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Tekhenu: Obelisk of the Sun

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Number of Players 1-4
Playtime 60-120 Min
Suggested Ages 14+
Designer(s) Daniele Tascini, Dávid Turczi
Publisher Board & Dice

Four millennia ago on the eastern bank of the Nile river was laid the foundation of the Temple of Amun-Ra. Over the course of two thousand years, the temple complex was gradually expanded and became widely known as "The Most Select of Places" (Ipet-Isut), boasting the largest religious building in the world. Today, the site is known as Karnak, located at Luxor in modern-day Egypt.

Join ancient Pharaohs in creating and growing one of the most spectacular sites the world has seen, spotlighting the Egyptian gods Horus, Ra, Hathor, Bastet, Thoth, and Osiris. You will need to carefully manage the balance of your actions, ready for the reckoning by the goddess Maat.

The game board in Tekhenu: Obelisk of the Sun is split into six sections, all six associated with an Egyptian god: Horus, Ra, Hathor, Bastet, Thoth, and Osiris. In the middle stands an impressive obelisk (Tekhenu) that creates a shadow onto different parts of the board, resulting in the section around the obelisk being divided into sunny, shaded, and dark sections, depending on how the obelisk creates its shadow at that specific moment. As the game goes on, the sun's rotation changes which sections are sunny, shaded, or dark.

Each round, players pull a die and play actions associated with the value of the die and the section from which the die was drafted. At the start of the game, each of the 6 sections contains 3 die. However, as dice are pulled and then refilled, the different sections will contain a different number of dice.

Dice come in 5 colors: white, yellow, black, brown, and gray. Depending on the color of the die and the location of the obelisk's shadow, each die is either Pure, Tainted, or Forbidden. While you can never draft Forbidden dice, you are free to draft any other die, whether Pure or Tainted.

When drafting a die, you must examine both the general availability of dice — if no dice are available in a specific section, then you can't perform the action associated with that section — but also which value die to draft and how your choice will influence the overall balance when the Maat phase occurs. An imbalance towards Purity has no negative outcome whereas a Tainted imbalance can cause the loss of victory points. An ideal balance between Pure and Tainted dice, however, create a more favorable turn order.

After drafting one die and putting it on your board (either on the Pure or Tainted side), you carry out an action, the result of which depends on the value of the die you drafted.

Taking the Horus god action grants the building of statues, either in honor of one of the gods or for the people. Building a statue in honor of a god gives you aid when other players perform actions associated with that god. Building a statue for the people gives aids during scoring.

When performing the Ra god action, you add a pillar to the Amun-Ra temple grid, scoring victory points and getting resources and potentially powerful bonus actions.

The Hathor god action results in the construction of buildings around the Amun-Ra temple complex, giving rich resources and considerable influence during scoring. This action also expands the current population.

By choosing the Bastet god action, a festival is created, increasing joy of the people. However, the joy marker can never overpower the population marker, making it necessary to strike a balance between different actions. Keeping your people happy provides powerful one-time benefits as well as bonus victory points when scoring and more options when taking the Thoth god action.

The game has 3 types of cards: blessings, technologies, and decrees. Taking the Thoth god action provides you with these cards, the type of which is determined by the happiness of your people. Also, the happier your people are, the more selection of cards available to choose from.

Choosing the Osiris god action provides the construction of workshops and quarries, each of which adds to your production of one of the four resources: papyrus, bread, limestone, and granite. During scoring, you are rewarded for having the most workshops or quarries of each type.

Rather then these 6 god actions, you can choose to produce, creating resources based on the color of the die (yellow = papyrus, brown = bread, white = limestone, and black = granite) and the current production value of that resource.

For each scoring, you are rewarded victory points:

  • For having the majority of workshops or quarries of each type.
  • For buildings created near the Amun-Ra temple complex.
  • Based on the quantity of statues you have constructed.
  • Based on the happiness of your people.
  • For having created a large number of buildings (whether near the temple complex or as workshops or quarries).
  • For achieving the max production.

However, you need to also have a healthy amount of resources to sustain your population or else you suffer consequences. As well, after the second and final scoring, you can earn bonus victory points from various decrees you have collected during the game.

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