on farmers and 3 on bricks), leaving me with 11.

In the sacrifice, you steal. I offer 11 gold. If all the other four players steal, then the sacrifice will be at one, and my game is all but shot. But, this is HIGHLY unlikely. If three players steal (-9) and one offers 1 gold (-8), with my 11, we're at Level 2. I claim 3 farmers and now have 12 gold. You have your 3 + 3 for stealing + 9 for the province for 15. We're pretty close. And, as long as the offering stays at Level 2 (not unlikely), then I'm earning more than you in the second and third turns. The only downside is the power cards, but that's only for one turn.

Plus, if a couple of people offer a sacrifice in Round 1, then it will likely get up to Level three. I now make 18 gold, and you 3 -- not unlikely.

So, I think that, with some bold sacrifices, Mendes (and Buto) can actually be quite powerful provinces.

I look forward to reading the community's replies!



Yes this is interesting. Lets look at it.

Mendes Player:
Pays 0 for province, 6 for farmers, 3 for bricks, 11 for sacrifice. (0 Gold left)
Gains 12 income.
End state: 12 Gold, 6 Farmers, Pyramid, 0 Powercards

Sawu Player:
Pays 10 for Province, 1 for farmer, 3 for powercards, 3 for bricks, -3 sacrifice.
Gains 9 Income.
End State: 15 Gold, 1 Farmer, Camel7, Pyramid, 2 Powercards (Value 3? each)

Lets say we have a sacrifice of 2 in rounds 2 and 3 (reasonable). Lets say the Sawu player gains about 1 more gold in value for the 2 powercard symbols.

Income in rounds 2&3 for Mendes: 12+12 = 24
Income in rounds 2&3 for Sawu: 9+9 = 18. (+1 more for powercard buy)

Total:
Mendes: 36 Gold
Sawu: 34 Gold + 2 Powercards = 40.

Sawu player ends up ahead.

Obviously, if you manage to get the sacrifice up to 3 in one of those times, then Sawu becomes worse. This is most likely when Sawu came out with many farmer provinces, in which case I would rate it lower as a reuslt of the expectation of higher sacrifices.



I think the issue with this strategy is that sacrificing 11 as opposed to 5 will not result in getting you more items (5 will still be high, most likely), and if it does manage to push the harvest level up, you still end up with the same amount of money (6 more income, 6 more paid). You screw any camel players if you can get it to 3( one opponent), but you are GIVING MONEY to the other three players, who have about 2-4 farmers each. So youre really losing $2-4 to all but one opponent by bidding 11 instead of 5, and thats in the good case where the extra $6 resulted in an increase in the harvest. (It couldve gone from -4 to 2, or from 3 to 9, and done nothing).


Lets assume a reasonable distribution of opponent sacrifices, such as:
4, 2, -3, -3. A sacrifice of 5 achieves your goal (get 3 items, harvest to 2). It would require 13 to get to a sacrifice level of 3, costing you 8 more for no gain of items, and giving only 3 income. Thats clearly bad.

Lets say you suspect the opponents will sacrifice 4, 2, 1, -3, with only one player stealing. Here, you still need to sacrifice 9 to get it to level 3! In that case you pay 4 extra (versus sacrificing 5), to push it up to gain 6 income. You net +2, three opponents net +2-4, and the one camel player loses. You basically took a big personal risk (I am paying a few gold extra for possibly no benefit), in order to POSSIBLY knock ONE opponent out of the running.


Round 1 is not the time to try for a sacrifice level of 3. Farmer players should be hoping to get a 2 payout. (And they really need it to have a solid game). Round 3 is the time to try for a sacrifice level of 3, because there is more push towards that from temples, need to complete pyramid sets, etc. You can often see that players who might otherwise steal are needing to sacrifice 1 for their set. You also have an opportunity to get temples and increase the benefit of a high payout, and you are also causing several camel provinces to not pay, instead of just Sawu.


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Alex Rockwell
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Lets look at this play some more under three scenarios: 'Farmer heavy', 'Normal', and 'Low Farmer' province draws.

The distribution of farmers per province is:
6, 5, 4, 4, 4, 3, 3, 3, 3, 2, 2C, 1C, 1C, 0, 0

If we have Mendes and Sawu in the game, the other 3 provinces have an average of 2.84 farmers. (8.5 total)
Lets call 10-11 other farmer slots 'farmer heavy', 8-9 as normal, 6-7 as low.

Farmer heavy: Mendes (our province), Thebes (4), Baharya (4), Abydos (3), Sawu
Normal: Mendes, Thebes (4), Baharya (4), Dakhla (0). (I put in two good farmer provinces and a non-camel 0).
Low farmer: Mendes, Thebes (4), Damanhur (2), Avaris (1), Dakhla (0).


What kinds of sacrifice scenarios are we looking at in each case?
Farmer heavy: Something like: 5+ (Mendes),(3-5), (2-3), 1, -3. Total 8-11. But there is a good chance that one of those farmer players (probably Abydos), just steals instead. Say 1 in 3. (Hard to get real numbers here). So we have a 1/3 chance that the sacrifice is about 6, 2/3 that its about 10, if we sacrifice 5.

If we increase our sacrifice by 5, trying for a total of 13:
1/3 chance that Abydos sacrificed and our extra payment didnt change anything (-5 for us, 0 for all opps)
2/3- chance that we get to level 13 and gain 6 more income. (+1 for us, +4 for Thebes/Baharya, +2ish for Abydos, -6 for Sawu)
Some chance that we overestimated the other's sacrifices and we barely miss level 3 (-4 for us, 0 for all opponents).

