Queen's Necklace - Character Combos

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Killer combos, and the impact of certain characters for a given style of play or number of players.

Confessor and Forger, Confessor and Cardinal
The Confessor, in my mind, should never be played unless you have a second card in mind. My personal two favourites to use in combonation with are the Forger and the Cardinal.

The Forger is obvious in it's use. Taking a peek at someone's hand is nice just before you make him drop a card.

The Cardinal is a second good card to combo with, especially if you have more than one Confessor. By delaying the sale until the end of your turn, and then playing the Confessor at the beginning of your turn, you know exactly how many of each gem your opponent(s) have going into the sale, information that can be used to your advantage to increase the rarity of gems you could win, and decrease the rarity of those you could not.
06/18/2003 by wmcduff - 1 comment by shadrach1 ~ Skotos on 02/04/2005     
 
The Thief
The thief is particularly effective when played _after_ a sale, once a player has depleted its hand from a lot of cards (and presumably kept a few strong ones, if he wasn't sure to be in a position to use them wisely).

It is even more effective when played against a poor soul who has just depleted its hand entirely. In that case, it is advantageous to let that player take a really valuable card (say a 3 gems card, or a banker) and be sure to steal it on the next round!

05/22/2003 by eric - 1 comment by Azarkon on 06/13/2003     
 
Introduction
You will find here some particularly powerfull character combinations, as well as analysis of interesting ways to play individual cards.

To submit a particularly novel way to play a card or combo, please submit your article using the "Propose new Article" button at the top of the page.

When posting comments, please try and keep them focused on the subject you are attaching them to.

Thank you,
The team at Days of Wonder
05/22/2099 by eric - No comments. Add a first comment to this article     
 
Alchemist
Sometimes overlooked because of its cost and apparent complexity, the Alchemist is worth mastering, for many reasons:

- Much like is the case with the Cardinal, you have all the information required to decide whether to play it or hold it for later when the decision come, since you see all that the others players have decided to display for sale.

- Its impact on the relative rarity of gems can be devastating if well played: not only can it make you win a sale for a given gem type by allowing you to transfer enough new gems there, it can also severely diminish the value of a sale you couldn't hope to win by making that particular gem type way too common.

- The Alchemist also offers a partial protection against the king, allowing you to move a wasted gem card (particularly a valuable 2 or 3 gems card one).
It is especially powerfull/dangerous when owned in conjunction with such a highcount gem card.
05/22/2003 by eric - No comments. Add a first comment to this article     
 
Character combos and playing strategies for Queen's Necklace
Use this weblog to post (and comment on) thoughts and recommendations on how to play character combos in Queen's Necklace, as well as any other strategie or tactical discussion.

Like our other weblogs (strategies & tactics for Gang of Four, common notations and investigative strategies for Mystery of the Abbey, etc...) this web log is moderated, and your posts will not appear until they have been approved (and usually translated) by the moderator.

The King's Court, at Days of Wonder!
06/02/2003 by eric - No comments. Add a first comment to this article     
 
Queen's Necklace
Namesake of the game, this card obviously is under high demand in any game. Origionally, I thought that it was over-valued, but it turns out to be a very versitile card. However, don't plan your strategy around having it. It is certantly fun have the highest gem won cold with 5 rings on it etc. but it's too ideal, too much can go wrong. Even if you put all your eggs in the QN, you might not win.

Assuming you have a multi-facited broad approach, here's how you can really use the QN to further yourself.

Most players will not king your obvious favorite gem if you have the QN. It's practically proteceted without. That allows you to send a rouge QN where you can collect the L50 bounty.

Now predict where the King will fall: 1- who has kings? Don't play the QN on a gem that is the strength of he who has the king. You know it won't fall there. 2- are you or is your other opponent a bigger threat? Usually this will be you because you have a shoe-in for some big points. If the opponent with the king thinks you're the bigger threat, by all means guard one of your gem types, but again, not your biggest unless it's your only one. However if player 3 has a ton of points, a ton of rings, or if you're so far in the lead you're untouchable, King-man might shoot the king his way, especally if he's not apt to risk the L50. If the board leans this way, be warry before placing the QN on your adversary's gems, the cancelation may be worth more than L50. But never say never, especally if the gems are poorly valued, this can be the right play. If both your opponents have a king expect both to fall, which gives you an approximatley 50% chance of making some dough. In this case, play the QN where it will most likely have little benefit for the gem type.
Save the QN until the last sale unless all the kings are out and you expect them to fall. The last sale almost allways has the higest stakes.

