So, me and my wife had a little time to kill before I had a meeting that night so having recently aquired The Banks on the Nile we decided to plow through it, pun intended.
I went first, having been the oldest player, and having read the rules.
First thing we got wrong was how the flood and ebb worked, but figured it out after our second turns. It was cool how it gave the impression of flooding the area and then receeding back, and the desert taking over sometimes. We didn't play the Hippo variant, so the hippo cards were just "nothing" tiles.
After the third turn, I had clearly pulled into what I would call a lead, having sold a complete table of my own. The next turn was not so good since now the flood was being taken away and some tiles were showing spoilage on the stands where I had fruits. This round the fruit only were flipped over and not completely spoiled, so I was good thus far in the marketplace. My wife was clearly understanding the game now, and had removed the river tiles now that she had the hippo marker(big fat wooden cylinder), and added desert to where I was planting fields (which reminded me of reef encounter, which I long to play again as soon as I finish out the new batch of games I have traded for -two left). So, I had a few more choices that turn: to get my fruit off of the boat before it was checked at the end. So two of my actions(of 4) were getting the fruits off the boat, using the wild card(desert) for the 4th action. The river was still receeding at this point and another desert tile was placed squarely over my wifes crops, and the arrow on the tile(s) gave me hope that I could plant on the fields furthest from the Nile this turn, since it would start flooding on my wife's next turn as starting player.
(One note here, playing two players allows for one player to in a sense play twice in a row, which I thought I would have to remedy to make it work better imo. Only thing I thought was make the flood/ebb phase a separate turn, and switch to the next player for their turn before the flood/ebb player gets to perform actions)
The next few turns had the obilisk clearly making its was towards our markers on the score track. I was still in the lead, but it was narrow now; my wife was only 2 spaces behind me.
The next turn was mainly about getting a river tile down that had a blank on one side (as we both had one of these) so that we didn't "have" to flood our own fields. It worked, and though fields were in short supply, we were able to "share" each of them, making the threat to flooding/desert making on top of them not a simple thought becase it meant sacrificing your fruits as well as theirs on each space.
The marketplace was dwindling at this point. A simple fruit at the 4 table was all that was left, since we had scored last round. My wife started to get a bright idea from here on that she would wait till I filled a table, and then grab the last spot so when it scored and "tied" she would be the tie-breaker. It worked once, but it also led to a few of her fruits spoiling on the stand as now the river was moving on out.
The final turn was not as exciting as my wife would've liked it, but since she saw a table filled on her turn, and I had the majority, and spoiling wouldn't happen because she already had done all that this turn, the end was nigh. In fact, I didn't have to do anything the last turn in order to win. The obelisk would clearly reach us this turn. We forgot to pull our fruits off the boat, and the scoring would put us beyond the space the obelisk was on, so it was a win for me by 2 spaces.
We liked the game. it was unique, one that not many have played or rated high. With the unusual mechanics, I see that it could hit the table easily more than others might during the year. And a big plus is that it played well with 2; at least we only found the one flaw, but it didn't make or break the game having a player do two turns in a row, because eventuall the other player would have the same advantage. It was clearly a 1.5 hours game, but that was with rules fiddling for the first part. I think with 2 players it would sneak under the hour radar, easily. With more players it would of course take longer. Having only 3 or 4 actions per turn made the game flow, with any more actions I can see boredom of the other player might have started (more than each time I got out the rules to check something). I had fun. My wife said she had fun. So there you have our first farming trip On the Banks of the Nile.
Rating reflect our replayability. With so many other games we own, we don't around to more than 2 a week(if that). Each month we have played at a friend's house, and play about 3 each time, so we get a few games a month, and we are happy we have local boardgamers that have the "need" to play that games sitting in the back of their closet, too.
All in all, though the "Sunken City" flood/receed aspect was there, but this was far better in working the same mechanic. Choices were simple, so I wouldn't consider it a "heavy or deep" game, but enough choices to keep me interested. Were it not for the flood/ebb phase, this game would've been like playing any other farming game, or even Chestnuts roasting on the Open Fire for those who have made their own copy of that game, which I have. With more players I see that the rating might go up or down, but I think upwards at the moment, mainly because of the unique mechanics involved.
Rating: 8-Scott, 7-Anna