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Thinking about my next move.
So, if my only options are these, then I shall...
About Valley of the Kings: Afterlife:
1) What is it?
A deck building game in which trashing (entombing) happens often, is free each turn, and is the whole gist of the game: it isn't a matter of if to trash, but how often, when to start and which cards to put on the tomb.
Timming about when to stop focusing on buying and using cards and shift strongly towards entombing is the key to winning.
2) How do you play?
Valley of the Kings: Afterlife uses a pyramid of cards, that works almost like a row of cards (Ascension: Deckbuilding Game), but only the cards in the base of the pyramid are available for purchase, and the cards above "colapse" down once a card in the base is taken.
Cards can be used per its value, to purchase cards, or per its action. There is no limit to the number of actions to be used nor purchases, but values can't be combined to take more cards - value is completely paid for one card (without leftover remaining), before another can be taken.
Each turn the player is allowed to entomb one card - but several others allow for extra entombing.
Once the game ends, unique cards will give their printed victory points value. Set cards (separated by color) give points accordingly to the number of different cards of them inside the set - the more cards, higher will be the value. Repeated cards in a set have no value and don't form new sets.
The player with the most points will be the winner!
3) Which are the decisions made during play?
- Which cards to buy;
- Which cards to use as action instead of value;
- Which cards to entomb and when to do it.
4) What are the good things in the game?
- Smart and dynamic game;
- Good level of interaction (for a deck builder);
- Nice tidbits of historic information in each card;
- Varied effects in the cards, strong tree of interactions between them, and also allowing for a fine amount of replay value, even for a game that always use all the cards in the deck;
- Small, portable and the cards return to the box when sleeved.
5) Which are the bad news?
- Can have downtime issues when playing with 4 (but the historic bits help on this);
- Keeping the cards open in the tomb is a hassle when playing 2p and/or in small tables;
- Copious amounts of shuffling are required.
6) How do you feel while playing?
Learning that dying in a proper manner in Old Egypt is very competitive, more agressive then is good for the health (probably not an issue considering the situation) and sure have some weird needs to match items.
Overall, Valley of the Kings: Afterlife delivers a fine experience, likely a tad too long (it would work better as a 30 minute game, but usually stays around 45-50), but the timming considerations and the shift from buying/using cards to entombing requires a lengthier game to delivers its full experience. Still, it can run into the problem of boring some players.
In the end, it works well as intended and Valley of the Kings: Afterlife gets a recommendation.
Image credit: W Eric Martin
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I only find Valley of the Kings too long with 4p. I think it's best with 2-3p. It can take longer with new players as they learn all the cards. But even after one play, this should usually go quickly with 3p.
Thanks for reviewing Valley of the Kings: Afterlife. Please try the new release, Last Rites.