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User Info: SeabassDebeste

SeabassDebeste
1 month ago#61
27. Kemet (2012)

Category: Player vs Player
Genres: Player combat, dudes on a map, tableau-building
Rules complexity (0 to 7): 6
Game length: 90-150 minutes
Experience: 8-12 games (2017-2019) with 2-5 players
Previous ranks: NR (2016), 14/80 (2018)

Summary - Each player is a warlord competing for territory and victory points in ancient Egypt. Temporary victory points are awarded for holding temples and high-level pyramids, while permanent victory points are gained by winning (and surviving) offensive battles. Actions include raising pyramids, which also enable access to techs that eventually result in asymmetric player powers that can affect how combat takes place.

Design - Part of what what makes area control games with heavy player combat painful is that they're zero-sum, and bashing-the-leader often winds up being the go-to move - smash the guy with the most territory and bring the game closer to equilibrium and further from its conclusion. Turtling becomes a big deal.

Kemet understands the pain of this paradigm and instead gives us a more interesting way to be smashmouth. Start with the action selection mechanism. Kemet is divided into rounds, and during each round, each player gets five turns. These turns must all occupy different spots on your pyramidal player board. The structure of it forces you to perform at least one martial action (marshaling troops or marching) each round... but it also prevents you from marching more than twice, putting a cap on your aggression each round. Inherently balanced gameplay is enforced.

Then there's the tech tree: from the very get-go, there are 48 available skills you can acquire - four per each of the four tiers per each of the three colors. This isn't necessarily a positive - you absolutely need a crib sheet to play Kemet - but the race to acquire these powers and distinguish yourself becomes key to Kemet. You can buy the skills only by controlling a pyramid that is of the tier of the power or higher. The coolest and most impactful of these in battle are almost certainly the beasts that you can add to your troops (and which get badass minis!), while it's also a good idea to have a few economy-minded techs. You need to pay for all your cool powers after all! Cleverly, Kemet slims its fiddliness by using only one currency - prayer points - for everything it wants to do: marshaling troops, raising pyramids, buying techs, and teleporting your troops.

Wait, teleporting your troops? Yes - Kemet allows you to teleport your troops for prayer points as part of your marching order, instead of hoofing it like a peasant. That means that you don't have to fight the person sitting to your left and right all game; it's a free-for-all at all times.

But even more accurately - and this is perhaps the best part of Kemet, and what gives it its unique flavor - you're not that concerned about the person you're attacking at all, unless you find them the most likely to give you victory points. The majority of permanent victory points will come from attacking and winning battles on the offense. As a result, the best target to attack will often be the most easily accessible and assailable troop. (Given that troops are often encamped in temples that you can teleport to, it shouldn't be hard to find a fight if you're looking for it.) Kemet also anticipates that you won't want to leave a weakened conquering army as sitting ducks by allowing even the victor to decide to recall their troops, taking only the victory point and not the territory.

There are two issues I have with Kemet. The first is the turn order mechanism - Kemet has the player in last place (VP-wise) choosing the entire turn order each round, which seems outsized and political for the person in second-to-last. This has since been addressed in the revised Kemet rules (which I have yet to play with).

The other, and perhaps more of an issue, is that its rules explanation is kind of tedious. Rodney Smith on Watch It Played effectively taught it to me, but it took thirty minutes. Kemet is just a long teach if you're new to the game, and worse, all 48 techs are available at the beginning of the game. I've never played the game without printed reference charts for those abilities, and the initial onslaught of information can be significant.

Experience - Which is all to say that I haven't really gotten regular plays of Kemet the way I've wanted. I got the game because I won $50 of store credit once and had heard it was good. It is excellent, and I've enjoyed every game I've played. But that teach has been onerous every time, and I always feel that knowing the tech tree (and not having to pore over the list of them) always seems like an overwhelming advantage. Despite having played it near-double-digit times and always had fun, I'm still seeking that play that is effortless.

Future - Kemet is the first of perhaps five or so high-ranking heavyweight games that I've played/own a good amount but am thirsty to play with my friends and to educate them how to play. I want to play it more and I want my friends to get comfortable with it, so they're not re-learning the rules again. In the absence of that, I'll settle for whenever I just get it to the table again, period...
yet all sailors of all sorts are more or less capricious and unreliable - they live in the varying outer weather, and they inhale its fickleness

User Info: SeabassDebeste

SeabassDebeste
1 month ago#62
Peridiam posted...
tag

Have you ever played LotR Journeys in Middle-earth? I just got it recently. It's pretty fun, feels a bit like Gloomhaven.

haven't played any LOTR game, i think.

... and i haven't played gloomhaven either :(
yet all sailors of all sorts are more or less capricious and unreliable - they live in the varying outer weather, and they inhale its fickleness

User Info: KommunistKoala

KommunistKoala
1 month ago#63
Kemet sounds like it might potentially be up my group's alley, hmm
does anyone even read this

User Info: SeabassDebeste

SeabassDebeste
1 month ago#64
KommunistKoala posted...
Kemet sounds like it might potentially be up my group's alley, hmm

it plays up to 5 and is probably best at that count. how big is your regular group?
yet all sailors of all sorts are more or less capricious and unreliable - they live in the varying outer weather, and they inhale its fickleness

User Info: Great_Paul

Great_Paul
1 month ago#65
There's also a revised edition of Kemet coming to Kickstarter soon called Kemet: Blood and Sand. According to the bgg page it "features a redesigned map with a twist, bigger and more detailed figurines, and other surprises."
Bear Bro

User Info: SeabassDebeste

SeabassDebeste
1 month ago#66
Great_Paul posted...
There's also a revised edition of Kemet coming to Kickstarter soon called Kemet: Blood and Sand. According to the bgg page it "features a redesigned map with a twist, bigger and more detailed figurines, and other surprises."

man, i wonder if they offer upgrade kits. matagot put out new rules for base kemet (9 VP endgame instead of 8, trimming some night phase confusion, fixing turn order) that blood and sand is supposed to include by default.
yet all sailors of all sorts are more or less capricious and unreliable - they live in the varying outer weather, and they inhale its fickleness

User Info: Great_Paul

Great_Paul
1 month ago#67
I tried playing those new 1.5 rules the last time I played Kemet and they went pretty well. If the new edition was just the redesigned board and bigger minis then I wouldn't care too much, but if it adds new elements or mechanisms then I'll be hoping for an upgrade pack. I'm interested to hear what the "other surprises" part is.
Bear Bro
(edited 1 month ago)

User Info: cyko

cyko
1 month ago#68
I tried Kemet a couple of times and one of the beasts (I think it was the scorpion? It's been a while since we played...) was so much better than the other creatures it was silly. The player who got that creature won by a mile each time and it sucked the fun out of the game for us.
Yay - BkSheikah is the guru champion of awesomeness.
(edited 1 month ago)

User Info: KommunistKoala

KommunistKoala
1 month ago#69
SeabassDebeste posted...
it plays up to 5 and is probably best at that count. how big is your regular group?
typically 5-6 (more often 5).
does anyone even read this

User Info: ChaosTonyV4

ChaosTonyV4
1 month ago#70
Kemet always seemed so cool, but I never picked it up. That new Kickstarter sounds perfect for me!
Phantom Dust.
"I'll just wait for time to prove me right again." - Vlado
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