Friday, September 29, 2017

A thought experiement with Tutankhamen

Watching my son play with Piecepack made me think about how the way he was putting the tiles in a row reminded me of That's Life, a game that I think is sorely under-rated. But we have a copy so I don't need to reinvent that wheel.

But then I found myself thinking about Tutankhamen, which was one of Knizia's earliest designs. I haven't owned it in years and I haven't played in even longer. But I do remember it :P

You could probably make a simplified version of it with the Piecepack so I decided to do it as a thought exercise.

Tutankhamen  you create a trail of tiles with the far end ending at the pyramid and a big mask tile that serves as a wild symbol. You can move your pawn forward as many spaces as you choose but you can never move backwards. You collect the tiles you land to create sets.

Here's the twist and what require some changes with Piecepack. You're aren't collecting for points. You're collecting to discard coins and the winner is whoever gets rid of them first.

Here's my idea. You shuffle the coins in one pile and the two of each tile in the second pile. You then form a trail randomly placing six coins, symbol side up, then one tile symbol side up and so on. At the end of the trail, place all four dice. Everyone gets one pawn of their very own.

You fall the same basic idea of 
Tutankhamen  You move your pawn as far as you choose but you can never go back. And you claim every coin and tile you land on (but not pass over)

Here's the first big difference. You are scoring points with the coins counting as one symbol and the tiles counting as two. HOWEVER, we're using the Coloretto style scoring. You use a triangular number sequence (1,3,6 etc) and your lower two symbols are negative points.

The second difference is the game end. The game ends when someone reaches the dice. They randomly draw one die and roll it. They add that number of symbols to their collection. Could be big, could be small, could get them lots of points, could totally mess them up.

Frankly, I see a lot of potential problems with this revision of 
Tutankhamen. For one thing, it has less than half the tiles of the original game. Only four symbols could make each layout easy to solve, particularly if people don't try to compete for the same symbols. The game kind of counts on people being jerks. And while the dice at the end are designed to create uncertainly and brinkmanship, they could be so swingy that they decide the game by themselves.

Tutankhamen isn't a bad game but it's not a game I've missed playing. My Piecepack variation needs a lot of test playing before it's balanced and I'm frankly not interested enough in doing that :P

Still, it was fun to think about it.

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