Pyramids is a short and savvy little card game that has you playing cards to build monuments to construct a resplendent necropolis. It plays out in exactly 10 rounds regardless of player count, and it’s a breeze to get to the table!
The basics are this – from the start player, choose turn order. Then, in that order, select two cards from what’s on offer that round, and add them to your tableau. One of these cards must be added to your pyramid structure, and depending on the turn order tile you took – that is, the God’s honour you’ve had bestowed upon you by that tile – you can build your other card into a structure or hold onto it. Points will amass from grouping colours of stones together by physical groups and/or majority, as well as matching monument glyphs to their type.
Everything that is great about this game boils down to two things for me: the choice of turn order/God honour, and the strategy of how to build your monuments – pyramid, obelisk and tomb. A particular order in turn may give you less options as far as cards to pick, but more flexibility in building options for monuments – rather than just building the mandatory card into your pyramid, you could buff up your tomb or heighten your obelisk. Or if you want your choice of cards to set up your next turn, going earlier is the better choice.
As far as the strategy of building your monuments, you may have to make a sacrifice of a great card for one monument into another which wrecks all your fantastic plans. Want that really nice blue stone obelisk? Oh, no. You’re going to just end up forced into a weird multi-coloured blob in your pyramid, sorry! Despite some of the hard choices between turn order and abilities for building, everything balances out fairly well in Pyramids. There may be some turns where you’re not honouring the gods quite as well as you’d hope, but by the end of the game I was quite pleased with how my points shook out!
While the Egyptian theme isn’t really new to board games, this doesn’t feel too trite – the art is minimal, and colourful. And the aesthetic of building up your monuments with the cards is quite satisfying. With a quick teaching and play time, and basic card components, I would recommend this as a solid game for a casual evening or a great end to the night of a hard slog through some heavy stuff.
Pyramids from Iello Games, designed by Matthew Dunstan & Brett J. Gilbert with art from Camille Chaussy & Michael Menzel. It plays 2 – 5 players in approximately 30 minutes.
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