Recommend
62 
 Thumb up
 Hide
11 Posts

Imhotep» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Imhotep: Who will like it & who will not - Nothing Lost in Translation Edition rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Colin Marsh
United States
Portland
Oregon
flag msg tools
ahh, get it off.. get it... GET IT OFF!!
badge
ahh, get it off.. get it... GET IT OFF!!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Introduction

this past weekend i got the opportunity to play several games of Imhotep. i was attending one of my favorite 4 weekend get-togethers of the year. it's called Geekend and essentially a dozen and a half of us get together, rent a house and hang out & play board games over the course of 3 days. it's a ton of fun and typically where i get my cult of the new fix. this weekend there were a few games i tried for the first time but I think this one stood out more than any other.

since there are already reviews out there which cover the general mechanics of this game, i'm going to avoid going into any of that and rather focus on the types of gamers that I think are likely to enjoy this vs. those that will probably not find it to be their cup of tea.

before i get there though I will add one funny anecdote about playing Imhotep. That is that this is the first time I played a truly German game. my friend who brought it to our weekend had recently been in Germany and had read about Imhotep. He chose to forgo waiting for an English edition, bought the game and brought along a translation of the rules as well as all the cards in the game. normally you'd think this would be a barrier to playing this game but quite honestly it wasn't. after just one play i confidently taught other new people that had not played the game before.

Who's going to like this game?

1. Fans of zero-sum scoring / take that - it's probably not technically correct to say that Imhotep is truly zero sum (and certainly not when playing it 4 player as I did) but here's what i mean. the game very often comes down to weighing whether you should make a move that may help you down the road vs. making a move that you know will deny points to your opponents. i feel like i was making this decision on 75% of my turns; deciding this was never easy. typically denying other players is a more sure thing - you can tell what outcome they ideally want and how well that would score for them. you also know that since they will get a move before your next move that if you don't block them, you either have to hope someone else does or live with that outcome. on the flip-side you can potentially set yourself up for a great move next turn but that's not certain. with 3 more players before you get to move an additional time, it's quite likely someone will see your plan and take it away before it's complete.

2. Contingency Planners - doing well in this game is about not having your eggs in one basket. the more you score off of a single source the greater the likelihood that you are going to get blocked by your opponents. the more you give yourself back-up plans, the harder you are the shut out and the more likely you are to have the option to do something that's good for you on your turn. some people really enjoy this kind of thing. others will find the choice to establish a backup plan over focusing on your primary demotivating.

3. Fans of turn-order manipulation via passing - so I can't think of a good expression for this so I'll define what I mean. there is technically no passing in Imhotep but during your turn you have the option to reload your supply rather than making a play on the board. sometimes you do this because you have to - you are out of stones. other times you do this to force the next player to make a choice that will be difficult for him and/or makes little difference to you or both. the advantage of doing this is that you now have a greater supply for the future and it may affect turn order for the next round. this becomes particularly common towards the end of rounds and it's freaking fantastic. we had several games where based on looking at the remaining stones each player had towards round end, players knew they could load up for next round and force other players to end the round. this meant those players who effectively passed on a move were now earlier in turn order for the next round. this can be really important in this game and so it made the choices you made each round really interesting.

4. fans of the powerful trump card - they are 4 types of cards in the game. all of them are interesting and add to the variety in scoring but the ones that i think add the most tension to the game are this series of blue cards which players can hold on to and play whenever they wish. since all of this knowledge is public, everyone is going to know that on your turn you have the ability to move a boat and change the order it's unloaded in or to add a stone and then move a boat, or to reload and make a play. again i'm not going to get much in to mechanics here but suffice to say these cards make it harder for your opponents to narrow down your options. given how important it is to reasonably predict what your opponents are likely to do it makes these trump cards a lot of fun. you want to get them early and you almost want to hold on to them. you also want to make sure that the one time you do use them it's the right time as they are very game changing but are also one-time use.

5. fans of wooden cubes - i'm sure this sounds silly but this game has the most fantastic giant wooden cubes ever. i was so enamored with them i rolled them through my dice tower in big handfuls - 20 or so at a time. it was pointless but it was highly entertaining. as large as you imagine the cubes in this game to be, they are bigger than that.

Who's not going to like this game ?

1. Deep strategists - unless you've got a super computer for a brain, you're not going to be able to completely control your own fate in this game and you most certainly can't plan ahead with much confidence. there is most definitely strategy to the game but that strategy is largely about playing percentages, having backup plans & being willing to forego your own score to slow down your opponents when it makes sense.

2. "but that play doesn't help you at all, you're King Making" - i don't believe you are playing this game correctly if you aren't using many of your turns to take great plays away from your opponents. those plays may give you zero points but they also take a definite, 10 or 15 points away from the leader. in that case, this play may well help you more than scoring yourself just a couple points. some people take great offense to this. if you are one of these people, do not play this game. also i will point out that the eventual outcome of the game should not be used to prove your point about king making. "you didn't win anyway after you blocked my great move back in round 3, that just made Bob win". if you're this person, avoid this game. it will be a better experience for everyone involved. you are going to get blocked.

3. "this game is solvable, everyone goes for..." - i will admit that there is some conjecture here on my part. i suspect that over time if this game is popular (and I expect it will be) that fans of the game will establish that there is a typical best play for the first couple of rounds depending on what boats or cards are out. there are so many variables it won't be truly solvable but there may be thoughts like - if you have the option to get X card in the first two rounds, you always should or never give player one the option to move a boat on this 2nd turn, things like that. the comparison i'd make is to Puerto Rico where there's a book for how the first few turns should go.

