Game Review: Exit The Pharaoh's Tomb
Posted by thenilescribes <http://nilescribes.org/author/thenilescribes/>on September 15, 2018
Playing board games is a popular pastime and a great way for Egyptophiles to connect, whether
they're at home or in the field! The *Nile Scribes *are avid board game players and we love to share
Egypt-themed games that we have played with our readers. Our newest game review is of /EXIT: The
Pharaoh's Tomb <https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/203416/exit-game-pharaohs-tomb>/, released in
2017, a game that allows you to enjoy an 'escape room' style activity with a group in your own home.
This game was designed by Inka and Markus Brand who have also designed a number of other 'escape
room' board games including /EXIT: The Mysterious Museum /and /EXIT: The Abandoned Cabin/.
Entering the Tomb of Tutankhamun
Recommended for 1-4 players, /EXIT: The Pharaoh's Tomb /begins with your group taking a tour through
Egypt with a stop in Luxor's Valley of the Kings. After visiting several royal tombs in the Valley,
your group makes their way into the famous tomb of Tutankhamun (KV 62). Suddenly, a hidden door
closes you off from the rest of your group and you find yourself trapped in the tomb.
The real tomb of Tutankhamun is not as big as the game makes it seem (photo: Nile Scribes)
<http://nilescribes.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/tutankhamun-tomb-plan.jpg>The real tomb of
Tutankhamun is not as big as the game makes it seem (photo: Nile Scribes)
How to Play
Typical of an 'escape room' game, the goal of the game is for the player(s) to solve puzzles and
riddles in succession, with the answers to each riddle aiding in your escape from the tomb. By
finding clues and symbols hidden throughout the tomb, the player(s) attempt to open objects and
unlock passageways to make their way out. This means that the speed of the game is determined by how
quickly you can solve the ten riddles as a group. Before you begin playing you will need to read the
instruction manual aloud to your group, or download the *Kosmos Helper App* onto your smart phone to
have them read aloud! The App also includes a stopwatch to time your gameplay and ambience music
while you play.
Players begin the game trapped in the burial chamber of Tutankhamun's tomb (photo: Nile Scribes)
<http://nilescribes.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/exit-tut-tomb-review.jpg>Players begin the game
trapped in the burial chamber of Tutankhamun's tomb (photo: Nile Scribes)
Fortunately for your group, you quickly discover the *Notes of Dr. Ford *trapped with you in the
tomb, which contains photos and puzzles which will help you solve the *Riddle Cards*. Solving each
riddle will provide you with a three-digit code which you will be able to translate into hieroglyphs
to use on your *Decoder Disk. *Eventually, your group will find their way out of the tomb and rejoin
the tour to enjoy the rest of your holiday (we hope!). In the event that your group is stumped by
one of the ten riddles, the game provides *Help Cards: *two clues to each riddle and finally the
solution to the riddle. Be careful though: at the end of the game, points are deducted based on the
number of *Help Cards* you needed to escape the tomb. Points are also awarded based on the amount of
time the player(s) take to find their way out.
The Notes by Dr. Ford are essential for finding the numbers to use with the decoder disk (Photo:
Nile Scribes) <http://nilescribes.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/exit-pharaohs-tomb-game.jpg>The
Notes by Dr. Ford are essential for finding the numbers to use with the decoder disk (Photo: Nile
The gameplay is unique, challenging, and perfect for a small group of Egyptophiles. Unless you have
played an EXIT game before, solving the first riddle may be the most challenging as the player(s)
will have to get used to the atypical game mechanics. We needed H*elp Cards *in the very beginning
of the game as we were overthinking the answers, but after that we quickly settled into our pacing
and rarely needed H*elp Cards*.
Note: this game can only be played /once /as some game pieces are actually destroyed in the
process of playing.
EXIT: The Pharaoh's Tomb game box (photo: Nile Scribes)
Pharaoh's Tomb game box (photo: Nile Scribes)
Egypt in /The Pharaoh's Tomb/
While the tomb that player(s) are trying to escape belongs to Tutankhamun, the cover relies on
Amarnaesque iconography (the rays of the Aten sun-disk) to set the stage for the non-specialists,
while also showing the famous gold mask of Tutankhamun that resides in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.
The game's general atmosphere emphasises the elements we traditionally associate with Egypt: gold,
mystery, dangerous tombs (although no mythical being in this tomb!), buried treasure, etc. The game
also references Egypt-themed elements of pop culture: from the long, eerie incantations of Imhotep
from Brendan Fraser's /The Mummy /to a notebook with scribbles made by a Dr. H. Ford (surely a
reference to the man who brought /Indiana Jones /to life) to solve clues.
(photo: Nile Scribes)
Cards will reveal if you got the riddle right (photo: Nile Scribes)
The more serious scholars will be delighted to discover that designers also drew inspiration from
recent Egyptological headlines, namely Dr. Nicholas Reeves' speculation about hidden chambers in the
tomb of Tutankhamun
examination of high-resolution images of the burial chamber revealed what he thought looked like
outlines of a chamber hiding behind the north wall. Dr. Reeves suggested this chamber may be the
burial of Nefertiti; nonetheless, specialists announced this year after a third scan of the tomb
that there are no chambers remaining to be found. Regardless the validity of Dr. Reeves'
interpretation, it was refreshing to see such fresh Egyptological ideas featured in the game.
Tutankhamun's sarcophagus barely fits into his burial chamber even without the gold nesting shrines
(photo: Nile Scribes)
sarcophagus barely fits into his burial chamber even without the gold nesting shrines (photo: Nile
Thoughts on the Game
The game has a very Egyptomanian feel: references to several kings and queens, decorative motifs,
hieroglyphic texts, and images of tomb scenes clearly situate us in New Kingdom Egypt, but there are
some anachronistic elements in the game. For example, Imhotep, chief architect of the Step Pyramid
complex of Djoser from the Third Dynasty, was mentioned prominently, though by the time of the New
Kingdom he would have been associated as a patron of scribes – only to be venerated more prominently
in the Late Period. Clearly, his name must have been invoked in the game because of his popularity
in Brendan Fraser's /The Mummy/.
We must admit that as we played we had quite a laugh at the game's description of getting lost in
the tomb. If you have visited Tutankhamun's tomb in the Valley of the Kings, you will probably
remember its small size, especially in comparison to some of the Ramesside tombs. Imagining a group
trapped in the burial chamber of Tutankhamun with his huge stone sarcophagus still taking up most of
the room was a funny image! We enjoyed that Dr. Reeves' research and the splendor of Tut's burial
were incorporated into the game but we probably would have recommended a larger tomb in the Valley
(KV 5?) for the players to escape from.
Play it with your friends and see if you can EXIT: The Pharaoh's Tomb! Be warned: this game will
challenge you to think outside /and /inside the box!
tombs <http://nilescribes.org/tag/tombs/>Tutankhamun <http://nilescribes.org/tag/tutankhamun/>
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