Designed By: Reiner Knizia
Art by: Jacqui Davis
Published By: 25th Century Games
Player Count: 2-6
Time to Play: 15-30 Minutes
Tutankhamun is a brand new set collection game from our friends over at 25th Century Games. In Tutankhamun, the famous pharaoh King Tutankhamun was passed and it is now time to prepare his tomb in order to send him on to the afterlife with everything he needs. You are a priest or priestess, hoping to cleanse your soul to perfection so that you can impress the new pharaoh and be appointed the next High Priest or High Priestess of Egypt. To cleanse yourself, you will need to fill King Tut's tomb with the most artifacts before his burial. Whoever is able to collect the largest parts sets of artifacts will cleanse little portions of their soul at a time, until one of you is ready to assume the coveted position. Do you have what it takes?
Setup for Tutankhamun is really easy but does take a few minutes as you need to lay out all the tiles to form the Nile River, which you will be exploring for artifacts.
First and foremost, take everything out of the bottom of the box (including the insert). The bottom of the box is part of the game so it will need to be completely clear before starting. We will be referring to the empty bottom of the box as the tomb. Once empty, put the sarcophagus back in the tomb. King Tut needs to be in his tomb after all.
Shuffled all the tiles together. There are two types of tiles: artifact and god. Then randomly select tiles to create the Nile River. The shape of your river will change every time you play, depending on how you stick tiles next to each other. For straights, rotate tiles back and forth with long sides attaching to short sides. For curves, attach pieces so all of the long sides are up-top. If it sounds confusing, just mess with a few pieces and you will instantly see what we mean. Shape your river to best fit whatever space you are playing on.
Once the Nile is assembled, move the tomb so that its entrance is at the end of the river. Place the underworld mat and two guardian statues at the opposite end (the start) of the Nile.
Have each player select a color and take the matching boat and canopic jar (scoring marker), as well as a God Idol reference card. Place the canopic jars at their initial starting point on the spirit tracker around the edge of the tomb. The starting point will be determined based on how many priests and priestesses are playing. Beginning with the starting player, place the boats behind the first tile of the Nile in turn order.
You are now ready to begin.
How to determine the first player:
The player who most recently visited a museum goes first.
How to Play:
The goal of Tutankhamun is to be the first player to reach a score of zero. You will do this by collecting the majority of artifacts in a set. There are sets of 2, 4, 6, and 8 tiles. After all the tiles in a set are collected, the person that collected the most tiles in the set scores points equal to the total number of tiles in the set. The person with the second most amount of tiles in the set scores half the points of the set. For example, an 8 tile set, would score 8 points for the player with the most collected tiles, and 4 points for the player who collected the second most amount of tiles. Any other players that collected a tile in that set would not score any points. In the case of a tie, the player who is furthest back on the river scores the higher number of points.
Tutankhamun continues until one player reaches zero on the spirit track, or there are no tiles left on the spirit tracker. If a player reaches zero they win (if multiple players reach zero on the same turn, then whoever is furthest back on the Nile wins), if the Nile runs out, whoever is lowest on the spirit tracker wins.
Beginning with the starting player, players will take turns in clockwise order. On a player's turn, they first pick whether they wish to sail forward to any tile of their choice, or backward to the nearest tile behind them. When sailing forward, you can choose any tile in front of you, however, as you can ever only go back up to one space, sailing too far forward may mean missing out on a lot of artifacts.
After choosing where to sail, the active player will resolve the tile they landed on. If it is an artifact tile, they collect it and add it face up in front of them. If it is a god tile, they use that god's ability.
On that note, let's talk about god tiles. There are many different gods of the ancient Egyptian world, and throughout your travels, they can offer you different kinds of help. Land on a god tile and you activate its ability. Gods will do things like swapping tiles on the board, adding tiles to the underworld, or exchanging special Scarab Ring tiles for other artifacts. We will talk more about these in a minute. Using god powers is a great way to score sets, or stop sets from getting scored.
After a player has resolved their chosen tile, they resolve any trailing tiles. Trailing tiles are only applicable if your boat is the boat furthest back on the Nile. If you are the furthest back boat, remove any unclaimed tiles behind your boat and add them to the underworld. For each trailing artifact tile, check to see if there are any remaining tiles of that set on the board, if not score the set.
All sets besides Scarab Rings score the same way, whoever collected the most of the set scores the full value for the set, and whoever collected the 2nd most tiles in the set scores half the value of the set. Ties are resolved in the manner mentioned above. Players move their canopic jar down the spirit tracker the number of points they scored. Normal artifact sets are placed into the tomb after being scored. Scoring can occur when a tile gets added to the underworld, or when it is collected by a player, so make sure to check for both.
There are 10 Scarab Rings in the game, but unlike other artifacts, they are considered a set of one. When collected, the player immediately scores 1 point but the tile does not get added to the tomb. The player who has the most Scarab Rings collected when the final ring is collected immediately scores a bonus of 5 points.
Once a player has sailed their boat, resolved their tile, removed any trailing tiles (if applicable), and scored any completed sets, play passes on to the next person.
Continue until someone wins!
Tutankhamun is a nice, simple set collection, tile drafting game that is easy to learn and teach. The rules are straightforward making Tutankhamun easy to introduce to new or younger gamers. As there is no hidden information, you can coach new players on the impact of their choices and help them understand why a tile may or may not be a good choice. This can aid in teaching the game.
One thing that really stood out to us about Tutankhamun is the production quality of the game. There may have been a deluxe version on Kickstarter, but even the retail version is lovely. The box is nice and sturdy, the chipboard tiles are really thick, the sarcophagus has a fun, shiny, metallic coating, all of the canopic jars are unique shapes, and there are even pieces like the guardians who just sit on the table and add to the atmosphere of the game.
The coolest part about Tutankhamun may be that the box is actually used in the game. We love that instead of just adding in a score tracker punchboard, they found a way to use the box to create the tomb and track scores. It was a cool surprise to see the inside of the box lined in full color. It is a great way to use less cardboard when making the game.
We also liked that every time you play Tutankhamun, the game board changes, as the Nile is always laid out in different formations and with tiles in a different order. This helps to keep the gameplay from getting stale and stops players from using the same set collection strategies each game. You really have to adapt what tiles you are drafting based on the board layout.
Regarding gameplay, we enjoyed quite a few things. We loved how players need to balance how fast to move forward. It can be tempting to try and hop ahead for some of the bigger point artifacts, but then you run the risk of other players capitalizing on all the smaller pieces left behind. Those smaller artifacts can really add up. We liked the option to only go back one space, this means that you can take a risk and hope you don't wind up in last and have the tile disappear, or that someone else doesn't claim it before your next turn. It allows for some small gambling risk to decide if it is worth it. We also like how the tiles are removed when there are no ships behind them, this gives the game the thematic feel of moving along the river.
We also enjoyed the use of the god powers. They offer a way to mix up the board and make it more strategic by adding, removing, or changing around tiles.
If you like lightweight games, that are thematic, and look great on the table, you will absolutely love Tutankhamun.
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