Friday, May 24, 2013

Hail Cleopatra--Just Be Willing to Spend Some Time at it.

The Review Crew's Take on
Cleopatra and the Society of Architects
# Players . . . 3-5
Game time . . . . . . . . 60-90 minutes
Set up . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 minutes
Luck . . . . . . .  .  8 . . . Strategy
*Interplay . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Visual Appeal . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
Component Quality . .. . . . . 9
*Replayability . . . . . . . . . . . 6

*See "How we Rate" for a definition.

We recently dug in our closet and pulled out a game we hadn't played for a while, Cleopatra and the Society of Architects. It doesn't seem to come out very often because of its involved set up. And putting it back into the box is like trying to fit together a puzzle manufactured by a mad scientist. It's sad that set up and take down would keep us from playing this game because it's very cool, and lots of fun.

 The premise is this: you, as a player, are a member of Cleopatra's society of architects and are in a race to complete construction projects that will please Her Majesty. On a turn you can take resources into your hand or build something with the resources you have--say a column wall or a throne, an obelisk or a sphinx. And herein lies the cool part. The objects you build are not just cards or tiny figurines. They're sizable and sturdy, the tallest--the obelisk--nearly six inches high. If you want to play a game that transports you back to ancient Egypt, this is it.

 Now for the fun twist. Corruption is leaking into the society. Some of the available building resources, though abundant, are substandard. In order to build a project faster than another person, you can resort to using those materials, but it may come back to haunt you. Every time you use tainted materials or call upon the services of a unsavory member of the society, you take a token that represents your growing corruption. A cardboard pyramid hides your sins from all eyes but your own. Will you be able to right your wrongs before it's too late? (There are ways.) Or will you end up getting fed to the crocodiles? That's what happens to the most corrupt person at game's end.

 So far, upstanding Jeff holds the record for trips to the crocodile pit.

We recommend this game. Just know that it's not a quick, set-up-and-play. Some things, though, are worth the time.


  1. Wish I could get people to play it with me more often. *sigh* I love Egypt. Ours is sitting, dusty, in the game closet . . .

    1. There is a board game called Feast and Famine that I just received the other day (Father's Day gift). It has an Egyptian theme to it too. We just played one round the other evening--it was simple and fun. We will have to put it on the list to review.