New South Wales
Originally published here, do not replicate without permission or attribution: http://storyboardwebseries.tumblr.com/post/149008345007/imho...
Synopsis: You are Ancient Egyptian architects, and must earn infamy. You will ferry your coloured building blocks to particular building sites in the aim of leaving your mark upon the world.
You win if you have the most points after a set number of rounds. The board layout contains a number of mats, each with unique scoring methods. Some of these will score immediately for the blocks that arrive: there is one which scores at the end of each round, and others which score only at the end of the game.
On your turn, you may do one action: add a brick to a ship, launch a ship with the bricks upon it, or restock your supply of bricks from the quarry. The choice falls between increasing the number of your bricks on a given ship, against launching it under your control; the latter allowing you to choose its destination and who to unload the relevant bricks.
Commentary: This was a Spiel des Jahrs nominees for 2016, and while I’ve been burned by SdJ nominees before (and sometimes even the Kennerspiel de Jahrs), I was drawn in to this game. The designer is Australian-based and known for Sushi Go! and Cacao.
The mechanism is simple but engaging, with well-balanced tension. Your strategy turns on the choice between shipping and loading. Sometimes you must ensure your blocks are on a given ship, but at a certain point it become imperative to send a ship off to a given port – lest someone else take charge of the helm.
The thrust of this game can fall down around king making, especially towards the end. However, for me this is an intrinsic part of the puzzle since it’s such a central feature. Since your main choice is around the control of bricks, this has to be part of you tactical calculus.
Despite the Kennerspiel nomination, I’ve not seen this game played as often as I would expect it to be. While I’ve had a lot of fun with it, it seems to be one that has slipped under the radar (at least in Australia).
Verdict: I really like what this game offers, even though the thrust of the game may not resonate with others over the king-making aspect.
Nice review of a great game. Seems decently popular in America.
There are now 2 mini-expansions that do change the game a bit. The earlier Stonemason's Wager where you can put one stone to wager on which place the players will place the most stones, and now the new Private Ship option that allows a player to put one stone on their own private ship and sail it to a location, even if a ship is already there.