Lets even assume that that small chance doesnt happen, and we're just looking at the 1/3 of an extra steal occuring.

In this case, increasing our payment from 5 to 9 results in the following outcomes:
1 in 3: We lose $4, others unaffected.
2 in 3: We lose $3 versus two opponents, are about even against one, and gain $7 versus the last.

You just risked $4 to MAYBE knock out one of five opponents, while letting some others gain on you!
This is a great way to get 4th place.

If we increase our sacrifice to only 9, 8, or 7, we have a much higher chance of barely missing level 3, and just throwing away our money.


Normal case:
Our opponents will probably sacrifice at about (3-5), (2-3), -3, -3 or so. Total (-1 to 3)

Our sacrifice of 5 puts it at 4-8. We are probably getting level 2 at this point. We can go up to a sacrifice of 11, increasing by 6, and have around a 50-50 shot at hitting level 3.

If we sacrifice 11, we get:
1 in 2: We get $0 (get $6 more, pay $6 more), two opponents get +$4, one gets $0, one gets -$6.
1 in 2: We lose $6 for no effect.

Pretty much the same as before. If we increase to say, 8 instead of 11, it looks like:
1 in 4?: We get $3 more, two opponents get +$4, one $0, one -$6.
3 in 4?: We lose $3 for no effect.

Clearly, going a bit above the level of 5 that we probably need to win 3 items is better for us that goign 6 above. If we sacrifice 11, no outcome is good. If we sacrifice 8, some outcomes might be a bit better, while many result in us just losing those $3.


Low Farmer: Our sacrifice level is going to look something like: (1-5), (1 or -3), -3, -3.

Here we're looking at a wide range of possibilities, but a sacrifice level of 1 or 2.
If you change your sacrifice from 5 (about what you can expect to need to win the 3 items), to 11, then no result is good. If your 6 extra drove up the sacrifice, then you lose ground to all non-camel opponents. If you change it from 5 to 8, you have a chance of getting a decent outcome (helping you and other farmers, hurting others), but also a good chance of just throwing away the $3.



Summary:

Sacrificing 6 more than what can be expected to win the sacrifice is always bad. In the best case you screw a camel guy, hand money to the others, and set yourself up to get 4th.
Sacrificing 3 more than what can be expected to win the sacrifice is a gamble (with Mendes and 6 farmers). If that +3 increases the harvest level, then you gain 3, other farmers gain 2-4, and certain players are screwed. You can gain over some opponents. However, you also risk just losing $3 versus all opponents, if you didnt change the level.


Conclusion: You cannot exploit a strategy of winning mendes and then sacrificing all your money in round 1, because you dont actually gain anything from it.

Depending on the scenario, it might be a good risk to bid something like 8 instead of 5, if you believe those extra $3 will be the difference in increasing the sacrifice level.


 
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Nicholas Hjelmberg
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I discovered Amun-Re quite late and found this thread very interesting.

Many complaints about Amun-Re concerns the difficulties for newbies to value provinces. (I personally disagree since the province auction is but one of many elements and the true value is dependent on the players' actions.)

Has anyone tried to share those valuations when introducing new players to the game? If so, what is your experience? Did it help them or did it remove focus from other factors?

The reason I'm interested is of course that I want to introduce this excellent game to my group as smoothly as possible.

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Caleb
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The best way to introduce relative province values is to make sure they understand what it takes to 'pay back' farmers. This is the most common newbie mistake - not realizing what it takes to make farmers pay out decently.
 
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Matias Vierimaa
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We have been playing this excellent game for ten years in a row, almost every weekend.

There is no easy rule to valuations but one easy rule should be understood: Those playing farmer heavy strategy (not having 0-1 farmer provinces) should aim at bringing sacrifice to level 3. If not in 1st round, then in 2nd. Leaving sacrifice to level 2 is greatly helping players with camel provinces.

As an example:
If in first round, there are four players that have 3-6 farmer provinces and one player having camel/non farmer province, you can expect that player to sacrifice -3. Thus in order to make sacrifice reach "3" other four players should aim at reaching 16 in sacrifice (16-3 = 13 = level3)

Typically this happens if mendes player sacrifises, say 9, someone sacrifices 5 and remainning sacrifice at least 1. If you have +/-3 card, that will also help. In forthcoming rounds, if farmer players increase amount of farmers they have, they may sacrife even "all-in" strategy to reach level 3 easily.

When sacrifying, you should always aim at thinking desired sacrifice level. If there are three players and you want sacrifice to reach at minimum "2", you should sacrifice 5, if you expect someone to sacrifice at least 1. Why? Because 5+1-3 = 3 = Level 2. If you expect both to sacrifice -3, best srategy could be to simply sacrifice 1 and take cheap three prices.

Of course, you can't control sacrifice changing +/-3 card unless you already have it but I often make calculations without taking into account +/-3 card. If I have good amounts of money, I can even take one negative +/-3 card into calculation

As a rule of thumb: Think which level you want to reach and what do you expect others to sacrifice. Then calculate how nuch money you should put if you are biggest sacrifier or second biggest and so on.

If there are lot of inexperienced players you should pay more on camel provinces as new players rarely undestand how to sacrifice effectively. As you learn more, price of camel provinces will eventually go down.

As an example in our last game played, I was sole person that had camel province Avaris and I paid zero for it. I got it because others paid at least six for farmer provinces. As a result, they were still able to get sacrifice to level three by reaching exactly 13 (!). Still, I also managed my play as I made then pay for the provinces heavily in auction phase.

This is really the beauty of Amun-Re, there are no bad/good provinces, only too cheap/too expensive pricing during auction.
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