Other thoughts

Because this game was in German I have no idea how the variants work. there's a 2nd side to the boards which I imagine change the rules a good deal. this might mean that my point about replayability / "this game is solvable" is totally wrong but I can't read German so if that's the case and I'm wrong I apologize.

the theme of this game could not possibly be more bolted on. the art i think is nice, the components are wonderful but as to what the competition is supposed to be and whether I felt I was a pharoah or whatever it is I was supposed to be... well... i felt none of that; there was no sense of immersion. there are many games where this bothers me but there are some like Imhotep where I had fun regardless.
60 
 Thumb up
2.25
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jason
United States
Orlando
Florida
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Good review. Thank you.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David B
United States
Virginia
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
"fans of the powerful trump card"


Let's not bring up trump in these forums. Please.
36 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Martin G
United Kingdom
Bristol
flag msg tools
badge
Don't fall in love with me yet, we only recently met
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
pfctsqr wrote:
Let's not bring up trump in these forums. Please.

I don't think anyone had until you did

Great review - thanks for not bothering to reiterate all the rules before getting to the interesting part!
16 
 Thumb up
5.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David Janik-Jones
Canada
Waterloo
Ontario
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
Up Front fan | In ancient times cats were worshipped as gods; they have not forgotten this | Combat Commander series fan | The Raven King (game publisher) ... that's me! | Fields of Fire fan
badge
Slywester Janik, awarded the Krzy┼╝ Walecznych (Polish Cross of Valour), August 1944
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Agree with the OP's assessment. Just added it to the "New to you June 2016" geek list (https://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/210697/item/4714188#item4...) with the same sort of thoughts. Good game but I don't find it an especially great game. On my shelf for the time being, but probably not long-term given my purges.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David Short
United States
Tucson
Arizona
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Fantastic review. Sounds like this game is not for me. Thanks for posting.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brian Bowles
United States
Depauw
Indiana
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmb
Well, from the time that this game hit the mainstream radar I thought it looked as exciting as watching paint dry! I looked at pics and read early reviews and could not fathom how this thing could be in the running for the Spiel. At one point I even commented that I thought it was an example of "hype selling"!

Well, yesterday I had some time to kill at my FLGS while picking up my weekly order. I asked if they had a copy of Imhotep that I could play. Kat, the store manager took about five minutes to show us the game play and we were off and playing. My opinion of the game changed almost immediately. No, it's not "Feld"! This game has some simple rules and simple strategies, but I was totally enjoying the game. So much so, that I immediately put it on my list for next week. I would have bought it right there if I hadn't already picked up a rather costly order for the day.

I agree Feld fans will probably not find this game interesting in the least, but then again I really can't get into Feld's games, they remind me of Algebra, (Add this to that, why? I don't now just do it you will get a bigger score).
I admit that I love a game that is thematic, I love a game that looks good and can involve me in the theme. I like strategy too. I want to be challenged, maybe not chess against Kasparov challenged, but I like to have to think ahead and be prepared to switch strategies in a heart beat.

Imhotep, fooled me and fooled me good. I first saw it and though, this is a four year old's alphabet block stacking game. Well, I was wrong! I found this game to be a lot of fun. It's got the right amount of strategy with a mix of take that. And, for reasons I can't explain I just love games with various scoring. What I mean is Imhotep has In game scoring, end of round scoring, end of game scoring and secret goals scoring. That just keeps you battling til the end on the points track.

Don't do like I did. Don't dismiss this game without trying it first. I think you will be as suprised as I was how much fun Imhotep is.
16 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jeffery Hunt
United States
Louisville
Kentucky
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
shadowsclassic wrote:
I agree Feld fans will probably not find this game interesting in the least, but then again I really can't get into Feld's games, they remind me of Algebra, (Add this to that, why? I don't know just do it you will get a bigger score).
I admit that I love a game that is thematic, I love a game that looks good and can involve me in the theme. I like strategy too. I want to be challenged, maybe not chess against Kasparov challenged, but I like to have to think ahead and be prepared to switch strategies in a heart beat.

There isn't a Feld game I don't like, some I love, and I really enjoyed imhotep.
4 
 Thumb up
0.01
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Fred Shugars
United States
Unspecified
Unspecified
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
I played this for the first time today, and I think you missed a category of people that won't like this game:

Those that are tired of another abstract with a pasted on strategy, where you push blocks in one direction or another to score points based on how the blocks are arranged.


While I didn't hate the game, and would play again, I found nothing about this that makes it stand out from a 100 other games of that same ilk.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Yours Truly,
United States
Raleigh
North Carolina
flag msg tools
badge
There must have been a moment at the beginning, where we could have said no. Somehow we missed it. Well, we'll know better next time.
Avatar
mb
JefferyHunt wrote:
shadowsclassic wrote:
I agree Feld fans will probably not find this game interesting in the least, but then again I really can't get into Feld's games, they remind me of Algebra, (Add this to that, why? I don't know just do it you will get a bigger score).
I admit that I love a game that is thematic, I love a game that looks good and can involve me in the theme. I like strategy too. I want to be challenged, maybe not chess against Kasparov challenged, but I like to have to think ahead and be prepared to switch strategies in a heart beat.

There isn't a Feld game I don't like, some I love, and I really enjoyed imhotep.

Same here... Feld is possibly my favorite designer (definitely Top 5), but I tried Imhotep tonight for the first time and loved it.

 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Yannis Zoulias
Greece
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
It's true it begins as a "simple game" and is perfect to introduce people to board games.

However I feel the mini-expansions already published, add a lot of meat and make much more of a strategic challenge adding many more "once-off" options. Players need to evaluate when is the best time to use special actions before their opponents and earn more points.

I have also read the rules of the new expansion that will be presented in Essen, and I think it makes a great addition, introducing a dozen of new mechanism.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls