Imhotep: A New Dynasty Expansion Review

Imhotep: A New Dynasty is an expansion for Imhotep by Phil Walker-Harding, published by Kosmos. It is for 2-4 players. In this expansions, players will continue to construct monuments in ancient Egypt. They will find new sites to build on and may even be rewarded by the gods for their achievements. In the end, the player that can perform their role as master builder the best by earning the most points will be declared the winner.

For more information on Imhotep and how to play the base game, please check out the link below.
https://jlnelson73.wordpress.com/2020/07/09/imhotep-review/

To use this expansion, there are a couple of changes to the rules. First off players will no longer discard their used red market cards to the discard pile. Instead they will now keep them face up in front of themself to use during the Amun prophecies of the gods card. The next rules change involves playing a two player game. For these games, players may use a second unused color of stones from the stone quarry to play with, treating these two stone colors as one single color. Setting up the game has a few changes as well, first players must decide which side of each board type to use. Since this expansion adds new boards, players will now have four different sides of each to choose from. The new market cards from this expansion can simply be shuffled in with the others to create the deck. Lastly, players can choose if they want to play with the seven prophecies of the gods cards, since this is an optional expansion module, more on these later. Apart from these changes and the special instructions regarding each of the new boards, the rest of the rules and setup pretty much remain the same as explained in the base game’s rulebook.

As noted above, the players have new site boards and an extra module that is optional; the prophecies of the gods. Some of these new sites require the use of new tokens, meeples or cards. At this point I will briefly touch on each of the new site boards and what each one introduces to the game. The base game consisted of the A and B sides, this expansion introduces the C and D sides. First let’s look at the C sides. The market site’s C side introduces the Luxury Market. This site starts each player off with 2 coin tokens. When placing a stone onto the board, not only can the player gain a market card, but they can use one of these coin tokens to take an adjacent cards to the one they took. This action is available two times during the game, once for each coin token. The pyramid site’s C side introduces the scaffold. This site starts off with four of the five scaffold tokens included with the expansion. Each time a player places a stone on this site, they gain points, stones from the quarry and/or a market card from the draw pile. Once the scaffold is filled, a new scaffold is drawn and placed on top of the stones on the site. The temple’s C side introduces the Temple of Ra. This site is just like the A side giving players a point for each stone visible from above. However it also gives other bonuses as well, based on where the stone is lying. These bonuses can be points, stones, or a market card. The burial chamber’s C side introduces the Burial Mound. This site awards the player with points at the end of the game for each stone that they delivered to it. Players will earn more points for connecting stones across multiple levels, up to a max of 4 times the amount of stones connected. They can earn points for stones that don’t connect and they can also earn points for any stones delivered after the burial mound is completed. The obelisk’s C side introduces the Great Obelisk. This site starts off by giving each player an obelisk card in their player color and places a supply of obelisk tokens off to the side. When a player places a stone here, it is placed on the next free space on the path, awarding them with the obelisk token depicted on the space. That token is placed on their obelisk card. Players will place these Tetris like onto their card to try and get as many complete rows as possible, earning them two points for each. Players can also earn extra points for having the most complete rows, based on the number of players.

With the C sides explained, let’s take a look at the D sides. The market’s D side introduces the Black Market. This site allows the player to take a market card from the board, or to pick up one of the stacks of three cards at the bottom and look through them, choosing one of the cards to take. The Pyramid’s D side introduces the Corridor. This site introduces the Imhotep meeple. Each stone delivered to this site is placed on the next free space ahead of the Imhotep figure and awards the player with the number of points on the space. When a player takes new stones from the quarry as an action, they are able to move the Imhotep figure to the next free space in a clockwise direction, if they choose. The D side of the Temple introduces the Arena. This site provides each player with a chariot meeple of their player color which is placed on the starting space of the site. When a stone is delivered to this site, the player moves their chariot the number of spaces that correspond to the number of arrowheads on the place where their stone was placed. The players gain points for having the lead at the end of each round and at the end of the game for the number on their chariot’s space. The burial chamber’s D side introduces the Tomb. This site adds 24 tomb tokens to the game. These are mixed up and placed beside the board. Four of them are randomly chosen at the beginning of the game and placed on the 4 spaces to the left of the tomb’s entrance. When a player places a stone here, they may select one of these four tokens, returning it to the box and then placing their stone on the matching numbered space. At the end of the game, the player earns points for connecting stones in their color. Players can also lose points for not delivering any stones to the tomb. The obelisk’s D side introduces the Alley. When placing a stone here, the player may choose which obelisk to work on. Each of their following stones must be placed on this space until it reaches it’s specified height before the player is able to start construction on a new one. At the end of the game the players gain points for having a fully constructed obelisk.

Finally this brings us to the prophecies of the gods optional module. To use these, the seven cards are shuffled together and then three are randomly drawn from the mix. These 3 cards are placed face up next to the boards, while the others are returned to the box. Each player is given two scarab tokens in their player color. The player is able to place these one of these tokens on one of the spaces of the cards, twice during the game. When this token is placed, they player is basically saying that they think they can fulfill the card’s specific task by the end of the game. However if they fail the task, they will lose points. It should be noted that a player is only allowed to place one token during rounds 1 and 2, one in rounds 3 and 4 and/or one in rounds 5 and 6. They also are only able to place 1 token per prophecy card.

