They bite, they fight, they bite and fight and fight, bite bite bite, fight fight fight the itchy and scratchy show! Kemet’s a bit like that without the biting.
This has been on my to play list for a long time and after a false start the week before where we got one rule wrong, (albeit a critical rule) we got to finally play it for reals last thur. I knew before the game hit the table I would like it and I most certainly do.
Kemet sees you and up to four gaming chums beating the pudding out of each other repeatedly in an ancient Egyptian setting. You start with a city, three pyramids each showing your level in blue, red and white, five prayer points, a divine intervention card, ten troops, a half pack of cigarettes, it’s dark and you’re wearing sun glasses.
Everyone is racing to get to eight points in the short game and ten in the long version. You can get these points in a couple of ways, winning battles being a damn good one.
The map is divided into around twenty regions some containing your starting walled city, some temples and some open areas. Because of the clever layout of the map everyone is pretty much two spaces from temples and maybe four from each other so in no time at all you can be happily spilling blood (preferably your opponents) on the hot sands. Couple this with the ability to teleport to most parts of the map from your home city and you can be up in anyone’s business quick sharp.
The primary resource is prayer points which can be spent to raise troops, buy upgrade cards, teleport or raise your pyramids to a higher level and thereby grant you access to better upgrade cards. Everyone gets two free each night but you get bonus ones from taking and holding temples at the end of the round or stopping everything and having a quick pray. Some cards grant extra ones too and crucially (we missed this first time around) you can gain them by sacrificing your warriors to the gods once a battle has ended.
I’ve heard this game described as a knife fight in a phonebox but since there’s no such thing anymore I think of it more as a fistfight in a saloon with the piano never skipping a key. It’s all about being the last man standing at the end of the round in certain locations and not losing fights.
Upgrading your guys is essential if you’re going to survive. There are three colours (or colors if you’re American) of upgrades. blue (resources), red (attack), white (Defence) each with a level shown on your pyramid. Some of the higher upgrades give you access to various mythical monsters each of which will fight alongside your troops and grant attack, movement, Defence or some other bonus (I never leave home without one). Upgrade cards are unique so there’s a mini arms race going on for upgrades in conjunction with the race for points
For a conquest game it’s pretty quick. You’ll be done and dusted in and hour plus once the rules click for your group. If you want a longer game you can just up the victory points goal. Simples
This is a neat game. It’s fairly simple to learn and play. Looks great and plays smoothly. Don’t expect anything subtle or deep, it’s a pure slugfest but there’s still plenty of skill required to come out on top and there’s a definite urge to play again straight away after its finished. Longevity wise I’m not sure how often this game will appear after the initial appeal but in the holy words of Rick Deckard “I didnt know how long we had together… Who does”. Great game. I’ll be demoing it at Knavecon