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Creation[edit source]

I had the idea for Nile when I noticed that most of the games on were of a lighter fare. I had been playing several types of economic/worker placement games with my gaming group lately, and set out to create an Icehouse economic game with medium weight. Hopefully I've started on the right path.

Have no fear about the heaviness of your game. Some of the heaviest Icehouse games, like Homeworlds, Zendo and Gnostica, are highly esteemed. - Cerulean 18:35, 10 May 2010 (UTC)

Development[edit source]

I spent some time playing this with a good friend who did everything in his power to break the rules. This is actually the fourth or fifth revision, designed to balance the need for more worker/stronger workers/early pyramid placement. In order for others to understand the rules well, I need to make some visual aids/examples, or spend some more time rewriting the rules.

Version 1.5 changes:[edit source]

  • Upgrading a worker now requires a piece of one size larger than the worker itself.
    • After submitting my initial rules, I realized that large treasures were useful only for building pyramids, and that large workers were too easy to get. It also made sense that to get a large worker you needed a large treasure. After the first two games with this change the game felt more balanced and the "large worker rush" no longer dominated my games.
  • You may not assign all your workers to construction projects
    • I've never seen this come up (Most people start a pyramid and complete it in the same turn to avoid losing a worker the next turn), but it was one way to slow the game to a crawl. Including an exception made this big no-no perfectly clear.
  • You may not start a large construction project with a small worker. You may not place small resources on large pyramids
    • Technically possible under the rules, however, ultimately futile, since smalls cannot replace large resources. Stated for clarity's sake.
  • When you pass, take a Favor Token. At the end of a round, for every favor token you have more then your opponent, take a small resource from the supply or treasure stash's.
    • Possibly the biggest change to the game in 1.5. Now when one person has a clear worker/action advantage, they cannot use it to their full potential without giving their opponent small resources (usually). Early game, small pieces are a clear advantage, while mid game, having more small pieces out of the pool speeds up the acquisition of larger resources. After testing, this was a necessary addition that simultaneously balanced and quickened the game. I was loathe to add another piece type to the game, but in most cases I found that setting aside some of the dice or the free pyramids in my stash worked just as well. Still, I included tokens as part of the required items to avoid confusion.
  • Large pyramids are now worth 7 points instead of 5.
    • With workers costing more and the games going quicker, large pyramids are significantly harder to build. I reflected this by making the payoff much better.
  • The game ends now when one player has built 7 pyramids at the same time
    • Skotte noticed that the game dragged on when 5 larges was the game end, and I noticed that too. My goal for the game time was for influence to become a problem when it came time for the final dash for points. However, influence became a major issue midgame, which slowed down endgame considerably. Changing the end of the game to 7 pyramids built does two things: rushing small pyramids is a valid tactic if your opponent is having troubles getting up to speed, since you just need to build 2 other pyramids, and 8-10 pyramids on the board is when influence becomes an issue. The last 2-4 pyramids should be harder to build, not the last 5-8
Zach 20:17, 1 June 2011 (UTC)

fFeedback[edit source]

The rules are basically quite clear I think. However, it is breakable: What happens if all workers are building? Or not all workers, only all small workers are working? Noone can do anything at all and the game grinds to a halt. Also, I fFeel it would be a good thing to give some reward fFor passing.

Perhaps the solution to both above problems is: when you pass AND have no workers in your supply, you may take one green or gold. It must be a small, if there are any smalls, and a medium if there are mediums but no smalls. This gives the tactical decision to put all workers towards buildings and still get something fFor it.

Also it is unclear what happens when a Built Pyramid contains more than one resource type. The game ends when 5 Large Pyramids are built, however if my opponent is influencing me I must use more resources to build my own pyramid, which means a 5th pyramid may not ever be built. Perhaps a different end-game condition should be made.

Skotte 13:38, 23 May 2011 (UTC)

Questions[edit source]


What does "three spaces away" mean for influence? I can think of several ways of interpreting it:

  • Any space 3 moves away along any orthogonal line, ie. one Rook's move away, up to 3 squares.
  • The same, including diagonals, ie. one Queen's move away, up to 3 squares.
  • Any space 3 Rook moves (of 1 square each) away, allowing for changing directions. This gives a jagged diamond.
  • Any space 3 King moves away, allowing for changing directions. This gives a large square, so a piece in one of the center squares influences most of the board.

I've assumed it's the last one, but is that right? Thanks!

Bryan 22:24 8 June 2011 (UTC)

--Any space 3 Rook moves (of 1 square each) away, allowing for changing directions. This gives a jagged diamond.

Zach 00:29, 11 June 2011 (UTC)

More questions:

Spending Treasure and Supplies

It says "When you use a treasure or supply piece, place it on top of any of the six stacks, so long as it is not larger than the top piece of the stack." What if all the stacks are topped with something smaller than what you are replacing?

--The only way this would happen is if you had all 5 smalls spread out, a medium in the 6th slot, and spent a large. If it *does*, lift up any stack and put the large on the bottom of it.

Zach 00:29, 11 June 2011 (UTC)


It says "one additional small piece of either type of resource must also be stacked on top for every one of your opponents pyramid that exerts influence on your pyramid(Explained below)." Does that mean literally one piece per influence, or one pip per influence? We have been playing it that if a pyramid was influenced by 3 opponent pyramids, for example, one large supply or money piece would take care of that, having 3 pips. Is that correct?

--I tried to avoid pips at all costs. The answer is one piece per influence, of any size. Influence is what makes small pyramids still useful later game, as you can use them to overcome influence placed on your pyramids.

Zach 00:29, 11 June 2011 (UTC)

Start Pyramid

If I understand correctly, I can start a medium pyramid with a small worker, and add another small worker later. I cannot put both workers on at first. Right?

--Correct. Placing an additional worker on a pyramid takes another action.

Zach 00:29, 11 June 2011 (UTC)

Bryan 15:21 10 June 2011 (UTC)

Thanks for the questions, Bryan. Looking at the problems I'm having with rules questions, Some pictures and digrams would help comprehension hugely. I've been keeping up on the forum as well, and if Nile is selected, I'll make sure to have some player aids created for you guys to make teaching at Origins a little easier.

Zach 00:29, 11 June 2011 (UTC)

ICE Awards Feedback[edit source]

These are comments I made at the "Icehouse Community Excellence Awards" thread at the Fan Club site:


PROS: The first viable (or only) Euro-style building game I've seen done with pyramids. This also has several nice balances to consider: fast small pyramids vs. large valuable pyramids, building your work force for later vs. using it now for early influence, doing more actions vs. passing and earning more resources, the general resource allocation problem (where do I deploy my assets best?).

CONS: It can be a bit long. It needs several player aids to help learn it quickly and remember the highlights during play. Bryan 10 June 2011

Board / Playmat[edit source]

Hi! I just uploaded a nice board/playmat thing, over on boardgame geek. Cheers! Skotte 11:03, 18 June 2011 (UTC)