As the gentle breeze fills the sail, the boat moves slowly down the Nile. It is a beautiful spring day and the sun has just reached its peak in the sky. The distant cheers; which have followed your journey for the last 2 seasons have seemed to only grow as your journey nears its end. In the distances you spy an Obelisk about three quarters built; the governors are going all out to impress. They know that Egyptian law states that without a descendant the Governor who is chosen to bury the previous Pharaoh takes their place. You still have a long journey to get to that final destination. You look back at your cargo and smile to yourself; this will be your final journey. You will be going with your Pharaoh to the afterlife. The breeze picks up slightly and you continue Sailing Toward Osiris.
Throughout these rules, “governor” refers to any player and Regent refers to the governor in charge of the current season. All players are governors but only one governor is Regent.
Put the supply of grain, brick, and stone resource tokens in a convenient location. The total number of resources available in the supply is determined by the number of governors in the game.
Give each governor a screen to hide their game materials, then give each governor 1 camel, 4 sphinxes, 3 obelisks, 2 pylons and a set of 5 boon cards in their chosen color, as well as 2 grain, 2 brick, and 2 stone resource tokens from the supply. Place the score marker for each governor on the score track start space.
Shuffle the city cards and deal one city card to each governor. Place the remaining cards of the city deck in a convenient location. Place the Pharaoh’s Barge token in the river segment closest to the right side of the board and move it up to the river rapids mark separating the first two river segments.
The total number of laborers and master laborers used is determined by the number of governors in the game.
- In a 3, 4, or 5-governor game, use 3 master laborer tokens (1 of each color) and 12 regular laborer tokens (4 of each color).
- In a 2-governor game, use 3 master laborer tokens (1 of each color) and 9 regular laborer tokens (3 of each color).
Place all of the laborer and master laborer meeples in the bag.
Select a governor at random to be Regent for the first season. The Regent checks to make sure that all of the laborer meeples are in the draw bag, then randomly draws out a number of laborers, places the laborers behind her player screen, then passes the bag to the governor on her left. This is repeated until all governors have drawn laborers and the Regent has the bag once again.
When all governors have drawn their laborers from the bag, the Regent draws out all but 2 of the remaining laborers in the bag (all but 3 laborers in a 2-governor game) and places those laborers on the board in the labor pool cartouche. The number of laborers placed in the labor pool cartouche will vary depending on the number of governors in the game. The Regent may then look at the laborers remaining in the bag, gaining a little knowledge that the other governors do not have.
Starting with the Regent and moving to the left, each governor performs one action from the list below. A season consists of many turns and continues around-and-around until all governors have performed all of the actions desired and have withdrawn.
Each season player’s take turns taking 1 action until they withdraw from the season. On your turn, you may take 1 of the following actions:
- Harvest Resources by placing a laborer on a terrain space and gaining all the resources shown. Basic laborers may only be placed on terrain spaces that touch the river segment where the Pharaoh’s barge is currently located or where it has been. Master laborers can be placed on any terrain space.
- Visit a City by placing a laborer on any city space on the board. Draw 2 city cards, keep 1, and give 1 to any other player. Players may bribe you to get the card.
- Lead or Join a Caravan by placing your laborer on a caravan space. If you are leading a caravan, meaning you are the first player to play on a caravan space, you also place your camel token there (to signify you are the leader) and then gain the resources from one of the sections. If you join a caravan, you take the resources from the other section, but must give one of those resources to the player who is leading the caravan.
- Hire an Extra Laborer by paying any 2 resources to the labor pool to gain 1 laborer from the labor pool.
- Trade at the Market by paying one of the resource sets noted on a market cartouche to receive the other resource set.
- Plan a Monument by paying the resources shown in one cartouche to the supply, and place your appropriate monument token on the cartouche used. While your monument token is on a planning cartouche no other player may plan a monument on that particular cartouche.
- Build a Monument by moving one of your monuments from a planning cartouche to a valid position on the board. Gain points for building the monument immediately and a bonus point for building on a section that is touching the river segment where the Pharaoh’s barge is currently located. You’ll gain bonus points for certain configurations you’ve built your monuments in at the end of the game.