Remember there are 3 ways to get the QN: Buying it (which usually requires having a courtier around), stealing it (3 musketeers), or having the only remaining kings.
06/10/2003 by Azarkon - No comments. Add a first comment to this article     
 
ALL FOR ONE AND ONE FOR ALL!
Musketeers. We love them, they're cheap, and useful. We especally love having three. So Why might you want to pass on a man in a cape?

The easiest way to clear someone's hand of the little buggers is to send them on a scavenger hunt through the queen's palace. While they're occupied, you can seriously devistate a hand with forgers and thieves, especally if you have a good number of them.

There is nothing more painful than having the QN and nothing of value to play it on.

So in some specific cases, it is certantly worth passing on artimus, if it can re-direct dartanion's and arameus's talent towards the QN and not your expensive forgers.
06/10/2003 by Azarkon - No comments. Add a first comment to this article     
 
More confessors
While forgers are useful if you need someone to lose a few gems, they are also good confessor duplicates- all you have to do is choose a gem type that said player dosn't have, and you can see their hand. And forgers are a bit cheaper too.
06/10/2003 by Azarkon - No comments. Add a first comment to this article     
 
Valuing Gems
In any auction game, including Queen's Necklace, the ultimate mark of success is how well you value the cards available for sale.

There are a variety of types of cards in Queen's Necklace, and trying to carefully balance between gems, influence cards, character cards, and sale cards is much of the strategy of the game. I'm not going to try and figure out all those nuances in this one article. However, I hope I can provide some insight into how you should value the gems themselves.

1s, 2s, and 3s

The most important thing to consider with gems is that, for all the true gems, they come in three different sizes: 1s, 2s, and 3s. As a player, you need to figure out when to buy each size.

You can make a first cut at this calculation by looking at the per-gem cost of each card at each of the four levels of purchase:

3 Gems: 3.33 / 2.67 / 2 / 1.33
2 Gems: 4 / 3 / 2 / 1
1 Gem : 6 / 4 / 2 / 1

You also need to consider the relative value of having a high-gem card or a low-gem card:

High Gem Cards. Generally less valuable, because they're more vulnerable to thieves and forgers, and are less versatile when you're preparing a sale. (Musketeers offset this somewhat, as does having low-gem cards to protect your high-gem cards from forgers.)

Low Gem Cards. Generally more valuable, unless you have the Alchemist in hand (since he can transmit a whole card, and thus has the most value if you have high-gem cards).

So, what does all this mean?

Let's assume that all things are in balance, and it doesn't matter which type of gem you buy (which will actually be a factor in any real game) or how effective it makes the use of your money (also, a factor in reality).

Like Valued Gems. If you're trying to decide between a couple of different gems which are all at the same auction valuation level (#1, #2, #3, or #4, as marked by the rings), you'd do better to buy the highest gem card at level #1 and the lowest gem card at level #3 or #4. At auction level #2, things are murkier. 3-gem and 2-gem cards are clearly better values than 1-gem cards, but the 3-gem and the 2-gem are so close in value that it's a toss-up, and I'd make a decision based on Musketeers and Alchemists held in hand.

Unlike Valued Cards. The other situation is when you're trying to decide between purchasing gems at different valuation levels. THe knee-jerk reaction is usually to buy the gems that have reached a lower auction level, all things considered.

Looking at the chart seems to generally hold that up, with two exceptions:

1. The difference between a 3-gem card at #2 and any-gem card at #3 is pretty minor. I'd generally go with the #3s, but if I had Alchemist or Musketeers I might go for the #2 if it fit into my plans well.

2. A 3-gem at #1 = a 2-gem and a 1-gem at #2. Likewise, a 3-gem at #2 = a 2-gem and a 1-gem at #1. Only given Musketeers, Alchemist, or lower-value gems to protect would I pick up the 3-gem card.

Having chugged through all this, what's the bottom line?

