Christmas Games 2010 – Ramses Pyramid (LEGO)

Courtesy BGG

Ramses Pyramid is our first LEGO game.  This one is by famed designer Reiner Knizia who is a favorite of mine for kids games.  This game is for 2-4 players and recommended for ages 8+.

The Build: The neatest aspect of a LEGO game is that you build the game itself.  Visually, the pyramid is striking and looks very visually appealing.  Although this game uses “minifigs,” they are actually 1-peg markers and not the usual LEGO minifig-scale people that so many are used to.  This means the markers are smaller and younger players may have difficulty with the smaller tokens while older (i.e. fumble-finger) players may find the small pieces hard to move.  However, the LEGO die is another neat concept and very nice!

The Play: At it core, this is a memory game.  In order to move you have to have the right crystal in your tent or remember where the right crystal is hidden.  On any given turn you have a 1-in-6 chance of just moving or a 1-in-6 chance to steal a crystal from another player and move.  You also have a 1-in-3 chance of moving AND rotating the pyramid.  This can be important because you have to avoid the mummies which have a 1-in-3 chance of moving down the pyramid as you come up.  If you end up in the same level as a mummy you go back to the beginning.

The Win: Winning in the Rules As Written is highly luck dependent. IF you are at the top level you have to roll the die and hope that you get the 1-in-3 chance of rolling a mummy.  If there is a real weakness to the game it is this mechanic; after you have carefully collected or remembered crystals and climbed or rotated the pyramid to get to the top your reward is dependent upon a 33% chance.

The Verdict: Game win mechanics aside, Ramses Pyramid is a worthwhile addition to the RockyMountainNavy family game collection.  It is most certainly a kids game given its memory foundation and limited strategy but abundant reliance on luck.

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