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Catan: Ancient Egypt» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Good variation of Catan theme, Mediocre Components rss

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Ray Weber
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So this is the newest specialty Catan, a historical set in Ancient Egypt. I like Catan, I like Egypt. So it seemed like something to try! We played it 4 player and it did take 3 hours, so warning there.

So first what is different between this and regular Catan? First, there are "god" cards. Each player gets a god card and you use it, then either flip it or change it out. Once you use a second time (if you choose to keep it), then you must change it out. This keeps the god cards rotating through players. I really like what that adds - it is a fun little addition and does really help if you choose the right god, at the right time. The wrong god card can also sit there forever before you can use it! Second, you have the "Nile" set up. This board actually can be set up as "regular" Catan (some of the tiles, like the river ones, are two sided). I don't know why you'd ever play this regular, but I guess if you don't want to keep regular Catan, but like that option for teaching new players, it is a bonus, but honestly I think the money into that component could have been better spent (which I'll get to). With the Nile, you will have to cross it, so you have the addition of papyrus boats. It also makes a very tight board with 4, with the Nile, which I think is good. The components have been "Egyptified," in that you have ox carts and Temple Cities and papyrus instead of wood. There is then the Great Pyramid. I really liked this addition. So you can build blocks and this is one of the end conditions - if the pyramid is finished, the game ends, so if you can get ahead in VPs and then finish this pyramid, you win (which is what happened to us). Also any time you roll a 7, you flip a gold Pharaoh block and that tells you the hand size for the robber (which I think is cool) and the Pharaoh builds a block, which pushes the game forward as well. For building a block, you also get the "vizier's favor," which is really helpful, but it usually moves a lot, so not overwhelming. With the boats and blocks, you do have several extra building options, which I think are great. There are three end conditions, which I actually like (I know the other reviewer complained about them) and I don't think the 7s thing is all that likely. We ended on the Pyramid being finished and the winner had 10 (of 11) VPs, so I felt it worked out really well.

My main complaints are two things. First, the components. There was no reason why the pyramid had to be so cheap...it was cardboard so the "pyramid" was just a stack of cardboard. Totally disappointing. I feel Mayfair really fell down there. Most of these special edition had really nice pieces...these are cheap plastic. They are okay, but since they were cheap plastic there is no reason why the pyramid couldn't have been the same thing - plastic blocks versus cardboard, which would have been an improvement. I also think there are several development cards that TOO powerful. Now, in our case, they did get played at "just" the right time (but you also get to pick your time), so I felt that was a little overwhelming, but the god powers were good, yet not overwhelming, just a few of the development cards.

I liked this incarnation and I will be keeping it. I think it is a good historical Catan, much like the Rome one, and unlike the American one (Trials to Rails). My main complaint is that for the price, the components really fell down. If this was cheaper, they would have been okay, but it wasn't, so they were a major disappointment. I was expecting more out of Mayfair there. They did a good job on game development, but need to revisit game production.
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Harold Coleman
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I agree with everything you said, especially about the quality of the components. For a "Collectors Edition," I sure expected more.
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Bill Eldard
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rweberund wrote:
So this is the newest specialty Catan, a historical set in Ancient Egypt. I like Catan, I like Egypt. So it seemed like something to try! We played it 4 player and it did take 3 hours, so warning there.


Thanks for your excellent review, Ray. When this edition was released, I was wondering how much it has in common with the Cheops scenario in Die Siedler von Catan: Historische Szenarien (which has a 'fixed set-up' board); this links to a review of that scenario: https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/146212/historical-scenario-...

rweberund wrote:
So first what is different between this and regular Catan? First, there are "god" cards. Each player gets a god card and you use it, then either flip it or change it out. Once you use a second time (if you choose to keep it), then you must change it out. This keeps the god cards rotating through players.


The god cards appear to be borrowed from Star Trek: Catan, where the crew cards are used by the same rules. I agree that these cards are a positive addition to the Catan system.
 
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Sean Sullivan
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Just for note the God cards come from Helpers of Catan http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/86669/catan-scenarios-hel... which came out 2 years before Star Trek Catan, they were made seperatly and seem to becoming a mainstay in the game, it helps with balance overall I think, especially with social games.
 
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Brent Dickman
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I agree with you about the cardboard pyramid, but my game group and I are perfectly pleased with the plastic components. We think that they're on par with Star Trek Catan and in both games really add to the thematic element. I wouldn't call them cheap at all. To each his or her own, I guess.
 
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