Before I begin I played a demo of this on Tabletop Sim, and will receive a copy of the production copy should it fund. This is not a paid preview. You can get your own copy on Kickstarter here!
You know what designer I have avoided playing for the longest time? Knizia. Seriously. I have always heard it is created with tons of math, and that led me to assume that his games were heavy. Super heavy. Like Feudum heavy. Twilight Imperium heavy. All of Too Many Bones, and Hoplomachus stacked on your chest heavy.
But ya know what? Chad at 25th Century games was just so darn charming and forlorn when he posted that he was looking to try the game with some reviewers. So I took a deep breath, girded my loins, said a prayer to Saint Cajetan (fun fact he is the patron saint of both gamers AND unemployed people), and loaded up TTS.
Tutankhaman is a simple (yes I said simple) set collection game. Seriously. It took all of 3 minutes to learn how to play and all of 30 minutes to play on TTS. In the game you are doing your best to blow all your money first, as you try to build up the best temple to honor King Tut. You do this by spending every red cent you have!
To do this you will be, as I mentioned, collecting tile sets, which are attractively laid out as the Nile river. On your turn you will be moving your boat down the river to the tile that you want to collect. Here is the catch though. It is a river, and a boat so you can’t go back up the river. So anything you skip you have skipped (there are some god tiles that let you do wacky things that might make that previous statement a big fat lie, but whatta ya gonna do?).
As sets are completed you gain points, these points are how much you are spending from your stash, and the first person to spend it all is the winner. There are a few other details, such as how the god tiles work, and how the passed over tiles go to the underworld (which are a big deal in the two player version of the game), but really that is the gist of the game.
So what do I think?
So keeping in mind that I have only played the digital version, I love the way this game should look. The tiles have attractive art on them, it sprawls across the table in a sweet way, but mostly look at the super cool way you score the game!
I just find it so cool. Not only does the box double as what would be a board for scoring, or chits, but they have gone the extra step to “artify” it. I am a fan.
I also really appreciate the elegance of this set collection game. The choices are simple, but the repercussions of every action you take are huge, and it will only have greater ripple effects as the player count increases. It is just highly enjoyable.
Finally, they have managed to create a two player variant (by variant I mean they added a single rule or two) that actually makes the game work, just as well as I imagine it does in 3-4 players.
Remember how I said the game was simple? Yeah it is. You are not going to come out of playing this game and think that there is a ton of strategy that you can mine. No, it is a wonderfully elegant set collection game. There are strategies to find, and perfect, but this is a light game, just something to keep in mind.
The set up. I have a feeling it takes a little while. Now when I played it was lightning fast, but that is because the TTS scripting did it all for us.
Bringing it all together
Tutankhaman is not at all what I expected. I expected an overly complicated multi-hour game where whomever was the best at math would win. I was oh so pleasantly surprised to find that it is a delightfully elegant set collection game that looks wonderful on the table. It is not remotely heavy, and plays in well under an hour. Set up might be a bit of a bear as you have to set up the river, but once you do it should be absolutely stunning on the table.
If I take the time to read all that I will be entombed with King Tut!
* Awesome table presence, and art
* Mechanics are wonderfully elegant in their simplicity
* Lightning fast to play
* Set up might be longer than expected
* After playing this I am no longer intimidated by Knizia games