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.

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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
 
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