Thursday, October 15, 2009

MIA #4: Fluch der Mumie

Fluch der Mumie
  • designer: Marcel-Andre Casasola Merkle
  • publisher: Ravensburger
  • date: 2008
  • BoardGameGeek rank/rating: 903/6.98
  • age: 8+
  • # of players: 2-5
  • print status: in print
  • cost: $36.90 (Boards & Bits)
Many, many moons ago, I bought this weird magnetic game called Zomax on the recommendation of Games Magazine... and I wasn't disappointed. It's not perfect, mind you - it's kind of like Risk crossed w/Conquest, but it's played "blind" because of the magnets & the vertical metal board.

One of my other early German game acquisitions was Ravensburger's Scotland Yard, where one of the players was Mr. X & used hidden movement to try to escape from the other players - the detectives. A similar hidden movement system was used in Clue: The Great Museum Caper... which is a great game with a 3D-molded plastic board, btw.

Imagine that you crossed Zomax with Scotland Yard & A-mazing Labyrinth... then drenched the game in kid-friendly mummy garb: you've got Fluch der Mumie. (In English, that translates to "Curse of the Mummy.")

One player is the Mummy of the title and sits on one side of the board - he can only see his piece. On the other side of the board sit 2-4 adventurers, who can see their pieces as well as the location of the mummy. Each player starts with 3 ankh symbols (life points) and a hankering for Egyptian treasure. (The hankering is represented by 5 different treasure tiles matching treasures printed on the board.)

The objective of the Mummy is to catch the players X number of times (X = a certain number of ankh tiles, depending on the number of adventurers). The objective of the players is to be the first adventurer to get all five treasures.

On a turn, the player rolls the five dice & chooses one of them to be his move. There are a range of numbers on each die, plus an arrow that indicates that the player may move in a straight line until he reaches another player, a wall or the Mummy.

There is also a Mummy symbol on the adventurer's dice - if you roll one (or more) of these, you set them aside. You may choose at the beginning of your turn to pick up all the saved Mummy dice set aside from other player's turns... but if you do, the Mummy gets an "interrupt" turn for as many spaces as there were set-aside dice.

Once each player has moved, the Mummy rolls his die (making suitable mummy-like groaning noises). He adds the number of set-aside Mummy dice to his number & moves the appropriate number of spaces. If he catches an adventurer, his movement is done... and he gets an ankh symbol from that adventurer as well as sending him/her to the bottom of the board.

A player who loses all his ankh symbols is out of the game (aka "dead"). OTOH, a player who finds all of the treasures on his cards wins the game.

The flow of this game is almost perfect - in the early going, the adventurers are willing to toss each other "under the bus" (so to speak), letting the Mummy conk other players without being concerned about the ankh count. Later in the game, adventurers are torn between taking chances to race for the treasures & playing it safe so as not to hand the game to the Mummy.

As well, the "must reveal when & where you pick up treasure" mechanic means that whoever is in the lead is giving clues to the Mummy on where to find him/her - an excellent game-balancing mechanic.

This is one of those special games that is loved equally by kids and adults. With kids, the game is random but really a lot of fun. With adults, there's some strategy and some definite hosage. Highly recommended!

2 comments:

Bruce Fredman said...

We at chessboss.com strongly believe in necessity of chess to increase both knowledge and understanding. It is unfortunate that the oldest game in the world (Chess) has a very little fan base, chessboss.com aims to change that. We understand the importance of blogs and the information made available on them. We are working towards building a strong fan base around our FREE chess server to better increase the use of Chess online. Your blog seems to have a large viewing public and seems to hold great information which I would love to make available to my viewing public.

If you would like to have included the code for the chessboss.com award banner along with textual link information. Please email me back with the subject line as your url, so that it doesn't go into spam and I make sure you only get the award banner. Thank you for your great work and dedication, we look forward to your response!

Mark (aka pastor guy) said...

Bruce:

Thanks for the kind offer... but I think your information is wrong. Chess has a worldwide following going back literally hundreds of years.

And I'm not sure what caused you to choose my review of FLUCH DER MUMIE to make such an offer. My guess is that you're not really following my blog.

Anyway, I respectfully decline.