I’m a pretty nice person, or at least I like to think so. I am polite, courteous, and honest. But every once in a while I get a mean streak. When I talked to the publisher of this game, they were insulting of my blog and the traffic that they perceived that I receive, but then decided “I will send you a copy of NILE deLuxor and we’ll see what kind of buzz you can generate”. Firstly, it’s not my job to generate “buzz”, it’s my job to educate perspective buyers on whether or not your game is any good (which given that there is not a single review of this game linked on BGG.com at the time of this review, this seems like an important role). Secondly, it would have been perfectly fine if he had said “No thank you, we are not interested in picking up another reviewer at this time”, but instead he insulted my sites’ traffic numbers (which I must say that I am proud of. I have been working at this for two years, and have seen my readership steadily climb into something quite respectable). Do you really want to insult and belittle someone who is going to be critiquing your product? Needless to say I was seething and ready to proverbially rip his game to shreds when it arrived.
Unfortunately, I am not able to. Nile DeLuxor is a good game, much to my chagrin.
Nile DeLuxor is a game where you attempt to plant and harvest a variety of crops. But you need to make sure you harvest a little of each, as the type of crop you have harvested the least of will ultimately determine if you win or lose. This forces you to delicately balance what you plant, and when, in an effort to create a well balanced harvest.
At the beginning of each turn the Nile “Floods”, which is symbolized by flipping one card off the top of the deck, this flood card does two things: It tells you what crop harvests this turn, and it tells you what you are not allowed to plant this turn.
Then you can do some trading if you want. I got excited when I read that in the rules. I love the trading in games like “Settlers of Catan” and so I was expecting something along the lines of that. So I was disappointed when I found that you couldn’t trade among players instead you can trade in one of two ways: You can trade two cards from your hand or from your storage to A.) Receive one new card off the top of the deck, which you put into your hand or B.) You can change the flood card, by flipping a new flood card off the top of the deck.
After doing all of the trading that you want, you get to plant your field. Planting in this game is interesting and challenging, because of all the restrictions that are placed upon it. You simply can not plant in the field that was flooded that turn. So if “lettuce” has flooded, you are out of luck if you wanted to plant lettuce. Each crop type can only be planted in a single field, so you also have the potential to be out of luck if your opponent already has a lettuce field. Why do I say “potential”? Because if you have more lettuce in your hand to plant than they do in their field then you may plant lettuce, and they must discard what was left in their field. It’s a nice little way to usurp your opponents.
So why do you even care if you have lettuce planted in your field? Well, on the next flood, you are going to hope that lettuce flips, because that means that you will get to reap some of what you sowed. Each time a crop that you have planted in front of you floods, you get to take the top card from that field and place it in a face down pile known as your “Storage”. Your storage is the only thing that matters at the end of the game.
At the end of the game, you go through your storage and group together all of the crops of each type, and arrange them in order on the table from the “Most” to the “Least” then you compare your least value with your opponents. So for example, if “wheat” is the commodity that you have the least of, and you have 1 of them, and “flax” is the commodity your opponent has the least of, and they have 0 of them, then you just won. Congratulations!
There are some other details of the game, there is a “plague of locusts” who wipe out crops, and there are “speculation” cards which allow you to make predictions about what the next flood will be. These add a little more robust flavor to the game, but doesn’t change the game play overall. This game also comes with an expansion pack, which adds stone and monuments. These monuments give you some advantages while you have them.
This game is a nice fast paced one. Your turn comes around very quickly, so there is no getting bored while waiting. The game also only takes about 30 minutes to play, which allows for multiple games if you love it, or to be done with it quickly if you don’t. This play time also allows for this game to serve as a potential filler game, albeit a slightly longer one.
As much as I wanted to rip it apart, I really enjoyed this game. We played two games of it back to back the first night that I played it, which is extremely rare for me. I would have been willing to play yet a third game in a row, if my warm bed hadn’t been beckoning me. I play fair, this was a good game, and I am saying so. But for future reference, it’s not usually wise to insult a reviewing blogger.