Pyramid of Pengqueen: Curse of the Mummy
Brave penguin adventurers enter the Pyramid of Pengqueen in search of treasure! But the door slams shut and the Mummy has awakened! Can one penguin collect the necessary treasures to break the Mummy’s curse?
Pyramid of Pengqueen is an asymmetric deduction/memory game for 2-5 players ages 8+. Brain Games publishes this Marcel-André Casasola Merkle creation.
One to four Treasure Hunters collect magical objects while the Mummy searches for them. A Treasure Hunter wins by collecting their unique set of 5 treasures. The Mummy wins by capturing Treasure Hunters a certain number of times.
Slide the magnetic board vertically into the box insert. The Mummy player sits on one side of the board, and all the Treasure Hunters sit together on the opposite side. The Treasure Hunters place their pieces on their side of the board, starting at the steps. The Mummy gets two pieces: a small indicator and a large “mover”, and places both on the sarcophagus space on either side of the board. They will snap together with the board between them.
Someone shuffles each of the 5 colors of treasure cards separately, then deals out one set to each Treasure Hunter. The Treasure Hunters get all the white dice to begin the game.
How to Play
All the Treasure Hunters take turns before the Mummy gets a turn. If you are a Treasure Hunter, roll the white dice. Dice may show 1,2,3, or 4 spaces, an arrow, or a mummy symbol. Set aside any that show the Mummy symbol, and choose one of the remaining dice for your movement; or press your luck and re-roll the remaining dice and hope you get a better option.
Move exactly the number of spaces indicated on your chosen die. Treasure Hunters can backtrack if using a number die for movement. The arrow die moves a Hunter in a chosen direction until it hits an obstacle (wall, starting space, another treasure hunter, or the Mummy).
If the Treasure Hunter can finish their movement on a treasure that matches a card they hold, they have “collected” it. Reveal the card to all other players (including the Mummy).
Before rolling the dice, the Treasure Hunter may elect to “reset” the white dice and retrieve any that currently show the Mummy symbol. However, this allows the Mummy to have a special “interrupting” turn. The Mummy moves exactly as many spaces as there are dice set aside. Then they return all white dice to the current Treasure Hunter.
Once all Treasure Hunters have taken a turn, the Mummy gets a normal turn. They roll the black Mummy die, and add its result (1,2, or 3) to the dice that have been set aside with mummies on them. This number is how many spaces the Mummy may move. Just like the Treasure Hunters, the Mummy may only move horizontally or vertically, and may not move through walls.
If the Mummy enters a space with a Treasure Hunter, they catch the Treasure Hunter! (They’ll know because the magnetic pieces will make an audible *click*.) The Treasure Hunter gives a life token to the Mummy and moves their piece to the sarcophagus. The Mummy’s turn immediately ends.
The Treasure Hunter is eliminated from the game if they lose their last life token to the Mummy.
A Treasure Hunter wins, and the game immediately ends, when they collect all 5 treasures in their set of cards.
The Mummy wins if they can collect a certain number of life tokens, roughly twice as many as there are Treasure Hunters.
Pyramid of Pengqueen takes the classic mummy trope and makes it less scary. We all feel the tension of trying to grab the treasure and outrun (or outwit) the Mummy. But if we hear the tell-tale “click” that indicates we’re caught, we just move our penguin to the sarcophagus to try again. A player can only be eliminated if caught three times, which only seems to happen if they make particularly bad moves or indicate their movement too obviously.
Rolling more mummy symbols on the dice will always earn a groan from your fellow Treasure Hunters. No one likes to be given less choice for their movement, and every die you must set aside lets the Mummy move that much farther! Even worse is when another player decides to “reset” the dice when your penguin is right in the Mummy’s path. Will it get you this time?
Even though our kids range in age from preschool to middle school, when they play games, they tend to want everything to be “equal”. This makes asymmetric games a challenge. Like Visitor in Blackwood Grove, I was hoping Pyramid of Pengqueen would make this gameplay work for our kids.
Unfortunately, our kids didn’t really enjoy it.
The biggest problem we had was cheating. Our youngest player had difficulty restraining himself from peeking when playing as the Mummy or announcing where his fellow Treasure Hunters were located.
We played with a different group of kids, hoping that the game would be great – and they really enjoyed it. One compared it to Scotland Yard, which he’d played with his parents, “but in reverse, and more basic; better for little kids – and it’s an IceCOOL game! I like that.” The straightforward movement and the way the mummy’s attention is split between many Treasure Hunters scales well and works at all player counts.
These kids loved how the magnetic pieces worked on the vertical board. Their mom was more concerned how easy it would be to lose the tiny penguin pawns.
Based on our experience, we’d recommend Pyramid of Pengqueen for families with kids who have enough self-control to keep the hidden information a secret and keep track of the easy-to-lose pawns. Find it on Amazon or at your friendly local game store.
The Family Gamers received a copy of Pyramid of Pengqueen from Brain Games for this review.
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Pyramid of Pengqueen
Number of Players: 2-5
Age Range: 8+ (we say 6 or maybe younger)
Playtime: 40 minutes (or less)