Wednesday, February 7, 2018

It’s not a Pharaoh’s Decisions

When I started crafting games this year, I made an informal pledge to try each game at least five times. It doesn’t hurt that I’ve been focusing on quick, solitaire games so that’s not that hard a thing to try and do.

It’s a Pharaoh’s Life is probably going to be an exception to that rule and I’m fine with that.

To be fair, there’s no construction involved. You just print out a couple pages of tables. Then, you roll on the tables to see what happens to your pharaoh until you finally get to an event that kills them. You can also roll to see what happens to their mummy.

I’ve glossed over a few elements. You randomly roll up stats that you need to roll under for some events. But that doesn’t change the fundamental truth about It’s a Pharaoh’s Life: literally all you do is roll a die and see what happens. The only decision you make in the entire game is to decide to play the game.

I actually was amused by the game. I rolled up that my pyramid was a gigantic one so my mental narrative had every problem come up because I was bankrupting the kingdom to build up the tomb. Since the thing is tables on PDF, I could play the game on my phone with a dice app and if you needed to come up with the history of a pharaoh for an RPG, I guess you could use this.

However, there’s no way I can, in good consciousness, recommend It’s a Pharaoh’s Life to anyone. It’s not really a game. It’s just a very simple story engine and not that interesting a one. There’s no decisions and nothing to do. It’s not the worst example of this I’ve seen (RLC, anyone?) but it’s still not good. I feel like the fact that I had fun was a character flaw in me than anything about the game.

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