Mainly that the 3-gem cards probably look better than they actually are. At auction levels #1 or #2 there's real value in getting them versus comparable auction level gems and marginal value at getting them for one level up, but other than those situations, go for the more flexible small gems.
02/22/2004 by shannon_appel ~ Skotos - No comments. Add a first comment to this article     
 
The King
The gray sale cards are all quite useful in a game, but it's ultimately the King which offers the only true defensive power, allowing you to offset an opponent's best gems, and maintain a lead that you might already have.

Here's some advice on using the King:

Remember: One King per Sale. The rules only allow each player to use one King per sale. Remember this well, as otherwise a strategy can fall apart if you'd been counting on two Kings, or you can end up with wasted Kings at the end of the game. (I've made this mistake twice in just a dozen online games.)

Remember to Support with Gems. In order to make use of a King, you have to have a gem to go with it. Thus, you'll sometimes have to make a real effort to purchase a gem that you wouldn't otherwise be interested in. I believe it's best to have a full aray of gem types when you're holding on to a King. Otherwise, if someone uses a Confessor on you they can then know where they can play valuable Rings with impunity (because you have a gap in your gem types).

Offset Valuable Gems. Your prime goal in using the King should be to offset valuable gem sales by other players. This might seem obvious, but there's sometimes a knee-jerk reaction to just drop it on whatever gems you don't have in quantity.

This means that in a normative case you should only spend the King on a gem that has a high Fashion rating (#1 or #2)--or if you're fairly certain the Rarity rating will be high (#1 or #2) because there aren't many gems of that type out and/or you won't be playing many of that gem. (However, since Rarity is more frequently dependent upon what gems people try and sell, you can only be truly certain about the Fashion, and thus it's typically better to go for those top gems to get best average use of your King.)

If nothing that could be won by other players looks to be terribly valuable, don't play your King (unless it's the final sale and there's no Necklace danger).

The one real exception to this is if you believe a player has a number of Rings. In this case, pretty much any gem becomes fair game. You should probably still concentrate on the most Fashionable gems, but if you can't personally decrease the Rarity of a less Fashionable gem, you should consider using the King there.

Be Inconsistent with your King Use. The most obvious answer when using the King is to play it on the gem that you think will be the most valuable, due to a combination of Rarity and Fashion (as discussed above). However, opponents will recognize this, and thus they'll often stack their Rings up on the second-best gem. And thus you should put the King on the second-best gem, and thus they should put their Rings on the best gem ... This type of first-, second-, and third- guessing really just results in a random result, but the end answer is still clear: don't always play the King in the most obvious place, else your opponents will be able to avoid it.

Beware the Necklace. The biggest problem in using a King is the danger of the Queen's Necklace, since it can cost you 50 points of score. Thus, if you're ever holding onto Kings and considering using them, keep the Necklace in mind. Here's some more specific advice:

1. Use Kings Early. Looking solely at jewel prices, you want to hold on to Kings, as later jewel sales tend to be more valuable. However, if the Necklace is not yet out for an early sale, this is a really good time to play a King. Likewise, even if the Necklace is already out, it's most likely that its holder will wait until the third round to play it, and so a second-round gem-sale is much safer.

2. Avoid the Necklace Holder. If you can, do your best to avoid the Necklace holder, optimally by playing on a type of gem that he can't play on, but otherwise by playing on a gem that he's unlikely to want to protect. (He could still try and purposefully zing you, but usually only if he doesn't have a good set of gems and Rings to protect.)

3. Watch the Necklace Sale. If you're holding on to Kings, it's a good idea to purchase the Necklace too. However, it's just as good to let the Necklace get discarded if it's already at the #4 auction space on your turn.

Hold on to Kings. Though the presence of the Necklace might encourage you to play a King early, also be aware that there's real value into holding on to a King--if your opponents know you have it. Its mere presence in your hand might cause opponents to hold off on valuable jewel sales. (I think that usually the usefulness of a King is enough to play it when you can, but I'd be more tempted to hold onto it if I didn't have a valuable play for the King, as discussed above, or if I needed to switch up my strategy a bit because some players had discovered that I frequently play Kings as soon as possible.)

Buy Kings Defensively. Finally, be aware that you should consider purchasing a King even if you don't really want to use it. There are only three Kings in the deck; if buying a King can assure you that there are no Kings available to other players on a specific sale, that's almost as good as having the more expensive Queen's Necklace.
02/23/2004 by shannon_appel ~ Skotos - No comments. Add a first comment to this article