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Subject: Saqqara - a quick overview rss

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Jeroen Hollander
Noord Brabant
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Saqqara is a game about gaining goods at the market and use them to develop pyramids and buy land along the Nile.

The game has a lot of beautiful unique wooden components and has a unique tech-tree-mechanism which gives players privileges during the game. Players can choose their own tech pad… so there are multiple ways to play to game and therefor multiple pads to victory!

Also the way of determining which warehouse will distributed their goods is rather unique. Only when the number of goods has reached the threshold value the good are distributed. So players will be keen on meeting this threshold.

Each player has his own province board at which he stores his resources and lays out his cards.

The central game board shows four warehouses where goods are stored. At the upper side of board is space for the pyramids that will be used in the game.

A round of Saqqara consists of four (in most rounds three) phases:

I. Market
In this phase players bid on the market cards. In his turn a player may place a bid for a market card of his choice. Of course the highest bidder will get the card, but be careful… all bids (even from the players who didn’t get the card) go to the warehouses.

Market cards can be used in the last phase of a round to trade goods with the supply or to buy land.

Note: Only if both the die and the market are below the same warehouse this phase is played (that’s once in each of the first three years and twice in the last three years), otherwise this phase is skipped.

II. Production
In this phase new goods are added to the warehouses. Simply add two goods of the kind of the warehouse to the warehouse (e.g. add two fish to the blue fish warehouse). When the die is under a warehouse add an additional good to that warehouse. If the die is on the land space in year 2-6, “land” good are also added to each warehouse. (Lands can be used as any kind of good when developing pyramids in the last phase).

Also below each market a threshold card is placed. These cards have values 2-9 (or have a red cross: no distribution this round). Only when the threshold is met (the number of goods in this warehouse is equal to or exceeds this threshold) the goods are distributed.

After placing the threshold card each player draws four influence cards and places these face down on his province board. The player with the most influence at a warehouse (the highest numbered card) will get (almost) all the goods. But beware, there are two special cards (beggars and merchants) with different rules.

Why play a higher numbered card on a market of which the threshold isn’t met? Good question! Each player can add goods from his province board (goods he gained in earlier rounds) to the warehouses. This way players invest in warehouses to reach the threshold (and hopefully they’ll get their investment back along with a lot of other goods).

When all players have passed on investing in warehouses the influence cards are revealed. In warehouse which has met the threshold goods are distributed:
- if one beggar is played: this player may take two goods of his choice from this warehouse
- the player with the most influence takes all the goods
- if one player played a influence card with the same value as the threshold card: this player takes on good from the kind of this warehouse from the supply.

Because of bidding for market cards and investing in warehouses the goods in a warehouse doesn’t has to be the same as the initial goods from the warehouse.

If a player played a merchant he takes two goods from the kind of this warehouse from the supply. He may do this even if the threshold isn’t met!

III. Development
In this phase player use their goods to develop pyramids and buy land.

Next to each level in a pyramid is shown which goods are needed to enter this pyramid or what to be paid to level up. Each pyramid has its own “theme” and a higher position in a pyramids grants more privileges in a certain area of the game. (e.g. with Royal Court you’ll extra influence token to use in phase 2, Religion makes it easier for you to reach the threshold and with Thieves you can steal goods from you opponents).

End of the game
The game ends at the end of the sixth year or when a worker is on top of each pyramid.
Players score points for reaching curtain levels in the pyramids and buying land along the Nile.
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Raymond Haaken
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So, what did you think of the game? Tedious or fun? Fast/slow? Interaction?
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