Every day it seems like there are five new games seeking funds on Kickstarter. Some of these games are from established companies and others are from independent designers trying to publish their first game. No matter the level of expertise, one thing holds constant: all these games are labors of love.
Daily Magic Games recently started fulfilled their Kickstarter for Sailing Toward Osiris, and I am proud to have received one of the first copies in the United States. Sailing Toward Osiris is a worker placement game for 2-5 players, designed by W. David MacKenzie. It takes approximately 60 minutes to play and is recommended for ages 14+.
In this game, the Pharaoh has died without an heir. This is a rare occurrence and in times like that, you and your fellow Governors of the land must erect monuments honoring the Pharaoh so that Osiris will grant favor on him in the afterlife. With limited resources, fickle gods, and a ticking clock, you must finish as many memorials as you can before his funerary barge reaches the tomb.
The game is played over four seasons. Within these seasons, you can perform any of the following ten actions: 1. Harvest a Resource 2. Visit a City 3. Start or Join a Caravan 4. Hire an Extra Laborer 5. Trade at the Market 6. Plan a Monument 7. Build a Monument 8. Play a City Card 9. Play a Boon Card 10. Withdraw from the Season. Each of these ten actions are official actions, but you are also able to barter with other players to try and work out a beneficial deal.
At first blush, these seems like a lot of choices, and it is. However, the more you end up playing the game, the more you can figure out when it is advantageous to you to harvest first and hire an extra laborer second or vice versa. You’ll also get more familiar with the Boon cards and determine the timing on play them. Since everyone has the same Boon cards, you cannot each play the same one in the same season. Therefore, at most you’ll only get to play four of the five per game.
Apart from this being a worker placement game or an economic game, you will find that this game all comes down to timing, knowing when to press and when to withdraw. It’s a good tension and leaves for some interesting decisions. I have primarily played this game at two players, so there’s some opponent reading there and trying to figure out what they are going to do and doing it before they can. However, the game scales well from two to five by lowering resources and spots to place your buildings at lower counts. At higher player counts, sometimes it comes down to playing the Workers you draw or City card your dealt. I like that there is the option to barter with your opponents, but even though it says in the rulebook that deals based on future turns aren’t enforceable, I omit that part when I’m teaching, because it can leave a bad taste in player’s mouths if they are playing honorably and someone else is not.
In closing, I would like to talk about the components of this game. When I received my box in the mail and opened it, I was greeted by a box the size of Orleans Deluxe, only of thicker and higher quality. (That’s saying a lot because Orleans Deluxe is my prize possession.) The graphic design on the board and illustrations on the cards help add to the theme and immerse you in the game play. Lastly, there are lots of beautiful, chunky wooden pieces. I know that seems like it should be standard now, but there are still some games that utilize cubes and other generic meeples. Not so with Sailing Toward Osiris.
As stated earlier, this game was W. David MacKenzie’s labor of love and it comes through in every aspect of the game. He has created not only a great game, but also a beautiful work of art that will look great all the way from your shelf to the table. If you’re looking for an excellent Egyptian game to add to your collection, this is the one!
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Copyright 2018 Stuart Dunn