After 6 rounds have been played, the game ends and scoring occurs with sites being assessed and points awarded. Points are also awarded for certain market cards. Just like with the base game, the player with the most points after everything has been added up is the winner.

COMPONENTS
This expansion has a variety of new cards, tokens, boards and meeples to be added to the core game. First off, this box comes with a bunch of cardboard pieces. There are the site boards, as well as all the tokens. The site boards are very much in the same style and feel as those in the base game. That same kind of beautiful and thematic artwork is present on these too. As a matter of fact, the Temple of Ra board looks like you could almost walk right into it. Now remember, these boards are double sided so each one provides different and unique challenges. All the tokens that go with these boards seem to fit in quite well, even though they’re not overly artistic or anything. Probably the only ones with any real art style are the coins and the scarabs. The others could basically fit in with any other game without clashing too much. Still the thing is that the tokens don’t distract or take anything away from the board which is a win in my book. Next you have the cards which consist of the prophecy of the gods cards, obelisk cards and new market cards. The market cards have that same stylized look and feel that those in the base game have. The artwork and colors all seem to match up quite well so there’s no real issues there. The prophecy of the gods cards look like something you’d see on the side of a monument in ancient Egypt as they depict one of the different gods of the Egyptian pantheon. The obelisk cards look like a stone foundation where they will be building a monument. These even have workers on the side that look like they’re ready to build. Finally the last pieces in the box are the wooden chariot meeples and the Imhotep figure. The chariots match the same color as the wooden blocks from the base game, while Imhotep is more of a bright yellow. I quite like the designs of these and think that they look really nice on their respective boards. Overall I think the designs of all the pieces for this expansion fit in well with the main game and they look really nice. These are a nice addition to the game and add even more flavor to an already gorgeous game.
9 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook for this expansion isn’t very long. It’s only has 8 pages in total. That’s including the front and back covers. This rulebook is very similar in style and design as the one from the core game. There are lots and lots of pictures and examples throughout the entire rulebook. The front cover runs through the different components of the expansion, along with a quick look at what’s new. The next page highlights the few changes to the rules before beginning the detailed explanations of each side of the different site boards. The C sides are explained over two and a half pages. The D sides are then explained over the next two and a quarter pages. The remaining portion of the seventh page explains how to use the optional prophecies of the gods cards. The back cover of the book explains all the market cards from this expansion, as well as including a variant for using face down market cards to make things a little less predictable. Much like the original rulebook, this one is also very impressive. I would have thought that with this expansion there would have been some solo rules included, but alas that was not the case. Maybe in the next expansion, if I’m lucky. In any event, this one looks great and is extremely well done.
9 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
Let me just say, if you haven’t played Imhotep then you definitely should. It’s a very fun game and one that I really enjoy. That said, what about this expansion? Does it measure up to the high praise of the original? Yes, it does. This adds new content that just mixes in a lot of variety that you can take or leave. It adds endless replayability from all the different combinations of site boards as well as adding in the optional prophecy cards. One of the best parts is that if you don’t like a particular site, you don’t have to use that side. With double sided boards you’ve got 4 sides to choose from now. So if you don’t like the black market, then don’t use it. If you don’t enjoy the temple of Ra, then don’t use it. Simple as that. However if you enjoy playing Tetris, then you might like the great obelisk board. If you’re looking for a good race, then maybe the arena is your style. Regardless of how you set up the game, adding this expansion is always a good idea. I personally enjoy playing a time or two with the base game by itself before mixing things in with this expansion. That way players get a good feel for what they need to do, before throwing too much at them. Not that these site boards are overly difficult to understand. Everything is actually quite simple. As a matter of fact, this expansion and the base game make for a great family style or introductory game. For me, the Temple of Ra and the Arena are my favorite new boards. I especially like the prophecy cards and enjoy adding those into the game. These really give you something to shoot for and put a little more direction and less random point grabbing to your game. Needless to say, this expansion adds quite a lot of joy and happiness to my table. I like it a lot. Fans of the base game will find a whole lot to love about this expansion. This is one that I highly recommend.
9 out of 10

OVERALL
Imhotep: A New Dynasty is an expansion for Imhotep that adds new site boards, tokens and an optional module that introduces the prophecies of the gods cards. Adding in the expansion adds a few minutes to the game. Most game sessions involving the expansion are close to an hour. The components for this one are really great and they have some gorgeous artwork. I especially like the hieroglyphic style prophecy cards. These pieces fit in well with the base game and don’t detract from an already beautiful game. The rulebook is just a good as the one from the core game. It breaks everything down into bite sized chunks that are easy to digest. It doesn’t take long to read through and is quite simple to understand. The expansion itself is a buffet of lots of new options and modules to be added into an already great game. With double sided boards, this brings the total up to 4 different locations for each site adding a lots of replayability. This is one that the whole family will love especially if they like the base game. This is one that I highly recommend. For me, it’s a must have expansion. It’s player tested and Pharaoh approved.
9 out of 10

 

For more information about this and other great games, please check out Kosmos at their site for North America below.

https://www.thamesandkosmos.com/

 

 

About Gaming Bits - Jonathan Nelson

I'm a happily married man with 2 wonderful kids. I love my family very much. I'm a big fan of board, card and RPG games and have been playing for over 20 years. As a board and card game reviewer, I'm hoping that this blog will inform, educate and entertain you. If you like it, please tell your friends and have them join in on the conversations. Thanks and GAME ON!!
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