Nile DeLuxor: a good game, much to my chagrin.

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.

A look at the cards in Nile DeLuxor.

A look at the cards in Nile DeLuxor.

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.

Monument cards from the expansion.

Monument cards from the expansion.

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.

This entry was posted by The_Null_Entry on Monday, October 31st, 2011 at 9:17 am and is filed under Board Game Reviews, Resource Management Games . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

8 Comments

  1. Mr. Chuckles says:

    To be fair, publishers at Essen do get a tremendous number of people coming up and asking for free games because they have ‘game review blogs’. It’s not always easy to tell which of these have a serious following and which are just a way for the reviewer to get free games. Most publishers are working on very small margins, so it’s just not feasible to give a game away to everyone who requests one.

  2. Mr. Chuckles says:

    Nice review though, by the way!

  3. Mr. Chuckles, that’s fair, and I am not offended when I approach someone at a gaming convention and they simply tell me that I need to contact them at a later date with more information. This interaction occurred through email conversation, with links provided to this blog, our facebook page, our twitter feed, etc. The publisher stated that they used a third party tool to estimate our traffic, and that is what they were going off of when they made the statements.

    As I said in the blog, I wouldn’t have been offended if I had been politely turned down, it was the manner and wording in which that occurred. I’ve been turned down before. Heck, some people don’t even bother to respond to my emails. But this is the first person I have ever had who questioned my readership.

    It’s over now, it’s done. If you read my blog often, you likely know that I tell how I came to find certain games, and my experience with reviewing them. This was my experience, and I didn’t see any reason to hide that from my readers.

  4. And thank you, by the way. 😉

  5. parkrrrr says:

    There are a couple BGG reviews of the “base” game Nile, of which DeLuxor is apparently a reprint. I’ve played Nile before, apparently, as I recognized the cards instantly. It was pretty okay.

    I have to admit that I’m flummoxed by their decision to print the expansion as a reprint of the base game. I know other publishers have done that, e.g. Rio Grande’s reprint of Carcassonne with The River included, but the fact that you seemingly can’t buy the expansion by itself seems like a slap in the face to owners of the original game.

  6. Parkrrrr,

    Yeah, I didn’t realize that these were one and the same until I started digging around on BGG. It does seem like an odd choice to me, but maybe they felt like the expansion wasn’t substantive enough to sell on it’s own? The expansion consists of 3 monument cards, and a few stone cards, and the additional instructions.

    I did read elsewhere that the quality of the cards in Nile was less then impressive, but I didn’t have that complaint with these cards. Maybe the combined box was in an effort to improve quality all around. Otherwise you would have to print the expansion on the same terrible material so they would match.

  7. Follow up: The developer who sent me this game read the review, and apologized. It seems he was stressed from just doing some big releases, and gets nearly daily requests from reviewers.

    As for that third party application he used to make judgements about my site? He said he used http://www.alexa.com. Taking a look at that site, I must say I’m surprised. Not only is the information incredibly inaccurate, after plugging in a handful of game developers sites, I don’t think ANY website looks favorably to it (unless you are Google, and then you are doing ok, but your numbers have slid downward over the past couple of days).

    So anyway, he apologized, and it seemed only fair that I share that information.

  8. GeekGoddess82575 says:

    It’s one I’ll definitely play again.

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