Imhotep was the first and most famous master builder of ancient Egypt. He is considered one of the earliest polymaths in the history of humanity. For example, he is said to have been responsible for building the very first pyramid in Egypt - the Pyramid of Djoser in Saqqara. Can you match his accomplishments in creating monuments for the ages?
You will need ships to transport blocks of stone to various building sites. But you will not be the only one making decisions about where to send the ships and their cargoes. Your opponents will have their own plans and will try to prevent your success.
A fierce competition will unfold over the most valuable stone shipments. It will take clever tactics and a little luck to achieve success.
Object of the Game
Each player assumes the role of an Egyptian master builder. You will have 6 rounds to transport your stones to the various sites and to erect monuments in such a way that you earn the most points. Whenever your turn comes up, you will select one of the following 4 action options:
- Get new stones
- Place 1 stone on the ship
- Sail 1 ship to a site
- Play 1 blue market card
Delivering the stones gets you various points in various ways - sometimes more points, sometimes fewer; sometimes right away, sometimes at the end of a round, and sometimes at the end of the game. Whoever has the most points after 6 rounds is the winner.
- 120 Wooden blocks (called "stones") (30 in each of the 4 game colors: black, white, brown, and gray)
- 5 Site boards
- 1 Scoring track board
- 8 Ship tokens
- 4 Supply sled tokens (1 in each of the 4 game colors: black, white, brown, and gray)
- 21 Round cards
- 34 Market cards
Place the 5 site boards in the center of the table as shown in the illustration. All site boards have an A side and a B side. In your first few games, use the A side. You can use the B sides in later games as a variant to the standard game play. So be sure that the A sides of the boards are showing in your first game.
Place the scoring track board to the right of the site boards. Use this to keep track of all players' points. Have the 8 ship tokens ready above the boards.
Separate the 21 round cards from the 34 market cards. Shuffle the 34 market cards and place them face down as a draw pile to the right of the "A) Market" board.
There are 7 round cards for two, three, and four players. Use the 7 round cards with 2 heads on them in a two-person game.
Use the 7 round cards with 3 heads on them in a three-person game.
Use the 7 round cards with 4 heads on them in a four-person game.
Pull out the 7 round cards corresponding to your number of players. You will not need the other 14 round cards. Place them back in the box. Since you will only be playing for 6 rounds, you must now pick one of your 7 round cards at random and place it back in the box as well. Shuffle the remaining 6 round cards and place them face down in a single stack next to the 8 ship tokens.
Each player chooses a color (black, white, brown, or gray) and gets a supply sled token in that color. With fewer than 4 players, the unused supply sled token(s) and stones of the unused color(_) go back in the box. All of the stones go in a pile to the right of the site boards, forming the stone quarry.
Each player places 1 stone in his or her color on the "0/40" space of the scoring track. Decide who will be the player to start. The starting player gets 2 stones in his or her color from the stone quarry and places them on his or her supply sled token.
The second player (who is the player to the left of the starting player) gets 3 stones for his or her supply sled token, the third player (the player to the left of the second player) gets 4 stones, and the fourth player gets 5 stones, each in their color.
The game is played over 6 rounds.
Course Of A Round
Each round proceeds as follows:
- At the start of the round, turn over the top round card. It will indicate which 4 ship tokens are available in this round. Arrange these tokens spaced not too closely together to the left of the site boards. There are ships with various amounts of space for stones:
Two boats have space for 4 stones, three have space for 3 stones, two have space for 2 stones, and one boat has space for 1 stone.
Example: If you have turned over the round card shown above, take one four-stone ship, one three-stone ship, and two two-stone ships, and arrange them spaced not too closely together to the left of the site boards.
- Then turn over the top four market cards from the draw pile and place them face up on the market board.
If the draw pile is empty, shuffle the discard pile and create a new draw pile.
- Then all the players take their actions in turns, beginning with the starting player.
Each turn goes as follows:
The player whose turn it is must carry out exactly one of the following 4 actions:
Get New Stones
Take 3 stones of your color from the stone quarry and place them on your supply sled token.
