Designer: Phil Walker-Harding
Publisher: Devir, Galakta, Giochi Uniti, KOSMOS, White Goblin Games
Artist: Miguel Coimbra, Michaela Kienle
Player Count: 2-4
Imhotep is a game set in ancient Egypt. It’s played over 6 rounds where players work to accomplish their building goals while trying to thwart the goals of their opponents. Imhotep requires a bit of forward thinking and strategy if those playing wish to win. I have to be honest, I was a little skeptical of Imhotep at first. I had my eyes on a couple of different games and then I was asked to review it so I said why not? And I’m glad I did.
A full game of Imhotep can be played in about 40 minutes. It’s a game for 2-4 players, but I find that for the most satisfying experience, a full game of 4 works best.
There’s not much to say here. Imhotep is an extremely clean game
In Imhotep, players move wooden stones by boat to one of five build sites: the market where the player gains action cards, the pyramid where players gain points immediately, the temple where players gain points at the end of each round, and the burial chamber and obelisks are scored at the end of the game. On their turn, players may take one of four actions: procure new stones from the quarry, load stones onto a boat, sail a boat to a monument, or play an action card. It’s actually fairly simple, but it gets a little more complicated as the game progresses. You will have a certain set of plans you would like to carry out, but so does your opponent(s). One of the ways it will get a little more complicated is that you don’t get a boat to yourself. All of the boats are shared by all of the players. Not to mention the fact that you don’t have to have a stone on a boat to move it to a build site. If you would like, you can thwart your opponents and move a ship with their stones on it to a site they didn’t plan on going to. I’d be lying if I said this hadn’t happened to me once or twice, costing me the game.
Upon opening the game, you will find some fairly high-quality game components. The wooden blocks that are used as stones are mixed into two bags. The build sites are individual tiles and can be placed in any order, but the instructions tell you how to set them up if you would rather do it that way. I also really like the storage sleds. Each player gets one and is only allowed a maximum of 5 stones at a time, removing the possibility of one player stocking up on stones. It also comes with a score board and action cards.
One of the things I really like about Imhotep is that the game can be played a couple of different ways thanks to an A and a B side to the game tiles. A is the basic and simple game and is where every new player should start. Once you feel you have the hang of it, you can switch to the B side of the tiles for a variation of the game. It’s played the exact same way, but the rewards change depending on which site you go to. Going to the pyramids grants you a certain amount of points depending on where you place your stone, and the temple gives you the possibility of gaining an action card or more stones at the end of the round. These are just two of the changes you will see on the B side of the game.
Possibly my favorite thing about this game is how it looks. As a fan of ancient Egyptian architecture, I’m impressed by the art in this game. The box itself shows the legendary architect himself holding a map of the different build sites in the game. The sarcophagus in the burial chamber is also a nice touch as you place stones over it and essentially bury it as you play.
Overall, I really enjoyed Imhotep and will enjoy it many more times I’m sure. It’s one of those games that sort of gets old if you play it too much in a short time span like I did, but given time, this game just gets better the more you play it. You can change up strategies from game to game and, as I said above, you can flip the game tiles over to play different variations of the game. If you’ve ever wondered if you have what it takes to be a cunning architect like Imhotep, I recommend you check this game out.
The Bottom Line
Imhotep is a fun game that requires planning and forward thinking if you want to win. The game can be played in about 40 minutes which, in my opinion, is the sweet spot for games like this. The two-sided game tiles add some re-playability to this already fun game.