In Luxor, by Rudiger Dorn (Goa, Istanbul), you and up to three others compete to see who can be the best colonialist/imperialist looter--uh, I mean archaeologist/explorer. Each player is in charge of a team of four adventurers, only two of which start the game ready to descend into the randomly-generated pyramid consisting of a spiralling corridor of tiles. The others unlock when you reach certain points in the passage.
On your turn you play a card from your five-card hand to move one (possibly more) of your dudes. In a Bohnanza-like twist, you can only play either the first or fifth card in your hand--and you’re not allowed to change the order of cards. Thematically this kind of represents a constantly-branching path down into the tomb; gameplay-wise it makes for interesting decisions every turn. After playing and moving you draw a new card and insert it as the new third card of your hand, encouraging you to plan ahead.
Most of the tiles you can land on are potentially lootable objects worth between 1 and 6 points. However, some are heavier than others; each loot tile has a requirement as to the number of explorers you must have on it (to lift it out of the pyramid, one supposes). This means more planning ahead, because you almost always move just one explorer a turn.
When a loot tile is removed it generally leaves a gap which is then skipped over in the future, making it easier to get deeper into the tomb. Some spaces, however, have an icon on them which means the space is refilled from one of three decks of tiles with new possible actions on them, from portals which let you teleport around, to being able to draw a random scarab which brings VP at game’s end, and so on.
Other tiles let you draw more powerful and flexible cards from three special decks to replenish your hand (instead of the bland basic deck). These allow you more flexibility in movement, or the ability to move all your explorers at once, or to pick up a treasure more easily. The neat thing is, once you’ve drawn and played one of them it goes in the single discard pile, which means when the draw pile is exhausted (which is pretty often, at least in a four-player game), those cards can end up in anyone’s hand.
The game ends when two adventurers make it to the central chamber of the pyramid, which gets them bonus VP as well. Players then score get points from how far they’ve descended into the tomb, scarabs, and complete sets of loot. It is definitely possible to win by concentrating on any three of these paths.
Luxor lives up to its billing as a light but enjoyable and interesting family game. It is very easy to learn and teach, and has the usual Queen Games standard of rules and components. You just might want to unpack the theme a bit for your kiddies before lighting your torch and heading in. Click here to order your copy. Click here to send us questions or feedback.