- Play a City Card by discarding it. You may either gather the resources shown in the cartouche on the card or use the power written on the card.
- Play a Boon Card by playing it face-up in front of you. You can only play one card per season, and it may not be a boon card that another player has played previously in the same season.
- Withdraw for the Season by placing your withdraw token in front of your player screen. If you are the first to withdraw, you place your withdraw token on a Regent cartouche on the board. You will receive the bonuses shown on the cartouche at the start of the next season.
Governors may barter and haggle among themselves at any point in the game and for any items within their control, be they resources, unplaced laborers, city cards, future actions, anything at all. The act of haggling, itself, does not count as a game action, but any regular game actions that result from the haggling, do count as actions. The promise of future acts is not enforceable. Withdrawn governors may barter, but may not perform any game actions.
At the end of seasons one, two, and three, when all governors have withdrawn, a series of tasks are performed to ready the game for the next season.
This season is now complete and the governor who withdrew first takes on the role of Regent for the new season. Return and play out the next season, unless you just completed season four.
If there is a tie, the tied governor with the most remaining resource tokens will be the Pharaoh. If the tie persists, the kingdom is divided. One governor is crowned Pharaoh of the Upper Kingdom and the other becomes Pharaoh of the Lower Kingdom. Play again in an attempt to re-unify the kingdoms.
Daily Magic has ventured into the land of Euro Games, and what can be said about Sailing Toward Osiris? Wow, just wow. This game is amazing. Over the last 6-9 months I have become a massive fan of Daily Magic’s Games, including the Valeria series along with the varied array of small box games. Their games normally make up half of my ‘go to’ games when it comes to a games night.
So when David emailed me about Sailing Toward Osiris, I felt a mixture of excitement and worry. I am a sucker for anything with an Egyptian theme, If you want me to buy your game without even looking, give it an Egyptian theme. I studied it in year 11 & 12. It was my favorite ancient civilization and one I love learning about (Funnily enough I watch a documentary on Egypt this weekend on Netflix).
So I was more excited but still worried. I thought to myself, you have a great thing going with these small box games and was curious why you would try something different. But man am I glad they did. This game is awesome, and will replace Lords of Waterdeep in my games night collection. I have only really been playing Euro Style games in the last 18 months or so, and have had the opportunity to review several great ones. For me this is the standout by far.
This game, like all Daily Magic’s games I have played, is handled with so much care and intelligence. The mechanics have been well thought out, the art is stunning and they’ve gone the extra mile with the components. The custom Egyptian Meeples, along with the sphinxes, obelisks, pylons & my favorite, the camels, are amazing.
One thing that also made me smile is the fact that Daily Magic took this game to a convention and play tested it for 2 days straight (on top of all their previous playtesting). They took all the feedback they received, and actually changed a couple of things in their game. This makes me smile, as though they are a highly successful games company they still take the advice and make you, the player, feel like you really matter and that your feedback is heard. I know in the past I have given feedback to multiple game companies (most not as successful as Daily Magic) and have felt like it fell on deaf ears. Daily Magic is a company that truly cares for the player and listens.
Overall I have loved Daily Magic’s first venture into Euro Games and I hope we see them produce a lot more like this game. In my honest opinion, I think Sailing Toward Osiris has knocked Lords of Waterdeep off as my favorite Euro game. I know that is a big call but it really is true. The theme, the mechanic and probably my favorite bit about this game, is the scaling. I have brought this up a few times in my past reviews, that each game has a sweet spot for the number of players. Sailing Toward Osiris doesn’t; it handles the scaling and balance of a game better than any game I have ever played. It is handled so well and so cleverly that no matter the player count the game just flows beautifully and effortlessly.
Do yourself a favor, get yourself a copy of Sailing Toward Osiris. I’m calling it now, this will be my game of the year.
The Kickstarter goes live on the 2nd of May, you can find it here.