Home » Valley of the Kings Review – A beautiful game with good design

Valley of the Kings Review – A beautiful game with good design

Valley of the Kings review

Image courtesy of: BaSL @BoardGameGeek.

Since you are dead longer than you live, the Egyptians thought it was more important to have their expulsion to eternal life in perfect harmony rather than to buy things for everyday life. And since you don’t know when you will be exchanging the temporary for the eternal, you can’t start collecting your grave goods early enough. In Valley of the Kings, collecting the much-needed tomb goods is central. After all, nobody wants to arrive in the hereafter without a complete set of crates, a complete death book or a complete set of protective amulets.

Valley of the Kings is a card game that has clearly looked at Dominion and the Puerto Rico card game for inspiration. You start the game with a starter set of ten cards (four different types). Each card has an action and a money value. In a turn you have five cards in your hands that you can use to perform the actions (unlimited), spend money to buy cards (unlimited) or to put in your grave (maximum 1 card per turn). The cards you may buy are in the form of a pyramid of three layers (three cards at the bottom, followed by two cards with one card at the top). You may only buy the cards in the bottom layer, but if you buy one of them, the cards on top will drop down. At the end of a turn the pyramid is replenished. At the end of your turn, remove all cards from that round and draw five new ones from your draw pile. When your draw pile is empty, you shuffle the cards from your discard pile and it forms your new draw pile. Cards you buy will be returned to your deck later.

There are so many different cards and each card gives you the opportunity to perform a certain action. The more expensive the cards are, the higher their money value and the better the action that goes with it. You should not lose sight of the fact that you have to move the cards to your grave in time, because once the game is over (when all cards have been bought and everyone has had the same number of turns), you will only receive points for the cards in your grave. There are cards that score a fixed number of points (for example, your starting cards score 1 point per card), but most cards are part of a set. The value of the set is the square of the number of different cards of the set you have collected. Whoever has collected the most valuable (most points) tomb goods wins the game.

Valley of the Kings Review Summary

I really like the fact that the sets you collect in this game actually mean something. It is logical that during his lifetime an Egyptian tried to buy a complete set of amulets or had a part of the funeral book made. The images are beautiful and would not be misplaced in an Egyptian museum catalogue. It’s also a nice twist that you have to discard cards in your grave to score them at the end of the game. Because of this you occasionally have to take some very nice cards (nice actions and/or high money value) out of the game and this gives you interesting choices. The disadvantage of this game is that there are so many different cards that you are constantly reading what is written on them. This sometimes takes the momentum out of the game. I think Valley of the Kings would have been more fun with just a little less variation in the number of actions.