Ian's Movie Reviews
Short Reviews of Movies, Board Games, and Other Stuff

Kemet

Sometimes you just need to beat up on your friends. In board games form I mean. Sometimes you just want to set the strategy engines and efficient gameplay aside for a moment and just attack, attack, attack! And this is why we have games like Kemet.
Kemet, set in a mythological Egyptian setting, takes the battling nature of Risk, ups the aggression, and has more modern aspects of gaming. The result is a back-and-forth fight on the board full of excitement and interesting choices. Each army built up tends to be unique, and the strategic maneuvers to claim victory and often surprising.

Components

The key feature of Kemet are the mythological creature models which look amazing. Nowadays, gaming nerds are obsessed with kickstarters with “cool miniatures”, but back in 2012 Kemet seemed unique because of this. The giant scarab beetle in particular is quite awesome.
The board itself is nothing special to look at, but what is impressive about it is how the layout is designed in such a way that each player is equidistant from the others and the main features. This removes board position as a factor of unfairness.
The other major feature of Kemet components are the power tiles, 12 for each colour, and the awesome dice-like, marbled pyramids that go with them. The artwork on the tiles is very evocative of theme, and the symbology of what the tiles do usually makes sense.

Gameplay

The core of Kemet are the battles between each players armies. Battles in the case are similar to the Game of Thrones board game, in which the strength of each player is calculated by the troops they have the battle, as well as a secretly selected card which adds more strength or defense. It’s a simple yet effective system which compromises between calculatable predictability and the element of surprise.
The rest of the game revolves around what you are fighting for. The goal of the game is to reach a certain number of points, and players do this by winning battles, buying certain power tiles, and controlling temples. The control of these temples is usually what players fight over, though sometimes it just fighting for fighting’s sake. The fact that there are various points to be had throughout the game, and that the game ends when the point threshold Is reached, makes for some very interesting maneuvering and strategy to find the best way to capture the victory.
The best part about Kemet however are the power tiles. Each player has their own city which includes three pyramids: red, blue and white. These pyramids can be raised to different levels which allows you to buy better power tiles. Power tiles can do a variety of things for you, including controlling creatures, strengthening your armies, or giving them special abilities like teleportation. Each colour focuses on a part of the game: red for attacking, blue for defense, and white for wealth.

Conclusions

Kemet is a very interesting game and a great option for those groups who love games with lots of battles and aggressive play styles. The point cut-off for victory, and the various ways to collect points, makes the end game exciting as players are trying to outsmart the other by finding the best way to capture that last point before anyone else. This is a feature it shares with its cousin Cyclades, and while I think I like this feature better in Cyclades, it is well appreciated here.
The power tiles make Kemet special, as each one you buy is unique to you for the entire game. Therefore, if you buy the war elephant, that elephants will be yours and only yours for that whole session. It’s a great way of customizing your army. I also like how the different colours allow you to specialize on the type of player you wish to be that round, our you can generalize if you so wish.
If you like games that encourage players to be aggressive towards each other, and you also like the customization of your own gameplay, Kemet will likely be a great choice.

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