Note: Your supply sled token has enough space for a maximum of 5 stones!
For example, if you only have space for 2 stones and you choose this action, you can only take 2 stones from the quarry.
If you have no more stones in the quarry, you cannot take any more stones.
Place 1 Stone On A Ship
Take 1 stone from your supply sled token and place it on any empty space on a ship that has not yet sailed to a site.
Sail 1 Ship To A Site
Slide 1 ship to a site board. You must observe 2 conditions, however:
The ship must already be loaded with at least the minimum required number of stones. The gray stone symbols at the bow of the ship indicate the minimum number for that ship. This number varies from ship to ship.
The site to which the ship is sailing must still have an open dock. In other words, no other ship can have sailed to it in this round.
The ship's stones are then unloaded by their owner (indicated by color) in order from front to back and delivered to the site - beginning with the stone placed closest to the front. Ignore any empty spaces on the ship.
At each of the 5 sites, there are different rules for what the stone's owner will receive for each stone delivered, and when they will receive it. The market and the pyramid are assessed immediately. The temple is assessed at the end of each round.
The burial chamber and the obelisks are not assessed until the end of the game. Read the exact rules for each site under the "Explanations of the A sides of the sites" heading on pages 7 and 8 of this manual.
Important: You are also permitted to sail a ship when you do not have a stone of your own on it. The only requirement is that both of the above conditions must be met. After a site has been sailed to, the now-empty ship remains at the site's mooring area until the end of the round.
This way, you can see that no more ships can sail to that site during that same round. No more than one ship can sail to any given site per round.
Example: This four-stone ship was sailed to the pyramid. Beginning with the stone closest to the front, all the stones are now placed on the pyramid. The pyramid yields points immediately for each stone delivered, in accordance with the number value indicated on the space.
Play 1 Blue Market Card
If you have one of these cards, you can play it and make use of its benefit. The played card is then placed on the discard pile. You can only play 1 blue market card per turn.
Each player takes action in turns and always performs exactly one action per turn. Each player's turn will come up several times per round. The round does not end until all 4 ships have been sailed to the various sites.
Important: Since there are only 4 ships available per round, there will always be 1 of the 5 site boards that will not be sailed to in each round!
End Of Round
When all 4 ships have been sailed to the sites, the round ends immediately.
Now the temple is assessed. Each stone visible from above yields 1 point. In other words, stones covered by other stones no longer yield any points.
Example: The temple is assessed at the end of the round. Here, the gray player gets 2 points (for 2 stones visible from above). The white, brown, and black players get 1 point each (each for 1 stone visible from above).
Prepare for the next round
- Return the 4 ships to the pile of other ships.
- Gather up any market cards still remaining on the market board and place them on the discard pile.
- All stones already placed on site boards and supply sled tokens stay in place.
The next round begins.
Turn over the next round card from the pile, get the 4 ships indicated on the card, and place them to the left of the site boards. Turn over 4 new market cards from the pile and place them on the market board. The starting player for the new round is the player to the left of the player who sailed the fourth ship in the previous round.
End of the Game
The game ends after 6 rounds.
Then the final point assessment, or scoring, takes place.
Final Point Assessment (scoring)
Start by assessing the stones in the burial chamber. The point assessment is explained on page 7 under the "A) Burial chamber" heading.
Then it is time to assess the obelisks. Their point assessment is explained on page 8 under the "A) Obelisks" heading. The decoration and statue market cards yield points in accordance with what is printed on them. Unused blue market cards yield an additional value of 1 point each.
The player with the most points is the winner.
In case of a tie: The player with the greater number of stones on his or her supply sled token is the winner. If this is also a tie, the tied players share first place.
Variant: Wrath Of The Pharaoh
If you want to play with somewhat "harsher" rules, you can try the following rule variation:
You are punished if you fail to participate in the building of all four monuments.
Any player who has not delivered at least 1 stone to each of the four building sites - pyramid, temple, burial chamber, and obelisks - by the end of the game must have 5 points deducted from his or her score.