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It'll come as no surprise that Ares Games' Pyramidice is a game about building pyramids using dice. But tho' the components include two sets of six-sided dice (white and sandy orange), it is only the white dice that are used directly in construction - they are your stones; the sand-coloured dice are your prayer dice...

In this game designed by Luigi Ferrini, the 2-4 players are using the dice to take god cards, activate powers and of course to build pyramids. It's building pyramids that earns you Fame points, and the higher the die roll the more points you'll get when using the die in construction. Workers are needed to use the dice (the higher the roll, the more workers needed) and cats are used to modify die rolls up and down. Players each have a Scarab card from the 12 supplied and these give each player an ongoing asymmetric power that you can expect will influence the way you play. Players also each get a Project card that gives them a hidden objective that will give them bonus points for specific orthogonally adjacent dice numbers so those will also influence the dice you add to the pyramids. If you think you've deduced a rival player's Project card objective, it can pay to specifically avoid placing die faces that may benefit them...

On your turn, you either 'work' or 'rest'. The work action moves your stone dice to the Quarry (central display that contains the prayer dice and any stone dice left over from a previous turn). You roll these and use them for various actions including to buy a god card, activate a god power and, of course, build stone dice on a pyramid. You can also earn a Fame point for any two dice of either colour that you return to the quarry.

The rest option is still an action - it's how you collect resources (workers, cats and stone dice); choosing a rest tile from those in a central display beneath the Sphinx, which also doubles as the game's score track. Be warned tho', several rest action tokens require you to spend (lose) Fame points in order to take the benefit. Rest actions also function as a game timer because every time you take a third rest tile, the tiles reset and one of the god cards is discarded: along with exhaustion of the stone dice supply, depletion of the god deck is an end-game trigger.

Tho' ultimately you're stacking dice to build the pyramids, Pyramidice isn't a dexterity game. It is a game that demands balance, however. You're not physically balancing the dice but throughout the game you're having to balance between actions that cost you points and those that subsequently earn you more points. The game also involves actions that could be helping another player (for example, by adding dice to the Quarry), so again you need to balance your options if only to satisfy yourself that your actions aren't benefiting an opponent more than you.

Pyramidice is a game that you may find confounds your expectations. You might reasonably have expected a dice chucker but this isn't that. It isn't even really primarily a dice placement game. With its canny use of cats and workers, this is very much a dice manipulation and puzzle optimisation game. With its art from Quentin Regnes and Oscar Casel and its Wilson, Keppel & Betty-style Egyptian worker meeples it evokes well its Ancient Egyptian theme but the game itself is very much a medium-weight modern euro. And it's a game to take with you if you're ever entombed in a pyramid because Pyramidice also incorporates a solo mode where you can compete against any of four different 'great architects'.

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4 days ago

This post was very informative. Thanks for sharing! Solar

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han gu
han gu
10 jul

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