The people of ancient Egypt originally worshipped numerous gods, each one ruling over a different aspect of the people’s daily life or the afterlife. As their society changed, so did the people’s worship, assigning new realms to gods and even sometimes melding two gods together. The gods have noticed this and know that if things keep going as they are, there will eventually only be one god that rules over the Egyptian’s lives. Each wants it to be them, to be supremely worshipped not above all others, but to the exclusion of all others! One god will rule eternally. The rest will fade into legend. In Ankh: Gods of Egypt, players take on the role of these warring gods. In this article, we take a look at the game itself, and delve a bit into its mechanics.
The game begins with players choosing which god they want to represent. Each one has its own unique power based on those that the god is said to have possessed in Egyptian lore (read more about it here). After that, players decide on a scenario that they will play. While the ultimate goal of the game is the same (being the last god standing), the different scenarios provide different board set ups and other unique features to make each game of Ankh a little different from one-another. Players will also choose different Guardians that they will be able to recruit throughout the game. These Guardians are taken from Egyptian myth and will become powerful allies during the game for those who gain their allegiance – or powerful enemies. The game is ready to begin.
During a player’s turn, they will perform up to two actions on the Action Board. Players are free to pick which Actions they want to do, but, after performing a first Action, their second must be chosen from an Action listed further down the Action Board. They also cannot choose the same Action twice. Planning ahead is important when it comes to picking one’s Actions. Let’s take a quick look at what each of the Actions are.
Move Figures: The player may move each of their figures on the board up to three spaces. Figures can move through other figures, as well as over water and other obstacles, but must land in an empty space.
Summon Figure: The player summons one of the figures from their available pool into an empty space on the board. That space must be adjacent to one of their other figures or adjacent to a Monument that they control.
Gain Followers: The number of followers gained is equal to the number of Monuments, both under their control and neutral, that they have any figure next to in the same region.
Unlock Ankh Power: A player unlocks a new power to their god by sacrificing followers. The number of followers that needs to be sacrificed depends on the level of the power they wish to unlock. It is also by unlocking new Ankh powers that the god may be able to recruit new Guardians to their side.
As players go through their turns performing Actions, they move standees along the Action Board showing which Actions they have done. When enough Actions of a certain type have been completed, an Event is triggered. There are different Events, such as altering the landscape of the board by adding new camel caravans to it, or taking control of a Monument, or even direct, outright combat for domination in the different regions of the board. Planning one’s action carefully to try to anticipate which Event will happen when, in order to be prepared for it, is central.
The fight for Devotion will go on. Guardians and Warriors will be summoned, Monuments will be claimed, followers will be conquered. But Devotion is what truly wins the game, and Devotion is tricky. After the third Conflict event, in a 3+ player game, the two gods with the lowest amount of Devotion merge into one. Their power is consolidated, retaining the Monuments, Guardians, and Followers of the higher of the merging gods. From then on out, the newly created merged god acts on both players’ turns, having access to both of their unique powers at the same time and sharing the same resources. During battles, both players decide together on their strategies.
This derives from aspects of Egyptian history. The practice of combining different deities into the identity of a single one became more and more common with the passage of time, the most famous example being Amun-Ra.
After the fourth Conflict, as the game nears its end, any gods whose Devotion is too low is removed from the game. They have simply been forgotten. If that leaves only one god left, they are the winner. If there are no gods left, then everyone loses as Egypt becomes an entirely secular society. If multiple gods are still left, play continues until the last event, when the god with the most Devotion wins. A god can also be victorious if at any point they reach the top of the Devotion track.
Ankh: Gods of Egypt is a cutthroat type of game. Unlike Blood Rage and Rising Sun, it is possible for players to be eliminated towards the end of the game. Players must work hard to make sure that they’re not one of them. In the end, one god will rule over all of Egypt. Stay tuned for more about this amazing game.
Ankh: Gods of Egypt will be coming to Kickstarter April 14th at 3pm EST. Click here to be notified when the campaign starts!