Tuesday, September 30, 2008

#57: Pyramidos

  • designer: Jens-Peter Schliemann & Kirsten Becker
  • publisher: Haba
  • date: 2003
  • BoardGameGeek rank/rating: not ranked/6.42
  • age: 6+
  • # of players: 2-4
  • print status: in print
  • cost: $38.00 (ThoughtHammer)
Egypt has always been a good theme for games - the whole "build the pyramids" vibe is really appealing to lots of folks. Whether it's the auction goodness of Ra or the first of the Settlers historical variants (Cheops)... or even the Carabande/Acquire hybrid of Cairo, gamers can't seem to get enough of the theme.

Of course, historical accuracy is not the key - in Cairo, you're flicking building blocks off a boat in the river Nile. In Ra, you're bidding for monuments (as well as a lot of other stuff). And in Pyramidos, you're flicking round building blocks (seems structurally unsound to me) down the river, past waiting crocodiles (those are some mighty big crocs with some pretty strange appetites) to build King Tut's tomb.

This game's "parent" game, I think, is actually Piratenbilliards - which you need to go check out, both on the Geek & in person. (Don't rush out & buy a copy - they are VERY expensive.) As in Piratenbilliards, the players in Pyramidos move their marbles by flicking them from underneath the board... however, you use your finger rather than a long wooden mallet. You can keep flicking until you land in the reeds (near the edge of the multi-layered board) or get swallowed by a crocodile (in holes big enough to eat the marble & drop it to the netting below the board) or fall off the board or reach the building site.

The first four marbles to get to the building site get 1 point each... and then, the really tricky part begins. The last marble has to be flicked on top of the other four to form a pyramid - and it's worth 2 pts, which is at it should be, because that level of control does NOT happen the first time you play this game.

Kids LOVE this game... it looks cool, it's fun to flick the marbles, and the theme is appealing. The problem is that you must practice in order to (a) cut down the playing time and (b) be competitive. The game gets shorter (and better) with some experience... so if you do decide to plop down the dollars to buy it, push past the initial "wow, this is hard" feeling & go for the fun!

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