No. of Players:
2 - 4



G@mebox author Ralf Togler writes about the game:

The Italian team of authors called Accittocca has created a new game located in the popular empire of old Egypt. As most of you will remember, we had quite a lot of games in the last years with similar backgrounds. For example it was in 2003 when Reiner Knizia invented Amun-re which was published by HANS IM GLÜCK, too. So why should we need another Egyptian game, especially if it has such an unmeaning title? Well, on the one hand the title is not in the least unmeaning, only that you must know some words of the Italian language. The translation of the Italian word Egizia is Old Egypt, it is just that simple. On the other hand the graphic design looks rather promising, with all that pyramids and monuments on the board. As you will see, a part of the rules forms a nice link between story and gameplay, and so the game draws its charm not from its playing mechanism but also from its well-matched historic backdrop.


In Egizia the players build pyramids and other monuments to earn the victory points. The game lasts five identical rounds in which the players place ships along the bank of the Nilee. Each of the 20 spaces along the Nilee gives the players benefits or allows them to contribute to the different buildings on the gameboard. One half of the spaces along the Nile remain the same for the whole game, the other half is exchanged every turn with the help of cards. Next to the big board all players get their own boards to mark the strength of their workers and their current number of stones for the buildings. The strength of the three or four workers (three normal worker plus a Joker) can be improved during the game, so they can pull more stones to the sites of the buildings.

The game works as follows: In each round the players place up to eight ships on the spaces along the Nile one by one. In the best worker-placement tradition, most of the spaces on the river only have room for one ship, so the first player setting his ship there occupies the space for the rest of the round. There are some interesting aspects in this phase. First of all, the ships always must be placed downstream, so that no ship of a player can be placed upstream of any other ship of the same player. Thus, the players have to balance the pros and cons before placing a ship far downstream. If you make a placement far downstream you have the choice and can find the best space to match your current strategy. On the other hand, you probably skip over some other, a little bit less interesting spaces, but there is no way back in this round. On the contrary, if you move too slowly, your opponents will occupy the best spaces downstream at the Nile delta and you must take what is left for you.

The number of ships which can be placed on the three construction sites is limited, too. So if you want to contribute to the buildings and get some victory points for that, you should not wait too long to occupy the corresponding spaces. This on the other hand brings you faster downstream again, and especially in games with three or four people the players usually a faces with an interesting dilemma which brings some tension into the game. On the other hand, the number of existing spaces lessens this effect in a two-player game since there are normally enough interesting spaces for both players, resulting in the fact that there is no need to hurry. This is a pity, because the hustle is one of the best elements of the game...


After the placement phase is over, all workers of the players must be fed. For this purpose you can retain special farmland cards from the spaces along the Nile. But not every farmland produces at every round. There are three types of farmland and it depends on the season whether a space produces grain or not. The season can be changed by cards on a space along the Nile, so your opponents may influence your phase of feeding, too. Workers that can not be fed will starve, and this results in a loss of victory points for the player.

After the feeding, the players can build at the monuments and Pyramids. For this the player must have a ship on the corresponding construction site. Then he must assign a worker who is strong enough to pull the next stone onto the building (perhaps with the help of the Joker worker) and give up the demanded number of stones from his supply. Of course, with increasing height of a building, the strength of the worker also has to increase and the number of stones you need increases, too. Contributing to the building gives the player victory points, both immediately and at the end of the game, if they have the right bonus card. These bonus cards are very important to win the game and can be collected on another space along the Nile.

Most of the other spaces along the river are for increasing the strength of the workers, getting more stones that can be used at the construction sites and for improving the production of the grain. There are two more tracks on the gameboard, called grain market and stone purchase. The first can be used to influence the loss of victory points when it comes to starvation. The second can produce additional stones for the player. Again, some spaces along the Nile can be used for advancing these tracks.

I think you now got a rough feeling of the different available actions a player can perform in his turn. As with most worker-placement games, the options at hand might seem to be a bit confusing at the beginning since players do not know where to turn first. And unfortunately the rules are of no real help here, since they plainly explain the available options. In your first game, I am quite sure, you will need to re-check the one or other rule in the rulebook. Although there are some examples in the rules, they are missing a good overview.

On the positive side, the game can be thoroughly recommended to casual gamers who also like games that take more than one hour. I only would suggest that at least one player knows the rules better than any newcomers so that a slowdown by too much referencing can be avoided. The reason for the good appropriateness for casual gamers is that you have a lot of possibilities to earn the victory points and you cannot really do anything totally wrong, so that frustrating dead-end situations are avoided. Almost everything has a positive effect for the players and contributes to the victory points.

Playtesting also revealed that the position of start-player is rather advantageous, and this advantage would be too big if the rules would not have provided a measure to counterbalance this effect. Thus, the position of the start player changes nearly every round, with always the player with the fewest victory points becoming the new start player. This comes in useful to the casual gamers again, since the choice which player becomes next start player cannot really be influenced. Everybody just tries to harvest his victory points, and it would be too much of a sacrifice to waste actions to fall behind just to assume to start player position. However, strategic interests on the other hand are served by the bonus cards available to each player, and here everybody will try to fulfil his missions. Still, some uncertainty is kept due to the fact that you cannot guess what the missions of your opponents are and how many victory points they will receive for that.

To sum up I would say that Egizia is a very nice worker placement game for the casual gamer. The gameflow is straightforward and fast and it was really satisfying to see the monuments and Pyramids grow during the game.

Looking for this game? Visit Funagain Games!

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Copyright © 2010 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany