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Kosmos: Imhotep – Review

July 26, 2016

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Publisher Kosmos
Genre Block Placement via Queue
Number of Players 2 – 4
Play Time 40 minutes
Initial Review Date 7/11/16
Last Updated 7/11/16

In this game, you play as competing master builders that are trying to build various stone structures in Egypt. Each player is represented by the blocks that they place. Just be careful, because all of your bricks are delivered using boats and your opponent might mess you up by sending your perfectly arranged boat to the wrong construction site.

Setup

First, you lay out the 5 site tiles, which represent the different construction sites. You then select the set of round cards for the number of players you have. These cards are shuffled and placed in a stack. You also shuffle the market cards and put them on the market board in the open spaces. finally, each player selects a color (placing one cube of that color on the scoring track at zero) and then each player receives the corresponding stone sled.

The start player then receives 2 stones of their color from the supply. Each player subsequently receives one more stone than the player before them. So the 2nd player takes 3, the 3rd player takes 4 and the fifth player receives 5 stones.

The first round card is flipped face up in order to reveal which ships will be used for the round.

Gameplay

On your turn, you may take 1 of the following 4 actions.

  • Take 3 stones: 3 stone are taken from your supply and placed on your sled. If your sled doesn’t have room for all the stones you are taking, the excess stones are lost and returned to the supply.
  • Place 1 stone on a ship: You may take one stone and place it on ANY empty spot on any ship. This is when you want to pay attention to what the different sites look like and place your stone strategically.
  • Sail 1 ship to a site: Each ship has a minimum and a maximum capacity. A ship can not be sailed until it is filled at least to its minimum. This minimum is indicated on the ship. It should be noted that you do not need to have any of your own stones on the ship you are sailing. This can be used to your advantage by sailing a ship to a poor location for its load, in order to intentionally mess up your opponents.
  • Play 1 blue market card: Blue cards acquired from the market are held, once played they are discarded. Generally, these cards allow a player to “break” the rules in some way. If a blue card and the rules contradict each other, then the blue cards take precedent.

Some of the build locations score points immediately, others score points at the end of the round and yet even others don’t score until the end of the game. In this way, you can either seek out short or long term goals or some combination.

When a round ends. The market gets cleared and new cards are placed in all of the spots (regardless if anyone claimed cards or not). The next round card is flipped face up and the new start player is the player to the left of the player who triggered the end of the round.

Since there are 4 ships and 5 locations, one location will be untouched each round. This does not prevent them from scoring. So, if an area scores at the end of the round each player will score it as normal regardless if a shipment of stone was sent there or not.

End of the Game

The game ends after 6 rounds. This means that one of the round cards goes unused. Players then add up points based on each of the end of the game locations as well as any end of the game bonuses they might have picked up from the market. The player with the most points wins. In the case of a tie, the player with the most stones still on their sled wins.

Conclusion

This game is very simple to learn, but it definitely is strategic. It reminds me of worker placement games, however, the delay between placing stones on a ship and that ship going to a location keep things very strategic. You need to pay attention to everyone and what they want to do, in this way you can either piggyback off of someone else’s desires or intentionally position yourself to block them. Just be careful not to over focus on just one player, since you might be able to foul them up but at the expense of letting another player slip past for the win.

Though, this isn’t a worker placement game as such. If you enjoy worker placement games you will probably enjoy this one as well. At the same time, the game is remarkably kid-friendly since there is very little text and what text there is can be read aloud without compromising the gameplay.


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